Sunday, 22 April 2012

21st April 2012, Two walks and I missed the rain!

A weather forecast for thundery showers and sunny spells, close inspection of the local forecast disclosed that early morning should be dry so I packed up my gear and headed for Barden, North Yorkshire and a relatively short drive from Silsden. My preferred parking place by the river Wharfe offered no spaces even at this early hour so I had to divert a little further away. A short road walk took me down to the river though and I passed the ruins of Barden Priory along the way.

 Despite a chorus of birdsong there seemed to a distinct lack of willing models as all I got was glimpses of fleeing birds, not good! Eventually a male chaffinch offered himself for a photograph.
I left the woodland path and made my way through a very boggy area to where the songs seemed loudest, what I managed to photograph there were two birds not famed for their song but two real woodland specialists, a wren and a treecreeper:-)

Sightings of spotted flycatcher and blackcap made this diversion very worthwhile and I passed a very pleasant half hour in my little woodland glade. Resuming my riverbank stroll I saw a nuthatch gathering nest material, several attempts at photographs were unfortunately all so bad I ain't showing them!!!

I know of a regular dipper nesting site and approaching carefully allowed me the opportunity to watch this lovely bird gathering some grasses and moss to line the nest.
 My return up the river yielded a decent shot of a male goosander, plenty of these on the Wharfe but they don't seem to like being photographed and usually flee before I even get focused!

Heading back towards the road and my car I passed through a field and two birds I would not normally expect to see there, a pied wagtail and a meadow pipit.

Back on the tarmac and the road climbs steeply away from the river, trees that are rooted down below line the road and the tree tops are almost at eye level. Beautiful song emanated from the trees and I managed my first, though not brilliant, shot of a willow warbler. I hope to improve on this one!
Heading for home I was congratulating myself on my judgement of the weather conditions, no rain so far and no need to wear the waterproofs I had absently mindedly left at home!!! My route led me through the village of Embsay, just outside the village there is a small pond and I usually stop and have a look to see if there are any birds about. As I halted the car a really heavy downpour began, hail and rain battered the car for about ten minutes before it was safe to leave the vehicle for a look at the pond. I was in luck, a flash of bright orange caught my eye...except for the legs and bill the superbly camouflaged redshank.

There was also a couple of shelducks on the water, photographed here with a coot as a bonus.

A really good morning walk and I was eager to get home and check my photographs, as it turned out the weather allowed me plenty of time for that. We had about three hours of really heavy showers and I began to think that was it for the day but in mid afternoon the skies cleared again and I went for another wander, this time near home.

How things can change! I could not get anywhere near birds, everything flew before I even had the lens cap removed!!! No matter the sun was out and I just enjoyed the scenery, lambs are plentiful in the fields and caught this one doing a stretch.
  One reasonable shot of a goldfinch on some telegraph wires completed my wildlife pix for the day.

Two walks completed and I had managed to beat the weather, some good photographs collected along the way so all in all a decent day and I reflected on my fortune as I headed up Silsden towards my reward of a pint or two! Last shot of the day taken across the flower beds in the town, showing the Nail Sculpture which commemorates the towns contribution to the clog making industry, in the background the Punch Bowl Inn where I would be found soon!


  1. Hello Dave, What a variety of birds on this walk, well captured too. Glad you managed to keep dry as those clouds looked menacing near the end. The only tree creeper I ever saw was one which flew into the patio window. Happily it survived.

  2. Some great bird shots Dave,lets hope this comment works :)