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


So Last Month

Look it’s the first of December, and I’ve not even posted photos from the beginning of November, sigh… Please excuse me, it’s due to circumstance beyond my control etc, etc.

The pink berried rowan is now devoid of berries, the birds have seen to that


and the wind has snatched the last remaining leaves.

ash tree-1

So the world from my window is less colourful and heading for a more austere, ‘sculptural’  sort of look. To photograph it would be a fine thing.



Red for Danger

Fungi -1

Continuing with the fungi theme, I found this  fairy-tale  specimen in a forest in Wales.

We’ve been away for a weeks holiday and very nice it was too (that’s is the holiday was nice, the weather could have been kinder). I’d like to tell you I toiled for hours through the forest to find such a handsome specimen, but I’d be lying, I found it in the car-park whilst Joe and I were waiting,

Fungi 2-1

for Mr Uphilldowndale and Tom to return from a mountain bike excursion on the Marin Trail in the Gwydyr Forest.  It was growing from the trunk of a birch tree. I used to know someone who made birch sap wine, and  from what I can remember (the memory is a little hazy) the brew was as potent as I suspect this toadstool is (I’ll not try to name the species, I’ll hope a fungi expert passes by the blog with the appropriate knowledge.)

Would you like to see how muddy Tom was on his return?

Mountain Bike Mud-1

You can visualise the dirty washing that has returned home with us can’t you?


Study Skills

I don’t know about Tom*, but I’m sick to death of having my head stuck in a text book. So this morning, Mr Uphilldowndale, Spud and I went for a walk, it was just what the Doctor ordered, very refreshing, breathing new life into the blog muse**who to tell the truth, was feeling a little suffocated. So now I’ve plenty of spring shots in the bag, to slow release whilst I finish my work.

A handsome tree, dressed in  fizzy fresh foliage, straight out of the box.

Fresh out of the box tree-1 

And as we’ve not had a drystone wall of late, a sinuous and recently rebuilt  wall  braided by bluebells.

Blue Ribbon-1

As you can see, there has been a cut of silage, but due to the lack of rain this spring, it all looks a bit light weight.

* Tom had an English exam this week, he was asked to describe a country landscape in Summer and Winter, look at the header of this blog and you’ve got the scene; after the exam he had a text from  our friend Miss M down in London, she’d used the same landscape for the same exam.

** It was the blogs fourth birthday this week, shows how busy I’ve been I missed the party by three days *sigh*.


Black Birds in Every Direction

one way bird-1

Black birds, crows rooks, choughs in every shade of black and  in all sorts of places


preening -1


demon beak!-1

Nest building

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Down by the cathedral in St Davids, in the ruins of the bishop’s palace, some serious nest building (I messed up some shots here, by accidentally leaving the camera on the wrong setting,  I’m loath to admit it, but my need bifocals can not be far away.)

But I’m sure you’ll get the gist of them; that when building your new home,

Bird to branch ratio -1

it is wise to measure up before going to the builders merchants

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A Deluge of Daffodils

My journey, my long, long journey to St Davids was swathed in day-glow daffodils (well, narcissus mainly, if we are going to be pedantic about it) every verge and every village had daffodils in abundance.

two flies and a daffodil -1

For me, it was a seven hour drive from Derbyshire, there is no swift way to St Davids, no matter how long you look at the map or bicker with the sat-nav: I chose the meandering route through the middle of Wales, then along the coast on a road that has such a pinch point  through the centre of  Fishguard that only light traffic takes it as a route, this suited me fine.*

Fishguard -1

Mrs Ogg came from Cambridgeshire, a journey that takes just as long but has more motorway and probably less daffodils.

I stopped off on route to watch the red kites at  Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre

Red Kite-1

I loitered around for feeding time (3pm) and was rewarded with some 30 kites coming down to feed (We tried doing this last time we were down this way, it was so foggy we saw not one red kite) this time it was a treat

Red Kite 4-1

I wasn’t all together chuffed with the photos I managed,

five red kites-1

but I did enjoy the spectacle

Red Kite 3-1

As I prepared to leave, on my ‘onward journey’ there was a rat-a-tat-tat on the car window,  to my surprise it was the Grandma of one of Joe’s school friends, who was visiting the area, so strong was her association with me to the school gate that she asked ‘Are you going to get the boys from school now?’ Err… it is 3:15pm and I’m four hours drive from home, I think I might be a bit late for the school run?

*Traveling home on Sunday it was more tiresome, lots of cars  with elderly drivers,  the sort that only come out once a week to go to church or the occasional trip to the shops, and for some reason a surfeit of tractors trailing muck spreaders


A Magical Place in Spring

You might remember  I posted on the  magical lane, cloaked in it’s Narnia frostiness,  well March has brought a mellowing, but the ice queen has not yet departed, we had a sharp frost last night.

Frosty lane March 2-1

Frost, blossom, verdant green growth, all rolled into one

And across the lane mysterious mist and saffron light 

Frosty field -1