We overlooked a Coot swimming close below Causeway Hide when Great Crested Grebe took to the open water in courtship display. Here was the spectacle we'd hoped for so we watched the pair preening, shaking their fulsome headdresses, gazing at each other and duetting on the water. Here's panache in a display of showy crest-feathers and neck-ruffs. All this to the sound of bittern booming somewhere in the reed beds.
What are the highlights of Scout Scar SSSI and what's special?
This week saw bright sun with a strong and blustery wind but a friend saw a male and female adder in a sheltered and sunny spot and he has some impressive photographs. Such a sighting is more likely on still and sultry days when they bask in the sun.
A chill wind on Scout Scar today, after the warm sun of yesterday. Flowering plants are slow to appear on this exposed escarpment. But there is wood anemone flowering in bracken. Blackthorn shows first on shrubs, now on the niche habitat of limestone clitter where it is prostrate and hugs the rock. It grows slowly on these rock-rafts and can be considerably older than might appear. Close by is prostrate juniper, a carpet of green. I come upon a rock resembling a canon ball in shape, something of a puzzle.
The drumming of a woodpecker resounds through the trees by Helsington Church. Remembering their habit of strutting their stuff atop telegraph poles I spy him in the distance and the light is so good my image catches the red patch on his hind crown. He runs to and fro atop the horizontal pole, then a burst of resonant drumming to proclaim territory and display.
With two weeks of April showers and bright sun the first bluebells appear, the sap rising . Soon the woods will be awash with bluebells. Today, I choose a detailed study amidst mosses of the woodland floor.
Bullocks crowd about the cattle grid by Kendal Race Course, they'd decided it was a drinking trough. Lambs are always irresistible and here are particularly striking creatures. Black ears, black knees as if they've knelt in the muck, and startling eyes with Goth make-up.
We're bound for Warriner's Wood on an annual quest to find toothwort. But there are distractions along the way. I hear tell of toothwort by Romney Bridge, below alder trees, toothwort of a purplish hue.
Must go and investigate.
Soon the Scout Scar scrub will be white with blackthorn flowers. There's a tallish shrub which always flowers first so I seek it out to find it rich in fat creamy flower buds opening with a flourish of pollen tipped anthers. The day is warm and bright so pollinators will be on the wing. The reddish branches are patterned with pale lichens so it's a fine study.
Two days ago I heard my first willow warbler. Now they're calling everywhere. I hear redpoll and I think I catch a single note of linnet which returns from overwintering on the coast to breed here in spring.
Watch David Attenborough's Wild Isles in awe and ask can we find such creatures for ourselves and are we giving Nature a chance?
The hare’s top-speed might be 45 mph but on this still and bright morning he grazed at leisure. The hare jizz was fresh in my mind and I see them here at this season. A sole hare loped across the scrub, alert and upright when he heard a dog bark. Wild Isles showed a hare-hotspot but I was pleased to see one in Easter Week, to know they're still here in this place.