Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Wildlife in August

At last the Rooks and Jackdaws who have been yelling outside our window at dawn (even when dawn was about 4am) have finally grown up and gone somewhere else first thing in the morning. We will never be short of Rooks in the field with a particularly large rookery over the road, but the Jackdaws do seem to have all but disappeared for now.
Highlight of this month is probably the Mistle Thrush, who still appear in the Rowan in the field from time to time. A fleeting glimpse of a Redstart in the woods was also another treat. Swallows are lining up on the power lines just behind the house, planning their route back for winter no doubt. One morning there were over 50 on the two lines at one time.

Little Mell Fell

A busy week with friends staying for a few days, entertaining locals for an evening and then heading up to Scotland for a wedding. First day back down to earth today, and we woke to a cracker of a morning. No time to waste. Shopping for visitors arriving on Thursday, house work and cleaning can all wait.
Dentist appointments this afternoon can't be put off, so a small walk is needed. Little Mell fell is just that. About 2.5 miles in total, but a little Fell with Big views. Today we could see for miles in every direction.

It was warm as well as bright, so Hattie takes the chance of a tanking up session at this conveniently positioned bath.
On the way up, we get a glimpse of the views to come. Hellvelyn and Catstycam here in the distance

On the summit, the happy Family photo. Shame it's so bright the background is over exposed!

Zooming in on Hellvelyn and Catstycam from the summit.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Busy Busy Busy

A trip to a local family run nursery this morning led to a busy afternoon in the garden. The top deck of the new beds in the back garden is now planted up.

All that remains is to dig out a load of old shrubs at the back and turf this area. Then we have the delightful job of clearing the lower deck. Currently it is a mound of gravel and soil (it seems that any left over building materials from the extension were used to raise the levels of the rockeries!). This will need riddling to clear the gravel out, then the remaining soil will need moving to a temporary area, ready to use in another phase of the 'Great Garden Plan'

The gravel will be used (or some of it) to provide a french drain to aid water drainage from the patio, which currently acts as a bit of an extension to Ullswater when we get heavy rain.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Is this Cheating?

In our quest to record wildlife in the garden, is it cheating to count something that was actually found in our neighbours garden, but brought across to ours to see if we knew what it was?
Well it's in our garden now, so I'm going to count it........

An Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar. Handsome beast isn't he!
A little later today, we spotted birds flying into the Rowan in the field behind. After much viewing with binocs and even resorting to the telescope, we have discovered that it is a flock of (at least) four Mistle Thrush. Not something that either of us have witnessed other than singularly before.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


Progress in two ways.
Firstly and most importantly, Husbands back is finally properly better.
Secondly, ideas are beginning to come to life in the back garden.
In true Cumberland fashion, we have been doing a spot of dry stone walling. The end result will be to provide a two tier area instead of the sloping, lumpy, rockery sort of affair that was there before.
The area infront of the wall (to the right in this picture) is yet to be cleared, and the soil level lowered
The area behind the wall (to the right in this picture!), will be level with the top of the wall when complete.

For those who know of it's provenance - I hope you like the Bird Bath's new top! (I found the Hypertufa recipe BD!!!)

Monday, 16 August 2010

Ever Changing View

When we moved in last November, there was little of interest in the back garden, and although things have obviously emerged through the year, it has always been obvious that we needed to give the whole thing a makeover. The plan has always been to do nothing for the first year and see what comes up.

Not Much, seems to be the answer. The silly little patio in the picture above (taken in January) has already gone (and is currently a nursery bed and overflow veg plot), and as our first year in residence will be complete before you know it, we have decided to make a start.

The lawn in the foreground has been lifted as it was on quite a slope - which doesn't fit with the plan. The rockery nearest the field is no more and as you can see, a trench has been dug along the edge of the second rockery. We have decided to do it bit by bit, to try to leave as much cover for the birds as possible while we do it. Are we soft, or what?

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Virtual Friends

In the days BC (before Cumbria), we came to know a few people who have websites detailing walks they have done in The Lakes. Today we met up with two of them for a walk.
Andrew Leaney (Website here) and David Hall (website here!)
Andrew's was the first site we found - a good few years ago and we have followed him and David around the county ever since. It was good to finally meet up instead of just exchanging emails.

We had chosen a really wet and miserable morning, but undeterred, we head of into the clouds on Carrock Fell. Having got thoroughly wet on Carrock, we continue to High Pike, stopping to admire a brief break in the clouds. From left to right...
David Hall, John Paterson (who we have known for quite a while), Jeff, Andrew Leaney, and Ken Leaney, Andrew's dad.
Perhaps we should have started out later, the forecast was for a fine afternoon. But then, when did the forecast matter? A good afternoon to sit eating cake and chatting.

It's good to know we still have a hosepipe ban!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Strange Goings On.

We are well accustomed to Swallows doing their daily flight routine behind the house. Swooping low to catch insects on the hoof as they are famous for. But it seems that when they are feeding young, they also catch insects from the floor too. We have had an evening visit by a number of them for two evenings now. At the same time each evening.

They sit a while (There are three in this shot if you look closely)
The do some acrobatics
And they wonder what the hell all those House Sparrows are doing eating seed.