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 20°c in February!
What early signs of Spring have you seen recently?
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.
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. 😉
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. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the photos.
What are your own favourite wildlife moments of 2018?
I was fortunate enough to stay at a campsite on the Bolton Abbey Estate , over the weekend. But more about that later. 🙂
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.
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.
Although not really Wild, this impressive looking peacock and his turkey friend lived on the farm, nextdoor to our campsite. 😊
Thanks for dropping by. Will return soon with a blog about the campsite we stayed at on the Bolton Abbey Estate.
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.
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. 🙂 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.
Horse in Buttercup meadow.
Why the long face…. 🙂
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.
I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. 🙂
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. 🙂
Great Crested Newts.
Great Crested 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
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. 🤗🐱
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. 🙂 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. 😁
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 ! 🙂
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. 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.
An Eclectic Mix Of Revelation By Baldy. A Blog About Cumbria, Home Of The UNESCO Lake District National Park. Photographs, Paintings, Sketches & More. Mountains Are My Bones; Rivers My Veins; Forests My Thoughts.
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 15 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk