A few from 2020

According to DigiKam, the program I use to catalogue my photos and videos, I have saved 1,538 different image files from 2020. Here is a post showing some of the ones I quite like. During 2020 many of the photos I took were of our garden and the things in it, or things I could see from it. This was one of the pleasant things about 2020, the time I spent in the garden with my camera, looking for things that I would not normally notice. I took quite a few photos of the new flowers in the garden and it was interesting to see the variety we had, but I am more into wildlife so most of the photos I have included here are of things with wings and/or legs.

During the year I had a few trips out with my camera. January photos are from Denso Marston Nature Reserve and Yeadon Tarn. February was already starting the stress of the year but this was due to the floods. I watched the footbridge at Buck Lane get whacked a couple of times with what looked like fridge/freezers racing down the river.

In early March I went down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve looking for a Water Rail that had been reported. I had to be patient but it did show itself as did a Redpoll. This was about the last trip out of the house for quite a while so a lot of the photos will now show “.. in our garden” or “…from our garden”

It was July before I had a couple of trips out with me not intending to meet anyone. It’s great that we have spaces like Baildon Moor. I also visited Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits.

One of the good things about August was finding a Brimstone that was hungry enough to stay still feeding. Normally when I see one it is drifting up and down in the distance.

From September onward it was quiet in the garden but a few trips out to with my camera were quite rewarding.

Robert’s Park and Hirst Mill Weir

In another journey out to make sure the wheels on the car still turn I went down to Robert’s Park and also to the end of Higher Coach Road.

I had several things in mind other than getting the car out of the garage and they all needed my camera.

As usual you can click on the images to see them in better quality.

I have tried to keep up with the changes to the graffiti wall in Robert’s Park and on this visit I took photos of the two faces and the edge. I have added these to the gallery on the Robert’s Park page on Baildon Wiki. From doing a bit of searching on t’inernet I found that @bjthebear is the twitter handle for Benjamin James Holden (Website) an artist, designer, printer and musician from Bradford.

Just next to the play area with the graffiti wall is the new fish pass on the weir. I assume that the timber frame pieces that are still there means that it has yet to be completed. I think it is a big shame that it didn’t include a micro power generator that was planned at one time. It would have been something of interest and would have fitted with the advanced thinking of Titus Salt when he built the mill. However it was argued that Robert’s Park was for leisure and recreation. Arguments against the Archimedes Screw won the day. There was a worry that if the generator was built then there would be a greater risk of a traffic bypass being built through Saltaire. (Saltaire Screwed – website.) The Friends of Robert’s Park and Saltaire Village Society objected to the generator plans. A generator on the other side of the river at New Mill had been suggested at one time.

Beyond the fish pass and near the footbridge is a tree that is covering a large part of an old Angling Sign. This sign is something I have taken several photos of, the first I took goes back to 2002 and you can see that back then much more of the sign was visible.

I recently noticed that though I had posted some photos on Baildon Wiki of the Robert’s Park refit that started in 2009 I had not posted ones of the finished shelters. So today I took photos of the North and East shelters and added them to the Baildon Wiki page for Robert’s Park.

After Robert’s Park I went down to the weir at Hirst Mill where the water was flowing quite quickly. The weir is very different after the large breach was made in it several years ago. Instead of a level lip it is now made from large rocks that cause a lot more water agitation.

Over in Bull Coppy Wood near the Rowing Club were at least 17 Grey Herons. I posted similar photos a few weeks ago. So many times during the year you see lone Grey Herons so it is great to see them congregating at this time of year. They do tend to be tucked out of the way a bit though.

The Wharfe near Greenholme Mill

On Tuesday I took the car down to the lay-by on the A660 and walked along the River Wharfe up to the Stepping Stones on the other side of Greenholme Mills.

As usual feel free to click on an image to see it better quality in its gallery.

The last time I was along the river here I spotted a Little Egret but not today. A female Goosander did oblige before flying away. I spotted a Cormorant further up river and walked carefully along trying to make best use of any cover. Before I got to it it took to the air and flew down river past me. I struggled to get a clear view of it until it had got past. After walking almost past the mill I heard and then spotted a Goldcrest flitting about the bushes. Along the path by the Goit there were quite a few Blackbirds and Robins and several Thrushes. On two occasions I watched a Thrush hop into the grass and bushes at the side of the path and kept my eye on the place. When I got level I kept walking quietly but looking to the side where I could see, between the leaves small patches of a Thrush and an eye watching me.

Towards the end of the Giot is a building housing the Greenholme Mill Hydro, AKA. Burley Hydro Scheme that uses a Kaplan Turbine to generate electricity. The gate posts on the road leading to it have a West Riding Anglers 100 year sign. Interestingly they didn’t take that name until 1978. And the name came about because they held their meetings at the West Riding Hotel, in Wellington Street , Leeds, until 1966. The weir near the stepping stones helps maintain the height of the water flowing through the generator. I have not been to this area before so I don’t know if the numerous signs on the other side of the river about bulls and private property are as a result of recent increased activity. Some of them do look as though they will soon blow away.

Heading back I started to notice the calls of more Curlew. When I was near the Mill I noticed, through the trees, a few coming in to land. A few yards further on there was a bit of a clearing where I could watch a flock of about 60 or so land.

During the walk I heard several Nuthatch. At one point, along the path by the Goit, I watched one in a tree while I could hear calls from both directions up and down the path.

End of November. A few minutes out with car and camera.

I took the car out again for its weekly spin so I don’t get flat spots on the tyres, so the brakes don’t seize on, and so that I don’t forget how to drive. And I took my camera with me.

As usual you can click on an image to see it better quality in its gallery. The difference is very noticeable if you have a decent sized computer screen. I have yet to find out how to tell WordPress to not show a reduced resolution image in the blog.

I went down to what I think is called Conker Alley – at the end of Higher Coach Road next to the bridge over Loadpit Beck, and walked down to the weir near the Rowing Club. The first thing I heard over the noise of the weir was Grey Wagtail. I spotted one over the other side of the river but two of them soon flew over part of the weir jumping up and insects flying near them.

I then heard a Wren in the bushes to the left of the Rowing Club building. At first it was deep in the thick of them and invisible apart from twitching twigs. But them it showed itself before flying off to behind the building.

I then heard Geese and looked up into the field behind the Rowing Club to see a flock of around 10 Grey Heron. For most of them just their heads were showing so there could have easily been more. And a few yards to the right of the Herons was a flock of Canada Geese with a couple of Greylag Geese around the edge. One of the Herons looked as though it had yet to grow some of the white feathers of the adults. It wondered up and around the field while the adults kept themselves down in the depression of the field – quite possibly where they would find more worms and frogs. I did wonder if they would settle there for the night but the whole flock lifted off and flew over over the trees further up river.

When I got back to my car I heard Mistle Thrush and looked for them in the trees. There were several Thrush like silhouettes in the tops of some of the trees but from the size and noise they were making I did wonder if those were Redwing. And then I spotted this Squirrel munching away on something it was holding in its front paws. I have tried zooming in on what it is eating. It looks vaguely like an apple but my best guess is that it is some kind of mushroom/fungus. Apparently Squirrels can eat mushrooms that would be poisonous to us.

Because of the poor light on the Tuesday I decided to go back again on Wednesday. The light was much better but there were only two Grey Herons in the field and they were keeping their heads down so I couldn’t see very much. I did see a Grey Wagtail on the weir – it is the last one in the set at the top of this blog post. I think it has made a clearer image.

On the way back up the drive of the Rowing Club I kept my eyes on Loadpit Beck and spotted a small patch of white – a Dipper. Most of the time it was obscured by branches and it was difficult to get my camera to focus on it. It was also dark under the overhanging branches but I did manage to get a few shots of it as it was going along picking insects and larvae off the rocks and out of the water. At one point it was sticking its head under water and pulling leaves out, throwing them to one side and then dipping its head in again. Once it had cleared the leaves out of the way it then stuck its head under again and came back up with the larvae it had uncovered. This is behaviour similar to Blackbirds except that it is done underwater as opposed to in the undergrowth.

River Wharfe, Little Egret and Curlew

On Tuesday 17 I decided to take the car out so that it didn’t fester in the garage. The parking brake came off with a bit of a clunk and the brakes sounded a bit rough for a few yards but the car seemed OK. I took my camera, with its long lens, with me and decided to spend a few minutes next to the River Wharfe parked in the lay-by opposite where Otley Rd leaves the A660, near the roundabout with the A65.

Please click on the images to see better quality or full-size versions.

I could hear Robins, Long Tailed Tits, Gold Finch and Blue Tits but one of the first things I spotted was a flock of Starlings swirl around and land in the field over the other side of the wall. After looking a bit closer I realised that what I had thought were brown plants and grasses were Curlew, lots of them. Dozens of Lapwing were also with them. After watching for a few minutes most of them took to the air, circled round a bit and landed in the field across the other side of the river.

I walked up river a few yards watching the Curlew preening themselves and tucking their long beaks under their wings looking as though they were settling in for a rest as seen in the header image. At 4 in the afternoon it did seem a bit early to be settling for the night but sunset is at 4 at this time of year.

I headed back towards the car and spotted a singing Robin in a tree next to the gate. I took a couple of photos of it hoping that it wouldn’t show as just a silhouette against the sky. I then spotted quite a large white shape above the river. I tried to keep a tree between me and where I thought it had come to land as I moved closer to the river. This allowed me to get a couple of photos of the Little Egret. We have done well for Egrets over the last couple of years. I managed to get a photo of a Little Egret at Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits and last year a Great White Egret spent some time on the canal and river Aire at Saltaire.

I didn’t have my binoculars with me but took some photos of ducks way down river. Some of them flew up river but I waited until I got home to look at the photos to see that there were Goosander among the Mallards.

Making and Breaking Triangles. Stainburn, Fitzwilliam, Barnsley and Baildon

This is another post that has come about because of taking my camera with me when making and breaking triangles in the game of Ingress. Thinking about photography also helps me decide where to go when looking at triangles.

Stainburn Forest 14 Sept- part of this forest has been felled so some of it looks a bit dead at the moment but I did see Squirrels and Pheasants amongst the tree stumps. I also spotted a Sparrow Hawk flying through some of the trees and a Kestrel hovering over the fields.

The water in the 2nd photo is Lindley Wood Reservoir on the river Washburn.

I don’t need Ingress as an excuse to visit Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Area (21 Sept) but this visit was because I was passing after visiting some Ilkley portals. I have seen ducks dabbling, and Little Egret and Kingfisher fishing, but this is the first time I have seen someone with a rod in the middle of the river. There is a multitude of different wild plants in the reserve and it is also a good place to spot various fungi.

On 21 Sept I also had a walk along part of the Leeds Liverpool canal where at Gallows Bridge Moorings they were lifting a boat out of the water. At the first attempt the boat was nose heavy and they had to move some of the boats on the right so they could get the hoist in the right position on the boat.

After looking for relatively close places I haven’t visited in Ingress I decided to have a trip to Castleford 24 Sept. Whilst there the weather was OK but on the way home the skies darkened and I saw several flashes of lightening. The clouds seemed lower in the direction of home. I had just got the car in the garage when tonnes of ice fell from the sky. We have had sprinklings of hail at this time of year before but this was impressive. As you can see it knocked holes through many of the plants in the garden.

After seing too much green on the the Ingress map I decided it would be a good idea to go to Fitzwilliam Country Park 26 Sept. After getting in the car I just told the sat-nav to take me to Fitzwilliam Country Park. I guess the centre of the park was the location it assumed and so took me down what I later realised were private, concrete farm roads. Fortunately at the end of one of them was a place to park – next to the entrance of a poultry farm. There seemed to be several of them in the area. It would have been better if I had looked closer at the map and asked the sat-nav to take me to Fitzwilliam where there was a car park and proper entrance to the Country Park – but I only found that out after walking around the park for a while.

I assume the Country Park is quite new. (I have now checked the Wakefield Council website and it says it was landscaped in 1991) The trees are not very big, it has lots of brambles and Hawthorn and is quite “coppice” like, also I didn’t see much wildlife, though carrying my camera around did let me get the photo of the Swan. The journey also included visits to places like Hemsworth Water Park and Vale Head Park – where the crazy golf is very overgrown at the moment, and Grimethorpe where I met two Ingress agents on the opposing side who were busy protecting and repairing the damage I was trying to do outside the Post Office.

The trip to Barnsley was on 27 Sept. I had been to Barnsley in the game several years ago but back then it was solid blue. A visit on Sunday while it was green meant I got a few unique captures.

Late afternoon of 27 Sept I was out again in Baildon searching for some new (to me) portals in the game when I spotted Roe Deer. The last photo of the Roe Deer looks as though it has just crunched on a snail shell or tried to lick a wasp, it looks very surprised. On the 29 Sept I went looking for newish portals on the Millennium Way on Baildon Moor and spotted this Kestrel near the path.