Monday, 28 May 2007

Out of Africa

It's the holiday period for some of us, and I have managed to get a really cheap trip to see some of Africa's fabulous animals - no sign of any dog walkers here - . It didn't take me long to snap hundreds of shots, filling my 1 GB memory card.

Hope you had a good bank holiday.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Watergrove Reservoir

Last week I had an accident during which I managed to break my binoculars. I should get them back in a month. Crikey! Birding without ‘bins’ is?..well. So I am restricting myself to only local sites, and there is no closer than Watergrove Reservoir, Wardle SD908178. Watergrove is one of those sites that isn’t exactly stuffed with birds. Some days you could walk miles and struggle to see 10 species. But hey we are in May. So, with just my scope and camera, I take the car 0.4 miles to the res. The car park is packed with dog walkers – not a good sign. Dogs are magnets to photographers who may have waited patiently for ages to get close to there subject, only for fido to come bounding over to set everything up in the air..Grrr!!. So I chose to take to the hills. These are grazing hills, with sheep and there new lambs about. Along the many walls you will find Meadow Pipits, and Wheatears. Look carefully and you may see one of the many Little Owls on look out for a fat juicy worm.
This year seems to be an excellent year for shorebirds. Whimbrel, Sanderling and Bar-tailed Godwit have paid a visits. By the waters edge, some irregular visitors are just crying out to be digiscoped. Ringed and Little Ringed Plover allow me to get close to them. Common Sandpiper where less obliging.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Welsh Yorkshire.

Here is a part of Wales, found in the Yorkshire Dales SE0754. Why Wales? Many years ago, I had to drive all the way (150+miles),to the mid-west coast of Wales to be amongst the flora and fauna found here. And it is only 47miles from my house, Near Skipton. I have been coming here every May for over ten years. This has to be my favorite woodland walk. The ancient woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and one of the largest areas of acidic oak woodland in the Yorkshire Dales. It is renowned for the flora and fauna, particularly the carpets of bluebells in Spring. See my photos. From the car park (£5.50), turn right, at the bridge over the River Wharfe – Checkout the Brown Trout catching Mayflies, and follow the wooded trail in a anti-clockwise direction. And then turn left. You follow the river bank straight into the Woods. Once in the wood. At this time of year, carpets of Bluebells are everywhere. Fantastic sights. And the aroma of Wild Garlic is unmistakable through out. Bird song is at it’s most vocal this time of year, with many Warblers all calling out for company. Listen out to the trill of the Wood Warbler, a small warbler with a large voice. Redstart are here too. Once you have located them by sound, you are greeted with good views of this magnificent warbler. Spread out along the way, are nest boxes for Pied Flycatchers. Just stand by an inhabited nest box, and appreciate the airborne skills these birds display in catching flies with ease. If you are not into the flora and fauna, you will not be disappointed with the many stunning high views of the Wharfe valley. Take a few moments, on a well placed bench at one of the many vista points. Stunning you will agree. Along the way you come to where the river comes to a bottleneck. You have reached a place called the Strid. The Strid gets its name from the fact that it is said to be a ‘Stride’ wide, but there is danger here. It is wider than it looks and the rocks are usually very slippy. Water here turns colour from a ‘rich-tea’ colour, to ragging white. The gap is narrow enough to tempt the foolhardy of you to leap across. The strid not only takes no prisoners here, it keeps hold of them too. Holding it’s victims under the wide caverns beneath the rocks from where they dared leap. Take caution here. Just further on we me a large bridge where the Dipper (Water Robin), makes it’s nest. Cross the bridge and head back through the woods, taking in more spectacular sites, sounds, and smells, back to the car park and a pot of tea at the restaurant. May is my favorite month of the year by far, and here is my favorite part of Wales, here in the Yorkshire Dales. I may see you there too. Enjoy.
Year total : 123