Thursday, 4 February 2010

River Calder

I'm still without transport so I was unable to take advantage of the fine weather last weekend. I did have a look through last years photos to see if there was anything worth posting though. This may be of interest to anyone who knows the area where I live.

Anyone from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire who is of the same generation (or older) than myself would probably laugh out loud if you suggested that the River Calder and it's banks had become a bit of a nature reserve.

When I was growing up in the 60's and 70's the stretch of the river that runs through my home town was used as a playground by myself and plenty of other kids, but it was a distinctly unhealthy place to be. For over 100 years the local textile and chemical industries had been discharging their waste into the river. The result being that a river which was once home to large numbers of salmon and many other fish became a lifeless, dirty, smelly mess!

Not any more though. Due to anti-pollution laws and the demise of most of the local mills and factories that used to pour their waste into the river, the fish have returned. Otters have been seen along some stretches and the bird life that lives along it's banks now includes King Fishers, Grey Heron and Grey Wagtails to name but a few.

Last June I managed to get some photos of some of the birdlife. There was little cover so I couldn't get close enough for any really decent shots but here are a few examples of what I saw.

Long-Tailed Tit.

A scruffy looking Common Whitethroat. Too busy feeding the young to bother about appearances?

Grey Wagtail. This was taken on the weir next to Island View. I was so surprised to see this land in front of me that I almost forgot to take a picture!

Black Headed Gull flying above the same weir.

Yellowhammer - a pair were nesting alongside the Calder & and Hebble Navigation, a canal which runs parallel to the Calder for a short distance.

I'll be back at the start of the coming spring to see what the new breeding season brings.


  1. great photos, the yellowhammer photos in particular :)

  2. when you think what it looked like there even a few years ago it is remarkable. The numbers of birds around there surprises me. I haven't seen Kingfishers there but they seem to be all along the canal. Good pics.

  3. Cheers guys! Dave - the Kingfishers were regularly flying along the river, past the island below the weir. I'm quite sure some of them also nest along the river near to the factories in Ravensthorpe. I talked to someone who was 'dive-bombed' whilst standing at the riverside there last spring.