Tag Archives: winter

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. 😔 They had a really successful hour with Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tits, Pheasants, Kestrel and a Wren included in the final tally. 🙂

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 💖.

Smokey Polypore fungi…maybe.

Thanks for dropping by. Let me know if you have done the Birdwatch, seen Snowdrops or walked anywhere this weekend. 🥾🐦

A Walk And A Winter Watchlist.

I stole the list below from BBC Winterwatch, some wildlife which can be seen at this time of year, on a typical Winters day walk in the UK.

  • Singing Robin ~ Easy.
  • Corvid Roost ~ Easy.
  • First Snowdrops ~ Easy.
  • Scent of Gorse flowers ~ Easy.
  • Jelly Ear Fungus ~ Easy.
  • Hazel Catkins ~ Medium.
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming ~ Medium.
  • Overwintering migrant birds gathering ~ Medium.
  • Fox screeching at night ~ Medium.
  • Overwintering insects ~ Medium.
  • Winter Moth ~ Medium.
  • Hair Ice ~ Hard.
  • Mistle Thrush guarding winter berries ~ Hard.
  • Glue crust fungus ~ Hard.

This morning my locality was monochrome! We decided to walk from Clitheroe to Pendleton village and then along the bridle path to Mearley , passing the farmhouse I grew up in and then back home via Worston village. This walk has appeared on my blog before , though never in Winter.

I must admit I was hoping to find a little more snow and early on I wasn’t disappointed. We also spotted a few of the easy to see items on the watchlist too.

Kemple rising above the mist.
Standen.
Jelly Ear Fungus.
Snowy seedhead.

Pendleton lies at the foot of Pendle Hill near the nick of Pendle. Unfortunately it was foggy today so the hill became obscured by the mist after I took the photo below.

Approaching Pendleton.
Pendleton brook.
Swirly hedge.
Red Barn door.
All Saints church.
Red gate.
All the gates seem to be painted red near the village.
Monochrome.
Robin Red Breast.
Snow sheep. 🙂
Mearley hamlet.

I still have relatives in the area and my lovely cousins made us a socially distanced outdoors brew ( a treat indeed! ) which warmed us up for the continuation of our walk.

Rookery.
What Ewe looking at?
Holly.

Believe it or not, this is actually the first Holly I have seen with berries all Winter. The berries are an important sorce of food for birds in the colder months and trees are supposedly a protection against witchcraft. Appropriate in the Pendle countryside, home of the Lancashire witches….

The world is turning green.
Kestrel.
Little Mearley Hall.

As a child I lived in the tenanted farmhouse above. Little Mearley dates back to 1590 and my bedroom was the mullioned bay window room. I have happy memories of growing up there, though as a 16 year old
, all I wanted was to move into town.

Grey Heron.
A Worston house gateway.
More sheep. 🙂
Fields of green.
Heading home.

Afternoon and heading back to Clitheroe, the snow had all but gone.

Have you spotted anything yourself from the Winter Watchlist?

Januarying.

I am treating January as I usually do. It’s my month of keeping snug and cosy inside, with a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. I also like to plan holidays and weekends away at this time of year, so have been researching our little holiday in North Norfolk during May and weekend walks in the Eden Valley, for when we can get back up to the caravan.

Continuing Winter cheer with my window display. The Robins mimic my real life robin visitor. The hyacinth plant I found in Sainsbury’s for a bargain 65p is now flowering and giving off a delicious scent, resembling woods of bluebells.

Winter Walks.

I’ve been looking for more walks from home. Although I thought we had been just about everywhere on our doorstep, I was proved wrong last weekend, when we discovered new to us footpaths. I’m sure there are more to explore!

There will be another place to wander when Clitheroe’s new Nature Reserve opens. It is very local indeed. I have nosed over the fence a couple of times and I spied several Teal on the water. 🙂 Can’t wait for a proper look.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is all set for the last weekend of January. I have signed up as usual and am looking forward to seeing which feathered visitors turn up in the hour.

Primrose Nature Reserve. 🦉🦉 Photo from their Facebook page.
Bridgerton. It’s a bodice ripper.

Incase you are looking for some on screen escapism, here is a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching recently. Most are series and there’s one film. But let me say this, my list is one of mostly guilty pleasures. 😄

  • Bridgerton. Netflix. Regency romance with lots of drama, comedy, gossip & scandal.
  • Derry Girls. All 4 / Netflix. Coming of age comedy set during ‘ the troubles’ in nineties Northern Ireland.
  • Ghosts. BBC I Player. Spirited comedy about the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted house, from the creators of Horrible Histories
  • Winter Walks. BBC I Player. Join well known faces as they film their favourite walks in Yorkshire. I miss Yorkshire. ❤️
  • Eurovision Song Contest : The Story Of Fire Saga. Netflix. Very cheesy but enjoyable musical comedy film set in Iceland and Edinburgh.
  • The Masked Singer. ITV/ ITV Hub. Addictive crazy singing competition.
  • Home For Christmas. Netflix. Norwegian rom com series.
  • Sneaky Pete. Amazon Prime. Crime drama about a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate to escape from a vengeful mobster.
  • The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix. An orphans rise against the odds to become the Worlds number one chess player.
  • All Creatures Great And Small. My 5. Heart warming 1940s comedy drama about a young vet who accepts a job in a Yorkshire Dales Vetinary practice. This is a remake of the original series, and just as good. ❤️
Winter Reading.

It’s nice to find a nice cosy read and I did in Winter Holiday from the Swallows and Amazon’s children’s book series by Arthur Ransome. I am immersed in a world of frozen lakes, snowy igloos and secret signals. Thanks to the What is it about books ? blog for the recommendation. ❤️

So this is my first foray into using the new WordPress editor. I hope it turns out okay.

Do leave me your own thoughts on how you are spending January?

Festive Friday Photo. 🌲❄️⛄

Decorations – a favourite one – was it inherited, did your kids make it or was it one you bought on a whim and love dearly.

That is the prompt from Hawthorns December Photo Hunt , she has asked us to share a photo every Friday in December. A lovely way to spread the cheer.

I have decided to show you my Snow Globe which I bought last Christmas in Keswick. Wil, Hugo and I spent the festive period in one of our favourite towns. This pretty souvineer will forever remind me of our happy holiday.

A fox 🦊 amongst swirling snowflakes. And if you look closely, 2 tiny robins in the branches of the tree.

Confession ~ I leave it out all through the year, as I love it so much. ❤️

❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

A Bird And A Poem ~ Starlings.

Starlings are noisy bossy birds, I know when they descend upon the bird feeder there will be little left, empty coconut shells knocked to the ground and fat balls depleted in the blink of an eye. I can’t help admiring their starry plumage and their cheeky chatter though and would love to witness a murmuration , where flocks of starlings sky dance the heavens . Instead I will make do with this poem by Mary Oliver who perfectly captures the spirit of these characterful birds.

Photos were taken in Melmerby over the wintery wknd , where several starlings gathered & chattered.

Have you seen a murmuration’?

Frost.

Our last weekend at the caravan before we closed it down for the Winter was idyllic. Cold, fine and frosty. This is what Melmerby looked like on Saturday morning. Jack Frost had sprinkled his magic.

We headed into Keswick later that morning. Hugo enjoyed playing with his inflatable in the lake. Didn’t see many other wild swimmers. 😉

After lunch we headed back to the Eden Valley as Keswick was bustling with festive shoppers. We parked up in Edenhall and enjoyed the quiet solitude of a countryside walk. The combination of frost and mist was both eerie and magical.

This morning we left a beautiful winter wonderland for our rather green Lancashire home.

Hello December. ❄️

January ♥️

The month of January can be a wee bit meh. The sparkle and celebrations of Christmas are over and done with, so what is to be done ? Possibly go back to the gym, join weight watchers ( my depressing January thing once upon a time) or go into full on hibernation? I say do none of those things. Embrace the winter months. Get out and explore. Snuggle up with a good book or two. Engross yourself in a riveting boxset. Make hearty stews. Drink winter warming brews. This month sounds so much better already. 🙂

Watching ~ The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

I’m presently loving The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon Prime. I can really get lost in the retro fifties glamor, the whimsical storylines and the laugh out loud moments.

Midge Maisel is a well to do Jewish New York house wife whose life falls apart when her husband leaves her for his secretary. Reeling, Midge accidentally finds therapy in stand-up comedy, almost unheard of for women in those days. This show is a visual treat with fabulous characters and is written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls. I definitely recommend. ❤️

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One of my birdie visitors.

I’ve signed up to do the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch , which I had fun participating in last year. If you have any feathered visitors in your yard or garden or even in your local park, it is definitely a great help to take an hour out of your time to just sit and observe who turns up. The Big Birdwatch is on over the last weekend of January. Make sure you fill up the feeders beforehand. Then put the kettle on, relax and watch. You can sign up here.

The best January days are bright and cold.

I’ve also signed up to do the #walk1000miles challenge again. There’s a fantastic Facebook page with a wonderful community of experienced and inexperienced walkers. Lots of walks ideas on there and motivational stories too. Just think, by the end of January there will be an extra hour of daylight, so more time to enjoy the outdoors. I’m certainly looking forward to that!

Hubs by Premier Inn ~ Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

I always think January is a good time to organize a mini break. Though that might be partly because it’s my other halves birthday. 🙂 Seriously though, what better way to combat the winter blues than a couple of nights away. Out of season breaks are usually less expensive and I was beyond pleased when I found Hubs By Premier Inn in Edinburgh. I’ll tell you if staying in such a bijou room is a good experience, later in the month!

Head for the warmth ~ Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

If it’s cold outside, and it often is in January , head for the warmth. A great article in this month’s the Simple things magazine has some toasty suggestions including….

Winter Swim in one of the heated open air pools or lido’s that are open out of season. outdoorswimmingsociety.com

Admire tropical growing palms, ferns and flowers in the warmth of an ornate Glass House.

Book a break at Sherwood Center Parcs and experience a treetop sauna.

After a brisk walk on the beach, grab a blanket, buy some fish n chips and eat them on the prom in a wind shelter.

Google pubs near you with a roaring fire. Nothing beats a tipple of your choice in front of a crackling open fire.

My own suggestions ~ wrap up warm in a beach hut, relax in a Turkish baths, head to an independent cinema that serves hot drinks whilst you watch a movie and/or drink coffee with cats in your local cat cafe.

What are your January plans?

Wintery Spring ~ Links & Likes.

Welcome to my first Links & Likes of 2018. This is a series where I like to include some links to a few posts I have ♡ recently.

February is a funny month. Spring is just around the corner( hopefully!) ,yet I still feel like hibernating! With snow, sleet, rain and hale all forcasted over the next few days in the North West, can you blame me if I cosy up under the duvet and snooze for the forseeable….

Yet I do have plans. 😁 Febuary is Snowdrop Season and I would really love to witness these first signs of Spring in all their gorgeous glory. Here in Lancashire Lytham Hall welcomes all to wander round their lovely grounds over the next couple of Weekends. Frames high-light the blooms for picture opportunities. Hornby Castle near Lancaster is opening to the public for Snowdrop Walks on the 17th & 18th February. Elsewhere The National Trust has details of early blooming gardens on their website. Hopefully I will be out and about searching for snowdrops in the next few days.

Other plans I have for February include a Ghost Walk at Houghton Tower and a Girls Night In Clothes Swap Party. So really, hibernation is not actually an option. 😄

Snowdrops at Lytham Hall. Image off Pinterest.

Christine has been playing Colour Bingo with her camera. A great idea for a blog post!

Amanda visits a Train Station , where an iconic Romantic Movie was filmed in the 1940s.

Louise marks the beginning of Spring ( Imbolc ) at the Marsden Fire Festival.

I love Rosie’s post about close encounters with cute seal pups. Aw.

This Tea Time Mango Cake looks and sounds delicious on Shilpi’s blog. 🍰

The Typewriter Girl has some perfect ideas for filling February with fun and light. 🙂

Its going to be A Dog’s Life for Gina, as she prepares to welcome a cute new arrival. 🙂

What are your plans to brighten up a dreary February?

Thanks for dropping by. X

Hygge and enjoying the Winter months. 

This is a re blogg of a post from last year. If you are feeling a bit meh about January, here are a few ideas to fill winter with fun.

sunshine and celandines

The tree is down and the decorations have been put away. Yet the happy times don’t have to end. Winter is so often dark and cold but maybe we should embrace our longest season. Maybe we should do as the Danish do and bring on the Hygge!!  Hygge ( pronounced hoogah) is a Danish word that describes a feeling of cosiness and joy. It embodies the pleasures we take in simple things such as enjoying a mug of hot tea whilst the rain beats at the window, reading a favourite book by candlelight, getting together with friends in a cosy pub or snuggling on the sofa with a pile of blankets and cushions and a good film. It seems that people in Denmark cannot wait for Winter to arrive and their contentment with this time of year surely contributes to their nation being ‘the happiest’ in Europe. 🙂

Snuggly Socks…

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A Winter Warming  Links & Likes. 

 Hello my festive followers!  I thought I would post my last post before Christmas today and spread some Yuletide Blog Love.  ♡ Here is a Christmas Combo of some of my favourite posts through December , so do grab a Mince Pie with your brew and enjoy browsing through these winter warmers. 😁

 

Those Greedy Sisters make a boozy Mince Pie Martini. Sounds scrummy.

On Too Lazy To Weed some surprising Evergreens are found in the garden. 🌲

Meanwhile in New Zealand kristah’s Garden is bursting with Summer blooms and a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake. 🙂

 festive Tiffin on Mathilde Heart Manech.

From Sunshine to  Snow on Paula’s blog where her gorgeous part of the world has been transformed into a Winter-Wonderland.

Stunning pictures on Hike Minded when Santa visits the residents  of  a Berlin Wildlife Park. 🙂

Get an informative low-down on Winter Seasonal Veg over at Roots And Toots.

And heres a Simple Tasty Potato Stew on the Alfresco Family blog. 

Still looking for Christmas Gift Ideas ?  Lots and lots at the  Forkward Thinking Foodinista.

Very hygge pictures on Simple Natural Handmade.

 Simple Natural Handmade is a lovely blog to follow if you love pictures of cute dogs and crochet. 🙂 

 A Winter Walk isn’t quite the same without making one of Lisa’s yummy Walk And Eat recipes. Decembers treat is Festive Tiffin. 

And if you are out walking in the cold make sure you Layer up well !  The Helpful Hiker shows you how. 

 Fancy a winter break in Edinburgh? The Dickins Blog can show you how to spend a cosy day in this charming city. 🙂 

Stunning wildlife shots on Hike Minded.

The Glasgow Gallivanter shares her summer memories of a trip to a Scottish Island, I personally had never heard of.

 And last but not least , Christine shares her wonderful  Wildlife Moments of 2017.  ðŸ¦‹ðŸ¦Ž

 Merry Christmas and thanks for reading. X