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Watching wildlife at the lakeside
I have always been interested in pond life and in the past I have visited Ferry House on the shores of Windermere.
As its name implies it is next to the ferry over the lake.
The site was first the base for the ferryman who rowed travellers across the water and later it was an inn.
It is now the base of the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) which has carried out ground breaking research since the 1920s.
I crossed on the ferry and strolled around the area looking for bird life and doing a spot of pond dipping.
In late May the water was warm enough (just) to paddle in and fill my net with lots of aquatic insects.
I always carry with me a small white plastic dish which makes it easy to identify my catch and then release the creatures back into the water without harming them. This is very much an amateur’s dip and which can be enjoyed in any stretch of fresh water.
The FBA, however, is an almost professional outfit with their own research boat called Velia and at Ferry House itself there is a huge and well equipped laboratory.
As usual in this area my labrador and I had an exciting day.
Anyone interested can become a member of the FBA.
There are contact details on the internet.
success story of the bird world
We often hear of the sad stories of the decline of so many of our bird species that it is good to report on a success.
These days the Nuthatch is a regular visitor to our woodlands and our birdtables.
Not very long ago it was a rarity. It is a dumpy little bird of some 14 centimetres (5½ inches).
Its upper parts are bluish-grey and the lower parts fawn but the chin is much paler.
The flanks are of a rich chestnut-red, while passing through the eye is a prominent streak which begins at the neck and ends at the base of the bill. The nuthatch is a resident bird, strictly arboreal in habits.
Unlike the treereaper and woodpeckers it does not receive any extra support from its tail which is soft and short and lacks strengthened features.
What the bird does have is very purposeful claws which grip the tree trunks so tightly so that it can walk freely not only up and around the trunk but also straight down without any problems at all.
For those who are prepared to be patient nature can provide us with truly wonderful sights.
This week I was walking around the Ball Grove park on the outskirts of Colne. There I saw a dragonfly adult emerging from its nymph. I saw the nymph case burst and the adult dragonfly emerge looking wet and dull.
It was not able to move until it had dried out and so my camera and notebook were both busy.
Gradually colours started to develop and air was pumped into the wings.
The nymph case was secured to the leaf of a waterside plant and until it was ready to fly the dragonfly did not move.
Suddenly it took flight and I looked at my walk.
The whole process took an hour and 40 minutes and I realised that I had just enjoyed free entertainment.
This is what I love about Nature watching – it costs nowt!