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No wildlife sightings including Roe Deer, Fox, Hare or Badger will be mentioned on this blog throughout the year due to the rising influx of poaching, long dogging and lamping by sick individuals. BS.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tuther side ot ill Leeshaw Reservoir

                                 4 of 6 Cormorant
                                      1 of 5 Pied Wagtail.

A day of fog, doom and gloom up here on the tops today with a very light breeze SE>2 turning E>3
and even when the fog lifted slightly it still remained very dark and grey.
                                                                             Fly Flatts was well and truly blanked out in the fog so a visit to east of the Nab at Leeshaw reservoir where even there things were very quiet with dark limited visibility and the water just below the cloud base.
                                                                             Tons of shoreline which held 6 Cormorant and a single distant Dunlin which soon moved to the western end of the reservoir out of sight.
Around 200 gulls were present in a freshly manured field and around the reservoir but all Black Headed apart from 1 Common gull with no big gulls present.
                                                                       A few Mallard on the water as well as 2 Canadas plus 1 Heron and 5 Pied Wagtails and that was it. One of those days when you,re not sorry when times up. Hopefully the dreaded fog will have gone by tomorrow and I can get back to the uplands.
                                                                    Looking at this mornings paper the traffic police must have been watching my blog and latched on to the idea of a Big Bertha lens, theirs is called The Long Ranger, which attaches to a speed camera making it possible for them to take photos and videos of cars approaching over half a mile away with a picture clear enough to see if a mobile is being used or a vehicle driven badly. A good idea as long as they dont knock it over like I have twice!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A birdier Fly Flatts.

                           Unusual to get Common gulls here
                                            Common and Herring

                                       28 Golden Plover on the east shore

                                  Stoodley Pike at sunset.

1500 hrs at Fly Flatts and just one hour before lights out with better weather conditions and better birding.
A light S>3 was blowing with little cloud showing clear blue skies and sunshine, something I moan about in summer but needed at this time of year for the light.
                                                        25 Gulls were on the water with 5 Herring, 16 Black Headed and 4 Common, the latter being a rare sight at Fly Flatts. These all moved off to various roosts as the light faded as did the 69 Mallard present on the peninsular.
                                                             A good show of Golden Plover way across on the east bank with a count of 28 and it was as I was watching these that a very white, winter plumaged adult Dunlin flew fast and low over the water gaining height over the south bank and disappearing high and >SW in real migration mode. I don,t know if the bird came off the shoreline or just a fly through but a nice sighting either way.
                               A single Raven was cronking over the Nab whilst 2 Stonechats were down by the feeding station. Back at the car and just time to watch the sun go down for another day but unlike yesterdays sunset the skies had that hazy , milky look which is usually a sign of fog coming in overnight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fly Flatts, Few birds, stonking sunset.

           The lonely tree. Only tree at Fly Flatts
                                              Last light.
                                                            Over the water.
                                                           From the boatyard
                                      Trying to get artistic  .

                                                 The grand finale.

A pleasant hour at Fly Flatts up to last light with slightly improved conditions with a moderate
SW > 5 , 50 % broken cloud cover and some sunshine extending the daylight to 1610 hrs when the sun was almost set.
                              Nothing out of the ordinary bird wise with 20 Golden Plover on the east bank as well as 4 Mallard and 2 Teal. A Buzzard flew >N over the west ridge closely followed by a mixed flock of around 100 Fieldfare and Redwing whilst a single Herring gull headed >NE.
                             Another bag of Nyjer seed down in hopes of an exotic Bunting , Lark or Twite before they head off to the coast for winter.
                           With daylight now poor and quiet skies I headed across to the boatyard to get some shots of a beautiful sunset although Big Bertha is not really the lens for these sort of shots. Its surprising how many cars stop on the top road and jump out with their phones for a photo of the amazing skies as the sun drops below the horizon. This view from Fly Flatts must be the 9th wonder of the world, the 8th wonder of the world being Lyndas home made rice pudding .
                                A cold wintry spell promised for next week which hopefully will get us out of this birding lull.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Glutton for punishment. Fly Flatts.

 A small squadron of 3 Choppers over tonight.

                                 Herring gulls > SW, juvs.

                           Single Lapwing on the south shore
   A grey Fly Flatts at last light

1445 hrs and with blue skies and sunshine all around I thought I was in for a watch with good visibility for a change. That was until I arrived at Fly Flatts to find the usual dark clouds, silhouette visibility and light drizzle on a moderate SW>5.
                                                             Despite all that the place was a bit livelier with the wind moving from the south to south west which birds seem to prefer though a good westerly is the preferred one for Fly Flatts.
                                          On at the west bank watch point 12 Goldies were across on the east bank with 61 Mallard around the peninsular along with 2 Teal.
Looking across to the west a group of around 200 Fieldfare were heading >S way out over the western ridge whilst a single Kestrel was on a post on Tatie Pie Hill.  Its strange why the west moor is always birdless raptor wise with so much activity over the ridge around Gorple and Walshaw. In over 50 years birding here I,ve just had 1 female and 1 male Hen Harrier moving through and one recent Marsh Harrier. Otherwise its just down to Kestrels , Sparrowhawks and the occasional Short Eared and Barn Owls, the two latter now having left the area as no sightings for several weeks.
                                            The 3 noisy helicopters over flushed a few Red Grouse but numbers are well down this year due to the long dry summer making a poor breeding season.
                                              Back at the south shore in fast fading light a single Lapwing came in to bathe before heading off >W whilst a Reed Bunting was at one of the feeding areas. 4 juv Herring gulls headed >SW whilst 12 Black Headeds moved > NE.  Just time to check the shoreline in the boat compound before lights out and head for home.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Back to the dark skies of Fly Flatts.

Driving up to Fly Flatts late afternoon the sky was bright and sunny looking to the east but the dark black clouds could be seen to the west over my destination.
On arrival at 1500 hrs the whole area was as dark as night with the setting sun way over to the west throwing everything into silhouette. A strong S > 5 was blowing with light rain.
The south wind that has been blowing several days now is the worst conditions for Fly Flatts with the wind blowing straight across the length of the water giving no shelter for the birds on either bank, hence no birds tonight.
                                    Only 4 Mallard on the water which soon left for Dean Head leaving empty shorelines and empty skies. A single Kestrel made a brief appearance whilst 2 Reed Buntings came off the south shoreline and dropped into the heather on the edge of the moor hardly identifiable in the conditions. And still 6 weeks to the shortest day.
                                   Just a word of advice for photographers to finish on. If your camera goes faulty, or as in my case you knock it over on the tripod, I strongly advise you not to take it to Janet Greens, Halifax for repair. I was told it was 4 weeks turn over to send it away, get it repaired , and get it back.
                                                               After a good two months and a lot of shouting , plus a bill for £330 I finally got my Canon 7d Mk 2 back on Friday and after using it over the weekend I have found several faults on it making it unusable so tomorrow its going back for probably another long stay. Oh well, back to the 7d Mk 1 .

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Fly Flatts , Sunday p.m.

          Flock of 44 Golden Plover over on the east bank

                                     4 of 68 Mallard heading off to roost.

1430 hrs and in contrast to this mornings visit the sky was blue with wall to wall sunshine on a SW>4 giving a little longer daylight. Good to see the boats back out today after an absence of several months due to low water which has now risen slightly but enough to get the safety boat out for the last 3 Sundays of the season.
                                             Busier than this mornings visit bird wise but no sign of the 2 Dunlin.
The Golden Plover flock was back on the east bank with a count of 44 all stood facing into the wind but at great distance from me on the west bank. The group of 68 Mallards were split between the east bank and north bank with 3 Teal mixed in with them.
                                                   Another bag of Nyjer seed down today but not a passerine of any kind in sight with all the Meadow Pipits now cleared from the area. The Ring Ouzels will have gone through by now so its down to the Buntings to make amends by giving us a visit.
                                                 No gulls today, just 2 Kestrels and a distant Buzzard, my second Buzzard of the day with one low over Brighouse town centre this afternoon brightening up the shopping trip.
                     Surely we,ll be getting some winter wildfowl in shortly.
                                                                 The tit flock is worth a look at now that its building at Ogden
after Caroline , of the Caroline and Mark Murray team spotted a possible Marsh/Willow tit among them. Apart from that its just a few weeks over 6 years since DS found us a Yellow Browed Warbler in with the flock. I,ll be doing some visits there shortly as the days shorten and when I can pluck up courage to face the public there.

Fly Flatts , Sunday morn.

                       1 of 2 Dunlin
               Way over on the east shore

                                            Both adult winter plumaged.

Fly Flatts 0800 - 0930 hrs. Misty start with drizzle clearing briefly then thick fog and heavy rain by 0915 hrs.
              Not the best of conditions with mist shrouding the west moor but the water remained clear for three parts of the watch. Another very quiet morning with just 3 BH gulls on and around the water whilst a low fly over of a Heron was a surprise, a bird I only get up there in spring in the frog spawning season.
                          The wet mud on the east shore was hard to scan, reflecting like a mirror, so it was only by chance I picked out a Dunlin near the waters edge . After a few distant photos I was walking back towards the south shore when the Dunlin plus a second bird flew past me low over the water, both being adults in winter plumage, heading for the south end.
                         By the time I got back on there the fog was rolling in and the rain getting heavier just giving me time to re located the Dunlins out on the SE corner but well out of camera range. Thoughts of going into the boatyardto get a better vantage point were quashed when the fog put the lights out so it was another early bath and head for home.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Not the best of visits. Fly Flatts

                                  Large numbers of gulls heading >SW

                                    Looked like Pinkies with the naked eye

                                                Several soaring high overhead.

I missed out on the good weather this morning through work and as I arrived at Fly Flatts at 1500 hrs I was once again met with dark clouds and drizzle soon turning to heavy rain as I walked the west bank. The wind was a moderate S>4 with the whole area in silhouette.
                                                                 With grapevine reports today of Sanderling, Black Tailed Godwit and Ruff at Ringstone I had high hopes of a wader or two on the east banking but quite the reverse with empty shorelines and not even a Golden Plover in sight. Only birds in the area were 20 Mallard in the NW corner otherwise nothing.
                                                                  Back at the car on the south shore the last 15 minutes were spent sky watching before lights out at 1600 hrs which saved the visit slightly with several large flocks of Fieldfare at distance over the moor towards Castle Carr to roost whilst a Kestrel flew overhead with a large frog dangling from its talons.
                                                                    Large flocks of gulls flew >SW way over the west ridge looking like Pinkies through the bins with around 300 counted but way too distant to i.d. Around 100 were overhead barely visible to the naked eye. Back on the water around 30 LBBs had come down into the centre of the reservoir before heading off to roost. By now it was light out and head for home.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Ogden in the murk.

After a full day of thick fog up here on top of the world Fly Flatts was out of the question for my tea time fix so down to Ogden which was,nt much better right on the cloud base with visibility just across the water but dark and drizzly turning to rain on a light SE>3.
                                                        Limited time before dark so just a check from the promenade and a dog walk part way up the Withins track to get away from the public, even on a day like today.
                                                        The highlight was 5 female Goosander on the water, probably on their way to the Oxenhope roost, whilst around 80 small gulls, 9 LBB gulls and 3 Herring gulls were around the shoreline as well as the resident Mallards.
                                                           Hopefully the fog will clear by tomorrow, its bad enough with early darkness to put up with without the fog as well.
                                                            Once again, to finish on a bright note, my Canon 7d mk2 was returned today after over 2 months in intensive care and a £350 bill after some clown birder at Fly Flatts knocked it over on the tripod plus help from a certain Poodle with his lead wrapped around the tripod leg. All I need now is some daylight and good birds to see if I can remember how to use it.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Goldie flock building at Fly Flatts.

Fly Flatts  1430-1545 hrs. Cool S >4. light rain showers. Very dark skies.
                                                                  Got to play out early today catching a bit more daylight although the dark skies didnt make it feel that way with poor visibility across onto the east bank with all the mud wet and shining making it hard to pick out anything and the whole area in silhouette.
                                                                    A scan across to the east bank got a count of 71 Mallard and the Golden Plover flock has grown to 37 which I missed at the first scan with the mirror like background but on the second scan I started finding them scattered all along the mud.
No sign of the Dunlin but it could quite easily have been there and not seen in the conditions.
                                                             The usual Kestrel was present and a few Red Grouse but otherwise there was nothing with empty water and not a single bird in the air, not even a gull or corvid in what seemed to be good conditions, I really can,t work out what makes these birds tick.
                                                          I,ve stepped up the Nyjer seed now hoping to attract Snow Buntings or Shorelark in 3 seperate feeding areas, hopefully it will do better than it has with Twite which have been absent now for 5 years despite continuous feeding.
                                                            On a more positive note , a large flock of around 150 Fieldfare were flying around and in the trees tops as I set off from home by the side of Foxhill School at the top of Harp Lane and an earlier report of several winter thrushes feeding on the Hawthorn berries down in Queensbury old railway station from blog watcher Carolyn.