The forecast for today was strong winds and frequent showers but Andrew and I decided to risk a walk. Although much colder than of late and with a very strong wind, the walk was mostly rain free; just "spits and spots" early on with only one proper shower towards the end of the walk which did not spoil the day. Having parked up close to the junction of Ilkley Road and Street Lane we walked uphill on Ilkley Road. A red kite flying overhead did not seem perturbed by the strength of the wind. I spotted something dart across the road; my "hare" antennae were on full alert but it was probably just a rabbit; we saw plenty of them later on. We turned right off the main road through some fields where a lapwing and single chcik were running around and beyond them in the same field was a solitary curlew.
We crossed a pretty stone bridge over a stream and then ascended to some woodland where the path took us high above a beck. There were some very interesting trees here including a sycamore whose lower trunk was flat to the woodland floor and there were stone walls covered in moss. A few blubells were hanging on and the foxgloves were thriving.. Blackcap, and jay were seen and willow warbler heard. The path eventually dropped down to stepping stones over the beck with a small waterfall nearby. The path then rose again high above the opposite side of the beck. On exiting the wood we passed a large pond; could this be a good spot for dragonfies in warmer conditions? A moorhen was the only wildife seen here. Just past the pond we saw an unusal sight of three bees motionless on a foxglove. Were they dormant due to the cold conditions? It was a good photo opportunity.
The next point of interest was the Sunnydale Reservoir where there were quite a few greylag geese with goslings on the water. We turned left after the dam, where a grey wagatil flew past, to reach the ruins of Sunnydale Mill. The ongoing path became more hazardous due to the recent rainfall. Andrew made a good attempt at the splits and a sideways somersault on the muddy paths but was unhurt. Another waterfall could be seen from a distance but we didn't dare venture down the steep and muddy banks for a closer view. The onward path followed the stream before briefly diverting away and then back again through a field with loads of rabbits. Stepping stones took us across the stream. we emerged onto a road called Lakeside where we looked down on to some beautiful flag irises on the edge of the beck. We continued on a walled track with loads of ferns where a proper shower made us quicken our pace. We turned off through a farm and onto a rhododendron lined track which took us back to Ilkley Road.
Other bird sightings today included pied wagtail, wren, blackcap and mistle thrush. Song thrushand willow warbler were heard but not seen.
See photos here. (reverse order)