Bit of a Catch-up

I am still going through and indexing photos on my computer. Hopefully, if I ever finish the task, I will then be able to find the photos that I know I took but can’t remember exactly when, or even in some cases, where.

For instance I know I took a photo inside a wine shop when on one of my Ingress outings. Searching for “Wine” comes up with several wine related photos, including some rather drunk looking people, but a photo of Wino’s in Oldham was not there. I wanted to show the photo to someone so I decided to hunt for it. It is now tagged and indexed.

I managed to find the photos because I also let Google track my location. By looking at my timeline in Google maps I could see the date I was in Oldham and because Ingress uses GPS I was able to narrow it down to within an hour or two. I could then look through the folders on my computer that are organised by date and find the Wino’s photos.

Next time you are in Oldham why not pay the place a visit. They have a great selection and the owners are very knowledgeable. I did blog about my visit at the time. It looks as though the Saddleworth Wine Vault website I linked to in my blog post has been moved to a new “name” – winevlt.com. The website covers both shops – Oldham and Uppermill.

I have yet to come across the photo of a Red Grouse that I know is there somewhere. A clear shot of the head peaking out between the Heather. Being able to find those will help when putting together the wildlife slide show talks I have been asked to do. I have dozens of Red Grouse photos indexed but not that one.

This one of the benches in Roberts Park is from 2013. (It is taking me a while to review and index shots from 2013. There are a lot that I have not touched since taking them off the camera.) I’m tempted to try this view using the camera on my phone. A lot more of it would be in focus but that was not the idea behind the original shot.

And now onto 2014. I have just been through and indexed a few landscape views of Baildon Moor but this one is a chilly sunrise in Roberts Park – 8:23 20 Jan. New Mill chimney on the left, Salts Mill chimney in the middle and The United Reform Church on the right.

The photo above is of the bandstand in Roberts Park. Very colourful with its nighttime lights on.

I’ll save this as draft now and perhaps add some more photos before posting.

I have now come across a sequence of Heron photos that I had forgotten. This is the moment that the Heron lunged for the fish.

The fish escaped for a split second but was soon caught again. The Heron held on to it then rearranged it in its beak and tipped it down its throat head first.

Shipley Glen to Golcar Farm

Saturday 20 Apr 2019 was another Bracken Hall Countryside Centre walk guided by local birder Paul King. 1:30 in the afternoon might not be the best time to start a birding walk and Paul spent some time talking about what to look and listen for during early morning or evening walks. However we did well.

We could here Robins and Crows but one of the first birds to be spotted was this Harris’s Hawk. It is most likely to be an escapee from a falconry, they breed in the Americas, so according to Paul it is only worth half a tick in your birding book. I quite like it and it doesn’t have any jesses on so it gets a full tick in my book.

The Hawk was being bothered by a Rook. The Hawk was a little late in flipping on to its back, which is probably just as well for the Rook. I know I wouldn’t want to be grabbed by those talons.

I was tempted to edit the relative positions of the birds to make it look more dramatic but that would be cheating.

Walking North along Bracken Hall Green, in amongst the Robins we could hear the distinctive call Willow Warblers. They will have only recently come back from Sub-Saharan Africa. They appeared to be spaced out along the trees so have already been setting up their breeding territory.

Further along Glovershaw Beck gave good views of a couple of Rookeries. It looked as though most of the nests were occupied with another adult nearby. This is a view of the nearer nests.

After crossing the road this Common Buzzard flew over, circled a few times before drifting off.

We had seen a few Swallows flying around. They will have recently returned from the Southern hemisphere to breed in and around our barns and outbuildings. This one posed nicely on a wire for me.

On the moors things were very quiet. A couple of Curlew were heard. A few times a Snipe could be heard. In the fields there were a fair number of Lapwing on nests which means that not many have hatched yet.

A week ago I almost stood on a Lapwing nest containing three eggs. It was in the middle of a track made by the golf club maintenance vehicles and very close to the busy path. I did not expect it to survive. I was surprised to see an adult lapwing still near where the nest had been and surprised again when I saw a chick. And even more surprised when I saw two more at what I think had been the nest. All the eggs had hatched!

This is the adult keeping a very close eye on one of the chicks. I have never been so close to Lapwing chicks before. In previous years I had been amazed at how you could get a glimpse of a chick and then with a call from an adult it would disappear from view. These new ones were sometimes hiding and sometimes walking towards the adult. Perhaps that was because we were so close.

I no longer embed the images from flickr but I have uploaded these, plus a few others, to an album on flickr that you can see here.

Pied Flycatcher at Denso

On Friday afternoon I had a walk along the river at Denso Marston Nature Reserve.

Over the years I have wandered along the river from Dowley Gap to Esholt and along every part I have seen or heard a Kingfisher at some time. The river on Friday was no exception.

With a pose like that this Kingfisher, if turned to black and white, looks like a Corvid, except that it is about a quarter the size.

In this shot the length and shape of the beak means there is no chance of confusion even if those gorgeous colours had not already shouted “Kingfisher” at you..

This bird was a pleasant surprise for me, a Pied Flycatcher, a first for me. They are Summer visitors to the UK and seeing one at this time of year is a bit on the early side. I think Baildon is on the edge of where you can expect to see them. They can be spotted on the coast as they pass through to areas West of Baildon, another reason to be chuffed to have seen it. It appears to have been ringed at some time.

Edit: I have now heard from Steve, Reserve Warden, that this Pied Flycatcher is a first for the reserve. 🙂

Other interesting sightings were a detectorist (?) and someone hiding from the sun.

Other things spotted were Mandarin Ducks (above and featured image) Goosander, Mallard (+chicks), Crow, Jay, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bullfinch, Kestrel, Chiff Chaff, Wren, Mistle Thrush, Magpie, Grey Heron, Moorhen (+chicks), Canada Goose, Frog, Orange-tip butterfly, Comma butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, Brimstone butterfly

As you know it is the breeding season for birds and today I saw that Mallard and Moorhen have hatched their young along the river and at the reserve. One Mooorhen pair at the reserve has 6 little balls of black fluff that float around with little pink/red beaks stuck out. A Canada Goose is also breeding there. Steve has very sensibly put some extra signs up about the need for dogs to be on a lead in the Nature Reserve. Not only is their a risk of dogs scaring the adults away from nests (a Moorhen nest was lost last year due to this) but the geese will be very protective of the nest and young and will attack anything invading its space in a rather noisy and alarming manner. These are not pets.

Mid April 2019 on Baildon Moor

I have spent far too much time recently trying to sort through my photos so I decided I was long overdue for a wander or two. This time it was up to Baildon Moor.

It was great to hear Skylark up in the sky and I even managed to spot them on a couple of occasions. Tiny dots fluttering away high overhead.

I did spot one on a wall with its crest up. It spent most of its time looking down to the other side of the wall where it seemed a Skylark was singing. I thought they sang when up in the air.

At this time of year Lapwing are breeding on and around Baildon Moor and this one is trying to distract me from its nest. They often fly up into the air to dive bomb larger birds that fly by.

After moving away from it I could see that it had gone back to its nest.

A couple of Hares showed themselves for a few seconds….

.. before running off to deeper cover.

I was a little surprised to hear a Snipe calling and spent some time looking along walls and fence posts until I spotted one. At about the same time I heard one calling to my right and then another making a thrumming noise with its tail feathers during its dive but didn’t spot them. I’ll be trying later in the year to get a decent shot of a diving Snipe.

I was also pleased to see and hear Golden Plover. A couple of times about 60 took to the air and flew around a bit before settling down to feed on the insects and worms.

The Plover tend to stay together but one slowly wandered away from the others feeding as it went.

It looks as though it heard my shutter a couple of times or perhaps saw me move.

Most of the others seemed to be disturbed as a Crow flew over and flew, as a flock, further away. The lone one kept perfectly still for a while before running then flying off to join the others.

A couple of times the whole flock took to the air and I did try using a photo of that as the header image, the one right up near the top of this post, but it just looked like 200 black dots across the screen so I swapped it for a zoomed in crop of a flock. On a phone the black chests of the male Golden Plover in the photo above probably look like little black smudges – it looks better on a 27 inch monitor. 🙂