Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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How Time Flies

I’ve been busy decorating, I’ve set myself a bit of a deadline, I’ve invited the neighbours round for a bit of a do, its in a good cause.   The British Heart Foundation is a charity close to our  own hearts, especially in memory of Daz H.

The invites have gone out.

ramp up the red

But it does mean there is no time for dawdling, but more haste can mean less speed: this is an old house, no wall is true, no plaster smooth, (I did succumb to a little plaster envy the other day) exposed  oak beams may brim with ancient character but they  are a fiddle to decorate around. Here is one on the landing.

oak beam

And this is my favourite beam, in the lounge, I love its rough and ready, vernacular style and wonder why a load bearing beam was placed over a window opening?

forked oak beam_

 

One day we’ll find out how old they are.

 

I was so busy at the weekend,I forgot about the The Big Garden Bird Watch.

Take a look at these birdy videos, mesmerising I really want to get to see a murmeration of starlings.


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Blown In

My what a stormy weekend, high winds, lashing rain and hail.

Mr Uphilldowndale tells me the wind ‘had some north in it’; all I know is that a large flock of redwings and fieldfare have blown in.

I set off down the field late this afternoon to try and photograph them, but if I tell you that Spud the dog,  Jammy and Dodger the kitten-cats insisted on coming too, you’ll perhaps understand I didn’t have much success.

The birds were soon spooked, and wheeled off into the evening sky

Redwing Feildfare

Not to worry, I rather like the silhouette look, granted it would be better if the birds were in focus…

Redwing Feildfare 2

And you’re going to have to squint very hard to find the bird in the next one, but I like the patterns made by the remaining stalks of the ash leaves.

Redwing Feildfare 3

One of the best views of redwings I’ve had was from the window at the dentists, but if its all the same to you, I’ll not go there again for a wee while.


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Meadow Hay

It seems hard to believe that it was only Wednesday morning that Mr Uphillldowndale and I took a turn around the field wearing Wellington boots, the meadow grass was flattened to the ground,

Wet grass 2

 

by the weight of rain that had fallen over night. 

Wet grass

 

Jammy the kitten cat got wet feet,  he was unimpressed and protested loudly, and completed the rest of the walk along the wall.

 

Jammy wet feet

 

Spud, well, he was just  Spud,

 

wet springer spaniel_

 

By late afternoon the sun had come out, our neighbouring farmer had come along and mown the grass, he obviously knew what the forecast had in store. Because since then it has been wall to wall warmth and long sunny days, by this afternoon, the grass had been rowed up and bailed, job done.

 

In a previous post I mentioned not really knowing what made a ‘traditional meadow’, then by chance I heard Jim Dixon, The Peak District National Park Chief Executive  (his blog is here) being interviewed on BBC radio Derby, on the very subject.  The roll call of species should include buttercups, yellow rattle and pink clover we have lots of those!

 

Natural Meadow Derbyshire_

 

So the surrounding fields are now empty, Spud the dog will be able to find his ball.

 

Spud hay field_

 

Since the fields have been mown there has been a forlorn curlew banking around the fields and across the valley, calling  plaintively. I suspect it might have lost it’s nest to the mower;

 

Curlew_

 

I’m surprised, I didn’t know it was there, I hadn’t seen any curlews around on a regular basis since spring.   Most curlews around here are up on the higher, rough pastures, where there are nests and young will not be disturbed by the pressures of making hay while the sun shine and  the timeline that dictates  commercial farming. Sad.  It wouldn’t have been done intentionally of that I’m sure.  As Jim Dixon mentioned in his interview,  in trying to preserve traditional meadows we are asking farmers to be ‘farmers, factories and museums’. It’s not easy.


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Stone the Crows

Stone the crows? I wouldn’t dream of it personally.

Black bird and shadows -1

It’s a phrase you don’t hear very often, its origins are unclear

Black bird and shadows 2-1

 

"What I says is crows is devils." Tom pointed at the trees, where the blue-black legions sat squabbling and blinking their wicked white eyes. …

Black bird and shadows 3-1

I came across these handsome birds, in a car park in Wales (we got about a bit last week!). Hopelessly back lit and mooching about, in and out of the shadows, they kept me entertained whilst trying to eat my sandwich in the car. I did a lot of that last week too.

Black bird and shadows 4-1

Can I encourage you to pop across to dou dou’s site and take a look at the beautiful birds there

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