WEST YORKSHIRE BIRDING
BRIAN SUMNER.WELCOME TO ( WEST YORKSHIRE BIRDING )
KEEPING BIRDING LOCAL.
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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, October 31, 2018
A good finish to whats proved to be a quiet month when it should have been the busiest of the year.
With 33 visits to Fly Flatts during October a good variety of species were found making satisfactory birding other than a few quiet days although nothing mind boggling was found, unlike last October.
Todays weather was good with cloudy sunshine on a light S>4 but the best of the light had faded by 1615 hrs.
It started as I was in the garden at 1445 hrs harnessing up the dogs ready for Fly Flatts when a text from PT reporting Pink Footed Geese heading my way from east of the area. After 10 minutes in the garden, camera at the ready, it was obvious they had missed me so a dash towards Fly Flatts knowing that I had a chance of seeing them once I could get a good view to the west.
Once up on Cold Edge road I scanned over the moor and sure enough there they were, providing that it was the same skein, way over the western ridge heading directly into Lancashire. From where the geese were they would probably be able to see the west coast and their destination.
Fly Flatts was quiet with a walk along the west bank to the NW corner only producing 9 Golden Plover on the east bank along with a single Black Headed gull, the only gull seen tonight.
Back at the south end another 4 Golden Plover and a Lapwing had appeared on the south shore and it was as I was positioning the tripod to get some shots that I heard that magical sound, music to my ears, GEESE. With camera back off the tripod ready for some sky blasting I could hear Pinkie calls getting louder but no geese until suddenly they appeared over the east ridge quarry to come >NW over the water, an amazing sight at close quarters.
With the geese gone and a camera full of pictures it was time to head back to base as the light quickly faded and wait to see what November produces.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Terrible conditions at Fly Flatts 1500 hrs today with heavy driving rain throughout apart from a couple of short dry spells. The rain was driven across the reservoir on a NW>4 with dark clouds above and to the east whilst the sun shone through the clouds to the west throwing everything into silhouette.
Some interesting sky features with dark blue to purple storm clouds to the east and bright golden clouds to the west reflecting on the rain blanking out the moor in a milky haze. At one point 4 rainbows were showing, one coming down right in the boat compound but no pot of gold found.
Unfortunately the lenses I carry are no good for weather photography, otherwise I could have got some spectacular photos.
Bird wise it was raptors that ruled the watch, extinguishing the myth that raptors dont like to get their feathers wet, with 2 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel,and a Peregrine all in the pouring rain. One Buzzard hovered constantly near the wind turbines despite an unhappy Kestrel trying to see it off. The Peregrine was over the western ridge heading >S.
A few Mallard on the east shore but no Goldies today and no gulls on the water other than a single Black Headed.
2 adult and 3 juv Herring gulls came over >NE then a gull that stood out as being something different. An adult Herring gull but darker mantle and upper wings and a dark slimmer, longer bill. Its winter plumage head streaking was darker and more intense than our usual
argenteus whilst the white windows,( mirrors), on the primary tips stood out more so I believe this to be a northern bird of the arctic species, argentatus, from the Baltic Sea / Norway region.
This coincides with at least 1 adult Herring, argentatus, moving through >NE on Sunday morning over me at Fly Flatts in a group of 24 Herrings then picked out by DCB /HC at Oxenhope. Dave rang me later saying he thought the single adult amongst the other juveniles was of the sub species argentatus. No leg colour could be picked out on either bird, some showing Yellow legs but lighter upperparts than Yellow Legged Herring gulls.
Interesting stuff, or boring if you don,t like gulls.
Monday, October 29, 2018
Fly Flatts and a 1630 hrs cut off now as the light fades. Good conditions up there tonight after a bad start arriving at the same time as a hail shower but this soon moved over leaving blue skies and cloudy sunshine on a light E>4.
Just 4 Golden Plover on the far east bank all facing into the wind to avoid feather ruffle leading to feather damage, whilst 16 Mallard and a single Black Headed gull were present on the water.
Back on the south shore for a sky watch in the remaining light things improved and it was interesting to see different bird behaviors as darkness approached, totally different from late afternoon visits before the clocks went back.
Herring gulls started coming over >W whilst LBB and BHGs moved over from the south, and leaving >NE all heading for different roosts. Several of the big gulls dropped down onto the water before moving off in their set direction.
The Mallards flew down to their roost at Dean Head reservoir and a flock of around 100 Fieldfare flew high over the north of the water disappearing beyond the Nab >NE presumably to a plantation somewhere to roost.
Driving back up the track in near dark the elusive Stonechat, that dodges me every time I drive up and down, was on the wire fence and allowed a few photos, probably because it knew it was too dark for them to turn out decent. I got past the bird hoping to get a silhouette with the sunset behind it but it must have known my plan and moved to the opposite side of the track so after a few choice words I left it in peace and headed for home admiring the sunset from Cold Edge Road thinking how lucky we are to live so close to the uplands.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Distant pic taken from South shore.
Similar weather to this morning but some large black clouds with a quick hail and sleet shower.
The NE wind had dropped slightly but still icy cold.
After all the Fieldfare dropping onto the moor briefly this morning I headed to the feeding station in the hopes of a Ring Ouzel being left behind but no such luck. Looking across to the east bank 39 Mallard were present and the Goldies were back with 22 scattered along the mud. No sign of this mornings wader.
Starlings were continuing the move from this morning with several squadrons of 15 to 20 in head down migration mode > NW whilst Black Headed and LBB gulls moved >NE, some very high. Looks like the cold spell has livened things up a bit.
0700 - 0945 hrs. Icy cold conditions at 3 degrees with a treacherous drive along an icy Cold Edge Road. Wall to wall sunshine with blue skies on a NE>4.
After a few days lull Fly Flatts bounced back in style this morning with no let up of birds throughout.
As I arrived 4 Whoopers were on the water at the far north end but very vocal and wing flappy so I knew I had,nt long before they were going to move.Just time to get onto the west banking and some distant shots before they were off flying a circuit over the Nab and wind turbines before gaining height and away >SE.
Starlings were moving >NW throughout as well as a good move of Fieldfare whilst Chaffinch and Brambling were picked up >W.
As the Whoopers lifted off a small wader was flushed from the east shoreline and flew south low over the water but I had to let it go to get the Whooper pics. This was probably Dunlin but I was unable to relocate it.
All in all a cracking morning. Good to work alongside HC/DCB at the other side of the Nab relaying the movement via phone, thanks lads.
4 Whoopers blogging then......................>SE
c470 Fieldfare......................................,>NE and >N, around 200 blogged on moor briefly.
c 500 Starling.......................................>NW
24 Herring gull.....................................>N 1 group
1 Grey Wagtail
1 unid small wader