Beamsley Beacon

Beamsley Beacon, AKA Howber Hill, is a few miles from Skipton and Addingham and is a portal within the game of Ingress. The game is the reason why I have been there a few times, it is a good place to throw some decent sized fields to/from.

Next to one of the cairns up there is a Trig Point. And as you would expect you can see a fair way from up there.

Just because you can see a long way does not mean that it is worth looking at, but… I reckon that by anyone’s standards you can call that a good view.

I could tweak the contrast of the distant view to make it appear clearer but that is not a bad view for February.

Using a long lens it is possible to see snow covered hills to the North North West.

This view is looking South Eastish. I don’t know what the white “bales” are. I have seen similar things used to transport fibre matting that is then wedged in ditches to hold back water and silt to help prevent flooding in rivers lower down and to regenerate the Moors.

While I was up there waiting for the portal to cool down I heard and saw many Grouse in the distance. I knew there would be some close, but they are smart enough to keep out of the way, until I spotted this one with a beady eye on me.

My trips out were not part of a time sensitive Ingress team plan so I was able to pause en-route to get this shot of a flock of Lapwing that were making use of a flooded field just off the road to Ilkley.

One of the Ingress trips also included stopping off at a mile marker that is called the “Miles from anywhere stone” in the game. If you want to get out and about more start playing Ingress.

Cowper’s Cross on Ilkley Moor is also a portal in the game that has a view of RAF Menwith Hill. Several other portals are nearby on the Moors.

During one trip up to Cowper’s Cross in March 2014 some of the Heather was being burnt. This is done to allow new growth to come through which provides food more suitable for Grouse and Sheep. If the Heather is left it becomes taller and woody, this provides protection for animals but by burning some of the Heather it is not all tall and woody.

This Red Grouse seems to be keeping a wary eye on the proceedings.

These are some of my photos from early 2014. I am still going through indexing and cataloging so you can expect me to be posting some more little stories and photos before I get up to date.

New Macro lens at Denso


On Monday afternoon (25 March 2019) I decided to go down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve with my camera hoping to see something so I could use my new Sigma Macro lens that I bought at the Photography Show at the NEC the week before.

Comma Butterfly

I was a little surprised to see a reasonable number of butterflies around. I’m sure I saw a Brimstone flying high up on the other side of the river. This Comma settled nicely, catching the Sun on its wings and let me get what I think is a decent shot of it with my new lens.

The blossom on the Buckthorn (Sloe) was providing nectar for this Comma…

.. and for many Bees. This one has a massive collection of pollen on its legs.

The lens focuses to infinity so performs as a “normal” 105mm lens so I was able to get this shot of one of the rats that run about the reserve.

Some kind of Macro or close focus is needed to get close enough for a Bee and even with 105mm you have to get quite close.

With my long lens (Sigma 150-600mm) you can’t get very close but butterflies (like this Peacock) are big enough to give a decent photo.

With my long lens still on I walked along the river and at one point I kept hearing a Kingfisher and seeing a flash of blue as it flew along the river, and then a flash of orange as it turned and flew up the river bank looking as though it was heading for the canal.

I got as close as I could to the river and hid/sheltered against a tree. On one of the circuits the Kingfisher perched for a second or two a few yards down river from me. I couldn’t move to get more of the beak in shot because just a few inches to my right was a six foot drop into the river.

Wrens, for their size, are a very noisy bird. Here’s one opening its beak wide to let its song out. Surely they can’t produce such volume without getting exhausted or having to feed for a couple of hours to get their energy back.

The Reserve is occupied by a large number of Dunnock. This one is near one of the feeding stations.

On the river these two female Goosander seemed to be paying attention to something just down river…

… and this is what seems to have caught their attention. A male Goosander, ducking, diving and making a display of itself.

Over the course of the afternoon I had heard Pheasant several times. Sometimes I could see a brown dot in the fields but this one came down towards the river. It’s got some quite good colour to it.

Walks, Sat 23 March 2019

Wildflowers Walk

This morning was a Wildflowers Walk at Denso Marston Nature Reserve guided by Harry Allenby. I took my new Macro lens with me thinking that I would take photos of the plants.

However three deer were spotted on the other side of the river so I swapped over to my long lens to get this shot of them.

Still with the long lens on – a pair of Mandarin Duck on the river. It is quite possible that they are a pair and that there will be chicks later in the year at the reserve.

Birding Walk

The afternoon birding walk was organised by Bracken Hall Countryside Centre and conducted by Paul King.

Again only two photos of the event, neither of them are good photos, but at least record two things we saw. We also saw Curlew, Jay, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Robin, Nuthatch, Great Tit, Blue Tit.

This Toad was trying to keep out of our way on the steep path on the Eldwick side of Crag Hebble Dam.

And this Dipper was in the middle of Lode (?) Pit Beck next to the road leading down to Bradford Rowing Club. It was on one leg and still. No dipping.

Liverpool June 2015

I am still tagging and indexing my photos. I have just been through some from June 2015 that were still as unloaded from my camera. These are from 21 June 2015.

Saturday 20 June 2015 was the Liverpool Ingress Anomaly that I attended and on the Sunday I had a walk around parts of Liverpool with my camera.

I was in a hotel near the Anglican Cathedral and my car was parked next to it. When I was at university the cathedral was still being built. Building started in 1904 and was not completed until 1978. This photo is of the window above the entrance on the North of the building.

This is a wider view of the entrance and the cathedral. It is the largest religious building in the UK I believe.

Just along from the cathedral, at the junction with Rodney St. you can look down Duke St. to the centre of Liverpool and see another iconic building – the Liver Building, which is down by the river.

A little further over from Rodney St is the everyman theatre on Hope St where the Anomaly “after” party was held.

And just across from there is the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral – yet another iconic building.

And just across from there is a building I remember well. The left hand section of the red brick building is the entrance to the Mechanical Engineering Department where I spent many hours in the early 1970s.

Down towards the centre were many other buildings I recognised but in 2015 several of them looked unused. This used to be Lewis’s. I think it is back in use again now.

The Grand Central Hotel looks as though it could do with a haircut.

In fact much of Lime St. and Renshaw St looked as though it could do with tidying up. A lot of the buildings were closed because it was only 8:30 on a Sunday morning. Hence the lack of people and traffic.

Most of this section has been rebuilt apart from the building at the far end. Across the road the building are concrete and glass of the 1960s and I am surprised they have outlasted the older buildings in this photo.

The Bluecoat Chambers on School Lane still looks as smart as I remember. It was built in 1717 as a charity school.

Seeing this arch at what is effectively the entrance to Liverpool’s Chinatown took me by surprise, but then I read that it is an arch from Shanghai. At the time it was the largest Chines Arch outside of China and much of it was shipped over from Shanghai in 2000 and rebuilt in time for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

25 Feb on Baildon Moor

On Monday 25 Feb I went up to Baildon Moor. It was great to hear Skylark up in the sky, Lapwing wheeling and pe-witting and Curlew gliding in with their eerie call.

I also heard the drone of a drone. The Skylark seemed to be quiet while it was around, but perhaps that was just my perception.

And the moan of mower.

The Police flew by too.

This Little Owl was a lucky spot, they can be very difficult to see if they perch on stones in the sides of the wall, but perched on top of the wall made it a bit easier. It is looking over towards the horse track.

This female Stonechat was on the edge of the horse track looking into the middle.

I wouldn’t call this a murmuration of Starlings as per Minsmere, there’s only about 100 or so, but it is still nice to see them wheel about.

Earlier the sky had been mainly blue but as the Sun got lower it changed colour and started to look very hazy. It made the layers very noticeable before the wind farm in the distance.

Wednesday 27 Feb, following some Roe Deer

On Wednesday the sky was clear again and it was still unusually warm. I decided to go down to the river and have a walk along the path.

There was plenty of bird song and the ones I could identify were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Crow, Bullfinch, Wren.

Juvenile Grey Heron with a large Frog.

One of the silent ones was this young Grey Heron. It was probably keeping quiet so that it could stalk its prey. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too good at catching frogs, we want to see frog spawn, tadpoles and little frogs later in the year.

Male Bullfinch

I did backtrack a bit when I heard a close-by bullfinch wheezing and managed to get this shot. There seemed to be several around. Two of them looked like a pair but possibly the female still needed a bit of convincing of that.

A Goldcrest flitted through a couple of trees very quickly. I would have expected it to stay in the trees a little longer, looking for insects to eat, and tempting me to get a blurry shot of it; but it hopped through without stopping.

Female Roe Deer

After turning to head back I spotted a Roe Deer

Male and Female Roe Deer

This soon turned out to be two…

2 Male and 1 Female Roe Deer

and then there were three. They spent a lot off their time hidden by the bushes and trees. At one point one of them ran off. A noise and quick scurry in front of it suggested it was chasing off another that wanted to take his place in the group.

Male Roe Deer with decent antlers. Still young?

It then returned to the other two.

Male Roe Deer with small antlers

It looks like the group is two bucks and a doe. I really enjoy watching them and followed them for quite a distance.

Roe Deer and Rubbish

Most of the time the deer are in amongst the bushes and trees and can be tricky to spot unless they move. But then you get a view like this that makes you realise that you are not out in the wilds, miles from anywhere, but just down the road from a city and industry.

Little Grebe

Other thing of interest were a pair of Little Grebe hiding under the trees on the other side of the river. I have seen Little Grebe on many occasions but these two looked tiny. They were a lot smaller than the Moorhens that were near them.


A Kingfisher also peeped along the river and settled for a second or two before flying off up river just a few inches above the water.

Common Dipper

At the far end of my walk, near the railway bridge, where there are a few more rocks were a couple of Common Dippers. I didn’t see them both at the same time but I know there were two because one was ringed (the one above) and one wasn’t.

Grey Wagtail

In the same area there were also several Grey Wagtails.

I have left the photos of the Dipper and Wagtail to the back end of my post because the photos are rather poor but still worth posting I think.


On the way up the path to Otley Rd. I spotted this Pheasant that looks as though it was already settling in for the evening.