Monday, 30 April 2012

"Spikey Head" and the First Early Purples now starting to show...

(Please click over photos to enlarge)
0545hrs-0700hrs: Its Monday again and where are these days going - so fast! Well it had blown a terrible wind yesterday, one of those winds which has produced problems. Certainly done some structural damage up and down as I have already witnessed. But its played havoc with the freshly blooming cherry and apple blossoms, with lots of the flower crop blown off and lying in the roadside gutters, along with branches, twigs scattered everywhere along the country lanes etc.

Chiffchaffs singing this morning were: Vicar, Lee and Storm.

0900hrs-1100hrs: Walk from Plain Quarry to Trig and back.
Both Dalton Chiffs at Plain Quarry where singing both Craig and Craggy, with Craggy singing from way back on the Crag House side (East), never seen so far back before. Also Craig is calling slightly different tones instead of the regular Chiff Chaff, its more a "Tif Tu" sort of call.

I thought whilst at the car park I had a Redstart calling, with the "houwit" followed bya few quietish ticks, but on checking it turned out to be a Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff. Unless of course there was a Redstart somewhere behind the little Warbler!

The Tree Pipits are doing OK, and I am sure the Cuckoo will be appreciating that!
I had the usual pairs at Crag House side (East) also on entering upper Dalton (deforested)a pair immediately to the left (sort of between where the charcoal burners where and the clump of trees at the start on the left side), then a further pair at the "line of trees" on the first bend, then a further pair midway where again the track bends to the left and in the trees there, also a further pair is near the Shrike tree and above.

Cuckoo this morning calling from its normal area across the top, just before the Common starts.

Took a photo of a tree stump full of "Cladonia Lichen" (see photo left, click over to enlarge), which at first I christened "Spikey Head", then I thought of it has a "spikey mushroom perhaps". Also this morning near the Trig I had my first flowering Early Purple Orchid (see photo, and click over photo to enlarge). If you would like to see more of the "Spikey Head" photos, please click here and then select your photo and then move curser to top left corner of photo and then click on zoom for supersize.

Called off on way back at Copse, just after Nineteen Trees, just before you go into Dalton Hamlet and here had about three Blackcaps singing and sure also I had a Garden Warbler, but sadly never got chance to see this one. (Photo within copse is the header here, please click to enlarge)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

L. Whitethroats back, and other catch ups.

0615-0800hrs. Chiffchaff Mo calling from within Burton House grounds. Bullfinch carrying food to somewhere behind Hordley House, also Willow Warbler singing from behind the Creamery. Chiff Lee singing from within grounds of Dalton House. A new Blackcap calling from behind Crag House (Vicarage Lane). Also been hearing a Chiffchaff calling from the Old Vicarage now for about three weeks. Took this one to be Archie from Orchard Close, but now wondering if this is another bird altogether, because he does seem to be spending most of his time there, so I have now decided to call him Vicar..

I have also been told this morning that the regular Lesser Whitethroats are back breeding near Burton, along with another Tree Sparrow site and a Redstart.

0930-1030hrs. Walk from Plain Quarry to Trig and return.
Cold and Windy. Did not hear the Cuckoo this morning, but there again it was windy up there and you where struggling to hear anything... Tree Pipits OK, a couple of Meadow Pipits still going through North.

Must soon get down to checking out any Redstarts and still struggling to find anymore Garden Warblers in Dalton.

Been looking along the path for the Hairy Rockcress, but at present not much evidence. I think I recorded it in full bloom last year around the 4-6th of May. So I do hope its going to come through OK, but it was in such a vunerable place on the footpath at Dalton, a footpath regularly traversed by the cattle..

Thanks for reading my blog and have a great weekend.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Cuckoo has arrived in Dalton.

0900hrs - Great to see three House Martins back on territory at Dalton. Also calling was Chiffchaff Dale in the Dalton area. Still so quiet with the Swallows. At Russell Farm, Dalton they normally have about 20-30 breeding birds (which usually produce up to 60/70 birds during a given season, and which normally would have been back long ago by now (eg: around the 7th-10th April) and yet they have still only got four birds back.

0935hrs Dalton (Plain Quarry) to Trig Point on Hutton Roof and return.

I had been kindly informed earlier in the day that the "Cuckoo" had arrived back on the upper Dalton (last years arrival date was May 4th 2011). And before long I could hear it making it's familiar call "Cuc-koo" and it was within a couple hundred yards to where it regular arrives. I soon caught sight of the bird and did manage to get a photo -(although quite distant).

On the way up I had Chiffchaff Craig near the Car Park, and Chiff Henry from far lower down. Willow Warblers throughout, Blackcap just above the Car Park, in fact there are two or three from around this area. Still not seen the re-appearance of the Garden Warbler.

The most beautiful calls and their special "parachuting" displays of our Tree Pipits could be heard and seen, when half way up the Crags to the right hand side. And at all usual points in the Dalton (deforested/upper).

Also Linnets (2) Meadow Pipit (2) and several Redpoll calls going overhead North on passage.

Great also to find out that "Tree Sparrows" are breeding in the Burton area.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A new Garden Warbler in Lancelot

(Yesterday April 24th 2012) Went up Plain Quarry to Trig and then back down to check on the Crags close to the main road side.

Nothing much to report, but "Ground Ivy" flowers are starting to show.

(Back to today April 25th 2012) Could not find Garden Warbler at Dalton today, but did get a new one in Lancelot Clark Storth (Lower section), its more or less where it was last year. Also increased Blackcaps in the same area. Its looks like there is six pairs of Tree Pipits within Dalton. Also 5 singing Chiffchaffs in Dalton. At least 4 singing Blackcaps birds within Dalton and Willow Warblers are probably in the region of 20 singing birds in Dalton.

I noticed the Early Purple Orchids are now well on their way and several where seen just starting in flower at both The Common and Burton Fell.

Great to meet up with Alec and John from Leyland, whom I also met last year whilst looking for the Shrike. We did manage to catch up, share some funny stuff, and get some observations of the odd Tree Pipit..... hope you had a good onward rest of the day at Leighton.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Swallows still in short supply

0545hrs-0700hrs. Chiffchaff Henrietta who has only just arrived in the last few days was singing very strong, at the same place Dalton Lane junction with Nineteen Trees Lane.
0915hrs -1030hrs Had a party of four Swallows passing North overhead at Curwen Wood.
Then Plain Quarry up to Trig and back. On leaving car the new Garden Warbler that came in on Saturday was singing. All the regular, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Tree Pipits where all singing away. And on way back just before coming down to Car Park, the Garden Warbler was still singing, along with two nearby Blackcaps.
A pair of Redpoll came over heading North. Still only a few Swallows returned to breeding grounds. at Green Dragon Farm theres about two back and at Russell Farm, Dalton, theres about 6 or 7 back. Still well under norm...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Northern "Greenland" Wheatear plus other stuff

1000hrs - Did have a Blackcap singing from the borders between Pure Leisure complex and the Pine Lakes complex.

1130hrs - Just after leaving the roundabout on the A6 and heading to Burton on the A6070, within a hundred yards or so at "Tewitfields", there was a dead pheasant in the road. You may say so what, yes I agree, but has I got closer in the car, a Pied Wagtail actually flew off the dead bird to safety in the road margins! I was left wondering whether the bird was actually in the process of collecting perhaps feathers for nest building, or was there another reason!

1230-1400hrs Plain Quarry, Dalton to Trig and return.
A new Willow Warbler recorded quite near to the small copse which Chiff Henry uses.

In relation to Willow Warblers and by now having got some idea to the actual Hutton Roof (West Side) populations, I am not taking any more counts at least for a further two weeks or so, to allow all birds to find their territories, which in turn will later provide more detailed breeding evidence.

Tree Pipits calling from all usual spots including a further singing bird on the Crag House side just over the boundary wall. In the deforested, there were singing birds from the bottom on entry and also at 1/3rd way up on the "line of Trees", there was another singing from the "shrike tree".

The "Northern Greenland Wheatear" (see notes below) have I think now dispersed, after a thorough search. Although I did actually see a Wheatear on the SE side wall, it was only there for literally seconds, and was not able to get any further detail. Obviously this could have been a local breeder, just did not get enough details to form any opinions.

Also had my first for the year "Speckled Wood Butterfly" from within the Beech woods to the East of Dalton.

On way back had two new singing Chiffchaff in Dalton, one just lower down than the Henridding turn off and the other at the corner junction where Dalton Lanes joins "Nineteen Trees Lane".

Now in regards to the Greenland Wheatear, in my past notes I have actually been calling them "Northern" birds when I should have been calling them "Northern Greenland Wheatear" eg: Of the family "leuccorrhoa - leuccorrhoa". And even now I am calling them Northern Greenlands they could even be of the race which breeds in Iceland, but in my judgement I am convinced that the birds "calling in" at Dalton are of this sub-race. I did see them last year and again this year I am seeing them quite regular at the moment. In my opinion these birds are definately not local breeding stock of the "oenanthe" european race.

Perhaps this year in particular the birds may be a little early, but if so it would only be about 5 days or one week earlier than they would be normally be recorded and these April 20+ dates are actually spot on to the dates when I use to observe them on a regular annual basis back down in East Lancashire.

It is a difficult species or sub species to be exact, but I do tend to go from the "actual" behaviour of the N. Greenlands which can be certainly quite different from our "oenanthe" breeding birds. So besides behaviour I also get other ideas from eg: plumage, which can be slightly different, size, stance, and fairly important stuff too like group arrival times and the beaviour as a group. It does take lots of time and patience but well worth it. Its probably not as scientific has most would like, but thats how its always worked for me, and usually seems to be OK.

"In the field with this sub species (leuccorrhoa) there is no dead cert giveaways!!" but lots of possible indicators..

Saturday, 21 April 2012

First Garden Warbler has now arrived at Dalton.

0820hrs-1000hrs. Plain Quarry, Dalton to Trig and return.
First Garden Warbler returned and singing away continuously. I would expect at least a further 6 or 7 will come in over the next few days. The Tree Pipits singing in the Crag House side of Dalton Crags. Also a pair singing at the bottom of Dalton (upper/deforested) and another couple present midway up. Probably also a pair at the top. 4 Northern Wheatear again present, these may well be the birds which where present yesterday, because they were very close (within 50 yards)of where they were yesterday. But I have to say that one of the birds stood out very much to be very dusky in plumage, and certainly did not hold the usual magnificence of colour as you would expect in this species. If they were the same birds as yesterday I spent enough time checking them out and would have thought I would have picked up on this particular bird. So this is making me wonder whether they are new birds or had I missed "the dusky one" yesterday.

Whilst stood motionless as you do when your trying to check out the Wheatear. Knowing they just cannot resist checking you out! and its a game of patience but usually reveals how many are about..., but by a stroke of luck two Skylarks came plummeting down, after chasing one another around, and within about 20 yards of me oblivious to my presence and one of the birds started displaying. Its head crest feathers seemed super erect, and its head started bobbing up and down, similar to what you might see in a Common Sandpiper, and alternatively it also start bobbing and dipping its rear end. Something I've never been fortunate to see before.

Friday, 20 April 2012

More "Northern Wheatear" and increased Tree Pipits

0545-0700hrs: Still lots of sentinel Blackbirds singing from on top of their "blossom" trees and the odd Song Thrush in competition from across the road on nearby chimney pots. One's so sweet to the left ear and the other is so sweet to ones right ear.. They are there on most days, well at least in the case of the Blackbird and its always a great pleasure to be able to shout up to them "Good Morning, and how are you this morning". It always suprises me, how when the bird is singing away like this so early in the morning it will let you walk under its tree, as though you was'nt there. But at any other time of the day, its away fleeing your presence with haste!

Had plenty more Willow Warblers on my travels this morning with new calling birds from Hordley House gardens, Dalton Hall area, Crag Bank (Vicarage Rd area) and Church Bank area. Also Chiffs (Victor or Vicky) from back of Crag Bank and also Claw from nearby Clawthorpe Hall.

Just been checking out my dairies and noticed last year that there was a surge of Garden Warblers came in around Good Friday, which was April 22nd last year. So anyday now!

(0900hrs-1115hours) The only Chiff not back yet from last years list was Henry of (Near to Henridding), well guess what! he's arrived and singing merrily away this morning. He probably has been here a while and just gone unnoticed.

Tree Pipit numbers are slightly up again with two birds to the right hand side of the car park (Crag House side), and had five singing in the Dalton (upper/deforested) area. Still to check out another couple of areas where they could well be present.

Another good morning with a further four "Northern Wheatear" arrived (two males and two females) again on the Dalton (upper).

Sky singing happily away with lots of "Swallow" and "Tree Pipits" within her repertoire. Willow Warblers must be at their peak now, I had 22 singing birds (thats just around the Car Park area and Crag House side open area, 7 birds actually within the Crags direct walk up, and the rest to the side of the path going up through the (deforested/upper).

Thursday, 19 April 2012

More Tree Pipits and Willow Warblers.

0515hrs. Dawn chorus is going strong but definately phasing out by 0545hrs. Had Chiffchaff "Lee" singing away from somewhere around Thornleigh/Dalton House.
0915hrs-1100hrs. Went through Dalton Crags (Crag House side) and up to top of Crags, then into (upper/deforested) to Trig and a little area on the common, back down to Dalton, and down checking out the (Nineteen Trees) side of Dalton and back.
Had 20 calling Willow Warblers in the Dalton areas. Had another 5 calling to the W & NW sides of the Trig Point (close). On way up had a Swallow but not going North, it had decided to go back South (only temporarily I'm sure!!). Odd Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Redpoll all heading North, and 7 Siskin (2 parties passing over to the East.

The Tree Pipits of Dalton.
"His song is so beautiful, so special,
It blends with, and matches his territory,
So lonesome, singular, descending with,
Such windborn parachuting elegance"
You are truly a great Lark,
Who always returns to his high tree..."
BJY (Apr 15th 2011).

Tree Pipits now up to 5 in Dalton. Resident Chiffchaffs calling eg: (Craig,Craggy and Summer). I had just written in my diary "still no Blackcap near to old summer house" and guess what! the ink had not dried before who should start calling but the Blackcap in question...
Expecting soon the resident Garden Warblers and possibly the Cuckoo!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Smart *** Gets the Whistle! + updates

(0545hrs) The "dawn chorus" is almost finished by this time having gone a little earlier every morning, and all you are hearing by 0545hrs is a finishing off.
(1120hrs) Had a walk from Plain Quarry up to Trig and across "the roof and back".Very windy this morning and pointless trying to listen out for new Warblers. Did have a few Willow Warblers and Craig the Chiffchaff at Plain Quarry but everywhere else everything was quiet, no calling Tree Pipits, Meadow Pipits, Warblers anywhere other than already mentioned. Absolutely quiet... Did find some new sites for 3/4 there "Early Purple Orchids". Also lots of Wood Sorrell showing on the Roof along with hotspots of "primula". God willing, see what tomorrow brings.

SMART *** GETS THE WHISTLE….. (true story)

Smart *** has been seen again on his regular patch at Hutton Roof and guess what? He now has a story about the guy with a whistle, who had lost his wife. So the tale begins about 200 yards away from the Trig Point where Smart *** kept hearing a random loud pitched whistle going off intermittent, from somewhere in the direction of the Trig.

(Smart *** says) “good morning” to a man and women who had three or four dogs, and the couple were passing whilst on the narrow footpath, and wanted to stop and chat with smart ***

(The couple said) “ Well theres a guy up there at the Trig Point and he is very worried because he has lost his wife! He does seem distressed!

(Smart *** says), I thought I could hear distress whistles from way back. O Ek, I’ll dash along and see if there is anything I can do! Bye,

On reaching the Trig Point, there he is, sat down quite casually eating his butties and having a cup of coffee. But he did not seem too distressed, well not yet anyway…..

(Smart *** says), Hello, how are you?

(Man at Trig whos lost is wife says), OK I suppose, but I’ve lost the wife, we did not know which footpath to take, so she took the high road and I took the low, but its ages ago and god only knows where she is.

Smart *** says) I could hear you blowing the distress whistle from way back down there, (then jokingly, smart *** continued)… and I can honestly say it’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone calling in is wife with a whistle!

Smart *** (then back to serious talk, continues) “You know it might be better off if you blow your whistle with six loud intermittent calls, and then folk will take it more serious for a distress call!

(Man at Trig whose lost is wife says) But I don’t have a whistle! , the whistle you must have heard would be that couple who’s just passed with their dogs.

What a “nelly” Smart *** must have felt! Bye the way his wife did eventually turn up.

Monday, 16 April 2012

"Northern Wheatear arrival" plus more Tree Pipits

0800hrs (yesterday - Sun Apr 15th 2012) A Swallow now back on territory at Green Dragon Farm, Burton In Kendal.
1300hrs: Single Swallow over Carnforth Train Station heading North.
1600-1800hrs (yesterday - Sun Apr 15th 2012)
Had a walk around Clawthorpe etc. A unrecorded "Chiffchaff" singing out of Sexton Haigg, also two Chiffs singing from Holme Quarry Nature Reserve, as also recorded last year. And also on the nature reserve was a Blackcap singing. 2 Willow Warblers calling from fields across from Clawthorpe Hamlet, also one as you start to go on to Clawthorpe Fell.

(Back to today - Monday April 16th 2012)
0545-0715hrs. A more subdued early "dawn chorus". Two new Willow Warblers near to the Tanpits at Burton. also one at Hawthorn Bank (Vicarage Lane). Also new Blackcaps singing away at Henridding and also at Pipers Lane (Clawthorpe). A single Swallow flew North over Burton Church at around 0710hrs. Also informed that several breeding Swallows returned to Russell Farm, Dalton over the weekend. Shortly going up Dalton and Hutton Roof, checking out for new arrivals etc. will report back soon.

A lovely suprise was to see a group of eight confirmed, but could have been more, "Northern Wheatear" which were half way up on the Dalton (upper/deforested). I was watching them for ages, absolutely beautiful plumages, more erect in stance as usual, and perhaps a little larger.

I remember in the 80s, it was always my cue to go and check out the Dotterel sites, because whenever I had parties of "Northern Wheatears", there where on most occasions, accompanied by Trips of Dotterel on passage, this was the case on the Haslingden/Oswaldtwistle Moors, dont know whether or not it happened on Pendle. I dont know whether the situation is the same up here in North Lancs/Cumbria, but can't see why not!!

Also another two singing Tree Pipits have now arrived, this time at the usual place in the Dalton (upper/deforested).
I have also done counts of Willow Warbler arrivals, but from up close to the Trig and also close in to the boundary wall on the East Side. Just in this little area I had 14 singing birds, within 2/300 yards of the Trig. And a further 29 singing birds along the East side boundary wall areas. Thats already totals 43 birds with only a small proportion of the Common as yet counted.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Tree Pipits return to Dalton and more Swallows..

Another Chiffchaff is present in the small copse on the RH side of Dalton Lane, (just before Dalton House) where the footpath on the right hand takes you to Cote Green. This is again a breeder from last year and come back to the same site.

Last couple of days the "dawn chorus" have been more subdued and the lead choristers have gone missing. Also our male from our pair in the garden seems to have been seen far less. But I think what it is, is that the young are now in the nest and he is spending more time flying out to other gardens lawn areas to get small worms and grubs etc for the young birds and he is leaving the easy option fruit in our garden just for his own and the females feed.

A Early frost and a little colder this morning. And so welcome news a couple of Tree Pipits are back to the Crag House side of Plain Quarry Car Park and displaying well. None yet made it back to the Dalton (upper) yet.

Both Chiffchaffs in Dalton could be heard singing, and altogether in the Dalton SE side produced 11 singing Willow Warblers. On the Common near the Trig there was a further two singing, Lancelot and Burton Willows seemed far more subdued in their calling today and instead of their full on "crescendo" call, there was more "hoowhit" contact calls. Even so I did manage to count 9 Willow Warblers in Lancelot and at least 10 birds calling from Burton Fell which did include at least 5 new areas.

Two of the Three Chiffs in Burton Fell were singing away.
Two of the Blackcaps in Lancelot were singing and another new one has moved into another new site which was used last year in Pickles Wood, near to the Cul de Sat (deer gate area), although I am having to reserve confirmation just in case this is one out of the three birds moved from Pickles. Lancelots Chiffs all calling from there fixed territories.

Still odd Meadow Pipits going through including a party of 6N.

1240hrs: A party of 5 Swallow heading North seen over "Whassett" Nr. Milnthorpe.

1600hrs: A pair of Swallows going over Vic Lane, Burton In Kendal towards East.

Walk around Hilderstone and Tarn Lane produced: Two Chiffchaffs - One on railway side near to dogs kennels and another on the Canal side at the bridge Nr. Yealand. Also and Blackcap calling (usual breeder just here), also several Willow Warblers calling from here. Also whilst coming past Morewood School in Burton - Archie the Chiffchaff was singing from one of the front blossom trees.

Friday, 13 April 2012

First Swallow at last!

0535-0700hrs Good sounding "Dawn Chorus".
Been up to Keswick today and had my first Swallow sat on the telegraph wires closeby a farmyard at Whasset Near Milnthorpe.
Old sketch of Swallows but hopefully appropriate.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Now 37 Willow Warblers & 4 Blackcaps.

Good Dawn chorus. Chiffchaff "Dale" was calling near to Dalton Hall and also Chiffchaff "Claw" was calling from Near Clawthorpe Hall.
Just a quick walk from Plain Quarry to Trig, Lancelot, Burton Fell, part Lancelot (lower)and back.
At Dalton: Chiffchaffs Craig and Craggy both calling from territory. 4 Willow Warblers present in Lower Dalton. Also 3 calling close to Trig Point. Upper Lancelot numbers have swelled from yesterday to 8 singing birds. Burton Fell numbers swelled to 17 singing birds. Chiffchaffs usual 3 others dispersed. Also in Lower Lancelot a further 3 Willow Warblers (already recorded). Also a further two Blackcap recorded at Pickles (Lancelot) bring the total in this small area now to 3 singing birds. A new Willow Warbler calling from Slape Lane. Also Chiffchaff "Slap" calling from Slape Lane.

Totals today: Willow Warblers: Dalton 5, The Common 3, Lancelot 11, Burton Fell 17, Slape: 1 - Grand Total: 37 birds.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

More Willows! and time for Toothwort.......

I am going to have to find time anyday now to check out some of the "Toothwort" sites on the other side of the A6. I have found it at "White Moss/Thrang, Eaves Wood, etc. But I have also been given a old list of sites for this species which I want to check out and record.

0545-0700hrs. A crackin "dawn chorus" as usual. Also Chiffchaff "Mo" was singing away from behind Hordley House (Burton), perhaps nearer to the rear of the Old Creamery. Also early doors, Chiff "Storm" was also singing away behind Russell Farm at Dalton.

0845hrs-1145hrs. Plain Quarry to Trig, then Lancelot, Burton Fell, Lancelot, Storth and back to Dalton.
There had been some good falls of Willow Warblers in the night, on both Lancelot (upper and lower) and also Burton Fell (middle to lower). The arrival count now stands at: Lancelot (14 calling birds) Burton Fell (14 calling birds) and Dalton (3 calling birds) in total to press 31 calling birds.

Most of the established Chiffchaffs were calling. Miss A Note whilst on territory at Pickles in Lancelot called today with her miss a beat eg: Da Dum Chi Chif, chaf Dum chiff chaff etc...

The quantity already arrived is probably near its limits for Lancelot, but I would expect quite a lot more birds yet on upper Burton and for Dalton throughout.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

4 New Willow Warblers arrived at Dalton.

0545hrs Good dawn chorus.
0845hrs Decided to check out Dalton proper for warblers. The westerley winds today fairly strong and far too noisy to pick up Warblers in the upper areas so decided to stay in the bottom with Dalton. Other than Craig and Craggy (Chiffchaffs) there was nothing calling from around the Plain Quarry area at first!! (come back). Checked out the East side, and a new Willow Warbler had arrived and singing, right to the far (road side) corner before the fields to Crag House. A possible new Blackcap was calling from near to where the high seat is situated above Plain Quarry. Not sure about this one it could well be "Cap" which I had the other day from the Dalton clearing which is only about 200 yards away. Summer (chiffchaff) was calling from near to the summer house, along with another newcomer quite close. This one has not been in that area before. On arriving back to the clearing area another Willow Warbler was singing quite close to the Hazel sprigs just where the rock clearing is. And then finally before heading down to the car park there was another two singing there, but these where not singing on my outward, so whether they had already arrived and pretty subdued or had they come in over the hour or so I was elsewhere!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Hoowhitt - who dunnit? Still waiting for Willows

0545-0700hrs Light Rain continuous and still at it now at 1138hrs. Still got a great dawn chorus.

0830hrs-1100hrs. Checked all round at the Plain Quarry areas, but still no Willow Warblers, still just the one Blackcap, and no Tree Pipits yet. And the position remains exactly the same in both Burton and Lancelot locations, with the exception of the already definate 4, but probably 5/6 Willow Warblers at upper Burton Fell,which arrived on Good Friday (just out of interest, this site also produced the very first WW's last year in almost the exact spot), plus "Black" the Blackcap, already recorded since Good Friday, "Black" which was again singing well this morning from out of Pickles Wood in Lancelot his long established territory.

By this time last year I'd already had over 30 calling Willow Warblers just from Dalton areas up towards the Trig. Also by now my first Tree Pipit had already arrived. And for me I'm still struggling to get a Swallow, whereby I'd had four already by March 25th. Its as though this year there is a definite "block" somewhere delaying some of the arrivals.

Whilst climbing Dalton (upper) this morning, Sky (the Skylark from over the wall on the Crag House side, whom always comes up everyday as you enter Dalton upper. Well today I had to stop in my tracks to listen to her as she included in her repertoire quick snatches of both "Tree Pipit's" descending crescendo and also part calls of "Alba Wagtail" amongst a multitude of other stuff).

Chiffchaffs now settling down throughout within their usual recognized territories.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

No more Willow Warblers yet. 6 at the earlier fall point or nearabouts

1030hrs-1330hrs. Plain Quarry via Dalton Crags to Trig, Burton Fell, Lancelot Clark Storth, Pickles Wood, Storth Wood and back to Dalton Crags.
Chiffchaff Craig was singing well, Chiffchaff Craggy also singing away. Blackcap not back on Whittington side. A possible new Willow Warbler in top of Lancelot, but not too sure it could well be a dispersed bird from the earlier fall and probably some 300 yards away from main fall area. On getting down to Burton there was five separate birds calling from 546778 & 545778, still had not dispersed outside of 50 yards radious, other than maybe the Lancelot bird. Not one of the five Chiffchaffs calling today from Burton Fell. Proceeded into Lancelot from Slape Ln/Curwen Seat "Miss A Note" was singing away and also Clarky from their usual breeding grounds. Lance not singing, unless it had gone well back onto Pickles Wood side, because there was one there singing. Going through Storth, none of the three recorded where singing, but Summer was singing near the Summer House ruins.

So probably no new Willow Warblers and both Blackcaps silent today.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Coal Tits mimic Chiffchaff and Blackcap returned to Dalton.

0615hrs-0730hrs. Patchy and subdued dawn chorus. Lots of group calls from sentinel Collard Doves singing in harmony whilst each sat on the chimney stacks of houses in Burton Close.

Mo has returned overnight and is now singing away from Hordley House gardens. Still no Henry or Victor! all the others back in and on their territories.

0830-1100hours - from Plain Quarry to Trig and back through Lancelot, Storth and return to Dalton. Straight away after leaving car park Chiffchaff Craig was calling from straight in front on the Crags (his normal territory). And then just going through opening into clearing before starting to climb the Crags, I head two more Chiffchaffs singing (new ones I think) or unless one is Craggy, because I have not had him for a few days now. But singing to the far right hand side and also yet another one further down to the LH side on pathway towards Nineteen Trees. Also here just before climbing the Crags a new overnight Blackcap has arrived and singing. Still no Willow Warblers anywhere other than the ones I had yesterday on Burton. Lots of Redpoll present and some moving overhead North. Just two Meadow Pipits North in over one hour. A new Chiffchaff has now arrived near to cowpens in Lancelot, almost same place has last year (545772) also besides "Storm" two more Chiffchaffs have now arrived in Storth Wood, making the full compliment to last year. Right next to a singing Chiffchaff was a singing Coal Tit mimicking the Chiff Chaff sound, and then its friends (other Coal Tits) started to do it also. Never heard that one before, but they were very good and from a distance you could be "mistaken into thinking" - almost!! Also Goldcrest calling from within Storth. Chiffchaff Summer calling from usual spot.

1500hrs. Just put the above light hearted sketch on to represent, "If only visible migration was like that" and the birds actually waved banners as they went past telling you who they were! A wouldnt need to learn the "Jizz" or the flight contact calls and all the other stuff as well!!

The reason I've put this on is that I have just found out about a "plane" site called "skyspy" and after you have downloaded a app, you point your mobile phone towards the plane in the sky and it then tells you on the screen what sort of plane it is and where its from and where its going etc!

I'll stick with what I know, thank you.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Willow Warblers and Blackcap have arrived

0545hrs-0700hrs. Good dawn chorus. Chiffchaff "Pear" had returned overnight and was singing away near Pear Tree Cottage in Dalton Hamlet.

0800hrs - 0930hrs. Plain Quarry to Trig, and return via Burton Fell, Lancelot.
The weather for movement was without doubt the best day for at least 3-4 weeks, cloudy throughout with a Westerley wind of 4-8 mph. Meadow Pipits were definately on the move today and the few I had showed some large parties. I had a total of 52 over one hour approx (under count) and these came through in parties or singles as follows: 4,10,1,8,2,1,4,4,2,9,7. Also again several Redpoll, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Linnet. No Willow Warbler arrivals in Dalton. Without doubt the best areas to actually watch the Mipits come through is to the left side of the gate which goes from the Dalton (upper) on to the Common. Quite close to the new gate been put up for entry from the Common to Lancelot. (SD5547874 and below at 553774 and further below at 552775). This is definately the main flightpath at this side of Hutton Roof.

It was really good news however, with a Willow Warbler overnight fall, with a confirmed 4 birds (with a possibly up to 8) all within about 50 yards of large boulder (top side) in Burton Fell., obviously they had just come in together overnight and had not yet had time to disperse.

4 Chiffchaffs singing away in Burton Fell, and all 3 present in Lancelot including "Miss A Note".
Also had first singing "Blackcap" which came in overnight at Pickles Wood in Lancelot

Thursday, 5 April 2012

More Chiffchaffs, but still no Willow Warblers.

0845hrs-1100hrs. Plain Quarry to Trig, then down through Burton Fell, cross from Slape up into Lancelot Clark Storth, then from there down through Storth, and through Dalton Crags back to Plain Quarry.

After parking car, I heard Chiffchaff Craig singing away from just behind car park, also there was some Goldcrest singing away.
13 Fieldfare crossed over to the East through Dalton Crags (upper). 7 Meadow Pipits went North through Dalton (upper)over a period of 1 1/2hours. Very quiet up there no sound from the breeding Mipits around the Trig Point, but lots of sound from nearby Chaffinch with that familiar "sheh,sheh,sheh,sheh,sheh,sheh (called ever so fast) and then finishing off with "Is it you?" also some were doing their "pink" call.

Another Chiffchaff has arrived in Burton Fell, bringing the total now to six there (Bertie, Bunty, Fella, Toby, Bert and the newby Thorn.
Guess what!! "Miss A Note" as returned within Lancelot, taking the total there to three. I noticed when "Miss A Note" started singing it went something like "Chiff Chaff, didoo di chi chi" and then repeated. Crossing over and heading through Storth, it was nice to see that Chiffchaff "Storm" had arrived back overnight to the area directly behind the Dalton hamlet houses. Also on passing "Summer" was giving it plenty in her territory directly at the old Summer house ruin.
Still for me no Swallows yet, and throughout the territories this morning no Willow Warblers.

Last year several Willow Warblers had started arriving by the 4th April, with a considerable fall on 7th April.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Chiffs by Name and update

(If you want to see a higher resolution of the above sketch, please click here.
0545-0715hrs. Been very windy in night and there where twigs and branches on all the roads, lanes, paths etc, along with many upturned plastic dustbins.

The only Chiffchaff I heard this morning was Lee at (Stoneleigh) who was only making the thin "huwhit" contact call. Still waiting for Mo, Henry, Victor and Miss A Note to arrive.

The Dawn Chorus started rather subdued, probably because of the winds etc, but gradually gained pace with every bird around joining in..

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

More Chiffchaffs back on territory today.

0545hrs to 0645hrs.
Absolutely superb "Dawn Chorus" which seemed to go on over a hour and wherever I travelled around the village the chorus seemed to follow. It made me think! just how many Blackbirds have we got around here?

Chiffchaff (Dale) is back near to Dalton Hall, along with a nearby Chiffchaff (Lad), they have obviously arrived overnight. Also Slap is back and heard calling over Slape Lane towards the Vicarage Lane End. Goldcrest calling earlier from Hordley House/Burton House areas.

0730hrs. Another Chiffchaff to report, just in and new one for me to record, this time at Orchard Close and I have called him "Archie".

Monday, 2 April 2012

Late Dawn Chorus and "Claw" arrives.

0515hrs. No "Dawn Chorus", at first and thats unusual. But panic over after the ten minutes delay, obviously caused through the dark clouds present and delaying the light coming through!.

0645hrs. A new Chiffchaff arrived at "Clawthorpe Hall" (near Sunny Glen). This is a new bird to me, certainly not recorded last year and I've already christened him "Claw". Other Chiffchaffs not yet arrived back are: "Mo" (from Mowbray Drive), "Dale" from Dalton Hall, "Victor or Vikky" from Vicarage Lane, and Slap (from Slape Lane).

0845hrs. Had a walk from Plain Quarry up to Trig and back. Chiffchaff (Craig) was calling to the East side of Plain Quarry, also Goldcrest calling from the same area. Also Jay, Greater Spotted Woodpeckers (2), Green Woodpeckers (yafflers 2), Alba Wagtail (1), Redpoll (4) plus only 7 Meadow Pipits through over a couple of hours. Even the local breeders where quiet. Still high pressure!. A new Chiffchaff calling from the East side of the Trig in the wooded area just below Ploverlands and near where the Squinancywort is. Looks like the leafage of Angular Solomans Seal is between the grykes about 200yards SSE of the Trig Point. Goldcrest in large conifers in Dalton just below where the Charcoal Burners used to be. Chiffchaff (Summer) has arrived back today and singing away Just behind old Summer House Ruins.

1540hrs approx. Sadly saw a fresh Barn Owl casualty in the hard shoulder approx 1/2 mile Southbound of the Forton Services where just at the back is a water area, eg: a reservoir or lake which is screened with conifers.