Saturday, 14 May 2016

Trip to Barden Bridge to spot the Flycatchers

Barden Bridge

Barden Bridge is a picturesque crossing of the Wharfe just adjacent to Barden Tower where the road forks over the river to the nearby village of Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales.

After reading Pam's post on her visit to Bolton Abbey, (see here) I've wanted to go to see the Flycatchers. This is a bird I have never seen before, Bolton Abbey is a well known place in the area to get good sightings of both the Pied and Spotted Flycatcher.

Starting of at Barden bridge , the first thing you noticed was all the young chicks about, the Greylag goose was so cute, the Dipper chicks were making so much noise under the bridge to be fed you could not fail to miss them. Mallard young, but no chicks for the Mandarin pair, here like the Dippers is a good spot to see many pairs.

Mandarin Duck


Greylag Goose 

Greylag Goose Chick

Dipper Chick 

Common Sandpiper



Unable to find the Flycatchers straight away, and every Robin was pretending to be one,  I took the top path through the Bluebells towards the Pavilion which is situated near the Abbey. It started to rain and was a little dull to get good photos, but the day was saved when I came across a plant called Toothwort, I have been on the look out for this plant for over three years now. Another plant found next to the river was Lesser-flowering Leek, seen in the past just the once I thought they were just Wild Garlic gone to seed, strange plant which can easily be missed amongst all the other flowers growing at this time.  

  Strid Wood, one of the largest remnants of sessile oak trees in the Yorkshire Dales hugs the banks of the river Wharfe and invites visitors to walk its shaded paths. Renowned for the flora and fauna, bluebells flower in late April and early May, followed by wild garlic in bloom. This majestic wood is home to a myriad of wildlife including roe deer, otters, kingfisher and greater spotted woodpecker.

In 1810 the 6th Duke of Devonshire and the Rev. William Carr opened Strid Wood and invited the public to walk the paths they created. Enjoy the views from the carefully placed seats along the nature trails. (link)

Looking down on the river


 Few-flowered leek (Allium paradoxum)

Red Campion

Water Avens

The wood cutters shed was a delight,  the wooden  Deer and Warthog gave me an idea for "30 days wild in June".

 Lesser Black Backed Gull

Pink Wood Anemone 

Strid river Wharfe
 Between Barden Tower and Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, England, lies one of nature's most dangerous booby traps. You can read the rest of this post here

On the top path just past the Strid is were I saw the Flycatchers (right were I started 3hr's ago!) they were high above the river catching flies  (like they do). Hard to get a good photo as it was dull and raining, they would land high up in the trees or across the river. Watched them for some time till the midges were getting to much eating my face off !!

Pied flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Monday, 9 May 2016

Puss Moth

I have had a slow start to the mothing year, finding only one or two moths in the trap.

Last night after the warmest day so far, I was hoping for a few. Checking the trap before bed, I noticed something rather large on the window of the house.

It was a large moth ! I was soooooo excited and shouted to OH to bring a tub, normally I collect moths in a plastic toothpick jar or a tiny tub.
"quick bring a tub"
"which one ?"
"The largest one you can find !!! "

Turned out to be a Puss Moth, with the most beautiful markings I have seen.
A gentle giant, made no fuss having it's photo taken.

The eccentric beatuy of the Puss moth caterpillar, turns into an elegant Puss moth. The Puss moth (Cerura vinula) is covered with soft cat-like fur, hence the name Puss moth. The striking nature of the beautiful black and grey marbled markings, make it quite an easy moth to identify.  

Fairly widespread throughout the UK, Puss moths can usually be seen flying at night between the months of May and July. As herbivores, they mainly eat leaves from trees such as poplar, sallow and willow. Their diet, means they are most likely to be found in habitats such as woodland, park areas or even in your back garden.
The Puss moth lays a small numbers of eggs on their food plants. When the caterpillar first emerges from the egg, it’s black in colour with what looks like a long double tail extending from its abdomen.
The caterpillar then goes through several different periods of change known as Instars. Within a short period of time the caterpillar turns into a much larger, green caterpillar with a dark coloured patch, on its back.
The markings of the Puss Moth caterpillar’s face are what make them so distinctive, giving the impression of a red ringed cartoon-like face. (link) Buglife

On checking the trap in the morning , there was not a single moth to be found :(

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A flock of Golden Pluvers

With reports on Twitter there were Cuckoos and a Ring Ouzels seen in the area up on Bingley Moor a trip was needed.

Bingley moor , Ilkley moor , Rombalds moor, and Hawksworth Moor all join together making a rather large area for moor land birds to bread and live.

The sheep came to greet us as we parked the car, the wind was howling but despite the noise you could hear the Grouse calling amongst the heather.

A pair of Oystercatchers were feeding in the near by field.

I notice a small bird flying round the walls of the field, turned out to be a Wheatear.
Not a great photo but it will do as a record shot, first time I have seen this bird for a few years now.

There was no break from the wind, but Curlews, Lapwings and Skylarks could still be seen flying round.

Meadow pipits were the next bird spotted , they like to feed along the paths.

The area I was heading for has more open spaces with Rush and Grass rather than Heather.

I spotted a bird on the hill , Lapwing. Paned around with my binoculars , eyes watering, hair in face dog pulling to eat even more rabbit poo. I spotted not one but a flock of Golden Plovers.

Despite been in their breading colours they were hard to spot with the naked eye as they blended well into the moor grass land.

There was about 40 birds .

At this spot there is a shooting range, not sure if it is still used.

Back towards the car  you could watch the male Grouse flying up into the air as they displayed for the females.

Not what I was expecting , but discovered later but Canada geese and Greylag geese will breed up here during the spring.

From the road side I watched a Curlew feeding.

A Pied wagtail was seen next to the farm house.

The last bird spotted was a Pheasant running across the field.