Sunday wildlife

Our Buddleia is a decent size and quite high; on Sunday I commented that it had no butterflies on it even though the sun was out. I guess the sun hadn’t been out for long and it was taking a little time for butterflies and insects to find it because within a few minutes it was quite busy.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Unfortunately most of the butterflies tended to be towards the top of the plant or flew off as soon as I pointed the camera at them. The Red Admiral was kind enough to stay around.




Quite a few nectar seeking insects came along and several varieties of Bee and Hoverflies flitted around. The wing tips on this bee are looking a bit frayed.

Willow Warbler

Later in the day I went down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve and spent some time watching several Willow Warblers in the reeds at the back of the pond. On several occasions four or five would be visible at one time.

Willow Warbler

Juvenile Willow Warbler

This one is a juvenile I believe.

Juvenile Blackcap

At the right hand side of the reeds was a Juvenile Blackcap and at about the same time I took this a flock of 12-15 Long Tailed Tits were moving through the trees above it. Several Chaffinches and Goldfinches were also flying around.


Over on the feeding area were Robins, a Squirrel and this Dunnock. Nearby several Jays could be heard arguing amongst themselves.

Brown Hawker

On the edge of the pond-dipping area this Brown Hawker was clinging to the timber as it laid its eggs in the water.

Blue Tailed Damselfly (female?)

Dozens of Blue Damselflies could be seen flitting around in the sun and as soon as a cloud came over they seemed to just disappear. This Blue Tailed Dameslfly settled on the timber edging.

Common Lizard

I then went for more of a wander and lifted up several of the boards in the reserve. Under one of the boards I found this lizard.


In several places I could hear the rather boring call of Bullfinches but struggled to see them until I reached a bit of an opening…


and spotted these two eating Rowan berries.

As usual you can click on any of the images and view them larger on Flickr.

Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow

Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow was opened by David Bellamy back in 1993 and to most people is just the fenced off space between the walls at Shipley Station. It is actually a haven for several butterfly and other wildlife. I went to have a look at it today, Saturday 22 July 2017..

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

I am not showing the photos in the order inw hich they are taken but more in the lifecycle order. This is a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar on Ragwort. UK Moths

Vapourer Moth caterpillar

And this spectacular one is the caterpillar of a Vapourer Moth. UK Moths

Burnet Moth Cacoon

This paper pocket is what is left of a Burnet Moth pupae.

6 Spot Burnet Moth

The Knapweed was the main thing that the small wildlife was on. This 6 spot Burnet Moth looked rather shiny. UK Moths

Cinnabar Moth

And this one is a Cinnabar Moth unless the underside of Burnet Moth wings are red.

Small Skipper

Quite a few Small Skippers were flitting around and feeding on the Knapweed. UK Butterflies

Flesh Fly?

I don’t know why it has its name and I’m not sure I want to know but this, I think, is a Flesh Fly.


The Knapweed really attract the insects. Hoverfly included.


and this one coming in snout first.


and once in sharing it with several other insects.

Orange Tailed Bumble Bee

There’s orange tailed bumblebees

White Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

and white tailed bumblebees

Chrysotoxum bicinctum

This is a hoverfly called Chrysotoxum bicinctum

Shield Bug

and this little one is one of the many forms of Shield Bug.


This Harlequin has a dent in its wing casing. It should be an easy fix with a small sink plunger

Dippers on a Sunday

One of the reasons for choosing the areas I have been over the last week or so was because I was looking for Dippers. I remember the fuss a few years back when a Black Bellied Dipper was spotted on the River Aire. Birders came down to the river looking for a reported Black Bellied Dipper but saw only Common Dippers – therefore the Black Bellied Dipper did not exist. If you read my previous posting you will know that I had seen a Common Dipper as it flew past my head, so now was the time to go find one to get some photos. Some of my closest sightings of Dippers had been on Loadpit Beck where it joins the river at Hirst Mill, so on Sunday I decided to try that beck but further up.

Duck on Crag Hebble Dam

I started at the pond created by Crag Hebble Dam. The surface of the water was covered by green plants that the ducks seemed to be eating happily. Dozens of blue Damselflies were fluttering about the surface.

Grey Wagtail, Crag Hebble Dam

At the far side was a Grey Wagtail running up and down a branch at the water surface and then leaping to catch a Damselfly. It missed slightly more often than it was successful but with the size of them I guess it would soon be full.

Grey Wagtail, Crag Hebble Dam

Looking at the head and neck of the Wagtail suggests that it has spent a lot of its energy feeding youngsters. A few Damselflies will give it the energy to feed smaller things to its young.

I then went further up the beck getting away from the noise of people on rope swings and splashing in the water. Further up I spotted quite a large tent that was quite well hidden behind some trees. It was over on the west side and looked as though it had been there quite a long time.

Once I had got away from the noise I spotted several more Grey Wagtails and continued to follow the beck.

Dipper, Loadpit Beck

When watching a Wagtail I looked a bit further up the beck and spotted the white chest of a Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) in a pool of bright sunlight. If I had been thinking straight I would have dialled in some underexposure, or at least looked at the image on the screen to see that some of them were blown out. As it is, with the spot metering, it was not too bad.

Dipper, Loadpit Beck

Because I was always downstream I never got in a position to see the Dipper dive into the water. Each time it hopped down into the water rocks got in the way of me seeing it. It is incredible that it can walk on the river bed. You think of birds being almost lighter than air, and here is one that can appear to be heavier than water. It also seemed quite good at spotting me and going behind large rocks.

Robin, Loadpit Beck

While I was following it I also watched Wrens and Robins coming down to the beck for insects that were all over. One of the insects took a liking to my elbow so I now have a red, warm, itchy area that will probably last a couple of days.

Speckled Wood, Shipley Glen

Plenty of butterflies were around too but it was tricky to get far enough away to take a photo. This is a Speckled Wood.

Meadow Brown, Shipley Glen

and this one a Meadow Brown.

Fungus, Shipley Glen

Heading up out of the glen to Bracken Hall Green I spotted this fungus sprouting out under some bracken. I have no idea what it is called. It was about 5 cms tall and 2 cms diameter.

Thistles, Bracken Hall Green

I spent a few minutes watching the sheep, lambs and rabbits in the fields to the East of Glen Road keeping an eye on the thistles just over the wall. These are further on than the thistles I saw around Tong Park Dam and I was hoping that a Goldfinch or two would come down onto them. I could hear them in the trees but they didn’t oblige.

Small Tortoiseshel, Bracken Hall Green

After getting back up onto Bracken Hall Green I went into the grounds of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre and had a natter with John, he is a fountain of wildlife knowledge. While talking to him several Small Tortoiseshell butterflies landed on the white Buddleia and on the wall of Bracken Hall House.

As usual you can click on any of the images to see it larger at Flickr. I have now scrapped the Java script that Flickr adds and set it so the link takes you to a larger image to the ones I have been using recently.

Saturday afternoon walk (15 July 2017)

This afternoon I wanted a few minutes with wildlife so walked along Heygate Lane down to Moorside then to Tong Park Dam and Ghyl Beck. At least this time I got sight of a Common Dipper, one flew past me within just a few feet; far too quick for a photo.


There were plenty of butterflies around, lots of Ringlet, but this one doesn’t have any spots/rings?? Is it still a Ringlet?

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown


and Skippers. A 150-500mm zoom lens is not the kit to use when photographing butterfly or flowers but I think they have come out reasonably well.

Self Heal

There’s quite a lot of colour out at the moment. Large patches of purple, white and yellow. This one is Self Heal


and this Betony.

Goldfinch, Thistles

Up at the top of these Thistles is a Goldfinch. I think it has a little while to wait before it can start eating the seeds. When they open I expect there to be flocks of Goldfinch on them. At the moment the Goldfinch can be seen and heard doing their undulating flight between the tops of trees.


Down on the beck it looked as though at least two parent Wrens were very busy feeding young. They were flying off into the field by the beck and then coming back to feed their young that were hidden in the grass overhanging the beck.

Ghyl Beck

It was while I was watching the Wrens that the Dipper flew past me. It went up stream. This shot shows as far as I could see from where I was – no Dipper. I’ll be back.

Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn

When I got back to the path I spotted thisĀ Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn beetle.


This Teasel still has a stripe of purple around it.

Moorhen chick

Down by the dam a couple of Moorhen chicks were rummaging around in the grass.


I think I might find myself down here again for these too. When these open up I hope to see lots of Goldfinch.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

I heard the loud noise of a woodpecker call and saw one fly to a tree. The light was fading so I am quite pleased that I managed to get this view of it.


And then the last thing before closing things up and trudging up the path was a Rabbit that, of course, was soon flashing its white tail at me as it hopped away.

Kestrel Chicks 2017

Some of you may have seen some of the Kestrel photos I have been taking over the last few years. This year I was not expecting to see any at Salts Mill because the roofing work that has been going on was too close to the nesting site that I have seen them using. However I had heard Kestrels when out and about at Salts Mill, and over the last week had been hearing them while at my desk. So I went to investigate.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

The first sight I had of them left me wondering how many were around.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

I had to wait a few minutes before they separated into the 3 of them. Here they are looking skyward, perhaps they have heard one of their parents fly past.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

One of them looked a bit more adventurous than the other two and hopped off the window ledge and scrabbled up the roof to the top of one of the sky lights.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

After a while it started ducking its head down and I wondered if it was pulling at any sealant that might be around the window. I was hoping not otherwise I might have started to get a wet desk during rain. But then it lifted up what looks to me like a rat. Perhaps it was a larder that one of the parents was using, or perhaps they had dropped it there while being watched, as if to say “If you want food, hop off there and come get it.”

If you are a bit squeamish then don’t go any further, but you might be missing out.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

The young Kestrel then spent a few minutes pulling bits of meat off the rat.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

Most of the time the carcass was below the edge of the frame but I have several photos where it lifted it up for me to get a good look at it. But not here.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

Once it looked as though it had had enough to eat one of the other Kestrels came round looking for it.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

There seemed to be plenty for it to eat.

Salt's Mill Kestrels

After having had enough the second Kestrel started exercising its wings a bit.

A mouse

While this had been going on I had kept looking back at the third Kestrel and it was only later, when viewing these at home, that I noticed the rodent in front of it; I don’t know where it had come from.

It's mine

It then hooded over it to protect it from being stolen. It was only after looking at these at home that I saw the rodent and realised that it was doing that to hide it.

See you

The Kestrels had been looking around while all this had been going on and had not really paid any attention to me until I had decided it was time to call it a day.

As usual you can click on any of the images and view larger copies on Flickr. There are also a few more on Flickr. You can look at my Kestrel album on Flickr by following this link.