Sunday, 15 January 2012

Game, two halves, result!

With blue skies and freezing temperatures the prospects of a great morning on Barden Moor were high, I was not to be disappointed.

The variety of wildlife to be seen on the moor at this time of the year is not great, red grouse, pheasant and kestrel are the most likely, the smaller birds meadow pipits and the like tend to go nearer the coast in winter.

The cold desolation of a winter walk on a bleak moor is not to everyone's taste, for me it offers the isolation that allows clarity of thought, photographic opportunites that are created by my own fieldcraft and above all peace and quiet.
After leaving this shooters track I wandered off path to try and get a little closer to the plentiful survivors of the inglorious twelfth, skittish and untrustworthy of humans which is really only to be expected the red grouse is a bird of splendid colours.

I made my way to a wood on the edge of the moor, the northern edge had not yet been blessed with sunshine and it was cool to say the least, the firmness of the ground was very welcome after the mud of the last few weeks though!

A kestrel hunted in the distance, the same area I had just left and sometimes I wish I could be a bit more patient.

A few pheasants strutted around in the wood, like grouse they are reared for the pleasure of  those who find shooting such lovely creatures to be a worthwhile "sporting" activity, plenty escape however and there is now a flourishing wild population.

Time to return to the car now and I exchanged pleasantries with a chap who was setting up his telescope near the end of the track back to the car park. He remarked on my off path route and I assured him I was safe and confident as I grew up at Embsay and the moor was my childhood playground, he enquired as to my name, his eyes lit up when I told him and he told me his name.....

My best mate from junior school at Embsay!!! 50 years have passed since my family moved to Silsden  and now I find that our mutual love of wildlife has brought us back together, co-incidence, luck, whatever!!

Mobile numbers were exchanged and we shall now meet up regularly.

After a brew at home I had another canal walk in the afternoon, making the most of a sunny day seems so much less effort than going through the motions on a dull day.

A good few birds to enjoy along the way,

I was able to see but unfortunately not photograph a weasel as it sped across a field in pursuit of a terrified rabbit, hunter and hunted as nature intended.

A young swan preened its feathers before taking up a lovely pose!

Almost back in Silsden now and I looked for the kingfisher I have seen here recently, despite a lengthy search I could not locate it but the view up to Nab End was a worthwhile sight.

One last bird sighting before I gained the streets of Silsden, a cute blue tit chirping away merrily.
Not a bad way to end my two walks!

My old mate has directed me to a location not too far away where short eared owls have been seen recently, fingers crossed for a good day on Sunday 15th!


  1. Freddie Phillips15 January 2012 at 09:16

    Nice clear shots Dave, hope you get to see the short eared owl, I think they had a good year we have a regular single at Saltholme RSPB reserve but lately we have seen several.. grand birds. A real treat last year was seeing the short ear in the morning and then two roosting long-ears in the afternoon, we had them for about three weeks tll the photographers scared them away...despite our best efforts...regards, Freddie.

  2. Perfect conditions for being out on the moors Dave, cold, sunny and firm underfoot. Not much point trying to spot wildlife with lots of folk around but what a piece of luck meeting up with an old friend with similar interests to yours.