Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Crossbills flying over Hutton Roof plus!

Monday 11th December 2017 - Arnside 

A nice showing of the Maidenhair Fern together with Icycles

(Click over to enjoy a larger size)

Yes it's been like this for many a day now!  new tarns springing up everywhere

Monday 4th December 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1000hrs

I was looking forward to seeing a Hawfinch on the uppermost branch of the leafless beeches just has you enter Dalton Crags from the Plain Quarry Car Park.  It is just the right time of year for seeing one especially here, but NO it was not to be today, but maybe tomorrow or soon!

It was fairly quiet especially with the Thrushes although there were plenty of "longshanks" Blackbirds about with extraodinary long wings and tails or that's how they appeared to me, I'll bet they could well have been continentals come in for the Winter.  But again still no Fieldfare or Redwings showing but is so unusual for Dalton Crags its usually teaming with them at this time of the year.

Nice to hear and see plenty of Coal Tits dashing about and coming pretty close today together with the noisy little missus! Jenny Wren who seemed to be enjoying her scolding as usual. Certainly noisier than most of the local birds.  But one she could not out do was the "yaffler" who was giving it some.  Did some checking out of old ferns and other bits and bats.

Thursday 30th November 2017 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof Common

Did manage to find one female Stonechat and I am sure if I had looked more extensively would have also found the male.

Reported to me that there were plenty of recent arrival Woodcock on the common which were quietly tucked away in areas of thick bracken. One of the birds was seen at very close quarters and appeared to have very little weight on the bird.

The Holly Ferns are still looking great and really surprised that Holly Fern 2 has not yet succumb to the local Roe Deer which has been the case in the last couple of years.


Wednesday 29th November 2017

It was great to hear from Robert in Kendal who informed me that he had a party of 10 Crossbills crossing SE over the Hutton Roof Common on 6th November 2017.

Still not had any reports of the Shrike this year, but you never know he can turn up late! Yet after saying that his favourite day of arrival (with at least 3 visits over the past 10 years has been the "4th November")

Besides reading lots of more up to date books, occasionally I love to go back on the old MIGRATION OF BIRDS by Charles Dixon published way back in 1897 and it is always interesting although perhaps much dated, to read what went on well over a century ago and here is just one small extract from that very book. (with follow on extracts to appear soon)

"The Perils of Migration" (Chapter VIII) from that great book

The migration of birds is beset with dangers and full of perils.  It would scarcely be possible to over estimate the mortality among birds of passage directly due to migration.  One very significant proof of this great mortality is presented in the fact that of the immense numbers of birds flying south or west in Autumn, only a very small percentage come north or east again in the spring!

Most people have remarked the great gatherings of Swallows, Martins, and Swifts, just previous to migration in Autumn, yet where do we see such similar multitudes in Spring?  The majority of these birds are young ones, neither so strong of wing nor so robust of frame as their parents, and it is among these that the highest mortality is reached. The death rate of a large town standing at, say, fifty or sixty per 1000, creates something like a panic among its human inhabitants; but there can be no doubt whatever that the death-rate among birds on migration reaches ten times that amount per 1000, and during exceptional circumstances very much more!  From the moment that a migrant bird sets out on its journey it is exposed to quite a new set of dangers, whilst many other ordinary perils of its existence are very much intensified.  From one end of its road to the other successive dangers surround it, and enemies of every kind have to be eluded.  Migration, then, instead of being a pleasant journey in the van of advancing spring, or in the wake of retreating summer, is the most fatal undertaking in the life of migrant birds, and comparitively few survive it.

The Perils of Migration may be divided into three important classes, viz., those arising from Fatigue due to the mechanical portion of season-flight; those arising from the Natural Enemies of each species; and thos arising from Blunders and Fatalities on the way.  Probably the first class of perils is the most fatal one;  a journey with little rest by the way of even a couple of thousand miles, is a great strain on the endurance, especially of small Passerine birds; whilst a sea flight of, say, 300 miles, with no opportunity for rest of any kind, and in many cases not even the chance of snatching a mouthful of food en route, must tax these tiny migrants to such an extent that only the strongest survive the journey.  Of the countless thousands of birds that perish during migration, by far the greater number probably succumb at sea.  Many instances are on record of great numbers of drowned migratory birds being washed ashore, especially after stormy weather.  Some of these tired migrants save themselves by getting a chance rest on some passing ship, but the majority, especially when flying by night, quietly drop into the remoreseless sea and perish!  ......

above is a short extract from the book and soon I will put forward a further two or three paragraphs of this incredible book!