Tuesday, 19 November 2019

REDWINGS AT ROOST

Some old Blogs with quick links:- 



Redwing feeding
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Craig Bell

REDWINGS AT ROOST


I’ve always had fascinations towards our visiting winter thrushes especially in regards to Redwing and Fieldfare. I think it could well be that these species in particular are every vismigger’s dream with visions of the big day movements passing through their local recording areas.

Today I wish to turn to the Redwing and in particular to its roosting records. Once the main migration has started from say the middle of October through to early November, and from then on throughout the winter months, the birds can sometimes be seen roosting on Hutton Roof.  If I take the footpath which goes from the Plain Quarry Car Park and up through Dalton Crags there is every chance I may see some of the roosting birds from the previous evening, as a rule I would not expect numbers to be in excess of 100 birds, so I guess in volume “ours” could be considered a small roost.

On another occasion I remember one year following the birds and finding their small roost at the top of Dalton Crags (North West Side) near to the wall boundary with Lancelot Clark Storth.  I witnessed them going down into a medium sized Pine tree with a couple more smaller trees close by. I watched them for over one hour and noted that they were restless and moving low all the time from there to other trees perhaps 50-100 yards away and eventually coming back and settling into the Pine Tree.  Of particular interest to me was the calls they were making, it was a contact call I had never heard before, which to me seemed totally alien to what you may have expected from a Redwing, more of a gruff sort of call.  On arriving back home I searched online  the many variant calls and did eventually find the call in question.  Sure enough it turned out to be a “roosting contact call” which is only ever delivered at or near to the roost site. I think this particular roosting site was very temporary, and although I did see the same area being used the following year I can’t say I have ever seen it being used since. But I have to say it was lovely to watch even though it may have been of a very small number of birds in this particular roost site.
Another splendid occasion I would like to recall was on Sunday October 10th 2010.  It was 1800hrs and close to dusk when we arrived at the B.A.P. Memorial seat half way up Lancelot Clark Storth. Immediately on arrival we noticed large parties of Redwings going overhead, some really low down, we had no idea how long this had been going on before our arrival, but they just kept on coming for 35 minutes or so even though it was starting to get dark. I noticed all the birds were coming in from a SE direction and making out to a NW direction, the wind that day was East 5-8mph. I had no idea whether this had been an “all day” movement from the birds, but considering the time of the day, it did make me wonder if perhaps they were heading to a roost somewhere nearby!  I went up to the same spot over the next night or two but the situation was never repeated, so maybe they were just moving through our area. Just for the record that experience consisted of a Redwing count of 1472 birds in thirty three parties, with some parties containing numbers between 100 and 170 birds.

A incredible spectacle with 30,000 birds entering a Lancashire roost site

All that may sound good! And yes I feel they are special memories, but let me now try and give my account of just what went on yesterday (18th November 2019).  When we were so privileged to witness what must be a very special phenomenom in regards to Redwing roost and because of its nature gave me the inspiration to write this short article.


I guess the importance of this special roost will be very difficult to comprehend, or that’s the way I find it.  I have never even heard of a Redwing roost in numbers in excess of the 10k mark.  You need to say to yourself where on earth could 30,000 birds have come from, I would have thought that is about the amount of birds left within the whole of the UK at any one time and could not be representative of this local area, but obviously not!  Looking at it as logical as I can behold they must have come from the local surrounding areas of the Ribble Valley and possibly other nearby areas like the Trough of Bowland, maybe Burnley, Blackburn, Accrington, Rossendale – who really knows? Does anyone know?  For all we know they could have come from even further afield.

Where on earth do 30,000 birds hide during the daytime? Surely somebody somewhere should be seeing fields full of them, or maybe hawthorn trees laden down with them and what about dusk, will people be reporting seeing such volumes of birds going through their particular patch? 

The true phenomenon just as it happened before our very eyes

A friend from down in East Lancs phoned me to tell me about a massive Redwing roost site which had been discovered down in the Ribble Valley at a place called Kemple End, an area on the side of Longridge Fell and not far from Stoneyhurst or Clitheroe. It sounded really special with reports of over 20 thousand birds going into the roost which to us sounded too irresistible to miss out on. So Sandra and I decided that was our destination, we just had to go and witness this fine spectacle. We were not to be disappointed we arrived on site for about 1545hrs and by 1605hrs everything was in full swing with large sways of birds coming through thick in numbers from a South/South West direction, it soon became obvious we were at the best location to receive the main concentration overhead which was conveniently a small car park, but also the birds were coming through strong at another point almost 100 yards on a wider line to the west, by now the birds were almost just one large continual stream and each second or two saw a hundred or more birds within your single viewing and this just kept building and building in numbers with equal or more continuity, which continued over a period of some 25 minutes or so.  I guess there would have been at least thirty thousand Redwing if not more! I know that sounds incredible numbers for thrushes, but sure enough it happened before our very eyes. Also we noted up to 30 or so Blackbirds which sort of flew just slightly beneath the Redwing flock and I am sure there would also have been hundreds of Song Thrush as well within the massive flock and guess what? There was at least one Peregrine in sight at times spooking the Redwing before all went quiet, and probably a sign he must have got his supper! This today was something really rare and special and I believe this roost has already been going on for several days now……Just a bonus or what!  but has the Redwings started to thin out, a few Woodcock were seen coming out of the areas close to where the Redwing were entering, obviously leaving their daytime roost to go foraging and we witnessed at least 8 birds but I am sure this would have been well under estimated.

Would it again be such a spectacle to see the birds leaving the roost, early morning, yes it would! although going off the experiences I have had with the smaller roost, the birds (Redwing, very much unlike Starling) don't usually leave the roost sites in one go! whereby they leave the roost in smaller parties and the vacation may take up to one or more hours, I just wonder if this is similar with these massive roost.  I wonder if I could get up early enough!



CLICK THE ARROW BELOW LEFT HAND SIDE TO HEAR THE RARE REDWING ROOST CONTACT CALL......Please make sure your speakers are switched on!




This is a fabulous little video posted live this evening by Craig Bell of Rossendale showing the Redwings on their way into the roost in Kemple End, (Ribble Valley) Lancs. Tuesday 19th November 2019 (approx 1600hrs). Please click over the arrow....


Run your courser over the photo and then click the square that comes up to enter fullscreen......

Great White Egret

Just to report that the Great White Egret is still down in the fields to your left hand side (Kendal direction), just as you come out of the Burton In Kendal village and before you hit the Clawthorpe Bend. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

MORE EARLY MORNING SKIES - WEDNESDAY 23RD OCTOBER 2019 - VICARAGE LANE, BURTON IN KENDAL


If you want to check out the 2019 VISIBLE BIRD MIGRATION PAGES then please click over the following link: https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html









All photos above taken this morning (Wed 23rd Oct 2019) whilst vismigging

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

EARLY MORNING SKIES - Tuesday 22nd October 2019


If you want to check out the 2019 VISIBLE BIRD MIGRATION PAGES then please click over the following link: https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html














All the above photos were taken when I arrived at the watchpoint and getting ready for my visible bird migration session today (Tuesday approx 0730hrs). The sky was lovely so here are the results..

Friday, 18 October 2019

Burton News Copy October 2019


If you want to check out the 2019 VISIBLE BIRD MIGRATION PAGES then please click over the following link: https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html




BURTON NEWS COPY - October 2019


Autumn Bird migration is well on its way.  If you happen to be heading along Vicarage Lane towards Dalton and wondering just who that guy is stood at the top of Mike Taylor’s field with binoculars around his neck there is a good chance it could be me!  It’s that time of year again when the Meadow Pipits, Chaffinch and Linnets are flying through our skies on their way South to their various destinations, some even making it as far as France and Spain.  We seem to be getting record numbers of Linnets so far this year, and that is set to get even better once the continental Linnets join in the numbers, which I would expect anytime now.

Most mornings I get a skein and sometimes several skein of Pink Footed Geese, which are usually extremely high up and usually you will get a vocal warning from them to tell you that they are passing overhead, and that’s when the fun really starts.  Yes you can hear them OK, but finding them can prove difficult. I have made up my own rules when it comes to passing Pink Feet eg: If they are heading to the South West they are heading for Martin Mere near Southport or maybe more locally to Morecambe Bay, but if they are heading in the South East direction which many are, then they are probably heading towards the plains of Lincolnshire or Norfolk.

This last couple of days I have noticed the Starling numbers are building. I can only count them as they come overhead of Vicarage Lane which is usually around the 7am mark, which after having left their roost site at Leighton Moss or Silverdale Moss, and heading East to forage for the day, I presume going to Hutton Roof, Kirby Lonsdale, Leck and maybe even further afield. They are currently at about 150 birds which will grow in number by the day, but this will accumulate drastically in the coming weeks, especially by the middle of October when their numbers could swell to 20-50000 birds or more. These recent increases tie in with reports I received yesterday from Spurn (East Coast) saying they too have been recording their first continental Starling arrivals.

If you walk through Holme Stinted Pastures towards the Fell, you cannot help but see all the hawthorn trees so heavily populated with haw berries, and if you are lucky you may just hear a cackling Blackbird or other thrush sampling these delights on offer.  We are talking millions of berries, but one thing is sure, most of them will be gone over the coming weeks especially when the winter visiting thrushes get chance to participate. We should start seeing our visiting Redwing and Fieldfare by the middle of the month

The first continental Snipe are arriving (20th September) and it won’t be long before we start getting the Woodcock as well. Lots of them like to spend their winter months on Hutton Roof. You don’t see them as a rule because they are tucked in all snug somewhere safe and have the perfect camouflage. Yet occasionally I will accidentally disturb them when walking the stints or the clints. I am not sure who startles who the most!

High pressure has been well and truly set in for the past few days and there have been some really nice warm sunny days.  It’s also allowed many butterflies to grace our skies. I have seen Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and lots of various Whites.  The Red Admirals are all heading South and they too are on a massive southerly migration just like their cousins the Painted Ladies. This long migration can continue for weeks, I have seen Red Admirals heading South as late as 2nd November.

It’s nice to go out on a botany high and that’s just how I felt with the Field Gentian recent finds on Holme Stinted Pastures. They are beautiful but so small and can so easily be missed.  I counted well over 300 of the stunners. 
Looking forward so much to witnessing the Redwings and Fieldfare passing over our little village in their large parties usually heading in a North West direction into the Lythe Valley, but this can so easily change according to the weather patterns and wind directions on the day, but for sure I hope to be stood there with pen and notebook recording their numbers s they fly past.

By the way my recording notes are all published locally on my blog site (see link below), and on the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society (Bird Sightings) and sent through to Trektellen in the Netherlands who collate all bird records from recorders throughout the UK and Europe, this information is to help the study of migration and is also then sent back to the UK to be included in the BTO Migration site records.

Notes written on 20th September 2019
Bryan Yorke
9 Glebe Close,
Burton In Kendal
LA61PL


Sunday, 13 October 2019

SNIPPETS OF WEALTH - 13th October 2019 and a little before that....




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If you want to check out the 2019 VISIBLE BIRD MIGRATION PAGES then please click over the following link: https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html



This is Green Elfcup (Chlorociboria aeruginascensshowing yesterday over in Lancelot Clark Storth



This one above was a lovely cloud formation over Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal yesterday (Saturday 12th October 2019)


 "Mycena" Bonnet found at Lancelot Clark Storth on 12th October 2019




This is Green Elfcup (Chlorociboria aeruginascensshowing yesterday over in Lancelot Clark Storth





Above shows 3 photos of the Black Spleenwort which I took about two weeks ago here in Burton In Kendal. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

SNIPPETS OF WEALTH - CLOUD FORMATIONS - Wed 9th October 2019





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If you want to check out the 2019 VISIBLE BIRD MIGRATION PAGES then please click over the following link: https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html


Whilst out vismigging (migration birdwatching) this morning over Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal, there were some fabulous cloud formations and I just could not help myself from taking a few photographs, I would love to share them with you below: It will be better if you click over them to enlarge.








Unusual formation taken on 12th October 2019

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Snippets of Wealth - Skyscapes from Vicarage Lane, Burton on 3rd October 2019



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If you want to check out the 2019 VISIBLE BIRD MIGRATION PAGES then please click over the following link: https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html













All the above photos were taken this morning (3rd October 2019) from Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal at approx 0700hrs and onwards - The skies were fabulous showing different patterns

Saturday, 28 September 2019

LINNETS - EXTROADINARY NUMBERS in 2019 VISMIG also FAT HEN




If you want to check out the 2019 Vismig Migration Pages then please click over the following link:https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html

It's been really puzzling about the large quantities of Linnets I have had in recent days whilst doing my vismig counts from Vicarage Lane in Burton. In normal years I guess I would get about 20 Linnets during a daily a count at the very best, although this usually all changes when it gets to the middle of October and then the daily counts can get to four score or even above the 100 mark!
But what is remarkable about this year is that I have been getting regular daily counts over two hundred since about the 16th of September with 5 counts of over 500 plus between the 21st and the 24th of the month, in fact the count had risen to 896 on the 24th and 655 by the 25th.  These extroadinary numbers I must say have had me wondering what is going on! I have mentioned it to others and some have suggested that a local food source may be enticing the birds, another suggestion is that maybe a new roost has formed and that we are getting birds from this.
In my own mind I am now clear that the majority of the birds have without doubt been passing through the area directly on a regular migration line, although I have been suspect about 100 birds which seem to have remained local and can be seen blogging for the past few days.
I have checked all the fields looking for any enticing crops and have managed to find two things which could well be tempting some of the blogging birds to feed up on, although the bulk of the birds are seen to pass directly through our area totally ignoring any food crops or such. The crops which could be of interest to the bloggers are Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) and possibly the 'bolters' within the fodder beet (Beta vulgaris).  I can show photographs below of the crops.  The Fat Hen do look very much like a millett type of food, yet to me look very much unripened at the seed heads, whether this makes a difference or not! (see photos below)
The roosting theory does not uphold having checked out the areas later in the day and nothing is apertaining.
After noting high Linnet numbers at both Long Nab, Burniston, N. Yorks on 12th September 2019 with 434 birds and at Spurn on 26th September 2019 with 759 birds. Having been unclear to what was going on I can now get some sort of comfort knowing that at least other areas have also been getting large numbers of Linnets as well. 
I guess I am still left with the following question.  But why all of a sudden as this happened when its never been recorded previously in the past ten years? 

Sept 12th - 29 birds - Wind direction SE
Sept 13th - 45 birds - Wind: NW
Sept 14th - 119 birds - Wind: SE
Sept 15th - 25 birds - Wind: SW
Sept 16th - 206 birds - Wind: E
Sept 17th - 99 birds - Wind: NW
Sept 18th - 257 birds - Wind: E
Sept 19th - 124 birds - Wind: E
Sept 20th - 94 birds - Wind: E
Sept 21st - 500 birds - Wind: E
Sept 22nd - 579 birds - Wind: E
Sept 23rd - 573 birds - Wind: SW
Sept 24th - 896 - Wind: E
Sept 25th - 655 - Wind: E
Sept 26th - 270 - Wind: SW
Sept 27th - 306 - Wind: SW
Sept 28th - 82 - Wind: WSW
Sept 29th - 32 - Wind E
Sept 30th - 150 - Wind W
Oct 1st - 108 - Wind E
Oct 2nd - 34 - Wind N
Oct 3rd - 128 - Wind E




 This is a Bolter in the Fodder Beat which also contains seeds
Photo: Sept 23rd 2019 (Click over to enlarge)

This is Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) which does have a look of Millet
Photo: 23rd Sept 2019

This is Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) which does have a look of Millet
Photo: 23rd Sept 2019

 Fodder Beet Bolters
2nd October 2019

 Fodder Beet Bolters - Look at bottom section for mature seed
2nd October 2019

Fodder Beet Bolters
2nd October 2019

Friday, 13 September 2019

Snippets of wealth - Friday 13th Sept 2019 - Finding Gentians, Hawthorn berries in relation to Thrushes


If you want to check out the 2019 VISIBLE BIRD MIGRATION PAGES then please click over the following link: https://arnsidesilverdale.blogspot.com/2019/09/2019-visible-bird-migration-reports.html



Gentianella campestris (Field Gentian)
Photo: Hutton Roof on 13th September 2019

Gentianella campestris (Field Gentian)
Rare White specimen 
Photo: Hutton Roof on 13th September 2019

Gentianella campestris (Field Gentian)
Rare White specimen

Photo: Hutton Roof on 13th September 2019

With this sunshine it was worth yet another visit to the Campestris (Field Gentian) to see if any of them had opened up their flowers and sure enough one or two of them were open.

I thought maybe I should search a completely new area. The new area was about two hundred yards away from the established population, I managed to find approximately 20 plants (80 flowers).  I'll bet there are more when we do a more precise count in the next few days. All turned out to be Gentianella Campestris (Field Gentian)

On my way to todays gentians it was so pleasing to see all the hawthorn trees and there are numerous (scores to maybe one hundred or so), full to the brim with ripe (some overripe) berries.  Although I could only hear one distant Blackbird cackling away today, I envisaged masses of thrushes converging on this spot over the coming days and they will strip these same trees bare. In most years the local thrushes will strip the trees of their berries before the continental visiting thrushes arrive and would expect their arrival to start in about 3 to 4 weeks time.  

Also had one Painted Lady and one Red Admiral butterfly making their way South....

 Hawthorn trees full of ripened berries
Photo: Holme Stinted Pastures on 13th September 2019

Hawthorn trees full of ripened berries
Photo: Holme Stinted Pastures on 13th September 2019

This is a Cinnabar caterpillar feeding on Ragwort
Photo: Holme Stinted Pastures on 13th September 2019


Daphne Mezereone just starting to go into bud etc
Photo: Hutton Roof on 13th September 2019

Daphne Mezereone just starting to go into bud etc
Photo: Hutton Roof on 13th September 2019


Shanks, Red and Green at Leighton Moss
Photo: by Brad Cheek