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Arnside and beyond

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Tuesday 6 March 2012: Safety shot

There was the most fabulous sunrise this morning, and I missed the best part when much of the sky was on fire and the rest was flushed with pink. I had left it too late to walk to the usual spot, and the car needed defrosting.

Viewed from this place, the sun is now about a week away from rising directly behind the gritstone capped, limestone mountain of Ingleborough.

My harshest critic (he shall remain nameless today) will castigate me for another "safety" shot. I protest that I want to show the passage of the sun as it moves towards its highest latitude and zenith. It's all right for him, he gets to visit interesting places during work time when I am chained to my desk. Not that he is a position to be too critical today, as he's been playing Dodgems again.

Despite the frost today, signs of Spring are everywhere. A pair of house sparrows has been prospecting the nest box outside the office window this morning, skylarks were singing over the Heversham and Halforth marshes where there were also lapwings peewitting and ducking and diving in aerial display.

My colleague A showed me some video clips of a sparrowhawk in her garden, attracted to the concentration of potential prey around the feeders. It perched for about 10 minutes, not shy of being watched. Meanwhile, a nuthatch froze motionless on the opposite side of a thick branch out of view and remained like that until the hawk had long gone. Later, after another visit, a great spotted woodpecker did exactly the same thing. Sparrowhawks have acute eyesight, but perhaps they are more tuned to movement than to the profiles of birds completely still on a tree branch.

Thank you for all the hearts and stars for yesterday's blip. I shall be away from blip for a few days after today, maybe back on Friday or Saturday.

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