Sunday, 16 May 2010

Out n about hither n thither

The safari left the bins at home today (actually we didn't but we didn't use them). Instead of birding we had a gentle roll around the lanes and farm tracks on the foothills of the high hills. Lovely and warm in the Land Rover but a cold fierce wind made a monkey out of the bright sunshine. A male Orange Tip butterfly was the wildlife highlight of this lane.
The views at the top where stunning looking back to the hulking mass of Clougha and across Morecambe Bay. Two of our team had walked the eight mile crossing of the bay. Not a walk for the feint haearted and not even to be considered without the presence of the official guide or you won't make it - the tide and quicksands will do their worst.
One lane has a short ford.Which can get fierce after heavy rain - the big boulders, for pedestrians, can be covered. Not today though - it's not rained properly for a good while so the water was only ankle deep.
Fairly peaceful today, more fords later would be a bit more challenging.
So on we motored through the backwoods, accompanied by the beautiful mix of Bluebells and Stichwort. as we moved along we were listening for birdsong but didn't get much other than Chaffinches and Willow Warblers. At one point, in an upland wood we bumped in to a couple of birders we knew and asked them if they'd came across any Wood Warblers - they hadn't! Just some Curlews and Lapwings in the high fields. On the windy narrow lanes it was difficyult to not watch the road but we kept checking the walls and Gorse bushes for Stonechats, Whinchats and Wheatears. Of that trio we only got one Wheatear, but did see a couple of Kestrels - the male was hovering only about 10 feet directly above our posse totally unphased by our presence, wouldn't have happened like that had we been on foot!
This ford is a bit of another matter but today was reasonably benign - the pothole was still there but we managed to circumnavigate it quite easily and without any of us drownng...unlike last time.
Our leader points the way - or is he pointing at the dodgy bit?
Our last lane was a tad more challenging - steep, narrow and large rocks protruding at the sides and in the middle to catch a diff or a sill.
At the bottom some plonkers had been going off-piste and driving in the sstream - absolute ar*e-wipes - this wood is an SSSI and the soil is always wet so very vulnerable to damage. A huge amount of atrocious damage was evident on the other side of the ford. Totally unacceptable leaving the track to rut up the Bluebells. I'd hang their 35" wheels off their gonads! It would be a shame to lose this lane due to the actions of the brain dead morons but having seen what we saw today we wouldn't be surprised if that happened. The low-life few spoil it for the law-abiding majority yet again!
All that's left to do is shut the gate behind us and head off home.

Not before attending to some necessary roadside repairs - a popped spring.Not often, in fact never before, have we been the ones carrying the essential piece of repair kit - in this case the trolley jack even if its use is somewhat unconventional.

A great day out with some crackin lads, lass and mutts.
But what about National Moth Night you all shout.
Cold and slow. We had a good group of moth-ers including an enthusiastic gang of young students from the nearby college - who I we hope haven't been put off by standing round a lamp in the woods in the cold waiting for nothing to happen!
Eventually we tallied more moths than people but had to wait until after midnight for that to happen.
The final score was
Hebrew Character 4
Common Carpet 1
Heart & Dart 1
Shuttle-shaped Dart 9
Flame Shoulder 2
Common Quaker 1
Golden Rod Pug? 1
At least 5 Pipistrelle Bats were flying around in the earlier part of the evening - they seemed not to be catching many insects judging by the lack of 'feeding raspberries' on the detectors.
Coulda been so much better if had have been just a little warmer.
Where to next? Normal wildlife service to be resumed in the morning.
In the meantime let us know if you have had a change of scenery in your outback this weekend.
Hands are double sore now and will be suffering tomorrow - roll on that op and get em sorted - doubt if it'll help with the constant nagging pain much though.


Monika said...

Always interesting to see pics from your off-road drives - nice to see all those bluebells in their native habitat, except of course the shot with the ruts where they shouldn't be. Too bad people have to be stupid about stuff like that.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika - actually these lanes are bona fide roads they just don't have a tarmac or concrete surface. We are not allowed to go 'off-road' unless on a private site at which we often have to pay for the priveledge - some great disused quarries an hour or so drive away to really test your driving skills.
Unfortunately over 90% of Englands unsurfaced roads were closed to wheeled traffic a couple of years ago, including horse and cart in many instances - hence the damage - everyone is using the few lanes that are left and the idiot-few won't pay the entrance fee to the 'off-road' sites, or can't read a map and don't know where they should and shouldn't be going - just gives the anti's too much ammunition, although it's rarely mentioned that you can see footpaths as wide as motorways leading up the mountains from 20+ miles away on some hills!

Rant over...


D - still 160.

Stu said...

Didn't know off road driving was so good in Lancashire...............

Shame about the people ruining it, karma will catch up with them sometime. They will wrap their cars around a gate/tree or something........

cliff said...

Sounds like the moth night was tough going, I'm quite glad I missed out after reading that. Maybe next time, although it represents a bit of a late night for me, I'm usually well tucked up in bed long before your post midnight finish - it's a shame you can't have Moth Night during the day :-).