Monday, 22 February 2010

The return of the Jay

There was a new covering of snow on Sunday and I thought there was a good chance of one or both of the local Jays returning to the garden. They are very shy and fly off at the slightest disturbance but I hoped the offer of a few peanuts may tempt them to hang around.

Sure enough in the late morning one appeared. There was always a twig or branch in the way but I managed a few photos before the other Jay flew in but being more nervous than the other it took flight after a second or two with the first Jay following shortly after.

Hopefully this year I will get some better shots of these birds. This time however I was more concerned that they got some extra food as it had been a very cold night and was very careful not to disturb them.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Saturday - a return with wellingtons!

After the poor light of Friday afternoon the clear blue sky of Saturday morning encouraged me to revist the Pocklington Canal. As soon as I suggested the idea to Mrs Wolds End the first clouds appeared (why is it that changing weather is often repeated the next day?). 
On arriving at the flooded fields visited yesterday a large cloud obscured the Sun and although I could see sun shining on the Wolds in the distance the cloud and sun kept pace with each other and the area we were in only occasionaly benefited from bright sunlight. The water levels had dropped a little but this time I had been reminded to take my wellingtons and the flooded parts of the path were crossed with ease.

The flooded fields bordering the canal were occupied by Mute swans, Canada and Greylag geese, Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Pintail and Shoveler. Lapwing were in the air but not in quite as large a quantity as Friday.

Something further down caused a disturbance and everything took to the sky for a short time and the air was full of a variety of species which was quite a sight. After a short while they all returned to the water and surrounding banks.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

What happened to the light?

Friday was one of "those" days. 

A cloudless blue sky persuaded me to take my camera and have a walk along the Pocklington Canal in East Yorkshire. I had a few things to do first and it was lunchtime before I set off - the first few clouds had just appeared. 

As I drove down to the stretch of canal I thought would give me a good chance of seeing some wildlife more clouds filled the sky. As I arrived the wonderful light that had inspired me to go out had gone to be replaced by a grey sky (one day I will learn to forget everything else and rush out when ever decent light appears) . This stretch of the canal is prone to flooding and sure enough the fields had become ponds with the drainage ditches overflowing into the canal - the levels however were lower than my last visit when I was only able to walk a short distance before meeting water too deep to risk wading through -  there was only one problem - I had forgotten to put my wellingtons in the car. I chose to risk slightly wet and muddy feet and walked away from the road only to be met by knee deep water where the water in the fields and ditch ran into the canal. I turned back once but hearing geese further up I decided that as my feet were wet I would carry on as the ground further up was higher and bound to be drier. The water was icy cold but soon I was on better ground and met with the sight of a large flooded field with Mute swans, Canada and Greylag geese, Wigeon, Teal and Pochard on the far side. Passing an Otter spraint I moved on. 

Hiding behind  a raised bank I found a spot with good cover from trees and hid hoping something would come closer. After a while I heard the sound of something moving through the water and wondered if the Otter or some of the swans I had seen further down were coming up the canal but as the noise got louder I saw it was a canoeist who was approaching and he chose where I was to take his canoe out of the canal and drag it along the bank to avoid a lock. I then heard the sound of an engine and was surprised to see two youths attempting to get a motorbike along the towpath - they were defeated by the flooding but had churned the path up and scared anything away for some distance. After this disturbance I moved up and hid behind a tree as a group of Wigeon that had taken flight from the "bikers" approached and flew over one of the flooded fields with their distinctive call filling the air - the light was grey and flat and the sky was reflecting off the water but by increasing the iso I managed to get a shot of them as they came close.

I then moved further up where there was more cover and found a spot with wildlife more within range of my lens. I was very careful to approach but they started to take flight as a light aircraft approached at a low level - oh well some days just don't go as hoped. With the light levels still low I walked further up the canal and then turned around to make my way back pausing to observe 3 Goldfinches in a tree and photographing a Mute swan.

On reaching the flooded section again I once more had to get my feet wet - the water felt even colder this time and a chilly breeze had got up which did not help.

Further along I saw a large flock of birds in the sky as they got closer I realised they were Lapwing. There must have been a few hundred of them. Slowly moving through the air they made a magnificent site.

As I got back to the car the end of the clouds was in sight and on the drive home the sun broke through.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Blue tit

Blue tit
Originally uploaded by Wolds End
Now that I have finished upgrading the photo storage on my computer network I have been continuing to sort through my favourite photos from last year. This blue tit paused for a moment on the end of a plum tree's branch. What characters these small birds are. Full of energy they seldom stay in one spot for long so I had to be quick.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Sunday was a day for sorting out my accounts and computer. The day was not however without some pleasure as we had a fleeting visit by a Jay who was in search of peanuts. Thankfully my Nikon was to hand and I managed a quick photo before the excitement in the garden was over.

Hopefully this jay will return when I am more prepared.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


Originally uploaded by Wolds End
Just before Christmas 2009 the weather turned colder and snow fell. This friendly Robin posed for a photograph.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Ryedale Sunset

Ryedale Sunset
Originally uploaded by Wolds End
This is another of my 2009 favourites. Taken in November the sun was setting behind the hill as we neared the end of our walk. I liked the silhouette of the tree and farmhouse with the warm glow of the setting sun. A short while later a barn owl appeared but there was not enough light to take anything other than a blurry shot.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Butterfly on flower

Butterfly on flower
Originally uploaded by Wolds End
As it is a cold, grey day I thought I would look through my favourite photos of 2009. This photo was taken in summer. I was on my way back to the car park after a couple of hours walking and photographing in the Yorkshire Wolds and saw this marbled white butterfly on a field scabious. I just had to stop and take a photo.