Wildflowers on Heald Brow.

P1180419

Meadow Ant mounds on Heald Brow.

The Friday evening of the first May Bank Holiday weekend. TBH and Little S had tootled off to Dublin for their rugby tour. The team had had a surprise good luck message from “you know, that England rugby player, Dylan Thomas”, as TBH put it. Turned out to be Dylan Hartley, which is almost as impressive.

A and B and I were also going away, but A had a DofE training event on the Friday night and Saturday morning, so I decide to take advantage of the good weather we were having and get out for a local ramble.

P1180424

The ‘force that drives the green fuse’ had been hard at work and Heald Brow was resplendent with trees bedecked with new-minted leaves and a host of wildflowers.

P1180421

Primroses.

P1180423

Cowslips.

P1180427

Early Purple Orchid.

I walked a small circuit around Heald Brow and stumbled across an area carpeted with Primroses…

P1180436

If anything, this is even more impressive than the patch nestled in the limestone pavement at Sharp’s Lot which I am always keen to visit each spring.

P1180434

In amongst the standard yellow flowers were some variants…

P1180433

In the past, I’ve always assumed that these colourful exceptions were garden escapees, but now I’m wondering whether it was simply mutations like these which led to the selective breeding of the diverse variants which are now available for gardens.

P1180432

P1180431

Bugle.

I dropped down to the salt-marsh.

P1180443

Warton Crag.

Which, unfortunately, left me in deep shade for some time.

P1180442

P1180445

Scurvygrass.

P1180448

Gorse at Jack Scout.

P1180453

A Jack Scout shrub – shaped by the lashings of salty winds off the Bay.

P1180459

Sunset from Jack Scout.

Advertisements
Wildflowers on Heald Brow.

Sunday Triptych: an Early Outing.

P1170736

Saturday was another grey and damp day. I was taken in by the hype and watched the Six Nations opener, Scotland versus Wales, expecting a close match. Then was out for a late walk in the rain and the gloom and eventually dark.

When I woke up early on the Sunday and looked out to see completely clear skies, it was too good to resist and set off for a circuit of Hawes Water before the usual Underley Rugby trip.

P1170710

When I set off the moon was still high in the sky, although it wasn’t as dark as this photo suggests, since I’d switched the camera to black and white mode and dialled the exposure down to minimum, which seems to give best results.

P1170713

From Eaves Wood I could see mist rising off the land and the sky lightening in the East.

P1170723

Near Hawes Water, out of the trees, there had clearly been a sharp frost.

P1170716

Roe Deer Buck.

P1170721

Cormorants.

P1170728

This ruin in the trees by the lake has long been surrounded by a high fence and Rhododendrons. Both have now been removed, although to what end I don’t know.

I was aware that the sun had come up, although I couldn’t see it, or feel its warmth, because it was painting the trees on the slope above me in a golden light.

P1170732

P1170733

Hawes Water.

Back to the house, quick cup of tea, off to rugby.

 

Sunday Triptych: an Early Outing.

And Other Seas…

P1170171

Just occasionally, after very heavy rain, the fields behind our house can flood. It’s a rare occurrence, but the downpours towards the end of November brought the most extreme flooding we’ve seen in our time here…

P1170157

This is what it looked like on the Thursday morning. On the Wednesday evening I’d driven through water which, I suspect, I would have baulked at in daylight. After I took this photo, we struggled to commute into Lancaster, having to turn back twice where roads were closed.

Of course, every cloud has it’s proverbial silver lining. Where I saw flooding, the DBs saw an opportunity. On the Wednesday night they’d already been out together for a ‘paddle’, or more accurately, a wade, in the temporary lake. On the Thursday they decided to go one better.

P1170165

And paddle a kayak in the field.

P1170168

It was windy, and pretty cold, so we didn’t stay out for long, but it was an unusual experience, to say the least.

 

And Other Seas…

Garden Visitors Again and a Hawes Water Wander

Eaves Wood – Hawes Water – Wildflower Meadow – West Coppice – Moss Lane – The Row – Hagg Wood

P1110845

A Saturday morning and we have visitors in our garden. Two Roe Deer. They were there, on and off, all day, shuttling between our garden and our neighbour’s.

Much later, TBH and I head out for a wander around Hawes Water.

I found broken eggs when I was in the high fields above Roeburndale, and again on this occasion…

P1110854

…it was quite a large egg, perhaps a Wood Pigeon’s? (I really know next to nothing about identifying eggs however, so this should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Always good with an egg anyway.)

P1110859

By Hawes Water, the Bird’s-eye Primroses have just come into flower…

P1110857

Although not all of them are there yet…

P1110858

We extended our usual Hawes Water route slightly to cross one of Gait Barrow’s unimproved flower meadows and then turn back across the shoulder of high ground of Trowbarrow, joining Moss Lane much further down than we usually would, near to the row of former quarrymen’s cottages. Above the meadow, a Buzzard was wheeling…

P1110862

P1110865

In most of the fields, where fertiliser is regularly added, not many wildflowers prosper. Dandelions do well however.

When we were tidying up from our family tea, the two Roe Deer returned to the garden. One of them was not only eating the new leaves from our Sumach tree, but also rubbing her face against the branches. To help with the irritation of that moulting winter coat?

P1110870

To our surprise, as we all stood at the kitchen windows watching they came up the garden towards us.

P1110873

There is a price to pay for these visits, I noticed yesterday that some of our Aquilegias have been decapitated, shorn of their shapely purple flowers, but that’s something I can live with – and fortunately the Aquilegias have self-seeded all around the garden, so there are plenty more.

Garden Visitors Again and a Hawes Water Wander

Quince, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Sunset

P1090786

This cheery Quince is on one of the verges of Cove Road, practically on our doorstep. About a week before I took these photos, I’d previously tried to capture the Sparrows which like to congregate here, but was frustrated by low light. Then, the flowers had been tight buds, like small scarlet berries.

P1090788

We have a couple of Quince in our garden, they’ve been there since we moved in, stuck in pots – little more than large buckets really – and ‘trained’ against an east-facing wall. They aren’t very happy and in twelve years have barely grown, producing few flowers and no fruit.

P1090789

I think I should stick them into a border. Maybe then I can have a go at making Membrillo to go with the Manchego which the kids like so much.

P1090790

A lot of recent walks have been at the end of a sunny day, but when the sun has been dipping behind cloud. By contrast, this one took place on a wet day which had brightened up.

P1090797

Blackbirds, female and…

P1090799

…male.

P1090802

Forsythia.

P1090803

This was a couple of days before the Spring Equinox, but nobody had told the woodland plants which exploit the period before the trees come back into leaf; the Ramsons (above), Dog’s Mercury and Cuckoo Pint which carpet the local woods were all in full swing, not waiting for any official starter’s pistol.

I didn’t go very far, just up to the Pepper Pot to look at the bay and the sky…

P1090811

…then down through Eaves Wood by a route I don’t often take…

P1090814

And along to The Cove to look at the bay and the sky some more.

P1090829

Finally across The Lots and home along Spring Bank an appropriately named local street.

P1090831

When I turned the corner from the lane into our front garden I almost walked into a Roe Deer buck. I’m not sure which of us was more startled. Earlier, when it had been raining, the boys had been anxious to point out to me the pair of Roe Deer which were foraging at the bottom of our garden. Now there were four deer. They fled into our neighbour’s garden. I followed them as best I could, by walking round into our back garden. I didn’t get any photos of the deer, but I did spot an enormous Bumblebee…

P1090835

…which was very industriously exploiting the large patch of these early flowers which I have never been able to identify. I took lots of photos, all of them a bit rubbish, but it was quite dark at this point!

Quince, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Sunset

Slightly Blurred

Clark’s Lot – Hollin’s Lane – Slackwood Lane – Leighton Moss – Trowbarrow Quarry – Eaves Wood

P1090643

In like a lion, they say of March, but if I remember right, this had been a very pleasant day, although sadly, a Wednesday spent at work. I had the idea that I would get out and catch some sunshine, but, as you can see from the photo above, by the time I reached Clark’s Lot, only a few minutes from home, the sun was already sinking behind the trees.

Slightly blurred photos of Long-Tailed Tits have become an irregular feature of this blog. Here is another example of the genre…

P1090638

Generally, the problem is their propensity to flit about relentlessly, but this was a remarkably relaxed Long-Tailed Tit content to sit still whilst I took three photos. Sadly, the auto-focus trained in perfectly on the branches just in front of the Bumbarrel. Even when the tit moved on, it rested in new positions, allowing me to take more photos, but in high branches, silhouetted against the sky, it came out very dark. It was obviously some kind of Zen Long-Tailed Tit however.

P1090645

Down at Leighton Moss the Starlings were gathering for the roost, which isn’t the massive affair of earlier in the winter, but still worth watching.

P1090644

On the Sunday before, I’d been out for a walk in unpromising conditions, leaving my camera at home since rain looked so imminent. I hadn’t intended to stay out long, but in the end, had a great walk, on a circular route I don’t think I’ve ever walked before. (Which says a great deal about the wealth of options in this area). At Hawes Water there had been four Cormorants on the trees where I saw one not so long ago. Later it began to rain, but at Leighton Moss I was cheered by an abundance of spring fungi, Scarlet Elf Cup…

P1090650

Which was why I wanted to return to Leighton Moss, now that I had my camera with me. Whist I was taking this photo, this Robin…

P1090648

…surprised me by practically landing on my shoulder.

P1090652

P1090654

At Trowbarrow there were some climbers still bouldering despite the gathering gloom, and in Eaves Wood, when it was almost dark, I met a couple of dog walkers. I wasn’t the only one thinking that it was good to be out.

P1090653

Slightly Blurred