Tag Archives: spring

Hawthorns Scavenger Hunt ~ Signs Of Spring. 🌻🌼

Kate’s words for this week are ~

Signs of Spring/ Signs of Autumn.

Hopeful window display in a local travel agent.

I thought I would stick with the Spring prompt, even though the temperatures have taken a dip again. The season is awakening slowly. By this time last year I had noticed more wild flowers and blossom than I have so far in 2021.

However I have spied some Spring flowers on recent wanders. πŸ™‚

Celandine.

The Lesser Celandine is a cheery yellow flower with glossy heart shaped leaves. Celandines are mentioned in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and Wordsworth has written three poems about them.

Cherry Plum Blossom.

Flowering before all the other blossoms is the Cherry Plum which bares it’s fruit in August. I have confused this with Blackthorn in the past, but the flowers appear even earlier. So pretty.

Red flowering currant.

I notice this Red Flowering Currant every year but I haven’t been able to find out much about the shrub. I don’t recall it ever baring any currants either. The pink blooms are very vibrant.

Daffodils in bud.

The golden trumpets of the Daffodil herald the start of Spring. Daffodils are the national flower of Wales, the inspiration for Wordsworth’s most famous poem and are even the name of a Mark Ronson dance track.

Primrose.

Who doesn’t love the pretty Primrose , its name derives from the Latin primula vulgaris meaning First Rose. Primroses are meant to bring luck to keepers of chickens! A flower to plant around the hen hut.

Crocuses.

Crocuses in St Mary’s churchyard looking almost like a fairyring. A vibrant Spring flower associated with love, success and cheerfulness. ❀️

What signs of Spring have you noticed ?

I am linking up to Kate’s Blog today.

A Wander To Wiswell. 🌼

After studying our O S maps, ( Wil is better at this than me πŸ€—) we found another walk from home, using footpaths we were not previously aware of. For this dear lockdown 3, I am grateful…

We plotted a route to the village of Wiswell and back via Barrow village and Standen Hey community woodland. The weather on Sunday was clear and bright, spring was definitely detected. On our walk we heard woodpeckers drumming, curlews calling and saw buzzards soaring. I noticed a solitary tortoishell butterfly and spied sunny clumps of primroses and celandines.

Heading out of Clitheroe to cross the busy A59.
And on into fields in the shadow of Pendle.
Hugo was happy to find a brook.
Plank bridge.
A huge house, actually newly built.
And into Wiswell village.
Hugo at the watering hole.:)
Wiswell.

Wiswell is a small village that lies at the foot of Wiswell Moor. Pronounced Wizzel, the settlement is possibly named after Old Molly’s Well , which became known as Wise Woman’s Well or Wise Well. We didn’t see the well though. Anyhow we sat and enjoyed a flask of coffee in the village centre a while. A greenfinch merrily chirruped in a nearby Conifer.

Greenfinch. πŸ™‚
The Freemasons public house ~ definitely on our list for future pub walks.
Heading away from Wiswell to Barrow.
Early plum blossom?
Berkins Deli in Barrow.

We got a bit lost in Barrow trying to find footpaths that had been either blocked off or diverted because of new housing development. Eventually we found ourselves on the right track, crossing a train track..

Safely across.
An unsuccessful selfie with Hugo.
Onto a familiar path, the old Roman road and stone cross base.
Community woodland.
Primrose.
Celendines.
Catkins.
Crocuses.
Alpaca πŸ¦™ on the outskirts of Clitheroe.

This walk was a little over 8 miles , started off chilly and ended up quite warm.

Os Explorer Map West Pennine Moors 287.

Bird Count, Elfcups & Snowdrops.

The weekends activities included the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Hurrah! Something to do, and really quite ideal for lockdown. I must admit though I didn’t have the most exciting hour. My newly filled feeders seemed to be regarded with suspicion by the resident sparrows. Not one bird ventured from the foliage behind the garden shed. What was going on!

Nowt going on at the feeding station.
Female House Sparrow.

I counted 8 sparrows during the sixty minutes I sat glued to the window, camera at the ready. For all that time they mostly stayed hidden in the ivy. Then about five minutes before my hour was up I noticed a much bigger bird had landed in the greenery. It was mostly obscured but I noticed a long speckled tail through the leaves. It wasn’t a pigeon! Then suddenly it flew higher and all was revealed. A sparrowhawk! No wonder my little feathered visitors were staying away from the food. They didn’t intend to be food themselves.

Sorry to say I didn’t get a photo of my raptor visitor. Think I was in shock. 😲 But I have added Sparrowhawk to my birdcount results for the first time ever.

Meanwhile my sister and family were doing the birdcount at the same time as me. I usually join them but unfortunately not this year. πŸ˜” They had a really successful hour with Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tits, Pheasants, Kestrel and a Wren included in the final tally. πŸ™‚

Not all eyes are on the cake!
Long Tailed Tits galore.

After lunch Wil, Hugo and I headed out for a walk from Clitheroe , taking in the fields and River Ribble near Waddow Hall. Plenty of wildlife out this afternoon and an enjoyable 4 mile ramble from home and back.

Scarlet Elf cups.
Scarlet Elf cups.

I was delighted to find some Scarlet Elf Cups, such vibrant pops of colour in the winter landscape. They are also called Red Cups, Moss Cups and Fairies Baths. In folklore Wood Elves drink morning dew from them. Scarlet Elf Cups are most commonly found on mossy decaying branches on the woodland floor.

Robin.
Snowdrops.

I saw plenty of Snowdrops in people’s front gardens today , it was also nice to see some wild ones too. A real sign that Spring is on the way. ❀️

Finger post.
Brungerley Bridge.
Female Goosander.
Male Goosander.

I wouldn’t like to admit to having a favourite water bird ( I love to see them all) , but if you insist, I would probably say the Goosander . I always smile when I see these sawbilled ducks on the river, the female especially with her nut brown quiff . They are super adorable πŸ’–.

Smokey Polypore fungi…maybe.

Thanks for dropping by. Let me know if you have done the Birdwatch, seen Snowdrops or walked anywhere this weekend. πŸ₯ΎπŸ¦

Dean Clough Reservoir Walk.

On Saturday we drove ten minutes out of town for our permitted socially distanced exercise. It’s the first time I have left Clitheroe in six weeks. Wil still drives to Blackburn for work five days a week, so he wasn’t as excited to be out in the car as I was. It’s been a while! Anyway I think the change of scenery did me good. Apart from the odd dog walker, it was fairly quiet at Dean Clough Reservoir, a pretty body of water above York village near Whalley. We parked in a lay by outside the village and soon found the footpath that leads down to the reservoir.

At this time of year the golden yellow gorse flowers are all in bloom, giving off a heavenly coconut fragrance. There were bees buzzing round bugles and I saw my first swallows of the year.

In a few weeks the Yellow Flag Irises will come into flower, for now they are letting the marsh marigolds and cuckoo flowers take all the glory.

On the water we saw various birds including cormorant, Canada geese, mallards and this gorgeous Great Crested Grebe.

Instead of following the path around the reservoir we took another trail up to some rocky outcrops and admired the views for a little while. Butterflies fluttered by in a gentle spring time breeze.

We took the path back into York which is a small hamlet with a nice looking pub called the Lord Nelson. Hopefully it will open back up in the coming months. Spied some belties at a nearby farm.

Back where we had parked the car, this was our view! A rather large man standing on a small hill.

It’s a sculpture of some kind but I haven’t been able to find any information online about why it’s there. In the future will have to walk up to it for a closer look. 😁

Thanks for reading & stay safe. x

Seven days of wildflowers. 🌸

For the past seven days I’ve chosen a wild flower that I’ve seen on my daily walk with Hugo, and found out a few facts about each flower.

Saturday ~ Bluebell. There’s nothing more stunning than a carpet of bluebells in the Spring. I saw clumps of these gorgeous violet blue flowers on a walk today through a patch of woodland by the river. Here are a few facts about bluebells.

Other names for Bluebell include Wild Hyacinth, Wood Bell, Granfer Giggle, Witches Thimble, Cuckoo’s Boot, Bell Bottle and Lady’s Nightcap.

It is against the law to pick, uproot or intentionally destroy bluebells.

Bluebells can also be pink or white.

The bluebell is the flower of St George.

In folklore fairies ring the bells to gather together their fairy kin. If humans hear blue bells ring however, disaster will befall them. 😬

Sunday ~ Cowslip. There are lots of cowslips in bloom at the local nature reserve in Salthill Quarry. They tend to thrive in meadows, dry grassy banks, grass verges and in open woodland. Here are a few cowslip facts.

Cowslip apparently means cow pat! It has been noted that the flowers spring up around where cows have ‘slupped’.

Tea made from the flowers can be used to help cure headaches and insomnia.

In countryside tradition cowslips were strewn along the church path at weddings and put in May Day garlands.

Other names for cowslip include Bunch of Keys, Lady’s fingers, Yellowdrops , Freckled Face & Fairies Flower.

Cowslips are the food of the Duke of Burgundy caterpillar.

Monday ~ Germander Speedwell. These little beauties were growing amongst a patch of primroses next to Mearley Brook. I love the bright blue colour of speedwells. πŸ’™ Here are a few facts about the Germander Speedwell.

Other names that speedwells go by include Birds Eye and Cats Eye.

The flowers are a good luck charm for travellers. A speedwell worn in a button hole will ‘ speed you well ‘ on your journey.

The speedwells Latin name is Veronica Chamaedrys. It is said that a St Veronica wiped Christ’s forehead on the way to his crucifixion and an image of Jesus’s face was left imprinted on the cloth she used. Speedwell flowers resemble little faces.

In Germany speedwells are also known as ‘ mannertreu ‘ or ‘ men’s faithfulness ‘. Ironically the flowers wilt very quickly once picked.

In ancient medicine speedwells were used to cure many ailments especially coughs and congestion.

Tuesday ~ Yellow Archangel. As well as bluebells, the woodland floor near Standen Hall is covered in a hooded spring flower , the Yellow Archangel. Though I prefer to call it by one of its other names, the Yellow weasel snout. πŸ™‚

Although it is a member of the Dead-Nettle family, the Yellow Archangel doesn’t sting.

If you want to know what a weasel smells like, crush the plants leaves. The rank aroma will give you some idea apparently.

The Yellow Archangel flowers near the 27th of April, a day dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

The flower has been used in the past to protect cattle against a black magic disease.

Red Dead-Nettles and White Dead-Nettles are closely related to their yellow flowered cousin.

Wednesday ~ Wild Garlic. An indicator of ancient woodland, this time of year is ideal for foraging the leaves of ramsons or wild garlic. They can also flower on roadside verges, where I saw the above. Here are some facts about Wild Garlic.

Wild garlic leaves and flowers can be used in many recipes including garlic scones and wild garlic pesto.

The plant is also known as Bear Garlic. It’s Latin name is Allium Ursinum ( bear leek). On the continent brown bears like to feast on the leaves.

Cats are apparently repelled by the smell of wild garlic.

In Ireland wild garlic bulbs were put into the thatched roofs of cottages for good luck.

If you forage wild garlic leaves , do not confuse with the similar looking Lily of the valley, which is highly toxic and should not be eaten. The best way to know your garlic is to check with your nose.

Thursday ~ Bugle. Down by the brook I spied several bugles. They can be found in damp grassland and woodland.

The Bugles Latin name is Ajuga reptans. Reptans means creeping & crawling, rather like how the plant spreads on underground runners.

The sixteenth century physician and naturalist William Turner described the plant as ‘ a black herb that groweth in moist ground and shadowy places’. It was used in ancient medicine to stop bleeding.

Bugles are popular with bees and butterflies.

The herb was made into a tea in Austria to help with respiratory conditions.

Friday ~ Red Campion. Today’s flower is pretty in pink , one of the first pink blooms of Spring. Red campions grow on woodland edges, in hedgerows and fields. These were by Mearley Brook. Here are some facts about Red Campion.

Red campion is also known by the names of Adder Flower, Red Catchfly and Robin Hood.

On the continent Red Campion are a scorpion scarer! Scorpions are not fond of red campions , throwing one at a scorpion renders it’s sting useless apparently. Don’t think I would want to try this out!

In fairy folklore Red campion is said to have been used by fairy folk to protect their honey stores.

Another name for the pink flower is Bachelor s Button, perhaps the flower was worn in single fellows button holes at country weddings, once upon a time.

Red campions roots were once used as a substitute for soap.

Of course every day more and more flowers appear! It’s so lovely to see them on my daily walks. What wild flowers have you noticed this week?

Early April ~ Wildflowers On A Walk.

We are quite lucky in our small town that we are within easy walking distance of countryside. The river Ribble is best followed on foot if you want to spy the wildflowers that are springing up everywhere. Wildlife just keeps calm and carries on. πŸ™‚

River Ribble towards West Bradford Bridge.

Marsh marigolds often to be found near water. They are also called King Cups.

Pretty in pink Cuckoo Flowers herald the return of Spring…and the Cuckoo. Also called Ladies Smock and milkmaid.

Lots of Butterbur on the Riverside. In the past its large heart shaped leaves were used to wrap butter.

Primroses, Wood Anemone and Celandines.

Although some people have spotted otters here in Clitheroe, I have never seen a real one locally. Keep hoping!

Colts Foot.

Dog Violets. πŸ™‚

Pied Wagtail. There were a few darting round the river.

Wood Anemone. Saw lots of these bonnie white flowers carpeting woody areas.

Catkins.

Just too pretty not to photograph. Snakes Head Fritillaries in a front garden on the way home.

This walk was yesterday’s. What wildlife have you spotted recently?

Spring !

Spring Lambs.

Getting out and about in the fresh air is one of my greatest pleasures. I’m just thankful it’s something I’m still able to do in these strangest of times. Happily the sun has decided to shine this weekend so I took my camera on some local walks.

Coltsfoot flowers and leaves can be dried and used to make a tea that gives relief from coughs and congestion apparently.

Grey Squirrel

Female Blackbird.

The primrose is the ‘ first rose’ of Spring.

Feral Pigeon.

Cherry Blossom.

Goldfinch.

Pussy Willows.

Dogs Mercury.

Blackthorn. The blossom arrives before the leaves.

Daffodils with Pendle Hill in the very distance.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and well. ❀️

Three Things ~ February.

Here’s a short blog post idea I found over on Bev’s blog. Hopefully now we are in March, I will try and post a little more!

Three Things I Liked In February.

1. Snowdrops. A welcome sign of Spring in the wettest February ever.

2. Watching Kiefer Sutherland’s band play at King George’s Halls with some friends. He comes across as a really nice guy, just like his character in Designated Survivor on Netflix, which I’m also watching.

3. Visiting my local Everyman Cinema. I’ve sneeked away for a couple of week day matinees at the new picture house in town. Watched both Emma and Like A Boss recently.

Kiefer Sutherland at King George’s Hall. Like a movie star actually came to Blackburn!

Three Things I’m Looking forward to in March.

1. Some dry weather. Need to get out of my wellies!

2. Spending some time at the caravan. We are up there in eleven days, and I really cannot wait!

3. Spring!!

Three Vegetables I eat the most.

1. Potatoes. 2. Cherry tomatoes. 3. Carrots.

Three items that are always on my groceries list.

1. Petfood. 2. Peanut butter ( my guilty pleasure on toast…. sometimes with marmite…eeeek) 3. Tin tomatoes.

Three Things we go through like crazy in my house. 1. Washing powder ( mostly for washing Hugo’s bedding and towels, especially in this weather). 2. Scented Candles. 3. Wild bird food.

Three things I always make time for.

1. Cuddles with my fur babies.

2. Recording wildlife I see in my Nature Diary.

3. I hope I make enough time to see friends & family, but I feel I need to be better at this.

Three Things I never make time for.

1. Pampering myself. I should really.

2. Going to the gym. Erm nope!

3. Meditation. My mind would wander. πŸ™‚

Blackthorn blossom, a harbinger of Spring. πŸ™‚

Thanks for dropping by. ❀️

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?