My niece and nephew broke up for Summer last week so Hugo and I joined them and my sister for a wander along the River Wharfe. Our plan was to walk from Burnsall to Grassington , a pleasant riverside ramble. However we stopped so many times to admire butterflies, identify insects, look under stones for crayfish and watch waterbirds, that we didn’t make much headway on the timescale we had. Another time perhaps! However we had lots of fun along the way. I come from a nature loving family. 🙂
My 8 year old neice Imogen says that we all have our own talents at identifying things. She is good at insects, Roman knows his reptiles & snakes ( we didn’t see any! ), Auntie Shaz ( me) can name most flowers ( though I might need my blogging friends to help with a couple ) and my sister’s speciality subject is dog breeds. Ok then!
At the weekend we drove over to Ullswater ( about 20 minutes from our caravan in the Northern Lakes) and then on to the pretty lakeside village of Glenridding. Here we hopped onto one of the beautiful Ullswater Steamersfor a trip around the lake. Coincidentally the steamer service was celebrating its 160th Birthday! Colourful Bunting adorned these historic vessels and a grey morning turned into a lovely sunny day.
The steamers offer a hop on/ hop off service so we decided to dismount at Pooley Bridge for lunch. The newly painted Pooley Bridge Inn reminds me of a Swiss chalet. Ullswater itself flanked by Some of Britain’s highest mountains has been compared to the stunning lakes and mountains of Switzerland.
After a pootle about the village and Hugo’s obligatory paddle in the lake, we set back sail for Glenridding from Pooley Bridge Pier. The Steamers fleet has five vessels. It was our pleasure to travel back in M.Y Raven, she too was celebrating a Birthday, having been first launched on the 16th July 1889.
All the steamers have indoor and outdoor seating, toilets, serve coffee, teas and light refreshments and have fully licensed bars. Dogs are welcome onboard for a small charge.
I loved all the gorgeous wildflowers by the beck and the lake at Glenridding. Highlights were the swathes of vivid blue Vipers Bugloss and the sunshine yellow Monkey flowers.
Our lazy day on Ullswater finished with refreshments , sat outside The Glenridding Hotel which has a coffee shop called Let it Brew. I wasn’t really expecting such decadence when I ordered a milkshake. 😋
Thanks for bobbing by. Have you been messing about on boats lately?
This June is definitely not very similar to last year’s hot and dry ( almost flaming!) one. We’ve had rain here in the North West on most days this month. It does make enjoying wild moments that bit more challenging !
At the weekend we took Hugo for a walk round Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve in Clitheroe. As its name suggests, Salthill is a former quarry, now reclaimed by nature. As well as being geologically fascinating ( fossilised crinoids or Sea Lillie’s can be found here), the reserve is a haven for wildflowers and butterflies. The rain kept the insects away but lots of flowering plants to see including vibrant blue milkwort, ground spreading wild thyme and clusters of yellow rattle. I even got to sample a wild strawberry ( there are lots right now) , a tiny burst of flavour on my tongue. 🍓
On Sunday we travelled to Cumbria to visit family. On the way I couldn’t fail to notice all the many Ox -Eye Daisies blooming on the roadsides. I actually know them as Dog Daisies. They have many other names too including Moon Daisy, Midsummer Daisy, Bull Daisy and Marguerite. Daisy originates from ‘ Days Eye’ as their flowers open up to the sun. Apparently ‘That’s a Daisy’ was used as a phrase describing something good in the 1800s. Over the years that changed to ‘ That’s a Doozy’ .🌼
Monday was a rare sunny day and Hugo and I had an enjoyable walk. The rain has made everything so green! After spotting some open dandelions in the morning, I returned later to collect them ( after finding a recipe for Lemon & Dandelion biscuits on Pinterest) , only to find they had all turned into fluffy seed clocks by mid afternoon. Perhaps a blessing in disguise! 🍋
I treated myself to some Nature inspired reading this week. I remember my Gran having this book when I was growing up. ‘ The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ is just that, a beautifully illustrated chronicle of the flora and fauna that Edith Holden spotted when out and about ( often on her bicycle) in Warwickshire in 1906. An entry for June reads ~ Cycled through Widney : The Yellow Irises are out in the marsh there now, and at the edge of the stream I found the large blue Water For-get-me-not. While I was stooping to gather some, a beautiful Demoiselle Dragonfly came skimming across the water and lighted on a bunch of roses, the next moment it was away again. This book is really lovely to dip in and out of, I will be doing that alot I think. 🙂
Meanwhile in the back yard, my washing up views take in a succession of birds feeding their young. Sorry for the bad photo ( taken with my phone camera) of some coal tits and blue tits. They are loving the fat balls. So too is the jackdaw, who now brings a friend and knocks alot of crumbs to the ground. Luckily I have a fledgling blackbird visitor, who is enjoying the spoils.
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?
To ease my England V Sweden viewing angst, I thought I would write this post at the same time. Ha! I am a very nervy audience…
This morning I had a wander round one of my local town’s two Nature Reserves. Salthill Quarry has appeared on my blog a couple times, but as I haven’t visited for over twelve months, I thought I would drop by for a nosy. The Quarry is a designated SSSI because of its geological formations…but I was there for the flowers…and the butterflies. 🙂
The 7.00 hectare Nature Reserve has grassland and woodland habitats. I was certainly glad of a little shade. The sun beat down as I looked for betony, orchids and scabious. Some of the land was dry and parched. Still no sign of approaching rain here in the North West.
At the weekend we were blessed with actual warm sunshine and blue skies. On my walks with Hugo I took my camera along to record the abundance of wild flowers that had literally sprung up in the April sun rays.
I also saw my first butterflies of the season, a small tortoiseshell and a cabbage white, though still waiting to see my first swallow. Spring really has sprung….at last. 🙂
Here are my ‘Wild’ moments from the last few days of June. 🙂
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.
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. 😦 Most successful is our little bird feeding station. We now have bluetits and a Tree sparrow, as restaurant regulars. 🙂
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….
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. 🙂
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.
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