Baildon Moor, mid May 2018

These are some photos from a few trips up to Baildon Moor in mid May. Some are from the extended walk I took after going on the guided walk along Shipley Glen

Wheatear

One of the brief visitors to Baildon Moor are Wheatear who drop down onto the upper West corner to feed up before heading off again. I think this one is a little late, most have already been through.

Tree Sparrow

Over by Golcar Farm it was nice to catch sight of this Tree Sparrow (differentiated from male House Sparrow by the very top of its head being brown. The male House Sparrow has a grey top to its head.).  I have seen them at Fairburn Ings and spotted one in our garden four years ago. Tree Sparrow numbers fell by 93% between 1970 and 2008 and House Sparrow numbers fell 71% between 1977 and 2008. Both are on the RSPB Red list as globally threatened species. Male and female Tree Sparrows look very similar whereas male and female House Sparrows are noticeably different.

Rabbit

While I  was over by Golcar Farm this little rabbit hopped towards me so I must have been part of the natural scenery. One of the features of my new camera body is that it has a “quiet” mode so it doesn’t clatter as much when taking photos.

Kestrel eating

This Kestrel was having a taste of its prey. I can’t be sure whether it is a small rodent or a small bird but I would put 50p on it being something like a Lapwing chick. Given that the Kestrel has not landed to eat its prey it is likely that it is just preparing it as a meal for young. Who knows, perhaps it is going to take it back to Salts Mill to the nest I have watched over a number of years.

Willow Warbler

This Willow Warbler, in the top of a tree near the 12th tee, was in full song.

Grasshopper Warbler

On the other hand this Grasshopper Warbler was very quiet in comparison. Even though I was reasonably close to it I had trouble hearing it. It was unusual to see it before I heard it.

Reed Bunting

The usual place to see Reed Buntings on Baildon Moor is at the tops of bracken, small bushes or grasses. This one was higher up in a tree calling away.

Meadow Pipit pair

One of the common sights on Baildon Moor at this time of year is the Meadow Pipit. They can be seen and heard flying around or perched on walls before dropping down into the grass. These two look like a pair. They make their nests in clumps of grass and the edges of Baildon Moor look like the ideal place for them at this time of year.

Snipe

An interesting visitor to Baildon Moor at this time of year is the Snipe. They have a call that I think is more like “chucka, chucka” than the “chipper, chipper” mentioned in some books.

Snipe thrumming

But the rather amazing noise they make is when they do their display flight. They fly around calling and then dive with two of their tail feathers out. This makes quite a loud thrumming noise. So far this is my best photo of one diving.

Redshank

It is rather pleasing to see Redshank back again this year. There seem to be several pairs around and we had evidence of them breeding last year.

Redshank

I bought my new camera and lens at the 2018 Photography Show at NEC on 20 March and 2 months later this photo of a Redshank is the 10,000th taken with it.

Lambs

It is amazing how the ground nesting birds manage to survive when several of the fields that they nest in have sheep and lambs. Lapwing and Curlew can be heard calling to keep other animals away.

Curlew

Curlew have a very long beak that can be used to probe into soft ground or into the bottom long grass.

Curlew silhouette

The beak also helps to make a good silhouette as they come into land in the evenings.

 

Oystercatcher on 11th green

I am hoping to hear Oystercatcher along the river at Robert’s Park this year as they fly back and forth to the Tax Office feeding their young. This one is just on the edge of the 11th green on Baildon Golf Course.

Pheasant mobbed by Lapwing

Lapwing are very protective of their young and I guess this Pheasant is too close to a nest or young for these Lapwing to tolerate it. One of the Lapwing looked as though it was whacking the Pheasant round the head with its wingtips and the other dived in looking as though it was trying to grab the Pheasant’s tail in its claws. The Lapwing kept attacking from all directions so the Pheasant was going round in circles it therefore took ages for them to drive it away. It would have been better if they flew in from just one direction to drive it in the required direction.

Escaped Rabbit?

This rabbit, sticking its head up in the evening, looks more like an escaped pet than a wild rabbit. A few metres to the left was a black and white cat watching from the long grass.

Hare

Morning and evening is the time to see Hare. The evening sun is catching this on.

Lapwing, left, right.

The evening sun is catching this Lapwing as it marches up and down on its vantage point.

Lapwing chick

The adults keep watch as their young chicks wander about the field eating what they can. A call from the adult and the chicks duck down out of sight or quickly disappear into/behind clumps of longer grass.

Two Lapwing chicks going under-wing for the night

And then in the evening they snuggle under the wings of an adult. It is not easy to see but this is a photo of 2 chicks pushing their way under the wings of the adult.

Heron heading towards Hirst Wood. Oxenhope in the distance.

The wind turbines are over at Ovenden but the Heron is much closer and heading off towards the river at somewhere like Hirst Wood.

The photos are on Flickr and each can be viewed larger there or you can navigate through the album there.

Bracken Hall Countryside Centre and Birding

On Sunday 20 May 2018 Bracken Hall Countryside Centre hosted a 2 hour walk  along Shipley Glen. It was guided by Paul King, a local birder who is also a member of Bradford Ornithological Group.

It was great having Paul guide the walk, he has tremendous local knowledge built up over many years of birding in Shipley Glen and Baildon Moor.

The trees in Shipley Glen are well established and as a result provide many habitats for a range of birds. The more noticeable ones, by their noise,  were Blackbirds, Crows and Robins; which is why it was useful to have Paul with us to show us evidence of those a little harder to spot.

Tawny Owl nest

Like this Tawny Owl nest with fluffy chicks just visible inside.

Paul also helped us spot Treecreepers returning to a tree with food in their beaks to feed young in a hidden nest. He also showed us an area littered with slivers of wood, then, with a bit of careful searching we found the hole of the Woodpecker nest above us. We heard Woodpecker calling and hammering but I didn’t see any. We also heard Jays.

We then moved up onto Bracken Hall Green which provides a different habitat and so has different birds. Being more out in the open Wood pigeons and Magpie were more easily spotted. Curlew, Sparrow Hawk and Red Kite were also spotted. We could now see the top branches of trees and bushes and could hear the song of the Willow Warbler.

Willow Warbler

Knowing that the Willow Warbler would be near the tops of the trees or bushes we were soon able to spot it singing away. They are a Summer visitor to the UK, having spent Winter in Africa.

Male Blackcap

After starting back along the green to the centre we heard a Blackcap which was a little more secretive than the Willow Warbler but I still managed to catch sight of it. This is mainly a Summer visitor to the UK though some are starting to over-winter in the UK.

After the walk I decided to go back and retrace our steps and I am very pleased I did. I also went up to Glovershaw Lane/Bingley Road but I will cover that part of my walk separately.

The first area I went to on my unaccompanied walk was the area where we saw the Treecreeper coming into a nest with insects in its beak.

Treecreeper

This one has an assortment of insects. I don’t know how they manage to get so much into their beaks. I assume they use their tongue to hold on to what they have while pecking for more.

Treecreeper

Note that this one has a slightly different line pattern in the white just above and in front of its eye. This shows that both the male and female are working at the feeding. And they seem to be doing a really good job.

Treecreeper

This photo shows one of them sidling into where the nest is.

Blue Tit

Paul told us of birds that nest close to or on the ground. But given that I thought Blue Tits tended to nest in holes under foliage seeing this one quite surprised me. It looks “normal” in this shot….

Blue Tit

… but a wider shot shows that it is only a few feet above ground.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I then moved on to where we had seen the wood shavings on the ground and tried to make myself look like part of a tree. It seemed to work because the parent Woodpeckers went to and fro with food for the young in their nest. This is the male with food waiting for the female to leave the nest. The male has a red patch on the back of its head, the female doesn’t. The juveniles have a red top to their heads. Hopefully I will get some shots of that another day.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

They took it in turns and this is now the male leaving the nest while the female waits to go in with the food she has. I quite like this one and have used it as the featured image for the posting. You can see others in the Flickr album.

Great Tit

Continuing with the Spring theme of feeding young this is a Great Tit with food.

Great Tit

And this is the Great Tit at the enormous entrance to its nest. I expect that it narrows down significantly otherwise the chicks will be easy pickings for predators.

The photos from this walk are in an album on Flickr. You can click on any of the photos to view them on Flickr or go to the album where there are several others I took.

Baildon Moor 7 May ’18

I had another walk up on Baildon Moor on Monday. I am retired and had promised myself that I would keep away from Baildon Moor on weekends and bank holidays. Leave those times for people that work Monday to Friday. But it was just too nice a day to miss.

The Mistle Thrush, above, was one of the first birds I got close enough to take a photo of. I see quite a few around but it is still on Red status  with the RSPB. When I took this photo a cyclist was coming the other way. I nodded as he went past but he just looked at me – he was probably thinking “Why the hell was he taking my picture?” Sorry, I wasn’t.

Reed Bunting

Walking along to where the path gets a bit closer to the wall I spotted this Reed Bunting hopping along. I saw it catch and eat a couple of insects as it went along. Out of curiosity I have just checked the RSPB status of this bird; it is at amber. 🙂

Meadow Pipit

There are a lot more of these birds on Baildon Moor – Meadow Pipits, but the RSPB still list it as Amber status. They seem to like flying from one side of the wall to the other, often stopping on the wall or fence post on the way.

Lapwing chick

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go up onto Baildon Moor. To see if I could spot some Lapwing chicks.

Lapwing chick warning

These are the ones that are mentioned in the sign by the cattle grid at Glovershaw. According to the RSPB they are at Red status.

Adult Lapwing

The adults do their best at protecting their young. One call from the watchful adult and the chicks quickly disappear behind long grass, or just seem to disappear. One or more adults may take to the air and circle and dive bomb whatever they see as a threat, all the time giving that eerie call.

I then heard a grasshopper like noise but louder and a bit higher pitched. I looked around the area the noise was coming from not expecting to see anything.

Grasshopper Warbler

But there it was, a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away. I have no idea how it keeps the noise going for so long, it doesn’t seem to take a breath. Quite soon though it dipped down into the thicker bushes and I didn’t see or hear it again. This was the first time I have seen one, I have heard them by Faweather and also at Fairburn Ings – my luck was in today.

Whitethroat

A couple of minutes later I saw this bird in pretty much the same bushes. It didn’t make much noise but I am reasonable sure it is a Whitethroat.

Emperor Moth

I then had to head back home but on the way back on Glovershaw Lane a couple were rather intent on moths fluttering around a clump of Heather. One of them had settled on a plastic tub. They were rather impressive Emperor Moths. This was the first time I had been up close and personal with one in the wild.

The first week of May

One of my posts within the Baildon facebook community was of a view of Hawksworth Hall taken from Bradford Golf Course in the 1930s. You can see the 1930s photo here. Several people said they had not seen a view of Hawksworth Hall like this so, as promised, on Tuesday 1 May 2018 I went to investigate.

Green Lichen possibly of the Ramalina genus or maybe Usnea?

I started my walk from the footpath from Thorpe Lane near here. Along there is a footpath with a fence on either side; one fence between the path and the road and the other between the path and the field with sheep. On top of one of the fence posts I saw this lichen. I am no expert and I am using iSpot Nature to help me identify it. I think the best suggestion so far is the Usenea species, but as I say, I am no expert. What are the key things to look for to help with an ID?

Wood borer

Several of the trees along the path have been cut down and logs left to rot, and one was rotting rather nicely with the help of wood boring creatures. This grub looks a bit larger than would fit through the holes I have seen in furniture. A tasty snack for a Woodpecker.

Hawksworth Hall

Walking along the wall above Hawksworth Lane allowed my to look down on Hawksworth Hall – a building I had not really seen before. I knew it was there but I am normally driving and it is not an easy place to spot.

Menston

The footpath (right of way) along by the wall did allow some good views out over Menston.

Lamb, Hawksworth

And of some of the sheep and lambs.

Gate, Hawksworth

The path then went down towards Hawksworth Lane through this gate. I don’t think of myself as big but to get through the gate I had to take my camera bag off my shoulders and lift everything up so that I had enough room to fit in the space to swing the gate. It is certainly limited to one person at a time.

Bluebells

Instead of following the path straight down to Hawksworth Lane I walked through the wood on the left,

Bluebells

which was carpeted with Bluebells. They make a fantastic spread in so many places around Baildon.

Hawksworth Hall

The entrance to the wood is just to the west of Hawksworth Hall so I walked back along the road for a look. As you can see it has a Beech hedge going higher than the wall directly in front of the hall and an evergreen hedge to the west. You can see the Hall through the hedge before it gets its leaf cover but this photo was taken from across the road with my camera held up in the air on a mono-pod and me firing the shutter from my phone. It is not a view you would get from a car driving past.

I then followed the right of way through Bradford Golf Course and took the photo that I have used as the featured image for the post that you can see at the top, or view using this link. This is a similar composition to the view from 1930s that, if you haven’t already, you can see here.

Squirrel

There were quite a few people on the golf course, or so I thought for a Tuesday, and this character was keeping an eye on things.

Chiffchaff

Further down, where Bradford Golf Course changes to Hollins Hall Country Club Golf Course, there are a few trees. I had been hearing several Chifchaff but as is often the case they were at the very tops of trees singing away. Fortunately this one was a little lower and I was able to get a shot of it.

Moorside, Baildon Moor

Walking further down then allows some good views of Moorside and Baildon/Baildon Moor.

Pheasant

Some of the land is not used as part of the golf course and allows wildlife to wander around, like this Pheasant that climbed to the top of the mound to pose.

Disused electric distribution

Just over the wall into some farm land near where 3 large cables go under ground is this timber cover over some kind of electricity distribution/connection box. I assume it was once used to get electricity to some of the farm land but I hope it is no longer in use, it looks a bit derelict if you ask me.

Tong Park viaduct

From the golf club you can get some good views over towards the railway viaduct and Tong Park.

Male Kestrel

And down towards Tong Park Dam a male Kestrel was flying about.

Tufted Duck pair

On Tong Park Dam this pair of Tufted Ducks were swimming about…

Lone Duckling

as was this lone duckling. You often see Mallards with 5 or more ducklings in tow but this was the only one I could see on the dam. Early days yet, especially since I still see Mallards mating – see the Flickr album.

Female Blackcap

Down by the north side of the dam were several smaller birds signing away. One set of bushes in particular had a few small birds flitting about. Fortunately I was able to get this shot of a female Blackcap.

That was it for my Tuesday walk. On Thursday I went down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve.

Great Tit, ringed

This Great Tit was one of the first birds I saw, plenty of noise was going on too. It was only when I got back home to look at the photos that I noticed that it has a ring on its leg.

Robin pair, 1 ringed

Robins were also making themselves heard, and again the one on the left has a ring on its leg. You can see a larger photo of the ringed Robin in the Flickr album.

Bullfinch, ringed

Bullfinches could also be heard giving their breathy wheeze  of a call. This is one I managed to get a shot of, they are rather secretive birds. And note that it has a ring on its leg.

Blackbird with food, ringed

Blackbirds were also rather noisy, this one has several flies/insects in its beak which presumably means it is feeding a female on a nest or even feeding young at the nest. And again note that it has a ring on its leg! Someone has been busy.Great Tit

In Denso Marston Nature Reserve there are lots of bird boxes, bat boxes, covers to hide ground creatures, bird feeders and also several containers of nesting material. This Great Tit is doing its best to get a good beak full of the stuff.

Longtail Tit in Nest

Further down the river I spotted this Longtailed Tit and its partner building a nest. The size of this nest meant that the bird could nestle down in it and disappear from view. Here it is checking on the construction. The nests are usually made from moss, lichen and cobwebs.

And so ends Thursday’s walk with my camera.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

We now come to Friday where I had a walk through Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve. It is the first time  have been there. I think I will try to find out how best to walk along the river banks in that area. I enjoyed a recent talk at Bradford Ornithological Group that was about wildlife along the river from Rodley Nature Reserve to Fairburn Ings. I need to look at the map and plan a few walks.

In the Kirkstall Valley reserve we saw Whitethroat, Bluetit, Great Tit, Heron, Wren, Chiffchaff, + + + and several kinds of butterfly. The photos of those were only useful for ID and not suitable for sharing except for this Speckled Wood that let us take a decent photo.

Kingfisher

After walking through Kirkstall Valley there was still plenty of daylight left so we went along to Denso Marston Nature reserve. It is often possible to see Kingfisher along the river between Esholt and Dowley Gap. The river path near Baildon Bridge is quite a good place. You can hear their high pitched “peep, peep” and if you are quick you can then see a small blue Kingfisher flit along just above the water before it disappears into overhanging branches.

I gave some thought to the issue before deciding to post this photo of the Kingfisher and decided to include some information that perhaps not everyone is aware of. Kingfishers are schedule 1 listed, and as such it is illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb them at or near a nest. This is obviously for their protection and suggests it is not a good idea to try to follow them. Several birding websites or groups won’t accept new photos of schedule 1 birds from members during the nesting season. For example the Yorkshire Red Kite facebook group, at the moment,  won’t accept any new Red Kite photos so as not to encourage behaviour that might disturb the birds at this time. For my blog I decided that I would include the photo with the information for those that are not keen birders and might not have been aware of their status. This one, above, kindly perched across from us for a minute or so.

Roe Deer settling for the evening

Roe Deer are frequent visitors to Denso. It looks as though this one was settling down for the evening. Deer can be seen in many places in and around Baildon – along the river, in the fields on the left going up Hollins Hill, around Tong Park Dam, along Gill Beck, on the moors near Sconce, below Dobrudden etc. etc.

Heron

Heron are also a common sight along the river. Sometimes they are happy to stand still while lots of people walk past but at other times you only see them once they have launched themselves into the air to get away. This one was a bit skittish but we managed to peek out from behind some trees to get a shot.

Mallard and Chicks

This Mallard looks all puffed up ready to take its ducklings under its feathers for the evening.

As usual you can click on any of the images to view them on flickr as part of the album for the week. In the album are photos of Small White, Peacock and Orange Tip butterflies, Grey Wagtail, more Heron, Deer, Bullfinch, Mandarin Duck, Goosander, Greenfinch, Robin, Mistle Thrush plus some other landscape views.

Baildon Toilets? Spice? Fish & Chips?

I believe that once upon a time there were toilets in the car park behind Glendale House.

Raj’s’ Spice Hut

They then became Raj’s Spice Hut. I guess I don’t go into the car park by Glendale House very often. That’s my excuse anyway.

I used to think I went about with my eyes open but I recently went by that way and noticed that the sign on the building was unreadable. As of early 2018 it is unused. It is obviously no longer Raj’s Spice Hut.

The unused sign flipped

But a bit of playing about with contrast and flipping the image shows Mo’s Fisheries. What have I missed? How many other incarnations has the building had? Was it actually Mo’s Fisheries? If I do a Google search for Mo’s Fisheries they all seem to be in London.

And rather interestingly the sign has a similar layout with the fish on the left.