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".