Sunday, 24 May 2009
Gallows Hill & Otley Chevin
Saturday 23rd May.
Well the weather finally brightened up - not quite glorious sunshine but no rain at least. We went to Gallows Hill Nature Reserve in the afternoon. Spotting a Pied Wagtail in a giant puddle in the car park. There was not another soul about though certainly plenty of evidence that its a regular dog walking spot - that was pretty disgusting. Luckily once you got further into the reserve it wasn't so bad!
It's not huge place but quite lovely and peaceful. There was plenty of birdsong but the trees and undergrowth are pretty dense and I didn't see as much as I hoped. My little one did pretty well at keeping the noise down at least until a couple of nettle stings. We did see a huge amount of snails of all different types.
There were a lot of different flowers and my daughter loved to see those and pointed out everyone we came across and insisted I take photos, especially of the 'fairies' on the Dandelion!
The reserve is made up of a lot of nettle beds and are interspersed with so many other flowers.
We came across this wonderful tree, which looked like it had been covered in cotton wool.
The first birds I spotted (apart from Woodpigeons which were everywhere) were some Mallard ducklings on a small pond in the centre of the reserve. There were two that soon disappeared into the reeds. My husband then spotted a rabbit on the path in front of us. It let us get quite close where we realised it wasn't well and it's eyes were quite a state. Nothing we could do of course and we left it in peace.
Next up was a striking Bullfinch sat above our heads and then a Chaffinch that landed near by. We came up to the river Wharfe and walked along side that for a while. Here we saw Great Tits, Blue Tits and a Long Tailed Tit. I also watched two of the tiniest Wren's I have ever seen, I am guessing they were jueveniles, just gorgeous to watch and such a perfect little bird.
We were still surrounded by a lot of bird song, most of which I don't recognise, really should get a cd and try and learn some. Then I saw a little bird in the tree over head and after a couple of minutes realised it was my first ever Chiffchaff, what a lovely bird and it hopped around constantly before my little one got stung by a nettle and scared it off. We used a giant dock leaf on the sting, which worked like magic! We were almost back at the entrance by now and headed back to the car.
As we were going to my parents for tea we stopped at the Chevin Surpise View on the way. This is where my brother and I played a lot when we were kids as it's in walking distance of my parents home. The view is of Otley and the surrounding areas and a helpful map tells you what you are seeing.
As we stood and ate ice cream cones there was a couple of Swifts flying low all around us, that was great to see. When we started to walk to the rocks a Swallow flew by then a noisy Chaffinch too. My husband pointed out a very nosiy Skylark high about us. We were short of time and had a quick 'explore' around the rocks. There was no time to go down into the woods and walk the 100 steps down towards Otley.
So we ended our day at my parents and the last shot is the top of their garden, which is pretty much left to go as wild as it pleases. It's beautiful in the late afternoon sun.