Misty morning

We had a rather misty morning on 4 October. At home the sky had been beautifully clear and blue but down in Saltaire the sun struggled to get through until later.

Along the front of Salt's Mill

Even the cobwebs on the gates were affected by the misty moisty morning.

Cobweb, Salt's Mill gate

A seige of Herons

That’s a new meaning of the word seige for me. I had to look up (using Google of course) the word for a collection of Herons. As usual you can click on the images to see a larger one on Flickr.

A couple of years ago I saw 5 Herons in the field behind Bradford Amateur Rowing Club near the weir at Hirst Wood. Since then I have only ever seen single Herons – until the last couple of weeks.

Because of the height of the river, towards the end of Sept I decided to go and have a look at the weir at Hirst Wood. The weir at Robert’s Park has been spectacular. The weir at Hirst Wood was equally impressive.

50 yards up river, on the footpath, I spotted a Grey Heron. I managed to get a few shots of it before it flew off. Then 2 flew out of the trees along the river and then another 3. They flew up the hill on the right.

A few days later, 3 Oct., I decided to get down there as quickly as possible at lunch-time, looking for Herons again. On the way up there I spotted this duck, which, at the moment I have no idea what kind.

Mmm. A duck!

The field behind the rowing club appeared to be empty until I saw Herons over near the far wall. It also started raining. What a surprise! (You can take that as me being surprised at seeing the Herons and/or being sarcy about the weather)

First glimpse of Jerons

There were 6 in this field but then I noticed more long necks on the other side of the wall making a total of 13 Grey Herons all within a few feet of each other. Wow. This shot is 5 images stitched together.


An angler walking along the river bank seemed to scare them all over on to the other side of the wall.


So that then they were all quite close to each other in the one field. I have never seen a seige of Herons like this before

Many Herons

They then all flew off into the next field behind Bull Coppy Wood or Fell Wood which put them out of sight.


But they were still arriving.


On the way back I stopped off to take a photo of the weir at Hirst Wood. It looks just like thick liquid caramel. Yummy.


Trout Leaping the Weir

A few times recently I have seen a few decent sized fish in the river and I have also seen very small fish fighting their way up a slow, shallow weir. This week has been different. I have now seen decent sized fish trying to leap out of the foaming water of the weir to get up river.

This one seemed to burst out and flew through the air before falling back down and washed back into the weir. As usual click on the image to see a larger version on flickr.

Trout on the weir

It seemed an impossible task because of all the heavy rain we had had. The water flowing over the weir was very fast.

This is quite close in to te bank on the Baildon side as it gets pushed back into the weir.

Trout on the weir

Look at the water spraying off the head of this one as it fights against the current.

Trout on the weir

Over towards the middle the fish seemed to be tossed around a bit more.

Trout on the weir

There were obviously several of them – two are trying to get through here.

Trout on the weir

Trout on the weir

I am going to go down a few more times. The river is very fierce at the moment. I don’t think the fish can get through. Hopefully I will see some more when it calms down a bit.

Having seen these shots I now have a better idea of how to photograph them. The biggest problem is the speed. The fish appeared and disappeared so quickly that more than 97% of my shots were just of foaming water.

Snail Hunt at Denso Marston Nature Reserve

On Sunday 23 Sept Erica and I went down to Denso Nature Reserve in search of snails for some course work Erica is doing for here OU Degree.

If you know the proper names for any of these things please let me know. I will be editing as I find out more. Note that the text tends to refer to the image below it.

For the first few minutes we could see nothing and were getting a bit concerned but then our eyes got used to looking and this blog is about some of the things we found. And again I have uploaded them the wrong way round. (Note to self: Most recent top left. First/oldest bottom right when sorting on Flickr upload.)

The tall nettles were absolutely teeming with life, starting with a 2 Spot Ladybird which I have stitched together with another shot where the Ladybird was out-of-focus but not until later did I notice the almost in-focus Aphid – and look at the size of it!!

Ladybird and Aphid

Please help with the Ids – at the moment this is: A Fly.


Nettle Tap (Anthophila fabriciana) Moth approx 8mm.

Thanks to @ScrarbyLee for the ID and link

Tiny Moth

I recognised this as a Green Shield Bug but initially assumed that the other similar bugs were different species. If I am right in my reading then they are all the same species  (Palomena prasina) but at different stages in their life called Instars.

Adult Shield Bug

This is a final (5th?) Instar nymph of the Green Shield Bug  (Palomena prasina)

Shield Bug

4th Instar nymph of the Green Shield Bug  (Palomena prasina)

Shield Bug

We now get on to the Snails. The ones with this shaped shell were really speedy. They slid along much quicker than any of the others. They do look a bit streamlined. I am going to rely on Erica telling me which is which  and filling in the blanks.

Amber snail, probably Succinea putris. Thanks Erica.


Cepaea hortensis – white-lipped snail. Thanks Erica.


I think this is the alien girdled snail, Hygromia cinctella. Introduced in the 50s, it was still only really in Dorset in the 80s. This is about as far North as they’ve been found. You can’t see the distinctive white band around the sharp keel here. Thanks Erica.




Some of them had fur!

Hairy snail, Trochulus hispidus. Thanks Erica


After collecting for a few minutes Erica did some sorting. Different types of snails were put together in different pots.

The big one on the left is a Kentish snail, usually SE England. Monacha cantiana. Thanks Erica.


Lots of Cepaea hortensis, white-lipped snails. There are pink, brown and yellow ones, with and without stripes. Thanks Erica.


These (below) are the speedy ones. Amber snails. Thanks Erica.


Hygromia cinctella. Thanks Erica.


Various, including Kentish, Strawberry and Hairy. Thanks Erica


Kentish snail, Monacha cantiana. Thanks Erica.


This one, with its shell almost transparent, was the smallest we found. Garlic snail. Thanks Erica

Tiny Snail on Erica's hand

All of the snails above were collected on or around nettles. We then had a look in amongst some of the trees. The snails we found were of different species but they were all empty shells.

Cornu aspersum (common garden snail) on left, Arianta arbustorum (copse snail) on right. Probably eaten by thrushes. Thanks Erica.



There were still lots of other bugs around. I’m going to have a guess at this fly being a Drosophila


This one is a small wood wasp I believe


This looks like a very/very big Aphid but I don’t think it is.


5th Instar of the Green Shield Bug  (Palomena prasina) with what looks like a Weevil disappearing under it.

Shield Bug

Just look at those ridiculous legs

Shield Bug

Shield Bug

Shield Bug


A Harlequin Ladybird



We also found snails on the stems of Cow parsley. A dark rimmed snail

Dark Rim

A light rimmed snail

Light Rim

A dark rimmed snail

Dark Rim

Poplar Grey (Acronicta megacephala). Thanks to Michael Skelton on iSpot for the ID.


And last of all a Hoverfly



An Afternoon on Baildon Moor (just a few photos)

This Saturday I went up into the village to pay for the papers and, of course, took my camera with me.

Just outside the newsagent the waste bins had recently had new plastic bags fitted and the wind had caught one of them. Bin bag

.On the way home I took a slight detour of about 3 hours by walking on Baildon Moor. Just off the road to Crooke Farm the sun was shining on a group of Teasels that looked quite good waving in the wind.

As usual with these photos you can click on them to view them on Flickr.

Teasels near Crooke Farm.

A little bit further up from the Teasels I found a Wild Rose with two bright red clusters made by the Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosae, Rose bedeguar gall.

Galls on a wild Rose.

I then spent some time with a group of people flying radio controlled gliders. Way above the gliders was a Red Kite just drifting on the wind and thermals as if to say “This is how you do it.” One of these days I’ll get close enough to see the cut of it’s feathers.

Red Kite soaring high

In parts the moors are sodden as you might expect from all the rain we have been having. As a result I started thinking about drainage – not increasing/improving drainage but reducing it. With more building being done we run the risk of letting water run off land quickly into rivers and cause flooding – though I understand modern developments are supposed to hold on to water. If the moors are allowed to accumulate more water during rain without it running down drainage ditches then the flow of water to the streams and rivers will be smoothed – with reduced flooding.

After walking along part of Shipley Glen and trying to catch sight of some of the birds I could hear signing I then started for home but just before leaving the moors I spotted this loan Mistle Thrush on the wire near Bracken Hall Centre.

Mistle Thrush at Bracken Hall

Pond in Autumn

I have posted before about the walks at Denso Marston Nature Reserve. I am surprised that more people don’t turn up. They are a great way to learn more about the nature right on out doorsteps.

This latest one was titled Pond in Autumn and as you can guess it was centred around the water on the reserve. If anyone can help with the ID of some of these things please do. I tend to be busy taking photos and don’t listen to Steve all the time – nor do I make notes.

I took along my extension tubes to let me get nice and close to the creepy things found in the water.
Polaroid Auto Focus Macro Extension Tubes

This was also pretty much the first time I was taking my new Canon 7D Camera Body out and about.

We started near the pond created by the Spider Club (an old bath sunk into the ground) and while Steve was talking about the pond I took some photos around and about.

The first was of a fungus growing on a tree stump


As usual you can click on the image to view it larger on Flickr.

While we were talking there were 4 or 5 Speckled Wood butterflies flying around. Fortunately one of them settled long enough for me to get a photo of it.

Speckled Wood

We then moved on to the main pond and did some dipping with the nets.

The tray was soon teeming with life

Phantom Midge Larvae

Phantom Midge Larva

Snails, with Damselfly Larva


Smooth Newts


Unknown 1

Unknown 1



Pond Skater

Pond Skater

Unknown 2

Unknown 2

Water Scorpion

Water Scorpion

Part way through the pond dipping someone noticed a small bird fly out from the reeds over the water. Everything stopped while the bird was identified – a Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

We then went back to looking at pond creatures where we saw a Brown Hawker dragonfly Larva

Brown Hawker Larva

Lots of little nymphs


Fresh Water Louse

Fresh Water Louse

As usual we then finished with a drink of coffee and some biscuits. During this we noticed that the pile of wood chippings was growing a nice set of fungi


On the way out after the walk I noticed dozens of wasps near the timber edge of the path, not too far from the Spider Club area. A hole in the ground, under some nettles, about 2 inches in diameter had wasps flying in and out of it. I didn’t stay around too long.