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, June 30, 2018

Final June visit. Fly Flatts.

       Getting closer to home. New moorland blaze in direction of Gorple.
            Looking across the flat moor at Fly Flatts
   This Common Sandpiper juv is almost fully fledged
                                       A bit scraggy necked yet
      A moderate ESE>5 played havoc with the junior sailors
               R.N.L.I.  Halifax branch to the rescue
                                         All under control
  1 Dunlin in a near to dried up lagoon

The last watch of June and again the dreaded blue sky and hot sunshine although Fly Flatts provided a howling ESE >5 to compensate which was more than welcome when walking the west bank.
                                                     Junior day at the sailing club and the newcomers struggled to keep upright in the wind but were well watched over by the experts.
                                                    Sad to see yet another fire going strong to the west of me in the direction of Gorple where I was later told the fire has taken out a plantation and is still blazing on the moor but this report is unconfirmed and was just passed on to me at Fly Flatts although the photos show it to be in the direction of Gorple. ? Surely if conditions are still dry in August the powers that be will put a ban on Grouse shooting, ha ha, fat chance.
           A pleasant hour up there in the wind but ,as expected ,once again quiet with no last minute surprises to save the day. Plenty Common Sands and young around the ,now amazing, shoreline with just the one Dunlin on an almost dried up lagoon. Another week of dry weather and the shoreline will be as it was in May 2011 when the waders piled in so hopefully , another couple of weeks and returning waders will be dropping in where me and Big Bertha will be waiting.
            A report at work today from a reliable source of a Ring Necked Parakeet in the conifers by the sharp bend at the bottom of Ned Hill. One to watch out for.
29 visits to Fly Flatts in June, bring on July.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Battling on through June. Fly Flatts

             Another breeding success for Dunlin.
                                           Just the 1 chick showing.

             Other parent bird fly catching

Another horrible hot afternoon with full sunshine and clear blue skies with heat haze distorting visibility although, on the plus side, there was a decent NE> 4 bordering into NE> 5 keeping the temperature at bay. Nearly through June now and another couple of weeks we should be starting to experience some migrants on their return journey.
                                                         A walk along the west bank to the NW corner just produced the usual Common Sandpipers with 3 Lapwing near the banking and a steady passage of Black Headed gulls >NE which is not a common bird for this site.
Curlews seem to have gone now with no sight or sound today leaving a quiet gap across the moorland.
              Nearly back to the car ,and as most times, something turns up at the last minute to save the day and today it was the turn of Dunlin with a single bird on the lagoon along with a bumbly chick.
On the south east shore another 2 adult Dunlin were present, one stood on the shoreline catching Greenfly so another day and another blog report saved as I trundle on with the month and elements against me.
                Hopefully a moderate easterly for tomorrow afternoon but no chance of a lovely grey sky and rolling clouds.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Gull check at Ogden.

                                            38 Lesser Black Backs present
  Beware of pale LBBs , some have a real washed out look
and resemble Yellow Legged Herring gulls from a distance.
                                        Herring gull on the spit
                              3 CY Herring gull
               3 CY Herring and LBB
                                                       Herring enjoying the sun.
                                              Mean looking LBB.

With very little time today due to dog grooming duties, though thankfully it was way too hot for Fly Flatts with little breeze, so I took the opportunity to check Ogden to see how the gull situation was progressing.
                    Around 15 Black Headed gulls were on the east shore whilst all the big gulls were on the west shore and the water comprising of 38 Lesser Black Backed and 2 Herring gulls with no returning Commons as yet.
                  A heart stopping moment when a pale gull with bright yellow legs dropped onto the water making me think Yellow Legged Herring gull but a further check found it to be a washed out looking LBB with pale wings and mantle and a further scan over the water found 3 more of the same.
               Only 2 Herring gulls present, both 3rd summer birds and no returning Common gulls which should start showing anytime now. Satisfied that there was nothing else of interest on the water I planned to have a quick check at passerine alley to boost my warbler sightings for the year. Thats one problem of birding the uplands is that you loose out on the warblers , so far this year I,ve had 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Chiffchaff and its about 3 year since I had Garden Warbler and Blackcap although I,ve got to say I get little pleasure searching through the leaves for small passerines, I prefer my big open spaces with tons of sky and water.
                                                             Half way across the prom I got a phone call, " its the groomers, Pippas ready".  Oh well, so much for the warblers, instead a quick dash across to Pellon Lane to pick up my pooch.
On the way back I was surprised to see people not heeding the hot weather warnings with Mixenden reservoir looking like the Lido swimming baths and from Queensbury I could see 2 new moorland fires looking not far from the M62.
                                                Possibly a little less hot tomorrow with a decent NE>4 promised, we live in hopes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A welcome wind from the SE. Fly Flatts

  This juv Common Sandpiper is in the final stages
                            of plumage now.

                                     Herring gull
                       Herring and LBB moving through.

                 A good >NE move of big gulls.

 Just when you thought you could stop worrying about
chicks, along comes this lot.
                One for Mrs Kaye and daughter. Sorry but no more
                  sightings of little yellow duckling.

                         1 of 4 Dunlin on the lagoon

1500 hrs and a pleasing hour at Fly Flatts with the cool ESE>4 making up for the blue skies and sunshine.
              The fresher air had got the big gulls moving with several Lesser Black Backed and Herrings over >NE, some stopping briefly on the water to preen whilst the only other airborne birds were a few Swifts.
Juv Common Sandpipers are everywhere, some now flying with others running up and down the waters edge like mice but all looking in good shape and amazingly well camouflaged keeping them safe.
        Dunlins were back on the scene with 4 around the lagoon feeding whilst at least 2 juvs were in the reed bed. Just 1 Barnacle on the water among the Canadas whilst a Mallard with a late brood of 9 ducklings has just appeared, something else for me to worry about. Strangely 3 families of Mallard and ducklings have not been seen , along with the little yellow job, since after the first couple of sightings and I suspected the females leading them away to a safer location away from the gulls.
       This idea seemed to make more sense this evening when I spoke to a couple by the water and they told me the family of Greylag with 6 well grown young , which disappeared from Fly Flatts a couple of weeks ago, were now at Cold Edge Dams. As the young were non flyers they must have walked over the Flat moor to the dams, a practice I,ve see Canadas do in the past.
                                                        A few year back a pair of Canadas had 4 young in a mates garden by his large fishing pond and as the young grew bigger, but not flying, they all walked across the main Bradford Halifax Road, down through Tesco car park and into Littlemoor Park about half a mile away.
         Another day of the hot stuff tomorrow so hopefully the promised NE wind will be strong enough to cool things down a bit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Too hot to handle, Fly Flatts hot house.

I,ve visited Fly Flatts in some atrocious conditions over the years but today has to go down as one of the worst. With a reading of 29 deg and hazy sunshine along with a very light SE>2 the place was unworkable. I checked the area out from the shade of the clubhouse with very little movement of any kind with even the Common Sandpipers in the shade of the banking. Just one noisy Curlew in the air watching over its chick whilst all the Canada geese were lazing on the cool water giving me a chance to count them with an amazing total of 438 including young.
                                                          No sign of Dunlin today but 2 Oystercatchers were new in on the NE spit whilst the rare sight here of a Sparrowhawk circling very high soon to disappear into the haze.
Looks like the same type of forecast all week although tomorrow may provide a slightly fresher breeze from the East.
                                I,ve never had as many visits to Fly Flatts in shirt sleeves and beginning to get as red as a Turkey Cock. Lynda got me an army surplus German army combat parka for my birthday a couple of weeks back and I have,nt had chance to try it out yet !
On a brighter note we,re half way through the year and heres a list of some of the highlight birds I,ve had at Fly Flatts in the first half of this year :-

Kestrel x5
Red Kite
Short Eared Owl

Whooper Swan
Skeins of Pink Footed Geese
Common Scoter    4m  1f

Common Sandpiper x 18  several bred
Dunlin  x 16 several  bred + race alpina moving through.
Redshank several bred
Ringed Plover

GBB gull
Caspian gull
Kittiwake x 2
Sandwich Tern

Greenland Wheatear
Stonechat x 8

+ several less exotic species. 

This list took 123 visits since January with several aborted due to snow. Obsessed, who me ?
 Just wait until the autumn.

Monday, June 25, 2018

28 Deg at Fly Flatts is beyond a joke !!!!

                                      1 of 8 Dunlin

 Dont usually get sheep coming to the water for a drink.

            Breeding proven. 1 of 2 juv Dunlin
                                  Adult above, juv below

              Ad and juv Dunlin, Common Sandpiper on left

     Once again at breeding time, moorland fire.
                               looking over the flat moor towards Manchester.

With the temp showing 28 deg late afternoon at Fly Flatts and only a light N>2 it was far from pleasant. The idea was to use the shade of the clubhouse to check the water which was immediately scuppered on arrival to find West Yorkshire fire service out on the water in 2 very noisy dingys.
                                                    A quickly made up plan B took me along the south shore to briefly check the west bank which after walking into swarms of flies like black clouds it was head back to the south shore which turned out to be a good move with time to study it closely and coming up with 6 adult Dunlin and 2 juv Dunlin as well as several Common Sandpiper.
Only another week or so to stick out this weather then bring on the clouds. At least the water level is going to be excellent for the end of July if we get no serious rain.
                                                 Loads of Pipistrelle bats about over Foxhill park on an evening but Butterflies in the garden are noticeable by their absence again this year. What happened to the once common Cabbage Whites?