Monday, 6 December 2021

Nature Blog Diary


Sunday 30th January 2022 - Newclose and Majors Nursery on the Dalton Hall Estate.

Not a lot going on, with little in the way of bird song. It's been so quiet this year for me and today was to prove no exception. The wife says I am going deaf and she is probably right. But hopefully on my next visit here I will hear Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers a plenty. My area today had numerous mature beech trees (Newclose) but no mast this year, but I would expect there to be a mast year soon (maybe next year) and then we will have thousands (yes up to 4,000) finches wintering with us comprising of Chaffinch in the main with Brambling and Siskin and occasional Bullfinch it is likely that all these birds will be continentals. 

I still did manage to photograph some nice lichen and ferns. The area of the Keer Valley is different to its surrounds with plenty of acid slap bang in the middle of limestone and allows lots of Hard fern to be present (Blechnum spicant).

These are the manhole covers for the four pipelines which take water from Thirlemere down into Manchester


Friday 28th January 2022 "Holme Stinted Pastures" Hutton Roof (Farleton side)

On my agenda this morning was to find the rare Daphne Mezereone and to see what progress had been made.  I knew exactly were No.1 plant was, but had been told of another well hidden plant (No.2) and this had to be searched for and what a beauty this was, I said WOW! it really took me back to see such compactness of buds coming from everywhere to create what can only be described as a nature spectacular in the making, I can't wait for the next fortnight to pass to see this plant at it's best! Today some flowers were already out but just a sampling.  I later crossed over to check out No.1 which sadly was not doing anything like. Although if you did look close enough you could see some little green shoots trying, so we will have to see.  The plant has been unfortunately going downhill over the past three years. It also tells me that our beauties over on Hutton Roof common and Park Wood will be due a visit in the next couple of weeks.

Just if you want to check our past years photos of the Hutton Roof Daphne's please CLICK HERE.

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) Daphne No.2 - Holme Stinted Pastures - Hutton Roof on 28th Jan 2022

(above) shows Daphne No.1 on Lancelot Clark Storth
Photo: Jan 28th 2022

I noticed some clearing work had been done on the old (ancient) gorse and it was interesting just to see the trunk boles of these once splended "schrubs". The shape reminds me of a certain lichen with it's fluted edges! I always wonder why on earth I cannot find gorse in my tree books rather than my flower books, with these old beauties I would have called them trees, but the books still wants to call them shrubs!

(above) examples of the boles after ancient gorse removal

(above) never sure whether this is a lichen or a fungi (lichen I think). I notice that in this area lichens take over all the common hawthorn trees yet is not seen on the Gorse. 

Wow! when mosses interact with lemony green lichens - it is something special.

(above) Love the atmosphere - the foggier the better!

Saturday 22nd January 2022 "Lancelot Clark Storth, Hutton Roof checking out Polypodium cambricum etc.

First proper morning out since the new year, I find it really hard to get back into routines which I desparately need, but thankfully there is always something there on the positive agenda and today I thought maybe I should check out one of the populations of the rare Southern Polypody (Polypodium cambricum) which we have tucked away in Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT). I know it's late! or should that be it's early in the year, but this polypody is always the late one in any given year, in fact I dont get it starting to about middle of July, so that I should get a good showing even in the following January. Yes it was coming through OK as you can see in the photos.  I always confirm it is what I suspect especially by the most DELTA shape or the extra wide shape of the frond. More specifics and more photos can be found at my dedicated blog found which you can find by CLICKING HERE

Also on the way I was again finding lovely beautiful lichens which seem to be everyday different for me! with so much of them missed by every stride I take, but the ones I am lucky or priviliged to see are so so special and I am feel compelled to take a photo to try and help to show them off!  

Also a little fungi on the way, a photo of a charcoal burner, more polypody held in the fork of the tree. This one is the commoner Polypodium vulgare. A growing ivy vine which just looks like shredded rope!

Monday 17th January 2022

Whilst out on my walk I was stopped in my tracks with this unfamiliar bird calling it sounded like "cloy-yink" with that Bunting feel! eventually I managed to see the bird and guess what? it was the old familiar GREAT TIT obviously practising one of his many calls, but got to say I have never heard this one before. Did you know the Great Tit is so versatile with their calls in fact I have heard it said it has over 30, some say over 50, but I was told and I think it came from the RSPB (but not sure) that it had over 200 variant calls. Things are starting up now, with Dunnocks singing all over the place, Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming from the gardens of Dalton Hall on Friday last (Jan 14th), Swallows seen on January 2nd in Filey, Bempton and Withernsea, in fact the earliest January records in Yorkshire for 191 years but its been so mild. Lots of Geese on the move over Christmas and New Year with lots heading back North. Croziers showing on some Harts Tonge and again on my Holly Fern, Snowdrops just coming into flower.

Wednesday 12th January 2022

We have started another year and during a stroll along the banks of the River Lune (Kirkby Lonsdale) I found such a large lichen on the floor but probably dropped from the high canopy of the long established decideous trees.  I have been informed that it is called Ramalina fraxinea. It was large at the size of about 8"x6".  Here is a photo of the beauty.

Ramalina fraxinea - found on the side of the River Lune 12th January 2022

And just a little further on the bankside I found some Polystichum setiferum (Soft Shield Fern). This was nice to find because I have yet to find any on Hutton Roof.

It was instantly recognized by the smaller and much finer pinnules. 

Tuesday 21st December 2021

Wow! managed a good walk up Slape (slippery) Lane and through various parts of Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT), have I said what LCS stands for eg: Lancelot Clark was the farmer whom originally owned the land and Storth is a old Cumbria word for woodland. Glad we cleared that one up.. I am sure most of you did already know that.

So today its been much of the sameness! never ever can it be much of the.. No it really is not, well not for me.  Every time I stop to take a photo of a lichen I find it mind boggling the beauty contained in such a small area - each one is like a painting its different to the last one and intriguing with extroadinary patterns, so so different, large craters, small craters some black, some green, some orange. Oh I cant believe I missed all this for all those years. Gosh! its like the rest of nature so complex, but will give you the sense of achievement when one looks at them with more seriousness I'm sure and more so when you have given the patience to eliminate, eliminate eliminate and eventually yippee! its Cladonia s............. 

Coming up to Burton In Kendal I really thought I had cracked it with all the richness like special rare wild orchids, the ferns, the wild flowers, but I am now getting a second showing with Fungi, and Lichens and still not turned on too much with mosses although I am trying with them.  In fact I dont like turning my back on any natural history these days, I am far too nosey and need to know just what's going on with all this wonderful stuff.

It came in my mind - over there is a owd stalk or stem belonging to last years Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), I knew if I looked down the sides of the old growth I had chance of finding shoots of the 2022 stock and so it was.  Usually by the last weeks in December they are up to 1" tall but a little slow so far this year, but thats the same with most of the stuff (snowdrops and even primula).  Although today whilst walking up Slape I noticed some of the 2022 Cleavers are up to about 3" already.....but I guess will quickly go into their dormant stage before flowering.

Pretty quiet with the birds, definately a mass shortage of Chaffinch in the skies, but thats simply because we dont have much going on in the way of Beech mast, its not a beech mast year, although one will be due perhaps next year (2022/23) I am not meaning to sound like I am wishing my life away but thats how it goes, lots of Chaff = beechmast years..

So here goes with some of todays lovely lichens, fungi and general photos. 

Friday 17th December 2021

Searching for bits of magic as always by way of bridleway, woodland floor and tracks. (Slape Ln, woodland, Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT). Anything different today on offer, lots! I found mainly new to me lichens, odd fungi and my woodland floor was covered in little Christmas trees of no more than 12" high and they had grown everywhere. Sapling stalks have been covered by local mosses and formed those lovely little Christmas trees. (see photos below)

Overhead I could hear distant geese and the sound got nearer but still so high probably 2 to 3,000ft and sure enough they were Pink Feet heading out to the West/North West. Saddened to learn of the 700 plus Barnacle geese that have died whilst in the UK because of the new Avian flu (RSPB Mersehead.

Over the coming week I do intend to get down to something orchid! - more help when diagnosing the straight Epipactis atrorubens (Dark Red Helleborine) against it's hybrid (E.schmalhauseneii) I have realised that there is possibly a further diagnosis aid we can take by noticing changes to the basal callus with a hybrid showing an in-between factor.  I hope to get some photos in readiness.

Here are a few photos for the gallery.....

(above) Mosses covering young saplings

Lichens on limestone

(above) Lichens on limestone

Thought to be Cladonia possibly coniocraea.  Found on same decaying log along with C. fimbriata, Photo: Lancelot Clark Storth 17th December 2021.

Found on decaying log Cladonia fimbriata, note Golfers Tee profile with green inner cup. Photo: Lancelot Clark Storth 17th December 2021.

Found on decaying log Cladonia fimbriata, note Golfers Tee profile with green inner cup. Photo: Lancelot Clark Storth 17th December 2021.

Found on decaying log Cladonia fimbriata, note Golfers Tee profile with green inner cup. Photo: Lancelot Clark Storth 17th December 2021.

Found on decaying log Cladonia fimbriata, note Golfers Tee profile with green inner cup. Photo: Lancelot Clark Storth 17th December 2021.

Thursday 16th December 2021

(Click over the photo to get the best view) 

(above) The Flower head arrangement 

Left: Primrose (P. vulgaris)

Middle: Cowslip (P. veris)

Right: Hybrid False oxlip (P. polyantha)

Still not been getting out!  This “vertigo” or wobble problem is not abating and that’s after ten days…..Ay ek! I need to get out and enjoy the fresh air, I have my walking pole and mobile or (camera) on the ready for the first signs and then were off!

So what can I waffle on about for today, I was just thinking by now when I was on the paper round I would be finding early snowdrops! Yes they can be early and by later December I was starting to find them all over the place.  The primula in our back garden is usually showing its smiling face sometime around now (16th December), I’ll just break off for a moment and check! There is no flower yet but the leaves are about 3” so it’s on its way, but late this year compared to previous years.

I am so waiting to check out the rare wild hybrid of the Primrose and the Cowslip, which is called the False Oxlip. I know of a secret special place just were it hangs out with two or three separate posies standing out amongst the beautiful bluebells, but I think it will be about April before its worth venturing. Besides bluebells there will be Wood Anemone also carpeting the woodland floor.

But that’s all the starter I’ve been talking about before the main course, for now it’s just rummage about (or should I say forage about) for other gems just like the late ferns some of  which  will  hang on into the next year, like the Polypodys and maybe the occasional Hard Shield Ferns. And it’s always worth a peep to that special one we call the Holly Fern and very appropriately named especially for this time of year..

Besides ferns, there is the beautiful lichens with their magnificient pastel shades with colours you could only ever imagine! I love them but there are so many and it seems so complicated for this novice, I have the book and I have the internet!  Some of the fungi have been very special again with an array of colour and shapes, also I love checking out the “slime moulds” which maybe sound a little off putting or not just as encouraging, but they really are very special with yellows, red and whites and all sorts of weird and wonderfuls.


The Blushing Rosette (Abortiporous biennis)
a rare slime mould found near Burton In Kendal

Monday 13th December 2021

Managed a little walk up Slape Lane, I wanted in particular to check out the lovely Collared Earthstars.  I had checked previously during late November and early December but just could not find any and thought at first we may have lost them.

But thankfully today 14th December I uncovered some of the aged leaf litter and there they were the little beauties, I put my stick to one to see it "smoke" with the dust of plenty. They are a lovely fungi and well worth checking out.  Odd beautiful lichen was also present. 

Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex)
Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex)

Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex)

Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex)

Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex)

Thursday 9th December 2021

Today I wanted to revisit the area of Dalton Crags, the reason in the main was to again check on the small Polystitchum fern just to check if there was any abortive sori on the rear of the frond. Unfortunately not, this would have been another indicator to ascertaining if we had got a rare hybrid on our hands. No definitive answer can be given at the moment as to whether it be or not to be.

But whilst there I checked out a good area of the woodland floor to see if I could find more lichens and fungi etc.  It was great as usual and I did find more species I cant say I have ever noticed before.  Here below are some of the beauties.

Monday 6th December 2021

Today I returned to Dalton Crags to search out the Blue Roundhead (Stropharia caerulea) which for some unknown reason I forgot to write down the GPS yesterday (very unusual), but until I actually posted the photos I had not realised just how popular the post had proved to be and the massive interest the roundheads had been. I was being asked by friends of where were they and I struggled to tell them.

But today whilst on my return there was bad news! after I had paced the area for almost one hour in search of this elusive fungi which was here yesterday, or so I thought. I just could not find them for love nor money!  But there is good news! I continued to look but widened my field and after another five minutes found a new population, which could never have been that far away from yesterdays.

This time sure enough I did write the gps down even in the pouring rain and as soon as I got home made out a short sketch showing were these little gems resided.

There seemed to be lots of fungi around but the rain was taking its toll so I decided maybe another days beauties, I did manage to check out some Common Puffballs which were well gone over and had already puffed out their insides.

(above) Is this shade of blue the same blue as the Roundheads fungi?

He puffed and puffed til nothing left whilst his sides collapsed just deflated I presume


If you want the most up to date blogs about birding and vismig and other stuff please click over this link:

12th Feb 2021 - Just starting to see new growth etc

Thr 11th February 2021 - Early movement and Spring Bird Migration over Burton In Kendal.

Tues 9th February 2021 - Intertwined

17th Dec 2020 - Finding a new Polypodium cambricum on HRoof Crags

Thursday 19th November 2020 - Nice stroll or wander with fabulous wonders and my December copy for the local magazine - SEE BLOG BELOW THESE LINKS.....


Another recent blog on"The best moments of vis so far this year - click here

 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