Wednesday 29 September 2021

The Horsefield via The Cemetery.

 It has been a while since I walked round the Horsefield so I was keen to see how things have changed as we move into Autumn.  I approached through the cemetery and crematorium as my usual, more direct way, way through the lock up garages is now not possible.  The gates have been locked to prevent the school pick-up brigade parking in there.  As with so many things the few spoil it for the many.  It was a bright sunny morning but cooler at 13C with signs of Autumn everywhere.  The field next to the YMCA is now freshly ploughed and that bordering the Dead Wood is newly planted with oil seed rape.  Bindweed is still in flower and I found a bee nectaring on hawkweed and stoking up for the winter.  It was good to watch a charm of goldfinches feeding on thistle seed heads, sounding, as they usually do, argumentative and grumpy.

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Thursday 23 September 2021

Auumn Comes to the Cemetery

 A very pleasant walk around the cemetery and woodland burial ground in quiet sunny weather yesterday.  At 22C it was like a return to summer.  Less in the way of activity on the insect front but there was still the occasional speckled wood and common darter on the wing.  We are starting to see Autumn colours now though and the guelder roses are beginning to look stunning; the unusual fruits of the spindle spindle  are not far behind now.

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Guelder Rose
Silver Birch
Silver Birch
Gone to seed.

Sunday 19 September 2021

Lake District, September, Day 7

 A wet start this morning but the weather forecast was favourable so we set off, hopefully, to Leighton Moss.  The plan was for Heather to walk to Jenny Brown Point while I spent an hour or so at the Eric Morecambe and Tim Allen pools.  So, after a quick lunch we both set off to our separate destinations.  Although the light wasn't wonderful I was dry in the hide while unfortunately Heather walked through driving heavy drizzle.  The weather did clear, though and she had a dry walk back with the sun out by the time we joined forces once more.  The weather continued to improve and we had a fantastic late afternoon and evening.  The highlight of the time spent at the pools was the leucistic greenshank that flew in and joined the lapwings and other greenshank.  Sadly too far away for photography.  Once Heather returned we moved venues to the visitor centre for a cup of tea and then we went to Lillian's pool hoping for black tailed godwit.  Sadly they had returned to Morecambe Bay when the tide went out so I dipped out on these.  I was pleased, though, to see a couple of great white egrets, although distant for photography.

  • Redshank
  • Greenshank, including 1 leucistic bird
  • Lapwing
  • Crow
  • Little Egret
  • Swallow
  • Wigeon
  • Teal
  • Curlew - calling over the marsh
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Snipe
  • Mallard
  • Heron
  • Great BB Gull
  • Ruff
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Gadwall
  • Shoveler
  • Great White Egret
  • Little Grebe
  • Chaffinch
  • Blue tit
  • Great Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Nuthatch

From Leighton Moss we drove around to Arnside which is always a pleasure.  Here we had a short walk along the front and then an excellent pint on the terrace of the Albion looking out over the estuary in the early evening sun.  Magical.

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Great White Egret
Great White Egret
Lapwing and Greenshank
Lapwing and Leucistic Greenshank
Pied Wagtail

Lake District, September, Day 6.

A damp start today, but undaunted we headed to Staveley to visit the excellent Cumbria Stoves to pick up a new baffle plate for our Morso Squirrel wood burner before continuing to Brockholes Lake District Visitor Centre.  It was incredibly busy with young families out for a day of outdoor adventure activities on and off the water.  It was somewhere our children would have loved 20 years ago for the exciting looking Go Ape style high ropes courses and long zip wire.  We had braved the crowds, however, to visit a photography exhibition in the much quieter hall.  Rosamund and John MacFarlane, parents of nature writer, Robert.  Unable to travel during the last 18 months due to covid, the MacFarlanes were exhibiting their lockdown project where all of the images were taken close to their Loweswater home.  Rather than general views of The Lakes, their theme was water in the Lakes: over it, in it, under it and frozen during the incredible cold spell of Januray 2021.  They had also collaborated with painter Julian Cooper who had produced a large canvas based on one of John's images of a swimmer underwater in a deep mountain pool,  Apart from enjoying the photography it yet again made me hanker after doing some wild swimming - maybe next year.

Lake District , September, Day 5

As we turned into the car park at Sizergh Castle we were astounded at how busy it was. At this juncture Anna was walking back to put a parking g ticket in their car and recommended the overflow car park which we duly parked up in.  We soon joined Gordon at an outside seat in the cafe where we enjoyed a pleasant lunch.  It was then time to explore the beautiful gardens.  We were keen to see the stampers which we had last visited on a rainy day in 2016 just after its installation.  It comprises a  small sunken area of the garden liberally supplied with old gnarled tree roots.  In 2016 it was very raw but now is verdant with ferns, tree ferns and other fascinating plants scrambling over the stumps.  We moved onto the still colourful late summer borders and then the kitchen garden with, not only very healthy vegetables, but myriad flowering plants, some perhaps attracting insect 'pests' away from the veg.  Moving on to the sunken rockery garden we were I pressed by the beautiful acers. After a quick look out over the Lake garden it was time to head back for a cup of tea and a lust over the several Morgan cars waiting for their owners.
An excellent day.  We mustn't leave it another 5 years before our next visit.

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