Monday, 23 May 2016

More Nature Notes from Dalton, Hutton Roof and Burton (from 23rd May 2016)

Photos of our Dalton Crags Cuckoo (Click over to enlarge)
Photos: by Andrew Hughes of Warton and taken 30th May 2016


(taken from the Burton Swift Bird Study Site)

Swift Notes for Thursday 2nd June 2016 (Click over sketch to enlarge)

Last night we had more great Swift observations, and managed to add a further three nest sites to our records for this year bringing the total so far to 13 confirmed nest sites.

We confirmed a new site for this year on the small cottage on the Post Office Row.  The site was also used last year (2015). Also this was to be the last site vacated with the final birds leaving Burton on 16th August 2015 (exceptionally late).

Moving on whilst briefly checking Cocking Yard and the rear of the Royal, we did eventually record more action on the front elevation of the Royal Cottage Annexe with a site to the right hand corner being used (already established last week).  Also several birds were seen "banging" at various points along the guttering, so we could not make our minds up whether these birds were full mature adults or immatures of the first year.  We also made particular note to one bird which did seem to enter a completely new nest site but only for a second before it flew off again.  Because of this short encounter we decided to record it as a possible, but not to make any record at this stage.

Moving on past the Royal with nothing showing on the West side elevation, we moved further down Main Street to do our observations across from the Coaching House and the Manor House. Reg saw a Swift using a site on the Coaching House North side elevation quite close to the small circular window, a site which was suspect from 2015 when Tanya Hoare thought it was being used. Also the Manor House showed further activity with birds seen using both of our 2016 already recorded sites on the front elevation.  But we were in for a extra treat with a further bird witnessed using the long established nest site which is near the base of the rake on the North elevation gable end, this was a new record for 2016.

Tonight's observers were: Mary Bullimore, David Craig, Derek from Kendal, Reg Hesketh, Hugh and Sue Miles, Bryan Yorke.  We went on a little tonight from 2000hrs to 2130hrs and we all agreed to try and meet up again next Thursday at 2000hrs at the Burton Memorial Hall when all would be welcomed.

Here are up to date photos showing the nest sites activity tonight (the history of the nest site eg: previously used is also given)

Cottages adjoining the Post Office on Main Street (Click over to enlarge)

The Coaching House (Click over to enlarge)

Manor House, Main Street, (Click over to enlarge)



A Fly Orchid taken on Saturday morning on Hutton Roof (Click over to enlarge)

Saturday morning 28th May 2016 and Sunday morning 29th May 2016 - all morning on both days

A new Blackcap recorded in Dalton, large colony of Periwinkle type flowers on verge just before entering into Plain Quarry (Garden escapees).  Been kindly informed yesterday about a pair of Spotted Flycatchers seen by Robert Ashworth (Kendal) to the East side of Plain Quarry.  I decided to investigate but could not for sure locate however I am sure I did here one calling quite close so definately need to spend more time here.  Of special interest whilst I was checking for Spotted Flycatchers I actually saw a Lesser Whitethroat leaving ground scrub and fly up to a nearby tree. It was great because just at that time I was speaking with Andrew from Warton and he lent me his fabulous Svarowski binoculars and what stunning views!  This bird or (probably birds) is of particular interest because for the past two years, my other pair have gone missing out of the bottom of Dalton Crags (upper or deforested) and I had almost given up on them.  I am now beginning to think now that they have moved territory and come down here!...after all its only a stone throw away.

Small Heath butterflies seem to be everywhere.  Cuckoo was calling from his usual quarter at the top of Dalton Crags (deforested) almost up against the Lancelot boundary wall.  Found and recorded a good two metre population of Yellow Rattle plus a one metre patch of Water Avens.   Still down with the Tree Pipits on Dalton!

On the Sunday, I decided to check around the North and East Side of Hutton Roof, and saw quite a few Linnets and Redpolls (obviously local breeders), only one Yellowhammer calling! A large patch of Bloody Cranesbill about to start showing.  At least ten pairs of Willow Warblers.  Sanicle lazy in these parts today with none showing (strange!) One of the regular Blackcaps calling, lots of Scorpion Flies about, Common Redstart not singing and no Cuckoo over by the Rakes (or at least not calling), and only had one Tree Pipit calling here as well. Absolutely scores of Small Heaths (massive hatch today- they seemed to be everywhere, I'll bet 100 passed by), One Dinghy Skipper enjoying himself flitting about.  And also one Wall Brown Butterfly (my first of the year).

Over the week-end I have been fortunate to find another two populations of Fly Orchids, one on either side of Hutton Roof (one of my own finding and thanks to Robert for giving me the heads up with another population)  It looks like its being a great year so far for Fly Orchids and here below are another couple of photos I took from the Sundays find. 

Two photos above of Sunday's Fly Orchids - little 4 - 6" stunners  (Click over to enlarge)


A sketch I have just done recently for Rob at Sizergh "Hawfinches threatening Strike action"  (Click over to enlarge)

A couple of maps I did a few years ago showing the footpaths across Hutton Roof together with the GPS readings.  These are only approximate maps and not to scale in anyway but work for me and which I found quite useful at first.  When I get chance I will upload some for Dalton, Lancelot and Burton Fell. 

Two of my sketches which I did use until I got to know the tracks well for easy crossing of Common  (Click over to enlarge)


This is a diary sketch relating to our Swift Watch on Thursday May 26th 2016 (Please click over to enlarge)

"POOR SWIFT UPDATE" Friday 27th May 2016 - 1000hrs - Care of Kendal College Wildlife Dept

I have just received word from David Craig who has just been in touch with the Kendal College and we are informed that the "poor swift" died during last night.

The above photos represent the status of all the ten nest sites we have so far recorded being used during most recent observations (Other year dates represent the nest histories) - Click over photo to enlarge.

Thursday 26th May 2016 - Burton Swift Bird Study Group - Checking out Swift nesting sites along Main Street, Burton In Kendal  2000hrs to 2100hrs

From the word go, there were very few birds about and at first we could only log about 5 in the sky at any one time, however on our way back Reg and I did eventually manage to tally 7 which were over the Neddy Hill area. We think it was down to purely a lack of insects on the night, although obviously a few birds were still local.

Our first Swift experience of the evening was noted from the Royal Hotel Cottage front elevation where Reg noted 3 more sites which are all long established but new for this years records.  This now brings the number of sites so far recorded on this particular building to five nesting areas.

Our next positive came whilst observing the Manor House when we were fortunate to see birds entering two more sites, one on the gable end (near 2nd purling up from the front corner) and the other one was close to the front left hand corner. Again these two sites are long established but are new for this years records.

This concluded our observations and we agreed to meet up again next Thursday 2nd June at 2000hrs at the Burton Memorial Hall.

Thursday 26th May 2016 - High above Clawthorpe Hall, Burton 1300hrs approx

Two Swifts hawking the skies above Clawthorpe Hall today. 


Scavenged Song Thrush egg on the side of Ploverlands, Hutton Roof 24th May 2016  (Click over to enlarge)
I guess I very rarely take much notice about the look of the inner shell, but just look at this Song Thrush egg and the beautiful colour patterned "inner".  This was found yesterday (24th May) whilst I was over on the Ploverlands just above Park Wood.  It was not the only one there were three in total and looked very much like a scavenger had played its part.

Poor Song Thrushes and Blackbirds in particular secumb to this sort of thing on a very regular basis, I am seeing it all the time on my local travels.

On a regular yearly basis and at one place in particular within Lancelot Clark Storth (Cumbria Wildlife Reserve), I have had as many as up to fifteen scavenged eggs, usually placed carefully together in one of the deep muddy Land Rover wheel tracks whilst going along the forest track.   Why do they keep putting them there in this same place year after year, there must be several clutches of eggs here and its always the Blackbird or the Song Thrush.

I always suspected the Grey Squirrel for all this, but maybe I was jumping to conclusions!  I have asked a couple of keepers and they say that without doubt it will be the work of the corvid.  I guess I would go along with that because we certainly have plenty of them.

Below is a photo I used for another purpose only yesterday which has prompted me to hit this subject and it shows just what I find on a regular basis.  In fact I do have better photos when I can lay my hands on them.

A mixture of Song Thrush and Blackbird scavenged eggs layed within a forestry track  (Click over to enlarge)



Well it all starts with a “Cuckoo” which I was lucky to see in Dalton Crags on the early date of April 23rd, I don’t know whether this was one of our local birds or just a bird passing through our area and resting up, the outcome of which was never established.  On May 2nd our first confirmed calling male bird was back in Dalton Crags delighting everyone with its regular calling. Since that day we have been privileged with regular daily sightings and plenty of Cuckoo calling.  Also we have had sightings of a pair plus in Dalton plus a additional bird calling from down between Crag House Farm and the nearby Cockshoot area.

Swallow and House Martin numbers (so far counted) remain similar to last year although a general trend of thought is that there are fewer birds in our skies these days. The Warblers are all doing OK with probably more Garden Warblers than Blackcaps this year, good numbers yet again of Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers.  Redstarts are doing well and accounted for with the safe return of all our regulars on the Dalton Hall estate and also the ones on Burton Fell and over by Kelker and Park Wood.  Scrambling out on most days in readiness to monitor our beautiful little Spotted Flycatchers who should be making their appearance any day now!  I have over the years been able to establish at least four pairs in our area and hope to increase that number this year with more observations.
I can’t make my mind up yet in regards to the fabulous Tree Pipits, most territories have been taken up in parts of Dalton, Lancelot and Burton Fell, although at the time of writing (May 20th), I have still not had the 3 pairs which are usually within the Dalton deforested and none yet recorded over by Majors Nursery on the Dalton Hall Estate. Maybe it’s been too cold for them, but I do expect to be able to record them any day now!  Will also do my Yellowhammer check in the next week or so.

The first of our local Swifts arrived back on the 3rd May, with increases in numbers counted during the daytime of the 4th May (when the bulk arrived) and by the evening of 4th May, 14 birds were counted flying above Main Street.  We had our first Burton Swift Study Group meet on 19th May when 7 birds were seen, and two established nesting sites so far were again confirmed already for this season, one on the Royal and one on the Manor.  I am sure there will be more and hopefully this will increase week by week now. Our next meet will be on Thursday 2nd June at 2000hrs at the Burton Memorial Hall and anyone interested would be most welcome to attend.

Local flora over the month and since our last issue have included: Bugle, Ramsons, Bluebells, Spring Sandwort, Woodruff, Early Purple Orchids (good numbers again, plus a beautiful “pure white” specimen found in Lancelot), Spring Cinquefoil, Parsley Piert, Greater Stitchwort, Rue Leaved Saxifrage, Red Campion, Wood Anemone, Garlic Mustard, Cuckoo Flower, Herb Paris (with a strange oddity of a five leaved Herb Paris in Lancelot), Tormentil, vetches, Wood Sorrel, Herb Robert, Common Milkwort, Yellow Pimpernel, Sanicle, Primrose and Cowslips, Crosswort, Germander Speedwell. Fairy Foxglove (probably introduced at Plain Quarry). The month of June should bring in Cow-wheat, Angular Solomon’s Seal, Lily Of The Valley, Fly Orchids and there is also the chance of a early Epipactis.

Ferns are coming through fast and furious with lovely specimens of Rigid Buckler Ferns, Limestone Ferns, Scollies unravelling, and what could be nicer than our very own rarity, the  Holly Ferns which will look great by the end of the month and not forgetting of course our Green Spleenworts.
Another rarity at its best right now is the lovely Carex Ornithopodia (well well well! thought somehow it had something to do with birds!  Yes the Birds Foot Sedge showing well in Lancelot (Cumbria Wildlife Reserve).

Butterflies have included: Dinghy Skipper, Speckled Woods, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tips, Green Veined White, Large White

(Copy written and posted on 20th May 2016)

"POOR SWIFT UPDATE" Wednesday 25th May 2016 - Care of Kendal College Wildlife Dept

1000hrs  David has just let me know that the College have decided they are keeping the bird to at least Friday am, because the birds current weight is showing at 36 grms and that it should be between 43-45 grms and they think it would be to the birds benefit to gain some extra weight before release, and they say a couple more days of feeding should help it. It is currently taking in "Waxworms" and water with no problem. (next update Friday)

"POOR SWIFT UPDATE" Tuesday 24th May 2016 - Care of Kendal College Wildlife Dept

1600hrs  David has received word from the College stating the bird is progressing well and is eating "waxworms" without problem, although its weight is only 36grms where it should be 44 grms, so they are keeping it there again for another night before hopefully handing over tomorrow morning. 

1200hrs  David rang the College this morning and they said the bird had eaten 4 waxworms and taking in water OK.  They said they had one further test to check in regard to a flight test and that the vet would be doing the rounds early afternoon.  Then all being well the bird should be released for us to hopefully set free close to the area of finding. Can't Wait!

Tuesday 24th May 2016 - Hutton Roof Area - Fly Orchids - first of the year Small Heaths, also Dinghy Skipper etc.

Photos of three of the Hutton Roof Fly Orchids I had today (Click over to enlarge)

0900hrs to 1200hrs  Today was very special right from the word go, I left Plain Quarry and headed up the footpath and just at the point of where you go through the opening within the limestone escarpment it sort of entered the world of a fabulous Nine O'Clock bird chorus which included Blackbird, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers all singing their little hearts out to see which could sing the loudest! Wow it was just fantastic and so clear and so loud, even the grass below you was "sparkling" in the deliver of the morning sun has it hit the "morning dew" which covered everything.

It came as a very pleasant shock to note the missing Tree Pipits had all arrived back and were singing from points within the upper deforested Crags (at least 3 in the Crags) and Skylarks chasing one another and putting on fighting displays! even more Tree Pipits (another 3 calling birds), as I entered the Common and took my path through the Ploverlands, I wonder if this is where they have been hiding all the time!

Still lots of St Marks Fly about, also had my first two of the year Small Heath Butterflies and a lovely Dinghy Skipper which allowed me close access for a photoshot! again here it seemed like a bird singing contest and I even made out a nearby Goldcrest giving its high pitched flurries.

On my way back down its was great to hear one of the paired Lesser Whitethroats singing away just at a point higher up from the Gully and within Dalton Crags (upper deforested). Nearby I also saw a crazy "Speckled Yellow" Moth, chasing everywhere at top speed.

It was also great this morning to have been able to locate my first three of the year "Fly Orchids" (Photo shown above).  Thanks Barry for giving me the heads up on these.

Dinghy Skipper on Hutton Roof this morning  (Click over to enlarge)

Four photos showing the fabulous high pressure clouds this morning  (Click over to enlarge)
Many moons ago I bought a music CD by the Orb called "Little Fluffy Clouds" and thats just what we had this morning over Caton and Ingleborough

Tuesday 24th May 2016 - Hutton Roof Areas - Fly Orchids

0700hrs - Notes come in from Barry (from yesterday 23rd May) that he found 2 Dinghy Skipper butterflies in the Plain Quarry area of Dalton. He also had a Speckled Yellow over near Ploverlands.

Also he recorded 7 Fly Orchids from a new area on Hutton Roof which 4 plants were in flower with more to come, 2 plants in bud, and one plant had been chewed off.

Monday 23rd May 2016 - Area across from Manor House and just behind Kings, Main Street, Burton In Kendal.

 - Counted and confirmed a minimum of 20 Swifts in the air together and there could well have been many more.

"POOR SWIFT UPDATE" Monday 23rd May 2016 - Care of Kendal College Wildlife Dept

1730hrs  Swift has been checked out thoroughly and thankfully showing no bone fractures or any other problems, so the College Wildlife Department are keeping it overnight before hopefully handing it back for us to release back in Burton.  More update tomorrow.

1200hrs Swift has been taken by David across to Kendal College (Wildlife Dept) where they are keeping it until a vet checks it over this afternoon and hopefully will give it a skeleton x-ray.  If all is OK it will be handed back later this afternoon for release back in Burton.  If there are more severe problems eg: with its skeleton of which there are fractures, they have already advised it will be better to put the bird to sleep.  So for now we are all sat with fingers crossed and praying that it will be OK. Will report back later.

1000hrs Swift still doing well and gladly taking in small amounts of water this morning.  Hopefully we intend to try and release back into the wild at sometime today. Will report back later

Notes (recorded 23rd May 2016) from today and also over the past few days - Dalton, Hutton Roof, Burton In Kendal and Dalton Hall Estate area etc plus notifications

Been advised by two separate friends (Robert Ashworth and David Pitman) that Fly Orchids are just starting off on Hutton Roof complex with one in flower and several probably opening up within the next week.

Herb Paris in woodland - Dalton Hall Estate (private)  (Click over to enlarge)

"Panorpa Germanica" (Click over to enlarge)

I found whilst going through Dalton Crags a scorpion fly belonging to the family "Panorpa Germanica"

presumed all "Pyrausta ostrinalis" All three sightings last week , My own photo plus Roberts and David's
Besides my own record "Pyrausta ostrinalis", I have had two more similar records for Hutton Roof so its obvious there must be plenty about at the moment

I wasn't alone in the woods today! I'm sure it was the incredible Jeff Lynne from ELO singing "Mr. Blue Sky"  (Click over to enlarge)