Serendipity

Angela took the kids to Bowness to meet friends, leaving me with another opportunity to get out for a longer walk.

The lady who served me in the Co-Op this morning described the weather as ‘blustery’. A fine example of the English knack of understatement.

I cut through Eaves Wood and Holgates caravan park heading for Far Arnside. As I crossed the fields I could see that the tide was in, and that there were whitecaps in the bay, which is fairly unusual. I had decided to head this way because the woods beyond Far Arnside are the best place I know of locally to see wild daffodils.

There were some flowering, but I shall have to go back to see it at its best.

But perhaps subconsciously I had realised that just after a full-moon the sea was likely to be dramatic. Or perhaps serendipity was at work. The tide was unusually high, and the wind was driving waves into the cliffs.

There’s always something to see along this path. During the course of the year it provides an enormous variety of flowers. Whilst this is not the best time, there’s always gorse:

As I rounded the corner into the Kent estuary the sun was dimly showing through the clouds, and a few patches of blue had appeared. As always, turning the corner also offered some respite from the wind.

I would normally drop down to walk on the sand here, but clearly not an option today.

From White Creek…

the path follows the edge of the estuary, but it was underwater today. Fortunately, an alternative route takes a more direct inland route to rejoin the estuary at New Barns.

Where the road, and the land between the river and the road were all underwater. I managed to get through dry shod. As I left the road to head up Arnside Knot (on the right in the photo) I saw the bodies of perhaps sixty moles hanging from a wire fence. I understand that moles can be pests, but its sad that this is necessary.

Turning to shut the gate at the edge of the woods I noticed for the first time that across the field in the hedge bottom a heron was poised, completely motionless. These fields are very flat, and fringed by reeds. At some time they must have been another of the areas mosses. The heron eventually turned its head and then took off and coasted over the hedge.

Even when you think that you know an area really well, there can be new things to discover. I only came across this little cave on Arnside Knot last year (whilst orienteering) and this is the first time I’ve been back.

I resisted the temptation to crawl inside and took a photo of this moss on the rock above the cave instead.

From here it was a short walk to Heathwaite, where I ate my ham sandwiches sitting on a fallen birch trunk. I was soon cold, and when I set off again it was under darkening skies.

In the woods on Heathwaite I had a fleeting glimpse of a greater spotted woodpecker. I’ve been hearing them drumming a lot, but this is the first I’ve seen this year. In fact I couldn’t swear that it was a woodpecker because of how briefly I saw it, but the flash of colour, its size, the height at which it flew and the way in which it flew combine to make me feel pretty confident. I believe that proper birdwatchers call the distinctive characteristics that make a bird identifiable in awkward circumstances its jiss.

From the top of the Knot I took an unfamiliar route that gave a great view of the restored wetland at Silverdale Moss. Like Barrow Scout Field this area has been very quietly purchased by the RSPB and flooded to create an extra habitat for Bitterns.

I headed across the fields towards Silverdale Moss to take a closer look.

As I came nearer I saw a swan splash away from one of the meres, circle and then touch down again further away. Just the head of a heron was visible poking above the coarse grass at the edge of the reserve. A kestrel swung over and began to hover almost exactly over the heron, the heron didn’t seem to like this and flapped away.

On the far side of the moss I came across a huge oak. The trunk split into two at about eight feet. Below that the main trunk had a a large fissure slowly opening and closing in the breeze. Like the beat of an ancient heart. Presumably, sometime soon, at least half of the tree will go over.

Heading towards Haweswater I saw perhaps a dozen long-tail tits bobbing about in the branches of path side trees. Ironically, I had only just been remembering seeing a few in our garden this morning and thinking that whilst I see them in the garden reasonably often I never seem to see them anywhere else.

My view of the long-tail tits was hampered by the raindrops on my glasses, and as I headed home past Haweswater and through Eaves Wood the showers turned to more persistent rain and, as I was almost home, to a proper downpour.

No walk (or blog) seems to be complete without some fungi, so:

Doesn’t this look like a foot?

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Serendipity

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