Pied Flycatcher at Denso

On Friday afternoon I had a walk along the river at Denso Marston Nature Reserve.

Over the years I have wandered along the river from Dowley Gap to Esholt and along every part I have seen or heard a Kingfisher at some time. The river on Friday was no exception.

With a pose like that this Kingfisher, if turned to black and white, looks like a Corvid, except that it is about a quarter the size.

In this shot the length and shape of the beak means there is no chance of confusion even if those gorgeous colours had not already shouted “Kingfisher” at you..

This bird was a pleasant surprise for me, a Pied Flycatcher, a first for me. They are Summer visitors to the UK and seeing one at this time of year is a bit on the early side. I think Baildon is on the edge of where you can expect to see them. They can be spotted on the coast as they pass through to areas West of Baildon, another reason to be chuffed to have seen it. It appears to have been ringed at some time.

Edit: I have now heard from Steve, Reserve Warden, that this Pied Flycatcher is a first for the reserve. 🙂

Other interesting sightings were a detectorist (?) and someone hiding from the sun.

Other things spotted were Mandarin Ducks (above and featured image) Goosander, Mallard (+chicks), Crow, Jay, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bullfinch, Kestrel, Chiff Chaff, Wren, Mistle Thrush, Magpie, Grey Heron, Moorhen (+chicks), Canada Goose, Frog, Orange-tip butterfly, Comma butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, Brimstone butterfly

As you know it is the breeding season for birds and today I saw that Mallard and Moorhen have hatched their young along the river and at the reserve. One Mooorhen pair at the reserve has 6 little balls of black fluff that float around with little pink/red beaks stuck out. A Canada Goose is also breeding there. Steve has very sensibly put some extra signs up about the need for dogs to be on a lead in the Nature Reserve. Not only is their a risk of dogs scaring the adults away from nests (a Moorhen nest was lost last year due to this) but the geese will be very protective of the nest and young and will attack anything invading its space in a rather noisy and alarming manner. These are not pets.

Mid April 2019 on Baildon Moor

I have spent far too much time recently trying to sort through my photos so I decided I was long overdue for a wander or two. This time it was up to Baildon Moor.

It was great to hear Skylark up in the sky and I even managed to spot them on a couple of occasions. Tiny dots fluttering away high overhead.

I did spot one on a wall with its crest up. It spent most of its time looking down to the other side of the wall where it seemed a Skylark was singing. I thought they sang when up in the air.

At this time of year Lapwing are breeding on and around Baildon Moor and this one is trying to distract me from its nest. They often fly up into the air to dive bomb larger birds that fly by.

After moving away from it I could see that it had gone back to its nest.

A couple of Hares showed themselves for a few seconds….

.. before running off to deeper cover.

I was a little surprised to hear a Snipe calling and spent some time looking along walls and fence posts until I spotted one. At about the same time I heard one calling to my right and then another making a thrumming noise with its tail feathers during its dive but didn’t spot them. I’ll be trying later in the year to get a decent shot of a diving Snipe.

I was also pleased to see and hear Golden Plover. A couple of times about 60 took to the air and flew around a bit before settling down to feed on the insects and worms.

The Plover tend to stay together but one slowly wandered away from the others feeding as it went.

It looks as though it heard my shutter a couple of times or perhaps saw me move.

Most of the others seemed to be disturbed as a Crow flew over and flew, as a flock, further away. The lone one kept perfectly still for a while before running then flying off to join the others.

A couple of times the whole flock took to the air and I did try using a photo of that as the header image, the one right up near the top of this post, but it just looked like 200 black dots across the screen so I swapped it for a zoomed in crop of a flock. On a phone the black chests of the male Golden Plover in the photo above probably look like little black smudges – it looks better on a 27 inch monitor. 🙂

Beamsley Beacon

Beamsley Beacon, AKA Howber Hill, is a few miles from Skipton and Addingham and is a portal within the game of Ingress. The game is the reason why I have been there a few times, it is a good place to throw some decent sized fields to/from.

Next to one of the cairns up there is a Trig Point. And as you would expect you can see a fair way from up there.

Just because you can see a long way does not mean that it is worth looking at, but… I reckon that by anyone’s standards you can call that a good view.

I could tweak the contrast of the distant view to make it appear clearer but that is not a bad view for February.

Using a long lens it is possible to see snow covered hills to the North North West.

This view is looking South Eastish. I don’t know what the white “bales” are. I have seen similar things used to transport fibre matting that is then wedged in ditches to hold back water and silt to help prevent flooding in rivers lower down and to regenerate the Moors.

While I was up there waiting for the portal to cool down I heard and saw many Grouse in the distance. I knew there would be some close, but they are smart enough to keep out of the way, until I spotted this one with a beady eye on me.

My trips out were not part of a time sensitive Ingress team plan so I was able to pause en-route to get this shot of a flock of Lapwing that were making use of a flooded field just off the road to Ilkley.

One of the Ingress trips also included stopping off at a mile marker that is called the “Miles from anywhere stone” in the game. If you want to get out and about more start playing Ingress.

Cowper’s Cross on Ilkley Moor is also a portal in the game that has a view of RAF Menwith Hill. Several other portals are nearby on the Moors.

During one trip up to Cowper’s Cross in March 2014 some of the Heather was being burnt. This is done to allow new growth to come through which provides food more suitable for Grouse and Sheep. If the Heather is left it becomes taller and woody, this provides protection for animals but by burning some of the Heather it is not all tall and woody.

This Red Grouse seems to be keeping a wary eye on the proceedings.

These are some of my photos from early 2014. I am still going through indexing and cataloging so you can expect me to be posting some more little stories and photos before I get up to date.