Thursday, 16 December 2010

Some proper photos

The birding has been a bit thin on the ground recently, mainly due to the weather but also because of commitments like “family” and “friends”. Ho hum. Also, my wife went to All Tomorrow’s Parties last weekend (curated by Belle and Sebastian, so I wasn’t clamouring to go with her), meaning I had three lovely days with the kids, but no “proper” birding.

Fortunately, I've managed to get out a couple of times during my lunch hour (“lunch 40 minutes”, actually), and wander around Robert’s Park, Saltaire. The Redwings are still present and correct, and are much easier to see now the leaves have fallen - I’ll have another go at counting them next time out. A Grey Wagtail has been bobbing around noisily over the field, probably looking for a bare place to land in all the snow. And a lovely first-winter male Goosander has been fishing on the river, entertaining the drinkers and diners in the Boathouse pub.

I occasionally go birding around the park with a work colleague, Paul Marfell, when our lunch times coincide. Paul claims he isn’t a bird-watcher, he just likes photographing them. He claims he’s not much of a photographer either, but he’s a damn sight better than me, although maybe that’s not so difficult. Over the past year or two, his bird knowledge, and photography, have really progressed.

In the summer of 2010, we watched a pair of Kestrels as they nested in Salts Mill. They had chosen to use a deep hole in the Mill wall, created by the recent refurbishment works and viewable from my friend’s desk. Fortunately, further work on the building was delayed, allowing the birds to fledge four young. Paul was able to watch them regularly and noticed that one of the chicks had a foot that was either deformed or had toes missing. It seemed to be several days behind the other three in development. After fledging, one of the juveniles became caught behind netting covering another part of the building, which was there to stop wildlife getting in. Unfortunately, it couldn’t find its way out and died.

Seeing as I haven’t got any recent photos of my own to show, I thought I’d show some of Paul's (with his permission, of course). It feels a bit like cheating - me putting someone else's photos on my blog - but Paul's too modest to shout about them. These were taken around Salts Mill, where we work, and the surrounding area. I hope you like them.

 Kestrels, Salts Mill (Paul Marfell)

 Waxwing, Salts Mill (Paul Marfell)

 Curlew, Baildon Moor (Paul Marfell)
Feral Pigeon, Baildon (Paul Marfell)

Long-tailed Tit, Baildon (Paul Marfell)

More of Paul’s photos are on Flickr:
Birds at Baildon and Shipley
Kestrels at Salt's Mill 2010

1 comment:

  1. Nick, as long as you help me identify them I will let you publish them. Paul