Thursday, 27 April 2017

Garden Warblers have arrived!

Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)

Monday May 1st 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1030hrs

At least two further GARDEN WARBLERS arrived in Lower Dalton and both in beautiful song. Whilst one of them put a good viewing show on as well, although it did not know I was watching it because if was part way down the scrubby tree and thought it was camouflaged by being almost hidden behind other branches, but I could make it out! and what a little beauty it was.... (thank you GW). Also another Tree Pipit has arrived so now we have at least three singing on territory in Dalton and I believe (thanks to Robert) another two at the top of Lancelot.

I am already getting excited because this afternoon we are going over the far side of the Dalton Hall Estate to check whether or not the Common Redstarts are back and also to check out the Tree Pipits around Newclose and Majors Nursery.

Friday April 28th 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1000hrs

Just a single Garden Warbler arrived near to Plain Quarry and this was very reserved with not much singing at present.  Still awaiting up to four more singing birds to come in and then it will be time to go and do a check on the Common Redstart!  Just been told from a good source that a CUCKOO was present and calling in the main street of YEALAND (wooded side) on Thursday last (27th)

Thursday April 27th 2017 - Lower Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) and thereabouts 1400hrs to 1600hrs  "Bang On"

Well I bet there was a large "fall" of the little beauties last night because I had one while walking along Slape Lane on my way out, then I was lucky enough not just to hear but to see as well at its usual site in Lower Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT), and if that was not enough I had the pleasure to hear a couple more on my way back on Vicarage Lane.  Also told Swifts are coming into the Country in their hundreds and will be with us soon!

Garden Warbler arrivals past history at Hutton Roof are:

4 on 27th April 2017, 2 on 23rd April 2016, 1 on 26th April 2015, 1 on 27th April 2014, 1 on 27th April 2013, 1 on  25th April 2012 and 6 on 22nd April 2011.  So from these accounts APRIL 27th seems a very popular arrival date

If you want to hear the call of the Garden Warbler click on the arrow below:

I had this little beauty below as well.  In fact I was taking a photo of a settled Speckled Wood when right at the side came along this lovely large red damsel fly which allowed me to take a photo. Besides the SW I also had a Peacock and another male Orange Tip.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) Click over to enlarge
I had lot of Blackcaps at all the regular places just off Slape Lane and again in the Low Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) areas.

I could not resist taking photos of the Bluebell/Wood Anemone Woods and also noticed along the way in flower Wood Avens and Bugle and quite a few of the rare Spring Cinquefoil, also Herb Paris.  Also the rare Birds Foot Sedge is probably showing at its best which is very early by a week or more.

The beautiful rare Spring Cinquefoil

Birds Foot Sedge (Carex Ornithopodia) also see photo below
Click over to enlarge

Birds Foot Sedge (Carex Ornithopodia) Click over to enlarge
Now if you viewed it in about 2 weeks time you will find several of the flowerheads like this.
With bird talons - hence "Birds Foot"
Bluebells and Wood Anemone (Click over to enlarge)
Herb Paris - Click over to enlarge
Indicator of Ancient Woodland

Monday, 24 April 2017

Cuckoo arrived!

Cuckoo (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly supplied by C.K. Bell Images.  If you wish to check out more of Craig's images please click here

Wednesday April 26th 2017 - Dalton Crags 1100hrs to 1230hrs

Cuckoo calling from his regular place close to the Lancelot boundary.  Stonechats about.  One additional Tree Pipit displaying and calling (2 sites now) still awaiting a further three in Dalton. NO WHEATEAR, NO GARDEN WARBLERS, NO REDSTARTS TODAY...... did have a male Orange Tip butterfly in Plain Quarry.

Also: from Robert of Kendal - today he also had a further two TREE PIPITS at the top of Lancelot Clark Storth. Also over 200 Swifts seen above the Chew Valley in Somerset today.

Tuesday April 25th 2017 - Dalton Crags 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Just a quick checkover of the Lower Section to see if any GARDEN WARBLERS had come in during the night, but still quiet nothing recorded. Temperatures have took a massive drop and although nice in the sun the general temperature was down to 6 degrees which I would imagine would make things difficult for the Warblers, yet after saying that the WILLOW WARBLERS seemed to be singing from everywhere.

Monday April 24th 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1100hrs

One of our Cuckoo's is back and calling regular from his favourite territory in Dalton Crags close to the boundary with Lancelot Clark Storth. It was nice yesterday to hear from Celia up at Elterwater to tell us that her Cuckoo had arrived back and was calling, which made me wonder whether ours might be back today.  I wonder if they had come in together!!

Still only the one Tree Pipit doing it's marvellous parachuting displays whilst singing its diminishing crescendo calls.

No Wheatears today, but the Stonechats are doing fine and I think I may well have had a further bird this morning.  Still No Garden Warblers although they have been reported over at Warton Crag yesterday.   Odd Swifts being reported from Arnside, Leighton Moss and a possible seen over the village (unconfirmed).  More Blackcaps have been reported and the regular Chiffchaff "PEAR" has now arrived back in Dalton hamlet and keeping to her late arrival schedule. It has become noticeable that the early arrival birds are the same every year and from the same geographical locations.  And the same applies with the late arrival birds, they too are always from the same locations and always appear to be the last to arrive. This also seems to be a similar situation with Willow Warblers. Also had the Tawny Owl calling from Storth Wood (Dalton)

Click over to enlarge

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Greenland/Icelantic/Faroe Islands Wheatear are with us! plus the first Lesser Whitethroat

Yes it was great today I had plenty of "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear especially on Farleton (read below) 3 on Dalton and 8 on Farleton.

Saturday April 22nd 2017 - Dalton Crags 1000hrs to 1100hrs then Farleton Fell 1100hrs to 1430hrs

Yesterday (Friday) I did check out Dalton Crags but no Wheatear showing.  Just one Tree Pipit at the top of Hypericum Way which was constantly singing and displaying.

Today (Saturday)  Still no Garden Warblers and still the single Tree Pipit doing some fabulous displays whilst giving off his song.  Had three "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear with two on the walls and one on the ground on Wheatear Plain.  All very upright and all showing the dirty blue backs (presumed male). Stonechat male and female seen around the "line of trees" areas.  A Tawny Owl crossed my path and coming from South to Storth Wood - Dalton where I heard it calling from five minutes after passing.

Today (Saturday) - Farleton Side
I had Chiffchaffs calling from Farleton Rise, Rowley Copse, and 50 yards below Rowley Copse where I also had a Blackcap calling. On the Fell itself I had ten Wheatear of which 8 were presumed of the "Leucorrhoa race" and all were dirty blue coloured, these were spaced out along the full length of the fell and mainly in pairs.  I had a further two presumed to be O.Oenanthe - Eurasian which were a male and a brown female and thought to be breeding local.  Also several Swallows from the Whinn Yeates Farm, a single female Yellowhammer on territory. Views of a splendid "Lesser Whitethroat" was seen just above the Gorse areas.  The area were I have recorded them now for the past couple of years.

At the Old Lime Kiln (filled in) behind Whinn Yeates I noticed the ferns where doing really well and the Asplenium.Ceterach (Rusty Back Fern) was showing 6 little groups coming through. Also Maidenhair Spleenwort, and what is thought to be the rarer "Black Spleenwort" and Common Rue.

Very surprised to see a Brimstone Butterfly high on the fells heading with haste to the South.  Also heard Linnets, lots of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.  flowers included Rue Leaved Saxifrage, Parsley Piert (all gps recorded).

I am told a Swift was recorded going over Arnside yesterday.

This may well be Black Spleenwort ? (Click over to enlarge)

Ceterach or Rusty Back Fern (Click over to enlarge)

Looking towards Lupton etc (Click over to enlarge)

Looking towards Lupton etc (Click over to enlarge)

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tree Pipits arrive..

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) Click over to enlarge
Photo: Kindly supplied by C K Bell Images (check out more of Craig's images by clicking here

Thursday April 20th 2017 - Dalton Crags and Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) 0900hrs to 1200hrs

Another Blackcap calling around Plain Quarry.  I think they are all back now!  Still waiting for the beautiful Garden Warblers which should grace us anyday now. A new Chiffchaff on territory and singing immediately at the bottom of the lower Dalton Crags. Also Bullfinch pair in the same area. Had at least 50 calling Willow Warblers this morning - seemed to be from every available branch.  I can say without doubt that all the local breeders and now back and are now very busy! Primroses everywhere (good crop this year!), but the less common Cowslips are now starting to show especially at the bottom of the Dalton upper (deforested) area. Male and Female Stonechat again seen, usual places.  Just one Wheatear today on Wheatear plain - thought to be the larger "Leucoorhoa" variety. Found more Parsley Piert in LCS and recorded. Also more Rue Leaved Saxifrage and recorded. Some nice Early Purple Orchids are showing at all the regular spots. Also a nice setting for Wood anemone set within the shallow gryke. Blackcap calling from Cattle Crush area along with established Chiffchaff. Goldcrest calling from usual spot. A cracking morning...... ALSO first Swift back in the UK and reported flying over the Chew Valley a couple of days ago....

Wood Anemone set within Gryke on Lancelot Clark Storth
Click over photo to enlarge

Early Purple Orchids starting to come through (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday April 19th 2017  - Dalton Crags, Hutton Roof and Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT) (0930 to 1600hrs)

Enjoyed taking a small private party around Dalton and Hutton Roof which included Sue and Will who were from the West Coast of the USA.  They were keen birdwatchers and had spent time this week also over at Leighton Moss.  They really enjoyed everything not just the birds, but the flowers and the spectacular "geological hidden gems".  Just one disappointment in that they really wanted to see the "yaffler" our Green Woodpecker and yes he was going at it calling regular but could we find him in view could we Eck!!

Our first "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear have arrived with two birds - as usual both males. I find it strange that in 4 out of 5 birds they will always be males....  Our Stonechats could be seen regularly flying off their precarious perches to gather things from the floor and then straight back up on a different wobbling perch. Two Tree Pipits back and calling at the bottom of Dalton deforested.  Two separate Meadow Pipits straight through on a North Westerly routing.

Tuesday Apil 18th 2017 - Easedale Tarn, Grasmere (all day)

Sour Milk Gill, Grasmere (Click over to enlarge)

On the way up to Easedale Tarn (Click over to enlarge)

I was hoping to hear "Tree Pipits" on the bottom sides of Helm Crag (ideal habitat) and will be full of them little beauties when they decide to come!

A Dipper loving it just "bobbing" about on various large stones which I am sure he would have known just like the back of his ........! a few upland Meadow Pipits seen and heard and pairs of Crows dotted here and there, but other than a few "Herdwick" sheep there was little else....

Monday April 17th 2017 - Dalton Crags

It was lovely to see and hear a Tree Pipit singing away at the bottom of Dalton Crags from that same tree he has used now for three years or more. I guess for me the song from the Tree Pipit has got to be my favourite along with the Skylarks and the Garden Warblers.

His song was being delivered from the uppermost branch of a 30ft tree, and usually when I hear him he is doing is fabulous parachuting display at the same time as singing.  That was not the case today, he remained perched at the top with no display on offer. I also checked the other sites in Dalton Crags (upper) but I could not see any further Pipits.

That beautiful Tree Pipit sound can be heard by CLICKING HERE

Another page from my notes back in 2012

Click over to enlarge

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Northern Greenland/Icelandic/Faroe Islands Wheatear (Leucorrhoa)

Click over to enlarge
(Photos kindly contributed)
The above is a page which I have made up to show within my powerpoint presentation which gives you some idea of the small differences I encounter between Eurasian and Greenland/Icelantic Wheatear.  It is so difficult in the field although certain pointers give you a good basis to work - especially the grouping and the time of year which is my number one and then we will check out the rest!  hope this helps.

Monday April 17th 2017 - Dalton Crags 1100hrs to 1215hrs

Most of the Willow Warblers are singing away from various points at the bottom of Dalton Crags. and specially enjoyed watching and listening to a new arrival Tree Pipit on the territory which he has well established over the past three years, which is always at the bottom of the Crags, he was singing in "perfecto" as always. a lovely scrabble then swi-swi-swi-swi-swi-swi-swi  (diminishing) and occasionally finishing off with a sort of "swoon".  I'll tell you what instead of me trying to put it into words - CLICK HERE and when the page loads click on the forward button. then when you finished click on the back button

Stonechat still sat on the wall, watching out whilst his Missis is so busy!  his colourful plumage is a sight for sore eyes - so stunning!

Nearly forgot!  First Blackcap arrived back and singing in the bottom of Dalton Crags (still a little subdued) but should be going for it from tomorrow on.

Sunday April 16th 2017

Anyday now I would expect Greenlands/Icelandic/Faroe Island Wheatears (O.O. Leucorrhoa) to start to be seen on Hutton Roof and other localities.  I remember from two years ago today (16th April 2017) we had a party of no less than 16 birds on Wheatear Plain in Dalton (deforested/upper).

I can remember them usually coming in with trips of Dotterel when I lived down in East Lancashire, and today (16th April 2017) the Dotterel have been seen and photographed down in Bedfordshire. Also Hoppy down in Wolverhampton rung a Wheatear this morning which was of the "leucorrhoa race" with wing at 108mm.

These are some notes I did back in 2013 (Click over to enlarge)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

First Wheatear (Oenanthe) and first Willow Warblers

"A Confusion of Willow Warblers"

Saturday April 15th 2017 - Dalton Crags, Hutton Roof - Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)
0830hrs to 1130hrs

Strong W/SW Wind at about 15mph and cold with it (temp around 5 to 6c). It was obvious from the word go that the Willow Warblers were back in full swing with several new birds sounding off their individual crescendo's. Probably be around 8 birds (Willow Warblers) singing from Plain Quarry and Lower Dalton.  Also I had 6 singing away from Lower Lancelot.  Looking back I notice the 15th of April is usually the peak date for Willow Warbler arrivals on Hutton Roof, so you could say bang on!! Those little beauties along with all the Chiffchaffs really make it something special. Talking about Chiffchaffs guess what? "(Miss) Miss-A-Note is back this year in Storth Wood and was singing whilst marking her territory, not too far away from the Charcoal burner. Besides her I also had a further four birds singing in Lower Lancelot with one of the birds seen with nesting material (feather or something) from her bill. Although still waiting for our Dalton Blackcap's to show themselves, I can honestly say it was a explosion of "fast melodious warbling" from no less than six Blackcaps in Low Lancelot (never known so many singing at the same time - maybe a really good year, or maybe we have one or two that might just move on! time will tell.  A bonus was also to see a pair of Bullfinch closeby.

Other birds noticed whilst mobile was a single Meadow Pipit crossing over to the NW on migration. and three more Willow Warblers just below the BAP Memorial Seat, a further WW on the pavement bordering Storth Wood. Also a pair of Peregrines very high and soaring at speed.  A curlew went overhead and later a Redshank was also heard overhead.

Flowers are doing well now with some lovely Early Purple Orchid rosettes, most with the heavily marked purple staining to their leaves, yet some just plain green with no staining. Bluebells were seen with their drooped heads, but guess they were smiling everywhere in Low Lancelot.  Telling me that in a couple of weeks time it will be well worth a visit to one of the many Bluebell woods we have lying around here.  Also today several of the lovely Wood Anemone.  Ay! another fabulous morning and a shame to leave.  Well there is always tomorrow (I hope!)...... 

Wednesday April 12th 2017 - Dalton Crags - Hutton Roof - Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)
1000hrs to 1430hrs

Today I had a party from the RSPB Lancaster Branch who hopefully enjoyed checking out some of the birding and flora hotspots on the West side of Hutton Roof.  Sadly the day started off really poor with regular light rain and gusty on and off winds.  But the forecasters were right and by lunchtime it dried up and turned to lovely sunshine.  
A new Willow Warbler has arrived back at the side of Plain Quarry. A new record for me of Parsley Piert 50 yards West of the BAP Memorial Seat in Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT).  Also four fresh Willow Warblers have arrived back and singing away in Low Lancelot (all regulars at their normal breeding areas).  Also at least one of the Blackcaps have returned and singing from their long established territory. Also one of the Chiffchaffs near to the Summer House has returned in Dalton's Storth Wood, But not our regular "Summer" we are still awaiting her arrival. 

We also found this fungi yesterday whilst in Lancelot and I believe it may be a "slime mould" which can be called "False Puffball" or it's scientific name Enteridium lycoperdon.

Tuesday April 11th 2017 - Dalton Crags - 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Our Plain Quarry Willow Warbler (called Willow) has now arrived back to the sides of Plain Quarry singing away from the very tree she owns!  also whilst checking out Lower Dalton I heard three further Willow Warblers singing further over on the Eastern boundary of Low Dalton with the fields of Crag House.  I also had my first Dalton Blackcap singing this morning, although very patchy in song and subdued.  It was mainly overcast and a coolish wind - probably masking good calls!!

Monday April 10th 2017 - Dalton Crags - 0930hrs to 1030hrs

Not a lot to report although it is without doubt the best year yet for our local Chiffchaffs which have arrived in fabulous increased numbers on previous years.  So far all local sites checked have seen occupancy.  I can't has yet say the same about the local Willow Warblers, but they will come soon.  We have only a couple of birds showing at Dalton Lower Crags so I do expect a further eight or so to come in soon.  We do have records of 6 at the Trig, at least 3 at top of Lancelot, 2 in Burton Fell. We are still awaiting our Blackcaps.  Two of the Tree Pipits are back but playing very subdued at the moment and would also expect a further 8-10 birds any day now.  One pair of Stonechat are presumed breeding in Dalton.  Our Garden Warblers are due in from around the 21st of the month, can't wait.......

Also Robert recorded a Swallow back at Green Dragon Farm, Burton In Kendal on Friday last (8th) whilst Alec recorded three Swallows back at Russell Farm, Dalton yesterday Sunday last (10th).



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

Sunday 9th April 2017 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1200hrs to 1400hrs

Another Willow Warbler arrived in bottom of Dalton Crags and a "Confusion of Willow Warblers" with at least six were singing from around the Trig Point, some were seen doing "flycatching sallies". Also I am sure two Tree Pipits have arrived back (I had suspected yesterday they had), but at the moment they are quite subdued (which is regular when they just arrive) One at the bottom of the Crags and one at the top of the Upper Crags (both regular territories). Also two Wheatear (Oenanthe) on the walls going up.  The pair of Stonechats are about as well. Bullfinches at the Trig. Also another Brimstone seen at Plain Quarry.

Saturday 8th April 2017 - Dalton Crags 1000hrs to 1100hrs

Plenty of Chiffchaffs singing.  Still only one Willow Warbler in Lower Dalton Crags as yet.  A pair of Stonechats in the bottom half Dalton (upper/deforested), a few Meadow Pipits on the walls but only three grouped heading over NW on movement.

Fabulous sunny weather throughout.

Friday 7th April 2017 - Canal ~Station Road to Tarn Lane Burton In Kendal 1700 to 1800hrs

Lots of midge hatches in odd parts along the canal.

Chiffchaffs really doing well with 8 seen and heard along that stretch of the Canal but still no Willow Warblers or Blackcap.  Most but not all of the Chiffchaffs were at long established breeding sites but a couple were completely new sites!

Also another Chiffchaff (old site) singing from the Kendal side of the Burton Memorial Hall.

Wednesday 5th April 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1100hrs
A new Willow Warbler back and calling in Lower Dalton Crags.
Farleton Fell - 1830 to 1930hrs
Three Wheatears - One at Newbiggin Crag and two on the Whinn Yeates side. Several Skylarks.

Hurrah! managed my first Swallow today! (Mon 3rd April) (Click over to enlarge)
Monday 3rd April 2017 - Farleton Fell - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Counted 3 Wheatear 2 male and 1 female on Whinn Yeates side of Farleton and also one male Wheatear on the field as you approach Farleton.  Still lots of Skylarks around - maybe 15 plus.

Only two Meadow Pipits came through to the North which were quite high up (75ft) to say the winds were pretty strong at Westerley 7-15 (gusty).  Also a few Meadow Pipits clearly back on territory with display.

Also had a female Yellowhammer back on territory near Newbiggin Crags.

later whilst passing South end of Dockacres there was my first Swallow coming through North


Sunday 2nd April 2017 - Dalton Crags (lower and upper) 1000hrs to 1200hrs

No movement whatsoever - just so quiet, still no Willow Warblers or Blackcap at Plain Quarry although we do have at least four Chiffchaff regulars.

Sunday 2nd April 2017 - Holme Park Fell and Farleton Fell  1600- 1845hrs

2 Chiffchaffs heard singing on regular territory near to Rowley Copse.

One Willow Warbler in crescendo song at the commencement to the flank of Farleton Fell.

Brilliant to see a "exhultation of Skylarks" with a minimum of 21 counted feeding up in very close proximity to one another (within some 30ft circle).  Also 3 pairs counted on territories.

Also "six Wheatear" at the start of Farleton Fell, all considered to be Oenanthe, also two of the six thought to be on breeding territory

Wheatear (Oenanthe) (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)

Saturday 1st April 2017 - Dalton, Lancelot, Burton and Lancelot  1000hrs to 1400hrs

It was on/off light rain showers early but by noon seem to dry up.  Wind slight at W5mph.

Well for Meadow Pipits very poor in fact you could count the number I had on two fingers! so that shows you how bad it got, but nem mind its going to happen very soon!

Told this morning that they have had over 800 Redwing in numerous parties over Manchester heading to the South East this morning, so I guess this might well be the last shove up and on their way out!

Had a lovely coloured solitary Wheatear (Oenanthe) on the Walls whilst traversing up through Dalton Crags (upper/deforested).

Spent a little time at the Trig but really quiet with very little on the move, a few thrushes which looked like they could well be continentals, feeding up and probably off later today.

Found some nice Rue Leaved Saxifrage in flower.  It says in the books that this species flowers in June, but I have found them regular on Hutton Roof flowering in February and right through the early part of the year.  Early Purple Orchids - some good rosettes in the top of Lancelot.

First Willow Warblers singing away in full crescendo - 3 at 3/4 way up Lancelot, 2 midway up Burton Fell - always good early spots these and again they proved so today.

Chiffchaffs will be a really good year!  At least 4 in Lower Dalton (Nr. Plain Quarry) to start with then a new site 1 at top of Lancelot, two more in Burton Fell, three in Low Lancelot.  Also two singing on way home on Vicarage Lane with one at the top and the usual bird singing away from Browside.

Also had a pair of Long Tailed Tits in Lancelot, about 4 yafflers (Green Woodpeckers) a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers - NO Blackcaps or Swallows for me YET!

Willow Warbler (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)

Dog Violet (Click over to enlarge)
A beautiful lichen found today in Lancelot (Click over to enlarge)

I have called it "Kirkstone" and found it on Burton Fell today (Click over to enlarge)
It does remind me of another well known stone!

Rue Leaved Saxifrage (Click over to enlarge)
Blue Moor Grass (Click over to enlarge)