Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Forest of Bowland

Whilst in England recently we did our favourite walk near Stocks Reservoir in the beautiful Forest of Bowland.

The wild moorland and isolated farms of the upland area at the head of the river Hodder, contrast with the mixed woodland, managed by the Forestry Commission, which makes up most of the walk.

Despite the rugged nature of the landscape there are always pockets of interest and we found so many sights to remind us that spring is here.

A few photos from the walk... from the top... coltsfoot; frog; frogspawn;larch rose; lesser celandine; primrose and finally primrose with wild strawberry.....


If you want to see a plethora of primroses, see Susan's blog here.

Now that is a sight to see!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Long time no see...

The greater spotted woodpecker has been conspicuous by his absence these last few months but today he was in the garden making his way from trunk to trunk..

Also back was the cuckoo; heard but not seen!

Last year we heard the first cuckoo on March 18th and the two previous years it was 24th March so it may have been here whilst we've been away.

A lovely sound to remind us that despite the weather, it is Spring!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Tasmanian Odyssey Part Three

As Susan and Simon know only too well, we could bore for England on the subject of our recent holiday in Tasmania. But I make no apologies for that.

We loved it; it's a wonderful country and our relatives are just the most lovely people you could hope to meet..

So here's another selection of photos following on from Tasmanian Odyssey Part Two

We spent one of our days at the Western Wilderness harbour town of Strahan, cruising up the Gordon river and visiting Sarah Island. It was here where the most hardened of the convicts were sent, their main employment being felling timber (Huon Pine) and shipbuilding.

The story of Sarah island is both harrowing and inspiring and for those interested, one of the best sources of information is from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service webpages. See here.

At the end of the cruise we visited a sawmill where Huon Pine is worked. Huon Pine is a very dense wood with tightly packed growth rings and a distinctive scent. It is valuable for its longevity and for the fact that it is impervious to water, therefore extremely useful in shipbuilding. To read more, see here.

Enjoy the photos!

The court house on Sarah Island... in later days this was used to house convicts as an incentive to cooperate with those in command..

A few of the remaining log wharves which are exposed at low tide..

Within the Rainforests of the Gordon River, deep within the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, are 8000 hectares of Huon Pine. This cross section of a trunk shows the growth rings so closely packed..

A view up the Gordon River..

Vegetation on Sarah Island..

The sawmill working the Huon Pine..
For a little light relief at the end of a day with stories of convicts, cruelty and hard labour, we drove west to Ocean Beach, a vast beach backed by spectacular sand dunes...

The strata within the sand is clearly seen here...

A trigger plant, which, I am reliably informed by Susan, traps any visiting insects with a flick of the 'trigger' on the back of the flower, until the insect is covered in pollen, at which point the plant uses the trigger to flick the insect out and on its way to pollinate another plant. Very clever!

The sand dunes - we had great fun running down them (not quite so much fun climbing up, though)

The vast stretch of beach with nobody to spoil the view...

As I said earlier, just wonderful!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

La Tour Saint Gelin - a puzzling walk..

First of all a puzzle: Here is our leaflet for the walk we did today:

and here is the same walk on the notice board in La Tour Saint Gelin...

Can you spot the difference? It just goes to show, you can't believe all you read!

The walk was one of big skies

And a first for me this year; Violets..

Spring is on its way!

postscript... Can anyone (Susan) help identify this mystery crop, please?


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Tasmanian Odyssey Part Two

The second week of our stay saw us travelling, first to the Western Wilderness, an area of outstanding natural beauty and made up of several National parks and conservation areas and regional reserves.

The trip was organised for us by my cousin, Michael and his wife, Terri. The journey took us overland for about five hours, following the A10, passing through Hobart, New Norfolk, Wayatinah, Tarraleah, Derwent Bridge and Queenstown before branching onto the B24 to Strahan, where we were to stay for a couple of nights.

We had a brief stop at Tarraleah to see the hydro electic plant. The whole of Tasmania is powered by hydro-electricity and this was one massive scheme..

The next stop was to do a short walk to Nelson Falls, an area of temperate rainforest and incredibly beautiful..

The dappled light and shade give the walk an almost magical feel.

And then we turned a corner and there were the Falls...

Despite the lack of rainfall the island had experienced, they were still majestic

So many things to see from space pod like flower heads to giant tree ferns...

And of course a group photo, with my cousin Michael and his wife Terri....

Ferns of every size and form...

Strange looking fungi..
Bracket fungi

A ball of moss growing on a branch, to name but a few

I could have stayed there all day but we still had some distance to travel and one more stop before we reached our destination for the night..

This was to see the mining area near Queenstown, where copper was once quarried out.

The colour of the rocks is spectacular..

It must have been a hostile environment in which to work...

Another few miles and we reached the West Coast harbour side village of Strahan and a bed for the night..
More about our stay there soon!