Sunday 30 September 2018

Dog Walking and Photography.

We decided to celebrate delivering my degree work to Barnsley for final assessment by taking Jet for an extra long walk through Irby and Swallow valleys and woods. 
Our route took us from Irby Dale high over the wold with expansive views over the Number and down into Swallow Dale.  We had to stick to the valley path here as timber felling was in progress.  It was good to see that they were not clear felling but substantial trees were being left with clearing to allow the light into glades.  Good for wildlife.
A short road section took us to Swallow and then the old road back to Irby Dale.  Butterflies were on the wing: speckled woods and tortoiseshells and a superb second brood brimstone.  There were still plenty of sloes on the bushes as we returned along the top path to the car.

Setting Up The Winter Feeding Station

Having completed all of the work for my final degree assessment I decided to go out to the wood to set up the winter feeding station for this year.  It is is plenty early enough really as, with the trees still in full leaf, it would be too dark for photography.  On this front though I was surprised as during the afternoon sunlight manages to penetrate the canopy and light up the feeders.
My first port of call was the farm shop to stock up with seed.  I also need a new, metal, feed bin as well this year.  Last year the squirrels discovered my plastic one and, despite my best efforts they ate half a bin full of seed, nuts and fat blocks.  I have sourced a half size metal dustbin on line and need to get it ordered.
Arriving in the wood just as the sun went in was like entering a dark green church.  Soon the sun came out and patches of light sparkled through the trees and the early Autumn colours of the leaves gleamed.
After the recent high winds I was delighted to find the hide still standing; less so to see that a huge branch from the beech tree above had crashed down just in front of the hide.  Had it hit the hide it would have demolished it and me with it had I been inside.  Memo to oneself: do not photograph from the hide in high winds!  It is going to take some clearing as I could barely lift the end of it.  None the less  I filled up half of the feeders taking the others home to clean.  Next week I will swap them over.
Hide sorted I went for a wander.  It was quiet in the wood with no bird song at all.  I wandered over to the beautiful old walled garden which is a sun trap and bathed in warm golden light. Apple trees were fruiting to perfection, one Bramley so top heavy with fruit that it had toppled over.  Late butterflies were busily feeding: speckled woods, small coppers and freshly emerged, pristine, second brood commas.