Sunday, 26 April 2015

Most of the Tree Pipits have arrived in Dalton.

This was a scene from last year from a nearby Dalton woodland

"My Dalton Crags deforested stomping grounds"
(Click over to enlarge)

The Tree Pipits of Dalton

Wednesday 6th May 2015 - Burton In Kendal Main St 200hrs to 2030hrs

10 Swifts now back and hawking above their territories at Manor House, Royal and Burton Memorial Hall.

Tuesday 5th May 2015 - Dalton Crags 1600hrs to 1615hrs

Craig and Craggy the Chiffchaffs were busy singing away, along with lots of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, but no Tree Pipits singing today.  One Greenland Wheatear seen on "Wheatear Plain", but still waiting for our late Cuckoos.

Monday 4th May 2015 - Burton In Kendal Main Street 2015hrs to 2030hrs  "Our Swifts have arrived"

Hurrah! our Swifts have arrived with two seen hawking in the skies high above Burton Memorial Hall and the surrounding areas. 

Friday 1st May 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs.

Lovely sunny morning but still got that underlying cold SE chill to it. Willow Warblers throughout and also 3 Blackcaps singing near Plain Quarry. Odd Chiffchaff calling.  At least 3 pairs of Tree Pipits calling but some other pairs remaining quiet. Two calling Yafflers.  Still no Cuckoo.

Thursday 30th April 2015 - Dalton Crags. 1700hrs to 1800hrs

Very quiet throughout with just Willow Warblers singing. Also Linnet calling at bottom of deforested - usual place.

Monday 27th April 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers down at Plain Quarry, and Willow Warblers were generally about.  First day with Linnets heard and seen in both Dalton Crags lower and also on the Common.  Two Greenland Wheatear at Wheatear Plain. Four Tree Pipits singing.

Sunday 26th April 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1130hrs

Down at the bottom of Dalton Crags there were lots of Willow Warblers, both Chiffchaffs, a couple of Blackcap and one Garden Warbler.

As I went into Dalton upper (deforested) I had several pairs of Tree Pipits who thankfully have all arrived back safely, just the odd bird singing and parachuting, they normally take a few days to warm up.  But they just do have that special song (probably my favourite).  Look forward to hearing them over the coming days.

One Wheatear feeding up on the Common, about 30 yards away from the Trig Point.

Pair of Buzzards, one male Kestrel.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Confusion of Willow Warblers

(Click over to enlarge)

Flying in the dark through a moonlit sky,
Falling from high like little angels,
Floating down on a wavering leaf,
The confusion has now begun.
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Daytime closed you was not seen,
Whilst morning wakes your plenty,
So tred so soft our leaf explorer,
A “bouquet” of special prize to us,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Your music is a descending tale,
Which finish the year hou whit,
A choir of pairs sings thy will,
A “Fall” would be a lot of thee,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Sylvia’s hand of lucid intricacy
You thread that weave so delicately,
To house and raise a splendid cast,
It’s a start to a “Wrench” fulfilled
Our dear little Willow Warbler 

Poem I wrote on April 10th 2015 - Other collective nouns for the Willow Warbler besides Confusion are: Bouquet, Fall and Wrench

Past Cuckoo arrival dates in Dalton Crags have been:
4th May 2011
27th April 2012
1st May 2013
28th April 2014

Friday April 24th 2015 - Whilst passing Holme Mills Lodge  1145hrs

There was at least a minimum of 50 varied hirundines hawking across the lodge including some of them resting on the telegraph wires.  In at least 90% of the cases they were Swallows with a few House Martins and a couple of Sand Martins. 

Thursday April 23rd 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs (MORE TREE PIPIT AND FIRST GARDEN WARBLER ARRIVALS)

Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and lots of Willow Warblers calling throughout.  Also two Wheatear on the Walls in Dalton deforested. Two new Tree Pipits arrived in Dalton Crags (lower) and one also singing in the recent deforested area top of Dalton Crags.  Also great to hear the first Garden Warbler of the year singing from the usual place near the first escarpment after leaving Plain Quarry.  Cuckoo should be with us any day now.  Also other notes include: Chiffchaff Archie showed up a couple of days ago at Orchard Close in Burton.  Also Church Bank Chiffchaff was singing away this morning.  

Wednesday April 22nd 2015 - Majors Nursery, Newclose and areas to South of Dalton 1400 to 1600hrs.

Went in the main to check out the Tree Pipits but none arrived as yet, but did manage to hear a single Redstart near to Quarry Wood. Had six separate Chiffchaffs calling and 30 calling Willow Warblers and at least two Blackcaps.

Tuesday April 21st 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0830hrs to 1000hrs

At least three Blackcaps singing away at Plain Quarry along with one of the resident Chiffchaffs. Lots of Willow Warblers calling throughout. No Tree Pipits and No Wheatears today very quiet.

Monday April 20th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1300hrs to 1400hrs - TREE PIPIT

One of the Plain Quarry Chiffchaffs singing and Willow Warblers everywhere! but in general pretty quiet, but I put that down to the time of the day.

One great record was a new Tree Pipit has come into lower Dalton and was singing and displaying. Always something really special for me is the Tree Pipit.

Besides this I had a Roebuck that was watching me from about 50 yards away and seemed almost tame, in fact it seemed rather reluctant to move away.  You could plainly see the small antlers thickened out with their lovely velvet coat.  Also a little shrew went "like the clappers" across my path.  I also noticed a lovely coloured beetle crossing the path it was a lime green irridescent sort of colouring. Lots of Peacock butterflies in attendance. 

Saturday April 18th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1100hrs to 1230hrs (BLACKCAP and TREE PIPIT ARRIVALS)

At Plain Quarry just one of the Chiffchaffs were singing, but it was great to hear two Blackcaps singing which had obviously come in during the last 48 hours. Also had 3 Greenland Wheatear 1 male and 2 female in Dalton deforested.  Also a single Tree Pipit which did a display close to the gate leading onto the Common.

Farleton Side - Newbiggin Crags  1300 to 1500hrs

Had a pair of Wheatear on hillside behind Whinn Yeates, lots of Willow Warblers singing. Two Swallows back on territory at Whinn Yeates. Yellowhammers still not back on territory.

Friday April 17th 2015 - Yealand Storrs, Leighton Moss, The Trough, Trowbarrow Quarry, Haweswater and Gait Barrows returning via Yealand Allottments to Yealand Storrs 0930hrs to 1330hrs.

Doing a test run of this 6 miles approx walk and on the way noticing quite a lot of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers who have now come in with good numbers, I probably had over a score in total of each species.  Also had 6 Blackcaps at various points of the walk (my first of the year).  I could hear Bearded Tits whilst travelling along the RSPB Leighton Moss causeway, several could be heard "pinging away" although they remained out of sight amongst the reedbeds.  Greylag Geese were very noisy and constantly flying over. Also activity from Shelduck.  Butterfly species included Peacock and Brimstone. Flora species included masses of Primula at Gait Barrows along with lots of Wood Anemone. First Bluebells on Yealand Allotments. Ground Ivy and lots of Dog Violets. Also at one point I saw my first Red Campion of the year. Also some old Hard Shield Fern whilst travelling up the Trough to Trowbarrow. Whilst stopping for lunch at "Haweswater" the Little Grebe could be heard.  Also I was "imitating the call of some nearby Chiffchaff who actually came very close to investigate who had entered their territory!

Thursday April 16th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0845hrs to 1015hrs

Both Chiffs calling at Plain Quarry and all the Willow Warblers have returned and singing in Plain Quarry and Dalton areas along with the ones on Hutton Roof as well.

Never before have I counted so many "Greenland Wheatear". I had a clear 16 showing on Wheatear Plain in Dalton and there could well have been more. 

Just a single Swallow passing through, and only 3 Meadow Pipits crossing over. Green Woodpeckers heard yaffling away. 

My friend Robert Ashworth had a Ring Ouzel in Dalton deforested today and here are a couple of photos of the bird.  

Both of the above photos kindly sent to me by Robert Ashworth
(Click over photos to enlarge)

Monday April 13th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1130hrs

Both Chiffchaffs Craig and Craggy were singing away at Plain Quarry. Up to seven Buzzards seen in the sky over Dalton with odd pairs interlocking and plummeting.  Dont know whether all these are all locals or some maybe passing through!

Up to 10 Willow Warblers in full song and some looking like they could well be holding territory from Trig Point to the North West at the area just before Uberash Roughs.  It obviously looks like this "confusion of Willow Warblers" must have something to do with family and associated family groups which have probably come through together, because again down in the bottom Dalton lower where you tend to get most of the Willow Warblers, there is still none present.  Yet all these on Hutton Roof are collectively in a small area at approx 850ft altitude which they have now been holding for at least three days. 

Had a single Martin in silhouette strangely making its way to the South.

Two Wheatear present on wall going up through Dalton deforested quite near to the Gully.

Lots of Yafflers as usual, but only 8 Meadow Pipits crossed over during the time I was present. 

Saturday April 11th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof. 0900hrs to 1015hrs "Osprey over Dalton"

The weather was far cooler this morning and there had also been a increase with the stronger Westerley winds.  The highlight this morning without doubt was a OSPREY going high over Dalton.  It was far off but easily recognizable through binoculars with the winding path it was taking but more important the give away for me was the tucked in "W" wing flight on plummet (similar to the Lapwing) which it was having to do regular because of the strong gusty winds and in addition to this the brilliant white showing from the underpart back end areas.  

The Chiffchaffs Craig and Craggy in Plain Quarry were in full song, yet the Willow Warblers have not yet arrived down here on the lower grounds, yet the strange thing is that yesterday I had them a plenty at 800ft on the Common. Yes I guess it is "confusing".

Not a single Meadow Pipit crossed the path of Dalton and Hutton Roof which I was aware of.

I have only recently come across some great photography by Andy Holden with lots of subjects I like.  He has kindly sent me this small sampler here, but if you would like to see most of Andy's stuff on Flickr then click here or if you wish to check out his Wildlife album then click here. All photos strictly copyrighted to Andy

(Click over photo to enlarge)

Friday April 10th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof. 0845hrs to 1015hrs "Confusion of Willow Warblers"

The highlight of the morning was seeing a "Confusion of Willow Warblers" over on Uberash Roughs at a area where you dont normally get many of this species.  I had at least six singing birds, but also one or two I saw which where not singing, perhaps there could well have been more I had not detected.

Yet down at Plain Quarry and the lower Dalton areas where you expect to get the first Willow Warbler arrivals I have had not as yet.  However in this area it was nice to be greeted with our resident Chiffchaffs Craig and Craggy.

Stonechats where seen up near the gully on the Dalton deforested midway point.  No Wheatears for me today and would you believe it, I counted the passing Meadow Pipits on one hand.  So this is strange because normally by now I would have expected over 100 plus per hour - lets blame it on changes in atmospheric pressure or something like that!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Northern Greenland Wheatears have arrived on Dalton Crags.

Please Click over sketch to enlarge - Sketch done in April 2013

Thursday April 9th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1200hrs

Both Chiffchaffs at Plain Quarry singing.  First Willow Warbler in partial song on the Common, also first Swallow at the Trig Point.  Had about 50 Meadow Pipits per hour going through to the North. Also had several Peacock butterflies and also a Brimstone at Plain Quarry Car Park. Odd Wheatear on Crag House side. Also, Redpoll and suspected Tree Pipit. 

Please click over sketch to enlarge

I wrote quick notes and got the gist to this poem whilst walking along Tarn Lane, Burton In Kendal on 9th April 2010 (5 years ago s today), when three Swallows went overhead "twittering away". My first Swallow sighting of the year and certainly "MOST WELCOME"...

Swallow, Swallow, Swallow, chatterboxes over my head,
Your twittering is so welcome, I've waited for this for,
Such a long time....
Spring is here!

Blue sky with white fluffy herringbone, breaches the heights,
Carpeted Celandine strew the path,
That gentle breeze runs between them,
Tells Me,
Spring is here!

Hedgerows levelled of Hawthorn in green,
Bramble arms reach out with anew,
Nettle and Dock stand side by side,
Spring is here!

Bumblebees search endlessly, surveying cave and den,
While Ladybirds, sway too and fro on breezy blades of grass,
Oh its so good to be alive and witness this some more,
Another year has come about,
Spring is here!

Wednesday April 8th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0845hrs to 1115hrs
A beautiful day from the off with Meadow Pipits going over Dalton and Hutton Roof. Chiffchaff Craig has now been joined by Craggy this morning at Plain Quarry and they are both singing merrily away.  Its so good to see they have both arrived back safely. Green Woodpeckers were yaffling in the horsy laughs.

Stonechats were seen in upper Dalton along with a single Wheatear which was on the outcrops over on the Crag House side, so whether this is where the "Greenlands" where hiding, I dont know!, I'll bet they were but did not have time to check it out. 

Again another day goes past with NO SHRIKES who by now are probably set to cross the North Sea on their way back to Scandinavia, although it would still be a nice surprise if they where to show again. 

A late surprise to see a pair of Whooper Swans heading North up the Lune Valley and crossing Hutton Roof sides.

Meadow Pipits steadily trickling across the common with 60 seen in total over the hour (0945 to 1045hrs), although even this number did contain one party of 23 and another of 5 birds.

Also a great pleasure to be making a dull whistling "Tiuu" to some nearby Bullfinches which were happy to return my calls and become inquisitive. Also had Redpoll, Greenfinch passing through. 

Tuesday April 7th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1300hrs to 1600hrs

Craig the Chiffchaff was calling on my arrival at Plain Quarry. Just a few passing Meadow Pipits but quite a lot blogging in the Crags.  Also noted a pair of Stonechats.  Right on cue the first of the Leucorrhoa Wheatear birds have arrived with a party of at least six birds (five males and one female).  I feel confident they were Northern Greenland birds, the plumage stands out a mile in comparison to the O.Oenathe in 95% of the cases being very much darker, the birds far more upright, more colourful to the orange upper chest.  Where do you think the birds where seen?  on Dalton's Wheatear plain of course!!

Well well, I searched and I searched from the Cairns on Uberash Breast all the way through to the Trig Point and down across the South/South East ridges, but could not see any of the Shrikes.  I also spoke to other observers who had been up earlier and none of them saw the Shrikes either... So we will see over the next couple of days what the results are!

Earlier today I was getting a movement of Meadow Pipits down in Burton In Kendal of about 70 per hour all moving N/NW.