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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Doing the rounds on Halloween.

The only spooky thing about this Halloween was the lack of birds.
                                                              A very dark grey afternoon with just hints of the sun breaking through and a strong W>6 at Fly Flatts.
1445 hrs and first stop was the Raggalds Flood where a pair of Wigeon were squat down in the grass at the southern end by the outlet along with 15 Lapwing and 6 BH gulls.
                                                                  On then to Mixenden reservoir which held around 20 small gulls, 16 Canada Geese and a pair of Mallard.
Fly Flatts didnt want to play at all today in the blasting W>6 with drizzle and a walk to the far NW corner produced 6 BH gulls, 3 LBB gulls, 1 Kestrel and a distant pair of Stonechat.
                                                               So thats October gone and another vis mig season drawing close to an end and into November which means reservoir watching for winter wildfowl and of course November can be a good month for Black Redstarts, plus winter Buntings and Larks.
                                                                October for me has been a long hard slog with near daily visits to Fly Flatts mostly in atrocious conditions with more than our share of strong winds and horizontal drizzle but asked, was it all worth it, I.ll say it was, with ample rewards from a location just 20 minutes away from home. The October Fly Flatts highlights being :-

A flock of 25 Reed Bunting
A flock of 11 Stonechat
Whooper Swans over in the fog , approx 6 >S or >SW
Several skeins of Pink Footed Geese
Several moving Buzzards
2 Great Black Backed gulls
1 late Swallow
3 late Wheatear
1 Caspian Gull
1 Great White Egret
4 Wigeon
1 probable Snow Bunting,   not recorded
2 pr Ring Ouzel
38 Siskin over >NE in 3 groups.
3 female Goldeneye
plus all usual sp.

On the down side the Twite feeding station once again failed with Nyjer seed down constantly from early spring to present date with not a single bird recorded. This is the 4th year running now for the station to be without Twite and its now looking as though we have lost this species from Fly Flatts other than the occasional passage birds.
                                                              Having said that, I,ll continue topping the station up with Nyger come the spring, I don,t give up that easily and theres plenty other birds enjoy the free food as well as it keeps the staff at Wilkinsons in a job.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mega Woodpigeon movement and a prize every time at Fly Flatts.

                                  Swarms of Woodpigs

                                  Peak time 0700 - 0800 hrs.

A great start to the week with a mega move of Woodpigs from first light with the highlight time being between 0700 hrs and 0800 hrs when over 5000 birds came over all >S. Unlike the last big move day when all the birds were to the east of me todays birds were directly above stretching northwards on a broad front. An amazing sight.
1530 hrs at Fly Flatts for a quick check of the water in already fading light and a strong W>5-6 with clouds partially blanking a setting sun.
                                                            Again the unusual sight of gulls at this location with 6 BHGs on the water along with 5 LBBs, one being a first year bird. As I approached the NW corner 3 small, fast flying ducks came into sight from the north , these being female Goldeneye which flew a circuit through the wind turbines before landing on the water , near to the far banking of course. The arrival of these birds is just 1 week later than my first at Ogden last year.
                                                   Otherwise it was down to 5 Mallard, 11 Canadas and a few Red Grouse calling.
                                   Goldeneye arriving from the North

                                    Passing the turbines

                                          In to land
                                 Hidden by the swell

                                                4 ad 1 1st year LBB

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ringby Top. p.m.

With little time late afternoon before early dark I took the 300mm lens round my neck plus 2x convertor in my pocket and the scope up to Ringby Top with some sky watching in mind plus a low expectancy hope of a Snow Bunting up there.
                                                                     The sky was bright with full sun which did,nt help and the cold N>4-5 still blew . A search for Snow Bunt and Wheatear just produced 23 Pied Wagtails in the usual field and 2 Grey Wagtails in the manured field opposite the quarry.
                                                                  With that out of the way I set up the scope scanning to the west where all the action was. It was a good decision to take the scope instead of Big Bertha as most of the birds were well to the west of my position along the distant ridge.
                                                                    Gulls were the main movers with around 20 Herring , 2 Great Black Backed and many LBBs along with small gulls.
Scanning towards Stoodley Pike 2 Whooper Swans followed the ridge up and soon disappeared out of sight >W whilst 4 Buzzard in close proximity tailed each other >S.
The usual gulls and corvids were present but otherwise that was it. By 1600 hrs the sun was going down and by 1700 hrs it was dark, YUK.

Fly Flatts , early a.m.

         Fly Flatts , first light. South lagoon
                                 SE from the west banking
                                   Sun trying to appear
                                 Good move of Siskin >NE

                                          Greylags >N
                                    Female Ring Ouzel

                                           33 Lapwing. Raggalds Flood

Fly Flatts 0645 hrs. A real mix if weather with an early sunrise soon giving way to dark clouds and drizzle before eventually brightening towards the end of the watch.
                                                          Gulls were the main movers in the sky with several Herring, LBB and BH gulls in various directions whilst a good move of Siskin was apparent with 38 all >NE in 3 tight flocks.  3 Grey Partridge was unusual for up there and 8 Greylags headed >N.
                                                            Near the end of the watch a single female Ring Ouzel flew low over the water from the boat house area so I back tracked and caught up with it down near the feeding station but no others were showing.
Just 33 Lapwing by the Raggalds Flood.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A blustery Ogden

                                         high tide at Ogden

                                        OK if you,re a Mallard
                                    Plenty gulls present.

With an horrendous afternoon up here in the gods with gale force winds, fog and horizontal drizzle it was a matter of throwing the 300mm round my neck, a 2x converter in my pocket and off with the dogs to Ogden.
                       Ogden was just below the cloud base so clear but a W>7 - 8 blasted drizzle across the water which was like looking out to sea. Around 150 gulls were out on the water with no banking available but these were impossible to identify with the rain and swell. Most were small gulls but a few LBBs could be picked out. Otherwise it was down to Mallards with the count now grown to 143 but a careful check revealed nothing hiding in amongst them.
Back home and wait for morning with a better forecast of a light north wind and dry forecast which we will believe when we see in.
 CLOCKS BACK TONIGHT  . End of evening birding.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Mega Woodpig morn and Fly Flatts strikes again, Ouzel mania.

                Swarms of Woodpigeons heading >S

                                More flocks further to the east

                                      A few gulls mixed in.

A bright clear morning gave the thumbs up to the Woodpigs to get underway and how they came.
Swarm after swarm moved over on 2 levels, some low whilst others were very high with several flocks barely visible way out to the east of me. The move, which also consisted of several Fieldfare flocks, was at its hottest between 0830 hrs and 0930 hrs after which all went quiet.
I was only casual watching from work but estimated well over 8000 birds.

Work finished, shopping and dog grooming done then off to Fly Flatts on a bright afternoon with     40 % cloud cover , sunny intervals and a brisk W>5 and feeling strange not to get rained on.
                                                                               The first surprise was 15 Black Headed gulls , some on the jetty, some on the water and others in the air. An unusual sight for this location which is not liked by gulls due to the peat shorelines.
Fully geared up today with tripod , so as not to be caught out like yesterday, I headed for the west bank on a low expectancy of seeing any Ring Ouzels but as soon as I crossed the overflow 2 male and 2 female were on the new cut grass beyond the feeding station.
                                                              With the camera quickly put on the sticks and a few test shots to get the exposure right I went down the banking to be less conspicuous and moved slowly along the track. Ring Ouzels are renown for being very flighty and the 2 males clocked me from 100 yds away and went over the fence beyond the long grass onto the moor with odd distant sightings as they moved about on the rocks. The 2 females stayed put feeding in the cut grass never moving too far from the area.
It was a case of keep edging on and stopping to get photos before edging on again before ending up still quite a distance away but near enough to get some half decent shots with Big Bertha at 600mm,
the tripod at its lowest point and me layed in the wet grass with 2 dogs sat on my back.
                                                              At one point one of the birds went just over the fence onto a stone with a Stonechat sat on the wire nearby.
Once again a cracking session at Fly Flatts.
All Ouzel picks below are female :-

           Black Headed gulls in flight

                       Cant resist taking gulls

                       The 2 female Ring Ouzels

              Had no trouble finding insects

                                 Flying over Stonechat

                                        Chat and Ouzel

                                         1 of 5 Kestrel