Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Birdies, Butterflies and Orchids (17th July 2017)

Monday 17th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1200hrs

The weather was again beautiful and I trotted out of the sunny light filled fields and into the darkest but yet wonderful of woodland with lots of little shadows of unidentified birds flitting from one tree to another but did not give away their identity by their calls, because this morning the calls were absent and they remained silent. I had only been under the canopy for some 20 or 30 yards in when I could see lots of feathers on the floor and instantly I recognised a couple of Jay feathers, you probably know the one I mean that beautiful light blue and black (shown below) and lots more primary and secondary feathers as well.  I was then stood there trying to work out what on earth was the predator, I gave thought to Peregrine, Buzzard but the most likely would have been the large female Sparrowhawk who could deal with something of this size together with the canopy restrictions and probably the Sparrowhawk (female) would have been the best bet, but we will never know for sure.  

Jay feathers found on 17th (ignore 15th on label) - Click over to enlarge
Coming out of that dark area and you were met with sudden sunlight glaring at you just light being in the "spotlight", yet at the same time I was hearing those beautiful little birds in the tree just above me. I could not see them but pictured them in their "guardsman hoods" but I could certainly get immediate identification by the very unique explosive, strong attentive echoing T'CHAY, TCHAY - of course it was the Marsh Tits, we have a family just around this spot and I get them regularly, its such a pleasure to see them enjoying themselves flitting in the canopy. I guess we do have maybe 3 or 4 breeding pairs on this side of Hutton Roof. 

It was now time like it is on so many days to set off with a plod and a very controlled slow paced ascend of this terrain which by now I think I should know every nook and cranny and trying to avoid the slippy bits here and there caused through mossy stones or slippery dead fallen branches or twigs which have somehow got in the way. 

The regular Chiffchaff was just about making a faint broken tinkling call but you could just about make it out as a broken call of the little Warbler.

Nasty "Clegg" flies were attacking you as you again came out into the open areas.  They are proper Mega nasties and before you notice they are on you they have done their damage and draw blood straight away.  I believe they are a type of horse fly and I have had mates put in hospital with these lads, but if I can manage it I will mutter to them something like "kill thi a will" and follow this with a swipe, sometimes they fall to the floor dead (as a door nail!) but more often than not get away to live another day. As if its not bad enough swiping ticks of my pants every half hour and trying my best to give them the best head ache they have ever had! - I guess its all part of nature's pleasures!!

Overhead Swallows saying hello in a twitter which might has well be a foreign language but so so nice, heading South to North on their daily rounds of the local area. Grayling's seem to be everywhere this year and flying past and then down and topple over that's their way I guess "they always seem to land sunny side up"! I even had one scrapping with a Small Tortoiseshell.  Also lots of Small Skippers which must have hatched in the last few days

A family party of five Ravens "honking" away high up heading South, don't know if they are our local group or whether they are foreigners, all of a sudden being drowned out with flying low level aircraft (a frightening noise which always catches you out! and sounds worse when you are not ready for it) but soon back to the Ravens honking - that's a far better noise!

On my way back down later I called off at Ducketts builders to see how their Swifts were doing and I just had the four aerial birds which probably meant with sitters there could be at least three nest. It can be a hard place to count because there are also Swallows and Martins nesting there which is brilliant! but all of a sudden my mind was taken over by a aerial "kekking" and looking up could see Peregrine Mum and Peregrine youngster with mum giving instruction.  But what really stood out to me was that although the skies were empty some minutes earlier, all of a sudden the skies were filled with scores and scores of hirundines and Swifts as though all the birds of Burton had landed here at Clawthorpe, I guess its a question of safety in numbers! but how on earth had they all got the message and got here so quickly!! 

Now back to serious stuff with the orchids. Not that much to see but what you see is the best.  

Today I went back up because I wanted to make sure that Specimen 74 (Lempet with White Epi/bos) was made more safe, so swopped over one of the large cages from over at the 9s where most of those plants were now going over and brought it along to 74.  So here you are with 74 in its new cage setting.

Specimen 74 made more safe from Brown Hares and Deer
(Click over to enlarge)
Specimen 74 on 17th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Variagated on 17th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Above is showing our rare "variagated specimen" which has just straightened up and in line with the timings of other helleborines. Can't wait for it to flower in the next few days. Don't worry I will post the outcome soon I hope!