Now Would be a Good Time

lapwing chickI’D JUST passed a sign warning people to take care because of ground-nesting birds during the summer months as I walked from Penistone Hill country park, Howarth, towards Top Withins via Harbour Lodge. I thought yes, they might well be hidden amongst the heather but with alarmed adults flying around making sure they stay under cover I’m not going to see any, but just 20 or 30 yards along the track over the moor I came across two lapwing chicks wandering around on the track.

As I approached them I took my camera from my pocket and switched it on, took three quick snapshots as I walked on by and left them hoping that the adults, of which there was no sign, would soon come back to them.


nethergill farm

So what happened to June? We had a week at Nethergill Farm in Langstrothdale, in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, not far south of Hawes. The Nethergill eggs are described as ‘very free range’ and, as many of them had been used to make a Yorkshire curd tart for the launch of the farm’s new field centre on the day we arrived, our half dozen were laid by special request. We were staying in a self-catering apartment called the Byre and as we walked upstairs in the evening we could look through a window into the barn and see the little red hen and her ‘sisters’ (there’s no cockerel, so that guests can sleep in!) settling down to roost, three of them tucked snugly onto the windowsill.

It was partly a research trip but mainly a holiday. The trouble with taking a week off is that we came back to what seemed like more than double the work, gardening and errands for mum. Add to that all the reading I’ve been doing and the research trips for my book and I’m afraid the diary has slipped.

red henI’ve just finished my monthly nature diary for the Dalesman magazine so that back in diary mode I’ve got so much that I could write about this month that it would take many hours. But for a nature diary I prefer to write about what has happened on the actual day so now would be a good time to draw a line and start afresh tomorrow and try and get back to a page a day format. To try to write a little every day, even if sometimes that didn’t amount to much. There’s always something going on.

Link: Nethergill Farm


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  1. Hi Richard,
    it is good to hear from you again, I was beginning to wonder what you were up to. I should have known that you would have been working at one or other of your projects. It is a pity we missed out on your posts while you were away, as you said, I am sure you had plenty to write about. Maybe you can do a highlights post?
    Best regards,

    1. Hi Roman,
      Thank you, I think that I’m going to have to try and write up at least one or two of the highlights. One little incident was watching a coot feeding its ‘tweenage’ chicks on tiny freshwater mussels on Newmillerdam Lake. They were struggling to learn how to handle the new food.

  2. Hello Richard,

    A post a day…. That would be soooo nice! :)) Missed you too. Hope you had a great holiday.

    A fan from the Netherlands.

    1. Thank you Monique, Nethergill proved so inspiring that we don’t want to leave it too long before setting off again. The couple in the other apartment there were from the Netherlands and touring the Dales in a classic 1970s or 80s Rolls Royce Corniche, which must have been a tight squeeze on some of those little roads.

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