Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Change of Plan

Malcolm and I, set out for our morning walk as usual today, but got side-tracked at the last minute (long story) and ended up spending the morning up ladders, digging in the garden and generally having a good 'potter'. All very rewarding!
So in the absence of pictures today, here are some from our walk yesterday - starting with the glorious Hawthorns which are filling the air with their rather curious scent.
After a long wait for spring to begin, things have now all happened at once and the Hawthorn has exploded with blossom.
On Shipley Hill, the Azaleas at the Derby Lodge, just keep getting better.
This Azalea luteum is so brightly golden, that it seems almost unreal.
Down to Osborne's Pond and the gnarled old Oak offered us a little welcome shade from the warm sun.
While out on the man-made island, a pair of Swans were busy rearranging their nesting materials.
You could easily get carried away for hours, just sitting here, watching the reflections under this fine old tree.
Time to snap out of it and make for home again!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Spring Blooms

The countryside around us, is bursting with flowers right now - all eagre to make up for lost time, it seems. So from the Bird Cherry trees by the Nutbrook...
to the spectacular pink cherry tree atop Shipley Hill...
things are looking up (as indeed, was I.)
While on Shipley Hill, you can still find vast patches of Bluebells in full bloom.
Although this seasonal splash of blue is beginning to fade a little, it remains one of the best reasons to get out and about at the moment.
Among the old gardens of Shipley Hall, the Rhododendrons are also starting their display.
Simply stunning in the sunshine...
And this bright yellow Azalea luteum in the grounds of Derby Lodge, looks gorgeous too.
Lets not overlook the more mundane flowers either. Everywhere there is grass, you are sure to find a Dandelion or two.
And where they grow in their hundreds, you couldn't wish for a more beautiful sight - how could you ever refer to these wonderful flowers, as weeds?

Monday, 7 May 2018

Warm Walk

Once again, the weather has yo-yo'ed from hot to cold and back again. So Malcolm and I donned our caps this morning to keep the sun off and headed out to tackle the 'farm walk' and try to keep away from too many cyclists.
Along Slack Lane, the Bluebells were looking spectacular as they bloomed in the Hawthorn hedge.
A little further on and the bright sunshine was highlighting them even more, where they grow along the bank.
Dotted among the Bluebells, the more stately figure of Green Alkanet were trying to compete with their rich blue offerings. Where they may lack in numbers, their flowers certainly make up for it with vividness of colour.
The farm has a small herd of goats, some of which were trying to keep out of the sun by sheltering under an oak tree. 'Perhaps its cooler if I stick my head through here!'
Speaking of oaks, they too are starting to show some vivid colour of their own. This one was looking particularly bright green with its coat of fresh leaves.
It is a beautiful specimen.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Brighter

The weather has been so unpredictable over the last few weeks. One minute we are having a mini heatwave, the next we're plunged into freezing conditions, wind, heavy rain and goodness knows what else. But at last, things seem to be heading in a more 'spring-like' direction. Not that the Bluebells are too worried what happens.
These pictures were taken a few days ago as we trudged through Mapperley Wood to check on their progress.
Despite the mud under foot, it was well worth the effort, so we checked out the scene on Shipley Hill too.
We were not the only ones either. Several people were doing the same thing and many a colourful snap was being taken.
The cherry blossom on Shipley Hill is looking good too, especially this morning as the sun had come out and things had warmed up a bit.
A little digital manipulation adds a certain something!
Just time for one last shot of the bluebells... getting down for a low view!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Blues and Coos

Despite the late start, things have moved on a bit in the countryside. Cherry trees are in full blossom and Blackthorn is still filling the hedgerows. So, with that in mind, this morning, we set out for Shipley Hill to check on the progress of the Bluebells. And a good thing we did!
While they are not yet quite at their best, they were nevertheless, looking pretty good in the patch of woodland near Nottingham Lodge.
Their scent was rather intoxicating too - when the breeze died down enough to allow us to appreciate it.
In another part of the parkland, where the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have their farmland, four delightful little Highland calves are being carefully looked after by their mothers.
Two white ones and two brown - but never quite managing to get into the same picture at once. They all look rather sleepy.
The presence of the remains of an umbilical chord on this one, shows how young they are.
As always, they are creating quite a lot of interest and everyone has to stop and go "ooh" and "aah" while this little one poked its tongue out at us.
They're all impossibly cute.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Hot!

Well! It seems we have left winter behind, skipped straight past spring and gone directly to summer. Where a couple of weeks ago, we were shivering in sub-zero temperatures and snow, yesterday and today we've been subjected to weather more usual for August. Ample opportunity for us to get out and about with the flask! So yesterday, we took ourselves for a longer walk around Shipley Park. Firstly, along Slack lane, there was time to admire the brightly coloured Gorse.
The summer migrant birds were obviously enjoying the weather too. Arriving back in the UK from their winter quarters in Africa, they must have been thinking they'd made a dreadful mistake over the last few weeks. But yesterday, they were singing their little hearts out and no doubt enjoying the insect feast on offer at last.
The Maple trees are at last beginning to bloom, opening their pale lime-green flowers to the sunshine.
And through the woodland of Shipley Park, a few late Narcissus were still looking good.
The Cherry blossom is beginning to show its hand now too. This particular tree has been a favourite of mine for several years, but it is not usually so late to bloom as it is this year.
Judging by the number of bees which were buzzing about the flowers, they must also be very glad to see such a profusion as this.
You can never get too much of a good thing!
By the time we reached the site of Shipley Hall, we were hot and ready for a sit down - and a flask of coffee too. Not a bad place to have elevenses!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Out Again

At last, things were a little more cheerful this morning, so we set out once again for a longer walk around Shipley Park. Despite the fine forecast, we did encounter a few spots of rain on the way and the sunshine which greeted us as we woke first thing this morning, soon gave way to darker skies and a few more threatening clouds. The chilly breeze too, made things seem a little less hospitable as we set out, but we persevered and were soon rewarded by the sight of a fine, pink blossomed Cherry Tree.
Like everything else, the flowers are quite a bit later appearing than normal, but considering the foul weather we've had in recent weeks, it's a wonder they've bothered to bloom at all.
It is still very wet under foot and the paths around the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's farm buildings, was caked in mud, so we had to watch our step as we headed along to see what was causing the cattle to make so much noise - we could hear them a mile away!
It turned out to be feeding time and a few Highland cows and Belted Galloway's were making it known that they were not impressed with the speed of service.
They soon had their heads in the feeding station and things quietened down a little as they tucked in to the fresh hay. Some days ago, during a rare sunny spell, some of the cattle were enjoying the sunshine.
And keeping it out of their eyes too by the looks of this one!