Autumn Sketchbooks

We got a couple of funny looks as we photographed this blank Pig Pig sketchbook at Aysgarth, but there is a purpose: I can use it as the background for my Dalesman nature diary next autumn.

My autumn sketchbook work isn’t very impressive; between online courses and fitting in my ten thousand paces a day, I haven’t given myself much time for drawing, which is a shame as we’ve taken short breaks in the Lake District, the Dales and on the Yorkshire Coast.

We’re now into winter proper, specks of snow are drifting down over the garden and I’ll be quite happy to stick to day trips for the next couple of months.

Rush hour at Nethergill Farm, Langstrothdale, in November, white shorthorn.

We saw large flocks of fieldfares one misty morning on our Dales break in Langstrothdale but we’ve seen very few on our home patch. On our regular visits to Nostell Priory, we’ve seen flocks of crows and rooks on the grassland, along with a few mistle thrushes. As it has been such a good year for berries, perhaps our winter thrushes are still foraging in the hedgerows.

Lower Falls, Aysgarth, 2 November.

Tufted ducks and gadwall have joined the resident mallards and Canada geese on lakes and there are now two or three pairs of goosanders beginning to gather in their regular spot on the quieter side of the Middle Lake.

Fern-leaved beech, the Menagerie, Nostell Priory, 8 November.

The grey squirrels – all of them looking sleek and bushy-tailed – all seem to be engaged in caching their sweet chestnuts for the winter. We haven’t seen many examples of them chasing each other, prior to mating.

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