Sunday dawned into a gloriously sunny day and, to my utter amazement, Chickpea asked if we could go for a walk in the woods again. After picking myself up and checking her head for fever, I realised she was serious. Unable to pass up the chance to take her willingly into the fresh air, off we set in our muddy wellies, sweeties in pockets.
It wasn't long before we spotted a bridge across the brook and steps leading upwards. Being a curious type, I'd found it incredibly hard to resist following all the little paths which lead off the main path on our previous visit, so we decided to see where it would take us. We emerged into a field and a track leading along the edge of the ridge looking down onto the woods.
It was really warm in the sunshine in the shelter of the trees and I was surprised to see this yellow gorse already in flower.
I wasn't surprised to see more fungi after spotting so many varieties last time. Back down in the woods we came across even more.
I particularly loved the bright orange of this one in the sunlight. I'm rapidly becoming a fungi fan!
There were other signs of life appearing under the trees too: daffodils and, I think, bluebells. It's going to look spectacular in a month or so.
And there was also a tree covered in long catkins.
They really glowed golden against that amazing blue sky. Just look at that blue - it could be the middle of summer!
The plants weren't the only kind of nature to be found in the woods though.
Blimey, what's a meerkat doing in deepest Lancashire?! Spotting 'woodland' creatures is one of our new favourite things to do :)
But he wasn't the star of the show. When we visited the woods a couple of weeks ago, the birds stayed well hidden at the tips of the tallest branches. This time, the sun brought them out and we easily spotted blue and great tits and robins. We're also pretty sure it wasn't just our imagination hearing a woodpecker. However, Chickpea, eagle-eyed, spotted this little gem...
A tree creeper! I can't tell you how excited I was! It absolutely made my day and particularly so when I got home and found that I'd managed to get a decent photo after clicking madly and hoping for the best.
It's fairly safe to say we'll be back there again very soon :)
Before I go, I'll leave you with one last photo, taken on Monday morning about 7.30. The lighter mornings are becoming really noticeable now and dawn has been breaking around the time I'm leaving the house for work.
I'll be back at the weekend with the first update on my Cookery Book Challenge. x