The Jewel of the Moor

Crottle lichen on gritstone block.
Crottle lichen on gritstone block.

buzzardLangsett: There’s an alarmed mewing call of a buzzard as we walk up onto the moor. Over the conifers a pair are circling, seeing off a third which circles higher then disappears in the direction of Holme Moss. The resident pair do a lap of honour, spiralling high up over the plantation of Crookland Wood, while below a heron flies sedately over the treetops towards the reservoir.

green tiger beetleA green tiger beetle trundles along the edge of the path over the moor, iridescent in the morning sunlight.

queen waspNorth America, Hingcliff Common, 11.30 a.m., breeze from the west, high cirrus over the moor, enormous bank of cumulus (a weather front) looms along the horizon to the northwest.

queen waspAs I draw the crottle lichen a queen wasp flies to the corner of the gritstone block and sits in the sun. She then flies to my knee and cosies down in a fold of material. I guide her on to my sketchbook then persuade her to sit on the ruined wall beside me to sketch her.

dancin gnatsTwenty or thirty gnats dance over a small mossy hollow between the gritstone blocks.

red grouseRed grouse and curlew call occasionally; willow warblers have now arrived and are singing along the edge of the cleared slopes at Mauk Royd on the south side of the reservoir.

dabchickA dabchick dives alongside a pair of Canada geese at the edge of the inlet where Thickwoods Brook enters the reservoir.