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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Wild sounds from my archives - an early spring morning in an English Lake District valley

Not much more than a mile north of the village of Coniston, in the English Lake District, is the small side valley that leads to High and Low Tilberthwaite. 

You're never far from Yewdale Beck anywhere in the first mile of the valley and, travelling up the minor road on the eastern side, you soon pass right next to it.

Early one May morning, I set up my microphones on the bank of the beck.  At this point, the beck is about 5m wide, tumbling over a bed of rocks and pebbles.

A little further up the valley, the road passes into oak woodland. On a sunny spring morning, the colour of the light under the trees is a rich green. The soundscape is full of green birds, too. 
Here is a Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) singing high in the trees, just below the canopy. The descending trill and the piping are both his calls, and he sings as he flies between branches.

Even further up the little valley road, we come to the extraordinary scene of Hodge Close, a disused slate quarry. The hand of man is obvious everywhere. Rusty machinery, square-cut blocks of rock and, most impressive of all, a large deep quarry hole, 150ft deep with a blue pool at the bottom.
The wildlife doesn't seem to mind! On this particular morning, I heard Tree Pipit, Garden Warbler and, at the top of a tall conifer tree, this male Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus).