Sunday, 29 March 2020

Was this a last day of sun?

Yesterday may have been the last day of the sun for a while so I grabbed my chance for a walk.  It was a greyer, more overcast day as I set out not much after 9.00 am, but as I sneaked through the gap in the fence and made my way across the fields towards the Horsefield the sun came out and it felt quite warm when sheltered from the wind.  The cultivated fields have been disc harrowed and are very dry; as I walked across the land was being sown and a cloud of dust followed the tractor. Yellow xanthoria lichen clothing the hawthorns glowed bright orange-yellow in the sun.  I noted several domed magpie nests, one with half a sheep's fleece hanging out which the birds were obviously using to line the nest.  I can't think where the nearest sheep are so they must have been flying a long way to find it.  Blackthorn blossom (next year's sloe gin) was a froth of white in the hedgerows, yellowhammers and chaffinches were singing lustily and a buzzard and sparrowhawk soared over the field.  The song of a skylark cascaded down as it hovered as if suspended on an invisible thread. At one point the buzzard was harried by a crow.  

Yellowhammer
Great Tit
Chaffinch
Magpie
Woodpigeon
Crow
Dunnock
Buzzard
Sparrowhawk
Skylark
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Yellowhammer
Chaffinch
Skylark
Buzzard

Friday, 27 March 2020

Thursday, Over to the Dead Wood

Our morning walk yesterday began with frustration as the cemetery gates were locked and it would appear that they will only be open from now 12.00 - 6.00.  Undaunted we set off in the warm sunshine to access the Horsefield via our usual 'informal' route on Edge Avenue.  Our route today took us behind the school field and round the edge of the Horsefield and then over Peake's Tunnel continuing over the fields to the Dead Wood (officially Car Plantation).  Here we sat on a fallen tree for a flask of coffee enjoying the sight of the white dog violets at our feet.  On our walk across we had seen small tortoiseshells and peacocks aplenty along with a murder of crows and magpies.  Chaffinches were singing in the hedge and on approaching Carr Plantation and during our walk around it we heard the strident yaffle of a green woodpecker.  I have run many miles around here over the years as it used to form part of the course for the Grimsby and District Cross Country Championships and during the Harriers summer club runs we used to return this way to the stadium.  A buzzard called as it soared over the wood and King Alfred's Cakes a hard black tree fungus once used for kindling dotted some of the ash trees.  We also stood under a tree with a great spotted woodpecker drumming loudly above us bur we were unable to spot it.  I was delighted as we returned across the Horsefield to spot a skylark parachuting back down to the ground.  I also looked for and found the comma from yesterday.
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Sycamore

Sycamore

The Dead Wood

The Dead Wood.  I have run many miles along these woodland paths.

White Dog Violet

White Dog Violet

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Wednesday, Garden and Cemetery/Horsefield Walk

We are well into 'Lockdown' now and trying to get used to the idea.  It is particularly strange for me as I am over 70 and have a heart condition.

It was another beautiful day and to break up the decorating we enjoyed coffee and later lunch in the garden.  I was pleased to see a peacock butterfly which settled for a while.  A sulphur yellow brimstone flew quickly through and bees were out feeding especially on the perennial wallflowers and the occasional bee fly was around.  I was particularly pleased to see a buzzard soaring over the Horsefield while we were having lunch.

After lunch I set off for the normal cemetery/Horsefield walk.  As I had hoped butterflies were now in evidence with plenty of peacocks and tortoiseshells and a single comma on the horsefield.  I noticed that hazel leaves were beginning to open and blackthorn blossom was a froth of white on the hedges.  Before we can blink I shall be collecting the sloes for next year's sloe gin.  Lesser celendine is in flower here as well as in our garden where it is not quite so welcome.  I was delighted to get my first chiffchaff of the year.

Peacock
Small Tortoiseshell
Comma
Blackbird
Robin
Wood pigeon
Jay
Chiffchaff
Magpie
Chaffinch
Great Tit
Bullfinch
Dunnock
Long Tailed Tit
Lesser Celendine 

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Willow Catkins

A froth of blackthorn blossom

Cherry

Cherry

Cemetery daffodils

Hazel

Hazel

Hazel

Horse Chestnut

Horse Chestnut

Peacock

Not often you can take a bird pic with an 80mm macro

Willow

Comma

Comma

Comma

Dandelion

This is why it's called the Horsefield

Peacock

Sunday, 22 March 2020

The Cemetery and Horsefield

Bright, sunny skies were the feature of my cemetery walk today.  It was still chilly with a brisk easterly wind.  I was pleased, but surprised to spot a great spotted woodpecker bounding through the air above the Horsefield.

Blackbird
Chaffinch
crow
Wood Pigeon
Greater Spotted Woodpecker
Magpies

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Saturday, 21 March 2020

Scartho Cemetery and The Horsefield

Although official 'Lockdown' didn't begin until Monday 23rd March, government restrictions were beginning to kick in and most people were starting to stay very much 'at home'.  Writing now, a week later, we are allowed out for one exercise session a day which must begin and start at our own home so trips out in the car are a thing of the past, at least temporarily.  While this situation lasts I have decided to embark on a Conavirus project to observe and record the progress of nature through the seasons in the cemetery and the Horsefield.  I can walk to both these locations from home and, in fact it has been a regular walk/run for years and I have been photographing the Horsfield, my local edgeland for two or three years.  The Horsefield is, more correctly, Gooseman's Field but we refer to it as such because of the half a dozen or so horses that are tethered there.  My regular walk is through the main cemetery, a circuit of the woodland cemetery and then out for a circuit of the horsefield.

On 21st March it was grey, overcast and chilly.  In the cemetery primroses were plentiful as were daisies and, to a lesser extent dog violets.  Daffodils were at their peak and leaves were beginning to open and in the woodland cemetery a fine willow was coming into flower.  There several groups of magpies, especially in the Horsefield.  Gulls and wood pigeons were also in evidence.  The best bird sighting was of a female sparrowhawk as she streaked through on her quest for small avian prey.  We were excited to see deer slots around the perimeter of the woodland cemetery, presumably roe or, perhaps, muntjac.
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Blackthorn




Willow

The Woodland Burial Ground

The Woodland Burial Ground

The Woodland Burial Ground

The Woodland Burial Ground

The Horsefield

The Horsefield

The Horsefield

The Horsefield

The Horsefield

The Horsefield

The Horsefield

Primrose

Primrose

Primrose

Primrose

Primrose

King Cups in the Garden

Although we only have a small water feature in our garden we have some marsh marigolds or king cups growing in it and at the moment they are looking magnificent.
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Friday, 20 March 2020

A Final Visit to Rothwell Before Lockdown.

Today was to be our final outing for a walk using the car and meeting friends, although maintaining our 2 metres separation.  We had decided to meet up at another favourite location: Rothwell in the Lincolnshire Wolds on Friday 20th March.  We just had a short rather sombre and reflective walk before wishing each other well and heading home.
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