Friday, 22 November 2013

"The Face in the limestone"

The Face of a Mate,  Found this one a couple of days ago up on the Common of the Hutton Roof Crags. Not sure who he is, but a very interesting face.  Some good features there, can you make him out? 

I think this is the fungus called "Nostoc Commune" or (Star Jelly, Witches Butter, Mare's Eggs) and seen regularly on limestone.  This was on limestone on the Common this morning.

This is "Pollyholly", I just could not resist it, being in the close area... Holly Fern No.2 (Polystichum lonchitis)

Jelly on the plate!
No thanks……

The face of a mate!   
Dun know…….

And over there is Pollyholly!
Just couldn’t resist a photo……..

Heading up through Dalton Crags,
Fieldfare, Blackbird and Green Woodpecker.
Then up onto the Common, to check out,
The Spleenwort’s and the Polystichum’s,
And anything else up for grabs as well.

Nice pavements, gleaming clints in the sun,
Sloping well on North West to South East faults
Grykes not just fifteen foot but to twenty at least.
So dark down there I cannot see,
Were water runs to cascade thee.

The Hazel, Hawthorn and Ash are almost bare,
Giving you a far greater stare! Amongst it all.
Pavement strikes up in patchwork crazed,
From all around but mainly North or East.
So good a view to Hybrid Hill, that very special place,
Were Helliborine’s debate, not sure what they want to be.
July next will tell, and then we shall see.

Showing the deep gryke which is approx 20ft or so.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Spindlewood, Autumn Leaves and a peeping Tawny Owl

"Spindle" is such a beautiful tree and instantly recognised with its "pink fruit capsules".

This shows the "bark pattern" of the Spindle Tree. (ignore the lower leaves shown here, they do not belong to this tree, the spindle leaves are to the top right)

I have found this regularly on limestone, especially on both Gait Barrows and Hutton Roof. The above specimen found on Thursday last in Lancelot Clark Storth.

Also a couple of photos here of the changing "Autumn Leaves" in Dalton Crags.
Photograph taken  14th November 2013 - Dalton Crags (from Nineteen trees approach)

Photograph taken 14th November 2013 - Dalton Crags (from Nineteen Trees approach)
And here is a photo from yesterday showing the beautiful "mossy stones" which are regularly discovered on some of our local limestone pavements (Hutton Roof).
I just can't get enough of these beautiful limestone covered mossy areas which tend to lie so secret in their dense hidden cover and as a rule are under the more mature of trees which offer them their shade and keep the area well watered. What a lovely shaded green furry mossy snugfit!! Can you see the tawny owl eyeballing the green polar bear?

Well what about this then, found yesterday whilst search through the dense cover of one of the pavements up on Hutton Roof, was this remnant of the Broad Leaved Helliborine, still well preserved from last July, and can only put it down purely to the cover it had with it being within a two foot deep gryke.

Still can't believe finding this on the 16th November 2013!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Purgatorial Tormentus of the Turdus (Pilaris)

Chaffinch and Swallow migration routing through Burton In Kendal 2013 (Please click over to enlarge)

Visible Bird Migration - Sat Nov 16th 2013 - from Burton In Kendal. (Final watch for 2013)

0730hrs-0900hrs. Dry Wind: WSW 13mph, 8c, 79% Cloud cover, 17500m vis, 1030mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 49 (18SE 31W), Redwing: 12W, Woodpigeon 26W, Starling: 5W, Goldfinch: 10SE,
Whooper Swan: 4W. 

Visible Bird Migration - Fri Nov 15th 2013 - from Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs-0830hrs. Dry, Wind: W5mph, 6c, 77% cloud cover, 19900m vis, 1034mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 51 (34SE 17W), Meadow Pipit: 10 SE (one party), Woodpigeon: 9W, Redwing: 3W.

Visible Bird Migration - Thr Nov 14th 2013 - from Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs - 0830hrs. Dry, Wind: W15-20mph, 6c, 15% cloud cover, 18100m vis, 1020mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated.  Chaffinch have taken a plummet in numbers over the past two days.

Chaffinch: 80 (11SE 69W), Starling: 60W (two parties), Redwing: 22W (3 parties), Fieldfare: 50SW (40 and 10 party), Woodpigeon: 79 S, Blackbird: 4W (1 & 3).

Visible Bird Migration - Wed Nov 13th 2013 - from Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs  - 0900hrs. Dry, Wind: SW 5-7mph, 7c, 72% Cloud, 18700m vis, 1031mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated.  

Chaffinch: 96 (19SE,77W), Starling: 90W (5 parties), Woodpigeon: 60 (24S,36W), Fieldfare: 24SW (one party), Redwing: 35W (4 parties), Siskin: 12SE (one party), Curlew 1NW, Meadow Pipit: 1SE.

Visible Bird Migration - Tue Nov 12th 2013 - from Burton In Kendal.

0715-0845hrs. Dry, Wind: W10mph, 8c, 5% Cloud cover, 19000m vis, 1024mb pressure, all movement SE unless Stated.

Obvious that there was some movement today with Starling and Fieldfare.

Chaffinch: 249 (111SE 138W), Starling: 291 W/NW (10 parties), Alba Wagtail: 2W, Woodpigeon: 228S, Redwing: 45W, Blackbird: 2W, Redpoll: 4, Fieldfare: 32W

1100hrs-1130hrs, Wind now freshening to W20mph, 9c, 30% Cloud cover, 19100m vis, 1025mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 80 (53W 26SE), Woodpigeon: 8S, Starling 48W (3 parties), Skylark: 7W (one party), Fieldfare: 282W (7 parties best 80), Redwing: 90W (4 parties), Greenfinch: 1

Visible Bird Migration - Mon Nov 11th 2013 - from Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs to 0830hrs, Continual drizzle throughout, Wind SSW 5mph, 8c, 100% Cloud cover, 7400m visability, 1014mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 195 (12W 183S), Woodpigeon 12S, Starling: 135W, Fieldfare: 8W, Goldfinch: 6SE, Brambling: 2W, Redpoll: 12SE (one party), Alba Wagtail: 1

There is also now a Chaffinch blogging party formed which can be also suspected to feeding on the recent spent maize fields.

Visible Bird Migration - Sun Nov 10th 2013 - Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs to 0930hrs, NW 3-5mph, 2-3c, 2% Cloud cover, 19400 to 19900m vis, 1011 to 1014mb pressure. Very hard frost overnight with clear blue skies.  All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 176 (58W 118SE), Mistle Thrush: 1W, Redwing 50W, Woodpigeon: 68S, Starling: 36W.

Very quiet this morning, even the Chaffinch were blogging with a party of perhaps 100 in and out of the spent maize fields and hedgerows.

Perhaps another indication of the milder weather in general is the shortage of Jays moving this year compared to past years.

Visible Bird Migration - Sat Nov 9th 2013 - Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs to 0900hrs, Wind: WSW 5mph, 5c, 64% Cloud cover, 18000m visability, 1003mb pressure, Heavy rain showers off and on throughout. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 463 (328SE,135W), Redwing: 60W or SW, Starling: 29W, Mistle Thrush 2W, Woodpigeon 218S.

Some "vismig" notes on the Starling shortage this year:
It had crossed my mind that maybe the Starlings were again doing badly this year because of the following indications:
At my site I usually have at least one if not two really good days with Starlings moving West when I would have at least 20 parties or more over the morning.  This year it has not materialized, at best I have only had maybe two or three parties.
Also I have noted (in my opinion) that the Leighton Moss Roost is perhaps half of its normal size eg: with a probable estimate of maybe 40,000 birds (and thats being conservative), whereby now I would have expected the roost to be in the 80,000 at least.
Leighton Moss roost exit to the East which in part come over my watchpoints at Burton or Hutton Roof every morning, with the early morning passage to number quantities of only small hundreds instead of small thousands.
These are only indications obviously, but when I check the fabulous graphs on Trektellen over the past five years, it does look very much that this year will turn out to be the poorest on record (over 5 years), unless something really drastically improves within the next few days.
Whether its to do with a shortage of birds (as most people suspect), or whether its to do with them taking a more direct route into Central Europe this year and not bothering to come over the UK in their usual large quantities because of blocking weather, or it maybe too mild for all of them to even come over here this year, if theres plenty of food on the continent why bother coming over here.  This also could perhaps be a similar indication to what we have with the Fieldfare this year.
Here is the trektellan Starling counts for the UK (as a whole) over the past five years given in very approximate (my rounded off) figures for JUST the peak days: (please note these figures are only a small percentage of the actual birds present in the UK and are the results of some 10 to 15 observers from various parts of the UK, and obviously would not be a "guide" to the full quantities present, but only a token number to what are actually present, although they do give a indication in relation to the recording from the same "watchpoints" over that period of five years.
2008  Peaked over two days in October - Oct 29 & 31st      150,000.
           Peaked over one day in November - Nov 3rd                   27,000.
2009  Peaked over 4 days in October - Oct 14,18,19,22             220,000.
           Peaked over one day in November - Nov 1st                   60,000.
2010  Peaked over three days in October - Oct 17,18,25.           115,000.
           Peaked over three days in Nov -  Nov 1,7 and 8th          150,000
2011  Peaked over three days in October - Oct 14,15,23              65,000.
           Peaked over one day in November - Nov 9th                   20,000.
2012  Peaked over two days in October - Oct 28 and 29th          150,000.
           Peaked over one day in November - Nov 12th                  30,000
2013  Peaked over three days in October - Oct 19,24,25th            56,000
           Peaked over one day in November - Nov 8th                      6,620
Interesting also to see that 2011 was also a poor year in comparison, but 2013 UK peaks have been very low indeed, although I have noticed that in the past two to three days Starling numbers have been very good in the Netherlands. 

Visible Bird Migration - Fri Nov 8th 2013 - Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs to 0900hrs, Wind: SSW 9mph, 6c, 79% Cloud cover, 18000m vis, 1002mb pressure. Heavy rain showers over the first half hour. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 168 (58W 110 SE), Greenfinch: 2, Meadow Pipit: 2, Redwing: 20 SW (one party), Woodpigeon: 71S, Starling: 4W.

Not much happening this morning, even the Chaffinch were very slow, I guess it could have been down to the heavy showers early on.

Visible Bird Migration - Thr Nov 7th 2013 - Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs to 1100hrs, Wind: SW 15mph and increasing to 20mph, 4c to 8c, 10% to 75% Cloud cover, 1000m to 18200m vis, 1001 to 1002mb pressure. Mainly blue skies, sunny at times, very cold icy wind. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 453 (171SE - 282W), Fieldfare: 26 (8S,18NW), Redwing: 2 SW, Mistle Thrush: 1W, Starling 20W (one party), Woodpigeon: 51S, Goldfinch: 27, Brent Goose: 4 NW, Tree Sparrow: 12 (One party), Greenfinch: 4SE, Stock Dove: 4SW.

Visible Bird Migration - Wed Nov 6th 2013 - Burton In Kendal.

0730hrs to 0900hrs, Wind: West 1-3mph, 6c to 7c, 95% Cloud, 17300m vis, 996mb pressure, the odd light shower every now and again. All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 295 (108SE - 187W), Alba Wagtail: 3, Woodpigeon: 76, Brambling: 2, Starling 20S

And below are a few notes in regards to the poor showing of the Fieldfare this year. (written Tuesday November 5th 2013)

Purgatorial Tormentus of the Turdus (Pilaris) (To be taken light hearted please! not too serious......)

Why should this year be any different than some years? Why do the vismigger’s keep tormenting themselves, and telling themselves that the main push for the Fieldfare is just around the corner, with lots and lots of excuses like any day now, once the weather improves, once the block over the North Sea has cleared, its been too mild over in the Netherlands to push them through, and even now with this cold snap of yesterday some of us may live in hope and be thinking they will be away today and with us in the next 24 hours.

Ah! I know what it is now and maybe I’ve suffered it for such a long time, in fact I’ve probably had it now for 27 years if the truth be known. That’s just what it is, the vismigger’s illness what might has well be called “purgatorial tormentus” and here we are again this year, thinking exactly the same as last year, and going down the same route again and expecting this year will be that “special year” when the birds will turn up, but late.

I need to get it into my head, that if the Turdus have not arrived by the 2nd November, they are not even thinking about coming this way, its simple to work out if we really want to take it serious and accept the past histories, or at least my own histories since the mid eighties.

The birds that did come over to the UK this year have already been and gone long ago, in fact its more than probable that they came through with the Redwings on October 11th. The 10,000’s plus in a day has certainly not matured this year for me, and neither is it likely to do, in fact I have never even managed the 5000 per day mark or even a “token” count of 1,000 birds in one session! This year.

For me, its no good thinking each year that the goal post may have to be shifted, I must stick with a “cut off point” with November 2nd as the deadline, well go on then, we’ll stretch it just that little bit further for goodwill and make it November 5th, Bonfire Night.

So where have they all gone then?  For me I will go along with what I have thought for years.  If they don’t get away on the right day, they don’t come this way at all, in fact they just trundle down the dutch mainland into Central Europe. 

They’ll be lots of “berries” spare this year dear Turdus, so the one’s over here now should get fat bellies before they move off,  and because it’s so mild in the Scandinavian countries, even the “Waxwings” this year are preferring the insects! Rather than boring berries.

After saying all that, they will probably come in tomorrow.

1600hrs: Tuesday 5th Nov -  Just heard that 41000 Fieldfare have come into Bergen aar Zee in the Netherlands and a further 16000 Fieldfare into De Vulkaan in the Netherlands earlier today, and some now also showing coming in off sea and crossing over Spurn Point on the East Coast heading West, so maybe there is a chance we will get some tomorrow after all..... fingers crossed....

0600hrs: Wednesday 6th Nov - Further reports of more Fieldfares yesterday, but astonishing numbers of Starlings have hit the Netherlands, with one site in particular (Eggmond Aan Zee) having already clocked up One Hundred and eighty seven thousand yesterday. So hopefully some of these will come west to the UK today...

Wed 6th, Thurs 7th and Friday 8th Nov - But sadly for us, they did not come our way and can only presume again they have all gone down Central Europe instead.  

Friday, 1 November 2013

Visible Migration - from Friday November 1st 2013.

Guy Fawkes on top of bonfire.

Visible Bird Migration - Monday November 4th 2013. from Burton In Kendal. (St. James Way)

0800hrs to 1200hrs - Wind: NW: 10mph, 5c, 0% Cloud cover (blue skies), 19300m visability, 992mb pressure. First proper thick frost.  All movement SE unless stated.

Chaffinch: 223 (62W 161SE), Alba Wagtail: 2W, Woodpigeon: 97S, Redwing 55W, Starling: 13W, Pink Footed Goose: 60 S (one party).

Visible Bird Migration - Sunday November 3rd 2013. from Burton In Kendal. (Mike Taylors Fields)

0715hrs to 0815hours - Wind: Westerly 20mph, 6c, 75% Cloud cover, 17000m vis, 991mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated. Chaffinch still strong passage with over 200 in the hour. Also over 100 blogging Chaffs trying to get through West, with many attempts.  It seems strange that they will cut a 25mph Easterley to go East in one go, yet struggle with many attempts to cut a 20mph Westerley to go West.  Never been able to work that one out yet!.  All maize fields lifted yesterday, so only got trees and hedgerow cover now.

Chaffinch: 210 (89SE, 121W), and up to 100 blogging in the trees and hedgerows. Brambling 2 West with Chaffinches.  Starling: 30W (one party), Fieldfare: 2W, Woodpigeon: 4 South, Greenfinch: 2W with Chaffinches. 

Visible Bird Migration - Saturday November 2nd 2013.  from Burton In Kendal.  "Still lots of Chaffinches".

0715hrs to 0915hours- Wind: SE10-12mph and rising, 6c, 76% Cloud cover, 17700m visability and 995mb pressure.  All movement SE unless stated. Chaffinch still very strong passage, and still going strong on leaving.

Chaffinch: 508 (29W 479SE)  Goldfinch: 72 (6,2,18,10,10,20,6), Woodpigeon: 83S, Starlings: 142 (6 parties all SE), Fieldfare: 23 (SE), Redpoll: 21 (2 parties)

Visible Bird Migration - Friday November 1st 2013. from Burton In Kendal.

0700hrs to 0800hrs - Wind: 10mph SW, 8c, 40% cloud cover, 1900m visability, 1007mb pressure. All movement SE unless stated.  Chaffinch in really good numbers for one hour count.

Chaffinch: 289 (112SE 177W), Starling: 14W, Redwing: 37SW, Fieldfare: 2S, Woodpigeon 62S, Goldfinch 37E, Tree Sparrow: 2.

Whats happened to Shebbies and Fieldfares?
Each day I wait in anticipation for you,
to come over that hill in party after party after party.
A sight for sore eyes, if it happens,

For Fieldfare, (who travels across the fields),
for you the Rowan and Haws are in plenty,
Your trees have branches weighted down,
in readiness to fill your empty travelled bellies.

Shebbies in Lancashire, Starlings elsewhere,
You are late and eagerly awaited,
I am missing your tight squadrons,
like shooting straight bullets to the West.

Its still so mild in the Scandie's,
One chap has told us today,
His Waxwing's are leaving the berries alone,
Instead, their preference for insect fayre.