Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Getting out again after a difficult time

Hello again readers and viewers, my first update for quite some time and for a good reason.
I knew some months ago that my Mum was seriously ill and my family and I have spent many hours looking after her in her own home for as long as we could. She entered a nursing home in May and after more deterioration she passed away quietly in her sleep on the 12th August. I was unable to be with her as me and close family were 250 miles away in Pembrokeshire, too far away to contemplate trying to get home and a desperate attempt to rescue a fairly happy holiday for our grand-children ensued.
The effort put into Mum's care and visits to the nursing home left me desperately tired and bereft of the enthusiasm to keep the blog up to date. With the passing of time the enthusiasm has returned and my walks have become more regular and enjoyable rather than escapes from reality.
The dry summer has blessed us with dry and firm paths, particularly the canal towpath which was a quagmire in Spring!
Robins are always a delight to watch and listen to.      
This swan looked so elegant in the low light of evening.
The butterflies have been delightful this year with the gentle and warm weather, now not many are still flying but the speckled wood is still active.

We walked another section of the canal near Bank Newton just by Gargrave, there are some delightful views to be enjoyed along here.

We watched swallows gathering and taking little sips of water in their fast flight, many attempts at capturing the moment resulted in one successful shot of a young swallow as it leaves the disturbed surface of the water.
Another late flying butterfly...the small tortoiseshell...
Wharfedale is a firm favourite of mine, particularly the river and woodland walk at Bolton Abbey and I headed over early one morning to see if the dippers were visible. When the waters are high they tend to disappear up the side streams and can be difficult to locate, on this day I was in luck!
Another robin to delight me with its eloquent song...
...and the entertaining grey wagtail whose fluttering flight as it chases small insects always draws the eye.
To round my morning off, another butterfly this time a rare sighting of the tiny small copper...
It has been a while since we visited Leighton Moss RSPB reserve and after a check on the weather we arranged an early morning journey over to this wonderful site near Carnforth.
The red deer are best seen in early morning or late afternoon, we had a visit from a single female this time.
The UK's smallest wader is the little stint, sparrow sized and not people friendly so excuse the distant shot!
With the size of grey herons they look almost comical with huge effort it takes to launch themselves skywards...
We have just missed the height of the dragonfly season but I did manage to capture a blue darter in flight...
A little grebe appeared not too far from our hide...
With the lack of rain water levels have dropped and rarely seen birds such as water rail are now becoming more visible....
Three great white egret were in residence, bigger than herons they are a commanding presence..
We had a visit from three snipe, lovely and delightful birds.
A ruff flew in..
One of the great white egrets decided to join a colony of black tailed godwits which caused a temporary commotion!
A grand day indeed.
Another visit to Wharfedale, another grey wagtail, a slightly confusing name but there is a yellow wagtail which is more yellow and less grey if that helps!
More time studying dippers which you will have guessed are a personal favourite...
Mandarin ducks, originally escapees but now breeding along here.
A rather unequal battle between a herring gull and a crayfish, even this large invasive signal crayfish was no match for the superior size of the gull.
Another wagtail, this time a pied one up in a tree...
More time by the canal near home as I begin to reacquaint myself with the ebbs and flows of local wildlife.
Always time for a robin...
Good to see sunlight highlighting the many and lovely colours of a moorhen...
And finally another speckled wood butterfly...
And the summer is almost gone now, leaves are crisping and falling or turning their lovely Autumn gold. A great reminder of the cycle of life, things replenish and renew, but before that there is decay and loss. A beautiful and wondrous event occurs as life refreshes itself from the embers left behind by others, birds migrate and many will have left already, many will arrive in the next few weeks to feast on the rich harvest of our fine summer.
Life goes on with its own rhythms....
Many thanks to all who read, if you do comment please remember they come to me first for moderation.
Cheers for your patience and understanding


  1. Lovely to see you taking up your blog again, and as ever, a superb selection of photos. Hopefully more time to explore your local area and wildlife with retirement looming . . .and more for us to feast our eyes upon ! Ann x

  2. Great to see you are taking up your blog again. As usual I've enjoyed the read & looking at your pics. Looking forward to your next one! Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. A lovely blog Dave. It's nice to know you feel able to enjoy doing the things you really enjoy