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Monday, 1 October 2018

Kelham Bridge - on 24th September, 2018

I had intended this blog post to be one about the recent visit that Lindsay and I made to North Yorkshire, but my writing stalled for reasons that I won't go into here, so here is an account of a visit I made to a local Wildlife Trust site.

I had decided that it was time I started reconnecting with the local avian scene, so headed off to Kelham Bridge. This site can be good for Kingfisher, although I didn't see one when I'd visited three weeks earlier.

As I entered the site, a Small Copper butterfly was by the gate. I've mentioned, in previous posts, that this delightful species seems to have made a strong comeback this year after years of decline. I take great pleasure, therefore, in showing yet another image of this species.

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) - Kelham Bridge
I called in at the first (west) hide where there was just one other person. We had just started chatting when a Kingfisher appeared and stopped for less than a second on a stick in front of the hide before flying off to the island, 70 metres away.

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (male) - Kelham Bridge
It stayed on the island for a short while before flying to some Reedmace at the edge of the pool, even further away.

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (male) - Kelham Bridge
The Kingfisher soon disappeared from this position, and I hung around for a while, waiting for its return. The only other birds of any interest from this hide were a Green Sandpiper and Snipe, which were also very distant.

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) + Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) - Kelham Bridge
After a while, with little happening at this location (although a few dragonflies were distantly seen), I set off to the the second (east) hide. On the way, I stopped briefly to photograph a Common Darter. It was a poor shot, but I include it here as it could be my last female Common Darter shot of the season.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) (female) - Kelham Bridge.
I arrived at the second hide to find three other people there. I found a reasonable spot to sit, and joined in with the chatter that was going on. One person was saying that one photographer had been in the hide and had complained about the position of the sticks that had been put in to aid Kingfisher photography. He'd particularly cited one stick (which happened to be one that I'd taken there last year!), saying it was far too close to the water and a Kingfisher would never land on it.

We didn't have to wait too long before a Kingfisher arrived and, having momentarily visited a couple of locations, came and landed on 'my' stick, that a Kingfisher would never land on! It stayed a short while before departing without having attempted to fish.




Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) (male) - Kelham Bridge
I stayed for another two and a half hours, but the Kingfisher did not return. I did, however, take some shots of the Little Grebe that came a little closer at one time, and also of one of the Mute Swans that was just looking serene, as usual!




Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) - Kelham Bridge
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - Kelham Bridge
There were several dragonflies around, with three species being noted. As well as the aforementioned Common Darters, there were Migrant Hawkers and Brown Hawkers. I tried for some flight shots of the Migrant Hawkers, but didn't want to adjust my camera settings in case the Kingfisher reappeared, so the results were grim. Here's one 'just for the record'.


Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) (male) - Kelham Bridge
At one point, a Brown Hawker flew down and landed on a grassy slope about 10 metres away from the hide. I've never seen a Brown Hawker settle anywhere but in a tree, so this is another poor shot 'just for the record'.


Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) (male) - Kelham Bridge
Having given up on the Kingfisher, as the light was quickly disappearing, I set off back to the first hide. On the approach path I noticed some Shaggy Inkcap fungi, which I hadn't seen earlier. These are, apparently, rather good to eat in their early stage, but I shall not be trying them!


Shaggy Inkcap (Coprinus comatus) - Kelham Bridge
Back in the first hide, I noticed that one of the swans was now there and, whilst looking at it, I also saw that there were two Snipe in the same area. They were, however, over 100 metres away. 

When I looked at the second shot, below, I noticed that there was also a Water Rail in frame - can you see it?

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) + Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - Kelham Bridge
Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) + Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus) - Kelham Bridge
With a lot of flapping and noise, the swan took off and flew overhead. It was now time to go.


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) - Kelham Bridge
I could get quite into this bird photography thing - it might just catch on!


I'm not sure what my next post will feature. It might be the delayed account of our North Yorkshire visit, or it might feature some local birds seen recently.

Thank you for dropping by.