Monday, 6 May 2013

"One Swallow does not make a Summer -"Sightings from Bank Holiday Monday May 6th 2013 onwards

"One Swallow does not make a Summer"
Saturday May 11th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0615hrs-0730hrs (Wind: 20mph SW)
Winds still not abaiting, dark clouds and threatening rain all the time.
"Lee" Chiffchaff singing at Thornleigh.  All hirundines back hawking at Tanspits and Green Dragon. Still only the odd pair of Swallows at Russell Farm, normally would have about 17 pairs by now. And No Swifts seen this morning.

1000hrs-1700hrs and again on Sunday 1000hrs - 1700hrs 
Had a stand at the AONB Landscape Trust Ecology Study weekend at the Arnside Educational Institute and met lots of very interesting people who kindly showed interest in my artwork and projects. It was also a great pleasure to enjoy some fabulous lectures on the Saturday morning.
Stand at weekend for the AONB,- Landscape Trust - Arnside Educational Institute (photo: Brian Hancock)

Friday May 10th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 22mph W)
And still those deadly winds persist!  dark cloudy skies but improving over the hour with intermittent light blue patches forming. Evidence of rain shower during the night.
So quiet of all hirundines and possibly Swifts as well this morning.  The only one I saw was a House Martin at Dalton Barn, all the other regulars had gone missing eg: birds hawking over Tanpits, Green Dragon, Russell Farm and also Oakwood at Clawthorpe.  So were are they now?  were do they go to?  its really weird but presume they must go off to feeding grounds elsewhere!  I did notice yesterday (1300hrs) whilst coming past Pine Lakes etc that Swifts were there feeding up, I wonder sometimes if that's where the Burton hirundine's go as well, maybe to supplement!

Reliably informed that probable Northern Greenland Wheatear have arrived at Dalton overnight.

0845hrs-1030hrs (Wind: 20mph WSW) Plain Quarry to Trig and return. "Thrush Chorus"

What was so special today! well its what I would call a "Thrush Chorus", and it all started with the first resident Song Thrush having come out of refrained singing retirement. There he was at the bottom of Dalton Crags in his old favourite tree, right at the very top of the tree he sat there proudly singing away so merrily and then has you ascended the Crags further, it felt that every single Thrush in the neighbourhood were in song, The Mistle's, The Songs and The  Blackbirds, all the lot of them singing away at once, and this carried on throughout the climb of Dalton Crags (lower and upper).  It was quite extraordinary experience to hear this.
The Cuckoo was present and seen to the left side behind Wheatear Plain in Dalton (upper), and then he moved across to the Cuckoo Tree, but again very quiet, at best you got a one off single faint "Cuc - koo", and the only other part song uttered was a single "Cuck" and that was that.
Could not find the Northern Greenland Wheatear, he could well have hopped over the borders!
The Early Purple Orchids although very late are now beginning to show with some good specimens especially over the wall into Crag House side.  They have shot up from nothing, only days ago some of them on the Common were about 2" in stalk with no flower, the same today are about 5" in budding stalk with lots of magenta bursting through - a remarkable recovery!

Thursday May 9th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 18-20mph SSE)
Skies pretty clear and sun starts to break through at about 0645hrs, but yet we still have this niggling continual daily wind persisting and looking at the outlook over the next seven days it looks very much like its going to stay with us.
A few Swallows at Green Dragon, Russell Farm, Oakwood Farm, Clawthorpe Hall.  Two Chaffinch were fighting one another and just did not want to get out of the road, I had to almost stop before they moved on, their minds were totally fixed on fighting their opponent and giving no care to the dangers of the road.  I have seen so many birds killed like this especially with Blackbirds and Blue Tits.

Here's a ditty for a day
for you to fly another day - 
Cock Chaffinch
He fight to the death that Robin,
Seen Blue Tits fight so bad,
But the worst are the blackbirds,
Even the Chaffinch are scrapping,
Wouldn’t get out of the road,
Tussel and roll like a ball,
From this side to that.
Then hackles raised meant business,
Leap to spar in mid air clash,
To interested in his opponent,
Now no caution or adherence,
Senses blinkered if not gone,
One challenge uses all life at once.
Who calls the bluff, whose weakness,
Who gives for just that split second,
All now will be over, for both,
The victor and the flee-er,

0930hrs-1030hrs (Wind: 25mph South) Plain Quarry to Trig and return. "Burtons Swifts"

By the start all sunshine and clear skies had disappeared, it was grey cloud throughout with just a speck of rain in the air, but never did anything throughout, although the wind made up for it with gusty cold winds up to 25 mph. drowning out most of the birdsong.  Although after saying that, one place at the top of the lower crags seemed slightly sheltered from those piercing winds and seizing the moment the local breeding Tree Pipits burst into song in crescendo whilst beautifully displaying its angled dissent flight - what a spectacle!

On way out I think I possible saw what may have been the return of the Burton Swifts, not sure though, just saw the one which came out from the side of the buildings were I live, but probably there would have been more just at the point where I could not see around the corner.  Hawking low and local giving the appearance that the local birds where back in town (I meant village!). They certainly never showed earlier this morning, so think that possibly they may have just arrived.  Will try and get confirmation later in the day. 

Wednesday May 8th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 14mph E)
Wind again got stronger, grey skies, looks like rain is on the horizon.
"Mo" the Chiffchaff was singing from somewhere around Burton House. Good Swallow numbers over Green Dragon Farm, still low numbers of Swallows at Russell Farm. New Willow Warbler singing from behind Crag Bank (Vicarage Lane). Odd Swallows around Clawthorpe Hall and over Oakwood Farm.

Tuesday May 7th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0700hrs (Wind: 6mph E)

A nice clear sky morning, very cold at first, starting to warm up by 0700hrs.
Received text yesterday from Mavis Smith down in Darwen to say she had hirundines coming through in large parties of 200-300 at a time heading WNW, with smaller numbers North.  I was over at the Wray Scarecrow Festival and saw very little in the way of passage hirundines over there, although I was lucky enough to see yet another single Swift heading North.
This morning I was therefore not suprised to see a brilliant spectacle over Dalton Lane, with over 30 hirundines chattering away whilst hawking insects.  In the main the bulk were Swallows from the nearby Green Dragon Farm population, and also some House Martins which nest on the converted old farm buildings at the start of Dalton Lane.  Also this morning had a couple of Swallows on the telegraph lines down at the bottom of Neddy Hill, Still only two on the lines at Russell Farm, and also still only a pair over at Oakwood Farm in Clawthorpe. Also noted singles going through and direct North which obviously were on passage.
Had Willow Warblers singing this morning from the top of Thornleigh, also near to Clawthorpe Hall.  Just "Lee" the Chiffchaff was calling from Thornleigh.

1230hrs-1530hrs (Wind: 12mph SE) Slape Lane through Lancelot to Trig and Dalton circular.
Clear blue skies with more intermittent cloud, sunny and calm at lower levels, but windy at higher levels.
Butterflies: Peacocks (lots), and Orange Tips, and Small Tortoiseshell.  New Blackcap near to Spring in Lancelot, 3 new Willow Warblers near to BAP seat. Cuckoo Calling but only in short burst and very limited from top of Lancelot and moving over to Dalton (upper). 3 grouped Swallows moving North over Dalton upper. Sample calls from Tree Pipits. On return in Thrush Valley (Vicarage Lane) heard another Blackcap.

Bank Holiday Monday May 6th 2013 (Burton In Kendal)
0600hrs-0715hrs (Wind: 6mph E)

Wind not noticeable, very grey overcast throughout. Quite warm.
Lee the Chiffchaff was singing. Could hear a Garden Warbler quietly warbling away on Dalton Lane. 2 pairs of Swallows at Green Dragon Farm, but only 1 bird seen this morning at Russell Farm. A pair of House Martins have returned to their old nest at the end of Vicarage Close. A new Blackcap singing from close to Oakwood Farm, Clawthorpe. A new Willow Warbler singing from close to Claw House.