Pond Life

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Most of the time the sea in the Bay is pretty placid. But once in a while we do get some waves. Here’s some evidence from one of our local walks with our American cousins.

On another local walk we visited Burtonwell Wood rift cave…

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The passage runs parallel to the cliff-face, and part way along there’s a spot where it’s possible to climb up to a ‘window’…

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From the cave we walked to Woodwell. We often visit, but this time we came prepared with nets and plastic tubs…

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The kids caught quite a variety of pond life. I think that this…

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…is probably a Three-Spined Stickleback. (But, as always, I stand ready to be corrected.)

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Pond Skaters.

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I’d call that upside down insect a Water Boatman, my field guide tells me that it is a Common Backswimmer (also know as a Water Boatman). The rather splendidly red snail is a Great Ramshorn (I think).

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This must be a Water Beetle, but I’m really not sure which kind.

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Here, the Water Boatman has a silvery sheen due to a trapped air bubble which it uses to enable it to breath.

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We were all fascinated by the contents of our tubs.

Well…almost all…

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Later that day we wandered into Eaves Wood for a bit of tree-climbing. Professor A can never resist joining the kids…

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Once again, B’s busted arm proved to be a great hindrance…

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Here we all are by the Pepper Pot…

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Pond Life

hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple

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Monday’s child is fair of face. Monday’s meander was similarly presentable. I took my mind for a stroll. A stroll of the aimless, meandering sort.

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You’ll have gathered, if you’ve dropped by before, that I’m inordinately fond of trees, spring, summer, autumn, winter. At the moment, I’m particularly admiring the splendid architecture of the branches as they stand revealed.

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I fully expected to find snowdrops at every turn around the village and its environs, but I was surprised by these….

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…which have found a home in a small pocket of soil on a limestone pavement.

They’re right by the Primrose Garden, a sizeable, sheltered cleft in the pavement where every spring brings a stunning display of massed primroses. I was bit early though…

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…just one flower leading the way at present.

The sunshine and the snowdrops and the primroses all conspire to lift my spirits and make me anticipate the imminent arrival of spring. Another early warning sign are the hazel catkins. Some are still resolutely, tightly furled…

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But others are unspringing….

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And still others are banners, bright and yellow proclaiming a change in the air.

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They aren’t the only ones with something to shout about either…

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may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

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I warned you that all this early season sunshine would have me quoting ee cummings.

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Not a very original observation I know: that Robin’s put their heads on one side when they give you a quizzical look. Very endearing though. This one clearly decided that I was nothing to worry about…

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…the robin’s song is worth attention: he sings more than any of our birds; he may be heard in every month in the year, even in July and August, if we listen for him: and, though he may not open the Great Chorus at Dawn in May, he is the last to cease in the evening, outstaying even the thrush.

from The Charm of Birds by Viscount Grey of Falladon.

I should perhaps say that prior to this passage Viscount Grey states that the female robin also sings from time to time. Since I first read The Charm of Birds, in a recently reprinted edition from the library, I’ve picked up my own copy. The book was first published in 1927. I have a 1931 copy, with woodcuts by Robert Gibbings.

I’ve written about both Gibbings and Grey before, and don’t intend to repeat myself (for once), but I do intend to read Gibbings’ ‘Coming Down the Seine’ sometime soon, so there may be more to follow on him.

Is there anything more enticing in life than a prohibition? A sign which says….

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…KEEP OUT?

My random walk had brought me to Burtonwell Wood, one edge of which is bounded by Burtonwell Cliff. I’ve walked along this path countless times and I’ve never felt the need to clamber up the slope to the base of the cliffs before. But this time I noticed neat little rectangles affixed to several yews – the camera’s little zoom soon relayed their message and….well, then I had to find out: what would I be keeping out of? And what attraction was it that might have tempted me up there in the first place, so that I would need to be warned off?

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I know that this area is peppered with small caves, but I’ve never had any success in finding any of them. Warton Crag alone has Dog Holes, Badger Hole, Fairy Hole and Harry Hest Hole; there are also caves at Hale Moss (an SSSI no less). In addition, Haverbrack, as Conrad recently pointed out to me, has yet another Dog Hole Cave.

But it transpires that Burtonwell Cliff also has a cave.

Burton Well Cliff Cave is a 20 m long rift varying between crawling and walking size parallel to a cliff face.

from Mass Movement Caves In Northern England

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I wasn’t tempted to enter. But it appears that somebody has been:

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There seemed to be a number of openings, all looking a bit on the tight side.

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The path, when I returned to it, brought me to Lambert’s Meadow…

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…where I watched a corvid, not sure if it was a crow or a raven, strafing a buzzard.

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No recipes or card games or even sunsets to finish this post, I seem to have waffled on more than enough already.

hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple