Monday, 11 March 2013

9/10/11 March 2013. Local walks and freezing weather!

Saturday was a day that welcomed indecision, or a decision to stay in, or a decision to go the inn! It was grey miserable and wet, but the blogger is made of fairly stern stuff and ventured out despite the gloomy weather. Chances of wildlife sightings were negligible as I contoured the lower slopes of Farnhill Moor, at this stage the rain was only intermittent and I was waterproofed up which also acted as windproofing against a north easterly wind that was whipping through.

How robins stay so cheerful I don't know...maybe just the time of year but this little beauty was in full song as I passed...

A little further on and the much softer, almost feeble, call of a dunnock caught my attention..

As the walk progressed rain began to fall, not too heavy but in the cold wind it did little to produce enthusiasm. I took shelter  for a while under some trees, a lovely goldfinch flew into view..

The snowdrops are in full flower now and this bunch provided probably my best photograph on the day..

Resuming my wander I reached the canal towpath, the rain began to get heavier and I decided enough was enough. Just time for a shot of this female pheasant before the camera was stowed away and I strode purposefully, or desperately, or downheartedly, in the direction of home for a while before taking refuge in the pub for a while!

There were no high hopes for the weather on Sunday, after a few domestic chores and a couple of Mothering Sunday visits we checked the local forecast which disclosed bright sunshine in the afternoon, cold winds as well but the sun would be a welcome sight.

We drove over to Bolton Abbey for a river and woodland walk, the first few hundred yards straight into a blasting north easterly saw no photographs taken, hands even with gloves on were firmly stuffed into pockets!

Entering the sheltering woodland it warmed up enough for a shot up through the tall scots pines...

I love watching goosanders, rarely easy to photograph as their inbuilt fear of people makes them wary but they are delightfully busy. Watching them dive and trying to predict where they will surface is enjoyable, here I got two shots the first a conventional one, the second showing the female looking down in the water before diving..

The dippers are very active on the river now, this one didn't seem too eager to live up to its name, to be honest I don't blame it!

Sitting quietly in one of the shelters we had a few visitors..

This chaffinch joined us for a view down Wharfedale:-)

A cheerful robin refused to be ignored..

Blue, coal and great tit respectively..

Looking down from the elevated path I captured some of the power of the surging Wharfe as it squeezes through the Strid.

It was getting pretty cold again as we walked back in the direction of the car park, frozen digits responded just too slowly to adjust the camera settings for a flight shot as a buzzard appeared overhead..

Not my best but just about recognisible..

The walk was a bonus on a weekend when we didn't really expect to see any sunshine.

Monday was another day of a never ending winter, snow flurries and bright sunshine in equal measures, thankfully though the snow was very light. I drove over to Bolton Abbey again to take advantage of the free midweek parking on the estate, only a few weeks now and charges will apply!

Setting off further down river than the day before I soon found a willing model, a black headed gull in breeding plumage, lovely birds..

Just after this one of the "squalls" occurred...

It didn't last long though and soon the valley was bathed in bright sunshine again. I was on the lookout for dippers but the comical sight of a lovely eyed jackdaw doing a penguin impersonation just had to be photographed..

I didn't manage any dipper close ups but this shot does show the colours well, if you only see them briefly or in flight you don't see the lovely shades of brown.

I drove up to the edge of the moors for another short walk, the skies were just wonderful as I set out.

Crystal clear views and bright sunshine, a crisp dry path, what could go wrong? Well no wildlife to see and about twenty minutes later another flurry of snow and a sharp decrease in temperature saw me turn round and head back to the car!

A warming cup of coffee or two from my thermos cheered me up and I drove back near Silsden for a short walk by the canal. A lovely song thrush appeared fairly quickly...

And to cap off a bit of a bonus weekend, lapwings are back in good numbers in the fields..

A lot more time spent outdoors than I could have hoped for in these three days, maybe next weekend things will have warmed up a little...I may have a date with some barn owls!!


  1. Despite the freezing cold, some really superb sightings and photos. Lovely black headed gull, a very handsome bird. Thank you for so clearly identifying the three breeds of tits, I always get them muddled. Let's home this is winter's final fling !