Reminiscences I

As I sit here, surrounded by boxes to take to England and bags to take to the charity, I thought it would be nice to look back over the adventures we've shared over the past six years of The Crete Nature Blog. It all started in December 2013 withWelcome to Lasithi when I introduced you to my home in the village of Ferma on the south east coast of Crete and we climbed the hills, investigated the olive groves and went rock pooling down at the little village harbour.

In series two we moved on from merely observing the plants, insects, birds and myriad other life forms and started to look at The Rhythm Of Lifeincluding the flowering times of the plants, the appearance of insects in the Spring and migration patterns of birds. The study of when things happen in nature is called phenology which I explained in what turned out to be one of the most popular blog posts, Phenomenal Phenology.

In series three, A Journey Begins, the journey in question took us from the beach at Agios Fotia high …

To Pastures New

This will be my final post from Cumbria for a bit as I am returning to Crete on Friday. Once there I shall be putting the little cottage that Christina and I lived and loved in for fourteen years on the market. Crete is a great place for two but rather lonely for one. This means that I shall have to find somewhere to live here in Cockermouth and with that in mind I thought we’d take a look at some chalets on the outskirts of town.

Certainly can’t fault the view and good walking country too. The River Cocker flows just beyond those trees down there but we’re high enough up to be out of the flood zone. In the distance lies Grisedale Pike, Grasmoor and Whinlatter Forest Park just waiting to be explored in the Spring.

The chalets, I have my doubts about. Many of them are holiday lets and, as it’s rather exposed up here, I think it may not be much fun in the winter and it will probably cost a fortune to keep warm. Anyhow, I’ll bear them in mind.

On a practical level let’s take a time check a…

Down by the Derwent

That Wordsworth was a romantic fellow: I wandered lonely as a cloud..” I mean, I ask you, has anyone seen a lonely cloud in Cumbria? Ever? Had he been of a more pragmatic turn of mind he may have come up with something like this…

But these are fair weather clouds so let us take a stroll together down by the Derwent, starting by its confluence with the Cocker where Jennings’ brewery nestles comfortably between. This magnificent old tree, dominating the foreground, has a large spherical growth larger than a football. This is a canker and is the tree’s reaction to an invasion by small sac fungi, probably Botryosphaeria stevensii.

At this point we must leave the river bank, climb a stile and take to the fields where a group of Corvids are feeding. More than a third of all birds in the family Corvidae are in the type genus Corvus which includes the rooks, crows, jackdaws and ravens which can be difficult to tell apart. Jackdaws have a grey nape, pale grey eyes and call ‘chack’; ravens are m…