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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Back to the Sandwich shop, Fly Flatts

                                         High tide at Fly Flatts
                                          Looking across to the NE
                                                    White Horses
                                             The west nbank.
                                    Canadas riding the high seas
                                    1 of 4 Redshank in the Nolstar area

                                            All 4
           Blend in with the back ground apart from the legs.

Going on the old saying, One good Tern deserves another, it was back to Fly Flatts in perfect sea bird conditions but horrendous birder conditions. Luckily the increase in wind had lifted the fog to just above the turbines blowing near gale NE> 6 gusting 7 carrying a mix of drizzle, hail, sleet and snow showers horizontally across the water. A quick walk on to the west bank feeding area to get some seed down and then back to a carefully positioned car so I could stand under the shelter of the tailgate and wait for anything to fly through. A check around the feeding area failed to find me a March Wheatear so too late for one now this year, I,ll have to settle for an early April arrival.
                                                                One hours watching produced very little with the usual species present and very few fly overs in the strong wind. A single Goosander flew >N very distant making me think of a diver till I got the scope on it whilst 4 separate Herring gulls flew low over the west side of the water also heading >N.
                                                             On the way back I found all the activity around Nolstar confined to one field as noticed by DJS this morning with around 15 Skylark but probably more as they were flitting around in the hollows right at the back of the field. Also present were 15 Lapwing , 2 Golden Plover, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail and 4 Redshank, a field to keep an eye on.
Have a good Easter Sunday and go steady on those eggs. Hopefully I,ll be looking for an Easter special at Fly Flatts in the morning.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A very very Good Friday, stopping off at Fly Flatts for a sandwich.

           First sighting, obvious Tern jizz.
                                 Is it Common or Arctic ?
                                           Eck, its a Sandwich Tern
                  Yet another mega for Fly Flatts

             The bird remained there for the 2 hours I was there
 and was still present when I left.

A late kick off with Grand daughter duties so arrived at Fly Flatts at 1530 hrs on a warm afternoon with 90 % cloud cover and a slight E>3 increasing  E>4.                                                                   
Thinking the pair of Shoveler I found at Leeshaw  this morning could,nt be beaten today I set my sights on Wheatear and Common Scoter, neither of which developed.                                             
Halfway along the south shore I scanned the water to find Canadas, 2 Greylag and the usual Mallards along with 2 LBB gulls on the water. A further scan found a smaller gull on a buoy well out and to the north of the clubhouse .                                                                                                                        Going by the jizz of the bird  I could see it was a Tern by the way it was crouching and as I went all last year with no Tern at all either a Common or Arctic would be a bonus. All I had to do now was find which sp it was. That was a job for Big Bertha or walk back to the car for the scope.                                                               Finding a better vantage point I shot some pics off and was amazed to find the blown up images revealing a black bill with yellow tip, black legs and a tuft on its head . I was looking at a Sandwich Tern which is a mega if not first for Calderdale area and certainly a new bird for Fly Flatts.                                                                                                                                              Luckily the light was good as I was working at 960 mm so I managed to get some satisfying shots.   
Just after I,d put the bird out on the grapevine I got a call from NCD who said he and DF had just driven along the top road and had seen me by the water not knowing I was looking at a Sandwich Tern. I told him the bird was still present and its location which was followed by a screech of brakes and clouds of smoke from DFs tyres as he burnt rubber getting back to the site. Luckily they got onto the bird which is always a pleasing result for the finder when someone else sees it.                              So in 7 days  Fly Flatts has produced 2 Kittiwakes, 1 Osprey, several moving Buzzard, 3 Dunlin and a Sandwich Tern plus a pair of Shoveler just over the hill at Leeshaw.                                                                BS.                                            

Fly Flatts fogged off, Leeshaw Reservoir

                                        Still plenty Fieldfare around

                                        1 of 11 Oystercatchers
                                        Several Snipe up drumming

 Well camouflaged but you can,t hide from Big Bertha

                                            2 Noisy Redshank

 Icing on the cake, 1 pair Shoveler

0645 hrs and Fly Flatts fogged off and a good covering of snow so over the Nab to Leeshaw which was just below the snow line and under the cloud base. Very grey with light rain throughout with the sun  trying to break through but failing miserably.
                                                                            Despite the weather the area was buzzing with Lapwings everywhere busy fighting off intruders giving a real feel of spring. Snipe were up drumming and Curlews calling  but just to remind us winter is still hanging on there was snow on the tops of the moor and the fields were full of Fieldfares with a few Redwing and Mistle Thrush mixed in. As I was tackling up a white bird appeared from the hidden west end of the reservoir and a check to see what gull it was surprisingly revealed a pair of Shoveler, an excellent finish to a good mornings birding.
100 + Mixed Fieldfare, Redwing , Mistle Thrush
3 Snipe
2 Redshank
11 Oystercatcher
7 Curlew
1pr Shoveler
+ usual Canadas, Greylags Lapwings, Mipits etc

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fly Flatts/Mixenden.

                   Two Greylags in with the Canadas at Fly Flatts
                  Rare but occasional breeder here.

A quick check of Mixenden found 1f Goldeneye, 1f Goosander and several small gulls.
                                                             Arrived at Fly Flatts at 1530 hrs to sunshine and showers, some of the showers wintry in the icy cold ESE>5 increasing throughout the watch as very black clouds rolled in. The water level has dropped slightly exposing the rocks down the southern shoreline, a favourite place for Wheatear.
                                              The problem with Fly Flatts is when youve had a run of a few good days you know that you,re heading head long into a downer which is what I hit yesterday and today.
The sky was quiet other than a few LBB gulls checking out the moor then off >W  along with a few Lapwing but no raptors today. A single Oystercatcher flew over towards Cold Edge.
                                               A walk the full length of the west bank failed to find any returning Wheatears with just 2 Skylark, several Mipits and 4 Red Legged Partridge whilst 2 Raven flew low over the distant moor below the western ridge.
Again the Nolstar fields were void of bird life other than Lapwings.
No work till Saturday now so I,ll be having a dabble in the morning.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Local check for Wheatear plus Fly Flatts.

             LBB gulls hanging around the east shore on egg watch.Fly Flatts

A quick check around the local Wheatear hot spots at midday taking in Raggalds Flood. Roper Lane and Old Guy Road failed to produce the goods with no signs of the returning birds as yet but I,m sure the reports will be piling in over the Easter weekend.
                                                                     1530 hrs at Fly Flatts with a strong to near gale WNW>6
and some heavy snow showers. With only 50 % cloud cover the sun managed to show its face in between the showers.
                               Nothing to get the adrenaline buzzing today with quiet skies other than Curlews, Lapwings and Canada Geese whilst the sessions highlight was 3 Teal which flew over >SE fast and high disappearing over the bumps.
Lesser Black Backed gulls are now starting hanging around the Lapwings waiting for eggs and chicks but the Lapwings seem capable of holding their own.
                                                                 A check on the way back around the Nolstar fields found neither Wheatear or Golden Plover.
Wheatears are now starting to show along Nab Water Lane , Paul Clough and Trough Lane, BV, AC.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A walk on the wild side, Fly Flatts

                                      Herring gulls moving through >W

                                             The Wilderness.
   The Team. I wish Bobby would,nt use Big Bertha as a perch.
       Heart attack material, is this another Osprey
          Fraid not, just a pale phase Buzzard

                                       Hows that for an Osprey pose

                        The Osprey appearing
                                      The Buzzard appearing

1515 hrs and a bleak Fly Flatts with a howling WNW>5 and a mix of horizontal drizzle and rain, although a few quick drier intervals gave me chance to check out the Wheatear hotspots.
                                                              As soon as I arrived a Peregrine skimmed low over the water and disappeared across Fill Belly Flat towards Slade before I,d even chance to get out of the car. Other than the usual Curlews, Canadas and Mallards it was down to Herring gulls to put on a show with birds moving >W continuous with a count of around 80.
                                                             Back at the car sheltering under the tailgate I was messing around with the 70-200 mm lens taking some views, dogs etc and as I was putting Bertha back on the camera all the Lapwings and Curlews went up near the wind turbines and then a large raptor appeared in the same area as the Osprey. The bird was low and in danger of disappearing below the east ridge so no time for the bins I just got it in the camera and started shooting.
                                                         Through the lens I could see it was near white and the slender wings bent downwards made me think unbelievably it was another Osprey. When it got in a position where it looked settled I grabbed the bins to find it was a light phase Buzzard.
By the time I picked the camera up again it did exactly as the Osprey did by dropping below the east ridge and continuing North with just the Lapwings above the ridge giving away its position.
This all happened during a heavy rain shower proving its a fallacy that raptors don,t fly in wet conditions.
So despite the conditions another good session at Fly Flatts.