Monday, 4 September 2017

Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs and Stonechats

My beautiful garden this morning with Willow Warblers and Stonechats (Click over to enlarge) also more photos below

Saturday 9th September 2017 - "Holme Stinted Pastures" and Holme Park Fell 0900hrs to 1600hrs.

Very quiet in Holme Stinted Pastures, just one Willow Warbler close to the entrance, but quite a lot of Blackbirds enjoying the berries, mainly females.  Also you could hear large numbers of Robins present.

I proceeded up on to the Fell and it soon became apparent that Swallows were moving through quite regular, but the interesting thing was that the birds were going through to the West and North West and this continued in trickles for most of the day.  I see this behaviour at least once every year and still unable to work out what is going on! Over the day I had 50 going over the fell (all in dribs and drabs of 2s,3s,4s, (with 13 South all others W/NW), even the early on Meadow Pipits were also heading across W/NW but I think these may have been just messing about and later returning to the South, but I counted over 20 plus. Two nice parties of Goldfinches moving through one of 10 to the East, and a larger party of 22 to the South. I disturbed one grounded Skylark. Also had one Wheatear on Holme Park and also a pair of Wheatear on the Farleton side. Other birds included: Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, a party of 17 Mistle Thrush moving East, Ravens x2, Sparrowhawk, and a single Pintail moving North. Also whilst travelling back over Taylors field there was a constant stream of Swallows yet again moving West/North West with 124 over one hour, also a group of 3 House Martins were seen moving East.

Also it was noted that the Red Admiral butterflies were also on the move south with 25 individuals seen over the day, also local were one Small Heath and one Large White.

A caterpillar of about 3" was seen on Holme Park Fell

A large beautiful caterpillar was seen and photographed.  I noticed one of the same sort of caterpillars a few days ago on the Fell.

Of special interest to me today was also in finding four seperate spent Dark Red Helleborines (E. Atrorubens).  In fact its the first time I have ever found any on this side of the Hutton Roof complex. Also today I found a strange Aculeatum (Hard Shield Fern) which was part way down a gryke. But made me look closer because what at first struct me was how the pinnae (near to the top of the frond) looked so much like the look of "lonchitis".  But has I actually examined the frond it quickly became obvious that there was lots of deformity eg: the top three inches of the frond has sub divided from the rachis and formed a double tip to the frond and also the underlying frond has a very collective tip to the plant.  Not only that at about 3/4 way up the main frond again sub divided and branched off to the right hand side and this again sub-divided at the tip.  Here are a couple of photos:

Aculeatum split fronds - also see next photo
Split at the rachis - Click over to enlarge
Also some of the gentians were out today but not many but here are a couple to show you.

Autumn Gentian - White - Please click over to enlarge
Here are one or two shots of my garden "for the day" on Holme Park Fell.

Click over photos to enlarge

Friday 8th September 2017 - "Holme Stinted Pastures" Nr. Holme Park Fell, Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Again the area was teaming with birds.  There is a roving flock of about 50 birds in the flock and it contains a very large party of Long Tailed Tits, a large number of Coal Tits, several Blue Tits and Great Tits, but also it contains at least ten or more Willow Warbler/Chiffchaffs.  Besides this I had a further four Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs catching insects around the berries of the Hawthorns.  I also managed to "call in" a couple of Willow Warblers with the "hou-whit" calls.  Also several Bullfinch and Chaffinch in the area. Only two Swallows overhead and out to the SE.  Others included Green Woodpecker, Kestrel.

Wal up at Crook has just informed me he has today had his first party of Fieldfare.

Thursday 7th September 2017 - "Holme Stinted Pastures" (NW of Rawley Copse) Hutton Roof complex. 0800hrs to 1000hrs

Rain showers on and off. Quieter today although to be honest you just cannot check it all out because of access, although there are bits and pieces flitting about all the time.  My main purpose checking this area is to find Willow Warblers and again today I was not disappointed, I actually saw a single bird but heard calling birds from three different areas.  Also had a Chiffchaff in full song although in small bouts just across from the Rawley Copse entrance. One party of 30 Goldfinch 30SE (could have been locals? Green Woodpecker, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds (many hawthorn berries etc), Wrens, Robins, Chaffinches and Tits.  Ravens x2 overhead to S/SE.  Just had a single party of 3 Swallows going SE for a change (rather than S) but it's no wonder they were clearing the approaching nasty rain coming in from the West. I forgot to mention yesterday whilst going over the Fell I heard high above distant Siskin which I took to be on the move South.

Wednesday 6th September 2017 - NW of Rawley Copse and Holme Park Fell (Hutton Roof)
0800hrs to 1100hrs

Lots of Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits. Had a couple of pairs of Willow Warblers (seen) and several more heard, also Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Goldfinch (20+) also had a party of 4 Chaffinch high and going SW, Also had 12 Swallows (10,2) all SW.  Also had one Wheatear on Holme Park Fell plus Kestrel

Tuesday 5th September 2017 - NW of Rawley Copse and Holme Park Fell (Hutton Roof)
 1700 to 1900hrs

In the areas NW of Rawley Copse (as shown in yesterdays photos above and below there was a nice "confusion of Willow Warblers" yet again for another day with at least 10+ but could be plenty more. There is no way of telling whether these are yesterdays birds or whether they are a new lot come in during last night. Also several Bullfinch piping away, plus lots and lots of the commoner birds.  Also had two Wheatear on Holme Park Fell, occasional Swallows going through. Kestrel, Ravens, Buzzard etc.  A fabulous place.

A lot of the Gentians are going over quickly now, but today was not so good, no sun and getting darker. Will try and check them out again tomorrow.  Going early on to catch birds (hopefully) coming over Farleton.

Its getting within days of the start to my "Visible Bird Migration" counts, probably the start of migrations around here got going yesterday with the Greylag Geese getting restless and moving NW over our village in small parties.

Monday 4th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell 0930hrs to 1100hrs

I am not too sure of the name of the area, but it is sort of NW and across from Rawley Copse towards the bottom of the Holme Park Fell area.  It's a lovely area which I have walked through many times and its always crossed my mind as the perfect bird gathering area and this morning it was exactly that.
I listened and watched for over a hour or so and viewed no less than ten (but I do think there were lots more tucked away in the bushes) Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs hopping from tree to tree with some of the birds that beautiful yellow/greeny colour.  And beside these I also heard many more in the surrounding areas giving it the "hou whit" calls.  I also had a beautiful male Stonechat in the close company of a immature bird which was really drab and short of colour, it was more of a mixture of greys.  Also large party of Coal Tits together with many Blue and Great Tits. Also a 40 plus and a 20 party of Goldfinch enjoying the spoils of the spent Ragwort and Thistles. A immature Robin, a Green Woodpecker, but nothing much moving in the skies today and although I bet there would have been Wheatear on the Holme Park/Farleton Fells, I probably did not go far enough over to check them out! What a cracking little area this is.  The berries on all the hawthorns is incredible this year with all the trees well laden, the Thrushes are already having a field day.

Here are more photos showing today's terrain. It lies below the rocky patchwork limestone terrain of Holme Park Fell and as you can see has bracken and open spaces with hawthorns and lots and lots of individual Gorse and Juniper bushes etc etc etc. It has to run through your mind that how many Yellow Browed Warblers has this place held, I wonder if the next corner I will see a Dartford Warbler perched on the uppermost twig of a gorse bush of maybe Bluethroats have passed through!! I am well pleased with my Willow Warblers and Stonechats, but the terrain looks just right for a Warbler party.

I could not resist but look for more gentians on the fell side and did find more here and there, all now in the book with their appropriate gps.  Most of the gentians were still closed with there being little sun around, but just the odd one two had decided to open, so I found one with three flowers and got the camera out and has I was taking the picture the three flowers instantly turned into four flowers, it was just like popcorn exploding, and if you had blinked you would have missed it! I have never seen petals and sepals open in front of my eyes with a split split split split second show...... fantastic... and then there were four..

Gentianella amarella today on Holme Park Fell (Click over to enlarge)

Largest and probably oldest Elderberry Tree I have seen