Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Greenland/Icelantic/Faroe Islands Wheatear are with us! plus the first Lesser Whitethroat

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Yes it was great today I had plenty of "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear especially on Farleton (read below) 3 on Dalton and 8 on Farleton.

Saturday April 22nd 2017 - Dalton Crags 1000hrs to 1100hrs then Farleton Fell 1100hrs to 1430hrs

Yesterday (Friday) I did check out Dalton Crags but no Wheatear showing.  Just one Tree Pipit at the top of Hypericum Way which was constantly singing and displaying.

Today (Saturday)  Still no Garden Warblers and still the single Tree Pipit doing some fabulous displays whilst giving off his song.  Had three "Leucorrhoa" Wheatear with two on the walls and one on the ground on Wheatear Plain.  All very upright and all showing the dirty blue backs (presumed male). Stonechat male and female seen around the "line of trees" areas.  A Tawny Owl crossed my path and coming from South to Storth Wood - Dalton where I heard it calling from five minutes after passing.

Today (Saturday) - Farleton Side
I had Chiffchaffs calling from Farleton Rise, Rowley Copse, and 50 yards below Rowley Copse where I also had a Blackcap calling. On the Fell itself I had ten Wheatear of which 8 were presumed of the "Leucorrhoa race" and all were dirty blue coloured, these were spaced out along the full length of the fell and mainly in pairs.  I had a further two presumed to be O.Oenanthe - Eurasian which were a male and a brown female and thought to be breeding local.  Also several Swallows from the Whinn Yeates Farm, a single female Yellowhammer on territory. Views of a splendid "Lesser Whitethroat" was seen just above the Gorse areas.  The area were I have recorded them now for the past couple of years.

At the Old Lime Kiln (filled in) behind Whinn Yeates I noticed the ferns where doing really well and the Asplenium.Ceterach (Rusty Back Fern) was showing 6 little groups coming through. Also Maidenhair Spleenwort, the rarer "Black Spleenwort" and Common Rue.

Very surprised to see a Brimstone Butterfly high on the fells heading with haste to the South.  Also heard Linnets, lots of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.  flowers included Rue Leaved Saxifrage, Parsley Piert (all gps recorded).

Black Spleenwort (Click over to enlarge)

Ceterach or Rusty Back Fern (Click over to enlarge)


Looking towards Lupton etc (Click over to enlarge)

Looking towards Lupton etc (Click over to enlarge)

Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Tree Pipits arrive..

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Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) Click over to enlarge
Photo: Kindly supplied by C K Bell Images (check out more of Craig's images by clicking here

Monday April 17th 2017 - Dalton Crags

It was lovely to see and hear a Tree Pipit singing away at the bottom of Dalton Crags from that same tree he has used now for three years or more. I guess for me the song from the Tree Pipit has got to be my favourite along with the Skylarks and the Garden Warblers.

His song was being delivered from the uppermost branch of a 30ft tree, and usually when I hear him he is doing is fabulous parachuting display at the same time as singing.  That was not the case today, he remained perched at the top with no display on offer. I also checked the other sites in Dalton Crags (upper) but I could not see any further Pipits.

That beautiful Tree Pipit sound can be heard by CLICKING HERE




Another page from my notes back in 2012


Click over to enlarge

Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Northern Greenland/Icelandic/Faroe Islands Wheatear (Leucorrhoa)

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Click over to enlarge
(Photos kindly contributed)
The above is a page which I have made up to show within my powerpoint presentation which gives you some idea of the small differences I encounter between Eurasian and Greenland/Icelantic Wheatear.  It is so difficult in the field although certain pointers give you a good basis to work - especially the grouping and the time of year which is my number one and then we will check out the rest!  hope this helps.


Anyday now I would expect Greenlands/Icelandic/Faroe Island Wheatears (O.O. Leucorrhoa) to start to be seen on Hutton Roof and other localities.  I remember from two years ago today (16th April 2017) we had a party of no less than 16 birds on Wheatear Plain in Dalton (deforested/upper).

I can remember them usually coming in with trips of Dotterel when I lived down in East Lancashire, and today (16th April 2017) the Dotterel have been seen and photographed down in Bedfordshire. Also Hoppy down in Wolverhampton rung a Wheatear this morning which was of the "leucorrhoa race" with wing at 108mm.


These are some notes I did back in 2013 (Click over to enlarge)

Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

First Wheatear (Oenanthe) and first Willow Warblers

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Wheatear (Oenanthe) (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)



Saturday 1st April 2017 - Dalton, Lancelot, Burton and Lancelot  1000hrs to 1400hrs

It was on/off light rain showers early but by noon seem to dry up.  Wind slight at W5mph.

Well for Meadow Pipits very poor in fact you could count the number I had on two fingers! so that shows you how bad it got, but nem mind its going to happen very soon!

Told this morning that they have had over 800 Redwing in numerous parties over Manchester heading to the South East this morning, so I guess this might well be the last shove up and on their way out!

Had a lovely coloured solitary Wheatear (Oenanthe) on the Walls whilst traversing up through Dalton Crags (upper/deforested).

Spent a little time at the Trig but really quiet with very little on the move, a few thrushes which looked like they could well be continentals, feeding up and probably off later today.

Found some nice Rue Leaved Saxifrage in flower.  It says in the books that this species flowers in June, but I have found them regular on Hutton Roof flowering in February and right through the early part of the year.  Early Purple Orchids - some good rosettes in the top of Lancelot.

First Willow Warblers singing away in full crescendo - 3 at 3/4 way up Lancelot, 2 midway up Burton Fell - always good early spots these and again they proved so today.

Chiffchaffs will be a really good year!  At least 4 in Lower Dalton (Nr. Plain Quarry) to start with then a new site 1 at top of Lancelot, two more in Burton Fell, three in Low Lancelot.  Also two singing on way home on Vicarage Lane with one at the top and the usual bird singing away from Browside.

Also had a pair of Long Tailed Tits in Lancelot, about 4 yafflers (Green Woodpeckers) a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers - NO Blackcaps or Swallows for me YET!


Willow Warbler (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Thanks to C.K. Bell Images (if you want to check out their images please CLICK HERE)



Dog Violet (Click over to enlarge)
A beautiful lichen found today in Lancelot (Click over to enlarge)


I have called it "Kirkstone" and found it on Burton Fell today (Click over to enlarge)
It does remind me of another well known stone!

Rue Leaved Saxifrage (Click over to enlarge)
Blue Moor Grass (Click over to enlarge)


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Wild Service Trees and Much More

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2x Wild Service Trees in Dalton (Click over to enlarge)
also photo below shows close up.

Monday 27th March 2017 - Dalton - Hutton Roof Trig Point

Lovely sunny morning but with a cold 10-15mph Easterly.  Over one hour the Meadow Pipits that went through could be counted on one hand.

Lots of singing Chiffchaffs heard this morning around the Lower Dalton Plain Quarry areas.  I guess all were not locals.  The ones I saw seemed so small and thin and needed to put some weight on!  also coming down "Hypericum Way" I am sure I heard the "just about (contact) call" of a Willow Warbler right at the place were I usually get my "first early bird", but can't be sure because it was only the contact call "hou-it" rather than the full call. Although there is very little difference between the Chiff and the Willow, I find the Willow is slightly more sweeter and not just as sharp - So I guess the next day or two should give a clearer indication to which bird it is. 

Also had the male Stonechat in Dalton Upper, and heard a couple of calls from Green Woodpecker at different areas, Ravens knocking about and thats more or less it for today....

I was kindly shown these rare "Wild Service Trees" which lie within Dalton.

Close up of a Wild Service Tree at Dalton (Click over to enlarge)


Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

First Warbler and Catch Ups

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Burton In Kendal Chiffchaffs (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday 15th March 2017 - Dalton Crags (0930hrs to 1100hrs)

Return of our first Chiffchaff (Craig) to Plain Quarry this morning, singing away in a subdued fashion. I guess its about right is the 15th and the date it is first recorded in most years.

Also the "Start" day for the passage of Meadow Pipits with 7 moving across the deforested (upper Crags) towards the North West direction (2,1,2,1,1) plus one already back on territory at the Trig Point on Hutton Roof.   Also had a Marsh Tit calling from the top of the lower Crags.

I can't help but wonder about "Alba Wagtails" which I don't see that many these days on Spring passage but that's probably because of where I am watching from , but looking back to the 80s I can remember from back down in East Lancs I would get scores of them all moving to the North West and they came early with good counts from around the 7th March.

Arnside (1600hrs to 1800hrs approx)

Recorded even more "Ceterach" (Rusty Back Fern) over in Arnside on the Promenade, also went along to the "Coastguard" area to check out the Maidenhair Fern and got this photo of last years produce!

Maidenhair Fern at Arnside (Click over to enlarge)
Last years offering still in reasonable shape!
Arnside



Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Catch Up

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Thursday 2nd March 2017 - Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal

Just had a short stride up Vicarage Lane and could hear three separate Song Thrushes singing away and marking their territories, and they had lots of new repertoirre to offer I just could not book down their calls quick enough.... some really good stuff here!.

Going past Tram (don't know at this point whether I should call it upper or lower) but a good place where I stand sometimes during the Autumn to record the passing finches.  Although today I had my mind fixed upon "Squeaking the old Stoat! He's not a easy one, in fact I usually never have problems squeaking the Stoats and can bring them within a few yards before I frighten them away! but this chap is something different, I have tried several times before to get his attention but not yet! I do need to come up with a better "squeak" if I am to get anywhere with this lad!!

Some great reports from friends include: 

Reg has had his regular Winter Yellowhammers return to his garden on Morewood Drive. Phil has reported seeing four Tree Sparrowsin Dalton Hamlet and also he had a rare sighting of a “Ringtail” (either a female or juvenile = “Ringtail”) Hen Harrier crossing over the Trig Point and heading off down into Lancelot Clark Storth. More reports of Little Egrets either on the Mosses and also being reported from the gullies across from Station Road, Holme. Robert has had Merlinand Meadow Pipits showing on Hutton Roof. Skylarks were back on territory and singing as early as February 5th, but were not seen or heard the following day.

A "Wet" William Wordsworth Grave (Click over to enlarge) 

Yesterday (1st of March 2017) I guess I should have woke up and said “White Rabbits” as my first words uttered! But again I forgot, like I forget in most years…..  It’s a funny old custom which was handed down to me by my late mum who said I should always say it on the 1st March and then I would have good luck for the month or was it good luck for the year ahead.

Today it was great to do what we do on most Wednesday’s at this time of year, by having a brew and a butty and finish off with a piece of good old Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread whilst at the same time sat trying to absorb some poetic inspiration and being sheltered by the fabulous Yew tree just at the side of William’s (and the rest of the Wordsworth clan’s graves.  It was gently raining today, but that was no problem for us because of this “thickened with age” grand Yew giving us a dry canopy whilst we sat on the nearby seat.  It's always a great privilege to sit under this very tree which was planted in this spot by none other than William himself. 

Surely what was so different today?  Ah! well no Jackdaws,  and as a rule we always have Jackdaws trying to scavenge any left overs or crumbs that maybe on offer.  Usually they are quite tame and will come within a couple of yards perching themselves on the upper ledge of nearby gravestones. Yet all was quiet here you normally hear them in the vicinity.  Still we had plenty of Robins and Dunnocks to keep us company!

Changing our rambling route by the day or even by the hour just before we hit the start, we chose to head through Deerbolt on the West side of Grasmere which eventually leads you to Rydal Caves.  On leaving Deerbolt I pictured from memory the vast area being covered by bluebells and imagining what a treat it will be for some "sore eyes"!  In fact I will dig out my photo from last time I saw this beautiful event.....which I have posted here.

This is how it may look around the 12th May

Not only this beautiful sight was going around in my mind but also the thoughts of the regular Cuckoo who usually you can hear calling from early May onwards.  But I guess for me the best has to come, whilst today all these scattered hawthorns seem bare! but soon (May) will have those songsters the Tree Pipits singing away from them whilst they perform their fluttering descending parachute from one higher tree towards one nearby lower tree. 

Also today we had small little groups of flowering daffodils, some of the miniature and some of the more regular and always somewhere close to a wooden seat.  Perhaps they were markers for someone to remember somebody.  Along this path and close to water flushes I can sometimes find Butterwort and Yellow Saxifrage, but not today, its far too early yet! (need to take another look around June time), also lower down by the river you will later be able to find Grass of Parnassus and Devils Bit Scabious and Bog Asphodel plus lots of other "GEMS" as well.

A welcome return to the Caves (Rydal Caves), not natural may I add but a left over of the old quarry.

Looking out from Rydal Caves (Click over to enlarge)






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Catch Up

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Thursday 2nd March 2017 - Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal

Just had a short stride up Vicarage Lane and could hear three separate Song Thrushes singing away and marking their territories, and they had lots of new repertoirre to offer I just could not book down their calls quick enough.... some really good stuff here!.

Going past Tram (don't know at this point whether I should call it upper or lower) but a good place where I stand sometimes during the Autumn to record the passing finches.  Although today I had my mind fixed upon "Squeaking the old Stoat! He's not a easy one, in fact I usually never have problems squeaking the Stoats and can bring them within a few yards before I frighten them away! but this chap is something different, I have tried several times before to get his attention but not yet! I do need to come up with a better "squeak" if I am to get anywhere with this lad!!

Some great reports from friends include: 

Reg has had his regular Winter Yellowhammers return to his garden on Morewood Drive. Phil has reported seeing four Tree Sparrowsin Dalton Hamlet and also he had a rare sighting of a “Ringtail” (either a female or juvenile = “Ringtail”) Hen Harrier crossing over the Trig Point and heading off down into Lancelot Clark Storth. More reports of Little Egrets either on the Mosses and also being reported from the gullies across from Station Road, Holme. Robert has had Merlinand Meadow Pipits showing on Hutton Roof. Skylarks were back on territory and singing as early as February 5th, but were not seen or heard the following day.

A "Wet" William Wordsworth Grave (Click over to enlarge) 

Yesterday (1st of March 2017) I guess I should have woke up and said “White Rabbits” as my first words uttered! But again I forgot, like I forget in most years…..  It’s a funny old custom which was handed down to me by my late mum who said I should always say it on the 1st March and then I would have good luck for the month or was it good luck for the year ahead.

Today it was great to do what we do on most Wednesday’s at this time of year, by having a brew and a butty and finish off with a piece of good old Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread whilst at the same time sat trying to absorb some poetic inspiration and being sheltered by the fabulous Yew tree just at the side of William’s (and the rest of the Wordsworth clan’s graves.  It was gently raining today, but that was no problem for us because of this “thickened with age” grand Yew giving us a dry canopy whilst we sat on the nearby seat.  It's always a great privilege to sit under this very tree which was planted in this spot by none other than William himself. 

Surely what was so different today?  Ah! well no Jackdaws,  and as a rule we always have Jackdaws trying to scavenge any left overs or crumbs that maybe on offer.  Usually they are quite tame and will come within a couple of yards perching themselves on the upper ledge of nearby gravestones. Yet all was quiet here you normally hear them in the vicinity.  Still we had plenty of Robins and Dunnocks to keep us company!

Changing our rambling route by the day or even by the hour just before we hit the start, we chose to head through Deerbolt on the West side of Grasmere which eventually leads you to Rydal Caves.  On leaving Deerbolt I pictured from memory the vast area being covered by bluebells and imagining what a treat it will be for some "sore eyes"!  In fact I will dig out my photo from last time I saw this beautiful event.....which I have posted here.

This is how it may look around the 12th May

Not only this beautiful sight was going around in my mind but also the thoughts of the regular Cuckoo who usually you can hear calling from early May onwards.  But I guess for me the best has to come, whilst today all these scattered hawthorns seem bare! but soon (May) will have those songsters the Tree Pipits singing away from them whilst they perform their fluttering descending parachute from one higher tree towards one nearby lower tree. 

Also today we had small little groups of flowering daffodils, some of the miniature and some of the more regular and always somewhere close to a wooden seat.  Perhaps they were markers for someone to remember somebody.  Along this path and close to water flushes I can sometimes find Butterwort and Yellow Saxifrage, but not today, its far too early yet! (need to take another look around June time), also lower down by the river you will later be able to find Grass of Parnassus and Devils Bit Scabious and Bog Asphodel plus lots of other "GEMS" as well.

A welcome return to the Caves (Rydal Caves), not natural may I add but a left over of the old quarry.

Looking out from Rydal Caves (Click over to enlarge)






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The Language of the Song Thrush (February 2015)

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"Song Thrush" (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared with us courtesy of Craig Bell.  If you want to check out
more of Craig's bird photos then click here



I have been sat here enjoying my thoughts of the beautiful song thrush whilst in song at this very time of the year and have written the following poem (with the aid of the thrush) entitled "The Language of the Song Thrush (Feb/March time) which I hope you can enjoy:


Now is the time, the perfect time to listen to the Song Thrush,

Some may call him a "Throstle",
There are others (sad to say) who would call him (Throttle),
He sits so high he cannot go any further if he tried,
It's such a special time of the year for him to show to
ANOTHER, and the World at large, and what a show,
He will sing and sing and sing for one hour at once,
I love to write down his song in my little book,
In a language he would never understand!



"Wee-hoo-weehoo,

wee-hoo-weehoo,
wee hoo whit,
wee hoo whit,
wit woo,
wit woo,
her kleep kleep,
her kleep kleep,
chit chit chit chit,
See-it, see-it"


I think I could listen for hours at such a wonder,

Whilst all the World around are rushing everywhere,
This little fellow imparts his "wolf whistles",
and love to all who'll take time to listen to him.



"Song Thrush" (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly shared with us courtesy of Craig Bell.  If you want to check out 
more of Craig's bird photos then click here

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"Dipped In" (part 1)

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Dipper painting courtesy of RSPB


“Dipped In”  by Bryan Yorke – 9th February 2017.

Dippers everywhere! I was watching them on Tuesday beneath Nether Bridge on the Kent (I see them in more or less the same spot week in and week out),  and again yesterday I saw quite a few enjoying the fast flooded currents and flows of the Rothay, somewhere between Rydal and Ambleside whilst walking the back road which runs for most of its route alongside the River.  I guess in a strange sort of way it was the fabulous Dipper that got me started with my early birding career! So why the Dipper? Well I can honestly say when I was a child we did not have any Dippers close by to where I lived.
It had nothing whatsoever to do with seeing this special bird in the wild.  But it did have everything to do with Brooke Bond Tea and the splendid colourful “British Birds” photo cards which were placed within the outer wrapper of the tea packet. A series of 50 different bird cards were available of which you got one card per packet of tea purchased, but for some unknown reason the special one for me which took my fancy was always the Dipper with close second place going to our beautiful Wheatear! Strangely now looking back but that Dipper photo card had done something to me which probably I was not aware of at the time, but indirectly has stayed with me throughout life and given me so much pleasure throughout life not only looking at Dippers in reality but lots, lots more as well, and continues to do so today.

Also during the late 1950’s word must have got round our school that Yorkie was into birds! I remember that several kids from school or if not school from nearby where I lived would meet up to try and learn more about our feather friends. We would meet in my back yard or garden. A school friend Ken Tattersall turned up out of the blue at one of our meets with a shoe box under his arm, the box contained a poor injured House Sparrow which could not fly, he had travelled a long way from out Blackburn Road where he lived just below the Parish Church all the way up to our house at Hud Hey (which was over one mile or even further more).  He must have thought we could fix the injured bird.  But none of us could have prepared for what happened next when he opened the box and took out the bird which without warning ran across the back garden which was built on a grand elevated position and somehow incredibly it found this little hole of 6” square and ran through it and disappeared.  There was a drop of some 25ft into the farmers field which was directly below.  We all went quickly round and into the field to hopefully relocate the bird, but we searched everywhere without any luck at all.  So two things could have happened, 1 either the bird was being very evasive and went undetected or was it that 2) On the bird flying off such a elevated position allowed it to continue flying and flew off to safety.  No one will ever know, but the second theory is probably the best….”