Sunday, March 15, 2009

Joys of spring

March is certainly doing all the things it's supposed too - especially winds. The pond is (as it should be) full of frogs. I seem to have been busy doing quite mundane things, but managed to have a brilliant day out on Thursday. Rob, the guy for whom I am checking got the idea I lived in Barnsley and so asked me to check walks there. This is why, in case any of my Twitter friends were wondering, I went to Stocksbridge via Barnsley. Now I expect you are wondering why Stocksbridge is in the Barnsley section of the book. So am I. But since it was such a splendid walk, I'm not too bothered. My fungus nose told me that it would be a an excellent walk to do in the autumn, so watch this space. It had a couple of nice woodlands, and some fine upland pasture - my favourite combination. In my new found role as a more active bird enthusiast, it was great on the top of Whitwell moor where I saw and heard grouse, curlew, lapwing and skylark. The views from the top where spectacular. The bus ride from Barnley was well worth the trouble. It took nearly an hour, but went an extemely scenic route. It also enabled be to indulge in another of my hobbies: ranting about public transport. As that is part of my research for the book I have a valid reason for asking those poor souls in the information (!) office questions like "how can you find out which buses serve a particular place?" I believe the best way of doing it is to go to that place and trawl up and down examining the information on the bus stops - provided of course they haven't been removed or vandalised. Not really satisfactory in the information age.

Anyway the walk itself was definitely one of the best I've done for a while. No bird pictures, I'm afraid, as I had my landscape lense on. More on Flikr. (click the title)

Sunday, March 08, 2009


So, new camera lense. Not one of the enormous wildly expensive ones, but one that means I can photograph birds without having to be too close, and then enlarge them on the computer screen to be able to identify them. It's quite a good way of learning to ID birds; they are such flighty things, not at all like fungi. Anyway, I've joined the RSPB and had a couple of outings to Old Moor, which is great. The Barnsley Boundary walk is on temporary hold, as I am checking some routes for someone who has a publishing deal for a local walks book. They are in the Barnsley area, but circular walks. Did a nice walk around Cawthorne / Cannon Hall last week, and saw this duck. I reckon it's a ringed teal. It was very pretty, as you can see. Perhaps I'll open a bird folder on Flikr!
Frogs have arrived in the garden pond - they appeared quite suddenly yesterday - more that 20. So lots of spawn soon, no doubt.