Sunday, 26 May 2013

Blog Reports from Sunday May 26th onwards

May 19th week  "highlights"
I have been out and about this week as usual, doing lots of survey work on Birds Foot Sedge, and checking out lots of woodland rides and woodland edges to see if I can find Redstarts, Flycatchers and Warblers. It was great to see our village Swifts the other evening "screaming and screeching" above the Main Street in Burton In Kendal. Also been spending a day down at "Coronation Street".

Not sure about other places, but the Swallows at Russell Farm have not returned to their full numbers. There is about 8 birds returned this year and normally there would be around the 25-30, and usually they produce young with as many as 70 birds.

Mountain Melick Grass
Yesterday (Friday) was a superb morning, especially on finding a new pair of Spotted Flycatcher's on the boundary confines of the local Clawthorpe Fell. Have also spent most of Saturday looking for them on other woodland  perimeters but nothing positive to report at the moment.

Also been noting areas with Spring Cinquefoil, Spring Sandwort and Mountain Melick Grass.

Nice also to make new records of Willow Warblers to add to my already extensive survey.  Yesterday also produced a new Chiffchaff which was to the rear South West of Adele Bank (off Station Road) Burton In Kendal, and singing from the trees at the head of the motorway embankment.

Birds Foot Sedge - carex ornithopoda
Goldcrest seem to be doing fine so far!  I am really suprised this little bird is holding its own this year with all the struggles with the weathers versus insects.  I am finding them at all their usual locations, plus new sites (all conifer sites so far).

In Lancelot this morning (Sat June 1st 2013), Clarky and Miss A Note were singing away. Blackcaps prolific.

Early Purple Orchids seem to have been everywhere (almost) and think perhaps they are now on the turn, Yellow Pimpernel is showing up on the tracks in Lancelot and Storth, Common Cowheat is about two weeks away in Lancelot, Travellors Joy (old mans beard - clematis) is now bright green and stretching his veins along the grykes of pavement 2a in Lancelot. Could not find Field Madder in Lancelot this year as yet but the Birds Foot Sedge has gone from strength to strength and although we surveyed last year and brought the numbers up to 629 clumps, I'll bet this year there will be even more. The Angular Solomons Seal is represented in most of its usual places and perhaps about one week off its best, also the Lily Of The Valley is a week or two behind but coming through strong now and again a week or so off its best. Nice patch of Bugle is showing up in Lancelot.

Woodruff - galium odoratum
Wow what a fabulous display of bluebells this year in at least a couple of our Woodlands, I would think now they are perhaps at their best and on the turn. The woodlands around Lancelot besides showing bluebells are also showing some good carpetting of  "Woodruff" (a sort of cleaver looking plant) known to grow in ancient woodlands.  I did'nt know it also has another name, "Master of the Woods". I did actually pluck a leaf or two to chew upon and it was pleasant like a sort of "vanilla" taste. Also the Ramsons are taking over a couple of the copses and woodlands giving away their presence with the mighty powerful aroma of "garlic"

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Blogs from Sunday May 19th 2013 Onwards inc: Birds Foot Sedge

A Mid May Diary page - Click over illustration to enlarge
Saturday May 25th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0630hrs-0745hrs (Wind: 2mph E)
Heavy frost overnight and windscreen scraping off. Lovely early morning with chill, but becoming sunny quickly and warming up. Clear blue skies.
Chiffs Mo and Lee singing away. Hirundines busy hawking.

1330hrs-1530hrs (Wind: 12mph)
Checking out areas of Burton Fell and Lancelot, looking in particular for the Common Redstart.  Established a breeding pair of Redstart at the bottom of Burton Fell, both birds seen. Then heard another 3/4 way up the fell. And then another calling coming down the SE side of the fell. Bunty the chiffchaff singing somewhere between the clearing (plinth area) and the incline.  Crossed over into Lancelot Clark Storth and checked out the Spring Cinquefoil.  Several small patches at the area close to the NBA plot.  Also Chiffchaff Clarky singing lower down.

Friday May 24th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 15-30mph NNW)
That wind was very strong this morning (seems relentless these days), and that's what is causing the inactivity of some of the hirundines.  Still after saying that there were a few hawking around at Green Dragon Farm, but that's the only place, the rest of them around different points of the village where again missing and now I have come to believe that they are probably having a "lie in" and keeping warm perched on their "barn rafters", and will emerge a little later when the temperatures warm up or maybe if the wind drops. Brief sunny periods and hopefully getting better as the morning progresses. The only Warbler I heard this morning was a Blackcap at Pipers Lane, Clawthorpe.  Off out shortly to try and finish the Birds Foot Sedge survey at Clawthorpe Fell.

1400hrs - 1630hrs - Clawthorpe Fell (Wind: 15mph NW)
Surveying Birds Foot Sedge. Now up into the 700 plus mark. Weather very windy and off and on showers.

Thursday May 23rd 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 18mph NNW)
Its like a Winters day all over again, the temperatures have certainly dropped this morning, coupled with wind and light off and on rain showers.
The hirundines seem to have gone missing yet again, none seen at Tanpits, Green Dragon, Russell Farm, this morning, I wonder why this happens?  I wonder do they go elsewhere or is it that they are tucked up safely at their nest sites, and feeling a little lethargic perhaps!  Even the skies seem empty of our Swifts...
After all this time "Slap" the Chiffchaff was heard today singing from Browside on Vicarage Lane. The first sign of him this year!

0930hrs-1130hrs (Wind: 20mph NW)
Very busy surveying Clawthorpe Fell for the Birds Foot Sedge, now 50% done. In the background being serenaded by at least two Willow Warblers and a couple of Blackcap and one Garden Warbler.

1430hrs-1630hrs (Slape Lane and Lancelot Clark Storth)
 "Clarky the Chiffchaff was singing at his usual spot in the Woodland adjacent to Lancelot. Whilst passing through Lancelot decided to check out the Birds Foot Sedge, Spring Sandwort and the Spring Cinquefoil and the Cowheat, all were doing fine.  Another Blackcap was heard in this area and a new Willow Warbler to record which was just behind the Spring.  First ever in Lancelot for me, and the only one on offer of the Yellow Pimpernel, growing to the area close to the "Cattle Crush".  Also whilst walking across from the Spring to the Cattle Crush area, got absolutely full of ticks (both large black males and the small greyish females), all so easily attaching themselves to my moleskins.  Will have to start wearing my garters again I think!  Also Tormentil in flower in the rides.  I'll bet its not in flower on the higher altitude areas yet.

Wednesday May 22nd 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 20mph NW)
Just one Chiffchaff heard this morning and that was Lee at Thornleigh. A new Blackcap calling from on the border of the Dalton Hall Estate. I think it must have been a OK year for the Blackcap they seem to be popping up all over the place, yet their cousins the Garden Warblers are certainly few and far between this year and so far very poor records are showing.  Swallows and Martins were airborne this morning from most of the usual places.  But again Russell Farm's Swallows seem down, 6 on the line this morning, but a total count of maybe 12 birds now arrived. Still a far cry from the normal 30 plus.

0930hrs-1045hrs (Wind: 20mph NW) (Surveying Birds Foot Sedge on Clawthorpe Fell)
Did a bit more on the surveying of this rare sedge.

1330hrs-1630hrs (Wind: 25mph NW) Slape Lane, Lancelot Clark Storth)
Now six House Martins hawking above Vicarage Lane, Red Campion now in flower on Slape Lane. A Blackbird overhead mimicking the Curlew (and probably about the best version I've heard yet!), Speckled Woods, Green Veined Whites, Large Whites, Orange Tips, Small Tortoishell and Peacocks everywhere.  Blackcap calling at the crossroad gates on Slape Lane.  Checking out the small "bluebell" woodland on the edges in search of Redstarts or Flycatchers. I was immediately overcome by the profound fragrance of the multitudes of "Bluebells", if only I could bottle some of that, but the aroma seemed to diminish the more familiar you got with it.
"Clarky" the Chiffchaff was singing at his usual spot in the Woodland adjacent to Lancelot.  Whilst passing through Lancelot decided to check out the Birds Foot Sedge, Spring Sandwort and the Spring Cinquefoil and the Cowwheat, all were doing fine. Another Blackcap was heard in this area and a new Willow Warbler to record which was just behind the Spring.  First ever in Lancelot for me, and the only one on offer of the "Yellow Pimpernel" growing to the area close to the "Cattle Crush".  Also whilst walking across from the Spring to the Cattle Crush area, got absolutely full of ticks (both the large black males and the small greyish females) all so easily attaching themselves to my moleskins. Will have to start wearing my garters again I think!  Also Tormentil in flower in the rides.  I'll bet its not in flower on the higher altitude areas yet.

Tuesday May 21st 2013 (Burton In Kendal)   "Birds Foot Sedge"
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 7mph NW)
Grey Cloud with the occasional small blue patch showing, but reasonably warmer temperatures on offer. Again to hear the birds so happy is such a pleasure. Chiffchaffs: Archie, Lee and guess what?  After three and a half weeks of no singing Dale has finally come out of his "subdued" state and singing Merrily away at Dalton Hall.  I did see the occasional Swift flying over the village and Swallows at various points from around the Village.  A Blackcap calling from Thornleigh and another (new one to me) in the Orchard near to Sunny Glen just before the Clawthorpe turn off.

1000hrs-1200hrs (Wind: 15mph WNW) Holme Park Quarry Reserve, Clawthorpe
Thorpy the Chiffchaff was singing from the road side of the reserve. I counted 7 singing Willow Warblers which were around the perimeters of the reserve. Also one Blackcap close to the entrance. Also Early Purple Orchids (odds), Wood Sorrell,Dog Violet, Lords and Ladies, Wild Strawberry, Bluebell, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Gorse,Daisy, Cowslip etc.

Then over to the Clawthorpe Fell - I had four separate territorial Willow Warblers singing, also a couple of Blackcaps and one Garden Warbler, also Bullfinch.

Found even more Birds Foot Sedge and decided tto come back later and photograph and do a fresh survey to try and establish just how many plants there are on the Fell.  They are absolutely fresh at the moment.  Also pleased to find "Spring Sandwort" and some Angular Solomons Seal  (needs another week or so yet). Also on the Fell there is the Cotoneastor, Dog Violet, Herb Robert, Primrose, Bugle, Gorse, Rue Leaved Saxifrage etc.

Birds Foot Sedge (click over to enlarge)
1400hrs-1700hrs (Wind: 15mph WNW) "Clawthorpe Fell"
Surveying the fresh Birds Foot Sedge and already up to about 250 plants and only 1/3rd way through. Here is a photo taken.

Monday May 20th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 10mph NW)
Earlier had rained. Grey skies.
Did see odd hirundines flying at Green Dragon and also again at Russell Farm and up Clawthorpe.
Odd Blackcap calling on travels.

0900hrs-1100hrs (Woodlands within Dalton)
Checked out some more local woodlands and found more Herb Paris, lots of Lords and Ladies, Wood Sorrell, Garlic Mustard, Nettles, Cleavers, Ramsons, Bluebells, Ground Ivy, Herb Robert, Lesser Celandine and would you believe "Dogs Mercury"!! (everywhere...)

Also great to find two new Chiffchaffs in song, along with a Blackcap and a Marsh Tit and the "electric buzz" sound of our little old friend the treecreeper..

Sunday May 19th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
1100hrs-1230hrs (Wind: 6-8mph WNW (Woodland in and around Dalton)
A lovely Bluebell Wood
Grey skies throughout, but slightly better toward the end. Warming up temperatures. Fabulous bluebell wood (see photo) then into a lovely open gorge with river in the bottom which I took to be the River Keer, so I guess Lancashire must have been on the other side of the River.  But here today we were in good old Westmorland. It was a fabulous spot and straightaway a new Chiffchaff singing towards the bottom of the gorge. And what a surprise to be met with what must have been at least six singing Tree Pipits holding territories around here. A couple of Willow Warblers, together with a couple of Blackcap, along with a host of the more commoner birds, all happy today and singing their little hearts out.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

AONB The Landscape Trust forthcoming events.

Peter Standing of the Landscape Trust kindly asked me if I would display the following flyers on the "I Love Arnside and Silverdale Blogs")

Literary AONB Walk  Saturday November 2nd 2013
If you prefer to see the above poster in larger or original sizes please click here then click again and again

Monday, 13 May 2013

Cuckoo Time and lastest blog stuff from Monday May 13th 2013 onwards

Tree Pipits will soon be doing this!
Saturday May 18th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0615hrs-0745hrs (Wind: 12-14mph NW)
Today was rather murky weather with continuous light rain showers.

Really great to hear the birds singing at their best, its obvious that since Thursday its been all change with the birds, they are now getting their "tummies" full again and are happy and not subdued, resulting in their joyous serenades, just like it always used to be but perhaps, a lot later coming this year, but thankfully the trees are green again and the insects are all about.

Straight away Chiffchaff "Archie" was singing from around the Memorial Hall, "Mo" was singing from within Hordley House gardens, "Lee" was singing from Thornleigh, and "Thorpy" today calling from around the Farleton Rise area in Clawthorpe.  A few Swallows noted at the usual spots, but still under at Russell Farm, with maybe up to about 7 birds (usual years 15/17 pairs).

Friday May 17th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)  
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 10mph ENE)

Still those winds! however after saying that this morning felt good with plenty of blue skies and the sun breaking out. I suppose you could say it was a "proper Spring morning".  The Robins, Dunnocks, Wrens and Thrushes could be heard singing away.  And at long last the skies showed plenty of activity from local Swifts, Swallows and Martins.

Now I have a dilemma! I heard a Chiffchaff singing from the Old Vicarage which is usually the place where "Vicar" sings from, so left wondering if it was Vicar and he has eventually arrived but very late (which I doubt very much), or what I think has probably happened here! and that "Archie" or his partner from across the road at Orchard Close has moved over to the Vicarage, but we shall see.  I have known Archie to go across the road now and again to sing from the blossom trees at the front of the Burton School. So why not extend his territory as far as the old vicarage. Know doubt time will tell.

At least 3 Swifts were flying high over Burton this morning and guess there would have been more in and around Burton. Swallows busy at Green Dragon Farm and a relief to see at least three pairs minimum, with probably far more at Russell Farm and also increased numbers at Oakwood Farm in Clawthorpe. Also  noted were singing Blackcap from both Hordley and  the top of Thornleigh.

It really is a special treat to see these birds back with us, and not only that "they have brought the lovely weather today with them" and I can hear them high above joyfully singing and in a very happy mood, as they catch their many flies.

0900hrs-1115hrs (Wind: 7mph ENE) Plain Quarry to Trig and return.

Chiffchaff "Craig" calling at Plain Quarry, along with two singing Blackcaps. Also heard another Blackcap on approach near to Junction with Nineteen Trees.
Got a exceptional close up views of two Tree Pipits whilst on the ground just at the bottom of the lower Crags.  It was clear to see far more detail of the plumage, especially the 1/4" area along the full length of the primary flanks which is of a dull cream/yellow colour and stands apart, and also a clear view of the pinky/reddy legs which is a far stronger colour than the pinky legs of the Meadow Pipit.  Also pairs of Tree Pipits in upper Dalton, in the usual places, bottom, gulley and top in line with shrike tree.  All birds singing today and displaying as well.
Cuckoo seen at the very top of Dalton (upper) and calling properly today and very regular with full song. After watching for maybe ten minutes the Cuckoo then left Dalton and flew North over the Boundary wall on to the Common.

1400hrs-1630hrs (Wind: 10mph N) Slape Lane and Nearbye Woodlands.
Found and logged over 23 small colonies of "Herb Paris" in woodland at corner of Slape Lane and bordering the wall to Lancelot Clark Storth.  Also heard "Clarky" the Chiffchaff and a couple of Blackcap calling from Lancelot.

Thursday May 16th 2013 (Burton In Kendal) "Swifts have arrived"
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 7mph Easterly)

Intermittent light rain showers, with lovely sunshine and rainbows, combined at times with dark mischievious clouds. Wind dropped today (nice change!)
Only Chiffchaff on the rounds this morning was "Mo", and little in the way of hirundines once again, still only one pair of Swallows returned to Russell Farm, Dalton.  Where on earth are the other regular sixteen breeding pairs? and where can the village Swifts have got to.

0820hrs (Wind: 7mph SS East)   
Only just arrived, certainly not in at 0600hrs. A pair of Swifts hawking over village, first seen going over Church to North, then seen shortly after heading over Station Road and then over the Motorway in a SW.  So I am hoping that these may be the village Swifts returning!  we will see......

1000hrs (Wind: 6mph SSE)
Swifts still hawking high over village.

1105hrs (Wind: 8mph SE)
2 Swifts if not 3 are currently hawking in large circles over St. James Church Burton.

1200hrs (Wind: 6mph SSE)
Now a minimum of 5 birds hawking over the Village.  (1210hrs) Also can confirm a bird coming from down the side of the old Royal Pub at eaves level on the North East Side, and then on to Main Street, probably its been checking out its old nesting site.

On the way down to Heysham noticed Swallows everywhere.  It could well be a good indication that many birds have arrived today.

Wednesday May 15th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0615hrs-0715hrs (Wind: 15mph Northerly)

Continuing light rain throughout.  "Mo" the Chiffchaff heard at Burton House, but no signs of any hirundines throughout.
Realiably informed this morning that two Cuckoos have been seen this morning in the Dalton Crags (upper). area

Tuesday May 14th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 22mph WSW)
Heavy intermittent rain showers, blue skies with dark cloud, odd hail showers as well.
Good to hear "Archie" the Chiffchaff singing from somewhere behind Orchard Close.  Also had "Lee" singing from his usual spot at Thornleigh.

Still only a couple of Swallows to report at Russell Farm.  Its quite obvious now also that the Burton Swifts have not returned as yet.  The odd bird I did see earlier must also have been a "mover" and I have not seen any birds since. This late arrival is also being reported from other parts of the Country as I write.

Beautiful Rock Formations at Dalton (upper) "The Seven Steps"
0900hrs-1100hrs (Wind: 17/18 WSW) (Dalton (upper) Limestone Shelves)
Spent a couple of hours with a friend checking out the beautiful limestone rock formations with its many  grykes and clints in the upper Dalton area, to help us refer and recognise in the future we have for our benefit aptly named the small area "The Seven Steps" of which there maybe up to seven stepped shelves more or less formed below and to the West of the "Line of Trees". It was also nice to see such rare flora such as Angular Solomon's Seal and Lily Of The Valley (not yet fully out), also odd scattered examples of Early Purple Orchids.

Monday May 13th 2013
0600hrs - 0700hrs (Wind: 25mph Westerley)
"Lee" the Chiffchaff singing at Thornleigh.  Just a few hirundines busy hawking over tanpits (both Swallows and House Martins).  At Russell Farm, still only one/two pairs of Swallows back on territory, which is not many when you consider they normally have at least 17 pairs.

0845hrs- 1045hrs (Wind: 25mph Westerley)  "Henry - Chiffchaff" safe and well..

Large "Herb Paris" colony

A showery morning with very heavy intermittent showers at times with "hailstones" (hailstones in May!!)
Did manage to survey a (new to me) woodland closeby in Dalton.  It was great to re-discover "Henry" the chiffchaff which was briefly calling for a couple of minutes. He had previously eluded me so far this year, although I had only listened for him whilst driving past with the window down, but had actually considered him to be one of the birds that had not returned (so hurrah, hurrah, hurrah to Henry).
Whilst in the woodland I just could not believe how rich the floor was with 8 separate colonies of "Herb Paris" which were about 3/4 grown, just making it perhaps a little behind schedule (1-2 weeks). Some of the fabulous colonies were of 30 metre and 20 metre circumference, certainly the largest colonies I have ever seen, the forest floor in most parts was smothered with the usual "Dogs Mercury", but here and there, 3/4 growth Ramsons could be seen, and occasional Wood Sorrell, Herb Robert, Lords and Ladies and Dog Violets.
It was of great interest to me also to be able to record two separate territorial Willow Warblers within the Woodland along with Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goldcrest.
"Bluebell Wood"

I continued my walk in a South West to check out another Woodland which has the most fabulous floor coverage of Bluebells, but perhaps I have come about two weeks early to see them at their very best, but even today they are such a spectacular view. (see photo right)

Monday, 6 May 2013

"One Swallow does not make a Summer -"Sightings from Bank Holiday Monday May 6th 2013 onwards

"One Swallow does not make a Summer"
Saturday May 11th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0615hrs-0730hrs (Wind: 20mph SW)
Winds still not abaiting, dark clouds and threatening rain all the time.
"Lee" Chiffchaff singing at Thornleigh.  All hirundines back hawking at Tanspits and Green Dragon. Still only the odd pair of Swallows at Russell Farm, normally would have about 17 pairs by now. And No Swifts seen this morning.

1000hrs-1700hrs and again on Sunday 1000hrs - 1700hrs 
Had a stand at the AONB Landscape Trust Ecology Study weekend at the Arnside Educational Institute and met lots of very interesting people who kindly showed interest in my artwork and projects. It was also a great pleasure to enjoy some fabulous lectures on the Saturday morning.
Stand at weekend for the AONB,- Landscape Trust - Arnside Educational Institute (photo: Brian Hancock)

Friday May 10th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 22mph W)
And still those deadly winds persist!  dark cloudy skies but improving over the hour with intermittent light blue patches forming. Evidence of rain shower during the night.
So quiet of all hirundines and possibly Swifts as well this morning.  The only one I saw was a House Martin at Dalton Barn, all the other regulars had gone missing eg: birds hawking over Tanpits, Green Dragon, Russell Farm and also Oakwood at Clawthorpe.  So were are they now?  were do they go to?  its really weird but presume they must go off to feeding grounds elsewhere!  I did notice yesterday (1300hrs) whilst coming past Pine Lakes etc that Swifts were there feeding up, I wonder sometimes if that's where the Burton hirundine's go as well, maybe to supplement!

Reliably informed that probable Northern Greenland Wheatear have arrived at Dalton overnight.

0845hrs-1030hrs (Wind: 20mph WSW) Plain Quarry to Trig and return. "Thrush Chorus"

What was so special today! well its what I would call a "Thrush Chorus", and it all started with the first resident Song Thrush having come out of refrained singing retirement. There he was at the bottom of Dalton Crags in his old favourite tree, right at the very top of the tree he sat there proudly singing away so merrily and then has you ascended the Crags further, it felt that every single Thrush in the neighbourhood were in song, The Mistle's, The Songs and The  Blackbirds, all the lot of them singing away at once, and this carried on throughout the climb of Dalton Crags (lower and upper).  It was quite extraordinary experience to hear this.
The Cuckoo was present and seen to the left side behind Wheatear Plain in Dalton (upper), and then he moved across to the Cuckoo Tree, but again very quiet, at best you got a one off single faint "Cuc - koo", and the only other part song uttered was a single "Cuck" and that was that.
Could not find the Northern Greenland Wheatear, he could well have hopped over the borders!
The Early Purple Orchids although very late are now beginning to show with some good specimens especially over the wall into Crag House side.  They have shot up from nothing, only days ago some of them on the Common were about 2" in stalk with no flower, the same today are about 5" in budding stalk with lots of magenta bursting through - a remarkable recovery!

Thursday May 9th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 18-20mph SSE)
Skies pretty clear and sun starts to break through at about 0645hrs, but yet we still have this niggling continual daily wind persisting and looking at the outlook over the next seven days it looks very much like its going to stay with us.
A few Swallows at Green Dragon, Russell Farm, Oakwood Farm, Clawthorpe Hall.  Two Chaffinch were fighting one another and just did not want to get out of the road, I had to almost stop before they moved on, their minds were totally fixed on fighting their opponent and giving no care to the dangers of the road.  I have seen so many birds killed like this especially with Blackbirds and Blue Tits.

Here's a ditty for a day
for you to fly another day - 
Cock Chaffinch
He fight to the death that Robin,
Seen Blue Tits fight so bad,
But the worst are the blackbirds,
Even the Chaffinch are scrapping,
Wouldn’t get out of the road,
Tussel and roll like a ball,
From this side to that.
Then hackles raised meant business,
Leap to spar in mid air clash,
To interested in his opponent,
Now no caution or adherence,
Senses blinkered if not gone,
One challenge uses all life at once.
Who calls the bluff, whose weakness,
Who gives for just that split second,
All now will be over, for both,
The victor and the flee-er,

0930hrs-1030hrs (Wind: 25mph South) Plain Quarry to Trig and return. "Burtons Swifts"

By the start all sunshine and clear skies had disappeared, it was grey cloud throughout with just a speck of rain in the air, but never did anything throughout, although the wind made up for it with gusty cold winds up to 25 mph. drowning out most of the birdsong.  Although after saying that, one place at the top of the lower crags seemed slightly sheltered from those piercing winds and seizing the moment the local breeding Tree Pipits burst into song in crescendo whilst beautifully displaying its angled dissent flight - what a spectacle!

On way out I think I possible saw what may have been the return of the Burton Swifts, not sure though, just saw the one which came out from the side of the buildings were I live, but probably there would have been more just at the point where I could not see around the corner.  Hawking low and local giving the appearance that the local birds where back in town (I meant village!). They certainly never showed earlier this morning, so think that possibly they may have just arrived.  Will try and get confirmation later in the day. 

Wednesday May 8th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 14mph E)
Wind again got stronger, grey skies, looks like rain is on the horizon.
"Mo" the Chiffchaff was singing from somewhere around Burton House. Good Swallow numbers over Green Dragon Farm, still low numbers of Swallows at Russell Farm. New Willow Warbler singing from behind Crag Bank (Vicarage Lane). Odd Swallows around Clawthorpe Hall and over Oakwood Farm.

Tuesday May 7th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 6mph E)

A nice clear sky morning, very cold at first, starting to warm up by 0700hrs.
Received text yesterday from Mavis Smith down in Darwen to say she had hirundines coming through in large parties of 200-300 at a time heading WNW, with smaller numbers North.  I was over at the Wray Scarecrow Festival and saw very little in the way of passage hirundines over there, although I was lucky enough to see yet another single Swift heading North.
This morning I was therefore not suprised to see a brilliant spectacle over Dalton Lane, with over 30 hirundines chattering away whilst hawking insects.  In the main the bulk were Swallows from the nearby Green Dragon Farm population, and also some House Martins which nest on the converted old farm buildings at the start of Dalton Lane.  Also this morning had a couple of Swallows on the telegraph lines down at the bottom of Neddy Hill, Still only two on the lines at Russell Farm, and also still only a pair over at Oakwood Farm in Clawthorpe. Also noted singles going through and direct North which obviously were on passage.
Had Willow Warblers singing this morning from the top of Thornleigh, also near to Clawthorpe Hall.  Just "Lee" the Chiffchaff was calling from Thornleigh.

1230hrs-1530hrs (Wind: 12mph SE) Slape Lane through Lancelot to Trig and Dalton circular.
Clear blue skies with more intermittent cloud, sunny and calm at lower levels, but windy at higher levels.
Butterflies: Peacocks (lots), and Orange Tips, and Small Tortoiseshell.  New Blackcap near to Spring in Lancelot, 3 new Willow Warblers near to BAP seat. Cuckoo Calling but only in short burst and very limited from top of Lancelot and moving over to Dalton (upper). 3 grouped Swallows moving North over Dalton upper. Sample calls from Tree Pipits. On return in Thrush Valley (Vicarage Lane) heard another Blackcap.

Bank Holiday Monday May 6th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0715hrs (Wind: 6mph E)

Wind not noticeable, very grey overcast throughout. Quite warm.
Lee the Chiffchaff was singing. Could hear a Garden Warbler quietly warbling away on Dalton Lane. 2 pairs of Swallows at Green Dragon Farm, but only 1 bird seen this morning at Russell Farm. A pair of House Martins have returned to their old nest at the end of Vicarage Close. A new Blackcap singing from close to Oakwood Farm, Clawthorpe. A new Willow Warbler singing from close to Claw House.