Wednesday, 21 October 2020

The best moments of vis so far this year..


My most recent blog on"The best moments of vis so far this year - see below


 2020 Visible Bird Migration records 

"Strange Polypodium Interjectum found in Burton (17th Oct 2020)

Cloud and Sunrise photo blog - click here

The new Orchid book "Britains Orchids" by Sean Cole and Mike Waller - please click this link for details.

Varieties of our local Hutton Roof Gentians and the reason for the 50/50 Purple and White, plus my research survey results. Plus "Upland Enchanters Nightshade (circae x intermedia)

 More Autumn Gentian photos (2020) can be seen here

Northern Greenland Wheatear (Oenanthe o. leucorrhoa)
Crossbills (chicks in late December etc)

My recent contribution to a local rag:
Currently enjoying vismig (visible bird migration) from over on Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal, from first light each morning between September and November. I just missed by a few days getting this next report in last month’s rag.
If only you had witnessed the 4017 Meadow Pipits that came over on Thursday September 24th, with parties (some over 100) on each side of the lane at the same time and this went on solid from 0655hrs, and by 0845hrs I had already counted no less than 3,200 birds, with the other 800 birds crossing over in the rain before I called it a do by 1300hrs. Just think they were coming through that thick and fast you hardly had chance to write them all down, and it felt pure excitement whipping your head from one side to the other to catch more and more parties coming through from both sides. It really is something special to witness this, and they were low which made you feel they were almost within touching distance. You do not get it like this every year it was just one of those special moments when you can say you were in the right place at the right time and all atmospheric conditions were approved etc etc etc….
A little more recent on Wed Oct 14th turned out to be the main Thrush arrivals when I had nearly 13,000 birds between 0715hrs and 1400hrs, the bulk of the birds were Fieldfares (7,086) and Redwing (5721) all going in a North West direction heading to what appeared to be the distant slope of Farleton Knott. I had single mega parties of 530 birds, 2x400, 1x360 and another 40 parties of numbers between 100 and 300. It was so busy the birds “peppered” the skies and it could be difficult at times to be able to determine their sizes of which were the larger Fieldfare against the smaller Redwing. Little “chacking” going on and not much of that “see-iping” but they moved through with stealth and grace and what a site for sore eyes! I tried to give thought to how many miles these birds would have travelled in the past 48 hours to get here. Most will have come across from Scandinavia, with some from much further afield and they would have had to time their crossing of the North Sea so they met with the least resistance. Some enter the UK from more northerly directions like Hartlepool and the North East whilst the majority chose their entry from down in Lincolnshire and Norfolk to afford them the shortest crossings.
This year in particular I feel sorry for these birds having travelled so far hoping to experience trees with multitudes of berries at their disposal. Though that’s not how it is! The cupboard is bare I’m afraid! In fact it is probably the worst year I have ever known for the hawthorn berries of which this area is usually so well known. From what I understand it’s been a bad year all round, the beech mast is not that good either and the Chaffinch and Brambling visitors will also find it hard, mind you last year was so special with the mast it was what you call a every 5 yearly “Mast Year”. Damsons have not done well either. Hopefully there will be plenty of apples.
This year I feel like the Chaffinch have deserted us good and proper! Well at least the migrants, I have hardly had any in comparison to recent past years. Yet I am still getting plenty of the little cheeky fellows the Linnets which on most days I get at least 200 passing through with odd days to the 600 mark.
First thing I usually get large numbers of Starlings at around 0750hrs, with numbers sometimes in their thousands, all heading East out to Kirkby, Whittington etc to do a day’s foraging. They are the same birds which would earlier have been cuddled up together on the stalks of phragmites reeds whilst they roosted over at Leighton Moss or Silverdale Moss. I also like having a stroll up Vicarage Lane at around 5pm when you see them coming back and if you are lucky there will be several thousand’s heading through.