Roe Deer

P1030720

When we got home from our trip to Roa Island it was to discover one more wildlife treat awaiting us – a pair of roe deer in the garden.

P1030721

Deer visit from time to time. Sometimes they sleep on our lawn. We’d seen them a few times recently, but it was pleasing that they visited whilst our guests were still with us – putting on a show as it were.

P1030725

The slightly scruffy look is because they are shedding their darker, winter coat in anticipation of warmer weather (which we are still anticipating patiently).

Roe Deer

Whitsun Treadings VI: Roa Island

P5300004

We went to Roa Island again (after a tip-top picnic on Birkrigg Common – we really must go and explore more thoroughly there). It wasn’t a particularly low tide and the water was pretty cold. Even so, there was, as ever, plenty to be seen.

P5300003

Rhizostoma octupus – not an octopus at all, but actually a jellyfish.

As always, there were lots of shore crabs to be found – many were females carrying a clump of eggs. Many others seemed to be at that vulnerable stage where they had recently shed a shell and their new shells were still soft.

P5300015

Their markings and colouration vary enormously.

P5300016

Lots of the rocks we turned over were smothered with these…..

P5300007

…presumably eggs of some sort. Not crabs, I don’t think, but I don’t have an alternative suggestion.

P5300021

Not sure at all about this either.

Look carefully into this shallow pool…

P5300024

..can you see something snaking across the middle of the picture?

It’s a greater pipefish….

P5300036

Every visit seems to deliver something we haven’t seen before. This one was spotted by our friend TJF/

P5300037

P5300038

P5300029

Brittlestar.

P5300039

Starfish.

P5300041

We walked farther down the beach than we ever have before, eventually reaching the harbour wall, where judging by the stench, untreated sewage was flowing into the channel. (I’d be pleased to know that my suspicion is wrong about that, if anyone knows better.)

P5300044

A whelk?

It’s entirely possible that the huge clusters of eggs we saw were whelk eggs. Whelk roe anyone?

P5300047

A shanny.

P5300061

Also a shanny, possibly the same one.

P5300053

We found quite a number of these large, appealing shells – wrinkled and rippled without, shiny and super-smooth within. Oysters I presume.

P5300060

We often see, and catch, prawns and shrimps, but I’ve not had much luck with photographing them before. I think that this is the former – maybe a common prawn.

P5300065

Always a grand day out. Hopefully we’ll be there again before the summer is out.

Whitsun Treadings VI: Roa Island

Whitsun Treadings V: Burton Well Cliff Cave, Woodwell Newts, Green-winged Orchids on the Lots

P1030695

It’s all there in the title really. Another local walk – we might have gone further afield more often, but the weather forecasts were often pretty poor, so a short wander not too far from home often seemed like a safer bet.

P1030690 

We were joined for this walk by our friend G and her kids. G grew up here in Silverdale and remembers crawling through the narrow cave which runs through the cliff near Burton Well and which I only discovered a few weeks back. We decided to mosey over that way and let some of the current generation of Silverdale’s youth experience that same thrill. I think they enjoyed it. They certainly wanted to go back and through several times over.

From there we went over to Woodwell. The sun shone, and for once it actually felt quite warm. We were lazing and watching the fish in the shallow, silted pond there, and I was busy telling everyone that I’d often seen newts here, twenty-odd years ago, when I first moved to the area, but not since, when….

‘There’s a newt!’

‘There’s another one!’

P1030703 

It was newts on parade day. We watched for a while. I took several photos, of which this is probably the sharpest. The UK has three species of newts. And the newts we watched  were…..almost certainly one of those three.

P1030707 

Anxious not to be left out, a damselfly joined the party by pig-backing on our friend B’s coat. B loves small creatures which he can handle and soon had made a pet of what I think is a female large red damselfly.

P1030710 

It was surprisingly content to sit on his hand. Perhaps it had only recently emerged? So happy was it, in fact, that B was taking her home with him.

P1030712 

I persuaded him it might be best to take her back and leave her by the pond.

P1030714 

We finished with a stroll across the Lots, where the green-winged orchids were looking spectacular.

P1030717

Whitsun Treadings V: Burton Well Cliff Cave, Woodwell Newts, Green-winged Orchids on the Lots

Whitsun Treadings IV: Wildflowers and Cuckoo Fanciers On Warton Crag

P1030678

It’s a cause of ongoing frustration to TBH that I tend to snap away taking endless photos of distant views whilst neglecting to capture images of our family and friends. On this occasion I not only managed the latter, but also apparently spurned the marvellous views as well. Instead I took lots of photos of flowers.

P1030685

Warton Crag is a modest hill and a quick ascent and descent could almost certainly be managed in around half an hour. (Less I suppose given that Joss Naylor could run from Wasdale Head up Scafell Pike and back in 47 minutes.) But we chose instead to sort of spiral in, via the Three Brothers and numerous pleasant copses and glades.

 P1030687

When we’d arrived in the car-park we heard a cuckoo calling. We heard the same again several times whilst we were out that day. Rather suspiciously we often saw the same two people, away from the principal paths, just before or after we heard the cuckoo(s), and always in roughly the direction we thought we’d heard the cuckoo from. Later, the Proper Birder told me that the BTO were trying to catch cuckoos in the area so that they could attach a tracking device to them. The Proper Birder was very excited because two of the cuckoos they tagged were from close to her home in the Forest of Bowland. On the BTO’s website you can track the southward progress of the birds. You can see also that they didn’t find a bird on Warton Crag. But they wouldn’t have been there had they not had good intelligence that cuckoos were present, so it is possible that some of the calls we heard weren’t recordings being used to lure cuckoos, but actual resident cuckoos, which would make them the first I have heard in the immediate area around home.

Whitsun Treadings IV: Wildflowers and Cuckoo Fanciers On Warton Crag

Whitsun Treadings III: Hutton Roof

P1030667

Hutton Roof, my new favourite place. Honour dictated that I share it with our friends. We had a cracking picnic lunch (the luxurious sort with stoves and cool boxes and hot soup) in the Plain Quarry car park and then had a wander up to the top.

 P1030669

Every time I’ve been on Hutton Roof this year I’ve heard cuckoos. We also heard them the day after on Warton Crag, and we usually hear them when we camp at Nether Wasdale, but I’ve very rarely seen cuckoos. In fact, the only definite sighting I can recall was many years ago in Eskdale when I watched a cuckoo flying low over the hillside with an entourage of really angry small birds in tow. So I was quite excited when I thought I saw a cuckoo perched on a tree well ahead of us….

P1030670

…is it a cuckoo? I know that it’s not a good photo, but there’s something about the way it’s clinging to that branch which I find compelling. Probably wishful thinking!

We would have had a more general look around, but the forecast was for the weather to deteriorate and it did, right on schedule, just after we reached the trig pillar; so we came straight back down again. The kids were all keen to sit mesmerised in front of electronic devices anyway.

P1030672

Andy’s post about this walk, and another short, local ramble on Warton Crag the following day, is here.

Whitsun Treadings III: Hutton Roof

Whitsun Treadings II: Attermire Scar

P1030629

When we were anticipating our friends’ visit we had several discussions about which local highlights we ought to share with them. A walk from Settle visiting the caves in and around Attermire Scar was high on our list, so when the forecast predicted a fine, albeit cold, day we set off to do just that. In fact the weather was a good deal cooler than it had been when we did the walk last year in April. An account of that walk, with a bit more detail about the caves in particular, can be found here. And Andy’s account is here.

P1030630 

This is TBH on the very steep ground close to Attermire Cave – I don’t seem to have taken many photos generally, and none of the cave – probably too busy chatting.

P1030632 

The grassy ledge which leads to the cave has an added obstacle in May of nettles, making April a good time to visit I think.

What made the day was the company, the views, the huge picnic we had and the fun we had exploring the caves, but my choice of photographic subjects dictate that the principal feature of this post will be the mountain pansies….

P1030634 

…which were abundant in one small spot between Attermire Cave and Victoria Cave.

P1030641 

I always get very excited when I find these flowering. They’re a cut above the blowsy, over-stated flowers which proliferate in our borders and hanging-baskets.

P1030643 

Approaching Victoria Cave.

Of the caves on this walk I would say that Attermire Cave, because of it’s dramatic position, is the one I like the most; but, after our last visit, the boys held firm to the view that Jubilee Cave was their favourite. Jubilee Cave is either one cave with four entrances, or four caves which all connect together, depending on your point of view. The last time we did this walk, TBH and A turned back to Settle before we got to Jubilee Cave. Since then, B, bless him, has been very anxious to visit again so that his sister could see what she had missed.

P1030652 

I think she enjoyed it every bit as much as he expected she would.

P1030645 

Even older children can crawl through the tight little choke holes which give access to the cave…

P1030653 

Captions on a postcard please….?

P1030657 

Looking back to the Scar.

P1030665

Back in Settle.

P1030666

Whitsun Treadings II: Attermire Scar

Whitsun Treadings I : Round the Coast to Arnside

P1030615

Beach near White Creek on the Kent Estuary.

How does staying at home become a great holiday? Have some old friends over to stay who are the kind of house guests who make life easier rather than more stressful and who are adept at chilling out and taking thinks easy.

P1030620 

Early Purple Orchids on Arnside Knott.

P1030621 

A view from the Knott looking across the estuary.

P1030622 

A rare, warm, sunny moment. 75% of the Sherpas and Funsters family take a post-pie digestion rest prior to the next onslaught of over-catering, which almost certainly featured Avocados.

P1030623

Tree climbing. Note Dangerous Brother too high in the tree, probably trying to scare the Shandy Sherpa, certainly succeeding in scaring me.

This was the first of several short local walks during our week. It’s a classic route, oft reported upon on the blog over the years – round the coast to Arnside, pie in the pie shop on the prom, linger in the playground in Arnside enjoying a brew courtesy of Andy’s diddy stove, then back via the Knott. Incidentally, I’ve started to read Patrick Barkham’s ‘Coasting’ – a friend at work lent it to me. It recounts visits to numerous National Trust coastal properties, one of which I notice, is Arnside Knott. I’ll probably produce some sort of half-arsed review when I’ve finished reading it, but I’m expecting to enjoy it because I liked both ‘The Butterfly Isles’ and ‘Badgerlands’.

Andy’s longer version of the same day – with more text, more, and better, photos (although some of them are spoiled by some foreground blimpage) can be found here.

Whitsun Treadings I : Round the Coast to Arnside