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Walking Photographer Instagrams
Author Archives: Rich Bunce
Last week’s weather played out like a typical English Summer’s day… Rain being the predominant feature, with just enough sunshine to keep the optimistic hopeful!
As I had to go London for a few days last week, I didn’t have as much time to discover Burley’s wildlife but I still managed to squeeze some wildlife, slash walks, slash photography in…
Swifts have arrived, I see them daily now from my home studio skylight, they’re brilliant!
Much to my amusement (only because it was a sociable hour) I watched a greater spotted woodpecker hammering away at the metal top of a telegraph pole in the village, it made a brilliant noise.
I’ve also noticed now two black bunnies, one on Burley Moor near the entrance by Coldstone Beck and one by Stead Hall Wood. Apparently they are more common in Yorkshire than other UK areas. There seems to be a debate on whether a lot of black bunnies are melanistic or just the result of a domestic pet embracing freedom! Having done a little inter-web research, it appears that black rabbits have been hopping about the UK for over 100 years, who’d of thunk it!
As I said, I didn’t get much time to get out in Burley with the camera last week but the interchangeable weather made for some cool landscapes and one evening I just couldn’t resist heading out. As well as the landscape at the top of this post I took the following two… too!
In this last photo, you can see a tuft of grass in the foreground. I walked right by it only to discover a Skylark, who quickly chirped up, beautifully requesting that I vacated his ‘patch’! To have such a close and serendipitous encounter was a real thrill!
That’s it for now, I hope to catch some new plant life with me lens next week, so watch this space!
There wasn’t a corner of Burley in Wharfedale that you couldn’t pick up the aroma of BBQ this weekend! The butchers weren’t the only guys busy this week here. The sudden rise in temperature has sparked a nesting frenzy! Just walking to the shops, I see a flurry of birds darting in different directions beaks full of nesting material.
I’ve been local most of the week which has been great for getting out and about the area.
This week’s notable wildlife…
- 5 or 6 Redpolls seen at Sun Lane Nature Reserve feeders. They looked great with their deep red breeding colours!
- Saw a sparrow twice on the same walk once near Greenholme Mills the second time near the subway by Generous Pioneer.
- Spotted a Black Cap by ‘the Goit’ between Greenholme Mills and the Stepping Stones
- Seen at least one house martin going into a bankside nest near the stepping stones also saw a dipper splashing around a little further down the stream
- Seen a ton of Blackbirds, great birds!
- Saw several swallows feeding over the river Wharfe on the stretch that runs close to A65 (just after st Marys Church going into Otley)
- Heard a Cuckoo in the Burley Woodhead area
Here’s this week in Burley through a lens…
Marmite, Coffee, Modern Art, Maggie Thatcher and seemingly, the Giant’s Causeway!? I wasn’t expecting the UNESCO World Heritage Site to be such a chalk and cheese landscape… but as we explored this famous area it became apparent that first impressions were quite divisive!
“Wow! Look at that!” said excitedly from one family, “is that it?” spoken with an air of disappointment from another.
Nothing in this world is liked universally, I’ve even met people who don’t like the Beatles! Does the Causeway’s fame set a precedent too high to meet some people’s expectations? Is it possible that some don’t see the excitement in the uniqueness of these rare rock formations? Or maybe the crowds of people clambering over every vacant space of the causeway turns some people off?
I found watching the large groups of people exploring this place almost as fascinating as the actual Causeway! Don’t be mistaken, for me, the landscape is fascinating and a rather original place to visit.
The new visitor centre is quite spectacular in itself. If going round the centre fails to get you excited about this place nothing will. The architecture, design and exhibits all come together to create a truly remarkable and exciting visitor centre. Having spent some time hogging all the interactive exhibits, we made our way to The Giant’s Causeway.
We decided to take the cliff top walk first and take a breather from the herds of people! The walk is stunning and the further you go the quieter it gets; each bay / cove revealing further varieties of rock formations which nesting seabirds take full advantage of. From the clifftops you get glimpses of the old coastal path that in the not too distant past people would have walked along. You also see the epic landslips that have engulfed large sections of it, which is obviously the reason for the path’s closure. It’s a shame because it looks like it was a quite spectacular walk!
After a while, we turned back, took a deep breath and descended into the tourist pit! You could spend as much time watching people interact with this space as you could spend looking around it, it’s like a giant playground for all ages! Having lingered for what seemed an acceptable time, we made our unnecessary excuses to each other and headed off in search of somewhere a bit quieter.
We did however revisit the Giant’s Causeway in the early evening where there were considerably less people and the light really brought the Causeway to life! For me, this was and is the best way to see it!
To conclude, this IS one of those ‘must see’ areas, you just have to be prepared to share it with a fair few other people!
This week has started to show promise that the snow may have finally retreated and some warmer weather might just be around the corner! Such times, (much like the sprouting of bluebells and the arrival of swallows,) are typically marked by overzealous Fathers reaching for a pair of shorts and optimistic shops filling their shelves with BBQ kits.
The excitement got to us too though and we headed up to Chevin Forest Park, Otley for a beautiful evening walk. The light was gorgeous and the woodland bursting with bird song. We caught sight of two courting nuthatches which was a particular highlight; but the sunset really stole the show!
A large predatory shadow glides over us. A wave of excitement washes over me as we look up to see a sky full of red kites and I struggle to keep a ‘cool’ demeanor or just break into a childish run, as we head up to the bird hides.
Our weekend in the Brecon Beacons (so far), hadn’t quite delivered everything I hoped for. An area of famed outstanding beauty, with legendary walks and mind blowing scenery; all of is pretty irrelevant when blanketed in cloud and visibility is reduced to less than ten metres!
As we approached the Red Kite Feeding Centre it seemed our perseverance over the weekend had been rewarded. It appeared we had found the only patch of blue sky in Wales! In fact, as we had arrived early we had time to test this theory out and believe it or not much more than a mile away from the Kite Centre we found ourselves shrouded in the white fluffy stuff again!
Feeding begins at 2pm daily. We found ourselves a spot in the hide and waited an agonising ten minutes for the spectacle to begin! I don’t use the word ‘spectacle’ lightly, what occurred was mesmerising and mind-blowingly awesome! Hundreds of huge raptors gracefully and effortlessly swooping down just metres in front of us. This was a genuinely unique and thrilling experience, and I left with a feeling not too dissimilar to when I swam with wild dolphins in New Zealand! But you don’t have to travel to the otherside of the world for this experience, this is in the UK and very accessible; which is just as well because we have unfinished business the Brecon Beacons!