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Wildlife

Recharging my soul

I’m a humanist so I regard my soul as my inner being – the place where all the components that make me me live.  My soul has felt a little degraded recently along with my confidence.  Not sure why …………….could be an age thing!  But today, today its been rejuvenated.  How????  Very simple……….my trusty Virago 535 and the Yorkshire countryside.  What more could you want?

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A 67 mile round trip to Malham in North Yorkshire.  Originally, I decided to go and see the peregrines at the Cove.  Peregrines at Balham Cove,  So loaded my bike with my heavy camera rucksack with my Canon 7D with large zoom attached and set off.  However, when I got there, after a lovely cup of coffee and carrot cake, I took the path I thought led to the Cove, but yet again my memory mis-served me and it was the path to Janets Foss.  So didn’t need the rucksack! Doh!

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It was a lovely walk though.  So peaceful, gorgeous sunny weather and lots of birdsong.

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The wild garlic covered the floor, a missile thrush sang its heart out, a dipper in the stream was gathering food for its young residing in a hollowed out tree trunk and a woodpecker drummed in the distance.

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Janets Foss wasn’t as full as normal but this border collie was enjoying the cool water.

Don’t know what a zebra was doing in the Yorkshire Dales!  This pub supplied a welcome cold drink and although I didn’t partake the food looked gorgeous.  I will be back.

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A very short walk just over 2 miles, but can be easily extended by carrying on across the road after Janets Foss and following the footpath to the cove.

I love my adopted county and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.


UPDATED SITE

I’ve been spending some time updating the site making it easier to navigate and find things.  Clicking on the titles across the top of the Home page, will take you a page with links to posts that are relevant to the title.


Frogs Frogs Frogs


 We’ve had frogs in our pond in the front garden for years, but it appeared to have sprung a leak, so after the last lot of spawn had become frogs and hopped off wherever frogs go, I dug out.  I made it a little bigger 
and lined it with new liner, populated it with some nice new plants and filled it up again.  I was really pleased with it.

I was a little concerned that we wouldn’t get the frogs back, but I needn’t have worried.  They are back or never left!!  There are four males and just

one poor female!  They have produced between them two collections of frogs spawn.  Not as much as previous years though.    Not a brilliant photo but gives you an idea.  Hopefully I will be able to get more photos as things progress    .

 

This link will give you lots more information on the amazing common frog.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/483.shtml



Scarborough and Whitby

Have had a short break in not so sunny Scarborough on the East coast of Yorkshire.

Stayed at the Clifton Hotel overlooking North Bay.  Very pleasant hotel, would recommend it.  We walked around the north bay and up to the castle on the headland, which gives you smashing views of both bays.  However, plastic carrier bags are a menace, being found all over the place, in trees, bushes, and no litter bins that I noticed!  So I’m afraid Scarborough Council gets a big 0 out of ten.

Our coasts and countryside has enough to beat the best holiday destinations all over the world, apart from the weather!  Just wish people realised this and had holidays in the UK and spent their money here, so that we could make more of our tourist spots.  Glad to say the hotel was pretty full when we stayed.

We took a trip up to Whitby which is one of my most favourite places.  It has such character and is so picturesque.

Click on the photos to see full size.  The statue that always seems to have a gull perched on its head is Captain James Cook.  a replica of the Golden Hind lies in the harbour.  There is still a small fishing fleet working out of Whitby and the fish and chips in the town are some of the best I have ever tasted.  The Magpie cafe is a big favourite with everybody, just on the harbour side.  Further on there are some chippys that are pretty good too.

The “archway” is actually made from the bones of a whales jaw!

There is a big Dracula goth cult here too as it is the place that Dracula first stepped onto English land.  Every year there is a goth week and the town is taken over by sinister looking people in black!  This is all done with good humour.  There is also the Whitby folk week every year too.

It has a beautiful little harbour, surrounded by small fishing cottages with their red roofs.

A great place to wander around just taking in the atmosphere, looking at quaint buildings, gazing down narrow alleyways or doing a bit of shopping.  Whitby is also famous for its “jet” stone, which is incorporated into much silver jewellery being sold.

The ruins of the abbey, founded AD656, on the cliff top  are well worth a visit as is the nearby church.

You really just have to visit to appreciate.


Weather

This is a typically British post!  Other nationalities know that us Brits like to talk about the weather.  To be honest, it’s a bit of a joke isn’t it?  We know ourselves we do it – hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear someone (myself included) talk about the weather!  It’s really not surprising though is it?   We live on a small island and have one heck of a lot of influences on our weather – it is so unpredictable, that the weather forecasters rarely get it right!  (For Leeds anyway).  The BBC weather on the internet site, is updated regularly throughout the day.  Temperatures can go up or down within a mile!

This week we’ve had strong winds, gales, freezing temperatures, temperatures of 12 degrees, sunshine, blue sky and fog, all within days of each other.  If you’re British, you just have to say “to hell with the weather” and just get on with it.  It is hard to plan what you are going to do though – we often say , “let’s see what the weathers like.”

Snowdrops! First sign that spring might have sprung

There are signs that spring might just be around the corner though.  The snowdrops are blooming and the crocus and daffodils are peeping through.  Plenty of birds singing at the park this morning in the rain.  Watched a pair of common crows flying, chasing, some lovely agile acrobatics with each other.


Red Kite Walk

Yesterday, Mike, Sparky and I went on one of our regular walks, not far from home, in fact, I think of it as part of my patch.  We call it the Red kite walk because you nearly always see these beautiful birds.

The walk takes you through the Harewood House Estate. This is the Earl and Countess of Harewood’s estate (he’s the Queen’s cousin).  Its a massive well run estate, with lots of walks throughout.  There is plenty of wildlife to see and the estate is involved in conservation.  One of their success stories was the reintroduction of the Red Kite.

“Red Kites were released on the Harewood estate in 1999 as part of a UK conservation initiative. Harewood Estate was originally part of a partnership involving the RSPBEnglish Nature, & Yorkshire Water PLC. Their spectacularly successful re-introduction to Lowland areas of Yorkshire is now complete. The Red Kite now has a self-sustaining population, whose numbers are gradually increasing yearly.

This is a far cry from a species which was persecuted to extinction in England and Scotland by the end of the 1800s. At the last count there were over 300 Red Kites in the area around Harewood and Yorkshire. ”  (taken from the Harewood website).

Anyway, back to the walk – you will find a map at the link below

http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/?key=1JIJLHj24bCWT27oe0x3_g2

We saw at least a dozen kites circling and gliding in the skies.  It was positively balmy at 6C and there was this strange round yellow thing in the sky!!!  Apart from the kites, we saw a nuthatch and treecreeper along with the usual blue and great tits, blackbirds and thrush.

Red Kite

Red Kite

Red Kite

The kites are amazing and soooo beautiful.  When they’re soaring in a blue sky, with the sun shining trough their wings, you can see all the gorgeous colouring and markings.

The forked tail is the main giveaway in recognising these birds.

I often wonder how they manage to survive on scavenging.  I know they eat worms and other small things, but even so, its pretty amazing!  When fields are ploughed nearby they follow the tractor, often landing in order to pick up a morsel or two.

I still haven’t managed to get the ultimate photo of one of these yet.  I have some I quite proud of, but its hard to get everything just right when the background is sky!

We also saw some lovely red deer stags.

And some Highland cattle.

Highland cattle

Highland Cattle

It’s only a short walk, but plenty of other paths to take if you want too.


MY PATCH (part 1)

Path to Golf Course

This is a map of my patch ie: the place I can walk from my home and where I go regularly.

My Patch part 1

I can walk out of my house down the path onto Holt Lane and onto what used to be Holt Farm land and a piece of land that I believe was included in some sort of covenant, when the High Farm land was sold to make way for the Holt Park estate development.  It was to be left open as common land.

Hedgerow Trees and Bramble

Scrub, hedgerow and trees

Foxy's Place

Great for us and brilliant for wildlife.

There are loads of different varieties of trees.  Deciduous and conifer.

There’s hedgerow a plenty and plenty of cover within the scrub and brambles.

As I’ve mentioned before, I know there are plenty of foxes around here and I see one regularly on Holt Lane.  I think I may have found a den but I am not certain.  I am surprised because it is so near the path and people like me walk there dogs past.

Plenty of Berries - Winter 2010

There were plenty of berries on the trees and bushes this year, as well as plenty of blackberries.  they say its a sign of a hard winter and by gum did we have some snow.

Trees in Snow

Trees always look fabulous in the snow.

The sky can look really magnificent or menacing.

Snow 2010

It was great for seeing tracks in.

I never realised how many rabbits there were.

I think I found fox tracks as well but its quite hard to tell the difference from some dogs paw prints.  I know they are narrower and they were in places i wouldn’t normally see dogs.

The birds seemed pretty quiet whilst the snow was around, but I saw all the usual :  blackbirds, finches, tits, thrushes, crows, gulls.

Thats when I saw the single waxwing in the trees.  Brilliant first on my patch.

all alone!

Fields in snow