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Archive for December, 2010

Walk along Nidd Gorge.

Kingfisher with minnow

There is a good walk along the River Nidd from Old Bilton, quite a lot of which is managed by the Woodland Trust.  I regularly see a kingfisher there, along with grey wagtails and goosanders.

The link below should take you to a map of the walk

walk along old railway line

Along the river.

Its a brilliant walk with birds and wildlife to see all the time every season.

Haven’t yet managed to get a photo of the Grey  Wagtails.

Seen every time!!


goosanderI’m pretty sure these are goosanders, but mergansers are very similar, so if anyone knows any different, please tell me.


Rodley Nature Reserve

Had a short trip to Rodley nature reserve yesterday. Everything except the River Aire frozen over. Not a lot about – sparrows, dunnocks, great and blue tits, chaffinches at Managers Garden. Some golden eye, tufted and mandarin ducks on the Aire.

The canal frozen except for a small area by the Barge pub. Swans and mallards all gathered there.

I would recommend The Barge pub for a drink. They have several largers and a range of real ale. Normally at least three guest ales as well as Tetleys cask and mild. I love Tetleys mild and not many places sell it.

Ilkley Moor

Haystack Stone

Lovely walk today with my mate Angela on Ilkley moor.  Flippin’ cold but all togged up with snow gear trousers and trusty Berghaus was fine!

The Haystack stone has some prehistoric carvings on it.  Called cup and ring carvings, they are found all over the world.  there’s a lot of theories about them but nobody really knows what they mean or why the were carved.

To find out more click

Didn’t see a lot of wildlife apart from a few grouse and a kestrel.

Sparky in his smart warm coat

A good old chat, catching up and putting world to

rights, then a picnic of hot chocolate with Baileys and a mince pie.

Thanks Angie!

If you plan to visit Yorkshire, Ilkley Moor is one of its wonders.  Beautiful scenery, wildlife and history.


Lyn Dyke RSPB Fairburn Ings

Went to the Lyn Dyke area of the reserve on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of the roosting Long Eared Owls, but no luck, they must have found somewhere else to kip!!  Got a good look at them a couple of years ago, as they are fairly regular visitors at this time of year (Oct onwards), but don’t think they were around there last year.   They are normally quite shy birds and only congregate  to roost.  The “ears” are not ears at all but tufts which can be raised to look just like ears.  They have been declining in Britain, possibly due to competition from Tawny Owls.

Anyway, I didn’t see them but was surprised to see a number of cormorants perching on electricity pylons and wires.  The pictures aren’t very good but gives you an idea.

We were told there were “swarms” of redpolls and mealies, but didn’t see them.  However, we did see flocks of redwings, which I was dead pleased about.  There’s still plenty of berries on the bushes and trees and they were feeding on these.  I have seen redwing, but only from a distance and to get a recognisable photo was brill.


Waxwing on My Patch

This morning I took Sparky for his usual walk across to the open area over the back of our house.  Well I say usual – it was partly, because after passing by the foxes den, we made a little detour onto the golf course!  Well………………no one was going to be playing, covered in snow and ice!  There had obviously been some sledging going on over the weekend!

Anyway, its got lots of trees, bushes and hedgerows,  lovely places for birds.  The chaffinch, bullfinch and goldfinch were in there usual spots and there were plenty of fox and rabbit tracks in the snow.  Sparky was keen to follow the foxes path and found it did indeed lead back to the hole where I thought foxes could be living.

However, the waxwing that I spotted right at the top of a tree all alone had to be the highlight of the morning.

Just the one

And on My Patch

It was really unexpected.  Just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Was well pleased AND I had my camera and zoom with me.

all alone!

I was surprised that it was all alone, as they usually travel in flocks ……………..I think?



There was a greenfinch on the same tree.  And further on the chaffinch that I see every time.


Deer, squirrels and nuthatch.

Well yesterday turned out to be a good day for Mike and I at Adel Dam.  At the first hide we had good views of the nuthatch although photos aren’t great.

Upside down!

The squirrels were getting in on the act too.  Don’t think they remember where they buried their nuts, as they were eating everything under the bird table!  I know a lot of people think that the grey squirrel are vermin, not native and just tree rats, but you gotta admire them haven’t you?  I mean its not their fault that they were introduced from the U.S.  And they are very picturesque and most obligingly did some good poses for me in the snow!

Tree Rat? Beaut!

Fantastic acrobat

Just gotta luv em!

Yes, they are sooo successful that they have forced our even more beautiful red squirrel, out of their niches and into the far reached of Scotland and Northumberland and its’s not fair, but then life isn’t fair is it??

Next another fabulously picturesque very British bird – the robin!

Cute? Friendly?

Robins, often called the gardeners friends because they will often come down and land near you when you are gardening, or perch on a fork or spade handle.

Robin Red Breast.

No doubt waiting for something nice and juicy to be turned up in the soil you may be digging!

They may be tame enough to even eat out of your hand.  They absolutely love meal worms and if you can’t bear to have live ones, you can buy dried ones, which I soak in hot water before putting on the table.  They are rather expensive though.  This cute, friendly bird can be very feisty though, with other birds and will literally fight to the death any other robin which tries to invade it’s territory.  That’s why you generally only see one robin, unless the male is with a female, normally in spring time.  Like these two in my garden last year.

Mr and Mrs.

And now onto the real excitement of the day!! We walked around to the lake hide and sat looking out on nothing but a very frozen lake.  Then Mike suddenly spotted a deer right across the other side, where the fox normally is.  Not one but two roe deer.

They were in shadow so not brilliant photos, but just glad to capture what we saw.

We only managed to get one deer on camera unfortunately.

If I’d been a little quicker getting my gloves off, and the lens cap off, and the lens stabiliser on, then I might have managed it, but I was so excited I was all fingers and thumbs!!

There were loads of tracks in the snow: fox, rabbit, deer, squirrel and all sorts of bird ones.

Just as we got up to leave the hide, the teal that normally winter at Adel arrived – or at least three did!!


After a very satisfying walk it was dinner at the Lawnswood.









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Wildlife page has additions too.


Feed the birds!!

Well the 6-7 inches of snow turned into about 10 inches, I reckon and minus 9C on Wednesday night! Brrr!  Those poor outdoor creatures!  Made sure the feeders were topped up but was no use putting out fat balls as they just froze.  Did put out some suet blocks which the starlings devoured in no time.

Its been thawing today and there’s been lots of activity at the feeders:

goldfinch, greenfinch, bullfinch and chaffinch, great tit, blue tit and coal tit, starlings, blackbirds, pair of collared doves and robin.