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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cumbria Coastal Way

I heard reports that Storm Petrels have been coming close inshore past Workington on their way north to their breeding areas in the North Atlantic. Workington is one of a number of once thriving coastal towns (others include Whitehaven, Maryport, and Harrington) on the north west coast of Cumbria that have been somewhat in economic decline since the end of the mining era. You can see some pictures of Workington here.

I set off from Askam on the train with my bicycle and arrived an hour and a half later and made my way to the harbour mouth where the seabird passage had been observed. My first sightings were of other birds such as Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Sandwich Terns and a Guillemot. The report that Storm Petrels were as "thick as flies" was not borne out.
Workington from the air. My observation point was at the end of the promontory of land jutting out at the mouth of the river just to the left of the wind turbines

However, a patient scan with my telescope revealed a single petrel feeding on the plankton amongst the buoys marking lobster pots. I had sustained views of it as it appeared and disappeared among the wave troughs, and it even "walked on the water" as, eponymously, it is supposed to do ("Petrel" from St. Peter who walked on the water).
The end of the pier was my observation point. The mountains of Scotland in the background
Rather than catch the train back from Workington, I decided to cycle the twelve miles south to Whitehaven to pick up a train there. Between Workington and Whitehaven there is a dedicated cycle track, some of it following the route of the Cumbria Coastal Way.

There is a network of cycles trails throughout the country that I am just starting to explore

The Cumbria Coastal Way - the cycle track follows the railway along this section of the coast

Under the railway line.....

The sweet smell of summer - banks of Meadow- sweet Fili- pendula ulmaria in bloom along the track

As I rode up to Whitehaven railway station, a train was just pulling into the station - perfect timing! Once on the train, it was only then that I realised I had been wearing odd shoes all day - a walking boot on the left and a trainer on the right. Ho hum!


Anonymous Tina said...

You are so blessed to be surrounded by such beauty. It takes my breath away. Florida is so boring in comparison.

5:16 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Tina, you must be joking! I have been to Florida twice, to the Everglades and the Keys! (But definitely not to Disney World!). I think it is a wonderful state!

5:22 pm  
Anonymous Tina said...

I guess that depends on a person's idea of beauty. I know people that think Florida is beautiful because of the beaches, etc. My idea of beauty is mountains with beautiful flowers and all that greenery you see in your photos. Everywhere I go here, all you see is houses. There are very few open spaces where I am.

5:47 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I think, if I remember correctly, that once Peter realized he was walking on water he sank, and had to be hauled to safety.

Wish I had been there too. Must get out and do some more cycling.

6:25 pm  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

We saw a bird that "walked on water" in Oz the other day.... a smallish wader.... can't for the life of me remember the proper name now.... but it was nicknamed the "Jesus bird" as it appeared to "walk on water". The tour guide in the last section of my tour was a bit of a bird watcher and knew lots about Aussie birds.

8:23 pm  
Blogger simon said...

I know a lot of Aussie birds ;o)

Great post again Mallie. I am encourgaed to see that you are enjoying the bike!..

Only one problem I have, not all the photos will open. :o(

Kiwi I would walk on water too, if I was paddling around with those salt water crocs...

Jim:- who told you the Petrels were as "thick as flies"? remindds me of the time at Barren grounds when the guy told us about the bristle birds...

2:13 am  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

We went for a boat cruise on the Mary River..... talk about salt water crocs.....yikes.... I tell you simon.... I kept well clear even of puddles after that!!!!

7:18 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Have gone through your link to petrels and I am certain that the petrels we saw during the Atlantic fiasco were Leeches as they were certainly bigger than sparrows, more starling size and they had a forked tail.

8:38 am  
Blogger Merisi said...

How have you ever gotten around "before bike", Maalie? Such great surroundings as yours ask for it, and how lucky that you were able to observe at least one of those rumored about birds.

you still do have beautiful nature areas in Florida, thank goodness (and how sad, that development is allowed to eat up so much wildlife habitat, it hurts watching that). My favorite places are the Corkscrew Sanctuary and the Okeefeenokee Swamp (I found it most interesting that the cattle ranchers in the north take an interest in preserving the frog and toad population, I loved the rural areas up there, so unlike one imagines Florida). Captiva Island and the Ochopee Cypress Preserve are other nature areas that come to mind. Maybe I've read too many Peter Matthiessen books. ;-)

After looking up "salt water crocs" (some people don't have a native's vocabulary *g*), I definitely would not even walk "on" water, knowing they'd be around. I was weary of unknown snakes on the salt pond walk, that was worry enough for my taste. ;-)

1:20 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I hope your feet haven't been distorted for life!

5:13 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

How lovely, I think I would have preferred the cylce path home to the train. And you have your lovely birthday bike to ride too.

I think this trip certainly outdid my ramblers walk, you runcible fellow.

Have a good weekend. I shall be working hard on my final assignment for my PR diploma. I have seen a nice job advertised where I can put all my new knowledge to practice, so do wish me luck!

5:22 pm  
Anonymous Tina said...

LOL at the shoes!!

6:22 pm  
Blogger TCA said...

odd shoes'

...another small piece of dignity down the tubes.

Good going, sounds like a terrific day out.

Tina, learn to dive there's plenty of 'mountains, flowers and greenery' underwater near where you are and not a house in sight!


4:21 pm  
Blogger simon said...

Merisi! I agree.

Mallie:- photos work now ( could have been my fire walls)..odd shoes? thats the beauty of a bike

3:43 am  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Hi Maalie, hope you had a good weekend, managed to get out and about on your bike again.

2:19 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

What is fire walls?

2:30 pm  
Anonymous Tina said...

TCA, I am much too afraid to try diving... all those sharks you know. Plus I really like my mountains and flowers above the water. :):)
Merisi, thank you for the recommendations. I will check into them.

6:10 pm  
Blogger ROGERSBIZ said...


6:26 pm  

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