Easter Miscellany

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I’ve decided to combine a hotchpotch of images from a sequence of local walks into one ragbag, catch-all post. These first few photos come from a very short outing, a circular route, but essentially to Lambert’s Meadow and back.

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Once at the meadow, I was mesmerised by the abundance of flies on the flowers along the edge of the field, beside a drystone wall. I was particularly surprised and delighted by the ubiquity of Bee Flies, a species I didn’t know about until relatively recently, but which I now realise are, at least in early spring, extremely common.

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There were lots of hoverflies about too. I keep promising myself a field guide and will surely get around to ordering one soon. Probably.

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Comma butterfly.

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Ash flower.

Later, I was out for a slightly extended version of my standard wander to the Cove and across the Lots. I was too early to catch the sunset from the Lots, but it was setting as I turned for home near Hagg Wood…

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The next day, I took B, some of his closest friends and Little S down to Preston for an early birthday treat for B – some indoor go-karting. I hadn’t intended to take part in the racing myself, but one of the friends had to drop out at the last moment, so I ended up taking part by default. Sadly, all of the boys were faster than me with the exception of Little S, who was in an underpowered ‘junior’ cart.

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This is our glamorous post-race lunch: sandwiches out of the car boot in the car-park on an industrial estate.

That evening, I managed to get out for an ascent of Arnside Knott.

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I love the fact that the powerful zoom on my camera brings Ingleborough so close…

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…and the light and shade which it revealed.

This tree…

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…which must have fallen a long time ago, but which has continued to grow despite that set-back, has featured on the blog before. It’s very close to the trig pillar on the Knott and the boys used to like climbing on its branches.

It’s a beech and on this occasion was liberally festooned with buds which looked like they would imminently burst forth with fresh green leaves.

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Nearby Sycamores were slightly ahead in that game…

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By the toposcope, I stopped for a brew, something I don’t do nearly as often as I should.

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A couple of days after that, a Sunday, and I was in Garstang with B for a rugby match. Whilst both teams were warming up I had a short wander by the River Wyre and looked at some sculptures in a small community park there.

We were impressed by our hosts score board…

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…and by the final score in what had been a very close match.

That evening, I was back on Arnside Knott.

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Willow catkins.

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Birch buds again. Possibly the same ones.

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Roe deer buck.

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Kent Estuary.

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Larch flowers and…

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…cones.

 

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Easter Miscellany

Celandines, Buds, Sunset, Hirundines.

Hagg Wood – The Green – Clark’s Lot – Hollins Lane – Slackwood Lane – Leighton Moss  – Lower Hide – Yealand Allotment – Hawes Water – The Row – Hagg Wood

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Lesser Celandines enjoying the sunshine.

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The western edge of Hagg Wood, a small copse which edge’s Bottom’s Lane, seems to be a good place to spot our common songbirds, or at least at the moment it is, whilst the trees have no leaves.

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Chaffinch.

I keep returning to this particular path at the moment, because I’m anxious for clues to help me identify The Mystery Tree. It has been suggested that it might be a Sycamore, A Field Maple or an Ash. Here are its buds…

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…which categorically rule out the latter. And if it’s a Sycamore, it will be in leaf very, very soon, so I shall soon be able to confirm or discount that possibility.

The oak trees, which form the line which ends with the mystery tree, have much browner buds, in clusters and part way along the twigs as well as at the ends, rather than singly and only at the ends of the twigs.

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As well as the ground cover plants, which I mentioned in my last post, many of the woodlands under-storey shrubs are coming into leaf ahead of the trees above them. Honeysuckle is one of the earliest and is now often fully decked out with leaves. The raspberry canes have leaves again, and the gooseberry bushes have both leaves and flowers…

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Gooseberries are quite common locally and are very obvious at this time of the year, but, sadly, much less easy to spot in July when they are fruiting.

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Leighton Moss from the ‘Sky Tower’.

Although I’d set off with blue skies and sunshine, by the time I reached Leighton Moss, the sun was sinking low and it was beginning to get a little dingy for photography. Which was a bit frustrating, because I was very struck by the Alder trees…

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On the left are the cone-like fruit which have been on the tree all through the winter, on the right the long dangling male catkins, and just above those the tiny female catkins.

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As I struck out across the causeway, the sun was sinking behind the ridge of slightly higher ground which isn’t named on the OS Map, but which I shall call Silver Helme after the Scout Camp which is situated there.

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From the causeway I continued along the Lower Hide path, which, in my mind at least, is ’round the back’ of Leighton Moss.

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Eventually reaching Lower Hide itself.

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I was enjoying getting a variety of different perspectives on the sunset. I was also very excited because skimming low over the water were lots of very fast-flying birds…

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Hirundines!

Even if it hadn’t been so dark, I’m not sure I would have been able to tell whether these were House Martins, Sand Martins or Swallows. But I don’t care, because I know what they mean – they’re here to tell us that spring has arrived!

The remainder of my walk was a bit dark. I’d neglected to bring a headtorch. Again. Half an hour later, having crossed Yealand Allotment to Hawes Water…

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It was still just about light enough to see to walk.

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In the woods I heard something crashing about in the trees – Roe Deer I thought. Which was confirmed moments later when one of them ‘barked’ nearby. This is a pretty unearthly cry, and quite loud when it’s close to. I think that if I hadn’t heard them before I might have been unnerved by it.

When I passed Hagg Wood again, it was Orion’s belt I was trying to photograph (without success) and I was glad that I’ve walked these field paths many times before, including in the dark, because there was no moon and it was exceedingly dark, so it helped that I knew exactly where I was going.

Celandines, Buds, Sunset, Hirundines.