Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bradley canal walk 27th November 2011

Sunday afternoon saw us park up at Low Bradley, below High Bradley, the two combine to make up Bradleys Both on modern signposts, all very logical except I don't know where one stops and the others starts.
A wander by the canal here is a delight on such a bright and breezy day, a narrow hardcored path means relatively clean boots. Our stretch by Silsden has no such luxury and over-use by sponsored walks and cycle events have wrecked the turf paths, quagmires and slippery slopes threaten to send the unwary walker either canalwards or sliding towards prickly bushes!

A small group of long tailed tits were observed flitting from tree to tree at a speed which taxed my focusing ability.

Wandering on we saw a pair of colourful jays, not the most popular bird because of a reputation for nest robbing they are nevertheless a splendid sight.

A buzzard hovered high in the sky as we reached our turn around point by Kildwick Wood at one stage I thought it would close enough for a pic, on this occasion unfortunately not.

Mallards on the path are usually accomodating though.

Wandering back to the lower of the Bradleys the sun disappeared and it became quite cool in the late afternoon, a few grey squirrels were to be seen on the edge of the woodland, my experience with my SLR is short and photographs on long zoom in dim light were pretty poor!

Swans are the most elegant birds on the canal and a fine view of this pair completed our walk for today.

Only a short walk but hey, any exercise and wildlife watching is better than none!

Saturday 26th November 2011

Starting at Kildwick, a neighbouring village of Silsden, I walked to my chosen base for my wildlife observations. Grey skies and a brisk wind with some surprisingly strong gusts offered little chance of decent photographs today but sometimes you just want to be outdoors and take a chance.

A family of mute swans were close to the canal bridge that I had selected, not always the easiest bird to get close to and they can be quite intimidating if they decide to assert themselves. I find that moving slowly and carefully they can be very approachable. Their cygnets are gradually losing the ugly duckling feathers and gaining the pristine white of their parents, I was treated to some lovely close views for a while.
A flask of hot coffee came in very handy to keep me warm, despite being clad in winter fellwalking gear being sat motionless does very little to keep one warm! Blackbirds, magpies, black headed gulls, robin, wren, long tailed and great tits were all observed through the binoculars as I waited and hoped for more spectacular sightings.

Impatience got the better of me after a while and I headed eastwards to Silsden, turning off the canal towpath in favour of a quiet lane I watched fieldfares for a good while, any attempts at getting near enough for a good shot with the camera was met by a hasty re-location for the birds, at one point much to my non-amusement I managed to disturb the fieldfares and a greater spotted woodpecker! Note to self....improve your fieldcraft!!!

I wandered as far as Riddlesden before the increasingly heavy rain and consequently decreasing chance of sightings and photos urged me to head homewards, a dunnock obligingly posed on the way back.

More swans on the way back completed my tour for the day, one cygnet seemed as tired of the drab weather as me.

Wet binoculars, fed up of cleaning and drying the camera lens I reached Silsden and did what I do after a local walk, a few pints of good beer and then home.

Friday, 25 November 2011

My blog - the first one!

Having lived in Airedale all my life I have seen such huge changes, small villages extended beyond the capability of the services they can provide for one, and a dual carriageway from Keighley to Crosshills another.

Throughout all this changes have occurred in the wildlife to be seen in and around the valley, kingfishers and dippers once relatively common are now prized sightings. And yet there is still a wide variety of furred and feathered creatures to be seen, in my area from Riddlesden to Skipton in one day I have seen roe deer, stoat, greater spotted woodpecker, buzzard, kestrel and many more creatures.

With a camera at hand at all times I will try to capture some of the natural beauty this valley I call home has to offer.