|Lovely fresh Limestone Fern all snuggled up within their den! 9th June - Dalton Crags (Click over to enlarge)|
Thursday 16th June 2016 - In search of the elusive Spotted Flycatcher - Plain Quarry 0900hrs to 1100hrs.
Acting on a recent tip off I ventured to the East side of the Plain Quarry Car Park and checked out all the wooded areas and clearings in the hope I could track down another Spotted Flycatcher, but to no avail, although it was very pleasent and interesting and did manage to check out a Blackcap site which has been long established. I got some good views of the beautiful brown capped female.
Its becoming more and more worrying by the year with the demise of the poor Spotted Flycatcher, to which I can only now find five sites in the whole of Hutton Roof and its surrounding areas, I am sure there will be more but still need to get out and find them. But what was very interesting, was a posting this morning on the Cumbria Bird Group's Facebook site, where this guy has had all his Spotted Flycatcher chicks and nest plucked out by his local Greater Spotted Woodpecker, and this got me thinking and yes it all seems to add up! The rapid decline of the Spotted Flycather in my opinion coincides exactly with the rapid increase in Greater Spotted Woodpeckers! Maybe there is something in this.
Lots of Hedge Woundwort starting to come through and the wild strawberries are looking well. The strawberries are only about 1/4" to 1/2" in size.
|Four photos showing the Wild Strawberries (Click over to enlarge)|
Report from Thursday 16th June 2016 - Swift nest sites - Burton In Kendal (2030hrs to 2145hrs)
To be honest at 2010hrs you would have thought it would have been a no goer! with heavy rain showers, but by 2015hrs it cleared up and we managed to have some great Swift Watching.
It started whilst observing the Cottage on the Post Office row, and we witnessed a bird enter the eaves at a totally different point to the first site, so it does look very much like we do have another nest site bringing it to two sites here, which is the norm on this building.
Moving on to the rear of the Royal Cottage annexe and we finally observed the larger hole at the top being used this year, although it was our first sighting, Hugh had actually seen birds entering this site earlier in the week. Also tonight we saw birds entering all the other holes on this area as well as the site on the return wall.
Total birds seen at once in the sky totalled 18 birds with lots of small screeching parties.
It was getting darker quickly and so me moved on to the Coaching House and Manor House. We got some good results here with two more sites added on the North facing gable wall. We confirmed the old site to the corner where the drainpipe is was being used, also a new site about 8ft along the gutter eaves from the far corner (this is a new site in total), also the site above and to the left of the small porthole window was seen to be used. We are still hoping that the front elevation site between the two windows on the left maybe being used but so far not accounted.
A new site was witnessed on the North facing gable at the Manor House with the birds using a small triangular hole just below the well established site which is close to the third purlin up the rake of the roofline.
Our party were suddenly alarmed to take a look to the skies were a very large party of mixed Swifts and House Martins were present and all screeching and clicking with alarm, we noticed a large bird of prey emerging out of the cloud of birds having just seized either a Swift or Martin (not sure which) and which it held firm within its talons and then made off to the South West following the line of Main Street. The large bird was not immediately identified and some were left wondering was it a Peregrine or was it a large female Sparrowhawk. The bird by far too large for a Hobby. On exit the bird was seen to triple wing flap glide and triple wing flap again before the glide. Although at first it seemed appropriate for the Falcon, I did notice it seemed more rounded to the outer edge of the wing which made me then give thought to the female Sparrowhawk. I guess we will never know for sure.
So tonight having recorded five new for the year sites, this brings our total to 22 nest sites so far. This is the highest number of nest sites we have ever recorded in any previous years.
Observers tonight were: Reg Hesketh, Branwen Kilburn, Hugh and Sue Miles and Bryan Yorke.
|Cottage on Post Office Row (Click over to enlarge)|
The red marker on the left above the door is the new site recorded this year, although the site does have history with it being used also in 2014.
|The Coaching House - North facing gable elevation (Click over to enlarge)|
|Manor House - North facing gable elevation (Click over to enlarge)|
Tuesday 14th June 2016 - Top of Clawthorpe - Whin Yeates and over to Newbiggin
My project for today was to check out and count the Yellowhammers, sadly I never had one calling bird at two of their local strongholds, It could well be that I went at the wrong time of day (1100hrs), but usually they are calling at whatever time you go. I will plan another visit next week! I did have at least 3 Linnet pairs, also 5 Swifts and 1 House Martin hawking the skies near Whin Yeates plus a beautiful male Bullfinch "peeu" calling and also a local Starling already mimicking the opening line of a Curlew. Also Greenfinch heard and local Swallows putting in aerial performances.
Small Pearl Bordered Butterflies where flying over the bracken with 5 recorded, also 1 Small Heath Butterfly. Never let down and out in full force were the Black Chimney Sweeper Moths which were recorded at several places along the main footpath from Whin Yeates to the summit behind Kelker.
Probably one of the best colonies of Lesser Meadow Rue was well on its way. Checked out the old lime kiln on the Farleton side which already had quite a collection of ferns within that small pile of stones eg: Maidenhair Spleenwort, Ceterach, Brittle Bladder Fern, Wall Rue, and soon the Black Spleenwort. Its a proper fern feast!
Sat on the Turtle Stone for at least twenty minutes hoping to hear the "little bit of bread and no cheese", but NO, nothing today. Nem mind we will try on another day soon.
|The Turtle Stone (Click over to enlarge)|
Monday 13th June 2016 - Hutton Roof Village
Managed to locate a (new to me) Spotted Flycatcher which means I now have two pairs showing within Hutton Roof Village and 3 pairs for the Dalton/Clawthorpe areas to press.
Thursday 9th June 2016 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof Common, Lancelot (0900hrs to 1300hrs)
Butterflies were doing OK today, but quite breezy so met them in the more sheltered areas. Surprisingly NO Painted Ladies today! had about half a dozen Small Pearl Bordered, lots and lots of Small Heaths (scores), 4 Wall Browns, several Speckled Woods, A couple of Brimstone heading in a Southerly across the Memorial Seat area on Lancelot. Brilliant to hear the Lesser Whitethroat although it was purely a sampler, but at least enough to mark off its position. I have noticed with these birds they are singing all morning long and you can't shut them up (not that I would want too!), or they are just so quiet going about their business. Lately though they have taken on the second option.
Tree Pipits, Garden Warblers and Willow Warblers all calling. New records for a Tree Pipit on both the Common and on Lancelot, also a new Garden Warbler recorded on Lancelot. Redpoll heard and showing on the Common where now I strongly suspect breeding having taken place.
Whilst climbing up through the Crags it was lovely to see the fresh Limestone Ferns and the Rigid Buckler Ferns all doing well as expected. Also did a check on the Holly Ferns with No.1 doing extremely well with nine fronds which is usual, but No.2 this year only has 4 fronds and 1 runt (always does put up this runt!) plus attached to the same space were two fronds of the Aculeatum (Hard Shield). Photos showing here:
|Holly Fern No. 1 (with 9 fronds) and showing here together with last years dying fronds (Click over to enlarge)|
|Holly Fern No. 2 (with 4 fronds) plus the small "runt" fern, plus two aculeatum fronds (Click over to enlarge)|
|A nice patch of Common Rock Rose, but within yards a same size area already burnt out!|
Broad Leaved Helliborines are starting to show (Click over to enlarge)
|Photos of the Dalton Cuckoo along with a close up of the beautiful Painted Lady and showing its underwing (Click over photo to enlarge) |
Photo: Kindly contributed by Robert Ashworth (Kendal)
|Summary of our Swift sightings last night 9th June 2016 (Click over to enlarge)|
Saturday 11th June 2016 - Informed of Swift Poster at Burton In Kendal Motorway Services
Our group would like to thank the students of Burton Morewood C of E School for creating this beautiful poster which adorns the walls to the entrance of Burton In Kendal Motorway Services. Well done for such a brilliant poster and also for getting it shown in a place where thousands will see it.
|Swift Poster at Burton Motorway Services (Click over to enlarge)|
Tonight was without doubt one of the busy nights we have ever witnessed with Swifts everywhere you looked. We did manage to actually count at least 22 birds in the sky but I am sure this is on the low side there could well have been over 30. We do think a lot of these birds tonight would have probably been non breeders (eg first year birds doing their Reccy) The largest screaming group had 8 birds and was seen over near Coaching House.
We checked out all the sites starting with the Post Office Block, then Cocking Yard, rear and front and SW wall of the Royal, also the rear of Neddy Hill Cottage (a new site), also from the back of the Kings we watched the large Old Mill for a while and then moved on to finish checking out The Coaching House and The Manor House.
In regards to nesting we were fortunate to see birds entering nest sites on the rear of the Royal, lots on the front of the Royal Cottage, and also birds entering nest sites at the Manor House.
A new nesting site was shown to us by David Craig, who had witnessed a bird going into the nest area on the rear eaves of the Neddy Hill Cottage within David's yard. Of special interest is that we did map a bird prospecting this particular site last year. With this new site it brings this years tally up to a minimum of 17 sites.
During the past week also observations have been carried out on the Office Block at Clawthorpe Hall and a further two nest sites have been confirmed on the rear annexe of the Royal Hotel. To try and give a clearer picture to the ongoing progress I have included below photos of the current status for this year at all occupied sites.
Observers tonight were: David Craig, Reg Hesketh, Hugh and Sue Miles and Bryan Yorke.
|A close up of the nest site on the return wall of the Rear Royal Hotel Cottage Annexe (Click over to enlarge)|
|The Royal Hotel Cottage (Click over to enlarge)|
|Neddy Hill Cottage - Rear Elevation (Click over to enlarge)|
|The Offices of Ducketts Building Services at Clawthorpe Hall (Click over to enlarge)|