Thursday, 11 December 2014

The latter part of Autumn 2014

As the year draws to a close the weather has generally become worse, winds have strengthened and rain has become more frequent, both combining to make walking less pleasurable and making wildlife photography more challenging.
Retirement has meant I can be more choosy about when to set off out, no longer the necessity to get out at weekends whatever the weather!
This time of year also sees free midweek parking at one of our favourite sites...Bolton Abbey in Wharfedale and we chose a rare sunny day for a walk through the woodland and riverbank trail.
It would be a poor day there without a dipper!
Light in the woodland was poor and I had to turn the camera ISO up to maximum to get a decent shutter speed, this unfortunately results in "grainy" or less clear shots.
A lovely little wren stayed in view for a while...
In one of the woodland shelters a family of wood mice feed well on the seeds left for birds, lightning quick raids can be witnessed as they pile up their larders ready for winter. Rarely do I have an opportunity for a decent photograph, on this occasion I was lucky...
Blue tits were very vocal and visible as we strolled along the leaf covered paths, the trees although now nearly stripped nearly bare let little light through..
A nuthatch descended to feed on a coconut shell filled with goodies...
We diverted onto a small lane in seek of better light as the skies became cloud filled, scanning round with binoculars we discovered a kestrel perched in a bush, a quiet and gentle approach got us near enough for a reasonable shot.
The following week I went to Leighton Moss RSPB reserve for a midweek visit, the first decent sighting of the day was a marsh harrier.
Soon after an otter surfaced in the distance...this had all the makings of a great day!
A fellow visitor alerted me to the presence of a bittern in flight, shame I was too slow to get a proper focus on the bird!
Robins always offer themselves as subjects by the paths as I moved to a different hide...
Snipe were feeding well in the pool edges, their long bill helps them extract small insects and creatures from the mud.

Shovellers are marvellously well named, this is a male...

Then a real treat as a normally shy and reclusive water rail appeared right in front of me...
The UK's largest land mammal the red deer also provided a lovely view before it was time for me to pack my gear and head home...
The following midweek I was looking after grand-daughter Isla as her secondary school were hosting pupil reviews in the evening the kids were excused attendance during the day. She loves nature and wildlife so we found ourselves back at Bolton Abbey on a cold but bright day.
Suitable attired for the walk we set off down the riverbank, a male goosander was our first sighting.
At the shelter and in good light a wonderful nuthatch entertained us with a variety of poses...
A sweet little coal tit joined us for a brief they do!
We spotted a goldfinch in maybe the darkest part of the woods on our way back...
My next walk was a canal towpath venture that I did not think out properly...the amount of rain we have had recently should have told me that wellington boots should be worn, not to worry my boots did eventually become clean again!
I was on the lookout for fieldfares generally classed, along with redwings, as a winter thrush they are usually to be found on bushes that bear berries although they will feed in fields if food is scarce.
When they first arrive they are really tough to get close to, this was the expected result from my first sighting of the day...
A fine male goosander was some compensation though...
Then spying fieldfare ahead I moved really cautiously until I was in a decent position for photographs.
I had seen brief glimpses of kingfishers in flight but with little time in hand I had resolved to return another day to seek better sightings. Back at my car and beginning to put my gear away I caught sight of movement out of the corner of my eye, turning slowly I was greeted by the sight of a kingfisher!
Slowly retrieving the camera from the car I got some lovely shots, maybe the best one only spoilt by twigs in the way, ah well.
Quite a strange and distinct difference with my next outing which was in freezing mist up on the moor!
Needless to say I saw little, except this beautiful young male grouse...
Later I was by the canal again, this time in wellingtons! No kingfishers this time but a lovely female goosander...
....and a beautiful female blackbird.
Very sincere thanks to all who view/read, please don't forget if you leave a comment that they come to me first for moderation before they appear on here.


  1. Great post Dave, lovely pictues.

  2. Great pictures. Lovely to see wildlife pictues in such fine detail.

  3. Lovely as ever, a treat to view Dave. Ann