Tag Archives: Wildlife

Salthill Quarry Local Nature Reserve.

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. πŸ™‚

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.

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Roses on the way to the reserve.
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And a Painted Lady on Buddleia.
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Into the Woods.
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A Swallow-Tailed Moth ~ I think..
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Speckled Wood.
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Feeling parched.
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Hmmm Spray painter, if your going to do this , at least do a neat job! This is the Crinoid Seat that looks across to Pendle Hill.
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Lady’s Bedstraw.
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Orchids.
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Almost hidden ~ a blue damselfly.
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Marjoram.
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Scabious.
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Under the Umbels.
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Brown Ringlet.
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Harebell.
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Green Damselfly , maybe?
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Six-spotted Burnett Moth.

Feeling slightly calmer now. …

Thanks for accompanying me on a wander round Salthill Quarry Local Nature Reserve.

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Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ June.

Phew! What do you think of the Hot Hot weather we are experiencing here in the UK at the moment? I am definitely not used to this kind of heat. I find myself only truly enjoying the temperatures either early in the morning or after 8 at night. Reaches for a tub of Ben & Jerrys! Here are my photos for this month’s Scavenger Hunt….

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Yellow. I was definitely tempted to post a flower picture here, but instead chose this photo of band member Holly Ross of The Lovely Eggs on stage at Break In The Clouds Festival ,

which we went to last weekend. Not everyone can rock the colour Yellow…but I think she can. πŸ™‚

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Starts with a T. Has to be this Tiger I saw chilling in the sunshine at Blackpool Zoo a few weeks ago.

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Lilac. My Mum’s garden was buzzing with insects when we visited earlier in June. I forgot to ask her what flower this was. Any gardeners know the name of it, feel free to let me know. πŸ™‚

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Starts with a G. Back to Blackpool Zoo and a group of Giraffes. Apparently a Group of Giraffes is called a Tower. πŸ™‚

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Silver. After checking on the #30dayswild facebook group, I discovered that this busy moth I photographed in Gisburn Forest is called a Silver Y Moth. You can’t really see on this photo , but it has silver y-shaped markings on its forewings.

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My Own Choice. Cute socks worn by my goddaughters at the festival we went to at the weekend.

Thanks for dropping by and stay cool…X

Flora, Fauna and a Festival in a Forest.

I haven’t just been spending my time yomping up hills recently. At the weekend Wil and I joined some friends at the annual Cloudspotting Festival in Gisburn Forest, a popular family-friendly Arts & Music festival, set in the heart of the beautiful Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.

As this year’s festival was actually on a smaller scale than usual, with two nights camping and one full day devoted to fun events for all the family plus some great Live Bands, it was called A Break In The Clouds. Being my first ever experience of Cloudspotting, I wasn’t sure what to expect!

Apart from the early evening midgie beasts ( we were in a forest after all) , I loved it. When I wasn’t participating in laughter yoga, noshing on yummy festival food, drinking cider in the Bitter Suite Bar, listening to storytelling by the campfire or dancing along to Sweet Baboo’s psychedelic floor- filling tunes, I was chasing butterflies in the surrounding wildflower meadows. 😁

Our friends daughters ( aged 7 and 8 ) had a wonderful time too. There was plenty going on for kids including Forest School, The Highway Rat Trail and Interactive Theatre ‘ The Sorrowful Stag’ . What was lovely about ‘A Break In The Clouds’ was the chilled friendly vibe. It felt very safe and allowed the kids a rare degree of independence, that children don’t get to experience so much these days.

Here are a few images that myself and my friend Fiona took. 😊

Cloudspotting Hen Harrier.
Wildflower Meadow.
Bronte & Lydia.
Festival Footwear.
Silver Y Moth.
The Sorrowful Stag.
The Sorrowful Stag.
Festival Food.
Common Spotted Orchids.
Holistic Therapy Trailer.
The Green Canteen.
Damselfly.
Small Skipper.
Forest Camp Fire.
Festival Thoughts Tree.
Headliners, Lancaster Band ~ The Lovely Eggs.
A Break In The Clouds. πŸ™‚

The Cloudspotting Festival is set to return in it’s fuller form in 2019. πŸ™‚

Are you off to any festivals this Summer?

A Walk up Whernside.

After being dragged ( almost kicking and screaming πŸ˜‰ ) up Ingleborough (one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks) , I actually do now feel compelled to conquer the other two.

So on Sunday , Whernside was our destination. At 736 m ,Whernside is the highest of the three. The weather didn’t look to promising as we made our way by car over to Ingleton. Cloudy, drizzly and blustery, the conditions were certainly not reminiscent of the hot sunny day we climbed nearby Ingleborough.

We parked near Ribblehead Viaduct , which is a popular starting point for the walk. Happily there is plenty of roadside parking there. We donned our waterproofs and met our friends , including my 6 year old god daughter Bronte, all set to climb her 3rd peak. Before her 7th birthday!

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Ribble Head Viaduct.

The impressive Ribblehead Viaduct was completed in 1874. Its twenty four arches made for a stunning start to our ten mile circular walk.

Ribble Head Viaduct.

We followed the Settle to Carlisle Railway for some way , passing a railway hut and an abandoned railway house.

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Blea Moor Railway Hut.
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Foxgloves.

I always keep an eye out for wildlife on any walk, so it was lovely to see lots of clumps of foxgloves and hear the melodic calls of curlews. We even heard a cuckoo. πŸ™‚

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Beck.
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Force Gill Waterfall.
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Blea Moor Tunnel.

So far, so good. The walk had been pretty easy so far. The weather wasn’t sure what it was doing though. Black clouds were soon upon us and more blustery showers as we started the gradual climb to the summit. But then a peek of blue sky, and I for one, was to warm to keep my jacket on!

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Greensett Tarn.

A resting point ( Hurrah!) gave us lovely views of a small mountain tarn. We wondered what would live in such an isolated place…..

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And then it was a yomp up to the Trig Point. To me , walking up Whernside was lots easier than our previous of the Three Peaks, Ingleborough. Our friend D had chosen the most comfortable route, a gradual ascent that included stone slab steps and an almost level path. The weather too, was a lot cooler.

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Trig Point. We made it !

At the summit of Whernside , we met a few more walkers all pleased to have made it to the top. We ate a packed lunch and there was even homemade liver cake for the dogs. Thanks Fiona!

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The descent with Ingleborough in front of us.

From the top we had great views of both Ingleborough and Pen Y Ghent, as well as Ribblehead, and even towards the Sea. We walked across the top of the mountain and then started our steep descent. I was thankful we hadn’t taken this route up! Still, a few of us did end up on our bums. πŸ™‚

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Looking back towards Whernside.

The longest part of our walk, was probably the journey back to Ribblehead, which passes through a couple of farms and wild flower meadows.

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Bunk Barn Accomodation.
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Sheep near a rocky cave that the girls discovered.
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Bel the Bedlington looking towards Ribblehead.

Once back at the viaduct we stopped to admire the stone that commemorates the builders who restored the railway bridge in the 1990s, as well as the Navvies who toiled to constuct it, a century earlier.

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So, time to celebrate! We drove a couple of miles along the road to the cosy shelter of The Old Hill Inn near Ingleton.

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Bronte and her friend Tabby enjoyed chocolate brownies and the rest of us tucked into a delicious Apricot Frangipane tart. 😁

Apparently if you are skinny enough to shimmy through the spokes of the giant cartwheel above, you are skinny enough to go pot holeing. Umm I’ll stick to eating cake. πŸ˜‰

Congratulations to Bronte, Tabby and Fiona who on this day walked up their third and final of the Three Peaks! I’m sure they will now be aiming to climb all three in one day. 😁. As for me, next stop Pen Y Ghent, so watch this space….

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.

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

Beacon Fell Country Park ~ Chipping, Lancashire.

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Orme Sight Sculpture.

Beacon Fell Country Park in the beautiful Forest of Bowland area of Lancashire is not that far from where I live, yet it is somewhere we rarely visit. I think that will change this year, now that we have discovered what a fab afternoon out, this popular Country Park is. After picking up my niece and nephew and demoting Mr Hugo to the boot, we set off from Clitheroe to the village of Chipping and beyond, passing Bowland Forest Gliding Club and Blacksticks Lane ~ which immediately made me think of the Lancashire cheese. 😊

The park has several car parks, the main one having a cafe and visitor centre and a small parking charge. After piling out of the car, we set off to explore. There are several sculptures dotted round Beacon Fell. In hindsight we should have bought a 20p map from the visitor centre, as is the usual case with sculpture trails, we failed to spot them all.

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Violets.
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Tree Creeper. πŸ™‚

Beacon Fell Country Park is a mixture of heather moorland at the summit and spruce woodland ,so is a rich haven for wildlife. There are numerous walking trails and the blue Fellside trail may also be used by mountain bikers and horse riders. The weekend we visited was very busy with families and dog walkers, so we failed to spy the area’s native roe deer. I imagine at quieter times, there is probably lots more to see. I settled for a photo of a camera shy kestrel. 😊

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Camera shy Kestrel.
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Lizard Love Seat.

The views from Beacon Fell’s Summit ( 266m high) are lovely all around. From the Bowland Fells you can glimpse the Lancashire coastline and on a bright day, the skies are generously big.

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The Summit.
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Top of the park.
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Golden Gorse.

On our future return we will be sure to look out for a heron, a walking snake , a living willow deer and a black tiger. We did at least spot a dragonfly, he isn’t on the map! There is also a tarn to discover, which apparently buzzes with real dragonflies….

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After a couple of hours of climbing trees, wildlife spotting and throwing sticks for Hugo ( his ball on a rope ended up tangled round a tree branch as usual 🀣) ,we had a drink at the cafe and a quick look in the visitor centre. We all agreed a return trip is a must!