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.

Aug-Sep 2020. Out with my camera and phone

I have mentioned before hearing noisy Crows and seeing youngsters being fed.

I did think that by the middle of September that all that would be finished with but a noisy youngster was still shouting to be fed; this time on a neighbour’s chimney. The one on the left was fed by the adult and it looks like a risky business; shoving a hard beak into each other. No harm was done, but the youngster on the right, after making a bit of a fuss, was seen off by the adult in quite a rough way.

On one of my visits to Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits someone mentioned Gallows Hill nature area in Otley so I paid it a visit and even though it was a damp and grey day it was quite a pleasant walk. One of the things I have started doing again is playing a bit of Ingress so submitted a couple of new portals from the nature area.

As part of Ingress I have been looking at the map again and saw the opportunity to create a few blue triangles between Beamsley Beacon not so far from Addingham, the Elephant Mural on the A6033 between Oxenhope and Peckett Welland places in Barnoldswick.

These are just a few photos from a walk around Barnoldswick after having created the Ingress fields.

These two photos were taken on a outing where I have made yet another attempt at a photo I am trying to get. I will be making other attempts and will hopefully have something to show for my repeated efforts. The Buzzard was quite noisy.

On Saturday I had another look at the Ingress map and set off for Fewston Cemetery. It was strange to be there during the day. The last time I had been there it was dark and late and I was quizzed by two big armed policemen. Fortunately, at the time, I had finished what I wanted to do so I was happy to “move on”. I then went back gown to Otley and made some triangles.

As part of this drive around I had my camera with me and was very pleased I did. When on Hardisty Hill I spotted a Buzzard on a fence post. It took me a few minutes to find somewhere I could safely stop the car so I could get out with my camera. The Buzzard posed for a few minutes before flying down to the tree in the heather. At the same time I heard another Buzzard behind me, this one flew along some trees before settling in one of them.

A few minutes later I spotted some Red Kites over a field. This time there was a place to stop the car safely. I watched them and realised that they seemed to be staying in the same area so I got my camera. A tractor was working in the fields cutting and turning the grass for hay. I reckon that there were 5 or 6 Red Kites. Buzzard also spent a while hovering and calling loudly. The Pheasant walked along in the grass at the edge of the road behind my car happily ignoring me. Perhaps it was too busy watching the birds in the sky?

I decide to pay Weeton Station a visit in Ingress and was a little surprised to see a Buzzard and several Red Kite circling quite low. They appeared to be flying along behind the trees at the station at about rooftop height along Kingsway. Perhaps something was dead along there?

As part of the zig-zag Ingress way home I stopped off at one of the entrances to Harewood House at the end of Wike Lane. The view of Harewood House is impressive.

A Crow Family

On Thursday I kept hearing slightly different noises outside and eventually went out to see what was going on. I should have gone out earlier.

A Crow family were hopping about the rooftops. When I went out they flew down to the road. The header image shows one of the juveniles trying to hide what is going on from its sibling.

The adult is feeding one of them and the first shot shows its nictitating membrane across its eye, probably to protect it if it gets poked by junior’s beak. The last shot shows the other juvenile with what could be food in its beak. Did it pinch it from the other?

Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow

On Wednesday I went out to Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow and a few minutes in Potter’s Pits. Both places seemed to be very quiet but I did take a couple of photos. The header image is of a Cinnabar Moth pupa on a grass stalk. A dark leaf hopper can also be seen at the bottom of the pupa.

This Ladybird was running along grass stalks quicker than I have ever seen before. It paused for a split second at the top of this stalk before flying off.

I did spot a couple of Cinnabar Moths flying about but I did not see where/if they settled. At Potter Pits I also spotted a tiny pale blue butterfly and several Speckled Woods. However the heat meant that I did not want to be out in the open for very long.

Day 143 in our Garden

Day 103 in our Garden was the last blog post in the Day in Our Garden series. I had tried to create a blog post each day for the series but around the time of that blog post was when I had ventured outside the garden for the first time for a few weeks. If you have been following my blog you will have seen that I have now been out and about a few times – Baildon Moor, Denso Marston Nature Reserve, Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, Dalton Bank Nature Reserve, Shipley Glen, Potter Pits, Yeadon Tarn, Fish Pass at Robert’s Park. However not much has changed since Day 1 which is why I have continued with the format of the title. All trips out have been ones were I felt comfortable that I would be able to maintain my idea of sensible social distancing. From those experiences though I will not be visiting Yeadon Tarn or walking along the river bank near Charlestown for quite a while. At Yeadon, for some reason, people were happy to walk along side by side taking up the full width of the path even when passing others. And along the river in Charletown the slopes or plants and bushes along the narrow paths meant that passing people safely was difficult and needed quite a bit of back tracking. Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits has paths but quite frequent side paths so it is quite easy to maintain safe distances. Also there are signs suggesting that people walk around the reserve in a clockwise direction which reduces the chance of having to pass people.

Since March 13th the only shopping I have done has been at garden centres with plenty of space to move around in.

One of the things that has prompted this blog post from our garden is the variety in the Violas we have. Most plants, like the Clamatis, will produce many flowers but they are all almost identical. The Violas are similar shapes but the colours and shading varies surprisingly.

The Clematis Viticella Purpura plena elegans is another reason for this blog post. The spread of the plant through the rose, honeysuckle and hawthorn is amazing. Another Clematis Viticella, a pale one, has recently been flowering and has quite a spread but is not as profuse as the purple one. The Cadfael Rose is still blooming even though I accidentally gave it a drastic pruning earlier in the year. The Thistle is not the sort of plant I want much of and is really long overdue being pulled out. The Sow Thistle was pulled out soon after it showed itself.

The Rosa Bonica has featured in several post of the series and is still going strong. It has lots of flower buds on it still. We have cut quite a few Sweetpeas for the house and they are still going strong. Self seeded Nasurtiums in the vegetable plot are looking pretty.

Apparently, when out on one of my reserve visits, I missed our patio being covered in ants, many of them with wings. By the time I had got back most of them had gone but I did get this photo of a small group of them. Many of the flower heads on our Buddleia have turned brown but the purple ones that remain are still attracting butterflies.

Click on an image to see it within its gallery and then scroll down to see the “view full size” link.

This is the index to the Days in our garden series.