Monday, 20 August 2018

Snippets of Wealth (August 2018)

Garden for today - Holme Park Fell in the far background

Friday 31st August 2018 - Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal 1030hrs

This morning I had several Swallows which I took to locals probably belonging to the Russell Farm populations. Also had a party of 8 Greenfinch going overhead towards the South West (not sure whether local but looked like they were on forward movement. Also one Bullfinch (local I am sure!)

The highlight for today had to be the beautiful Common Polypody variant I found whilst travelling up Vicarage Lane and from the photos you can see where some of the pinnae split at the end and create a lovely looking specimen.

A Lovely Common Polypody variety which shows split ends to some of the pinnae - I must
have walked past it hundreds of times and never noticed until today.


Thursday 30th August 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell - 1445hrs to 1800hrs

Before I start on today (Thr 30th Aug) I would just like to go back to yesterday (Wed 29th Aug) at around 2000hrs I was travelling along the A6070 from about the Auction Mart area, Farleton and onward to near the Holme Park Quarry, I had untold numbers of hirundines, in fact such a collossal numbers like I had never seen before, they seemed to be in large clouds of which there were several and each must have contained at least 500 birds each making perhaps a total of at least 2000 birds.  With the time of the day just before dark I can only presume they are perhaps congregating close to their roosting area which could well be the nearby reed beds of the Canal. This was such a spectacle and when I got to Burton I watched for sometime to see if the birds went past, but none did.  I guess these were not only local birds but maybe birds from lots of far off destinations quietly making they way South.

Earlier today whilst on the bus returning from Kendal to Burton I noticed a large build up of Swallows on the telephone wires at the area between Whasset and the little bridge which goes over the River Bela.  I guess there would have been 2-300 on the lines.

So now back to today (30th) I was graced by a couple of Willow Warblers whilst passing through the Stints and they were calling with their quiet (just about audible) hou- whit contact calls. Again the regular Ravens cronking from somewhere above. I disturbed a resting Buzzard who so slowly made his retreat towards the Quarry and could be seen later soaring the skies.

On entering the Fell I was greeted by butterflies and had 3 Small Heath 2nd generations, also had Speckled Wood, and a couple of Wall butterflies (2nd generation), also a beautiful fresh Painted Lady (2nd generation). I managed to record some nice plants such as Goldenrod, Ploughmans Spikenard and lots of Scabious which you met when 3/4 along the fell heading from South to North. Today my main task was photographing lots of the beautiful "erratics" which lay about this splendid fell.  I did think that soon I could write some verse which may later be called  "Its just a pile of owd stoowens which 3 million years ago would have been the oceans deep". So got my photos and the prose will come later!

Well I was wondering when I would get my first Wheatear on the Fell and about 3/4 way along a lovely specimen appeared which I watched for ages and at times it would fly high into the sky (30ft or so) and do a sally of flycatching before coming down to his rock perch. I would try and get nearer to him, but the more I tried the further away he went.  They are such an inquisitive bird and just when I thought I had lost him he would re-appear a little further down the way. He kept my company for over half a mile (linear) but at the same time he never got too close, he knew the safe distance. "There is always a treat with nature and this was mine today" thank you dear Wheatear.......

I also had a House Martin feeding up over the fell, but then the rush of intermittent Swallows (4 in total) which came down both flanks, low with high speed and heading direct to their South, I had no hesitation to realise they meant business and had only one thing on their mind to get as far South as possible.

Also had a single and then a trio of Meadow Pipits which had gone to ground feeding in readiness for their onward flight tomorrow.  A pair of Stonechats were present at just the spot I saw them last year and wondered whether they were on the move or perhaps birds which had decided to overwinter here.

Enlarge the photos and you should see my friend.

 Enlarge and you can see my friend

Just a pile of owd stooens!!


Wednesday 29th August 2018 - Stroll up Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal - mid-day

I think this is a Green Shield Bug

At first I thought this was going to be a ant moving a leaf, but soon became clear that it was some sort of shield bug quietly crossing over the track, he had seen lovely "fodder beet" on the other side, so plenty to get his teeth into.  Those same beetles has I was seeing a week or two ago were still at it in plenty, but this time doing the reverse trip and heading NW or W direction - must have been hundreds of them or maybe a thousand.

You could not help but notice those large "Galls" on the Rose Hips, a couple of them were as big as tennis balls.

I could see and hear young tree sparrows flying off the hedgerow and dropping down in the "fodder beet" 

Tuesday 28th August 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures, Holme Park Fell 0900 to 1100hrs

Before I start I want to show you a couple of nice photos I took of a couple of mates yesterday on Vicarage Lane.  Nice Chaps these! proper tubbies, or tuppies......

Always Ravens seen and heard overhead "cronking" here just as you enter the Stints - only 2 today so that does not qualify for a "conspiracy". Jackdaws started on their to and fros from West to East and back.  Ah! one Chiffchaff in 50% song, that's not bad but by the time of my return he was still singing but it had changed over to his "whit" contact calls.

Eyebrights on Holme Park Fell today (Click over to enlarge)

Eyebrights, white and what a sight and close to 4-6" Self Heal pretty tight, I think I have just heard one Willow Warbler (hou-whit), Peregrine up and stoop.  Yarrow, then Harebell and old Birdsfoot Trefoil with Hawkweed remnants and no yellow to brighten up the prickly Gorse. A score of Swallows feeding up from down at 2ft from the ground - no way of telling whether locals or stopping off and feeding up. Kestrel hovers and watches then glides whilst little fellow mipit torments him. Still no Gentianella - surely it must be starting soon..Sun is peeping again through his murky grey frame. Squinting squinancywort is here, and there are some white, some pink.. NOW THEN I happen to have had over 60 plus Meadow Pipits BLOGGING!! and that means we are soon to be in business, yes the visible migration is all but upon us. Spent Rigid and Scollies hiding in the grykes. Searching again for the SLIPPER STONE and covering the same ground were SNIPE will be hiding in a month or so. A staring Roe now called Mo is watching me from afar. Returned via the Stints listening to piping Bullfinch etc.

I forgot to mention fungi and berries, well I found this lovely young fungi whilst walking the fell, I will need to get my books out for this - and also worth mentioning that the berries are now forming on the Hawthorns in the Stints, I wonder just how long it will be before the thrushes have their hayday!


Tuesday 21st August 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures, Holme Park Fell 1000hrs to 1400hrs

Within Holme Stinted Pastures there were several Willow Warblers could be heard with their weak contact calls. Odd Green Woodpecker yaffling, and a trio of Ravens overhead "cronking"

Met up with Tom from Lancaster who was a very interesting chap especially in regards to Butterflies, and so grateful to him for imparting some of his knowledge on High Brown Fritillaries and the importance of the Dog Violet and just as important the surrounding Bracken. Showing me hands on examples of how the Violets were beneath the spent bracken and in turn the bracken helps to keep the temperatures up which in turn is important to the butterflies egg survival etc.

On the fell (Holme Park Fell), I was busy checking out lots of things. But whilst probing about I had 3 separate Wall Brown Butterflies, so this must be the second generation recent hatch, also had a couple of Grayling Butterflies, and plenty of Green Veined White.  Also had a Red Admiral.

No Wheatears or Chats about today, but lots of other stuff to keep me busy.  Did find some nice examples of Eyebrights, Harebells and some varieties of Hawkweeks, but was very surprised to still be finding Squinancywort,  Limestone Bedstraw and especially Spring Sandwort, I would have thought they would have all gone over by now, but still remnants about and they still look in a good condition. Found a new record for Birds Foot Sedge (carex ornithopodia).

Strange spooky tree but so challenging and interesting. Also found a spent atrorubens which must have been a cracker, in a place I have never seen one before, really bulging ovaries ready for the burst!

Carline Thistle
Grayling Butterfly
Spring Sandwort
Unusual Holey Tree

Friday 17th August 2018 - Filmed about a fortnight ago and shown on Granada TV tonight

Just click here to check out the small piece which shows you some great sights over Hutton Roof with some filmed by the drone.

Filming on Lancelot Clark Storth (Cumbria Wildlife Trust)
for ITV - Granada television CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FILM

Thursday 16th August 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures, Holme Park Fell, Farleton Fell 0900hrs to 1100hrs - "A Conspiracy of Ravens"

Field Mushroom - "I hope"

Very quiet  within Holme Stinted Pastures, with just sparse sounds of birds and only one Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff to report, probably more if truth be known. Odd Bullfinch as usual and the are known as the residents.

Today's flora was what you would expect at this time of year Birds Foot Trefoil, Tormentil, Wild Thyme, Yarrow, Harebell (both blue and white), Daisy, Buttercup, spent Ragwort, spent Carline Thistle, Mouse Eared Hawkweed, Squinancywort and Eyebright, but sadly I could not find the one thing I wanted today and that was the early signs of Autumn Gentian which are still about two to three weeks away up here.

On the fell it was pretty windy with strong gust every now and then.  I had odd Swallows which did appear to be on migration South, but very difficult to say! also had a nice party of 12 which again could have been on the move or maybe local and just feeding up on the Fell. A pair of Cormorant very high to the SW.  But the most interesting had to be the "Conspiracy" of Ravens, I had 13 in the party of which 3 broke away and went South whilst ten of them headed back North West although a few minutes later another 3 were seen heading South. Very nice and very noisy!

Talking about noisy it was nice to see a young Peregrine chick going through the drill with its parents on how to exchange prey, but witnessing the high speed stoops were tremendous!

Long while since I had fresh Field Mushrooms but found a handful which I had for lunch and by the left didn't they taste good! really good, far better than those shop bought.

Lots of Eyebright about


Wednesday 15th August 2018 - Vicarage Lane, Burton and other bits and bats

The skies were forlorn and angry looking this morning, dark fast moving clouds with heavier winds than usual, some gust every now and then and occasional light rain which seemed to get heavier as time went on.  All I could see moving about in the skies were Lesser Black Back Gulls (all heading SE) which may well have been local, A single buzzard soaring high,  and later coming back down to civilization I could hear and see a charm of Goldfinch high on the mature fir trees in the old Vicarage grounds. They are always a sight to brighten the day!

Over the past fortnight whilst everything has been fairly dry I have been seeing these lovely little beetles crossing over the track as though leaving one field of "fodder beet" and quickly making their way to the opposite field of "fodder beet". Without doubt there were hundreds and maybe there could have been a thousand or more, you just had to be so careful how you walked so you did not accidentally step on them and crush them. The striking thing about them for me was their fabulous iridescent colours.  In the main there seemed to be two different varieties as you can see from the following mobile phone photographs.

Although still present yesterday (and that's after at least 10 days to my knowledge), I have covered the same territory again today and there is none of the beetles showing, but yet the track today was very damp after recent rainfall and this could well have had something to do with their absence.

Not sure about today, but up until Monday evening (13th) we still had a pair of Swifts flying above Burton In Kendal.  Also I am reliably informed that yesterday (14th) we had a Osprey mid morning followed by a Hobby one hour later crossing over Burton Fell on their journey South (Thanks to Robert Ashworth of Kendal for both these records).


Dor Beetle

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings August 7th and 8th 2018 - Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell. "Red Kite and Willow Warblers" In fairness, I guess I earnt my soaking this morning, it came just as we arrived at the high point on the Holme Park Fell. My purpose was twofold, first I wanted to check out any possible migrants on the move and Holme Stinted Pastures and Holme Park Fell is a very good place especially for small warblers and then any Wheatears or Whinchats passing through. It was not disappointing with a few Willow Warblers present over the last two mornings, some which you struggled to even get a contact call, but one particular bird that was in quiet song mode and repeatedly would do a full line of its song. There is no way of telling whether these are late resident birds, but I would have expected them to be visitors just calling off on their way back South. Never had any chats today but they will come very soon! Yesterday I had a pleasant surprise over the Stints with a Red Kite high above us and heading North West.
My other challenge today was to check out the regular haunts of the Autumn Gentian which usually grow in good numbers along the tracks of Holme Park Fell, but just has I had thought I was about three weeks too early and has yet no evidence of the little beauties showing.
Along the way had a Dor Beetle sort of staggering from side to side as they do whilst negotiating their many hurdles! A single Grayling butterfly and a splash of colour with small clumps of Wild Thyme and also Squinancywort, and Ploughman’s Spikenard

Ploughmans Spikenard