Immense sunset by Durham from the bridge


It’s the first week of 2018 and to my amusement, the only successful cure from Ed Sheeran’s festive ear maggot is listening to The Cure’s In Between Days.


It’s been a particularly gloomy start to the year. Incessant rain, thick dull clouds and winds in excess of a hundred miles an hour. Day, after day, after day. In a way it’s helpful, I have (as always) tons and tons of photo editing to do; some commercial and tens of thousands of personal ones… * Trying not linger on this thought *


I had hoped to head out in search of Grey Seal Pups this week, either at§ Donna Nook in Lincolnshire or Ravenscar on the North Yorkshire Coast but the severe weather has put pay to that. The end of the Grey Seal breeding season has come. At the end of November there were 1,692 seal pups and 2,220 adults counted at Donna Nook. The latest count on 2nd January 2018 reveals that just eight pups and two adults remain. My mood starts to match the weather as I realise I’ll have to wait nearly a year before my next chance.


My main focus this week has been to finish editing the artist portraits I photographed just before Christmas for an Ilkley Arts commission. For a break, I also edit several photos of an immense sunset that would have JW Turner jumping up an down in excitement. We caught it last week after visiting Durham Cathedral on a family outing. It was utterly mesmerising.


My dampened spirits are soon lifted by regular sightings of two new arrivals. A pair of Pied Wagtails have started working the roads and pavements around Peel Place, North View and Park Row (Burley-in-Wharfedale). It’s impossible not to feel cheered when watching these bouncy, waggle dancing, monotone but sharp looking birds. Just try not to smile as they dart in and out of the parked cars. Talking of new arrivals, the social networks are buzzing with excitement at a Desert Wheatear which has been hanging around Whitby. It’s interesting but I find it so similar to our Summer Wheatears it fails to pull me a way from the endless conveyor belt of photos to edit.


I’ve recently found myself heading over to Cornmill pond more regularly, where a new mystery has piqued my interest. As I walk through the Pudding Tree entrance to the pond I notice a cable quivering. The cable runs across a tunnel which directs Beck water beneath Main St and on into the pond. There are several other cables below this top cable and they remain motionless with one of them has two white stains on it. Did I just miss a Kingfisher darting into the safety of the tunnel?


A sunny weekend is forecast and I need to get out. Not doubt the sun will draw other folk out in numbers but if I get out early enough I should be able to avoid the crowds!