I have decided I like the slightly open space of the Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve. It is easy to move off into little side paths for people to pass and maintain sensible (>2m) distance. So I went again on Thursday. I also went on Friday hoping to get better photos of the Brown Hawkers, no luck with that, but I have added a couple of photos from that visit. Hopefully we will get some hot Sun and I will get my eye in.
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It was exciting, though also a little unnerving, to see a Mink hunting on the far bank of the river. A few years back I watched a Mink hunting along the River Aire at Denso Marston Nature Reserve. It was efficient, skilled and determined. I didn’t see it catch anything. I guess most chicks are big and quick enough to get out of its way now though, again a few years back, I did watch a Mink dive into the River Aire and on numerous occasions come out within seconds with a small fish.
Another nice sighting was this Kingfisher but with this I had no associated concern for anything it might be after.
I spotted the Kingfisher arrive because I was watching a Brown Hawker that seemed to do a quick jink as the Kingfisher flew in near it. These photos are from Thursday and though I am pleased to have actually got them in the frame I still want to get one that is in focus.
Each time I have been up to the bench where I watched the Mink I have spent some time listening to and looking for Chiffchaff. I have not been to other places with the such numbers or with them being so close. At the bench the river bank opens up a bit giving decent views, and this is where I have spotted a Female Mandarin duck pottering about the same place as the Mink earlier. It also gives good views of birds flying past like Greylag Geese and Cormorant.
The reserve has a lovely range of plants. After a visit there I have to spend time quizzing my wife and looking through the books to identify them. Having a list of plants from the nature reserve’s website here has been very useful though I am sure I have got several of them wrong. When looking for wildlife it can be difficult because for the likes of birds and rabbits you need to keep your eyes on the middle distance, for butterflies, and some birds, you need to be looking close, for Grasshoppers, Bees and flying insects you need to look closer and for Spiders and Tiny young Toads creeping about in the grass you need to look where you are putting your feet.
I have to admit to being disappointed in how my website looks on some phones. It can be tricky to select an image and then click on the “View full size” option. If you don’t do that then the images on some phones are quite small. It looks much better on a big computer screen.