30 Days Wild – Day 7 – Sunset over Wheldrake Ings

As it was a glorious evening, I decided to go have a couple of hours wandering round Wheldrake Ings. I hoped I might get lucky and spot a barn owl. We’ll see how that worked out later.

As always, a welcome to the reserve was provided by the reed buntings that are scattered across the site, as well as pied wagtails enjoying the bounty of evening insects taking flight.


They weren’t the only birds posing in trees. Rather more unusually at least one swallow was taking a perch on a branch by the river.

A swallow taking a break to preen

One of the real treats though came further along where a nest-load of willow tits had recently emerged, and the fledglings were enjoying the late evening sunshine.

On the verge of dropping off…

Juvenile willow tit

As mentioned in the Days 4-6 post, birdsong is always a treat at this time of day in summer, and blackbirds, whitethroats, blackcaps, robins and more were singing away. This song thrush will have carried on long after the sun set.

Song thrush

Warblers can be hard to spot, and even harder to photograph, but this willow warbler was being very obliging as it gathered insects to feed to its own brood. There’s no camera trickery here either, that blue of the sky is really how it was.

Another juvenile out and about was a young grey heron that was squatting in the top of this bush. Even though they fly, and nest in trees, I’m always quite surprised to see herons off the ground.

By now the sun was getting real low, and I was constantly scanning for barn owls. This video was intended to highlight the serene beauty, but sadly the second half is ruined by distance motorbikes.

No owls though. Then, off in the distance, a ghost gliding over the fields.

Distant barn owl, about to pounce

I would have been happy enough with this sighting, but on my way to the exit, a much closer appearance, right next to me. Sadly it saw me first and simply glided off away from me, leaving only photos of a disappearing owl.

There was also a female roe deer bounding over the meadow, but I didn’t bother raising my camera and just enjoyed her pronking off into the distance. Probably not the only mammal, I suspect I was mere feet from an otter but it disappeared into the river leaving only a trail.

I’ll end with a run of photos of the setting sun from various parts of the reserve, as it really was genuinely beautiful.

Purple sky over the meadow, looking East

Sky reflected in the Derwent

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One Response to 30 Days Wild – Day 7 – Sunset over Wheldrake Ings

  1. Gerry says:

    Very enjoyable David. I was there last night and the Barn Owl put on a brief show over the meadow. Unfortunately my photography skills (or lack of) let me down.
    To my surprise, he/she came from the Bank Island direction around 8.40 and took me by surprise. I was also there Saturday evening and it came from the tower hide direction.
    Regards, Gerry.

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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