I set off towards Kildwick before heading down through fields to the canal, the hedges in the fields were full of sparrows chirping merrily away. Hidden in the dense foliage they stubbornly refused to appear in the clear until one eventually made its way to the top.
To be honest there was not an awful lot to see near the canal, a rare experience. More fields lead to the river Aire and on my way through I spotted a curlew, moving carefully through some reeds to get closer I disturbed a lovely snipe, recognisable and noisy it flew swiftly out of sight and caused the curlew to scarper too! A pair of goosanders took flight before I even got the lens cap off...this was not good and I was almost relieved to reach the bridge and divert to a quiet lane that leads down the valley.
The sound of a dunnock singing loudly drew my attention, the shrubs it was hiding behind almost blocked my photograph.
Most advice for wildlife photography points the snapper towards getting level with the subject, a better depth of field can be achieved this way. I tested a new theory today by catching a robin from directly underneath:-)
At least there were a few things to photograph now and I decided to have a short break at this point, time for elevenses apparently!!!
Sipping my coffee I spotted two long tailed tits carrying nest material, they disappeared from sight near where I was sat, investigation through the binoculars revealed a nest site which I will revisit regularly. No photographs today, they were never still long enough for a decent shot and I would not go closer for fear of disturbing them.
A wren sang nearby and even posed for a little while too.
Suitably refreshed I resumed my walk, aiming now for Low Wood nature reserve. I knew that in the poor light decent photographs would be unlikely but it is a splendid place, and so it proved. Goldcrests, tits, finches, wrens and robins were all evident as I strode through the woodland, there were also woodpeckers drumming and I tried to work out just where they were, difficult as the noise tends to echo in the trees.
I found a patch where the light was a little better and decided to have my lunch, sitting under a tree munching away movement in the treetops caught my eye....greater spotted woodpecker, I managed one shot before it moved on.
The day was working out better than I had earlier thought, even better as I re-packed my gear ready to set off again. A harsh screechy call nearby, a jay and for once visible. I left my rucksack under the tree and crawled to a better position, a little too much light from the sky spoils the pic but I'm fairly pleased with it.
Turning westwards back towards home I was watching the long tailed tits flitting to and fro again when two roe deer charged past, just too quick for me but I nearly got them!
Curlews were in the fields along this stretch just outside Silsden, using the lane wall as cover I managed to get reasonably close to them.
I've pretty much missed out on the fieldfares and redwings this winter, some years I have managed to get fairly near them. A few distant fieldfares have been photographed but no redwings, now not long before they leave I finally see some....just as the light begins to fade. Not the best shot by any means but beggars cannot be choosers.
Another day of learning, my fieldcraft is improving all the time, I hope my photography is too. A friend advised patience, persistence and luck are the three key elements in wildlife photography, the first two are down to individual character and several famous sportsmen claim the harder they practice the luckier they get...that may well be right!
I have changed the photo display size to a larger one in response to a comment on the blog, hope you like it.