17 – Hawes Water

Early light on Oaks, Eaves Wood behind.

An early peek through the curtains revealed a pale blue sky and a hard frost. The rest of the house was quiet, everyone else asleep, so I crept out into the sun’s first rays for an early constitutional.

Oak tree silhouette 

Barring a low line of cloud in the east, the sky was completely clear. The frost was melting fast.

Hawes Water 

I took one of our most frequently repeated routes: across the fields to The Row, down Moss Lane to Hawes Water, around the lake and back through Eaves Wood.

With constant easterlies and unseasonably cold temperatures, it’s been hard at times to realise that spring is upon us. But in Eaves Wood the day before we had watched mixed flocks of tits (including long-tailed tits – my favourites) bouncing around in the treetops.

Now I found another reminder – two or three emerging spikes of toothwort flowers, tiny but unmistakable.


I stopped in the woods two watch two crows, sitting on branches cawing softly to each other. Something in their behaviour struck me as odd. Then a buzzard dropped from a branch where it had been perched unnoticed by me. The crows followed. They didn’t seem to be mobbing or harassing the bird of prey, as they sometimes do. They landed again close by, all in adjacent trees. I watched all three for some time, flitting back and forth through the trees. When they landed to perch, I often lost sight of the buzzard, but never the crows. There was no apparent aggression in the behaviour of any of the birds. It was like a patient game of cat and mouse. Odd.

Sunlight on Hawes Water 

When I emerged from the woods the weather was totally transformed. I could still see a fringe of blue out to the west, but the rest of the sky has filled with ominous dark clouds. It had become rather gloomy after the brightness of earlier. There were a few flakes of snow in the air.

Close to home my ear was attracted by a particular bird song. I’ve been making some effort to learn some birdsongs and have made a little progress. This song had some of the trill of a chaffinch and a rasp not unlike a greenfinch, but was not either of those birds I thought. Probably a finch though. I scanned the bushes in nearby gardens….


A goldfinch! I waltzed home for breakfast with a spring in my step.

“Where have you been so early?”

“Hawes Water.”

“It doesn’t count towards our list, you went without us!”

This might take a while.

17 – Hawes Water

9 thoughts on “17 – Hawes Water

  1. conradwalks.blogspot.com says:

    Very worthwhile getting off early. I always tried to be the first away from a refuge in France – it gives you the best chance of seeing wildlife.

    I’ll have to give it a try, but first I will research how early the bakery opens in Arnside so I can finish up there with a pot of tea and a bacon butty.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      That sounds like a first rate plan.
      When I lived in Arnside I like the bakery a lot. I think its changed hands since then. Is it still good?

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks. The early morning light is superb at the moment, but I don’t always get out to take photos.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Takes all sorts, I’m generally in favour.
      The change in the weather really sneaked up on me, since I was in the trees when it happened.

  2. There is little to beat watching and listening to the world waking up. Looks like the clearer skies are mainly in the west at the moment though.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Takes a bit of effort to rouse yourself, but when you do it, there’s a huge pay-off.
      Yes we’ve been doing pretty well for sunshine. Sunny again today, although incredibly hazy with it.

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