Arnside and beyond

By gladders

Wild garlic swamp

A year ago today was Molly's last blip from Tuscany. Luigi was sat amidst a riot of Tuscan Spring growth, including the ball-like heads of Allium aflatunense. My blip today is of the ramsons woodland that sits either side of Leighton Beck, which here forms the border between Lancashire and Cumbria one mile from our home. Ramsons is another type of Allium, A. ursinum. Molly, with her boundless curiosity and her passion for flowers would surely have been intrigued that these two plants are so closely related. Ramsons is also called wild garlic, and the woodland today was filled with its almost overpowering scent.

This wasn't the blip I was hoping to post on this day. This morning I set off early for Pendle Hill 60 miles away. Every year, over a two week period between the end of April and the beginning of May, this is one of the best places in the north of England for seeing dotterels, those most beautiful of upland waders, as they stop off to rest and feed on their migration back to their breeding grounds in the bleak, stoney summit vegetation of the Cairngorms and other high Scottish mountains.

Today I was out of luck, I arrived early and toiled up the steep gradient to the summit plateau, but I saw no dotterels. Molly and I had frequent exchanges about birds, she would be envious as my year list climbed beyond the 100 mark and hers was still stuck on 8. Much as she loved Tuscany, the depredations of the local hunters was something that obviously pained her. She struggled with the identification of the little brown jobs (LBJs) that were found in the area, she didn't need much persuading from me to invest in a copy of the black book, the Collins Bird Guide in which all of Europe's LBJs and not so LBJs are illustrated and described. Alas, she passed too early in the Spring to make much headway with working out what the LBJs were, and perhaps Himself has kept the book amongst her possessions.

Molly had her computer problems, she had a Mac that was literally too hot to handle and was eventually replaced with a Windows laptop. She might have sympathised with my predicament tonight. This ancient computer that I am using (all of 8 years old), which ironically I keep promising to replace with a Mac, has gone into meltdown tonight. It has taken me an hour and a half to load this blip.

Two new birds for the year, despite the lack of dotterel: twite and wheatear (about time too).

I still miss you, Molly.

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