Wednesday 5 May 2021

Thirlmere - The 'Waisted' Lake


Once upon a time, there was a little lake called Thirlmere, so shallow that you could walk across the middle at times. 'Thirl' probably derives from Old English denoting a narrowing. Then, in the 19th century, the growing city of Manchester acquired it for a reservoir and built the dam on which we are now standing. The water flows downhill, all the way to the metropolis 96 miles away, without the need for pumps of any kind, flowing over aqueducts and through tunnels in an incredible feat of engineering. If you fancy a ten mile hike, you can walk all the way around the lake but today, we're going to concentrate on the north west section.

There are buzzards and a kestrel high in the sky, wheeling and hovering around Raven Crag to our right, while down here by the lake dunnocks and chaffinches flit from branch to branch and we also have a Chiffchaff. The chiffchaff is a rather nondescript little warbler who rather helpfully calls its name with a repetitive chiff chaff, chiff chaff. Distinguishing between warblers and female finches such as the chaffinch is relatively simple; just look at their bills. Warblers eat spiders and insects and have thin bills adapted to that purpose. Finches, being seed eaters, have thick, powerful bills.

Later in the year, this bank will be covered in dense, green bracken but now is just the right time to see it unfurling against a backdrop of pale moss. At this stage in their development, they always remind me of seahorses, gently floating amid the undulating seaweed.

The bluebells are just starting to come into flower and here we have a lovely Orange-tip butterfly. This is one of the 'White' butterflies in the family Pieridae, as are the common Small and Large Whites. If you look at the underside of the wing, you can see that it is a mottled green, similar to the Bath White.

Here we are at what was once the waist, or thirl, of Thirlmere and we have a lovely view of sunlight on the fells. Apart from the emerging Bluebells and the last of the Daffodils, we've not seen much that is new in the way of flowering plants this morning. The Dog Violets and Golden Saxifrage were both blooming last month, but we do have some Wild Strawberries in flower, much to the delight of this little ant. 

A very pleasant walk, particularly if you are not fond of going up hill and down dale, and we shall return to Thirlmere again to see it in different seasons. Meanwile, do join me throughout the week for Minibeast Monday, Podcast Tuesday, #CumbriaNature on Wednesday, Pic of the Week on Thursday (to introduce the new feature below) and Foraging Friday. All this for free on Steve's Nature Plus

All the best, Steve

Steve's Gallery

I have put selected pictures up for sale as digital downloads or prints, for both private and commercial use. I shall be concentrating on the pictures which show relationships between organisms and their environment and interspecies behaviour. Gallery.

Steve's Books

The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies

All you need to know to identify any type of insect, spider, worm or snail very simply and find out more about it.

Yvonne: This was a gift for a family so that the children can understand what they see on days out. The second was for me. Logical and easy to use. If you know anyone who likes nature you can be confident that gifting this book will give years of pleasure.

The Eggs of Saramova

A science fiction novella for those who don't like science fiction. A fast-paced thriller that is, literally, out of this world.

Shanaya: At last! A book with a ballsy female lead with no superpowers whatsoever who battles against the odds and wins (or does she?). I really related to her! And I laughed out loud at the last story.

£7.50 Paperback edition

Not Just For Twisted Women by Steve Daniels 

A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.

Janet: If you are short on time but enjoy reading and are maybe not into long extended novels then Not Just For... Twisted Women provides readers with concise stories that stand alone and most certainly entertain with their ultimate twists. Loved it.

Helen: A very good read! Well written and entertaining!

Margaret: Each quick tale gives a glimpse into a character's life and has an often humorous twist at the end. I would love to read more.

Yvonne: These days many people find it hard to find the time to read a novel, so this book of short stories is ideal to dip into. It is also makes a good gift.

£4.99 Paperback

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