One of my posts within the Baildon facebook community was of a view of Hawksworth Hall taken from Bradford Golf Course in the 1930s. You can see the 1930s photo here. Several people said they had not seen a view of Hawksworth Hall like this so, as promised, on Tuesday 1 May 2018 I went to investigate.
I started my walk from the footpath from Thorpe Lane near here. Along there is a footpath with a fence on either side; one fence between the path and the road and the other between the path and the field with sheep. On top of one of the fence posts I saw this lichen. I am no expert and I am using iSpot Nature to help me identify it. I think the best suggestion so far is the Usenea species, but as I say, I am no expert. What are the key things to look for to help with an ID?
Several of the trees along the path have been cut down and logs left to rot, and one was rotting rather nicely with the help of wood boring creatures. This grub looks a bit larger than would fit through the holes I have seen in furniture. A tasty snack for a Woodpecker.
Walking along the wall above Hawksworth Lane allowed my to look down on Hawksworth Hall – a building I had not really seen before. I knew it was there but I am normally driving and it is not an easy place to spot.
The footpath (right of way) along by the wall did allow some good views out over Menston.
And of some of the sheep and lambs.
The path then went down towards Hawksworth Lane through this gate. I don’t think of myself as big but to get through the gate I had to take my camera bag off my shoulders and lift everything up so that I had enough room to fit in the space to swing the gate. It is certainly limited to one person at a time.
Instead of following the path straight down to Hawksworth Lane I walked through the wood on the left,
which was carpeted with Bluebells. They make a fantastic spread in so many places around Baildon.
The entrance to the wood is just to the west of Hawksworth Hall so I walked back along the road for a look. As you can see it has a Beech hedge going higher than the wall directly in front of the hall and an evergreen hedge to the west. You can see the Hall through the hedge before it gets its leaf cover but this photo was taken from across the road with my camera held up in the air on a mono-pod and me firing the shutter from my phone. It is not a view you would get from a car driving past.
I then followed the right of way through Bradford Golf Course and took the photo that I have used as the featured image for the post that you can see at the top, or view using this link. This is a similar composition to the view from 1930s that, if you haven’t already, you can see here.
There were quite a few people on the golf course, or so I thought for a Tuesday, and this character was keeping an eye on things.
Further down, where Bradford Golf Course changes to Hollins Hall Country Club Golf Course, there are a few trees. I had been hearing several Chifchaff but as is often the case they were at the very tops of trees singing away. Fortunately this one was a little lower and I was able to get a shot of it.
Walking further down then allows some good views of Moorside and Baildon/Baildon Moor.
Some of the land is not used as part of the golf course and allows wildlife to wander around, like this Pheasant that climbed to the top of the mound to pose.
Just over the wall into some farm land near where 3 large cables go under ground is this timber cover over some kind of electricity distribution/connection box. I assume it was once used to get electricity to some of the farm land but I hope it is no longer in use, it looks a bit derelict if you ask me.
From the golf club you can get some good views over towards the railway viaduct and Tong Park.
And down towards Tong Park Dam a male Kestrel was flying about.
On Tong Park Dam this pair of Tufted Ducks were swimming about…
as was this lone duckling. You often see Mallards with 5 or more ducklings in tow but this was the only one I could see on the dam. Early days yet, especially since I still see Mallards mating – see the Flickr album.
Down by the north side of the dam were several smaller birds signing away. One set of bushes in particular had a few small birds flitting about. Fortunately I was able to get this shot of a female Blackcap.
That was it for my Tuesday walk. On Thursday I went down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve.
This Great Tit was one of the first birds I saw, plenty of noise was going on too. It was only when I got back home to look at the photos that I noticed that it has a ring on its leg.
Robins were also making themselves heard, and again the one on the left has a ring on its leg. You can see a larger photo of the ringed Robin in the Flickr album.
Bullfinches could also be heard giving their breathy wheeze of a call. This is one I managed to get a shot of, they are rather secretive birds. And note that it has a ring on its leg.
Blackbirds were also rather noisy, this one has several flies/insects in its beak which presumably means it is feeding a female on a nest or even feeding young at the nest. And again note that it has a ring on its leg! Someone has been busy.
In Denso Marston Nature Reserve there are lots of bird boxes, bat boxes, covers to hide ground creatures, bird feeders and also several containers of nesting material. This Great Tit is doing its best to get a good beak full of the stuff.
Further down the river I spotted this Longtailed Tit and its partner building a nest. The size of this nest meant that the bird could nestle down in it and disappear from view. Here it is checking on the construction. The nests are usually made from moss, lichen and cobwebs.
And so ends Thursday’s walk with my camera.
We now come to Friday where I had a walk through Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve. It is the first time have been there. I think I will try to find out how best to walk along the river banks in that area. I enjoyed a recent talk at Bradford Ornithological Group that was about wildlife along the river from Rodley Nature Reserve to Fairburn Ings. I need to look at the map and plan a few walks.
In the Kirkstall Valley reserve we saw Whitethroat, Bluetit, Great Tit, Heron, Wren, Chiffchaff, + + + and several kinds of butterfly. The photos of those were only useful for ID and not suitable for sharing except for this Speckled Wood that let us take a decent photo.
After walking through Kirkstall Valley there was still plenty of daylight left so we went along to Denso Marston Nature reserve. It is often possible to see Kingfisher along the river between Esholt and Dowley Gap. The river path near Baildon Bridge is quite a good place. You can hear their high pitched “peep, peep” and if you are quick you can then see a small blue Kingfisher flit along just above the water before it disappears into overhanging branches.
I gave some thought to the issue before deciding to post this photo of the Kingfisher and decided to include some information that perhaps not everyone is aware of. Kingfishers are schedule 1 listed, and as such it is illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb them at or near a nest. This is obviously for their protection and suggests it is not a good idea to try to follow them. Several birding websites or groups won’t accept new photos of schedule 1 birds from members during the nesting season. For example the Yorkshire Red Kite facebook group, at the moment, won’t accept any new Red Kite photos so as not to encourage behaviour that might disturb the birds at this time. For my blog I decided that I would include the photo with the information for those that are not keen birders and might not have been aware of their status. This one, above, kindly perched across from us for a minute or so.
Roe Deer are frequent visitors to Denso. It looks as though this one was settling down for the evening. Deer can be seen in many places in and around Baildon – along the river, in the fields on the left going up Hollins Hill, around Tong Park Dam, along Gill Beck, on the moors near Sconce, below Dobrudden etc. etc.
Heron are also a common sight along the river. Sometimes they are happy to stand still while lots of people walk past but at other times you only see them once they have launched themselves into the air to get away. This one was a bit skittish but we managed to peek out from behind some trees to get a shot.
This Mallard looks all puffed up ready to take its ducklings under its feathers for the evening.
As usual you can click on any of the images to view them on flickr as part of the album for the week. In the album are photos of Small White, Peacock and Orange Tip butterflies, Grey Wagtail, more Heron, Deer, Bullfinch, Mandarin Duck, Goosander, Greenfinch, Robin, Mistle Thrush plus some other landscape views.