… went to mow the meadow
Man at work
A quintessential summer’s day. Birdsong. Buzzards. Butterflies. A startled hare, disturbed by the thrum of the tractor, dashed across the field. That wonderful smell of freshly mown hay.
The farmer didn’t waste any time collecting the results of his labour.
Another meadow full of wild flowers ready for mowing. A farmer’s work is never done.
Farmer’s next field for mowing
Freckleton to the Naze is the start (or end) of the Lancashire Coastal Way. It follows the creek leading to the River Ribble where the River Douglas joins. A lovely spot for a picnic.
On the way back The Ship at Freckleton is perfect for a rewarding beer (and lunch if you’ve not already eaten a picnic) sitting in the garden overlooking the Lancashire plains with Winter Hill in the distance. Note to self: picnic not required next time.
Drizzle didn’t spoil her
in the serene grounds
of Preston’s beautiful Avenham Park
Whatever the weather,
the urgency of collecting food
for a nestful of hungry chicks
growing out of the cracks in the wall
of the railway bridge
Wildflowers along the River Ribble
Always something uplifting
to see on one’s travels
They’re back! About 130 pairs of common terns busy nesting on the floating pontoons at Preston Dock. What a racket as they jostle and squabble for a place in one of the purpose built next boxes, courtesy of Fylde Bird Club, Preston City Council and RSPB. The nest boxes provide shelter for adults as they incubate their eggs and, once hatched, the chicks are contained and protected from marauding gulls on the look-out for a tasty snack.
Having a stretch
Rearranging nesting material
A silvery catch
It’s a wonderful sight and sound. I’ll be back next week to see the hatchlings before they grow up. They’ll take off in August, to return next April.
Two pairs bred in 2009. Over 130 pairs in 2017. That’s an amazing success story.
There are other inhabitants sharing Preston marina with the terns.
Hurrah! The rain stopped for a whole day, and the sun popped out once in a while, so it was a perfect(ish) opportunity to walk out of Grange over Sands up to Hampsfell Hospice.
Hampsfell – windswept tree looking over Morecambe Bay
The Hospice, a shelter for travellers, was built by the Vicar of nearby Cartmell. It looks weird and out of place as it looms into sight on the gentle uphill hike across the fell. Views from the top across Morecambe Bay, the majestic Lakeland Peaks, and Three Peaks range in Yorkshire are stunning. And good old Blackpool Tower was visible in the distance!
The Hospice of Hampsfell
Scary steps up the Hospice
View from top of Hampsfell Hospice
The circular walk returned through woodland full of bird song – long tailed tits, nuthatches, great tits, blue tits, chaffinches and the usual suspects. A clutch of treecreepers had flown the nest. Anxious parents were exhausted trying to keep them in check.
A fabulous walk. Another one to revisit on a hot summer’s day!
Grange over Sands, the other side of Morecambe Bay to Blackpool, is barely an hour’s drive away. It’s a neat little place with the prettiest ornamental gardens featuring a lake that’s home to a collection of exotic and local ducks and geese. There’s an abundance of hotels, guest houses, cafes, snack bars, independent clothes shops and gift stores. Plenty to browse.
A leisurely walk down the mile and a half long promenade, edged with non-stop flower gardens, takes in awesome views across the bay where Arnside, Silverdale, the Bowland Fells, Heysham, and even Blackpool Tower can be seen. It has to be bright and sunny though! Two out of three of the days of my stay at Grange were wet and grey. But there’s no such thing as bad weather. It’s all down to bad clothing. Tell that to my walking boots!
Trench foot aside, a walk from Grange to Humphrey Head in low cloud and drizzle was really lovely. Most of the Morecambe Bay coast is low-lying. The cliffs at Humphrey Head rise to 172 ft. Even on a grey, drizzly day, the view over the wide expanse of sands towards the Lancashire coast to the south is breathtaking. Must pay another visit on a clear and/or sunny day!
Descent from Humphrey Head to Humphrey Point
Inquisitive sheep exploring the sands couldn’t get any further, so scampered back to the salt marsh where they do what sheep do – graze and sleep!
From Humphrey Head
Cool wind blowing, but nice enough for a walk along the beach by Fairhaven Lake.
Reed buntings in full song; wheatears flitting in and out of the dunes; lots of unidentifiable little brown speckly birds, egrets, herons, swifts and swallows. Hopeless snapshots though, as all potential subjects move too fast!
Colourful plant life in the dunes becomes the snapshot project of the day. Plants don’t move about quite as quickly as bird life, unless there’s a vigorous sea breeze blowing.
I know this one – Thrift
It’s amazing how many tiny plants thrive in the nooks and crannies of the concrete sea defences. But, for me, like those brown speckly birds, wildflowers are impossible to identify, even with the help of my Collins Complete British Wildlife Photoguide. Navelwort, Biting Stonecrop, Common Bird’s-Foot-Trefoil, Mouse-Ear Hawkweed – a flower-fest of wonderful names.
Common Bird’s Foot Trefoil
It’s all guesswork – Rose Root?
Could this be Mouse-Ear Hawkweed?
Whatever they are, they look lovely!