Wharfedale Naturalists News Blog

Sparrowhawk 0

Sparrowhawk attack

On a recent Sunday afternoon my attention was distracted from the England – Ireland rugby by a real life and death drama being played out below the fence outside our lounge window. A male...

Mr Raisins 0

Mr. Raisins

Now winter is well established so is a special part of my morning ritual. I enter the kitchen to assemble my breakfast and a small figure appears on the gutter of an adjacent roof....

Squirrel 0

Cheeky squirrels

Farnley Hall woods at the edge of Otley, which backs on to our garden, provides a rich source of wildlife, some of it more welcome than others. Top of the list of unwanted guests...

Blackcap 0

Over-wintering visitor

In our hallway hang two large frames each displaying several photographs of children’s artwork from West Riding schools collected about 30+ years ago. The works were in a number of different media – pastel,...

Golden crown 0

Staveley Nature Reserve

A sprinkling of snow lay on Ilkley Moor and Otley Chevin, an unusual sight these days, as my son and I headed for Staveley Nature Reserve, near Knaresborough. On arrival we had an immediate...

Winter wren 0

Winter wrens

In my frugal wartime Christmases, I remember, the coins in our family Christmas pudding were farthings. Many of my readers probably don’t even know what a farthing was, I suppose. It was a tiny...

Spider 0

Arachnaphile

Autumn is the time when we develop a heightened awareness of spiders! Partly because the low sun, heavy dews and early frosts transform their sticky webs into jewelled artefacts and partly because it’s when...

Praying mantis 0

Praying mantis

On an October visit to southern Spain my wife was confronted by a large green insect clinging to the back of her chair, a predatory looking creature with front legs raised as though about...

Young grass snakes 0

Grass snakes

Last week saw a change of duvet for us – as the first frosts began to nip. Out in the garden preparations were also going on: coal tits hurrying to cache seed from the...

White-tailed sea eagle 0

Sea eagles

Looking from our Otley front windows down the valley towards Ilkley Moor red kites are almost ever present, sometimes joined by buzzards with both species occasionally spiralling upwards in the same thermal. Twenty years...