By Mike Gadd.

As a great lover of wildlife art and sculpture, I fell into the fascinating world of taxidermy and have tried to recreate the beauty of nature ever since. My morning walks always bring ideas and inspiration, as I see the seasons change and the amazing wildlife along the River Wharfe and woods in Boston Spa.

We still have a few pairs of stock doves, one of my favourite birds nesting in their favourite Ash trees.  

Nobody can fail to have a smile on their face as they see a flash of the electric blue from the kingfisher as it streaks by with its tell-tale call like in this photo taken this week:

Then there’s the splosh of an otter to brighten your day. We have about 5 otters that can be seen at play on a lucky day. This is a picture of 3 otters that I saw this morning.

I have also counted 37 goosanders, so there must be plenty of fish. This is a picture of a mother and her babies taken a couple of mornings ago:

In the remotest areas, I still see the odd roe deer and barn owls.  No matter how many times I see a barn owl, I still get the thrill and am in awe of their beauty. 

I rescued a Tawny Owl that got entangled in fishing line one morning. She was close to death when I eventually worked out how to get her down. To our great relief, she was on her way again after a night’s rest. You can just see her hanging in the first photo below:

Like a lot of other areas, the increase in housing and population has changed our village which once held a great array of species including all three woodpeckers, one of the most amazing meadows I have ever seen anywhere in the world, turtle dove etc. I am now part of a local green group who plant, maintain and fight for keeping the remaining bits of natural corners. We also encourage others to improve their gardens to help maintain what we have. We’ve added some buckthorn to try and encourage brimstone butterflies with many other plants to increase the diversity and spread of nectar providing flowers.

I have found using the new phone apps of ‘Seek’ and ‘iNaturalist’ a great aid as they have helped me to learn more about plants and their links to the insect world. I always say to people “Habitat is King”; look after the habitat and all will be well.

Photos and blog post by Mike Gadd.