Purple Hairstreak and others at Shipley Glen

On Friday I went up to Shipley Glen twice. The main reason was to look for more Purple Hairstreak butterflies but of course any visit to Shipley Glen is worth it.

Click on an image to see a higher quality version.

I’ll start with the photos of Purple Hairstreak butterflies with one of them shown in the header image. They occupy the tops of Oak trees so the rocks around Bracken Hall Green, that are on the edge of the slope down to Loadpit Beck, are a good place to see them. You can look at the tops of the Oak trees and so, with a bit of luck, see the butterflies. Even though you might see them fly around the tree and think you saw where they landed they are still difficult to spot. Patience is the key – and binoculars. The first three photos above are simply of Purple Hairstreak on Oak leaves. The next two show that Oak trees are valuable for the variety of wildlife they support. The first of the two shows quite a large Weevil of some kind near the acorns on the right. The second shows an insect on the leaf top right.

Oak trees not only support things crawling about their leaves and branches but these two photos show that in various ways they support the lifecycles of other things.

During the morning visit to Shipley Glen I could here the screech of Buzzard on several occasions and managed to get a few shots as they flew around. I am not sure if it was an adult pair and juvenile but the shading of the underwing of one of them was slightly different. I also managed to get a couple of photos of a Speckled Wood butterfly. I normally expect to see these down in Shipley Glen where they fly up off the paths as you walk along. I could also hear Grasshopper further over in the grass so I was a little surprised when this one jumped out of the grass around a rock and obligingly stayed on the rock for me to take its photo. At the start of the afternoon visit a Red Kite flew over and though I enjoyed watching and listening there was nothing else that I took photos of.

I have been keeping my eye on the Sage in our garden in the hope of seeing Mint moths. They have shown themselves a couple of times this year and late afternoon I saw something small fly into the Sage. It has the same shape as a Mint moth but certainly not the colour so I don’t know what it is. When I say it has the same shape as a Mint moth I guess I am only saying it is sort of triangular with a bit sicking out the front so might be somewhere near the same family. Edit: Thanks to allthingsmothy for an ID of a Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla)

Shipley Glen

I spent a few minutes up at Shipley Glen today with my camera. Actually I spent quite a few minutes up at Shipley Glen but a fair number were spent in the car waiting for the rain to stop. I could see the blue sky beyond the rain clouds but they were moving slowly.

The reason for going up there was that I had seen Purple Hairstreak at Dalton Park Nature Reserve on Monday so I was wondering if they were also at Shipley Glen. As you can see, they were.

Shipley Glen, in a similar way to Dalton Park Nature Reserve is a good place to see them because the ground level of Bracken Hall Green is close to the top of some of the close Oak trees. The butterflies are small and inhabit the Oak tree upper canopy and so are difficult to see from the bottom of the trees. I spotted some early on in my visit and got some photos. Then the rain came. I waited out the rain but after I only managed to spot 4 or 5 flitting around some of the leaves in trees too far too many feet away to get photos – as I said, they are small.

I will try again soon when there is more sunshine, perhaps this Friday.

Dalton Bank Nature Reserve

I had my first walk around part of Dalton Bank Nature Reserve on Monday. I had driven past its small entrance on several occasions but this time I had some spare time, and had my camera with me. I had no idea what was in there but did know that is was sloping up from the road and there were a lot of trees in the area. I have since had a look at a satellite view of the place. It is a decent size and I will have to go back to explore some more. As part of this trip out I also had some decent views of Emley Moor transmitter with its temporary and flimsy looking partner. I intend to get some more photos of Emley Moor tower but the circumstances have yet to present themselves.

As usual please click on the photos to see a better quality image. Where there is more than one image in the set you can look through each of them by using the arrows. This also gives you a bit of information about the camera settings.

When I got up the first major slope of the reserve to the open grassed area I spent some time watching the butterflies. There were quite a few Oak trees and because of the slope the grassed area was a great place to look at the upper parts of them. I spent a while looking at the tops of the Oak trees and eventually spotted a small butterfly flying. Even though I thought I had seen where it landed it still took some spotting but I did manage a slightly fuzzy photo of a Purple Hairstreak.

The other butterflies were much easier to spot but still not easy to take a photo of. Are they quantum creatures – there until you try to get a good look at them.

The photo of the Chiffchaff was taken from the parking area a couple of minutes before I left. I had heard plenty of them around and saw them flying from one patch of Brambles to another but they were always tucked well in until this one flitted about a Gorse bush and was visible for a second. Its head and body look a bit scruffy so it looks like a recent fledgling, but the length of its tail ? does that say otherwise? It could be an adult that is just too busy feeding young that it has not had chance to smarten itself up.

Yeadon Tarn

I had a little trip out to Yeadon today. I took the car out and plugged it into a charger at Library and topped the battery up while I played a little Ingress and walked around Yeadon Tarn.

The header image is a rather smart looking male House Sparrow. The birds and butterflies were not the only things flying around. Several Jet2 aircraft were taking off and landing at the airport. I hope the holiday makers manage to get back without too much difficulty.

Lots of small looking white butterflies were flitting around. The ones that were still enough for me to identify were Green Veined Whites. There were also several Willow Warblers around. It was nice to get a half decent photo showing the yellow tinge to confirm that the two syllable “tweet” I had heard was Willow Warbler and not Chiffchaff. I did not notice the weak and wheezy call of Bullfinch so I was surprised to spot this one but it was brought to my attention by a Willow Warbler flitting about in the bushes right next to it.

Caterpillar, Butterflies and Hoppers

Guess what? I have been to Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits again. Thanks to someone paying attention (not me) I had better mention that the header image is of a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar on Ragwort.

There was a slight wind most of the time during the visit but when it settled for a few minutes with the sun shining there were plenty of white butterflies around. Several Meadow Brown were around. I did not see any Gatekeepers by the path between the lagoon and river that I had done on my previous two visits. A Peacock butterfly was quite obliging.

These three birds were spotted from pretty much the same place. The Chiffchaff and Dunnock were in the lichen covered tree and the Kingfisher across the other side of the river but taken from by the bench.

On the lawns I could hear grasshoppers that were leaping out of the way as you put a foot down. Lots of blue leafhoppers could also be seen jumping around. Looking close at little things can be nice, but sometimes you see things that you wonder about – that Ichneumon fly is a bit unnerving when you get up close.

Getting more general photos of plants and trees allows for them to be identified and means that the little creepy crawlies can’t be seen. When you get up close, like on what I think is a Pignut flower, you can see a black insect lurking.

Fish Pass at Saltaire/Robert’s Park Weir

In between the showers today I went down to Robert’s Park to see what is happening at the weir. Progress is being made with the fish pass.

It looks as though there is quite a bit of water having to be pumped out of where they are working. I wonder if that is because they have uncovered places where water is coming into the river from across Thompson Lane? I can’t say that I have noticed the archway in the wall of the river bank before.

It also looks as though the Herons are not letting the work interfere with their stalking of fish. In the second of the three photos of the fish pass work you can see an area of grass in the river just right of centre of the photo. Getting a closer look at it shows a Heron quietly watching what is going on, as seen in the header image.

Quite close to the work, just next to the footbridge is a tree with two of several Bradford No. 1AA Private Fishing Permit signs fastened to it. This is something I have kept an eye on since I first noticed it in 2002. There are two signs fastened to the tree because one of them, as of 2020, is almost completely covered by the tree. The second photo shows what it was like in 2002. There was only one sign on the tree at that time.

Something else I have kept half an eye on since it was built is the graffiti wall in the play ground of Robert’s Park. It acts as a separator between the play equipment and the skate park. I have taken several photos of it over the years and you can see an entry I created for it on Baildonwiki here.

I also went to have a look at Salts Mill where I used to work. Above the entrance there is now a Commscope sign but there is still an Arris sign just to the right of the door. Pace were one of the first companies to move into Salts Mill after it was opened by Jonathan Silver. Pace was acquired by Arris in January 2016 and Arris was acquired by Commscope in 2019. The other photo of the mill shows what looks like newly repaired and partly painted water tanks on the roof of the mill.

The last photo is of a complex array of scaffolding around the pipe bridge over the river. It can be seen from the end of Tennis Way off Coach Road. I have no idea why it is there.

One thing that I am taking away from the visit today is that it is going to be a while before I feel confident going out. I was amazed at the number of people that stopped within touching distance to talk to people they knew. Some of them standing and talking in the middle of the path to, over and from the footbridge. A couple of times I had to do U turns to avoid passing within inches of strangers, some of them could be heard coughing, and one group of youngish men, with one of them coughing and spitting, admittedly with some skill, but still! I think I will stick with trips up to Baildon Moor or Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve where it is easy to maintain safe distances.