Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Misty Moorlands

One of the advantages of regular local walking is that you know the paths so can cope even in fogs and mists. Today we walked up Brinscall Moor, the higher we climbed the thinner the mist - in fact we could even see a full silver sun shining high above the mist-line.

We took the path down to Wheelton Plantation (see photos from Ewan's mobile phone) and even beneath the shelter of the pines, young oak and holly saplings were heavily sprinkled in frost. I think most of the finches were staying close to people's garden feeders.

We cut across fields and saw a beautiful Shire horse being led to its stable. In the frozen lanes blackbirds and robins flit across the path and, as we approached old Brinscall Hall, a welcome flock of redwing, fieldfare and mistle thrush fluttered through the tree tops.

Back at the frozen lodge the mallards and black-headed gulls were walking hopefully on ice, while five Muscovy ducks remained planted on the bank. My Micra's thermometer still read -2C.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Barn Owl

After a tip-off, I headed to Croston to watch a barn owl. I was rewarded by seeing it at close range: white wings quartering a field, frequently diving feet first. To me, a barn owl's wings are surprisingly long - who'd think that so much length could be so neatly stowed away?

Is it just me or do they seem very front-heavy, wedge-shaped almost? All wide face and eyes with feet tidily tucked in at the rear unless preparing to pounce. A terrifying sight if you're its prey - all eyes, beak, claws and stealth!

These photos are by David J Slater - follow the link in the side bar.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Why I went for walk....

I decided that open cap mushrooms filled with blue Stilton and wrapped in Parma ham would be a simple, yet tasty, starter for the Christmas meal. I already had the Stilton so, since the males in our house were going into town, I asked them to come back with a dozen, small, open cap mushrooms and Parma ham, adding where they could find them. Simple.

They returned with Parmesan (pardon?) and couldn't-find-any-mushrooms-excuses.... But not to worry - I went to town and returned with both only to find that while I'd been out they'd eaten all the bl**** blue Stilton!

Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for reading.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Winter Flocks

I always find winter birding exciting, not least because the birds are often moving around in huge flocks. It might be straggly skeins of pink-footed geese; loose flocks of redwings diving for cover deep in the hedgerow; fieldfare mysteriously blending into the tops of ash trees looking just like leftover keys; small groups of pipits pipping over Croston Finney; two hundred woodpigeon grouping and re-grouping; four hundred rooks resettling in the next field; hundreds of gulls massing on a reservoir; thousands of starlings swirling shapes in the sky; or great clouds of knot and dunlin moving with the tide.
I feel caught up in their exhilaration, in the excitement of wings.

Yesterday's walk around Crostom Moss and Finney rewarded me with large flocks of corvids and woodpigeon, c30 linnet, 13 pied wagtails in a ploughed field, 25 redwings, 30 pink-footed geese, 5 muddy whoopers, c20 meadow pipits, 1 buzzard, 1 sparrowhawk and other common species.

Today's photos of whoopers, rooks and greylags are by Phil Kirk - thanks.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


I'm in the middle of editing this. It's from the November poem a day challenge. The prompt was 'celebration' so I thought I'd show wildlife celebrating

See how he celebrates
the apple
perches alongside of it,
honours it with a black, bulging eye,
stabs its sweetness,
savours the juice,
then stabs,
stabs some more,
piercing the yellow skin,
feasting on the melting flesh,
secretions coating his beak,
smothering him in homage
to the apple,
to life.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Long-eared Owl

Marton Mere, Blackpool

Even in the after-shock of frost and fallen leaves,
even though we know they're there,
we need to ask a local birder
- and even he takes a while to point them out
amongst the willow, thorn and apple thicket,
And finally our scopes fine-tune a passage
through the tangled epidermis
to where they perch, like hearts in ribs,
where the frost has scarcely reached.
Each tucked close to the aorta of its tree,
each in plumped feathers
that copy the colours of bark in changing light,
each with ears folded down,
not even offering a frozen stare,
until the one in the apple tree,
the one most exposed,
lifts its ear tufts, unfreezes, glares
to agree the distance between it
and us. And us? All of us comply.

Another photo by David J Slater. Click to view it full sized. Don't forget to follow the link in the side bar to his site of beautiful images.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Field trip to Marton Mere

I went on a field trip with Chorley & District Natural History Society today. It was well worth defrosting the car at 7.30am on a Sunday morning because sightings included 5 Long-Eared Owls tucked well into an area dense with trees and thicket. (Poem on the way.) Many thanks to local birder, Frank Bird, who guided us to them.

Also there were wonderful views of a bittern preening itself in the sun by the water's edge while up in the trees fieldfare were digging their beaks into the plentiful apples. Again, many thanks to another unknown birder who pointed out the bittern and let us look through his scope while those in our group who had brought scopes were busy focusing theirs.
Thanks to Neil Southworth for organising the trip.

Many thanks to David J Slater of Coleford for these amazing photos. Click on them to see just how good they are. Don't forget to follow the link in the side bar to even more fantastic shots.

Waxwing melting into the distance

Having heard that waxwing have been seen in a local tree all week, I finally got some daylight time to go myself yesterday - no berries, no birds. I should have been there yesterday....

But not to worry, 40 were seen in Preston yesterday, so I went there today - to find only bare rowan stalks.... Ah well.

Thanks to Rick Spencer of Chorley NATS for this photo - he did get to the Chorley tree in time.

I wonder what the chances are of getting a mature rowan in the garden for Christmas...?

Friday, 5 December 2008

Another good review

from Graham Rippon of Carillon this time. Copy and paste the web address below.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Common and Jack Snipe

Further to the recent jack snipe post, Bill Aspin has kindly sent me this photo.
The common snipe is on the left and the jack snipe on the right. Click on the image to enlarge - well worth it. Thanks Bill.
Check out Bill Aspin's Birding Blog by following the link.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Redwing - a poem of love

How do I combine the prompt 'a love poem' with my theme: birding in November? Well, here's my first attempt:

They love these hedgerows,
weave themselves into them,
stain their underwings with them,
eat them, shit them, sleep them,
wrap themselves inside of them,
pull their thorns around them,
pluck their scarlet hearts,
warm them in their bellies,
squeeze them through their passages,
birth them,
desert them,
expect them to still be here
when they return next year.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Moody Morning on Healey Nab

I love these moody November mornings when the ground has swathes of brittle frost and bright thaw. A morning full of potential - and first up was a kestrel, perched in a sunlit oak, scanning the melting grass.
200+ fieldfares were roaming around in ever-changing flocks frequently scattering to the empty tree tops. And there were loose flocks of redwings, smaller and more difficult to spot as they burrowed into hawthorns. Several skeins of geese flew across the morning (and some of those skeins looked like they were gulls?).

Healey Lodges were likewise part frozen, part open. This photo is the upper lodge as seen when walking down from Nab Wood. Click on the image to see 50+ black-headed gulls standing on the ice. Mallard, coot and two tufted ducks swam on the melt and a kingfisher whirred over this lodge to the one below.
The track between the lodges is lined with birch and hawthorn so I saw a close-up of some redwings, a goldcrest, a flock of long-tailed tits and the kingfisher came rushing through to claim his customary perch.

Jack Snipe

After a local tip-off about common and Jack snipe, I spent an hour walking around the semi-frozen wasteland that used to be a Royal Ordnance factory. It was full of tiny pock-marked-pockets which may or may not have held snipe overnight. And suddenly, to my delight, I saw my first jack snipe - very stripy and rising up only a boot's length away.
It made me wonder whether these birds have wintered here for years, safely hidden within the restricted area. A factory with more than one kind of secret....
Also claiming the wasteland were 2 reed buntings, a stonechat, pied wagtail and a small flock of meadow pipits. Not bad for a site now surrounded by the ringing of hammers and growl of construction vehicles. I wonder where the wild life will go as the developers move in?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


A window smash-
and a woodpigeon lies on the garden flags,
a female sparrowhawk flaps and lands,
yellow talons curling into a still-warm breast,
beak immediately tugging clumps of grey/white down.

Soft feathers roll in the quiet breeze,
spreading over the path, catching in plants.
Amber eyes alert.

Flesh is hooked up in strips,
bright red organs plucked through clavicles,
sinews stretched like elastic till they snap.
With much pulling and twisting
and clamping of claws,
a wing is finally wrenched off
and cast aside, so the hawk can resume
flaying and swallowing flushed meat.

When the carcass offers nothing more,
she spreads her wings,
desert the mangled bones and feathers -
she has survived another day.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Almost flying (Croston Moss and Finney)

I hadn't expected the wind to close up the blue so quickly so now I'm in a hedged farm track protecting my face from shards of hail. But it's worth it - the assault has forced fifty or more fieldfare from meadow to a tall hawthorn hedge so I can see them clearly. And in the same field over two hundred starlings fly low, re-group. I can cope with hail - brush it off and keep dry.

But when I cross the train track to the open fields of Croston Finney icy rain begins.There's a small patch of blue which I hope will blow over as quickly as this cloud-mass... And suddenly thousands, yes thousands, of starlings undulate across the fields; a ginormous roller coaster shifting black to grey. This is worth every drop of freezing thigh!

And as the shower eases a loose flock of meadow pipits land right where I can see them. bright legs running over muddy tractor tracks and abandoned onions. Their feathers tinted yellow in this light. And suddenly - a kingfisher flies across the path, turns to follow the channel, its turquoise and orange showing bright against dark earth.

Next - a stonechat on a straw Umbellifer. And I as I turn a corner - larks I think - pale legs and some vertical take-offs and descents. A female kestrel hovers, dives - empty. Rises, moves on, hovers again....

I cross the railway and am back on the Moss where starlings fill fields and telegraph wires. And as I walk down the track at one with ground, distance, wind, they come flocking down the track behind me, pour in from the fields, flying round and over me, I feel the undulating excitement holding them together and for a few enchanting seconds it also holds me. What a gift to be awash in feeling their connections connecting with me. A rare and precious moment indeed!

Turning into the track that leads back to my car, the winds blows in the next band of rain as fifty of more fieldfare empty from an ash to land in a field where another flock flies in - one hundred or more picking worms amongst the grass. Mornings like these are beyond the reach of words.

Fieldfare image by kind permission of Mike King : Use the link to visit to his bird watching diary.

starling image copied from:

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Conversations with Writers: Interview (Part 2 of 2) Carol Thistlethwaite, author of ‘from the field book’

Follow the link below to the second part of my interview:
Conversations with Writers: Interview (Part 2 of 2) Carol Thistlethwaite, author of ‘from the field book’

Conversations with Writers: Interview (Part 1 of 2): Carol Thistlethwaite, author of ‘from the field book’

This has been on the Internet for a while but just in case you haven't seen it follow the link below:
Conversations with Writers: Interview (Part 1 of 2): Carol Thistlethwaite, author of ‘from the field book’

Trailing Poems for the Days

The poem a day prompt was 'detail' so I thought but not for long...
Distinguishing rooks from crows is easy - unless they happen to be flying. And since my BTO tetrad is inhabited by corvids, corvids and corvids, I need to get my eyes & head round these flapping flocks.

It's easy to distinguish when they're landed:
the domed head, shabby look, bald-beaked rook,
the crow altogether a tighter, neater bird.
But what when they're in flight?

The flocks are rooks; the solitary, crows-
but that's not always so.
Sometimes you can still make out the peaked head of the rook,
or you can focus on their tails:
roundness indicates a rook,
straight edged is a crow.
Their calls, too, echo their sharpness:
relaxed caws from rooks,
harsh grating from crows.
Toady's photos used by kind permission of Mike Atkinson. Check out the link from this page.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Poem a Day

So absorbed in placing my feet
on tussocks, that I didn't notice the donkeys
until one brayed -
ten or more in the higher fi
and straight ahead the farmer,
a sprite eighty-something,
coming to meet me at the gate.
Pleased that I live in Euxton,
better still that I know his cousin Alice
and her increasing family.
He proudly leads me to a two-day foal,
soft, dense grey, erect ears, hay breath,
laying on dry straw.

He makes no mention of the Lostock
and how it had overflowed,
had been spreading, spreading,
spreading to the barn,
but I can see the traces of a rainbow
around the foal's face, the promise
that had held the flood at bay.

Image copied from

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Wigan Flashes

The advantages of joining a local wildlife group are numerous; not least is having local experts to call on and also field trips to join. Yesterday I went to a reserve that was new to me - Wigan Flashes. Although we didn't see the bittern that has been seen there earlier in the week, we did see lots of water fowl and I learnt to distinguish a gadwall from all the other brownish female ducks.Above L is a female gadwall, R is a male. Although not always visible, the white patch on the plumage helps gives distinguish a gadwall from other female ducks.

Photo of Wigan Flashes copied from Reserves/wigan_flashes.htm

Photo of Gadwall used by kind permission of Dave Appleton www.gobirding.e
u See link

Wildlife and Myth

It's no good recommending a poem a day to everyone without doing it myself. I've not exactly managed a poem a day - so this morning is catch-up time. Day 7's prompt was 'myth'. I've never really combined wildlife and myth, never really thought about it although I now recognise an interesting potential which I may well return to at a future date.
Below is my first (and rather obvious) draft for today:

... and as the earth prepares
to watch her journey back to Hades,
it lines her route with gifts:
plump seeds, golden leaves,
agile paws and farewell fanning wings,
and as she passes by,
trees sigh, and finally let loose
their effort of upholding the beauty
that such a presence demands.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A Poem A Day for November with Poetic Asides

If you want some motivation / stimulation to write this month why not try Robert Lee Brewer's blog? He's setting a prompt each day with a view to having a chapbook's worth of poems at the end of the month.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Rambling after Redwing

Yesterday 8am I set off in search of redwing around Withnell Fold nature reserve and scrapes and all I found were stripped hawthorns.... But I did spot a kingfisher hurtling down the Leeds-Liverpool canal - you never know what you're going to find.

This morning I explored Bagganley Lane and Healey Lodges. First up was an electric blue kingfisher poised on a branch over Black Brook - stunning colours in the sunlight.

Next, flocks overhead - and a chance to practise identifying them in flight. I think I've got it now: fieldfare have black tails and pale rumps from the back, pale underwings from the side. Redwing - more difficult - generally have a pale belly. Hmm need more practise with these.

And then walking the path back from the lodges to the car - flocks sooo close! Redwing flitting in the hawthorns, pale eye patched giving them away. And fieldfare at the top of the ash, the sun blending their heads and backs with the grey/brown bark, and their buff chests the same colour as ash keys. What a stunning morning.

Now, back to the redwing. How do you identify flocks in flight?
Photos of kingfisher and redwing are by Mike Atkinson. See link from this page. Well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Rain-rich colour of the day

It was well worth delaying today's walk until late afternoon, when we were rewarded by powder blue skies and rain-rich autumn leaves - just like freshly washed pebbles in a stream.

We climbed up to Rivington Pike (see below), then ambled back through Lever Gardens (right)

Photos copied from

Monday, 27 October 2008

Where daws fly into rainbows

I did a recce of my new BTO tetrad today SD51E: fields - with so much cow-hoof-mud I'd need a crane to haul me out!
But persistence found a couple of passable field sections. There are single track roads with gaps in the hedges. No parking spots and a long way to carry the scope I don't possess. I'm wondering whether I should borrow one and strap it to my bicycle - on dry, windless days!

It's a place of corvids. I saw a flock of C200 rising - the jackdaws settling on top of a line of still-leafy oaks; the bald-beaked rooks gathered like old men on a skeleton tree; several crows flew to the fields beyond. Flocks too of starlings, collard doves, woodpigeon and mistle thrush.
It's a place of grey sky and bright rainbows, where buzzard and kestrel incise the air. And where a lone wigeon sought rest.

Today's photos have been copied from the RSPB's website:

Sunday, 26 October 2008

What Makes An Effective Review? Why Do It?

I suppose it depends who you ask. Do editors prefer entertaining reviews to help sell issues? Certainly authors and publishers hope for fair reviews - and reviews that promote the book rather than the reviewer. And readers - what do they want? An indication about the content, quality and value for money.
And what about the reviewers? What do they want? Well, my top priority is being able to sleep at night. So fairness and honesty-without-unkindness are my major concerns. And if the book has a pronounced style, I might emulate that in the tone of the review.

Over to you. What do you think?


As I was enjoying a pocket of sunshine by walking around Croston Finney and Moss and others were clay pigeon shooting, some residents in Croston were once again having to cope with flooded homes.
This is a photo of the River Yarrow which flows through picturesque Croston. This morning the water level was very high up the wall. A few metres upstream, it had overflowed and flooded Grape Lane. A short distance downstream and it was spilling over the wall into Back Drink House Lane. And the dykes criss-crossing the Moss and Finney, although not overflowing, were becoming alarmingly full.

Sightings included four fieldfares, eight red legged partridges and a common buzzard.
Image of Croston copied from

Sunday, 19 October 2008

In search of fieldfares

I've been searching for fieldfares this weekend. I saw a possible fleeting glimpse of a couple of these colourful winter visitors on Croston Finney yesterday. This morning, my colleagues humoured me by digressing slightly from our duck count route to take in areas of hawthorn where they are usually seen - but not today! Thanks anyway....
But all's not lost. We did see a pochard and a goldeneye (unusual for or area) and also a stoat dashing across the road.
And it didn't rain until we got home - can't be bad!

Photo copied from Follow the link to some amazing photos.

The trouble with English

The trouble with English is that it doesn't have enough words to describe tastes and sounds - or does it? That was the issue raised in a recent class. It certainly seems difficult to record tastes and smells without actually naming the 'thing' being described. Referring to texture and the eating precess helps.

But we did find another powerful link. It seems that taste and smell evoke memories. (I can't walk through woodsmoke without being transported back to my days as a Guide leader.) So maybe we should record these associations to lead readers to similar sensory sensations.
What do you think?

Sunday, 12 October 2008

I like Crane Flies too....

Yes it's true, as well as slugs I quite like crane flies. A first draft being re-written as I type. Well, I ask learners to share what they've just written in a 5 minute exercise so I should be prepared to do the same sometimes....

Cradled - its every moment,
its months of squirming through dank earth,
its gangly climb up grass heads,
its spindly flight,
its yearning for brightness,
its lampshade patter.
This autumnstrosity
flumbering in my palms
until I release it
to take its chance
and fly towards the moon.

photo of crane fly copied from

A Morning full of Merlin

This morning Drink House Lane was twitching with lots of garden birds. Two mistlethrushes clackered - ready to guard their bursting hawthorn lane. House sparrows whirred-as-one from hedge-to-field-to-hedge-and-back every time a jogger passed. The only stillness in the field was a lone grey partridge (a rarity round here) trusting its camouflage.

Robin calls were piercing the thin mist and peeling it back so by the time I'd reached Croston Finney the sky was powder blue. 60+ lapwings broadly flapping to my right, a grey heron's lollopping flight to my left and then-
A merlin chases two tiny birds, finds itself mobbed by three crows and then, seizing their advantage, the two tiny birds fly down on it and mob it too! What a sight chipping in! The five of them forcing the merlin down.
And later as I tread a tractor path - the merlin four feet from me - glides elegant and low, less that two feet above the stubble. Scanning the field's length to flush more-nervous creatures out.

And on towards Croston Moss where four red-legged partridges stand motionless, heads thrust high, peeping over the stubble as a flock a goldfinch jingle by.

Then homeward bound to rescue a rosemary leg of lamb, roast parsnips and spuds from the oven. Mmmmmmmmm.
photos of grey partridge and merlin copied from

Friday, 10 October 2008

Slugs Glorious Slugs

One of my classes this week seemed quite horrified that I like slugs. Yes I pick them up and rescue them from shrivelling in the sun. Ok, so they are a bit of a nuisance when they eat young plants - but they are also our friends! They munch garden debris and process it back to minerals - soil. So you see, without our dear molluscs we might not have any soil. There's a thought....
if we
listen deep, we
will hear slugs sing as
they compose silvered moonlit notes:

grounded for a
season, giving up their
bodies for the replenishment
of Earth

photo copied from

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Afternoon Abundance

White Coppice - a swathe of swollen green and undisturbed spellbinding blue. The Goit rushes with thick brown silt and Dean Black Brook is in a clear amber rush awash with blinding brightness. Too joyful to diverge round rocks, it chooses to spring over them in a mass of impromptu fountains. Lovers sit and watch it, sharing flasks - but I will not feel alone. Three buzzards circle Stronstrey Bank - small against the enormous blue. Then one swoops, revealing the magnificence of each black primary - size and colour so relative to our point of view.

My legs spring easily up Great Heights Wood, on and up to Healey Nab and the quarry top. Blackpool, Barrow and Kirkcudbright are easily in view as tiny goldcrest pick their way through the pines just above my head. Four ravens re-establish bonds over Rough Lee, each pair crrronking space in this sun-filled sky.
A pair of cormorants sheer over Heapey Reservoirs, sixty rooks claim the field beyond and I dream of the kingfisher, perching on my arm, scattering turquoise dust through a perfect afternoon.

Photos of commin buzzard and goldcrest by Mike Atkinson - follow the link to his website.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Diaries and Memoirs

My thoughts are turning to diaries and memoirs. I wrote daily dairies from the age of 13 to 24. About 10 years ago I threw those same diaries into the tip. Eleven years of life dumped in a council tip - why indeed?

I might regret losing the vivacity and immediacy of that period, especially since my memory isn't what I'd like it to be. But there is a responsibility for committing thoughts to paper. Who might read it and how might it affect them?

Memoirs might have to acknowledge (but never wallow in) some negative but they must always splurge in positives: show how we hold onto hope or how some trial has helped us in the greater scheme of life.

It's my birthday today and I'm wondering whether to start another diary in case my memory forgets how good this life of mine is.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Dog Fight

A long fell walk is good for you; the longer the better when it takes your son 2 hours to stop moaning about going for a walk! At least the second 2 hours was more sociable. Now I know why I usually go on my own....

The wheatear on the walls didn't impress, the singing lark gained only mild interest
but the one-heck-of-an-aerial-mobbing-and-mobbing-back by a pair of peregrines and a pair of ravens did make him stop and stare. Each bird fighting for height then swooping down to crash feet first onto the back of the other - very exciting.

Photos of wheatear and raven by Mike Atkinson - follow the link from this blog to his website.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Making it count

Yesterday I saw a stoat running along the road - it really made my day. A moment to treasure.
As well as the spectacular, the everyday can be inspiring if we look at it differently. I was reminded of this the other day when I was looking at some greetings cards - ordinary pictures but the captions transformed them to something philosophical and worthwhile.
The right caption can make or break a picture - or can it? What do you visual artists and writers think?

Competition time: below is a somewhat bland photo. What caption would you give it?

Monday, 22 September 2008


I spent part of Saturday pruning and disentangling a rambling rose from my Berberis and now have the scratches and thorns to prove it!
It's all about balance. Don't cut back enough and plants suffer, cut back too much and you loose a safe habitat and feeding place for wildlife.
It's like that with the creative lifestyle too. Become too busy, as I am prone to do, and creativity is stifled. Don't do enough and it's difficult to find material to draw from.
Creative flow reflects our state of mental balance. What do you think?

Above - my garden. Below - I put out a range of food but the tits and finches always seem to prefer the sunflower seeds.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Meet Fred

Fred lives in my shed. Very confident that I know he's not palatable, he just remains squat when I open the door.

Not much of a life being a toad (actually he looks like a frog but behaves like a toad)- just squatting there all day or reluctantly crawling off with disdain if I disturb him whilst getting some tool. On the other hand after a full-on week I'm spending my day off washing & vacuuming the car, struggling to remove a climbing rose from my berberis, changing beds, shopping, cleaning the kitchen & bathroom etc, painting a wall, watching tomorrow's ironing pile grow, lessons still to plan... Not much of a life on a sunny day off. Now what about that toad...

Sunday, 14 September 2008

What a difference

What a difference a day makes, especially when the sun comes out. Yesterday's duck count revealed very little - not even a Canada goose to be found. So desperate were we to count that we were glad to see a few mallard! And then a treat - three little grebes on High Bullough Reservoir. I'm always amazed at the width of their rear ends - they remind me of enormous powder puffs.

But 8am this morning (White Coppice), with a blinding ball in the sky incising lines across the landscape, there were robin songs, stuttered warning calls and wings splattering the heavy dew in all directions. Good to see lots of common species showing themselves after their skulking moults. This morning's special treats included a dipper whirring up the watercourse, stonechat, grey wagtail and still some willow warblers and martins around. Also a family of dunnock.

Four cormorant on Anglezarke; Grey Heights and Healey Nab offered a kestrel, pheasant, song thrush, jays etc; and Heapey Lodges gave me the gift of a kingfisher in sparkling sunlit flight.
And maybe I have a poem emerging - about leaky boots....

What creature do YOU consider a gift? And why?

And let's not forget the wonderful photos of a little grebe and a dunnock taken by Mike Atkinson. Follow the link from this page to more of his beautiful photos.

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.