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As of now through the duration of the breeding season all schedule one birds , red status birds and birds of a sensitive nature to this area will be omitted from the blog or reported as undisclosed site due to the widespread persecution of nesting birds by unscrupulous parties including game keepers and egg collectors.
Any of the above species that are obviously on passage through the area will be reported as normal.
This also applies to wildlife such as Roe Deer, Badger and Hares which are badly under threat from poaching and long dogging in the area at present and unfortunately this exclusion of wildlife will have to continue throughout the year.
Just another sign of the times.

Friday, March 24, 2017

An hectic hours birding. Raggalds Flood/ Soil Hill

 Just when we,d given up on Raggalds Flood it
produces 2pr Teal and 2 Redshank.

          Fieldfare moving through the Causeway Foot col
                                   Like a scene from vis mig.

1500 hrs and heading to Soil Hill for 1 hours sky watching but first a stop off at Raggalds Flood, which has done nothing for the last 9 month, after a report from DW of 4 Teal present. 2 pair of Teal were on the water whilst 2 Redshank were wading in the waters edge and along the shore.
                                                     Bright blue skies and sunshine on Soil Hill with a cool ESE>4 and hazy visibility beyond 5 miles. A quick look across for the 5 Whooper Swans on Oxenhope reservoir, reported earlier by Dan B then a check of the tree line and Ring Ouzel clough for Wheatear or even an early Ring Ouzel but nothing doing.
                                                                 Back onto the west summit where I set my stall up ready for a sky watch and got the camera onto the tripod to get some distant record shots of the Whoopers but they were not to be seen. I never saw them fly so possibly they were near to the south shore and out of sight. 8 Skylark and 11 Meadow Pipit were moving around the hill, some up singing, whilst 27 Lapwing were down on the Shay with at least 6 Golden Plover and c50 Starling.Sky movement was quiet other than a few LBB gulls and a distant Sparrowhawk until 38 Fieldfare flew south through the Causeway Foot col dropping down into the plantation at Mixenden reservoir. Shortly afterwards a large flock of around 100 Fieldfare came through in the same direction dropping down on Hunter Hill.Looks like these birds are now flocking ready for the off.
If there are any Whoopers left, this weekend will probably see the big final push.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cold Edge Dams/ Fly Flatts

                              Whoopers on Leadbeater Dam

    Then there were 3, ( Barnacles)

                                            Golden Plover

                                          Swarms of em.

 All photos from now Canon slr 7d + canon 300mm,  420mm
          or Sigma 150-600mm ( Big Bertha) and I,ll bore you
  no more with talk of the Nikon P900 which is boxed up
and sent back to where it came from. Thanks to I.H. for trying
to get a success out of it.

An afternoon free so Ollie and me followed in the footsteps of DP and AT who earlier had reported Whoopers, Goldies and an extra Barnacle goose around the Cold Edge Dams/ Fly Flatts areas.
A brighter afternoon with some sun and some very dark clouds on a cold E>5.
                                                               First stop Cold Edge and a scan across the goose field did indeed produce 3 Barnacle geese , the third possibly being the Leeshaw reservoir bird sighted there last week, (MC). All the geese were very distant, remaining at the far side of the field but I managed to get some shots with the 3 in the same frame. Also in the field were 5 Curlew and 4 Redshank.
                                                             Across then to Leadbeater Dam where I could hear the Whooper Swans before I got them in sight. A scramble up the banking and there they were, probably the same 4 that were reported over Lee Mount this morning, (DJS). The birds looked settled so will possibly stay the night before moving on. Possibly a family with 2 adults and 2 younger birds, slightly smaller and duller bills. Also on the water were 7 Tufted but the Goldeneye seemed to have moved on. Whilst by the dam a flock of 28 Golden Plover came over heading for Fly Flatts which was my next destination.
                                       When I was passing Slade two massive flocks of Golden Plover were circling round totaling 173 flying as far as Cold Edge Dams and over the wind farm before settling on the flat moor along with about 40 Lapwing. On at the far north end of the reservoir another flock of 62 were acting the same and landing on the moor just to the north of the water.  I counted a full total of 235 Goldies but there were probably more still on the moor, an amazing sight.
                                              Scoping down to the sailing club compound there were at least 7 male Wheatear and 2 near the farm opposite the wind farm along with a pair of Stonechat.
Not a bad 2 hours worth.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Old Guy Road/ Ogden

                                 At least 11 Goosanders still present Ogden

Yet another afternoon of continuous heavy rain and mist on the tops so a check of Old Guy Road cricket pitch for Wheatears and the nearby Snipe field following DWs report of Snipe showing this morning. Neither species materialized, the Snipe field just holding 2 Lapwing and a pair of Mallard whilst the cricket field was void of bird life.
                                                                       On then to Ogden in pouring rain and grey skies in a hope of Whoopers but this was another species not to show.  The Goosanders were back to 11 unless some were squat under the banking somewhere whilst 4 LBB gulls were on the water.
Great, Blue and Coal Tits were active with around 30 by the feeders and several all the way on the east side as far as passerine alley along with a few Chaffinch, Robins and Dunnocks.
Hopefully this rain will stop by tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

First Wheatears

                        Cold Edge Dams, both Barnacles present

                         2 of 4 distant Redshank. Cold Edge

                               Plenty Lapwings in the fields
                                       A bleak Fly Flatts

                      Wader ponds full to the brim
     Meadow Pipits arriving in good numbers

                                            On the moor

    Fly Flatts. 1st returning Wheatears
                          4 males present. very distant.

                                                Red Grouse.

A bright afternoon following a morning of rain and snow showers but a cold NW> 5 blowing.
                                                              First off was a check of Mixenden for Whoopers then on to Cold Edge Dams to see if yesterdays Whooper had got on its way ok which it had leaving a field full of 133 Canadas, 24 Greylag, 2 Barnacles, 8 Curlew and 4 Redshank.
                                                                  Next stop Fly Flatts with target bird Wheatear. A walk down to the water checking the usual hot spots failed to produce but who could blame them in the bitter cold NW wind and frequent snow showers. The northern ponds are holding plenty water with 2 Oystercatchers and 2 Redshank down there along with 6 Curlew, 2 Red Legged Partridge and 5 LBB gulls on the banking but no sign of Wheatear. Around 30 Meadow Pipits looked fresh arrivals whilst 3 Kestrels were hovering around the Nab area.
                                                                      A steady drive back along the top road found plenty Lapwings and Curlews in the sheep fields but still no Wheatear.
A scan across the Slade area produced around 40 very distant Golden Plover on the flat moor but again no Wheatear.
The last stopping place was by the farm opposite the wind farm and after 10 minutes scanning, Bingo, a single male Wheatear on a very distant wall and soon nearby another 3 were found, all males, A few record snaps then head for home with a massive storm cloud appearing.
By the time I got to Mixenden the hailstones were coming down like half crowns and the roads were already close to being at a standstill . A real struggle to climb up out of Mixenden and again out of Bradshaw but well worth the effort with the first Wheatears under my belt. By the weekend we should have them back at all the local sites.
An e mail this tea time from IH reporting the first Wheatear back today on his patch at Slippery Ford, Keighley Moor whilst Gordon at Barden today reported a House Martin and an Osprey.