Tail end of storm Ciara

Once the rain had died down a bit on 9 Feb 2020 I went out to see what the river was like down at Buck Lane, Denso Marston Nature Reserve, behind Charlestown Cemetary, and at the footbridge across from Midland Road.

The first evidence of the storm was the tree that had blown over. By this time most of the clearing up on the road had been done but it is likely that as much work again has to be done to dispose of the everything and make the hole in the ground good.

I then walked down the snicket at Hoyle Court Road and down the path towards Denso Marston Nature Reserve only to find that the river was way up the path past the first gate so there was no way in. I then walked back up and went down Buck Lane only to find that the path leading up to the footbridge was under more than 30cm of water. One of the photos above shows what looks like a fridge that smashed into the bridge. There was not much clearance between the water and the underside of the bridge.

From Buck Lane I walked along just below the fence of the industrial estate of Sapper Jordan Rossi Park back towards the footpath to the reserve. At one point I accidentally disturbed a male Pheasant. I don’t know which of us was the more startled. This is evidence of why you should stick to the paths.

I then went down the path by the side of Teledyne at Acorn Park. I could get down to the path but it soon sloped down and was underwater in both directions.

The next attempt was from the back of Charlestown Cemetery where I could see that the path made of stone slabs was under water, as was the outlet from Barnsley Beck.

I then walked down Otley Road to the footpath opposite the end of Midland Road. From the footbridge I could see that the riverside footpath was underwater.

By this time the intermittent showers meant I was rather wet so I headed for home, going up past the Charlestown allotments.

Gill Beck after some (!) rain

Having recently been along Gill Beck and seen the stone bridge I thought I would go and have another look to see if things had changed after all the rain from storm Ciara.

The water has not been as high as I expected. I had seen the river down at Buck Lane where you couldn’t get to the footbridge because the path was under water(photos are in the pipeline) but here the photo shows how high the water got in the beck. You can see that the leaves and twigs have been washed part way up the bank in the foreground leaving fresh Wild Garlic shoots to grow in the sandy soil.

The stone bridge is still there but it looks to me as though some of the supporting soil and vegetation has been washed away. The tree at the front right of the bridge looks as though it has fallen into the water and there is a large gap with nothing supporting the stone.

The beck looks a little higher and faster than the previous week.

I did find a brick marked SUTCLIFFE that I had not seen before. A search of the internet reveals on a Bricj History site that Thomas Sutcliffe worked the Wrose Brow brick site at Windhill, Shipley c.1891 – 1912.

The header image shows blue sky with white clouds but several times while I was out that quickly changed and on one occasion I sheltered from the sleet and this photo shows that the visibility was poor as the wind blew the sleet across the golf course almost hiding the trees.

At the top end of the walk I did get sight of a pair of Swans on Tong Park Dam. I also spotted a couple of Moorhens paddling through some reeds but all the other birds were being sensible and kept out of the cold wind and rain.

Gill Beck above Otley Road

On Friday afternoon (7 Feb 2020) I finally made the time to go and have a look at the stone bridge over Gill Beck next to the Otley Road bridge. It had looked as though work was going on there even after the wall next to the road had been repaired, so I was curious to see whether anything had been done with the stone bridge. Having seen it now I think the time was being spent building-up the slope to the wall to give it decent support. There is a photo of the slope up to the wall somewhere below.

The photos above show what the bridge was like on this February visit. It looks more or less the same as it did on previous visits except that the branch that is more or less horizontal in the middle (2nd) photo was more upright on previous visits.

These 2 photos were taken in April 2012 which show the bridge covered in a bit more green – as you would expect in April. The branch in the 2nd photo is close to 45 degrees.

The 3 photos above were taken in February 2013 and the branch is still around 45 degrees.

The photos above show some of the things in the immediate area of the stone bridge. I believe there used to be cottages in this area along with substantial stonework guiding the water flow. There is still evidence of a hearth, surrounding walls and also several bricks from local companies. The new wall on Otley Road now has a substantial grassed slope supporting it. At the top of a slope towards Tong Park one of the trees has impressive visible roots.

I then walked along the beck, going up stream to the bridge at Tong Park Dam on the South side of the beck and back down-stream on the North side of the beck.

A lot of Wild Garlic was just starting to come through, promising impressive cover later in the Spring. There were also several small clumps of Snowdrops catching the sun.

Not far upstream the beck emerges from having been under Tong Park Industrial Estate. The 3rd photo above is taken from where it reappears.

The photos above are taken in Tong Park Industrial Estate as I walked up-stream to find where the beck disappeared under the Ind Estate. Keeping to the South side of the beck meant it was tricky to get a shot of where the beck went under the Ind Estate.

The beck goes along by the top of Tong Park Dam. I walked as far as the footbridge near the top corner of the dam and then walked back along the other side of the beck.

While walking along I had seen and heard Dippers but they tended to be better at seeing me than I was at seeing them. I also had only a 17-55mm lens, great for general views but not very good a getting close shots of wildlife. The photo above is a crop of one shot at 55mm. And as you can see, the Dipper is keeping an eye on me.

The photos above show some of the things that can be seen after leaving the Industrial Estate.

These photos show where the beck flows under the Industrial Estate, a view of part of the estate and then the last is a view of the beck as it goes under Otley Road. As you can see, this bridge is a lot more substantial than the small stone bridge.

The beck marks the Baildon boundary and this stone on the bridge at Otley Road shows the boundary between what was Baildon Urban District Council and Wharfedale Rural District Council. The photo was taken in 2009 soon after the painting, funded by Baildon Parish Council, of the stone mile and boundary markers along Otley Road had been done.

Buying a Shed

The holes in the roof and back of our shed mean that it needs repairing with a new one so today I went to Yeadon to look at some. It is rather difficult to tell what the difference is between Sub-standard, Budget, Super and Deluxe when some websites don’t give a description and seem to use the same photos for all of them. All the difference that I could see was in ┬ús.

I decided to take my camera with me, not because I wanted photos of sheds, but because of Yeadon Tarn. Of course it started raining as I left the shed shop but not to worry.

I had heard that Shoveller Ducks were at Yeadon Tarn but I didn’t see any today. There were quite a few male and female Tufted Ducks which were nice to see.

Canada Geese and Grey Lag Geese were quite prepared to have a hiss at you as you walked past.

There were quite a few majestic Swans happy to be fed, with lots of Black Headed Gulls squawking about.

What I was rather pleased to see was a Cormorant. It frequently dived under, often being watched by Gulls.

I kept an eye on the Cormorant as I was walking along the path back towards my car, after all I was getting soaked, and was pleased to see it still diving, and then it came up with a fish. If you compare the size of the Cormorant’s head when it is looking face on you wonder how it can get such a fish down. The bottom mandible can widen and the whole back of the beak open up. I have seen the same thing in Grey Herons. When they look at you head on they only look the width of a pencil but can widen to get big fish down their throats.

Yet another visit to DMNR


I met up with a couple of members of the Shipley Camera Club down at Denso Marston Nature Reserve on 10 Jan. They took some excellent photos while they were there of Squirrels, Bullfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit etc. The header image of the Bullfinch is my attempt at the same thing.

I also got a shot of a Chaffinch at the Spider Club bird feeding station.

I then went looking for other birds, in particular I was hoping to get sight of Goldcrest. I found one area of trees and bushes where I am pretty sure there were five of them and another area where I think there were three in amongst a flock of Long Tailed Tits and a few Blue Tits. The low light, their size and the fact that they are never still meant that most photos, if they had a bird in the frame, were blurred.

On the way back to the gate I spotted a Little Grebe near the opposite bank and a Pheasant that seemed to be keeping an eye on me. On this visit I did not spot any Roe Deer or Mink.

A Grey Heron flew along the river and then banked round between the trees towards the pond. I retraced my steps a bit but couldn’t see the Heron. I knew that it would see me before I saw it so I left it so it could go looking for fish and frogs undisturbed.

Denso Marston Nature Reserve – first visit of 2020

On Thursday, just after midday I got a phone call saying that some small birds were in the Alder trees at DMNR. Because of the light they tended to show as silhouettes which made it tricky to identify them. So down I went with my binoculars and camera. Considering that it was early afternoon the light was terrible hence the rather grainy photos.

With binoculars the birds were identified as Siskins. They tend to be Winter visitors to the area, either from further North or Europe. With the camera, and dialling in some over-exposure to stop them appearing as silhouettes, they could be seen reasonably well. They seemed to quite like the seeds in the Alder between the pond and the feeding station.

Over on the Spider Club Feeding Station were Bullfinch – we also spotted 8 up in the trees. Not bad considering that often all you ever know of their presence is their rather wheezy call.

At the feeding station there were also quite a few Blue Tits, Nuthatch and Robins; 4 or 5 Squirrels could be seen, with 2 or 3 of them coming up to the table to get food. Blackbird, Great Tit and Coal Tits were also around.

Its not a very good shot but as we were walking back we met someone who told us they were hoping to see a Goldcrest. Within 30 seconds of parting we saw a Goldcrest low enough in a tree to at least get it in the frame, with another Goldcrest higher up. A little further along we met up with him again and told him we had seen 2. After parting again we carried on and very soon stopped at a sound and saw 3 Goldcrest in a bush. Not bad, and I hope Paul got to see some that afternoon too.