Thursday, 5 December 2013

30th Nov-2nd Dec 2013, Kingfishers are back by the canal

I do try not to make plans too far ahead, disappointment has often awaited when I have, but the weather forecast for Saturday looked stunning and I didn't seem to have too many commitments. A lengthy walk up on the moors with some waterside wandering to finish was on the cards and thing after another went wrong, my started was delayed and I opted for a simple walk by the canal.

Josie was heading for Skipton so a lift to our westward neighbouring village of Bradley was convenient, the canal is nearby, the sun was out and off I eventually strode. The local swans have done well with their cygnets this year, here a particularly elegant one...

I usually take a few "banker" shots of mallards just in case I don't see much else, occasionally I get one that cries out for inclusion...drying out after a good swill!

There are plenty of fieldfares about, they come under the heading of "winter thrushes" temporary immigrants from colder climes along with redwings. Newly arrived they are quite nervous and difficult to get near, in the coming weeks I will hope for some much closer shots than this one...

As I paused on this lovely sunlit corner blue tits zipped around the trees...

Checking ahead through my binoculars a flash of blue of a different hue alerted me to the presence of a much loved but not often seen birds...kingfisher!

It is quite difficult to watch them from a close distance for any length of time, they seem wary of too much eye contact and certainly don't like a camera with a large lens pointing at them for too long. Disturb them too often and you won't see them again because they will disappear back into the foliage of the trees and bushes. Watching from prepared hides is much easier as less of the human behaviour is visible, there are no hides on the canalbank so I have had to learn how to approach and stay quite near. Slow and gentle movement is necessary as is a minimum of noise...

Moving a little nearer...

This the male, the female has a reddish lower the female flies past me, I wasn't set for flight shots so this turned out quite well.

A few shots of the female....

By looking at them for short periods only, taking a few shots then looking away for a while I was able to spend a couple of mesmerising, memorable hours with these stunning birds.

Continuing the theme of accidental flight shots I was just focusing on this female goosander when it took off!!!

Not the longest of walks but the "wow" factor was quite high!

Sunday was dedicated to decorating, shopping and family duties, no "wows" ensued!

Monday was dull but dry, a few family commitments left me with time for another canalside exploration, no prizes for guessing where I headed.

A cute robin in full song shows the poor light quite amply...

A moorhen amply demonstrated the rather large size of its feet!

Goosanders were around in good numbers, here a female followed by a male..

With my eyes and occasionally binoculars trained on the water and its surrounds I almost missed one special sighting, luckily a noise down in the valley drew my attention and I saw this lovely kestrel perched on some wires, fortune and luck can be vital tools!

Carrying the binoculars paid a good dividend when I saw movement in a tree at the far side of the water, moving nearer I was able to see and photograph a female great spotted woodpecker.

And then confirmation that the kingfishers seem to have  returned to stay awhile...not as spectacular as the others but precious nevertheless.

Sometimes the many hours I spend in the search for wildlife can be frustrating, but isn't that how it should and has to be? A prize or reward earned too easily would never be treasured as much as one you have had to search hard and work hard to obtain. All too soon the canal will suffer its annual freeze and the kingfishers will disappear once more, while they are around I will endeavour to enjoy their delightful company as much as I there are lots of other beautiful creatures sharing their Airedale habitat.

Many thanks to all who view, commenters should be reminded that all comments do come to me first for moderation.


  1. Fantastic, lots of wows from me :-) What's the bird lower down the tree on the woodpecker shot?

  2. Thanks Jill, it is a very rare bird known by the name of "loose bark" or in Latin, Specsaverus minimus, :-))

  3. Lol Dave! Cracking set of photos, the close ups of the Kingfisher are stunning. Lots of wows from me too! :o)

  4. I even had my glasses on :-) ! Maybe time for a new pair lol!

  5. Have to agree with both Jill and Angie, a superb collection of shots Dave. The Kingfisher was so pretty, never spied one myself, though seen plenty of its relatives in Australia and NZ. One day hopefully I'll see our UK bird.