I'm on the bed playing a Sudoku app when I hear it. It’s early evening and it’s that delicate moment when the kids have just closed their eyes and I'm praying they make it to deep sleep without interruption. It's reassuringly quiet. That’s when I hear it. A high pitched shrill that pierces my soul and triples my heart rate. I leap off the bed and run up into the loft as fast as I can. Out of the loft window I lean as far as I dare. They're still here. The Swifts. The Swifts are here. Continue reading Up On The Roof
As the "Beast from the East" flew in, two Woodcocks flew out. Whether it was the army of tobogganists storming the hill by Catton Wood, or the fierce Siberian winds, it was another first for me and a great start to my walk out.
It was a wild walk that took me up onto the moor and into waist deep snowdrifts, with winds so strong I could sit on the air!
As I left the village via Sun Lane and headed toward Audley Clevedon I picked up a tail. A male Kestrel appeared to be trailing me, it would jet past me and find a perch some hundred metres away. This happened on several occasions before I lost him at the summit of the Burley moor.
In the week that followed, Red Kites started pick up there presence overhead, often catching my eye as they glided and arced over the studio skylight.
When the Cornmill Pond wasn't frozen more often than not you'd catch a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher. This one is a shy Kingfisher, that dives downstream of the pond and out of sight after just a minute; though it does feel like each of our meetings lasts a little longer.
A friend told me there'd been another Otter sighting at Burley weir, unfathomably at lunchtime on a Saturday!
On my recent visits to the weir I saw a Dipper dipping on a snow covered branch (no camera!), two Cormorants (at the same time), a male & female Goosander and on the opposite bank, in the snow I just caught sight of a Hare, before it turn tailed and disappeared into the white.
My last sighting of note came after failed attempt to catch the last post. As I headed back package still in hand I looked up and saw a white Heron, almost certainly a Great Egret and not a common site. A fitting ending to a week centred around the white stuff.
It was the last couple of hours I had free before I had to head to London, and I knew exactly where I spending them. This was the last chance I'd get this year to photograph the toads gathering and mating up on Ilkley Moor.
I had already made two previous trips but the conditions were poor. I was hoping that this time it might be third time lucky and the conditions might just be right... for the next couple of hours at least. As I dreamed of the award winning photos awaiting me up on Ilkley Moor, I jumped in the car and turned the key in the ignition... Nothing. I tried turning the key again... and again... and again. The car was not going to start and I did not have enough time to walk.
Frustrated and annoyed I accepted defeat but by now I really needed to unravel the rage that was gripping me. At this moment, there was only one place that could release me from my monsters. The river. Continue reading Wildlife Diary: Burley Bursting with Life