Saturday, 31 March 2018

A warm up with SPECIAL EARLY PURPLE ORCHIDS from years past....

Sorry about the quality of photo but here we have some of my Early Purple Orchid photos which were taken on Hutton Roof and from within a area of  approx 50 linear yards x 20 yards wide and would you believe approx 50 yards only from the main Epipactis hybrid and variant arena.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Snippets of Wealth

Good Friday March 30th 2018 - Farleton, Holme Park Fell and Holme Stinted Pastures (1430hrs to 1630hrs  - First Wheatear

Had my first Wheatear at a very regular place on Farleton side. Absolutely stunning colours (male). Could not find anymore.  The skies were absolutely quiet with NOTHING except a few crows here and there. The conditions looked perfect to me for migration with little wind and clear but we had no takers throughout the watch period (mobile) not one single Mipit!

A rather special tree, wouldn't you agree! (Holme Park Fell 29th March 2018)

I just couldn't help but wonder just how this very special tree got here and for such beauty to have been able to prise itself through the cold grey rocky floor, to show off its magnificence which oozed out with what seemed perfect proportion in every way and from any angle you chose to look at it, whilst all around it it's very clan show windswept disorder!

Thursday March 29th 2018  - Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell 0745hrs 1015hrs

Within a few minutes of finding and absorbing the many beauties of that particular tree, I looked into the skies above me to witness the oncoming graceful streamlining of a "HERD OF WHITENESS" coming from the South East and heading to the North West (0925hrs), the perfect line and so straight! Sixteen in all Whooper Swans making their way back North and for them to start their own offspring. I wondered if I would see them maybe next year.

The winds today up on the Fell were a nightmare and blowing from the South East at about 12-15mph and with such a chill! the few Meadow Pipits that did manage to come by totalled 13 in number over about two hours and to watch the poor souls was pitiful whilst they angled themselves (side on) into that very wind has they tried to compensate to a routing to the North, rather than their favourite and regular North West direction. Yesterday I was mobile up on the other side (Dalton Crags) and there the Mipit's had good winds and were steadily going through with up to 47 in number over about two hours. 

Today down in Holme Stinted Pastures it seemed reasonably sheltered from that cruel wind and I had at least five separate Song Thrushes all singing away at their best and you could feel their happiness in their varied songs.  Another prize this morning was hear the Chiffchaff singing away and only the second I have had so far this year, the other being over in Lancelot. I guess it won't be long now before we are getting some of our Willow Warblers back. Several Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming away and the odd yaffle from the Green Woodpecker

Monday March 26th 2018 - Dalton Crags (deforested) records from Robert Ashworth

Robert informs me that he had a steady movement of Meadow Pipits after the clould lifted. Mostly small groups flying over the western slopes, but also noted a large movement at the top of Dalton (upper) in the early afternoon.  Some passing straight through but others stopping off briefly before continuing again. Also had some Pied Wagtail associating with the Meadow Pipit movements. He also still had a Woodcock present on Lancelot. 

Ancient Gorse woodlands showing decaying gorse with hawthorns on the perimeters

Monday March 26th 2018 0900hrs - 1130hrs

It was a question of breaking off from Mipit counting! and concentrating on taking photos of the new Mezereone find (found yesterday afternoon) and looking all around the local area to see if there were any more to be found, but so far nothing more.  Its probably as well I did break with the Mipits because I never saw or heard one single bird throughout the couple of hours I was searching! and the area was directly beneath the Mipits main corridor.  Well getting back to the new find, its a great plant with a strong full build and must have hundreds of flowers on it, I counted at least 50 plumes. It is sheltered from the North with ancient gorse, in fact all around the area where the plant grows are mossed over remnants of old decaying gorse branches on the floor together with spent flattened "bracken" and always lots of nearby hawthorns. Typical I suppose of the other Mezereone habitats we have around this neck of the woods. 

A Curlew was calling whilst moving overhead, and one of the two Song Thrushes this morning was actually doing the "trimphone" impression which I have not heard now for a number of years, and how good it was! no half measures with these lads, when they do a impersonation they do it right!

Here is a couple of photos from this morning.  

Daphne Mezereone taken this morning

Sunday March 25th 2018 - Dalton Crags 1000hrs

Went mainly to check how many Mipits were going through on migration, although I soon began to wonder where are they? because it was certainly thin on the ground with only 3 birds in total over the hour, a single and a pair. The pair behaved in a fashion which reminded me of perhaps "playing kiss chase" with one chasing the other in a serious of ducking and diving yet still managing to maintain their onward migratory routing all the time whilst this behaviour took place. Song Thrushes were giving it plenty as always with such beautiful song, and one of them today was including part renditions of the Tree Pipit.  It seemed the Tree Pipit was very much in favour this morning with the local Skylark (Sky) which also replicated the low diminishing notes of the Tree Pipit. Not a lot going on but what a beautiful sunny warm morning (8c). 

Saturday March 24th 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures and full circular of Holme Park Fell 0830hrs to 1300hrs

"Shark Stone" (Great White)

A much improved day in comparison to late.  The winds had dropped to 2mph. Two separate Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming in Holme Stinted along with occasional "yaffling" from its larger cousin the Green Woodpecker.Two separate Song Thrushes giving off superb song with one of the birds actually mimicking The Curlew, The Pied Wagtail and The Oystercatcher. Had a Yellowhammer giving of a shortened version of the "no cheese" part of its song from just at the start of the Fell near to the Gorse bushes, in fact the same place I had one calling the other day. Whilst climbing the Fell I had a single female Stonechat, could not find the male but sure it must have been from the same pair I had last week it was almost the same area. At long last the Meadow Pipits had starting to come through although very slow just now and again trickles. I had the following counts all coming in from the South and leaving to the North. A grand total of seventeen birds over 3 hours (1,2,1,1,3,1,1,3,1,3) but at least its a start!  Also we are at full capacity for Skylarks on Holme Park Fell, I must have counted at least 20 different birds throughout which all appeared to be in song, display and very much territorial.

Thursday March 22nd 2018 - Dalton Crags, Lancelot Clark Storth and Burton Fell 0930hrs
Still very cold on the top with winds from the South West and it was keeping Skylarks subdued and again no Meadow Pipits on passage. Green Woodpeckers yaffling, a couple of Song Thrush, 3 Stonechats in Dalton Crags, Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming away in Burton Fell, but the highlight for me had to be a Chiffchaff giving it plenty with the "hou-whit" call.  On way back I noticed on the muck piles in Mike Taylors fields that there were a few Meadow Pipits, but I got two separate birds side by side and one was the olive, browny which you expect and the other was in total contrast a "light grey" (as different as chalk and cheese!). Also nice to hear a Goldcrest singing away on Vicarage Lane, Burton. 
Early Purple Orchid rosettes now coming into view, also the primrose are just starting to come through. Check out the strange Primrose leaf rosette! also a nice lichen photo today. 

Early Purple Orchid rosettes (click over to enlarge)

Primrose rosette - a bit different to the norm! - top of Lancelot

A lovely lichen found today in Lancelot

Wed March 21st 2018 - Dalton Crags to Trig and return 1000hrs
Green Woodpeckers yaffling from four separate areas within Dalton Crags (presumed territorial with much distance between each calling bird. Skylarks in fine fettle and singing their little hearts out, all usual Skylark areas fully occupied. Cold wind from the West and still no Mipit passage, just a single bird making it whilst I was there. A calling Curlew was making its way from the NW to SE, you get many calling Curlews following this direct line at this time of the year, they always seem to be pairs or singles but never groups (could be nearby breeders I suppose). Nice to see our resident wintering pair of Stonechats all OK.  I think the additional birds I saw last week must have moved on by now. 

Tues March 20th 2018 (vernal equinox)- Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell 1000hrs
3 Skylarks moving through on Holme Park Fell, plus one single Meadow Pipit and that was it!

March 19th 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell 0900hrs - 1000hrs " PROBABLE SWALLOW"

Today although the sun was beating down and what a pleasure that was! but once you left the fabulous cover of the Pastures and started ascending Holme Park Fell the wind hit you and at times you just could not even walk without it blowing you back, I guess it could well have been 25mph with gust to 40s and another cold one from the East.  Went up specifically to look for Wheatear (on the fell) and Chiffchaffs (in the pastures), but no joy and quickly turned back and descended into the welcome sheltered Holme Park Pastures.  I did by the way see a small party of Mipits down on the edge of the Fell and not sure whether these were just moving locally or taking the lea routing or most sheltered course of passage they could find.
Soon whilst crossing the Holme Stinted Pastures, I noticed a bird which watching the ziz- zag flight pattern is one I had not seen for such a long while now and it was without any doubt a hirundine, which I straight away presumed to recognize it has a Swallow but can I say for sure, not 100% only 90% so again for now its another MAYBE, but you know it would not surprise me at all, I have had them over on the other side at the Trig Point on Hutton Roof as early as the 23rd March!

March 14th 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell 1100hrs  "STONECHATS"

First time I have noticed Stonechats on the Farleton side with a pair showing on Holme Park Fell this morning.  I am wondering just how many Stonechats there maybe in the area at the moment.  Also a fabulous party of at least 30 Meadow Pipits heading North West, I watched as far as I could and they seemed to continue for as far as the eye could see, so presumed on full migration. But that was it I never had any before or any after in over two hours.  

March 13th 2018 - Dalton Crags 1500hrs  "STONECHATS"

It's obvious we must have had a small recent "fall" of Stonechats because our local pair in upper Dalton Crags had swelled to two pairs plus a possible single bird making a probable 5 in total.

Bullfrog Pond - Click over to enlarge

March 9th 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell 0900hrs

Now then! the wind had dropped and it was far more pleasant, in fact I would not be too surprised if we don't get a good Mipit rush in the next day or two! On entering Holme Stinted Pastures I went straight down to what I call the "Bullrush" pond or after today should I call it the "Bullfrog" pond, and on my approach I could hear frogs, not just a few but maybe hundreds all calling at the same time with their "blowing bubbles" call and that's what they were doing "blowing bubbles" with the water bubbling and frogs and frog spawn everywhere.  I must have seen a "one ball of frogs with about 20 in it, all trying to climb on one another's backs - it looked like chaos to me, I tried to take a photo but they just have not turned out so you will have to take my word for it! They are not daft them frogs, they all shut up and stopped their lively business on noticing me peering over the fence, but I surprised them again on my return visit and got to see a repeat performance, well for at least a couple of minutes before they caught sight of me when everything again stopped - just like when you turn a light switch off. What a lovely sight this had been. 

The pastures had plenty of singing birds this morning, two fantastic Song Thrushes taking charge with one at one side of the pastures and the other at the far side of the pastures, none of them needing to compete, lots and lots of Dunnocks and Robins, a few Chaffinch and the mournful Bullfinch, together with Blue Tits and Great Tits.

I looked high and going overhead in silence was a trio of "Godwits" heading straight west towards Carnforth. 

I walked up onto Holme Park Fell and had several Skylarks - some in song, some just flitting about on the ground.  Also had a few Meadow Pipits taking refuge on the ground.  But still no Mipits moving through on migration, although I am sure this is about to change any day now! 

My main objectives today had been to follow the route where on my last visit I was counting the beautiful "Autumn Gentians" whilst at the same time checking odd Wheatear who were resting up before their long journey back to Africa. So I thought I will check the area out knowing it to be good for Wheatear, but none showing yet!  but I did have a "silent" Curlew fly past me and land in the pastures lower down on the fell.

I saw this "orange" thing staring out from a distant silver limestone boulder, on closer inspection it was a beautiful lichen which I have managed to get a photo. It reminds me of a beautiful crafted  "Doyley"

Spring has started!

Orange Lichen on limestone boulder
Click over to enlarge


March 8th 2018 - Dalton Crags up to Trig and then back down through Lancelot Clark Storth 1000hrs

Taken today from Lancelot - Farleton and the Fells and where the snow can stay!

March 8th 2018 - Dalton Crags up to Trig and then back down through Lancelot Clark Storth 1000hrs

There was some sunshine getting through here and there which made it quite pleasant, but still that "cold" southerly biting! and again as a result no Mipits on the move. Subdued Skylarks song, had a Mistle Thrush singing on territory half way up Dalton Crags.  It was quiet and I mean QUIET with little to mention just a sprinking of patchy sound from the odd Dunnock or Robin. Kept looking to the sky in hopes Fieldfare parties might just be going through - no! hoping the "Herds of Whiteness" might be going through - no! or what about some "Pink Feet" no! but did manage a Buzzard or two (locals) and lots of Black Headed Gulls.  Took the odd snap of the limestone of which I must already have thousands in my collection, but just can't help it!

A few more photos for today:

Top of Lancelot 

Lancelot Clark Storth

Ramsons or Wild Garlic (allium ursinum)

March 7th 2018  - Dalton Crags up to Trig on Hutton Roof Common 1000hrs

First rosette of the year for the EPO
Click over to enlarge

Warming up but still very cold on the tops (wrap up well but burning cheeks cold) and as such no migration was witnessed with the Mipits. Skylarks were present with very subdued calling.  One "beautiful" singing Song Thrush singing away in the Crags with a different repertoire altogether than usually heard and the result was just plain "phenomenally magnificence!" gosh! one day I must get around to recording this music it so sets the day in a positive mood and lets other good stuff come in!
Buzzards mewing and local, Kestrel hovering always in the same old place, "NO SHRIKEY NO LIKEY"

Parsley Piert starting to get going on the anthills - Unusual to have no "Yafflers" going for it, but did have a Great Spotted Woodpecker doing a bit of drumming in the background.

My first Early Purple Orchid rosette found this morning (see photo above).

March 6th 2018

(1600hrs) Song Thrushes in full song at both Dalton hamlet in trees opposite Bell Cottage and also another one singing away down Dickin Lane. Noticing over the past week lots more grouped Starlings local and foraging closer to home. (1710hrs) at least 500 plus Starlings coming in froma North direction and heading over Burton towards the LM side in readiness to roost from a North direction

March 5th 2018

(1600hrs) Green Woodpecker and Bullfinch calling in Lower Dalton Crags. Also one of the sweetest single "Hou Whit" calls you could ever hear, though only called the once.  I did try and call back to the bird which met with no response! Can only assume it was either a Chaffinch or Great Tit. A Song Thrush in song towards the East side of Dalton Crags.

(1030hrs) Both rookeries close to the Holme Church are showing lots of activity.

(0900hrs) At least 20 Lapwings in a partly manured field just below Burton Church and before the bend before the Clawthorpe turn off.

200 Fieldfare crossed over Burton heading North obviously on a movement.  Also reported some Fieldfare at Hilderstone and 15 Lapwing also at Hilderstone.  Regular daily visits to garden (Morewood Drive) by the Yellowhammers (Records per Reg)

Large Skein of Pink Footed Goose over Elterwater and heading out North East. (per Celia)

(0230hrs to 0530hrs) Migration Information Snippet!

at 0230hrs this morning "Maisie" the Bewick Swan left WWF - Slimbridge. She departed the North Norfolk coast at 0530hrs and is now approaching Germany.

"Maisie" the Bewick heading to Germany this morning.
Click over to enlarge

March 4th 2018

20 Fieldfare seen in field opposite Mike Taylors Farm in Dalton Hamlet. Also 8 Lapwing in the Dalton area (records per Alec)

March 2nd 2018

(0840hrs)  I had a party of 8 Lapwings in the very small field next to the bridge and opposite the old Station Pub (now rebuilt) which lies below the Canal.

(1200hrs) A similar amount of Lapwings seen coming from the same area and moving over Curwen Wood.

(1300hrs) Confirmed that 8 plus Lapwings have alighted and are feeding in the top part of Curwen Park Wood
I have had several reports from around Burton In Kendal during the past few days of birds either held up or on the move because of adverse weathers.

March 1st 2018

Reg and May on Morewood Drive had a visit of both a single Fieldfare and a Yellowhammer at the same time.  They have been getting up to six Yellowhammers on a regular basis.

Also a record has been given of a party of "Tewits" (Lapwings) have been seen on the freshly manured fields just behind the Dalton Business Centre.

Another report today of at least 100 Fieldfare present in Curwen Wood Park

February 28th 2018

Gil and Graham on the corner of Vicarage Close have been visited yet again by the Blackcap (around the 20th) which could possibly have overwintered.  They have also had a gang of Fieldfare enjoying stripping the berries on the Holly Tree (28th Feb)