30 March 2021

Spring has finally returned. Having detected the briefest (three seconds) of distant burbles drifting down from the general direction of the Moor on 27th February, I enjoyed breakfast on 4th March accompanied by the repeated lilts of a curlew flying back and forth above the field in front of the house. It isn’t spring until the curlews have returned.

I haven’t seen any sign of any lapwings yet, but it surely won’t be long now. I’m already getting jittery for the return of my beloved swallows. The earliest I’ve ever seen them at our house was on my birthday (2nd April), but they’re usually at least a week or so after that. With the recent spell of good weather, though, there’s always the hope of an earlier return. I’m checking out the window every hour or so.

As we drove to the post office to pick up a newspaper the other weekend, Jen spotted four roe deer in one of the fields owned by our farmer friend. As we returned home, the deer bounded across the road in front of the car and headed up Little Moor towards the Moor proper. Even though we knew they were there, they were incredibly difficult to see, camouflaged as they were against the dark heather. Only their white tails gave them away.

We’ve continued to take our regular walks around the lanes, and I’ve taken a couple of slightly more strenuous walks on the far side of the valley while Jen was visiting her mum. Last Saturday, I spotted my first bumblebee of the year, buzzing back and forth low above a grassy bank in Crow Nest Wood. It was quite big. I’m guessing it was a queen looking for an old mouse-hole in which to establish a nest. Perhaps it should be called Bee Nest Wood.

New Road
The inappropriately named ‘New Road’ above Crow Nest Wood

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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On the Moor

There’s barely a page without a surprising fact…whether it’s about a vacuum flask, a hawk or a bilberry. […] Begin the book as you would a moorland walk, happy to put the route map away and just follow where the sheep trods take you—then you’ll likely find the surprising turns and unexpected views a suitable reward.
Nick Small, Caught by the River

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