Thursday, 22 September 2011

Leighton Moss

Went to Leighton Moss late Tuesday afternoon - Barrie was being interviewed about the Lancashire Wildlife website for Diversity FM who are running a series of programmes called Wild Autumn. The rut seems to be starting although the stags are still eating between short bouts of roaring. Saw one stag and one hind at the Tim Jackson hide and two stags at the Grisedale hide both lying down, chewing the cud and occasionally insulting each other. Overhead large flocks of honking geese were coming in to roost. On the way home just before we crossed the motorway we saw a spectacular sight that we've never seen before. Gathering in and wheeling around the top of one tree were about 100 Jackdaws, all calling and seeming to be pairing off. Then as we drove on there were at least a couple of hundred more sat on electricity cables and whirling above it mostly in pairs and some having to see off challengers - the noise was incredible. Small flocks kept forming and flying off, silhouetted against a magnificent fiery orange sunset. Reminded us of the film The Day after Tomorrow when all the birds fly off to escape the impending mega storm - still here though!

 Autumn accessorizing for the well dressed stag.

Little Egrets roosting.

Greylags coming in to roost.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Autumn mists and spiders

Pulled back the curtains to reveal a very romantic, misty scene with the sun's halo low in the sky. After the stormy winds and rain of the last week it was very welcome. A few diseased branches have fallen with only one tree in the field showing major damage, split completely in two, though again you can see where the rot was starting in the heart of the trunk. The fields and hedgerows are ornamented by countless silver, moisture jewelled spiders webs, the world it would seem, belongs to spiders. In the stubble fields, Gulls, Terns, Rooks and Jackdaws are feeding, some rooks always sit on lookout on the fence posts ready to caw a warning to their families, setting off all the birds in noisy flight. On a rotten log there were some spectacular eruptions of honey coloured fungi and from high in a tree overlooking the lane a robin was singing sweetly proclaiming his territory.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Hodder Show

The Hodder Show was held in Dunsop this year and even though the skies looked a bit grim and we had one downpour the clouds cleared to a lovely sunny afternoon. There was the usual scarily high standard of exhibits in the craft and produce classes and lots of delicious local produce for sale in the food tent. Motorcycle stunt riding was held in the main ring and later there was a display of birds of prey by Cuerden Birds of Prey. Hardier souls than us took part in the fell race - one lady was running in wellies making us feel  complete wimps.

Cuerden Birds of Prey - Barn Owl

Cuerden Birds of Prey - Tawny Owl


The beautiful setting for the show

Sheep shearing competition

Start of fell race - note lady in wellies!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Browsholme Hall and Dragonflies

We visited the Farmers Market and Craft Fair held on the first Sunday of each month at Browsholme Hall, with food and craft stalls inside and plant stalls outside and a Gardeners Question Time with Peter Foley. It was a gorgeous summers day so we tool a walk around the grounds and the lake. Lots of fungi were popping up all over the place, with some stunning ones near the top pool.
We also enjoyed watching dragonflies mating. Males seemed to patrol territories, darting aggressively at any intruder, seeing off any males and grasping any females. When they caught any female, they flew high in the air holding the back of her head with her curled round underneath him. It seemed it didnt last very long or they disappeared into the rushes, but males seemed to be back patrolling very quickly. We saw a female laying eggs, she would land on a rush by the water or a damp mossy trunk then back down, till her tail was in the water.

Browsholme Hall Farmers Market and Craft Fair

Fungi by Browsholme Halls lake

Fungi at Browsholme Hall

Dragonfly egglaying

Male Dragonfly patrolling