Tuesday, 3 April 2012

1st April 2012, A raptor watch and a Wharfe wander.

With a couple of ospreys and hen harriers being seen from our local raptor watch point we took the opportunity to take the short drive into our neighbouring valley to join them for a while. Since first meeting up with my old schoolmate we have been introduced to others who meet there and they are a friendly and informative group.

We set up the spotting scope and joined in the perusal of the surrounding woodland and horizons, a kestrel and a couple of buzzards soon showed. This long distance viewing takes a while to get used to, there is no chance of photographs unless you are really lucky or posess a lens of a size I could not carry!

The binoculars do come in useful for watching for movement then alerting others who swivel the scopes almost like guns being aligned on a mighty battleship!

A pair of skirmishing sparrowhawks drew everyones attention for a while and more buzzards came into view. We bade the group farewell after a couple of hours and went in search of small things by the riverbank, we were hoping for a glimpse of the kingfishers we have not seen for a while, despite a lengthy search they could not be located but there were compensations.

A coffee break by the river saw a pair of mallards come up close, the strong overhead sun was not perfect for photography though.

Chaffinches seemed to be in abundance by the river and their noisy song rang out loud from the bushes.

We walked as far as the falls above Howgill taking another short break in this splendid location.

On the way back we saw some small groups of birds flying quickly, the style and colour meant only one thing...the sand martins are back:-) Impossible for me to photograph in flight I shall return to the nesting area in a couple of weeeks when they are usually more amenable.

A little further down river another recent returnee, the grey wagtail, I have posted a couple of pix of these but I was able to get a bit closer on this occasion, not perfect light but not bad.

The Wharfe really is rich in wildlife and this stretch was proving to be well the small effort of our walk. Another bonus awaited us as a pair of mandarin ducks cruised furtively past.

All in all a super day for bird sightings, we took a very quiet back lane route home being in no rush.

A small pond near my old home town of Embsay drew my eye as we drove past, various species of birds were on the water. By the shore was a common sandpiper another first for us this year.

Here it is between the goose and the semi submerged duck.

A bit of a cool breeze detracted nothing from a lovely sunny expedition, now the forecast for next week does not look good:-//

1 comment:

  1. Some great photos from your sunny walk Dave. What a pity you didn't see any Osprey's. We went to Rutland water yesterday and spent a couple of hours in the hide. The male and female Osprey's were around all of the time. great to see them.