Saturday, 1 April 2017

First Wheatear (Oenanthe) and first Willow Warblers

"A Confusion of Willow Warblers"

Saturday April 15th 2017 - Dalton Crags, Hutton Roof - Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)
0830hrs to 1130hrs

Strong W/SW Wind at about 15mph and cold with it (temp around 5 to 6c). It was obvious from the word go that the Willow Warblers were back in full swing with several new birds sounding off their individual crescendo's. Probably be around 8 birds (Willow Warblers) singing from Plain Quarry and Lower Dalton.  Also I had 6 singing away from Lower Lancelot.  Looking back I notice the 15th of April is usually the peak date for Willow Warbler arrivals on Hutton Roof, so you could say bang on!! Those little beauties along with all the Chiffchaffs really make it something special. Talking about Chiffchaffs guess what? "(Miss) Miss-A-Note is back this year in Storth Wood and was singing whilst marking her territory, not too far away from the Charcoal burner. Besides her I also had a further four birds singing in Lower Lancelot with one of the birds seen with nesting material (feather or something) from her bill. Although still waiting for our Dalton Blackcap's to show themselves, I can honestly say it was a explosion of "fast melodious warbling" from no less than six Blackcaps in Low Lancelot (never known so many singing at the same time - maybe a really good year, or maybe we have one or two that might just move on! time will tell.  A bonus was also to see a pair of Bullfinch closeby.

Other birds noticed whilst mobile was a single Meadow Pipit crossing over to the NW on migration. and three more Willow Warblers just below the BAP Memorial Seat, a further WW on the pavement bordering Storth Wood. Also a pair of Peregrines very high and soaring at speed.  A curlew went overhead and later a Redshank was also heard overhead.

Flowers are doing well now with some lovely Early Purple Orchid rosettes, most with the heavily marked purple staining to their leaves, yet some just plain green with no staining. Bluebells were seen with their drooped heads, but guess they were smiling everywhere in Low Lancelot.  Telling me that in a couple of weeks time it will be well worth a visit to one of the many Bluebell woods we have lying around here.  Also today several of the lovely Wood Anemone.  Ay! another fabulous morning and a shame to leave.  Well there is always tomorrow (I hope!)...... 

Wednesday April 12th 2017 - Dalton Crags - Hutton Roof - Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)
1000hrs to 1430hrs

Today I had a party from the RSPB Lancaster Branch who hopefully enjoyed checking out some of the birding and flora hotspots on the West side of Hutton Roof.  Sadly the day started off really poor with regular light rain and gusty on and off winds.  But the forecasters were right and by lunchtime it dried up and turned to lovely sunshine.  
A new Willow Warbler has arrived back at the side of Plain Quarry. A new record for me of Parsley Piert 50 yards West of the BAP Memorial Seat in Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT).  Also four fresh Willow Warblers have arrived back and singing away in Low Lancelot (all regulars at their normal breeding areas).  Also at least one of the Blackcaps have returned and singing from their long established territory. Also one of the Chiffchaffs near to the Summer House has returned in Dalton's Storth Wood, But not our regular "Summer" we are still awaiting her arrival. 

We also found this fungi yesterday whilst in Lancelot and I believe it may be a "slime mould" which can be called "False Puffball" or it's scientific name Enteridium lycoperdon.

Tuesday April 11th 2017 - Dalton Crags - 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Our Plain Quarry Willow Warbler (called Willow) has now arrived back to the sides of Plain Quarry singing away from the very tree she owns!  also whilst checking out Lower Dalton I heard three further Willow Warblers singing further over on the Eastern boundary of Low Dalton with the fields of Crag House.  I also had my first Dalton Blackcap singing this morning, although very patchy in song and subdued.  It was mainly overcast and a coolish wind - probably masking good calls!!

Monday April 10th 2017 - Dalton Crags - 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Not a lot to report although it is without doubt the best year yet for our local Chiffchaffs which have arrived in fabulous increased numbers on previous years.  So far all local sites checked have seen occupancy.  I can't has yet say the same about the local Willow Warblers, but they will come soon.  We have only a couple of birds showing at Dalton Lower Crags so I do expect a further eight or so to come in soon.  We do have records of 6 at the Trig, at least 3 at top of Lancelot, 2 in Burton Fell. We are still awaiting our Blackcaps.  Two of the Tree Pipits are back but playing very subdued at the moment and would also expect a further 8-10 birds any day now.  One pair of Stonechat are presumed breeding in Dalton.  Our Garden Warblers are due in from around the 21st of the month, can't wait.......

Also Robert recorded a Swallow back at Green Dragon Farm, Burton In Kendal on Friday last (8th) whilst Alec recorded three Swallows back at Russell Farm, Dalton yesterday Sunday last (10th).



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

Sunday 9th April 2017 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1200hrs to 1400hrs

Another Willow Warbler arrived in bottom of Dalton Crags and a "Confusion of Willow Warblers" with at least six were singing from around the Trig Point, some were seen doing "flycatching sallies". Also I am sure two Tree Pipits have arrived back (I had suspected yesterday they had), but at the moment they are quite subdued (which is regular when they just arrive) One at the bottom of the Crags and one at the top of the Upper Crags (both regular territories). Also two Wheatear (Oenanthe) on the walls going up.  The pair of Stonechats are about as well. Bullfinches at the Trig. Also another Brimstone seen at Plain Quarry.

Saturday 8th April 2017 - Dalton Crags 1000hrs to 1100hrs

Plenty of Chiffchaffs singing.  Still only one Willow Warbler in Lower Dalton Crags as yet.  A pair of Stonechats in the bottom half Dalton (upper/deforested), a few Meadow Pipits on the walls but only three grouped heading over NW on movement.

Fabulous sunny weather throughout.

Friday 7th April 2017 - Canal ~Station Road to Tarn Lane Burton In Kendal 1700 to 1800hrs

Lots of midge hatches in odd parts along the canal.

Chiffchaffs really doing well with 8 seen and heard along that stretch of the Canal but still no Willow Warblers or Blackcap.  Most but not all of the Chiffchaffs were at long established breeding sites but a couple were completely new sites!

Also another Chiffchaff (old site) singing from the Kendal side of the Burton Memorial Hall.

Wednesday 5th April 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1100hrs
A new Willow Warbler back and calling in Lower Dalton Crags.
Farleton Fell - 1830 to 1930hrs
Three Wheatears - One at Newbiggin Crag and two on the Whinn Yeates side. Several Skylarks.

Hurrah! managed my first Swallow today! (Mon 3rd April) (Click over to enlarge)
Monday 3rd April 2017 - Farleton Fell - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Counted 3 Wheatear 2 male and 1 female on Whinn Yeates side of Farleton and also one male Wheatear on the field as you approach Farleton.  Still lots of Skylarks around - maybe 15 plus.

Only two Meadow Pipits came through to the North which were quite high up (75ft) to say the winds were pretty strong at Westerley 7-15 (gusty).  Also a few Meadow Pipits clearly back on territory with display.

Also had a female Yellowhammer back on territory near Newbiggin Crags.

later whilst passing South end of Dockacres there was my first Swallow coming through North


Sunday 2nd April 2017 - Dalton Crags (lower and upper) 1000hrs to 1200hrs

No movement whatsoever - just so quiet, still no Willow Warblers or Blackcap at Plain Quarry although we do have at least four Chiffchaff regulars.

Sunday 2nd April 2017 - Holme Park Fell and Farleton Fell  1600- 1845hrs

2 Chiffchaffs heard singing on regular territory near to Rowley Copse.

One Willow Warbler in crescendo song at the commencement to the flank of Farleton Fell.

Brilliant to see a "exhultation of Skylarks" with a minimum of 21 counted feeding up in very close proximity to one another (within some 30ft circle).  Also 3 pairs counted on territories.

Also "six Wheatear" at the start of Farleton Fell, all considered to be Oenanthe, also two of the six thought to be on breeding territory

Wheatear (Oenanthe) (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)

Saturday 1st April 2017 - Dalton, Lancelot, Burton and Lancelot  1000hrs to 1400hrs

It was on/off light rain showers early but by noon seem to dry up.  Wind slight at W5mph.

Well for Meadow Pipits very poor in fact you could count the number I had on two fingers! so that shows you how bad it got, but nem mind its going to happen very soon!

Told this morning that they have had over 800 Redwing in numerous parties over Manchester heading to the South East this morning, so I guess this might well be the last shove up and on their way out!

Had a lovely coloured solitary Wheatear (Oenanthe) on the Walls whilst traversing up through Dalton Crags (upper/deforested).

Spent a little time at the Trig but really quiet with very little on the move, a few thrushes which looked like they could well be continentals, feeding up and probably off later today.

Found some nice Rue Leaved Saxifrage in flower.  It says in the books that this species flowers in June, but I have found them regular on Hutton Roof flowering in February and right through the early part of the year.  Early Purple Orchids - some good rosettes in the top of Lancelot.

First Willow Warblers singing away in full crescendo - 3 at 3/4 way up Lancelot, 2 midway up Burton Fell - always good early spots these and again they proved so today.

Chiffchaffs will be a really good year!  At least 4 in Lower Dalton (Nr. Plain Quarry) to start with then a new site 1 at top of Lancelot, two more in Burton Fell, three in Low Lancelot.  Also two singing on way home on Vicarage Lane with one at the top and the usual bird singing away from Browside.

Also had a pair of Long Tailed Tits in Lancelot, about 4 yafflers (Green Woodpeckers) a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers - NO Blackcaps or Swallows for me YET!

Willow Warbler (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)

Dog Violet (Click over to enlarge)
A beautiful lichen found today in Lancelot (Click over to enlarge)

I have called it "Kirkstone" and found it on Burton Fell today (Click over to enlarge)
It does remind me of another well known stone!

Rue Leaved Saxifrage (Click over to enlarge)
Blue Moor Grass (Click over to enlarge)