Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Hutton Roof Catch Ups (bits and pieces)

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Friday 16th February 2018 - Dalton Crags to Hutton Roof Common Trig Point

Nice and Sunny and bitterly cold, but such a joy to get out and check things out.  My initial thoughts were to wonder if the Great Grey Shrike had made an appearance, its quite obvious odd ones are now being seen throughout the Country at various Shrike haunts, yet ours (when and if he/she arrives) is pretty good at choosing about the 4th of March as a regular return date. 

First thing that caught my eye was down in lower Dalton Crags when I was watching a Green Woodpecker for some twenty minutes whilst it was examining a nearby tree, he seemed to go around the back of the tree in the opposite direction to me, so at sometime in the next few days I will need to check out the tree to see if there are any holes etc.

Oh! just the ticket! to hear "Sky" singing away higher up in Dalton Crags (deforested), it is always the very first Skylark back and was singing away marking her territory, also another one was noticed near by.  Although the song was good it was patchy and intermittent, I think perhaps it needs to warm up a bit before you will get the full monty!

Just on cue I also had two Meadow Pipits crossed my path and continuously calling with their "psst psst" calls, I watched them come in and watched them all the way out to the North West, so to me it seemed clear they were on their migration.

It was rather sad not to see lots of Thrushes like you would normally see at this time of year in lower Dalton, it just seemed devoid of Thrushes other than a occasional Blackbird.

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Tanya and Edmund Hoare present "Celebrating Our Swifts" at Burton Memorial Hall on Thursday 22nd February at 1930hrs.

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Please come along and enjoy a lovely presentation kindly given by Tanya and Edmund Hoare called "Celebrating Our Swifts".  Tanya and Edmund hail from Sedbergh and are experts on "Swifts".

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GOA here we come!

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Black Shouldered Kite (Click over to enlarge)
I took this photo in GOA (inside) back in 2009
(Photo: B. Yorke)

It will be great to get back down to GOA for the 14th time to check out some of the fabulous birds.  There are hundreds of different birds in the state of Goa with over 2,000 different birds in India. For the birder turning every corner holds a surprise.

Every visit to Goa for me just has to include a visit to see one of India's largest and oldest "Banyan Trees" (some actually says its India's oldest!) which lies within the jungle towards the North of Aramble just after leaving the freshwater lake which at the top corner (entry) shows its banks stained with yellow sulphur. Over the years and on my way up to the Banyan tree I have seen all sorts of spectacular birds, some of which I just have not been able to identify, but one in particular I must mention is the "White Browed Fantail Flycatcher" and it is high in the trees, but so interesting to watch whilst it fans out his tail and puffs its wings and then starts turning around in a circular fashion whilst continually flickering the fanned tail.  A proper show off and absolutely commanding the birders attention. I never managed to get my own photo but I have managed to find one to put on here for you to see.

White-Browed Fantail Flycatcher (Click to enlarge)
Photo: credit to Alchetron

Each visit to the Banyan tree had its own story to tell with several experiences and memories. The very first time I remember we eventually found the tree after a short trek then crossing a ravine and it was there lying on a sloping bank.  There were perhaps up to a dozen or so hippie type unconventional souls sat at the base of the tree which has sort of been made up into a circular shrine type of setting maybe some 20ft diameter.  It is customary for one to take there shoes off before entering into the bowels of the Banyan then sit around a long established small crudely made fireplace structure. The first time we visited the hippies were listening to this chap who was somewhere up in the trees shouting out strange voices and stories of "well gone (I'd say!!)" and you could not help but laugh to oneself at the same time wondering if the poor fellow had lost grip with society.  The others seemed happy enough sat in a circle have a occasional drag of Hashis which was being freely passed around.

On another visit (in another year) we paid our visit and we were startled to see young naked girls high up on the Banyan's thick branches, the girls were painted in camouflage and laid across the branches of the tree sort of blending in with the tree itself and could be difficult to see, it was certainly interesting to say the least to see how they spent their day!!  I guess everything in this place is magical.

On yet another occasion we visited a local (historic) bakery whilst on the approach to Aramble and close to the School, It was a place like going back in the dark ages.  We bought some small plain type cakes.  When we arrived up on the Banyan tree we thought we would take refreshment and have a drink of our water and enjoy the cakes.  The cakes were lovely and we offered them to the guys sat around the fireplace. We enjoyed our cakes, but it soon become obvious that our friends enjoyed them even more than us and it looked very much like they thought the cakes contained a lot "more content" than they actually did.

One year after visiting the Banyan I thought I would try and advance further up into the jungle, yet the only reasonable (but hard) access was heading up through a dried out (at this time of year) ravine and even then having to clamber over large 5ft rounded boulders, but there was no other way, you would have needed machetes to have got through the jungle areas.  I had not been going for long maybe a few hundred yards when I heard loud "woh, woh, woh" ........noises from behind me and it became instantly scary because I knew that sound of the very large (almost human sized) monkeys which can be very dangerous, so I quickly made retreat into safer quarters.

When we first used to go up to Aramble (early 90s) you would see the large family groups of these large dark coloured monkeys up on the very tops of the red sanded shrubby hills, high above us and to the sides of the jungle. They must have been looking down on us, but thinking about it the last two or three visits I have not seen them so whether they have retreated I don't know but I will try and check them out next week if I get chance.

This bird below is a "Lesser Sand Plover" I managed to take this photo on the Mandrem Beach on the way up to ARAMBLE. 

Lesser Sand Plover (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: B.Yorke

I also found quite a few of these lovely little birds on the beach between Candolim and Calangute, they do not appear to be rare in the area. What a lovely little bird with big black bulging eyes.  They are similar in size to the Little Stint. They can be seen dashing in and out with the tide with their little legs running a hundred to the dozen. They are feeding amongst other things on little crabs which are about 1/2" in size.

Red Wattled Lapwing (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: B. Yorke)

Nearby were we stay and close to Candolim there is a cracking large pool which does not look deep and is a big attraction to lots of waders, egrets, herons and the most beautiful Kingfishers and here I manage to observe a party of the "Red Wattled Lapwings" and also to the edges of that same pool were both a Little Cormorant and Little Egret in the same tree.

Red Wattled Lapwings (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: B.Yorke)




Little Cormorant and Little Egret (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: B. Yorke)

Intermediate Egrets and Little Cormorant (Click over to enlarge)

This pool of which there are so many in Goa are fabulous areas where you can just sit and watch and you will discover all sorts of birds coming and going especially in the fringe trees.  You are spoilt for choice down here with four varieties of Cormorant and six varieties of white egrets. In the photo above you see both Little Cormorant and Little Egret happy enough in one another's company.

Not far from that same pool I would pass lots and lots of Rosy Coloured Starlings sat on the telegraph wires just prior to roost (see photo below)

Rosy Coloured Starlings prior to roost (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: B. Yorke)

I see lots of Rosy Coloured Starling, they seem to be so common down here.  I was watching their behaviour close-up down near Candolim beach, and saw just how agressive to one another they are with lots of shrieking and attacks!  Another bird you see regular prior to roost and taking over the local wires are the Jungle Myna's which you can see one here with a rather wet Rosy Coloured Starling below it. 

Jungle Myna with a wet Rosy Coloured Starling (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: B. Yorke)

Just after taking this photo I was walking along a village raised footpath which was a sort of raised banking with paddy fields below and also lots of rough barren fields some 10ft below on both sides which had hundreds of little birds on the wires and also a few bee-eaters on post etc all around, and I noticed in the distance I could see the odd farmed buffalo grazing which must have been some 200 yards away.  You met very few villagers on this footpath but this particular day this old guy comes along and starts giving me a broken english "begging speel" which was hardly decipherable, but I told him I was skint and sorry could not help him today.  After moving a little further on and the beggar/(later realized farmer) came up with this loud whistle and guess what that buffalo which like I said earlier which was maybe 200 yards was running like the clappers and had closed distance to me to around the 50 yard and looked to me to be heading straight for me, so I decided to leg it very very quickly. Obviously that beggar/farmer had whistled instruction for that buffalo to come to him I could hear the farmer in the close background laughing his head off as he saw me running for my life.  So that was yet another Indian experience. I have thousands of stories which I must try and compile some notes. 

 Not the same buffalo - the one that chased me was far less retiring!
(Photo: B. Yorke)





Paddybird or Indian Pond Heron (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: B. Yorke)

These pools are quite common down near Candolim and this one is a shallow "Lotus" flower pond built purposeful for recreation with seats on the edges. The pond contained some beautiful red coloured lotus flowers, also in the margins of the pond you would see the Pond Herons and at times the colourful White Throated Kingfishers. 

Ruddy Breasted Crake (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: B Yorke)

Just the one time did I actually visit the Hotel Bera Mera which is a recommended birders paradise and I can see why with all the open ground to the back of the hotel, which I could see storks in the distance, but just at the bottom of their garden was this pool here which had on the day of my visit the Ruddy Breasted Crake.  I am told now that the pond area has been allowed to become totally overgrown and that the pool has disappeared.  Can't believe it! I would have thought it had to have been a great tourist attraction.

Once time we booked on the crocodile trip which went up the canals which link the rivers Mandovi and Zuari and sure enough we saw several crocs, some with the mouths wide open whilst little birds went in their mouths cleaning off their teeth.  I saw lots of nice birds in the mango swamps as well, but one bird that has stuck in my mind was that beautiful coloured Black Capped Kingfisher, which had a striking blue colour. I have seen the bird twice now once in the Mangroves and also near the pond in Candolim, but on both occasions only a flitting glance. But here I have managed to show a photo thanks to Tony Hovell. 

Black-Capped Kingfisher (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: thanks to Tony Hovell)

In India there are twelve different Kingfishers, of which eight can be seen in Goa but the more common ones to tourist Goa are likely to be the Pied Kingfisher, White-Throated Kingfisher, Stork Billed Kingfisher, the Black-Capped and the Common Kingfisher.  Here below is a beautiful set of all the Goa Kingfishers photos kindly supplied by Bikram Grewal and Savio Fonseca.

The Kingfishers of Goa (Click over and enlarge)
(Photo kindly shared by Bikram Grewal and Savio Fonseca)

I have also had the pleasure of seeing the following birds whilst staying in Goa, but there are many, many more still to see, but for now here are the ones I have listed:

Black Capped Kingfisher, White Breasted Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Common Hornbill, Golden Oriele, Night Heron, Blue Rock Thrush, Common Peafowl, Tailorbird, Yellow Cheeked Tit, Little Ring Plover, White Browed Fantail Flycatcher, Brahminy Kite, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Osprey, Rose ringed Parakeet, Coucal, Koel, Small Green Bee Easter, Hoopoe, Large Green Barbet, Wire tailed Swallow, Black Drongo, Rosy Coloured Starling, Jungle Myna, Red Whiskered Bulbil, Magpie Robin, Pied Bushchat, Large Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Jungle Crow, Common Pyriah Kite, Red Wattled Lapwing, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Indian Myna, Goldmantled Chloropsis, Rufous backed Shrike, Cattle Egret, Brown Headed Storkbilled Kingfisher, Little Egret, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Paddy Bird Eagle, Intermediate Egret, Laughing Thrush, Lesser Sand Plover, Ashy Prinia, Purple Rumped Sunbird, Scaley Breasted Munia, White Rumped Minia.

I have spent quite a lot of time whilst in Goa search for my "wish list" bird, checking out a area on the way to Fort Aguada, which the bird has been seen on several occasions, but for me no success at the moment.  Here is the INDIAN PITTA

Indian Pitta (Click over to enlarge)
(Photo: Kindly shared by Alchetron)

It is not just birds, I love to check out anything nature and have managed to see one or two lovely butterflies.  The following which until recently I have calling them "Monarchs" but pleased to have been corrected on this and find they are called the "Striped Tiger" (Monarch family) they are pretty good to photograph and allow you to get close.




I have seen some butterflies down in the swamps which are probably as big as my hand, and beautiful colours, just wish I could have got photos.

Is it right the mongoose gets the Cobras?  yes they do but not all make it, occasionally the mongoose can be too slow.  We stopped at the Silver Sands at Candolim and we had mongoose running over the roof every night.

There is some really beautiful snakes also in Goa but usually they keep themselves to themselves, but I have managed to see odd ones wriggling away, but there was one sad occasion which I want to report.

We heard such a commotion in a very built up area on the main Fort Aguada road at Candolim and from a distance it looked like a large crowd had gathered surrounding what at first we thought was a fight but it turned out that these Indian guys were actually smacking a large venoumous snake and they kept hitting in with old palm leaves/stalks and kept beating it until the snake was dead and they had removed its head and they hung the snake on a local bush and I photographed what was left of the poor creature.  It turned out it was a very venomous snake called a Russells Viper.  I was so surprised it was found on the busy local walkway and can only presume it had come up through the overgrown disused wild gardens nearby. I knew there were Cobras around because of the tales I had heard with the mongoose, but did not know there were Russells.



  Russells Viper - Aguada Road - Candolim
(Photo: B Yorke)

This shows the small birds collecting on the electric wires, sometimes there could be up to two hundred at a time. 



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Bird Migrations over Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof – PRESENTATION AT BURTON MEMORIAL HALL

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I have been invited to do a presentation at the local village hall on Thursday 25th January which I am looking forward to, and hope to include photos of the majority of birds that frequent or migrate over Hutton Roof.  I will do special notes for the rare GREAT GREY SHRIKE and its prey, together with other birds like our GREEN WOODPECKERS, MARSH TITS, YELLOWHAMMERS and occasional sightings of CROSSBILLS AND HAWFINCHES.  I will also include several of my funny sketches together with local maps that I have produced showing the directions of migration.  We will I hope also do bird calls with some pre- recorded and some "by natural means" (manually !!) on the night - that of course depends on if the voice holds out and there is a "jug of water" on the table for lubrication.... If you do decide to come along I am sure you will enjoy it, also you would be supporting funds for the Village Hall.

The Burton Memorial Hall Committee hope to be running "Nature Talks at the Hall" on a regular basis and they also have another interesting talk booked in their diary for Thursday 22nd February when Swift experts Tanya and Edmund Hoare from Sedbergh will be presenting "CELEBRATING OUR LOCAL SWIFTS", and this I can assure you will be a superb presentation - so please make a note in your diary.

I have also been asked if I will do my "Orchids of Hutton Roof" presentation which we are hoping to do sometime around the Spring to Early Summer period.

____________________________________________________________________

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Crossbills flying over Hutton Roof plus!

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Yes it's been like this for many a day now!  new tarns springing up everywhere

It was great to hear from Robert in Kendal who informed me that he had a party of 10 Crossbills crossing SE over the Hutton Roof Common on 6th November 2017.

Still not had any reports of the Shrike this year, but you never know he can turn up late! Yet after saying that his favourite day of arrival (with at least 3 visits over the past 10 years has been the "4th November")

Besides reading lots of more up to date books, occasionally I love to go back on the old MIGRATION OF BIRDS by Charles Dixon published way back in 1897 and it is always interesting although perhaps much dated, to read what went on well over a century ago and here is just one small extract from that very book. (with follow on extracts to appear soon)

"The Perils of Migration" (Chapter VIII) from that great book

The migration of birds is beset with dangers and full of perils.  It would scarcely be possible to over estimate the mortality among birds of passage directly due to migration.  One very significant proof of this great mortality is presented in the fact that of the immense numbers of birds flying south or west in Autumn, only a very small percentage come north or east again in the spring!

Most people have remarked the great gatherings of Swallows, Martins, and Swifts, just previous to migration in Autumn, yet where do we see such similar multitudes in Spring?  The majority of these birds are young ones, neither so strong of wing nor so robust of frame as their parents, and it is among these that the highest mortality is reached. The death rate of a large town standing at, say, fifty or sixty per 1000, creates something like a panic among its human inhabitants; but there can be no doubt whatever that the death-rate among birds on migration reaches ten times that amount per 1000, and during exceptional circumstances very much more!  From the moment that a migrant bird sets out on its journey it is exposed to quite a new set of dangers, whilst many other ordinary perils of its existence are very much intensified.  From one end of its road to the other successive dangers surround it, and enemies of every kind have to be eluded.  Migration, then, instead of being a pleasant journey in the van of advancing spring, or in the wake of retreating summer, is the most fatal undertaking in the life of migrant birds, and comparitively few survive it.

The Perils of Migration may be divided into three important classes, viz., those arising from Fatigue due to the mechanical portion of season-flight; those arising from the Natural Enemies of each species; and thos arising from Blunders and Fatalities on the way.  Probably the first class of perils is the most fatal one;  a journey with little rest by the way of even a couple of thousand miles, is a great strain on the endurance, especially of small Passerine birds; whilst a sea flight of, say, 300 miles, with no opportunity for rest of any kind, and in many cases not even the chance of snatching a mouthful of food en route, must tax these tiny migrants to such an extent that only the strongest survive the journey.  Of the countless thousands of birds that perish during migration, by far the greater number probably succumb at sea.  Many instances are on record of great numbers of drowned migratory birds being washed ashore, especially after stormy weather.  Some of these tired migrants save themselves by getting a chance rest on some passing ship, but the majority, especially when flying by night, quietly drop into the remoreseless sea and perish!  ......

above is a short extract from the book and soon I will put forward a further two or three paragraphs of this incredible book!

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2017 Autumn Visible Bird Migration Daily Records over Hutton Roof and Burton In Kendal

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Just a little sketch showing the directions of migration over Hutton Roof (Click over to enlarge)

IF YOU WANT TO CHECK OUT HISTORIC RECORDS PLEASE CLICK OVER THE FOLLOWING LINKS:





2017 - Almost Daily Records below:-


Monday 18th September 2017 - Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal 0645hrs to 0745hrs and later Top of Clawthorpe Rd (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 0930hrs. Winds North 6-7mph, 7c, 78% Cloud, 1019mb pressure
Really quiet today with very little moving, probably because of the pressure with the winds moving complete around and eventually to take on Southerly directions ready for tomorrow. A couple of unrecognizables eg: Small Duck (Wigeon size), and possible Egrets.

Chaffinch: 19 (Mainly to the West, some to the East)
Meadow Pipit: 2 SE
Starlings: 119 all E (one party 100 stretching wide) Obviously ex roost which seems to be growing in numbers.
Swallow: 15 SE (one party)
Mistle Thrush: 2 to NW
Goldfinch: 8 S/SE (5,3)
Grey Lag Goose: 7 (2W at 0648 and 5SW at 0735)
Small Duck: 4 SE (larger than Teal maybe early Wigeon?)
Egrets? from a long way 3 very high to the SE at 0705 (brilliant white)
also Kestrel x 2

Top of Clawthorpe Road, Nr. Whinn Yeates 0900hrs to 0930hrs
Meadow Pipit: 20 mainly SE (in 7,4,3,2,2,1,1)
Goldfinch: 38 S/SE (8,20,10)
Chaffinch: 10 (1E all others W)
Mistle Thrush: 1 S
Song Thrush: 6 SW (thought to be early continentals)
Swallow: 2 W

Sunday 17th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Road (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0645hrs to 0845hrs then Mike Taylors Fields, Vicarage Lane Burton 0900hrs to 0930hrs

Wind: N 7-12 mph, 10% Cloud, 7c, 1016 pressure.  Very cold throughout - never really got going, what birds did come through more or less dried up from 0800hrs.

Meadow Pipit: 60 all SE (best parties:1x6,1x5, 3x4)
Chaffinch: 44 (26 E all others W) thats the out direction for birds here eg: E to W or W to E
Goldfinch: 49 (11 W, 38 S (best 30,10,8)
Linnet: 15 (7s,6s,1E,1E)
Swallow: 2 E (1E,1E)
Alba Wagtail: 3 SE (1,2)
Siskin: 1
Mistle Thrush: 3 SE
Pink Footed Goose: 1 small party audible only.
Others included: Sparrowhawk 1, Kestrel 1

Mike Taylors fields, Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal 0900hrs to 0930hrs.

Chaffinch: 15 (4 SE and the rest all W) (4, then 3x2 and 5x1)
Grey Wagtail: 1 (E)
Swallow: 6 S (5,1)
Goldfinch: 2 (1W 1E)
Meadow Pipit: 1 SE

Out this afternoon - doing fern (aculeatums) investigations so will check out the birds on or going over Holme Park Fell at the same time.


Saturday 16th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Road (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof 0700hrs to 0900hrs then mobile on Holme Park Fell 0900hrs to 1300hrs

Was winds from the North/North West at about 7mph, Cloudy at first but became sunny from 0900hrs.

Good migration day, but nothing has good as yesterday. Without doubt the Hirundines were on the move yesterday and gone a lot quieter today. Geese coming through again early on.  First wintering Snipe are in on Holme Park Fell

Chaffinch: 85 (with the majority going West) but perhaps a third of them to the East (7,5s,4s etc)
Meadow Pipit: 140 all SE (best 5,4 but mainly pairs) most birds were flying side on to compensate wind.
Goldfinch: 35 (9,2,6,2,5,11)
Swallow: 25 (best 6,5)
House Martin: 18 (5,9,4)
Linnet: 11 (2,6,1,2)
Alba Wagtail: 2 SE
Siskin: 3W
Skylark: 10 (grounded Farleton)
Starling: 35 in dribs and drabs to the E (prob x roost LM)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: 1S
Goosander: 1 SE at 0840hrs
Greylag Goose: 15 all SE (7SE at 0754hrs) (3SE at 0755hrs) (5SE at 0815hrs)
Pink Footed Goose: 124 S (44 S at 0745hrs), (40 S at 0800hrs), (40S at 0855)
Snipe 3 (first winter birds on Holme Park Fell.
Chiffchaff: 1 On Holme Stinted Pastures.

Ravens: 6, Kestrel: 1, Sparrowhawk: 2, Peregrine Falcon 2.
Red Admiral: 2 S.

Friday 15th September 2017 - Top of Clawthorpe Road (apex) Nr. Whinn Yeates, Hutton Roof
0630hrs to 0830hrs -Rain at first light then OK 10 mins after and got better throughout to sunshine and clouds - Excellent morning and a shame to have to pack it in.
Most of the movement SW,S and SE

Meadow Pipit: 113 S,SE (best parties, 3@8, 6@5)
Chaffinch: 91 mainly W or E (best parties, 1@12, 2x8, 1@7, 2x6)
Goldfinch: 37 S (best parties, 1@15,1@13,1@8)
Linnet: 22 S (best party 20)
Reed Bunting: 2 S
Siskin: party audible only
Redpoll: party audible only
Swallow: 61 (best parties 44,20,7) Mainly SW or SE
House Martin: 12 (2,3,2,4,1)
Alba Wagtail: 5 all SE in singles
Pink Footed Goose: 123 all SW (2 skeins 1@63 at 0750hrs, 1@60 at 0805hrs

Also presumed local: 2 Starling E, 1 Green Woodpecker W, Ravens, Blackbirds and Tits, 4 Thrushes to SW (high at first light).


Thursday 14th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell, (Hutton Roof Complex) 0900hrs to 1100hrs

It was fine with light winds. I was mobile all the time so not able to concentrate on flight lines, but did manage to get a snapshot and it was obvious that Migration has now started with plenty of movement from Mipits, Hirundines and Geese.  On my way up to the far side of the fell I had two separate pairs of Wheatear, A family group of four Stonechats, I could hear Skylark going overhead to the South (unseen), also had two parties of Goldfinch crossing to the South (1 at 40, 1 at 12), At least 25 Meadow Pipits S to SE in 5,4,3s and mainly singles or pairs, Also had a party of 3 Linnet to the SE, 9 Swallows to the SE (2,1,1,1,4) also 1 Cormorant out to East then return to West.  The first Pink Footed Geese came over this morning with a party of 20S at 0940hrs followed by another party of 30 to the SW at 0950hrs, both parties where really high and would have been missed but for the calling birds.  Wish I could have spent more time. brilliant stuff!

Tuesday 12th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell, (Hutton Roof Complex) 0800hrs to 1200hrs

On my way going through the Holme Stinted Pastures I could hear a couple of Willow Warblers along with lots of other mixed calls from several others of the commoner species. My highlight came shortly after ascending up on the Fell with three Whinchat posing on the uppermost branch of one of the sparse larger trees that you find on the fell. The wind was quite strong as well and not the best day for passing birds, although I did have the odd Swallows and Meadow Pipits willing to brave it with their exit South. I did also look for Pink Footed Geese because I usually get them around this date but none today were recorded.

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Whinchats and Aculeatums on Holme Park Fell

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Todays garden was Holme Park Fell checking out almost everything I could 
Tuesday 12th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell, (Hutton Roof Complex) 0800hrs to 1200hrs

My mission today was to go and find "Polystitchum" ferns notably the "Aculeatum" (Hard Shield Ferns), but not the straightforward ones but specimens which came under the heading of variety.  The weather was OK one moment, and before long a terrific downpour and wasn't I thankful for my little umbrella. On my way going through the Holme Stinted Pastures I could hear a couple of Willow Warblers along with lots of other mixed calls from several others of the commoner species. My highlight came shortly after ascending up on the Fell with three Whinchat posing on the uppermost branch of one of the sparse larger trees that you find on the fell. The wind was quite strong as well and not the best day for passing birds, although I did have the odd Swallows and Meadow Pipits willing to brave it with their exit South. I did also look for Pink Footed Geese because I usually get them around this date but none today were recorded.

I managed to find a further 6 Dark Red Helleborines (E. Atrorubens) and 1 Broad Leaved Helleborine (E. Helleborine) - obviously gone over now, also close by a nice little colony of Lily of the Valley (obviously gone over now).  Additionally it was a pleasure to find Birds Foot Sedge (Carex Ornithopoda) - Nine clumps.

Of special interest for today was searching out some of the spent Aculeatums I did find one which had a split at the top of the frond and many others, but the special thing was that they are taking on a "lonchitis" feel to some of their pinnae on the upper parts and maybe something is going on here with some of them.  Here are a couple of photos to try and show you what I mean.

Aculeatum with a split rachis (Click over to enlarge)
Interesting Aculeatum fronds (Click over to enlarge)
You notice on the top photo the fronds are above ground and are going over quickly, yet on the lower photo the fronds are about a yard or so down in a grike and therefore maintaining their freshness a lot longer.

In the top frond you can see the split in the rachis (ramosum), but you also see how the pinnae is more fused and almost typical to what you might see in the lonchitis (holly fern), also if you look at the bottom photo you see a frond showing the scythe feature more associated with lonchitis, but more important in this photo is the small frond which is at the left hand side at the bottom with some of its pinnae going over, you can well see the "lonchitis" shapes here.  Its all very interesting and give some good indications that something is going on here. I have consulted with my good friend Alec (fern guru) and he also is very interested in what might be going on here.

A couple more photos showing the lie of the land at my search points.


Both of these photos show roughly the area where I have been working (Click over to enlarge)
And now a couple of photos showing some of the nearby limestone. There are some interesting shapes up here.



Some lovely shapes up here - please click over to enlarge

Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs and Stonechats

Posted on - In I Love Arnside & Silverdale

My beautiful garden this morning with Willow Warblers and Stonechats (Click over to enlarge) also more photos below

Monday 4th September 2017 - Holme Park Fell 0930hrs to 1100hrs

I am not too sure of the name of the area, but it is sort of NW and across from Rawley Copse towards the bottom of the Holme Park Fell area.  It's a lovely area which I have walked through many times and its always crossed my mind as the perfect bird gathering area and this morning it was exactly that.
I listened and watched for over a hour or so and viewed no less than ten (but I do think there were lots more tucked away in the bushes) Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs hopping from tree to tree with some of the birds that beautiful yellow/greeny colour.  And beside these I also heard many more in the surrounding areas giving it the "hou whit" calls.  I also had a beautiful male Stonechat in the close company of a immature bird which was really drab and short of colour, it was more of a mixture of greys.  Also large party of Coal Tits together with many Blue and Great Tits. Also a 40 plus and a 20 party of Goldfinch enjoying the spoils of the spent Ragwort and Thistles. A immature Robin, a Green Woodpecker, but nothing much moving in the skies today and although I bet there would have been Wheatear on the Holme Park/Farleton Fells, I probably did not go far enough over to check them out! What a cracking little area this is.  The berries on all the hawthorns is incredible this year with all the trees well laden, the Thrushes are already having a field day.

Here are more photos showing today's terrain. It lies below the rocky patchwork limestone terrain of Holme Park Fell and as you can see has bracken and open spaces with hawthorns and lots and lots of individual Gorse and Juniper bushes etc etc etc. It has to run through your mind that how many Yellow Browed Warblers has this place held, I wonder if the next corner I will see a Dartford Warbler perched on the uppermost twig of a gorse bush of maybe Bluethroats have passed through!! I am well pleased with my Willow Warblers and Stonechats, but the terrain looks just right for a Warbler party.

I could not resist but look for more gentians on the fell side and did find more here and there, all now in the book with their appropriate gps.  Most of the gentians were still closed with there being little sun around, but just the odd one two had decided to open, so I found one with three flowers and got the camera out and has I was taking the picture the three flowers instantly turned into four flowers, it was just like popcorn exploding, and if you had blinked you would have missed it! I have never seen petals and sepals open in front of my eyes with a split split split split second show...... fantastic... and then there were four..

Gentianella amarella today on Holme Park Fell (Click over to enlarge)