A laughing call from a fringe of trees beyond Kendal Race Course. A green woodpecker is clamorous, his call accompanying us for some while, fainter and fainter.
I’ve walked all the last week, still days when sound carries. Today, chevrons of geese were flying North, high above Scout Scar escarpment and the Lyth Valley.
‘Pink Feet’ called a voice higher up the slope. ‘How do you know? ‘ I asked. He mimicked their honking call. ‘ Heading for Solway.’
This is the first time I’ve heard geese this last week and it’s been so still. If they’d been flying North I’d have heard them.
Toward St John’s Church, Helsington, a man sat on a rock, his Svarovski telescope trained on the pools of Park End Moss below.
‘What have you seen?’
‘ Little egret, gadwall, teal,’ he reeled off a list. ‘And pink-feet, all in an hour. Pink-feet, bound for Solway. I’ve sat until I’m freezing. Yes, despite the thermals.’
There were few folk out today so it was gratifying to meet two men who were thrilled to see pink-footed geese flying North.
Pink- footed geese are winter visitors, with numbers at Solway and the Ribble. These birds will breed in Greenland and Iceland. They have a short pink bill and pink legs.
Pin-head creamy buds on blackthorn in the shelter of a wall. Flower buds on yew and on gorse.
Another still and cloudy day, an early morning chill. The first two lambs were born at Bradleyfield this morning, out on Kendal Race Course. I learn from the farmer about Embryo Flushing.
The green woodpecker makes himself heard in the same fringe of trees. ‘Where’s your pretty apprentice today? ‘ I’m asked by a man who has been listening to the green woodpecker.
‘ I want to learn,’ she says. I ask her what she want to know. ‘ More about wildlife.’ I indicate the skylark breeding territory, although the birds are not singing today. And suggest they may hear geese. You never know what the find of the day will be.
I fall into conversation with another woman, in truth, I listen . ‘ I’d never been up Benson Knott until lockdown. Not to the top. Now I’ve been there four times, in the pandemic. I used to say, Oh God I’m not going walking. But there’s nothing else to do. I used to like going to the shops in town but it doesn’t feel safe and I can’t see with a face mask and glasses. And I don’t like to touch anything. I don’t have the gift of the gab,’ she scarcely paused to draw breath. ‘ As we parted she said, ‘ I hope I haven’t talked you to death.’ She was born and grew up here, she told me. Her friends didn’t know Benson Knott either. I show her how to slither through a kissing gate without touching it. It works, this time.