Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Catching up on my local areas

It can seem like something of a come down when you are home from a holiday where you have enjoyed fantastic wildlife sightings, I am lucky enough to live in area where there is abundant wildlife though and with some patience there is plenty to enjoy.

The valleys of Airedale, where I live, and Wharfedale where I spent a lot of time as a child and do so now again are only a few minutes drive apart. Checks on local weather forecasts and bird sightings often dictate which valley I choose.

The raptor watchpoint I attend is in Wharfedale, I have learnt so much there and have a lot of respect for those who have taught me the details to look for, views are often through binoculars and/or telescopes but gradually you learn the different flight details of distant birds.

Occasionally birds come close enough for photographs as this young peregrine did...

A few days later I went to Rodley Nature Reserve, a wonderful little site on the outskirts of Leeds and run by volunteers it is a great place to see kingfishers, along with lots of other species...

This is an adult male...

A young female, look at the shorter bill with the red underneath which is the denoter of the sex of the birds...

My efforts with improving my bird knowledge skills have paid off, I am now included in a local group which reports rare, or relatively rare birds.
Reports of a red necked grebe led to an early start and a very quiet approach to a small local reservoir, not great light and I was very careful not to disturb the bird but there it was, a little beauty...

One high key shot and one at normal settings...

 I called at raptor watch on my way home, and was hastened from my car with shouts of "hen harrier!" a very hasty couple of shots in less than great light!

Buzzards occasionally like to feel the sun on their backs and wings!

Red kites are becoming very regular past the watchpoint...

A lovely male chaffinch

A walk by the river and a lovely view of a kingfisher

Buzzard from our watchpoint...

Our local areas have much to offer with a little time and patience, of course trips to other areas are great especially when there are different species to be seen.

The need to get closer and closer to wildlife should be discouraged in my view, wildlife reserves offer good views of a lot, the specialist photography hides use bait to draw wildlife into perches with nice, clean backgrounds. Exactly the perches the birds avoid in the wild to avoid exposing themselves to others who may try to attack them or purely steal the food. Expert wildlife photographers, and I do not include myself in that category, will survey an area for a long time just watching and looking before they start to even think about taking photographs.

Too many people in too much of a hurry, and the unnecessary hysteria of a common bird like a sparrowhawk created by last years Autumnwatch do not help. 

Have respect for wildlife and it may reward you!

Many thanks to all who read, don't forget if you do comment they come to me first for moderation.

Next up...rare birds on the east coast of Yorkshire!!!


  1. Your kingfisher photos are lovely, such a stunning bird when viewed in their natural environment. Good to see you back in your local haunts, but also look forward to seeing your coastal photos soon.

  2. Good sightings Dave. Great shots of the Kingfisher