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.

Nesting Season.
With birds already starting nesting early this year any birds of a sensitive nature will be omitted from this blog if I suspect their being mentioned could effect their well being by disturbance in any way during the nesting season. Passage birds will be reported as normal.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The magic of reservoir watching, Leeshaw.

                                       12 Oystercatchers present now

                                                     as well as 2 Curlew.
                                         Sheltering from the wind
                     Lapwing numbers building in the fields
                                    Greylags battling the waves.
                                                 Bath night.

                                                   all done.
                                            The start of the Curlew
                                 Piling through >W

                                    Lapwings also moving >W

                                    A constant flow of Oyks also >W

Leeshaw reservoir early morn with bright skies and sunshine at 3 degrees on a W>6. Very blowy but a decent dry morning.
                                  Nothing other than the usual species this morning with 9 Oystercatchers now present plus the 2 Curlew. Two pair of Goosanders were on the water whilst a Grey and a Pied Wagtail were by the overflow.
                                 An interesting forecast for the afternoon with a heavy low heading towards us from the west bringing rain by late afternoon and gale force winds, reservoir watching tackle.
Whilst shopping in Brighouse after dinner I was watching the sky cloud over and darken with the wind increasing, even low down in Brighouse, so once home it was a dash to Leeshaw again to wait for the show to begin. A dog less visit late afternoon so I could position the car and get set up behind the tailgate with the wind already blowing at near gale W>7 as I arrived with grey skies but dry.
                               The wind was increasing all the time getting to gale force W>8 at 43 m.p.h and gusting to strong gale W>9 at 48 m.p.h. for short periods during which time it blew the tailgate down twotting me on the head twice, thats the first time I,ve ever had that happen.
                            Despite this, the birding was excellent and the best session I,ve had for a long time
with birds to watch and count for the full hour I was there.
                            Part of the Greylag group had come in with 87 on the water along with 38 Canadas and several Mallard. The Oystercatchers were up to 12 but still just the 2 Curlew, with no sign of yesterdays Golden Plovers which will probably have moved up to their favourite field at Upper Marsh where the flock reaches near on 400 by mid March.
                          Suddenly a move started with firstly Curlews, then Lapwings with groups piling through low over the water directly >W. Oystercatchers then joined in the procession coming through in twos and threes along with several mixed flocks of Curlew and Lapwing. An amazing sight to watch as they flew into the wind with very little effort.

59 Oystercatchers.............>W  + 12 present.
248 Lapwing....................>W  + several present
68 Curlew........................>W  + 2 present.
38 Canadas
87 Greylag
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Grey Wagtail
2 pr Goosander
c 100 Fieldfare
c 50 Redwing
c 200 Starling.
The amazing thing today was in all this movement only 1 gull was seen all day. This was a single
Black Headed out on the high waves making me get the scope out in hopes of Kittiwake.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Ogden a.m. / Wild reservoir watching p.m. Leeshaw.

     LEESHAW              A male Goosander battles the waves
                                         along with a LBB gull
                                          Curlews moving through.
                          Big gulls heading >W.  ad LBB

                                    LBB stopped off for a rest.
                                     Distant Golden Plover
                                        in the pouring rain

Another of those wet and windy days with heavy horizontal rain early doors at Ogden at 4 degrees on a SW>5 which increased throughout the morning. By mid watch the rain eased and for the last 30 minutes I moved the car up to the drug dealers car park for a bit of sky watching.
                                                 The water held 2 female Goldeneye sheltering under the bank in the NW corner whilst a male Goosander was out in the middle before moving off >E. Yesterdays 2 Song Thrush were still present by the lodge house as well as a single Jay and a few Chaffinch.
The water was quiet with 4 Herring gulls dropping in briefly along with just the one LBB and very few small gulls.
                         By late afternoon the wind had increased to WSW>7 near gale at 37 m.p.h. gusting at WSW>8 up to 42 m.p.h. gale force with torrential horizontal rain throughout.
To someone normal these conditions are horrendous but if , like me, you,re a reservoir watcher they are ideal with the chance of something special through or dropping in.
                        The weather really hit the spot today with action the full time I was there.
The water just held the usual Goosanders, Mallards and Canadas whilst the stubble field held around
150 Fieldfare and 300 Starling as well as the 8 Oystercatchers all facing the wind and busy feeding.
                        It was moving birds that stole the show with Herring gull, Lesser Black Backed, Common and Black Headed all skimming the water heading >W along with 9 separate Curlew in the same direction. Wader calls overhead made me spin round just in time to see a tight flock of 18 Golden Plover before they disappeared over the ridge.
                         Throughout the rest of the watch I kept getting a single Goldie call so I moved my position to the SE corner field and there they were in with the Lapwings but very distant at the top of the field and with the pouring rain and thoughts of keeping the camera dry I could only get a few iffy record shots. Luckily, with birders in mind, God invented the hatchback, so as long as you can get the car near enough to your watch point its like having a mobile hide if you park facing the wind. My problem is, the dogs like to walk, so I,ve still to settle for getting wet.

2 f Goldeneye
1 m Goosander
4 Herring gull
2 Song Thrush
1 Jay
sev Chaffinch

3 m 1 f Goosander
18 Golden Plover
9 Curlew..........................>W
2 Curlew present
8 Oyks
c 150 Fieldfare
c 300 Starling
c 40 Lapwing
10 Herring gull..................>W
17 LBB gull....................>W
sev small gulls................>W

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Ogden and Fly Flatts.

  OGDEN                    21 ad Herring gull present.

 FLY FLATTS.        18 Mallard not worried with the weather
                                                   as well as 2 Canada geese

     Every cloud has a silver lining, or in my case
    Every silver lining has a cloud. This one battered me with hail stones.
             This one even had a face to see where it was going.

A morning of heavy to torrential rain and hail on a SW>5 at 7 degrees with the temp dropping to 2 degrees by late afternoon on a W>7 near gale at 32 m.p.h. with some very heavy hail and sleet showers.
Not much to show at Ogden but a good number of Herring gulls on the water, all adults, before heading off >SW. Good to see my first Song Thrushes of the year with 2 near the Lodge House.

 Despite AH promising me a fine afternoon the water was soon running off my coat at Fly Flatts, though to be fair to Annie there was some dry and bright periods in among the showers and it didnt affect the birding.
           When I worked at the garage a lady customer, who did a lot of fell walking , remarked about the weather saying, " Theres no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes," which is quite true to an extent, if you get well geared up the weathers not a problem.
               Bird wise, it was a problem with , as expected, a quiet watch though nows the time that I will have to get back up there for regular checks to see when things start appearing.
                The single Canada goose thats been on the shoreline a few days now making me think it was sick solved the problem today when it was there with a mate, the first of many to come.
A small group of 4 Greylags flew over >SW whilst 18 Mallard were on the water taking no notice of the weather.
                One exciting moment was as I was scanning the north shore pools through the bins a small wader size bird was in one of the ponds looking to be preening and flapping its wings.
Grabbing the scope, tripod and camera I shot through the boatyard to get a nearer view and after much difficulty pinpointing it with the wind wafting the scope I found it to be a piece of plastic trapped half behind a stone and flapping in the wind.
                Oh well, its the first time I,ve used the scope this year so was good practice having a dummy run before the real thing happens.
                Rain for a change tomorrow and strong SW gale force winds peaking at midday.

21 Herring gull
2 Song Thrush
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker
1 Canada Goose
+ usual sp.

Fly Flatts
4 Greylag.................>SW
2 Canada
18 Mallard

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Leeshaw Reservoir

                                             1 of 2 Curlew

             Another addition to the Oystercatcher group
                                             8 birds now present.

Another wild start to the morning with sleet then drizzle but drying up and the wind easing to WSW>4 mid watch at 3 degrees and full cloud cover.
                                                 No big gulls at all today and only around 50 small gulls being attracted in as the Trout were being fed. This in turn got the Goosanders and Cormorants lively.
                                                 Another day, another Oystercatcher, bringing the total to 8 now along with 2 Curlew high over the water and later in the top fields. Otherwise it was the usual species on a very quiet morning. Good to bump into BV up there exchanging birding tales of years gone by around the Bradford catchment area. Brian built up my enthusiasm telling me of when he found 2 Bewick Swans on the water at Leeshaw but then my hopes were dashed when he said it was about 20 years ago.
              Gale force winds expected for the weekend again with rain and strong winds for at least another week, should be getting used to it by now.
No afternoon session today waiting for the gas man to appear.

8 Oystercatcher
2 Curlew
38 Canada goose
15 Greylag goose
73 Lapwing
2 pr Goosander
c 150 Starling
c 50 Fieldfare.
+ usual sp.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Leeshaw a.m. Scandinavian Delight p.m.

 LEESHAW                  Oystercatchers up to 7 now

 KEIGHLEY              15 Waxwings, a very scarce bird this winter.

A terrible day with the continuing strong SW wind at SW>5 gusting 6 at 3 degrees and heavy showers throughout the day . Late afternoon driving back from Keighley was horrendous with a gale force wind and lashing rain, sleet and snow.
                                                           A decent birding morning at Leeshaw despite the weather with a mega move of Starling all head down heading >NW exactly as they do in autumn.These were assumed to be continentals on their way back >N with a count of over 1500 birds in just over 100 squadrons during the 2 hour watch.
                                                       Otherwise, 31 Herring gull and 2 LBB gull headed >W as well as several small gulls. Curlews are now up to 4 and another Oystercatcher has arrived making 7.
                                                         The plan for the late afternoon session was Redcar Tarn but I called to see if the Waxwings were still present at Westfell Road which is only a slight diversion away. When I arrived around 8 other birders were present and I got the usual phrase of " you should have been here this morning"! Not to be disillusioned the berry tree was still booming with fruit so I was sure they would return for the last feed of the day.
                                                   After about 30 minutes they came flying in landing in a distant high tree aiming to drop down for their berries but unfortunately, as usual in these twitch type cases ,a few of the birders(?) were stood talking right by the tree that the birds wanted so the birds dare,nt come down. After a while the birds flew off and most of the people left but the birds returned to the same high tree after about 15 minutes. I stood for a while for the birds to drop down but the weather broke with torrential rain so I called it a day, and by now I,d no time left for Redcar Tarn which is probably as well the way the weather was. As I drove off the Waxwings were still in the top of the high tree in the pouring rain. A great sighting to end the day on.

c1500 Starling...............c100 squadrons >NW
7 Oystercatchers
4 Curlew
31 Herring gull................>W
2 LBB gull......................>W
3 pr Goosander
+ usual sp.

Westfell Road, Keighley
15 Waxwing