Friday, 24 February 2012

Spot-On Time

Friday 24th February 2012
          It's almost uncanny that our wild frogs have an inbuilt seasonal clock, it's12 months to the day that they're  back in my pond to start their annual spawning .Looking back in my diary to last year the same weather conditions and temperatures were almost identical to today's so I think it most be the frogs sensitivity to the water temperature that trigger off their annual spawning.

      Are our wild ducks also so clever as to know the exact day that my garden frogs start their annual spawning ? The male first showed up a few days ago for a quick visit but today he's brought his mate back with him. They must be the same pair that have visited our garden over the last few years because they always sit at the back door waiting to be fed. Having the ducks is a mixed blessing, I enjoy them around the garden  but they do mess up my pond and if I don't net the pond nearest to the house they will eat most of the frogspawn and clear up the young tadpoles after they've hatched. The female will lay her eggs somewhere in the fields near our house, hatch them and bring them down to either our pond or our neighbours pond for a few days then they disappear until around this  time a year later it's uncanny.

Monday, 20 February 2012

It's that time of year again

Monday February 20th 2012
                          Yesterday was one of the sunniest day we've had this year, such a change from our normal cloudy overcast days that occur so much in the Pennines in our part of the world.
               This is an annual walk around this time of year up into one my favourite dales ..... Littondale a quieter dale branching off from Wharfedale, it is one of the prettiest and most unspoilt dales in the Yorkshire Dales.
           It's around this time in February that the Snowdrops are at their best and ever year it's almost a compulsion of mine to photograph these flowers and strive to get that perfect photo, it's never going to happen so back I go every year.
             Littondale has now become colonized by Oystercatches and every year their numbers seem to increase, yesterdays count was more than a couple of dozen, it's the shingle beds along the sides of the river that attract them, it make a perfect nesting habitat. They arrive back from the coast in Mid-February but I'm not sure where they obtain their food supply at this time of year because the dale looks fairy barren.
     After photographing the snowdrops along the banks of the river and around the old church at Arncliffe we climbed out of the dale and traversed along the sides of the fell, at this point the Yorkshire Air Ambulance circled round and and landed on a suitable patch of level ground to attend to a walker who had slipped on some ice and broke her ankle, she was found by a group of walkers and they called  the Air Ambulance and the Fell Rescue on their mobile. The Yorkshire Air Ambulance features in the television series Helicopter Heroes on the BBC and this incident was covered and videoed by an on-board cameraman which turn out to be a very attractive cameragirl.  The whole incident was carried out professionally and efficiently by both the air ambulance crew and the fell rescue and the lady was flown to the hospital at Leeds.

The shingle banks of the River Skirfare provides suitable habitat for the Osytercatches

              A never ending endeavor to obtain the perfect photograph

Arncliffe Church.... the snowdrops are the first flowers of the season but many wild flowers have naturised in this peaceful area

                           Arncliffe an unspoilt village in Littondale

Yorkshire Air Ambulance being guided down by one of the crew who alighted earlier on more suitable ground higher up the fellside

     BBC  filming the action for the autumn series of Helicopter Heroes

       A special pose for me ...... note the High Definition video camera

                             Departing for the hospital in Leeds

      Continuing on our walk down Littondale to the village of Hawkswick