Daffodils at Far Arnside.
These photos are all from the weekend in March after schools in England all closed for an indefinite period. So, strictly speaking, a couple of days before the lockdown arrangements came into force. The week before had been pretty frantic at work, trying to get everything organised for the new arrangements before we were all sent home, so it was great just to get out and relax and enjoy the obvious signs of spring.
And Green Hellebore.
TBH on the coast path.
From Far Arnside, TBH and I climbed up to Heathwaite and then returned home.
On the Sunday I had a wander down to Heald Brow in the morning and then walked round Jenny Brown’s Point with TBH in the afternoon – a fairly similar walk.
I’m pretty sure this Bumble-bee was a queen: only queens survive the winter and then can be seen in early spring searching for a site for a new nest. They nest is cavities, apparently abandoned mouse holes being a favourite. I watched this one wandering around in the moss for quite some time. I’m not very adept at identifying bees but I think this might be a White-tailed Bumble-bee, Bombus Lucorum.
The very hairy leaves around the bee are Mouse-ear-hawkweed. The fauna surveys which I’ve helped with in recent years are definitely having an impact on my recall of trivia like that. The bizarre thing is how chuffed I was to recognise the leaves and know that the flowers would be appearing soon (coming to a blog near you!)
Last year Heald Brow was my go to spot for Primroses, but on this occasion I couldn’t find many flowering and wandered around rather aimlessly trying to work out where they’d all gone.
For the most part, the Blackthorn flowers were just clusters tight little buds, but in places…
…they were open and looking magnificent.
I have an endless supply of blurred photographs of Long-tailed Tits. Even more than other species of tits, they seem to be constantly on the move, bobbing about with a frustrating knack of moving just as the camera shutter opens (or whatever equivalent activity takes place inside a digital camera).
So I was happy when this one decided to pose for a couple of photos.
I heard something on the radio recently, and I can’t remember the source, sorry, but apparently, because their vision extends into the ultraviolet end of the spectrum, the blue on the head of a male Blue Tit is an iridescent spectacle for other Blue Tits.
This episode of Radiolab, about how animals see colours, and in particular the visual acuity of the Peacock Mantis Shrimp, is absolutely fascinating.
This very vigorous plant, which I don’t recognise…
…caught my eye. It remains a mystery – I shall have to keep an eye out to see if it flowers at some point. I’d been checking on Woodwell periodically anyway, waiting for the reappearance of minnows after they were wiped out here by the hot summer of 2018, which dried the pool out completely. The good news is that they’re back; the bad news that the photos I took of them are all a bit useless.
Ramsons or Wild garlic in Bottoms Wood. Around this time, it may even have been on that weekend, I saw a group of four people squatting in the woods here, stuffing black bin bags full of Ramson leaves. I presumed they were intending to supply a restaurant somewhere. Either that, or they really love Wild Garlic Pesto, who knows?
I love the colour and form of emerging Sycamore leaves, and who can resist the cheeriness of…
Unlike Long-tailed Tits, Robins are often happy to sit still and pose for a portrait. I usually crop my bird photos, but was close enough to this Robin that I didn’t feel the need in this case…
I probably took a dozen photos of this Robin. There always comes a point, when I’m photographing Robins, when the Robin turns its head on one side and stares straight at me, as if to check whether I might be a threat or not…
And, as often as not, then continues to ignore me and sing…
Warton Crag from Heald Brow.
A newish footpath sign at Jenny Brown’s cottages. Rather handsome I thought.
In a comment, Andy has, I think unwittingly, challenged me to make a Lockdown playlist, which is exactly the kind of game I like to play. Challenge accepted. If you know Eels marvellous album ‘Daisies of the Galaxy’, then the post title will have been a dead give away:
I’m more than a bit surprised that I haven’t used this song before.