2019 – the ones I like

We are pretty much at the end of 2019 now so I have had a look back through some of the photos I have taken over the year. These here are the ones I quite like. The reasons for including them vary. Some I think are good photos, others are photos of things not seen very often and others bring back pleasant memories. Most have been used in blog posts sometime during the year. The links in the post are usually to the blog post that includes the photo, all the links are internal to the site.

Note that you can click on any of the photos other than the header image to view them larger on the screen.

During the year we had an invasion of Painted Lady butterflies and also large numbers of Red Admirals and Tortoiseshell. I took quite a few photos of them and Mint Moths and other small things in the garden.

Early in the year I was invited to a Guided Tour of Salts Mill. Having worked there for 19 years I had been round all of the places before but the roof space of the main mill building is still impressive. I am sure there is a statistic somewhere saying that it was the largest covered space for a while but I don’t know if it was for the UK, Europe or the world.

Baildon Moor is one of the places I like to wander around and in the Spring this year I very nearly trod on a nest of 3 Lapwing eggs. It was in the middle of tracks made by golf club maintenance vehicles. I let it be and could see one of the adults safely return to it. With it being in the middle of the tracks I didn’t hold out much hope for its survival, but 2 weeks later I was on a guided walk from Shipley Glen to Golcar Farm and saw 3 chicks in and around the nest, they all hatched. I was pleasantly surprised.

We are really lucky to have Baildon Moor on our doorstep so that we can enjoy such wildlife. Lapwing, Hare, Skylark, Curlew, Snipe, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Roe Deer, Grasshopper Warbler, Barn Owl, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Wheatear, Linnet, Kestrel, Red Kite, Golden Plover, Buzzard, Green Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Swallow, Swift, Pied Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, as well as various rare plants. These can all be seen or heard in or around Baildon Moor/Shipley Glen and quite a few of them are threatened species so it is great to see that many people keep their dogs on leads at the appropriate times.

I don’t think of myself as a twitcher, I don’t go rushing off when a bird I have never seen is reported. I guess one reason for that is that there are hundreds I have never seen so why go rushing off to see a rarity when many quite common ones I have yet to see are just around the corner. However, during the year there were reports of a Bearded Reedling that was showing itself quite well and ignoring photographers so I went along to St Aidans to have a look for it. The line of people along the path made it rather obvious where it was. It obligingly moved up and down a thin line of reeds seemingly unaware of the feet and cameras around it.

Another bird I went looking for was a white bird that had been spotted in Baildon on the River Aire in Roberts Park. Photos I had seen did not help me with ID. White birds like this are not normally seen around this area so whichever it was, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Spoonbill (?) was going to be unusual. And it turned out to be a Great White Egret. My RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds does not even list it but the RSPB Handbook of British Birds does.

A similar sized bird that we do see a lot of around the river and canal is the Grey Heron. Usually you see single birds on the edge of the canal or on the weir at Saltaire or Hirst Mill but occasionally you can see several together or see them in trees where they look out-of-place.

I admit to being pleased with this photo of a Kookaburra but it was taken in a bird of prey centre which is the kind of place I am OK with having visited once but I will not be going back or to similar places even if the bird does look as though it is smiling.

A couple of local places I went to during the year are in the centre of Shipley. The Butterfly Meadow at Shipley Station and Potter Pits on the other side of platform. I am not sure how much longer Potter Pits will last as a place for butterflies, way over towards Valley Road, on the other side of Bradford Beck, has already been built on.

These photos were taken in some of the other local places I like to visit. The Swan was taken at Tong Park Dam, Baildon. For this I suspended my camera under my tripod so that it was only inches above the water and used my phone to view and fire the shutter.

The Pied Flycatcher was taken along the river at Denso Marston Nature Reserve. According to Steve, the warden of the reserve, this was a first.

Several times a year I also visit Rodley Nature Reserve and on one of my visits in 2019 I spent a while watching Sedge Warbler chicks being fed by their parents. This is also where I spent some time watching Avocet in 2018.

And the Redwing was taken from my back garden. Over the years we have had several interesting visitors visible from our patio. Bramblings, Siskins, Blackcap, Tree Sparrow but recently, apart from the Redwings, we seem to have been limited to the more common garden birds, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock etc.

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