Monday, 16 April 2012

14th April 2012, Wandering home from Skipton.

We had some shopping to do in Skipton which lies further up the Aire valley, I decided to recover from the stresses of the High Street by walking back to Silsden. Various options are on offer, part of the way by the river, the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool canal or a route over the moors. Given that grey cold weather was the order of the day I decided on the canalbank, it is mostly sheltered and it would give me chance to check out some swan nesting sites.

I joined the towpath by Skipton Bus Station, here is a view back from the bridge.

The open countryside is soon in view and I was joined by a lovely male swan, I think he expected to be fed but I don't believe human food is good for swans so he received no reward for his poses!

I was now passing a large hotel just outside the town and this duck seemed to think the Sky dish had a microphone in it as it quacked away merrily:-)

The male swan was still keeping me company and I soon found out why, a nest right behind the hotel and it seems a strange and vulnerable site. I didn't linger long, the male made it clear that getting too close would be unwise but I did get a decent shot of the female sitting elegantly on the nest.

Across the canal a mallard was taking her new family for a walk through the fields, a delightful sight!

Just outside the village of Bradley some tulips have been planted by the towpath, flower photography is not my favourite but I could not resist this lovely colour.

The wind finally dropped a little and there was even a hint of sunshine as I passed through the outskirts of Bradley and headed towards Kildwick. The canal water became a little more tranquil and a couple more swan shots demonstrate that perfectly.

I took a break for some food and drink in a sheltered spot by one of the many canal bridges and enjoyed a very pleasant conversation with the occupants of a barge which had stopped to open the bridge. A couple from way down south who enjoy a holiday here every year, impeccable taste!
A lovely robin sang cheerfully as I enjoyed the welcome sunshine.

The grey heron just has to be one of my favourites, their antics can have me laughing out loud and I find if you are slow and careful in your approach they will allow you to get quite close.

You can tell if you get too close...this happens:-))

I haven't had much luck with sightings by the river lately but I decided to give it a try, the paths are drying up and I had pretty much seen all I expected on the canal. The path between the two has an old wall and hedge on one side, snuggled up next to the hedge was this old warrior who I named "Scarface" for obvious reasons!!

Another blank stretch by the river ensued and I headed back through the field to the canal, blossom is now starting show nicely, Blackthorn I think as it is too early for Hawthorn.

I did find another swan nest near Silsden, not a great site for photographs but it looks a better site for swans which is more important.

The male swam around looking aloof, wonderful birds!

Time to think of a pint or two now after my walk and I made my way up through Silsden pausing along the way to wonder just what ends squirrels will go to to get food!

Thanks again for all the positive feedback on the blog, I enjoy the walking, photography and composition that goes into it, it is great to know it is enjoyed by others too:-))


  1. What a lovely selection of photos Dave You're right it is Blackthorn Hawthorn is much smaller and the leaves are present before the flowers too :o)

  2. Super wildlife shots Dave, those ducklings are so cute and the heron makes me laugh with it's arrogant pose. As Jill says it is blackthorn which flowers on bare stems before the leaves unfurl. A satisfying walk for you.