Thursday, 23 September 2010

Too many Minnows

Wednesday 22nd Sept 2010
                                            There's nothing more relaxing than spending an hour or so sitting by the pond and doing a bit of pond watching. This year in particular I've noticed a marked decline in the aquatic creatures living in the pond and the lack of Damsel and Dragon Flies in the garden, I think I can put it down to one reason, too many  fish in the pond. Many years ago I introduced sticklebacks to the pond from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal  and about 6 years ago minnows from the local moorland stream. Both of these fish have bred prolifically but the minnows are taking over the pond so I've decided to removed as many as I can and  take them back to their original home .These are at least 2 generations on from the original fish I introduced.
   I'm using the old method I learnt from my childhood  " The Jamjar Trap"... a jamjar covered with a piece of cloth and tied on with a length of string and a small hole cut into the cloth , the jar is filled with water and bread is added to temped the fish inside.The trap is then swung out over the pond and sunk in a suitable location, the fish are wary at first but the pieces of bread inside the jar soon tempt them in.
    Up to date I've caught 117 minnows in batches of about 20 so I've had to make several visits back to the river. On the last visit it looks as though the minnows have settled down in their new home because they've started to swim in a shawl in the deeper part of the river's many small pools.
   After I've cleared out the minnows I'll start on the sticklebacks and return them back to the canal.

                             Autumn morning around the pond

                   A Speckled Wood sunbathes besides the pond


                                Back to the river at Cockden

             117 minnows back in the river approx. another 50 to follow


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Our annual treat

Tues. 14th Sept 2010
                                The following 3 images are from an old video I took in January 1998 ,the images are very poor because they're still frames captured on an old cathode ray monitor, but here lies a little story about the old moorland barn shown in these crude images.It was bought and transformed into a lovely cosy home by Frank and Janice two of our friends and it's become the destination for a great day out every year since the spring of 2000. The barn is located on the edge of the moors above Swale Dale in the Yorkshire Dales.

Lets now move forward in time 12 years to last Saturday 11th Sept 2010 for another weekend up at Frank & Janice's lovely barn.We( that's Audrey and myself) arrived Friday evening with Pat and Joe (Janice's cousin) for 2 days, the rest of our friends arrive early Sunday morning.
         In previous years our visits have always been in May or June when the countryside is at its best but this year because of various commitments early Sept was the first date date when most of our friends could get together
      Janice and Frank love the great outdoors and Janice is passionate about wild flowers and through the years they have made their garden into a wildlife haven.

                                         Cornfield wild flowers 


 The wild orchids have set seed again and should soon be colonizing other parts of their maturing garden

Below the meadow the shelter of the maturing woodland is home for several nesting birds throughout the season and a Wood Pigeon is still sitting on eggs

                        A short walk down through the Lead Mines

Mountain Pansy one of the few wild flowers that will grow in the spoil from the lead mines

                  A Painted Lady 2nd or 3rd generation this year

                  Butterfly Bush attracting several Red Admirals

                   A delicious meal and fine wines ends our first day

                      Sunday morning and our friends arrive

                       Admiring Janice's wild flower meadow

                 The start of Janice and Franks organized walk

         Sheep's Bit Scabious one of the late flowering summer flowers

                           The delicate Mountain Pansy

                                             Lunch Break

                       Spirit's head is always down a rabbit hole

                  A cottage in the village of Marske the end of the walk

                      Tea and sticky bun at the tea room in Marske

                       Back to Janice and Franks for a lovely meal

                   And finally wishing David a happy 67th birthday

Friday, 10 September 2010

Our 6 days of Summer

Friday 10th Sept 2010
                               This is my 3rd  blog this week and brings my blog diary up to date. Last week we had 6 glorious day in the English Lake District, we stayed in Coniston at the Caravan Club Site at Coniston Coppice it's just had a £3,500,000 refit and what a good job they've made of it.The six warm sunny days we had was the only warm sunny weather we've had this summer we missed the warm spell in June because we were in the Outer Hebrides where the weather was much cooler and fresher.
   The following photos are just a glimpse of the area we explored in this lovely corner of the Lake District.
 With all the settled warm weather we never wore a coat and that's very unusual for the Lakes.


        Coniston Lake this is the start of our climb up Coniston Old Man

                        Grass of Parnassus in the damp meadow

The Swallows congregate on the barbed wire fence, it won't be long before they start their long journey to Africa

The path passes Low Water a mountain tarn carved out by the action of glaciers during the last Ice Age. The temperature was 11c, we didn't see any fish but there were several Palmate Newts in the shallower water where the water temperature is a few degrees warmer.

                                The long slog to the summit

             Lunch on the summit with Dow Cragg dominating the view

                         Looking south to the Duddon Estuary

To the left of the summit of Dow Cragg you can just make out the outline of the Isle Of Man below the distant line of cumulus clouds

                    Along the ridge to the next summit ... Swirl How

                    Fir Clubmoss a primative plant of the mountains

Scafell 3162 ft on the left and in the centre Englands highest mountain .. Scafell Pike 3210 ft

                              The summit of Swirl How

                       The next summit... Great Carrs

Retracing our steps back to Swirl How with Coniston Old Man in the distance

               The start of the knee jerking decent down Prison Band

               The final mile a leafy lane leading back to our campsite

 Bike ride over the fells to a lovely area of countryside around Broughton Mills

                          Lunchstop at the Blacksmiths Arms

                                   Hot Duck Salad

We passed pounds & pounds of blackberries but we had no containers to put them in

                       Back over the fells to Coniston

Todays walk is from Coniston and around the quarries and slate mining area of Tilberthwaite between Coniston and the Little Langdale valley

  The old Lakeland farmhouses and Cottages have a charm of their own

                       The Langdale Pikes behind Little Langdale

          A few of the flowers growing around the quarries in Tilberthwaite

                                           Scarlet Pimpernel

 An unidentified flower ( but badly focused)....I think it's a type of Willowherb


                Small Tortoiseshell butterflys on Devel's-bit Scabious

                                   Speckled Wood butterfly

                 Typical woodland around the quarries of Tilberthwaite

Finally a bike ride following Route 37 on the quite lanes and more challenging tracks from Coniston through Skelwith Fold, Elterwater,Little Langdale and back through the quarries of Tilberthwaite.

                                          Skelwith Fold


                                        The Langdale pikes

                            The Britannia Inn in Elterwater

                             The Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale

                                Slater Bridge Little Langdale

             And finally... the more challenging route back to Coniston