Sunday, 16 June 2013

Cuckoo Sketch and recent Cuckoo information & blogs

Cuckoo stores some fascinating stuff within that egg!

Thursday 27th June 2013  (0900hrs-1100hrs)
Dalton Crags - White Wild Thyme variant

A couple of Willow Warblers and a Blackcap singing from the lower Crags.  Also surprised to hear a Garden Warbler singing close to about the middle of the lower crags, I guess this is probably the one that I thought could have been missing this year, but thankfully it has been around and elusive. It is usually resident at the top of the lower crags by the small clearing.

Rare variant White Wild Thyme
Checked out the variant - White Wild Thyme which grows on a "anthill" to the NE of the line of trees and it is just starting to flower with a couple of flowers showing, see photo left and click over to enlarge. Lots of Heath Speedwell showing, again more prevalent on the old anthills. Wild Strawberries are showing some great fruit yields at the moment. Tree Pipits in song and doing their parachute displays both at the bottom and the middle of the upper Crags (deforested) still no signs showing of any young Cuckoo's.  I think perhaps the adult Cuckoo may now have left us for their long journey south there was certainly no "cuckoo's calling" today.

Small Heath and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary showing. It looks to me that the Small PB Frit has had a good wedge clipped from its wing, maybe the attack of a local bird.

Also a new Garden Warbler was singing at about 3/4 way up the deforested to the left of the "gulley" area.

Wednesday 26th June 2013 (0545hrs-0715hrs)  "Cuckoo findings"
Lee the Chiffchaff happily singing away.

Realiably informed that the Cuckoo was still present and singing on the 24th June 2013, which is now getting late for this species.

Of particular interest to me was that last year and again it's happened this year, the Cuckoo seems to be seen and heard from the Storth Areas just behind the Dalton Hamlet in the days leading up to its long migration south. So I wondered why does it choose to come to lower altitude, to a area with more woodland density at the time just before he leaves us.  I can only presume it's because the actual breeding is now over, do they then need to stock up and replenish "caterpillar" feed which would be far more easily obtainable in such woodland areas, before they then make their long onward perilous journey back to Africa.

So moving on, the adult bird leaves us towards the end of June or maybe even the first week in July, yet the young Cuckoos are left behind, being fed by their host parents and they will probably be mature enough to leave us in another month to six weeks time.  So that young bird which has never travelled before is still able to negotiate the directions back to Africa without having ever been shown! and even better still,  it negotiates its way back not just to anywhere in Africa but to the very area which the parent bird resides.  Absolutely fascinating and such a miracle to try and understand that all this information can be stored within that egg!

Tuesday 25th June 2013 (0545hrs-0715 hours)

At long last, Lee the Chiffchaff from Thornleigh has started singing again, I had'nt heard him for up to two weeks prior to this morning and was beginning to get worried about him.  House Martins seem to be doing very well near to the bottom of Vicarage Lane.

(1315hrs to 1715 hours)

It was great to meet up with Reg and Brian whilst being invited to see the "Belladonna" (Deadly Nightshade). Which is still thriving at a (private) site close to Burton In Kendal, I do remember reading somewhere that it was regularly recorded in or around this same area as long ago as the 1920's. Also it has been recorded again this year at Far Arnside.

Following on from here Brian and I decided to check out a old Carnforth site to see how the Bee Orchids and the Marsh Helliborines were progressing.  Although the Bee Orchids were not present in any large numbers on the bankings compared to last year, they certainly made up for it on the flats (37 recorded so far this year compared to 84 last year, but still plenty of time yet.  The Marsh Helliborines are doing OK, but far to early to survey them although one or two we did find showed their drooping heads, so will plan another check in about three weeks time. Also Goldfinches and Greenfinches singing away, yet the Warblers seemed quiet. Large Skipper, Dinghy Skipper, Common Blues Butterflies were regular. Also nice to see Bladder Campion, Marjoram, and White Stonecrop had all colonised on the temporary stone rubble piles, and lots of Common Milkwort, but they were all the "white" variant. Also some late "Spring Cinquefoil" but again looks like another year without Broomrape or Blue Fleabane.

Monday 24th June 2013 (0545hrs-0715hrs)

The new (recorded for the 1st time this year) Chiffchaff  "Neddy" was calling yet again from just at the side of Beech Cottage (off Tanpits).  Also Mo the Chiffchaff from Mowbray was calling near to Burton House.

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
(0900hrs - 1100hrs) Holme Park Nature Reserve and Clawthorpe Fell NR
Whilst traversing the Holme Park Nature Reserve did have one Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (see photo), also found a "Clouded Silver" moth.  Several Willow Warblers calling, no Chiffchaff or Blackcaps calling today. Found a patch of Limestone Polypody Fern.

Then following on at Clawthorpe Fell Nature Reserve, found that the large area of English Stonecrop are now beginning to show flowers, Found at least three Great Mullian also some Dropwort

Diary page for Saturday June 15th 2013
Tuesday 19th June 2013.

Went up to Pavement 5 on Lancelot looking especially for "Pale St. Johns Wort" and its cousin the rare Hypericum Perforatum Montanum.  Found two of the already recorded hybrids but nothing else in fact at present I am one down on last year. The Angular Solomon's Seal and Lily Of The Valley are well over by now. Checked out the Bloody Cranesbill and the Broad Leaved Helliborines, nothing yet showing in regard to the Dark Red Helliborine. Also found some Hairy Rockcress, Scaley Male Fern and Lesser Meadow Rue etc.

Further over near the BAP Memorial seat and above Pavement 4 I had a couple of Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries and a Redstart singing continually from somewhere over on Pavement 4.

It was sheer brilliance! one of those very special moments whilst having a rest and sitting on the memorial seat looking in front and taking in the magnificent view over the Morecambe Bay on this glorious sunny warm morning. Talk about relaxing and taking in the tranquility, I must have stayed there for at least 45 minutes but suppose I could have and should have stayed there much longer whilst that special feeling had gripped me. In the background I could hear the continual call from the Redstart, Willow Warblers and the lonesome Tree Pipit. It was though being serenaded by the birds and at peace with the World. No traffic noise carrying over or anything else just the pleasantries of the birds, bees and butterflies, so nice I almost fell asleep, sort of cat napping! and just accepting that special peace which was on offer.