Thursday, 26 April 2012

Newby Moor

Walking quietly across the area of golden grass, low moorland, in the valley below, within a couple of hours I saw:
One Sika deer, 3 hares, 2 rabbits (only!), 2 kestrels, 2 buzzards, 2 hedgehogs curled up, a swallow, countless curlews with their haunting, warbling call;
an Emperor Moth;
grey willow, gorse - in flower, a wonderful sight, wild raspberries, marsh marigolds, cowslips & several other plants I couldn't identify.

Lambing time

The fields are full of lambs, varying in age from a few days to about a month. Some of the older ones form groups that go charging around the field edges as if they were in the Grand National, but then stop, look round & charge back in the opposite direction. We aren't allowed to call them "cute"; the word is "bonny". Judge for yourselves.
Don't you think that the sheep top right look like computer-generated sheep? They're pedigree Texels from a farm in  the valley below us. Middle right & bottom left are Dalesbred (with the tear-drops on the nose) from Bleak Bank farm, surrounding us.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Forest of Bowland Festival

The wild & sparsely-populated area to the south of us, the Forest of Bowland, celebrates its wildlife with a festival of walks & talks each year & I went on one last week - "In search of Sky Dancers", looking for Hen Harriers. These are, or were, heavily persecuted as one of their favourite prey animals is grouse chicks (and other small birds)! Now, the principal landowners, of which United Utilities is one, and the RSPB are working together to try  to pull these magnificent birds back from the brink.

We didn't see any Hen Harriers - they are very rare. But we did see Merlin, Ring Ouzel (also quite rare), Winchat (sparrow-sized with russet-brown chest), Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler. Also a pair of Emperor Moth.

For anyone interested in the Forest of Bowland Festival, see There are almost weekly wildlife walks & many cultural activities too

April showers

A 'nostalgic' month - we've actually had "April Showers". Some very dramatic with snow or hail & some with intensely-coloured rainbows.