Tag Archives: british birds

Januarying.

I am treating January as I usually do. It’s my month of keeping snug and cosy inside, with a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. I also like to plan holidays and weekends away at this time of year, so have been researching our little holiday in North Norfolk during May and weekend walks in the Eden Valley, for when we can get back up to the caravan.

Continuing Winter cheer with my window display. The Robins mimic my real life robin visitor. The hyacinth plant I found in Sainsbury’s for a bargain 65p is now flowering and giving off a delicious scent, resembling woods of bluebells.

Winter Walks.

I’ve been looking for more walks from home. Although I thought we had been just about everywhere on our doorstep, I was proved wrong last weekend, when we discovered new to us footpaths. I’m sure there are more to explore!

There will be another place to wander when Clitheroe’s new Nature Reserve opens. It is very local indeed. I have nosed over the fence a couple of times and I spied several Teal on the water. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait for a proper look.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is all set for the last weekend of January. I have signed up as usual and am looking forward to seeing which feathered visitors turn up in the hour.

Primrose Nature Reserve. πŸ¦‰πŸ¦‰ Photo from their Facebook page.
Bridgerton. It’s a bodice ripper.

Incase you are looking for some on screen escapism, here is a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching recently. Most are series and there’s one film. But let me say this, my list is one of mostly guilty pleasures. πŸ˜„

  • Bridgerton. Netflix. Regency romance with lots of drama, comedy, gossip & scandal.
  • Derry Girls. All 4 / Netflix. Coming of age comedy set during ‘ the troubles’ in nineties Northern Ireland.
  • Ghosts. BBC I Player. Spirited comedy about the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted house, from the creators of Horrible Histories
  • Winter Walks. BBC I Player. Join well known faces as they film their favourite walks in Yorkshire. I miss Yorkshire. ❀️
  • Eurovision Song Contest : The Story Of Fire Saga. Netflix. Very cheesy but enjoyable musical comedy film set in Iceland and Edinburgh.
  • The Masked Singer. ITV/ ITV Hub. Addictive crazy singing competition.
  • Home For Christmas. Netflix. Norwegian rom com series.
  • Sneaky Pete. Amazon Prime. Crime drama about a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate to escape from a vengeful mobster.
  • The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix. An orphans rise against the odds to become the Worlds number one chess player.
  • All Creatures Great And Small. My 5. Heart warming 1940s comedy drama about a young vet who accepts a job in a Yorkshire Dales Vetinary practice. This is a remake of the original series, and just as good. ❀️
Winter Reading.

It’s nice to find a nice cosy read and I did in Winter Holiday from the Swallows and Amazon’s children’s book series by Arthur Ransome. I am immersed in a world of frozen lakes, snowy igloos and secret signals. Thanks to the What is it about books ? blog for the recommendation. ❀️

So this is my first foray into using the new WordPress editor. I hope it turns out okay.

Do leave me your own thoughts on how you are spending January?

On The Riverside.

Today was one of those days when I really wish I had taken my camera out with me, instead of just my phone. This frosty walk along the river from home to the village of Chatburn gave lots of photographic opportunities of the feathered variety. I counted Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Canada Geese, Moorhens, Kestrel, Goosanders and Wagtails .

We don’t often walk on the left hand side of the Ribble on this route for some reason, so it was nice to see the surrounding countryside from a different perspective. Clitheroe’s industrial landscape appeared sporadically in the distance.

Mute Swan.

Mary Horner’s attractive carved bench was particularly striking. Was she a shepherdess I wonder….

Alder catkins.

A type of polypore fungi.

After a brew and sausage roll in the village of Chatburn we chose to walk back home on the road, though another great way to get back to Clitheroe is of course along the other side of the river.

Thanks for joining me on a Winter’s day stroll.

A Bird And A Poem ~ Robin.

When walking my dog it is most unusual not toΒ  be accompanied by the chirpy song of a robin. These red breasted beauties seem to be our most friendliest little birdΒ here in the UK.Β  Indeed they are our national bird andΒ  have lots of links to the festive season too.

In Victorian times postmen wore red jackets, earning them the nickname ‘Robin Redbreasts’ . Christmas cards would feature feathered robins delivering cards , they soon became synonymous with Yuletide.

It is also said that when Mary was giving birth to baby Jesus , a fire that had been lit was so in danger of going out ,that a small brown bird flew close to fan the flame. A stray ember landed on the kindly birds breast causing the robin to gain it’s orangey red colouring.

Robins have appeared in many poems including the first verse of a childs nursery rhyme below.

The North Wind Doth Blow

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then?
Poor thing.

He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing!


Robins are actually very plucky little birds, more so than the poem suggests. In Edith Holden’s Country Diary of 1906 she recounted ‘ great battles among the Tits over the cocoa-nut, and once a Robin got right into it and refused to let the Tit approach, until he had all he wanted’ .

I note that the winter of 1906 woke to a snowy Christmas day morning. It looks like Edith’s garden visitors were well looked after though.






I am fortunate that my own feathered visitors  include a robin too.

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.

Wildlife Moments in 2020. 🦊

2020 has been tough on us humans but the natural world has carried on as normal. In fact in those early days of lockdown when most of us stayed home and the roads were eerily empty, wildlife blossomed. Many of us had time to notice the birds in our gardens , the visiting butterflies, the quiet rustle of hidden creatures going about their business. From all the negativity a greater connection to nature came about. We have so much to appreciate in our wilder surroundings.

Travel restrictions prevented me from venturing very far so my photos this year are from Lancashire and Cumbria. Still plenty to see though. Enjoy the pics. ❀️

Roe Deer spotted on the fringe of woodland earlier this year in Clitheroe.

Scarlet Elf Cups , Kirkby Stephen in March.

A sandmartin settles, the river Lune, Caton.

Round Leaved Wintergreen, Salthill Nature Reserve, Lancs.

Ringed Plovers and Dunlin, Port Carlisle, Cumbria.

Corncockle in a wildflower meadow on the Lowther Estate, Cumbria.

Red Admiral butterfly.

Little Egret with its bright yellow legs, Ravenglass, Cumbria.

Bonnie Bullfinch at a feeder in Caton, Lancashire.

Juvenile Wheatear , Cow Green Reservoir, Cumbria.

Fly Agaric on the riverside at Garrigill, Cumbria.

A Whitethroat by the sea in Heysham, Lancs.

Heather in bloom , Bowness on Solway, Cumbria.

Native Longhorn cattle on the Lowther Estate, Cumbria.

Marsh Cinquefoil , Eyecott Hill Nature Reserve in Cumbria.

Golden Plover , Cow Green Reservoir, Cumbria.

Pretty in pink waxcap , the village green in Melmerby.

Female Fallow Deer on the Dalemain Estate in Cumbria.

Bee Orchid in Clitheroe.

Little Owl in Clitheroe, one of two that perched on the tree every morning in early Summer.

What wildlife have you enjoyed seeing in 2020?

Up With The Owls.

Early morning walk with Hugo this morning was well worth getting up for. ❀️

Cow Parsley. Also called Queen Anne’s Lace.

Bunny ears. X

Bistort. Grew up calling this flower ‘ Sweaty Feet’.

Ragged Robin in unmown field.

Little owls. Youngsters maybe….

Little Owl. πŸ™‚

Life’s a hoot.

Yellow Flag Iris.

Nuthatch.

Woody path.

Nice to be out before it gets hot.:)

Goldfinch.

Thanks for dropping by. 😘

Spring !

Spring Lambs.

Getting out and about in the fresh air is one of my greatest pleasures. I’m just thankful it’s something I’m still able to do in these strangest of times. Happily the sun has decided to shine this weekend so I took my camera on some local walks.

Coltsfoot flowers and leaves can be dried and used to make a tea that gives relief from coughs and congestion apparently.

Grey Squirrel

Female Blackbird.

The primrose is the ‘ first rose’ of Spring.

Feral Pigeon.

Cherry Blossom.

Goldfinch.

Pussy Willows.

Dogs Mercury.

Blackthorn. The blossom arrives before the leaves.

Daffodils with Pendle Hill in the very distance.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and well. ❀️

Wildlife Moments In 2019.

For me 2019 has been very much about experiencing wildlife with others. It’s the first year I have watched badgers go about their business from a guided RSPB badger hide and the first time I have been on a bat walk run by the Rivers Trust. I’ve also looked for ring ouzels in the Slaidburn fells with the RSPB and done this year’s bird and butterfly counts with my nephew, niece and sister. Family has joined me in all the above and it has been a joy watching wildlife with them. πŸ™‚

Sometimes I can be out and about with Wil and the dog and we will spy something special. Recently we saw a red squirrel at NT Acorn Bank, I have been hoping to see one since buying our caravan in Cumbria this year.

There have been a few rare moments when I’ve been completely alone and immersed myself in nature. Just spending three hours in the woodland near my Mum’s in Askham back in May was such a treat, I saw jays, woodpeckers, buzzards, a weasel and wildflowers galore.

In 2019 I witnessed my first badgers ( I’m definitely not counting the squashed ones I’ve seen on the roadside), my first humming bird hawk moth, my first Crossbill, my first ring ouzels and my first slow worm!

I am not always able to get photos though, so it was very special when I managed to snap the barn owl that visits my sister’s croft, be it through a pane of glass. Below are some of the wildlife I have captured on camera..

Peacock Butterfly, Shap, Cumbria.

Harebells, Burnsall, Yorkshire Dales.

Badger, RSPB Haweswater, Cumbria.

Mandarin Duck, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales.

Wild Garlic, Clitheroe, Lancashire.

Greenfinch, Mum’s Garden, Cumbria.

Sundew, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales.

Crossbill, Aitken Wood, Lancashire.

Common Blue Butterfly, Clitheroe, Lancashire.

Vipers Bugloss, Ullswater, Cumbria.

Green Hairstreak Butterfly, Slaidburn, Lancashire.

Sea Pinks, St Bees Head, Cumbria.

Barn Owl, Cowark, Lancashire.

Scarce Chaser, NT Berrington Hall, Herefordshire.

Hoar Frost, Edenhall, Cumbria.

Stone Chat, St Bees Head, Cumbria.

Red Squirrel, NT Acorn Bank, Cumbria.

Stitchwort, Askham, Cumbria.

Kingfisher, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales.

Slow Worm, Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria.

What have been your own favourite wildlife moments of 2019?

A Bird And A Poem ~ Starlings.

Starlings are noisy bossy birds, I know when they descend upon the bird feeder there will be little left, empty coconut shells knocked to the ground and fat balls depleted in the blink of an eye. I can’t help admiring their starry plumage and their cheeky chatter though and would love to witness a murmuration , where flocks of starlings sky dance the heavens . Instead I will make do with this poem by Mary Oliver who perfectly captures the spirit of these characterful birds.

Photos were taken in Melmerby over the wintery wknd , where several starlings gathered & chattered.

Have you seen a murmuration’?

Autumn in Strid Wood.

If your thinking of partaking in a Woodland walk this October, you can’t go far wrong with a wander along the woodland trails at the Bolton Abbey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales.Β  We took our dog Hugo here this morning and despite it being a soggy rainy day, we had a fab time enjoying the sights and sounds of Strid Wood. The Autumn colours are stunning at this time of year. And after despairing of not finding any fungi on local walks near where I live in Clitheroe, here at Bolton Abbey there are mushrooms and toadstools galore….
Here are a few images from our time on the estate. If you can identify any of the fungi I haven’t ( which is most of it! ) I would love your help. πŸ™‚

Male and female mandarin ducks. Saw lots of these beautiful birds.






Cauliflower Fungus.


Robin.

A rare sighting of a kingfisher sitting still. πŸ™‚


Possible Mallard Hybrid.


Beech nuts.

Have you enjoyed any Autumn walks recently?

30 Days Wild Days 7 ~ 12. πŸ“

This June is definitely not very similar to last year’s hot and dry ( almost flaming!) one. We’ve had rain here in the North West on most days this month. It does make enjoying wild moments that bit more challenging !

At the weekend we took Hugo for a walk round Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve in Clitheroe. As its name suggests, Salthill is a former quarry, now reclaimed by nature. As well as being geologically fascinating ( fossilised crinoids or Sea Lillie’s can be found here), the reserve is a haven for wildflowers and butterflies. The rain kept the insects away but lots of flowering plants to see including vibrant blue milkwort, ground spreading wild thyme and clusters of yellow rattle. I even got to sample a wild strawberry ( there are lots right now) , a tiny burst of flavour on my tongue. πŸ“

On Sunday we travelled to Cumbria to visit family. On the way I couldn’t fail to notice all the many Ox -Eye Daisies blooming on the roadsides. I actually know them as Dog Daisies. They have many other names too including Moon Daisy, Midsummer Daisy, Bull Daisy and Marguerite. Daisy originates from ‘ Days Eye’ as their flowers open up to the sun. Apparently ‘That’s a Daisy’ was used as a phrase describing something good in the 1800s. Over the years that changed to ‘ That’s a Doozy’ .🌼

Monday was a rare sunny day and Hugo and I had an enjoyable walk. The rain has made everything so green! After spotting some open dandelions in the morning, I returned later to collect them ( after finding a recipe for Lemon & Dandelion biscuits on Pinterest) , only to find they had all turned into fluffy seed clocks by mid afternoon. Perhaps a blessing in disguise! πŸ‹

I treated myself to some Nature inspired reading this week. I remember my Gran having this book when I was growing up. ‘ The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ is just that, a beautifully illustrated chronicle of the flora and fauna that Edith Holden spotted when out and about ( often on her bicycle) in Warwickshire in 1906. An entry for June reads ~ Cycled through Widney : The Yellow Irises are out in the marsh there now, and at the edge of the stream I found the large blue Water For-get-me-not. While I was stooping to gather some, a beautiful Demoiselle Dragonfly came skimming across the water and lighted on a bunch of roses, the next moment it was away again. This book is really lovely to dip in and out of, I will be doing that alot I think. πŸ™‚

Meanwhile in the back yard, my washing up views take in a succession of birds feeding their young. Sorry for the bad photo ( taken with my phone camera) of some coal tits and blue tits. They are loving the fat balls. So too is the jackdaw, who now brings a friend and knocks alot of crumbs to the ground. Luckily I have a fledgling blackbird visitor, who is enjoying the spoils.

Are you having a wild week?