Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A short video of Leighton's Roosting Starlings from last Saturday 12th December 2009

And here's another very short video just seconds before going down to roost again from "Island Mere" Leighton, on Saturday 12th December 2009.

Please click here to view

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Gait Barrows - Friday 4th December 2009

Here is a selection of photos taken yesterday at Gait Barrows. 1) Forestry Management 2) above - Fungi resembling climbing stones 3) upper right - Fruit Berries of Spindlewood.  4) middle left - Gait Barrows Cairn to mark the opening of the Nature Reserve.  5) middle right - Staircase  6) Bottom left - Pavement view looking towards Arnside Knott. 7) bottom right - close up view of pavement.  Click over photos to enlarge...

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Hutton Roof via Dalton Crags

It was a fair old day so had a walk up Dalton Crags on Hutton Roof and went maybe some 300 yards further than the Trig Point, before returning the same route. I looked everywhere for the Great Grey Shrike (last reported seen on 30th November 2009), but today was not the day. Had a pair of Mistle Thrushes, and could hear Golden Plover (whether overhead or coming from the Ploverlands direction, I am not sure.
On way down met up with 3 other birders from Bradford. I already knew one of these guys from a meet up earlier in the year at Gait Barrows, they to where looking for the "Shrike", combining it with a day out at Leighton Moss.

Heathwaite & Arnside Tower 30th Nov 2009

Arnside Knott taking in the splendid views, went via Heathwaite, slight detour to Arnside Tower and then back via the Knott...

Photo top left: of the junction of footpaths to the Tower and to the Knott.

top right: A very large fungi growth or something which maybe 2ft in diameter gripping the main trunk of this Birch.

Centre left: Looking across from Heathwaite Arnside, across the Bay.

Centre right: Arnside Tower

Bottom left: Heathwaite looking across the Bay with sun setting

Botom right: Heathwaite....

We finished off by going to watch the Starlings come in to roost at Leighton Moss.  It seemed the ideal position parked alongside the road across from the "Island Mere" closeby where the Egrets come to roost.  It was so good I filed the photos on the next blog....

Monday, 30 November 2009

Starling roost at Leighton on Nov 30th 2009 and leaving roost on Dec 1st (estimated 50,000)

Tonight was a spectacular sight for anyone who was at the side of the road on the open area which overlooks the Egrets roost.

The Starlings were forming up right from the word go and most of the activity was at this top end. Some spectacular "plumes" which probably estimated some 10-15 thousand birds would come low and right over the road, this happened on two occasions.

Probable conservative estimate would be for about 30-40,000 birds present in tonights roost. (Please click over photos to enlarge)

Above we have two more Starling roost photos but from this morning showing them leaving the roost at approx 0747-0750hrs on a very frosty morning 1st Dec 2009.  My estimation after seeing them this morning is probably in excess of 50,000......

Monday, 16 November 2009


We enjoyed visiting Grasmere, the home of "Wordsworth".  Our first port of call was a visit to the Wordsworth graves at St Oswalds Churchyard. Here on the right is a photo of William's grave (Click over photos to enlarge). If you want to look at the other "Wordsworth family graves please click here. Thankfully it managed to keep fine, and before leaving the Churchyard,  we paid a visit to the beautiful little church to say a prayer, and have a look around. (Click over links to see more photos)

You could not go into the Churchyard without first noticing the World famous "Gingerbread Shop", this little building which was once the School where Wordsworth taught...

After a stroll through the main street past the Red Lion and the Wordsworth Hotels, we set tracks for "Dove Cottage" which was probably about a good 15 minute walk or so, but not much further. Nowadays the whole area around "Dove Cottage" is a mighty complex, with large Museum area, catering and many other facilities.

We spent very little time here, and decided to have walk around the full perimeter of the Grasmere Water.  It took maybe one and a half hours.  We enjoyed the walk very much and we thought we might even give it another bash sometime over the Christmas period. On the way round we met up with Mute Swans, lots of Mallard and even some male and female Tufted Duck and also a very tame Robin which allowed me to take a photo..also there was a large Rowan with a built in shelter.
We finished off at a very pleasant little cafe which sold lots of rare authentic teas from all over World and also had boats for hire.

Whilst at the Cafe, they were lots of Mallard (see photo below) and lots of pretty tame Jackdaws.

The Dog Lichen (right) - Peltigera species was found at several places growing on the walls at the top end of Grasmere water.

Recent Photos

Here is some of my recent photos. (Please click over photo to enlarge).

1) Roe Deer grazing on Bethany (Beetham)

2) Robin taken on the shores of Grasmere (Grasmere)

3) A bull with his harem, taken across from bottom of our Garden (Burton In Kendal).

4) Cattle in the Canal (Burton In Kendal)

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Starling roost at Leighton on Nov 4th 2009 (estimated 40,000)

Here's six photos of the estimated 40,000 Starling roost at Leighton Moss, taken on November 4th 2009. (click over photo to enlarge). It really is something special to watch and I try to go there at least once or twice per week to witness the spectacle.

Besides this privilige, its also great to watch from either Hutton Roof or even from my kitchen window each morning when at least 5-10,000 will do a flypast shortly after leaving their roost.

Friday, 13 November 2009


It was probably about 3 weeks ago that I was first alerted to the possibility of Great Grey Shrike/s possible arrivals on Hutton Roof, kindly by Pete Marsh, so I was on the ready. And now having read with great interest the most recent record which has been put on the Lancaster & District Birdwatching Club website stating that one had arrived... (Click over photo to enlarge)

So on Wednesday November 11th 2009, My wife Sandra and I set off from the old Dalton Quarry Car Park in search of the probably elusive "Great Grey Shrike". I had never previously seen a GGS in the UK but was familiar with them from previous observations in Europe and Asia..

At the Quarry Car Park I bumped into some old birding friends, Maurice Jones and Dr Frank Walsh, and there other two friends, although I had known Maurice for years, I had only heard of Dr. Frank for years because of his great vismig contributions for "Fairhaven Lake", we had never met previous and it was great to make introductions... and they had also come to try and find the GGS, following on from a early trip that day to Sizergh Castle in search of the Hawfinches...

We said our farewells and got on with the job in hand and followed the main footpath over Dalton Crags to the "Trig point" and then East and then North through the Hutton Roof Crags and down to Uberash Plain and then crossing over the limestone pavements of Uberash Breast and back to the trig and a retrack to the Car Park. In the way of birds, we had so little to report. A few Meadow Pipits, a solitary Raven, and a couple of Mistle Thrushes.... (Click over photo to enlarge)

We checked out everywhere! we even saw a couple more birders (from the Fylde) whilst we where nearby the trig point, but they too had not been fortunate to see the GGS. Not to worry its not far away, I would come again in another day or two....

A new blog had been put on the Lancaster site stating that someone had seen it approx 300 metres to the North of the Trig point (seen yesterday November 12th 2009), so I decided to come again today Friday November 13th 2009 to hopefully catch sight of that Great Grey Shrike. And so again setting off from the Old Dalton Quarry and joining up with yet another birder from Blackburn we made our way straight up to the Trig point, here we met up with yet another birder who hailed from Chorley and then by a stroke of luck we bumped into a birding couple whom had just previously seen the bird in that locality. We searched what seemed to be everywhere, but no the GGS was being very elusive. After a while is was decided to retreat and we made our way back down, resigning to the fact that we would have to check it out yet another day. (Click over photo to enlarge)

After leaving the "Trig Point" and coming back through the wooden style set within the stone boundary wall (see photo above) we entered the wide winding path which lead through the more open space area which had rotting timber piles every now and again, and there is odd young trees spaced out here and there. Suddenly whilst probably about 200 yards, before leaving this open area, it was spotted pretty close up sitting on the uppermost of the tree to our left. It obviously was agitated by our presence and decided to fly across us to the other side of us and probably some 50 yards away, it stayed here for maybe 5 minutes before leaving and heading further North East in the direction towards the boundary wall.