My sister, niece and nephew have never seen six-spotted burnet moths before, so as I have spied them flying around my local nature reserve, we decided to take a trip to Salthill Quarrythis morning. The weather here in the North West is hot and muggy, ideal it seems for butterfly spotting. Here is a small selection of what I managed to photograph, including the elusive and gloriously colourful Burnet Moths.
Whilst we were here we decided to use 15 minutes to take part in this year’s Big Butterfly Count. The idea is to note down what butterflies & moths you might see in your garden, local park, field or nature reserve and submit your findings online. It’s a nice way to spend a few minutes of your time and helpful to UK Butterfly conservation too. Here is what we saw.
Brown Ringlet – 4
Large White – 1
Small White – 2
Small Tortoiseshell ~ 1
Common Blue ~ 1
Six Spotted Burnet Moth ~ 4
Small Skipper ~ 6
There were other moths & butterflies too, some that we didn’t manage to photograph and from memory are finding hard to identify. Chasing Butterflies is a warm business, we decamped to a cafe for cooling icecream after. 😁
Will you be taking part in The Big Butterfly Count?
On Sunday we found ourselves on the Lancashire coast, sipping Nettle Beer and surrounded by vikings!
We drove to the sea, passing through the brackened moorland of the Trough Of Bowland.
Then on through Lancaster and toward Heysham, an ancient fishing port, now more widely known for it’s ferry terminal and power station.
We had decided upon Heysham as a dog-friendly beach destination. One that hopefully would not be too busy with daytrippers. Fellow blogger Christine had mentioned that the area has a Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, so we used it’s small free carpark and went for a wander.
Heysham Nature Reserve covers 17.00 Hectares of various habitats, leading down to a rocky beach, lorded over by a whopping big power station. Beauty can be found in industry. Numerous butterflies fluttered busily around the reserve, the shore was a sea of pretty purple, and snowy white egrets pecked for tasty morsels on the strandline.
Popular with dog walkers ,the nature reserve has walking trails, plenty of dog waste bins and even provides drinking water for thirsty hounds. There is a dog-free portion to explore too, for those of you who prefer to wildlife watch in relative peace. 😉 After our walk we ate a packed lunch at the small picnic area by the car park.
We then decided to drive round to Half Moon Bay on the other side of the ferry terminal. The car park here was very busy. It soon became apparent we were visiting Heysham on it’s annual Viking Festival Weekend! The cliff top walk into the village was teaming with tourists, admiring the far reaching views over Morecambe Bay. You can’t tell from my pictures how busy ( or warm! ) it actually was..
Heysham’s Viking history dates back 1000 years , with the grounds of St Peter’s Church in the village containing both Saxon and Viking remains. I wrote more about the area on a previous visit ~ Heysham and Half Moon Bay.
Once in the Village it was obvious that everyone had embraced the Viking connection!
Feeling rather thirsty at this point, I decided to try a glass of the local delicacy ‘Granny’s Home Brewed Nettle Drink’. After Wil and I visited Heysham last year, I was telling my Mum all about our day there, and it turns out Heysham holds many happy childhood seaside memories for her. One of those was drinking a non-alcoholic tonic called Nettle Beer. It turns out a well known local personality called Granny Hutchinson used to brew the drink in her cottage, using nettles found round and about. Today the old recipe has been passed down through the generations and is still on sale in Heysham’s cafes. Keen to sample this traditional fare, I bought a £1 glass of the unassuming brown liquid. It definitely has the Famous Five ‘lashings of ginger beer’ factor!
Below are a few photos from the Viking Festival.
We did not stop to long at the festival as it was incredibly warm, especially for Hugo. I’m not sure how the people in Viking costumes fared in the heat!
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.
I am pretty fortunate that my holidays fell at the beginning of Thirty Days Wild , so I don’t need to think too hard about what to post. I was staying on the wildlife rich Norfolk coast. 🙂
Day Seven. Rock Pools and Sea Holly. Today we decided to walk along the North Norfolk Coastal Path, from Hunstanton, where we were staying , to Thornham. About six miles or so. The beach at Hunstanton is full of rock pools, so I was hoping to see a starfish perhaps…or maybe a crab. No such luck! I think these guys had got their spoils before we even set off.
I loved the rocky beach at Hunstanton. I suspect If we had hunted more thoroughly we may have found more, but with a bouncy labrador sniffing out sea creatures, we couldn’t linger for too long.
As we neared the next village along the coast ‘Old Hunstanton’, the scenery changed to a perfect sandy beach, amongst the sand dunes.
I posted pictures of the many beautiful flowers growing between Old Hunstanton and neighboring Holme Next The Sea, in my last 30 Days Wild Post ,but here are a few more on the way to Thornham. 🙂
Approaching the village of Thornham, we came across a welcome coffee stop at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s base at Holme Dunes. A wooden walkway over the marshes then led us to the village, where we caught a handy Coast Hopper Bus back to Hunstanton.
Day Eight. Beach Huts and a Bee. I posted a separate post about today’s fantastic trip to see The Seals at Blakeney Point. Before that we had a lovely walk along the beach at Wells Next The Sea. A sudden short shower sent us fleeing to the porch of a vacant Beach Hut to shelter, and weather watch.
Day Nine. Our last day in lovely Norfolk. Sob! A quick early morning walk along the beach at Hunstanton, and I find a Heart shaped Pebble. I think this sums up our stay. We will return. X
Can I show you a few snaps from beautiful Brotherswater I took only yesterday. This is one of the smaller lakes in The Lake District and is situated in the eastern region of the Lakes.
There’s still time to join in with #30dayswild in June. If you fancy signing up and doing something wild every day next month, go to action.wildlifetrusts.org and join in with the challenge. Here are a few ideas for your Random Acts Of Wildness.
Sow some Wildflower seeds.
Identify a Bird Call.
Collect some Elderflowers and make a cordial orchampagne.
Tell the time with a Dandelion Clock.
Read a Nature Book outdoors.
Go Barefoot in the grass.
Play Pooh sticks in a stream.
Record the birds who visit your garden.
Visit a Nature Reserve.
Make a Bee Hotel.
Thanks for dropping by. Let me know if you are joining in with #30dayswild.
You may remember me mentioning in a previous post that I have decided to take up ‘The Wildlife Trusts’ #30dayswild challenge. The aim is to connect somehow with Nature and wildlife every day in June. Here is my progress so far.
Day One ~ Identify a Wild Flower. Using my Collins gem guide to wildflowers I found out that this cheery yellow riverside plant is called ‘Crosswort’. I had seen it a few times whilst walking the dog and didn’t know what it was. Its named for its cross formation of leaves apparently and flowers May-June. Don’t you just love Collins gem guides!
Day Two ~ Dog walk in the rain. Ok so I do walk Hugo everyday, rain or shine but owning a dog does get you out and about amongst nature. This walk is in our local park and Hugo being a labrador enjoys being out in all weathers. It was wet and wild! I picked up a couple of fir cones that had been blown off the trees and Hugo found more sticks than usual. 🙂
Day Three ~ Grow some herbs ~ Yep I cheated a bit here, buying these already growing herbs from the market. I transferred them into pretty pots and will relocate them in the garden when they get bigger.Tarragon goes well in meat dishes, Borage bares edible butterfly attracting flowers apparently and mint, mint can be used in a mojito! 😉
Day four ~ By the Brook. Thursday morning before work I sneaked off by myself to see what life I could find in and around a stream. I follow Mearley Brook quite often on my walks with Hugo, sometimes catching glimpses of Dipper, Heron and the blue jewelled gleam of a kingfisher. Today I wasn’t so lucky but I hope you like my pictures anyway.
Walking by the stream, just enjoying the fresh air and the gorgeous aroma of Hawthorn blossom ~ can only be good for the soul. 🙂 I saw a Mallard Drake and his Mrs enjoying a leisurely float and various small birds such as Long tailed tits, Great tits, Bluetits and a treecreeper hanging out in the hawthorn.
Sand martins have made their nests in the sandy banking and were darting about in a flurry of activity. I actually managed to get a ( blurry) picture of one ! The only other birds I managed to photograph were a pair of Grey wagtails, flashes of bright yellow enabling me to spy them amongst the stones. And another wild fragrance lingered from a patch of Water mint growing nearby.
Day Five ~ Pick a bunch of Wild flowers. So technically I did cheat as I gathered this small bunch of cow parsley on my Mearley Brook walk yesterday. But I am still enjoying the pretty blossoms that resemble lace umbrellas. In fact Cow Parsley is also known as ‘Queen Annes Lace’. I added a couple of buttercups too for a touch of colour. Both of these wild flowers are plentiful in meadows, grass verges and wasteland at this time of year. I think I may continue to pick a few choice blooms over the summer now. 🙂
So I have completed five days of the challenge. Hurrah! Let me know if you are joining in so I can follow your random acts of wildness. 🙂
You may have heard that the Wildlife Trust is encouraging everyone to go a little bit wild this June! So I thought I would try and participate in their new #30dayswild challenge. I’ve signed up quite late ( still waiting for my pack) but the general gist of the campaign is to get people to make nature a part of their everyday life. Each day in June the aim is to spend a little time appreciating wildlife, nature and the great outdoors. This could be something as simple as spending a few minutes sowing some seeds one day, feeding the birds another day, climbing a tree, paddling in a stream etc etc. I probably won’t climb a tree. Maybe I will hug one instead!
Here are a few ideas that I hope to try.
Make a daisy chain.
Play Poohsticks in a stream.
Use a wild plant such as elderflowers or wild garlic in a recipe.
Paddle in a stream.
Identify some types of cloud.
Go for a picnic.
Chase a butterfly.
Take my Ladybird book ‘What to look for in Summer’ out and about and see how much our Great Outdoors has changed since it was published in the 1950s.
Visit a local Nature Reserve.
I hope to document what I get up to on Instagram and twitter and of course on this blog. Look for #30dayswild on Twitter if you fancy joining in too. 🙂 Or check out this link.
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 16 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