Sunday, 2 May 2010

Kirkstall Abbey by the river

Despite a chill in the air I wandered down to Kirkstall Abbey. In the park this Chaffinch perched on the branch of a Sycamore, among the newly emerged lobed leaves and drooping flower panicles.

It kept its Chaffinchy eye on me as I wandered around below, stopping to gaze at clumps of Leucojum aestivum, part of a flower border and quite lovely.

Along this stretch the River Aire , at intervals grow clumps of Ransoms/Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) with arching, broad green elliptic leaves topped with clusters of white star shaped flowers 6 petals and 6 stamens on a leafless stalk. Although never having tried them myself, both flowers and leaves are edible, Nigel Slater has a wild garlic (and nettle) recipe in today's Observer.

A few metres away two male Blackbirds were engaged in a dramatic stand-off on a fallen White Willow.

Here's the White Willow on the banks of the River Aire, one of two Willows in the area that have collapsed, the original storm damage occurred earlier in the year, but this time it's gone completely. There are plenty of Willow and Elder along this stretch, so I'm sure other plants will benefit from the newly available resources left in its wake.

A good opportunity to get some close ups of White Willow catkins.

Whilst wandering around the Willow I heard an unfamiliar call and glimpsed a pair of Common Tern, (the quality's not great, poor light, fast Tern)

And as one good Tern deserves another.

Rather blurred this one, but moments before it dived suddenly and snaffled a fish, which you can just make out in its beak.
Whilst waiting for the Tern to return (it didn't) this male Goosander flew downstream, at the time I couldn't tell what it was but with the help of a little Photoshop jiggery-pokery you can make out the sawbill and the characteristic markings. Goosander are a familiar sight on this stretch of the Aire in winter, so it was good to still see them around .

I turned my attention to the riverbanks and this umbelliferous plant which made for some interesting pics, if only I'd thought to take a less artsy reference pic I might have had a chance of identifying it, but as usual I didn't, Anthriscus sylvestris maybe?

As I was leaving the park and with the light at its lowest due to the onset of rain I spotted a Jay, it spotted me and made for cover sharpish. Not bad for an impromptu early evening wander.


  1. Linda,
    A nice variety of sightings.
    Like the plant pics.

  2. A great post Linda. You did well to capture those flight shots.

  3. Linda - just to let you know that the Chinese 'comment' doesn't have anything to do with your blog. A cut and paste into Google Translate shows it is of an 'adult' nature.

    Looks like you had a great time at Kirkstall Abbey. The fallen trees should make good habitat for all sorts of creatures, especially minibeasts.

  4. Hello CityBirding, Dean and John. Thanks for stopping by, its one of those spots that benefits from an extended visit.

    Thanks John, I wondered as much, I'm just glad its in Chinese...

    Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday, Linda

  5. What a good Jay photo, well done!

  6. Agree with Warren ...the photo of the Jay is GREAT. Thanks for stopping by my blog - I've enjoyed yours as well and shall tag along!

  7. Smashing post Linda, I really enjoyed reading it and looking at your photographs. I'm in awe of your artistic ability with the camera. I just aim mine at the subject and hope that it stays still long enough! :O) The photos of the plants are, commercially, highly popular.... this is the sort of thing people want mounted and hanging on their sitting-room walls. You could make a fortune!

  8. Great post, I saw a Tern at Newmillerdam last week and couldn't even get a blurred shot!

  9. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. Your photos are superb. I looked at and enjoyed your posts on the dipper at Bolton Abbey and also the Farne Islands. I particularly liked your Puffin photos.

  10. Hello Warren, thank you, it was a little dark by that point but its difficult not to pick up the camera when there's a Jay around.

    Hello Susan, thanks for dropping by, I think you should win a prize for the best blog post title week with your 'Question for Sarah Palin: How's that Oily Drilly Thins Workin For Ya Now'. Well worth a read.

    Thanks Lesley, you're very kind, I'll keep your words in mind. I hope your Beatrix Potter garden hasn't had to deal with any further canine intrusions over the past couple of days.

    Hello Pam, thank you, they're probably the first tern pics Ive ever managed. I wonder whether they may be the terns that nest at Rodley.

    Hello Largo Observer, I enjoyed your pic of the Dipper and the Blackthorn blossom.

    Thanks again for stopping by and best wishes to you all, Linda

  11. Hi, I have really enjoyed looking at your posts. A good mixture of topics and great pics.

  12. Hello Lis, thanks so muchfor your kind words, best wishes, Linda


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