Monday, 19 November 2012

17th November, A sunny mudfest!!

We awoke to a damp and dismal start to the day and my plans for a moorland walk were swiftly scrapped in favour of one at a lower level and with a later start time as the weather forecast indicated some improvement could be expected.

Sure enough by late morning the skies were brightening and with my gear at the ready I was ready to go, a timely lift to Kildwick was most welcome and I set off by the canal.

An early sighting of two female goosander...

I wandered back and forth along my favoured kingfisher site area, the best I could do was to puzzle why male and female mallards stand on the opposite leg!!

A diversion down to the river followed, I thought the canalbank was muddy down by the river Aire it was even worse! My soggy wander brought me no wildlife sightings but the sun came out and nicely illuminated this wild apple tree.

On my way back to the canal I had to traverse a couple of really wet fields, I normally cope quite well but I think I had forgotten my patience pills as time after time I sunk in perilously close to the tops of my boots.

The slithery wet mud of the canal towpath was almost welcome now, a lovely little dunnock posed obligingly too:-)

I had a route in mind that meant my time on this stretch was coming to an end, daylight is short at this time of year. Just as I was about to leave a little blur of blue arrived in a nearby tree, on this occasion it chose to remain in cover though and staying a short while it flew off in the direction of the river.

I wandered eastwards now towards Silsden, ever alert for wildlife I was just on the edge of town when a harsh shriek from the nearby bushes almost made me fall in the water!! I saw a strange bird fly a short distance and settle, I had to poke the camera through some thorny bushes to get this...
A ring necked parakeet as it was identified later, there is a wild population in some parts of the country but well south of here so I suspect it may be an escapee.

The leaves are almost all on the ground now but this one was just clinging on..

A sight of a kestrel is always welcome, spotting one on a pylon I took a diversion through another sodden field to get as close as I could.

If it is possible the mud back on the canalbank got worse, it was like having two layers, the top wet and thin, underneath a layer of thick clinging mud. The effect it had on my ability to stay upright was startling as several times I came very close to a very mucky fall!

Slithering on towards Low Holden I got a lovely surprise as I rounded a corner, another kingfisher:-) I wasn't able to get very close but at least this one was out in the open!

A lovely young cygnet was the cause of the kingfishers departure, at least it posed for a photograph!

I kept getting fleeting glimpses of a jay, after some patient and careful approach work I found the tree it was in, it just would not hop out into the open!

One of the reasons I wanted to check this part of the valley was to look for seasonal visitors, fieldfares, redwings and even waxwings may be seen down here. I did get a few distant looks at fieldfares but I could not find any within range of the camera despite several long waits by berry bearing bushes.

It was time to start heading homewards now, I passed house with a large garden and one tree still hanging on to its golden leaves.

Checking the area where I had seen the kestrel paid dividends, this time I got two!

Time now to get my boots cleaned up, I intended going for a couple of pints and I don't really think the landlord would appreciate the muck I was plastered with, a couple of sticks and a handy stream were soon located and the job was done, another grand wildlife spotting day and the sun was beginning to set.


  1. lovely post Dave, shame the twig comes across the Kingfisher shot, but great pics mate

  2. The dunnock was a gorgeous fluffed-up little cherub. Also loved the parakeet, only seen these in the wild in Australia. I wonder,if it is an escapee as you suggest, whether it will survive the cold of our winter. Another sighting of a kingfisher too, a really successful day out, despite being lathered in mud !