Sunday, 11 December 2011

Saturday 10th December 2011. Wharfedale and Airedale.

The weather forecast looked good, a cold clear night with some frost promised firm ground which after the mud of the last few weeks would be very welcome.

An early start saw me parked up at Barden Bridge near Bolton Abbey, free parking for a few cars but get there early! The recent rain has fed from the hills into the river Wharfe and high water levels mean less visible perching places for dippers, I did see a pair in flight as they searched for feeding spots.

The binoculars came in very handy as I spotted movement in some shrubs on the far bank, a weasel appeared and went busily about its prey search and then swiftly disappeared. Great tits and blue tits were feeding on dry seed heads throughout the woods as I walked.

A couple of nuthatches were unsuccessfully photographed along the way, try as I might I just could not get close enough for a good shot. The promised bright skies were disappearing as a couple of sleety showers came over and temperatures dropped, cold hands even with gloves on don't make for good close ups of wildlife but a lovely plump robin stayed still long enough for me.

Heading back to the car some goldfinches were spotted, after some patient and cautious movement I managed to get close enough for a photograph, beautiful colours make this a favourite for many, me included.

Time to head back to Silsden now and after a warming and reviving coffee at home I set out along the Leeds Liverpool canal towpath for another exploration, any thoughts of walking by the river Aire were discarded as I viewed the flooded fields!

Oak trees are a particular favourite of the treecreeper, the rough bark offers plenty of nooks and crannies that it can use its curved beak in to find the insects on which it feeds. Quite a rare sight as the camouflage of its feathering make it hard to spot and I counted myself lucky to get a good view of this one.
Goosanders and mallards flew past as I waited around to try and get another look at the treecreeper and a robin joined me for a while.

Patience was rewarded again when the treecreeper re-appeared and I was able to get a little closer.

The early frost had now thawed and it was a muddy trudge back towards Silsden, I was just thinking what a good variety of wildlife I had seen when a small blur of blue movement caught my eye!
A kingfisher flew past me and settled near some allotments, moving carefully I tried to get close enough in now murky light to get a photograph. First attempt not good, I was spotted and away it flew fortunately in the same direction I was heading, taking even more care I tried again.

Fantastic! I have never seen one so close to home and this just capped a super day of wildlife sights.

Time for a welcome pint or two:-))

If you are in the area..... Walker friendly and dog friendly and I can recommend it.


  1. What a good day you had Dave, quite a variety of birds there. You really caught that robin in a super pose. Maggie

  2. Lovely photos Dave ,,, first time I have looked at your new blog. Looks great, will enjoy catching up with your pics. Jill

  3. What a variety of birdlife. Well done on the kingfisher and the blog is looking great. With a bit of luck may be joining the www world over Xmas. It will be better than the rubbish on the TV!

  4. Hi Dave, looks like you had a good day even if it was cold. I love the first Robin photo, super shot :o) The Goldfinch looks to be perched on Burdocks, was it eating the seeds? Tree creepers always remind me of mice scuttling along, difficult to get a pic of them. Lucky you getting another Kingfisher shot, I keep seeing them but they won't keep still! Lol, Angie