On Sunday I went for a walk along the river Aire and through Denso Marston Nature Reserve. One of the first things I did was go down river a bit on the path behind the new industrial estate and look for the Long Tailed Tit nest that I had seen before and written about here. Unfortunately there was no evidence of it. I did think at the time that it was rather exposed, not like the one I saw a couple of years ago that was a sphere tucked into the bushes along the path leading down to the reserve.
I then continued on to the Buck Lane footbridge and the photo above is looking up-river from there.
And this view is looking down-river from the bridge. A Grey Heron can be seen in the middle of the river and a family of Goosander are on the third rock to the right.
This is a shot after zooming in a bit. The Heron has just flown to the right of the Goosander family.
I must admit that I had not realised how low the arches of the bridge were until these two horse riders came through. The lead rider has had to duck down to get under the arches of the bridge. The younger rider following was able to sit upright on her smaller pony.
It is quite a long footbridge going over the river and an off shoot (where is my geography knowledge when I need it?) and I have taken a couple of other photos of it over the years, as shown in the 3 below.
This shot, above, is taken from near the end of the bridge and shows a bit of the view that Ford House Farm has looking towards Hollins Hill and Guiseley.
This is the time for butterflies and I admit that I am no good at identifying them but the one above made it easy by closing its wings so I could see the white comma; so I can say with confidence that it is a Comma butterfly.
I think I can be reasonably confident to say the the one above is an Orange Tip….
and this one caught in a pool of sunlight is a Speckled Brown.
I have not been down to rivers, canals or ponds/lakes much this Spring so that might explain it but I have not seen many ducklings. This one was in a family with 4 other ducklings on the river.
One of the noticeable features along the river was the moving clouds of flies (?Mayflies?). The shot above was taken using a shutter speed of 1/180 second. Does anyone want to count them?
And this is a slightly tighter view using a shutter speed of 1/15 second suggesting that some of them are beating at 120 times per second!!??
Further along the rive towards the up-river end of the Nature Reserve I say down for a few minutes quiets and managed to see this juvenile Blackcap. I say juvenile because of its behaviour, fluffed upness and incomplete wing and tail feathers. But I thought juveniles had brown heads similar to females. Could it be a new arrival that has worn its feathers away in flight? Nah! It’s a juvenile.
In the same area was a family of Bullfinch but I only managed to get a shot of the male adult.
There has been a couple of Spring Watch related videos recently about Mayfly and here is one having a rest. This is the form that emerges from the water. As it emerges it flies straight up into the air and is an easy target for hungry birds.
One of my proudest photos is of a Sparrow about to catch a Mayfly on the Leeds Liverpool Canal near Hirst Lock.
This Banded Demoiselle was along the river.
But most of the visible Damselflies were next to the ponds in the nature reserve. This is a rather nice Large Red Damselfly that I have used as the featured image for this posting.
Quite a few pairs of Azure Damselflies could be seen, both mateing and laying eggs as these two pairs are.
The two photos above are of pairs of Large Red Damselflies getting attached and mating.
The edges of the ponds on the reserve were not only busy with Damselflies but also teaming with tadpoles. I was rather pleased to be in the process of taking some photos of the tadpoles when this newt stuck its snout out of the water and then quickly disappeared.
Very close to the “public” side of the pond was an empty Moorhen nest and, after keeping still for a few minutes, a Moorhen could be seen moving about the pond.
But after keeping quiet for a few minutes longer two Moorhen chicks showed themselves – but never close enough together to get them in the same shot.
The chicks seemed to be able to feed themselves but that didn’t stop the adult feeding them. This shows them an instant after having fed it.
Several times there was a quick splash as the Moorhen stuck its beak into the water. This seemed strange until I realised that the pond was also teaming with small fish.
As usual most of the images are on Flickr so you can view the album with larger images there.
This is probably the first time I have included people in photos. If the subjects don’t want them to appear please let me know.