Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Willow Way

Willow Way is one of the best stretches for seeing Birds on this walk. 
When you reach Badger's Bend, at the top of Badger's Brae, you get this fine view over the top of the five bar gate into this field.

A little further along, on the other side of the road, you can look back down the hill across Farefield, so called because this is a favourite haunt for passing Fieldfares & Redwings.
The hedges are full of berries in Autumn, like these Brambles, which help to attract the Scandinavian Thrushes later on, in Winter.
Despite the abundance of Haws, they are still much underused today for old recipes like Hawthorn Jelly and Hawthorn Syrup.
As can be seen from these two photos the colour of Haws can vary quite a bit.
This stone has been sitting here since 1954. 
What were do doing back then? 
Just think too, of all the things you have during that time! 
I can think of worse places for a stone to spend its life. 
This is a lovely quiet little meadow popular with a variety of small Birds. 
On the other side of the road this happy couple survey the scene.
Just past the meadow Rusty checks out the gnarled & mossy trunk of this Goat Willow Tree.
This is the Goat Willow Tree & on this exposed section, we have sheltered beneath it's branches many times, against driving wind & rain & even snow.
On the other side of the road you look up Knocklayd towards Knockans Croft, where folks haven't lived for about 100 years. It must have been a very lonely spot for them.
Looking back along Willow Way where the Goat Willow Tree is the prominent feature, those small trees in the foreground are a Hawthorn, & in front of that, the one & only Birch Tree on the walk.
Here's a closer look at that little Birch Tree with the Hawthorn behind it.
On Willow Way my favourite birds are:
No. 1 - The Grasshopper Warbler
No. 2 The Meadow Pipit
No. 3 - The Snipe

No. 4 - The Buzzard

Sheep Walk

Sheep Walk is the most exposed section and has fields of Sheep on both sides, with Sheep Pens at the start.
These Sheep have just been to the Barber!
I call this spot New York, because I sit on that large stone each day and share an Apple with the Dogs, so it became known as the Big Apple Stone.
The Big Apple.
The view looking S.W. from the Big Apple.
The view looking North towards Knocklayd, from the Big Apple.
A little further along, this is the track the Shepherd, his Quad and his two Border Collie Dogs take, to the top of the hill, to check on his Hill Sheep. 
A small herd of small Ponies.
Half way, looking back towards the Pony Field.
At the far end of Sheep Walk, looking back past the Sheep Pens on the right.
On Sheep Walk my favourite birds are:
No. 1 The Skylark
No. 2 The Stonechat
Plus an occasional sighting of a Hen Harrier 
and a very rare sighting of a Merlin.

Cottage Crescent

When Rusty was a Pup.
This gate, on a bend in the road and guarded by Hawthorn and Alder, marks the start of Cottage Crescent.
A little further along, on the other side of the Crescent is a rather exposed Lover's Lane
It is the turning point if we only wish to walk three miles that day.
Looking up towards Corrymeela Retreat Centre from the Crescent.
This charming section, with the picturesque holiday cottage, is very popular with the dogs, as there are always Rabbit smells to be found around the cottage.
Looking back along the Crescent.
The day I took this photo, there were about 100 House Martins gathered on those Power lines, getting themselves gathered up for the impending long trip to Africa.
My favourite Birds on the Crescent are:
No. 1 The Reed Bunting
No. 2 The Sedge Warbler
No. 3 The Wren

Corrymeela Lane

At the end of Cottage Crescent we turn northwards up Corrymeela Lane, heading for the hill of Knocklayd itself.

Half way up Corrymeela Lane you come to a T junction and Cleggan Lane.   
At Cleggan Junction, looking on up Corrymeela Lane.
The Terrible Two!
The ruined Croft at Cleggan Junction.
Another view of Cleggan Croft.
Looking on up Corrymeela Lane.
The top stretch of Corrymeela Lane.
At the top is Wheatear Bend from where we can look back down at Corrymeela Retreat Centre and North Antrim beyond.
Looking the other way, at Wheatear Bend, you see Cleggen Farm.
My favourite Birds on Corrymeela Lane are:
Occasional sightings of No. 1 Long Tailed Tits

No. 2 The  Sparrowhawk