End of November. A few minutes out with car and camera.

I took the car out again for its weekly spin so I don’t get flat spots on the tyres, so the brakes don’t seize on, and so that I don’t forget how to drive. And I took my camera with me.

As usual you can click on an image to see it better quality in its gallery. The difference is very noticeable if you have a decent sized computer screen. I have yet to find out how to tell WordPress to not show a reduced resolution image in the blog.

I went down to what I think is called Conker Alley – at the end of Higher Coach Road next to the bridge over Loadpit Beck, and walked down to the weir near the Rowing Club. The first thing I heard over the noise of the weir was Grey Wagtail. I spotted one over the other side of the river but two of them soon flew over part of the weir jumping up and insects flying near them.

I then heard a Wren in the bushes to the left of the Rowing Club building. At first it was deep in the thick of them and invisible apart from twitching twigs. But them it showed itself before flying off to behind the building.

I then heard Geese and looked up into the field behind the Rowing Club to see a flock of around 10 Grey Heron. For most of them just their heads were showing so there could have easily been more. And a few yards to the right of the Herons was a flock of Canada Geese with a couple of Greylag Geese around the edge. One of the Herons looked as though it had yet to grow some of the white feathers of the adults. It wondered up and around the field while the adults kept themselves down in the depression of the field – quite possibly where they would find more worms and frogs. I did wonder if they would settle there for the night but the whole flock lifted off and flew over over the trees further up river.

When I got back to my car I heard Mistle Thrush and looked for them in the trees. There were several Thrush like silhouettes in the tops of some of the trees but from the size and noise they were making I did wonder if those were Redwing. And then I spotted this Squirrel munching away on something it was holding in its front paws. I have tried zooming in on what it is eating. It looks vaguely like an apple but my best guess is that it is some kind of mushroom/fungus. Apparently Squirrels can eat mushrooms that would be poisonous to us.

Because of the poor light on the Tuesday I decided to go back again on Wednesday. The light was much better but there were only two Grey Herons in the field and they were keeping their heads down so I couldn’t see very much. I did see a Grey Wagtail on the weir – it is the last one in the set at the top of this blog post. I think it has made a clearer image.

On the way back up the drive of the Rowing Club I kept my eyes on Loadpit Beck and spotted a small patch of white – a Dipper. Most of the time it was obscured by branches and it was difficult to get my camera to focus on it. It was also dark under the overhanging branches but I did manage to get a few shots of it as it was going along picking insects and larvae off the rocks and out of the water. At one point it was sticking its head under water and pulling leaves out, throwing them to one side and then dipping its head in again. Once it had cleared the leaves out of the way it then stuck its head under again and came back up with the larvae it had uncovered. This is behaviour similar to Blackbirds except that it is done underwater as opposed to in the undergrowth.

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