Monday, 1 April 2013

The Easter weekend, cold but fun!

I decided I was fit enough for an energetic moorland walk on Friday, the joys of being high on the hills still resides in me, with snow on the ground it was irresistible. With Mrs wildlife on a shopping trip to Keighley the opportunity occurred to be dropped off near the top of the moor, except the snow had other plans....

Tractors and feet only from this point! The masts in the distance were my intended drop off point.
Reaching said masts I head west, the path is by the wall so it is a case of make it up as you go, the ground to the left is rutted with an unknown depth of snow, the easy way was near to the wall and trust the snow was frozen, most of it was!

Large numbers of red grouse can be found up here...the male..

And the female too....

Delightful birds and the day was good, blue skies and spectacular clouds. I found a stray feather...almost lost in transit!

This small section of snow contained many bird footprints and a few wing feather swishes, digitally enhanced to bring out the detail...

Reaching a high point on the moor I took a look up Wharfedale, just stunning!

Far to the west I got a hazy view of Pendle Hill...

As I mentioned before the red grouse are plentiful and if you move really carefully they will allow you to get quite close:-)

The next leg took me into an enchanted forest, untrodden by human foot the snow held magical secrets.......
One problem with untrodden snow is the sudden depths you can plunge into, after a couple of thigh deep escapades my sense of humour was diminishing!

Wall high stile climbing has its attractions though...
The wall is about 7 feet high by the way!

A grouse on ice, or a grouse with a lovely clean background, whichever is your choice...........

I ploughed on through the deep snow, it eased off as I reached the summit of Long Ridge End..

In the open areas the snow had blown away for the most part, where conditions allowed though it was slightly different, a stile area I needed to get through...


The view now was over Addingham to Howber Hill, known locally as Beamsley Beacon.....
 
A steep and careful descent from the moor led me to a small surfaced lane which would lead back to Silsden, the farmers and council have done a great job in clearing the snow.
 
Part way down the road is about the only place to get a shot of Nab End, from where I had descended, without the intrusion of pylons or telephone wires!
 
It was time for home and a warm up now, I had an early evening appointment with a barn owl, and it turned up! All the hard work of reccying out a new site becomes worthwhile when you get sightings like this:-)
 
I hope to get more and better pix as the year progresses.
 
On Saturday I had jobs to do at home but in the afternoon I went to my local raptor watch point, kestrel, buzzard and hen harrier were seen. I managed a reasonable shot of one buzzard as it glided by....
 

And a lovely chaffinch chirped merrily from a nearby bush.......
 
We had a family meal planned for Sunday, good behaviour allowed me a couple of hours of escape before my death by chocolate smearing at the hands of my beloved grand-daughters:-)
 
This cheerful blue tit was the first shot of the day.
 
A lovely female blackbird posed nicely for me...........
 
 
And that was about all for a short walk!
And so to Monday, we drove up to Malham local knowledge discloses free parking places even on a busy Bank Holiday Monday!
 
 
The wander up to the Cove is easy and the view is good!
 
 
 
A heron in the beck was a good distraction too............
 
 
 
A fiercely cold north easterly wind deterred us from a long stay at the peregrine falcon watch but we did see one bring a meal in, a pic at maximum zoom and cropped a lot.
 

We were both cold in the biting wind and decided to head back to the village, a little wander by the beck paid dividends as first a lovely dunnock or hedge accentor appeared....
 
Wrens are tough to photograph, rarely still and often invisible a lot of patience is required to get a good shot. I watched this little beauty for a long time as it flitted to and fro mainly in shade, eventually it obliged in a classic pose:-)
 
A pied wagtail offered another opportunity......
 
And then the ubiquitous robin, always there, always cheerful, what a great lesson:-))
 
The cold wind still blasts through, spring has not really begun, soon would be good:-)
 

1 comment:

  1. Haven't been here for ages, but delightful to see Malham again through your eyes. What a vast array of lovely birds.

    Ann

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