Saturday, 3 December 2011

Saturday 3rd December 2011 West of Silsden

I started my wander today with less than high hopes of good wildlife sightings, strong winds and squally showers do not normally offer good rewards!

Beginning at Farnhill Moor a couple of miles from home I made my way up the eastern edge of the moor and was immediately rewarded with a good sighting through the binoculars, a green woodpecker flitted fom tree to tree out of range for my camera but wonderful to watch. Little else was to be seen and after sheltering in the lee of a wall while a heavy shower passed I descended a steep path to a road which borders the unfortunately private Farnhill Wood. There is no bar though on peeping over the boundary wall and I spotted a pair of buzzards gliding silently through the trees, a place to return to!

Suddenly a young roe deer clattered out of the pathside undergrowth and bounded up the slope to the moor, pausing briefly on the way it turned and looked straight at me.

I contined along the road before gaining access to the canal towpath, I walked along a stretch that offers views into the wood and again saw the buzzards.

Grey squirrels were very active scurrying to and fro and occasionally stopping which allowed me the chance I was hoping for.

Many canalside trees and bushes are berry bearing which attracts many birds, seasonal sightings of fieldfares and redwings and a very occasional waxwing can be seen along here on a good day. No sign of any of them today though and I had to content myself with a decent shot of a feasting blackbird.

Heading east now back towards Silsden the skies darkened threateningly but it remained dry as I passed through the village of Kildwick, mallards are always plentiful along here and occasionally they take to the walltops.

I diverted to the bank of the river Aire for a while, recent rain meant surging water and a distinct lack of wildlife along there so I made my way through a very muddy field back to the canal.

A few spots of rain became heavier and I found a reasonable place to shelter, my flask of coffee was very welcome at this point as the chill wind started to bite.
A robin perched on a nearby fence and cheered me up as it sang its tuneful song despite the dreary skies, dunnock and wren also appeared briefly but out of camera shot and I also glimpsed a jay.

I love dogs but I am irritated when they are not under proper control, an aggressive Jack Russell about 100 yards away from its owners had to be fended off until they could be bothered to hurry up and get the dratted thing on a lead, they collected a few words of advice about what constitutes close control.

There seemed little chance of an improvement in the weather, rather the opposite as the rain became very heavy and I decided it was time to head home and get warmed up.

Goosanders are occasional visitors to the canal, a female was sighted but timid as they are it took flight before I could focus the camera. Slighly better luck with a male goosander as I neared Silsden although in very poor light concluded the pix from the day.

Was it worth taking a chance on the weather and venturing out? Of course it was, each time I venture out on this my local patch I learn a little more about the things I am likely to see, I can observe their habitats and behaviour and each bit of knowledge will make subsequent walks even better. 


  1. Looks like I've sorted the problem by downloading Internet Explorer 9...I was working on an older version doh!
    Anyway, well done for getting out in poor conditions Dave and capturing some lovely photos as usual. My favourite is the feasting blackbird against the background of twigs and berries.

  2. Well done on getting out and about. Despite the title of your blog, hope we can still manage the odd Lakeland or Dales based adventure.