Thursday, 22 April 2010

Grasmere - LOUGHRIGG SUMMIT - Ambleside

Yesterday we set off from Grasmere, quick call to get a couple of slabs of the World famous gingerbread from Nelson's Gingerbread Shop (The Shop which used to be the old school where William Wordsworth worked for sometime), and then visit the Wordsworth Graves, which has now become almost a ritual whenever we are in Grasmere. And on leaving the Churchyard (St. Oswald's), crossing over the road and off up Red Bank Road, going through Red Bank Wood before starting our hardous ascent up to the Loughrigg Summit.

From up there it was probably one of the most beautiful views I have ever witnessed looking towards Grasmere. Overlooking the Mere, and Dove Cottage on the far banking, also excellent views of, Elterwater, Loughrigg Tarn, Estwaite Water, and the great Lake Windermere. It was so peaceful up here with just odd couples or parties passing through every now and again. I even managed to get inspired to do a little poetry whilst up here (see below)....

A lonesome Crow came by, and it seemed strange to see birds actually flying below us. The Crow saw us eating our sandwiches and decided to play the patience game by sitting on a nearby rock, just waiting for the moment we decided to go and hoping all the time that we left it some goodies... occasionally it would become a little impatient and leave its sentry to do a lap of honour before returning to its outpost once again. "Who says patience doesn't pay off" well we left that crow some butty crust and a couple of sausage rolls. Looking back as we left, it was there immediately on our vacation and could be seen with its bill full to the brim carrying the sausage rolls to a more descreet location....

It was a fairly clear day with 95% blue sky, with just the occasional clouds moving by, and I was rather intrigued by the great shadows it was leaving over "Silver How", you could if you wished make the shadows into well know shapes, I thought I recognised a Grey Squirrel at one stage with its large bushy tail. There where shapes of all sorts. It ran through my mind that the shadows where spirits moving through.....

Several Wheatear where present on these mountains, some actually calling with their rasping territorial song.... these where heard and seen on our descent which eventually lead us down to Brow Head Farm, and later crossing over the River Rothay and making our way to the 555 south bus stop in Ambleside.


I felt I'd climbed a thousand steps,
And would have done a thousand more.
For here, I could have touched the sky,
Or stepped upon a floating cloud.
For heaven I'm sure that this could be,
I felt so peaceful, calm and free.....

The haunting calls of distant geese,
Echo throughout the Vale,
Whilst passing clouds weave in and out,
Makes moving shadows on Silver How,
Like Spirits passing by.....

Monday, 19 April 2010

Thrang Moss and White Moss, Nr. Hale

From Mid morning checked out the areas of Thrang Moss and White Moss. Thrang Moss which had rich carpetted woodland floor with vast numbers (thousands) of Wood Anemone. The majority of these had not opened up because of the dull weather today, although some had by the end of my walk. Also lots of Bugle about and a single early specimen of Toothwort. There where at least two calling Blackcaps, a odd Chiffchaff and a couple of Willow Warblers.

A walk by the side of dykes up to White Moss, mainly with areas of young silver birch, enlosed with large deer fence. A area they are trying to establish for High Brown Fritillary and Dingy Skipper Butterflies. The boundary on the west side has some large very ancient decideous trees, along some of the route there was good quantities of Wood Sorrell carpeting the floors.. Soon there was the dynamic alarming high pitched shreeky repetitive call of the Nuthatch, as one came in to view quite close and then even closer until it was almost over my head, high in the tree canopy..

A group of Fallow Deer hinds where in a closeby woodland glade.

("Click over photos twice for full enlargement")

The Bronte Sisters & Cowan Bridge

On way to dropping my daughter off at work, I noticed the plaque shown above at Cowan Bridge (Nr. Kirby Lonsdale)...
The School was the full building as shown in the photo (now made into 3 separate houses).
I have just found this information on the web from the "Haworth Village Brontes".

"Patrick found the strain of bringing up a family difficult and in 1824 decided to send Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily to the recently opened Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge. In June 1825 Charlotte and her sisters were finally taken away from the school for good. However Maria and Elizabeth died of consumption soon after returning to Haworth. The poor conditions while at the school were largely to blame.

The experience of Cowan Bridge and the loss of her sisters had an affect on Charlotte. Her novel "Jane Eyre" (1846) the school "Lowood" is said to be based on her experience at Cowan Bridge....

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Beautiful - Over Kellett

This was the beautiful "Over Kellet" this morning. I pass through it quite regular and have been promising myself over the last day or two, to take a photo of the village green whilst still in fresh bloom....(Please click over photo twice, to get full enlargement)....

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Canal - Carnforth - Borwick then Priest Hutton to Burton

A very nice morning and having left the car at Carnforth for repairs decided to walk back along the Canal to Borwick, then off the Canal entering the village of Borwick, onto Priest Hutton and then over the fields to Burton....

Just after leaving Carnforth, a calling Grey Wagtail passed us, then we saw no less than three sitting Moorhen all within the space of maybe quarter of a mile from the bridge at Carnforth, also had another 6 males at various points to Borwick where the females must have been sitting tight.. Blackcaps: 1 in song near Carnforth, then another at Capernwray staging (near to Mobile Homes/Holiday Caravans?) and also another singing in the Woodland to the left on entering Priest Hutton.

Also along the route I had 6 calling Chiffchaffs, 5 full call crescendo Willow Warblers, a male Reed Bunting singing its little heart from the top of a hawthorn tree overlooking "a phragmites patch".

Getting closer to Borwick and a farmer was seen on the opposite side ploughing his field (last years spent maize stubs) and there was lots of Black Headed Gulls following the furrows, and also a party of approx 30 calling Linnets constantly flying around and then going down on the furrow tops for food.

Other stuff was seen, a party of 8 Goldfinch, and several pairs of Redpolls. Yesterday I had lots of Redpoll over Capernwray, Lords Lot Wood and Havelock House areas, best a party of four, but lots of pairs, probably forest hopping...

Also had 1 Peacock Butterfly, and 2 Comma butterflies near Coat Green Farm..

Flowers: Wood Anemone (side of Canal), also at Priest Hutton. Butterbur very thick area between Borwick bridge and next bridge towards Carnforth direction. Lots of Celandine everywhere. Also Herb Robert in the walls at Priest Hutton.

"Canal with all your twist and turns,
Your shivering rippled waters, ebb and flow,
Waterhen's sits on their eggs, so tight, not to let go
And Celandine, Coltsfoot and Butterbur and many others grow"......

Monday, 12 April 2010

Warton Crag

Spent a couple of hours on the Warton Crag following the main path to the back of the quarry... the weather was good in fact it was superb with blue almost cloudless sky, warm with just the slightest of welcome breezes...

Chiffchaffs seemed to be almost along the full route with at least six calling, also it was great to hear Blackcaps with at least five calling, and it was'nt long before I was listing to the full crescendo calls of the beautiful little Willow Warbler, in fact five Willow Warblers...

Another bonus was so welcome, quite near a boundary wall, which adjoins the "kissing gate" to the rear of the quarry (Silverdale side), I had a couple of Common Lizards, one of which allowed me to watch for over 15 minutes - see photo (click over photo twice to enlarge)....

Also had a couple of Peacock Butterflies, and lots of very large bumblebees....
Flora is also coming through with, lots of Common Dog Violet Colonies, Celandine, Barren Strawberry, Cowslips starting to come through etc...

"All shades of blue as I look West,
Where sea and sky do meet.
High up on here, this Ancient crag,
Where lizards play on Kingdoms seat"

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Holme Park NR & Clawthorpe Fell NR...

Yesterday turned out to probably have been the best day this year, and one of those days when you just had to get out into the field!! and also the first day to be warm enough to stir butterflies to move.

At Holme Park Nature Reserve (Clawthorpe) two beautiful strong yellowy male Brimstones where seen and also two Peacocks (one photographed and shown here whilst settled on last years expired bracken -click over photo to enlarge). There were also countless numbers of large bumble bees which seemed to be surveying every quarter they could muster...

I could also hear two if not three separate Chiffchaffs, constantly calling to tell everyone "We have arrived"... and I thought at first I had a Willow Warbler calling with its soft two syllable "woo-wit"contact call.. but on closer examination it turned out to be the Chaffinch which also has a very similar call which when uttered soft, can so easily be confused..

Just now and again the large Raven would make its presence known with a quiet "honk" as it broke the skyline above me, before settling down on the rugged man made slopes of the Holme Park Quarry, where I presume it must have claimed its ledge for the coming months..

In the distance the Green Woodpecker could be heard "yaffling", also the quiet "piping" of the Bullfinch which now seem to be so common in these parts..

One of the main draws to bring me to such a beautiful little spot today was to see if there could possibly be any Early Purple Orchids starting to show. Its probably still another fortnight away before the flower can be seen but I was able to find a little spot where a colony was coming through, although you can see from the photo (Click over photo to enlarge), the leaves had been attacked already by some nibbly predator.

Also on show in one area was Barren Strawberry and the beautiful little Common Dog Violets.

(Click over photo to enlarge)

"Brimstones and Peacocks flutter on high,
Chiffchaffs sing their ditti's.
The Raven displays its majesty,
Whilst bonnie Violets die and Orchids
are born".......