Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Nature Notes up to May 5th 2014

"The Cuckoo has returned to Dalton Crags/Hutton Roof - 28th April 2014"
Sunday 4th May 2014
(Forecast: 1000hrs: SW 9-16mph, 10c, 97% Cloud cover, 14900m visibility, 1021mb with decreasing pressure.

0930-1100hrs  Found two more Lesser Whitethroats (presumed on territory) whilst having a walk around the Hilderstone areas.  The first was at "Burtlands" in trees alongside the railway track closeby the bridge on Moss Lane.  The second one was on Tarn Lane, Burton about 1/2 way across, some 200 yards before you reach the Motorway bridge if you where approaching from the Burton side. Almost at the point where the iron gate runs at right angles to the road. Both birds seemed very happy and singing away continuous with their usual 3 second "time-measured" eruptions. Also had numerous Swallows from various points, some of them indicating that they were probably passing through. Also near to Cinderbarrow I had a couple of Chiffchaff in song, both holding long established territories. Also a Blackcap in the same area and yet another by the motorway bridge.

1400hrs - I had a couple of Swifts over River Kent in Kendal (Nr Abbots Hall).

Up to 14 Wheatear (2 or 3 parties) at Aldcliffe (information sourced from the Birding Aldcliffe Blog). American Buff Bellied Pipit at Cockersands (information sourced from both Heysham and also Fylde Bird Club. Swifts, Wheatears, Cuckoos and Corn Buntings from the Fylde - 1 Swift at Cockersands and 10 Swift over Marton More, 6 Wheatear at Cockersands, 1 Cuckoo at Fluke Hall, 1 Cuckoo at Lytham Moss, also 1 Corn Bunting singing at Stalmine Moss (maybe local) and one also at Ballam (maybe local). (information sourced from Fylde Bird Club).  262 Swallows and 36 Sand Martins and 7 Swifts were recorded over Bardsey between 0640 and 0810hrs strangely flying Southward out to sea. (information sourced from Bardsey Observatory). 1 Swift, 6 Wheatear at Meol Dunes and a further 10 at Leasowe Paddocks - Leasowe Lighthouse plus 5 White Wagtail, 7 Yellow Wagtail and one Garden Warbler - (information sourced from Lighthouse and Wirral Birding). 2 Greenland Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaffs and 1 Sedge Warbler at Hilbre (information sourced from Hilbre Observatory Blog) 7 Swifts over 3 sites, 3 Dotterel on Pendle and 16 Whimbrel at Alston - ELOC (information sourced from East Lancs Ornithological Club)

Saturday 3rd May 2014
(Forecast: 1000hrs: SSE 6-8mph, 8c, 38% Cloud cover, 19800m visibility, 1028mb with decreasing pressure

At last today I got chance to actually see reasonably close up of one of the trio of Garden Warblers in Dalton Crags. For me its such a special bird with its low volumed "bubbling" or better still "garbling" (or should I say warbling) call. It hardly comes up for air, just now and again it will take a short break. Unlike the Blackcap, which is as bold as brass, superfast and most of the time can be "harsh Blackbirdy sound ish...calls".  Back to the Garden Warbler, its sounds instantly command your attention, so sweet ... thank you!

Odd individual Swallows came through all heading in a North direction.

The Cuckoo was seen and heard plenty and its quite obvious its still struggling with its "koo".  The Cuck is brilliant but let down badly with the "koo". Today it was within a regular area and came and sat within its noted year in and year out large "Cuckoo Tree", but just after minutes of situ it got no peace at all and was being constantly mobbed by a couple of local breeding Meadow Pipits.  In fact one of them seem to actually attack the Cuckoo and dislodged the sitting bird and made it leave to fly off to another nearby tree. 

3 Swifts were noted at Newby Bridge mid afternoon (information sourced through private communication). Now 2 Cuckoos in Barbondale (information sourced from Lancaster and District). 1st Swift of the year at Walney - (information sourced from the Walney Observatory Blog).  3 Wheatear and 4 Whitethroat at Rossall (information sourced from Fylde Bird Club). First Swift of the year for Hilbre - plus 15 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins, 3 Greenland Wheatear, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat and 5 Yellow and 8 White Wagtails. (information sourced from Hilbre Observatory Blog). 6 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Wheatear and a Whinchat at Leasowe Lighthouse. (information sourced from the Lighthouse Wirral Birding Blog). One female Dotterel at Fairscape Fell 2 Dotterel on Pendle Summit, Also 1 Cuckoo on Darwen Moor, 1 Cuckoo on Gannow Fell, plus 8 Swifts from 3 separate sites (one party of 5 (ELOC) (information sourced from the East Lancs Ornithological Club)

Friday 2nd May 2014
(Forecast: 1000hrs: ENE 9-14mph, 8c, 61% Cloud cover, 18900m visibility, 1026mb and rising pressure.

Bluebells are now at their best
I decided to check out Slape Lane and then spent most of the morning on Clawthorpe Fell. I could hear a Garden Warbler singing from somewhere down near Church Bank and later I had another one singing on Clawthorpe Fell, to the perimeter boundary of Curwen Wood. Also a new Chiffchaff here not recorded before. Also a Blackcap was recorded.

Cuckoo flower is out in the fields - Bang on time for the beginnings of May (The Mayflower) and just at the time the Cuckoo starts to call....

Birds Foot Sedge - click over to enlarge
Also Red Campion, Garlic Mustard, Ramsons, and a White flowered thorn, Wood Anemone, Cleavers, old remnants of Lesser Celendine, Lords and Ladies also known as "Cuckoo Pint" - There does seem to be a lot of Cuckoos around at the moment!  Also Male Ferns are sprouting up everywhere like green oversize shuttlecocks.

Long Tailed Tits were on territory and feeding from the catkins, also on territory was the Bullfinches and Buteo calling overhead.
The Claws show well here

Whilst on Clawthorpe Fell I checked out the Birds Foot Sedge (Carex ornithopoda) which are rapidly coming up to their very best for the photograph, already the "fluff" has left the sedge flower allowing a more defined view of the "Birds Foot image with its claws showing"

9 Wheatear on Ocean Edge, 86 Swallow NE over Heysham Observatory (information sourced from Heysham Observatory Blog). 5 Wheatear at Fluke Hall (Fylde) (information sourced from Fylde Bird Club)  3 separate Swifts over East Lancs (ELOC) - 1 over Alston Wetland, 1 over Edisford Road, Clitheroe, 1 over Grove Lane Marsh.  Also two Arctic Terns over private fishing area Grove Lane Marsh (information sourced from East Lancs Ornithological Club). Nightingale (1st since 2008) plus 56 Whitethroats and 44 Sedge Warblers at Bardsey - plus 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Garden Warblers (1st of the year), 22 Blackcaps, 18 Chiffchaffs, 49 Willow Warblers, 2 Whinchat and 2 Yellow Wagtails. (information sourced from Bardsey Observatory website) One Cuckoo, 4 Wheatear, 6 Yellow Wagtail at Leasowe Lighthouse - (information sourced through Lighthouse and Wirral Birding)
Thursday 1st May 2014
(Forecast 1000hrs: Wind East 7-12 mph, 9c, 98% Cloud cover, 11500m visibility, 1010mb pressure)

11 Wheatear on Ocean Edge and one female Whinchat at Middleton - Heysham (information sourced from Heysham Observatory Blog). 2 Swifts Minimum seen over Leighton Moss (information sourced from the Lancaster and District). One Cuckoo in Barbondale (information sourced from the Lancaster site). 1 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 1 Sedge Warber at Aldcliffe (information sourced from Birding Aldcliffe). 63 Wheatear, 30 Sedge Warbler, 12 Reed Warbler, 3 Whinchat and 2 Yellow Wagtail at Fleetwood (information sourced from Fleetwood Observatory Blog).  5 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat at Rossall School - Fylde (information sourced from the Fylde Bird Club website), 5 Wheatear and first Garden Warbler of the year at Walney plus 10 Willow Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Grasshopper Warbler (information sourced from the Walney Observatory Blog. 31 Wheatear and 1 Tree Pipit on Bardsey - plus 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 13 Sedge, 6 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 5 Chiffs, 17 Willows, 46 Swallows, 8 House Martins and 10 Sand Martins. (information sourced from Bardsey Observatory site). 1 Swift E, 8 Wheatear and 11 Yellow Wagtail including (blue headed) at Leasowe Lighthouse plus 1 Whinchat, 8 White Wagtails, 20 House Martin E, 30 Swallow E. (information sourced from the Lighthouse and Wirral) One Cuckoo - Higher Wood Hse Farm, Croasdale - ELOC 

Wednesday 30th April 2014
(Forecast: 1000hrs Wind SE 6-8mph, 10c, 95% Cloud cover, 14000m vis 1012mb pressure).

Spent most of time this morning checking out the Beech area of Dalton Crags hoping to hear Wood Warbler (been heard on 27th and 28th). I thought I had a possible sighting but not clear enough to confirm, requires more checking out. 
Did have another sweet bubbling Garden Warbler at the beginning of the deforested area.  Also all breeding stock of Tree Pipits in the upper Dalton areas have returned and were singing and displaying.  Still waiting for a at least one pair which usually takes up the area to the centre of the Beechwoods.
A fall of six Greenland Wheatear were on the walls across from the "Line of Trees" in upper Dalton. 
Another big days hatch for the "black thingys" (St Marks Fly - Bibio family) Here, there and everywhere!

1500hrs to 1700hrs - Area between Newclose Coppice and Wash Dub Woods - Dalton Estate.
Had 5 Tree Pipits minimum singing away, which is good for the time of the day, would expect several more yet! 1 Chiffchaff, Lots of Willow Warblers (10+) 2 Blackcap. On my return I also had a male Redstart about 100 yards before reaching the back of "Quarry Wood".   Also had my first Tormentil flower and plenty of Bugle about.

The sounds are beautifully mixed,
just like a "bag of allsorts".
Blackcaps, Browncaps and Garden Warblers.
Dunnocks trilling and dare I say a possible
Wood Warbler trill or coin spinning sound,
With "throstles" joining in with,
their own sounds to add to the "delight",
now Bullfinch piping and Wrens trilling.
Willow's crescendos, and Chiffs are Chaffing,
A mixture please! Yes a bag of "Jolly Mixture",

One Cuckoo on Meathop Moss, also one Cuckoo on Whitbarrow Scar and 5 Wheatear on Coastal Way L. and DBWS (information sourced from Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society).One Wood Warbler, 1 Redstart, 3 Whitethroat and 7 Wheatear (Ocean Edge) at Heysham plus 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler and 1 Garden Warbler. (information sourced from the Heysham Observatory Blog). 15 Wheatear at Walney plus 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Redstart and 1 Grasshopper Warbler (information sourced from the Walney Observatory Blog).  9 Chiffchaff, 22 Willow Warblers, at Bardsey plus 1 Grasshopper Warber, 7 Sedge Warblers, 1 Blackcap, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 7 White Wagtail (information sourced from the Bardsey Observatory). 3 Whinchat, 10 Wheatear and 3 Yellow Warblers at Leasowe Lighthouse (information sourced from Lighthouse and Wirral Birding). 3 Wheatear, 7 Willow Warblers, 1 female Redstart and 2 Yellow Wagtails at Hilbre (information sourced from Hilbre Observatory Blog).  One Cuckoo reported from Sunnyhurst Hey Reservoir (ELOC) (information sourced from East Lancashire Ornithological Club) 

Tuesday 29th April 2014
(Forecast: 0700hrs Wind SE 5mph, 8c, 55% Cloud cover, 17700m vis, 1013mb pressure).

Enjoyed a hour at Sizergh early doors

Dalton Crags from about 1030hrs to 1200hrs - On the bird front just the usuals already recorded.  If anything probably far more Willow Warblers calling. The Cuckoo must have been in hiding.

Did have my first Green Hairstreak Butterfly on the Common. Also lots of male Orange Tips and the odd Speckled Woods in the glades. Also Hard Shield Fern fronds beginning to open up. Plenty of Primula, Wild Strawberry.

St. Mark's Invasion: On the way up I noticed there was a invasion of Bibio Anglicus There must have been thousands, they were everywhere and so I could not help but write this little ditty:

Black dangling legs, your one of them Black thingys,
St. Mark's Fly

There's thousands of you, for me your the poor man's Mayfly.
Your like a saucer, I mean a flying saucer, you hover a bit,
then shoot off with alien speed........... thank you..........  

9 Wheatear at Heysham (information sourced from Heysham Observatory Blog).One Yellow Wagtail NNW over Aldcliffe (information sourced from Aldcliffe Birding.  14 Wheatear and 3 Whinchat at Walney Observatory (information sourced from Walney Bird Observatory).  Cuckoo at Marton Mere and 6 Greenland Wheatear at Fleetwood Marsh - Fylde Bird Club (information sourced from Fylde Bird Club). 7 Greenland Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 1 Yellow Wagtail over Hilbre plus 12 Willow Warbler, 2 Sedge Warblers 1 Tree Pipit (information sourced from the Hilbre Observatory Blog. 2 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 1 Yellow Wagtail at Leasowe Lighthouse. (information sourced from Lighthouse and Wirral Birding).   One Dotterel on Pendle Summit via Pendleside, 5 Wheatear at Sheddon Clough and one Cuckoo at Sunnyhurst Woods, Darwen - ELOC (information sourced via East Lancashire Ornithological Club). 1 Whinchat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat on Bardsey (information sourced from Bardsey Observatory Blog). 

Monday 28th April 2014
(Forecast: 0700hrs Wind SW 1-2mph, 8c, 67% Cloud cover, 14700m visibility, 1011mb pressure)
Cuckoo has arrived back in Dalton Crags (1045hrs) Watched whilst in Dalton then crossed over onto the common and sat at the top of a hawthorn whilst being sort of mobbed by about 10 Meadow Pipits. Got fed up of that after about 15 minutes and decided to come back into Dalton Crags. Also noticed it does the "Cuck" in full but as yet is very poor on the "coo", this was exactly how it was last year, but last year the coo came perfect after a few days....
Also at least five Tree Pipits in song, along with one Garden Warbler, two Chiffchaffs, several Blackcap and at least 15 Willow Warblers.
"Greenland (leucorrhoa) thanks Pete at Manxbirds"
14 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat at Walney plus 20 Willow Warbler and 2 Redstart, 1 Grasshopper Warbler (information sourced from Walney Observatory Blog)
6 Wheatear at Mythop, 18 Swallow in off at Rossall School - Fylde Birding (information sourced from Fylde Birding Blog)
21 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat, 2 Garden Warbler at Leasowe Lighthouse (information sourced from Lighthouse and Wirral Birding)
131 Wheatear, at Bardsey Observatory plus 17 Sand Martin, 90 Swallow, 16 House Martin, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 19 Sedge Warbler, 8 Whitethroat, 13 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs and 56 Willow Warblers (information sourced from the Bardsey Observatory Blog)
Little Bunting plus 2 Yellow Wagtail at Hilbre Observatory (information sourced from the Hilbre Observatory Blog)
2 Cuckoos - 1 at Stocks Resv Nth (0800hrs) 1 at Lennox Farm (1215hrs) - ELOC (information sourced from the East Lancs Ornithological Club website)