Saturday, 18 June 2016

Dawn Chorus over at Hutton Roof Village

Plenty of handkerchiefs to go around - The Handkerchief Tree (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 23rd June 2016 2030hrs to 2115hrs  Swift Watch on Main Street, Burton In Kendal

We counted in total around 13 birds hawking the skies at points along Main Street.  We did record Swifts entering two nest sites on the rear of the Royal Hotel Cottage.  Also we confirmed a bird entering the North Gable on the Coaching House, near to the corner drainpipe.

We thought perhaps there may have been fewer birds showing tonight and now wondering if some of the immature birds will have already set off back to Africa.

Tonights Observers were: David Craig, Branwen Kilburn and Bryan Yorke

Why not check out this Polish "Swift" webcam by clicking here


Thursday 23rd June 2016 (EU Referendum Day or "Fledgling Day") - Hutton Roof and Farleton. (0830hrs to 1100hrs

A really interesting morning but becoming dire in relation to Yellowhammers, because again today, I covered there known territories but still no song, or evidence of the birds.

Lots of general species were seen but of particular special interest was witnessing a party of four young Willow Warblers with their adults, and quickly the birds became alarmed and calling with their general "hou whit" contact calls.  Also closeby to them I had a fledgeling party of Great Tits who also showed their displeasure at me walking through their territory. Also just behind Whin Yeats a young recently fledged party of Swallows were perched on the barbed wire above the wall and only decided to move off when I was within two metres of them. Without doubt today would probably be better being called "Fledgling Day" because further on towards the wall boundary of Holme Park Fell I had a pair of Wheatear adults on the wall and some 75 yards away, was a young immature bird, plus others nearby which I could hear with their "chat" singular contact calls.  I got very close to one of the young birds which still had a long way to go before it got the full head and facial features which for now were more greeny cream coloured although much of the lower part of the bird seemed fully developed.

Also whilst crossing over from Whin Years and over Newbiggin Crags I witnessed a party of 25 Starlings (some adults and some immatures) which I think had been based over on Whin Yeates farm somewhere, but today they seemed happy trying to mob a Buzzard crossing over and without doubt seeing (him or her off!). Earlier I had also seen and heard Linnets, Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Skylarks. Some beautiful song was coming from the Goldfinches.

The butterflies were doing great with large amounts seen of male Common Blues (between 15 and 20) but no females! these where my first of the year and it looked like in every case they were feeding on Birds Foot Trefoil, Also today and my first of the year, I had at least three large fritillaries which would more than likely have been of the Dark Green Fritillaries, but they were just far too flitty for me to be able to get close enough for a proper identification to check whether they were Dark Green or High Brown! Several seen of the Small Pearl Bordered species, lots of Small Heaths and my very first of the year Meadow Brown. Lots of Chimney Sweeper Moths on the Hutton Roof side. 

The first of the year "Common Blue" Butterfly (Click over to enlarge)
Small Pearl Bordered seen today plus showing underside (Click over to enlarge)

Saturday 18th June 2016 - "Dawn Chorus" party over at Hutton Roof (0430hrs to 0700hrs)

Wow! not done this for a long time, but it was great meeting up with friends old and new at the Hutton Roof Village Hall.  Our host was one of the elders of the village Richard Challoner and he had manage to attract at least ten or so to the event.

Straight away on the car park we met a deluge of tinkling Goldfinch which singing together was quite a beautiful earful which at times seemed overpowering and yet so cheery!  I also managed to hear the odd challenge of a nearby Redpoll who just about came in with the shortest of flurry.  Blackbirds who are always leaders in these events were calling from some 50 yards away with there "harsher" rich and varied repertoire. Before long we would also be graced with the masters the good old Song Thrush which were also adding to the chorus from at least three separate areas.

We went down by Richard's paddock, with no sheep present today but lots of evidence of recent.  We saw lots of House Sparrows which had taken residence on the North East elevation of The Old Vicarage and a little further on we got a sample of the part crescendo call of the resident Willow Warbler. We did manage to get a more fulfilled call from this little "leaf explorer" as we came back through its territory.

Our agenda today was hoping to be able to include a very special sighting of the fabulous "Spotted Flycatcher" which we know resides near to Compost Heap No.2 at the bottom corner of Richard's vegetable plot and which we had the pleasure of seeing only a few days ago when we did the part recce.  But sadly not! this morning we never even heard him although there were lots of flitting "Spotted Flycatcher" sized birds in and out of the tall matured canopy, so maybe we had seen it without us knowing it.

I nearly cried at the site of the beautiful "Hankerchief Tree" (no not really!), which adorns the Old Vicarage grounds, the very place where over 100 years ago the Rev Theodore Bayley Hardy -V.C would have walked past that very spot whilst he created his Sunday sermons. Although the late reverend would not have seen this most special of "chinese origin" trees because it was much later when Mr and Mrs. Challoner introduced it to their collection.

We left the grounds of the Old Vicarage and headed further up the lane to enter a lovely haymeadow, area which just reminds you of good old days with Ox eye daisies, Red Clovers and Docks amongst others which were just managing to peep through the many lovely upright grasses which had shades of greys for seed heads, and many shades of greens and occasionally you would see where maybe a local Roebuck or a Badger or other mammal had been lying up or having a gay time leaving a flattened grass imprint. It was so nice to see so many bees flitting about in haste and so excited to reach their next flowers.

It could not have come at a better time! we were all suffering from a serious starvation of Warblers this morning having only had the previous mentioned Willow Warbler, but soon we were to hear a close up fabulous display from at least one pair (probably two pair) of Garden Warblers singing their little hearts out with that mixed bubbly explosion of sounds. The close proximity from us made all the party stop in their tracks to listen and absorb the sounds coming from this most welcome of migrants.

Nearby we had further pleasure witnessing a family group of Nuthatches which were up and down the thick branches of a Ash whilst learning the skills of hunting from their parents. The birds seemed quite undisturbed by our nearby presence and just continued about their work.

It was lovely to hear a Chiffchaff calling his repetitive ditty, and also to hear the calls from nearby Goldcrest exploring the small nearby trees.

On our way back a Blackcap broke into song with his much harsher calling, but it was so nice to also have a Garden Warbler not too far away and it gave chance for some of us to be able to hear both birds singing away for comparison.

A good early morning I would say and well worth setting the alarm clock for 0330hrs.....

Thursday 16th June 2016 - Some belated nature records for Dalton, LCS and Burton Fell and Hutton Roof kindly sent in by my friend Robert Ashworth of Kendal. 

Cuckoo (s) more elusive today and calling heard from SW of Dalton deforested and also from NE of Burton Fell.

Butterflies: - Meadow Brown and Large Skipper - both new for the year.  Several Small Pearl Bordered Fritillarys, also 3 Painted Ladys (2 in Dalton deforested and 1 in open woodland near to Plain Quarry.

Also Orchids: Dark Red Helliborine in bud on Burton Fell.