Saturday, 31 March 2012

Nan Whin Woods, Tong

Nesting Thrush

On our visit to Nan Whin Woods in Tong we first dropped by Goodalls Ice Cream Parlour on Tong Lane for pre-walk refreshments. Two scoops of Chocolate and Hokey Pokey (honeycomb & caramel) in a sugar cone later we set off on our woodland wander. We caught sight of this Mistle Thrush constructing its mossy nest high up in the fork of a tree. Thanks to Phil (Another Bird Blog) for his ID.  Chiffchaffs sang from the Hawthorn tops. 


An elusive pair of Jays were appeared on our return where we spotted them near the banks of the stream.

Sunlight filtering through banks of Anenomes flanking the beck.

Having read Midmarsh John's post on Midmarsh Jottings  earlier in the week I recognised this straight away asa Bee Fly (bombylius major), thanks John!

Bee Fly

A Comma, one of 4 seen during the visit, along with Peacock (6) Small Tortoiseshell (8).

Friday, 30 March 2012

Butterfly behaviour - Peacocks and pushchairs

At Nan Whin's Wood in Tong I saw this discerning Peacock butterfly alight onto a piece of litter. On reading the page entitled 'Argos guide to Pushchairs' which advises on purchasing the perfect pushchair for your little one, it was at this point I realised that there's so much I've yet to learn about butterfly behaviour.....

Surely there's some word play around the theme of Argos/Argus, but it evades me, answers on a postcard please.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Headingley Station Allotment Butterflies

A few more hours on the allotment today brought out more butterflies with two new species making an appearance thanks to the glorious sunshine. This Comma spent a bit of time on the Gooseberries (not a great pic, but needs must), and a male Orange Tip passed through briefly. The single Small White that's been around for the last two days was joined by another, and two Small Tortoiseshells visited a variety of spots around the allotment, a Peacock made an appearance later in the afternoon.

I've started a butterfly sightings list for 2012 with the aim that it'll encourage me to be a little more organised about recording my sightings for the year. Thanks to a week off work I've made a good start so far.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Visit to Askham Bog, York

Lovely weather in Leeds again today, so we spent a couple of hours on the allotment this morning and heard our first Kirkstall Chiffchaff in the direction of St Stephens Churchyard. Allotment butterflies Small White x 1, Small Tortoiseshell x1 and Peacock x1.

After lunch we decided on a trip to Askham Bog Nature Reserve, York. Peacocks (4) were sunning themselves on the boardwalk

Flying in and out of the vegetation flanking the boardwalk we noticed this Comma which came to rest on Andrea's leg for half a minute or so. I spotted a male Brimstone on the wing at distance and a single Orange Tip flitting through vegetation (which made the first sightings page on the Butterflly Conservation Yorkshire website - yay!)

During our walk around the reserve there was a lot of rustling in the undergrowth mostly heard but not seen until I spotted this mouse. We heard a couple of Chiffchaffs and were pleased to spot one in the treetops above us, a Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared briefly and there were Wrens and Robins aplenty.

On the path leading fromthe reserve, a bank of Lesser Celandine 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Otley Chevin

We spent a  few hours on the allotment this morning where we spotted a Small WhiteSmall Tortoiseshell, Wren, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Long Tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit.

In the afternoon we drove up to Otley Chevin and walked through the bilberry patch where we saw Green Hairstreaks towards the end of April last year. As expected, the bilberry which is the local foodplant of these butterfly are still a couple of weeks away from flowering, & I didn't manage to find any pupa.  We were pleased to see a couple of Peacock and a mating pair of Small Tortoiseshell and heard our first Chiffchaff of 2012. In the woodland we saw Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Long Tail Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Robin. 

Here's how the bilberry and heather slope looks at present, and here's a link to last year's post about Green Hairstreaks on Otley Chevin dated 27 April.

More information about Green Hairstreak

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Adel churchyard sightings

On a visit to St John the Baptist Churchyard in Adel I spotted a pair of Jays sunning themselves. The first one basking on the ground made little effort to rouse itself until disturbed by visitors heading in its direction at which it hopped into the holly tree above while the other moved into dappled shade on a nearby headstone.

After last weeks first butterfly sighting of the year at Rodley, I saw two more Small Tortoiseshells in the churchyard and watched a couple of Peacocks spiral up into the sky, despite my best efforts to track them down I managed to find one only for a brief moment pointing the camera in its direction before it disappeared again.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Riverbank views

A few more views down by the banks of the River Aire by Kirkstall Abbey.


More Alder catkins, the yellow hanging catkins are the male catkins, to the right are newly emerged female catkins which will eventually grow to the size of the mature female catkins at the bottom left which belong to previous year's growth.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

More Jersey doodles

Jersey coastal flora, I think the umbelliferous plant is Wild Carrot, Dacus carota with a variety of costal grasses

Jersey doodles

Whilst emptying some memory cards I found some photos from last summer's trip to Jersey that I thought I'd lost for good. I realised that there were loads of photos that I never posted at the time. Here's a coastal composite of thrift and coastal grasses.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Greatham Creek Avocets

On a recent trip to Teesside I caught the last light of the day at Greatham Creek.  I wasn't sure what was meant to be around and initially thought the white birds I could see in the distance were shelduck.  As I got closer I was pleasantly surprised to realise that amongst the shelduck were a group of 10 avocets.   I managed to catch one flying and you can see the beautiful patterns on the upper wing.

They are such a graceful looking bird in flight, despite those unlikely looking beaks!

Some of the rest of the flock looked like they were settling in for the night. They do breed on the pools at Seal Sands but my recollection is that they turn up a little later than this. 


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Breary Marsh Woodpecker

Went to Breary Marsh LNR for a quick trip to try and find a woodpecker.  This one gave itself away by chirping for ages until I was close enough to spot it.  It did its best to prevent me from getting a decent picture, ducking behind branches, deliberately facing the wrong way etc.  but I managed a couple of shots.  Breary Marsh is at the Western edge of Golden Acre Park in Leeds and is a lot quieter than the main park.  It is a pretty reliable spot for a woodpecker so worth a look.

The woodpecker shows me its best side again.  Looks like a female to me.  She was around for a while, jumping from tree to tree and then flew too far away for me to snap any more.   Other birds in the area included bullfinch, chaffinch, great tits and robins.


Monday, 19 March 2012

Rodley Nature Reserve pondlife

We visited Rodley Nature Reserve this weekend and enjoyed a walk around the dragonfly ponds which were teeming with toads. This one took time out from courting duties to bask in the sunshine. I also spotted my first two butterflies of the year, two fresh Small Tortoiseshells in the Willow Coppice. Yay! These two were too distant for a decent photo, so purely for reference purposes.

In the managers garden, we saw Reed Bunting, Greenfinch, and a flock of 12+ Linnets. Keep up to date with Rodley Nature Reserve's Latest Sightings page.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

River catkins

Whilst messing about with some photos of catkins growing on the banks of the River Aire, I threw a few silhouettes and textures together, cant quite get the hang of what I'm trying to do with it yet, just ideas.

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day Mam! Just for you, here's some hedgerow Blackthorn blossom (Prunus spinosa) pictured at Rodley Nature Reserve earlier today.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Willows on the River Aire

On the banks of the River Aire next to Kirkstall Abbey a series of willows overhang the riverbank,  the catkins are emerging with the first leaves in an alternate arrangement on long slender stems.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Riverbank patterns and reflections

Whilst walking along the riverbank by Kirkstall Abbey, these spindly dried grass stems caught my eye, along with a female Mallard perched on a submerged branch.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Down by the river

Alder catkins on the banks of the River Aire by Kirkstall Abbey.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Greenery in St Stephens churchyard


Spring greenery in a corner of St Stephen's churchyard in Kirkstall. If I'm not mistaken, these are the leaves of Honey garlic, a tall, thinly stemmed, shade tolerant perennial growing in a patch at the back of the churchyard that will eventually produce these lovely flower heads.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Bat update

Just wanted to say thanks to everybody who took the time to comment on our recent bat pics. The votes are in and after much deliberation it looks like the pipistrelles have it. Having looked back through the remaining photos we thought we'd feature a few more of them in these composites. Thanks again.

L & A

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Nuthatch at Goldenacre Park

We watched a pair of Nuthatch work their way around the trunk of a fallen conifer at Goldenacre Park near the Arthington Road entrance.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Hedgerow Blue Tit

In a Kirkstall hedgerow, a group of Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Long Tail Tit zipped in and out of tangled branches. This individual was the only one to sit obligingly for a picture. His colourful fluffy form contrasted with the bare spiky hawthorn branches whose buds are starting to emerge.
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