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 this 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.

Robert’s Park Graffiti Wall

Today the graffiti wall in Robert’s Park play area got a make over. Both sides were done. It looked like the work was being done by pupils from Titus Salt school.

Graffiti Wall

This design is based on the recent dragon boats that have been on the river. A dragon is breathing out the water and a dragon boat is riding the wave.

Graffiti Wall

And this side is based on the Tour de Yorkshire that went through Saltaire recently.

Have a look at this Graffiti album on Flickr to see previous designs for the wall.

The weekend of 8 & 9 July


On Saturday I set off to the weir at Hirst Mill with the intention of setting my tripod up. It must be quite a while since I was last up there because it has been re-landscaped. The last time I was there part of the weir was missing. It has now been repaired but also the area below the weir has been raised so that the slope is more gentle. I guess this means that fish will be able to get up it easier but it also meant that there was no where for me to put my tripod.


So I went a little further up river by the field next to the rowing club and took over 300 photos. I have only kept one of them, see above, just to show that I was there. I need more practice. The idea is to get a decent photo of a Swallow flying. The idea of the weir was to get at the same level as the water with the Swallows flying along the river towards me. In my mind it seemed so easy.


I did keep my eyes open for other wildlife too. There were plenty of Ringlet butterflies around.


And a few Red Admirals


Down at Dowley Gap there were a few gulls around and on the filter beds were 3 Oystercatchers dodging the water as the spray arms came around.

River Aire

From Dowley Gap I walked back through Hirst Wood and this was the view from the river bank near where the railway line crosses the river. I caught a glimpse of a Kingfisher and several Grey Wagtails and all the while the Oystercatchers were making a racket further down.

11 ducklings

Along the river and canal there are quite a few of this year’s ducklings looking very grown up but then as I crossed the river just down from Hirst Mill I saw these tiny 11 that are looking as though they are quite new.

Saltaire CC

I stopped off in Robert’s Park to have an ice cream from the Halfmoon Cafe and watched the cricket for a few minutes.

On Sunday I went down to Gill (Ghyl) Beck to look for Dippers, no luck.

Wrose Hill Fire Clay Co Lyd

But I did see this brick in the beck. Made by Wrose Hill Fire Clay Co Ltd of Shipley. The factory was built in the mid 19th century and closed, it is thought, in 1944.


I then went down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve hoping to see more wildlife. Still no Dippers, but a few Brown Hackers ovipositing.


And Azure Damselflies doing the same.


While nearby a Moorhen was keeping a couple of eggs warm.

Juvenile Longtailed Tir

Further along the river towards Shipley a flock of Longtailed Tits chattered past through the trees with this cute juvenile showing itself.

Longtailed Tir

Apparently Longtailed Tits from other broods can help feed the most recent clutch of youngsters. This adult was in the same flock drifting through the trees.

You can see a couple of photos of a brood looking rather cozy here and here.


For some reason I thought that Dragonflies/Damselflies only existed in this stage to mate and that they didn’t eat. Their larval stages are voracious hunters but it looks as though they hunt at this stage too. Here is a Azure Damselfly having just got hold of a fly.


and here it is with not much of the fly left

Thursday on Baildon Moor

On Wednesday evening the Baildon Camera Club meeting was a shooting session on Baildon Golf Course. I have posted my photos to the camera club facebook page but not being mad keen on landscapes I am not posting any here.

When we were up near the tee for the second hole I heard a few quiet noises so I decided to go back up there on Thursday afternoon. It was a hot sunny afternoon with a breeze blowing all the grass pollen straight into my eyes.

Reed Bunting

But after perching myself on some rocks I waited. There were lots of Meadow Pipit and Skylark around, parachuting in. I heard a few quiet noises and then a Reed Bunting came reasonably close

Reed Bunting

I had also seen a couple of male Reed Buntings further off  but this one is a juvenile РI say juvenile because of the paler beak and its yellow edges.


But the ones I had been hoping to see were Stonechats. This one is a female.


and this a male


and juvenile. Though I would be happy to be told that I was messing up the female and juvenile.


In this shot the female (?juvenile) was on the post and the male just dive bombed in.

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As usual you can click on the photos to see larger versions on Flickr.