BEN RHYDDING AGAIN. 26th MAY 2020
For my regular Tuesday outing I visited Spofforth's medieval castle and explored two sections of a disused railway line ( one section of the line is now a Sustrans cycling route between Spofforth and Wetherby). Some Bees people may recall completing a 5 mile walk in the area led by Marilyn in May 2007.
My intention was to look for any plants that could be growing in the crevasses and cracks of the castle walls.(both Fountains Abbey and Jervaux Abbey are noted for their wall loving plants). The castle or manor house is built of millstone grit which is the bed rock of the area. From the historical perpective Spofforth castle was the main seat of the Percy family, one of the most important and influential families in northern england until the 14th centuary. William de Percy a favourite of William the Conquerer built a manor house in the 11th century and it was reputedly here that the rebel barons drew up the Magna Carta in 1215.
This is less of a blog and more of a reported sighting and sharing of photos of a fox that visited my garden early this morning. The fox stayed for 20-30 minutes and got very comfortable and a second fox also put in a brief appearance. I especially like the photo with the red campion on the fox's nose!!
See photos here.
NATIONAL BEES DAY 20TH MAY 2020
On National Bees Day it seemed appropriate to visit a local SSSI. Unlike on some previous visits there, the weather was glorious.
The silence of lockdown was replaced by continuous birdsong. Butterflies seen were whites, orange tip and possibly a fritillary.
A mystery invertebrate awaits identification.
Where have I been this Tuesday?
I made two visits, the first was to Weston on the outskirts of Otley and on the north bank of the River Wharfe. I stopped in Weston Lane to scan for birdlife. Small flocks of greylag geese were feeding in the nearby fields. I drove down a narrow country lane to visit the very ancient church of Weston. The church was closed however I had read about its notable internal features including a squire palour (a comfortable seating area which included a fire), very old bells which had been stolen and then returned and a three storey pulpit. Nearby is the sixteenth century manor house of Weston Hall home of the Vavasour family who are significant land owners in the area. After a short walk in the environs (views of Ilkley Moor, fields and a ha ha). I returned up the lane waving to Ronnie Duncan a Yorkshire business man turned art connoisseur who has great interest in stone and has built his own sculpture garden in the grounds of his cottage.
Today I drove to Baildon, parking up near St James' Church and walked up through residential areas of Hoyle Court, Kirklands and Station Road spotting Long-tailed tits and hearing Blackcap along the way. A footpath between houses had a profusion of Green Alkanet and a smattering of bluebells. My route then took me close to the baildon Rugby club before emerging on to the moor. It was much breezier than I expected but fortunately it was not a cold wind especially as there was a little fine rain at times and I had not brought a waterproof.
My walk of around 2 miles on Tuesday took me to the Washburn Valley. I followed the path taken by the Bees group on the 9th May 2017 from Lindley Bridge to the Dob Park packhorse bridge over the River Washburn. It was again a cool but fine day. The valley is famed as a quiet breeding ground for birds. I was met with a cacophony of bird song but unfortunately sightings were rare. I could only identify the songs of great tit, curlew, wood pigeon and pheasant. However I did see a flock of sand martins darting from tree to tree overhead and observed their burrows in a sand bank on the riverside. The reservoir was an expanse of mud and grass in contrast to May 2017 when I had seen a mandarin duck swimming in the water.
My visit today was to the bluebell woodland of Rougemont Carr. On my visit last week to the Weeton Lanes I spotted a parking place directly opposite a public footpath leading to the woodland. Luckily for me it was unoccupied when I arrived. The approach to the woodland was via a path traversing fields. There were good views of St Barnabas Church and the Chevin beyond; also of Almscliffe Crag in another direction. There was a cold easterly wind and I was glad to arrive in the wood for some shelter. The woodland held a glorious display of bluebells. Keeping to the paths I walked to the edge of the wood and in doing so disturbed a roe deer which bounded off to the rivers edge. Nearby I spotted the bright yellow flowers of leopard's-bane, also red campion in full bloom . Bird song was ever present the birds mostly keeping to the top of the canopy of trees. You will recall our sighting of a woodpecker appearing out of a hole in a tree on our last visit.
Walks in the Shipley area. Early May 2020
Last week I walked on Idle Moor on a gloomy day that threatened rain and was surprised to come across a Whitethroat. Given the conditions I had left my camera at home and was regretting that decision so today I decided to retrun to Idle Moor and look for "my" Whitethroat. I retruned to the same spot and waited for a while. I could hear more than one Whitethroat singing its' scratchy song but the closest one seemed to have tucked itself away in some scrubby bushes. I waited about 10 minutes before it perched on the top of shrub and I got several photos including in full song. Misson accomplished.