Tuesday, 25 May 2010

My local fells

One of the reasons I love living near the West Pennine Moors is that there are always wonderful walks to enjoy whatever the season. I took my camera to show you but without a view finder and it being such a sunny day I couldn't see what was on the screen, it was a case of point and hope! Nevertheless here is a short extract from Sunday's walk.

Only a few minutes up the hill from White Coppice and this is the view. The moors were full of proclaiming larks, and pipits with beaks full of flies. A little further and the resident kestrels hover over Great Hill and I'm pleased to see the pair of wheatear nesting.

These great millstone grit (?) slabs guide you along Spitler's Edge and reserve the rest of the fells for nesting curlew and lapwing etc.

The ravines and peat pools are teeming with life. Lizards and newts are also to be found.

Today was rare - the path was dry. It was like walking on a springy, sponge in places. And when you get tired.... (not sure I approve but it did amuse).

The landscapes of peat are fascinating and ecologically important. They hold water and capture carbon. There is currently work being done on these moors to preserve it. Small dams are built across rivulets to slow the run-off and maintain the level of the water table.

Peat erodes and creates some interesting features. The sheep know how to take advantage of the shelter it offers. You can see layers of history in it.

The vegetation is in great swathes. Sometimes it's colourful heather and gorse, sometimes it's cotton grass. Each with attending butterflies and insects.

On reaching the road, wild flowers take over the verges - random and colourful. These bluebells and plantain arrange themselves better than any garden designer.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Catching Up

So many outings and so few posts - oh dear.

I've just bought a BirdMike - a handy piece of IT for people like me who struggle to recall bird calls / songs. It's also quite good for attracting birders! On a recent trip with Chorley NATS, I helpfully played a linnet's song to encourage the birds to appear but all I managed to do was to cause half a dozen birders to simultaneously swivel 180 degrees . Errr sorry guys.....

What we missed in wildlife was supplemented by farm animals. We passed a very newly born lamb and mother and some calves enjoying their first experience of the great outdoors.

Thanks to Len Poxon for the photos.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

One swift

A cancelled appointment and the warm weather took me to the River Yarrow at Eccleston this morning after news of whimbrel close to where I'd seen them last year. Whimbrel are only in our area for a few weeks as they move northwards to their breeding grounds (which include Scotland but mostly the subarctic regions). This morning there were 24 feeding amongst the lengthening grass. (If anyone wants to email me a photo to use for this post, please do.)

With the return of the whitethroats, which were singing everywhere, 4 swallows, a displaying lapwing, singing yellowhammers, burbling curlew and my first sighting of a swift this year, I feel that spring has finally established herself. Don't know what's happened to the sand martin though; the sand cliffs remain empty for now....

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A garden for all

What do you do when your garden starts to resemble a wilderness? All that cover has been a haven for many birds during the winter but there's so little light getting through that I can't grow any flowers....
To minimise the disruption, I've just reorganised one bed - the one I can see from my windows. The birds are getting a bit confused since, apart from removing a dead tree I've kept the other shrubs but re-sited them to allow increased light into the area. Of course I checked beforehand that there were no nesting birds there. Hopefully the repositioning will result in a wider range of plants - and some flowers even! I've left enough cover and leaf litter to keep the dunnock and song thrush happy, I hope.
In the meantime we'll be building a new raised border to fill with kitchen herbs.

from the field book

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