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Bird Pictures: Save Greenhill One Photo at a Time
Generations will miss out on the wildlife at Greenhill
On a greenfield site at Micklethwaite Wharf on the Leeds to Liverpool canal, developers want to build 400 houses. This is valuable breathing space in sprawling urbanisation encompassing Bradford, Bingley and Keithley in West Yorkshire. In this beautiful ancient place, green spaces are rare and ought to be treasured rather than exploited.
This photo journal is my own protest. I follow the lives of waterfowl that call Greenhill home. The site provides a very rare opportunity to observe bird behaviour up-close and personal. People come from miles around on sunny Sundays to feed the birds and watch their antics. This is often the only opportunity many, especially children, have of getting this close to nature.
Here, I am bringing together a few of the photos that demonstrate what we and future generations will miss if this development goes ahead. Scroll down the whole page to see the wildlife photos and the stories behind them.
The swans will thank you!
Update November 2014
We were all disgusted in September when the council passed outline planning permission but GAG have successfully petitioned the Secretary of State who previously stated this site was unsuitable for development - here is what the chairman of GAG emailed the other day
GAG NEWSLETTER #157
The long awaited decision by the Secretary of State has arrived and, wonderful news, he has found in favour of GAG and against Bradford Council and the Developers.
A letter was issued yesterday by the National Planning Casework Unit to Bradford Council advising them that they are NOT to grant planning permission on the Sty Lane application and that the Secretary of State has decided to call-in the application and to hold a Public Inquiry.
We now have only 6 weeks to present our initial statement of case and decide who to appoint to fight this for us. We cannot do this without your financial support and we need to ask you to dig deep again. We understand the timing is not good particularly in the run up to Christmas but we have no choice. The GAG committee will be meeting this week to formulate our strategy and we will be in touch soon to advise how we wish to proceed. Meantime if you are able to assist us financially please donate via our website or send to our Treasurer Graham Hey at Mickle Cottage, 12-16 Victoria Street, Micklethwaite, BD16 3JB.
If you have any questions do let me know but bear in mind that we are again in uncharted territory and we are still trying to understand these ramifications because as far as we know this has never happened before.
Terry Brown (Chairman)
If you can spare even a few pennies of cents please go to the website and donate via PayPal - I donated my last Squidoo payouts - I won't miss it and if we all help it will mount up.
Let's show them people power no matter where you live in the world.
Bright Blessings Ann
You would miss - seeing a goose doing a canoe roll
Who could forget the springdiddly goose enjoying the April sunshine with a fine display of ducking and diving... and canoe rolls. Had to make you smile. This little goose is a white Greylag goose.
You would miss - watching the Micklethwaite moorhens build their nest
Who wouldn't be captivated by the pair of moorhens who build a nest out in the canal.......and rebuild it every time the cows destroy it. Interior design moorhen style is quite innovative from sticks and grass to plastic bags, paper wrappers and the final touch of living green.
Last year the pair successfully raised 7 chicks in a first brood. A lone chick survived from the second brood and was cared for by the adults and the juvenile moorhens. These were the subject of one of my photo books.
This year, only 2 juveniles survived from the first brood. However the adults are now sitting on eggs in a new nest. Obviously they finally agreed re-building in a danger zone wasn't the best idea in the world.
Who would want to miss seeing the loving care given to these baby birdsby both adults?
Nesting Moorhen with chicks
You would miss - watching goslings grow
These goose pictures are of the first clutch of goslingshatched on Greenhill this year. Both adults, keeping noisy protection, teach the youngsters the best ways to get into the canal and where to find food. Goslings are seldom left alone, indeed they are often bracketed by the adults to keep them safe.
Greenhill offers a unique opportunity of watching newly hatched goslings grow from tiny bundles of yellow fluff, gradually get paler until eventually they are almost completely white, have feathers instead of down and develop wings.
Embden Geese with Goslings
You would miss - watching Canada geese get flight lessons
These Canada geese photos were taken last year when the adults were teaching the young goslings how to fly. It involved a lot of noise, a lot of running across Greenhill and a lot of flapping.
This year there have been three families of Canada geese goslings on Greenhill although they seem to have moved further up the canal, probably because of the competition from something like 50 goslings there already.
Canada geese flight school
You would miss - the goosey threesome
Actually, there are more than one threesome on Greenhill but in particular... There is one Chinese goose on Greenhill who is the alpha female in a goosey threesome with Embden geese. The easy birdwatching that Greenhill offers has revealed some interesting behaviour of geese in the wild. It is not unusual for one male goose to have two females, an alpha and a beta female. In this case the Chinese goosewith the beautiful brown stripe down the back of her neck is the alpha.
Between them they hatched 20 goslings, many on different days so they are different sizes. The Chinese goose hatched hers first and appeared on Greenhill, gradually joined by two each day until the final two arrived with the beta female. All three adults are involved in protection of the goslings.
19 are surviving of which two started off with beautiful black beaks and very dark colouring. It is fascinating to be able to see how they grow and change. The black beaks are turning orange and I can't wait to see what colour they end up with. At least two of the goslings look as if they are developing the brown stripe.
Chinese Goose and Goslings
You would miss - sooo much more
There is endless entertainment down on the Greenhill from the battling cows to visiting greylag geese, to lapwings and oyster catchers. There are many characters who visit regularly like TweedleDum and TweedleDee the two large domestic ducks who are friends with the blue Swedish ducks. Then there is Smudge who arrived with a huge brood of ducklings, arguing mallards and their tormented females. A heron is a regular visitor looking for easy pickings as are the Carrion crows. Jackdaws reaped a harvest from the down that the geese plucked from their bellies to line their own nests.
Scroll down to see the final gallery.
The thought of losing all this is heart breaking. If you would like to do something about it, go to the Greenhill Action Group website, sign the online petition and send in an objection letter to Bradford Council. It needs to be done soon so don't delay. All the information is on the site to make it really easy for you. The developers are trying to wear us down and we need every single objection letter we can get. GO ON - DO IT NOW.
The Final Gallery
Where to find photo stories of my feathered friends
- Watching Bingley Birds
You can also catch up with what is happening along the canal on my birdwatching blog
Come join me on Facebook
- Birdwatching UK on Facebook
Birdwatching UK on Facebook is a place to share your love of birds.
Bird picture: moorhen and chick magnet
© 2011 annmackiemiller