Potter Pits, Shipley

I have had another visit to Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow which was still teeming with Burnet Moths. This time I didn’t spot any Common Blue butterflies. I then went under the railway arch into what I now understand to be called Potter Pits. I would like more information about how this got its name, always assuming I have got it right.

Under the second archway I noticed that the colour of the water in the beck was not “normal”. It was certainly polluted with something, it looked like someones washing machine had drained into it. I took a photo and phoned the Environment Agency. I later follwed the Beck down to Poplar Road and I reckon the water was the same colour there.

Plenty of Burnet moths were in the field

Plenty of Ringlet and Skippers were around and a few Gatekeeper and Tortoiseshell.

Several other flying insects were around. Many I have no idea what they were, but these I at least know a little about though I have not specified what kind of Bee.

Once you start looking you start seeing other things. Like these Cinnabar Moth caterpillars. Once you have seen one the next one seems easier to spot even though it was in amongst yellow flowers.

I could here Grasshoppers a few paces in front of me but they seemed to go quiet as I approached so I started to take things slowly and quietly. I did notice a few things going through the air from grass stalk to grass stalk so I looked carefully where I had seen one go. The first photo shows that their colour is a pretty good match for where they are. What surprised me was that the ones I saw were all looking up towards the sky but after landing they shuffled backwards down the stalk they were clinging to.

While looking closely for Grasshoppers I spotted this Shieldbug. I have seen plenty of Shieldbugs in the past but they have all been green and brown/black. This one is a strange combination of colours. I have been informed that it is a Hairy Shieldbug and a quick search confirms it.

It was during this walk that I went down the path from Otley Road, next to Crossley Evans entrance, down to Station Road and found out that the people at Just Desserts on Station Road were preparing for a visit by Princess Anne later that day. She also visited Texfelt of Bradford on the same day.

Spooking Blackbirds, Tawny Owl style

On Monday evening the Blackbirds around our garden were making heck of a racket. I had also noticed them making a lot of noise the last two mornings and put that down to Magpies and Crows that I could also hear. I posted a comment on the Baildon facebook group about them being spooked which garnered a few comments, one being NEWS FLASH….“Black and white cat spooking blackbirds in Baildon” Stay indoors please.

Most of the Blackbird panic seemed to be centred on one of the large trees visible from our back garden. I watched birds fly in and out, all the time making their alarm calls.

I looked to see if there were any Magpies or Crows moving about in the tree and spotted something different that didn’t look quite right for a branch. I went in to get my camera with long lens – and there it was – staring at me. A Tawny Owl.

It soon lost interest in me. And didn’t seem the least bit interested in the Blackbirds.

Does this owl think it is The Joker? That is quite a grin it has.

I wonder if the noise from the Magpies and Crows in the mornings had been because of the owl.

Rodley Nature Reserve, Wed 17 June

On Wednesday I spent the afternoon at Rodley Nature Reserve. One of the rather nice things there is two Little Egrets.

Little Egret

It looks like they would have no problem licking their elbows.

Little Egret

If you could be in any doubt about the ID of this bird it is confirmed when you see their rather striking yellow feet.

Several Grey Heron were also around but not showing much interest in things. I assume that when they stand motionless appearing to ignore everything that they have eaten.

The gallery above shows a few of the other things spotted during my visit. The behaviour of the Moorhen was unusual.

At one point I noticed a Sedge Warbler with food so I tried to keep my eyes open.

Sedge Warbler chicks

But it was almost an hour before I saw a Sedge Warbler flitting about again. I tried to watch where it was going to and coming from and eventually managed to spot 2 chicks. They are a little way apart and it was a little while before I started to see the others.

Four Sedge Warbler chicks

Two became three and then four. The adults were busy going to and from with insects.

Four gaping beaks

When an adult came near they stretched both their legs and their beaks.

It is not often that I see Sedge Warblers so I have struggled to narrow down the photos I took.

The gallery above is a collection of the chicks quietly waiting and then gaping as an adult came in with flies. I could easily have spent more time watching if it wasn’t for the fact that the gate locking time was fast approaching.

Whitethroat, Swallow & Swift

On 1st July I had a few minutes on Baildon Moor. I was looking for Snipe and Redshank but more visits are needed for those.


What I did spot though was a Whitethroat in a Hawthorn bush. It kept moving and was hidden most of the time but it did show itself a couple of times.

Meadow Pipit

As expected a reasonable number of Meadow Pipit were around. You can see the distinctive long claws on this Meadow Pipit.

Swallow skimming the grass

At one point I was near several Swallows zooming around. I made a couple of attempts to get a shot of them and failed. For a few seconds they would swoop around following a similar path but even then I couldn’t get a shot. But then one of them flew low between some bushes and some grass so I pointed my camera along the path and set focus at a distance in line with a noticeable set of leaves. I only had a few seconds before another Swallow flew the same route and I took a shot when it seemed level with the “landmark”.

Airborne Swift

Higher in the air than the Swallows were several Swifts screeching away as they flitted about. There has been some concern this year about how late Swallows and Swifts arrived in the UK and there are reports of low numbers of Swifts compared to other years but I have heard them screaming in their usual areas.

Robin with food

I am including a couple of photos from my garden too. This Robin can frequently be seen flying backwards and forwards in the garden, pausing on a timber frame or the back of the garden chairs before heading into the corner of the garden. It doesn’t have much of a feast in its beak but it does mean it has young somewhere.

Mint Moth

Each time I go into the garden I have a look for Mint Moths on the Sage (success) and the Oregano. I also look for butterflies on the Buddleia but nothing spotted so far.


And this is the sort of view you get from parts of Baildon Moor. A 150-600mm lens isn’t the normal lens for landscape though.

Shipley Butterfly Meadow

On Monday, after asking for permission, I spent some time peering into the Shipley Station Butterfly Meadow. The place was teeming with Burnet Moths.

5 Spot Burnet Moth

The most common seemed to be the 5 Spot Burnet Moth.

6 Spot Burnet Moth

6 Spot Burnet Moths were also feeding on the plentiful Knapweed.

They have long tongues to reach down into the flowers.

Many of the plant stems still had the cocoons on them and some of the moths looked as though they had only just emerged.

Mating Burnet Moths

The imperitive is then to feed, mate and lay eggs; and by the looks of it not necessarily in that order.

Mating Burnet Moths

I am making a bit of an assumption with this photo in saying that this is a 2nd male getting in on the act. Given that this is the sort of behaviour seen in many species I think I might be making a safe assumption.

It looks as though 5 and 6 Spot Burnet Moths are happy feeding next to each other.

Female Common Blue Butterfly

There is not much blue on the female Common Blue butterfly so I was quite pleased to spot this. They are tiny.

Underwing of Common Blue

The patterning on the male and female Common Blue is similar but they are slightly different colours. The male has more blue closer to the body and the female is more clearly brown and orange like this one


I also spotted a couple of other larger butterflies flitting about but I haven’t got the knack of identifying quickly moving ones but I did manage to point my camera at one of them and find that it was a Gatekeeper – at least that is what I think it is.

Several other little creatures were around – Bees and flies which I didn’t photograph. But I did take some of Harlequin Pupae, various spot Harlequins, and a little wasp(??), all of which you can see in the gallery below.

Not only was there lots of Knapweed and Birds Foot Trefoil but also Geranium and Lesser Stichwort.

I also had a look at the space between platform 5 and the carpark. I didn’t spot any more butterflies but did see several clusters of black Aphids with some of them being “milked” by Ants. You can just see a small droplet being collected by the upper ant on the left.

I then had a walk around the field on the other side of platform 4 where I was surprised at the number of dead bees on the paths.

Ringlet Butterfly

Dozens of Ringlet Butterflies were flitting about, many of them deep in the grass.

Tortoiseshell Butterfly

A few Tortoishell butterflies were also in the grass. One of them landed on the paths as can be seen in the gallery at the end of this post.

With their colouring these Small Skippers were difficult to spot.

But the star, and the one I had been hoping to spot was a Marbled White. It was the only one I saw. I will visit again in a few days to see if there are any more.

Wolf Mask

When leaving the field and going under the railway arch I was a little startled to see a wolf mask on the ground. At first glance it looked like the remains of something with a lot of teeth.

What, no wildlife?

I noticed a Mint Moth on the Sage in the garden so I fitted my macro lens to take a photo or two of it. Hence the header image. But while looking for more Mint Moths on the Oregano I thought some of the flowers looked worthy of a photo – not something I do very often.

We have quite a lot of self-seeded plants in our garden/weedery. This Toadflax is one of them.

It comes in both pink and purple varieties.

When you get close to the tiny Herb Robert flowers they look nice too.

I think one of the reasons why I don’t take that many photos of flowers is that half the time I have no idea what they are.