A spin around the Yorkshire Dales with Jen.
First stop, Malham. We walked from the village up to Malham Cove, climbed to the top (where Harry Potter once made camp), then returned to the village down the other side. Glorious weather. There were dozens of swifts screaming above the cove like fighter jets. No sign of the local peregrines, unfortunately. I'm always amazed at how much plan life thrives in the grykes of the limestone pavement on top of the cove. Lots of hart's tongue ferns.
Spotted a juvenile wheatear at the top of the cove, and several more on our way down. Undoubtedly one of my favourite birds. The adults are one of the most dapper birds going—but not these scruffy juveniles.
I saw my first wheatear on Thurstaston cliffs when I was little. Mum explained that they were so named because the light stripe above their eyes made them look as if they had an ear of wheat tucked behind their ear. It wasn't until many years later that I learnt that wheatear is actually a corruption of the Norse for white arse, on account of the bird's distinctive backside. I don't think mum ever accepted my etymology.
After the biggest plates of fish and chips we had ever eaten at the Lister Arms, we drove across the tops to Arncliffe, then via Kettlewell and Upper Wharfedale to Malham, returning home via Ribblehead and Settle. The lane verges were covered in meadowsweet. I have never seen so much. One of mum's favourite flowers—if only for the name.