Uphilldowndale

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


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Swanning around

Whilst out and about on our first excursion in our new campervan, we called in at Hopton Hall, we admired the snowdrops, said hello to the mossy lady. It wasn’t the most pleasant of weather whilst we were there, sleet is never quite as pretty as a light dusting of snow, so we ate cake and drank tea whilst it passed.

We admired the pair of swans on the lake, swans mate for life.

 Swan 1

Overseas readers might like to know that in the UK there is an ancient ritual called ‘swan upping’,  this isn’t it.  This is  a swan feeding.

Swaning around 2

Swan Upping is actually all about an audit of the queens stock of swans and takes place on the river Thames.  Could you ever own a swan? I imagine they please themselves? No, look,  I’m wrong again,

The Queen has a prerogative over all swans in England and Wales. The Swan Keeper also despatches swans all over the world, sent as gifts in the Queens name

They do look regal.

Swaning around 3

It got me wondering, how they keep their necks clean? I mean there is only so far  round that a beak can preen?

Swaning around 4

It all looks very high maintenance to me

Swaning around_

well worth the effort though.


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Have you seen my week?

I put it down somewhere and now I can’t find it… It’s a shame because I was going to put a lot into it, and now I’ve got stuff left on my desk and long lists not ticked off in my note book.  Sigh.

What can I tell you, it snowed and then it rained and rained some more; snow is more photogenic than rain.  Let me illustrate, our friendly pheasant in the snow, looking handsome.

snow bird

Our friendly pheasant in the rain, pleading with Mr Uphilldowndale to let him in, via the bathroom window, not such a good look.

rain bird


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Charming

I’ve been enjoying the multitude of birds coming to the feeder, something to brighten  very grey, wet,  bedraggled days.

feeder

Whilst  perhaps not enough finches to describe them as a charm,  certainly enough to lift the spirits.

charming finches_

When we did our recent building project, I came under pressure to cut this tree down,

goldfinch_

‘Its in the way of the view’ they said. ‘No, it is part of the view’ I said.

goldfinch 2

 

Jammy and Dodger the cat haven’t been paying much attention to the birds, under floor heating and Spuds bed is obviously a more attractive option.

dodger_


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Four birds in the bush

And so it snowed, at first light the birds were on a foraging mission. There were four beautifully plumed thrushes in my precious pink rowan tree.

Thrush_

I’m very happy to share the berries with these gorgeous  birds. Their markings always make me think of spotted dick pudding. But then who wouldn’t think of a steamed suet pudding on a snowy November day, or maybe I’m just a little odd…

There was more snow, and its hung around longer, than I expected. The air temperature has hovered just above freezing, plus a sharp wind chill;  the sheep in a neighbouring field lined up to harvest the sun’s warmth against the drystone walls. Wise sheep.

sheep warming_


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Thirty days wild. June 13th

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_13

 

We were at Loweswater village hall, for Daz’s memorial race, Mr Uphilldowndale was out on the hill marshalling runners, 24 miles of very uphill and very downhill.  I had an abundance of wildlife to watch, this little pied wagtail, spent as much time watching me as I did watching it. I couldn’t quite get it in focus, but never mind, who am I to come between a bird and its brood, there were chicks to be fed and I was getting in the way.

Wagtail 2

It seemed to favour the remains of a dung heap and I was captivated by its ability to keep catching bugs without letting goof the ones it already had in its beak, oh yes, and sing.

Wagtail_

 

I think its nest was somewhere in here, the  walls and roof of a shed with handsome slates for its roof

wagtail nest

I could hear a cuckoo in the woodland nearby, cuckoo will parasitize wagtails nest.

wagtail_-2

Daz’s Dad was disappointed not to hear the cuckoo with me, as he say’s for him,  it is what truly registers the presence of  the British summer.


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Thirty days wild. June 10th

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_10

 

The best thing that you can do for nature is to make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

 

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

 

blue tit chick 2

what a  ‘wee sweetie’, a blue tit fledgling hanging out in the scots pine. It was calling to the parent, which was about 10 yards away, before flying off to join them.

blue tit chickr

Sadly there was a dead chick, by the cat flap this morning, it was very young, its eyes weren’t open and its feathers no more than stubby quills. It must mean there are still other  younger, broods around (or were).

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