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No wildlife sightings including Roe Deer, Fox, Hare or Badger will be mentioned on this blog throughout the year due to the rising influx of poaching, long dogging and lamping by sick individuals.

Any sighting of birds of a sensitive nature throughout the breeding season will be omitted from the blog if I believe that in any way it could jeopardize the welfare or breeding of the species .
Sightings in this category will just be passed on to the Calderdale bird recorder.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hot weather and nuggets. Fly Flatts.

                                    Good shoreline in the boat compound
                        and Common Sandpiper present

                                  The best year for Dunlin for some while.

             Lucky ones. The full brood of 6 Greylags
                               are all growing well.

                  Plenty shoreline in the SE corner.

Unfortunately a step back in the weather to hot sunshine although there was 80 % cloud cover with a light SE>3 and when the sun comes out the nuggets are never far behind. Two families today with dogs in the water and kids paddling in the SW corner making the west bank off the menu. One character found it amusing to watch his dog chase Canadas and their chicks into the water.
                                                          With all that commotion going on I was restricted to the boat compound and east bank area which was productive with 4 Dunlin and 7 Common Sandpipers as well as Reed Buntings, Redshank, Curlew and Mipits.
                                                          Up above in the sky LBB gulls moved >SW along with a few Herrings whilst once again several Swallows and House Martins headed >N but again no Swifts.
                                                            I,ve done 30 sessions at Fly Flatts throughout May with some of the main highlights being :-
Greenland Wheatear
Red Kite
Ringed Plover
Short Eared Owl
+ several other good birds.
                                          With June, the worst birding month on the calendar ,facing us its a matter of stick at it and hope a rarity turns up while we get into July when the Wheatear will be coming back through and hopefully a good supply of waders if the water keeps down.
                                             Thanks to all you watchers for sticking with me through spring and I,ll hopefully find something interesting for you to look at throughout June.
Apart from my own deep interest in birding, or obsession, its  knowing the amazing number of people that take an interest in my blog that keeps it going.
Also yet another big thank you to Yorkshire Water and Halifax Sailing Club ,who, without their support these Fly Flatts reports would not have been possible.
                                            Hopefully you,re not getting sick of Fly Flatts day after day but I find it by far the best recording area for me being only 15 minutes from home and producing the goods.
Several of my old haunts have gone downhill , especially over the spring/ summer months with Ogden catering for the public , Oats Royd taken over with the fishing club, Mixenden busy with the public and fishermen  and Soil Hill well overgrown and all the breeding habitat being bulldozed away taking it off the birding map other than half a dozen species but remaining a good view point for pass overs. Even Leeshaw reservoir is suffering at the hands of camp sites with campers walking around the private reservoir grounds during the summer weekends and holidays.
                                                    Maybe some day all the original birding sites will be returned to nature but till then I,ll keep chipping away at Fly Flatts until the winter weather forces me back temporarily to a more civilized site .

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

20yds visibility birding. Fly Flatts

            All photos taken peering through the fog

               A bit clearer down in the SW corner

    9 Dunlins present, possibly 11 or a duplicate count

                                      6 Common Sandpipers showing

Dense fog and birding just don,t go together unless that is, you,re wader watching.
Late afternoon at Fly Flatts where the visibility was down to 20 yds with drizzle and a light NE>4.
                                                              The object of todays visit was to check the bankings for waders which made the fog no real problem
                                                              There,s something fascinating about watching waders in the fog with no other distractions like trying to watch the sky, the water and the moor at the same time. Its just you and the shoreline with waders appearing and disappearing into and out of the fog.
                                                                 The west bank was alive with Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and Redshank and a walk the full length of the reservoir produced :-
9 Dunlin, possibly 11 but may have duplicated 2.
6 Common Sandpipers
5 Redshank
plus several Swallows and House Martins skimming low along the banking all >N.
                                                               Its a strange feeling walking along the banking feeling slightly disorientated and not knowing just how far along the reservoir you are but the feeling of solitude is amazing. Watching the Dunlins scurrying about feeding gave me the feeling that I could be on a coastal estuary and took me back to times at Sunderland Point on the Lune estuary.
All I need now is a variety of new species which hopefully will happen in the near future with now some good areas of shoreline present.
On the way back passed Mixenden reservoir Swifts were piling over >N which looks like the start of a big push of this very late summer visitor.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A sad story with a half happy end and wall to wall waders, Fly Flatts.

This little bright yellow duckling stood out
like a light bulb.
 All alone on the water and LBB gulls overhead.
 When I walked back on the banking it had found itself
a new family among the Canadas.

  Not a lot of hope for it but may be ok if it keeps
        with the goslings.
                                   At least 6 Dunlin present

         A record count of 18 Common Sandpipers
                                           Both Barnacle geese back on the water

                                           The start of the SE shoreline
                                           Alive with Common Sands
                                 Curlew having a quiet few minutes

1500 hrs in pleasing conditions at Fly Flatts with 100 %  bright grey cloud cover and a low sky to the east with the tops of the turbines shrouded by mist. Light drizzle and a NE> 5 at 20.3 m.p.h.
Perfect conditions at last.
                                     The first bird seen was a bright yellow duckling that stood out in the water like a light bulb. At first I thought it was a plastic bath tub toy until I got nearer to it. No Mallards were in the area as it bobbed about on its own in the middle of the water with menacing LBB gulls overhead.
One of the things that I dont like to see but nothing can be done about it. I walked the length of the west bank half watching for gulls going down to it but as I got back, instead of finding it missing as I had expected it had joined one of the groups of Canada chicks and headed out to sea with them which was a bit of a relief.
                               All I can think is that the Mallards are across in the NE corner and this one has been washed across in the waves not being able to swim against them. Problem is now I,ll be looking for a little yellow duckling every visit .
                                On a brighter note, wader wise it was like being out on the estuary with waders flying around and scurrying along the bankings wherever you looked. The boat compound held 2 Dunlin and several Common Sandpipers whilst the west bank held another 4 Dunlin and Common Sands all way along with at least 18 counted without checking the north shore. Three Redshank were present but no signs of the small dark Dunlin from yesterday.
                                  With Snipe, Lapwing, Curlew, Reed Buntings and Mipits plus Herrings and LBBs overhead it made for a real pleasing visit with the weather bringing it all back to life.