Unusual house caller

We have had many visitors to our kitchen but today was the first time I have noticed a Thrush in the house.

I heard a fragile “tap, tap, tap” outside and went to look. On our patio a Thrush was tapping a small snail shell on the ground. I didn’t shoo it away but went for my camera.

Thrush on patio wall

When I got back it was on the patio wall but then surprised me by coming closer.

Thrush on kitchen threshold.

The next I saw of it was on the kitchen threshold.

Thrush in the conservatory

It soon hopped out so I carefully went to the kitchen door. The Thrush was no longer on the patio. It had decided to have a look around the conservatory. But not on the outside, poking in the gutters for insects and worms, like a normal Thrush, but inside.

Thrush checking out the magasine rack

It also had a look in the magasine rack.

Thrush on patio wall

After opening both doors to the conservatory it happily hopped out and onto the patio wall again. I’ll be watching for you, I’m not having you in the house watching the World Cup.

The images are on flickr and you should be able to click on any of them except the very top “feature” image to view them within the album or you can view the whole album using this link. There are several extra photos in the album.

Shipley Train Station 29 June 2018

On Friday I had a walk around Shipley Train Station with my camera.

Burnet Moth

The first place to visit was the Butterfly Meadow where there were many Burnet Moths flitting about.

Small Skipper

There were also a few Small Skipper in the meadow.

Common Blue Butterfly

Between platform 5 and the carpark, following on from the line of the station building, is another small fenced off strip of land with a few plants growing in it. Here there were a number of Common Blue. As they fly about they show the blue of their upper wing but as soon as they settle they show their patterned under wing. This one has the sun shining through its wings. Several Small Skipper were also flying amongst the plants.

Small Tortoiseshell

A rather smart looking Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was also feeding on the Knapweed.

Harlequin Ladybird

I am sure there were many around but this Harlequin Ladynird was quite noticeable.

The images are on flickr and you should be able to click on any of them except the very top “feature” image to view them within the album or you can view the whole album using this link. There are several extra photos in the album.

Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve 7 June 2018

It has taken me a while to go through the photos from my visit to Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve on 7 June 2018. This was partly because a lot of the photos were on the limits of my camera and lens and so took a while to decide which were suitable for showing, partly because I had too many to start with and partly because I keep going out during this good weather and taking more photos.

There were several stars of the visit. One of them I did not get a photo of, and that was a Bittern flying along the edge of one of the pits and landing in the reeds. Of course it was on the far side of the pit and even though it wasn’t flying fast it was too quick for me to get even a record shot of it. Really I was too busy watching it to mess with my camera.

Spoonbill at the nest with chick(s)

Another star, or stars, of the visit were the Spoonbill. It was difficult to see but this is an adult next to the nest that has, I think, two chicks in it. They are certainly not little fluffy chicks, they almost look like lazy adolescents.


The adults kept flying off to a perch nearby where they spent a bit of time preening



and some time pulling at leaves.

Spoonbill at the nest with chick(s) and Little Egret nest above

Above the Spoonbill nest was a Little Egret nest. You can see the two crest feathers on the left hand bird. I didn’t see much activity in or around the nest.

Little Egret

This is one of the adult Little Egrets with its crest feathers and yellow feet. I didn’t see it get to the nest but with the distance it doesn’t surprise me that I couldn’t see what was going on.


The Spoonbill nest however seemed reasonably busy. With the adults flying to and fro.


And sometimes crossing each other.




With a change in colour and a few minor changes to shape and these are Pterodactyls. I reckon Dinosaurs didn’t die out, they just grew feathers.


This is a wider view of the area but it is still a cropped photo taken at 210mm focal length. It shows a perched Spoonbill and a Grey Heron just launching into flight.

Grey Heron adult and chicks

In the same cluster of trees there were several Grey Heron nests. This looks like an adult peering down at 3 expectant chicks.


An adult Spoonbill returning with food. It has some green stuff in its “beak” and some trailing green/brown stuff handing by its neck.

Spoonbill at the nest with chick(s) and Little Egret nest above

I’m not sure how they do it with those big beaks but this is the adult feeding one of the chicks on the nest with the vegetation it has just brought back. They are displaying quite spectacular crests.

Cormorant being fed by adult

This is an adult Cormorant, with enormous webbed feet feeding a juvenile. It looks like a dangerous business. The chick has its head in the adult’s beak and, from the bulge, looks as though it is trying to get through the back of its neck.


A couple a spindly, almost bare trees, looked like a favourite place for Cormorant nests.

Male Broad Bodied Chaser in flight

Flitting around the same pond, The Moat, but a lot closer to us were a few Dragon flies including this Broad Bodied Chaser.

Male Broad Bodied Chaser at rest

I later saw another on the path.

Coots and chicks

In the same pond were a few Coots and their chicks.

Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)

On the way back to the rest of the reserve there were quite a few butterflies in the meadow, like this Small Copper…

Azure Damselfly

and dozens of Azure Blue Damselflies.

Great Crested Grebe and chicks

Walking around te Coal Pits I was pleased to see a Great Crested Grebe and a couple of chiks.

Great Crested Grebe and chicks, one has climbed aboard

I have yet to see chicks riding properly on the backs of the Grebes but this is a shot of one of them that has just climbed aboard.

Willow Warbler

Along the areas around the Coal Pits there were quite a few Willow Warblers signing away.

Reed Warbler

In the thicker reeds I also heard Reed Warbler and I spent a bit of time keeping still and watching for the reeds moving.

Reed Warbler

I managed to get a couple of shots of one of them before the reeds closed up again.

Black Necked Grebes

Other stars of the visit were Black Necked Grebes.

Black Necked Grebes

Even with my binoculars I was struggling to confirm that they were Black Necked Grebes.

Black Necked Grebes

To my eye they looked very much like Little Grebes but once I had got the photos home it was obvious what they were.

Reed Bunting

Around the Coal Pits are areas of small trees that are still growing and Reed Buntings, like this one, could be heard calling.

Linnet pair

Flitting between the reeds and the larger trees closer to the river were Linnets, like this pair.


Some of them kindly posed before flying out of range.

View of Fairburn

I took a couple of photos to show just a small part of the habitat at Fairburn Ings. There are smaller and shallower ponds and trees with other bird species – Tree Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit and others. The place is well worth a visit if you are into quiet walks and wildlife or stay close to the visitor centre for plenty of birds including Kingfisher.

Banded Demoiselle

With that sort of habitat it is also quite easy to spot Banded Demoiselle at this time of year.

As usual the photos are on flickr and if you click on any of them it will take you to that photo on flickr in that album. Alternatively you can just go to flickr to view the photos, and others, using this link, but then you won’t have my words to read. 😉

Salt’s Mill Kestrels 18 June 2018

Yesterday I had a reminder about a Kestrel photo I published on the same date 8 years earlier so I decided to go along to Salt’s Mill to see if anything Kestrel related was happening this year. At first I could see nothing happening in their previous nest hole but was told that people had both seen and heard Kestrels this year.

I went up the stairwell to the entrance of Salt’s Diner and looked along the full length of the Piazza. At first it looked as though there was nothing in the nest hole but then I saw movement. That’s one chick head.

And this shot shows that there are at least 2 chicks. I had been worried that I had missed them because in previous years they had fledged within a few days of this date.

This shot was taken in 2011 of the same nest hole but one month earlier (19 May 2011)

And this is what they looked like by 1 June 2011.

It was a similar story in 2010. This photo was taken 12 June.

And by 15 June 2010 they looked almost ready to go.

I have an album of Kestrel photos with most of them taken at Salts Mill that you can see here.

I have also posted several times on here about Kestrels at Salts Mill:-

Kestrel Chicks 2017

Kestrel Chicks Spring 2016


Photos from 10, 11 & 12 June 2018 (Garden & Baildon Moor)

I have now put together some photos that I took on 10, 11 & 12 June 2018. As usual the photos themselves are on Flickr and by clicking on any of the images (other than the header/featured image and the Coat of Arms – which will take you to an article on Baildon Wiki) will take you to the photo on Flickr within the album. Alternatively if you are only interested in the photos within the albums you can go straight to Flickr – use this link for the full album or this link for just the Baildon Moor photos.

Great Tit, Garden

Several nest boxes in local gardens have been in use this Spring. One of ours had Great Tits nesting in it. This is one of the adults looking quite good considering how hard it has been working.

Juvenile Great Tit, Garden

And this is one of the noisy juveniles it has been feeding.

The two photos above were taken on 10 June in our garden. The rest of the photos, with the exception of the two following, were taken on 11th & 12th on Baildon Moor……

Nesting Bird sign

The notice about lambs and ground nesting birds is still near the car park.

Skylark, a ground nesting bird, and sheep were obviously important enough to Baildon for them to feature in the Coat of Arms that the Urban District Council petitioned for in 1952. Baildon Moor is now important to Skylark. Changes in farming practice have significantly reduced the availability of areas where Skylark can nest and so moorland areas are increasingly important to them. In their preferred habitat of farmland, skylarks declined by 75% between 1972 and 1996. Read more on the RSPB Skylark threats page here. For several reasons the farmers with grazing rights on Baildon Moor no longer exercise those rights

Dog trying to sniff out something

This dog? Is it sniffing out where other dogs have been, or is it sniffing out the nesting places of Skylark? It’s probably not getting the scent of Meadow Pipit, they tend to nest a little further into the long grass.

Small Heath Butterfly (Coenonympha pamphilus)

I have not spent much time this year looking for butterflies or moths. I remember going on a Green Hairstreak hunt back in 2013 with several others on Baildon Moor; I have not seen one this year. This Small Heath butterfly kept flitting along the path in front of me then settling before I caught up with it again.


Oystercatcher can often be seen or heard on Baildon Moor. This one was digging on the fairway of the 3rd hole. I have recently seen one of them chasing off a Redkite which suggests that there is an Oystercatcher nest nearby.

Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella)

Slightly further North on Baildon Moor, where there are a few wetter patches were several Nothern Marsh Ordhids….

Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)

and Common Spotted Orchids. If I get any of these names wrong, or bird IDs, please let me know.

Reed Bunting at Baildon Moor huts

Several of the huts on the edge of Baildon Moor have bird feeding stations. This Reed Bunting was on the fat balls of the hut to the West.

Brown Hare

Brown Hare are normally out in the early morning/evening. This was just before 9:00 in the evening. It looks as though the grass it will have been hiding in has now been cut. It will now have to make or find another “form” for it to nestle into.


This Snipe was first heard before I managed to spot it on the post. This was around mid-day on 12th June. I am still hoping to get a decent photo of a Snipe thrumming with its tail feathers as it dives through the air.

Lamb, Glovershaw

The same field has sheep and lambs wandering around eating the grass. Somehow the Curlew, Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing manage to keep the hooves off their eggs and young. Though Springwatch has shown some interesting video of sheep eating eggs.

Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)?

I’m going to stick my neck out a bit and say that this is a Small Skipper.  But I have now heard from the Yorkshire branch of Butterfly Conservation who say it is a Large Skipper. The reason I was not sure was that I thought they had more of a point to the outer corner of their fore-wings. Everything else is typical of a male Small Skipper.

Red & Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata)

This photo above, according to an on-line search, is quite definitely one of a Red & Black Froghopper. Up until this point I thought Froghoppers were the small jumping insects, usually pale brown to green that came out of cuckoo spit. They are, but I didn’t know that the same family had ones this big.

Curlew landing

Heading back to Bingley Road along what I think is the 13th fairway a couple of Curlew seemed to be getting a bit agitated.

Curlew giving me the look

One of them certainly looked as though it was not best pleased with me.

Curlew trying to distract from their young

One or other of them would launch into the air and fly around me or the people on the 14th tee before settling in the long grass again.

After one of these times one settled in some lighter grass not too far from the 14th tee and then I was gob smacked to see a dog launch itself from yards behind its owner, race past her and into the patch of grass. When it got there two birds flew up into the air, one of them the adult Curlew.

Curlew trying to distract from their young

The two adults then looked even more agitated with continuous circuits and constant calling.

Curlew Chick running back into the grass verge

By this time I was in one of the lay-byes on Bingley Road and several minutes later I just happened to look up the road to see this Curlew chick try to cross the road, South to North, it got part way across before cars started coming down the road and it ran back into cover. A few minutes later I saw it try again, 50 yards further up the road. This time it slipped across in front of a cyclist, cars still coming the other way. This is obviously the one that was scattered by the dog.

Curlew on the golf course

Soon after the chick crossed the road the fuss from the adults seemed to calm down. A minute or two later I saw what could have been the chick slip behind a clump of grass that was next to a shallow drainage ditch. This was quite close to the adult shown above, near to the 14th fairway. The chick would have been able to walk along the ditch and stay out of sight.

Dog on a lead

It is possible to take a dog for a walk on Baildon Moor with it on a lead.

Dog off the lead

This dog looks as though it is on the path, which is good. The area down there is where I would expect there to be Meadow Pipit nests and even Snipe though they will be better hidden than Skylark, so by sticking to the paths the birds should be ok. Adults and juveniles might get disturbed as they look for insects along the paths but they are quite capable of getting out of the way then. Grasshopper Warbler have also been seen and heard in the Brambles down near those walls but I think there main predator would be the Weasels or Stoats – both of which I have seen on Baildon Moor. Back in 2011 I saw an Albino Stoat with 3 youngsters of normal colouring.

This was the first time I have ever seen a Curlew chick and I wish it had not been in these circumstances, but it looks as though it got to safety.