Tag Archives: british birds

February Flora and Fauna.

A wonderful few days weather wise. Enough sunshine to put a spring in everyone’s step.😁 Here are some camera shots.. and a few phone photos of birds and blossom taken over the weekend ,and when out and about late this afternoon. The sun shone, bees buzzed and I even saw my first butterfly of the year flutter by. All this as temperatures hit 20Β°c in February!

Rook.
Wild Plum Blossom.
Mute Swan Mum & Offspring.
Gorse in bloom.
Sika Deer in Brungerly Park.:)
White Butterbur.
Pussy Willow.
Hazel Catkins.
Moorhen.
Celandine.
Owl.
Fell Pony.
Blackthorn Blossom.
Meadow Pippit.
Canada Geese.
Crocuses.
Pack horse bridge. Spot Hugo taking a dip in the brook.

What early signs of Spring have you seen recently?

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RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 2019.

Over the weekend I joined in with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch , a wildlife survey which is in its 40th year. Us Brits first started counting our garden birds for an hour in January back in 1979 , when the RSPB joined forces with good old Blue Peter. The survey proved popular and is still going strong, with over half a million people joining in every year.

This was my second year participating , so here’s what I saw on Saturday in my little back yard.

1 Starling, 3 House Sparrows, 2 Bluetits and 1 Blackbird.

Although this seems a small tally, I’m quite happy with the results. Last year I had a dunnock visiting in the hour instead of a starling. Since then I have seen quite a few starlings fighting over the fat balls as well as visiting Long-tailed tits, Great tits, Coal tits, a Robin, Dunnocks, a Wren, a Mistle thrush and even a Jackdaw. You just never know who will turn up in the hour.

On Sunday I went to my sisters to see who would turn up to her Big Garden Birdwatch. We were all very cosy sat by the window with our brews and biscuits. She put on quite a spread! As Yvonne and her family live in the countryside, we hoped a good variety of wildlife would visit.

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All set for the birdwatch.
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Bluetits.
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Robin.

Despite it being quite windy outside , the hour was pretty eventful, mostly because two mischievous Grey Squirrels came a calling. This prompted my sister and nephew to resort to trumpeting party blowers at them in order to scare the rascals away. They kept returning though. πŸ˜‰

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Cheeky visitors.
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Coal Tit.
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Nuthatch.
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Chaffinch.

Here’s what we saw in the hour on Sunday.

5 Bluetits, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Coal tits, 2 Great tits, 5 long-tailed tits, 2 Robins, 1 Wood pigeon, 1 Nuthatch & 2 Grey Squirrels.

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Chloe the cat. Avid Bird Fan.
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Bluetit & Long-tailed Tits.
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Great Tit.

Straight after the hour two blackbirds and a pheasant arrived! But we didn’t include these late arrivals in the results.

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Female Blackbird.
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Pheasant.

Did you participate this year?

What is your favourite garden visitor?

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?

Wildlife In Wharfedale.

I was fortunate enough to stay at a campsite on the Bolton Abbey Estate , over the weekend. But more about that later. πŸ™‚

The river Wharfe winds serenely through the priory grounds and theres always plenty of wildlife to see , in arguably the prettiest of the Yorkshire Dales, Wharfedale. Wil and I always seem to return to the area every year, enjoying riverside walks with Hugo and glimpses of the varied wildlife that resides here.

Here are a few photos of what birds, animals and plant life, we saw on our walks.

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The Stepping stones at Bolton Abbey.
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Curlew. The soundtrack for our camping trip was a cacophony of calling curlews, so evocative of the Dales countryside.
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Dames Violet. Saw clumps of these fragrant garden escapes all along the riverside, in hues of deep pink, lilac and white.
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Snoozy Ducklings. Mother mallard was keeping an eye on her island of offspring, snoozing in the sunshine. 😁
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Yellow Flag Iris.
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Hedgehog. We saw this beauty scurrying accross the path in front of us in Stridd Wood. He/she seemed in good shape. We quickly put Hugo on his lead and left our prickly friend to its adventures.

Also in Stridd Wood ,we noticed that some trees were covered in what looked like eerie white cobwebs. On closer inspection we saw that the silky webbing was covered in hundreds of tiny catterpillars! I looked up the phenomenon and found that the catterpillar culprits actually turn into White ermine moths. See below. How wonderful to come accross these snazzy fellows.

White ermine moth ~ image via pinterest.
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Cock Pheasant. The fields were full of fine pheasants.
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Foxglove. In fairy folklore fairies taught foxes to ring the bells of foxgloves, to warn of approaching Hunts.
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Goosander in summer plumage. I love that the male goosanders plumage turns from white and black in Winter, to grey, white and brown in Summer. 😊
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Monkey Flowers. Can you see the monkey-faces in these pretty yellow riverside flowers?

Although not really Wild, this impressive looking peacock and his turkey friend lived on the farm, nextdoor to our campsite. 😊

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Lapwing. Where there are curlews, there are often Lapwings. I love their handsome head gear. 😊

Thanks for dropping by. Will return soon with a blog about the campsite we stayed at on the Bolton Abbey Estate.

A Cumbrian weekend of wanderings and wildlife.

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Chimney Sweeper Moth.

The recent weekend was spent gathered with family at Mums. She didn’t want a big celebration, just time spent together with children and grandchildren on her 70th Birthday. Country walks, playing games, visiting some lovely gardens, and a Birthday Cake. It was a happy couple of days!

Mum lives at the foot of Askham Fell near Penrith in Cumbria. Its a comparitively little explored part of The Lake District, but well worth a visit. On Saturday morning before my sister and niece and nephew arrived, Wil and I armed ourselves with a Askham Fell Marsh Kelpie Tale Trail Map, and headed for a walk up the fell.

There are various Tale Trail maps of different places in The Lake District, aimed at younger walkers ….and the young at heart. 😁 The Marsh Kelpie is a fictional character that lives on the fell. We didn’t find him of course, but we did see lots of wildlife and a stone circle.

Skylark, Askham Fell.
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Small Heath Butterfly.
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A herd of ‘Wild’ Fell Ponies live on the Fell. This one with Wil is not very wild and shaped like a barrel. πŸ™‚
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Cockpit Stone Circle ~ once used by villagers for cock fighting.
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Linnet. πŸ™‚
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Pied Wagtail.
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Common Bistort on the road side. Mum knows this as ‘Sweaty Feet’ and if you smell it…..it does whiff a bit. : b

Its a good job my family are all wildlife lovers , as we also spent a lot of the weekend pouring over Mum’s Bird book, trying to identify the birds we saw. πŸ™‚ My sister and I forgot our phone chargers ( there’s not much of a signal or wifi anyway) , so it was nice to Id what we saw , the old-fashioned way.

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Siskin on Mum’s Bird feeders.
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Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
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Wil’s photo of a rather dapper Dipper on the River Lowther.

On Saturday afternoon we took Mum to Holehird Gardens near Windermere. She loves gardens and this one which is run by volunteers, is home to the Lakeland Horticultural Society. June is a good time to visit for the rhododendrons and blue Himalayan poppies.

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Blue Himalayan Poppies and Alliums.

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I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. πŸ™‚

On Sunday we visited somewhere closer to Askham. Acorn Bank gardens and Water Mill at nearby Temple Sowerby. The National Trust looks after the property and the manor house dates back to 1228, its first owners were the Knights Templar.

There is plenty to see at Acorn Bank. We walked along a forest trail to the working water mill, looked for frogs in the lily pond, found fairy doors, enjoyed the gardens, had a lovely brew and cake, browsed the second hand book shop and found Newtopia. πŸ™‚

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Fairy Door.
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A freaky green spider on Bistort…or Sweaty feet. Is this a Cucumber Spider?
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Imogen and Woody Woodpecker.
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Acorn Bank.
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Impressive Coat of Arms.
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Hop It !
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Looking for Newts!

There’s a pond full of Great Crested Newts in the Sunken Garden at Acorn Bank. We had plenty of fun trying to spot them!

Thanks for joining me on a fun family weekend…with lots of wildlife thrown in for good measure. x

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.

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?