Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Grasmere, Elterwater, Skelwith, Ambleside - June 30th 2010

Started from the back of Grasmere, going by Silver How and over the top and down to Chapel Stile, Elterwater, Skelwith Force and onward via Brathay to Clappersgate and Ambleside. It was a moderate walk of about 8 mile approx and took us about 6 hours with lunch and stops for photos etc.

On the way at various points we saw or heard: Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Several Tree Pipits on Silver How.

Lots of baby frogs of about 1/2" in size where crossing our path with regularity whilst we ascended Silver How from Grasmere.

Chimney Sweeper moths, Pearl Bordered Fritillary at lower levels, and several larger Fritillaries where flying across the marshy areas low down and also the now matured green bracken at higher levels. Good numbers of Small Heath Butterflies where seen throughout. Also Common Blue Damselflies.

Lots of nice flowers etc: Masses of the beautiful yellow Bog Asphodel at the base of Silver How, also commoner species like Foxglove, Tormentil. Cotton Grass was also seen at the lower levels. A very beautiful small blue violet was also noted in the swampy low down areas..
Photos: top left: looking over to Grasmere and Rydal Lake from side of Silver How. top right: Silver How looking towards Helm Crag. middle left: Bog Asphodel below Silver How. middle right: The Langdales from Elterwater. bottom left: English Stonecrop near Chapel Stile and finally bottom right: walking down fellside towards Chapel Stile. PLEASE CLIVER OVER PHOTO ONCE TO ENLARGE AND THEN CLICK OVER AGAIN FOR FULL ENLARGEMENT...

Some flowers photographed yesterday. June 29th 2010

These are photographs from flora found yesterday 29th June 2010. Top) Pyramidal Orchid (flowerhead), Next to top) Pyramidal Orchid (flowerhead and stem) 3rd down) the beautiful Marsh Helliborine, 4th down) Common Centaury, and finally bottom) Common Broomrape. Please click over photo once, and when loaded click over again for full enlargement...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

A Stroll by Derwentwater (yesterday 25th June 2010)

On our way through we had left cloudy, yet blue skies whilst passing by Grasmere and Rydal, yet as soon as we had started to climb at Dunmail Raise, the sky darkened and at times threatening rain clouds appeared... but we never saw any rain, it remained a most pleasant day. Even on our retreat back home, once having left behind Dunmail, and passing through by the lower lakes, the blue skies began to appear more frequent again.

Photos above are: Top left: view from Friars Crag, Top right: Great Burnet - a flower in decline.
Bottom left: Hedge Woundwort, Bottom Centre: Trees with plenty of root showing, bottom right: Self Heal... and finally below is a Commemorative Stone for 100 years of the National Trust, placed at Derwentwater in 1995. Please click over photos once, and then click over yet again for full enlargement...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Carnforth and Warton Crag - 17th June 2010

Spent the first hour or so checking out a old disused industrial site on the Kellet side of Carnforth.

Butterflies: Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Common Blue.
Birds: Garden Warbler and Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs.
Moth: Cinnabar
Flowers: Scarlet Pimpernel, Teasel (last years remnants), Self Heal, Speedwell, Oxeye Daisy, Common Twayblade (21 flowers), Common Spotted Orchid (10 plus) and other possible Orchids showing leaf but not in flower yet...

Later on in the morning managed a short walk on Warton Crag from the small Car Park near the "George Washington" Pub.

Butterflies where in good supply, especially the Common Blues (20+), also especially nice to see Small Tortoishells (2), Painted Lady (1), Brimstone (1), Dark Green Fritillary (several), Small Heath (5), Speckled Wood (2), Large Skipper (3), also my first Meadow Brown (1). Everytime the Painted Lady got settled the Fritillary would come in at such speeds to dive bomb it and the pair would then go into a fluttering entanglement! I saw most of the larger butterflies feeding on the valerian including the skippers.

I thought it might be a little early for the "Northern Brown Argus", but I strongly suspected a very large hatch today on the crag at the more elevated area near to the rear of the Quarry... I saw about 10 and they fit the bill in size, colour, behaviour and marking.. but would like to check it out more if possible..

Birds: Chiffchaff (2), Willow Warbler (several), Garden Warbler (1) at back of Quarry area (near kissing gate)..

Flowers: Self Heal is now coming through as is Wild Thyme, also Red Valerian (some with White flowers and Biting Stonecrop.
Please click over photos once, then again for full enlargement....

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Arnside venues and Coldwell Parrock's Northern Marsh Orchids - 16th June 2010

Starting off from the AONB office at Arnside Railway Station, I was in the good company of Tony Riden (Countryside Officer for the AONB) and under his guidance we toured several of the Arnside premier nature reserve localities..

First it was "Ashmeadow", which was a idyllic spot tucked away right at the bottom of the Arnside promenade, nearby the Nursing Home. Here we had a short walk before coming upon a rough pasture area where there were already Common Spotted Orchids coming through, and a lonely "worn" specimen of the Northern Marsh Orchid. I was shown a old stone water trough which I believe does have some "smooth newts". Soon we were passing through another stile and here was a regular spot for "Toothwort" a semi-rare parasitic plant found in these parts.

We passed a lovely old Beech tree, which I was told to be probably the third oldest tree in Arnside and possibly dating to some 300 years..

Next on the agenda was a visit to Red Hills Wood, a mixed decideous woodland, where we did a short climb to a elevated position and here we found some rare orchids. Also Wild/Barren Strawberry fruits where everywhere.... A couple of Large Skipper Butterflies where constantly fluttering about....

We left Red Hills and headed back down to the Sandside direction and had a look on the spare ground which is almost opposite the "Shoreline Business Park" building. Here we found many flowers including rare orchids, together with several Common Spotted Orchids and one Northern Marsh Orchid.

We checked out another couple of spots nearby which had Twayblades at 75% growth, and possible Heleborines in early stages of growth....

The Jewel(s) in the Crown for today, came in Tony's suggestion to visit the site Coldwell Parrock, which is owned by the AONB Landscape Trust, which is next to Gait Barrows in the middle of Arnside and Silverdale AONB.
Already this year the site has produced some excellent growth of "primula" (both Cowslip and primrose) which could well be attracting the Duke of Burgundy Butterfly, though as yet not confirmed, but it is a possibility for the future especially with its close proximity to the nearby populations at Gait Barrows. Also the site has already this year, had superb growths of Herb Paris (can still be seen, but now past its best), also Early Purple Orchids have gradually increased in recent years, with the help of conservation grazing, with a count of 94 flowering spikes counted in 2008, 112 last year and with over 150 counted this year.

But today our main expectation was to hopefully see the Northern Marsh Orchid, and we were not to be dissapointed. It was expected we would see maybe up to half a dozen, but we had such a suprise and what a privilige to witness what may have been up to two hundred stunning "magenta" Marsh Orchid flower heads. The largest proportion where to the West side of the reserve and at the time we were there (1400hrs approx), the majority group were being shaded by a large decideous tree. At one point they where so close to one another you had to be so careful where you stood. Also there where many Common Spotted Orchids amongst them. A small proportion of these we suspected could well be a hybrid of the Common Spotted species, in that they showed three quarters of their lancelate spike to be pinkish/magenta continuing to a white head tip which was about a third in length of the full spike.. It will be interesting to see how they turn out over the coming days.

Thanks Tony for a great morning...

(And here is a photo of a good mixture of both Common Spotted and Northern Marsh Orchids.)(Please click over photos "once" and then click again for full enlargement"..)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Staveley, Dales Way, Bowness to Windermere - 15th June 2010

We did the 8 mile walk from Staveley to Bowness and finish at Windermere, via the Dales Way. As usual it was a lovely walk for a lovely warm day. We had lunch at "Fell Plain", past Crag House, and Outrun Nook. Eventually we headed through Low Cleabarrow and came to our resting point which was at the side of a large duckpond (see photo), which had some strange looking mixed variety Mallard, a very small Tufted Duck (see photo) and at least two Coot (with young). A lovely "chill out spot", before heading down into Bowness and then heading up towards Windermere to catch the 555 bus back to Burton In Kendal. Heres three photos: 1) of the lovely scenery near Crag House Area 2) The Duckpond near Low Cleabarrow 3) The Tufted Duck.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Hale Moss (west side of A6) & then White Creek

Just checked into the Hale Moss Nature Reserve (West side of A6 - accessed from road leading down by the side of the Wildlife Centre) (which borders the A6).

After parking the car I checked out the first small damp field area on the left and there where about ten Common Spotted Orchid in part flower. Crossing over to the other side and checking out the small woodland area, the Herb Paris is well past its best, there are probably up to ten plants here. Also some Common Twayblade. Now passing on through the next gate and into the reserve proper you can't help but notice a grand array of Ragged Robin which is fairly widespread throughout the marshy field on your left, just before reaching the small water area. Yellow Flag is growing fairly well on the Eastern boundaries of the reserve.. also quite close to the western side of the mere was several Common Spotted Orchid, and closeby there was just one beautiful specimen of the Northern Marsh Orchid. Bugle is still showing here.

Then on to Whitecreek to search out more flowers. I couldnt help but be attracted to the noise of shuffling of leaf litter in the undergrowth, which turned out to be Mr. Mole... (see photo), I cant ever say I recall seeing one above ground (alive that is!).

There was some Dryad's Saddle fungi in the woodland at Whitecreek (see photo). in fact where two specimens of similar size (about 24" in diameter)..

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Farleton Knott and return - Sun June 13th 2010

It has been very noticeable all week, for me down at Burton In Kendal, that Lesser Black Backed Gulls have been crossing over the Morecambe Bay in a North West to South East direction, and can only presume they are birds which have come from the breeding colony at Walney Island.

It has also been reported from other sites around the Country, that similar migrations have also been going on elsewhere.

For today, we had a circular walk to Farleton Knott, starting from the laybye at Hutton Roof (accessed from the Clawthorpe hamlet)...

I noticed the Gorse flower is now showing signs of starting to die off.

A party of four Mistle Thrush where seen to cross over by Newbiggin Crags area, although I do suspect there could well have been more, because just earlier, we had heard a solitary bird, singing in grated fashion, from the uppermost branch of a nearby tree. Also there was several Chaffinch calling from the Gorse regions, with strange unsuspecting calls to which parts I had never heard before. In fact at times part of their calls seem to resemble the part call of the Yellowhammer!! although you knew you where watching the Chaffinch singing immediately in front of you.. As you approached the Eastern side and climbed steadily up the incline towards the Knott, lots of Skylarks where taking off, before being disturbed and calling with their familiar "thrupp" calls...

Climbing that incline it was quite noticeable that the beautiful "Thyme" flower where springing up everywhere, especially so in the limestone scree bridleways.

On that summit today, the wind was blowing quite strong, and views where being hampered with the off and on light rain. Around the cairn at the summit I noticed all sorts of flowers growing, taking up any tucked away nook and cranny which they could muster, and there was plenty of Herb Robert, Stonecrop and Clovers..

On our way down, and after leaving the actual limestone pavement areas, we met a large party of Starlings feeding up on the more grassier lower levels of Farleton, I presumed they where collecting food for their young. I noticed this many years ago whilst down in Rossendale, that when the young birds (still in their nest) but getting bigger, the adults would travel up to two miles to reach the outlying grassy fields where they would feed in group frenzies before returning with a full bill of food to feed their squaking young. I wonder what it is they find so interesting?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Lords Lot Wood, Capernwray..

Just had a hours walk along the bottom path which leads close to the Clay Pigeon shoot and return.

As usual there was plenty going on with songbirds and warblers, eg: Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

I found this beautiful scarlet coloured larva of the Yellow Tail Moth (see photo), sadly the orangy colour in the photo should have come out more of a crimson colour. It was feeding on a sort of privet (or similar shape) leaf.

This must be the best place on earth for the Bugle with really good strong tall, full flowers. Though they are definately now on their last legs...

Had all the usual regulars, plus one or two more which I have yet to identify...