Uphilldowndale

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


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Loop Head

Loop Head West Clare, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.  So many beautiful orchids

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Purple Orchid Ireland 2

Whats not to love?

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We were not so keen on the dizzying height of the cliffs, but photographed from a safe distance, you had to admire the geology, its things like this, the folds in this rock, a bedding plane pushed to almost 90 degrees,  that make me feel very small, just a spec in the universe, just passing by, at the whim of forces of untold strength.

rock folds

There was lots of wildlife too

Moth Ireland_

Loop Head, is at the mouth of the  river Shannon.

It’s a popular place to catch sight of dolphins,  the water was heaving with seabirds, and there was a pungent smell of fish,  and those people willing to sit at the edge of the cliff were getting very excited,  we crept a little closer, all the black flecks in this photo are birds either on the water or diving, there was obviousley a large shoal of fish passing through.

loop head.jpg

and the distinctive black shape are of course dolphins. Not very dramatic dolphin photographs, unlike these beauties , I’m leased to say we had  a better chance to see the magical world of dolphins, they’ll get a post all of their own…

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Sometimes a little magic flies by

We’ve been away, we’ve been to Rutland Water for a couple of nights in the campervan.  we had a lovely time, I hired an electric bike, such fun! I went wheeeeeee!

I’ve not ridden a bike for many many moons.

After that we went on to the nature reserve, and watched nature in all its Spring busyness.feed me_

From a hide we watched the osprey, they were a little too far way for my camera, but we were much closer to them than we had been before, in addition there was a large TV screen showing live footage taken by cameras looking directly into the nest.

Now that sound like an excellent day, doesn’t it? We settled down for the evening, with a glass of wine and some tasty Long Clawson stilton cheese.

And  then the magic arrived

Barn Owl Rutland 4

A barn owl flew in across the meadow, next to the camping field, quartering, searching for prey,  it swooped past us time after time

Barn Owl Rutland 3

It’s the first time I’ve seen a barn owl in the wild, I’ve had other owl encounters.

Barn Owl Rutland 2

It went on and on, taking prey off to its nest

Barn Owl Rutland

and returning, to our delight.

Barn Owl Rutland 5

The next morning, Mr Uphilldowndale went out on his bike at about 7:15 am, for a proper bike ride, one with pace and miles and without me going wheeeeeee all the time.

After he had gone I contemplated making a second cup of tea, I sat up in bed and peeped around the curtain and there it was again.

Right in my face, this time carrying its breakfast.  I’m such a lucky girl.  Barn Owl Rutland 7

All the photos were taken through the tinted privacy glass of the van, the last image with added condensation…


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Sanday

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_13

Thirty Days Wild,  thirty posts throughout June (and July, I’m tardy) something that is grounded in our wild world. This year posts are from our travels around the  north coast of Scotland  on the North Coast 500 route and a visit to Orkney. Stand by, for lots of sky, sea, wildlife, history, Spud the dog and random musings.

We took a ferry from Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney, to the island of Sanday, its a short hop of 90 minutes, just how I like my ferry crossings.

Ferry sanday

Sanday is a low lying island, of wide, white, curving beaches, very beautiful.  The weather was kind when we were there, but you can imagine how wild it can get, it must feel like the gales  and tides are gnawing at the land at times. 

Sanday beach

The wind sculpts the dunes, a derelict building, is being subsumed

Sanday building_

Looking at this, it’s not difficult to imagine how Skara brae disappeared under the dunes

Sanday building 2

As we  walked along the beach,  a curious selkie  swam along with us, close into the shore, we were warned not to let Spud the dog into the sea, for fear of him being taken as  a play thing. Spud much prefers pond water to sea water.

Seal watching_

 

Start point light house, with its distinctive vertical stripes,  which are unique to Scotland ( gives it a bit of an Everton mint vibe, do you not think?)

Sanday lighthouse_

The day ended with a sunset befitting such a lovely place

Sanday sunset


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Puffin, nothin’

I’ve been away from the the blog for a wee while. Nothin’ has been posted.

I’d had high hopes of posting a  wildlife post  each day of June  like I did last year as part of  ‘Thirty Days Wild’  but I didn’t get off to a very good start!

However we’ve been lucky enough to spend a few days in Northumberland and visit the Inner Farne Island, it was fabulous, so much wildlife it felt like 30 days wild, condensed into a few hours . I’ve blog fodder for the rest of the month.

Let’s start with the puffins. I’ve always wanted to see Puffin’s, who wouldn’t?

Puffin proud_

You just can’t but smile at the sight of them. I’ve wanted to get a close look at them for a long time,

Puffin_

I visited Iceland back in the 1980’s (at the time everyone thought I was a little mad) and I only saw one puffin, so this was a puffin fest! I have to admit I was a bit excited.

Puffin excited_

So many Puffins

Three Puffins_

Their swimming style is not dissimilar to mine, not a very effective stroke (on the water at least)

Puffin swim splash 2

it’s a miracle they get airborne, when they do, their flying is distinctive.

Puffin flying_

They feed on sand eels, the supply of sand eels is crucial to a successful breeding season, however like all good fishermen’s tales, the ones that get away are the biggest…

Puffin 'this big'


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Spud on Sunday Part XXXXVIII

Spud the dog and I went down the field this morning, to investigate what looked from the bedroom window to be a very strange shaped molehill.

What we found was  indeed, a very strange shaped molehill, the evidence of this could easily have been flattened by Spud before I got anywhere near it with the camera (see below)

Strange molehill and Spud the dog-1 

It is I think you will agree very strange indeed.

Strange molehill-1

When I said I was looking forward to photographing a more ‘sculptural’ landscape, this wasn’t what I had in mind… We’ve had many mole tales here before.

 


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Not So Freshly Pressed

Uphilldowndale, One Thousand Posts Later

This is post number 1,000, I’m finding it hard to believe, but there you go, the nice people at WordPress kindly provide a behind the scenes (or screen) page of statistics about my blog and the little counter at the bottom of the page says my previous post was  number 999 and  as I can’t recall ever deleting any of my posts this must be it.

I thought I’d dish up a favourite post, but I couldn’t decide, I couldn’t even decide on a photo (some of my favourite blog photos are huddled together on my flickr page). In the end I settled for this little chap, who fledged from a nest in the barn wall back in June 2008, (maybe its how I felt when I first started the blog, it was a bit of a leap into the unknown)

Little bird 2

Tonight  is a double celebration as I also pressed the send key, and dispatched the last piece of work for my course of study, off into cyberspace. Woooohoooo; me time beckons, the hills are a calling, time to get out and play.

Thank you all for stopping by and taking the time to comment, it wouldn’t be the same without you xx.


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97% of Islanders Won’t Be Wrong

The Isle of Eigg Says No to Fish Farm

The Isle of Eigg off the west coast of Scotland, has a special place in the heart of this family. I’ve been there a number of  times, I’ve had the privilege of watching otters, golden eagles, seals and pods of porpoise, going about their business. It is a magical place and the people who live there care about it passionately

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If the residents of Eigg say no to the proposal to site a fish farm of the coast of the island, it will be for good reason.

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Opposition to a Fish Farm on the Isle of Eigg

Eigg is owned and managed (including the foreshore) by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, a community led organisation whose aims include taking all appropriate measures to conserve the natural heritage of the island for the benefit of the community & the wider general public.

To this end Eigg is building a reputation as a green island working towards sustainability. Visitors come to the island to learn from our experience and to enjoy the natural and cultural heritage of the island and the peace and quiet. Most of the islands electricity is generated by renewable technology and the sound of diesel generators is but a distant memory.

Highland Council has recently received an initial application to site a fish farm off the east coast of Eigg, north of Kildonan. The site identified covers an area extending to 20ha (this equates to 28 football pitches) & would consist of 14 x 30m diameter cages which would be serviced by a 10m x 10m permanently sited barge (powered by diesel generator).

The community has considered this proposal at length. The outcome of the resulting ballot which had an 86% turnout was 97% against the development.

Eigg lies within the Small Isles National Scenic Area. A large fish farm would have a considerable negative impact on the approach to the island and could also impact negatively on the peace and quiet that visitors seek when they come to the island, as well as on the quality of life of nearby residents.

Laig Panorama

Be a good Eigg, and pop along and sign the on line petition (and you can find some more photos of Eigg here, just a few, sadly I’ve not been up to Eigg since I got into the digital camera lark, I’m sure there would be 100’s and 100’s of images if I went now)

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