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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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir. pm

       Amazing number of House Martins and Swallows.
 Very poor light but taken at fast speed to freeze
the movement, hence the poor quality.

 All taken with Canon 7d and Canon 300mm  1.4 L IS lens.

When I said I needed the hot sunshine to go I did,nt mean take the sky with it. A full day of thick fog up here in Queensbury with no signs of it clearing late pm ready for my next birding adventure so it was swop Big Bertha for a smaller lens that would go under my coat then off to Mixenden reservoir which was just below the cloud base.
                                                            The weather here was very dull in the dark clouds with heavy drizzle but calm and muggy which brought the flies out which in turn brought the hirundines with around 100 mixed Swallow and House Martins skimming the water whilst a feeding party of around 50 Swifts fed over the plantation, a truly amazing sight.
A small charm of Goldfinch were mobile in the waterside trees whilst 4 Pied Wagtails were gathering food from the bottom of the banking. Just 3 Mallard on the water.
                                                              With lots of so called fishing/ drinking going on all around the water it was pointless looking for waders so I ended the watch on a funny but sad note. A young lad of around 8 was walking on with his Dad after a fishing session and the amount of birds over the water caught his eye. As they passed me I thought, he could get interested in birds, until he turned to his Dad and said," can we shoot some birds in the garden after tea". His Dads face froze when he saw me glare at him with bins round my neck. The mind boggles.

Birding with a difference. Fly Flatts.

                    Redshank appearing out of the gloom
                                    Eye straining work
                                        Common Sandpiper
                                          Dunlin barely visible
                                       It don,t get thicker than this
                       About 6 ft of water visible
                                         Ideal shorelines

0700 hrs and a dismal looking Fly Flatts with dense fog, visibility down to 20 yds, and a stiff E>5 followed by rain at 0830 hrs.
                                             The point of this exercise was to check the shoreline at the south end of the water for any overnight grounded waders in ideal holding conditions.
The plan worked to an extent with good numbers of waders although the pick of the bunch was a Ringed Plover  and no sign of Sanderling which are moving through at the moment.
                                                                 The fog held the birds to a limited area but visibility being so bad they only had to fly a few yards to be lost from sight. Possibly boats out today being Bank Holiday but further checks in the week are sure to produce as long as the shoreline holds in the rain forecast.

1 Ringed Plover
4 Redshank
5 Dunlin
7 Common Sandpiper
1 Snipe
3 Oystercatcher
c 30 Meadow Pipits on the waters edge
2 Curlew

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fly Flatts. p.m.

1600 hrs and a quiet hour at Fly Flatts. The skies were clear with good visibility and a strong W>5.
Several boats were still out on the water so most of the action had been pushed across into the NE corner where, scoping across, at least 5 Dunlin , 3 Redshank and 4 Common Sandpiper were showing along with 4 Herring gulls, all sub adults, plus the usual sp.
                                                                      Hopefully in the week the shoreline will tempt a wader or two down although most will now have gone through and the next big wader move will be returning birds from late July with June usually being the quietest month of the year  although it has been known to turn up a rarity or two in the past.
A bonus day tomorrow with no work so I,ll be giving it another bash in the morning.

Leeshaw Reservoir

                                            Little Ringed Plover
                                    Several Snipe present

0700 hrs and dense fog at Fly Flatts so on to Leeshaw which was just below the cloud base.
A pleasing fresh morning with a strong W>5 and light drizzle drying up mid watch but enough to get the birds active.
                         Plenty waders present , the dominant bird being Snipe with 6 different birds up drumming and dropping into fields around the reservoir.
What seemed like a good morning for Terns never materialized but a steady move of gulls through >W. A Buzzard appeared over the moor briefly to be quickly remove by mobbing Lapwings whilst a single Little Ringed Plover was a nice find in one of the fields.

1 Buzzard
2 Redshank
6 Snipe
5 Oystercatchers
2 Common Sandpipers
3 Curlew
1 Black Headed gull
4 Herring gull
16 Lesser Black Backed gull
2 Cormorant
1 Little Owl
2 Cuckoo
+ usual sp. Lapwings, Canadas, Greylags etc.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ogden. pm.

                                       Single Black Headed gull present
  Mallards hanging on to their brood.
                                  1 Oystercatcher present
                 Return of the drake tufted

A real change in the weather with a strong SW>5 and dark clouds. Perfect for me but bad for sun lovers. I may have gone a bit heavy with the rain dance as when it came down I was in the middle of Halifax in shirt sleeves and got a real good soaking. Lynda had the good sense to get into Wilkinsons as it started but I was up at the top end of town walking down to meet her.
                                                                           1530 hrs and off to Ogden to see if the storm had brought anything down on the water which it had,nt  but at least it had cleared the weekend public.
The only birds brought down were a  flock of racing pigeons which were scattered around the area, some on the shoreline and some in the low bushes around the perimeter of the water. They easily get disoriented but after a rest they,ll soon sort themselves out and head for home.
                                                                   Two Common Sandpipers were still present up in the NW corner but very flighty whilst a single Oystercatcher was on the west shoreline.
The near resident Tufted has returned to join the Mallards  and pleasing to see 2 lots of Mallard chicks , a 7 and a 5. The 7 photographed are very young but lucky to have an aggressive mother who was seeing of the Crows in good style whilst the group of 5 are growing well and apart from the Heron they should be OK.
                                         The  Cuckoo was calling well from the Spring Head area with plenty Swallows and House Martins feeding over the car park.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fly Flatts revisited.

             SE>4 rippling the water.
        A good year for Common Sandpiper.

1600 hrs on another hot sticky day but a cooling SE>4 at Fly Flatts. Much quieter this evening with possible wind surfers being there earlier moving all the Dunlin and Redshank towards the centre of the reservoir along the east banking. A female Stonechat was briefly down near the feeding station along with a male Reed Bunting and a few Meadow Pipits. Once again nothing in the air but tomorrows promised rain and thunderstorms should stir things up a bit.
                                                          Common Sandpipers are enjoying a good season with the exposed shoreline and even using the edge of the moor with 7 counted between the boathouse and feeding station.
A Cuckoo was calling from the moor near the wind turbines whilst the Norstar field was empty other than corvids with several Swallow, Swift and House Martins feeding over the fields nearer to Wainstalls.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Away from the maddening crowd and heat. Fly Flatts

                                        2 Barnacles still present
                                       3 flighty Redshank present

                                 Lapwings still defending chicks

                              2 of 5 Common Sandpipers
      Waders improving, 2 of 8 Dunlin.

In search of peace and quiet and somewhere cool I arrived at Fly Flatts at 1500hrs to find just that.
Not a soul for miles and a cool SE>4 blowing across the water. After checking the water, which just held Canadas, Greylags and 2 Barnacles I got some seed down and then settled down to sort through the waders. At least 5 Common Sandpipers were present along with 3 very flighty Redshank giving me some good practice for flight shots.
                                                            The bird of the day was Dunlin with 8 found by scoping along the East shoreline, some at distance and some near enough to zoom in on. With the water level still dropping we may manage to attract something else down over the weekend.
2 Goldies were still in the Nolstar field.