Tag Archives: butterflies

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. ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Cockpit Stone Circle ~ once used by villagers for cock fighting.
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Linnet. ๐Ÿ™‚
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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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

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Wildlife Moments in 2017.ย 

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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?

 

Butterflies, Seabirds & Rock Pools.

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Large Tree Nymph Butterfly.

In my last blog post I was feeling all Autumnal , but then Summer made a reappearance on Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Happily we were put in charge of my niece and nephew for the day ….or was it the other way round !ย  Anyway we decided to head for the coast.ย  First we found ourselves atย Williamson Park ย on the outskirts of Lancaster.ย  With 54 acres of beautiful parkland , the impressive Ashton Memorial and far reaching views across Morecambe Bay, there’s certainly plenty to see.ย  But it was the Butterfly House and the Mini Beasts that the kids and I were interested in. Whilst Wil took Hugo for a walk , we got up close and personal with allsorts of cute creatures.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Tropical Blue Butterfly.

 

Common Garden Skink eating lunch.

The Butterfly House in Williamson Park is a former Palm House which resembles a tropical rainforest.ย  Indeed my camera lense started steaming up as soon as we entered!ย  Colourful butterflies flutter amongst the greenery and there are also various reptiles living here.ย  We were especially enamoured by the Common Garden Skink and a Chinese Water Dragon, who seemed a very friendly fellow.

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Chinese Water Dragon.

 

Meerkats.ย 

As well as The Butterfly House ,there is a Mini Beasts House, an Aviary and Meerkats, so plenty to keep the kids oooohing and ahhing for a little while. We also found an adventure playground, before meeting up with Wil and Hugo in The Pavilion Cafe. And we had to have a quick look in the gift shop too of course!

If only we had climbed up The Ashton memorial.ย  The views are apparently stunning from the first floor viewing gallery. That’s a definite for next time.ย  The memorial dominates the Lancaster skyline and was commissioned by Lord Ashton, as a tribute to his late wife.ย  Constructed mainly from Portland stone, with a copper dome, the structure was completed in 1909, and is now a popular venue for weddings and other events.ย  But now let’s head to Morecambe, whilst the sun is still shining. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Tropical flower.

 

 

 

 

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Ashton Memorial

Morecambe’s Seafront is home to theย Tern Projectย , an art trail that celebrates the varied birdlife and wildlife that make their home on the Lancashire Coast. Look out for poems and puzzles, jokes and riddles and lots of birdy sculptures.ย  Many can be found on the long stone jetty in front of the Midland Hotel, and along the promenade.

 

A Bird’s Eye View across the Bay.
Comerants.
Lapwing.
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Ringedย  plovers.
Magpie.
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Mythical Bird.

When I asked my niece and nephew what they enjoyed the most about our day out, the answer was rock pooling!ย  These two could spend hours looking for crabs and water snails. Simple pleasures eh. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Gone Crabbing !

Here’s hoping for some more summery days to lead us out of September. X

30 Days Wild ~ Days 26 to 30. A poem and a Nature Reserve Visit.

Here are my ‘Wild’ moments from the last few days of June. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Day 26 ~ Pressed Flowers make memories.  After resurrecting my old Travel journal ( it went by the wayside after I started blogging), I thought pressing a couple of local flowers from our Yorkshire Dales camping trip, would be  a nice way of remembering our time there.  I must get myself a flower press though. I just squished a field scabious and a common vetch ( both are numerous along the river Wharfe) between two pages of a book, I was reading at the time. Not very professional!

 

 

Day 27 ~  A Nature Inspired Poem. So here’s my attempt at writing a poem!  I have took inspiration from my recent trip to the Norfolk coast. We stayed in the seaside town of Hunstanton and visited nearby Holme, Wells and Blakeney Point.

Busy Bee , Stop!  Look up….. and rest.

Rust striped cliffs, where fulmars nest.

In rocky pools  limpets cling.

Oyster Catchers peck them clean.

Cinnabars and fluttering Blues.

Sea Holly amongst the dunes.

Bursts of pink wave in the breeze.

Seals play in blustery seas.

So stop…. and look….. and take in

the wild living  amongst us.

 

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Day 28 ~ Feeling Blue. Today was another dreary damp day, but instead of feeling blue, I made a slideshow of the colour blue in nature. These pictures are all from the past couple of months.  They include Scabious, Meadow Cranesbill, Viper’s Bugloss ( aka Sea Thistle), Blue Sky, Small Blue butterfly, Bluebells, Violet and blue in a Peacock Butterflies wing.

Day 29.  Update. Has #30dayswild been a success in our little back yard? Well , it’s a work in progress! The wildflower seeds I planted at the beginning of the month are definitely seedlings.Still waiting to find out what they will become. I have not counted any butterflies, though I have seen bees. It has rained every day since I put out the bee water dish. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Most successful is our little bird feeding station. We now  have bluetits and a Tree sparrow, as restaurant regulars. ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 30.  Visit a Nature Reserve. My last day of ‘Wild’ has been a success! This morning I took myself off to one of Clitheroe’s two Nature Reserves, on the edge of town. You can find them both by using The Wildlife Trust’s Nature Finder App. Salthill Quarry is half woodland and half disused quarry. The limestone grassland is a haven for wildflowers, and even on a drizzly day like today. it did not disappoint. Prepare for about a million photos….

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Any ideas? A ground spreading purple flower in the woodland.
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A snail amongst the bramble.
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Trees Canopy.
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Not sure of this birdie either.
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Agrimony. Used in Herbal medicine.
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How cute is this squirrel. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Self-Heal. Used by Medieval first- aiders for binding up wounds.
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Rosebay Willowherb. Also known as Fireweed.
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Vetch.
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There were lots of orchids. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Ringlet Butterfly. One of the few butterflies that are active in light showers.
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Goldfinch.
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A type of grass.
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Despite the weather,I did see quite a few bees.
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Creeping Cinquefoil.
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Pignut. Has edible roots.
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Scabious.
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Marjoram.  A striking culinary herb.
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Hawkweed and Betony in the background.
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Another Ringlet.
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Thrush.
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Ladybird on Meadow Sweet.

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My favourite spots of the day. But are they Six spotted Burnet Moths or Cinnabar Moths?  They did not move from their blades of grass.

So there you have it! Another #30dayswild ends. It has been a challenge this year, but also a lovely experience. I have taken more notice of insects.  I have visited  new places, as well as returned to some old favourites. I have tried to make the garden area more wild and will continue to do so. As usual The Wildlife Trusts have inspired me to stop, step back and take in , all the beautiful nature that surrounds me. ๐Ÿ™‚

30 Days Wild ~ Days 2 to 6. I โ™ก Norfolk.ย 

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A hastily arranged ‘Wild’ of Fir Cones.

Having recently arrived home from a holiday in Norfolk, thrown some washing in, greeted the cat and waved off my Other Half to the pub, I thought I had better do some catching up on blog posts. ๐Ÿ™‚ Firstly it’s time to update my progress on #30dayswild, which The Wildlife Trusts have organized to challenge people to experience 30 random acts of wildness in June.  On Day One I made Wild Watermint Tea here  and since then I have been staying on the coast in Hunstanton , aka Sunny Hunny. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are some Wild Moments!

Day Two.  Red Striped Cliffs and Nesting Fulmars. As soon as had we settled into our accommodation , we headed to the beach with Hugo. The first thing we noticed was the extraordinary red and white striped cliffs. The red chalk is due to iron staining. They are certainly a stunning sight.

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Red and white striped cliffs.

The tide was out and below is our view toward the Sea. Rock pools have formed in between the boulders. Hugo is out there somewhere!  We did not find even a solitary crab in the pools, but they do have rather a lot of predators. Looking up to the cliffs once again , we couldn’t fail to see ( and hear ) hundreds of pairs of Fulmar, nesting in the craggy rock face.

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Rocky pools.

Fulmars look like Gulls but are apparently members of the Petrel family.  They are able to drink sea-water and have ”tube-noses” enabling them to excrete excess salt through their nostrils. You learn something new every day!  We wish our labrador had a Tube Nose, he does tend to take the odd sea sip, when he thinks we are not looking….

Day Three.  Coastal Butterflies & Wildflowers.  On a walk along the Norfolk Coastal Path from Hunstanton to Holme , here are some of the plants and butterflies that we spotted. Now despite studying a couple of Collins Guides , I’m not confident with all my IDs. So if you know better, please let me know. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Vipers Bugloss 
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Orange Hawkweed.
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Pink Valerian.
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Painted Lady in Holme.
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Sea Bindweed.
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Saw lots of tiny blue butterflies fluttering around. Possibly Small Blues.
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Maybe a Tree Mallow.
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Lots of these tiny red moths. Possibly Cinnabar.
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Phacelia.

This walk was a dream for me. Some of these flowers and insects, I have never seen before. I just couldn’t stop smiling. ๐Ÿ™‚

Day Four.  Eating Lavender.  Norfolk Lavender is one of the country’s largest Lavender Farms and as it was only down the road from us at Heacham , I persuaded Wil that we needed to try their Lavender Cake!  Lavender has been used since Roman times ( indeed it was the Roman’s who probably brought this fragrant flowering herb over to our shores) in medicines, lotions and potions. I for one had never tried it in cake….. or in Lemonade.

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Cake!

The cake was quite nice ( in a fragrant flowery way) but even though Wil and I shared it, we couldn’t finish it. Now that wouldn’t happen with Chocolate Cake!  The lemonade was refreshing but very very fizzy, so I couldn’t drink all of that either. Most disappointing was the fact that about ninety percent of the lavender isn’t in bloom yet, so if you are planning a visit, wait a few more weeks.

Day Five. Collected Shells on Brancaster Beach.   On Day Five we took Hugo for a walk On Brancaster Beach.  Norfolk is great for Pet Friendly Beaches and Brancaster is just one of many lovely stretches of sand. Our walk was incredibly windy so we got somewhat sandblasted.  I’m not sure my photo really does the conditions any justice!

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Brancaster Beach.
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Sea Campions.
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Shells.

I probably gave up collecting shells after about five minutes , so my little collection is a bit sad. What you can see are a couple of oyster shells, a razor shell, a couple of cockle shells, pebbles and a couple of trough shells. I think they are all quite common on British Beaches.

Day Six. Rainy Walk In a Country Park.  This day was wet and windy so we decided to have a wander round nearby Sandringham Country Park. The canopy from the woodland offered some protection from the elements.  At this time of year the Royal retreat is adorned with flowering Rhododendrons and Foxgloves. We spied a Roe Deer, several squirrels and a couple of cheeky Jays. They were all very camera shy. So here are some facts about foxgloves. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Dead Man’s Bells and Witches Gloves. 

Other names for Foxgloves include Fairy Thimbles, Floppydocks and Goblin Gloves.

The  name Ffion is Welsh for Foxglove.

Foxgloves , though highly toxic, are used in Heart Medicines.

Plant Foxgloves in your garden and you will attract fairies.

The White Spots in each bell are marks left by fairies.

Fairies apparently taught foxes to ring the bells, warning other foxes of hunters in the area.

Bad fairies told foxes to wear the flowers on their paws ( like slippers) so the hens in the hen house wouldn’t hear them coming.

In mythology the Roman Goddess Flora touched a foxglove to Juno’s belly, so she could conceive a child with Jupiter.

Thanks for reading my update. More to follow in a few days. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

April Wildlife and Links & Likes.

Hi I’m mixing up my Links & Likes  with a few piccies I took on walks at the weekend. April brings sunshine, showers ….and lots of flowers. That certainly rings true here in the Ribble Valley. Enjoy the photos and check out the blog links for some of the posts that I have particularly liked  this month. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cuckoo Flowers.
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Orange Tipped White Butterfly.

Binny tries out a Chocolate Afternoon Tea and I am seriously envious !

Eliza has had a break in beautiful Venice. 

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Violet.
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Wood Pigeon.
Swallow.

There’s still time to Vote for where Christine should do her next Wild Swim!  I’m thinking Brothers Water. ๐Ÿ™‚

More beauty on Laura’s Blog as she Walks among the Bluebells. 

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Hedgerow Blossom.
Robin.

Jo finds a A Glass Menagerie in Sunderland.

Nice to discover another blogger in The Ribble Valley ! Please check out  The Alfresco Family. They blog about all things Green. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Wild Garlic.

Peacock Butterfly.

Janey has set herself the challenge of watching 52 Films By Women this year.

Grenson is enjoying his tour of The Lakes and The Lochs. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bluebells.
A Lesser Spotted Hugo !

 

Pheasant.

 Thanks For Dropping by. ๐Ÿ™‚

 


 

Spring has Sprung.

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Chaffinch.

Today was glorious and sunny. The kind of sunny that actually feels warm. ๐Ÿ™‚  I went for a walk down through the fields to the river. This is one of our usual dog walking routes, but I let Wil carry on ahead with Hugo ,so I could get a few piccies without a black labrador crashing through the undergrowth. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Delicate Blackthorn blossom.
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Blackbird.
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Barren Strawberry Flowers.
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River Ribble.
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Male Mallard.
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Robin.
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Ivy.
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Male Bullfinch.
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And another shot….just because it’s very rare that I manage to photograph a Bullfinch.  ๐Ÿ™‚
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First Butterfly sighting. A Small Tortoiseshell amongst the celandines.
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Wild Garlic Leaves.
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Wood Anemone.
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Spring Lamb.
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Mistle Thrush.

I also saw Sand Martins , back to reclaim their sandy nesting holes in the river bank, a male and a female Goosander flying down the Ribble and a tiny Goldcrest. I think I may do one post a month,following my wildlife sightings in this tiny corner of the world. ๐Ÿ™‚