Monday, 30 June 2008

Another great review. This time in Poetry Cornwall

Poetry Cornwall arrived through my letter box today (a great little magazine if you don't already subscribe) carrying a great review of from the field book by Peter Tomlinson:
A more delightful lesson on ornithology would be difficult to find; it is a journey through the joys of bir
d watching in the evocative language of poetry ... Carol Thistlethwaite is a poet of incomparable skill and artistry.
Thanks Peter - you know how to make a girl blush....

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Evening stroll

At this time of year 9.15pm isn't too late to take an stroll through the woods, Euxton Park and along Chapel Brook. It certainly wasn't too late for the rabbits - I saw about 4 dozen in Euxton Park and Woods. Is it strange that they seem relaxed to share fields with race horses - all hoof and tooth - but see a quiet two-legged walker and they disappear down by the roots of the beech? I saw a white rabbit too - but decided not to follow...

Just a few more photos

Just a few more photos from the bay crossing - all courtesy of Alan Worswick.

Above: Walking over the salt marsh at White CreekAbove: And we're off - Cedric, Carol and Sue

Above: Sue and Carol - just two of the hundreds crossing today

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Crossing Morecambe Bay

Sue, Alan & I crossed Morecambe Bay this afternoon along with hundreds of others. I decided not to take my bins since I didn't expect the tide to be in.... An overcast sky with warm winds made it a comfortable day.

Above are Alan & Sue before the crossing (from Hest Bank) both laughing because I have to patch one eye so I can use the view finder. It's the same with a scope!

Right are layers of mud exposed in the salt marsh at Arnside - rock in the making.

Today there was some surface slime as I found out when I splatted down! But most of the time it was just warm, surface wet. There's an amazing variety of mud ripples: firm, soft, knife-edged, broad-topped etc. And the corophium shrimp mounds tickle the balls of your feet as they gently collapse beneath your weight.

Left- Cedric Robinson leading us across the River Kent. Cedric and his team had been out 4 hours the previous day to find and mark with laurel branches the only safe crossing point.

Right - folks steadying each other as they cross. I'm sure I felt a flounder sliding under my toes...

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Try a new path

In keeping with my motto to try something new everyday, I tried a new footpath at Croston Marsh tonight. I now know why it's the path less travelled - it became inaccessible due to mega nettles. Hmmm so we had to backtrack. However sightings included 3 grey partridges, larks, whitethroat, curlew, swift, heron, kestrel, pheasants, rabbit, hare and a song thrush smashing a snail.

Photo of whitethroat by Mike Atkinson
His site is well worth a visit

Monday, 23 June 2008

Hobby - in Euxton

Walking through woodlands last week and looking over towards the fields, Euxton Park, a big swift-like bird of prey streaked passed. So sleek, so elegant, so agile, so hobby....
Don't know if one has ever been recorded in Euxton before. Another guy saw and recorded it too - same place - so now I'm sure it was my first hobby sighting. Yeah!

Photo copied from


Strolling through woodland,
a slow glance
for swooping swallows

- is suddenly filled
with a magnificent swift:
sleek streak
tail head talon
- a bird of prey
a hobby
surely a hobby?
just sped from sight.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Official unofficial dog walking paths

A walker explores a riverbank looking for an interesting walk, another sees the flattened grass and follows the track and so an unofficial path is born. There's a fair number of these in Euxton and doubtless where you live too. What do we think about them? It's handy to have paths linking to other paths but I wonder what the land owners think when their barbed wire fences are persistently breached.

Photo taken this evening a few yards from my garden.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Two more books local libraries

I've just received an order for two more copies of from the field book to go into our county library service (9 books in all). Is it sad that I'm pleased enough to blog about this? Whatever - I am pleased!

Photo of the Harris Library, Preston copied from

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Why I like the rain

I like rain - really. It's so refreshing to go outside, especially after a thunderstorm, and smell the planet re-birthing. Collecting and gathering itself together, pausing, enjoying unhurried dampness before turning to face whatever comes next.

And have you ever seen the beauty of snail eggs? Soft pearls hiding in the earth. I leave them undisturbed.

cinquain for slugs

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

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Hare, deer and birds...

With not much petrol in the car, I went to nearby White Coppice and saw a magnificent hare gambolling down the road. Their colours are amazing in the sun.
This photo is by Peter Huggins and copied from

This morning's sightings include a family of 4 ravens feeding in a dead tree, 2 adult blackbirds really going for a young jay, a family of 3 grey wagtails, a sedge warbler (not seen one here before), a reed bunting and a roe deer fawn (almost lost its white spots), all spotted whilst savouring the aural delights of willow warblers, blackcap and stuttering wrens.

Then up to the moors amongst the bobbing cotton grass where pipits perched on every heather top. At my feet the flick-flack tail of a disappearing lizard(?) and nearby a raided egg. While above my head a swift anchored the sky where a kestrel hovered below the circles buzzard. What more could one ask?
Roe deer photo copied from

Sunday, 8 June 2008


A quick 7.30am walk around White Coppice - Brinscall was rewarded with FIVE sightings of cuckoos! All grey, all flying, males calling. Saw a pair a twice (suspect the same pair) and then a single bird.
The moors were full of trampling pipits, a few lark and stonechat. And a pair of curlew were calling round their territory.
The Goit was bridged by warbling (willow and garden), chunnering tits and pnuematic wrens. Also spotted a pair of green peckers. I've still to see a pied flycatcher...
Photo of cuckoo from

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Waiting for H5N1

One of the advantages of being a reviewer is having wonderful books that you might not otherwise have found being posted straight through your letter box.
Waiting for H5N1 by Jane Routh is one of those. A very cohesive, informative and poignant collection from a writer who certainly knows what she's writing about. Political, understated, modest, precise, not a word out of place. A book about wildlife and goose rearing - I recommend it.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Book signing at Ribble Discovery Centre

The weather didn't encourage crowds but sometimes it's a case of quality over quantity. Pictured here is Fred Few, one of the many RSPB volunteers from the field book is dedicated to. Tomorrow is the second anniversary of his wife, Pat Few. I have very fond memories of Pat arriving at the RDC on her bicycle and helping me take parties of school children mud dipping and minibeast hunting. A wonderful lady and very much missed.

Also pictured are more of the team: Andy, Ruth (RDC manager) and Muriel.

I was also really pleased to welcome Carol Fenlon. Her new novel, Consider the Lilies, is being launched next week. Good luck Carol.

from the field book

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