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.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Glad to see the back of November. Fly Flatts

             2 solitary Canadas by the south shore.

 After a nice bright day I had the same scenario as yesterday just missing the good stuff and arriving amidst black clouds and heavy horizontal rain driving across the moor on a strong near to gale
SW >6 . Just time to walk the west bank before the worst of the weather hit with once again little to see other than 2 Canadas near the south shore and 9 Mallards on the water.
                                                        Across on the last bit of north shoreline 4 Golden Plover were present whilst 2 Raven flew over the Nab. Looking west over the moor several flocks of Fieldfare headed for the Castle Carr roost along with a group of 23 Redwing.
                                                        By 1545 hrs it was shutdown time with the rain lashing and light gone although , as usual, I ran out of it driving home by the time I got to Wainstalls with everywhere else dry and still showing light. Around 100 small gulls were in the field opposite the Crossroads pub.
                                                        Well fortunately thats the end of November which has been a poor month both weather and bird wise with very few highlights, these being, the last moving Dunlin with 2 on the 11th and a fly through on the 15th. 71 Golden Plover on the 19th along with 78 Mallard and 11 Teal on the 24th.
                              The only winter wildfowl were 3f and 1m Wigeon on the water on the 17th whilst the only passerines were an unusual 9 Blackbirds on the 19th and 5 Stonechat on the 11th.
Visits during the month were down to 23 due to fog whilst 8 bags of Nyjer seed were put down in 3 feeding areas. Just December to get out of the way now before we,re heading back in the right direction. With colder weather threatened for next week we may see a move of cross Pennine Pink Footed Geese and watch those reservoir fringes for Snow Bunting , Shorelark and Black Redstart, the latter being late this year with only the one sighting briefly at Ringstone, ( Hx Birders).

Thursday, November 29, 2018

A record dip at Fly Flatts.

 First patrol we get at Fly Flatts and the van coughs out.
                                   Lift off with the floating jetty
                      SE ponds all but gone now
                                            Rising rapidly daily
                               A bright strip to the west
                                   Stormy skies over Stoodley Pike
                                                                Lights out.

1500 hrs and just time to get the last 30 minutes daylight in, if you can call it daylight ,with black clouds, light showers and a strong SW>6 at 25 m.p.h.
                                                    A very blustery walk on the west bank to get some seed down and a check of my 3 feeding areas for Buntings and Larks which I always find the best time in blustery conditions and on the very edge of last light. Most of my Soil Hill Snow Buntings turned up at this sort of time just before darkness but that was back in the days when Soil Hill produced Snow Buntings annually, unfortunately those days are gone. At any rate, although the area had the smell of Snow Buntings none were present and neither were any other species with empty water, empty shoreline, whats left of it, and empty skies and I left at lights out without seeing a single bird of any description which must be some sort of record for me at Fly Flatts.
                                                      Never the less it was good to get up there after the recent batches of fog, and the lack of evening daylight has slowed down now with only 3 weeks to the shortest day. It also gave me chance to put my Canon 7d Mk2 through its pacers after getting it back, once again ,from the repairers. Im back on track now with the camera and lens so all I need now is some light and some birds.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A recap of Fly Flatts Spring / Summer highlights.

A dark day throughout up here in the Gods and by 1500 hrs Fly Flatts was once again wiped off the map with low cloud and horizontal drizzle so, more to get the dogs out than anything, a reluctant visit to Ogden with only about 30 minutes of daylight remaining with heavy drizzle and a moderate SW>6.
          Around 50 small gulls were on the water,75 % Black Headed, the rest Commons along with the usual Mallards. A Sparrowhawk was harassing the Goldfinch roost and that was it.

                                                         To brush away my November blues I looked back at a few of Fly Flatts highlights I was rewarded with over the spring and summer of this year :-

              Distant Osprey over the wind farm

                           Sandwich Tern

                                        Plenty Common Sandpipers
                     Shrimps eye view of Common Sandpiper
                                          Red Kite
                                       Lots of Ringed Plovers

                                           Tons on Dunlin
                                               Noisy Redshanks
                                   Breeding Snipe
                                                   Snipe chick

                                              Golden Plover

                                               Common Scoters

             Cream Crown Marsh Harrier


                                        5 juv Shelduck
                                     Distant Grey Plover
                                             Distant Ruff
                                            Barn Owl
                         Greenshank way across on the east banking

                                         Peregrine on wader watch.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Leeshaw in grizzly weather.

Yet another day of thick fog on the tops so dropped down to Leeshaw at 1500 hrs where the weather was atrocious with torrential rain coming down in stair rods with sleet and snow at 3 degrees on a
SE > 5 and light mist.
                                  A quick dog walk up to Bodkin farm and a check of the water was enough to get a drenching so back to the car and home.
                                The water held a single Canada goose along with 2 Greylags whilst 3 Cormorant and around 50 Black Headed gulls were on the south shore but only the one big gull, this being a first winter Lesser Black Backed.
Driving back along Long Causeway hundreds of mixed gulls were heading over the fields to the Thornton Moor roost but far too wet and misty to check it out, a job for another day.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Calm before the storm. Fly Flatts.

A glorious day until I arrived at Fly Flatts late afternoon to dark skies and light rain showers on a light NE > 4 . The conditions were pleasant enough but far from being a photographic day and possibly the last calm weather for a few days with 2 weather fronts heading our way.
                                                   The reservoir has risen considerably over the weekend with the east shoreline now under water apart from an area in the NE corner whilst the south shore has almost gone leaving a few ponds in the SE corner making the reservoir into a much greater expanse of water hopefully making it more tempting for winter wildfowl.
                                                           Nothing special today, the highlight being a steady flow of Herring gulls >W with a count of 31, these being all adults which was unusual.
The Mallard count was up to 83, all mainly on the water with their favourite peninsular area now underwater whilst 9 Teal were along a mud ledge near to the NE corner.
                                                           The remaining piece of north shoreline held 12 Lapwing but no sign of Golden Plover , and 4 noisy Canada geese were in the same area. Otherwise it was down to 3 Kestrels and 2 Carrion Crow.
                                              More grapevine reports today of trans Pennine Pinkies on the move though the forecast weather fronts may put a hold on it for the next few days.
                                                The Shelf Moor trailer park fields this lunch time held around 80 Lapwing and approximately the same number of Black Headed gulls plus several Starlings.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Checking out the gulls, Dowley Gap, Bingley.

                                    Plenty BH Gulls to sift through.

                                  No sign of Med gull

                                                   A more tranquil scene

                                 Mute Swan , a rare bird in the uplands

Another afternoon of thick fog up on the tops so a good opportunity  to do a bit of gull spotting.
With chances of Redcar Tarn, Keighley  fogged off I thought of Sentry Hill, Oxenhope to check the gull roost coming in but that was also in the clouds as well as Cullingworth fields so next stop was down in Bingley at Dowley Gap to check through the numbers of Black Headed gulls which congregate there at the filter beds.
                                                    No fog there but very dark and rain throughout as I trudged on the canal side to the sewage works. Around 200 BH gulls were present along with around 80 Pied Wagtails but a check through as best I could in the conditions failed to find a Med gull or a White Wagtail.
A Kingfisher gave crippling views as it landed twice nearby but with the lack of light none of the photos were fit to blog as were some shots of 2 Dippers by the river.
                                                   A decent list of birds in the short time allowed and interesting to go back to one of my old stomping grounds where in the past I,ve had Siberian Chiffchaff and
American Robin, both of which caused a lot of excitement to twitchers from near and far.

c 200 Black Headed Gulls
15 Common Gulls
2 Dippers
1 Kingfisher
c 80 Pied Wagtails
12 Chaffinch
3 Brambling
30 + Redwing
17 Fieldfare
+ usual Mallard, Moorhen, Goosander.