Friday, 9 December 2016

More recent notes!

Monday 6th February 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1000hrs

Lark ascending was not to be
I watched and I listened for twenty three
Perhaps too cold to show so bold
Another day’s fine to catch thy gold.

Five "tuck, buzzing" Hawfinches squabbled past
they flew over “Beeches” without a brook,
So close above me with a silhouette look,
Which gave me a "beam" so good!

Mistle "whistled" like a distant Wigeon's woe,
Quiet, then loud he scratchily tried to sing,
Telling the World that Dalton is MY patch,
And to show another that he was THE catch...

Another strange call from a Tit so great!
Hundred’s of songs for hundreds of hours,
This one you know, but this one you don't
I've caught you out again, thinking I was rare.

They piped away so pitiful in a sort of crying "peeu",
Much bullish colour and a white flashing bum,
A bird I like to whistle to, who usually sings a reply,
A regular around the Crags, our dear Dalton Crags.

(Activity on 6th February 2017 - Bryan Yorke)

Saturday 4th February 2017 1100hrs to 1230hrs

Well I was tempted out today especially because Andy from Hellifield mentioned yesterday that he had been seeing Skylarks on high ground. So early!! well as a rule our "Sky" is back on territory and singing from Valentines Day or shortly afterwards, but today on Dalton Crags guess what? Sky is there singing his little heart out whilst marking his territory and sure enough I could hear the call of the "Tree Pipit" within his by now famous repertoire! I not only got chance to see "SKY HIGH IN THE SKY" but also another couple of accompanying larks looking to claim nearby territory. I can't say I have ever noticed them back on territory so early in February, for me they are at least ten days early this year.
It seemed strange hearing that beautiful song far above my head whilst at the same time feeling the chill burning of my cheeks, but thankfully just now and again the sun would shine and give you a moment or two of restbite!


Sketch showing 5 different types of Hypericum within a area less than 1/2 mile. (Click over to enlarge)

To get five different hypericum types in one place can't be that common I would have thought. So I have done this sketch and you can check them out for yourself this summer if you so wish. HYPERICUM WAY!! please click over the sketch to enlarge

0900hrs to 1000hrs Dalton Crags - Fri 20th January 2017

Nice start whilst walking through the woodland just after leaving Plain Quarry and I clearly heard a Redpoll with its distinctive call, and what better than to hear him yet again on my return.

Had two Mistle Thrushes singing away from far distant corners of the Crags with a slow but melodic purposeful song.

Goldcrest whispering to one another has I climbed up through the Crags. So at least now I know my hearing must be OK to hear these! (I must say though they are getting quieter by the year!)

Did manage to get as far as the "Line of Trees", but its hard work at the moment, hopefully keeping adding a little more each day. I know for a fact when the sun shines my paces will get longer!

Stopped in my tracks on the way back down just at the point where I take the track over the "bonk" (well thats what I have always called it beofre), and especially because it came into my mind that I must do a short piece on this special place and maybe get a drawing, or sketch a map etc etc etc. So what makes it so special and why on earth should I give it a new name and call it "Hypericum Way"? Well you could if you wanted turn it into a lovely short circular walk of up to one hour and cover a short distance of less than a mile, but wait for it! - Its so special because- you can see Perforatum (H. Perforated), Pulchrum (Slender), Hirsutum (Hairy), Androsaemum (Tutsan), and to round off with the rare Montanum (Pale St. John's), that's five of the hypericum family all very very close to one another and all on one short footpath and they look like very friendly neighbours! and the bonus is that when these plants are showing their best, the Tree Pipit and the Garden Warbler will also be serenading you within a "stone throw" away.
Today was good still seeing plenty of "burnt out" pulchrum spoils, but roll on a few month and lets have a peep at those special "yellow pearls"

Andy Holden's photo of the Pink Feet crossing over Hellifield on 18th January 2017
What a fabulous spectacle! (Photo: Andy Holden)

0900hrs to 0930hrs Vicarage Lane, Burton - Thurs 19th January 2017.

Went out with the view of seeing Pink Feet on their return migration from Norfolk/Lincolnshire or for that matter even Lancashire and on their way back to Caerlaverock (staging post!). Just saw a smaller skein of about 50 ish in the distance heading North West.  There have been reports in the past couple of days of many skeins going over Elterwater and also reports from Hellefield, together with the odd evening skein moving North West over Bradford a couple of nights ago.

Today seemed quiet, but generally noticing birds are beginning to get fidgety, maybe because of the mild temperatures, Blackbirds are singing away and their cousins the Mistle Thrushes are giving off a hoarsey tune.  The finches are lively to.  It was lovely to see a pair of Goldcrest on Vicarage Lane, especially when one of them was seen flaunting his "yellow head line" and wow! when you see them like this in close company with the local Robin, it makes you appreciate just how small delicate size really is!

Always great to hear the piping Bullfinch calling from somewhere in the Old Vicarage grounds. And passing a tree I could not help but see at least twenty House Sparrows foraging, this seems to be a rarish sight these days and always so welcome. 

Its great to be back in action! 

0900hrs to 1030hrs just around Dalton - Mon Jan 16th 2017

A small finch party flew overhead which I think were Siskin, a very early Mistle Thrush singing merrily away and telling the World it was his territory, he was far more course or graty sounding than the beautiful sounds of the Song Thrush, yet so pleasant to hear at this time of year. Whilst going through the woodland near Plain Quarry its always nice to pick up on Goldcrest. I also had the "yaffler" calling from the upside of Dalton Crags

I also met up with Robert from Kendal and he told me the regular wintering Stonechat were still present in Dalton Crags.

reasonable numbers of Woodcock and Snipe are being reported from the more expected regular haunts 

1500hrs approx on 9th January 2017 - On my walk over by Dalton it was lovely to hear the Bullfinches calling with their pitiful feeu calls.  A regular place to see them and not far from where they breed. 

1115hrs on 9th January 2017 - Just had a large skein of about 90 Pink Footed Goose going over Burton In Kendal to the North West


Two days (New Years Eve) ago Waxwings were recorded from Dalton hamlet by Alec and yesterday (Jan 2nd) a party of at least 20 were seen on Vicarage Lane, Burton by David.  Its more than probable that these could well be the same party


You might be interested to check out my new blog which I have started in the past couple of days.  Its been set up specifically to share my "orchid photos" and my findings during my research on the atrorubens and schmalhauseneii hybrids and the various varieties.

My blog is currently at the build stage, although I will be adding almost daily.  Hope you check it out by clicking here 

To check out some of the best wildlife photography by Craig Bell why not check his catalogue by clicking here

I AM SORRY I HAVE NOT HAD MUCH TO SAY RECENTLY. Its because I am currently convalescing on doctors orders and got to take things easy for a bit. Only getting around the local lanes and fields (strictly on level ground for a few weeks) where I am seeing one large party of mixed Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Robert Ashworth from Kendal has been keeping in touch regular to give me the heads up on Hutton Roof, and so far we have not had a visit from the Grey Grey Shrike, also Dr. Stuart has been keeping me informed about the Woodcock, Jack Snipe and Common Snipe situation from Dalton Hall Estate.

We have not had any further Waxwings to my knowledge since the last report offered up by Robert.

Will keep writing and annoying you at my first opportunity, all the best Bryan.

added 22nd December 2016

Stopping in has given me plenty of time to catch up with writing and other things and I have been enjoying setting up my new powerpoint presentation in readiness for 2017 which is called: The Special Orchids of Hutton Roof.  I guess there is so much to talk about on this I could do with two hours, but seriously I am aware that its got to be condensed into a one hour presentation.  Just to give you a summary of what its all about: It contains a Brief history of Hutton Roof, past ownership and how it became No. 193 of the Rothchild Reserves, why it became a very special place nationally and how it obtained its Status and its SSSI protection. Then down to business with a showing of the straight forward Dark Red Helliborine of how you expect to see it, and then bringing all the oddballs, again following on but with the Broad Leaved Helliborine, and showing photos of how close both species can stand side by side (not that this matters but still so interesting).  Then we get down to the actual hybrids themselves (Schmalhauseneii - Bigger, Bolder, Brasher etc etc. Mentioning about the time involved and only ever recording definite numbers of around the mid 20s in total it rarely goes above or below in numbers, although after saying that we are now getting lots and lots of other very suspicious plants which I think are F1 and throw backs etc, you get a special feel about these "weird" plants when you are seeing them day in day out!.  Also the most beautiful Lemon-Petalled on Green variety, or the Lemon-Petalled on Purple variety.  Also I show other variants we have recently found eg: Albiflora (only the 2nd ever found on UK soil), Chlorantha, Variegated, Purpurea.  Also a small section on recognition by various pointers I have sketched out and also by their individual denticulation patterns which you can confirm under x40 or microscope - interestingly that atrorubens does have a double layer of teeth unlike the others!!.  I was very privileged this year to meet up with a World authority whilst up on Hutton Roof and he says he can help me and has offered to try and do full DNA testing on several of the plants which these are now in his posession so all this is also in the pipeline, so eventually we may even get a confirmed result, but for now everything is going well.

added 22nd December 2016

Dr. Stuart Sharp has kindly informed me that a Woodcock which he rang on the Dalton Hall Estate on the 4th January 2016 has been recovered shot at Arkholme on 3rd December 2016.  This is a interesting record in that should the bird be a migrant it will obviously mean that the bird has returned to the close proximeter areas later on in the same year, although obviously this cannot be totally confirmed in case it is a local breeding bird.