New Year’s Day 2017

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New Year’s Day was another bright, clear, sunny day. I’m not sure that I believe in omens, but I hope that this was one none-the-less.

We weren’t out very early, a consequence of the usual faffing, but also of a late night. A had abandoned us to stay at a friend’s house, a foretaste of things to come I suppose, but the boys joined us for the New Year’s Eve festivities at the Silverdale Hotel. The pub was packed with many of our friends from the village, the food was extremely tasty, the beer was good, the music was terrific. When midnight came the boys were dancing on the tables, along with most of the other children present and some of the adults. A storming party.

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Our walk took us around the coast to New Barns for a very late lunch at the Bob-In Cafe. We had to hurry and still only just managed to order lunch before they stopped taking orders.

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Then we had to get back quickly before we lost the last of the daylight.

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Good to start the year with a family walk though, and the late sunshine painted Arnside Tower in a very fetching pink.

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New Year’s Day 2017

All’s Right With The World

Park Road – Eaves Wood – Middlebarrow – Arnside Tower – Saul’s Road – Arnside Knott – Shilla Slope – Black Dyke – Middlebarrow Quarry – Eaves Wood.

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Oystercatchers and Black-headed Gull.

The day after Boxing Day was the kind of bright sunny day which always makes me feel cheerful.

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in His heaven—

All’s right with the world!

Which is apparently a passage from Browning, although I know it because Wodehouse’s characters are apt to quote it when all is going well (which is to say, just before everything goes horribly, comically wrong).

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And yes, I know that the lark isn’t really on the wing at the end of December, well at least not in its characteristic steep display flight, but sunshine and blue skies just make everything look fresh and special and spring like.

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Reading up on the water tanks in Eaves Wood for my previous post, I was reminded that amongst the former owners of Hill House (now the Woodlands pub) were the Inman family  who were responsible for the planting of many of the trees in the woods.

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I think the circle of trees in the Ring o’Beeches must have been planted. I wonder if it was by the Inmans, who owned the wood in the first half of the Nineteenth Century?

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The larches too must have been planted.

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Arnside Tower.

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Arnside Tower Farm.

The hill behind the farm is Arnside Knott and that steep slope is covered in a very loose scree, known locally as shilla. After I’d climbed the Knott I took a route which looped around and recrossed my ascent route, taking me down to a path through those trees at the bottom of the slope.

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Saul’s Road.

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I’d walked out of the front door before I’d decided where to go, but with a host of competing ideas in my head – it’s nice to have so many options. I’d plumped for Arnside Knott because I’d assumed that there would be great views of the Lakes…

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…but in fact everything beyond Whitbarrow Scar and Gummer How was lost in a grey haze. Never mind: plenty to see close at hand.

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Magic.

All’s Right With The World

More Butterflies and Leaves

Eaves Wood – Arnside Tower – Saul’s Road – Arnside Knott – Heathwaite – White Creek – Far Arnside – The Cove – The Lots

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Red Admiral.

Early October, the weekend after we had a houseful, and in a typical Sod’s Law sort of a way the weather is fantastic, sunny, bright and even warm.

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Comma.

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In Eaves Wood.

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This Crane’s-bill doesn’t quite match any of the plants in ‘The Wild Flower Key’ so I wonder if it is a garden escapee?

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I was a bit puzzled by the colouration of this dragonfly, but having consulted my field guide, I now think that it is probably an older female Common Darter.

I ventured onto a small path on Arnside Knott which I haven’t taken before, which took me past…

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…a fox’s earth?

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Arnside Knott view.

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Arnside Knott panorama.

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Whitbarrow Scar.

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This area of marshy foreshore at White Creek has appeared during the time that I’ve lived in the area. It’s become quite wet and treacherous to walk on.

But there were still some Sea Asters…

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…flowering there.

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Burnett Rose.

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Bryony Berries.

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I took these photos of berries and leaves to help me identify a tree I didn’t recognise, but sadly I’m still none the wiser.

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Holly.

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Bell Heather.

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Sunset from the Cove.

I would have been nice if this weather had materialised a week earlier, so that we could have shared it with our friends. But, then again, it’s a bit churlish to complain; I enjoyed having to myself after all.

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These last two ‘bonus’ photos are from a different walk, back in September, when apparently I walked to Jack Scar to take some sunset photos (but no other photos!)

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More Butterflies and Leaves

Ineluctably, Carn Fadryn

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No trip to Towyn Farm is complete without an ascent of Carn Fadryn. Little S calls it Birthday Hill, because he has so often climbed it on his birthday. This year we were a little later, but he was still keen to return. Many of the rest of the party wanted to stay on the beach however, so it was a select band, just S, TBH and myself who made the trip.

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Most of the usual elements were present, including Gatekeepers….

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…and Labyrinth Spiders.

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Lots of Gatekeepers in fact.

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Expanding views as we climbed.

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Oh, and did I mention the Gatekeepers? This was one of five on a small patch of Bell Heather.

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The tapestry of flowers was as colourful as ever.

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We always seem to spot several Dor Beetles.

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And…

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…Gatekeepers!

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The extensive views from Carn Fadryn could be specifically designed for the panoramic function on my camera. (Click on the pictures to see larger versions).

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Something I don’t recall being so noticeable on previous visits was the profusion of Bumblebees taking advantage of the flowers.

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This very pale species seemed particularly prevalent.

We didn’t see Choughs this year, which we sometimes have, but we were compensated by a large and very boisterous group of ravens flying near the summit. Large groups of ravens, I believe, are often composed of juvenile or immature birds which  have not yet paired up with a partner. That might explain the exuberant, tumbling, acrobatic flights of some of the birds – adolescent showing off.

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Wild Thyme.

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English Stonecrop.

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The presence of Butterflies on the summit is also something of a fixture. This year there were several Red Admirals and a couple of tatty looking Painted Ladies.

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Ineluctably, Carn Fadryn

An Entomologist on Arnside Knott

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Another day of blue and sunny skies and an afternoon, post rugby walk up the Knott and back with B. The interest started before we left the house, with a visiting row deer in the garden. Unusually, I was in the garden at the time – most of the time deer will only visit when we are safely ensconced in the house.

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A Speckled Wood.

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On Heathwaite – a clearing on the wooded ridge which leads down from the Knott towards the sea – B and I had fun exploring the many large meadow ant hills. Most of them seemed to have at least one resident spider and B also enjoyed catching grasshoppers.

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The view South to Warton Crag and the Bowland Fells.

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Red Admiral.

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Arnside Tower.

An Entomologist on Arnside Knott

A Blackthorn full of Bees

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Possibly Bombus Lapidarius the Red-tailed Bumble-bee.

A short, sunny, evening stroll this, never straying far from home, but full of surprises.

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The first of which was an abundance of very cheery wood anemones in Holgates Caravan Park.

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In point of fact, there were hosts of other spring flowers too, but the anemones were the most striking.

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It was a terrific evening for birds. Nothing out of the ordinary, just lots of them flitting about and plenty in fine voice too.

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Blue tit.

Just beyond the caravan park I was delighted to find a blackthorn extravagantly in bloom. I’d been anticipating the blackthorns flowers for some time, now here they were in profusion.

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I suspect our local bees were even more pleased than I was, they were certainly waiting in attendance in great numbers.

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Could this bee another female tawny mining bee?

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There was an enormous variety of bees on the blackthorn, but they always seem reluctant to pose, so I only managed to photograph a few.

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This might be Bombus Terrestris but don’t hold me to that.

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This seems to me to be the Platonic bee, the archetypal black and yellow rugger shirted hairy bumble bee.

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It might be Bombus Pratorum. Or it might not.

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I was very happy chasing the bees with my zoom lens. A chiff-chaff and a song thrush in the trees behind were providing a suitable soundtrack. Another warbler was deep within the blackthorn bush, offering tantalising glimpses without ever being sufficiently clear of the surrounding branches for a decent photo.

Eventually, and slightly reluctantly, I dragged myself away and went in search of the hellebores which had brought me this way in the first place.

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I found some, but they were on the wrong side of a fence so I wasn’t able to rummage under the leaves to find the shy green flowers which were probably lurking there. Not to worry, a pair of coal tits burst out of a thicket and landed close by in the hedge.

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Ash trees, like blackthorn, flower before they come into leaf. These…

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…are female ash flowers. The gender of ash trees is a complicated business. But we shan’t concern ourselves with that today, because just after I’d passed Arnside Tower…

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And was climbing back towards Eaves Wood, I spotted high above me in another ash tree….

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…a blue tit apparently eating the flowers. I watched until the blue tit flew away, and was replaced in the trees branches by another tuneful song thrush.

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More gawking than walking on this outing, but immensely satisfying none-the-less.

A Blackthorn full of Bees

Arnside Tower and Arnside Knott

Arnside Tower

Arnside Tower

Now thoroughly behind with blogging due to pressures of work: here’s an overdue instalment of our Easter Adventures. The boys were off playing football (good for them) and A had a friend staying over. The sun was shining, so we decided to tick off another couple of locations on our list of 40 Places worth visiting locally.

On Saul's Drive 

It was cooler than it had been a couple of days before, but warmer than I had anticipated.

Approaching the trig pillar 

Approaching the trig point.

At the top 

There was a real haze and not much in the way of views from the Knott – a real contrast with my previous visit just a couple of weeks before.

What happened to the view? 

What with it being warmer, we most of us ended up carrying coats, gloves and hat rather than wearing them. I dropped my hat and had to leave the others to head home whilst I retraced our steps.

The 'lost' hat

Somebody had hung my hat from a prominent yew branch, presumably to make the place look neat and tidy.

More stuff to follow. Sometime.

Arnside Tower and Arnside Knott