Speckled Wood

Sitting in the conservatory with the windows and doors open allows a few flying creatures in. No birds so far this year but this Speckled Wood needed rescuing.

It looks rather disembodied because it is on one of the windows.

After catching it to take outside it settled on a rose bush for a few seconds before flying off.

Best for Birds and a Holly Blue

We have a Best for Birds bird box in our garden that looks as though it has chicks in it. Today I set my camera up so that I could take some shots of the two parents busily flitting to and fro. Warning: In one of the photos the bird has what looks like an eight legged thing in its beak.

I spotted Holly Blue butterflies in the garden and at one time we had two of them fluttering around each other. A couple of times I swapped my long lens for my macro lens and was able to get close to one of them on Forget Me Nots.


I found these from 2013 today. They are cropped quite a bit but I think they are worth sharing.

That’s a fair sized fish it has in its beak.

It went down its throat somehow.

It makes you wonder where the fish went. I can’t imagine having to eat very often if you get something that size.

These were taken on the River Aire at Denso Marston Nature Reserve.

Close-up in the graveyard

On Tuesday afternoon, on the way back home from a look around Providence Mill in Baildon, I noticed a blue butterfly in the graveyard so I went home to get my Sigma 105mm macro lens.

When I got back to the church yard I didn’t see any more blue butterflies but while waiting for one to show I did wander round with my camera. This is the first time I have had a decent session with the lens.

There were quite a few areas of Bluebells varying from light blue to quite dark blue.

Herb Robert

Blankets of Forget Me Not

And hundreds of Dandelions, some with small black insects

and others as seed heads.

I need to go back to get some wider shots of this plant so that I can identify it. At least with this shot you get an idea of scale because of the two Aphids on it.

Edit: I have now been back and can identify the plant as Aquilegia/Columbine

Lady’s Smock

Cherry Blossom is still on quite a few of the trees and looks like a blizzard when a strong gust of wind catches it.

The air was thick with Aphids, Hoverflies, Wasps, etc. From the head of this one I would hazard that it is some kind of Hoverfly

And this one is one of the various kinds of … Er!

This Speckled Wood was the only butterfly I spotted.

One of the fir trees in the church yard had ladybirds and Harlequins on the ends of most of its branches. Hundreds if not thousands of them.

There were also lots of Grey Mining Bees around. This one has just left its round nest hole that you can see behind it.

Bit of a Catch-up

I am still going through and indexing photos on my computer. Hopefully, if I ever finish the task, I will then be able to find the photos that I know I took but can’t remember exactly when, or even in some cases, where.

For instance I know I took a photo inside a wine shop when on one of my Ingress outings. Searching for “Wine” comes up with several wine related photos, including some rather drunk looking people, but a photo of Wino’s in Oldham was not there. I wanted to show the photo to someone so I decided to hunt for it. It is now tagged and indexed.

I managed to find the photos because I also let Google track my location. By looking at my timeline in Google maps I could see the date I was in Oldham and because Ingress uses GPS I was able to narrow it down to within an hour or two. I could then look through the folders on my computer that are organised by date and find the Wino’s photos.

Next time you are in Oldham why not pay the place a visit. They have a great selection and the owners are very knowledgeable. I did blog about my visit at the time. It looks as though the Saddleworth Wine Vault website I linked to in my blog post has been moved to a new “name” – winevlt.com. The website covers both shops – Oldham and Uppermill.

I have yet to come across the photo of a Red Grouse that I know is there somewhere. A clear shot of the head peaking out between the Heather. Being able to find those will help when putting together the wildlife slide show talks I have been asked to do. I have dozens of Red Grouse photos indexed but not that one.

This one of the benches in Roberts Park is from 2013. (It is taking me a while to review and index shots from 2013. There are a lot that I have not touched since taking them off the camera.) I’m tempted to try this view using the camera on my phone. A lot more of it would be in focus but that was not the idea behind the original shot.

And now onto 2014. I have just been through and indexed a few landscape views of Baildon Moor but this one is a chilly sunrise in Roberts Park – 8:23 20 Jan. New Mill chimney on the left, Salts Mill chimney in the middle and The United Reform Church on the right.

The photo above is of the bandstand in Roberts Park. Very colourful with its nighttime lights on.

I’ll save this as draft now and perhaps add some more photos before posting.

I have now come across a sequence of Heron photos that I had forgotten. This is the moment that the Heron lunged for the fish.

The fish escaped for a split second but was soon caught again. The Heron held on to it then rearranged it in its beak and tipped it down its throat head first.

Shipley Glen to Golcar Farm

Saturday 20 Apr 2019 was another Bracken Hall Countryside Centre walk guided by local birder Paul King. 1:30 in the afternoon might not be the best time to start a birding walk and Paul spent some time talking about what to look and listen for during early morning or evening walks. However we did well.

We could here Robins and Crows but one of the first birds to be spotted was this Harris’s Hawk. It is most likely to be an escapee from a falconry, they breed in the Americas, so according to Paul it is only worth half a tick in your birding book. I quite like it and it doesn’t have any jesses on so it gets a full tick in my book.

The Hawk was being bothered by a Rook. The Hawk was a little late in flipping on to its back, which is probably just as well for the Rook. I know I wouldn’t want to be grabbed by those talons.

I was tempted to edit the relative positions of the birds to make it look more dramatic but that would be cheating.

Walking North along Bracken Hall Green, in amongst the Robins we could hear the distinctive call Willow Warblers. They will have only recently come back from Sub-Saharan Africa. They appeared to be spaced out along the trees so have already been setting up their breeding territory.

Further along Glovershaw Beck gave good views of a couple of Rookeries. It looked as though most of the nests were occupied with another adult nearby. This is a view of the nearer nests.

After crossing the road this Common Buzzard flew over, circled a few times before drifting off.

We had seen a few Swallows flying around. They will have recently returned from the Southern hemisphere to breed in and around our barns and outbuildings. This one posed nicely on a wire for me.

On the moors things were very quiet. A couple of Curlew were heard. A few times a Snipe could be heard. In the fields there were a fair number of Lapwing on nests which means that not many have hatched yet.

A week ago I almost stood on a Lapwing nest containing three eggs. It was in the middle of a track made by the golf club maintenance vehicles and very close to the busy path. I did not expect it to survive. I was surprised to see an adult lapwing still near where the nest had been and surprised again when I saw a chick. And even more surprised when I saw two more at what I think had been the nest. All the eggs had hatched!

This is the adult keeping a very close eye on one of the chicks. I have never been so close to Lapwing chicks before. In previous years I had been amazed at how you could get a glimpse of a chick and then with a call from an adult it would disappear from view. These new ones were sometimes hiding and sometimes walking towards the adult. Perhaps that was because we were so close.

I no longer embed the images from flickr but I have uploaded these, plus a few others, to an album on flickr that you can see here.