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