No sightings of Roe Deer, Hare or Badger will be mentioned on this blog throughout the year and links will be removed from other blogs giving the whereabouts of these mammals due to the rising influx of poaching, long dogging and lamping by sick individuals.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Last session of the year, Mixenden

                                       Herring gull on the east bank
 The legs looked Yellow from a distance but not zoomed in.
                 Cormorant on the banking

               Still 2m 4f Goldeneye present
                                             Herring gull

                                            27 Canadas

                                       Canadas moving off

1430 hrs and after a bright sunny day I headed to Mixenden to get some half decent shots of the Goldeneye but as I arrived so did my personalized black clouds creeping in from the SW and within 10 minutes of being there the area was plummeted into black and white with everything thrown into silhouette.
Big Bertha gave a moan as once again all her settings were wound near the limit to pick up some light.
         I,d managed to get some shots of the Herring gull, Cormorant and small gulls before the light went so was now just left with the Goldeneye which took some finding to start with spread out right across the water and diving constantly but eventually I picked out the 2 male and 3 female. The birds were very flighty and distant so I set up the tripod in the wood hoping they would drift closer but this never happened of course. 4 Goldcrest were moving about in the conifers and there were hundreds of midges over the water.
                                   By now the rain was coming down heavy so it was time to tackle up and call it a do till next year.
                                                                            Once again , many thanks to all who have taken the time to watch my blog and have inspired me to keep it going with comments, kind remarks and bird reports through 2017. Lets hope 2018 will be kind to us in every way so we can keep on enjoying this wonderful hobby.
Also, many thanks to Yorkshire Water and Halifax Sailing Club for their kind support for me at Fly Flatts reservoir..
                                    I wish you all............. A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR..........

All I have to do now is wait up till after midnight until the silly fireworks, ( that should be banned,) are over to keep the dogs settled so I can get to bed ready for an early start in the morning , and thats my final Victor Meldrew moan of the year.

All the best.   BS

Fly Flatts End of year visit

                         More Herring gulls moving through.

Fly Flatts 0815-0945 hrs  Moderate SW>5, 30% cloud cover, hazy sunshine giving poor light.

Nothing special at Fly this morning to see the year out but once again a good move of Herring gulls >SW with a count of 36, most of these being 1st winter birds.
A Raven flew over the west moor at distance along with a Peregrine and Kestrel whilst a Cormorant headed >NE very high. The only passerines were a Reed Bunting and a male Stonechat but nothing showing interest in the seeded areas as yet. Red Grouse were very vocal on the moor, probably having an end of the shooting season party.
                                                                     Only a tea time session left now to go out of 2017 with a mega.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir

                                           Always good to get Goldeneye
                                              Dazzling male

            6 present for the second time this year.

                                         Plenty displaying going on

1445 hrs and with the wind howling to near gale force up here on the tops I dropped down to Mixenden reservoir where the wind was a light SW>4 and dry but very poor light, hence the iffy photos with the ISO reading very high and the shutter speed low to try get some light in , a setting where a tripod is a must except mine was in the back of the car so some were taken sat down on the wet banking using a kneepod and others in the edge of the wood using a treepod.
                                                                    For the second time this year 6 Goldeneye were on the water with another male and 2 female joining the existing male and 2  female that have been there a few days now. The 6 were found earlier in the day by NK, thanks for the call Nigel.
                                                                   The previous 6 found on the 24/01/2017 were 1 male and 5 female.
Also present today were 2 Cormorant, 1 Grey Wagtail, around 30 Redwing in to roost in the plantation along with around 60 Woodpigs.
                                                              Two morning birding sessions to look forward to now with Monday off work for New Year so hopefully the weather will be a bit kinder than of late although it sounds like wind is going to be a feature.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A super soggy Oggy

A horrendous day from start to finish with heavy snow till midday leaving Queensbury with a good thick covering closing several side roads. By early afternoon the temperature had risen slightly turning the snow to rain and increasing the wind to WNW>5.
                                                                   By 1500 hrs the weather had worsened with the rain now heavy to torrential and the wind increased to WNW>6 but the dogs needed walking and the water needed checking so arrived at Ogden in a very snowy slippy car park and treacherous walking conditions along the promenade .
                                                   Around 200 small gulls on the water in ideal Kittiwake weather but very hard to check through with the wind and rain in the bins and all the gulls facing into the wind away from me but a sift through satisfied me that I had missed nothing special so after a quick check down in the sluice gate area and in the duck feeding corner it was head back to the shelter of the car.
                                                         Definitely not a session to go down in the record books but to me never a waste of time because there,s always that chance of being something and if you give up looking you give up birding.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Last minute dash to Ogden.

Late back from shopping duties so it was 1530 hrs before I arrived at Ogden on a bright but bitterly cold afternoon with the area heaving with post Christmas family walkers. I wonder what they do the rest of the year ?
                         The water was rough , churned up with a stiff W>5 but still holding around 70 small gulls, 1 LBB and 2 ad Herring with several more small gulls piling in or over on their way to roost.
The pair of Wigeon were still hanging on but sticking to the NE corner along with the Moorhen but no sign of the Little Grebe today.
                       Down in the depths of the sluice gate a Dipper was busy feeding along with a Grey Wagtail but no Kingfisher which seems to leave downstream around 1500 hrs.
                         Raggalds Flood held 82 Lapwing, 2 pr Mallard and 5 BH gulls.
Whilst we were shopping in Halifax, or rather Lynda was , the Pigeons suddenly went up and a Peregrine glided over Marks and Spencers heading towards the Piece Hall spire.
                                              Heavy snow forecast for tomorrow but we,ll have to wait and see.
Whatever,s happened to all the local birders over Christmas, I,m getting lonely out here?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A snowy Fly Flatts

            Looking north along the west bank
                      Sun melting the snow on the Nab
                                  Herring gulls >SW

                                        A frozen feeding station

Back to work this morning then a Sainsburys shop and on my way to Fly Flatts for 1430 hrs.
                                                                    A glorious day up there and ideal for walking but not for birds or photography with only 20 % cloud cover ,otherwise bright blue skies and sunshine, neither of which I ordered. An icy cold NW >5 was blowing with temperatures at 0 deg freezing the water that was splashing onto the track.
                                             Birds were sparse with 15 Herring gull >SW, 1 male Stonechat distant and flighty, 8 Red Grouse, which only have 4 more days to survive the guns then the season is over.
The Grouse have been lucky this season at Fly Flatts with several shoots aborted due to fog and snow, what a shame for the sad men!
                                           Otherwise 2 Kestrels were over the Nab along with a distant kronking Raven whilst 2 pair of Mallards were on the water.
                                           I,ve now started a new feeding scheme at Fly Flatts using several areas as well as the Twite feeding station, which is now on hold for a couple of months, but the new areas are getting a variety of different seeds with a hope of attracting other passerines such as Larks, Pipits and Buntings but whether it will be a success or not, time will tell so watch this space.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day Bash, Stage 2. Mixenden Reservoir.

 1 of 2 Cormorant way across on depth gauge

              Around 50 small gulls. This ones a BHG

                                           Female Goldeneye
                                     Lesser Black Back ( graellsii )

                       Cormorants moved off to roost
                                            f Goldeneye
                                        1 pair Goosander

                  f  Goldeneye in flight

                                                 Drake Goldeneye
            Doing plenty neck stretching

                                       Female returning display

                                       Drake Goldeneye in flight

1400 hrs and with Fly Flatts in the fog and Ogden under siege from the Boxing Day walkers, strange how these people only walk once a year,,? ) it was down the hill to check Mixenden reservoir which made a pleasing hour spent there. The snow had almost gone and the wind slight SW>4 and 80 % cloud cover.
                  On arrival there were around 50 small gulls on the water along with 2 LBBs, 75% of these being Black Headeds and the rest Commons. Two Cormorants were fishing well and a pair of Goosander were cruising around the centre of the reservoir.
                    A walk along the west bank in ankle deep mud flushed a female Goldeneye from under the banking which flew out to the middle of the water. When I got to the north end a drake Goldeneye was near the NE corner before also moving off into the centre.
                       The Goldeneye were very fidgety flying circuits around the water with their wings whistling loudly before settling back on the water.
By 1500 hrs the gulls had gone off >N to roost and the Cormorants off in their usual roost direction of >NE but I,ve yet to find out where the Cormorants go to.
                        As I got back to the SW corner the pair of Goldeneye were there along with another female all displaying and diving together before flying back into the centre of the water.
                           A pleasing hours birding.