Monday, 30 November 2009

Starling roost at Leighton on Nov 30th 2009 and leaving roost on Dec 1st (estimated 50,000)

Tonight was a spectacular sight for anyone who was at the side of the road on the open area which overlooks the Egrets roost.

The Starlings were forming up right from the word go and most of the activity was at this top end. Some spectacular "plumes" which probably estimated some 10-15 thousand birds would come low and right over the road, this happened on two occasions.

Probable conservative estimate would be for about 30-40,000 birds present in tonights roost. (Please click over photos to enlarge)

Above we have two more Starling roost photos but from this morning showing them leaving the roost at approx 0747-0750hrs on a very frosty morning 1st Dec 2009.  My estimation after seeing them this morning is probably in excess of 50,000......

Monday, 16 November 2009


We enjoyed visiting Grasmere, the home of "Wordsworth".  Our first port of call was a visit to the Wordsworth graves at St Oswalds Churchyard. Here on the right is a photo of William's grave (Click over photos to enlarge). If you want to look at the other "Wordsworth family graves please click here. Thankfully it managed to keep fine, and before leaving the Churchyard,  we paid a visit to the beautiful little church to say a prayer, and have a look around. (Click over links to see more photos)

You could not go into the Churchyard without first noticing the World famous "Gingerbread Shop", this little building which was once the School where Wordsworth taught...

After a stroll through the main street past the Red Lion and the Wordsworth Hotels, we set tracks for "Dove Cottage" which was probably about a good 15 minute walk or so, but not much further. Nowadays the whole area around "Dove Cottage" is a mighty complex, with large Museum area, catering and many other facilities.

We spent very little time here, and decided to have walk around the full perimeter of the Grasmere Water.  It took maybe one and a half hours.  We enjoyed the walk very much and we thought we might even give it another bash sometime over the Christmas period. On the way round we met up with Mute Swans, lots of Mallard and even some male and female Tufted Duck and also a very tame Robin which allowed me to take a photo..also there was a large Rowan with a built in shelter.
We finished off at a very pleasant little cafe which sold lots of rare authentic teas from all over World and also had boats for hire.

Whilst at the Cafe, they were lots of Mallard (see photo below) and lots of pretty tame Jackdaws.

The Dog Lichen (right) - Peltigera species was found at several places growing on the walls at the top end of Grasmere water.

Recent Photos

Here is some of my recent photos. (Please click over photo to enlarge).

1) Roe Deer grazing on Bethany (Beetham)

2) Robin taken on the shores of Grasmere (Grasmere)

3) A bull with his harem, taken across from bottom of our Garden (Burton In Kendal).

4) Cattle in the Canal (Burton In Kendal)

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Starling roost at Leighton on Nov 4th 2009 (estimated 40,000)

Here's six photos of the estimated 40,000 Starling roost at Leighton Moss, taken on November 4th 2009. (click over photo to enlarge). It really is something special to watch and I try to go there at least once or twice per week to witness the spectacle.

Besides this privilige, its also great to watch from either Hutton Roof or even from my kitchen window each morning when at least 5-10,000 will do a flypast shortly after leaving their roost.

Friday, 13 November 2009


It was probably about 3 weeks ago that I was first alerted to the possibility of Great Grey Shrike/s possible arrivals on Hutton Roof, kindly by Pete Marsh, so I was on the ready. And now having read with great interest the most recent record which has been put on the Lancaster & District Birdwatching Club website stating that one had arrived... (Click over photo to enlarge)

So on Wednesday November 11th 2009, My wife Sandra and I set off from the old Dalton Quarry Car Park in search of the probably elusive "Great Grey Shrike". I had never previously seen a GGS in the UK but was familiar with them from previous observations in Europe and Asia..

At the Quarry Car Park I bumped into some old birding friends, Maurice Jones and Dr Frank Walsh, and there other two friends, although I had known Maurice for years, I had only heard of Dr. Frank for years because of his great vismig contributions for "Fairhaven Lake", we had never met previous and it was great to make introductions... and they had also come to try and find the GGS, following on from a early trip that day to Sizergh Castle in search of the Hawfinches...

We said our farewells and got on with the job in hand and followed the main footpath over Dalton Crags to the "Trig point" and then East and then North through the Hutton Roof Crags and down to Uberash Plain and then crossing over the limestone pavements of Uberash Breast and back to the trig and a retrack to the Car Park. In the way of birds, we had so little to report. A few Meadow Pipits, a solitary Raven, and a couple of Mistle Thrushes.... (Click over photo to enlarge)

We checked out everywhere! we even saw a couple more birders (from the Fylde) whilst we where nearby the trig point, but they too had not been fortunate to see the GGS. Not to worry its not far away, I would come again in another day or two....

A new blog had been put on the Lancaster site stating that someone had seen it approx 300 metres to the North of the Trig point (seen yesterday November 12th 2009), so I decided to come again today Friday November 13th 2009 to hopefully catch sight of that Great Grey Shrike. And so again setting off from the Old Dalton Quarry and joining up with yet another birder from Blackburn we made our way straight up to the Trig point, here we met up with yet another birder who hailed from Chorley and then by a stroke of luck we bumped into a birding couple whom had just previously seen the bird in that locality. We searched what seemed to be everywhere, but no the GGS was being very elusive. After a while is was decided to retreat and we made our way back down, resigning to the fact that we would have to check it out yet another day. (Click over photo to enlarge)

After leaving the "Trig Point" and coming back through the wooden style set within the stone boundary wall (see photo above) we entered the wide winding path which lead through the more open space area which had rotting timber piles every now and again, and there is odd young trees spaced out here and there. Suddenly whilst probably about 200 yards, before leaving this open area, it was spotted pretty close up sitting on the uppermost of the tree to our left. It obviously was agitated by our presence and decided to fly across us to the other side of us and probably some 50 yards away, it stayed here for maybe 5 minutes before leaving and heading further North East in the direction towards the boundary wall.

Friday, 6 November 2009


From September 11th to November 12th inclusive.
Whooper Swan: 7
Pink Footed Goose: 654
C. Buzzard: 3
Kestrel: 1
Lapwing: 4
C Snipe: 11
BHG: 46
Common Gull: 346
LBBG: 489
Stock Dove: 28
Woodpigeon: 2496
Gt S. Woodpecker: 7
Skylark: 121
Swallow: 82
House Martin: 9
Tree Pipit: 1
Meadow Pipit: 4469
Pied Wagtail: 283
Wheatear: 1
Blackbird: 128
Fieldfare: 24044
Song Thrush: 21
Redwing: 28477
Mistle Thrush: 69
Long Tailed Tit: 20
Jay: 12
Starling: 8809
Chaffinch: 5096
Brambling: 80
Greenfinch: 484
Goldfinch: 418
Siskin: 317
Linnet: 160
Twite: 1
Redpoll: 149
Crossbill: 1
Bullfinch: 1
Yellowhammer: 4
Reed Bunting: 48 1

Other species present on a regular basis where: Willow Warblers (many calling from Hutton Roof on most days during September and early October, also regular sightings of Stonechats, Ravens and other Corvids. Brilliant flypast each day of large thousand plus Starling ex roost parties. Also many Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard (presumed in most cases to be local).

Unless I could be sure they were on migration passage, I did not include in counts.

Friday November 13th 2009 - Burton In Kendal
Wind: S 3mph
Movement as stated.

Starling: (9000 ex roost party only)
Goldfinch: 2S
Chaffinch: 22S
Woodpigeon: 323 (a definate Northerly movement going across bottom of Dalton (13 parties, biggest 80)
Fieldfare: 6 (2N 4S - local foraging)
Redwing: 1 (local foraging)
Greenfinch: 6 S
Pied Wagtail: 1S
Blackbirds: everywhere, must have counted over 50 in garden and local hedgerows. (99% males)
Thr Nov 12th 2009 - Hutton Roof Cumbria
Wind: SW 8mph
Movement as stated

Redwing: 66 (1E,3W,14W,10E,11W,27W)
Fieldfare: 100 (33SE,7NW,60NW)
Starling: 345 SE plus (ex roost: 5100) all SE
Chaffinch: 52 either E or W
Pied Wagtail: 2 SE
Brambling: 1 E
Goldfinch: 4W
Linnet: 9W
Greenfinch: 3W
Blackbird: 1W
Common Gull: 1E
Meadow Pipit: 6S
Wednesday November 11th 2009 Hutton Roof Cumbria.
Wind: E 2mph
Thrushes:NE to SW
Starlings: SE
Finches: E or W

Lots of small (3 to 10s) Starling parties on the move today.

Fieldfare: 902 (15 parties: best 200,180,200,75,70) all NE to SW
Redwing: 37 (3 parties: 11,15,11) all W
Starling: 293 (16 parties: best 60,20,17) all SE also: 7500 ex roost at 0720hrs all SE
Redpoll: 1W
Pied Wagtail: 2 SE
Siskin: 1E
Common Gull: 140 E (probably local foraging)
Chaffinch: 78 all E or W
Goldfinch: 2
Meadow Pipit: 6
Woodpigeon: 72 (mainly South)

Tuesday November 10th 2009 - Burton in Kendal 0820 -0930hrs Wind: light variable Movement: Thrushes all South all other movements South unless stated. I had actually call it a day with vismig, but Dave kindly rang me at 0810hrs to alert me to a movement of Fieldfare, which I quickly responded and went out in the garden and it was noticeable that straight away large parties where going through all South. This was great but petered out within about 45mins. Fieldfare:985 13parties,best:220,180,200,150) Redwing:14, Starling: 100 (60NW & 40 SE), Chaffinch: 34 Goldfinch: 2 Greenfinch: 2 Common Gull: 20 Linnet: 12N Woodpigeon: 6 Pied Wagtail: 1 also Leighton Starling roost yesterday evening 11th Nov 2009, I counted in at 20,000 approx..
Monday November 9th 2009 - Hutton Roof Cumbria.
Wind: Little and variable
Thrushes mainly West
Starlings: mainly SE
Finches: all E or W
Gulls: all SE

A few Fieldfare in first 1/2 hour. Best was a party of immature Whoopers at 0718hrs. Also Skylark (first for about a month)..

Fieldfare: 322 (11 parties: best 30,50,90) 15 SE all others West
Redwing: 50 E (just one party)
Chaffinch: 55 either E or W
Starling: 77 (8W all others SE) also 3630 ex roost at 0723hrs all South West.
Whooper Swan: 7 Immatures from SE (Kirkby Lonsdale) to my NW and then on reaching Burton deviated South (0718hrs).
Woodpigeon: 143 all SE
Common Gull: 113 all SE (possibly local)
Pied Wagtail: 2
Skylark: 1 S
Greenfinch: 1W
Siskin: 1
Meadow Pipit: 1
Linnet: 1
Mistle Thrush: 1

Thats it for me! another years vismig finished...

Sunday November 8th 2009 - Hutton Roof, Cumbria.
Wind: East 8-10 mph

Fieldfare: 10 (9S)
Redwing: 20 S
Chaffinch: 48 (either W or E)
Pied Wagtail: 7
Woodpigeon: 15 (SE)
Greenfinch: 1E
Goldfinch: 2W
Starling: 89 (all East, best party 60) also: 5,400 (ex roost party all SE)

also Green Woodpecker.

Sat November 7th 2009 - Hutton Roof, Cumbria.
Wind: SW 8mph
Thrushes: all NW
Starlings: all SE
Finches: all E or mainly W
All others South unless stated otherwise.

Fieldfare: 167
Redwing: 71
Starling: 127 E (8,40,70,3,6) also 9300 ex roost
Chaffinch: 39
Greenfinch: 2
Woodpigeon: 17
Common Gull 1E
Pied Wagtail: 1 SE
Siskin 1
Jay 1

Friday November 6th 2009 - Hutton Roof, Cumbria.
Wind: SW 5 mph
Thrushes: at first all West and later all East/NE/SE
Finches: E or W
Starlings: South East

Today there was a little Thrush movement especially with Fieldfares, but certainly not a move of urgency, just ambling along, unsure... A pair of Yellowhammers to E. Nice Starling Ex Roost parties.

Fieldfare: 1675 (25 parties, best: 120,140,100,140,200,140,100) All W at first then from 0730hrs all E/NE or SE.
Redwing: 116 (6 parties, best: 50,30,12) All W at first then from 0730hrs all E/NE or SE
Starling: 302 (11 parties mainly SE but odd parties NW) also Ex Roost today: at least 12,000 SE
Chaffinch: 84 (either E or W)
Redpoll: 6 (1W others E)
Brambling: 8 (1,4,1,2 all E)
Meadow Pipit: 13
Woodpigeon: 105 (40,60,5) all SE
Greenfinch: 8 (1E all others W)
Goldfinch: 10 (3E all others W)
Siskin: 2 E
Reed Bunting: 1 E
Yellowhammer: 2 E (paired)

Sparrowhawk: 1
Kestrel: 1
Jay: 1

Thr Nov 5th 2009 - Hutton Roof Cumbria.
Wind: W 3mph
all Thrushes mainly SW, with odd party W
all finches either E or W
Starlings: 99% South East
Woodpigeon: South West
Pied Wagtail & Meadow Pipit always SE
all others South unless stated.

Some Fieldfare were moving during first hour and then stopped. Rolling mist kept coming up from the Lune Valley to the East and would at times fog out, but would clear within 10 minutes, this happened 3 times whilst on count.

Fieldfare: 465 (12 parties: 40,12,16,20,50,6,80,50,70,20,60,40) one party West all others South West
Redwing: 6 W (3,3)
Starling: 337 (all SE) also ex roost party today 3,700 (0721hrs). again all SE
Brambling: 9 (3W 6E)
Chaffinch: 60 E or W
Woodpigeon: 97 all S or SW best parties: 40,24,20)
Redpoll: 9 (2,2,5)
Meadow Pipit: 6
Linnet: 3
Pied Wagtail: 1
Blackbird: 1W
Mistle Thrush: 1W
Siskin: 1W
Greenfinch: 2E
Pink Footed Goose: 200 approx, one skein N at 0922hrs.

Older counts (September, October and November) at Hutton Roof can be seen by clicking on this link: