Jenny Lane & Tong Park Dam, Aug 2018 (Butterflies, Little Grebe & Stoat)

At the end of August 2018 I decided to have a walk around Tong Park Dam and I was very pleased with the Butterflies, Little Grebe, Stoat and Pike I saw.

Painted Lady on Valerian, Jenny Lane

In the corner of the car park at the end of Jenny Lane was a small Valerian bush which had a surprising number of butterflies on it.

Painted Lady with wings closed.

Painted Lady on Valerian, Jenny Lane

And a Painted Lady with wings open.

Small Tortoiseshell on Valerian, Jenny Lane

There were probably 8 or so Small Tortoiseshell on the plant. And some on the warm stone wall behind the plant.

Comma butterfly on a over-ripe blackberry

Walking down to Willy Wood there were quite a few Brambles with ripe berries. I sampled a good many of the ripe ones. The flavours varied from simple sweetness to quite tart. This Comma was sampling some of the over-ripe ones.

Red Admiral butterfly on a over-ripe blackberry

Red Admirals were also feeding on the over-ripe berries.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood butterflies were also flitting about in the same area.

 

Blackthorn Sloe berries

A Blackthorn in the hedgerow had bunches of Sloe berries looking nicely ready for Sloe Gin.

Roots

In the woods it looked as though water had washed the soil away from around the roots of some of the trees. Quite a tangle.

G_Ba, part glass bottle

On the path around the top of Tong Park Dam I spotted one of the old, black, lemonade bottle stoppers. After scraping away the soil I managed to un-earth the neck of a bottle. The moulding on the glass looks like “G Ba…” and the stopper says “Barraclough, Bradford & Baildon”. It is most likely that the bottle was for “G Barraclough” that had a mineral water factory in Cutler Heights Lane as early as 1830, they later moved to Westgate Hill and currently have a factory off Tong Street. Did the bottles used to get mixed up and used by the different companies?

Red-Green Carpet moth larva

Coming back around the path I noticed this caterpillar for a Green and Red Carpet moth (Chloroclysta siterata)

Thistle seed

Many of the thistle heads were bursting with seeds but I didn’t see any flocks of Goldfinch feeding on them. I did hear a few but only in the tops of some of the trees.

Little Grebe

Getting round to where I could better see the water spread out in front of me there were Swans, Mallard, Moorhen but best of all was this Little Grebe.

Little Grebe & Moorhen

This adult Moorhen was rather aggressive. I couldn’t see anything it was protecting. It gently swam towards whatever was the nearest bird and then when it was within a few metres it would speed up and chase them off – as it did with the Little Grebe.

Juvenile Moorhen

It also chased off this juvenile Moorhen on more than one occasion.

Little Grebe & Mallard

The other birds seemed to get on well enough with each other.

Swans

This is a shot of the two swans preening after a bit of excitement. At one stage a large dog chased the swans off one of their resting places and as they got away, flapping their wings, every bird around the dam gave off a loud alarm call. The sound was all around me and made me realise that I could only see a small proportion of the birds that were there.

Stoat

I then saw some movement on the eastern edge of the water. A Stoat.

Stoat

The Stoat disappeared under a tangled mound of soil, roots and metal and then popped out of a hole at the top of the mound and looked around.

Stoat

After quickly looking all around the mound it scampered off around the water’s edge.

Little Grebe

It then seemed that all the Mallards and the Little Grebe turned to the North East corner as if listening to the progress of the Stoat around the edge.

Pike

It was about time to be heading home but I then spotted this fish, a Pike? I would say it was at least 70 cm long (2 1/2 feet) it looked massive.

Pike

I thought Pike tended to be long and thin but this one looks quite chunky to me. It was just lazily moving around quite close to the surface.

Teasel seed heads

Around the edge of the water were several Teasels but, again, no Goldfinch feeding.

Tong Park Dam

A beautiful place.

As usual the image files are on flickr where, after clicking on them, you can see larger versions. There are several other photos within the same album so it is worth having a look at them on flickr.

Grimsby & District Round Table Traction Engine Rally 1963

I found this programme for the Grimsby & District Round Table Traction Engine Rally 1963 in a box of photos. It was held on Waltham Aerodrome which was just over our back garden wall. I do remember going to see traction engines when I was young but didn’t think of it as “just over the wall” – perhaps that’s because we had to drive round to the proper entrance. I thought it worth sharing so I have scanned it and made a PDF file from it.

Inside front cover – 100 octane fuel 4sh 8 1/2d. Approximately 24p per gallon (just over 5p per litre) with plenty of lead to go with it too. Fill your tank for less than £3.

Traction Engine Rally
Traction Engine Rally

Traction Engine Rally 1963

Our Garden and Denso Marston Nature Reserve. Early Aug 2018

These are a few photos from our garden and a couple of walks through Denso Marston Nature Reserve and along the river.

Mint Moth

I am sure that Mint Moths have been around our garden for years but unless you stop and look you never see them.

Mint Moth

This one has different colouring to the first one I posted. I think this might be because this one is the second brood of the year.

Brown Hawker

A month or so back the ponds at Denso Marston Nature Reserve were swarming with damselflies. During these recent visits I only saw one or two but did spot a Brown Hawker flying about.

Brown Hawker

These two photos show the Brown Hawker ovipositing (laying its eggs) on vegetation just under the water.

Shield Bug

I spotted shield bugs on several plants.

Shield Bug

I could imagine that if this Cow Parsley was still green these bugs would be quite difficult to spot.

Shield Bug

This seed head has 4 shield bugs on it.

Ladybird

Several Ladybirds were around too.

Blue tit

After keeping quiet at the Spider Club feeding station for a few seconds birds started to come along. Kije this Blue Tit.

Blue tit

This one preferred to feed off the seeds on the ground.

Robin

Whereas this juvenile Robin was happy to get food from the raised board.

Robin

As was this Robin that is a bit older.

Speckled Wood

This Speckled Wood went onto the ground and kept flicking its wings, something I had not seen before. It was only when I looked at the image later that I realised that it was on what i assume are the remains of a Speckled Wood. The wing is very pale.

Speckled Wood

There were quite a few Speckled Wood butterflies around.

Comma

I also managed to spot this Comma butterfly.

Grey Heron

And here is an obligatory photo of a Grey Heron. I have hundreds of photos of them now. 🙂

Barn Owl, Baildon Moor 15 Aug

I have not been up onto Baildon Moor for a little while, partly because it has been rather hot to be out in the open.

There are a few birds we hope to see on Baildon Moor at this time, some of them just passing through – Whinchat and Wheatear being 2 examples

I had heard that Barn Owls in the area had done well, even though in one family the female had been killed on the road; but apparently, helped by the good weather, dad upped his efforts and fed all 4 of their chicks well.

On Wednesday I went up onto Baildon Moor at about 6:45am and started near the cattle grid at Glovershaw.

Barn Owl

Quite soon I spotted a Barn Owl flying along the field parallel to the path and wall.

Barn Owl

I quietly walked along the path, going backwards and forwards a bit to keep good sight of the owl, stopping short of the gate to the horse track.

Barn Owl

The owl was very methodical as it flew back and forth quartering the field.

Barn Owl

At one point there were two owls, one at each end of the field. They then spend a few seconds around each other before going separate ways. One had stains from the corner of its eyes, the other had a much cleaner face. There is a photo showing two owls in the album on flickr but just as a record shot.

Barn Owl

It looked as though the owl flew slower when near sheep. I wonder if this was because the sheep might disturb small mammals that the owl can then pounce on.

Barn Owl

A couple of times it heard and saw me but didn’t seem too worried by my presence.

Barn Owl

They were hunting for the last snacks of the night.

Barn Owl

Flying silently up and down the field.

Barn Owl

Ready to dive on something it has heard.

Barn Owl

Down into the grass. Sometimes, after diving in, it was back up in the air quite quickly. Sometimes it spent a while out of sight, I assume tossing back whatever it had caught.

Barn Owl

A couple of times it then spent a few minutes on a fence post, presumably letting its last meal go down properly.

Barn Owl

During one of its hunting passes it veered off line slightly as though it had heard something and it disturbed two Hares. This photo shows the Owl flying almost over the top of one of the Hares that is starting to run off. This is a little surprising because I thought Hares tended to sink down to the ground when threatened. I this case it seemed to think that running was the best option.

Linnet

I then did a loop, through the Scout Camp at Sconce, along Sconce Lane to Ash House Farm where I saw a flock of Linnet perched on two overhead cables.

Starlings

The Linnet were then displaced by a flock of Starlings.

Kestrl

At Faweather Grange I tried and failed to get some shots of 4 or 5 Pied Wagtail but further on, towards Weecher Reservoir, a Kestrel was perched on an overhead cable.

View Baildon Moor to Ferrybridge

By this time it was starting to look as though rain clouds were coming from the West. Looking East was a bit grey too. This is a black and white view looking from Baildon Moor, East to Ferrybridge power station.

As usual you can click on an image to see it on flickr. In the album there are several more photos from my walk.

Purple Hairstreak and the Butterfly Count

Saturday was the Butterfly Count walk organised by Bracken Hall Countryside Centre. I went along because of the promise of looking for Purple Hairstreak butterflies.

You have until 12th August to take part in the Big Butterfly Count organised by Butterfly Conservation.

Purplae Hairstreak

We found quite a few Purple Hairstreak and spent quite a lot of time looking specifically for them. They are tree butterflies so are usually happy to be in the canopy of their favourite tree – the Oak – where they feed on Honeydew (the sugary secretion of Aphids).

Purplae Hairstreak

Bracken Hall Green is a good place to see Purple Hairstreak because you can stand on the rocks at the edge and look at the tops of the Oak trees. Some of the leaves are within touching distance but care is required because there is quite a drop if you slip off the rocks. Even when you have sight of the tops of the trees they can be difficult to spot. The most reliable way is to watch for small butterflies in the air, watch where they land and then train binoculars on the spot.

Small Copper

We also saw several Samll Copper butterflies. This one settled on the rocks for a few seconds.

Pair of Small Copper

I then went down to Trench Meadow looking for White Letter Hairstreaks but no luck. I did have this mating pair of Small Coppers pointed out to me.

Small White

The thistles had mostly gone to seed but there was still lots of Knapweed that was teeming with bees, hoverflies and Small White butterflies.

Speckled Wood

Several Speckled Woods were around too.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Hoverfly

Lesser Hornet mimic Hoverfly

Bee

Bee

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

Wrose transmotters and Emley Moor Transmitters

Walking back up to Bracken Hall Green I decided that visibility was quite good so I decided to try my new long lens out on the view of Emley Moor. I think it is not bad but I will keep my eyes open for days with better visibility.

I have taken photos of this view before. It is taken from near Reva Reservoir, looking over Baildon for 3 1/4 miles to the transmitters at Wrose and then over the whole of Bradford for a total of 19 miles to Emley Moor transmitter in the distance. The mast on the right has been erected as a temporary transmitter while work is being done on the big one.