River Wharfe, Little Egret and Curlew

On Tuesday 17 I decided to take the car out so that it didn’t fester in the garage. The parking brake came off with a bit of a clunk and the brakes sounded a bit rough for a few yards but the car seemed OK. I took my camera, with its long lens, with me and decided to spend a few minutes next to the River Wharfe parked in the lay-by opposite where Otley Rd leaves the A660, near the roundabout with the A65.

Please click on the images to see better quality or full-size versions.

I could hear Robins, Long Tailed Tits, Gold Finch and Blue Tits but one of the first things I spotted was a flock of Starlings swirl around and land in the field over the other side of the wall. After looking a bit closer I realised that what I had thought were brown plants and grasses were Curlew, lots of them. Dozens of Lapwing were also with them. After watching for a few minutes most of them took to the air, circled round a bit and landed in the field across the other side of the river.

I walked up river a few yards watching the Curlew preening themselves and tucking their long beaks under their wings looking as though they were settling in for a rest as seen in the header image. At 4 in the afternoon it did seem a bit early to be settling for the night but sunset is at 4 at this time of year.

I headed back towards the car and spotted a singing Robin in a tree next to the gate. I took a couple of photos of it hoping that it wouldn’t show as just a silhouette against the sky. I then spotted quite a large white shape above the river. I tried to keep a tree between me and where I thought it had come to land as I moved closer to the river. This allowed me to get a couple of photos of the Little Egret. We have done well for Egrets over the last couple of years. I managed to get a photo of a Little Egret at Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits and last year a Great White Egret spent some time on the canal and river Aire at Saltaire.

I didn’t have my binoculars with me but took some photos of ducks way down river. Some of them flew up river but I waited until I got home to look at the photos to see that there were Goosander among the Mallards.

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