Monday, 25 March 2013

Add some mud to the snow and cold

Out and about yesterday in the freezing cold and with snow patches still on the fell. Why do I bother I wonder, especially on days like this?  It's been snowing and / or zero and below all week so I haven't even bothered with the moth trap.
A Kestrel on the fell was my first within the 1km square this year though I must have seen them in every adjacent square already. Onto Wanister bog where I flushed my 2nd new bird of the year, a Common Snipe, together with 2 Woodcock out of the same little patch of willow. The Willows are still not showing any sign of life, certainly no catkins,  so I doubt any moths are out at the moment around here.  A singing Siskin in the woods was nice to see and hear.

Because of the weather there's little new to see in the way of flora at the moment, though I did identify Wood Anemone in Felledge Wood but very little else. It's very wet (aka muddy) in there and I lost one of my wellies on two occasions as I sunk into the black oozy stuff. So like last week I was back looking at mosses and lifting stones and logs. A Chestnut Worm I uncovered was new for me, and, new for the square this year was Nodding Thread-moss (Pohlia nutans) and Grey Field Slug.

Hardly exciting but at least the list moved on, albeit slowly, to 185.

I walked along Beany lane (a different 1km square), which on the western side was quite sheltered and lacked any snow. The difference between the fields here  and on the fell is very noticeable and the birds have taken advantage of it. In one of the fields there were 59 Jackdaw (as usual, nearly all in twos, paired up), 79 Wood Pigeon, 42 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 2 Herring Gull, 5 Redwing, 30 Meadow Pipit and 3 Skylark. The latter two species probably waiting for the weather so they came move back to their breeding areas.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Did I mention it's snowing again

This weather is not helping my 1km square list.  Still, I had 3 moths in the trap on Saturday morning, March Moth, Oak Beauty and a Hebrew Character. The latter 2 new for the year.

Rain, forced me back home from the woods after only getting Common Cat's-ear, Common Dog-violet, Common Mouse-ear, Ground Elder and Lesser Periwinkle plus 2 mosses Wood Bristle-moss, Broom Fork-moss and a lichen Cladonia chlorophaea.  I ended up scouring around the back garden looking for bugs and the like. Somehow I got another five with Shiny Woodlouse, 2 worms (Lob Worm and Green Earthworm)  and 2 land Molluscs (Large Rufous Slug, Strawberry Snail).

If that sound like I'm getting desperate, you're right. Oh, and it's now snowing.

Very few birds about, so this singing Reed Bunting in the woods was 'Bird of the week'

Sunday, 10 March 2013

More snow

Woke up this morning to snow which scuppered my plans to get some decent square bashing in. In stead had a slow meander through the muddy, snowy  woods and an afternoon keying out some mosses and liverworts. Yes, I know how to enjoy myself.
The best of a quiet walk were a Curlew flying over and 3 Treecreeper in the same tree in Felledge Wood both new for this years 1km square count.
A few new flowers for the year were recorded in the snow such as Marsh-Marigold and Dog's Mercury but not in flower .
The list is currently 147 - a long way to go.

Hardly the weather for finding things

Monday, 4 March 2013

5 moths, 3 species this morning

Put the moth trap out again as I need to get some more moths for my 1000for1km list and it might be a few days before it's worth trying again. Wasn't expecting much but there were 5 moths of 3 species this morning.  Another Tortricodes alternella, 1 March moth & 3 Pale Brindled Beauty, the latter two of course being new for the year (and square).

male Pale Brindled Beauty

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Nocturnals in the day

 Put the month trap out for the first time this year and was rewarded with 3 moths when I checked it. 2 specimens of the micromoth Tortricodes alternella and a Spring Usher, my first of the latter since 2009. A Tawny Owl was very vocal last night and I saw another bird in the woods as I walked through them this morning. 2 Moorhen on the pool behind the fell car-park were new for my 1km square this year and it also held another singing Reed Bunting. The bird of the day was much later when heading back a Long-eared Owl flew out of a willow clump. This clump used to have a 'LEO' roost but its been some years since it was used. Must remember to check again to see if it is going to be used again. With Grey Willow in flower, Bog Pondweed in Wansiter Bog, Heath Star Moss nearby, the lichen Lepraria incana and a Common Rough Woodlouse in the garden
 the total is now 129.

Sadly the new Badger set I found last year has been dug-out. That's at least 3 that I know of that's had this fate.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

A bit of sunshine

A bit of sunshine at last so I popped out for a hour or so to see what I could find.

A Willow Tit was calling in the South Burn Woods and the 5 Siskin  are still in that same tree as last week. I had a walk around the Brass Castle pond. Despite the sunshine and 6C temperature, there was still ice on the pond (and the other pools I checked too). A Jay got a bigger fright than I did as I crashed through the still dormant willows but I got a new bird for the square this year in the shape of a cock Reed Bunting. Marsh Thistle and Hard Rush were new plants for the year. Continuing to check for mosses,  a bit of a stream bank held a small Harts-tongue fern, only my second site on the fell for this increasing species. Wavy Bittercress was also present here. I soon came across the other, larger Harts-tongue fern and nearby, the best patch of Snowdrops in the area and my first Common Ragwort of the year. A common species of moss, Bi-coloured Bryum (Bryum dichotomum) was on the path.


Along Waldridge Lane, the deep pool on the Fell side was still frozen but the water was free at one end where a pair of Mallard were swimming. A Red Fox was seen nearby but only briefly and another Willow Tit was calling.

A five minute rummage around the garden when I got back,  before my weekend jobs and the shopping,  found me two  Snails, the Common or Garden Snail and the Garlic Snail (Oxychilus alliarius), 2 Lichens Xanthoria parietina and Lecanora muralis and 2 plants, Yarrow and Red Deadnettle.

My 1km square species list moves on to 118.