Over the years I heard that song in more and more places locally, until the notion of going all the way to Ilkley seemed ridiculous. But time, relocation, and the degradation of the natural environment has led to Wood Warblers becoming much scarcer in The Dales and certainly much scarcer on my list.
Recently I've been googling to see if they still occurred in Hebers Ghyll, and drawn a blank. But the other day I had a tweet in my feed with a photo of a bird from the woods, and so almost 41 years later to the day - 29th May - I found myself back at Hebers Ghyll Wood on a detour from a family visit to see if they still make the long journey.
The first thing I heard on getting out of the car was that shivering song. I found the bird courtesy of a photographer carefully positioned nearby, and watched this gem for about half an hour. What a great bird. I climbed the path towards the moor - I'd forgotten what a beautiful wood it is - and came across two more singing males. Just the same as 1978.
So then up to the moor itself, and again some changes from when I was last here - mainly for the better. Plentiful Meadow Pipits, Willow Warblers, Two pairs of Stonechat with singing males, Reed Bunting, and Red Grouse - I didn't think these would be so close to the town.
|The famous grouse|
|God's Own County|
|An Early Bumble Bee. Clearly not a Bilberry Bumble Bee. What fool would think that?|
|... and some of these too.|