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the 'D' reservoir

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We decided to visit Tophill Low water pumping station.
It's an RSPB reserve with two large reservoirs set in wetlands between the west bank of the River Hull and Barmston Drain that are a haven for wildlife. It's a working station and provides water for the town of Kingston-upon-Hull whilst also being open to nature lovers.

The reservoirs are high sided concrete and very deep so can only be viewed from high hides and viewing platforms built around their sides. They are named 'O' and 'D' because of their shape. Each is surrounded by wetland areas, copses and woodland.
We decided to do the shorter three mile walk of the 'D' reservoir.

Climbing the steep open tread steps to the first hide, covered in wire mesh so the unwary don't slip, we caught glimpses of the water as we went up. There were flocks of mute swans, various ducks and lots of gulls. We watched for a while from the quiet peacefulness of the hide and I was pleased to see a smew, it's only the second time I've ever seen one, but he was too far away for a photograph so I had to be content to watch through my binoculars. He's a spectacular little fellow with white plumage covered in what looks like black graffiti. There were two ruddy ducks too with their gorgeous ginger plumage and bright blue beaks.

The next part of the walk is a meandering path, you stroll through a beautiful snowdrop covered wooded area where sunlight filters down through the canopy. There are small ponds set here in small open glades, which in summer attract dragonflies, butterflies and insects but this time of year there isn't a lot to see, just a waterhen scurrying into the foliage at the pond's edge. The different colours of which are interesting, the old brown spent reeds with new green shoots forcing their way up from the bottom and the cotton tufted reedmace heads blowing in the wind.

Following the beech mast strewn path through the woodland we saw the double slotted tracks of roe deer embedded deep in the once muddy ground but sadly not the animal itself.
A grey squirrel scampered up a tree and sat watching us from it's lofty vantage point knowing full well it was safe...he was nibbling delicately on a pine cone with his pretty tail arched over his back like a fluffy parasol.

We rounded the high wall at the top of the reservoir committing ourselves to the flat side of the 'D' shape. I'm not as keen on this bit as the other as it's a long straight concrete road which the wardens use for transport. It seems to go on forever but it is besides the Barmston Drain so you can occasionally see waterfowl and there are small birds in the hedges which run alongside. There are often roe deer in the field across the water but today wasn't our lucky day.

Entering a wooded area once more we came across a larch tree in flower with it's pretty bright pink female cones, we found them last year and had hoped they would be in flower again. The tiny yellowy brown appendages on the underside of the branch are the male cones which will eventually grow into the cones we all recognise. There were more bushy tailed grey squirrels leaping around from branch to branch and elusive bluetits sang out their appealing little shrill noted songs though we never did catch a glimpse of them.

Then we were back at the car park, removing our walking boots before sitting in the warmth with a cup of steaming hot chocolate.
All this walking must surely be good for if I really enjoy it and it doesn't feel like exercise!

Here are a couple of pictures:

pretty pink female larch cone flowers, the small yellowy brown appendage underneath is the male cone

delicate green weeping willows, there are usually lots of rabbits feeding under them but a new rabbit proof fence has been erected so they might have got 'rid' of them

The long straight concrete road I'm not too keen on walking, the deep set Barmston Drain is over the mesh fence on the right

Roe deer slots

One of the small ponds dotted throughout the woodland

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUE_2U 3/17/2012 6:15PM

    I've not ever seen a larch, I think. Wow... what a great photo! I had no idea that they have those bright pink female cones every year! Great photos, all of them, and it sounds like a wonderful walk! Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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ECONLADY 3/17/2012 3:05PM

    Beautiful! I do enjoy your writing and pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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ALIHIKES 3/17/2012 12:09PM

    A beautiful walk, thanks for sharing! The photos are lovely

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forestry walk

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dh and I went up into the forestry above Wykeham on Sunday.
It's beautiful there, so peaceful and quiet.
We park up and walk the rides between the tracts of trees.

Where we walk is a managed forest of mostly pines which mature and are replaced around every ten years. It has wonderful contrasts of valleys, high crags and forest glades.

The rides are wide green tracks between large tracts of trees which the forestry workers use as pathways to move equipment, store felled trees etc.
Long and wide, interspaced with little sunlit glades, they also act as a firebreak between plantings and most of them have a big box of fire flappers at the end of them.
Green, flat and pleasant to walk, they're a haven for wildlife, anything from adders basking to deer and birds.
Flowers and ferns adorn their edges, a habitat for insects, moths and butterflies.

There are also designated areas for tree nurseries with large fields full of miniature little baby trees all planted in serried rows like a tiny army, the contrast from light field to dark forest is a pleasing sight.

And there are vantage viewpoints overlooking bird migration routes, usually high above the valley with magnificent views for miles and miles.

There are lots of different routes we love to walk but on Sunday we chose the ride down past a small reservoir which is a haunt of long tailed tits. We saw a great flock of them, they live in large family groups but they flit about so quickly that I couldn't manage a decent photograph just a very blurred far distant one which could actually look like a bird if you squint at isn't even worth looking at!

A beautiful feisty little robin was singing sweetly when we set off down the ride, he chose to escort us through his territory, suddenly appearing at the top of a tree just in front of us, time and time again, singing loudly and proclaiming his rights.

At the end of the ride we crossed an fenced around open area, there were lots of rabbits scampering back and forth and a lone roe deer watched us warily but he swiftly jumped the fence and disappeared into the trees giving us a nice glimpse of his buttocks with their white heart shape. A squirrel was rounding a tree trunk but vanished into the canopy in a blink of an eye.
We sat on a stile step and had a delicious cup of hot chocolate, drinking in the peace and tranquility, before we walked on. Padding silently through the dark trees and mossed tracks with their earthy scent, scaly trunks standing sentinel to the forest's path.

After the deep shade of the pine trees, still covered with cones, we emerged into a beautiful sunlit glade, dust motes danced and time seemed to stand still.

High Brow Ridge, with it's magnificent views across the valley and a welcome seat for weary legs where we sat quietly with birdsong echoing around us.

There were coltsfoot growing there with it's beautiful feathered stem reminiscent of a colt's foot hairs and where it derived it's name from.
I haven't seen any in ages as it's an endangered species now unlike when we were children and collected it so mam could make coltsfoot rock, a soft melt in the mouth confection which tasted delicious and I've never tasted in years. Oh! it's making me that calls for a visit to the old fashioned goodie shop next time I'm in town!

There were large primeval boulders covered in moss and pretty green lichen looking for all the world like tiny stylised trees.

And gorse blooming around the edges. It flowers all year round hence the old saying 'when gorse is in bloom, kissing's in fashion'.

Then back down a short winding path through the trees to the car and we headed off into the sunset!

Here's a taster for you:

Pine trees

Laden with cones

A fiesty little robin escorted us through his territory

Sunlight filters down making the trees seem to glow

Gorse in bloom

Looking back through the pines out over High Brow Ridge as we head towards the car

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WENDYSPARKS 3/16/2012 8:13AM

    Very pretty pictures!! Nice walk!

Wendy emoticon

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 3/16/2012 7:59AM

    You share a love for the sights and sounds of nature with my DH and me. Felt like I was right there with you. Enjoyed your writing style and beautiful photos.

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SNUZSUZ 3/16/2012 5:55AM

    You have such a descriptive way, I felt like I was right there with you! Thanks for sharing and for the lovely pictures!

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SUE_2U 3/14/2012 7:34PM

    I felt so peaceful, like I was there, walking with you. You write so very well about what you do and see, as well as taking such lovely photos. I really enjoyed this, today. I miss walking in the woods.

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MARTHA-ANN 3/14/2012 7:15PM

    That's ok, glad you like it. I had more pictures but it won't load them here, says the file's too big!

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ECONLADY 3/14/2012 7:45AM

    Beautiful! It sounds like a step out of time! Thanks for sharing!!

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Spring is in the air

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Well, the rain went away and so far it's stayed away.
We've had some wonderful sunny days over the last week, the little extra warmth has sent things into overdrive, though it's misty and overcast today it's still a pleasant temperature and it seems Spring has sprung!.

Here are a few Spring pictures to cheer you all up:

My Collared Doves, Dovey and Nova cuddled up in the cherry tree after mating.

A Blackthorn spray

Tortoiseshell butterfly on miniature daffodils

Blackthorn flower

Cock Pheasant strutting his stuff

Chaffinch in the apple tree

And finally, I know this isn't really anything to do with Spring but I like it, if you look really carefully you can see a little heart shaped blemish on the front of it too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 3/14/2012 11:59AM

    Glad you like them. emoticon

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SUE_2U 3/13/2012 5:16PM

    You have pet doves??? They are lovely.
The potato made me laugh.
Thanks so much for the lovely pictures! Just beautiful!

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ECONLADY 3/13/2012 1:11PM

    Love your pictures!!! Thanks for sharing!

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rain, rain go away...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Rain, rain go away, come again another day!

The old childhood adage worked!!

We had seventeen hours of continuous heavy rain over sunday which continued through the night and then most of monday morning.

Tuesday, though a little chilly, was a typical spring day with blue skies, fluffy white clouds and watery sunshine.

But today we're back to heavy rain again.
It started last night just before bedtime and it's still at it.

Now some places around here are experiencing a drought, we really haven't had much rain since before last summer and the couple of weeks of snow didn't help much.
The water companies are already talking of hosepipe bans and standpipes in the streets.
One weatherman said it would need to rain heavily and continuously, day and night for a month to make any dent in refilling the reservoirs which, in some places, are two thirds down on what they should be at this time of year so I suppose every little helps.

I know some of you were interested in my hospital treatment after the envelope debacle, well I went for a review for my phototherapy sessions today. My skin has responded so well that I've been officially signed off from treatment so my three times a week, thirty mile round trip has officially stopped from today. I've another review in April but so far it's looking good.

I thought you might like to see what the weather was like when we drove there this morning, DH was driving, not me, and all are taken through the car windows...the windsceen wipers were on but it was windy and the rain was lashing against the screen filling it very quickly before the next sweep:

Cars coming towards us through the heavy rain

The old ash tree on the village green in a village where DH stopped for a newspaper, it doesn't look as bad but it was still raining heavily just more sheltered from the wind

Headlights ablaze

Turning into town

i think the lights in the shop windows look pretty through the rain drenched glass

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUE_2U 3/8/2012 5:23PM

    That definitely is Rain! We don't get that too much right where I am, but boy they sure do in Ohio. My son was telling me about the awful tornado related storms he drove through to get home last week. :( Ugh...
But I do love the pics especially that last one.
What is this about an envelope?

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XME501 3/7/2012 1:02PM

    Now, that's rain!! We do not get very much here in Pendleton - I miss it.

When the kids were little and we were living in Denver, they were missing the rain. One evening, after baths and they were in the pjs, it started raining and out they went. So, Dick and I joined them and we had quite the time playing in the rain. Needless to say, we were all soaked when we finally came back inside.

So glad you are better and do not have to make that trip 3 times a week. Just stay well!!

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ECONLADY 3/7/2012 8:11AM

    Love the picture of the tree! Actually the shup pictures are fun since they are so different than here, half way across the world. I know you have been sick, bu I don't know what is happening. I am glad you are doing better. Got a drought here.

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words of wisdom

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I've had this on my Sparkpage for a while now but it still makes me smile:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONESPOTLEFT 3/6/2012 7:50PM


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MARTHA-ANN 3/6/2012 2:49AM

    Glad it gave you all a emoticon

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PMCFARM 3/5/2012 1:55AM

  I love it!!

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SUE_2U 3/4/2012 6:22PM

That is wonderful!

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BARCLE 3/4/2012 5:30PM


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DMILLE40 3/4/2012 4:03PM


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ECONLADY 3/4/2012 3:26PM


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HEALTHY14REAL 3/4/2012 3:08PM

    Pretty funny! I love Garfield.

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