Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Snippets of Wealth 2

Monday 7th May 2018 - Car Boot Nature Walk 0600hrs to 1330hrs

The wife and daughter were doing their annual Car Boot Sale on the A6, so there was no room for me in the car.  Not to be outdone I decided I would have a walk over Tarn Lane  to the A6 Car Boot, then retrack and go via the Lancaster Canal to Tewitfields and check out the Greenlands Car Boot, then leave there and go via Priest Hutton and over the fields past Cote Green Farm and back to Burton. 

At Green Dragon Farm just before Tarn Lane I counted 9 Swallows back and now having fun hawking together over Tarn Lane, also a pair of Linnets seen and heard also Goldfinch, Blackbird and interesting to see a Lapwing in the ploughed fields just past the entry to the Motorway services, I wonder how that one is going on and whether it has managed to survive the ploughing etc., On way noticed lots of Crosswort and Red Campion just starting, also Cuckoo Flower (May flower), large numbers of Cowslips, vetches, Bluebells, Garlic Mustard, Ramsons. On the Canal bridge I had Nuthatch making their "slapping" call. Also Chiffchaff calling just at turn off down to Richards farm, on the right hand side I had reached Cinderbarrow (Miniature Railway - which was operating today) and from their woodlands I had yet another calling Chiffchaff and also my first of the day calling Blackcaps. Also checked out the small stream and a lovely field here which had a wet flush area which had good populations of Marsh Marigolds covering about 3 metres diameter (3 populations). 

Had an hour at the Car Boot checking out the stalls and trying to lend my support to the family, but probably getting in the way if the truth was know, so made my farewells and off again retracing my steps back to the Canal near Cinderbarrow, got on the Canal here and heading South eventually making my way to Tewitfields.  Straightaway I checked the Swan was sat on her superlarge nest near to Bridge No.142, also I seemed to have startled a Moorhen, but lots of good things had to come and within minutes I was recording another Chiffchaff, a metallic chint, chint,chint with descending repetition and this was coming from a Reed Bunting across the other side of the canal close to some Phragmites reeds and intermixing with that sound was the spluttering and bubbling of a calling Sedge Warbler which I was also lucky to hear, and a little further on it was yet a further privilige to hear another Sedge Warbler. Just to hear these alone made everything worth while and out came the gps to record everything (record all Warblers throughout).  I also had about 4 different calling Blackcaps along the route, some Willow Warblers, A further Chiffchaff was recorded. Also lots more nice flowers with carpetting Lesser Celandine, Lords and Ladies, remnants of last years Polypody Intermediate ferns and Maidenhair ferns, White Dead Nettles. Green Veined butterflies, but the Orange Tips were seen flying up and down their little sections with regularity like parading guards, I had 5 males with the beautiful orange tips, and 7 plain white females along this stretch of Canal. At this point you had to leave the Canal and take a short diverted route before rejoining the Canal five minutes later.  The last stretch of the Canal was awful with the noise of the Motorway right at your side, were the Canal and the Motorway are running parallel, just while I covered this last section there must have been hundreds of cars gone past.  There was solice checking out the old locks at Tewitfields and watching the tumbling water come over their respective courses. But I just could not wait to clear this area.  Also recorded several bat boxes with numbers 6,7,9,10,11, 12 but could not find the No.8, also good well used "pecker" tree right behind the bat boxes, I wondered if the boxes were for "Noctules" because they seemed to be placed on mature trees. Song Thrushes singing throughout my walk which filled the air with such beautiful song. I did have a dark fly with dangling legs which reminded me of the St. Mark's Fly but I am sure they are a little later on when you see a abundance together!  Eventually arrived at Greenlands Car Boot Sale, so checked out the stalls and took in refreshment before the next leg of my journey.

Half hour later and cautiously taking on the roadsides I turned down and heading to the peaceful village of Priest Hutton were again I did the "lonely traveller bit" and rested on the bench provided on their lovely village green. It was great here watching several House Martins and a pair of Pied Wagtails and several chirping Sparrows.  I noticed they still have a old red telephone box - that was nice!

So moving on East through the village and coming to the old footpath which I have taken many times which eventually leads to cross the fields towards Cote Green. On way noticed even more of the lovely white flowered dead nettle, stitchwort, primrose, wood anemone, and guess what yet another Chiffchaff and another Blackcap.  On one occasion I must have been close to the Blackcaps nest site because I could hear the "spitting" alarm call. On Cote Green fields they were busy cutting and getting in the silage, I was later told that the equipment on show eg: harvester, the seperator and several tractors and trailors would have cost 3/4 of a million pounds.  I noticed that at least 2 pair of Swallows had returned to Cote Green, though speaking with the farmer later he said there should be lots more about than that. Also a pair of Pied Wagtails at the farm, another 3 Orange Tip males and 2 females., Sticklebacks in the small brook by the farm, also whilst crossing the fields, a pair of Linnets and 2 Peacock Butterflies.

Through Main Street in the village had 3 Swifts flying low and chasing one another whilst screaming. a fabulous morning.  

Saturday 5th May 2018 - Lancelot Clark Storth - Hutton Roof 1130hrs to 1600hrs

Peacock Butterfly today in Lancelot Clark Storth (Click over to enlarge)
Blackcap singing away in Browside (Vic Lane), a new Willow Warbler in garden of top house on right hand side of Vicarage Lane also a new Chiffchaff singing in the same area. Two Buzzards flying above and constantly being harassed by two Carrion Crows. Lots of Peacock butterflies (with photo showing above, also Green Veined and Speckled Wood Butterflies. Fresh pair of Garden Warblers recorded in Lancelot 100 yards SE after entering at Pickles Wood, further up a pair of Blackcaps with one of them making the angry "spitting" alarm call. Garden Warbler 50 yards in front of BAP Memorial seat singing away again, so perhaps on new territory with this bird. Roebucks again barking closeby. Also recorded more Parsley Piert on anthill 100 yards west of BAP seat. Checked out all the "shoots" again eg: Lily of the Valley, Angular Solomons Seal, Fly Orchid, Rigid Buckler Fern etc. (Check out photos below)

"Shooting the Shoots"

Our rare "Albino" Early Purple Orchid will be with us in about one weeks time

My fender strat is home to the Anemone (Click over to enlarge)
Fly Orchid progression - Shoots at about 2" (Click over to enlarge)
Angular Solomons Seal progression - shoots at 2" approx (Click over to enlarge)
Lily Of The Valley progression - shoots at 4" to 8" (Click over to enlarge)
Rigid Buckler Fern progression - unravelling
The rare Hypericum Montanum, showing new with old stalks
Always a sweet place to be

Saturday 5th May 2018 - Main Street Burton 1045hrs

Check out any new arrivals of Swifts, still just two high above the Memorial Hall. Off out now clambering Lancelot into Burton Fell. Report back on blog later!

Saturday 5th May 2018 - "Dawn Chorus" Park Wood, Hutton Roof 0600hrs-0830hrs

"Dawn Chorus Walk in Park Wood, Hutton Roof" (Photo: Mike Westgate)

I was asked to co-lead the annual "Dawn Chorus" of people who were made up from the Hutton Roof Village and thereabouts. You could not have asked for better weather and all the birds were contributing to the event: Birds (singing with few visible) Garden Warbler x3, Blackcap x3, Chiffchaff x2, Song Thrush x3, Great Tits - several, Willow Warbler x7, Blue Tits - several, Blackbirds - several, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Nuthatch x1, CUCKOO x1, Green Woodpecker x1, Greater Spotted Woodpecker x3, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch. (19 species) - also we had some nice flora which included: Ramsons (most still buds closed, but one area with flowers wide open), Early Purple Orchid x3, Bluebells (99% native but one or two thought to be Spanish hybrids), Dogs Mercury, Wood Anemone,  Primrose, Honeysuckle, Wood Sorrell, Herb Paris (approx 20 plants at 3/4" stage, needs two weeks also GPS obtained for mapping), Bugle - prolific against footpaths, Ladys Mantle, Wood Avens, Vetch ?, Sanicle (leaf rosette), also Field Maple Tree was pointed out. (14 flora species, 1 tree species).

It sounded like everyone enjoyed themselves, weather perfect!, Bird perfect ! and flowers/trees perfect!.

Ladys Mantle with water droplets (Photo: Mike Westgate)

Friday 4th May 2018 

Early Purple Orchid today (Click over to enlarge)

(2000hrs) Main Street - 2 Swifts high above the Memorial Hall - Burton In Kendal. 

(1300hrs to 1630hrs) Lancelot Clark Storth checking out various.

Just on my approach at the Pickles Wood gate I caught a glimpse of my first flowering Early Purple Orchid which was a delight on the eye, I was later to find several more. It was one of those days when every single bird had decided to sing along and I was met with a grand array of the most perfect song of which I wanted to hear, it was so much like a Dawn Chorus in the middle of the day and which went on and on and on whilst I was in the wooded areas. It gave me a good chance to count at least six Blackcaps and really what could be better than absorbing the song from 3 returning Garden Warblers.  A beautiful light phase Willow Warbler had become my friend for a short while and just hung around me whilst I obtained fabulous close up views just within say 3 metres away, flitting about from one shrub to another and seemed to show no fright whilst I uttered words of assurance to the little chap or lassie as the case may be.
Found and recorded two further areas for Parsley Piert although only small populations, but well worth a gps and to go in my book for future reference. Lots of proud upright green leaves and sheaths of the soon to come Lily Of The Valley has started to show here and there and to think its only a couple of weeks before they will be in flower.
I sat at the BAP Memorial seat whilst taking refreshment and at the same time being serenaded by a recent arrival Garden Warbler. I hope it stays put and is claiming territory because it will be a new area. Then finding even more Early Purples in flower and checking out our rare EPO albino which is coming along nicely but needs another week to ten days at least. Also checking the new growth sat at the bottom of the old growth of the rare Pale St. John's Wort (Hypericum Montanum) which is also coming through OK. I took several photos today with my phone which I have called the album "Shooting the Shoots", its a pity because I did remember to bring my camera but guess what, I had left the card in the computer so I just had to rely on my phone (good old phone when all else fails), but will need to retrack tomorrow and get all the photos on the camera. I got the beginnings of Rigid Buckler Fern (just unravelling), the early start of the Fly Orchid, early shoots of the Angular Solomons Seal, Limestone fern etc etc - Two birds bounced over me and I could tell with their white backside flash of white just what they where! Bullfinch... 
Again today there was a breeze, but the difference was that it was a warm breeze and this will do! you could tell it made all the difference and everything is springing to life - rapido! I was loving it

"Shooting shoots along the way
Some rare stuff in Morecambe Bay"
They "log on" in the month of May,
Creating the most enjoyable day"

A Nuthatch was calling with his variable call "Whip,whip,whip", also Peacock and white butterflies and also a Brimstone were seen. A redstart was heard but too far away to get a good bearing! and investigations are left for yet another day. 

Fly Orchid shoots today  (Click over to enlarge)

(1130hrs)  Chiffchaff reported calling from Burton side of Curwen Wood gatehouse and also another calling from Old Vicarage (off Vicarage Lane)

(0910hrs) A check of the Main Street at 0910hrs witnessed two Swifts leaving the eaves to the LH to Middle of the Royal Hotel Cottage front elevation. Also managed to record a singing Blackcap from Holly Green (opposite the bottom of Morewood Drive)

Four Swifts returned to the village yesterday evening (Thursday 3rd May - Polling Day) and were witnessed at 1930hrs high to medium in the line between the Royal and the Manor House, one of the birds was seen to enter a nest site to the LH eaves of the Royal Cottage.

Thursday 3rd May 2018 - Dalton Crags 1100hrs  "First 4 Swifts at Kendal"

Hard Shield Fern (Acueleatum)
Willow Warblers calling from Plain Quarry and throughout Dalton, but no Chiffchaffs calling today, One Blackcap calling and one Song Thrush. Climbing up through low Dalton Crags I was cherishing every second whilst the regular breeding Tree Pipit was singing and regularly displaying on bowed wings and parachuting down to lower tree elevations.  Still bitter cold wind on the top. Nice to see male Stonechat on boundary walls close to their regular breeding area. More Tree Pipits.  Star of the show today was one of the Garden Warbler singing away from its regular territory from on the Bonk (Hypericum Way). Nice to see young immature Hard Shield Ferns starting to come through in Dalton (about 10" and still unravelling - lovely light clean green)

also today lots of Ramsons opening up on the sides of the Kent in the Levens Hall area.  Also my first four Swifts of the year over the River Kent in Kendal.  I always see my first Swifts here, also there were up to a dozen or so House Martins high above the River. 

Tuesday 1st May 2018 - Vicarage Lane and Lancelot Clark Storth 1300hrs to 1530hrs

First of the year "Spring Sandwort" (Click over to enlarge)

Before long I had the superflash of a Sparrowhawk cross my path at about 10 yards in front of me, giving me the impression it does this particular route very very often. It was about one metre from the ground and knew exactly where to twist and turn and uplift.  I have seen it regular and is always giving the local thrushes the element of surprise!  Getting closer to Pickles Wood I had to pass "Garlic Wood" and checking out the Ramsons we are still about one week to ten days before flowering although they have got there flower buds tight at the moment.  Earlier today I had been past Levens Hall and quite a lot of the Ramsons on the banks of the River Kent were already in flower.  

Entering Lancelot I could hear the Willow Warbler above this cold wind, in fact during my visit I heard a couple more and also it was great to hear both Chiffchaffs (Clarky and Lance), but still to hear my third one (miss-a-note). I checked out the Herb Paris which looks good but still only 3/4 their normal size and showing no flowering to their centres, probably want another fortnight at least. So quiet and peaceful and a place which gives off inspiration!

"He thunders sounds like a disowned Magpie,
and twist and turns and sometimes dormant to the trunk he hides,
with a flash of crimson past he's off with angry "tchick",

Just here were Paris meets the bells of blue,
and Woodruff and Orpine await their blast.
Chuckling Warblers hiding but fidgeting their notes,
Sir Lancelot poses, and silently witnesses all,

With wind and song been battered through this stranded nest,
which spawns the life to later rest". 

Also Wood Sorrel showing in dotted around places whilst Pickles cherishes its Anemone's carpet. The ferns are also opening up everywhere with the Scollies (Harts Tongue - scolopendriums) grown to about 8" and "unravelling"quickly by the day. Odd Cowslips and the start to Cow-wheat and the most beautiful of all the "Spring Sandwort" and the Birds Foot Sedge (carex ornithopodia) all at the area I call "Northern Brown Argus fields".

My return through the woods yielded a serenade by one of the recently returning Blackcaps.  Can't wait for Lancelot's Garden Warbler which hopefully will be any day soon.

Orpine with a while to go (Click over to enlarge)

Sir Lancelot (Click over to enlarge)

Monday 30th April 2018 - Lots of Swallows 

On way back from Milnthorpe (1200hrs) had quite a lot of Swallows, some already on the regular farms and also some on migration North - about time too!!

Sunday 29th April 2018 - Farleton Side 1600hrs

First record of note was a pair of Wheatear to the back of Whinn Yeates messing about on the anthills, difficult to tell whether or not on transient passage although we don't as a rule have any Wheatears breeding just at this point. Further along the route and passing the beautiful coloured ancient gorse trees I had a stunning male Reed Bunting which seemed to be a right poser and allowed me to watch it pretty close from a close-up view. Checked out the area which has the rare hybrid Enchanters Nightshade and got the gps reading etc.  Also to finish off had yet another pair of Wheatear on the boundary side of Farleton Fell with Holme Park Fell which is a regular breeding spot for a pair of Wheatear.

Saturday 28th April 2018 - Dalton, Lancelot, Burton Fell, Lancelot 1000hrs to 1530hrs

Nice to meet up with Jim F who accompanied me throughout my journey,  Today was patchy sunshine in and out of broken cloud, still a cold breeze from the NE. Just odd Cowslips starting to come through here and there but just at rosette forming. 3 calling and displaying Tree Pipits in Dalton Crags deforested (upper), listening for Cuckoo, but not calling. 3 Buzzards soaring about, but why 3 I thought they would have settled down now unless perhaps all three are immature birds from maybe last year. Skylark Singing away.  My very first migratory Swallows of the year actually on movement! and what a sight, they were almost touching in the ground as the pair went past, in fact you would be forgiven if you had missed them, it was only by chance I was looking in the right direction at the right time. Two Early Purple Orchid rosettes side by side with one which was the normal leaf staining, but attached to it a plant with the leaves clear of any markings, sadly they have both already succumb to predation. 

Side by side marked/unmarked Early Purple Orchid rosettes (Click over to enlarge)
3 more Willow Warblers seen or heard at the top of Lancelot to add to the building tally. Some lovely Rue Leaved Saxifrage at the top end of Burton Fell lent itself it a beautiful photo.

Rue Leaved Saxifrage (Click over to enlarge)
Even more great records for Burton Fell included Willow Warbler 1, Tree Pipit 1, Chiffchaff 1.

Lancelot Clark Storth recorded a singing Blackcap in Pickles Wood and also finished off with yet another Blackcap and Chiffchaff on Slape Lane at the crossroads through to Clawthorpe Lane.

Friday 27th April 2018 - Walk up Vicarage Lane 1000hrs  "CUCKOO IS BACK"

A new Blackcap calling - he was loud and happy, whilst the delicate sweet "Goldcrest" could just about be heard in the background (Browside). I do believe that "Victor" the local Chiffchaff returned last week but I have yet to cross his path. Lots of Garlic Mustard and odd Bluebells and the first Stitchwort of the year. Could not see the Lapwings in any of the fields and presumed they have had to move on again - 

The Cuckoo has arrived back at 0715 hours this morning at his usual rendezvous on Dalton Crags (deforested)

Thanks to everyone who attended my Orchid presentation yesterday evening at the Burton Memorial Hall, it was a full house and just about managed to fit everyone in. From the feedback mails I have received this morning it looks like everyone enjoyed it. I know I did.  Next month will be interesting with Gail Armstrong on South Lakeland Bats.  

Monday 23rd April 2018 - Dalton Crags (lower) 0915hrs

Decided to check out the Warblers in Lower Dalton Crags, with 10 Willow Warblers singing (4 of them to be added to the grand scheme of things bringing their total so far over the past few days to 82 singing birds on HR complex (60% coverage).  Two Chiffchaffs singing away to the East of Plain Quarry (one on regular territory), also one Blackcap singing heavily in the Crags leading from Plain Quarry. Wind strong this morning (20mph from SW) and making it difficult to hear birdsong so did not pick up on Garden Warblers. 

Sunday 22nd April 2018  "SO WHERE ARE THE SWALLOWS"

"So where are the Swallows today, yesterday and everyday,
The skies are so quiet with very little chattering going on!
Come back soon I pray...."

Saturday 21st April 2018 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof Common 0900hrs to 1400hrs

Did a further check of other areas to count the Willow Warblers which today I had a further 32 (bringing the collective total recorded for Hutton Roof to 78 with about 50% of the area recorded). Also had two Tree Pipits in Dalton Crags, also 1 Blackcap and 1 early Garden Warbler in lower Dalton Crags. Yet still only one Chiffchaff in Plain Quarry. Several peacock butterflies, but especially nice to have a "Brimstone" in Plain Quarry. Noticed the breeding pair of Stonechats in higher Dalton Crags. Also Linnet, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush.  Checked on the Holly Ferns - as usual the deer have taken last years Holly 2 right down to the rootstock, also checked the rare Northern Bedstraw which are just showing but as yet in a far reduced area of about 12" x 6" (See photo below)

Northern Bedstraw (Click over photo to enlarge)

Friday 20th April 2018 - Lancelot Clark Storth (bottom end) 1500hrs to 1700hrs

Did a check out of returning Warblers etc in the bottom end (West side) of Lancelot Clark Storth. It was a lovely pleasant late afternoon walk with lots of sunshine but still had the SW breeze which was welcome. I counted 2 Chiffchaff back (out of the usual 3) and 8 Willow Warbler back which is about right and 2 Blackcap (again the norm) but a lovely surprise with a new Common Whitethroat.  Also lots of Peacock butterflies and again to my surprise a early Comma butterfly.  Also checked out the rare Birds Foot Sedge (carex ornithopodia) which is coming through well and already the sedge flower is showing on some of the specimens. 

Comma butterfly (taken on phone)

Birds Foot Sedge (taken on phone)

Thursday 19th April 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures, Holme Park Fell, Farleton Fell, Hutton Roof Common, Burton Fell, Lancelot Clark Storth 1000hrs to 1600hrs

Holme Stinted Pastures

What a fabulous day, which all started with Alec sending me a mail to say that two Redstarts had appeared near Dalton Hamlet yesterday and since then the floodgates seemed to have opened up!
Still nothing whatsoever, yesterday and again today on the visible migration front, can't believe I am not seeing any Swallows going through.  Anyway back to today found several nice shoots of Early Purple Orchid coming through right at the side of the road. Entering the Stints the same Chiffchaff was calling yet again from almost opposite Rowley Copse, presumed now on territory. Had four Willow Warblers calling throughout and what a beautiful sound they made - been waiting in earnest for six months to hear their delicate crescendo's. Looking over the fence into the bullrush pond and could see tadpoles at about 1" swimming about, so obviously the conquered the frost OK. I was tredding with each step over "sparkling dew" which had attached itself to what looked like every blade of grass and shone like miniature jewels in the sunshine. Mezereone is beautiful yet again, and a different shade of green altogether from anything else I can think of in comparison! South West breeze again today (blowing at times to 8mph) but so welcome today in this heat (20 degrees at a guess). Pair of noisy screeching Jays thinking to themselves that I can't see them and trying to be as elusive as possible. Rabbits running for cover all over the place.

Holme Park Fell             "FOUR WEE-TEARS TO MY EYES WITH JOY"

Great to see a female "Little bit of bread and no cheese" (Yellowhammer), on top of the larger tree above the Gorse, a regular place where I have recorded Yellowhammers in recent days. Another four Willow Warblers and one Chiffchaff and two Peacock butterflies has I walked up the incline to the LH side of the Fell below the escarpment. A fantastic sight to see four grouped Greenland Wheatears - my first of the year and probably they are itching to go! go where? Greenland of course, or maybe Iceland or maybe the Pharaoh Islands, but go they will! Do you think they will they be here again tomorrow, I doubt that very much.  Further on and a stop for lunch whilst sat comfortably high and looking down over the M6, which conveyed never ending lines which could so easily remind you of ants going one way whilst others came the other way.

"To take the pleasure of Willows song, 
to lighten the silence of six months rest,
whilst Crow and Buzzard jostle the sky,
and Bumblebees larger than life!
Four wee-tears to my eyes with joy,
Get ready Greenland your boys are on their way
Raven comes closer and closer "cronking" away.

Sides of Holme Park Fell (Click to enlarge)

Farleton Fell

"Turtle Stone" (Click over to enlarge)

Five separate Willow Warblers singing from a couple of areas on the Farleton side, also nice to see a male Stonechat regularly hopping from the boundary wall on to the path and back up on to the wall. 

"To see all these Willow Warblers
Who could stage such a perfect show!
Sat here peaceful with just the Warblers voice,
From three places at once he calls,
and yesterday was silent! today delight,
A confusion has landed in the night,
The sun is good with little breeze,
And all in all makes a special day"

Hutton Roof Common

Its now about 1400hrs and there seems to be Willow Warblers calling from everywhere in fact fifteen I counted and one poor lonely Chiffchaff, I checked out some old Polypody which looked different, took some photos for Alec to check out!

Burton Fell

Ten more Willow Warblers all singing happily away (thats 38 Willows so far today) and thats just on the route I am taking, there will probably be hundreds throughout Hutton Roof!  What the ek!  just in front of me a Tree Pipit sits at the top of a tall tree and to make it even better decided to climb to a great height and then parachute to a lower tree with beautiful first of the year for me "tree pipit" song.

Lancelot Clark Storth

One Chiffchaff in song (usually had three by now - so so late..) but great to hear my first Blackcap of the year.

Off Slape Lane (Woodland)

Carpetted with Wood Anemone, and several of the Bluebells are now in full flower.

Other Stuff

Robert from Kendal sent his Hutton Roof reports through for today and he has had 3 Tree Pipits singing away in Dalton Crags, also 2 Blackcaps singing at Plain Quarry, a Swallow passing through, large influx of Willow Warblers but no Chiffchaffs today.  Also had Redpoll, Linnet, Siskin and Peacock Butterflies.

On Farleton (click over to enlarge)

Wednesday 18th April 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell 1400hrs

Two beautiful Peacock butterflies were jostling with one another and I couldn't make out whether it was love or war, but took the first option on board, they would spiral high in a almost vertical fashion like you see the single Skylark, then on reaching perhaps 40ft would tumble down together until at 10ft from the ground they would alter course, both simultaneously. I counted 7 new fresh in Willow Warblers, all happy singing away. Not sure at the moment whether any were on territory or just passing through, the next few days should give the answer to that. One Chiffchaff calling just opposite Rowley Copse. Yaffler in the distance, but how can it get better than hearing one of the Song Thrush actually doing a "Yaffle" which was certainly a first for me! Good on yur - Song Thrush! 
Great to see Dog Violets sprouting up all over the place.  The Mezereone has gone well green now and what a beauty it still looks but from another perspective. Wild Strawberries everywhere (still in flower of course). I almost forgot to mention whilst on my way back I am sure I had a Wood Warbler calling from Rowley Copse, it did all the spinning coin sound at repeated intervals of every 30 seconds or so but just missing the two large notes which sometimes accompany the spinning coin, but everything habitat wise looked right. 

Monday 16th April 2018 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs

A welly day splodging and embedding deep footprints and because of the heavy rains lots of worms had surfaced and where crossing over their own little mountainous terrains.  Willow's back! I could just about hear her above this strong Westerley wind which was amplifying all the sounds coming from that direction, even the local yafflers sounded quite a lot louder this morning, and the "hi-haw" from the Virgin Pentaligo passing Holme.
By now in past years most of the Chiffchaff and Willows would have returned together with Blackcap but obviously this year is far different with very few having arrived as yet and the count is dismal.  The Throstle choirs were going for it and competing with song - I did try but they were just too fast, but what about this then: (Song Thrush snatching), Peeu,peeu,peeu, peeu, tis lou-whit, tis lou-whit, tis lou-whit, wee-you, wee you, wee you, hou-wit, hou-wit, hou-wit, peeu, peeu, peeu, chi chi chit, chi chi chit, chi chi chit, yupee, yupee,yupee - and that's about half of what really went on because I could not write it down fast enough.  Other than these main players I did have a really low Buzzard showing behaviour of quartering and faint songs from a super high "sky" lark. Blue moor grass everywhere (and beautiful)

Thursday 12th April 2018 - Vicarage Lane and Dickin Lane 1400hrs

Herb Paris starting to show (Click over to enlarge)

At least 50 Herb Paris starting to show. Also had some of last years Black Spleenwort still showing green although most of it around was starting to show brown especially on the tips.  Thinking about it this particular frond is what you would truly call a "evergreen".

This last years Black Spleenwort can safely be called a "evergreen"

Just for good measure wanted to take a photo of just down Dickin Lane which always looks mystical to me especially with all the moss cover etc. Also a new in Chiffchaff singing at the bottom of Dickin Lane.

Dicken Lane near Dalton hamlet (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday 11th April 2018 - Dalton Crags (lower only) 1000hrs

A Chiffchaff returned and subdued singing near to Plain Quarry (report from Robert Ashworth).  I had a pair of Brambling just at the viewpoint/clearing area at the top of the lower Crags. Very late and would expect them to be away anytime now. Local yafflers giving it plenty.

Tuesday 10th April 2018 - Dalton, Holme Stinted Pastures, Holme Park Fell etc - various times

(Mon 10th April 2018) It was ghostly "misty" all around for the first hour, but enjoying the atmosphere whilst walking through Holme Stinted and at the same time listening to my first Willow Warbler of the year and not far away the sweet calling of the Goldcrest just made the day even more special. Entering Holme Park Fell a pair of Bullfinch were chasing one another around the gorse and would occasionally make their low "peeu" calls.  Further up on the fell I had a new pair of Wheatear which must have come in recently (probably last night), I love the plumage variations between these Wheatears, everyone shows their own individual look and so different from the others. As usual Skylarks everywhere and the occasional Meadow Pipit with one actually with a stalk of grass in its bill. 

Later that morning whilst on our way through Cowan Bridge had a pair of Swallows on the telegraph wires.  And the day gets better, I received a phone call to say that a House Martin was seen building its nest back on the outbuildings to Dalton Hall, I think that for me must be the earliest!

"For windswept bows towards the East,
While cruel over sea and land rose the beast,
Larks singing, Wheatear chase to their base,
Hollies and Haws interspersed the fathomed grey,
Their blood in winter drips from those prickly ones,
Tables eractic of crumbling grey sweeting your delight,
Warm to the back and now it all begins with
Songs and angels everywhere"

(Sun 9th April 2018) Walking through Holme Stinted Pastures had the usual two Song Thrushes to my either side still competing their repertoire with odd special delights of the regular "descending" part calls of the yet to come Tree Pipits. Then moving on and climbing up the side of Holme Park Fell I had a lonesome Curlew calling from high whilst it moved from North East to South West. I wondered if this had been a disturbed breeder and returning to the coast or what other story could it have told us! Buzzards high and soaring, Yafflers sounding off and lovely to see the beautiful Blue Moor grass starting to come through. 

(Thr 5th April 2018) Whilst walking towards Dalton Hamlet a "Charm" of Goldfinches passed overhead in hurried expression from my left to right. They have overwintered in nearby quarters. Song Thrushes were singing and demanding attention whilst they demonstrated their versatility of song with odd mimics of other birds they must have crossed paths with. A calling Chiffchaff from the bottom of Lancelot helped to make my day. 

Tuesday 3rd April 2018 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs

And yes it is still rainng (on and off), but today I noticed it was a lot warmer especially with not having that chilling wind biting through!

I had little in the way of actual migration - just one Meadow Pipit over one and a half hours and the only way I noticed that was that my faithful watch out saw it first and went on the chase to escort it out of his own established territory!

Watching made me think about it, it's what I suppose could be called "lazy birding" just position yourself very close (100 yards or so) from a already territorial established pair of Mipits and they will do all the work for you. Example any approaching Meadow Pipits will be early spotted by the already established pair and the male will climb up quickly and readily escort the bird or birds through its territory for some 50 yards or more! you notice the commotion and hey presto, your count is made!

Seriously it was so quiet but did have the Thrushes high on song! both Song and Mistles and also a yaffling woodpecker and that was about it!

These are my pair of Swans I have tucked away on Hutton Roof. The one at the front is asleep whilst the one at the back is preening itself.