Category Archives: photography

Wildlife Moments in 2018.

Its December everyone! Is it to early to do a bit of a round-up post?? 2018 has been a pretty good year for spotting wildlife I’ve never seen before. I glimpsed my first Gannets plunging into the ocean for fish off Skye, my first Stonechats darting between fence posts and gorse bushes in Ravenglass and my first Great Crested Grebes fishing in the lagoon at Hodbarrow Nature Reserve. I witnessed my first Eider Ducks bobbing along an aquamarine blue sea in the Outer Hebrides and watched for the first time, wild otters swimming and playing in a sheltered cove there.

And this year I have tried to identify and record every flower, mammal, bird, butterfly and moth I have come across whilst out and about , in a Nature Diary. Doing this has definitely got me busy looking up everything in my often neglected wildlife guides. My diary has gotten quite full, though I know there are still so many plants and animals, that I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing in our beautiful British Isles.

Here are just a few photos of some of the wildlife I have managed to capture on camera this year. πŸ™‚

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Great Crested Grebe fishing whilst sporting winter plumage ~ Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, Haverigg, Cumbria.
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Hugo amongst Sea Lavender in Heysham, Lancashire.
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Hedgehog wandering up a woodland path, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales.
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Underneath the Umbels, Clitheroe, Lancashire.
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Red Grouse, Great Stone of Four stones, Bentham, Lancashire.
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Small Heath Butterfly, Askham Fell, Cumbria.
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Compass Jellyfish on the beach, North Uist, Outer Hebrides.
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Common Seal, Isle of Bernerey, Outer Hebrides.
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Pretty Linnet, Askham Fell, Cumbria.
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Female Red Deer, North Uist.
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Blooming Heather on North Uist.
Swallow-tailed Moth, Salthill Nature Reserve in Clitheroe.
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Common Spotted Orchids in the Wildflower meadow, Gisburn Forest, Lancashire.
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One of the Otters we saw on North Uist. πŸ™‚
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Corn Buntings, North Uist.
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Sea Holly, Crosby Beach, Merseyside.
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Painted Lady, Salthill Nature Reserve, Clitheroe.
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Bugles near Derwentwater, Cumbria.
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Dipper, Stridd Wood, Bolton Abbey.
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Skylark with lunch, Askham Fell, Cumbria.

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

What are your own favourite wildlife moments of 2018?

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A Long Weekend in Ravenglass.

Ravenglass is a coastal village in Cumbria that looks over the estuary bringing together the rivers of Esk, Irt and Mite. The scenery is ever changing as the ebbing tides create rock pools and sand banks. A melodic sound of tied up boats, their parts clanging in the breeze , permeates the sea front.

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Ravenglass.

I recently stopped in Ravenglass for four nights with Wil and Hugo. Some friends joined us for a couple of the nights. Luckily even in November we found plenty to keep us all occupied!

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Village Green.

The village has two cosy dog friendly pubs as well as a rocky beach ~ home to many wading birds and beach combing treasures, ancient Roman ruins, a nearby Castle with a Hawk & Owl Centre and the Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway, affectionately known as La’l Ratty.

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Hugo and Bel in front of the old fishermen’s cottages.
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Estuary View.
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Anchors Aweigh!
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Rainbow.
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Stonechat.

As well as windy walks on the beach , we enjoyed a stroll to Muncaster Castle which is a pleasant walk through the Muncaster Estate, passing the old ruins of a Roman Bath House.

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The well preserved remains of a Roman Bath house, used by Roman Soldiers from the once nearby Roman Fort ‘Glannoventa’.
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Festival Sheep. πŸ˜‰
Pretty Woodland walk.
Waiting to be pelted by cabbages! Only joking. πŸ˜‰
Waiting for the Owl and Hawk Display. The dogs and their owners watched from a designated area….way in the distance..

We all loved the Bird of Prey Display and it was good to know that the staff are so enthusiastic about conserving the different species, especially Vultures, who do get a bit of bad press in the bird world. Seeing them as a ‘ Clean up Crew’ definitely helped me realise what a useful breed of bird they are.

Speeking of birds, Wil and I also visited Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, an RSPB reserve on the coast between Haverigg and Millom. It was a day of high winds and squawly showers, but we enjoyed the dramatic scenery.

Hodbarrow Lighthouse, a focal point of the Reserve.

Most of all just hanging out in Ravenglass itself was a wonderful experience. I am sure we will return. 😊

Ravenglass from over the railway bridge.

Where on the coast do you like to visit?

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ August.

I feel like I haven’t had my blogging head on for ages! But never fear, I am back. And feeling refreshed, from a lovely twelve night break on the West coast of Scotland. I thought I would ease back into the blogosphere by joining in with Hawthorn/Kate’s Photo Scavenger Hunt. This month she has chosen words that are homophones. That is, two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins or spellings. I thought I would look through my recent holiday pictures…and hope for the best. πŸ™‚

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Tea/Tee. So I chose tea…as in a pudding we had for our tea, one evening in a cosy cabin in Slockavullin. Slockavullin might sound Scandinavian, but it is in fact a little village in Kilmartin Glen, Argyll. The cabin was set in a small orchard in the owners garden and as the trees were laden with apples and plums, what better idea than to make a crumble….And very tasty it was too. πŸ™‚

Thyme/ Time. How’s this photo for bath time? Our Slockavullin cabin had its very own outdoor bath tub. I never did try out alfresco bath time, much to my lasting regret. My only excuse being, our time in Kilmartin Glen was short and quite drizzly and chilly. If you like the look of this cabin, look for ‘peaceful cabin in Kilmartin Glen’ on airbnb !

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Aisle/ Isle. Most of our break away was actually spent in the Outer Hebrides on the Isle of North Uist, which is connected to Berneray in the North and Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay in the South, by short causeway roads. To get to the Uists , we travelled to the Isle of Skye and then caught a ferry from Uig on Skye to Lochmaddy in North Uist. I absolutely loved my time there. The stunning white sandy beaches, turquoise sea and amazing wildlife, its all true. And definitely worth the journey!

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Fairy/Ferry. Whilst on Skye, we didn’t get that much chance to explore, as our short time there were basically stopovers, on the way to and from North Uist. We did however visit Fairy Glen, a strange other-worldly landscape in the hills above Uig. Grassy knolls, tiny lochans, and even a fairylike rock castle, all made for an enchanting diversion.

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Flour/Flower. Ah the wildflowers. There were so many of them adorning the Scottish Countryside, especially on the islands. The Outer Hebrides are known for their fertile low lying grassy plains called Machair, which in the Summer months are a riot of colour. I think these cornflower blue blooms are devils-bit Scabious.

My Own Choice. I shall return with posts about our trip to The Outer Hebrides and also our time in Kilmartin Glen. Let me leave you with a bench with a view! This viewing point on the island of Berneray is perfect for watching a colony of common seals. We spent quite a while there before taking Hugo for a run on the stunning white sands, further along the coast. πŸ™‚

Please check out Hawthorn’s Scavenger Hunt for more scavenger hunt posts tommorrow.

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ June.

Phew! What do you think of the Hot Hot weather we are experiencing here in the UK at the moment? I am definitely not used to this kind of heat. I find myself only truly enjoying the temperatures either early in the morning or after 8 at night. Reaches for a tub of Ben & Jerrys! Here are my photos for this month’s Scavenger Hunt….

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Yellow. I was definitely tempted to post a flower picture here, but instead chose this photo of band member Holly Ross of The Lovely Eggs on stage at Break In The Clouds Festival ,

which we went to last weekend. Not everyone can rock the colour Yellow…but I think she can. πŸ™‚

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Starts with a T. Has to be this Tiger I saw chilling in the sunshine at Blackpool Zoo a few weeks ago.

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Lilac. My Mum’s garden was buzzing with insects when we visited earlier in June. I forgot to ask her what flower this was. Any gardeners know the name of it, feel free to let me know. πŸ™‚

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Starts with a G. Back to Blackpool Zoo and a group of Giraffes. Apparently a Group of Giraffes is called a Tower. πŸ™‚

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Silver. After checking on the #30dayswild facebook group, I discovered that this busy moth I photographed in Gisburn Forest is called a Silver Y Moth. You can’t really see on this photo , but it has silver y-shaped markings on its forewings.

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My Own Choice. Cute socks worn by my goddaughters at the festival we went to at the weekend.

Thanks for dropping by and stay cool…X

Postcard From The Lakes.

Well, we couldn’t have picked a better time for our first camping trip of the year! This very un-British like weather is having its advantages. πŸ™‚

Last week we spent four nights at Scotgate Holiday Park in Braithwaite, near Keswick.

Hugo chilling at ScotGate.

The campsite ( although a little overlooked) is

more or less perfect. Surrounded by a mountinous back drop and boasting a well stocked shop, cafe and shower block with underfloor heating ( No Less!) , Scotgate has a village location and good bus links to nearby Keswick and Cockermouth. Braithwaite itself is a lovely village with 2 pubs, a tea room ( opening soon) and a friendly village shop.

Here are a few photos of what we got up to on our break away.

Buttermere.

A lake we have always wanted to visit ‘Buttermere’ is a six mile drive from Braithwaite. A scenic route passes through the Newlands Valley and once in Buttermere village , there is parking near The Fish Hotel.

The Fish Hotel ~ once home to famed beauty Mary Robinson, known as the ‘Maid of Buttermere.’
There is a four and a half mile low-level walk around the lake.
Beautiful views everywhere you look.
Herdwick sheep and new borns.
My favourite view of Buttermere.

We loved our meander round Buttermere and I can’t wait to visit nearby Crummock Water and Loweswater.

Braithwaite is surrounded by mountain fells, so one morning we decided to bag another Wainwright ( mine and Hugo’s second! ) and walked up ‘ Barrow’ , one of the more diminutive Wainwright fells. At 1,494 feet , it still felt enormas to me!

A very rewarding view from the top! Both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite can be seen from the summit.
Hugo enjoying a mountain breeze. πŸ™‚
Wil and Hugo.

We started our walk from the top of the village ( near the Coledale Inn) and the ascent is a gradual one , there is a clearly defined path up through the bracken. Once at the top, the views all around are stunning! The descent is quite steep. We soon realised we had actually done this walk before!! About 10 years ago, before I even really knew about bagging Wainwrights. So what was to be my second,is actually my first, done twice. Doh! Still, the hike up Barrow is definitely worth a repeat performance. 😁

Keswick Launch , Derwentwater.

The nearest town to Braithwaite is Keswick, on the shores of Derwentwater. Known as Queen of the Lakes, Derwentwater has a scenic ten mile waymarked path around it, which we walked on our last visit in January. This time however, we thought we would take advantage of the Keswick Launch , whose pleasure boats have transported tourists around the lake since 1935. Its a hop on/hop off service , so fantastic for taking to a certain point then walking back…or vice versa.

We walked from Friars Crag to Ashness Gate , passing The National Trust Centenary Stone at Calfclose Bay. I have wanted to visit the most photographed packhorse bridge in The Lake District, Ashness Bridge since seeing its iconic image on a postcard. A short hike from Ashness Gate, and there it is!! A little further and another wonderful photographic opportunity is Surprise View, where we had a vast uninterrupted vista of Derwentwater.

Doggy Paddle. πŸ˜‰
The Centenary Stone.
Ashness Bridge.( Wil’s photo).
Bugles.
Surprise View.

It was beautiful up there and so tranquil. Imagine clumps of pretty Wild flowers, curling ferns and the sounds of cuckoos calling. :). A cooling boat trip back and a delicious tea at The Square Orange in Keswick. Bliss…

Pigging out at The Square Orange.

Our last full day of our holiday was also the Royal Wedding day. During the day we visited Dodd Wood where there are two Osprey viewing points , trained over Bassenthwaite Lake. Unfortunately the Osprey were in hiding, but these magnificent raptors nest nearby every year and are often seen flying over the water. Opposite the Dodd Wood car park is the entrance for Mirehouse & Gardens , a beautiful historic mansion and grounds , open to the public. Dogs are allowed in the gardens and grounds, so I persuaded Wil, that we should take a look. πŸ™‚

Mirehouse & Gardens
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In the Walled Garden.
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The Wall Garden provides shelter for Bees.
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A surprise find ~ A Snuff Garden. Atchhoooo!
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Pretty pink. πŸ™‚
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Fancy sitting on this throne?
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Lots of colour in the grounds.
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Bluebells.

Mirehouse’s gardens are a riot of colour and there is lots to explore including a Heather Maze, Fernery, Herb Garden, Bee Garden, Poets Walk and nature trails. The grounds reach as far as the lakeside and there are woodland walks with surprises at every corner.

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The Coledale Inn.

We were definitely late to the Wedding celebrations, but in the evening I did indulge in a Meghan Markle Mac N Cheese at the Coledale Inn , back in Braithwaite. : b

Thanks for reading. X

A bird and a poem ~ Little Egret.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t resist buying a little book of poetry from a book fair that I came across. The anthology is full of beautiful poems about…..birds. And each one is paired with a gorgeous illustration. The book is actually a collection of stunning avian art works that can all be found in The British Museum. It is therefore called The British Museum Birds and if you find a copy, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. πŸ™‚

Anyway I thought it might be a nice idea to pair the poetry in the book with my own photographs on here occasionally. Though I am cheating a bit today as these pictures of a Little Egret were taken by my other half on our walk by the river Ribble on Saturday. I think its quite unusual to see egrets inland, but this one has been spotted here in Clitheroe a few times recently.

The illustration in the book is Egret On Willow In Snow , a hanging scroll painting on silk by Oda Kaisen ( 1785-1862).

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Snow

In the gloom of whiteness,

In the great silence of snow,

A child was sighing

And bitterly saying : ‘ Oh,

They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,

The down is fluttering from her breast!’

And still it fell through that dusky brightness

On the child crying for the bird in the snow.

Edward Thomas ( 1878-1917)

Little Egret. Photo Credit D Wilson.

Sorry the first poem I included is quite sad. But I hope you liked it anyway. X

Wintery Spring ~ Links & Likes.

Welcome to my first Links & Likes of 2018. This is a series where I like to include some links to a few posts I have β™‘ recently.

February is a funny month. Spring is just around the corner( hopefully!) ,yet I still feel like hibernating! With snow, sleet, rain and hale all forcasted over the next few days in the North West, can you blame me if I cosy up under the duvet and snooze for the forseeable….

Yet I do have plans. 😁 Febuary is Snowdrop Season and I would really love to witness these first signs of Spring in all their gorgeous glory. Here in Lancashire Lytham Hall welcomes all to wander round their lovely grounds over the next couple of Weekends. Frames high-light the blooms for picture opportunities. Hornby Castle near Lancaster is opening to the public for Snowdrop Walks on the 17th & 18th February. Elsewhere The National Trust has details of early blooming gardens on their website. Hopefully I will be out and about searching for snowdrops in the next few days.

Other plans I have for February include a Ghost Walk at Houghton Tower and a Girls Night In Clothes Swap Party. So really, hibernation is not actually an option. πŸ˜„

Snowdrops at Lytham Hall. Image off Pinterest.

Christine has been playing Colour Bingo with her camera. A great idea for a blog post!

Amanda visits a Train Station , where an iconic Romantic Movie was filmed in the 1940s.

Louise marks the beginning of Spring ( Imbolc ) at the Marsden Fire Festival.

I love Rosie’s post about close encounters with cute seal pups. Aw.

This Tea Time Mango Cake looks and sounds delicious on Shilpi’s blog. 🍰

The Typewriter Girl has some perfect ideas for filling February with fun and light. πŸ™‚

Its going to be A Dog’s Life for Gina, as she prepares to welcome a cute new arrival. πŸ™‚

What are your plans to brighten up a dreary February?

Thanks for dropping by. X