Sunday, 27 January 2013

26th January 2013, Playing in the snow

Heavy snowfall was forecasted by late Friday afternoon, when I had reached home from work there was no sign, during my usual hour in the pub the concensus was that the forecasters had got it wrong again as barely a flake of snow could be seen.

Wrong, wrong and wrong again!! By late Friday night the snow had arrived, later than expected and much heavier than was really welcome, rain was forecasted for Saturday afternoon so we were up and ready for a walk quite early.

Heading up through the fields near home and taking a look back...

The first couple of fields are popular with dog walkers, hence the number of prints. Looking across to Nab End which is part of Rombalds Moor the view was stunning..
As we climbed the number of human and dog prints diminished, this looked as though a fox had wandered through..

Another look back, this time over untrodden snow..

And another look over to Nab End...

Ruins of Tar Topping are near the top of the hill..

Not much wildlife to see but the sunny blue skies were more than pleasant, welly clad feet were dry and though the walking was not easy it was a real pleasure to be out.

The hardy hill sheep don't worry too much about a fall of snow, supplementary feed is out but they forage quite happily in most weather.

I had an idea where we might find some deep and unwalked snow and we took a short walk on a tarmac lane before a turning back down towards the valley...

I was sent ahead as depth tester! Nothing too scary though and we found more fox tracks which we followed, the tracks were interspersed with what appeared to be pounce marks, foxes will catch a scent of a vole or mouse moving beneath the snow..

The warmth was evident in this small but free flowing field stream as it gurgled its way downhill..

As we lost height some wildlife began to appear, first a coal tit..

Then a meadow pipit which took to the air as I composed my shot and pressed the shutter release..ah well nearly!!

We descended through the hamlet of Kildwick Grange and took a field path down to the kingfishers on here today!

We carried straight on through the gate over the bridge in the hope that the river may yield more sightings...this overflow pond certainly wouldn't!

A chirpy walltop robin caught my eye...and stayed long enough for a photograph..

Poking the camera through a hedge does not often result in a great photograph, this meadow pipit is no better than I expected:-)

Crossing the canal again on our way home disclosed its still well frozen state..

A redwing provided another opportunity, a shame I could get the angle to show the colours better..

We had made an omission in our kit for the day, sunglasses! Both of us were suffering with headaches, more than likely from the reflected glare in the bright sun. As we neared home I suffered a slip, wellington boots are great for keeping dry but the grips on mine leave a lot to be desired, two pirouhettes might have won me approbation from judges but it wasn't nice.

After lunch at home I set out again, no discomfort from the slip at this point, just a short walk down the other side of town to see if I could discover more wildlife.

Success nearly straightaway as a lapwing scavenged for food in a field.

The view westwards was splendid with the valley under a cloak of snow..

Another lapwing posed happily for me:-)

I was now starting to have back pain, undoubtedly the result of my slip and I decided to head back to town and the warmth of the pub!!

A grooming swan always warrants attention though...

And the many splendoured starling too..

A day of inactivity normally lets my back settle down, normal service will be resumed shortly:-))

Monday, 21 January 2013

20th January 2013, A Bolton Abbey circular in the snow

Choices were limited today, the light was not good and snow was forecast for later in the day. Road conditions were OK though and we decided on a riverbank and woodland wander over at Bolton Abbey, parking places at our preferred start of Barden Bridge were all occupied so we returned up the road and found a space by the Priests House at Barden.

The priory ruins looked atmospheric with the covering of snow and the slate grey sky..

We didn't have to wait long for a bird sighting, everyones favourite..a robin..

The river Wharfe was in good flow as it gushed past the aqueduct..

The cold nature of the weather is portrayed quite well by these riverbank icicles reflected in the dark water.

A short diversion off path by a tributary stream found us no wildlife but the cascades were in good form..

Trying to get a decent focus on this blue tit proved beyond my frozen fingers!

Resuming our walk by the river we then found a nuthatch posing somewhat strangely by parking its bum in some snow!

Walkers had left food for the birds and we watched a coal tit feeding happily...well they were titbits!

The path was extremely icy, some were slipping and sliding their way round, our yaktrax proved their worth again as we walked without mishap even on the steeper sections.

Peering through the riverbank shrubbery I managed a shot of a male goosander..

We listened to the sweet song of a nuthatch and looking around for the source we found another nuthatch listening intently.

Brief sightings of dippers occurred but none close enough for the camera in these conditions, as we reached the cafe and the bridge we would cross for the return I did manage a couple of shots..

A group of goosanders resting out of the water were spotted just up stream..
Some kind soul had wedged a fatball in a tree, great and blue tits queued up for a bite!

Food scattered on the path was being zealously guarded by a blackbird..

Another lovely robin posed happily..

We were walking briskly to keep warm, despite plenty of suitable clothing the cold wind soon bit if we loitered for any time.

The view down to the river through snowy trees was enchanting at times.

Just before the uphill road walk back to the car we found the abominable snowman:-))

We hurried from this point!

19th January 2013, A cold day in the valley

With a light covering of snow a walk up to Farnhill Moor seemed a reasonable option for today, the weather forecast for the day was for freezing temperatures and an easterly wind so I was wrapped up well in thermal clothing!

The views were hardly oustanding as I climbed up towards the top of the moor, the dull light prevented long distance sights.

Reaching Jubilee Tower I had seen no wildlife at all and decided to drop down into the valley so see if I would have more success.

The Yaktrax grip aids I had fitted to my boots came in really handy on the steep descent path which leads down to Farnhill Wood.

A look to the east disclosed the views were no better in that direction! I took to the road for a short while towards the village of Bradley before heading down the fields to the canal.

At least I found some wildlife on the way down as a lovely robin chirped merrily from a tree...

Birds flitted from tree to tree by the canal, a look through the binoculars disclosed they were goldfinches and I managed to get near enough for a decent photograph.

With the canal being mostly frozen sightings would be limited and there would certainly be no kingfishers to see, they will have moved to the river now and it is much harder to see them on there.

Movement by the far edge of the canal alerted me to the presence of a wren, not great light for these but one can only do ones best!!

Passing this always well kept garden I noted that snowmen don't have to be made of snow!!

This black headed gull seemed at home on the church roof......
Moorhens will stay by the canal, icy or not, they can find food in the field margins...

There was certainly a chilly wind, I find it difficult to manipulate the camera controls with even thin gloves on and each time I took a glove off to take a picture it took a good while to warm my hand up again!

I took a small track down towards the river, some patieent following of a small unidentified bird revealed a lovely female stonechat...

More patience and some careful fieldcraft were required as I spotted a fieldfare perched in a bush top across a field, moving slowly and carefully I managed to get quite close....

There wasn't much in evidence on the river, conditions dictated that I kept moving at a reasonable pace to keep warm, I did stop to listen to this robin though...

Soon after this I saw a couple of waxwings in flight, no chance of photographs on this occasion:-(

A group of geese, probably greylags circled overhead before landing and feeding in an adjacent field.

I spotted a lapwing too...

I headed back up to the canal towpath as it leads directly into Silsden, rather than the river which is a mile or so from town.

The frozen state is almost complete, one small thawed section is by the boatyard and these mallards seemed unsure as to risk the cold water or not!

A decent range of birds had been seen and a few miles walked, not a bad day:-)