Sale Fell lies at the westerly edge of the English Lake District, looking out towards the Solway coast and the Scottish hills that lie over the water, whilst guarding the fringe of the north west fells that so dramatically margin this rugged landscape. It is a modest beauty combining lovely walks, views, splendid birds (of which pied flycatcher and green woodpecker are good examples) and wonderful opportunities for picnics and breathers.It has an interesting geology with outcrops of pure white rock marking the top like sheep biologically washed in the latest washing powder. It has been the location of films, murders, passionate love embraces and probably much much more. May it long watch over us.
It’s a while since I tried to paint a bird, but a couple of things have inspired me to have another go, the first being my friend Martin’s painting of a peregrine falcon, and the second being the Allonby Art Fair which is on this weekend (the last in July) – the 34th held in aid of the Village Hall restoration project, and jolly fine it is too. So many gifted local artists, all creating great work to display and potentially sell. Its all very inspiring. So here’s my humble painting of the wonderful small raptor that is a merlin. I’ve left it as it came out of the box, complete with raindrops, as this painting was done outdoors at one sitting. There’s alterations/additions I could make to perhaps improve it, but I like the faulted spontaneity of it so its getting left in peace! Hope the same is true for the merlins themselves.
The seasons are moving. Winter thankfully moves from its wet beginning to a more seasonal fall in temperature with cold days and clear starry nights. The air is thin and transparent, allowing sight of distant constellations and faraway planets. The fells have a dusting of snow, with more forecast to be on the way. Birds clamour for food to keep their fat reserves up and mammals grow desperate and braver in their search for food.
A hush descends over the countryside as we await the warmer weather that lies ahead. Hope ever lingers.
Lying in bed – a little behind time. Listening to Shaun Keaveny on BBC Radio 6 broadcasting the best breakfast music show by a country mile. Wondering whether to read another few pages of Sean Wilnetz’s absorbing “~ Bob Dylan in America” (which is actually all about America in Bob Dylan). Contemplating another Hob Knob when Lizzi said “What’s that thing in the holly tree?”. I said “What thing” (or something like that) , and she said “That orange thing. I think it’s a red squirrel!”. Now, we have never seen a red squirrel in the garden, let alone within 20 yards, but there it was, leaping onto our peanut feeder and giving it some. What a beauty! We stared fairly open-mouthed before I ran upstairs (upside down house) to grab a camera by which time of course, the squirrel had moved away. A little later, however, he came back and posed for snaps. A trip to the squirrel feeder shop was very much in order!
Here’s a photo of an Osprey in flight. It’s small and not easy to see – but this snap was taken from some distance away – by me this year. It’s also carrying a fish – even less easy to see but this bird is flying to a perch branch on the tree in the foreground to feast on its catch. The beauty of this magnificent bird flying takes your breath away and reminds us how precious our native wildlife is. David Cameron is seemingly more concerned with protecting his own backside from the lashing of the xenophobic euro-haters in his party than protecting the interests of wildlife. His buddy Chancellor George Osborne has opened the door to the further rape of the English countryside in the name of economic development. See the Guardian report here.
It’s disgusting and disgraceful.
The RSPB is taking this challenge seriously, as they should.
It’s time to make a stand methinks.