Saturday, 13 February 2016


Report for both Wednesday February 10th and Friday February 12th 2016

What a cracking day! dry at last with blue skies, they say what a difference a day can make.  Looking everywhere for those elusive Hawfinches nibbling the uppermost veins of the old tall beeches just after leaving the Plain Quarry.  But none to be seen, its a rare occurrence we get those big beautiful finches perhaps twice a year if I am very lucky. This area at this time of year is usually occupied with scores and scores of mixed finches and tits, but noticed this year a absence, just like it has been with the Thrushes.  In most years during the Winter months we have at least 50 to 100 mixed Fieldfare and Redwing on Hutton Roof, but this year their absence has been well noted.

(SONG THRUSH) So what could stop me in my tracks?  well none other than at least three "throstles" in full song from the high points with lots of fascinating song of love.  Starting off with the regular "Wi hi Woowit, Wi how wi, Brig ga deer (thats a new one for me!), "Was hay, weehay woo", "Che er dee", "Hello-di", Hello - di"  and lots lots more. So special are these sounds today and usually for me its the signs of another start to the year. Must try and get out regular to record these fabulous calls.

(SKYLARK) Nah then! it must be the earliest ever for me - Wednesday February 10th 2016, I had just about got into Dalton deforested and sure enough very faint could hear "SKY" the lark singing happily away in the distance.  Eventually seen to come down on to the boundary wall.

A couple of days later - Friday February 12th 2016 whilst heading over "Uberash Breast" I was drawn to the skies to witness 8 Skylarks calling whilst on their way directly heading South. Why South?  It appears strange but I had the same thing a few years ago whilst having a walk over "Cumswick Scar" when then also a small early party were heading South. So for sure the Skylarks are definately on the move.

(MEADOW PIPITS) Just odd ones can be heard going overhead and occasional singles on the more open ground.

(GREAT TITS) are also in song now with some very monotonous recurring calls amongst its most beautiful repertoire.

(THRUSHES) Still very thin on the ground and very luck to see a small party of 8 Redwing crossing over within Lancelot Clark Storth.

(CHATS)  Again the pair of Stonechats have overwintered with us on Dalton deforested and were present again today.

(PECKERS) I did hear the call of the Green Woodpecker, but had three different Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming away in Lancelot with two of them obviously responsive to one another.

(WOODCOCK) Still flushing the odd Woodcock on Hutton Roof, but the Snipe seem to have dropped off for now.

On Wednesday it was nice to meet up with friend and fellow naturalist Robert Ashworth from Kendal, and I enjoyed showing him the Green Spleenworts and the Holly Ferns and the spectacular limestone pavement with the sinkholes.

Robert Ashworth at the Trig Point

I spent some time checking out various blocks of pavements searching around for Polystichums and Aspleniums, but nothing much new, though (jokingly!) I think I may have come up with a new species and its called the PURPLE SPLEENWORT.

"A Maidenhair Spleenwort from 2015 and now tinged with Purple" (Click over to enlarge)