Saturday 29 May 2021

Butterfly Hunting on the Local Patch

 Finally, for the first day this year I was out in just a tee shirt.  Marvellous and a glorious day to be out; the temperature reached 20+C in the afternoon.  THings are really beginning to grow up now and the Dead Wood looks positively lush with trees coming into full leaf and a froth of cow parsley lining the paths.  I had already heard the scratchy song of whitethroat and delighted in the bubbling flute-like song of a garden warbler, which, typical of this species, refused to show itself.

There were a few more butterflies on the wing today, maily whites with a few tortoiseshells and peacocks all looking very worn now.

  • Orange tip 1 female and 4 males
  • Large White 5
  • Small White 7
  • Green-Veined White 1
  • Peacock 3
  • Small Tortoiseshell 3
I also came across a huge swarm of bees close to the allotments, where, presumably, there are hives.

There are more flowers about now and it was good to see birdsfoot trefoil flowering in the disturbed ground where the horses have been grazing as it is the food plant for common Blue catterpillars. Notable species included:

  • Cow parsley
  • Red Campion
  • Speedwell
  • Buttercups
  • White Dead Nettle
  • Red Clover
  • Birdsfoot trefoil
  • Pignut
  • Tufted Vetch
  • Herb Bennet
  • Cut leaved Cranesbill
Birds seen included:
  • Blackbird
  • Magpie
  • House Sparrow
  • Swallow
  • Starling
  • Crow
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Linnet
  • Chaffinch
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Garden Warbler
  • Robin
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Whitethroat
  • Goldfinch
To view large, please click on an image.
Birdsfoot trefoil
Birdsfoot trefoil
Green-Veined White
Red Campion
Small White
Small White
Cow Parsley lines the Dead Wood paths

Friday 28 May 2021

A Pair of Moffs

 Although I have not had the moth trap out yet this year most trappers have been reporting very poor catches due to the cold and dry weather in April and the record breaking cold and wet weather in May.  April was the coldest and driest April since 1922 according to the Met Office and May the wettest on record.  However, I noticed a pair of mating mint moths on our conservatory window today, my first of the year.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Finally a Sunny Afternoon.

The air was warm and humid and smelled green and of the earth.  There were heady, musky scents of May blossom and cow parsley, this year flowering at the same time.  Finally the weather had changed from wet and cold and we have had a warm sunny afternoon so I decided on a quick walk around the Woodland burial ground to see if there were any butterflies about.  There were very few on the wing with only 3 small whites and a single large white observed.  There were none at all in the main cemetery.  The cold and dry weather of April and the cold and very wet in May has caused everything to be late.

To view large, please click on an image.

Hawthorn or May Blossom
Hawthorn or May Blossom
Hawthorn or May Blossom
Small White

Sunday 23 May 2021

Lake District, May. Day 7

Heavy rain again in the early hours but it dried up to intermittent dribbling by the time we had had breakfast.  The plan today is to drive down to Kendal to Lancaster to meet SeƱor Lynx.  I have just discovered that the Handsome Brewery and Bowston Bridge is open this morning so a short diversion there is in order.

To view large, please click on an image

Lake District, May. Day 6

Disaster!  It was closed!  We were in Bowston Bridge again at the end of our walk and were hoping for some rehydration.  Sadly it was not to be.  We had met Thomas in the site visitors'  ar park at 10.30, the plan being to walk up to Potter Tarn high on Potter Fell.  Our route took us again down to Bowston, along the Dale's Way to Beckmickle Ing Wood and up the fell as far as Spring Hag wood again.  The bluebells were as spectacular as ever, but rather than continuing into the wood we followed the track that climbed up the fellside soon reaching the path junction where we made our way steeply up the fell towards the tarn.  We opted to stop for lunch as the weather looked threatening and we wanted to eat in the dry.  The rain never really arrived though and we soon took off the waterproofs again.From our high point we could looked down on the tarn (a possible venue for a wild swim if the weather ever gets warm enough) and the wider views were expansive.  From Arnside Knott and Morecambe Bay in the south our eyes were drawn to the Coniston Fells, the Old Man spotlight in the sun, and onto the Scafells, Bowfell and the Crinkles and, overhung by lowering cloud and rain,the Langdales.  Nearer to us was the Kentmere Horseshoe.  Below, in the valley of the River Kent, sat the market Town of Kendal.  The view up Hall Beck Valley towards Kentmere was pastoral and attractive with its scattering of farmsteads.  All too soon it was time to head back down to the valley and up the other side back to the site.  Having failed at the brewery we jumped in Thomas's car and headed to Stavely and Wilf's for tea and cake.

To view large, please click on an image

Lake District, May. Day 5

We woke up to more rain today  and had another lazy morning in the van  arching up with some jobs.  Late morning, however, we a pickup and headed off to Arnside to eat our sandwiches on the sea front and to explore the village.  From here we drove over to Leighton Moss, pleased to find the car park for the Allen Pools hides open.  There had obviously been problems during lockdown as there were large signs forbidding parking on the narrow track down to the car park.  Who could contemplate parking along there heaven only knows.  We visited the Eric Morecambe hide first and then moved back to the Allen hide.  The over-riding impression was one of the cacophony from the raucous screams of nesting blacke-headed gulls many with chicks resembling balls of mottled brown fluff.  Amongst them were a distant pair of Mediterranean gulls nesting on the far island.  There were also herring and greater black backed gulls.  Little egrets stalked the margins jerkily plunging their heads in as they hunted small fish and other prey.  Avocet were plentiful and some were even nesting amongst the blak-headed gulls.  I was able to photograph one pair as they changed over brooding responsibilities.  Under the sitting bird I could briefly see a chick and an egg.  Sadly the large numbers of gulls were wreaking havoc with them as they predated chicks and eggs.  Apparently there was a spoonbill about but unfortunately we didn't manage to see it.  It would have been nice to explore the rest of the reserve but the rain began to come down heavily again so we made our way back to the van.  It was good to visit again, albeit briefly.

To view large, please click on an image
Beach, Arnside
Beach, Arnside
Avocet on the nest.
Nest change over
Wash and brush up time for the relieved bird
Wash and brush up time for the relieved bird
Wash and brush up time for the relieved bird
Black headed gulls
Black headed gull
Distant Mediterranean gulls

Thursday 20 May 2021

Lake District, May, Day 4.

Well it had to happen, a day of heavy rain.  It meant, though, that we could enjoy hunckering in the van, although in the morning we visited the excellent Abi and Tom's nursery at Halecat House and Creative studios and the pottery. 

Lake District, May, Day 3.

Ratherheath Woods were heavy with the scent of bluebells as we walked through at the start of our walk to the River Kent and the bluebell Woods on the other side of the river.  Today we were able to make use of the underpass under the busy main road and then continue down the exquisite, winding, green land under the railway and down to Bowston Farm.  Here we got chatting to the very friendly lady at the farm and she told us of the curlew nesting in their fields which were being monitored by the team from the Lythe Valley.  She was also the second person to extol the praises of the ice creams from Gelato in Stavely.  We smacked our lips in anticipation and continued on our way using the longer road route into the village in order to leave the curlew in peace.  In the village we soon found the microbrewery we had been recommended to visit by bridge over the river.  It wasn't open but we established that it was at the weekend and we made plans for a return visit in the car.  We continued along the Dale's Way by the river which we crossed by the bridge over to Hag Foot. This has recently been rebuilt after being washed away in Storm Desmond.  Once over the river we entered Beckmickle Ing Wood and followed.owed the path up to the narrow back road to Stavely.  Again it was awash with bluebells.  Our route the took along the road a short while before turning sharply up hills the the series of wood known as Dorothy Farrers Spring Woods, the main one being Spring Hag Wood.Although we have seen a lot of bluebells in the previous couple of days, they were nothing like this.  The heady aroma was amazing and mixed with the more pungent aroma of ramsons or wild garlic.  The hazy sea of cobalt receded into the distance wave upon wave of them, contrasting with the gleaming white ramson flowers that shone like beacons.  We had lunch here, took photographs and painted revelling in the flowers contrasting with the lime green of the fresh beech leaves and the more orange-yellow of the newly emerging oak leaves.  What a wonderful wood.  The path descended quite steeply to meadows and the road and path down into Stavely with expansive views over the Kent Valley and Cunswick and Scout Scars beyond.  The ice creams at Gelato were as delicious as had been promised: dark chocolate for me and white chocolate and raspberry for Heather sitting on the slate seat in the grounds of St Margaret's Tower.  After walking back to the site across the fields to the site it was time to doze in the sun with a cup of tea, but soon the sun was over the yard arm and it was beer o'clock and time to light the bbq.  An idyllic day.

To view large, please click on an image.