Thursday, 30 August 2012

Autumn Gentians and Bird Movements starting.

Today I found some more Autumn Gentians on Hutton Roof. The top picture shows a beautiful flower, and the second plant which is "very light" has not yet opened, but would suspect that when it does it will have "white" flowers instead of the usual "magenta". The White flowers are very rare, but at this particular site there is older records of the variant. The bottom photo is showing another new plant ready to flower.

The Autumn Gentian is about the last in my flora year. Yesterday I went along to Silverdale to check out the Autumn Lady's Tresses, but none there, either they had gone over rapidly or they have just not flowered this year. So very soon now, days rather than weeks it will be back to the birding and checking out the visible migration over Hutton Roof.

Even today whilst traversing Hutton Roof, lots of birding activity was taking place. I had a passage Wheatear sat on top of the Trig Point, several small parties of Siskin moving South East, also had small parties of Swallows making their exit SE. A 30+ Meadow Pipit blogging party around the Trig Point, a 50+ blogging party of Goldfinch around the Trig Point, odd Greenfinch calling overhead. And two Ravens "cronking" whilst crossing over Hutton Roof.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

More Purple - BL Helliborines & Spotted Flys.

Above are more photos of the rare purple broad leaved helliborine found on Hutton Roof which I took yesterday.

Also whilst traversing through Lancelot Clarke Storth, at the clearing area a couple of hundred yards behind the "memorial seat", I was very privileged to watch for over 30 minutes a family party of at least 5 "Spotted Flycatchers", all calling very noisily throughout with their "tsee" contact calls and sounding not too dissimilar to a party of "Long Tailed Tits". They were constantly on the move flitting across to the bordering trees, with lots of acrobatics whilst catching their prey in mid flight. At one time all the birds were in the same tree.

Our local birds left in the middle to late July, so these birds are probably from far off lands and calling in to feed, before proceeding further on their nocturnal passage back to Africa. After checking my notes from last year I did also have a party of Spotted Flycatchers further across in Dalton on the following day last year the 25th. So its obviously a good time to catch these fabolous passage birds.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Beautiful "Purpurea" Broad Leaved Variant

This morning I went up Hutton Roof to try and get some "epichile" photos of suspected hybrids, but the breeze was too strong and I will have to try again with the tripod.

To my suprise I had missed a couple of Broad Leaved Helliborines, which sort of laid back from the rest and could easily be missed (like I did yesterday). Yet today I noticed them and what a beautiful colour.

Although the photos are not the best, I have included them here to give you some idea and will try and get up again tomorrow to take some better ones.

For now please enjoy the photos of the variant Broad Leaved Helliborine "Purpurea"


More "Helliborine" Hybrids - Generation 2 ? etc

It is now debate time yet again! I have noticed quite a lot of differences in the Broad Leaved Helliborines on Hutton Roof. In fact a few of them lend themselves to showing traces of the Dark Red Helliborine within their make-up, and as such I am beginning to now think that these could well be "Hybrids" but from the second generation with a Broad Leaved Helliborine bias.

If you are further interested in the discussion so far offered on this, you can if you wish click on the link here to follow up at the (Wild About Britain site)

Because most of the Broad Leaved have now gone over, I need to get out today and try and photo some of the "epichiles" to try and establish if we have more of these "hybrids".

I was up last on Hutton Roof on Tuesday last and was checking out the three located "Autumn Gentians" and already, the best of the three has been got at! in a very delicate fashion, perhaps nibbled by a rabbit or even a mouse, but sadly it has taken off the flower stems has can been seen in the photo.

The Squinancywort is hardly present this year compared to the past two years, when it was literally fully covering the embankment for up to 100 yards. This year there is just small sporadic amounts over a area of some 40 yards. A very bad year indeed for this species.

A flock of about fifteen birds what was thought to be Siskin, flew over heading South, and gave the immpression they were on the move. Some of the Swallows and Martins have started thinning out now.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Coffin Route Sketch - Grasmere & Willow Warbler Info

(Please click over sketch to enlarge)

Whilst travelling through Burton In Kendal this morning delivering the newspapers at the early time of about 6.10hrs I had calling "Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff" quite near to Burton House and it was making the "houwit" contact call. Without actually seeing the bird it would be difficult to confirm which of the "warblers" it was. But If I had to take a guess I would have gone for the former, which in 8 times out of 10, it would be the Willow Warbler. Also it was nice to hear (though very faint calls) the contact calls of nearby Goldcrest.

Talking about Willow Warblers, the last few days when I have been going up on Hutton Roof, I have heard several calling. Most of them were actually doing their "crescendo call" which did seem strange at this time of year.

About ten days ago there were lots of Willow Warblers at Haweswater (Silverdale), I must have counted at least 10 or more, just flitting about doing flycatching sallies amongs the lower branches of the surrounding large conifers to the back of the "boardwalk". There would I presume have been at least three separate family groups, which had probably called in during the early daylight hours to rest and feed up before setting of yet again on another stage of their nocturnal journey onwards to Africa.

Just going through some of my sketches, and noticed this one on the "Coffin Route" at Grasmere, with areas of relevance shown with gps co-ordinance etc.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Squinancywort and Autumn Gentians

I thought today I would go and check out the Autumn Gentian and the Squinancywort.

At first I was getting very worried on both accounts, because I could not find any gentian, certainly at the areas where they were last year, and although I did eventually find the squinancywort it seemed thin on the ground compared to the past couple of years.

Eventually I did also find three Gentian plants tucked away. They were just about the right stage of growth for the time of year with perhaps another week or ten days to go before they come into their prime. All three were showing their normal purplish colouring. Last years "white one" and the others last year just wernt there, but I do think that two of them got taken out with probable rabbits! Lets hope this year they might just get going. I have taken a couple of photos here but will try and get up next week and hopefully get some whilst in bloom...

Also just showing how quick the Ragwort has got hold on Dalton's "deforested".

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Epipactis Schmalhausenii the DRH and BLH "Hybrid" Sketch

Epipactis x Schmalhausenii

To check out lots more on Epipactis Schmalhauseneii see blog index.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Broad Leaved Helliborine with Over Compensated Spike

This Broad Leaved Helliborine was as you would expect about three weeks ago. A very fine specimen but the top of the spike was still limp.
On checking it out today (3 weeks later) I was so suprised to see this bunch flower head effect. On close inspection of the floret I could see evidence where the actual original spike had been munched off probably with deer. But so suprised to see how quickly new flowers had compensated and more so I would say actually over compensated with far more flowers than you would have normally had.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Broad Leaved Helliborine & Wild Onion photos

These are just a few of the photos I have taken over the past few days.
Today I had some superb Broad Leaved Helliborines, just coming in to flower. I suppose if I stare at them long enough, they seem to have little faces, and they all appear so different.

Then there is a photo of the "pavement" at Clawthorpe Fell.

Photo of the "Wild Onion" which has a terrific population down in Silverdale at about 12 yard above see level.

And to finish off a close up of a beautiful Red Clover over on Hutton Roof.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

My Bendy Entangled Whirlycurlymagig

The Bendy Entangled “Whirlycurlymagig”

You most beautiful green “whirlycurlymagig”,
A green so special, and later with yellowing and burnt,
You turn, twist, and intertwine with such ease,
You are special and have more bends in you,
You just keep bending and bending and twisting,
And curving.

You are so different, your leaves tell me so,
All they want to do is stretch out and bend over,
Until they touch the floor, many times, all over,
A true jungle within thee and stabilizers without,
You’re a totally different green to everything else,
And stand out from the rest, to the one that knows!

Your called a sedge, The Birds Foot Sedge,
In May you have a foot and its claw hooked!
Its ever so small to see, but it’s there as clear, clear can be.
“Carex Ornithopoda” is your Sunday best name.
But your not just any old “Carex”,
You are the special one, you are,
My fresh green “whirlycurlymagig”.

By Bryan Yorke
5th August 2012.

(This is one of many plants I managed to find on Friday last, but appealed to me so much because of its dense green colour which is not noticed that much, usually they have more of the lemony tinge to them- and when you looked close to it you could appreciate "the bendy entanglement")

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Catch up, and a Summary of the Helliborines Counts

Yesterday I did see a collection of at least 50 Swifts feeding up above Morecambe Golf Club.

I was fortunate to see yet another Spotted Flycatcher within the Dalton area, where I am reliably informed had bred within the area. I saw the bird on four separate mornings, the last time was the 19th July 2012. I do now think that perhaps this was the date that it moved on its return.

A couple of mornings ago, at 0608hrs I was watching "Starlings", several hundred coming over in a very straight long continuous line, ex their roost (probably Leighton Moss) and heading straight over Burton to the East, just like they do in Winter, but obviously in far less numbers, they being the local ex breeding stock. The same birds have been going to roost at approximately 2030hrs. I would expect the continentals to start to arrive sometime around early October.

Almost finished for another year monitoring the Dark Red Helliborines on Hutton Roof, I can think I can now safely say that they have gone over and dying back, although there is just the odd one or two still in reasonable flower. So far I have found and recorded a total amount of 939 plants on over nineteen pavements, and probably if and when a full survey is completed would expect on close to 1500 to 2000 plants in the Hutton Roof area, also managing to find no less than twenty two of the rare hybrids (Epipactis x schmalhausenii). Some of the hybrids have been at least one mile away from others in distance, showing they have really got hold OK, and obviously because of some areas showing closeby grouping must be considered "fertile". I have been so selective in finding these "hybrids" and have dismissed probably a further 20 or 30 which probably could have been considered within the category, thus presenting a very conservative count.

The Broad Leaved Helliborines have just started to grow fully erect and in general will be about one week to ten days away from flowering to their best. There are some magnificent stalks and flowerheads showing and I would expect it to be a fine display. The total count to press is 67 plants over nineteen pavement areas.

Another mega rare find this year were the "Hipericum perforatum montanum" (a rare hybrid of the Pale St. John's Wort.) Although I found three separate plants on only one of the pavements. Within a week or so of flowering the deer had "munched off the tops".

Lots of other stuff have been monitored eg: Angular Solomans Seal, Lily Of the Valley, Squinancywort and very soon I hope to be searching out more of the "Autumn Gentian".

Today Thursday 2nd August 2012. Its been a proper butterfly day up on Hutton Roof with quite a variant collection including: Small Heath, Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Speckled Woods, Small Bordered Fritillaries, Dark Green Fritillaries, Small Tortoiseshell, a Northern Brown Argus feeding on trefoil, and I was delighted to find my first "Gatekeeper" on HR.

At various points throughout my walk to the Rakes and back I heard Willow Warblers, some in a part song but most of them with the "houwhit call". Odd Bullfinch parties piping.

A roebuck barking its head off and quite close, we ended up staring one another out!!

"This has to be nature at its best, It's always at it's best, and so different, everyday is a new picture within the most beautiful frame upon which you may wish to find and look! To the earth from which we come, to the earth's vast splendours we shall find, and eventually to the earth we return...
In the meantime enjoy life, to its best with such splendid creations so "free" and on my doorstep.... so fortunate am I".

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Nab at Rydal and Rydal Hall

Yesterday (Tuesday 31st July 2012).

Went up to Grasmere for the day and decided to have a walk back via Dove Cottage and over the Coffin route to Rydal. After passing the "Skater's Tarn or Wordsworth Tarn", a little further on decided to take a photo of Rydal Lake, and within the photo (above) you can also see to the right hand side the top of "Nab Cottage", earlier home to Thomas de Quincey good friend of William Wordsworth and essayist who wrote "Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater (1821). He later resided at "Dove Cottage" and also held the post of Editor to the "Westmorland Gazette". Also "Nab Cottage" was to later be the home of another romantic poet "Hartley Coleridge", the son of William's friend Samuel Taylor Colleridge. Hartley died in 1849 whilst at Nab Cottage with William Wordsworth at his side.

I also took photos of Rydal Mount (Wordsworth's later home), and also Rydal Hall (the former home of the "Le Fleming" family, and also a photo of it's fabulous "Mawson (designed) Gardens". Also I could not resist taking another photo of the "The Grot and the Waterfall" which has over the years been a "great inspiration" to many a famous artist.." Also the beautiful "Angel Stone" on display.

Later leaving the hall, followed the road down to the bottom and going passed the fabulous little church on the right hand side were "Wordsworth" attended each Sunday. Within this Church the front left hand pew has a "dedication - saying that this is the pew that William Wordsworth used".

We then crossed over the main road and took the back road alongside the river towards Ambleside noticing on the way a pair of deer, with the doe and buck resting up, and reasonably well camouflaged.