Yorkshire Photo Explorer

Rodley Nature Reserve

Wren, Rodley Nature ReserveRodley Nature Reserve is a wetlands reserve in Leeds and is one of my favourite places to visit for bird photography. Recently voted Nature Reserve of the Year 2018 by the BBC Countryfile Magazine, it has a number of well placed hides for observing the various wildlife. In addition to the wetlands areas, there are also dragonfly pools, wildflower meadows, fields and coppiced areas.

One of the star species is the ever-popular kingfisher, and this is a great place to see them. I’ve watched them flying up and down the reed beds or using the perches in the lagoon to catch fish.

Kingfisher, Rodley Nature ReserveKingfisher, Rodley Nature Reserve

Kingfisher, Rodley Nature ReserveMy favourite hide is in the Manager’s Garden. This is usually a quiet area of the reserve as it’s not on the main circuit. The feeders attract a variety of garden birds, such as blue tits, dunnocks, wrens, finches and woodpeckers. With a decent zoom lens, you can get some good close ups, whether in the trees, on the feeders or on the ground. Little owls are also spotted here, although I’ve never been lucky enough to see one.

Woodpecker, Rodley Nature Reserve


Reed bunting, Rodley Nature Reserve

Reed bunting

Wren, Rodley Nature Reserve


Greenfinch, Rodley Nature Reserve


There are also hides at various vantage points overlooking the lagoons. I particularly like the reed bed hide, which has views over two wetland areas. From here you can get some good shots of the reed warblers:

Reed warbler, Rodley Nature ReserveOr of this baby moorhen:

Baby moor hen, Rodley Nature Reserve

During the summer, Rodley Nature Reserve affords some good macro photography opportunities. Dragonflies and damselflies abound in the ponds, and there are ladybirds and other insects throughout the reserve. I have been known to spend a day wandering around staring at bushes to see what I can find!

Damselflies, Rodley Nature Reserve


Fly, Rodley Nature Reserve


Ladybird, Rodley Nature Reserve


I highly recommend Rodley Nature Reserve – hopefully one day I’ll be able to get a photo of the little owl!

Here are some more photos I have taken on my visits (click on an image to enlarge):

Approximate post code (for sat nav) LS13 1HP
Parking There is free parking on the reserve
Opening times Open Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and most Bank Holidays
Website http://www.rodleynaturereserve.org/

This is the location of Rodley Nature Reserve:

Notes for next time
  • Try spring/summer for the little owl at the Manager’s Hide
  • Join one of the bat walks

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