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.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A pleasing hour at Ogden.

                                       A good count of 48 Canadas.

                                        Dipper down in the sluice gate

                                         5 Herring gulls present

                                       3rd winter
        Geese heading off to roost . Possibly Mixenden.

With reports of winter wildfowl on the move I anticipated Ogden to be a good sheltered spot for anything to drop in rather than the exposed Fly Flatts in a strong N>6 so at 1445 hrs I arrived there to a cold N>5 and 80 % cloud cover with heavy freezing.
                                                             The first sighting on the water was a good count of 48 Canada geese which left low towards Mixenden at 1530 hrs during a heavy snow storm which luckily was short lived and did,nt amount to much.
The Kingfisher was just leaving the sluice gate area heading down stream whilst a Dipper was there throughout though hard to get pictures of down in the darkness but with the camera near full open I managed a few record shots.
                                             Around 100 small gulls were on the water and scanning through them I picked out 5 Herring gulls out in the centre but could,nt turn any of them into Caspian.
Several Redwing were dropping down into the plantation last light whilst Goldfinch gathered in the high trees. So nothing really special this trip but a nice selection of species and encouraging to know Herring gulls are being attracted to the water at this site. We should be due for a winter white winged this year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The one that got away, Fly Flatts

    Buzzard size but narrow wings, grey backed, rusty brown underside.
                 slow wing flaps and gliding.
                Could only get tail end shots at distance.

                                        Some white showing under rump.
                                  Herring gulls heading >W

 Guess at juv Herring gull lit up with the sun.

A very active hour at Fly Flatts from 1500 -1600 hrs last light. Bright clear blue skies with 20 % cloud cover to the south , otherwise wall to wall sunshine until it dropped below the western ridge at 1645 hrs. A cool N>5 was blowing but, as last night, this dropped to N>4 mid way through the watch.
          The water just held the usual Mallards with a count of 15 which headed down to Dean Head reservoir to roost at last light. As I started to walk along the west banking a large Buzzard sized raptor glided low over the banking about half way on then continued >N about 30 ft above the water with slow deep wing beats and gliding in between. I grabbed a few back end shots at long distance before it was lost over the moor below the sky line.
All I got on it was greyish back and rusty brown underside with the wings looking long and narrower than Buzzard but this could be the angle and distance I saw it at. White markings can be seen from the photos below the rump. I watched for it turning and coming back but of course that doesnt happen.    A little further along the banking 8 Fieldfare lifted off from the grass and flew >SW into the sun whilst a steady stream of big gulls flew over throughout, the Herrings >W and the LBBs >NE. Starlings were heading >NE to roost and 11 Red Grouse were counted.
             Once again an amazing sunset which is a bit of a distraction from the birds as I always end up watching and photographing it and heres the pics so you dont get away with it either

                                     More white horses
                                      Rough water below the Nab

 Sun reflecting on the boathouse club windows
                                                  Going down
                                       Dean Head reservoir in the centre

                                       Stoodley Pike in the pink sky.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Back home to Fly Flatts.

Always park off the road when visiting Fly Flatts.
                                             High tide

              White Horses across the water

                               Herring gulls >SW
               Last of the sun along the west bank
                                           Feeding Station
                          Sun dropped below horizon at 1550 hrs.

At last a chance to get back to Fly Flatts after a few days absence due to weather and early darkness but after a bright day today I headed up there at 1500 hrs to some very black clouds but sunshine in a strip of clear sky to the west extending the daylight until just after 1600 hrs. The wind was a cool NW>6 but this dropped to around 4 by half way through the watch. The water is full to overflowing and breaching the south path as well as gushing down the outlet. Some snow is still lying in shaded areas.
         Other than 12 Mallard the water was void of bird life and no pre roost small gulls came in although a steady flow of Herring gulls were moving over very high and >SW with a count of 28.
         The resident Kestrel was hovering throughout right into last light but seemed to be having little success whilst a small tight flock of 15 Siskin flew over the NW corner heading >NE . At least 3 Stonechat were down near the feeding station.
                                                                         And that was it , very few birds but a pleasant hour by the water with the sun dropping down below the horizon at 1550 hrs.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ogden last light and the mystery of the Lapwings nightly feeding grounds.

With another day of strong winds and heavy showers and darkness in extra early there was just time for a last light check of Ogden .
                                                 1500 hrs and the sky was black as night with a heavy rain, sleet and snow shower but cleared enough for me to get the last half hour of light in before the next torrential downpour.The wind was blowing W>5 and feeling icy cold.
                                                   Around 100 small gulls were on the water, 75% Black headed and 25% Common with 3 Lesser Black Backed and 1 third winter Herring. Small gulls kept pouring in from the south throughout doubling the numbers on the water before they slowly started leaving to roost at Oxenhope.
Several tits were active around the feeders including at least 5 Coal tits but no sign of the Nuthatches, whilst Goldfinches started pouring in from all directions as the light faded, some landing in the tops of the high trees behind the info centre whilst others dropped straight down into the Rhododendrons, a nice dry area to roost in.
                                         On the way home in three parts darkness Lapwings were just leaving the Raggalds Flood and Pit Lane areas which they use for their daytime roosts and heading >SW to their feeding grounds, being nocturnal feeders, but where the overnight feeding grounds are Ive yet to find out. I,ve tracked them from Roper Lane way out to the SW and out of sight towards the Stoodley Pike area so possible some birder over that area has seem them leave first light in a morning.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Double Header, A bonus and a disaster at Redcar Tarn a.m. and a dowsing at Leeshaw p.m.

                 Redcar Tarn                                  Alive with gulls

                                                 LBB by the island

                                   1st winter Herring

                                  Second winter LBB

                       Sheltering from the wind BHGs
                                        Plenty Fieldfare present
                                 along with Blackbirds and Redwings in the berry trees
                                 Third winter Herring

                                       Pair of odd balls
                                                 Adult Herring

              Bonus...         Adult Yellow Legged Herring gull

0800 hrs and first light at Redcar Tarn with the sun just rising on a cold W>5 with showers near the end of the watch. If you,re interested in gulls and wildfowl and want instant birds this is the place to be which has got to be our own local Fairburn Ings. Amazing how so many species and numbers are attracted to this small area of water which has constant disturbance with little effect on the birds.
                                                           Surprisingly the large number of Tufted usually present had moved on leaving just a single bird along with around 100 Mallard plus the usual Coots and Moorhens.
The surrounding fields held several Canada and Greylag geese whilst Chaffinch, Fieldfare , Redwing and Blackbirds were in the berry trees.
                                                            Gulls were giving a good show with around 200 mixed Black Headed and Commons whilst 14 Lesser Black Backed and 8 Herring gull were on the water. One of the Herrings caught my eye as an adult Yellow Legged Herring gull with a large bulbous head and steep forehead, a real butch looking bird and as it lifted out of the water briefly a couple of times the bright yellow legs confirmed it.
                                                Then an unexpected hitch. A cup of coffee for me and treats for the team then tackle up and into the car for lift off. Push the start button and instead of the sweet sound of the engine bursting into life a click click buzz and a voice in my head saying, chuff me the battery,s giving up the will to live.
                                        NP was present but no jump leads, something I always used to carry in my banger days but who needs jump leads for a 12 month old Nissan Qashqai, obviously I do.
                                        So there I was , up in the middle of nowhere in now lashing rain. On the screen is a sticker, Nissan roadside recovery free warranty, the two last words Im very skeptical about, free and warranty, but with not many options I rang and the operator that answered took the details and said someone will be with you in 14 minutes, that bit I was also skeptical about.
                                         By the time I,d got the bins and camera back out to re located the YL gull along came the cavalry in the form of an RAC van. I told him the battery was duff and after several computer checks and electrical tests he said " your battery,s duff ". Luckily he had the correct battery on board so after he had fitted it and had a few attempts at taking photos with Big Bertha we were both on our way, panic over.
                                              A late afternoon visit to Leeshaw and Lower Laithe was a wash out with torrential rain throughout though the fields and reservoir banking at Leeshaw held several hundred gulls but distant and too wet for scoping.

Redcar Tarn

8 Herring gull
1 YL Herring gull
14 LBB gull
200+ mixed BHG and Common gull
9 Chaffinch
7 Fieldfare
3  Redwing
11 Blackbird
14 Canada
10 Greylag
+usual Coot, Moorhen , Mallard , Muscovys and hybrids etc,