Last week had me visiting Ilkley.
Not having been onto the famous moor before, I stumbled upon the road sign pointing the way upward so took the car about two thirds of the way up and upon parking noticed a large flock of birds directly ahead of me.
They were a mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing.
The steep sides of the moor were dotted with Rowan and Holly
which provided the attraction, although it was apparent that most of the Rowan were already stripped bare of berries. The birds were constantly on the move between a stand of nearby conifers and the target bushes
but I reckon 300-400 birds were in the flock. A lot of the birds were down on the ground under the bracken where I guess they were feeding on bilberry, although it seemed a bit late in the year for that.
Earlier Red Kite, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk were seen in the air
It was only afterwards that I enquired about the famous line
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at ..................... and what it meant I have read that it is ........ On Ilkley Moor without a hat which turned out to be appropriate
One of the most consistent sightings when walking along the bumpy road recently, at Prestwick Carr, has been of a Bullfinch. A good number of first year birds will hopefully produce more views next year.
Early Thursday afternoon, and it was really warm, had me wandering up to Banks Pond after a stroll back along the bumpy road.
I was surprised at the number of dragonflies and damsels still active.
Loads of Common Darters and a few Hawkers, but I was pleased to spot a couple of Black Darters also -
The Damselfly were not giving up just yet
although the wings were starting to fray
and on a small patch of Birds-foot trefoil were eight or nine Common Blue
I had spotted a couple of these Southern Hawkers down at the bumpy road, which now has a great harvest of Hawthorn berries waiting for the migrants to appear
First time I'd been for a wander up the bridleway at Prestwick Carr for some time, but it was well worth it.
It was not long before a pair of coupled Southern Hawkers were seen perched in the verge. That was the first of around eight or nine hawker sightings, never seen quite so many in such a short space of time. Common Darters were also on the move.
Butterflies were abundant. With Peacocks, Large white, Green veined white, Small Copper, Skippers, Speckled Wood, and loads of Wall Brown making the best of the wild flowers already well past their best
However the highlight had to be the male Redstart which was spotted both on the outward and return walk.
A buzzard soared so high it was only visible as a dot with the bins and
a Whitethroat gave out plenty of alarm calls from a safe distance.
The Hawthorn bushes are totally laden with berries and a few are already pink.