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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

On a run at Fly Flatts, Shelduck.

                                                 1 of 4 Redshank present

             Several Meadow Pipits feeding young
              Best year yet for Dunlin, 1 of 5
                       4 Shelduck in the NE corner
            600mm + 1.4 Converter . Still out of range at 840 mm.
            Distance just out of 600mm range

                          More Dunlin.

An early afternoon 2 hr free time so arrived at Fly Flatts at 1330 hrs with the nasty hot stuff returned but a cooling SW>4 making it more bearable . Mid way through the watch the wind dropped to SW>2 raising the temperature and bringing out the flies. Plenty wader activity with Dunlins now the prominent bird over Common Sandpiper whilst Oystercatchers, Curlews and Snipe were all present.
                                                                          Walking along the west bank and mumbling about a couple with a dog in the water, the sooner the silly season is over the better, I dont know why Lynda and the daughters call me Victor Meldrew, I spotted 4 white dots on the far NE banking.
Possibly gulls but didnt look just right so rather than go back to the car for the scope I continued on the banking until I got within range to see they were Shelduck.
                                                                       I got so the 4 were directly opposite me which was as near as I could get and still out of range but with the tripod up and a bit of messing about I managed some record shots. Nothing in the air today as expected in the sunshine and unfortunately no repeat of yesterdays Osprey incident but the Dunlins and Shelducks gave me enough for me to leave with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Local patch pays dividends. Fly Flatts Osprey

                The WOW factor hits Fly Flatts.  Osprey >SSW

                          Not the best shots  with no time for settings.

            Disappearing into dark sky towards Cold Edge Dams
                    Pursued by Lapwing.

1545 hrs at Fly Flatts with dark skies and a brisk WSW>5 bringing rain showers.
                                                              With wind surfers present I could see any waders were on the east bank to the north of the water so dismissed checking the SE corner which turned out to be a lucky move. As I started to walk on the south shoreline I got 3 Oystercatchers up calling followed by 2 Curlew then several Lapwings , very high and very agitated . Several LBB gulls joined in telling me something was going on. With the camera on manual mode and still yesterdays settings in I scanned through it skyward to immediately pick out an OSPREY !
                                                                 It was moving high and fast just to the east of me so no time to reset the camera, it was just fire away and hope for the best. I could see in the view finder that I would have some sort of bloggable pictures so, rather than loose the bird, I carried on until it disappeared over the moor heading directly for Cold Edge Dams.
                                                               With the message sent out on the grapevine I got a call back from DJS who was near Cold Edge Dams but no sign of the bird.
                                                                It just shows how easy these sightings can be missed when I checked the log of events, 1550 hrs mobbing birds up in air, 1552 hrs Osprey located, 1553 hrs photos taken, 1554 hrs grapevine messaged relayed out. All over in 4 minutes but a memory for life.
                                                                       Nice to talk to 3 windsurfers who saw the commotion but missed the Osprey, at least they can see it on my blog .
Never did get to check the waders but who cares!

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.