Thursday, 2 March 2017

Catch Up

Saturday 11th March 2017

Is it fungi or is it a type of Slime Mould - What a beauty and found today on a rotting tree (Click over to enlarge)
I have now found out it is called a "Amoebozoa" (Protozoa)

I have found a excellent online blog by Siah St. Clair which goes into more depth and shows some great photos
of the different stages of the yellow amoebozoa please click here to access ALL OF NATURE BLOG
On my way up the Crags I had plenty of Song Thrush singing but today I had one bird which was enjoying letting me think I had heard a distant "Golden Plover" its mimic was a dead ringer! I had a male Stonechat in Dalton Crags (deforested) about 100 yards to the North of the "Line of Trees", could not see a female so don't know if it is the resident pair or another new bird arrived.

Coming down through Lancelot I was attracted to the yellow patch which at first looked like a very pale yellow leaf from a distance but when I got closer it soon became apparent it was some sort of fungi or slime mould.  I have checked out my references and cannot find it anywhere at the moment. It was about 5" and made up of what I would say were small yellow bubbles (please click over image to enlarge), whatever it is I feel its a cracker and I have already put it on a forum to try and find out what it is. I have now found out it is a "Amoebozoa (Protozoa)"

Further Marsh tits heard calling in Lancelot.  We are doing well this year recording these!  Also a regular pair of Lapwing trying to breed on the old stubble field at the top of Vicarage Lane, but being constantly harressed with Carrion Crows.  Some fantastic Lapwing aerial display has they dive bombed the Crows.

Just been reminded by Arlene that its getting to that time of year to watch out for the old "ticks".  I thought best for me to print here the info sheets which I always show to my parties:

This shows the sizes of "Larva, Nymph and adult Female and Male" (Click over for enlarge)

This shows how bites may look at the top and below are showing signs of bites that could become Lymes

I get "ticks" regular on my daily trips up on Hutton Roof, but thankfully only one time did I actually get one with the rings around, which I quickly went to the doctors and who prescribed at the time the antibiotic "Doxycycline" which sorted it within 48 hours. Hope you never have to deal with ticks but maybe these illustrations can help you just in case.

Thursday 9th March 2017

Brimstone today in Dalton Hamlet
Photo: taken on Iphone 
It all started really well today with my first bumble bee which had a white bum!
then I noticed other nice things as well some nice patches of Black Spleenwort (last years),
plus plenty of Celandine beaming through with sunny smiling faces, but no violets for me today.
My first butterfly of the year and right on time for this lovely Brimstone (and ladybird).
Went through Dalton Burial Woodlands today and it was lovely with plenty of birdsong,
which included Treecreeper, Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Wrens, Robins and Dunnocks,
but the best of all was back on "Nineteen Trees" where I had that high pitched "pitchoo"
and sure enough a place to record for the lovely little "Marsh Tit". 

In the past few days I have also had some nice reports from friends as well: Both Alec (Dalton Hamlet) and Howard (Holme) reported seeing the "White Crow" on the A6070 near the Canal hump back bridge some quarter of a mile before the "Auctions", Robert from Kendal has had a male Crossbill which was calling whilst heading over Burton Fell. He also recorded several "Early Purple rosette" leaves starting to come through in both Lancelot Clark Storth and also on Burton Fell. Nathan (Morewood) has had a Buzzard regularly checking out his garden. 

Wednesday 8th March 2017 

Sketch: Courtesy of RSPB

"Ay! to a bird that looked like a mouse"

Just like a mouse (but not a mouse)
A mouse going vertical,
running up a tree from bottom to top,
probing here and there with his long downward curved beak,
Oblivious to us humans watching from so close
Then he would start it all again on another trunk of another tree,
Running up a tree from bottom to top,
But this time he would run faster than before,
He must have been getting fed up and yes,
That was it he flew off to a distant tree.

Each day for three I climbed to the very top,
To a Trig where you can see all around,
For today I was in search of and I found!
No more than lots of imaginary “Shrikes”
And not one moved but they held their ground,
Will tomorrow be so different?
I need to climb each day for four and to the very top.

Monday 6th March 2017 - Dalton Crags

"Song Thrush" (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Craig Bell

“The Crags are alive with music,
 Throstle’s, Larks,and Accentors too”

Wow! To think I had not been on the top of Hutton Roof for almost six months prior to today (4th March) so for me it was just something special to get that feeling of being back on “Top of the World”.  It has been a long job but finally we have got there and just in time to catch the early migrants has they start to pour through, well that’s what I hope they will start to do during the coming weeks.

Today I was back up on Hutton Roof (6th March) and straight up to the Trig Point, it was a beautiful warm sunny morning, the type of morning which made you want to stride forward.  The Song Thrushes were in their element with at least three singing their special mixed repertoire from pockets around the Plain Quarry areas and then by the time I had gone up through the lower Crags I had another three birds all enjoying their morning too and telling me so in their wealth of joyous “breath of fresh air” music.

So what in particular has spurred me on to getting to the top of that hill!  Well if I am being honest with you I suppose I wanted to check on the Skylarks and the Meadow Pipits to see if any had started to cross over on their way North and onward to their breeding grounds, and also to see if the larks were singing from the heavens! Oh yes, those little “ascending” wonders were busy spreading their Spring delight to all who wanted to hear it! I have not yet personally seen the Mipit's but a friend Robert had three this morning from around the gully area of the upper Crags.

It was not only the Larks and Mipit's which had given me that “extra tug” but also by the thought that the Great Grey Shrike who usually makes his appearance from around the 7th of March (It's been that particular day on no less than 3 times during the past eight years).  That’s if he decides to call in on us whilst progressing his journey from down in Spain to his destination somewhere in the Scandinavia's.  Nothing to report it is still “No Shrikey, No Likey”.

It really was worth checking out the rare Holly Ferns and were they doing OK! Yes of course number one was looking great as always, yet number two had a really close crop again this year with a proper No.2 or “deercut” and I really had to feel around at the base to check they hadn't disappeared.

Saturday 4th March 2017 - Burton In Kendal

"Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow" - (Click over to enlarge)
Kindly shared to us by Craig Bell
Check out Craig's Bird photos by clicking here

"It’s now the time for every Dunnock to sing to come alive,
In crude a tinkling Goldcrest tone, but many contained here,
A Redbreast goes high to impose his will but not today,
For today the Hedge Sparrow is sweetest of them all". 
(4th March 2017)


Tree Pipit at Grasmere - side of Loughrigg
Photo taken in June -  (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 2nd March 2017 - Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal

Just had a short stride up Vicarage Lane and could hear three separate Song Thrushes singing away and marking their territories, and they had lots of new repertoirre to offer I just could not book down their calls quick enough.... some really good stuff here!.

Going past Tram (don't know at this point whether I should call it upper or lower) but a good place where I stand sometimes during the Autumn to record the passing finches.  Although today I had my mind fixed upon "Squeaking the old Stoat! He's not a easy one, in fact I usually never have problems squeaking the Stoats and can bring them within a few yards before I frighten them away! but this chap is something different, I have tried several times before to get his attention but not yet! I do need to come up with a better "squeak" if I am to get anywhere with this lad!!

Some great reports from friends include: 

Reg has had his regular Winter Yellowhammers return to his garden on Morewood Drive. Phil has reported seeing four Tree Sparrows in Dalton Hamlet and also he had a rare sighting of a “Ringtail” (either a female or juvenile = “Ringtail”) Hen Harrier crossing over the Trig Point and heading off down into Lancelot Clark Storth. More reports of Little Egrets either on the Mosses and also being reported from the gullies across from Station Road, Holme. Robert has had Merlin and Meadow Pipits showing on Hutton Roof. Skylarks were back on territory and singing as early as February 5th, but were not seen or heard the following day.

A "Wet" William Wordsworth Grave (Click over to enlarge) 

Yesterday (1st of March 2017) I guess I should have woke up and said “White Rabbits” as my first words uttered! But again I forgot, like I forget in most years…..  It’s a funny old custom which was handed down to me by my late mum who said I should always say it on the 1st March and then I would have good luck for the month or was it good luck for the year ahead.

Today it was great to do what we do on most Wednesday’s at this time of year, by having a brew and a butty and finish off with a piece of good old Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread whilst at the same time sat trying to absorb some poetic inspiration and being sheltered by the fabulous Yew tree just at the side of William’s (and the rest of the Wordsworth clan’s graves.  It was gently raining today, but that was no problem for us because of this “thickened with age” grand Yew giving us a dry canopy whilst we sat on the nearby seat.  It's always a great privilege to sit under this very tree which was planted in this spot by none other than William himself. 

Surely what was so different today?  Ah! well no Jackdaws,  and as a rule we always have Jackdaws trying to scavenge any left overs or crumbs that maybe on offer.  Usually they are quite tame and will come within a couple of yards perching themselves on the upper ledge of nearby gravestones. Yet all was quiet here you normally hear them in the vicinity.  Still we had plenty of Robins and Dunnocks to keep us company!

Changing our rambling route by the day or even by the hour just before we hit the start, we chose to head through Deerbolt on the West side of Grasmere which eventually leads you to Rydal Caves.  On leaving Deerbolt I pictured from memory the vast area being covered by bluebells and imagining what a treat it will be for some "sore eyes"!  In fact I will dig out my photo from last time I saw this beautiful event.....which I have posted here.

This is how it may look around the 12th May

Not only this beautiful sight was going around in my mind but also the thoughts of the regular Cuckoo who usually you can hear calling from early May onwards.  But I guess for me the best has to come, whilst today all these scattered hawthorns seem bare! but soon (May) will have those songsters the Tree Pipits singing away from them whilst they perform their fluttering descending parachute from one higher tree towards one nearby lower tree. 

Also today we had small little groups of flowering daffodils, some of the miniature and some of the more regular and always somewhere close to a wooden seat.  Perhaps they were markers for someone to remember somebody.  Along this path and close to water flushes I can sometimes find Butterwort and Yellow Saxifrage, but not today, its far too early yet! (need to take another look around June time), also lower down by the river you will later be able to find Grass of Parnassus and Devils Bit Scabious and Bog Asphodel plus lots of other "GEMS" as well.

A welcome return to the Caves (Rydal Caves), not natural may I add but a left over of the old quarry.

Looking out from Rydal Caves (Click over to enlarge)