Monday, 2 June 2014

Cumbria's rare Holly Fern - Last years Television Star is reborn and in fine fettle!

The Holly Fern (Polystichum lonchitis) of Hutton Roof
A nice surprise awaited me this morning........

After checking out all the other lovely magical things like Lesser Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs, Tree Pipits, A Cuckoo, distant Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler and lots more.

(It was greet to meet, a reet treet that could'nt be beet!)  in fact not just one but two.  Last year's television star the super rare "Polystichum lonchitis" or perhaps better known as the "Holly Fern" of Hutton Roof has re appeared this year in its majestic splendour with a frenzy of fronds! commanding their rightful place within the depleted nooks and crannies of the turbulent beauty of the slippery limestone floor.

If that wasn't enough, just a forty yard throwing distance lies another beauty showing upright and proud, and this one (Holly Fern No.2) is seen beating off the competition of its intermingled cousin the Hard Shield Fern which struggles with its two fronds compared to Holly's fresh ten frond advantage.

Holly Fern No.2 with intermingled Hard Shield Fern
The check out began with a singing Lesser Whitethroat in Dalton Crags and not far from the Plain Quarry car park, where I also had calling Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers.  Also had a Roebuck giving me the stare out for about 20 seconds before it shot off in haste. Tree Pipits started to come within audible range has I proceeded through the recent Beech woods clearing area, and their calls became more numerous and frequent has I entered the Dalton upper (or deforested area) where several could be heard and seen doing their beautiful parachuting spectacles.  Immediately on entering the upper area it was obvious that "vulpes
Green Spleenwort
vulpes" had been about recently, having left its strong musk aroma. Noticeable in the skies were ten Swifts hawking high at about 100ft. A lonesome Cuckoo was calling and seen and good to hear him again having now regained his full voice. A new Garden Warbler was heard in a large tree almost overlooking the Holly Ferns, the bird provided excellent serenading with its bubbling and relaxing repertoire.  I had a pair of Redpoll, and interestingly I had a party of seven Linnet in upper Dalton Crags.

Black Spleenwort
I also checked out the Green Spleenwort best area and there was plenty going on there to.  Also the Black Spleenwort where doing well also with more spread this year. Excellent showing also of the rare Rigid Buckler Ferns and the Limestone Fern (Limestone Polypody. On show was a nice specimen of the rare Angular Solomon's Seal.

Also checked out the current status of the Helliborines (both Dark Red and Broad Leaved), at least a week or two to go yet.  My first flowering Common Rock Rose (fingers crossed for the Northern Brown Argus).  No sun showing today, just drizzle, because it would have been nice to check out the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries or even better to have been met with the rare "Pearl Bordered".

That soldier man is still about up there and staring at you from his limestone impression

Nearby "Angular Solomon's Seal"

Rigid Buckler Fern - locally plentiful

The face staring at you (click over to enlarge)