Thursday, 17 March 2016

BIRD MIGRATION NOTES etc for Hutton Roof

Tree Pipit versus Meadow Pipit  (Click over to enlarge)

The notes above are purely how I see it after spending a lot of time observing them in the field, these are just little differences I have found and which I find helps me in the field to distinguish on their first arrival. The Tree Pipit song and their display parachuting behaviour is by far the better to help distinguish.... 

Friday 22nd April 2016 - Plain Quarry and Dalton Crags (deforested

0900hrs - 1100hrs  Willow Warblers thinned out now to the norm. Maybe one or two more Chiffchaffs that norm.  In Dalton Crags deforested thought I heard Lesser Whitethroat, but not clear enough to confirm as yet.  Searched wide today and found only two single Wheatear.  One on the wall at the bottom of the Gully and one at the top Southern corner, both on wall and then on anthills etc.  Had four calling Lesser Redpolls going through to their NW.  No Tree Pipits again today. Went around the East side of Plain Quarry but still no Garden Warblers, but probably will be another week to 10 days.

Thursday 21st April 2016 - Plain Quarry and Dalton Crags (deforested)

0900hrs-1100hrs  A massive fall of Willows Warblers during the night, settled in for now just in lower Dalton Crags.  Probably a score or more with at least ten opening into song at the same time. I guess when this happens you know for a fact you have some serious quantity of birds present.

Never saw or heard our Tree Pipits, they must be in hiding!

But what I did see was the first confirmed return of 3 Northern Greenland Wheatear (leucorhoa).  One on the floor and two believe it or not! high in a 15ft solitary wind blown tree.  I think this is probably only about the 5th time I have seem them sit high in tall trees.  Everything ticked the boxes for leucorhoa's - so its just spot on with the dates to see them coming through now on a regular daily basis over the next fortnight.

Also had a pair of Linnets calling and back on territory.  Still waiting for our Lesser Whitethroats and in about ten days time we will hopefully see the return of our CUCKOOS in upper Dalton Crags and maybe also our fabulous SWIFTS screeming through our Village.

Wednesday 20th April 2016 - Plain Quarry and Dalton Crags (deforested) 

Today was another special day with such beautiful weather, but just as special for me was the arrival of three Tree Pipits (possibly more!) which were almost silent, I watched them for over an hour and occasionally they would leave the ground to fly up into nearby trees, then from trees to lower lying bushes and so on. Just now and again you would just sparingly hear maybe three notes of their regular descending crescendo's.  They seem so much lighter on their chest and with less streaking in comparison to their cousins (Meadow Pipits), they seem to have a more yellowish underside and more olive green to their back.  The head feature is always a favourite to help me distinguish. I have noticed over the years that they seem to be almost silent for the first three or four days of their arrival, not singing straight away.

Odd Swallows crossing the Crags in a North West direction, overhead Siskin and Redpoll heard. No Wheatears present today.

A Confusion of Willow Warblers (April 16th 2013)

Flying in the dark through a moonlit sky,
Falling from high like little angels,
Floating down on a wavering leaf,
The “confusion” has now begun.
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Daytime closed you was not seen,
Whilst morning wakes your plenty,
So tred so soft our leaf explorer,
A “bouquet” of special prize to us,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Your music is a descending tale,
Which finish the year hou whit,
A choir of pairs sings thy will,
A “Fall” would be a lot of thee,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Sylvia’s hand of lucid intricacy
You thread that weave so delicately,
To house and raise a splendid cast,
It’s a start to a “Wrench” fulfilled

Our dear little Willow Warbler

Some great reports have come through from Robert Ashworth in Kendal for Hutton Roof

Robert had 2 singing Tree Pipits over on Burton Fell on 14th April and they were still present on the 19th April.

Also he recorded Common Redstart with one on the Common on the 14th April and one on Burton Fell on 19th April.
Large influx of Swallows on the 14th April 2016.

Tuesday 19th April 2016 - Slape Lane and Lancelot Clark Storth  1300hrs to 1600hrs

Well it started out with a not so nice! let me try and explain.  I was watching a Brimstone butterfly coming out of Slape Lane and it turned the corner into Vicarage Lane, at the same time I saw this squadron leader coming "hell for leather" weaving in and out of the lane at about one metre high and with superfast qualities, yes it was a male Sparrowhawk and just before it reached me veered off high and causing havoc with a thrush which had been happy resting up on the nearby telephone wires. Down into a garden and it managed to collar some poor unsuspecting finch or small bird, which I could just see in its talons has it made off with weighted down flight.  Not a sound was made from its victim.

Going further along Slape and just to the back of the property Browside it was great to hear "Slap" has returned safely and could be heard Chiffchaffing away. Also the Blackcap has returned and giving not its best, but probably its second best scratchy Blackbirdy warble!

Lots of Peacocks flying today counting no less than a dozen both on Slape, and near Clawthorpe Old Lime Kiln and chasing one another in Lancelot as well.  Also saw a single Small Tortoiseshell and had a further beautiful yellow ghostly Brimstone whilst in Lancelot (thats two Brimstones today!).

Lots of flowers adding colour with Red Campions, Stitchworts, Celandines, Bluebells - It looks thin on the ground in Bluebell Wood this year and from what I have already seen maybe one of those poor years to come.

Also another Blackcap has returned on Slape at the crossroads which goes off to take Clawthorpe or Vicarage Lane directions. Also a couple of Willow Warblers singing away from near enough the same spot. All returning to their regular haunts.

Also Wood Anemone, Wild Strawberry, Primrose, Ground Ivy, Dog Violets.

Into Lancelot I had four calling Willow Warblers, 2 Marsh Tits, 2 calling Blackcaps and "Clarky" and "Miss A Note" Chiffchaffs.  All these birds were again on their regular breeding territories. So its all good news, with all but one Chiffchaff having arrived back safely for another year...

Tuesday 19th April 2016 - Plain Quarry and Dalton Crags

On way out I noticed that at least one Swallow had returned to Russell Farm in Dalton hamlet.

All Chiffchaffs in song and there must have been a very large fall of Willow Warblers in and around Plain Quarry and lower Dalton Crags with at least a score or so in song. The odd Swallow heading North, but could have been so easily missed with it winding across the Crags but only a metre or so from the ground, obviously thats the place the insects must have been!

Just the odd Wheatear on the walls close to the Gulley bottom, I couldnt help but wonder if this was the same lonesome bird I had a couple of days ago which was almost in the same spot!

Several Meadow Pipits rising up when dogs where seen chasing around.

A lovely sunny morning which looks very much like it will only get warmer - blues skies with odd distant clouds on the horizon.

Sunday 17th April 2016 - Plain Quarry and Dalton Crags

First returning BLACKCAP at Plain Quarry, all Willow Warblers now returned to Plain Quarry and Dalton Crags areas. Went up Dalton but no Wheatear showing today, Skylarks not singing. First showing of wild Dog Violets throughout Dalton.

Earlier SWALLOWS seemed to have come in great numbers over the past two days and seen in most destinations this morning with birds back on territory at Green Dragon Farm, Burton, Greenland's Village Farm, and Borwick and in the skies over Carnforth.

EARLY SWIFT On Saturday last (April 16th 2016) a Swift was seen over Co. Wicklow in Ireland

Friday 15th April 2016 - Plain Quarry, Dalton Crags
It became obvious straight away that more Willow Warblers had arrived with a count today of at least five singing birds in Lower Dalton areas.  Also the Chiffchaffs remain at three singing birds in or around the Plain Quarry area. Only 7 (3,3,1) Meadow Pipits heading to the NW.


Checking out the wall area in Dalton (deforested/upper) at first I thought I had a Wheatear but sadly could not confirm because it was eclipsed by shadow.  But later has I came back down I looked across to the walls and sure enough a Wheatear was sat there and very upright etc. For now I don't want to confirm either way (eg Oenanthe or Leucorrhoa), but would suspect it was a Northern Greenland Wheatear.  Its bang on for a early date they will be coming in over the next few days in their little groups. They will be seen clearly when they are either feeding up on or closeby "Wheatear Plain" or across and on the bottom side of "The Gully" or they might just be perched on the South side limestone walls. Every years Dalton deforested produce birds, in fact once they start coming through most days will have small parties of this little beauty, sometimes just 3 or 4 but can be up to mid teens.  When they arrive they will stay for a couple of days (3 at the most) whilst they take on food before continuing their journey through to either Iceland, The Faroes or Greenland. The arrive in the night (for early morning observation) and will leave by the night, sometimes you can have two groups where one party is remaining but on most dates the earlier parties will have left and been replaced by others.

Also the Burton Swift Bird Study group site has started up again. Please click here to check out the Swifts.  

Burton News Article for April Issue

As I write (20th March), we have been under high pressure with the weather for several days, and I have noticed that the bird migration has almost come to a halt with very few birds passing through, although these beautiful sunny days you could be forgiven for thinking lots of birds should be passing through Burton.  So any day now I would expect things to change if the forecasters have got it right. The last week of March can be very interesting having in the past had early Swallows on Hutton Roof Common, and arrivals of the Chiffchaffs in Thornleigh and every chance of a Wheatears sat on the walls of Dalton Crags (deforested).
On March 15th over Dalton Crags I was treated to a very rare sighting of the spirit of the “Green Woodpecker” (see photo below).  Seriously the sky was filled with “Lenticular Clouds” which eventually became lots of various shaped flying saucers. On my way back and reaching the Plain Quarry Car Park I was treated to a very early Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly hawking the area.

On St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) I went over to the Park Side of Hutton Roof to check out our treasured Daphne Mezereone, that sweet smelling flower.  Sure enough some of the flowers were open but the majority of the plant were still in bud and needed another week at least before you saw their full beauty.  Other early flora included the Celandines and quite a few primroses coming through.
I was told and shown recent photos of the Glow Worm larvae being found on Farleton Fell (early March). It also later transpired that a sighting of the actual Glow Worm beetle was seen on Dalton Crags (upper) back in 2011.  Far too early yet, but must try and locate around the June time. Will I be able to stay up long enough to allow this is another matter!!
I always reckon that April is probably the most exciting month for the birds with the arrivals of the small warblers including the Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and what about our Dalton specials the beautiful Tree Pipits with their sort of descending song (can’t wait!).  Other rare birds calling in and passing through our area will include the Northern Greenland Wheatears which again make their grouped presence known on Dalton Crags (upper).
It has been known for the Cuckoo to appear during the last week of April although normally you would expect to hear the bird anytime from the 1st of May.
By the time you read this I would expect the Swifts to be leaving their wintering quarters to make the long perilous journey back to us, what could be nicer than hearing those little black beauties making their presence known with their “screaming” as they fly above Main Street in little squadrons. We are so privileged to have these magnificent birds on our very own doorstep.
Bryan Yorke
(on behalf of the Burton Swift Bird Study Group)                         

Lovely Swallows are arriving more and more everyday now  (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 14th April 2016 - Borwick

0900hrs Large party of mixed hirundine, both Swallows and Sand Martins feeding above Borwick waters

Tuesday 12th April 2016 - Dalton Hamlet

1800hrs 2 Willow Warblers have returned to Pear Tree Cottage area (report thanks to Alec Greening)

Tuesday 12th April 2016 - Borwick

0900hrs 3 (2+1) Swallows overhead of Borwick (MY FIRST OF THE YEAR!)

Monday 11th April 2016 - Plain Quarry and Lower Dalton Crags 

A new Willow Warbler has arrived so we now have two in lower Dalton Crags and the one up by NW of the Trig .

Craig's arrived at Plain Quarry now what about the rest!  (Click over to enlarge)

Saturday 9th April 2016 - Plain Quarry, Dalton Crags to Trig Point on Hutton Roof Common

Been up on most days of the week but little to note with just odd Meadow Pipits being recording going through to the NW - disappointing with say 2 - 5 over one hour.  All three Chiffchaffs have returned to Plain Quarry (8th April) thats Craig, Craggy and Ray all viewed and calling.  Also on the same day saw our first returning Willow Warbler called "Willow" in Lower Dalton Crags, and another one was recorded yesterday (9th April) singing with little crescendo but more of a "houwhit" contact call from about 30 yards NW of the Trig, so thats slap bang on its regular territory.  Other than this very little on offer at the moment.  Anyday now Blackcaps and Tree Pipits!

Friday 1st April 2016 - Plain Quarry and Dalton Crags (deforested)

0900 to 1000hrs  Not a single bird going through on migration and what a contrast to yesterday.  It had gone very cold with a medium to strong 20mph SSW winds so is it any wonder!  Well I will hopefully try again tomorrow...

Thursday 31st March 2016 - Plain Quarry through Dalton Crags to the Trig Point
0900 to 1100hrs Condition looks ideal for movement, little wind

Craig the CHIFFCHAFF first arrival at Plain Quarry this morning......

Meadow Pipits on the move 42 birds going NW between 0930hrs and 1030hrs, best party 7, but mainly pairs or singles.

Green Woodpeckers (3) were very noisy this morning.

Have had odd Siskin calling down in the bottom of Dalton Crags over the past few days, also occasional Redpoll.

Vernal Equinox - March 20th 2013   (Click over to enlarge)
This is just how it was on March 20th 2013

Friday March 25th 2016 - Plain Quarry, Dalton Crags to Trig Point on Hutton Roof Common 0900hrs to 1100hrs

Meadow Pipit migration still very quiet with just 17 birds over to the NW during my observation period, mainly singles with a couple of pairs or a trio.  Also Skylarks doing the "Tree Pipit" calls and also incorporating Greenfinch and Reed Bunting as well. Group of 4 Buzzards high (presume locals) 1 Kestrel (local)

Tuesday March 23rd 2016 - Plain Quarry, Dalton Crags to Trig Point on Hutton Roof Common 0900hrs to 1100hrs

I was reliably informed that the Meadow Pipit true migration had started yesterday (Monday), with quite a lot of birds were seen coming over the Heysham areas.

Today I had about 26 going over Hutton Roof mainly in singles but did have one group of 6 all NW. Also Robert Ashworth from Kendal was up looking around HR for most of the day and he also had a further 15 birds heading NW.

Also parties of Song Thrush in Dalton upper.  I would have thought these had to be Continentals calling in and will probably have dispersed over the next 24 hours.

Sunday March 20th 2016 - Plain Quarry, Dalton Crags to Trig Point on Hutton Roof Common 1000hrs to 1130hrs

Still exceptionally quiet with this high pressure

Meadow Pipit: 4NW (2x2)

Had this on 21st March 2013 - "A Herd of Whiteness"

Friday March 18th 2016 - Plain Quarry to Trig

Skylark 1 NW
Meadow Pipit: 5NW (3,2,2,) plus 2 on walls in Dalton deforested
Song Thrush: 4 in upper Dalton

Thank you to Fylde Naturalist Society for a very enjoyable evening.

Thursday March 17th 2016 (St. Patrick's Day)

The bird migration was non-existent with no Larks crossing, Mipits or for that matter nothing else!

The saving grace with the birds was a party of 40 GreyLag Geese flying over our house East to West at 0800hrs.

Besides the birds I was heading over to the special place hoping to see the Daphne Mezereone and sure enough I was not dissapointed.  No good going there with a blocked up nose! You have to smell these plants to believe it absolutely stunning!.

Also found early signs of Early Purple Orchids on their way..... (see photo below)

Early Purple Orchids just starting to show through on Hutton Roof
This looked stunning when I took it with all the mosses with the sun catching them, but flattens out a heck of a lot in a photo  (Click over to enlarge)

Daphne Mezereone on Hutton Roof