Monday, 24 April 2017

Cuckoo arrived!

Cuckoo (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly supplied by C.K. Bell Images.  If you wish to check out more of Craig's images please click here

Tuesday April 25th 2017 - Dalton Crags 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Just a quick checkover of the Lower Section to see if any GARDEN WARBLERS had come in during the night, but still quiet nothing recorded. Temperatures have took a massive drop and although nice in the sun the general temperature was down to 6 degrees which I would imagine would make things difficult for the Warblers, yet after saying that the WILLOW WARBLERS seemed to be singing from everywhere.

Monday April 24th 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1100hrs

One of our Cuckoo's is back and calling regular from his favourite territory in Dalton Crags close to the boundary with Lancelot Clark Storth. It was nice yesterday to hear from Celia up at Elterwater to tell us that her Cuckoo had arrived back and was calling, which made me wonder whether ours might be back today.  I wonder if they had come in together!!

Still only the one Tree Pipit doing it's marvellous parachuting displays whilst singing its diminishing crescendo calls.

No Wheatears today, but the Stonechats are doing fine and I think I may well have had a further bird this morning.  Still No Garden Warblers although they have been reported over at Warton Crag yesterday.   Odd Swifts being reported from Arnside, Leighton Moss and a possible seen over the village (unconfirmed).  More Blackcaps have been reported and the regular Chiffchaff "PEAR" has now arrived back in Dalton hamlet and keeping to her late arrival schedule. It has become noticeable that the early arrival birds are the same every year and from the same geographical locations.  And the same applies with the late arrival birds, they too are always from the same locations and always appear to be the last to arrive. This also seems to be a similar situation with Willow Warblers. Also had the Tawny Owl calling from Storth Wood (Dalton)

Click over to enlarge

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Greenland/Icelantic/Faroe Islands Wheatear are with us! plus the first Lesser Whitethroat

Yes it was great today I had plenty of "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear especially on Farleton (read below) 3 on Dalton and 8 on Farleton.

Saturday April 22nd 2017 - Dalton Crags 1000hrs to 1100hrs then Farleton Fell 1100hrs to 1430hrs

Yesterday (Friday) I did check out Dalton Crags but no Wheatear showing.  Just one Tree Pipit at the top of Hypericum Way which was constantly singing and displaying.

Today (Saturday)  Still no Garden Warblers and still the single Tree Pipit doing some fabulous displays whilst giving off his song.  Had three "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear with two on the walls and one on the ground on Wheatear Plain.  All very upright and all showing the dirty blue backs (presumed male). Stonechat male and female seen around the "line of trees" areas.  A Tawny Owl crossed my path and coming from South to Storth Wood - Dalton where I heard it calling from five minutes after passing.

Today (Saturday) - Farleton Side
I had Chiffchaffs calling from Farleton Rise, Rowley Copse, and 50 yards below Rowley Copse where I also had a Blackcap calling. On the Fell itself I had ten Wheatear of which 8 were presumed of the "Leucorrhoa race" and all were dirty blue coloured, these were spaced out along the full length of the fell and mainly in pairs.  I had a further two presumed to be O.Oenanthe - Eurasian which were a male and a brown female and thought to be breeding local.  Also several Swallows from the Whinn Yeates Farm, a single female Yellowhammer on territory. Views of a splendid "Lesser Whitethroat" was seen just above the Gorse areas.  The area were I have recorded them now for the past couple of years.

At the Old Lime Kiln (filled in) behind Whinn Yeates I noticed the ferns where doing really well and the Asplenium.Ceterach (Rusty Back Fern) was showing 6 little groups coming through. Also Maidenhair Spleenwort, and what is thought to be the rarer "Black Spleenwort" and Common Rue.

Very surprised to see a Brimstone Butterfly high on the fells heading with haste to the South.  Also heard Linnets, lots of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.  flowers included Rue Leaved Saxifrage, Parsley Piert (all gps recorded).

I am told a Swift was recorded going over Arnside yesterday.

This may well be Black Spleenwort ? (Click over to enlarge)

Ceterach or Rusty Back Fern (Click over to enlarge)

Looking towards Lupton etc (Click over to enlarge)

Looking towards Lupton etc (Click over to enlarge)

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tree Pipits arrive..

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) Click over to enlarge
Photo: Kindly supplied by C K Bell Images (check out more of Craig's images by clicking here

Thursday April 20th 2017 - Dalton Crags and Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) 0900hrs to 1200hrs

Another Blackcap calling around Plain Quarry.  I think they are all back now!  Still waiting for the beautiful Garden Warblers which should grace us anyday now. A new Chiffchaff on territory and singing immediately at the bottom of the lower Dalton Crags. Also Bullfinch pair in the same area. Had at least 50 calling Willow Warblers this morning - seemed to be from every available branch.  I can say without doubt that all the local breeders and now back and are now very busy! Primroses everywhere (good crop this year!), but the less common Cowslips are now starting to show especially at the bottom of the Dalton upper (deforested) area. Male and Female Stonechat again seen, usual places.  Just one Wheatear today on Wheatear plain - thought to be the larger "Leucoorhoa" variety. Found more Parsley Piert in LCS and recorded. Also more Rue Leaved Saxifrage and recorded. Some nice Early Purple Orchids are showing at all the regular spots. Also a nice setting for Wood anemone set within the shallow gryke. Blackcap calling from Cattle Crush area along with established Chiffchaff. Goldcrest calling from usual spot. A cracking morning...... ALSO first Swift back in the UK and reported flying over the Chew Valley a couple of days ago....

Wood Anemone set within Gryke on Lancelot Clark Storth
Click over photo to enlarge

Early Purple Orchids starting to come through (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday April 19th 2017  - Dalton Crags, Hutton Roof and Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) (0930 to 1600hrs)

Enjoyed taking a small private party around Dalton and Hutton Roof which included Sue and Will who were from the West Coast of the USA.  They were keen birdwatchers and had spent time this week also over at Leighton Moss.  They really enjoyed everything not just the birds, but the flowers and the spectacular "geological hidden gems".  Just one disappointment in that they really wanted to see the "yaffler" our Green Woodpecker and yes he was going at it calling regular but could we find him in view could we Eck!!

Our first "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear have arrived with two birds - as usual both males. I find it strange that in 4 out of 5 birds they will always be males....  Our Stonechats could be seen regularly flying off their precarious perches to gather things from the floor and then straight back up on a different wobbling perch. Two Tree Pipits back and calling at the bottom of Dalton deforested.  Two separate Meadow Pipits straight through on a North Westerly routing.

Tuesday Apil 18th 2017 - Easedale Tarn, Grasmere (all day)

Sour Milk Gill, Grasmere (Click over to enlarge)

On the way up to Easedale Tarn (Click over to enlarge)

I was hoping to hear "Tree Pipits" on the bottom sides of Helm Crag (ideal habitat) and will be full of them little beauties when they decide to come!

A Dipper loving it just "bobbing" about on various large stones which I am sure he would have known just like the back of his ........! a few upland Meadow Pipits seen and heard and pairs of Crows dotted here and there, but other than a few "Herdwick" sheep there was little else....

Monday April 17th 2017 - Dalton Crags

It was lovely to see and hear a Tree Pipit singing away at the bottom of Dalton Crags from that same tree he has used now for three years or more. I guess for me the song from the Tree Pipit has got to be my favourite along with the Skylarks and the Garden Warblers.

His song was being delivered from the uppermost branch of a 30ft tree, and usually when I hear him he is doing is fabulous parachuting display at the same time as singing.  That was not the case today, he remained perched at the top with no display on offer. I also checked the other sites in Dalton Crags (upper) but I could not see any further Pipits.

That beautiful Tree Pipit sound can be heard by CLICKING HERE

Another page from my notes back in 2012

Click over to enlarge

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Northern Greenland/Icelandic/Faroe Islands Wheatear (Leucorrhoa)

Click over to enlarge
(Photos kindly contributed)
The above is a page which I have made up to show within my powerpoint presentation which gives you some idea of the small differences I encounter between Eurasian and Greenland/Icelantic Wheatear.  It is so difficult in the field although certain pointers give you a good basis to work - especially the grouping and the time of year which is my number one and then we will check out the rest!  hope this helps.

Monday April 17th 2017 - Dalton Crags 1100hrs to 1215hrs

Most of the Willow Warblers are singing away from various points at the bottom of Dalton Crags. and specially enjoyed watching and listening to a new arrival Tree Pipit on the territory which he has well established over the past three years, which is always at the bottom of the Crags, he was singing in "perfecto" as always. a lovely scrabble then swi-swi-swi-swi-swi-swi-swi  (diminishing) and occasionally finishing off with a sort of "swoon".  I'll tell you what instead of me trying to put it into words - CLICK HERE and when the page loads click on the forward button. then when you finished click on the back button

Stonechat still sat on the wall, watching out whilst his Missis is so busy!  his colourful plumage is a sight for sore eyes - so stunning!

Nearly forgot!  First Blackcap arrived back and singing in the bottom of Dalton Crags (still a little subdued) but should be going for it from tomorrow on.

Sunday April 16th 2017

Anyday now I would expect Greenlands/Icelandic/Faroe Island Wheatears (O.O. Leucorrhoa) to start to be seen on Hutton Roof and other localities.  I remember from two years ago today (16th April 2017) we had a party of no less than 16 birds on Wheatear Plain in Dalton (deforested/upper).

I can remember them usually coming in with trips of Dotterel when I lived down in East Lancashire, and today (16th April 2017) the Dotterel have been seen and photographed down in Bedfordshire. Also Hoppy down in Wolverhampton rung a Wheatear this morning which was of the "leucorrhoa race" with wing at 108mm.

These are some notes I did back in 2013 (Click over to enlarge)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

First Wheatear (Oenanthe) and first Willow Warblers

"A Confusion of Willow Warblers"

Saturday April 15th 2017 - Dalton Crags, Hutton Roof - Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)
0830hrs to 1130hrs

Strong W/SW Wind at about 15mph and cold with it (temp around 5 to 6c). It was obvious from the word go that the Willow Warblers were back in full swing with several new birds sounding off their individual crescendo's. Probably be around 8 birds (Willow Warblers) singing from Plain Quarry and Lower Dalton.  Also I had 6 singing away from Lower Lancelot.  Looking back I notice the 15th of April is usually the peak date for Willow Warbler arrivals on Hutton Roof, so you could say bang on!! Those little beauties along with all the Chiffchaffs really make it something special. Talking about Chiffchaffs guess what? "(Miss) Miss-A-Note is back this year in Storth Wood and was singing whilst marking her territory, not too far away from the Charcoal burner. Besides her I also had a further four birds singing in Lower Lancelot with one of the birds seen with nesting material (feather or something) from her bill. Although still waiting for our Dalton Blackcap's to show themselves, I can honestly say it was a explosion of "fast melodious warbling" from no less than six Blackcaps in Low Lancelot (never known so many singing at the same time - maybe a really good year, or maybe we have one or two that might just move on! time will tell.  A bonus was also to see a pair of Bullfinch closeby.

Other birds noticed whilst mobile was a single Meadow Pipit crossing over to the NW on migration. and three more Willow Warblers just below the BAP Memorial Seat, a further WW on the pavement bordering Storth Wood. Also a pair of Peregrines very high and soaring at speed.  A curlew went overhead and later a Redshank was also heard overhead.

Flowers are doing well now with some lovely Early Purple Orchid rosettes, most with the heavily marked purple staining to their leaves, yet some just plain green with no staining. Bluebells were seen with their drooped heads, but guess they were smiling everywhere in Low Lancelot.  Telling me that in a couple of weeks time it will be well worth a visit to one of the many Bluebell woods we have lying around here.  Also today several of the lovely Wood Anemone.  Ay! another fabulous morning and a shame to leave.  Well there is always tomorrow (I hope!)...... 

Wednesday April 12th 2017 - Dalton Crags - Hutton Roof - Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)
1000hrs to 1430hrs

Today I had a party from the RSPB Lancaster Branch who hopefully enjoyed checking out some of the birding and flora hotspots on the West side of Hutton Roof.  Sadly the day started off really poor with regular light rain and gusty on and off winds.  But the forecasters were right and by lunchtime it dried up and turned to lovely sunshine.  
A new Willow Warbler has arrived back at the side of Plain Quarry. A new record for me of Parsley Piert 50 yards West of the BAP Memorial Seat in Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT).  Also four fresh Willow Warblers have arrived back and singing away in Low Lancelot (all regulars at their normal breeding areas).  Also at least one of the Blackcaps have returned and singing from their long established territory. Also one of the Chiffchaffs near to the Summer House has returned in Dalton's Storth Wood, But not our regular "Summer" we are still awaiting her arrival. 

We also found this fungi yesterday whilst in Lancelot and I believe it may be a "slime mould" which can be called "False Puffball" or it's scientific name Enteridium lycoperdon.

Tuesday April 11th 2017 - Dalton Crags - 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Our Plain Quarry Willow Warbler (called Willow) has now arrived back to the sides of Plain Quarry singing away from the very tree she owns!  also whilst checking out Lower Dalton I heard three further Willow Warblers singing further over on the Eastern boundary of Low Dalton with the fields of Crag House.  I also had my first Dalton Blackcap singing this morning, although very patchy in song and subdued.  It was mainly overcast and a coolish wind - probably masking good calls!!

Monday April 10th 2017 - Dalton Crags - 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Not a lot to report although it is without doubt the best year yet for our local Chiffchaffs which have arrived in fabulous increased numbers on previous years.  So far all local sites checked have seen occupancy.  I can't has yet say the same about the local Willow Warblers, but they will come soon.  We have only a couple of birds showing at Dalton Lower Crags so I do expect a further eight or so to come in soon.  We do have records of 6 at the Trig, at least 3 at top of Lancelot, 2 in Burton Fell. We are still awaiting our Blackcaps.  Two of the Tree Pipits are back but playing very subdued at the moment and would also expect a further 8-10 birds any day now.  One pair of Stonechat are presumed breeding in Dalton.  Our Garden Warblers are due in from around the 21st of the month, can't wait.......

Also Robert recorded a Swallow back at Green Dragon Farm, Burton In Kendal on Friday last (8th) whilst Alec recorded three Swallows back at Russell Farm, Dalton yesterday Sunday last (10th).



Flying in the dark through a moonlit sky,
Falling from high like little angels,
Floating down on a wavering leaf,
The “confusion” has now begun.
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Daytime closed you was not seen,
Whilst morning wakes your plenty,
So tred so soft our leaf explorer,
A “bouquet” of special prize to us,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Your music is a descending tale,
Which finish the year hou whit,
A choir of pairs sings thy will,
A “Fall” would be a lot of thee,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Sylvia’s hand of lucid intricacy
You thread that weave so delicately,
To house and raise a splendid cast,
It’s a start to a “Wrench” fulfilled
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Sunday 9th April 2017 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1200hrs to 1400hrs

Another Willow Warbler arrived in bottom of Dalton Crags and a "Confusion of Willow Warblers" with at least six were singing from around the Trig Point, some were seen doing "flycatching sallies". Also I am sure two Tree Pipits have arrived back (I had suspected yesterday they had), but at the moment they are quite subdued (which is regular when they just arrive) One at the bottom of the Crags and one at the top of the Upper Crags (both regular territories). Also two Wheatear (Oenanthe) on the walls going up.  The pair of Stonechats are about as well. Bullfinches at the Trig. Also another Brimstone seen at Plain Quarry.

Saturday 8th April 2017 - Dalton Crags 1000hrs to 1100hrs

Plenty of Chiffchaffs singing.  Still only one Willow Warbler in Lower Dalton Crags as yet.  A pair of Stonechats in the bottom half Dalton (upper/deforested), a few Meadow Pipits on the walls but only three grouped heading over NW on movement.

Fabulous sunny weather throughout.

Friday 7th April 2017 - Canal ~Station Road to Tarn Lane Burton In Kendal 1700 to 1800hrs

Lots of midge hatches in odd parts along the canal.

Chiffchaffs really doing well with 8 seen and heard along that stretch of the Canal but still no Willow Warblers or Blackcap.  Most but not all of the Chiffchaffs were at long established breeding sites but a couple were completely new sites!

Also another Chiffchaff (old site) singing from the Kendal side of the Burton Memorial Hall.

Wednesday 5th April 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1100hrs
A new Willow Warbler back and calling in Lower Dalton Crags.
Farleton Fell - 1830 to 1930hrs
Three Wheatears - One at Newbiggin Crag and two on the Whinn Yeates side. Several Skylarks.

Hurrah! managed my first Swallow today! (Mon 3rd April) (Click over to enlarge)
Monday 3rd April 2017 - Farleton Fell - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Counted 3 Wheatear 2 male and 1 female on Whinn Yeates side of Farleton and also one male Wheatear on the field as you approach Farleton.  Still lots of Skylarks around - maybe 15 plus.

Only two Meadow Pipits came through to the North which were quite high up (75ft) to say the winds were pretty strong at Westerley 7-15 (gusty).  Also a few Meadow Pipits clearly back on territory with display.

Also had a female Yellowhammer back on territory near Newbiggin Crags.

later whilst passing South end of Dockacres there was my first Swallow coming through North


Sunday 2nd April 2017 - Dalton Crags (lower and upper) 1000hrs to 1200hrs

No movement whatsoever - just so quiet, still no Willow Warblers or Blackcap at Plain Quarry although we do have at least four Chiffchaff regulars.

Sunday 2nd April 2017 - Holme Park Fell and Farleton Fell  1600- 1845hrs

2 Chiffchaffs heard singing on regular territory near to Rowley Copse.

One Willow Warbler in crescendo song at the commencement to the flank of Farleton Fell.

Brilliant to see a "exhultation of Skylarks" with a minimum of 21 counted feeding up in very close proximity to one another (within some 30ft circle).  Also 3 pairs counted on territories.

Also "six Wheatear" at the start of Farleton Fell, all considered to be Oenanthe, also two of the six thought to be on breeding territory

Wheatear (Oenanthe) (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)

Saturday 1st April 2017 - Dalton, Lancelot, Burton and Lancelot  1000hrs to 1400hrs

It was on/off light rain showers early but by noon seem to dry up.  Wind slight at W5mph.

Well for Meadow Pipits very poor in fact you could count the number I had on two fingers! so that shows you how bad it got, but nem mind its going to happen very soon!

Told this morning that they have had over 800 Redwing in numerous parties over Manchester heading to the South East this morning, so I guess this might well be the last shove up and on their way out!

Had a lovely coloured solitary Wheatear (Oenanthe) on the Walls whilst traversing up through Dalton Crags (upper/deforested).

Spent a little time at the Trig but really quiet with very little on the move, a few thrushes which looked like they could well be continentals, feeding up and probably off later today.

Found some nice Rue Leaved Saxifrage in flower.  It says in the books that this species flowers in June, but I have found them regular on Hutton Roof flowering in February and right through the early part of the year.  Early Purple Orchids - some good rosettes in the top of Lancelot.

First Willow Warblers singing away in full crescendo - 3 at 3/4 way up Lancelot, 2 midway up Burton Fell - always good early spots these and again they proved so today.

Chiffchaffs will be a really good year!  At least 4 in Lower Dalton (Nr. Plain Quarry) to start with then a new site 1 at top of Lancelot, two more in Burton Fell, three in Low Lancelot.  Also two singing on way home on Vicarage Lane with one at the top and the usual bird singing away from Browside.

Also had a pair of Long Tailed Tits in Lancelot, about 4 yafflers (Green Woodpeckers) a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers - NO Blackcaps or Swallows for me YET!

Willow Warbler (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)

Dog Violet (Click over to enlarge)
A beautiful lichen found today in Lancelot (Click over to enlarge)

I have called it "Kirkstone" and found it on Burton Fell today (Click over to enlarge)
It does remind me of another well known stone!

Rue Leaved Saxifrage (Click over to enlarge)
Blue Moor Grass (Click over to enlarge)

Monday, 27 March 2017

Wild Service Trees and Much More

Tuesday 28th March 2017 - Dalton Crags

Another lovely sunny morning with a E/SE blowing at about 7-10mph, visibility down to about 2/300 yards.

A definite six Chiffchaff counted in Plain Quarry and lower regions of Dalton

Just a little better than yesterday with just enough Meadow Pipits to count on two hands over the hour!

2x Wild Service Trees in Dalton (Click over to enlarge)
also photo below shows close up.

Monday 27th March 2017 - Dalton - Hutton Roof Trig Point

Lovely sunny morning but with a cold 10-15mph Easterly.  Over one hour the Meadow Pipits that went through could be counted on one hand.

Lots of singing Chiffchaffs heard this morning around the Lower Dalton Plain Quarry areas.  I guess all were not locals.  The ones I saw seemed so small and thin and needed to put some weight on!  also coming down "Hypericum Way" I am sure I heard the "just about (contact) call" of a Willow Warbler right at the place were I usually get my "first early bird", but can't be sure because it was only the contact call "hou-it" rather than the full call. Although there is very little difference between the Chiff and the Willow, I find the Willow is slightly more sweeter and not just as sharp - So I guess the next day or two should give a clearer indication to which bird it is. 

Also had the male Stonechat in Dalton Upper, and heard a couple of calls from Green Woodpecker at different areas, Ravens knocking about and thats more or less it for today....

I was kindly shown these rare "Wild Service Trees" which lie within Dalton.

Close up of a Wild Service Tree at Dalton (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

First Warbler and Catch Ups

Sunday 26th March 2017 - Dalton - Hutton Roof Trig Point

Easterly 3-5mph warmer than yesterday morning.  Very poor passage which faded as the morning progressed. 46 Meadow Pipits in total plus 1 Alba Wagtail heading NW, also heard a Redpoll
Mipits mainly singles or pairs, but also had parties: 2x3,1x6. 19 birds 9 to 10am and 27 birds 10 to 11am.

Saturday 25th March 2017 - Dalton - Hutton Roof Trig Point

Chiffchaffs increased yet again to four now singing from Plain Quarry. Also had 147 Meadow Pipits at Trig on Hutton Roof all heading NW (31 between 9 to 10am and 116 between 10 to 11am. mainly singles and pairs, but also small parties of 5x3,6x4,1x5,1x6,1x8.

This was taken today from the Trig on Hutton Roof looking NW to the Lakes
Friday 24th March 2017 - Dalton - Hutton Roof Trig Point

We now have three Chiffchaffs back in lower Dalton, a further increase of one.

The Meadow Pipits were going through Dalton and Hutton Roof today, but just trickles of mainly singles but a few pairs, yet no parties. Total 23 birds over a couple of hours (0900hrs to 1100hrs) heading NW. Lovely sunny morning and warm down in the bottom, but a 15mph East/North East Wind on the top giving it the occasional "chill factor"

"Sky the lark was busy all the time today,
singing like a "Tree Pipit" amongst his task,
or chasing off passing Meadow Pipits.
He guards that territory with jealous hold
Every now and again he behaved so bold"


Early Purple Orchid rosettes today on Lancelot (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 23rd March 2017 - Dalton - Hutton Roof - Lancelot (CWT)

Nice to report that at least four Chiffchaffs have arrived back.  Craig and Craggy are back at Plain Quarry Car Park at Dalton and Lance and Clarky are back singing in Lancelot Clark Storth, but we are still waiting for "Miss A Note". Maybe she does not miss a note anymore!

Good to see Meadow Pipits going through regular with maybe about 20 over one hour all heading North West, in the main singles or pairs, but one party of 4.  Missed loads because they were low down when you got up to the Trig point and sort of sneaking between the low hawthorns, the North Easterlies were strong up there today, perhaps 20 to 25 mph. Quite a few settling for the less windy option and using the flanks of Lancelot to cross over.  

Those Easterley - Beasterlies will not stop the flow,
For Mipits today were on the go,
With a "psst psst" here and a "psst psst" there,
and lots of "psst psst" everywhere!

Also had a pair of chakkers (Stonechat) in Dalton deforested, calls from one of the yafflers (Green Woodpecker), Mistle Thrushes, Skylarks singing away and guess what?  a unexpected mover today when I had a Brambling and calling whilst heading North West!  

Also down in Lancelot had a single Long Tailed Tit, probably down on territory with only seeing the single. Also calling Goldcrest (usual place near thowd conifer!)

Yes I mean it when I say "millions" rather than thousands, because that's exactly what there will be when they come through, and the leaves are growing everywhere on HR today,  that's the Barren Strawberry or are they the Wild Strawberry, whichever, they will taste lovely when they start to show by the end of next month. Always something to look forward to, with a "snack on the go"  

Nice Early Purple rosettes forming in Lancelot, Lots of Pretty primrose posies here and there and lots of that beautiful coloured "purple" grass or is it "Blue Moor Grass.

Its been one of those beautiful special mornings which I have enjoyed immensely whilst walking through my weedless garden and gathering Vitamin D here and there whilst listening to the "Chiff Chaff Chitty",  "Chiff Chaff Chitty"

Other photos today:

A  rotting tree trunk base with lots of interesting fungi! (Click over to enlarge)

Is this it! Is this what they call "Blue Moor Grass" (Click over to enlarge)
Sesleria caerulea

Do you remember this slime mould which I found twelve days ago (Click over to enlarge)
well look at the next photo because thats how it is today

A Herd of Whiteness (Click over to enlarge)
I am checking out the skies all the time at the moment in readiness for another "HERD OF WHITENESS" or a "WEDGE" of Whoopers.  Today (22nd March 2017) I have been reading that several parties have been seen heading North West through the County on their way to the Solway and onward perhaps to Iceland!  Also one or two reports of SWALLOWS being seen over Ulverston

Burton In Kendal Chiffchaffs (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday 15th March 2017 - Dalton Crags (0930hrs to 1100hrs)

Return of our first Chiffchaff (Craig) to Plain Quarry this morning, singing away in a subdued fashion. I guess its about right is the 15th and the date it is first recorded in most years.

Also the "Start" day for the passage of Meadow Pipits with 7 moving across the deforested (upper Crags) towards the North West direction (2,1,2,1,1) plus one already back on territory at the Trig Point on Hutton Roof.   Also had a Marsh Tit calling from the top of the lower Crags.

I can't help but wonder about "Alba Wagtails" which I don't see that many these days on Spring passage but that's probably because of where I am watching from , but looking back to the 80s I can remember from back down in East Lancs I would get scores of them all moving to the North West and they came early with good counts from around the 7th March.

Arnside (1600hrs to 1800hrs approx)

Recorded even more "Ceterach" (Rusty Back Fern) over in Arnside on the Promenade, also went along to the "Coastguard" area to check out the Maidenhair Fern and got this photo of last years produce!

Maidenhair Fern at Arnside (Click over to enlarge)
Last years offering still in reasonable shape!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Catch Up

Saturday 11th March 2017

Is it fungi or is it a type of Slime Mould - What a beauty and found today on a rotting tree (Click over to enlarge)
I have now found out it is called a "Amoebozoa" (Protozoa)

I have found a excellent online blog by Siah St. Clair which goes into more depth and shows some great photos
of the different stages of the yellow amoebozoa please click here to access ALL OF NATURE BLOG
On my way up the Crags I had plenty of Song Thrush singing but today I had one bird which was enjoying letting me think I had heard a distant "Golden Plover" its mimic was a dead ringer! I had a male Stonechat in Dalton Crags (deforested) about 100 yards to the North of the "Line of Trees", could not see a female so don't know if it is the resident pair or another new bird arrived.

Coming down through Lancelot I was attracted to the yellow patch which at first looked like a very pale yellow leaf from a distance but when I got closer it soon became apparent it was some sort of fungi or slime mould.  I have checked out my references and cannot find it anywhere at the moment. It was about 5" and made up of what I would say were small yellow bubbles (please click over image to enlarge), whatever it is I feel its a cracker and I have already put it on a forum to try and find out what it is. I have now found out it is a "Amoebozoa (Protozoa)"

Further Marsh tits heard calling in Lancelot.  We are doing well this year recording these!  Also a regular pair of Lapwing trying to breed on the old stubble field at the top of Vicarage Lane, but being constantly harressed with Carrion Crows.  Some fantastic Lapwing aerial display has they dive bombed the Crows.

Just been reminded by Arlene that its getting to that time of year to watch out for the old "ticks".  I thought best for me to print here the info sheets which I always show to my parties:

This shows the sizes of "Larva, Nymph and adult Female and Male" (Click over for enlarge)

This shows how bites may look at the top and below are showing signs of bites that could become Lymes

I get "ticks" regular on my daily trips up on Hutton Roof, but thankfully only one time did I actually get one with the rings around, which I quickly went to the doctors and who prescribed at the time the antibiotic "Doxycycline" which sorted it within 48 hours. Hope you never have to deal with ticks but maybe these illustrations can help you just in case.

Thursday 9th March 2017

Brimstone today in Dalton Hamlet
Photo: taken on Iphone 
It all started really well today with my first bumble bee which had a white bum!
then I noticed other nice things as well some nice patches of Black Spleenwort (last years),
plus plenty of Celandine beaming through with sunny smiling faces, but no violets for me today.
My first butterfly of the year and right on time for this lovely Brimstone (and ladybird).
Went through Dalton Burial Woodlands today and it was lovely with plenty of birdsong,
which included Treecreeper, Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Wrens, Robins and Dunnocks,
but the best of all was back on "Nineteen Trees" where I had that high pitched "pitchoo"
and sure enough a place to record for the lovely little "Marsh Tit". 

In the past few days I have also had some nice reports from friends as well: Both Alec (Dalton Hamlet) and Howard (Holme) reported seeing the "White Crow" on the A6070 near the Canal hump back bridge some quarter of a mile before the "Auctions", Robert from Kendal has had a male Crossbill which was calling whilst heading over Burton Fell. He also recorded several "Early Purple rosette" leaves starting to come through in both Lancelot Clark Storth and also on Burton Fell. Nathan (Morewood) has had a Buzzard regularly checking out his garden. 

Wednesday 8th March 2017 

Sketch: Courtesy of RSPB

"Ay! to a bird that looked like a mouse"

Just like a mouse (but not a mouse)
A mouse going vertical,
running up a tree from bottom to top,
probing here and there with his long downward curved beak,
Oblivious to us humans watching from so close
Then he would start it all again on another trunk of another tree,
Running up a tree from bottom to top,
But this time he would run faster than before,
He must have been getting fed up and yes,
That was it he flew off to a distant tree.

Each day for three I climbed to the very top,
To a Trig where you can see all around,
For today I was in search of and I found!
No more than lots of imaginary “Shrikes”
And not one moved but they held their ground,
Will tomorrow be so different?
I need to climb each day for four and to the very top.

Monday 6th March 2017 - Dalton Crags

"Song Thrush" (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Craig Bell

“The Crags are alive with music,
 Throstle’s, Larks,and Accentors too”

Wow! To think I had not been on the top of Hutton Roof for almost six months prior to today (4th March) so for me it was just something special to get that feeling of being back on “Top of the World”.  It has been a long job but finally we have got there and just in time to catch the early migrants has they start to pour through, well that’s what I hope they will start to do during the coming weeks.

Today I was back up on Hutton Roof (6th March) and straight up to the Trig Point, it was a beautiful warm sunny morning, the type of morning which made you want to stride forward.  The Song Thrushes were in their element with at least three singing their special mixed repertoire from pockets around the Plain Quarry areas and then by the time I had gone up through the lower Crags I had another three birds all enjoying their morning too and telling me so in their wealth of joyous “breath of fresh air” music.

So what in particular has spurred me on to getting to the top of that hill!  Well if I am being honest with you I suppose I wanted to check on the Skylarks and the Meadow Pipits to see if any had started to cross over on their way North and onward to their breeding grounds, and also to see if the larks were singing from the heavens! Oh yes, those little “ascending” wonders were busy spreading their Spring delight to all who wanted to hear it! I have not yet personally seen the Mipit's but a friend Robert had three this morning from around the gully area of the upper Crags.

It was not only the Larks and Mipit's which had given me that “extra tug” but also by the thought that the Great Grey Shrike who usually makes his appearance from around the 7th of March (It's been that particular day on no less than 3 times during the past eight years).  That’s if he decides to call in on us whilst progressing his journey from down in Spain to his destination somewhere in the Scandinavia's.  Nothing to report it is still “No Shrikey, No Likey”.

It really was worth checking out the rare Holly Ferns and were they doing OK! Yes of course number one was looking great as always, yet number two had a really close crop again this year with a proper No.2 or “deercut” and I really had to feel around at the base to check they hadn't disappeared.

Saturday 4th March 2017 - Burton In Kendal

"Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow" - (Click over to enlarge)
Kindly shared to us by Craig Bell
Check out Craig's Bird photos by clicking here

"It’s now the time for every Dunnock to sing to come alive,
In crude a tinkling Goldcrest tone, but many contained here,
A Redbreast goes high to impose his will but not today,
For today the Hedge Sparrow is sweetest of them all". 
(4th March 2017)


Tree Pipit at Grasmere - side of Loughrigg
Photo taken in June -  (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 2nd March 2017 - Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal

Just had a short stride up Vicarage Lane and could hear three separate Song Thrushes singing away and marking their territories, and they had lots of new repertoirre to offer I just could not book down their calls quick enough.... some really good stuff here!.

Going past Tram (don't know at this point whether I should call it upper or lower) but a good place where I stand sometimes during the Autumn to record the passing finches.  Although today I had my mind fixed upon "Squeaking the old Stoat! He's not a easy one, in fact I usually never have problems squeaking the Stoats and can bring them within a few yards before I frighten them away! but this chap is something different, I have tried several times before to get his attention but not yet! I do need to come up with a better "squeak" if I am to get anywhere with this lad!!

Some great reports from friends include: 

Reg has had his regular Winter Yellowhammers return to his garden on Morewood Drive. Phil has reported seeing four Tree Sparrows in Dalton Hamlet and also he had a rare sighting of a “Ringtail” (either a female or juvenile = “Ringtail”) Hen Harrier crossing over the Trig Point and heading off down into Lancelot Clark Storth. More reports of Little Egrets either on the Mosses and also being reported from the gullies across from Station Road, Holme. Robert has had Merlin and Meadow Pipits showing on Hutton Roof. Skylarks were back on territory and singing as early as February 5th, but were not seen or heard the following day.

A "Wet" William Wordsworth Grave (Click over to enlarge) 

Yesterday (1st of March 2017) I guess I should have woke up and said “White Rabbits” as my first words uttered! But again I forgot, like I forget in most years…..  It’s a funny old custom which was handed down to me by my late mum who said I should always say it on the 1st March and then I would have good luck for the month or was it good luck for the year ahead.

Today it was great to do what we do on most Wednesday’s at this time of year, by having a brew and a butty and finish off with a piece of good old Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread whilst at the same time sat trying to absorb some poetic inspiration and being sheltered by the fabulous Yew tree just at the side of William’s (and the rest of the Wordsworth clan’s graves.  It was gently raining today, but that was no problem for us because of this “thickened with age” grand Yew giving us a dry canopy whilst we sat on the nearby seat.  It's always a great privilege to sit under this very tree which was planted in this spot by none other than William himself. 

Surely what was so different today?  Ah! well no Jackdaws,  and as a rule we always have Jackdaws trying to scavenge any left overs or crumbs that maybe on offer.  Usually they are quite tame and will come within a couple of yards perching themselves on the upper ledge of nearby gravestones. Yet all was quiet here you normally hear them in the vicinity.  Still we had plenty of Robins and Dunnocks to keep us company!

Changing our rambling route by the day or even by the hour just before we hit the start, we chose to head through Deerbolt on the West side of Grasmere which eventually leads you to Rydal Caves.  On leaving Deerbolt I pictured from memory the vast area being covered by bluebells and imagining what a treat it will be for some "sore eyes"!  In fact I will dig out my photo from last time I saw this beautiful event.....which I have posted here.

This is how it may look around the 12th May

Not only this beautiful sight was going around in my mind but also the thoughts of the regular Cuckoo who usually you can hear calling from early May onwards.  But I guess for me the best has to come, whilst today all these scattered hawthorns seem bare! but soon (May) will have those songsters the Tree Pipits singing away from them whilst they perform their fluttering descending parachute from one higher tree towards one nearby lower tree. 

Also today we had small little groups of flowering daffodils, some of the miniature and some of the more regular and always somewhere close to a wooden seat.  Perhaps they were markers for someone to remember somebody.  Along this path and close to water flushes I can sometimes find Butterwort and Yellow Saxifrage, but not today, its far too early yet! (need to take another look around June time), also lower down by the river you will later be able to find Grass of Parnassus and Devils Bit Scabious and Bog Asphodel plus lots of other "GEMS" as well.

A welcome return to the Caves (Rydal Caves), not natural may I add but a left over of the old quarry.

Looking out from Rydal Caves (Click over to enlarge)