Nature near home

Me and my partner Matt recently moved to a new area in town which turned out to be not only great for us to live in, but also quite close to nature and wildlife!

First of all, there’s an artificial lake known as the Farnley Balancing Reservoir which was constructed in 1973 to control the flow of the nearby Farnley Beck. At the moment a variety of aquatic birds can be seen, including a grey herons, a couple of swans, various Canada geese and ducks species, plus a resident flock of little or black headed gulls – I’m still not sure which one of the two species.

Considering that the lake is completely surrounded by urban environment, it’s quite remarkable to see wildlife adapt and use this little haven as their home. I’ve been told that there are plans to remove some accumulated sleet and renovate the path circling the basin, I guess we’ll see what happens.

What pleases me the most is that with a 15-20 min walk I can reach a countryside-like landscape with farms, fields and a nice natural area with various trails within it. This is known as the Post Hill Nature Trail and it’s mostly covered in woodland, with the Farnley Beck flowing on one side.

I’ve only been out exploring 2 or 3 times but I’m planning to make it a regular thing every weekend. The signs placed along Post Hill’s paths indicate that kingfishers and tawny owls can be seen and although I’ve had no luck with the two species so far, I’ve spotted various species of diurnal birds of prey such as kestrels, red kites, buzzards and sparrowhawks. Not bad at all!

We have also seen foxes around the house at night and I can’t wait for the hedgehogs to come out in spring! With bird feeders placed on the tree in our garden, we get regular visits from great and blue tits, long-tailed tits, robins, wrens, magpies and blackbirds.

All in all, it’s been a really good start! I will update the blog with any new sightings when they happen, so stay tuned.

Adel Dam & Scarborough

Although these days I don’t have as much spare time as I used to, I try to explore the coast and nature reserves in Yorkshire any time I can. I mostly look out for birds and other wildlife and I’m usually rewarded with some pretty interesting sighting!

Adel Dam Nature Reserve is a small gem on the outskirts of northern Leeds. Situated next to Golden Acre park, it’s mainly composed of woodland and wetland. There are a couple of hides from where you are almost certainly guaranteed to see kingfishers and other aquatic birds. I’ve also seen various birds of prey (red kites, buzzards, sparrowhawks) and rabbits in the fields.

Scarborough is known for being a seaside resort, therefore most people wouldn’t expect it to be a “wild” place. I like to think that if you have a trained eye, wildlife can be spotted virtually anywhere.

Strolling along the town’s harbour turned out to be a bit challenging due to the amount of people, but in a single afternoon I managed to see a few seabirds – including a very confident cormorant – and a beautiful harbour porpoise!