WFV, Silsden Canal Walk, 11th January 2022

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Sat, 15th Jan 2022, 9:30am

It ws good to see eleven people turn out for the first BEES trip of 2022. I had hoped to lead the group on the canal towpath towards KIldwick, but it was far too muddy so we walked on the upgraded towpath towards Riddlesden. Shortly after setting off we peered over the wall onto Silsden Beck below and saw a perched kingfisher. It soon flew into some hidden vegetation before flying upstream in a flash of blue. A grey wagtail was seen weaving amongst some pots on a garden wall before flying down to rocks in the beck. 

No sooner had we continued walking than the kingfisher was seen again on a canal barge, but as soon as he knew he'd been spotted he was off again. 

As we worked our way along the towpath at the reassuringly slow BEES pace, we noted catkins on a tree, berries on a holly bush and fungi on a tree stump which was identified by John as Lumpy Bracket. About a mile along the canal another flying kingfisher was spotted, landing briefly before flying again.

A distant lone goose was seen amongst some gulls in a field. It was smaller than a greylag and noted to have pink legs. A photo taken on the day was sent off to eminent birders for an opinion. It is quite likely that this was a pink-footed goose but we cannot be certain. 

A leisurely lunch was taken on the canalside, the group taking advantage of a bench and low stone wall, enjoying the mild conditions and light winds. 

After lunch we turned off the canal just past the bridge to follow Low Lane. I thought this quiet road might give some added interest and the opportunity to see different birds. When I had walked this route two days earlier, I had passed unimpeded through the open gates of the farm. But the gates were closed and a solitary sheep stood directly behind the first gate and a flock of sheep were enclosed between two subsequent gates. The lone sheep may have been making a bid for freedom because when the farmer appeared the lone sheep had disappeared into an outbuilding nearby. Once the farmer had rounded him up, our group were given access through the first gate and asked to stand to one side so the flock of sheep could pass by.  Our path was then clear for us to continue our walk along the lane where we saw red-legged partridges and pheasant in the fields. Near the hamlet of houses some roadworks had just begun so we had to stand aside for some works vehicles. 

Shortly before we rejoined the canal towpath, we saw a couple of thrush sized birds in a field. Closer inspection with binoculars showed them to be redwing. It was just after 2pm when we regrouped on the canal where we had seen the kingfisher on the beck but it didn't put in another appearance, so the group dispersed. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the day, in spite of being unable to walk towards KIldwick  and the "quiet" lane being busier than expected. 

See the photos here. 

Sue Z

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