Denso Marston Nature Reserve & Buck Wood

On Saturday I took my camera (and phone to play Ingress) down to Denso Marston Nature Reserve.

As expected there were lots of Azure Damselflies near the pond and Moorhens on it. Several Chiff Chaff could be heard and I heard, then saw, a Kingfisher flying low along the river. I didn’t spend long there because I was really out to play Ingress and the italics below indicate locations in the game, many of which were first time visits for me.

After Denso I crossed the river using Baildon & Idle Bridge AD 1889 and turned left into Buck Wood. I stayed on the path near the canal. I know midday is not the best of times for bird spotting but it was quieter than I expected. I then turned up one of the main paths in Buck Wood to visit Latin Stone Carving, carved Stone Rabbit, Stone Squirrel, Stone Carving, Carved Stone, Buck Wood Stone spiral, Buck Wood Archaeological Site, Thackley open air school site, School stone carving, Woodland vent shaft, Thackley Entrance to Thackley Skills Park, Buck Wood trail, Deer carving on rock, Buck wood information board, and Ventilation shaft. Then on to Park Road for the Community hall foundation stone and back round and down Thackley Road for Friends of Buckwood Information Board and another Ventilation shaft and across the canal and river back into Baildon.

When I came out of Buck Wood onto Ainsbury Ave a Speckled Wood settled on the notice board. For a while I had been hearing a chain saw and at the bottom of Thackley Road I finally got to see what was happening. This link to Google Streetview shows the tree, if this is being viewed much later than 2021 Google may have been round again so change the time back before 2021.

The long distance views from near the canal were clear so I decided to try again for the photo of Emley Moor transmitters but the heat haze meant the view was not as good as I had hoped. I then plugged the car into the charger at Aireborough Leisure Centre in Guiseley and wandered around turning a few Ingress portals from green to blue. I then headed home with more miles in the battery than when I set out. Unfortunately free charging is set to end in September.

Some May/June photos from our garden (2021)

I have yet to make some sense of the thousands of small video files form the nest box camera in our garden. Hopefully I will be able to put something together but the shear number of them makes it rather difficult. In the meantime here are a few other photos of somethings that have gone on in the garden.

We have a small obelisk in the front garden that last year was used for Sweet Peas to grow on. The twine and wire is still on it and this year it looks as though Goldfinch are trying to get some of the twine to use in their nests. Last year I saw them getting blades of grass, this year it will take them a few visits to get enough twine for a nest.

We often have Dunnocks in the garden and over the last week or two it has looked as though we have had at least one pair. These photos show that either one of them has been dragged through the bushes by a cat or it is a newly fledged bird.

Our nest box with the internal camera is still visible, it has not yet been hidden by the Clematis. The parents were busy feeding the young. The caterpillars seem to be much more nutritious compared to the spiders we saw in previous weeks. The chicks are growing fast and the parents are taking away, or eating, the obligatory faecal sack.

The video files that we had seen recently start to show that the chicks were hopping up towards the entrance so I had a look through an upstairs window. This shows that we do not have long to wait for their fledging. More photos from the inside of the nest are to follow.

I hope this works for people over the internet. This video was taken from our back garden with the camera in the shade of the chimney. It is looking West just before 5:00pm on 30 March. I often see seeds floating past, but the numbers in this video are just amazing. I have looked on a few occasions since and seen nothing like these numbers.

A few photos from Tuesday (8th June 2021)

I haven’t taken my camera out much this year nor have I been on to Baildon Moor much this year. Tuesday seemed like a good day to have a wander.

During the morning I had my camera to hand in the garden and spotted several Large Red Damselflies, some of them mating. Earlier in the year I had seen rather bright Orange Tip butterflies. I followed this female Orange Tip as it flew around lots of flower heads hoping that it would settle. Several times it looked as though it was about to but this was the only time it settled during several trips through the garden.

During the afternoon we went for a pleasant walk on Baildon Moor. We could hear several Curlew and spotted a few in the fields. In previous years I have seen twenty or so Lapwing take to the air to scare off predators. Today we saw about eight mobbing a Crow that was being quite persistent in its attempts to pick something up from the ground – probably a Lapwing chick.

There were quite a few Meadow Pipits around and we spent a while scanning the sky for Skylark. We could hear them but it can take a while to spot the tiny dot in the sky as it sings away. I was pleased to see the Linnet, at first I thought it was a young Meadow Pipit or Skylark feeding on the fairway but closer inspection showed it to be a Linnet. Of the numerous people we saw with dogs I think only two of them had them on leads. No wonder there were several Skylark in the air, they were being scared off the fairways by dogs.

Towards the end of our walk we heard several emergency sirens and saw a few flashing blue lights. An Air Ambulance flew in and landed over towards Bracken Hall Green. A little later we saw several vehicles and the helicopter leave so we were a little surprised to see ambulances, fire tenders and unmarked vehicles with tucked away blue lights still on Glen Road. On Facebook I later read that someone had been sitting on rocks, lost their balance and fell off.

Garden Twine and 4 little chicks

Last year I watched and photographed Goldfinch pulling at blades of grass in the vegetable plot and taking it off for nest building.

Today I spotted one tugging at the garden twine on the frame for the Sweet Peas. It bent down and grabbed the twine, tried nibbling on it and gave it a good tug. I think it managed to get a few strands out of it.

Four tiny chicks to feed

Last year I watched and photographed Blue Tits going to and from a nest box. This year I have a camera inside a nest box. Unfortunately I did a poor job of focusing it when I fitted it. I should have focused it above the bottom of the box. I must do a better job next year. Over the last two days four of the eggs have hatched with another four to go. Now that there are mouths to feed the male is dropping in much more frequently. Those chicks are tiny though.

The header image is one of the parents leaving the nest box. I will no doubt be posting more videos as the we go through the next couple of weeks.

Climbing Mouse

To encourage birds to find the camera nest box I put up some Sunflower seeds not to far away. The feeder is in the middle of a climbing Rose and is easy for small birds to get to. What I didn’t think about was that the rose gave little rodents a way to get to the feeder. And it didn’t take them long.

Blue Tits have been using the feeder too, they don’t seem to mind the mouse droppings on the tray. I can see the tray from a first floor window but from the ground it is above head height and it can be a bit painful reaching past the thorns to clean it.

The mouse has plenty of places to hide and breed, under stacked-up tiles, in a pile of bricks, under the shed, in plant pots and even inside a little burrow I have found under a Sage plant. I am OK with them as long as they stay out of the house.

Baildon Moor 9 April 2021

The wind was cold but it was well worth the walk along the path by the wall at the North West corner of Baildon Moor.

Before I saw anything I heard the lovely sound of Skylark above the golf course and eventually I managed to see it, high up singing away, much too high to get a photo. Groups of Meadow Pipit were also flitting about and chasing each other.

By far the noisiest though were the Pheasants. The males calling and fluttering their wings to announce their presence. I spotted several pairs some quite close to each other. I expected the males to start strutting round each other but they seemed to keep out of each others feathers. I did see two males in a bit of a head to head, no females to be seen, but they soon separated without any fighting. Perhaps the one with the bigger tail was just too intimidating.

One pair of Pheasants were obviously getting close to territory reserved by a Lapwing, they were swooped at several times but that didn’t stop the Lapwings in other parts of the field from mating, after which they would walk away from each other. Lapwing were spaced around the fields reserving their nesting ground but no where near the numbers I have seen before.

There was also the eerie call of Curlew as they flew around and glided into land. Several could be spotted and some landed further up only to be quickly flushed out by dogs off the lead. It is a wonder that the Skylark keep trying to nest there. I spotted two with their dogs on leads and five with their dogs off the lead, running around. Some had their noses in the longer grass and heather, sniffing everything out, others had their heads forward and their tails out – a straight line from nose tip along their backs to their tail tips – hunting. One little fluffy white thing was not the least bit interested in doing any of that though, it was just thrilled to be running about on the fairway.

It is not just people and dogs that make it difficult for the Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Curlew and Lapwing. They also have to contend with quite large birds, Crows, the occasional Great Black-backed Gull, Buzzards and ones like this Raven that flew over Kronking as it was chased by a Lapwing. A few years ago when this sort of thing happened there would be dozens of Lapwing in the air screaming, and as Corvids or Raptors flew by they would be mobbed by 6 or more of them. Now it looks as though being chased by 1 or 2 is more likely, hardly a mobbing. Stoats will also be roaming about looking for a meal.

While I was quietly watching all this going on a Field Vole scurried over a grass tussock before disappearing in the bottom of another. I can see that one becoming a Kestrel or Barn Owl meal if it behaves like that. It was too quick and unexpected for me to get a photo.

I also heard a Snipe. I would describe the sound as “chucka chucka chucka”. I want to be up there when they do their diving display with the thrumming tail feathers out.