Thursday, 27 June 2013

19-26th June 2013, Making the most of the weather

With a poor weather forecast for the weekend, I decided to get out for a couple of hours on Wednesday evening while the sun was shining, almost like a diner expecting the main course to be a let down...make the most of the starter!

I headed up to Silsden Moor, a jackdaw with its bright green eye featured along the way..

Part of the route was an old Roman Road, the going is easy...moving off path through felled trees and very uneven ground liberally scattered with brambles needs care but the reward of the cotton grass is worthwhile..

Settling in as comfortable a place as I could manage I scanned round with the binoculars, I could hear plenty of birdsong...and then a dog like bark, repeatedly..a lovely roe deer buck appeared.

One opportunity for a photograph and he bounded away still barking, a grand sight,

One of the invisible chorus revealed itself, a lovely redpoll perched on a treetop.

I explored further, taking care not to snag myself too often..nor to sink into any of the various streams which burble invisibly beneath the feet!

The warm sunshine made up for the lack of photograhic opportunities and time passed easily, gaining the track again a rarely seen animal made be concentrate, a gorgeous hare...

It seemed not to notice me at first, when it did it moved pretty swiftly away and I followed carefully.

Creeping through the long grass I was lucky to get another shot..

A cracking end to a super short walk.

The poor forecast for the weekend duly obliged, we had plans slightly differing from our usual wildlife excursions.

On Saturday our daughter, her partner and our eldest grand-daughter, aged 10, were due to tackle the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk on a planned school trip.

The ascent of Pen y ghent (694m) Whernside (736) and finally Ingleborough (723m) 23.5 miles and over 1600metres of ascent and descent in under twelve hours is the challenge. They had prepared thoroughly with some walks of increasing difficulty and distance, could they succeed.

We drove up there in early afternoon, the weather had looked dire on the forecast, although Pen y ghent was clear as we passed. Having done the walk several times myself I had a rough idea where we may catch a glimpse of them if all was going well. Descending Whernside, pictured below, there is a road section where cars may be parked.

We met the school support team who advised us they were going well and had passed Ribblehead Viaduct at a good speed, the weather was clearing and things were looking good!

Pretty soon they appeared, all walking well, some pretty desperate levels of rain and wind had been encountered, after a reviving cup of tea and some changed socks off they went Ingleborough bound.

I was dropped off at Horton in Ribblesdale while Mrs Wildlife and our youngest grand-daughter ferried a young lad who had to drop out back to Silsden. A short riverbank walk to pass the time and then I esconced myself in the beer garden of a pub which overlooks the finishing stretch.

In due course they appeared and I somewhat proudly accompanied them to the finish, a magnificent time of 9 hours 50 minutes!! The hillwalking baton has been passed :-))

More poor weather on Sunday, it was late in the afternoon when we managed a very short canalbank walk, a lovely cygnet came very close..

I like to capture quirky shots, especially of things I often see...the large feet of a moorhen come in handy when it has a hard to reach itch!

Regular walks on this stretch of canal allow us to see the changes, sometimes not noticeable to the casual visitor, the way the foliage changes, bird behaviour and other seasonal changes.

Flocks of long tailed tits flittered to and fro, extremely difficult to capture on camera but I don't give up easily and managed a decent photograph.

The mallard chicks get so used to people they approach amazingly near with no fear whatsoever..

And so to the return of a favourite...towards the end of last year I was rewarded for my time spent searching on here by some fantastic kingfisher soon as the winter temperatures freeze the water though they disappear, probably to the nearby river where foliage and the width make sightings and photographs much more difficult.

Our walk on Sunday had yielded a brief sighting so some optimism was felt as we perused the canalside trees...success!

Not the greatest shots as it stubbornly refused to come out of the shadows, but at least I know they are back.

Swallows perched on tree twiglets in the evening sun..

All in all a lovely evening!

I returned the following night, poor light was not helpful and I only had one sighting of a kingfisher and that was in flight.

I did get some heron sightings, not all of them palatable if you are not used to ways that wildlife predates on the weakest in order to survive. It was hunting in the reeds and making occasional forays to successfully seize tiny ducklings, one of the many reasons why a brood of maybe twelve quickly is reduced to two or three.

Worry not, I chose not to photograph those activities, choosing to get shots of the more usual poses.

I found a pied wagtail with fledgling in close attendance..

And finally the heron again, for the technically minded this was taken in very low light, a shutter speed of 1/7th of a second so not sharp, fortunately the heron stayed still and allowed a lovely effect on the water,

All in all a pretty good week, despite the weather!

Thanks to all who read, much appreciated and don't forget comments come to me for moderation first.


  1. Dave, I love your photos. I found you through a friend, walkingmum, and am so glad I did. I've also passed your site on to a birder friend here in Massachusetts.
    Your appreciation of the finer things in life really shows.
    Looking forward to more!

  2. Lovely photos as ever Dave, the heron looking magnificent. Glad you didn't photograph the duckling's demise, but appreciate that is the way of nature and it's necessary for survival.The heron needs dinner too.
    Great photos of the roe deer and the hare