Kaleidoscope Moon

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I decided to take an evening stroll down to Leighton Moss, thinking that on previous summer-evenings I’d seen Red Deer swimming in the meres near to Grizedale Hide and that maybe I would see them again.

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Dryad’s Saddle.

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Distant Great Spotted Woodpecker.

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In the event, whilst I did spot a couple of deer, they were partially hidden in amongst the reeds. Fortunately, there was plenty more to see.

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I particularly enjoyed the antics of this Little Egret. Unlike Herons – patient hunters which don’t generally move very much or very quickly, Little Egrets wander about, stirring up the mud at the bottom of the pond hoping to dislodge likely prey.

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A nearby tree had seven Cormorants perched in it…

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I knew that Herons and Egrets like to congregate to roost in the evenings, but perhaps Cormorants do too.

There were some Proper Birders in the hide, nice chaps, who told me that there were both Marsh Harriers and Bitterns nesting nearby. They were hoping for a sight of the Bitterns, which didn’t materialise, but we did see both adult Harriers, although somewhat distantly…

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I find that I can only sit in a hide for so long before I start to get itchy feet and when the sun disappeared, perhaps for the last time that day I thought, it was time to move on.

Anyway, I wanted to get home before it got too late. On my way back around the reserve, I diverted slightly to take in the view from the Sky Tower…

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From there I watched a pair of Swans and their large family of cygnets swim across the mere in a stately line and then, reaching their nest, enter into a noisy dispute with some Coots, who obviously felt that they had squatters’ rights.

Then I noticed some sort of commotion in the water, between the two islands of reeds in the photograph above. Fish were jumping out of the water, but not the odd fish rising for a fly, this was lots of fish and the fish were seemingly leaping in groups, with the activity moving around the small area as if something were pursuing the fish beneath the water. I’ve seen this sort of thing once before and that was just after I thought I’d seen an Otter dive into the water from the Causeway which crosses the reserve. In the middle of the area where the commotion was taking place the RSPB have built a small wooden platform. There were numerous birds on that platform and they were all obviously aware of what was going on too. The ducks all took to the water and headed swiftly away. The heron peered at the fish momentarily before unfurling its wings and also departing. Only the small white birds, which looked to be terns of some sort, didn’t seem to be bothered. Meanwhile a second area, along the edge of the mere, had also started to liven up with fish jumping this way and that. Perhaps there were a pair of Otters down there, doing a spot of fishing.

The area where this was all happening was right in front of Lillian’s Hide, so I thought I would head down there to see what I could see. When I got there, the fish were no longer leaping, but a disturbance in the reeds alerted me and there was my Otter, swimming along the channel in front of the hide. I lost sight of it, but there was another chap in the hide and, when I told him there was an otter nearby, he came up trumps by spotting it swimming away.

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Not as good as my photos from this winter, but it’s not often that I get to see an Otter after work, so I was very happy.

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The heron returned and I could see now why the terns were so unperturbed – they weren’t real – I suppose that this is an attempt to attract actual terns to nest on this faux island?

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Buzzard.

By the time I was walking back across the fields towards home, I’d missed the sunset, but there was still lots of colour in the sky.

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The moon was half hidden by this great swathe of pink clouds. Using the zoom on my camera I watched the moon as it was repeatedly veiled and unveiled by the clouds.

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Searching for a title for the post, and reverting, as I often do, to songs titles half-remembered from my youth, I thought I could recall a song called Kaleidoscope Moon.

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A bit of googling however, reminded me that the song I was thinking of was actually ‘Kaleidoscope World’ from the album of the same name by Kiwi band The Chills.

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Other songs on the album were called ‘Rolling Moon’ and my own favourite ‘Pink Frost’, so maybe I had dimly muddled these three and somehow got ‘pink’, ‘moon’ and ‘kaleidoscope’ from the three songs. I’m surprised that I seem to have managed to almost completely forget this band, although some fragment of a memory was clearly lurking in the recesses of my mind, and I’m very happy to have been serendipitously jolted into recollection.

 

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Kaleidoscope Moon

A New England

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Another sunset from the Cove. (It must be ages since I last posted one?)

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Another evening stroller commented as I passed: “Look at the Power Station – it looks like it’s on fire!”

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Heysham Nuclear Power Station.

Sometimes even the ugliest of things can catch the light just right.

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them, but they were only satellites

from A New England by Billy Bragg

Something else I don’t usually see in the village…

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…Morris Dancers.

A New England

Little and Often: Lilydale

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These photos are from a couple of weeks ago now. The dying embers of a beautiful sunny evening. As usual, I was in Kirkby Lonsdale for the boys Rugby practice on a Wednesday, and went for a wander along the Lune…

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…past Ruskin’s View, through the churchyard and on to Devil’s Bridge. The display of Daffodils by St. Mary’s, and other flower strewn churchyards I’ve seen since, have had me digging out Francesca Greenoak’s book ‘God’s Acre’ which is about the flora and fauna likely to be found in a British churchyard, and, in turn, the title of that book put me in mind of the 10,000 Maniacs song ‘Lilydale’.

Come as we go far away
From the noise of the street
Walk a path so narrow
To a place where we feel at ease

Strange how my mind works: I haven’t listened to that album, ‘Songs from the Wishing Chair’, for years, but, at one time, I listened to it so frequently that I seem to be able to play it mentally on demand on some kind of internal radio.

Meanwhile…

 

April’s milage keeps me on course for my arbitrary 1000 mile target for the year. Once again, I didn’t match the early enthusiasm of January or February, despite the lighter evenings, but a couple of bouts of illness go some way to account for that. Not to worry, as of today I’ve clocked just over 450 miles so far, so I’m still ahead of schedule.

Right – off to find ‘Songs from the Wishing Chair’, time to get reacquainted with an old favourite.

Steep is the water tower
Painted off blue to match the sky
Can’t ignore the train
Night walks in the valley silent…
Little and Often: Lilydale

Watch Me Now

Far Arnside – Park Point – White Creek – Blackstone Point – New Barns – Arnside – Arnside Moss – Black Dyke – Far Waterslack – Waterslack – The Row – Hagg Wood

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House Sparrow

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Newly-laid hedge by Townsfield.

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Primroses on the bank on Cove Road.

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Hazel Catkins.

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Marsh Tit.

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Daffodils in the woods near Far Arnside.

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Green hellebore in amongst the daffs.

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Grange and Hampsfell.

The tide was well out, the mud unusually firm, so I did something I don’t often do and walked away from the shore on a beeline for Hampsfell on the far side of the Kent, only turning inland again as the sand started to drop towards the river channel.

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Park Point.

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Redshank.

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Arnside Knott from New Barns.

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I had what I am now beginning to think of as my Birding Camera with me and wasn’t using my phone for once. Along the estuary I had some fun photographing a Cormorant which was fishing, a number of Redshanks, a Corvid, probably a Crow, which was tussling with what looked like a plastic bag half-embedded in the far bank of the river, and nearby another Crow vigorously bathing in the shallow margin of the river.

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I know that birds bathe, we have a birdbath sited just beyond the window I’m currently sat beside and I’ve often watched Blackbirds dipping into it, but this seemed a little more out of the ordinary.

The camera helped me to identify a pair of Goosanders which were fishing in the channel…

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Here, the male, on the right, has caught a small flatfish.

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Whitbarrow Scar, the Kent, the viaduct.

On the wall of a small, abandoned quarry close to Arnside I noticed some heather flowering…

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It’s the wrong time of year for our native heathers, but the heathers in our garden are flowering too so I guess this is an interloper.

I’m still feeling the after-affects of the virus which laid me low last week, so I chose to follow the Kent for a while beyond Arnside, and then by cutting back across Arnside Moss and following the field path beside Black Dyke managed to almost completely avoid the need to struggle uphill.

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In the woods near Middlebarrow Quarry a pigeon-sized bird ghosted past my shoulder, swooped low and then banked steeply to land noiselessly on a branch ahead of me. This was no wood pigeon however, a bird incapable of doing anything silently.

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I think that this is another female Sparrowhawk, although, as ever, I stand ready to be corrected.

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Silverdale Moss.

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Trees near Hagg Wood.

This photo…

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…was taken several days before any of the others in this post. We’ve had Roe Deer in the garden again a few times recently. On this occasion there were, briefly, four of them, despite the fact that Roe Der are often reported to be solitary creatures. All males I think. I wanted to include the picture because it shows how furry this buck’s new antlers are. It looks as if he had spotted me. Certainly, just after I took this photo, he bounded over the hedge into our neighbour’s garden.

I’m reading ‘I Put A Spell On You’ by John Burnside at the moment. It’s a very unusual book, which I think I bought solely because of the title and it’s reference to the Screaming Jay Hawkins song, which I’m more familiar with in the versions by Nina Simone and especially Creedence Clearwater Revival. I don’t know, in honesty, quite what to make of the book, but I couldn’t help but mentally underline this passage…

“…it comes to me that, at moments like this, yes, but also in some far off place at the back of my head, I am, in some modest and ineffable way, supremely happy. Or perhaps not happy so much as given to fleeting moments of good fortune, the god-in-the-details sense of being obliged and permitted to inhabit a persistently surprising and mysterious world.”

So perhaps this post’s title should have come from that passage, but instead, having contrived to find a walk almost without any contours, I chose the purloin the title from The Contours big hit.

“Do you love me?
(I can really move)
Do you love me?
(I’m in the groove)
Ah, do you love?
(Do you love me)
Now that I can dance
(Dance)

Watch me now, oh….”

Watch Me Now

Such A Night

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The much reported snow and ice barely made it to this part of the West Coast, although when it did arrive it was oddly localised and, for example, Silverdale got quite a bit more snow than nearby Lancaster. These photos are from a quick walk on the Wednesday. We’d had one very heavy flurry of snow on the Tuesday evening and some more lighter falls thereafter and by Wednesday morning we had quite an accumulation. Not sufficient to keep us at home, sadly. The sun shone for much of the day and although it was cold, much of the snow had thawed by the time I got out for a late circuit around The Cove and The Lots.

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Redshanks.

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Inevitable Cove sunset.

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Ashmeadow House.

Later, I took A to Arnside for a piano lesson and had time for a short, and very chilly, stroll along the promenade and beside the River Kent.

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I should probably explain the convoluted way in which I arrived at the post’s inappropriate title: for the previous post which eventually ended up accompanied by ‘True Love Travels on a Gravel Road’, I also considered ‘Walk On Guilded Splinters’ and although I eventually rejected that choice, I then found myself listening to a few other Dr John songs, including, eventually, ‘Such A Night’….

Such A Night

Walking Blues

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Eaves Wood.

Another BWOO, with a blue sky wander following rugby at Kirkby.

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The Ring O’Beeches.

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Ring O’Beeches pano.

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Arnside Knott.

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Arnside Knott pano.

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Black Dyke.

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Arnside Knott seen across Silverdale Moss. 

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Hawes Water.

This time I was rushing back for a much better reason. I was only at home very briefly before heading out again to see The John Verity Band play at the Silverdale Hotel.

Unlike the rugby, this was well worth curtailing a walk for. They’re back in Silverdale on October the 14th and probably playing somewhere near you sometime soon (if you’re in the UK anyway).

Walking Blues

True Love Travels…

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Shingle beach at Far Arnside.

Suddenly, I’m a behind again. This images are from a fortnight ago; one of those BWOOs (Brief Window of Opportunity) where I found myself with a couple of hours to spare on a sunny Saturday afternoon. At this remove, the images look quite spring-like, and there were plenty of primroses on the bank on Cove Road where they always seem to appear earlier than anywhere else…

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But in truth, the wind was stiff and Siberian, a herald of the snows which would arrive later in the week.

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Buzzard.

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Meathop Fell seen across the Kent Estuary.

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Bullfinch.

I opted for a slight variation on an old favourite – following the coast past Far Anrside and White Creek to New Barns, near to Arnside, but then climbing over the Knott and home again.

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Arnside Knott panoramas (click on photos for larger versions)

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I’m always tempted to photograph the pale shingle at Far Arnside, and this time I did…

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…which set me thinking about the various surfaces I would traverse on my walk.

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Wet sand.

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…with or without shells…

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Harder, drier, ridged sand.

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Leaves and twigs in the woods.

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Mud on the Knott.

This…

…seemed like a suitable musical accompaniment. Apparently, the song was first popularised by Elvis and Percy Sledge also had a hit with it, but it’s this version by Nick Lowe which I know.

I could, and should, have extended the walk but rushed back to watch the Calcutta Cup on the gogglebox. For England Rugby fans true love certainly travels by a gravel road.

 

True Love Travels…