Tag Archives: british birds

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.

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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?

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