The end of March and the wildlife of April

Here’s a few photos from the last couple of months with trips to Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, the pond at High Royds, the Leeds Liverpool Canal and Yeadon Tarn.

Please click on an image to see it better quality in its gallery.

At the end of March we had a quick fall of snow that disappeared almost as quickly as it came.

Half way through April I made a visit to Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve where quite a few Sand Martins were wheeling about over the river and disappearing into the best holes in the opposite bank. The RAF Airbus A400 has been in the area a few times. On-line searches say that it is doing training exercises. I watched it do several approaches in the direction of Yeadon Airport. The Grey Heron and Speckled Wood were spotted on a short walk along the river Wharfe between Burley in Wharfedale and Otley, near the end of the old Ilkley Road.

Later in April I walked around the pond at High Royds in Menston. The Mandarin Duck was strutting around and chasing off ducks twice its size. But look at the size of the feet on that Moorhen. I guess they help it spread the load over any floating vegetation so it can still walk around.

There were quite a few dogs being taken for a walk but still lots of ducklings and Coot chicks around. Often it is said that new chicks look cute, but those Coot chicks, only a mother could love them.

I could hear several Song Thrush in the trees on the other side of Guiseley Drive but only managed to get sight of 1 of them. I also spotted several Rabbits on that side of the road and this one looks very much like it is attempting to play leap-frog. With its long back legs I’m sure it could do better than that, but really it is just doing what rabbits tend to do.

A few days later I had occasion to be down Dockfield Road where it was nice to see Swans nesting. Because of the way the houses have been built there is no reason why anyone would be walking near the nest to disturb them so they stand a good chance of success. They will have got used to residents being in their back gardens.

On 28 April I had getting on for an hour to kill in Yeadon so I had a walk around Yeadon Tarn with my camera. It was great to see a fair few Swallowszipping along just above the surface of the water. I spent a while trying to get them in the viewfinder. Most shots were just blurry ripples but I did manage to press the shutter at something like the right time on a couple of occasions. More practice and more time needed.

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