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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Yesterdays Caspian Gull , a Wigeon for Raggalds Flood and back to Fly Flatts.

  The Caspian came in low over the water. Note hooked bill

 Then gained height rapidly heading SW down the valley
 Photos not the best as no time to use tripod so hand held
 in a gale force wind.

 This bird is now down on my records as a first winter
Caspian gull. Note milky white under wings, slender bill
and bullet hole eye.

 Several e mails, texts and comments in agreement, none against.

A cracking bird and surprisingly a first for Calderdale even though there have been several sightings in Bradford area just over the ridge.
Many thanks to all those who took the interest to contact me on this bird.

 A pit stop at Raggalds Flood to get JLs Wigeon
 This is probably the same female that has been around Ogden
and Fly Flatts the last couple of weeks.

      A nice find John, well spotted.
 A few Mipits sheltering at Fly Flatts
            1 of 3 distant Stonechat.

A quick stop off at Raggalds Flood 1500 hrs to snap JLs Wigeon then on to Fly Flatts again
                                                        Fly Flatts was not a nice place to be today with dark black clouds and an icy cold W>6 to near gale force 7 which made it feel worse than yesterdays gale foce but warm SW >7 gusting 8.
A strange thing this birding, its taken me 50 years to get a Fly Flatts Caspian gull then I went expecting another today, in my dreams. Very little about with a pair of Tufted on the water, several Mipits blogging, 3 distant Stonechats, 1 Peregrine low over the moor and 3 Kestrels up hovering.
                                                              The last 30 minutes spent sky watching provided nothing other than Jackdaws and Carrion Crows. Hopefully tomorrows promised Easterlies will bring in the winter thrush rush.

Monday, October 16, 2017

An interesting day.

          Skein of 44 Pinkies over Foxhill, Queensbury midday.

                  Did anybody see the sun 1330 hrs

                 These shots taken in Brighouse, wierd

                              Plastic sails and men of steel.
                Wild water, Fly Flatts
                         A North sea swell

                                       White horses
   The only gull present which looked a bit of an odd ball to me.
         It had a brilliant white head and jet black bill

           Something looked odd about it. To be investigated further

                                  Storm clouds to the west

The first light sky this morning looked like a vis miggers dream but 30 minutes later the fog rolled in up here in the gods remaining until after midday. One bright moment was HC reporting a Snow Bunting and Fieldfares over his Oxenhope watch point.
                                                                                   After lunch a dog walk up Foxhill park proved interesting with the fog just starting to lift. As I got in the park I immediately heard Pinkies but could see nothing in the low cloud base. Out with the bridge camera ready but thinking Id no chance as I suspected them going west. Then it all went wrong.! I have Pippa on a long training lead as she likes to run after a ball. As I was still trying to pick up the geese I kicked the ball and off she sped but I had,nt unravelled all the lead so she ran out of rope which jerked my hands flying the camera up in the air and landing in the long wet grass. Of course you know what happened next, thats right, 44 Pinkies over my head just in the edge of the cloud base. I grabbed the camera, quickly wiped the water off the lens on my sleeve and just managed to get a couple of snaps.
                                                       Next off was a shopping trip to Brighouse with an amazing red ball sun burning through the fog eventually turning yellow.
Out with the camera again to get some shots of this unusual sight. This was on the main street in Brighouse so everyone started looking up to see what I was taking and when I looked around about 20 people had their phones out taking the red ball, funny how people dont notice things like this.
How embarrassing Lynda said!.
                                                 Late afternoon and up to Fly Flatts with clear skies and a strong SW>6
increasing to near gale force > 7 gusting >8 with very little bird life but fascinating to watch the water and the hardy windsurfers nearly breaking the sound barrier as they sped across the waves and no brakes either.
Several Mipits were along the west banking where I was hoping for a Snow Bunting or Shorelark, both of which I,ve had before here but many years ago.
                                                  Otherwise it was just 3 Kestrels, 4 Red Grouse and a single LBB gull over the water which I was,nt happy with as it just did,nt look right somehow with a bright white narrowish face and very dark bill. Probably just me expecting something better in the conditions but something I,ll be looking into.
                                             If you,re still awake thanks for reading this long and odd blog to the end.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bad Sunday morning birding, even worse afternoon. Fly Flatts

                                        Boats out on the water
                                          Choppers in the air.

Late afternoon and over to Leeshaw Reservoir in an attempt to rescue the days birding after a terrible morning in the fog. On arrival the water was empty but quite a few gulls on the shoreline and worth checking through. As I opened the tailgate to get the tackle and dogs out all hell let loose with a clay pigeon shoot in the field by the reservoir. Poor Ollie launched himself out of the back of the car and was ready to leg it had I not grabbed him in time as he,s terrified of bangs from guns or fireworks.
                                                              Once back in the car he was shaking like a leaf so it was get out of there sharp and back along Nab Water Lane to Fly Flatts with a walk down the northern track which produced nothing and the visibility to the west was still very poor with a haze hanging over the moor. Thirty minutes sky watching then back home to do the garden writing today off as , not one of my best birding days.
An e mail from DW this evening with a road casualty bird. This Jack Snipe was at the roadside near the Raggalds Flood. What a shame for a rare and early bird to our area.

                                                Photo courtesy D.W.

Another Vis Mig morn fogged off, Fly Flatts

                                          Typical Sunday morning scene

                                       Even the team look miffed off.
                                             West banking
                                    Looking out to sea.
                                   Stonechats through the fog

            Canada and 2 Barnacles off towards Cold Edge
   Reminds me of work, Colditz Garage

With a good local forecast for today it was up to Fly Flatts first light with a car full of gear ready for a cracking vis mig watch. My excitement was soon dashed on approaching Fly Flatts running into dense fog which remained throughout the watch until it was time to leave when the fog started to lift and the sun broke through. Thats another vis mig watch wasted making it that I have had just 2 morning vis mig watches since it started due to the weather and only about 3 weeks left to go at now.
                                                                    In the last 15 minutes as the fog started to lift I managed 2 Grey Wagtails >W, 1 pair Stonechat by the boathouse , 3 Mipits, 1 pr Mallard, 1 Canada and 2 Barnacles.  Not a lot for 3 hours birding but at least the dogs got a good walk.
Good to get a report from Gordon at Skipton of a Snow Bunting on the track near Lower Barden reservoir this morning.