Saturday, 7 January 2012

Eastwards Ho!

The most popular activity when I was a kid was playing cowboys and indians, the bigger older boys were the cowboys and the indians always took a beating. A few years of being both hunter and hunted taught me the elements of fieldcraft, the ability to move quietly among fields and woodland is a great asset to anyone who loves wildlife.

As I have grown older and with more knowledge, the people I knew as red indians, the first nation, the indegenous people of North America, had something most people should treasure...the ability to live as one with nature. They took only what they needed, and what they took they utilised to its full extent, no waste.

Westerns were so called because of the locations, people travelled West in search of adventure and fortune. John Wayne was a favourite of mine, he portrayed all that was good at the time, latterly Dances with Wolves is a favourite now and I feel great sympathy with the native people, even more with the wolf.

Today in an apposite mood I wandered eastwards, the paths and roads are free of mud, tiger feet or not!

A group of young swans confirmed my belief that animals may behave but not all at once!

Beautiful creatures and I will seek them out, that way as they pair up they accept your close company a little easier. Those who get too close beware!

Passing through the valley I was reminded just how tough the weather has been, even these hardy mules,(crossbred sheep), require some supplementary feed.

A good sighting of a kestrel on the hunt resulted in some hasty and not good pix.

Robins are wonderful, they are feisty and beautiful and they pose probably more easily than most birds.

Just after this I entered Low Wood, Riddlesden, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust area. Using my fieldcraft wisely I made my way to the high crags, upwind and in a great place to see any animals around there.

A runny nose persuaded me to have a clear out before I ventured to the edge of the crags.....blow....oh no...a young roe deer scarpers swiftly from about 10 yards below me. Note to me...views before vanity in future!

As the deer clattered through the woods so did the birds and I realised my mistake. I set off homewards and happened on one of the best wildlife views ever.

A treecreeper, wren and goldcrest all within feet of one another, three of the smallest and therefore most vulnerable birds we have in the UK. Small bodies equals low fat reserves and a cold winter decimates these fragile little birds. The wren and goldcrest proved to be elusive for the camera, no surprise there:-

Earlier thoughts of a riverbank walk were discarded, a look down to the Aire shows that to be wise.

Resuming my walk now back to Silsden, and my thoughts went back to earlier.

And then some grey partridge in a field, years since I saw these around here.

Mankinds quest to conquer and discover has caused so much hurt and distress, things we take for granted like computers and cameras, without which this article would not be, there are great....and yet there could and should have been another way. Some of the magnificent animals of the world have been  slaughtered in the name of progress, or because humans were mistakenly frightened of them. Is that a wolf I hear howling?


  1. Another very enjoyable account of your day out Dave.

  2. Looked like another good day out for you.

  3. Though provoking insights! Nice pis too. Jill

  4. Language Jill!!! Lol
    Another good & eloquent report Dave, favourite pic ... the flotilla of swans. BTW. My favourite childhood activity was playing cowboys and indians too, bet that comes as no surprise!

  5. I meant thought provoking lol!!!

    I liked cowboys and indians too and had a bow and arrows which I could never get to work properly!