Saturday, 19 August 2017

Bassenthwaite Lake and Silver Meadows, Cumbria.

My Daughter and I decided to have a ride over to Bass lake and then on to Silver Meadows nature reserve to see what was about

First stop Bassenthwaite Lake , the photos I've taken are looking SE  or E.
   Its the only body of water in the Lake District to have lake in its name, all the others are water as in Derwentwater, or mere as in Windermere, or tarn as in Styhead Tarn, and so on. In the above photo the Helvellyn range of mountains are in the far distance.
   
looking East and the lower slopes of Dodd and the higher Skiddaw come into view, looking in this direction I was lucky enough with the aide of binoculars to find one of the Hen Harriers quartering the sedge and grass of the far side of the lake.
    Bassenthwaite lake out of interest, is approx 4 miles long and 3/4 of a mile wide and about 70 feet deep at its deepest, so a relatively shallow lake. at the Northern end of the lake there is a boat club, so a good portion of the lake is used for yachting, but a large portion of the Southern end is a nature reserve, including a large area of marsh and a small area of reed bed.


Continuous scanning of the lake didn't throw up much else, a few Mallard close in and a pair of Swans , which can just about be seen in the first photo, we did find at a great distance a large raft of juvenile Goosanders chasing shoals of fry, quite comical to watch as they would all dive on mass. The only other thing of note was a Great-crested grebe also at a distance. As regards the Ospreys, no sign , the female will have left now on her journey down to Africa, the three young are still here and the adult male. also amazing two strangers dropped in during the past week and fed the young Ospreys, one of them originated from a nest over at Kelder, and now has a mate but no nest as yet.

Close by we found some Purple-loosestrife(Lythrum salicaria) unfortunatly we are at the time of year when its past it's best.
when the west side of the lake is quiet Ospreys use this old tree as perch
And on the marsh at the Southern end of the lake is the Osprey nest, three young fledged this year great success.

Next we moved on to Silver Meadows, and again nothing of note to mention, only saw one other person walking round.

A couple of little arty type shelters have been built , and there is an Owl box inside this one but no sign of it being used, although Barn owls are seen on the reserve.

As can be seen it offers good habitat for Barn owls.

Another shelter built of Wattle and daub

Indian balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
This plant is not a native to the UK and is very invasive, doing a lot of damage to rivers and streams , choking them with its summer growth and as a consequence also killing various forms of wild life. It has also spread through Europe , Canada, New Zealand, and the USA.

As we scanned the reserve we saw a pair of Swallows hunting insects, and this was the reason why.

Under the eves of a nearby house a nest of young Swallows.


As can be seen trying to catch the parents flying in was a challenge.

More than likely a second brood.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Penrith, a photo tour part two

Penrith has entered Britain in bloom competition this year, so the town has made an effort to put on a bit of a show. However from what I have seen in other places, they are up against very  good and seasoned competition.

They have placed quite a few rail baskets around the town.
Just to the North side of the centre is this little community garden, a nice relaxing area which catches the sun (when out) for most of the day.
Near the entrance to the garden these banners have been placed, and each design on them has been done by children from various organisations.





Our town hall which was adapted from two classical homes of 1791 .

Pyramid display outside the tourist information centre
Speaks for itself really, up coming event.
Our clock tower in the centre of the town.

yet another floral display.

mannequin outside a cloths shop, with a living dress

islands bedded out.


Town centre band stand.

one of our old lampposts and hanging basket.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Penrith Nature reserve.

Sunny weather for a change as we have had  rain most days at some point, and I just knew under such conditions there would be very little about. so with a certain amount of optimism I set forth. There had been reports of a new species record for the reserve in the way of a Reed warbler, apparently good views were had for the couple of days it stayed.
   Also before I go on , Great and exciting news has emerged, for the first time in over a hundred years a pair of Marsh Harriers have nested in Cumbria  and have successfully fledged two young at Bassenthwaite Lake.
     So with the sun  shining expectations were reasonably high if not for birds then maybe butterflies, not so.

The Large white being the only butterfly to be seen anywhere on the reserve, and there are plenty of wild flowers, so can't explain why there was no sign of any.

Great Willowherb,(Epilobium hirsutum)
Great willowherb.
Also on show lots of Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
At least the red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarious) was making the most of the Knapweed.
Also close by I found this Brown-lipped snail,(Cepaea nemoralis) of which there are many colour variations.
on the main pond there was a mix of of juvenile gulls, Herring gull and Lesser black-backed gull

Herring gull.
Lesser Black-backed gull
There was a good show of Golden Rod (Solidago)
And a type of Carder bee was found.
There was quite a few juvenile Mallard waiting to be fed.

And with them this juvenile cross breed, which stood quite upright when out of the water, almost like a Runner.
And lastly some Knapweed going to seed.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Photo tour of Penrith part one

Partly due to the lack of bird pics, and also to give people the opportunity to see at least some parts  of the town I live in.
     The first thing anyone sees when walking out of the train station on arrival in Penrith is the castle, (or I should say what remains of it) unless that is they cast their eyes to the left, in which case they can feast their eyes on MacDonald's, yea.

Apparently a guy by the name of Ralph Nevill built it in the 14th century in an effort to defend the area against the Scots.  Now what I find hard to get my head round is this, at this period we where apparently still having battles with the Scots, yet a century earlier Merton Collage Oxford (where my Daughter got her degree then Masters) had already been built, so what where they teaching then, sword play and castle building.
 after the Nevills the castle became the property of Richard Duke of Gloucester, later Richard 111 of England.


View from the South
view from the North, the Scots would have come from the North, LOL
How thoughtful of Richard, must have employed some good sign writers too.
"A strong castle for Kings" the sign reads, REALLY?
Bridge over what use to be the moat, now if some dipstick put the bridge there in Richards time , its no wonder we only have a ruin today,!!
Next to the castle and again right opposite the station is the entrance to the town park


And a bowls match on between the park team and one of the outlying villages.
The pavilion, and Dickie's ruin in the background.
From the rose beds.






More park bedding, Marigolds.

Still in the park a monument to the fallen.

Closer view
Park band stand.

Park paddling pool, mmmmmm seems to be something missing.

Park drinking fountain, ditto.
Erected specially for the Scots.