Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Marsh Lousewort, Common Rockrose, Fly Orchid, Twayblade etc etc

This was some of my garden today - Park Wood, Hutton Roof Village (Click over to enlarge)
I like these open areas and always think they might be suitable for "Flycatchers" as well as Redstarts

Tuesday 23rd May 2017 - The Rakes and Park Wood - East Side of Hutton Roof 1200hrs to approx 1500hrs.

The weather was lovely and sunny and warm, and it turned out just another cracking afternoon with plenty going on as usual.  I thought I would try and check out the two Redstarts I have not yet been able to confirm having returned.  But again today I have ended up drawing a blank or they are remaining stum!  I will be back again very soon.

Just at the new development in Hutton Roof village there must have been no less than 30 House Martins hawking the local skies and ticking away as they do - such a pleasure to see so many all really enjoying themselves whilst calling to one another as though they were laughing with guilt!

Little in the way of birds today I'm afraid but there again what does one expect starting off as late as midday! the only calling birds seem to be a few Willow Warblers, a single Chiffchaff, one Blackbird and the usual tribe of Robins, Wrens and Blackbirds.  No Redstarts and No Flycatchers to report today.

Butterflies were out in good numbers with 6 Small Heaths which have only hatched in the last day or two, a beautiful Brimstone (a cracking year for them!), Orange Tips, Green Veined Whites.

Flowers started well, I even managed my first Common Twayblade whilst ascending the Crags.  It looked like something had been feasting on its leaves which had become well "perforated"....

Common Twayblade found in Crags near Park Wood (Click over to enlarge)
And Twayblade was not the only Orchid of the day, I decided to go and have a look at one of my regular "Fly Orchid" sites and sure enough I managed to find two, but I think there would have been more if I could have spent the time checking out!  I did manage to get the following photo:

One of the lovely Fly Orchids (Click over to enlarge)

I could not resist but call of and say hello to one of our mega rare plants - the lovely aromatic (not today of course) "Daphne Mezereone" maybe not just as colourful today but still she looks great. Here is a peep for today:

Daphne Mezereone - Click over to enlarge
I am told this is "Glaucous" Sedge

I guess for me the highlight of the afternoon came when I discovered a hillside banking completed matted with Common Rock Rose, I just could not believe it - I'll bet it measures somewhere in the region of 100 yards x 20 yards deep, and although there are plenty of flowers scattered even now, it really is nothing to what there will be in another week or two!  but I guess my mind is racing on a bit because I am thinking about all them little Northern Brown Argus beauties waiting to pop out and take advantage of this great area.  It's in the diary now for a return visit very very sooooooon!

Not only that there are plenty of "Salad Burnet" in between the many clumps of carpeted rockrose. So to try and give you some idea this is the area:

Common Rockrose (Click over to enlarge)
This gives you a idea of the banking, which does go on even further (Click over to enlarge)
You can actually see odd flowers even now! 
This one shows how the flowers are scattered today, but lets see what a couple of weeks on brings!
This photo shows the "Salad Burnet" of which there is plenty in between the Rockrose.
"Marsh Lousewort" (Click over to enlarge)
Rare plant found on the East side of Hutton Roof close to water margins

It's time for Angular Solomon's Seal and more

This is how our Polygonatum Odoratum (Angular Solomon's Seal) looks today (Click over to enlarge)
Monday 22nd May 2017 - Dalton Crags, Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) Most of the afternoon

Garden Warbler bubbling away shortly after leaving Plain Quarry, Also had a new in Lesser Whitethroat arrive and singing away half way up "Hypericum Way" in lower Dalton Crags, also the Common Redstart was heard.  Heading up into Dalton deforested (upper section) a couple of Tree Pipits were seen and heard, and also our regular Cuckoo was calling from near the Lancelot boundary. But new today for me was the recent arrival of a Whitethroat which was singing away near the top close to the boundary wall with the Common. Spending over 30 minutes observing the bird good views were made.

First I thought I would check out the Cystopteris fragilis (Brittle Bladder Fern) which is on the first escarpment shortly after leaving Plain Quarry.  It's a lovely little fern and does well here in the near company of Scollies (Asplenium scolopendrium)  Here is a photo of todays little beauties.

Cystoperis fragilis (Brittle Bladder Fern)
Found a Peacock Butterfly on the track whilst going up Hypericum Way and it looked like it was on its last legs, so I moved him of the track into the closeby vegetation.

I though I would check out some of our special "Odoratums" - Angular Solomon's Seal and a good job I did because its quickly coming up to their very best.  I checked some local populations at various spots in Lancelot Clark Storth (Cumbria Wildlife Trust) and the plants and flowers were looking really good and here are photos showing how well one particular plant is looking this year.

Both photos are of Polygonatum Odoratum (Angular Solomon's Seal)
seen today within Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT). I think this plant is probably the
best I have ever seen for flower bearing!

Birdsfoot Trefoil and Mouse Ear Hawkweek is getting going everywhere. I also managed to find some new to me "Common Rock Rose" (obviously not in flower yet), but another nice piece to enter into the records. 

The Milkwort was absolutely stunning and it had turned the hillside patchy blue, not quite as good as a lavender field but still a lovely sight.  There are several different colour variations with our Milkwort ranging from a pinkish colour to the very dark blue colours shown below. This hillside seems to be a magnet not only for Milkwort yet also for Tormentil and later in the year the same area opens itself up to multitudes of beautiful orange and yellow coloured fungi's like waxcaps and staghorns.  I think currently that hillside would be better named "Torment Hill on the Milky Way" and that's what I will start to call it on my next drawing.

Both of the above photos are Common Milkwort (Click over to enlarge) - Just within yards of one another you can get variations ranging from a pinkish colour to all shades of blue - the dark blue (like this bottom photo) are thriving this year on Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)
I noticed also today that our beautiful "Woodruff" or as some say "Sweet Woodruff" was doing well and showing many in flower.  They reckon where this grows is a indicator to ancient woodland. Not today but in the past I would always grab a leaf or two of the "first flowers" to chew the leaf which tasted very much like Vanilla.  I am told not to chew too many or you might end up with major liver problems!

Woodruff - always in the shade - Another member of our beautiful Bedstraws

I checked out one of the sites for our special "Montanums" and yes right on cue they are coming through and look good, they are only at about 4" at the moment.  Last year we lost the main small population which had a bunch of five flowers in it!  guess what I checked the spot out today and it does look like they may re-appear this year or at least I can see three of them coming through, so its fingers crossed.  Here is a photo showing their progress today:

This shows a couple of early Montanums starting to come through
(Click over to enlarge)
Today I also decided to check out the quickly fading "White Early Purple Orchid" which is now obviously showing signs of tiring, but what a stunning plant it turned out to be again this year.  Also whilst there I did some searching around for the special "Fly Orchids" and did manage to find a couple blowing in the wind, but so small at the moment and difficult to get a photo shot with this wind blowing at about 20 mph.

Our White "Early Purple" Orchid (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared by Robert Ashworth of Kendal (photo taken approx 10 days ago)
Mountain Melick in Lancelot (CWT) (Click over to enlarge)
difficult to photograph today because of the strong winds.
This is a place I call "Garlic Wood" because it smells good, it taste good and by sure it does your good!
Ramsons as far as the eye can see, so you get the whiff of garlic from along way away before you actually reach the wood!

And above are two more photos from today showing the beautiful pavement with such deeply shaped grykes - some filled with Angular Solomon's Seal and others filled with Rigid Buckler Fern and between them that is what made "Hutton Roof" a SSSI site (Originally Rothchild's Reserve No.193)

Monday 22nd May 2017 - "Middleton" Nr. Heysham - Lancs - Mid morning

Had a stroll around one of my favourite places "Middleton".  It is a fantastic place to brush up on my "warbler" calls.  And as usual I was inundated with WHITETHROATS, LESSER WHITETHROATS AND SEDGE WARBLERS - I guess I counted over ten Lesser Whitethroats and thats without even trying!  I probably covered about one tenth of the territory

Monday 22nd May 2017 - Other great news!

Alec over at Dalton hamlet has had a male Pied Flycatcher in his garden today.  Its a great record for the area.

Robert has recorded a further Dinghy Skipper and two Small Heath Butterflies on Hutton Roof today

Thursday, 18 May 2017

It's time for the Lily Of The Valley

This is a photo I took from previous years (Click to enlarge)
from Dalton Crags
Saturday 20th May 2017 - Burton In Kendal "Swift" updates

Yesterday I went along to the Manor House to try and get a photo of the Sentinel Starling standing guard over the nest hole, but there was none of the adult birds present and now wondering if perhaps the young Starlings have left the nest.  I will try and check again soon.  Whilst there though I did have two separate Swifts leave the building from nest sites although I could not be exact as to which nest holes they were using.  I am sure time will tell, but its all good news!

Also more good news to report from Jane who noticed that two birds have been seen in Cockin Yard and that the nest site on "Hangings Farm" is again being used.

Saturday 20th May 2017 - Hutton Roof

I have just been reminded by facebook that I posted this beautiful Early Purple Orchid two years ago and for the life in me I just cannot remember where it was.

A Early Purple Orchid on Hutton Roof 2015

Friday 19th May 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1015hrs

The really good news for me was to hear the C. Redstart singing away in Lower Dalton Crags. I had almost given up on him, although thinking about it he was very late last year.  Also had Three Tree Pipits both singing and displaying in Dalton.  Our Stonechat male was in spectacular plumage and at times he was displaying with "chatter" alarm. Four Linnets flew overhead and calling in flight.

Checked out our Lily Of The Valley which seems to be in its prime at the moment.  A small section of Angular Solomon's Seal is showing a drooping three flowers but in general another fortnight to go. Also a nice display of Fairy Foxglove in Plain Quarry. Here are some of todays gems:

Fairy Foxglove on Plain Quarry (Click over to enlarge)
Photo today 19th May 2017

Lily Of The Valley in Dalton Crags (Click over to enlarge)
Photo today 19th May 2017

Angular Solomon's Seal in Dalton Crags (Click over to enlarge)
Photo today 19th May 2017

Thursday 18th May 2017 - Main Street, Burton In Kendal 1900hrs to 2030hrs "Swift Watch"

It proved again rather difficult to count the Swifts, but we did manage to get 15 at one time whilst we watched initially from the Memorial Hall, then we did have other small groups of birds seen over the Royal and Kings areas and again up to ten birds over the Manor House/Coaching House areas. Probably in total we may have had about 25 birds but for now we will settle for 15 for the records.

It was interesting to note that a couple of birds were constantly showing interest to the area close to the top of Neddy Hill close to the rear of David's house.  We will try and keep a eye on this because David informed the group that Swifts did in the not too distant past used to nest on the building behind him.

We moved on to the Royal and we did see two separate birds go into two nest sites on the front of the Royal Cottage so we now know that things have started moving there.

Edward who lives at the Manor House said he thought he saw Swifts entering the front of his house during the earlier part of the week although he was not absolutely sure at this stage. Of special interest tonight and something most of us had never seen before was to see a Starling standing guard over the entrance to it's nest site which also happened to be a long established Swift nest site (each year since 2014). The Starling would just stand there blocking off the hole and making sure the Swift could not get admittance!  It's one of the oldest established Swift sites on the Manor House and close to the bottom corner on the gable end. Tonight we watched has a pair of Swifts constantly flew in direction to the nest site whilst screaming at the same time and then would veer off just at the last second because the hole was blocked by the Starling. It was thought perhaps the young starlings in this nest would hopefully fledge in the next few days and hopefully vacate the nest site so the Swifts could then take over.

Tonights watchers included: David Craig, Judith and Edward Ellis, Reg Hesketh, Sue and Hugh Miles, Bryan Yorke

Thursday 18th May 2017 - Clawthorpe Hall - approx 1500hrs

Two Swifts seen high above Clawthorpe Hall

Wednesday 17th May 2017 - Dalton Crags - 1000hrs to 1115hrs

Five grouped Redpoll flew from the Beech over towards Storth Woods "eruptive group flight calls".  I thought all birds would have been paired by now!  Also two Swifts hawking over the lower Crags. The Redstart still could not be heard so I presume this spot will be vacant this year. Tree Pipit usual place and display and calling. Blackcaps and Garden Warblers singing away along with Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers.

The Lily of the Valley should be making a good photo (for now this is last years photo), also I checked out two of the regular spots for the Angular Solomon's Seal and there doing fine (just two flowers at the moment.)

Also Wednesday 17th May 2017 - Robert Ashworth has kindly sent in the following records for today on Dalton, Lancelot and Burton Fell and also The Common

Cuckoo Evidence of 3 birds today from both Dalton Crags and Burton Fell/Lancelot (photos to add very soon).  Common Redstart - 3 birds singing today from Upper Dalton Crags, Park Wood side also and another in Lower Dalton (I will have to check with Robert because this could well be the bird I have been waiting for!).  Whitethroats - Males heard singing at three separate places. One upper Dalton deforested (the most showy), one in lower deforested, and one in open woodland near Hypericum Way (The Bonk!).
Also Robert had Dingy Skipper butterfliy on Burton Fell.  Also Fly Orchids out at NE of Trig, also in Lancelot, Burton Fell.  (Thanks Robert for these records) Here are Robert's photos:

Male bird in Dalton deforested 
Photo: Kindly shared by Robert Ashworth (Kendal)

Female bird (note the brown in the neck area) in Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) deforested 
Photo: Kindly shared by Robert Ashworth (Kendal)

Field Vole seen on "The Common" today NE of the Trig
Photo: Kindly shared by Robert Ashworth (Kendal)

Monday, 15 May 2017

A Bit of This, That and Tuther!

Lovely balanced tables - everywhere! (Click over to enlarge)

Sunday 14th May 2017 - Hutton Roof (East Side - Pathway 2) 1200hrs to 1500hrs

One of our regular Garden Warblers was recorded as being back and singing merrily away on the East Side above Kelker but on the Pathway No.2 (which runs to the East side of Mossy Stones).  Also checked out the 2nd population of Beech Fern we have on the East Side of Hutton Roof and this is doing well - all OK. Also checked out Pathway No.1 for the Kelker Redstart, but still no calling coming from its known place far down below! nem mind try again very soon I hope.

I wrote the following stuff whilst on the hoof today because that's how my mood seemed to take me so it may be a little scrambled to you, but its all OK (don't worry! thank you)

Looking up towards the squaking calls high in the sky, and the Crow is hoining the Buzzard whilst his/her mate watches on! but why do they do that because the Buzzard could soon sort out the Crow if he/she really wanted too. Well the Crow soon tired and soon broke away from offering that torment, whilst cawing out loud to tell the World he/she had won!
Willow Warblers are everywhere and their calls are bumping into one another - great isn't it - think of those Winters when we don't have a single WW call, well this makes up for all that..... must have had over 20 calling in such a small area - a spot for "good insect grub I'd say".
And now the "hum" of a very close BIG fly sounding to my left ear whilst at the same time my right ear listens to the distant sirens of a passing emergency ambulance down on the motorway far below.
Redpoll the little beauty high over this Golden (Yellow) Gorse calling "Chum chi chum chi chum and more" Nesting not far away I'll bet!
Speckled Woods and lots of other flying "spectacles" but never a proper name to go with them (one day I might study to be a entomologist!)
Wow that wind gust every now and again and today it was 20mph and which had changed to coming from the NW direction - well that's different its been Easterlies and South Westerlies for ages.
A "Yaffler" calls from over the other side - the same path which leads eventually to Uberash or up to Burton Fell.
Dulling down (ny) Blue Moor Grass with occasional Magenta of the EPO (Early Purple Orchid) smiling through its jungle of wild disowned grasses, Til torment was given, and also by the drooping heads of Cowslips, but too early for Dropwort which abound right here (very soon) and no "flitter" of fritillary today - maybe a couple of weeks away and then the Small Pearl Bordered Butterfly will rule!
Wood Sorrel peeping through with its special leaves which I am sure if airborne would spin and spin and spin.
Lovely stuff! Our Garden Warbler has returned for yet another year to it's almost same spot! and today it's generously bubbling away with such a special tune which I want to capture in my mind and keep forever. I came up last Friday looking for him but no sign and so today's perseverance (return visit) has paid off!
Beeched again with a four metre area of that fine fern which just at this point lines our path, its a well liked fern by the many and not just the Pteriologist. It's triangular shape which stands on two dangling legs and loves the company of others. There are 8 families of this special fern on Hutton Roof and this particular family is a probable breakaway from the "Kelkerites" clan.
That wind is making such a noise from the outside!, yes for me It seemed at this point like I was cocooned whilst travelling through a woodland closed on canopy, so well protected yet you could hear all the noisy din on the outside!
Robins are singing all along the route - how many birds can there be! they seem to be every 50 yards or so or is it the same old Robin "bob bob bobbing along the way". Without doubt up here they must be the commonest bird today and nice today to see them for now friendly and not sparring up against their fellow neighbours.
Looking down toward the floor the only leaves I recognize are "Sanicled Strawberries", what the heck are them you may say! so sorry about that and what I should say is that the leaves are that of the shady Woodland flower "The Sanicle" and lots and lots of leaves from the "Wild or is it the Barren Strawberry". Everywhere I have passed have shown Dog Violets.
Another Chiffchaff is singing and I am sure it's a new site, whilst at the same time that sad Bullfinch pipes his woe - lots of Bullfinches about is also great news!
This woodland is full of Juniper and Yews and I'' bet there could be rare Pugs or moths about that frequent the "gin berry trees", in fact I do know a guy who comes up regular to try and find them!
Looking over to my right there are so many of these "stone tables" (look at the photo at top of page)
they seem to spring up all over the place and must have balanced for many a year on their precarious looking small boulder supports. It remind me just of that blinkin heavy rucksack I carry which seems to get heavier every day I go out!

Its a heavy load I have to bear, 
my back feels like it soon will tear,
With a sack full of binos, camera, glass (both 10x and 30x), spare pen, notebooks, waterproofs, water flask, sun hat, brollie, set of numbers in readiness for the "orchids", my gps, spare batteries for camera and gps, plasters, and probably a score or two more things as well!

"Be prepared" that's what they taught me as a little lad"

Lots more to write about but had enough for now, but please come back soon

PS: Nearly forgot on way back had another new Chiffchaff, and do you remember old "(Miss) Miss-A-Note" down in Lancelot, well this one is calling with missed notes and different octaves and so I have lovingly called her  "(Miss) Miss-A-Double-Note"

Friday, 12 May 2017

Lovely BEECH FERNS etc etc

Today's special garden (Mossy Stones = the nickname I gave this place) and home to "Sanicle" and also to Wood Melick Grass

Friday 12th May 2017 - from Aldi Car Park - Carnforth (mid afternoon)

I watched about 7 Swifts over Carnforth Central area

Friday 12th May 2017 - Hutton Roof (East Side) 0930hrs to 1300hrs

Today I checked out the East sides of Hutton Roof above Kelker and before the Rakes to try and ascertain if a regular Redstart had come back,  and also to check out a couple of Garden Warblers, a regular Yellowhammer and several Tree Pipits.  Well I must say I was a little disappointed because I had none of them calling at any of the regular spots. Although very thick with Chiffchaff (the two regulars) and lots of Willow Warblers.  I will try and cover the same ground in a week or so. I was lucky enough to see 3 Linnets flying over Hutton Roof at the point nearest to Whinn Yeates.

Yet it was never too much because I did manage to see some regular Beech Ferns coming through which in themselves were spectacular! its a good population which I have had mapped out for a couple of years now and I would say they measure over a area of at least 3 metres.  The Sanicle is coming through at regular stops along the shaded woodland route.  Checked out Mossy Stones and within the lovely Wood Melick grass is coming through well along with even more sanicle.

I noticed a flattened down area in the bracken were obviously a badger/badgers had been present with lots of tufts of badger hair about and wondered what had been going on (see photos below).  I thought maybe it had been doing some moulting, but there again I think perhaps being a little more realistic had two badgers been fighting! and It also crossed my mind that even something more sinister had gone on! (I really hope not!).

Here are some of the photos from today:

Wood Melick Grass (Click over to enlarge)
"Sanicle" a plant of shady woodland (Click over to enlarge)
Beautiful Beech Fern now coming through (Click over to enlarge)

Young Beech Ferns coming through - what little beauties! (Click over to enlarge)
Badger Fur - Whats been going on?  (Click over to enlarge)

Badger Fur (close up) (Click over to enlarge)
Rigid Buckler Fern at the base of the limestone (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Getting ready for some Scollie Specials

Yesterdays "beautiful garden" checking out flora specials (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 11th May 2017 - Swift watching - Main Street - Burton In Kendal 1900hrs to 2000hrs

Tonight was our first Swift watch since the birds arrived back from Africa.  We did manage to count 17 whilst stood at the Burton Memorial Hall, then we had a further 10 ish! over the Royal/Kings area and then a further 7 over the Manor House Area.  We can only confirm a definate 17 because we dont want to include any overlap, but I am sure there will be more than this.

We noticed tonight none of the birds seemed interested in going into their nest holes they just seemed content being high and chasing one another and occasionally could be heard screaming.

If you want to read more about our Swifts and Swift group then please Click over this link to access our Swift Group pages.

Thursday 11th May 2017 - Dalton Hall Park - Dalton Hall Estate 0900hrs to 1300hrs
Checked out lots of area on the other side of Dalton today. Still the Common Redstarts are very quiet. I found a new male today and have marked it off, but again it was just a stroke of luck the bird came down quite close and although watching it for 20 minutes it never called once! so I am beginning to think that most of the birds are probably about but not calling just as frequent as what we have been used to. After saying that I did manage to hear a couple calling which are back on territory.

Today I heard about at least 6 Blackcaps and recorded 5 Garden Warblers and also a new Chiffchaff site. There were many more than this I could just about hear them bubbling away from a distance but they where too far back and in difficult woodland terrain, so maybe on another day.

The forestry ride was full of "Bugle" of all sizes, some cracking displays, also lots of Yellow Pimpernel showing up "Seek out - Here and There",  terrific Bluebell wood areas and lots and lots of Orange Tips both the colourful males and the white females. Odd Speckled Woods.

Today's beautiful garden on the far side of the Estate (Click over to enlarge)
Opposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage - found in damp bankings etc (Click over to enlarge)

Roe Deer tracks (Click over to enlarge)

Wood Avens (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday 10th May 2017 - Slape Lane and Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) 1300hrs to 1500hrs 

Recorded two Garden Warblers, also three Blackcaps and plenty of Bullfinch, a pair of Long Tailed Tits and the swiftest of Merlins.  Also a great day for butterflies with yet another Brimstone, Peacocks, Orange Tips, Speckled Woods.  I also traversed a area which could well have produced Small Pearl Fritillary but none for me today (reports of them being seen yesterday - much further South).
New for the year flowers included Yellow Pimpernel.  Managed a great Birds Foot Sedge photo (Carex Ornithopoda)

Birds Foot Sedge (Carex Ornithopoda) (Click over to enlarge)
This photo is great because you can see the "Birds Foot Flowers"  check the next photo as well

Birds Foot Sedge (Carex Ornithopoda) Click over to enlarge
this photo shows the flower and lets you see the talons etc

and I just thought well maybe you would like to see some of the very special varieties of Asplenium
Scholopendriums (Scollies) we had last year in Dalton Crags or on Hutton Roof complex. Click over them to enlarge






"Crispum Greening"

"Crispum Ploverland"

"Crispum Yorke"