Monday, 18 September 2017

2017 Autumn Visible Bird Migration Daily Records over Hutton Roof and Burton In Kendal

Just a little sketch showing the directions of migration over Hutton Roof (Click over to enlarge)







2017 - Almost Daily Records below:-

Sunday 24th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Rd (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0645hrs to 0800hrs then over to Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal from 0815hrs to 1115hrs.

Wind: ESE 8-13mph and probably more on the ten plus, 9c, 42% Cloud cover 1017mb pressure. 
On Hutton Roof today it was poor throughout with strongish winds and no birds so I quickly diverted over to Vicarage Lane which proved a wise decision!

Goldfinch first birds at 0704hrs: 15W (one party)
Chaffinch: 39 (13E all others W) 3s,2s and 1s.
Linnet: 5 S (one party)
Meadow Pipits: 35 all South/South East (best 1x5)
Alba Wagtail: 6 SE (4,2)
Starling: 35 all East (X Roost LM)

0815 to 1115hrs - Taylor's Fields, Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal. 
Nice steady trickle of Chaffinch again using the ridge and maintaining a narrow corridor (50 yardish). Some of the birds were managing to cut the wind, others were getting blown back and arcing and getting through on the next attempt. Wind speed at least 10mph ESE but at about 1015hrs the birds seem to stop coming through other than the very occasional twos or threes and guess what? the wind had dropped down about 3 or 4 pegs but the birds had gone through on the toil, but stopped on the easy passage!  Now back home and noticed they are going through again (or at least the ones which would go past my window).

Chaffinch: 444 (all going South East other than up to 5 which went W) best parties: (1x12,1x10, 3x9,2x8,5x7 lots of 5s. All larger parties were prior to about 0930hrs after that it was mainly 2s,3s,4s)
Meadow Pipits: 5 S/SE (all singles)
Goldfinch: 105 all SE (6,5,15,1,5,10,8,10,20,1,5,5,14)
Linnet: 22 all SE (2,7,3,7,3)
Alba Wagtail: 3 (all singles SE
Swallow: 12 SE (6,1,5)
Jay: 3 all NW (1,1,1)
Starling: 1 E (presumed x roost at LM)
also: Sparrowhawk: 1 and Kestrel: 1

Red Admiral Butterfly 4 South (1,1,1,1)

Saturday 23rd September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Rd (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0645hrs to 0830hrs then Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal 0900hrs to 1200hrs

Wind: SSE 7-16mph, 12c, 81% Cloud, 1018mb pressure. 

Very quiet especially first thing, it never really got going in the early morning just a little burst as usual and then almost completely dropped by 0730hrs and continued this way. Mipits quite low, hard milky sky - difficult to locate.

Meadow Pipit: 103 all South (best parties: 1x8,2x61x5)
Chaffinch: 38 (15 W all others East) best party 1x6
Goldfinch: 9 S/SE (3,6)

Siskin: 1
Alba Wagtail: 2
Mistle Thrush: 2 S
Raven: 1 S

Taylors Fields, Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal. 0900hrs to 1200hrs

Again very quiet (or so I thought) and then discovered after one hours watching, that the birds were coming through in trickles but where using a cutting to gain height and had been using a very narrow corridor and once I did manage to latch on it was all systems go (well what I should say is that birds were coming over steady numbers.  When I did pack up watching at 1200hrs I did check the lower regions and I am suspicious that the birds where all sort of "tree hopping" and once I got on to them they just at that point were leaving cover to hit the strong winds with some of them seem to have no bother, but lots of them were being blown and arcing around to take it again, some went back for further cover. Goldfinch numbers building better every year!

Chaffinch: 344 all South East (best parties: 1@13,1@11,1@10 1@8, several 7s)
Meadow Pipit: 5 SE (1,3,1)
Redpoll: 2 SE
Siskin: 1
Goldfinch: 95 all SE (8,4,8,6,4,14,10,9,15,7,10)
Alba Wagtail: 1
Swallow: 26 SE (9,6,2,2,6)
Mistle Thrush: 3 SE
Song Thrush: 1 SE
Woodpigeon 2 E
Goosander: 8 SE (4,3,1) 
Red Admiral Butterfly: 9 (all singles)

Others Buzzard: 1, Raven 1

Friday 22nd September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Rd (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates,
Hutton Roof 0645hrs to 1045hrs

Wind: South East 8-13mph, 7c, 23% Cloud cover, 1018mb pressure.

Excellent morning with plenty of birds and steady trickling of Mipits right up to leaving and will probably go on for most of the day. Mipits at times being blown back, all birds flying at mid height. Alba's crossing over Hutton Roof are in 95% of cases going SE and not only that they keep within a tight corridor of about 30 yards wide - ALWAYS!!

Meadow Pipits 399 all South (best parties: 20 2x11,2x9, several at 5s,6s.)
Chaffinch: 108 (53E all others W) best parties: 3x5s)
Alba Wagtail: 13 all SE (1x4,1x2 all others singles)
Goldfinch: 43 S/SW (20,5,12,6)
Swallow: 3 SW (2,1)
Greenfinch: 1 S
Linnet: 6E
Grey Wagtail: 2W
Skylark: 10 (7S,3W)
Mistle Thrush: 2E (1,1)
Snipe: 1 (audible only)
Woodpigeon: 7 S (4,3)
Starling: 76 in small parties all E (presumed x roost at LM)
Kestrel: 3 (presumed local) 

Wednesday 20th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Rd (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates,
Hutton Roof 0645hrs to 0900hrs

Wind: South/South West 1-5 mph variable, 11c - far warmer this morning, 100% Cloud (some low) 1015mb. Occasional rain specks

Another one of those super quiet mornings with little on the move. You know it's going to be bad if the Chaffinch are not making a effort.  Although I did for a minute or two think it was going to be good with having a party of 28 Meadow Pipits coming through together, but I now think they were probably a ex roost or blogging party from just a little further North of us. In other words excitement short lived!!. Also another lovely moment was when a Chiffchaff landed in the small trees at the side of the watchpoint and was constantly call with its "hou whit" contact call, and then would break out in the full Chiffchaff song but only in a minimal of volume. The few Mipits that came through were direct flightpath with some high but all seemed to be ambling along as though you were watching them move through in slow motion. Still a good morning. First birds 0710hrs

Large plume (hundred or more) of gnats above us, which would fluctuate between about 8ft and 30ft high and would occasionally descend with lightening speed before they arose yet again. They were not the regular very small gnat (otherwise called midges) but more the larger size of "Black Gnats". Neither where they interested in biting like normal midges do!

Chaffinch: 25 (15W 10E)
Meadow Pipit: 73 all S/SE (best party 28, 2x5,2x4)
Goldfinch: 22 S (8,5,9)
Linnet: 12 S (3,9)
Swallow: 1 S
Starlings: 2W all others 46 E (E birds thought to be x Leighton Moss roost)
Pink Footed Goose: 19 from Carnforth direction of the bay to NE (one skein at 0750hrs)
Jay: 1 S 
Chiffchaff: 1 (grounded) dropped in at 0730hrs - full song

Others: Kestrel, Sparrowhawk

Tuesday 19th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Rd (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0645hrs to 0830hrs then  a walk over Holme Park Fell for "fern" studies
Wind ENE 1-5 mph, 5c, 69% Cloud, 1020mb then brightened up with blue skies and then back to mixed cloudy and blue skies, warm on leaving. Very quiet yet again. Highlights were Tree Pipit (audible only), Whinchat and Wheatear. 

Chaffinch: 37 (8 E others W)
Meadow Pipit: 67 S/SE (best 8,6,3x4s)
Alba Wagtail: 3 all SE
Goldfinch: 27 S/SE (6,10,6,5)
Linnet: 10 S (3,7)
Greenfinch: 1 S
Swallow: 11 (1E 10SW) (1,3,1,3,3.)

House Martin: 9 W (5,4)
Mistle Thrush: 8 SW (3,5)
Woodpigeon: 12 (5SE,7W)
Stock Dove: 4 E

Holme Park Fell (0830hrs to 1100hrs)

Meadow Pipit: 6 SE
Skylark: 3 (grounded)
Swallow: 20 (2SE,4 S,1S 13E)
Whinchat: 1 (grounded)
Wheatear: 1 (grounded)
Red Admiral Butterfly: 1 S
Bullfinch 3 (grounded in Holme Stinted Pastures)
Tree Pipit: 1 (audible only)

Kestrel x 1

Monday 18th September 2017 - Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal 0645hrs to 0745hrs and later Top of Clawthorpe Rd (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 0930hrs. Winds North 6-7mph, 7c, 78% Cloud, 1019mb pressure
Really quiet today with very little moving, probably because of the pressure with the winds moving complete around and eventually to take on Southerly directions ready for tomorrow. A couple of unrecognizables eg: Small Duck (Wigeon size), and possible Egrets.

Chaffinch: 19 (Mainly to the West, some to the East)
Meadow Pipit: 2 SE
Starlings: 119 all E (one party 100 stretching wide) Obviously ex roost which seems to be growing in numbers.
Swallow: 15 SE (one party)
Mistle Thrush: 2 to NW
Goldfinch: 8 S/SE (5,3)
Grey Lag Goose: 7 (2W at 0648 and 5SW at 0735)
Small Duck: 4 SE (larger than Teal maybe early Wigeon?)
Egrets? from a long way 3 very high to the SE at 0705 (brilliant white)
also Kestrel x 2

Top of Clawthorpe Road, Nr. Whinn Yeates 0900hrs to 0930hrs
Meadow Pipit: 20 mainly SE (in 7,4,3,2,2,1,1)
Goldfinch: 38 S/SE (8,20,10)
Chaffinch: 10 (1E all others W)
Mistle Thrush: 1 S
Song Thrush: 6 SW (thought to be early continentals)
Swallow: 2 W

Sunday 17th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Road (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0645hrs to 0845hrs then Mike Taylors Fields, Vicarage Lane Burton 0900hrs to 0930hrs

Wind: N 7-12 mph, 10% Cloud, 7c, 1016 pressure.  Very cold throughout - never really got going, what birds did come through more or less dried up from 0800hrs.

Meadow Pipit: 60 all SE (best parties:1x6,1x5, 3x4)
Chaffinch: 44 (26 E all others W) thats the out direction for birds here eg: E to W or W to E
Goldfinch: 49 (11 W, 38 S (best 30,10,8)
Linnet: 15 (7s,6s,1E,1E)
Swallow: 2 E (1E,1E)
Alba Wagtail: 3 SE (1,2)
Siskin: 1
Mistle Thrush: 3 SE
Pink Footed Goose: 1 small party audible only.
Others included: Sparrowhawk 1, Kestrel 1

Mike Taylors fields, Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal 0900hrs to 0930hrs.

Chaffinch: 15 (4 SE and the rest all W) (4, then 3x2 and 5x1)
Grey Wagtail: 1 (E)
Swallow: 6 S (5,1)
Goldfinch: 2 (1W 1E)
Meadow Pipit: 1 SE

Out this afternoon - doing fern (aculeatums) investigations so will check out the birds on or going over Holme Park Fell at the same time.

Saturday 16th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Road (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0700hrs to 0900hrs then mobile on Holme Park Fell 0900hrs to 1300hrs

Was winds from the North/North West at about 7mph, Cloudy at first but became sunny from 0900hrs.

Good migration day, but nothing has good as yesterday. Without doubt the Hirundines were on the move yesterday and gone a lot quieter today. Geese coming through again early on.  First wintering Snipe are in on Holme Park Fell

Chaffinch: 85 (with the majority going West) but perhaps a third of them to the East (7,5s,4s etc)
Meadow Pipit: 140 all SE (best 5,4 but mainly pairs) most birds were flying side on to compensate wind.
Goldfinch: 35 (9,2,6,2,5,11)
Swallow: 25 (best 6,5)
House Martin: 18 (5,9,4)
Linnet: 11 (2,6,1,2)
Alba Wagtail: 2 SE
Siskin: 3W
Skylark: 10 (grounded Farleton)
Starling: 35 in dribs and drabs to the E (prob x roost LM)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: 1S
Goosander: 1 SE at 0840hrs
Greylag Goose: 15 all SE (7SE at 0754hrs) (3SE at 0755hrs) (5SE at 0815hrs)
Pink Footed Goose: 124 S (44 S at 0745hrs), (40 S at 0800hrs), (40S at 0855)
Snipe 3 (first winter birds on Holme Park Fell.
Chiffchaff: 1 On Holme Stinted Pastures.

Ravens: 6, Kestrel: 1, Sparrowhawk: 2, Peregrine Falcon 2.
Red Admiral: 2 S.

Friday 15th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Road (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof
0630hrs to 0830hrs -Rain at first light then OK 10 mins after and got better throughout to sunshine and clouds - Excellent morning and a shame to have to pack it in.
Most of the movement SW,S and SE

Meadow Pipit: 113 S,SE (best parties, 3@8, 6@5)
Chaffinch: 91 mainly W or E (best parties, 1@12, 2x8, 1@7, 2x6)
Goldfinch: 37 S (best parties, 1@15,1@13,1@8)
Linnet: 22 S (best party 20)
Reed Bunting: 2 S
Siskin: party audible only
Redpoll: party audible only
Swallow: 61 (best parties 44,20,7) Mainly SW or SE
House Martin: 12 (2,3,2,4,1)
Alba Wagtail: 5 all SE in singles
Pink Footed Goose: 123 all SW (2 skeins 1@63 at 0750hrs, 1@60 at 0805hrs

Also presumed local: 2 Starling E, 1 Green Woodpecker W, Ravens, Blackbirds and Tits, 4 Thrushes to SW (high at first light).

Thursday 14th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell, (Hutton Roof Complex) 0900hrs to 1100hrs

It was fine with light winds. I was mobile all the time so not able to concentrate on flight lines, but did manage to get a snapshot and it was obvious that Migration has now started with plenty of movement from Mipits, Hirundines and Geese.  On my way up to the far side of the fell I had two separate pairs of Wheatear, A family group of four Stonechats, I could hear Skylark going overhead to the South (unseen), also had two parties of Goldfinch crossing to the South (1 at 40, 1 at 12), At least 25 Meadow Pipits S to SE in 5,4,3s and mainly singles or pairs, Also had a party of 3 Linnet to the SE, 9 Swallows to the SE (2,1,1,1,4) also 1 Cormorant out to East then return to West.  The first Pink Footed Geese came over this morning with a party of 20S at 0940hrs followed by another party of 30 to the SW at 0950hrs, both parties where really high and would have been missed but for the calling birds.  Wish I could have spent more time. brilliant stuff!

Tuesday 12th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell, (Hutton Roof Complex) 0800hrs to 1200hrs

On my way going through the Holme Stinted Pastures I could hear a couple of Willow Warblers along with lots of other mixed calls from several others of the commoner species. My highlight came shortly after ascending up on the Fell with three Whinchat posing on the uppermost branch of one of the sparse larger trees that you find on the fell. The wind was quite strong as well and not the best day for passing birds, although I did have the odd Swallows and Meadow Pipits willing to brave it with their exit South. I did also look for Pink Footed Geese because I usually get them around this date but none today were recorded.

I just had to do this one. I rang a guy to tell him that 100 Pink Feet were heading in his direction. And he said to me what is the ETA, I said what? and he explained what is the expected time of arrival. Straightaway when I got home I did this sketch thinking about airports and observation towers etc etc etc

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Whinchats, Wheatears, Geese and Aculeatums on Holme Park Fell

Todays garden was Holme Park Fell checking out almost everything I could 

Tuesday 12th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell, (Hutton Roof Complex) 0800hrs to 1200hrs

My mission today was to go and find "Polystitchum" ferns notably the "Aculeatum" (Hard Shield Ferns), but not the straightforward ones but specimens which came under the heading of variety.  The weather was OK one moment, and before long a terrific downpour and wasn't I thankful for my little umbrella. On my way going through the Holme Stinted Pastures I could hear a couple of Willow Warblers along with lots of other mixed calls from several others of the commoner species. My highlight came shortly after ascending up on the Fell with three Whinchat posing on the uppermost branch of one of the sparse larger trees that you find on the fell. The wind was quite strong as well and not the best day for passing birds, although I did have the odd Swallows and Meadow Pipits willing to brave it with their exit South. I did also look for Pink Footed Geese because I usually get them around this date but none today were recorded.

I managed to find a further 6 Dark Red Helleborines (E. Atrorubens) and 1 Broad Leaved Helleborine (E. Helleborine) - obviously gone over now, also close by a nice little colony of Lily of the Valley (obviously gone over now).  Additionally it was a pleasure to find Birds Foot Sedge (Carex Ornithopoda) - Nine clumps.

Of special interest for today was searching out some of the spent Aculeatums I did find one which had a split at the top of the frond and many others, but the special thing was that they are taking on a "lonchitis" feel to some of their pinnae on the upper parts and maybe something is going on here with some of them.  Here are a couple of photos to try and show you what I mean.

Aculeatum with a division of the rachis near to the tip (Click over to enlarge)
Interesting Aculeatum fronds (Click over to enlarge)
You notice on the top photo the fronds are above ground and are going over quickly, yet on the lower photo the fronds are about a yard or so down in a grike and therefore maintaining their freshness a lot longer.

In the top frond you can see a division in the rachis (ramosum) close to the tip, but also you also see how the pinnae is more fused and almost typical to what you might see in the lonchitis (holly fern), also if you look at the bottom photo you see a frond showing the scythe feature more associated with lonchitis, but more important in this photo is the small frond which is at the left hand side at the bottom with some of its pinnae going over, you can well see the "lonchitis" shapes here.  Its all very interesting and give some good indications that something is going on here. I have consulted with my good friend Alec (fern guru) and he also is very interested in what might be going on here.

A couple more photos showing the lie of the land at my search points.

Both of these photos show roughly the area where I have been working (Click over to enlarge)
And now a couple of photos showing some of the nearby limestone. There are some interesting shapes up here.

Some lovely shapes up here - please click over to enlarge

Monday, 4 September 2017

Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs and Stonechats

My beautiful garden this morning with Willow Warblers and Stonechats (Click over to enlarge) also more photos below

Saturday 9th September 2017 - "Holme Stinted Pastures" and Holme Park Fell 0900hrs to 1600hrs.

Very quiet in Holme Stinted Pastures, just one Willow Warbler close to the entrance, but quite a lot of Blackbirds enjoying the berries, mainly females.  Also you could hear large numbers of Robins present.

I proceeded up on to the Fell and it soon became apparent that Swallows were moving through quite regular, but the interesting thing was that the birds were going through to the West and North West and this continued in trickles for most of the day.  I see this behaviour at least once every year and still unable to work out what is going on! Over the day I had 50 going over the fell (all in dribs and drabs of 2s,3s,4s, (with 13 South all others W/NW), even the early on Meadow Pipits were also heading across W/NW but I think these may have been just messing about and later returning to the South, but I counted over 20 plus. Two nice parties of Goldfinches moving through one of 10 to the East, and a larger party of 22 to the South. I disturbed one grounded Skylark. Also had one Wheatear on Holme Park and also a pair of Wheatear on the Farleton side. Other birds included: Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, a party of 17 Mistle Thrush moving East, Ravens x2, Sparrowhawk, and a single Pintail moving North. Also whilst travelling back over Taylors field there was a constant stream of Swallows yet again moving West/North West with 124 over one hour, also a group of 3 House Martins were seen moving East.

Also it was noted that the Red Admiral butterflies were also on the move south with 25 individuals seen over the day, also local were one Small Heath and one Large White.

A caterpillar of about 3" was seen on Holme Park Fell

A large beautiful caterpillar was seen and photographed.  I noticed one of the same sort of caterpillars a few days ago on the Fell.

Of special interest to me today was also in finding four seperate spent Dark Red Helleborines (E. Atrorubens).  In fact its the first time I have ever found any on this side of the Hutton Roof complex. Also today I found a strange Aculeatum (Hard Shield Fern) which was part way down a gryke. But made me look closer because what at first struct me was how the pinnae (near to the top of the frond) looked so much like the look of "lonchitis".  But has I actually examined the frond it quickly became obvious that there was lots of deformity eg: the top three inches of the frond has sub divided from the rachis and formed a double tip to the frond and also the underlying frond has a very collective tip to the plant.  Not only that at about 3/4 way up the main frond again sub divided and branched off to the right hand side and this again sub-divided at the tip.  Here are a couple of photos:

Aculeatum split fronds - also see next photo
Split at the rachis - Click over to enlarge
Also some of the gentians were out today but not many but here are a couple to show you.

Autumn Gentian - White - Please click over to enlarge
Here are one or two shots of my garden "for the day" on Holme Park Fell.

Click over photos to enlarge

Friday 8th September 2017 - "Holme Stinted Pastures" Nr. Holme Park Fell, Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Again the area was teaming with birds.  There is a roving flock of about 50 birds in the flock and it contains a very large party of Long Tailed Tits, a large number of Coal Tits, several Blue Tits and Great Tits, but also it contains at least ten or more Willow Warbler/Chiffchaffs.  Besides this I had a further four Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs catching insects around the berries of the Hawthorns.  I also managed to "call in" a couple of Willow Warblers with the "hou-whit" calls.  Also several Bullfinch and Chaffinch in the area. Only two Swallows overhead and out to the SE.  Others included Green Woodpecker, Kestrel.

Wal up at Crook has just informed me he has today had his first party of Fieldfare.

Thursday 7th September 2017 - "Holme Stinted Pastures" (NW of Rawley Copse) Hutton Roof complex. 0800hrs to 1000hrs

Rain showers on and off. Quieter today although to be honest you just cannot check it all out because of access, although there are bits and pieces flitting about all the time.  My main purpose checking this area is to find Willow Warblers and again today I was not disappointed, I actually saw a single bird but heard calling birds from three different areas.  Also had a Chiffchaff in full song although in small bouts just across from the Rawley Copse entrance. One party of 30 Goldfinch 30SE (could have been locals? Green Woodpecker, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds (many hawthorn berries etc), Wrens, Robins, Chaffinches and Tits.  Ravens x2 overhead to S/SE.  Just had a single party of 3 Swallows going SE for a change (rather than S) but it's no wonder they were clearing the approaching nasty rain coming in from the West. I forgot to mention yesterday whilst going over the Fell I heard high above distant Siskin which I took to be on the move South.

Wednesday 6th September 2017 - NW of Rawley Copse and Holme Park Fell (Hutton Roof)
0800hrs to 1100hrs

Lots of Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits. Had a couple of pairs of Willow Warblers (seen) and several more heard, also Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Goldfinch (20+) also had a party of 4 Chaffinch high and going SW, Also had 12 Swallows (10,2) all SW.  Also had one Wheatear on Holme Park Fell plus Kestrel

Tuesday 5th September 2017 - NW of Rawley Copse and Holme Park Fell (Hutton Roof)
 1700 to 1900hrs

In the areas NW of Rawley Copse (as shown in yesterdays photos above and below there was a nice "confusion of Willow Warblers" yet again for another day with at least 10+ but could be plenty more. There is no way of telling whether these are yesterdays birds or whether they are a new lot come in during last night. Also several Bullfinch piping away, plus lots and lots of the commoner birds.  Also had two Wheatear on Holme Park Fell, occasional Swallows going through. Kestrel, Ravens, Buzzard etc.  A fabulous place.

A lot of the Gentians are going over quickly now, but today was not so good, no sun and getting darker. Will try and check them out again tomorrow.  Going early on to catch birds (hopefully) coming over Farleton.

Its getting within days of the start to my "Visible Bird Migration" counts, probably the start of migrations around here got going yesterday with the Greylag Geese getting restless and moving NW over our village in small parties.

Monday 4th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell 0930hrs to 1100hrs

I am not too sure of the name of the area, but it is sort of NW and across from Rawley Copse towards the bottom of the Holme Park Fell area.  It's a lovely area which I have walked through many times and its always crossed my mind as the perfect bird gathering area and this morning it was exactly that.
I listened and watched for over a hour or so and viewed no less than ten (but I do think there were lots more tucked away in the bushes) Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs hopping from tree to tree with some of the birds that beautiful yellow/greeny colour.  And beside these I also heard many more in the surrounding areas giving it the "hou whit" calls.  I also had a beautiful male Stonechat in the close company of a immature bird which was really drab and short of colour, it was more of a mixture of greys.  Also large party of Coal Tits together with many Blue and Great Tits. Also a 40 plus and a 20 party of Goldfinch enjoying the spoils of the spent Ragwort and Thistles. A immature Robin, a Green Woodpecker, but nothing much moving in the skies today and although I bet there would have been Wheatear on the Holme Park/Farleton Fells, I probably did not go far enough over to check them out! What a cracking little area this is.  The berries on all the hawthorns is incredible this year with all the trees well laden, the Thrushes are already having a field day.

Here are more photos showing today's terrain. It lies below the rocky patchwork limestone terrain of Holme Park Fell and as you can see has bracken and open spaces with hawthorns and lots and lots of individual Gorse and Juniper bushes etc etc etc. It has to run through your mind that how many Yellow Browed Warblers has this place held, I wonder if the next corner I will see a Dartford Warbler perched on the uppermost twig of a gorse bush of maybe Bluethroats have passed through!! I am well pleased with my Willow Warblers and Stonechats, but the terrain looks just right for a Warbler party.

I could not resist but look for more gentians on the fell side and did find more here and there, all now in the book with their appropriate gps.  Most of the gentians were still closed with there being little sun around, but just the odd one two had decided to open, so I found one with three flowers and got the camera out and has I was taking the picture the three flowers instantly turned into four flowers, it was just like popcorn exploding, and if you had blinked you would have missed it! I have never seen petals and sepals open in front of my eyes with a split split split split second show...... fantastic... and then there were four..

Gentianella amarella today on Holme Park Fell (Click over to enlarge)

Largest and probably oldest Elderberry Tree I have seen

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Wheatears, Linnets and Autumn Gentians (2nd September 2017)

The beautiful "Autumn Gentian" on Holme Park Fell (Hutton Roof) today
Click over to enlarge - see more below

Whilst heading out over Farleton to again check out some of the Autumn Gentians, it was pretty good with the birds and butterflies as well.  It started by having a flock of six Meadow Pipits fly past and I guess they were resting up on their migration, for today they just seemed like a local flock. All morning odd Mipits were taking up so I guess there would be plenty all in all.  Two really nice Linnet flocks 1@20 and 1@24 went past me in a West direction (not sure about these whether on the move or again resting up and local for the day movers), another large party 40 plus of Goldfinch feeding up on some spent Ragwort.  Could hear Curlews twice, high and could not find, but guess it is just about the right time for Curlews moving back to our coast.  The special sight for me today was seeing three Wheatear sat proud and upright on the projecting escarpment on Holme Park Fell what beauties they are and I will try and get up most mornings over the coming weeks, looks a cracking place for Wheatears.  Also put up 3 Skylarks.

Butterflies were also good today with two Wall Brown butterflies on Farleton in fact one was on the wall and easy to photograph. Also had another Small Heath (2nd brood).

Wall Brown on Farleton today (Click over to enlarge)

Wow! I am surprised to see the "Autumn Gentians" flowering so soon! but some really nice spectacles today especially on Holme Park Fell (Hutton Roof), and it can only get better over the coming week. Here are some of the photos showing some of the Gentians.

A beauty with mixed colours (Click over to enlarge)
And showing the beauty with a white plant closeby

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Autumn Gentians are about one week away!

Autumn Gentians will be superb in about one week from now (Click over to enlarge)
Thursday 31st August 2017 - Farleton Fell and Holme Park Fell (Hutton Roof) all afternoon

I went out purposefully to check on our mixed colours Autumn Gentians and checked out our main colony which we have on Farleton Fell and sure enough there were about 100 plus in the regular area. Only a couple were in flower and I reckon it will be about one week to ten days before the spectacle happens.

I climbed over the newly erected stile into Holme Park Fell to make my way around in a more circular route, so followed the main old quarry track back down. I could not believe my eyes to what I was about to see with hundreds or probably a thousand or more really good specimens of Autumn Gentian some even about 8" tall like the one in the above photograph.  It was a good mixture of plants some purple but lots and lots of white coloured flowers.  I have put a few of the best photos on here, but would advise if anyone wants to check them out try and get up there in about a weeks time you will not be disappointed!

Also watching a Small Heath which for me was the first of this years second broods.  Also still one or two Grayling enjoying themselves. Also a Brimstone whilst going through Clawthorpe hamlet.

Birds: Odd yaffle from a Green Woodpecker, several Swallows and Martins hawking and that was about it for today.

Another one of the larger Gentians (Click over to enlarge) this one is about 6"x4"

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Has there been a shortage of Insect food this year - Swallows are leaving early!!

Part of my Dalton Crags garden this morning (Click over to enlarge) see more at the bottom of the blog

Well things seem to me to be so different this year compared to past years!  let me try and explain what I mean!

Take for instance the Hirundines (both Swallow and House Martin (not sure of the status with the Sand Martins), the skies are almost deserted this year and so early on! the majority of the birds in our village have already up sticks and away yet in more recent years these same birds have not usually started to leave us until after the first week or so in September and maybe peaking around the 10th of the month, rarely the peak has gone as late as the 17th to the 21st of September. Usually in most years you do get the odd Swallow family that do have three broods but this year I am wondering if there is going to be any third broods? Has there been a insect shortage or something and maybe two broods is enough! Not just the hirundines but looking back it was so different with the Swifts this year, they displayed a unusual trait which they have never done over the previous 7 years and that is that they have felt they had to moved outside of the village to supplement their feeding (more so than usual years) which we think they went to the close by water areas of both Dockacres fisheries and also well recorded on Leighton Moss, but the activity around the village itself has at times seemed deserted and we have seen very few birds during the daytime until their return later in the evening. In past years the birds were seen feeding up all day around the village!  I may unwittingly have exaggerated slightly but certainly something was different this year. And for me that difference is also now carrying on with the hirundines. Just for the record although this activity has been recorded the breeding outcome with the Swifts may have only been about one pair amiss on previous years.

I have still had the odd calling Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff up on Hutton Roof with their "hou-whit" contact calls, but no "confusions of warblers" or anything as prolific as that just odds and sods!

Lots of Green Woodpeckers and lots of Jays, but still trying to get over that brilliant record of 82 Mistle Thrushes last week on Dalton Crags and they are still around as I write!

Robert from Kendal reported a Hobby on Burton Fell (Hutton Roof) on 15th August which he suspected could have been chasing the many dragonflies that have been present.

On Saturday last I did a lot more sampling with the Orchids to check out their denticulation profiles to try and ascertain just how much "hybridization" is taking place and so far its just turning out exactly what my suspicions have been that everything (well no not everything, but a very high percentage) could well be hybrids and F1s and although this gives you some idea what could be going on it is not safe by any means.  So I await more secure profiling with DNA analysis which I have been told might be available to us very very soon.

On my way back down I just had to check out the Southern Polypodys (Polypodium cambricum) of which we have at least two separate families one called the "grike" family and the other is called the "boulder" family and they look in superb condition and you can make out their fabulous "deltoid" shapes.  A very rare fern indeed in the North and our examples have been compared to the very best.

Here is a few photos of those precious ferns.  First up we have a couple of shots from the Grike family.  The first shows the full family and the second shows the fronds to the right hand side showing a clear "deltoid" shape.

Southern Polypody on Hutton Roof on 26th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Southern Polypody showing that "Deltoid Shape" 26th August 2017
And now I want to continue to show a few more photos of even more Southern Polypodys (Cambricums) but this time these are from the fabulous "Boulder" family.

The above "Boulder" family are coming out of a large boulder which is deep within woodland with broken canopy.  The beauty with this species you can tell it from the other two regulars (Common Polypody - vulgare or the Western - interjectum) by its Deltoid shape, but not only that it does not come out until much later in the year in comparison and looks fresh when the others are going over. A cracking fern which always gets a special "thumbs up" especially with the Pteridologist.

Whilst up there on Saturday I found a cracking late "Helleborine" which was still in flower, but ever so dark a specimen because it lives just under canopy and sees very little in the way of direct sunshine. But just check the ovaries of this plant and you will see just how dark they can get!

A very dark Broad Leaved Helleborine still in flower on 26th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

The same plant - take note on the deep green of the ovaries.

Whilst walking through thick beech woodland I found these fungi coming out from the side of the trees, they were white but very wet looking and I noticed several flies on them.  I can't say I have seen them before so took a photograph to check them out.

Fungi found in the beech woods of Dalton Crags

Whilst on fungi I was met with a very pleasant surprise today (Tuesday 29th August 2017) again whilst going through Dalton Crags with this old tree stump which was virtually covered with these "puffballs".

Puffballs covering tree stump

A lovely scene from today's special gardens (Click over to enlarge)