Wednesday, 9 May 2018

SNIPPETS OF WEALTH 3


Monday 21st May 2018 - Clawthorpe Fell and later Dalton Crags (Lower) 0900hrs to 1100hrs


My first Dingy Skipper this year today in Plain Quarry
Just doing a short recce on Clawthorpe and Dalton checking out some Angular Solomon's Seal before taking our visitors over the next couple of days. 

Checked all the regular small populations of Odoratum which are all doing OK, also checked out the rare Spring Cinquefoil and I managed to catch the flowers fully out, the Spring Sandwort and the Birds Foot Sedge all doing well, had my first of the year Limestone Bedstraw, also had one Chiffchaff and one Garden Warbler singing away.  Also had a beautiful Hawthorn shrub which had lovely red flowers on it - see photo - would it be called "The Midland Hawthorn?"

Also moved over to the Plain Quarry area and lower Dalton Crags. Had my first Dingy Skipper of the year also plenty of Orange Tip Butterflies.

The Fairy Foxglove is at its best on the old quarry ledges

Flowers on a "Hawthorn Bush" on Clawthorpe Fell - is it call "The Midland"?
The mega rare Spring Cinquefoil this morning
Limestone Bedstraw on Clawthorpe Fell
Fairy Foxglove at Plain Quarry


Sunday 20th May 2018 - The Lots and Jenny Browns Point - Silverdale 1600hrs to 1800hrs


A light coloured variation of the Green Winged Orchid (Click over to enlarge)

Just had a late afternoon stroll over The Lots at Silverdale, and got talking with John from Leyland, and he said to me I know you, and I said to him I know you as well! he was part of the twosome I have seen regular over the years on Hutton Roof (Alec and John).  He told me he had just returned from Gaitbarrows checking out the Ladys Slippers and that two were already in flower.

I could not resist getting another photo or two of the Green Winged Orchids.  Still showing well.

Another photo of the Green Winged Orchids (Click over to enlarge)

A lovely plant someone has planted near Jenny Browns Point (Lords Chair)
Silverdale Cove

Saturday 19th May 2018 - Hutton Roof (East side) - from Whinn Yeates, Top of Kelker to Rakes and return on a different tract 1030hrs to 1430hrs




Looking across from above Kelker to Newbiggin and Farleton

Managed to count 32 singing Willow Warblers across the full route, also had 3 Garden Warblers, 1 Common Redstart, 3 Tree Pipits, Goldcrest, 7 Speckled Wood Butterflies, 2 Orange Tips (1 male and 1 female). So on these results I would say everything seems OK, but maybe just short of calling Yellowhammers from the area of Whinn Yeates starting point and also again over at the Rakes.
I took notes yet again of any primula patches of one metre plus, also noted lots of areas with good Bilberry, but still not Green Hairstreak butterflies showing.

Went over to the Rakes area in the hopes to check out the Fly Orchids but none showing as yet, but plenty of Spring Sandwort to record. Also had my first flowering Sanicle.  Also checking out our two populations of Beech Ferns which have come through OK.

Checked out and took photos of the Braithewaite Stone, but also a little further on (in the Rakes direction) there is another stone which also has the stone carving name of John Lamb of Liverpool (see photos)

By the way I am told that the pair of Yellowhammers are still visiting the garden on Vicarage Close on a regular daily basis.

Beautiful Beech Ferns

"The Braithewaite Stone" (also see below)

The Braithewaite Stone showing the carvings note - horseshoes and date 1836

This one states "John Lamb" of Liverpool
Wild Strawberry just has the Strawberries are starting to unfold
Spring Sandwort
First flowering Sanicle (Click over to enlarge)


Friday 18th May 2018 - Hutton Roof with Dr. Richard Bates 1800 to 2100hrs


Sunset over the Western Fells (from Hutton Roof) 18th May 2018 (Photo: Iphone)

It was nice to receive a visit from Richard who was keen to check out the last show of the Early Purple Orchids besides many of the other rare plants as well. I was so pleased that we were able to find the following beauty which had been missed on my previous, but there again looking at the freshness of the plant, it was probably one of the later arrivals. For me this had to rank at least No.2 in the special EPO variants we have had this year so far on Hutton Roof.


Early Purple Orchid - light variant (Click over to enlarge)
(taken on Iphone)

If anyone has already read Jon Dunn's fabulous book "Orchid Summer" then you may have noted when they (Richard and Jon) went out to the Sefton coast in search of Dune Helleborines,  "Richard stopped abruptly, "I'm pretty sure that's one. Over there...." He was pointing at a sand dune some thirty metres away.  Rising from a slack at a forty-five degree angle, the dune's sides were dotted with tufts of greyish-green marram grass. Squinting in the direction Richard indicated, I could see nothing remotely resembling an orchid, and asked whereabouts on the dune it was. Richard directed me towards a bare area of sand a third of the way up the dune.  There appeared to be nothing there.  We walked towards the dune and, having halved the distance between the point of our initial sighting and the dune, Richard paused, looking carefully again at whatever he thought he had seen. "Yep.  I reckon that's one". I could now barely discern a short stalk. There was a plant there, certainly, but I still had no confidence that it was an orchid, let alone a green-flowered helleborine.  We moved on and clambered up the shifting sides of the dune where, to Richard's quiet satisfaction and my immense relief, there was my first green-flowered helleborine of the year. 

Well I have quoted this little story from Jon's book because it happened yet again to me whilst we were up on Hutton Roof yesterday evening, when Richard stopped in his tracks and had found a fabulous Fly Orchid, but then the fun really started within minutes he had miraculously scanned a large area and found a further 6.  Talk about "hawk-eye", it was just incredible stuff. I must have walked past these a hundred times over the years and had never seen them for they had remained oblivious to me yet to Richard it seemed like it was "just another day at the office".  I quickly reached for the notebook and the gps and recorded what we had found, but obviously the light was fading and a return visit over the coming days must be planned.

We continued across further pavements taking in nice sections of fresh Angular Solomon's Seal (Odoratum), also Pale St John's on its way (Hypericum Montanum), Spring Cinquefoil (Potentilla), Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna), Herb Paris, and the rare Birds Foot Sedge plus, plus plus.

I did find a rather unusual aberrant Cowslip which somehow managed to have yet another flower posey coming out from the top of its stem. There is a nearby population of Cowslip quite near the stile near the Spring.

Aberrant "Cowslip" with new plant growing out of the top of the stem

We would have gone on and on if time would have allowed but dusk was here and the light fading quickly. But a lovely end to a lovely day with the best of company.



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Robert Ashworth's (Kendal) photo of the Holly Blue on Burton Fell 15th May 2018 (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 17th May 2018 - Dalton, Lancelot, The Common 0900hrs to 1600hrs (Robert's HOLLY BLUE, Checking progress with ASS, noting Bilberry areas for GH butterflies, marking off more primula etc

Checking the East Sides of Plain Quarry and Dalton and could not resist one or two more EPO photos, like I have said before they are a magnet and quietly telling me they want photographing to show off their beauties and what beauties they are!

So today started with that lovely "droney" sound you hear from all the pollinators in the area eg: bees, wasp and hover flies, its a lovely summery sound and most welcome to set the atmosphere and feeling to a good start. I had wrote in my notebook - its what Bernard Matthews would say "Bootiful" Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Garden Warblers sang away filling the air with even more beauty.  This year the strawberry flowers seem to be twice the normal size and I was wondering if the strawberries they will yield soon will be bigger! I will be there in the queue ready to try them out.

Wow some really good Parsley Piert populations throughout this Dalton East Side, check the photo below, this is about as good as it gets and in 90% of cases it will always be on the sides of anthills.

Even this beautiful warm day, up here will be broken at times with strong 10-15mph easterlies! just as it was last year as well, they seem to be there all the time in the background.

As I gain more altitude I am being told off by a male and female Stonechat sat on the wall and obviously scolding me with the chuckling alarms, so I realised I must be near their nest and did a quick detour to hopefully allow them to calm down. Still odd St. Mark's fly about but still no swarms of them, that has to come in the next day or two. Skylarks happily singing away and odd Meadow Pipits darting around.

Today is a good day to start recording the Bilberry patches and in particular to see if I can see any of the little beauties! the Green Hairstreak butterflies that frequent these areas, but none was seen today, but thankfully I did manage to record large patches of Bilberry in particular on the Common and again through parts of Lancelot.

Soon as I entered the Common you could see the early growth of the new bracken had already reached about 2ft high. Aagh!!  I also noticed whilst on the Common there were lots and lots of the small craneflies, just like the ones I encountered yesterday whilst on Burton Fell and said to myself "the Dotterel would love it here! with this lot" (one of their favourite foods on passage)

One of my main objectives today was to check out our Spring Sandwort on the Common and found it to be in good numbers throughout the usual spots and below I included one or two photos. Gosh this flower is a absolute stunner with its pinkish/purple anthers.

Checked out the Fly Orchids on the East Side of the Common and one or two are starting to show, but noticed that the majority had already been nibbled off with local rabbits.  Decided to have lunch here whilst listening to a Cuckoo in the far distance which sounded to come from about 1/4 mile W of the wood yard, a area it definitely frequents, I heard it a lot last year from the same areas.  I wonder if this can be our same bird from Dalton or Newbigging?  I doubt that very much, in fact I am sure it must be a additional bird. Still checking out and booking gps for primula in readiness for a possible butterfly project! Also on this side finding several white Dog Violets. Linnets singing some beautiful song from the main gorse areas were I am sure they must be breeding. Also had a nearby Tree Pipit singing away. A new Garden Warbler recorded singing just at the area to the RH of the Trig Point. Thinking about it I may have had one here before. Another pair of Linnets  to the SE of the Trig.

Enterting Lancelot the first job here was to check out the Angular Solomons Seal and very surprised to find the small group of plants of which some already had flowers, of which the next two populations I was to examine also had flowers on, just shows how quick things will grow, to think that only a fortnight ago these populations were shoots of about 2" high!  One thing that was noticeable the lower altitude group had faired much better than the higher altitudes!

Also checked out the nice patch of Spring Cinquefoil and recorded a new to me patch of Hairy Rockcress and checked out the "Montanums" which most are doing OK, but three of the regulars look like they might be giving it a miss this year.  Bumped into Wal and got some great lessons of how to recognize the rare "Lancastrian Whitebeam" counting number of ridges and also the shortage of teeth on the leaves etc. Really good interesting stuff.  They are supposed to be on Hutton Roof so now lets try and find some!

2000hrs  Swift Watch - Main Street, Burton  

Counted 7 over Royal area and 4 over Manor House area.  Seen two go into gable end of Manor House and also two from a property just further West of the Manor.


Spring Sandwort

Parsley Piert on Dalton East (Click over to enlarge)
Angular Solomon's Seal on Lancelot today (Click over to enlarge)

Fresh Rigid Buckler Fern (Click over to enlarge)








Wednesday 16th May 2018 - Burton Fell, Hutton Roof 1400hrs to 1700hrs

I thought I would check up on Burton Fell today to see if I could find more Early Purple Orchids, and although I did find one or two new ones, it soon became clear that over 50% were past their best, similar situation to yesterday and so I have decided that's it for another year and great while it lasted. Found a couple of nice ones which were of a pink variation and suitably recorded as Pinky 1 and Pinky 2.

On way up noticed the Woodruff was already in flower and had romped on, also Rigid Buckler Fern and Limestone Fern is now showing well. Also nice to see Lily of the Valley starting to flower (see photo).

Great birding today - with Cuckoo heard from over Lancelot/Dalton areas, three singing Garden Warblers up near the top of the Fell (absolutely superb!). A couple of Willow Warblers and a daytime calling Tawny Owl.

Whilst walking up in woodlands being attacked by large fresh hatches of 3/4" size craneflies, must have been hundreds of them!

Here we go with today's photos and probably my last in regards to the Early Purples!















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Tuesday 15th May 2018 - Warton Crag 1000hrs to 1300hrs (Birds, Orchids, Deer and Slow-worm)


White with Purple (Warton) (Click over to enlarge)

Today I still wanted to stay with the Early Purple Orchid theme, but thought I would try over on the other side of the A6 at Warton Crags and sure enough it proved not to be disappointing.  I did notice that maybe the EPO's were a week further on than I had been getting over on Hutton Roof with some of them already showing signs of going over, but there were many which still showed their premium beauty, but I did search and search for that special one "the white or light phase special" and I had almost given up on that challenge when hidden away and on the next turn of a corner, I got the most pleasant of surprises with this beauty (see photo above). Also several more lovely EPO's of which I would love to share photos with you below. On my way back I came through the dark woodland areas and found lots more EPO's but I had one which must have been at least 30" tall. Also a pair of Roe Deer and the Roebuck and I played the staring out game!

Besides orchids I was watching a Slow-worm of some 20" in length slowly taking its time to cross the footpath and into the dense scrub habitat, I could see it clearly enough to see it's forked tongue going in and out.  It was also nice to invite nearby Ian from Culcheth who was on a few days out to take advantage of the sighting and he seemed well pleased with what he had seen.

The birds were good today, I knew they would be here with lots and lots of Blackcaps, a few Garden Warblers, and several of both Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, but surprisingly never heard any Whitethroats but did get a unsuspecting bonus with a Spotted Flycatcher seen constantly flying out of the canopy and sort of hover in mid air to catch his fly and then return.

Some of the earlier butterflies included: Speckled Woods, Large Whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tips both male and female.  I was just lucky enough to capture a female Orange Tip feeding on a bluebell (photo below)

Flora was pretty good too, not only the brilliant orchids, but found several populations of Hairy Rockcress of which I made note of the gps, good populations of Cowslips, lots of Kidney Vetch, Enchanters Nightshade starting out, vetches, lots of Common Rock Rose populations (in readiness for the Northern Brown Argus butterflies), Germander Speedwell, Herb Robert, Tormentil, Ragwort starting out, Dog Violets readiness for the Fritillaries.




Female Orange Tip - Click to enlarge

Hairy Rockcress - Click over to enlarge











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Monday 14th May 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures (Nr Holme Park Fell - Hutton Roof) 1000hrs to 1300hrs  
What a lovely day today and my intentions had been check out Holme Stinted Pastures and also to check out Holme Park Fell, all was going well, but when I got to the top of the Stints, I started to see Early Purple Orchids all over the place, hundreds in fact, and I just could not walk past these the draw seemed like a magnet! and never got around to getting on the Fell, I just had to take some photos of the beautiful orchids on show.  Also it was great to record two new Common Whitethroat calling continuous as they do and a new Garden Warbler.  I also had a pair of breeding Wheatear holding territory and calling with their special call. Also had 7 Willow Warblers calling and a couple of Chiffchaff. Also a couple of Blackcap

There are Jackdaws going across backwards and forwards all the time as though they are coming from maybe Kelker or Lupton and crossing over as though going to somewhere around the Holme Park Quarry.  They must be getting food from somewhere, but what I wonder!

Earlier walked past some Garlic Mustard and I have never seen these plants as big, the leaves where up to 8" just check out the photo below.





















All the above photos are showing Early Purple Orchids on Holme Stinted Pastures

the following photo is showing the Garlic Mustard plant which had leaves of 8"




Saturday 12th May 2018 - Dalton Crags, Lancelot Clark Storth, Burton Fell 0900hrs to 1300hrs


EPO - variant White with Pink Flush (Click over to enlarge)

Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers calling from all the usual areas and seem to be back now in good numbers together with good helpings of Garden Warblers and Tree Pipits from all the usual territories.  One new Tree Pipit territory to add which is about 200 yards to the East of the BAP Memorial Seat. A Whitethroat singing on a old established territory just below the "line of trees" in Dalton (deforested). Cuckoo calling today from Dalton Crags, although first heard over in Lancelot as though it could have been somewhere around the Memorial Seat but then came over and was seen and heard in two separate locations in Dalton (deforested). Skylarks singing high above Dalton and regularly taking on the Tree Pipit mimic. Stonechat male bird seen in lovely colouring just at the bend and gully area in Dalton (deforested)

Still checking out nice "Primula" locations and nothing could be finer than the area where you just leave the Dalton lower crags and start off into the higher deforested area and all the way up here to at least the line of trees is covered in patches of cowslips and then even extend beyond and further up the deforested areas.  I'll bet it would be a cracking territory if we still had the Duke of Burgundy fritillary Butterfy roaming these parts!!

I made myself busy yet again covering the same grounds for the Early Purple Orchids. We have some beauties this year (like most years) which are coming out everyday now and I have included one or two photos below. It was a far better day for photography with the wind having back off more. Our rare established albino is no more for this year! fallen victim to the hare with "diagonal" snip sometime between yesterday mid-day and mid-day today.

Peacocks, Speckled Woods, Orange Tips butterlies on the wing, and far more of the St. Marks Fly happily flying about with their danging legs, I guess there will be large swarms seen in the next day or two. I have always called this one to myself the poor mans Mayfly!

Now here is a few photos to enjoy:














Also lovely Rigid Buckler Fern and Harts Tongue unravelling


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A very special find - Early Purple Orchid - variant: "white with pink flush" click over to enlarge

Thursday 10th May 2018 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1500hrs "Orchids and Primroses"

I set my task for the day to check out both Orchids (EPO's) and Primula populations (Primrose and Cowslips). I wanted to check out the Early Purple Orchids both throughout the Dalton areas, together with the top of Lancelot and also the top of Burton Fell areas.  I did manage to find some belters but the wind played havoc with photography and I only got a token of what I really wanted, but what I did get was rather special (or so I thought).  I have these days more or less been concentrating on the rather unusual more than the regular and was especially pleased with yesterdays find, but today that same plant had come on even further and straightened itself into full maturity and looked so smart, I have included the photo above.  I also did manage to find a nice magenta and white flavour specimen which I also have included below. We seem to be at the start of the EPO's up here but over the next week to ten days we should see some beauties!

My other task today was to search out small colonies or clusters of the beautiful "primula" species of which here we have both primrose and cowslip which can be a favourite of a certain rare butterfly. I did manage to find one or two clusters and made notes of the gps etc ready to send through to Wal at Cumbria Wildlife who at the moment is very keen to monitor these particular species. I guess we are so lucky around here to have all these on our doorstep!

It was also heartening to see lots of small areas of bilberry coming through, yet unfortunately the day was very windy (without let up!) and you had no chance of checking out the Green Hairstreaks which seem to be doing well up here. Yet when I reached far lower ground I was privileged to see lots of Speckled Woods, Peacocks and a female Orange Tip (without the orange tips).

It wont be long before we start to see lots of Birds Foot Trefoil and several of the anthills were already showing signs of their unflowering presence.  I also did checks for the Spring Sandwort on the higher ground fairly close to the Trig Point. Although there is a small prescence down on the lower ground of Lancelot the main populations are not showing yet and will be another week or two at least.  The Angulars Solomon Seal is "romping on" - with last week the shoots were at about 2" and today those same shoots are up to 6" to 8" in just as many days, incredible really how things are moving so quickly, even in this continually daily coolish wind! (with sunny intervals of course!).

Had quite a few Willow Warblers singing and several Blackcaps throughout, today the Blackcaps really did have plenty to say and they were blasting it out on full volume which was great!

Another beautiful Early Purple Orchid variant: "Magenta with white" found today 10th May 2018
Our regular year in year out EPO variant: "Albino" pair have come through again OK

A straight forward EPO with unmarked leaves
Angular Solomon's Seal (P. Odoratum) Click over to enlarge


Wednesday 9th May 2018 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1100hrs

A very special Early Purple Orchid - Light phase with a bonus of dewdrops (Click over to enlarge)
Checking out one particular area of Hutton Roof for varieties from the Early Purple Orchids, and although I did find one or two, sadly the wind was far too strong and 90% of my photos are a bit blurred, but over the next few days I should pick a few up.  The one above I like it is a beauty with a "pink wash" over white. Can't say I have ever had that one before. 

Just has I parked up this morning I noticed the "domestic" Angular Solomon's Seal was fully out and when you think the wild or true version is only a shoot of about 2".

Angular Solomon's (domestic version)

Angular Solomon's Seal (proper stuff!)

But what a contrast when you see the difference of growth between the two. Lots of coppicing has taken place in small woodland and Beech woodland on my way up.  Had calling Bullfinch from 3 different areas. And 3 Willow Warblers, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff x1, Nuthatch, Song Thrush, I startled a Buzzard, I had a Roebuck barking at me (getting used to that now!!), took photos of several "varieties" of EPO and found a small population of 6 clumps of Birds Foot Sedge (Carex Ornithopodia). All been gps recorded and put down in the notebook for future reference. 

Birds Foot Sedge (cared ornithopodia)
Early Purple Orchid

Limestone Fern starting out!