Flora and fauna – the Scarlet Elf cup
Feb24

Flora and fauna – the Scarlet Elf cup

It’s starting to feel more like Spring, but there are still not many flowers out yet. One brightly coloured fungus that does offer a cheery dash of colour at the moment though is the scarlet elf cup.  If you’re taking a walk along the Sett Valley trail or Mousley Bottom, look into the wooded edges, and you will soon pick out its bright shiny red shape. It usually grows in clusters, so once you see one, you’ll see more. It’s not...

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Flora and fauna – the Pixie Cup
Feb15

Flora and fauna – the Pixie Cup

Who would have thought that literally hours after the coldest weekend for many years today you would be walking in lovely Spring sunshine admiring everything that mother nature has to show. If you look closely (very closely) at the miles of dry stone walls in and around New Mills you will find what is often referred to as a Pixie Cup in amonst the mosses and lichens. It is itself part of the lichen family with many varieties of...

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Flora and fauna – the gymnast
Jan29

Flora and fauna – the gymnast

The busy nuthatch looking for his favourite seed The real gymnast of the bird table in winter is the nuthatch. I always think of them as strong athletic birds, just as happy running up and down a treat stump or swinging from a bird feeder. Nuthatches readily come to the bird table, being particularly partial to peanuts and sunflower seeds which replace the hazelnuts, acorns and insects of their natural diet. You may notice them...

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300 days a year…. and more
Jan28

300 days a year…. and more

Nadine Muller free soloing at the start of Hallelujah I, like most climbers this time of year, have every weather app that I can find on my phone. Every evening I nervously check my phone for hourly updates on the recent weather patterns, looking for that golden window, those few hours when a wind blows, the rain stops and the sun comes out. But, this morning, as I look out of the window, the weather has been cold, wet and only last...

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Flora and fauna – something in the air
Jan26

Flora and fauna – something in the air

Something in the air  You’ll have seen them hanging in the breeze above motorway verges, precisely adjusting wings, body and tail so as to keep the head dead still, like it was pinned to the background. The lovely old name for the kestrel is the ‘windhover’.  Our most abundant bird of prey, the bread and butter for kestrels is the vole, though they’ll also take earthworms, insects and fledgling birds. Now then, voles don’t...

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