This trip had been postponed from 22nd February due to flooding in Ilkley. 8 BEES participants gathered at the Manor House in Ilkley and met up with Sue Stevens, who was leading us on the winter tree trail in Ilkley. Sue and her husband Neil have created this trail and when I had enquired about the leaflets for the trail, Sue had kindly offered to lead our group today.
In beautiful spring sunshine, we examined the features of twenty trees between the Manor House and the Lido, considering the bark, buds, tree shape, catkins and flowers that can aid identification of the trees. The ash trees in Ilkley are sadly being ravaged by ash die back. The most impressive trees on the walk were the rare black poplars on the bank of the River Wharfe. The walk was very informative and interesting and everyone seemed to enjoy it; there seems to be considerable interest in embarking on some of the summer tree trails on offer.
At lunchtime in the grounds of the lido, we bid farewell to Sue. We were very grateful that she was willing to share her time and expertise with us.
Three of our group left at this point, whilst five of us settled at the picnic tables to have our lunch. We then headed back to the river path, making our way towards the Old Bridge on the Denton road side of the river. Alice was keen to look for Yellow Star of Bethlehem and, although not in flower, she was pleased to find some which should flower in the next couple of weeks. Alice and Marje then set off home, whilst myself, Sue N and Sally went to the Riverside Gardens for a hot drink before we had a stroll by the river and I showed them where I have previously had otter sightings. We had good views of grey wagtail, a dipper perched on a branch in the middle of the river and a cormorant in flight. A jay had been seen in the morning on the tree trail. When Sally and Sue set off to catch the train, I was going to go home but I couldn't waste the spring sunshine and had another little wander by the river and was rewarded with the sighting of a kingfisher.