Monday, 18 February 2013

16/17/18th February 2013

Fine weather, blue skies, the combination of the two makes us all eager to get out and enjoy ourselves and so a busy three days ensued!

My first outing started on Saturday morning, a cool breeze but a lovely day to watch out for wildlife. The state of the canal towpath is still not good, we need several more dry days before this will improve..

The chaffinches were chirruping loudly from the nearby hedges..

A large group of what I think are stock doves were feeding greedily in field..

Looking westwards up the valley the mist was taking a while to disperse, sometimes though it adds a little atmosphere to a landscape.

More happy and insistent birdsong from the bushes took my ears and eyes towards this lovely blue tit...

The kingfishers I had so much success and enjoyment with last year will have temporarily moved to the river while the canal was frozen solid, I just hoped that they have come back. A couple of miles or so into my walk I spotted the familiar blue in a shrub, not close but at least I got a shot.

A fellow walker disturbed the kingfisher and it took off, I watched carefully as it flew in my direction. I thought my luck was really in as it landed nearby, then spent the next half an hour either totally or partially concealed in foliage. It is no good losing patience all one can do is wait, so I did and eventually I managed a couple of reasonable photographs.

I try to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the creatures I photograph and I decided to leave the little beauty in peace. Wandering back to where I had parked the car I heard another blue tit singing joyously..

I don't know if mallards have reflective moods:-)

The mists had lifted as I looked back on my morning walk route...

A lovely moorhen concluded my pictures for the morning and I headed home for some dinner before deciding where to head in the afternoon.

Mrs Wildlife decided to join me after lunch and I was just loading the gear into the car when I heard the "mewling" of buzzards! Occasionally sightings near home do occur but when I looked there was six in the sky!! A quick grab of the camera and some hasty shots but I did not manage to get the whole group into one photograph.

Excitement over we set out to the east of Silsden where a lovely tree lined lane takes you towards the edge of Keighley. As we reached Low Holden Farm we somewhat strangely had seen very little but then a robin appeared..
Then we spotted a lovely treecreeper..

To be honest there wasn't a lot else to see, some greylag geese were hungrily feeding in a nearby field and keeping watch at the same time..

I was reminded of the old rule of "feet off the table" as we passed by this sheep..

Almost back at the car another delightful robin posed sweetly:-)

Two good walks and some decent sightings, a good day now what would Sunday promise...well the forecast was excellent and after completing a few jobs at home we set off for Malham to check on the peregrine falcons.

Malham on any day is busy, on a fine sunny Sunday parking is difficult if you have a dislike of paying hard earned money for the privilege! Experience has disclosed some road side parking places on the way up to the Tarn which gives a levellish approach to the top of the Cove.

There are plenty of building materials to hand around here but whoever built this wall has my complete admiration and respect..

Taking care on the glass like surface of the steps we descended to the bottom and spent some time inspecting the skies for signs of the peregrines, it didn't take long as both male and female appeared separately but close together in time. There was no interaction between the two but the fact they are appearing suggests they will soon be pairing up and preparing to raise another brood of chicks.

We had climbed the steps for these shots, while views through the binocs are good from the bottom it is just too far for my camera. The problem up on the rim of the Cove was the stiff and buffeting breeze which made photography on full zoom quite a challenge! Another challenge is trying to get relatively people free photographs, well I nearly managed:-)

On our way home we called in a new site recommended by a friend...I prefer Skipton Lagoons to Waste Water Treatment Plant! Barn Owls have been seen here, we were not that lucky but it does look like a place to return to.

Blue tits seem to have been a big feature this weekend....

Rather unusually for me I managed to disturb a grey heron on here before I got a photograph:-(

Another beautiful day..

Monday saw a misty start and I utilised my time to get all the footwear from the weekend clean, I had a plan for later as the skies cleared.

An old mate is part of a local raptor watch and I occasionally join them for a short while. There are not many photographic opportunites, most of the sightings are through powerful telescopes or at least binoculars, the group who meet are extremely friendly and knowledgeable and I am keen to further my memory bank of this special group of birds.

So in the early afternoon I met up with them and spent a really enjoyable few hours....with a sighting list of kestrel, sparrowhawk, peregrine falcon, buzzard  and a treasured hen harrier how could it be any other? Learning how to differentiate between sizes, shapes, colours and flight patterns is not always easy but if it enhances the enjoyment of a day out it is worth it.

A splendid robin landed on a nearby gate post..

One of the kestrels we saw landed near enough for a resonable shot..

A really good day, maybe I will get chance to utilise my increasing knowledge in the months ahead.

After a hearty meal back at home I was retrieving my gear from the car when the moon demanded attention..

1 comment:

  1. Another excellent weekend for you. Don't think I've seen a tree creeper before, so that caught my attention. I do like your descriptions of the happy birdsong that is around at the moment, a joy to hear isn't it. The kingfisher photos were very special.