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, January 31, 2018

A snowy Fly Flatts and a windy Cold Edge Dams

                          Greylags always look smart

               The Cold Edge Pink Footed, in this case orange.

        Heading for the food dish !!!

With a gale force NW>7 blowing and heavy snow showers at Fly Flatts it was a quick check of the water then back down to Cold Edge Dams where the snow had passed over leaving a cold NW>6.
                                                                            Very quiet on both dams with just small gulls and Mallards whilst the goose field held 15 Greylag along with 38 Canadas in the next field by the mill dam. No sign of the Starling/ Fieldfare flock today, possibly moved out of the wind to a lower field.
                                                               The Pink Footed goose was again present but now under suspicious circumstances as whilst it was grazing in the field the owner of the pen walked in with a bucket of food to fill up the troughs. On seeing this the Pinkie plus the domestic geese all raced towards him and followed him to the troughs to get the food. Either this Pinkie has adapted well or its a domestic hybrid, time will tell if it stays long term. Seemed strange behavior for a wild bird.
                                                                  Todays visit to Fly Flatts was the 14th this month which would have been more if the fog and snow had,nt stopped the job for around 10 days.
February here we come.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Time for the books out on a Pinkie and another session at Fly Flatts.

 When a Pink Footed Goose has Orange legs you tend
   to think of Bean Goose.

                          Bright orange legs
              Everything else pointed to Pink Footed
 As if the jobs not hard enough we get an Orange footed
                                                                  Pink foot.
                                                 Fieldfares showing well at Cold Edge.

               Mixed Starling/ Fieldfare flock

                Around 300 mixed present

To start the day a call from AC reporting Pinkies heading my way so after a grapevine call I went on watch in the garage car park until another call from DJS saying they had drifted west of me and he got them over Wainstalls. Another Brownie point for the grapevine. See Calderbirds and Northowram blogs for reports, counts and pics.
                                                    A free afternoon and as I was setting off for Fly Flatts a call from DJS saying that during the morning he had found a bit of an odd looking Pink Footed Goose at Cold Edge Dams so a detour on my way to check it out. The bird was a bit rough feathered though the head pointed to Pink Footed until it stood up to reveal Orange legs which set alarm bells ringing towards Bean goose or a hybrid.
                                                After I was satisfied that I had all I needed on the photos it was back to the car and out with the Macmillan field guide to bird I.D. which stated that juv Pinkies can have orange legs mainly in the autumn. Problem solved but a good find by Dave and good to find a bird that makes you consult the book once in a while . Theres always something new to learn in this job.
                                                                   The fields were alive with Fieldfare and Starling making an impressive sight as they flew around together.
                                                                    On then to Fly Flatts in near perfect conditions with 90 % light grey cloud cover and the wind dropped from previous visits to WSW>6 which made it more workable.
Two very white Greylags flew over, these being from a brood 2 years ago over the Nab at Oxenhope whilst 4 Canadas and 31 Mallard were on the water.
                                                           A Peregrine skimmed low over the moor with a Kestrel hovering overhead, otherwise quiet and no more signs of Pinkie movement. Several Herring gulls headed >W.
Back by the boathouse 2m and 1f Stonechat were on the wire fence.
A great afternoons birding.
Thanks to AC and DJS for calls and updates.
                                                            Fly Flatts
                                               Near white Greylags.
             The wires make me think of work, Colditz garage.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fly Flatts/Cold Edge Dams

                                              6 Greylag present C.E.D.

                                                    38 Canadas   C.E.D.
                                  Few BH gulls and Mallards on Leadbeater Dam.
                        Around 100 Fieldfare   C.E.D.

                    Fieldfare, shame about the telegraph wire.

With bright blue skies and an early reprieve it was head for Fly Flatts full of high hopes which very soon got dashed.  As I arrived the fire brigade were just leaving having been out in the flood rescue dingys so that meant nothing on the water. To add insult to injury masses of cloud were piling across the moor which burst open dunking hail, sleet and snow on a gale force W>7 over the area.
                                                  A quick top up of seed then away to Cold Edge Dams where the clouds had moved over just leaving the strong wind making it hard to stand by Leadbeater Dam.
Six Greylag were in the goose field with 38 Canadas nearby in the field around mill dam.
                                                 A scramble up the banking to Leadbeater dam just produced a few Black Headeds on the water and a dozen Mallard Whilst scanning across the fields to the east a group of around 100 Fieldfare were mobile around the fields and trees along with a flock of c 75 Starling.
                                               Not the best of sessions but if its any consolation I had ex Bradford top birder Phil Cunningham in the garage today. He retired from the fire service and moved to Flamborough and he told me the birding over there is very poor at the moment so what chance have we over here.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A walk on the wild side !

     Herring gulls moving through
Excuse all photos taken at distance through a wall of
                                       horizontal drizzle.
                                      Herrings on the water


             LBB walking on water !
                                        Goosander and BHGs

                                    Canadas braving the weather.

.With the shopping done and the bonus of a Peregrine harassing pigeons around the Piece Hall spire it was one of those late afternoons where you look out of the window at the strong winds and horizontal drizzle and think, shall I not bother , but then little messages start popping up in my head saying, good gull weather , and possible Kittiwake and Diver weather ,so the next thing I knew was I was at the side of Leeshaw Reservoir.
                                                The weather was once again atrocious with a howling W>7 and clouds of drizzle coming off the moor and blasting across the water but the reason I chose Leeshaw as my venue is that you can park by the reservoir and shelter under the tailgate behind the car if you position it right. This can only be achieved with a west or east wind as a north or south hits you sideways on with no chance of shelter.
                                       With tripod up and camera mounted and set on ridiculous settings in the dreadful light it was wait and see what appeared. Herring gulls were coming through steady along with LBBs, most of these big gulls moving straight through >W although one or two stopped briefly on the water. Commons and Black Headeds tended to stay longer on the water but even these moved off >W making  me think the Oxenhope winter roost is now starting to break up. Its amazing how these gulls are not affected with the conditions other than they keep facing the wind so as not to get their feathers ruffled causing wear .
                                                    A Cormorant was on the water along with a few Mallard whilst 2 male and 1 female Goosander appeared from the western end of the water. A shortage of geese in this area this winter is apparent with just 2 Canadas today opposed to large groups previous winters.
A small group of c40 Lapwings were mobile on the moor but keeping low.
                                                    So despite the conditions, which only seemed to affect the birder and not the birds, an entertaining hours watch.

Camera under the coat morning.

An horrendous morning weather wise with first stop having to be Ogden due to strong winds and thick fog on the tops. Ogden at first light was dull and misty with horizontal drizzle blowing across the water pushed on by a strong SW > 6.
                                                              The rough water was empty apart from a single Black Headed gull and the usual Mallards whilst just a few Corvids were in the sky along with a single Cormorant high and >W. The highlight of the visit was a Green Woodpecker over the promenade towards the lodge house then back again into the west plantation, this bird being my 60th local species this year.
                                                            Even in these conditions the crowds started arriving by 0900 hrs so time to move on with a check of Horton Bank Top country park where the weather was even worse with a strengthening SW>7 and heavy horizontal drizzle.
                                                            A scan , as best I could looking into the weather, produced
5 Mute swans, 2 Herring gulls, several Tufted duck, Goosander, Coot and Moorhen plus the usual sp.
With around 100 small gulls and 16 LBBs its a spot to keep an eye on for winter gulls as this area always seems to produce well but is badly under watched.
                                                             Going back to April 1995 an Avocet spent 2 days here and back further still when it was a reservoir I got my first Glaucous and Med gulls here . I watched the reservoir on a regular basis as in those early days my dad was a bus driver from Bank Top bus sheds so I could use the bus garage as a hide.
The only problem with this venue now is its a morning watch area only as by late afternoon it turns into drug city where they provide you with a baseball bat on the way in.
Hope this weather clears for the afternoon session.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fly Flatts fogged off, Leeshaw reservoir.

In contrast to yesterdays spring like weather today was just the opposite with thick fog over the tops whilst Leeshaws weather was terrible with a near gale force WSW>7 along with dark clouds and drizzle.
          Bird wise it was poor with just 2 Cormorant on the tower along with 12 Black Headed gulls over the water and 2 Herring gulls in the field. The highlight was around 100 Fieldfare that flew in low over the moor into the plantation to roost. The only wildfowl present were a few Mallard and a single Greylag goose.
                                 Not the best of forecasts for tomorrow with more rain and strong south westerlies but we,ll have to wait and see. I think the first window in the weather from now will see a substantial move of Pinkies.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Pinks on the move and early spring at Fly Flatts

                                            Plenty vocal Red Grouse around
                                          Calm waters, very unusual.
                                   Herrings gulls moving >W throughout

                                 Unusual visitors, Lapwing
                                  Noisy Canadas building.
                Lapwings landing on the peninsular

                                     Great Black Backed heading >N

                                     Mallards over wintered here.

A free afternoon so arrived at Fly Flatts at 1345 hrs to sunshine and 40 % cloud cover, otherwise clear blue skies and calm water with a light N>3. A real taste of early spring in the air with Canadas constantly calling on the water along with Mallard whilst the moors were coming to life with the sound of Red Grouse.
                                  Scoping across towards the Aire valley NE from the NW corner I picked up a skein of 45 Pink Footed Geese heading due >N but very high and around 2 miles from me. By the time I re located them in the camera they were disappearing in the clouds but a good start of early Northward movement.
                                 Herring gulls were moving throughout all >W whilst a GBB gull flew >N over the Nab. A group of Lapwing flew around before settling on the east peninsular with a Raven cronking overhead beyond the Bumps.
                               To the south a flock of around 40 Golden Plover were put up by a Buzzard over the flat moor at Slade.
All in all a stonking 2 hrs watch at Fly Flatts.

45 Pink Footed Geese.......................>N
1 Great Black Backed gull...............>N
78 Herring gull.................................>W
21 Mallard
17 Canada geese
11 Lapwing
1 Buzzard
c 40 Golden Plover
sev Red Grouse.
1 Raven