Wednesday, 24 April 2013

19-22nd April 2013, Plenty to do and see!

My weekend wildlife watching began with a stint at my barn owl site, with lots to see apart from the owls a couple of evening hours soon pass. A fellow observer had seen a grasshopper warbler in the afternoon but I had no luck with that. It was a fine sunny evening, quite warm and very pleasant, my photographs began with a heron in flight...

There are plenty of reed buntings here, this is my first successful shot of a female, photographed by the feeders..

A short walk by the nearby river resulted in me disturbing a kingfisher without having chance to photograph it! My eye had been distracted by a small bird in some riverside shrubs, my first willow warbler of the year..

As the light went I captured a lovely shot of a Canada goose..

The light had deteriorated to the point where photography was hopeless by the time the owls appeared, still a treasure to see though and I am certain I will get some successful shots as the year unfolds. Time for home now and some food, I was starving having gone here straight from work!

And so to a sunny Saturday, we had a moorland amble planned but first we found time for an exploration of Middleton Woods near Ilkley.

Our eyes and ears were busy from the start, a chorus of song rang out from the tall treetops and it seems somewhere we shall have to visit quite often. I spotted a jay through some foliage and patiently worked myself into a position where I could manage a clear line of sight.

A lovely treecreeper appeared right in front of us, as luck would have it the area was very shaded though..

Some early butterflies can be seen now, here we spotted a small tortoiseshell enjoying the sunshine..

As I mentioned the woods look full of potential for wildlife, more will follow during the year.

A short drive on some back roads took us to Barden and a walk on the moor.

The view across the lower reservoir to Simon's Seat was as good as ever.

One reason for a walk up here, apart from the splendid long distance views, was the return of the meadow pipits, a delightful bird shown here in perfect habitat.

Of course we saw red grouse! On this occasion I just could not get the right focus, more opportunities are sure to occur!

Our walk took us high on the moor before a gradual descent to the reservoir and then a steep but thankfully short climb back up to where the car was parked.

Another attempt at a red grouse shot fared the same as the earlier one:-(

A poor forecast on Sunday led to no walk plans, with Mrs Wildlife away for the day I resigned myself to a day of jobs around the house. As I checked the forecast in early afternoon I realised the expected rain would not now arrive until much later, a quick rucksac pack and I set off out for a local fields and canal wander.

Although skies were grey and gloomy the exercise was good and there is always something to see for those who can be bothered..

A nest building swan....soon Mr swan checked me out and pronounced me suitable to sit close to their site, if I am careful!!

Just occasionally we get some real rarities near here, a Carolina Wood Duck, probably an escapee but it seemed to be feeding happily..

A very careful approach gained me this shot of a resting curlew. A few spots of the expected rain began to fall, another careful approach meant I was not too far from the pub! Good planning!!

On Monday a slightly brighter day beckoned, I headed for Malham and another meet up with the RSPB team. The sun shone brightly as I parked up for the short walk up to the Cove, a chaffinch  enjoyed a paddle in the beck.

This jackdaw was enjoying an elevated position on the back of a belted Galloway cow.

After meeting up with the team and a good chat we spotted one of the peregrines on a ledge high on the cove, I set off on the climb up the steps. Pausing for a look round, rest, I spotted a pair of newly arrived wheatears on the rocks..

Reaching the top of the limestone steps I moved carefully across the limestone pavement to a position where the peregrine should be visible. During the climb the sunshine had disappeared and the winds had picked up making good pix difficult, the best two I managed.

Once again better shots should be possible on future visits..

The concensus was that this is the male, the female is thought to be sitting on a nest far back on a ledge and completely out of sight.

I made my way carefully down the shiny steps and had a look around the lower reaches of the cove. I found a pied wagtail....

A feisty wren...

And another bird which was zipping around, its red rear feathers identified it as a male redstart and after a prolonged search I found one posing on a rock. Aim the camera, compose the shot, check shutter release...just as it flies off, lol!!

The light was really not good now, fortunately I was near enough to this robin to get a decent shot.

Another opportunity to photograph a redstart presented itself, even in murky light it is a stunning bird..

I sat among the trees and rocks for a while, another wren appeared..

I watched climbers on the rock face, routes are amended so as not to cause disturbance to the nesting peregrines.

Just as I was exchanging goodbyes with the RSPB team a great spotted woodpecker appeared, what a lovely few days we have had with some super sightings.

Many thanks for your support, readership continues to grow at a splendid rate. Don't forget if you do wish to add a comment that it comes to me for approval first!

1 comment:

  1. Another wonderful blog entry, so many gorgeous litle creatures and a huge variety now Spring is just about getting a grip after the long, long winter weather. Liked the sneaky raven on the cow's back, also thought your grouse photos were fine !