It was one of those walks where Alfie (our lurcher) had to stop and take a long sniff every couple of metres!

Such walks limit the amount of ground you can cover when you’ve got other obligations for the day ahead. Such walks can also feel a little frustrating, particularly when you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of a kingfisher.

The short nature (in terms of distance at least) of this trundle however mattered not, as it was filled with a variety of natural encounters.

First stop the Cornmill pond, where a kingfisher has been seen as regularly as we’re currently checking the kids for for covid symptoms (pretty frequently). No kingfisher this morning but in it’s absence a black-headed gull is making up for it by consistently and repeatedly face-planting into the molten surface. A crow dives into the middle of the pond and appearing to walk on water starts pulling at something unidentifiable before flying off.

Then on towards the Wharfe and as we wait for an age for a safe gap to cross the A65 a flock of lapwings glisten in the strong sunlight, shimmering in front of a heavy grey wall of cloud that traverses north east.

By the river we do get a glimpse of our quarry after all. As usual, the kingfisher notices us long before we’re even in its line of sight and the bolt of electric blue shoots off down stream. On the opposite bank though a little egret strolls among the long grass, undeterred. We sit and watch for a good few minutes before it too heads off for new waters down stream.

So back home we head, one step and one sniff at a time.

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