Sunday 30th August 2020 (Holme Park Fell)
Count total so far: (2647 Autumn gentian)
Starting from the gateway leading from Holme Stinted Pastures, I proceeded the full length of the Holme Park Fell, checking out the main track and its verges all the way over, and including fair distances on two sub tracks leading off the main track.
I found good numbers throughout the track and sub-tracks, although I don't think I had just as many as what I did have in 2017, although it was still excellent numbers. From old photos and memory back in 2017 showed even larger and taller specimens than we have got this year, although this year we have got odd specimens up to 6". If anything I do think we have got far more of the "light form" this year and perhaps less of the classic "purple" specimens with a possible 75% (light form) and 25% (classic purple). Throughout the survey on this fell I have found very few in the way of true white sub species (just a couple) eg: Septentrionalis (Northern race) - check below
The total number recorded from the main track across Holme Park Fell, plus 3 other small tracks was 1487 plus 1034 counted yesterday on Holme Stinted Pastures bringing a total so far on the Holme Park side to: 2521. Also on the Farleton Fell and Newbiggin side a further: 126.
Also today I did notice the birds are starting to collect or getting restless, I had a tight party of 17 Linnets and another party of 6 Linnets, and Meadow Pipits starting to appear on the walls etc, odd Swallows could be local, also grouping of Starling parties (up to 20/30). Also really good butterfly morning with at least 7 Grayling, 3 Small Heath and several Small Tortoiseshells.
This was todays survey area which has usually produced a few hundred autumn gentians, but last year was poor with maybe a dozen or so and this year only 100. I call the beautiful pavement behind the "slipped pavement" and also you can see the saddle
And now a visit to check out the rare hybrid called the Upland Enchanters Nightshade Circaea x intermedia. This is the only patch I have found on the whole of Hutton Roof and Farleton. The photos would have been better about one month ago before the caterpillars had started on the leaves.
(below)I have never seen heather standing to attention, well I actually measured this one and it was 14" tall.
Saturday 29th August 2020
"Mi thinks Its always worth doing summat, than doing nowt"
So what about some survey work
Than just go for a walk I decided to do part of my Autumn Gentian Survey on Holme Stinted Pastures. It was without doubt the best count in many a year, I checked all the old five quarry tracks on the Stints because that is were you find them. Most years even in good years you find 99% on the actual "Bank" and only odd individuals elsewhere, but this year they are on all the old tracks and linking areas.
I managed to count a total of 1034 Autumn Gentians, with the majority being the purple coloured but only just, there were absolutely lots of the white with purple tint, yet less than ten which I would have called true white or of the Septentrionalis (Northern type). Today was dull and most of the gentians stayed closed so I am eager for the next sunny day to get more photos, especially to see the diversities of the variety. I guess this year is one of those bumper AG years but in our case on Farleton side of Hutton Roof its only happening on the West facing, a different story on the East facing which are showing minimal plants.
Although half expected, It was still a very nice surprise to see my first Field Gentians of the year which I found at two of their last years sites. But at one site in particular I could see there may be far more than 20 waiting to come through, but just maybe 10 days too early. It was also interesting to note that in both cases (2 sites) the Field Gentians were only 2ft (60cm) away from their cousins the Autumn Gentians, so you can almost say they were growing side by side (see photo below).
Like I said they were closed but here below are a few photos from today.
Field Gentians first:
Here you see Field Gentian in the foreground with a Autumn Gentian about 60cm to the rear
Field Gentian at Holme Stints on 29th August 2020
Also whilst on my way to the Gentians I noticed this beautiful caterpillar gorging itself on the (bramble) blackberry leaves. Not sure but think it may be called the "Knot Grass Moth"
Odd Willow Warblers singing with contact calls within the Stints, odd Swallows overhead thought to be local. Also could not be sure but definately either Wheatear, Stonechat or Whinchat sat on the walls, but flitty and before I could get close enough moved on. It will be all systems go in two weeks with migration of the Mipits and finches heading out to the SE, so must try and get my survey work completed before then.