Thursday, 22 February 2018

By bike, car and foot.

This week with the finer weather i have got back into riding my bike, we have lots of lanes and track around where we live. Some of the smaller roads are not safe to walk on, riding round on your bike you get to see things you might otherwise have missed. 

In the fields I found a flock of Fieldfare , Curlew and Starlings.

I came across some friendly sheep.

I have to say it was FLIPPING COLD but fun all the same.

Back home got the car and drove down to a well known flooded field, on Facebook they had mentioned there was a few new birds about.
There is a lovely cafe and shop too.

Wigeon (thanks Pam)

At the far end of the pond was a Shelduck, both new birds for this years list. On the other side of the road , not as flooded were, Black headed-gulls, Common gull, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and what we think is a juvenile herring Gull.

Back in the car I called at Caring for life (garden centre, restaurant) they have a nature walk, with food out for the wild birds.

Bulfinch, Reed bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch., all feeding.

Blue tit
Great tit.

Out of the corner of my eye spotted this bird running back and forth to the feeder, turned out to be a Water rail.

Water rail
Tree Sparrow.

Aconites amongst Heuchera
This is the first time I have seen this flower, don't know much about it at all, is it wild or a garden plant ?

Lets hope next week is not too cold... stay warm.

Friday, 16 February 2018


Wood pigeon

February is an ascetic little moth. Cold, short and dark. Because of its short length it is the only month that can pass without a full moon, and this year it does exactly this, so even the long nights are not lit up by the sparkling full winter moon. In all of this it can feel like a month of self-denial and of suspension of activity, a time to tuck up indoors and wait for warmer days, a pause for contemplation before the hustle and renewal of the next few month.

(Taken from the book)

The ALMANAC a seasonal guide to 2018.
Lia Leendertz

But  look and you will see sure signs that nothing stands still, in February. In the far north of the country the day lengthens by a full two hours by the end of the month, and everywhere there are little signs of life returning, unable to resist the turning of the year even when breath is cloudy and the ground solid ( Lia Leendertz)


* Listen out for Mistle and Song thrushes singing for territories,
* Large flocks of winter-visiting birds can be seen ,
* Siskins, unusual but beautiful visitors to the bird table,
( Lia Leendertz)

Mistle thrush

Blue tit



Black headed-gull
Grey Squirrel 


*Snowdrops, naturalised en mass in woodlands.
*Dig a small clump from the garden and pot in an old terracotta container to appreciate them up close.

* Winter Aconites:tiny, golden and spirit-lifting on even the greyest days. The first Primrose, too.

( Lia Leendertz)



*Crocus is small plant that can reach 8 to 12 inches in height.
*Colour of the flower depends on the species. Crocuses are usually yellow, white, mauve or lilac in colour.
*Crocus has single, cup-shaped flower that arises from long tube. Flower is composed of six petals.
Leaves of crocus have sword-like shape and white central stripe.

*Crocus has corm which serves as underground storage system. Each year, at the beginning of the new growing season, new corm develops on the top of the old corm.

*Flower has both male and female reproductive organs. Each flower has three red stigmas (female sex organs) and three yellow anthers (male sex organs).

*Saffron is a spice derived from dried female reproductive organs (red stigmas). These organs contain pigment called crocin which is yellow in colour and has musky taste. Saffron is often used in Mediterranean kitchen.

*Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world because one ounce of saffron requires 80 000 plants. All plants are harvested manually. 90% of the world's saffron is produced in Iran.

*Saffron based pigment was used in the cave art 50 000 years ago.

*Saffron can be used in the manufacture of perfumes and in medicine. Some studies showed that saffron has antibacterial properties and possible anti-tumor effects. It can improve memory and it is often used to alleviate cough, bronchitis and stomach ache.

*Another application of saffron is in textile industry, where it is used for dyeing of fabrics.
Certain species of crocus, such as Crocus Autumnale are poisonous. Besides being dangerous (if consumed), this type of crocus shows the greatest tolerance toward low temperatures.
Different species of crocus bloom in different parts of the year, but most species will show their beautiful flowers during the winter and spring.

*Crocuses can be pollinated by various types of insects, such as bees, moths and beetles.

*Crocus is perennial plant which means that parts of the plant above the ground die each year and new plant develops from the underground corm.

*Crocus can survive more than two years.



All the photos were taken this morning during a walk round my local park, on the way home , following the stream I came across this cat hiding in the grass. Not normally a cat person but I thought this cat was beautiful.

I would recommend this book, it is full of information from when there is a full moon to recipes.

Lia Leendertz

 Lia Leendertz is an award-winning garden and food writer. She writes a weekly column for the Telegraph, a monthly column for The Garden magazine and a long-running series on growing and eating seasonally for Simple Things magazine. She also contributes frequently to the Guardian and Gardens Illustrated. She is the author of several gardening books and the cookbook Petal, Leaf, Seed: Cooking with the garden's treasures…

Image result for Lia Leendertz

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Norber Erratics in Austwick North Yorkshire.

29 January 2018

Norber Erratics

The Norber erratics are one of the finest groups of glacial erratic boulders in Britain. They are found on the southern slopes of Ingleborough, close to the village of Austwick in the Yorkshire Dales.

 Many of the Silurian greywacke boulders at the site are perched on pedestals of limestone up to 30cm high. The boulders were probably deposited by melting ice sheets at the end of the last ice age, around 12,000 years ago. The pedestals have developed because the erratic boulders have protected the underlying limestone from solution by rainfall, giving estimates of the rate of lowering of the surrounding limestone pavement of around 25mm per 1000 years.Recent cosmogenic dating suggests that the boulders have been exposed for around 17,900 years.(LINK)

Our family has lived in this area (Yorkshire Dales) for many years, despite all the walking we do, we had never been  to see the rocks.  I had seen them on Country File some years back and wanted to go see them.

We started in the pretty village of Austwick, walking up to the area we got lost a few times, but in the end we were not disappointed, the weather had been kind with beautiful blue skies and sunshine.

Robin Proctors Scar.

Robin Proctors Scar is to the left of the erratics, there is a story of Robin Proctor from 1893, who sadly rode his horse of the scar late one night. There is an inscription at the base of this climb recording the death. You can read the story HERE (just scroll to the botton of the page)

High up thre view was stunning.

We past the barn, following the track right to the top of the scar, very wet and muddy.

Some of the lower fields had large boulders in, even the wall's had been built round them.

All the rocks were covered in Lichen, moss and grasses growing in the cracks.

This rock shows one of the best example.

This rock looked like it could fall of the edge at the slightest touch.

A great day out, after a few slips and falls (Mum) in the mud we got back to the car as the heavens opened.

If you get chance it is well worth the long steep clime up the hill.