Tag Archives: british birds

Sunday Sevens 29th April.

So this week has been the week I attempted to learn how to crochet…..and failed miserably! My lovely friend Lisa booked us into a lesson last Sunday afternoon. She has been wanting to learn for a while and a crochet class is right up there on my 25 Before 45 ~ Bucket List.

However I could not get my head round it…or in fact any of my fingers! I just couldn’t do it at all. It got to the point that the teachers very patient instructions simply sounded like this. Blah blah blah blah blah. Three hours in and not anything to show for it……except a few pretty balls of wool. Slinky says I should make her some pom poms instead. πŸ€—πŸ±

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Sometimes I think Hugo is a ‘Devil Dog’. Naughty things he has done of late include finding a stinky dead bird and eating it, dissapearing through someone’s garden hedge and chasing a cat and stealing his labradoodle pal’s squeeky toy and refusing to give it back. All that mischief makes him snoozy! Luckilly no harm was done to the cat or the toy. The dead bird hopefully gave him a tummy ache…but that wouldn’t stop him doing it again. Sigh. Does your dog have Marley and Me moments?

Currently watching ~ The Alienist on Netflix. Set in 19th Century New York, this dark detective series is a cross between Ripper Street and Mind Hunter. Apparently in the 19th Century, people who studied those whose natures were alien to the norm ( ie serial killers) were called ‘ Alienists’ . This psychological thriller in ten parts is proving a gripping watch.

My RSPB pin badge collection is growing. 😁 We have been doing quite a few country walks to village pubs recently and some sell these at the bar. My little niece is collecting them too now. Two bird nerds in the family then. 😊

Loving spring time. πŸ™‚ Yesterday a walk along the river to the nearby village of Chatburn meant seeing all kinds of wildlife and gorgeous spring flora and fauna. I spied my first swallows of the season, my first spring ducklings, blackthorn blossom galore and carpets of violets and primroses . We met up with Wil’s brother and his wife for a lovely pub lunch too. 😁

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Today’s walk round Beacon Fell Country Park with my niece and nephew and Wil and Hugo has brought my #walk1000miles total for this year so far to 486 miles. Hopefully next week, all being well, I shall have broke 500 miles! The Proclaimers song will be a well received earworm ! πŸ™‚

Thanks to Natalie atΒ Threads & Bobbins for devisingΒ Sunday Sevens.

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Birdies in the back yard.

This weekend was the Big Garden Birdwatch in the UK and because my little back yard has been quite busy with bird visitors recently, I decided to join in. Apparently the Big Garden Birdwatch, organized by the rspb is the world’s largest wildlife survey! From previous years results the data collected has shown which birdlife is thriving and which breeds are not doing so well. Once common garden visitors such as the starling are now on the decline, though numbers of the tiny wren are happilly……on the up. Through January both of these birdie breeds have frequented my yard. Of course when you only have one hour to record the species that visit, its pot luck which , if any , will turn up. πŸ˜‰

Female sparrow.

The survey was short and sweet…..and quite relaxing too. The idea being that you took one hour out of your time on Friday, Saturday or Sunday to sit and watch which birds appear. I chose an hour on Friday morning, settling down with a brew, cereal bar and my Big Garden Birdwatch Pack.

For what seemed like ages, I sat there wondering if anyone would arrive. 😐 But then luckilly a sparrow and a dunnock turned up. Dunnocks are shy brown and grey birds that mostly forage on the ground ,as they like to nibble what has dropped from the feeders.

Male Blackbird.

My next visitor was a male blackbird. He and his mate are frequently seen feeding on the fat balls, swinging on the feeder. I was pleased to see him.

Bluetit.

The true acrobats at the feeders are the pretty bluetits with their yellow fronts and black eye stripes. Usually I see quite a few enjoying the half coconut shells , but during the hour, only one graced the yard with its presence.

Snowdrops. πŸ™‚

So there you go, I recorded 4 bird species in the hour. Not as good as I hoped, but it was still interesting and I hope my filled in survey helps the RSPB.

Did you take part this year?

What wildlife visits you?

Sunday Sevens 21st January.

It’s a cold and wuthering January week and here I am joining in with Sunday Sevens devised by the lovely new Mom, Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

Last Sunday morning I woke up quite hungover after my works Christmas do. Does anyone else have their work’s Xmas party in January! Anyway Wil made English Breakfast Shatshuka from a recipe found on adventuresofcumbrianblondie.co.uk. Was just what I needed. πŸ™‚

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I have signed up to do the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch which takes place on the weekend of the 27-29th January. It’s basically a small way ( only takes up an hour of your time)of helping the RSPB find out about how our garden bird population is doing. This cheeky robin has been a regular visitor recently. πŸ™‚

On Tuesday eve I met up with some ‘old friends’ for tea. We did lots of reminiscing ( turns out Jo, Fi and I have known our pal Suranjan for 17 years. What!) and even though he has moved down south and is married with kids now, the years just melted away. Plus we got to sit at a table with a wooden duck. 😁

The rest of my photos are from where I am currently staying. Yes I am in The Lake District once again! Instead of buying each other Xmas presents last year, Wil and I treated ourselves to 3 nights in Keswick. Its a bit of a tradition ,as we were here this time last year too.

Above Thirlmere.

On Friday we saw Snow. Hugo loved it! Although he is now three and half ,he has only experienced the White Stuff a couple of times before. We parked up near Thirlmere and followed the Red Squirrel Trail. Fun times!

Kendal Mint Liqueur & Kendal Mint Cake.

Yesterday we decided to walk round Derwentwater ( the lake in Keswick) and above are our supplies. 😁

Derwentwater.

It was a beautiful day, the perfect sort of weather to circumnavigate a lake. I will definitely be blogging about Derwentwater in more detail soon…..

And here is last night’s supper! Dined at the lovely Merienda in Keswick. Totally spoilt for choice here. 😊

So there you have it. Thanks for bobbing by. How has your week been?

Wildlife Moments in 2017.Β 

I thought I would post a few of my favourite wildlife photos that I have taken whilst out and about this year. There have been a few special moments! I finally managed to photograph a kingfisher  ( not once, but twice! ) and I was thrilled to spy a Green Woodpecker by the river Wharfe in Yorkshire.  A holiday on the Norfolk Coast proved an amazing experience for wildlife spotting and even a few days away in London gave me some photographic opportunities. πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy my pictures.

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Small Blue Butterfly  , Old Hunstanton sand dunes.
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Pied Wagtail eating lunch , Brotherswater.
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Kingfisher perched above a rowing boat on the River Nidd in November.
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Foxgloves in Sandringham Country Park.
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Comeront , River Esk, Cumbria.
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Tawny Owl, Muncaster Castle.
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Sea Holly, Rossall Beach, Fleetwood.
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Nesting Fulmar  in the stripey cliffs of Hunstanton.
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Fallow Deer, Dalemain Estate, Cumbria.
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Grey Heron in Hyde Park, London in April.

 

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Moorhen in Hyde Park.
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Green Parakeet ( another London Park regular).
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Vallarean flowers amongst the beech huts, Old Hunstanton.
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Wild flowers on the banks of Ullswater.
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Kingfisher on the river Nidd.
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Sea Asters, Cromer.
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Six spotted burnet moth, Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve.
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Common and Grey Seals, Blakeney Point, Norfolk.
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Green Woodpecker next to the river Wharfe in the Dales.
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Pheasant in the Dales.

What wildlife have you enjoyed viewing in 2017?

 

Riverside Walk ~ Howgill to Grassington.

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Wil and Hugo, River Wharfe.

The weekend just gone, we packed our camping gear and headed for the Yorkshire Dales and a little site that has featured several times on this blog, Howgill Lodge Campsite near Appletreewick. Even though we have been there several times, we had never walked along the nearby river Wharfe to the village of Grassington before.  In fact we almost always head the other way toward Bolton Abbey. A lovely route, but time for a change!

The Dales Way  is an 84 -mile long footpath from Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria. Sorry folks I’m not really up for trekking that far just yet, so instead we did 13 miles ( pretty impressive I thought! ) from Howgill to Grassington and back. Here are a few pictures of things we saw on our way. πŸ™‚

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Simon’s Seat up on the Grouse moor. Sadly not a place we can take Hugo, as dogs are strictly forbidden .
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Another lovely campsite Masons at Appletreewick.
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Masons is a great place to grab a coffee and homemade flapjack. πŸ™‚
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This horse wasn’t bothered by us as we trundled by.
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Saw lots of pretty harebells on route. Witches were said to use the sap of these pale blue flowers, to turn themselves into hares.
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The Red Lion in Burnsall is the perfect place for a pint. πŸ™‚
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Here’s an informative board about what kind of people have used the Dales Way.
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Due to heavy rains in the morning , the river was pretty wild past Burnsall.
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And the stepping stones at Hebden had all but disappeared , so we used the wobbly Suspension Bridge!
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Here Goes!
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A couple of miles later and we spy Linton Church.
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Anyone fancy a bit of white water rafting? Linton Falls.
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Pretty spectacular I think.
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Soon we are in the pretty village of Grassington.
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The Forester’s Arms is a good place for a chill.
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And there are some cute little gift shops.
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Walking back and we see these Greylag Geese.
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A typical Yorkshire sign!
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A Heron in a tree.
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And amazingly………a Green Woodpecker!  I was gobsmacked to see one….and actually get a photo. πŸ™‚
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I love this sign for the Craven Arms at Appletreewick.
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They always have a great selection of Real ales and ciders. πŸ™‚
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We head back to the campsite in the evening sunshine. 

Hope you enjoyed our mini Dales way ramble. I’m sure it actually was mini to my other half, but I’m quietly impressed with myself. Of course our pub stops probably cancelled out all the calories we burned!

Another post from the Yorkshire Dales coming up soon. x

A Dales Camping Trip. 30 Days Wild ~Days 23 to 25.Β 

Day 23 ~ Set up Camp.  Less than a week to go now, of the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge. It is becoming a challenge to find new things to do in the wild, but a camping trip can surely help with that.  However looking back to my wild moments of 2015 , I can see we went camping then too. And to the same place! Still, you can’t go wrong with a firm favourite, and Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales is somewhere we have returned to again and again.  Howgill Lodge Campsite is a 30 minutes walk along the river from the village, and is a great little site, popular with families and walkers. And it’s dog friendly too. πŸ™‚

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The chickens usually arrive whilst camp is being set up. πŸ™‚
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And bunnies play their part at keeping the grass short.

Howgill Lodge tries to do its bit for the environment and encourage wildlife. There are bird boxes around the site, wildflower areas, and solar panels for water, heating and lighting in the shower blocks.

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There is a Wildlife Board near the site entrance.

After setting up camp in the Yorkshire drizzle, we walked along the River Wharfe and ended up in one of the pubs in Appletreewick for a few drinks. Then we got comfy , the rain got worse, so we stopped for tea and more liquid refreshment! If you find yourself in the area I can definitely recommend the Craven Arms and Cruck Barn  for real ales, ciders and amazing food, adorned with wildflowers. πŸ™‚

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Pan-fried Cod with Mussels. Spot the cornflower.

And the walk along the river is always beautiful, even in the rain. Some things reassuringly never change. Lots of glorious Common spotted orchids in bloom and a young Wild Swimmer, forever immortalised by a poignant plaque, as the Wharfe winds it’s way  through the woodland.

Day 24 ~ Wildlife along the River Wharfe.  As is tradition when we visit these parts, we decided to walk to Bolton Abbey and back.  With a lunch break, and me forever stopping to take pictures ( much to the annoyance of my other half, tee hee) , we were probably out walking for about 6 hours. Anyone else would be much quicker!  Here are a few million photos from the day.

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Giant Bellflower.
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You don’t need a wrist watch on this walk.
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Common Sandpiper.
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Not sure about this striking blue flower, maybe a garden escape.
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A lesser spotted Hugo.
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Nuthatch.
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Bolton Abbey.
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Grey Heron.  
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Goosander.
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Great Tits.
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Betony.
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Willow Warbler.
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Hugo has a Wild moment !
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Skippers on Scabious.

Day 25 ~ More from the Riverside.  Before heading home we took Hugo a walk from nearby Burnsall village to Hebden.  There is a choice of wibbly wobbly suspension bridge or stepping stones to cross the river.  Which would you choose?

And look out for these beautiful yellow flowers that adorn the river bank. I have seen them on previous visits, but only just managed to Id them.

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Mimulus aka Monkey Flower.

How is 30 Days Wild going for you? Thanks for joining me in the Dales. πŸ™‚

30 Days Wild ~ Days 10 to 16. Wild-rose petal jam and a walk in the centre of Britain.Β 

Back to my own neck of the woods  now, the lovely Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Here are my wild moments from the last seven days. πŸ™‚

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Day 10 ~ The Running Hare. I have started reading this charming book by John Lewis Stempel. It is  the story of how a farmer attempts to transform a bare ,almost barren meadow , into a haven for the kind of wildlife that would frequent a field, if it wasn’t for the intensive farming methods used  today. This book takes me back to my own childhood, growing up on a farm, when  hare and partridges, lapwing and field mice were much more commonplace  than they are today. I hope he succeeds…

 

Day 11 ~ Wild Rose-Petal Jam. The hedgerows are full of fragrant Wild Rose shrubs , so I thought I would follow this recipe and make Rose- Petal Jam.

2 Cups Wild Rose Petals.

2 Cups Caster Sugar.

1 tbsp Orange juice.

1 tbsp Lemon juice.

Half a cup of Water.

Dissolve two cups of caster sugar in half a cup of water mixed with one tablespoon each of lemon juice and orange juice. Stir in the rose petals and put the pan over a very low heat. Stir continuously for 30 minutes, or until the petals have ‘melted’. Cool the mixture and pour into a small glass jar and seal. Rose-Petal jam is popular in the Middle East , especially with yoghurt.

The recipe worked, though took an awful lot of stirring. Also the jam is incredibly sweet, so I think if I make it again, I would lessen the amount of sugar used.


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Day 12 ~  Feeding the Birds.  Wil very kindly made this hanger for the bird feeders at the weekend. Much less precarious than having them swing about on the washing line! One visitor has taken to the Coconut shell filled with cooked fat and seeds.A bluetit ! Hopefully more will follow. πŸ™‚

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Meadow Cranesbill.

Day 13 ~  Wildflower Count. My blogger pal  Christine has posted on Facebook about an online Wildflower survey organized by Plantlife  , so I thought I would give it a go on today’s dog walk. Hugo and I followed Mearley Brook through the fields and then on to the River Ribble. I ticked off only 7 of the suggested flowers, which  was a little disappointing . But there were a few I spotted that were not on the list, such as Red Campion, Crosswort, Silverweed and Water Forget-me-not. I also saw the shiny copper coloured beetle below. Let me if know you take part…


 

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Possibly a Garden Chafer.

Day 14 ~ Meadow Grasses.  Flowers are beautiful, but have you ever noticed how pretty wild grasses are?  On an early morning walk with Hugo, I passed through a farmer’s field, which I think is waiting to be mown. Here are just a few of the different grasses that I very quickly took pictures of with my phone. Hugo loves racing trails through this meadow. We ended up soaked with dew and covered in grass seeds. πŸ™‚

 

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Day 15 ~ Wildflower Seedlings. It looks like the seeds I received in my #30dayswild pack from The Wildlife Trusts are sprouting in my flower bed. Either that or a variety of weeds. I am intrigued to see what we end up with!

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Day 16 ~  A walk in the centre of the Kingdom.  Did you know the exact Centre of the UK is in Lancashire?  National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones , to be exact!  The nearest village is the pretty Bowland settlement of Dunsop Bridge. We parked our car in the village car park and walked up the track adjacent PuddleDuck Tearooms, past the playground and into the Dunsop Valley. Here are a few photos of the wildlife we saw on our walk.

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A Willow warbler, I think.
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Thistle.
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Heath Bedstraw.
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Pied Wagtail.
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Mallards.
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Elderflower.
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Common Spotted Orchids.
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Grey Wagtail.
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Foxglove.
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Eyebright.
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Mistle Thrush, I think !

After our ramble we had earned coffee and cake at Puddleducks!  A tearoom complete with ducks on the Village Green. πŸ™‚

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Puddleducks , Dunsop Bridge.

Whoo I think that means we are just over halfway through ’30 Days Wild’ now. I just need to think of some ideas for the next 14 days!  All suggestions welcome. πŸ™‚