Uphilldowndale

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


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Thirty days wild. June 20th

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_20

 

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.

 

It rained a lot yesterday and cold too, we even felt the need to put the heating back on. The twentieth of June for goodness sake.  By now I was hoping for some  Leisure time watching dragon and damselflies by the pond, whilst sat in sunshine. But it hasn’t happened yet.  Even the bees weren’t hanging around very long.

iris bee


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Out on a Limb

Move over the frogs, the toads are coming to a pond near you…

toad swiming_

It was impossible to count, but I’m sure there must have been over a hundred. When we came home at dusk on Thursday night we had to abandon the car in the drive, we couldn’t have driven on without squashing them, they arriving from  every direction. I wonder how they know which direction to head.

Toads pond

They had no qualms about being disturbed  by humans or dogs. Spud just jumped in

Spud swimming with toads

And joined those looking for love

beautiful toad eyes _

This one was climbing back out, job done I suppose.

toad climbing_

It sat in the sun for quite a while,

toad grden

it was a very sunny day, I was getting a bit worried it might need some factor 50 sun cream, that skin  looks delicate.

I spotted one with only three legs. I wondered if it was a birth defect, or if it had lost a limb in some toady trauma. It amazes me how animals can seem to manage such an injury.

toad three legs_

It seemed to be coping just fine (and no, it didn’t swim round in circles).


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Fish Supper

Given that the tea order maxed out at seven during the installation of the ground source heat pump, you’ll appreciate there has been more folk  milling around the place than usual. Which is probably how Dodger the kitten cat was spotted by one of the guys, nonchalantly strolling along by the pond, with a fish tail dangling out of his mouth, the tail was still flapping! Something we’d never seen before.

It seems, unbeknownst to us he is a bit of a fisherman, and that the biggest ones don’t always get away. 

fishing cat_

When I found a dead fish by the pond a few weeks ago, I’d blamed the heron (sorry heron) This is the closest I’ve got to catching Dodger in action.

 

fishing cat 2

There are a lot of fish in this pond, I’m not sure I could stop Dodger from his antics, and I suppose  he’s never going to manage as much carnage as mother nature did a few years ago.


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Buds, Birds and Blue Sky.

Darling buds of March seems a little premature and the frosty mornings have served as a little reminder that it is still early in the season. But we shall make the most of what we have. It’s beautiful.

Buds and blue sky-1

Spud has been getting hot and bothered, yesterday whilst Tom and I were sat by the pond, he took a cooling dip, and swam right through the gloopy remnant’s of the ‘frog spawn jelly’ before clambering out.  And what do dogs do when they get out of water? They shake. Bleuughhhhh SPUD! You revolting dog!


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Spud on Sunday Part LXVII

Spud has had a high old time this afternoon, for it seems spring has arrived in the pond. There has been much croaking and splashing around going on.

frog search 5-1

I could find the cause, with a softly, softly sort of approach. But Springer spaniels are not built for stealth. Crashing around in the undergrowth is what it is all about.

frog search-1 

Interestingly he wasn’t for leaping in, in his usual style, just wading in the shallows.

frog search 1-1

Then he went for a better look, leaping on to the floating island; this is something that started out 10 years ago, when we built the pond as a couple of sheets of polystyrene, stitched into a piece of pond lining fabric, which has now been colonised  to such an extent it has its own eco system including a couple of young willow trees and drifts up and down the pond at the whim of the prevailing wind.

frog search 3-1

However it isn’t very stable, Spud wisely decided it was not the place for a bit of frog spotting, and made a giant leap for dogkind to get ashore. We were impressed he made it.

frog search 4-1


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Spud on Sunday Part LVIV

Spud is having a Sunday off,  actually he’s had most of the week off, it has been half term holiday for the boys, and whilst Spud has had much to entertain him there have been no big adventures (he even managed to come back from getting his coat trimmed in reasonable shape) everyone has been chillin. So for those needing a weekly fix of all things canine, take a look at some sub aqua dogs, photographed by Seth Casteel

 

image

There are plenty more to view on his website too and you can buy a print if you so wish.

image

I’d love to bring you such a photo of Spud, but I doubt the visibility is as good as this in the garden pond

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