The birds on our feeders are having a hard time with the sparrowhawk swooping in regularly and this character, a neighbour’s cat with a bushy tail, lurking in the flower bed. Even the pheasants keep their distance when the cat is around, although they don’t seem too concerned about the sparrowhawk.
On our walk around Newmillerdam Lake this morning, it’s good to see the sun breaking through after so many gloomy, misty November days, especially as we get a brief glimpse of two kingfishers flying along the edge of the lake, apparently engaged in a bit of a dogfight, one swooping at the other. One (or possibly […]
There were plenty of mallards, gadwall and nine shovelers (three drakes, six females/juveniles) on the Lower Lake at Nostell this morning, but it was this little duck, which didn’t look much bigger than a dabchick, that had us puzzled. It’s a teal, and the conspicuous triangular pattern on its back suggests that this is a female […]
I always go for the table by the French windows when we call for coffee, and in my case a date scone, at Blacker Hall Farm Shop cafe. The original of this sketch is 2.5 inches, 6 cm, across. A few weeks ago we were commenting on how few goosanders we were seeing at Newmillerdam, but today […]
We’ve recently started feeding the birds again after taking a break over the summer. This was partly to reseed the bare patch in the lawn trampled by the pheasants that had spent so long pacing about in tight circles below the feeders, pecking at the spilt sunflower hearts but also because two or three small […]
This cladonia lichen was growing in the shelter of the roots of a stump amongst a lush growth of polytrichum moss, by the path that leads up onto the moor at Langsett. The ‘golf-tee’ shape of the fruiting bodies, with their dusting of flour-like powder is typical of Cladonia fimbriata, which is found on rotting wood, disturbed ground […]
So good to be back at Langsett, walking around the reservoir, across the more and back up through the woods where larch and beech are now in their autumn colours.
First visitor to our new sparrow nest box: a blue tit. It checks out hole number three first; no, that’s not quite right; then hole number two and it’s just about to investigate hole number one when a second blue tit appears, there’s a skirmish and off they fly. It’s likely that, as this RSPB box […]
A cold front came in from the north during the night and today it’s noticeably cooler but mostly sunny. Armed with secateurs, long-handled loppers, a step-ladder and a pruning saw, I trim back the golden hornet crab apple to a more manageable shape. It’s mainly a case of cutting back the whip-like vertical shoots that have […]
Common Earthball, Scleroderma citrinum, has ‘a characteristic smell of old rubber’ according to Wildlife of Britain, the Definitive Visual Guide or strong odour ‘of gas or acetylene’ (Encyclopedia of Fungi, Michael Jordan). As I’ve mentioned before, this didn’t stop me from slicing the young ones, with firm white flesh, and frying them in a bit of butter […]