Tag Archives: Wildlife

30 Days Wild ~ Days 17 to 22. Swan babies and water for bees.

These past few days have been pretty hot weather-wise, with temperatures even hitting thirty degrees,  here in the North West. Here are my latest ‘Wild Moments.’ πŸ™‚

Day 17 ~  Bonnie Babies.  On a shopping trip in Skipton , I came across these beautiful babies. πŸ™‚ Four gorgeous silvery cygnets with their proud parents. Talk about adorable. The Mute Swan pair didn’t seem threatened by the humans gathered at the canal side. Maybe they were showing off their bundles of joy. πŸ™‚ It is said that Mute Swans mate for life and usually have one brood a year, between March and June.


Day 18 ~ Breakfast with the Birds….and Squirrels.  This morning I decided to take my breakfast to the castle grounds ( a drink and a cereal bar, no less! ) and sit near where some kind soul leaves bird seed for the park’s population. I counted 2 Jackdaw, 1 Wood Pigeon, 3 Dunnock, 2 House Sparrow, a Robin, 2 Bluetits, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Blackbirds and three Grey Squirrels, in the half hour I was there. Here in the Ribble Valley, as in most of the country, it is the Grey Squirrel that has taken precidence , over our native Reds. In fact the Grey’s carry a disease that will destroy any Red Squirrels, they come into contact with. 😦 Later in the week I read an article about a ‘Gun toting Granny’ in Cumbria , who shoots Grey Squirrels from her car window. I hope someday soon , a vaccine can be developed to protect the tufty reds..

 

20170618_194345
Harlequin Hatchling.

Day 19 ~ I D an Insect.  Another HOt Hot day.      Saw quite a few of these unusual looking insects with orange markings. They were sat on the leaves of some garden escape forget-me-nots, near where I live.  Anyway after a quick look online, I found out that they are the larvae of the Harlequin ladybird.  Harlequins are apparently an invasive ( yikes, more invaders! )ladybird species originally from Japan, first turning up on our shores in 2004. The larvae like to gollop up not only aphids, but insects too, including other ladybirds larvae. So maybe not so happily co-existing with our native species. 😦

Day 20 ~ Water for the Bees.  Bees and other insects need  a fresh water supply , especially in hot weather.  Taking inspiration from a few other #30dayswilders , I filled a saucer with marbles and stones and poured in some water. Bees can rest on the marbles whilst taking a sip and there is less danger of them drowning, than if I just simply put a saucer of water out.

bluetit 001

Day 21 ~Fledgling Visitors.  Until today my only visitor to our bird feeders, has been a solitary bluetit. This morning she brought two fledglings along!  A happy moment. There was lots of chirping as she tried to persuade her two offspring to investigate the half coconut shell. Eventually one of her babies had a go. Hopefully they will all continue visiting. πŸ™‚

 

Day 22 ~ Blissed Out. A very grey drizzley morning. But look who loves the weather! I must admit I felt a bit fed up as we started our daily venture into the fields. But just seeing how Hugo embraces the outdoors, always makes me smile. πŸ™‚

 

0ff camping tommorrow, so fingers crossed that the sunshine reappears. β™‘

 

 

 

 

 

30 Days Wild ~ Days 10 to 16. Wild-rose petal jam and a walk in the centre of Britain.Β 

Back to my own neck of the woods  now, the lovely Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Here are my wild moments from the last seven days. πŸ™‚

20170611_183633

 

 

 

 

Day 10 ~ The Running Hare. I have started reading this charming book by John Lewis Stempel. It is  the story of how a farmer attempts to transform a bare ,almost barren meadow , into a haven for the kind of wildlife that would frequent a field, if it wasn’t for the intensive farming methods used  today. This book takes me back to my own childhood, growing up on a farm, when  hare and partridges, lapwing and field mice were much more commonplace  than they are today. I hope he succeeds…

 

Day 11 ~ Wild Rose-Petal Jam. The hedgerows are full of fragrant Wild Rose shrubs , so I thought I would follow this recipe and make Rose- Petal Jam.

2 Cups Wild Rose Petals.

2 Cups Caster Sugar.

1 tbsp Orange juice.

1 tbsp Lemon juice.

Half a cup of Water.

Dissolve two cups of caster sugar in half a cup of water mixed with one tablespoon each of lemon juice and orange juice. Stir in the rose petals and put the pan over a very low heat. Stir continuously for 30 minutes, or until the petals have ‘melted’. Cool the mixture and pour into a small glass jar and seal. Rose-Petal jam is popular in the Middle East , especially with yoghurt.

The recipe worked, though took an awful lot of stirring. Also the jam is incredibly sweet, so I think if I make it again, I would lessen the amount of sugar used.


IMG_20170611_115256_689

 

Day 12 ~  Feeding the Birds.  Wil very kindly made this hanger for the bird feeders at the weekend. Much less precarious than having them swing about on the washing line! One visitor has taken to the Coconut shell filled with cooked fat and seeds.A bluetit ! Hopefully more will follow. πŸ™‚

20170613_184517
Meadow Cranesbill.

Day 13 ~  Wildflower Count. My blogger pal  Christine has posted on Facebook about an online Wildflower survey organized by Plantlife  , so I thought I would give it a go on today’s dog walk. Hugo and I followed Mearley Brook through the fields and then on to the River Ribble. I ticked off only 7 of the suggested flowers, which  was a little disappointing . But there were a few I spotted that were not on the list, such as Red Campion, Crosswort, Silverweed and Water Forget-me-not. I also saw the shiny copper coloured beetle below. Let me if know you take part…


 

20170613_184602
Possibly a Garden Chafer.

Day 14 ~ Meadow Grasses.  Flowers are beautiful, but have you ever noticed how pretty wild grasses are?  On an early morning walk with Hugo, I passed through a farmer’s field, which I think is waiting to be mown. Here are just a few of the different grasses that I very quickly took pictures of with my phone. Hugo loves racing trails through this meadow. We ended up soaked with dew and covered in grass seeds. πŸ™‚

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Day 15 ~ Wildflower Seedlings. It looks like the seeds I received in my #30dayswild pack from The Wildlife Trusts are sprouting in my flower bed. Either that or a variety of weeds. I am intrigued to see what we end up with!

Dunsop Valley 016

Day 16 ~  A walk in the centre of the Kingdom.  Did you know the exact Centre of the UK is in Lancashire?  National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones , to be exact!  The nearest village is the pretty Bowland settlement of Dunsop Bridge. We parked our car in the village car park and walked up the track adjacent PuddleDuck Tearooms, past the playground and into the Dunsop Valley. Here are a few photos of the wildlife we saw on our walk.

Dunsop Valley 006
A Willow warbler, I think.
Dunsop Valley 004
Thistle.
Dunsop Valley 008
Heath Bedstraw.
Dunsop Valley 022
Pied Wagtail.
Dunsop Valley 024
Mallards.
Dunsop Valley 023
Elderflower.
Dunsop Valley 026
Common Spotted Orchids.
Dunsop Valley 020
Grey Wagtail.
Dunsop Valley 002
Foxglove.
Dunsop Valley 030
Eyebright.
Dunsop Valley 034
Mistle Thrush, I think !

After our ramble we had earned coffee and cake at Puddleducks!  A tearoom complete with ducks on the Village Green. πŸ™‚

Dunsop Valley 001
Puddleducks , Dunsop Bridge.

Whoo I think that means we are just over halfway through ’30 Days Wild’ now. I just need to think of some ideas for the next 14 days!  All suggestions welcome. πŸ™‚
 

 

 

 

 

30 Days Wild ~ Days 7 to 9. Seaside fun.

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.  πŸ™‚

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.

norfolk 197
Hugo amongst the dunes.
norfolk 049
The Strandline is a beautiful gift shop in Old Hunstanton. The owner, an artist,is inspired to create by the scenery, seasons and nature here.

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. πŸ™‚

norfolk 204
Sea Holly.
norfolk 212
An orchid I believe.
norfolk 207
Any ideas? Maybe Annual Sea Blite.

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.

norfolk 211

norfolk 218
Shelduck.

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.

norfolk 264
Beach Huts at Wells.
norfolk 259
Sheltering with Hugo.
norfolk 242
The sun came out again so here’s a Bumble Bee on a Viper’s Bugloss.

 

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

IMG_20170609_095555_613

Thanks for dropping by. X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#30dayswild:)

Water Mint by Mearley Brook.
A refreshing Mint Tea !

Hey there, I thought I would do one quick #30dayswild post before I go on my jollies to Norfolk tommorrow. Its a bit of a cheat because I actually collected the mint yesterday afternoon. But I did make the tea this morning. I had a refreshing wild moment. πŸ™‚

All I did was steep the leaves in hot ( not boiling) water for about 5 minutes and pour into a teacup. I don’t like my mint tea to sweet so didn’t add sugar. Water Mint tea has a pepperminty taste and I must say, I really enjoyed it. 

Look out for Water Mint by streams. You will probably smell it’s minty fragrance first!  At the moment you can identify Water Mint by its green leaves tinted with purple. From July there will be lilac flowers to admire too. πŸ™‚

If you haven’t heard about The Wildlife Trusts #30dayswild yet, check out their website. They are challenging everyone to get involved , by doing something Wild every day in June. This could be anything, from taking the dog  on a different walk route, sowing a patch of wild flower seeds, eating a picnic up a tree or identifying a bird call…..

As I’m off to the Norfolk Coast tommorrow, I am really looking forward to spotting  wildlife there that I don’t get to see in Lancashire. I look forward to updating my blog and reading everybody elses Wild posts on my return. πŸ™‚

Bye for now.x

 

Camping and a walk in the Forest Of Bowland.

No need to dust down the old leaky tent for the first camping trip of the year ! Happily We  Wil had bought a nice new one a few weeks previously . This tent was meant to be the same model as our original. But it seems a whole lot bigger. Erm it’s practically a marquee !

Anyway we didn’t venture to far from home. We chose Fell View Park near the pretty village of Scorton. Perched on the edge of the Forest Of Bowland AONB , Fell View is adjacent to the owners farm and is surrounded by meadows full of bleating lambs and nesting lapwings.

scorton and heysham
Hawthorn Hedge.

The campsite has plenty of EHU points, good hot showers, an undercover washing up area and a small fishing lake , which is home to lots of ducks and geese.  We stayed in the non electric tent field and had it all to ourselves for the first night.  The hedges were heavy with the scent of hawthorn blossom and the resident Greylag Geese were happily honking away.

scorton and heysham 107
Mama and brood.

There’s a little Local Information Room on site with maps of nearby walks , so we took a leaflet for a Circular Route taking in ‘Nicky Nook’. The fell top is a relatively easy walk ~ about 215m to the top.

scorton and heysham 034
Spot the Lapwing.
scorton and heysham 001
Bowland Fells.
scorton and heysham 004
Nicky Nook Summit,
scorton and heysham 007
Cotton Grass.
scorton and heysham 005
The Tarn.
scorton and heysham 012
Descending Nicky Nook.
scorton and heysham 011
Golden Gorse Blooms.

As you can see ‘ The Forest Of Bowland’ is not actually a forest in the traditional sense. The name Forest was given to Royal Hunting grounds in ancient times. Bowland is made up of  ruggedly beautiful moorland and gentle lowlands. The AONB actually covers 312 square miles of rural Lancashire and neighboring Yorkshire.

After descending ‘Nicky Nook’ we found ourselves on a country lane and followed the signs to the Apple Store Cafe  in Wyresdale Park.  The cafe set in a sheltered walled garden in the grounds of Wyresdale Hall, is the perfect place to drop by for a brew and a cake. πŸ™‚  We sat outside , though it did look lovely inside, the glass house interior felt a little stuffy even on quite a drizzley day. The lovely waitress served our refreshments on mismatched vintage crockery, and even brought out a sausage for Hugo! 

scorton and heysham 028

scorton and heysham 019
The Apple Store.
scorton and heysham 013
My tea came in a Henry viii adorned teapot. πŸ™‚

 After tea and cake we explored the grounds a bit ( I never saw the estate peacocks 😦 ) and then decided to deviate from our route and headed into Scorton itself for a wander. On the way we spied this cute cottage with it’s quirky garden signage.

 To get to Scorton we had to cross the M6. Who knew that such a tranquil place is so close to the motorway. The pretty village  has  a Bar Restaurant, spa shop and a cafe/gift shop. We had a couple of drinks in the lovely and dog friendly Priory Stout Bar. 

scorton and heysham 027
The rare Hen Harrier is the symbol of The Forest of Bowland.
scorton and heysham 023
A Scorton Doorway.
scorton and heysham 103
Typical Village transport. πŸ˜‰

 

scorton and heysham 025
Hugo looking sorry for himself. The Priory is a friendly place to unwind with a drink or enjoy a meal. Pets welcome! 

 After a drink or two we continued on our way. We headed back through Wyresdale Park, across the fields and onwards to the campsite. It was a beautiful walk. πŸ™‚

scorton and heysham 030
Bluebells.
scorton and heysham 033
Friendly horses.

 

scorton and heysham 110
Cheeky lambs.

Fell View is definitely a campsite we will return to I think ,as there is so much nearby countryside to explore and the area is indeed one of Outstanding natural beauty.  πŸ™‚

Clapham Nature Trail and Ingleborough Show Cave.

The village of Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales is a delightful place to visit.It contains a  handful of pretty stone cottages, a pub, a couple of cafes ,a village shop,  an eclectic vintage store and a Mountain Rescue base for nearby Ingleborough,  one of the Three Peaks. If you don’t fancy a spot of hill walking or climbing , then I recommend the pretty nature trail through Ingleborough Estate and a tour of Ingleborough Cave instead. πŸ™‚

We parked on the National Park’s Car park in the village, which is quite expensive so bring plenty of change. From there we walked past the church and followed the brook to the beginning of the nature trail, which is well sign posted. There is an honesty box for contributions toward its upkeep.

caves 003
Trail Entrance.

 

caves 004
One end of the lake.

There is a slight incline before you get to a lake. The lake is man- made and was created by an ancestor of the family who own the Ingleborough estate. Reginald Farrer was a renowned botanist and explorer. He collected many new species of rhododendrons, shrubs and alpines in China, Burma and Tibet in the early 1900’s.  Most still survive today. His unusual gardening technique of firing the seeds with a shotgun at a cliff face to distribute the rock plants , seems to have worked. πŸ™‚

caves 001
Lords & Ladies.
caves 009
Rhododendrons.
caves 013
Bluebells.

We put Hugo on his lead in the woodland and kept to the main path, as he is one for wandering !  I would have loved to have explored a bit more and discovered Reginald’s collection of exotic plants.  Instead we made do with our own beautiful native wildflowers, which are abundant on the trail.

caves 006
A throne of stones.. πŸ™‚
caves 012
Water Avens.
caves 011
Any guesses?
caves 014
 The Grotto..

The building above is known as ‘The Grotto’  and was built in the 19th Century to shelter those who wanted to sit back and admire the scenery.

caves 015
Wood Sorrel.
caves 016
Think this sign is meant to say 400 yards to the cave. πŸ™‚

After the woodland, the landscape opens out onto limestone pastures ,so we let Hugo have a play in the babbling brook. πŸ™‚ As you can see the path is pretty decent and is so all the way along. I would definitely say that it is suitable for prams, pushchairs, wheelchairs etc.

caves 018
Path to the cave.
caves 024
Limestone Beck..
caves 026
Wet Dog !

The Entrance to the Cave soon comes into sight!   I go and investigate the little shop and it seems a tour is about to start in 5 minutes. There are only two other couples putting on hard hats , so we decide to go for it. Hugo does not have to wear a hat , though I think it would have suited him. ;).

caves 030
The Cave Entrance.

Our Guide ‘Jude’ was really enthusiastic and regaled us with the history of Ingleborough Show Cave and how it to was first explored in 1837 by members of the Farrer family, after a massive flood revealed it. The intrepid Victorians made their staggering discoveries dressed in tweed and carrying candles! Stalagmites and stalactites galore. Today the cave retains its treasures for  everyone to view and the interesting tour is well worth the Β£9 charge.

caves 031
The’ Mushroom Bed’.

caves 033

caves 035
The ‘Elephant’.
caves 034
The ‘Sword of Damocles’ 

caves 036

caves 038
 ‘Queen Victoria’s Bloomers.’
caves 043
The reflection looks like a tiny city.
caves 042
This part of the cave is where Santa has a Grotto at Christmas. Hugo is looking at Jude who took the photo. I think she is saying ‘Biscuits!’

We really enjoyed our exploration of Ingleborough Cave.  The tour is well lit and there is a concrete path to follow. There is quite a bit of head ducking , so be warned if you are pretty tall!  Afterwards we warmed up with hot drinks and made our way back to Clapham, via the trail.  It was wonderful to catch the odd glimpse of dippers darting up  the stream. πŸ™‚  Of course if you want to carry on over the pack horse bridge and up to Gaping Gill ( a natural pothole cave), there is more to discover…….

caves 045
packhorse bridge.
caves 046
Violets.
caves 051
Daffs.

Once back at the trail entrance I happened to glance up at the wall and saw a male pheasant perched there. It was so completely still that I actually thought it was a plastic model at first !  What beautiful birds pheasants are. πŸ™‚

caves 054

caves 053
Cock Pheasant.
caves 058
Pug Pups. πŸ™‚

And two inquisitive pugs woofed their goodbyes from a Clapham Village Garden.

 

Photo An Hour ~ Sat 22nd April.

Yesterday I joined in with Photo An Hour on Instagram so I thought I would put the pictures on my blog too. It was quite a sunny warmish Saturday and I went for a  walk with my camera in the morning. Later though the day turned into hours at the pub, so I didn’t post as many photos as I intended . Oooops! 

8am. Wil went out with Hugo and I am lounging about in bed reading this great book called Tiny Islands. Its about all the relatively small islands off our coast. I never realised that there is a tidal island called Hilbre off West Kirby in The Wirral. Might be worth a visit sometime. Slinky thinks so. πŸ™‚

9am. Shower time.

10am. I’m up and about. Have gone for a walk and am noticing the abundance of bluebells in flower.

11am.  Cuckoo flowers and Dandelions are everywhere in this meadow. Lots of butterflies too.Spend a good while chasing them with the camera.

Noon. Heading home now. These wellies are about the only ones that have not split on me in my history of adult wellie wearing..

1pm. Wil has been a star and made lunch. πŸ™‚

2pm. And he has hung the mirror in the spare room.Which means it is officially finished !  Further decorating this year includes the kitchen and the living room. But lets make the most of Summer first!

3pm. A brew and a read of my Wildlife Trust Magazine. Despite being in The Wildlife Trust, I don’t really make the most of my membership. But I am glad just being a member helps a bit.

4pm. Sat outside a Cafe Bar with Wil and Hugo. This is where my photo taking goes a bit pear shaped as we meet friends and I forget to take any pics.

8pm. Yep still out and the pack of Chilli Nuts is in danger of becoming tea ! 

10pm.  Luckilly we are now home and the planned chicken fajitas are happening. πŸ™‚

Thanks as always to louisa and Janey  

for organizing Photo An Hour on Instagram.