Ray’s Blog & Links

Tyto alba

For the past couple of weeks I’ve had a little project – barn owls (Tyto alba).  These are the ones that look white when you see them at night. They’re the ‘farmer’s friend’ because they catch and eat so many rodents which might otherwise destroy their crops. Now I know…

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Inquisitive cubs and raucous chicks

Well, it finally got me.   After 27 months keeping my head down, I succumbed to covid!  Fortunately, my symptoms are not bad but I’m still confined to barracks and my camera hasn’t been out for well over a week.  But, just before my confinement, I was feeding my tawny…

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Gorgeous gannets, persecuted puffins and tern-ed heads

Arctic tern Every wildlife watcher should pay a summer visit to Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire to view the UK’s biggest seabird, the northern gannet, followed quickly by a trip up the coast to the Northumbrian Farne Islands where the star attractions are nesting Arctic terns and Atlantic puffins.  You can…

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Doing words

My favourite subject at school was English language and I soon learned that verbs were necessary to every sentence.  Verbs express what we do and a sentence is incomplete without at least one lurking in there, explaining what we are about. Kirkheaton’s 20% for Wildlife group exists, largely, to encourage…

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The cost of living

Long-tailed tit The long-tailed tit with a mouth full of caterpillars is a timely reminder that nature’s reproduction season is in full swing.  If you’re up during the night feeding a demanding baby, I sympathise with you.  But you’re not the only one finding child rearing hard work.  In the…

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Whiskers galore

I’ve never grown a beard for more than two or three days before I was expressly encouraged to shave it off.  That is, until I forgot my razor when I went to the Hebridean island of Mull a couple of weeks ago.  Of course, I could have gone to the…

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I’m back!

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything new for a while. There are a number of reasons for this which I won’t bore you with. However, I’m back in action. Tomorrow, I catch a ferry from Brodick, Arran, to the Scottish mainland at the end of a two…

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Out of the deep

The snowdrops are just past their best, daffodils are springing into life, and even our first tulip has already burst into flower.  I can hear a green woodpecker’s ‘yaffle’ from the woods along Ox Field Beck and our tawnies are calling to each other up the Scrog.  It seems like…

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Badgers crossing

I don’t know what’s going on at the moment but on the last few occasions I’ve been out and about, there’s been little to see of interest on the wildlife front.  There are still plenty of birds in the garden but once I step outside, everything seems to be in…

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A Swift Solution

If you’ve ever seen the Red Arrows, you’ll remember the exhilaration you felt from the team’s spectacular aerial display – man and machine in perfect harmony.  There’s a bird that can give you that same thrill.  In May, swifts will be flying here from Africa.  In summer, they can often…

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