Thursday, 25 March 2010

Painted Lady

Her thread legs test this hold
of woven fingers.
The only discernible weight
is that of her confusion:
tremulous wings try to lift
the weight of her want
to escape.
I unravel my hands - and she flies
over the hedge,
her leopard colours brighten
the meadows beyond. See,
how easily she claims her release.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Contours of Spring

Combining navigation and nature watching was a bit of a struggle today - but let's hope I get better. Today I started at White Coppice where a spotted a pair of goosander on the lodge by the cricket pitch. Using Dean Black Brook as a handrail towards Great Hill, I spotted a dipper near last year's nest site, a pair of grey wagtails, a stonechat, and a newt making its swim across the brook look exhausting. It made it, you'll be pleased to know. These goosander were photographed by Dave

I overshot the spring (water) on the way down Great Hill but the rising skylarks and pipits were far more obvious as were a couple of early bumble bees. Across the A675 there were plenty of woodland birds, especially chaffinch and nuthatch, singing around Hollinshead Hall ruin.
Image of Hollinshead Hall copied from

Another early bumble bee was seen on Darwen Moor along with a female sparrowhawk. By the time I'd got to Ryal Fold I had blisters on my heels - again. How long does it take to break in a pair of Brasher Superlites? They've blistered me every weekend since October....

Monday, 15 March 2010

Walking Group Leadership Training

I'm back. Great to see the curlew and lapwings back on the moors and that Chorley town centre has a pair of nesting peregrines.
I've spent the last two weekends on local moors honing my map reading skills by straying from the well trodden routs to locate wells and other features marked on the maps. And all that looking down to avoid breaking my ankles on rough grassland has provided ample opportunity to locate red grouse droppings! We even saw a few as they took flight.
Amongst the grass a toad was going about its business. A rabbit skull and other remains indicated raptors although the only ones I saw were kestrels. I had hoped to see a short-eared owl or tawny whilst on night navigation but it took all my attention to focus on the map. (Night vision is not one of my strengths....)

Hopefully, my map work will improve so I'll have more time to look out for the wildlife.

Thanks to Brian Rafferty for the photo of the curlew. His site is always worth a visit.

from the field book

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