It was cool and grey with light winds for today's daily walk allowance. I set off to Yeadon with a rough route in mind but I did venture onto roads that I haven't previously walked, all the while noting footpaths signs for future reference.
My first bird encounter was on Leeds Road where a Wood Pigeon with a twig in his beak was flying straight towards me before it rose over my head to dive into a tall, dense hedge behind me. As I turned off down Apperley Road towards the canal I heard the distinctive call of the Ring-necked Parakeet and was fortunate to then see it fly past. There was little to see from the bridge over the canal - just a single swan.
Short Walk in Northcliffe 30th March
The weather today was not as warm as it was midweek when I was gardening in a tee shirt. Today's brisk breeze meant that I was donning coat, hat and gloves for today's daily exercise allowance; a 5 mile walk from my home.
An 8 am start saw me don walking boots and head off through my local patch. I usually start by going through Sun Woods which at this time of year is absolutely full of wild garlic. I had expected to be met by much birdsong but there was little activity this morning. The beck was flowing steadily as I crossed the bridge and headed through the fields where lambing is obviously in full swing. A lovely sight on a beautiful sunny morning. Woodland again where I have seen roe deer in the past but careful scanning produced no sign of these shy creatures today. Some magnificent fungi was seen on a fallen tree as I made my way along the track, past the profusion of bluebells that would appear shortly and out into the open again within sight of Coley Church. Huge open fields to cross, with horses grazing in the distance and crows flying overhead. The lane down into Norwood Green holds great promise for later flowerings, particularly of cow parsley, but just a few dandelions were showi
Northcliffe Woods, Shipley was delightfully warm today - and I saw a beautiful fresh comma butterfly sunning itself on a log, and two or three chiffchaffs were calling.
Two days ago on Friday morning at around 10.45, Dot Francis and I saw over 60 whooper swans in a gentle V formation flying NW over Northcliffe Park meadow. They flew right over our heads, going ‘voo, voo, voo…'
New sightings 22nd March.
I had a Yellow Brimstone in the garden today. Nothing new flowering in Heaton woods this morning but seven birds seen I am learning to look up as well as down! I saw my first wild pink flower of the year, Geranium robertianum, on the roadside.
Heaton Woods 20th March
This was prepared yesterday but I see that Julia has beaten me describing some things in Heaton Woods. I present it never-the -less. Also, by the way, botanical terminology gets easier the more it is used so persevere with Julia's blogs. I, for one, hope that they will continue.
The paths are still muddy in places and Red Beck does not seem any less full than last week.
Ten plants were in flower. Some Butterbur spikes were visible, a good sign as hundreds were broken off when the area was flooded. Golden saxifrage in profusion, celandines, woodrush and wood anemone beginning to open were welcome sights. Mosses have thrived in the wet. There are carpets of different greens with more scarlet elf cup scattered amongst them than I have ever seen in the wood.
Birds were hiding except for a couple of robins and a dipper bobbing for minutes on a recently fallen branch bridging the beck
I think many of us are familiar with Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria…), one of our earliest spring flowers. I remember seeing the bright yellow flowers in the graveyard in Gargrave on our New Year Walk 2019, but this year I have only noticed them in the last few weeks.
I have recently started an online botany course and this morning I have been doing some homework which has required a closer look at this common flower.
I have to write a flower formula for this (I did one for a snowdrop the other day). This process lists the details of the flower parts and helps allocate your flower into a family. Turns out Lesser Celandine is a bit complicated!
I rarely see sparrows in my garden but today I saw one share a bath with a thrush - haven't they heard about social distancing? Bullfinches are regular visitors of late. Pics here.
My regular Wednesday morning in the woods litter picking provides ample opportunity for sightings. On a still morning there was much bird life apparent. Small flocks of birds could be seen at a distance as I walked through - no binoculars unfortunately. A couple of jays were noted and the inevitable magpie, although a fresh carcass of one was seen next to the main path. Jays were also in evidence, two being spotted. The wild garlic is putting in appearance all over and the celandines are just approaching their full flowering.