Sunday, 5 February 2012

4th February 2012, The day the snow arrived

We planned an early start for a riverbank and woodland walk from Barden Bridge near Bolton Abbey, snow is forecast but the weather people seem unable to decide just when it will arrive. A cold but still start to the day and the frozen paths were welcomed after some muddy recent outings, a lovely thrush was our first sighting.

This lovely robin posed for a while as we headed downstream, apart from a few mallards there was little to be seen on the river, perhaps the cold weather has caused the usual goosanders and dippers away to different and warmer climes?
We wandered onwards into the woods and heard the loud drumming of a woodpecker, despite a lenghty visual search we could not locate it. Visitors scatter bird food around the walls and path near the Harrison Ford shelter and good bird sightings are the result. Coal, great and blue tits, chaffinches and nuthatches all seen at close quarters as they fed close to us.

Further into the woods some feeders are hidden away from the path, well worth a little diversion and we were rewarded by another nuthatch.

We crossed the bridge and began the return pausing to stop and look at the ice forming around the reeds beside the river, it was getting much colder now and the extra layers we had carried were very welcome, brrr!

Dippers are normally pretty easy to find here, today they seem notable by their absence until we heard the lovely song of these delighful birds.

Soon after this the leaden sky began to bestow us with snow flakes, nothing too drastic just small flakes but becoming a little heavier. The roads were clear though as we headed back through Skipton, the market traders seemed to be doing little business as perhaps the weather forecast had kept potential shoppers away. I don't know why town centre traffic control systems seem designed to make it difficult to get out of a town but it seemed to take an eternity to escape the town boundary!

Mrs Wildlife was heading home to some warmth while I had plans for another short wander. Leaving the car heater behind I was dropped off at Kildwick, an exploration of the Leeds Liverpool canal and the river Aire beckoned. I don't know what I expected to see but what I did see was very little in the way of wildlife. The frozen canal was a desolate place, a very cold wind permeated even my windproof clothing and my gloved fingers were rapidly numbing.

Diverting to the riverbank brought little reward, a young swan photographed through a hedge was scant consolation on such a cold day.

Nearing Kildwick again as I looped around I decided to call it a day and my return to the canalbank for the walk to Silsden was swift. A weary plod along the rutted path ensued with little to distract me from my mission to head to the warmth of the tap room in my local pub:-))

The boatyard in Silsden provides some warmth to the canal water as the engines of the boats are running and a swan and a few ducks were taking advantage of this thawed patch.

Not the greatest day for wildlife watchers but we still enjoyed it, and the tap room was a splendid place to warm up my frozen extremities!!!


  1. Looks like a rewarding morning outing Dave, but perhaps Mrs Wildlife made the best choice in the afternoon! lol. It was perishing here too but sunny until early afternoon. Walked with S&B from a village known for it's red kites, saw lots, but a local gent who feeds them told us there'd been 33 at dusk the day before! What a sight that would be! I digress.... fave pics today are your beautiful thrush & cheeky robin :o)

  2. I love your gorgeous pictures Dave. Worth getting cold for :)

  3. Thanks Angie and Sherran, cold but worthwhile!