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The Society Indoor meetings are held on alternate Thursdays
between September and March at 7.30pm
in the Crosthwaite Parish Room in Keswick.
Field outings are organised at various times through the year.
Visitors are always welcome to the Society's events
for which there is a small charge

Recording - Please send all Bird sightings to David Rayment
(david'at'rayment78.fsnet.co.uk - replace the 'at' with @)
or enter them on the form at the meetings

The recording of all animal species is important because, in the words of the song, 'You don't know what you've got 'till its gone. . . '. So if in doubt, especially if you see large numbers of a species or they are doing something unusual, send in a report. If the species are regular visitors then a daily record is not neccessary - but when they are no longer there, that is an important record!
As a guide however the Society has produced lists for the birds and other species which are in the nature of a 'must record'. These can be viewed by clicking on the appropriate button below

Bird Species for recording Non-Bird species for recording Records spreadsheets
Nature Notes

Wildlife Summary 2012

As we all know now 2012 was the wettest year since records began and I'm sure everyone remembers the awful wet spring and summer. Butterflies, Damselflies, Dragonflies and most other insects were very late emerging if they emerged at all and this has had a knock-on effect right up the food chain It had a marked effect on the breeding success of most if not all our birds. It has been noticeable that with the poor survival rates of nestlings due to a lack of insects for food, fewer birds are about. Wrens, most of the tit family (except Coal Tits for some reason) and Grey Wagtails seem to be some of the worst affected in my patch.

Waterfowl have been less affected, the ducks and geese seem to be as numerous as ever but poor breeding success in their northern breeding grounds has reduced the numbers of juvenile Whooper Swans and some wintering geese being seen on the Solway Coast, though strangely, the number of adult Whoopers seems to be a lot greater than normal. (Possibly due to the wet weather preventing the harvesting of grain crops, leading to a lot of food for the swans and geese left lying in the fields).

After a poor year last year when there were very few Waxwings about the, last few months of this year have seen a widespread influx of the birds across the county. However, because of the wet spring there are fewer berries for them to feed on, with the result that they are having to move about a lot and so are more difficult to find.

Trees have been very much in the news during 2012 for all the wrong reasons. Tree disease seems to be much more prevalent nowadays, Chestnut Canker, Larch die-back, Sudden Oak die back and lately the major problems with Ash all seem to be linked, but to what? We can only hope that 2013 is kinder to our flora and fauna than 2012 has been.

David Thomason 27th Jan 2013

Out and About with David Thomason
Bittern and Water Rail seen at Siddick Ponds on 3rd Januaryuary 2013
RED SQUIRREL seen at feeders in Dodd Wood 3rd January and then throughout Januaryuary 2013
Sparrowhawk at Soddy Gap 6th Januaryuary
"Stumpy" the one-legged Mediterranean Gull is back at Workington south shore car park, 7th January
Snipe, Little Grebe and Kestrel at Siddick Ponds 8th January
OTTER seen at Siddick Ponds 9th January
OTTER, 8 Little Grebes and a Barn Owl seen from Bass Lake public hide 10th January
Stock Doves at Dodd Wood bottom Osprey viewpoint 10th January
Dippers seen daily on R. Greta from Keswick upstream to Threlkeld throughout January
Tree Creeper in Powter Howe Wood and 4 Ravens over the wood 12th January
Gt. Crested Grebe, Sanderling, Turnstone, Golden Plover, Curlew, Redshank, Shelduck, Goosander, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Stonechat were some of the birds seen during a WEBS Count from Mealo to Mawbray on the Solway Coast 13th January
61 Goldeneye and a STOAT seen from Ouse Bridge, Bassenthwaite 17th January
10 or 12 Purple Sandpiper were on Workington Harbour breakwater 19th January
1male and 1 female Smew with Goldeneye, Tufted Ducks, Gt. Crested Grebe and Goosander at Hawsend Bay, Derwentwater 26th January

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The Start of the Year

It has been a fairly quiet winter, no really severe weather but fewer waterfowl about than normal. Perhaps they haven't come this far south this year, who knows? There have certainly been fewer birds on Derwentwater than is usual, numbers of Coot, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Goldeneye are all down. I've only seen one Great Crested Grebe and very few Goosander and Red-Breasted Merganser and have yet to see a Little Grebe this year on Derwentwater.
There is better news on the Heron front; there are two, possibly three, nests on Lords Island at the moment. A lot better than the single nest last year.
The Canada Geese and Greylag Geese are in pairs now and the noise of them squabbling about nest-sites on Lords Island is building up.
There was a single Barnacle Goose off the south end of Lords Island this morning but it flew off down the lake to Rampsholme. There should be a lot more Barnacle Geese joining it there very shortly as their numbers have built up to around 100 birds now. They nest on Rampsholme and on Lords Island and the noise when they are nesting is incredible!
The first Oystercatcher back at Derwentwater arrived last week and by this morning (28th Feb) had been joined by at least three others.
The Peregrines on Falcon Crag were very active last week and very noisy too. They were harassing the Ravens and Buzzards over Cat Gill for over half an hour. Very good to watch!
Chaffinches, Song Thrush, Blackbirds, Robins and Wrens are starting to tune up for their Dawn Chorus later in the spring and with the weather so mild it is a joy to wander around the lakeshore woods early in the morning.
In Ings Wood at the moment there are lots of Frogs croaking away while vying for the females in the pools and gutters on the pathside. I counted over 105 frogs in one pool this morning. There is a very large patch of frogspawn in that pool as well. Dennis Evans reported yesterday (27th Feb) that the frogs in his garden pond have also produced spawn.
Several people have responded to my request for information about Long-Tailed Tits feeding on bird feeders in peoples' gardens and they all think this behaviour began about 3 years ago. If anyone can give me more information I would be most grateful.
There have been several reports of Otters being seen on the River Greta especially at the "Glass Wall" at High Hill and also at the YHA stretch of river. Keep your eyes peeled.

David Thomason 28th Feb. 2012

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2011 - A summary

Well, nearly at the end of the year and a strange year it's been. Hot in April, cold through June and July, very mild through October and November and only now, in early December is the weather behaving as it should for the time of year. All this has had an effect on flora and fauna, with plants flowering early, birds nesting early while at the other end of the summer, winter migrants not appearing as soon or in the same numbers as usual. Is this global warming? It makes you wonder what is going to happen next.

This is a good time to begin noting down changes that you are seeing (if you aren't already). Note when plants begin coming through, flowering and seeding. Keep a note of when birds begin nesting, how many broods they raise and when migrants first appear and leave. Note when first insects appear, record butterfly sightings, do a moth trap and note what you attract. All this information is extremely useful to County Recorders as it can be used to help in making planners aware of what is present when they make their decisions so that they don't destroy important wildlife sites because of lack of information. My own observations seem to suggest that although the severe weather last winter took its toll of a lot of small birds they appear to have recovered remarkably well, the only birds that seem to be slow in their recovery are Heron, Kestrel, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail (if any one knows of any others please let me know). I have seen very few of these species all year, maybe it's just my patch but I do get about a bit and it seems to be a widespread lack of these birds.

The Otter/s on Derwentwater has been showing quite frequently recently and one was reported taking and swimming away with a gull. This must be a very rare event as all the local people I know who are keen on wildlife have never seen or heard of this happening before. A very hungry Otter? Perhaps there is a shortage of decent sized fish in the lake (I must ask a fisherman). A Grey Squirrel has taken up residence on Derwent Island and although I believe they can swim I would have thought that this one will have crossed to the island on the ice when the lake froze last winter.

Winter migrants are making an appearance now and 12 Whooper Swans flew over me this morning, heading for Derwentwater I think, so hopefully we'll be seeing Waxwings again before long.

Some notes of interest

Lot of Jays about, they seem to be everywhere, they must have had a good breeding season.

There were a lot of Redwings and Fieldfares about early in October but numbers seem to have dropped off by December, looking for new food sources elsewhere probably.

I didn't see my first male Goldeneye until 25th Nov at Bassenthwaite Lake, very late this year.

While looking for a Barn Owl that had been seen several times by local dog-walkers, I discovered a Tawny Owl in residence in a large crack in a big Ash tree in Ings Wood. (I still haven't seen the Barn Owl).

Starling numbers around Keswick seem to have dropped to a very low count, I've hardly seen any lately.

While not in our immediate area, the Solway Coast is visited frequently by our members and just recently there have been some superb visiting species to see which included Black Redstart, Sabine's Gull, Bean Geese, Eurasian White-fronted Geese, Great White Egret and Long-tailed Duck with Bittern and Water Rail showing well at Siddick Pond as well.

David Thomason 5th December 2011

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7 May 2011 David Thomason

Most of the summer migrants have arrived (most of them about a week earlier than last year). The only ones I don't have any reports of are Wood Warbler and Tree Pipit.
Swifts have just arrived over Keswick in the last few days.
Goose numbers nesting on the Derwentwater islands are about the same as last year except for the feral Barnacle flock which has increased yet again. They are now taking over on Lords Island.
Only a single nest at the Heronry on Lords Island is an indication of how hard these birds have suffered in the last two severe winters.
The Ospreys at Bass. Lake have moved home (yet again) and have built their own nest now and are incubating eggs. We won't know how many until the young can lift their heads above the edge of the nest and be counted. We have another three weeks to wait.

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