Friday, 6 May 2011
This week has seen me make a couple of visits to the delightful Barbondale which is near the village of Barbon close to Kirkby Londale in Cumbria. Barbon Beck finds it's way down a steep sided valley to join the River Lune above Kirkby Lonsdale. It is normally a fast flowing mountain beck but this week the continuing high temperatures meant it was at a very low level. Just before Barbon village it enters a wooded section the upper section of which is very attractive to some special birds. This is ancient wet woodland and it is well known amongst birdwatchers as one of the best places to observe pied flycatcher and redstart. An elevated footpath follows the beck downstream and provides wonderful views into the woodland clinging to the sides of this steep sided valley.
I spent a couple of very enjoyable sessions observing and photographing the resident flycatchers and redstarts. Some nestboxes have been provided to supplement the many natural tree nesting holes and the birds have readily taken to their use. It is a good time to observe and try to photograph them as soon the trees will be in full leaf and observation will be difficult. It was still far from easy to get reasonable shots of these very active birds and my efforts are shown above. After spending time with the birds I enjoyed a wonderful ride over to Dent and back via some spectacular high level routes over the Pennines and back home via Sedbergh. This is a very beautiful part of Northern England and somewhere I will no doubt be returning to before the month is out.