I’m a bit late to the party, (and missed the link up) but I’ve wanted to write another post for some time but haven’t had the material to do so. So, Hawthorn’s scavenger hunt for spring is perfect. I’ve spent the weekend doing some maintenance in the yarden and have noticed lots of signs that spring is on its way.
Here’s a collage of the gorgeous blooms that are signalling the arrival of the best of seasons.
Day 20: For today’s Throw Back Thursday I will be returning to the theme of planting for wildlife as I did in 2015. 2016 saw me celebrate the summer solstice. In 2017 I showcased bees and in 2018 I walked alpacas.
Planting for wildlife can be so rewarding. My little yarden is five years old and has some wonderful plants for birds and insects.
Such as ivy, polemonium, crocus, salvia, hellebore, red campion, passion flower and delilah.
What flowers do you grow for pollinators and birds?
I’ve been wanting to update you all in a Sunday Sevens (devised by Natalie at Threads and bobbins), for a few weeks now but have not had enough photo content to warrant a post. However I’ve decided to put together pictures from the past two weeks. I hope you enjoy the update?
Sundays have become days when we are joined by members of our family and take Riley on a long walk. Last weekend we visited Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve and walked six miles following the paths overlooking flocks of black tailed godwits and teals.
At Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve
Black Tailed Godwit
This Sunday we took a leisurely 4.5 miles walk around Liverpool’s Otterspool Prom and Festival Gardens in thick mist. It made for some atmospheric pictures.
David and Riley
David and Riley
A walk in the mist
The days are noticeably getting longer! This week I have managed to walk 48 miles, which brings my overall total to 356 miles. I am enjoying every step!
Book I am reading:
I’ve just finished reading Joanna Cannon’s Three things About Elsie. I won’t spoil the plot for you but I found many passages in the novel profound. The last chapter had me in tears! Have you read a novel that has affected you?
Three Things About Elsie
For my next read I have picked up JoJo Moyes’s last installment of the Me Before You trilogy, Still Me. Have you read any of these books?
With all the early Spring-like weather we have been having recently in the UK, the plants in the yarden are beginning to wake up! During winter I feared for the raspberry but I’ve recently noticed new leaves starting to sprout! The crocus is giving the yarden a splash of colour and there are bluebells leafing. The greatest surprise was that the camellia which usually flowers in April has already begun to bloom!
Saturday, David and I visited Burton Mere Wetlands. It’s the first reserve we’ve visited with our new membership. We spent an enjoyable three hours and 4.6 miles walking the trails and viewing the pools from the hides.
Christine and Robin
I love discovering new species and learning about them. We saw a flock of redshank, shoveler ducks and a little egret. I can’t wait to visit another RSPB site in the future. Where do you think I should visit next?
Following on from Sharon at Sunshine and Celandines wonderful post, I decided to once again compile some of my wildlife moments. There have been so many highlights this year, some however I was unable to capture on camera. There was a lone cormorant at Liverpool’s Sefton Park. Angry avocets flew over us on a visit to Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve and we even spotted a bat flitting about Wavertree Playground whilst walking Riley one evening. Below are just a small selection of wildlife moments from 2018 for you to enjoy.
The first wildlife wow of 2018 was in February when I saw a chiffchaff trying to land on a window box. I quickly got my camcorder and managed to film the annual visitor. I only see a chiffchaff once a year. Around late winter, they must make a pit stop in our yarden as they fly to richer pastures. It was a nice visit none the less.
Staying in the yarden. You would think that to see nature in the city is to seek out a local nature reserve or park. However it seems that nature finds a way of being present even in a city yarden. Our little pond which has thrived this year was home to a common frog. He/she managed to eat themselves from being a tadpole to an adult. We were lucky to see the frog even once as they are nocturnal. I wonder if our yarden is still home to this little frog. I do hope so.
Our flourishing yarden has recently become a hunting ground for a female sparrowhawk. This beautiful specimen of raptor was seen a couple of times unfortunately enjoying her dinner. A poor starling was on the menu one day and a baby goldfinch another.
Our alleyway during the summer was a plant-fest. Sprouting through the cracks of the cobbled stones, wildflowers grew. One huge shrub grew outside our back door. I identified it as a black nightshade.
I had heard of the nightshade plant but never its siblings. Whilst walking to work one day I noticed a bittersweet nightshade, often confused with deadly nightshade.
My favourite colour is blue so when I saw it flashing on butterfly wings I was ecstatic! There were many common blue butterflies fluttering about the meadows at Pennington Flash.
Common Blue Butterfly
Participation in 2018’s 30 Days Wild by The Wildlife Trusts‘ produced many wonderful wildlife sightings. At Port Sunlight River Park we saw so many six-spot burnet moths that it made up for never seeing them before. We also saw our first linnet and house martin and watched as a kestrel hunted, whilst the air was filled with the calls of skylarks. The area was so rich in wildlife that we will definitely visit again.
Six-spot Burnet Moth
During a visit to Brocholes in the hot June weather of 2018, we spied oyster-catchers around the Nook Pool, many spotted orchids blooming and even a shy roe deer hiding in the tall grass!
On our few visits to Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve we spied many Lapwings nesting and greylag geese.
Even after 30 Days Wild I still remained focused on wildlife. On a short visit to Pickering’s Pasture we spotted a stunning wildflower meadow!
Pickerings Pasture Wildflowers
Over the summer on our jaunts to local nature reserves we spotted numerous dragon flies and damselflies. Below find a small selection of what we saw.
Broad Bodied Chaser
Autumn brought with its smokey chill and vibrant leaves, many mushrooms appearing in nooks and crannies. I managed to spy a shaggy ink cap mushroom whilst walking to work. I’m not a mushroom expert so after a Google search I found that this short lived mushroom is edible.
Shaggy Ink Cap Mushroom
As the nights grow darker and summer seems just a memory I look forward to seeing colours emerge from the hard winter soil. This crocus field really brought a cheer to an otherwise dull February day.
What were your wildlife moments this year? Here’s to many more in 2019!
I love sharing my weekly news with you in the form of a Sunday Sevens. 🙂 Thanks to Natalie at Threads and bobbins for creating the series. This week has been rather uneventful so hopefully I’ve managed to scrape enough pictures together to keep you interested.
A few days off work:
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great on the days David and I took off work this week. It simply rained all day Monday. Despite this we took Riley on a 4.6 miles walk around Sefton Park. It may have been wet and dreary but we enjoyed the exercise and being outside. There were many crows flying about, tufted ducks on the lake and crocus and daffodils brightened up the gloominess.
David and Riley at Sefton Park
Riley at Formby Beach
Tuesday dawned in much the same light as Monday, however as we drove to Formby the clouds cleared and a warm spring sun came out. It was lovely on the beach. The air held the hope of warmer days to come. Riley enjoyed his run and loved the freedom of the beach.
I calculated that Riley has walked/ran 13 miles this week!
Which brings me nicely to my #walk1000miles. I’ve managed to walk 36 miles this week, bringing my annual total to 398 miles! If you are joining in the challenge, how are you doing?
Colour my 1000 miles
Though it doesn’t seem like spring has arrived for most. This week in the NW of England it has felt very springlike. David and I spotted some lovely crocus flowering in Newsham Park. How gorgeous are those blooms?
Last week I was approached by Kerry Andrew who kindly asked if she could use a clip of my Buttermere swim in a music video she was creating. I agreed. The completed video went live a week later.
You are Wolf (where Kerry is vocalist/composer) have created a video that evokes the essence of memory and of a time gone by. I was surprised at how much of my clip she used and in hindsight I could have offered her much more. It seems Kerry is a keen wild swimmer herself! While writing this post, I did some research and discovered that You are Wolf create Alt Folk music and Kerry has performed pieces from the recent, Robert McFarlane book, The Lost Words. This book with beautiful illustrations by Jackie Morris, is one I am looking forward to reading. I particularity liked Kerry’s rendition of Bluebell.
Kerry has also written her debut novel Swansong which I have added to my list of books to read!
The Famished Road – Okri
Book I am reading:
This week I have embarking on Ben Okri’s Booker Prize novel The Famished Road. I discovered Ben’s poetry when he featured in the enjoyable Future Learn course Literature and Mental Health. The novel looks a big read. Have you read it? Let me know what to expect!
This weekend David baked a cake. He cooked a chocolate sponge with a filling of half peanut butter and half chocolate, with a chocolate ganache covering. The cake was very sweet.
This Friday was Candlemas – Festival of light.Candlemas has many connotations. For the Christian’s, it represents Mary’s presentation of the young Jesus at the temple of Jerusalem. To others it’s Imbolc, a Gaelic festival signalling the beginning of spring, and since 1886 the day has also been known as Groundhog Day. Whatever your beliefs, the season of spring does seem to be close at hand.
For the past few weeks I have been looking for signs of spring. Thanks to the Woodland Trust‘s Nature Detectives, I have spotted my first blooming willow catkins and snowdrops.
Snowdrops (Candlemas Bells)
However there seems to be many superstitions regarding this time of year between the Shortest Day and the March equinox. Of the Christian saying:
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright Winter will have another fight. If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, Winter will not come again.
This belief means that if the day of Candlemas is bright and sunny, then superstition would determine that winter hasn’t ended for the season. This is also the reasoning behind the Pennsylvania tradition of Punxsutawney Phil. If, (groundhog) Phil see’s his shadow (on a sunny day) then the poor rodent, will predict another six weeks of winter.
This year, both Candlemas was a sunny, fair day here in the NW of England and Punxsutawney Phil (in Philadelphia, U.S.A) did indeed see his shadow. Meaning there could be another six weeks of winter.
I on the other hand don’t believe in these superstitions. I can’t ignore nature. There is so much blossoming around me. From Hellebores and irises, to daffodils (in parks) and crocuses in my yarden. Even in the grasp of winter there is life, all around.
Riley and Daffodils
This weekend I have also spotted the visiting chiffchaff to my yarden. He/she is always spotted around this time, flitting about the yarden. This year I was amazed at how brash the chiffchaff was, fluttering at the dinning room window and landing in the window boxes. I’ve managed to get some new footage of this seasonal visitor. We tend to only see the chiffchaff around wintertime.
So whether you think spring is around the corner or six weeks away. Spring will be here in no time, and then fast on its heels will be summer. The seasons of the years go so fast. We need to savour the passing of time.
Enchanted Forest Mug
While I was watching the wildlife outside my window. I enjoyed a cup of tea from my recently bought mug. It is of the same design as my Enchanted Forest plates. I love it!