Friday, 24 August 2018

No Mountains - But Plenty Of Berries On The Mountain Ash

I tried for a couple of days this week to get one of my surveys in just west of Penrith, close to the mountains in the north Lakes. From the third woodland compartment that I survey I usually have great views looking towards Blencathra, but not this morning. Driving to my survey site I was driving through low cloud all the time, particularly through the Lune gorge in the Howgills, and the weather as I started my survey at 0615 was full cloud cover with a light south-southeasterly breeze and moderate visibility.

Funnily enough on the coast this weather was responsible for dropping a few migrants in. I got a phone call from Ian saying that back at the Obs there was good numbers of Willow Warblers around, and he'd had grounded Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat and Tree Pipits. It was a little different here!

Willow Warblers and Tree Pipit did feature at my survey site too, and a grounded Tree Pipit was a new species for the site. I am surprised that I haven't recorded Tree Pipits more often as the habitat within these woodland compartments does look suitable. In fact one of my Scottish survey sites close to Dalbeattie always has Tree Pipits.

Of interest from all the four compartments I recorded 49 Swallows (brought low by the inclement weather and were hawking for insects over the trees), a Buzzard, five Willow Warblers (including one doing a bit of sub-song), ten  Goldfinches, eight Chaffinches, a Raven flew over calling, four Tree Sparrows, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Stock Doves and a Tree Pipit.

What I have noticed this year at this and other survey sites is the bumper crop on the Rowan. Nearly every Rowan I come across is laden with berries, so they will be providing lots of food for birds and small mammals this autumn. Maybe for a Waxwing or two!

Lots of Rowan and lots of berries!


I was supposed to be surveying another site this morning, in the shadow of Blencathra, but it was wild and wet up here this morning, so that's re-scheduled for Monday. The forecast for the weekend is looking grim as well; strong northwesterlies tomorrow and wet on Sunday. There won't be much ringing getting done at the Obs this weekend!

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