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, July 31, 2019

Fly Flatts. And still the water rises.

   1 of 2 distant Common Sandpipers, new in.
                                 Always the Ringed Plover to fall back on.

                                  Daffy duck and Lucky duckling
   This sole survivor out of 20 ducklings looks almost ready
for flying at last after miraculously avoiding Gulls Peregrines
                                           and Weasels.

A day of good conditions with a moderate NW>4, good visibility and torrential rain showers.
                                                                  You could almost smell Terns in the air today but looking like another Tern less year. Swifts were moving well, between the showers, all head down in migration mode >S with around 150 counted. Wader wise, 2 new arrivals were hard to find in the distant SW corner which I were hoping were Green Sand until I scoped them to find they were Commons. Obviously 2 that had dropped down out of the previous 2 days mega move reported over Manchester by SJ. The Ringed Plover was around the ponds before joining the Common Sandpipers  in the SW corner. All 3 birds were still present late p.m. with 3 Wheatear near the West bank.
                                                              Its that time of year again now, August 1st tomorrow taking us in to autumn visible migration and several birds already on the move . Swifts will soon be gone along with several Warblers and I got word yesterday that Tree Pipits are now on the move. Ospreys are also heading south so should be an interesting month.
                                                           My vis mig reports are now also being recorded on Trektellen with a link on the right of the blog.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Swifts on the move, Fly Flatts.

           This Ringed Plover seems to have got a liking
                                               for Fly Flatts.

A nice E>3 with 90 % cloud cover made the conditions decent this morning but still nothing on the move. Luckily the Peregrine has,nt been seen here for the last 2 days , unless I missed it, and things have been getting back to normal with geese and gulls now using the east bank again. Several of the Canadas and the 2 Greylag families have now left the area whilst others are moving between here and Cold Edge dams.
                            Just 7 LBB gulls on the east shore with the only wader present being the long staying Ringed Plover back at the ponds. Meadow Pipit numbers are building up daily now with around 100 on the south shore and ponds area. 3 full adult Wheatears in autumn plumage were along the south bank area but very mobile.
                           The afternoon watch started of with blue skies and sunshine at 21 degrees but as I set off to do the long walk of the reservoir black clouds started to develop to the south east of me.
Not liking the look of the storm clouds I went back to the car to see how it developed, then a call from Lynda saying Queensbury was getting a bad storm. Rain I can handle but being at the highest point of an open moor with an aluminium tripod/lightening conductor in front of you is not an ideal situation. The first spots of rain, a distant rumble and a far off flash got me tackling up slowly, then a distant long fork across the sky over Halifax got me tackling up much faster.
                                    Whilst all this was going on I was counting Swifts overhead moving fast and direct >SE heading into the bright bank of sky along the east horizon. Just over 200 passed over me but they looked to be moving on a broad front with birds visible through the bins from the Nab to the western ridge.
                      Driving home I went through the eye of the storm at Mixenden where roads were flooding and the rain was more than the wipers could handle at one point with a pitch black sky.
At this rate Fly Flatts is going to be back up to near full shortly when its now suppose to be nearly empty. Apparently they can only drain it at a certain rate due to conservationists saying it would wash wildlife away in the stream that acts as an outlet.
                                          Rain and north westerlies tomorrow with more storm warnings but the worry now is thick fog tonight at Queensbury which has a good chance of being here in the morning.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Fly Flatts lull continues.

Another foggy start to the day which didnt clear until after 0900 hrs despite the moderate W>4, then leaving 100% cloud cover and what seemed like good moving conditions. By late afternoon it had deteriorated to clear blue skies and sunshine on a light SW>3.
                                                     Water was gushing into the reservoir from both the south and north ends and the water level is now back to where it was 2 weeks ago so filling much faster than draining at the moment. The exposed islands are now back under water whilst the ponds and lagoon are brimming.
               Despite all that , birding was terrible with once again the whole of the north and east bank being void of birds due to the frequent Peregrine visits. Even the geese and gulls have stopped using that area. The south shore just held the usual geese and Mallards, including Daffy duck with her sole surviving young which somehow has miraculously survived and looks almost ready to fly now.
               Just 1 Canada goose waiting to fly, which looks about 2 weeks away and then all is clear.
Nothing in the air other than Ravens and Crows whilst a single drake Tufted in eclipse kept to the middle of the water trying to make me think it was a Scoter, and very nearly succeeding until I scoped it.
 Thunderstorms on an E>4 tomorrow so that should liven things up a bit although I won,t be standing on the west bank with the tripod up if the storms appear.
                                                             Quiet at the moment but I suppose I should,nt moan with a count of 82 species up there this year so far with 15 of those being wader species.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Fly Flatts, match abandonded x 2.

              As good as it got, the SE ponds
                  Looking across the south shore
                                         Up the track
                                    South end path.
        Theres water beyond all this shoreline apparently.
                                    I never saw it.

A terrible day at Fly Flatts both a.m and p.m. even though there was a good W>4 blowing.
This morning I could see the ponds clearly and half of the water but by late afternoon I thought it looked better until I got to the last 100 yds when the fog was like Pea and Ham soup with visibility down to about 30 yards. Impossible to check the ponds, shoreline or water so it was a quick walk and back to base, with a second visit today cut short.
The only sign of bird life was this morning with 5 adult autumn plumaged Wheatear darting around the ponds.
                                                                      At the top gate a lady and 2 men hikers were looking panic stricken with maps and phones out as they walked towards Oxenhope. As they saw me they said they were completely lost and disorientated trying to get to Ogden Water. I sent them back the way they had come telling them to go down the track by the Withins which they remember passing earlier. So good deed done I headed home where 100 yards down the road there was no sign of fog. Even Queensbury was clear although we did get some real torrential showers early evening.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Back to true Fly Flatts weather.

               Two Wheatear on return journey.
 Still moulting into autumn plumage
                      1 week earlier than last year.
  1 lonely Ringed Plover with acres of mud to itself.

My sort of weather at last with temperature down to 14 degrees on a strong NW>4-5 and plenty rain that,s worked wonders to filling the ponds and livening up the mud which was drying out badly.
                                                         Having said that birding was quiet with just a single Ringed Plover present but good to get the first 2 Wheatear back, apart from the juv ,which has been hanging around a few week. Todays 2 were in moult but nearly in their autumn plumage arriving just 1 week earlier than last year. The Barnacles and Canadas are loving the new islands.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fly Flatts surprise, Islands appear.

                  Not only me waiting for waders. juv Peregrine.

                                    At the water hole
                         Silver ring on right leg.
                                    Barnacles using the new islands.
                                         2 of 4 wader tempting islands.
                                        Looking >NE. Water a good quarter down
                                  North shore water line
                                 Thats a lot of mud to scope.
                                     From the SW corner.
          About a week will see it dry which is alright if it
keeps raining to wet the mud. If the mud dries out  its
                                                          game over.
       The only wader today, Ringed Plover
The water line at the south end is now 100 yds from the track
instead of lapping your feet.

A much better day at Fly Flatts both early morning and late afternoon with 90 % cloud cover, 21 degrees and a cool SW>3-4.
                                            A very quiet day but a nice surprise this morning with 4 islands appeared out in the water looking good for waders and already being used by the geese.
                                           The juv Peregrine was slightly nearer today using the soyth shore and seen to be sporting a silver ring on its right leg. If anyone gets to scope the Dean Clough chimney birds we,ll know if its the same bird.
                                          A group of 11 Greylags flew in from over the Nab, 7 of these being this years birds bred here and only just started flying. Its amazing how quick they master it.
The east shore this morning only held the usual Canadas along with 2 LBB gulls and a single juv Herring with quiet skies.
                                   This afternoons watch found a Cormorant in the water but left after a couple of dives, discovering there are no fish in here. The only wader, which I found in the last minutes of the watch, was a single Ringed Plover on the south shore water line which is now a good 100yds away and moving further out daily.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Fly Flatts Too hot to handle.

                                   Gull under investigation.
 Thought I had a Caspian at first but now thinking Yellow Legged
 rather than Herring. A distance away in  heat haze but with 9 LBBs
that kept moving it away. Legs had a pale yellowish tinge and
bi coloured bill . Much bigger bird than the LBBs and pale belly streaking
whereas 2nd year Herring is much more uniform brown. Very pale head
but no shadowing around eye. Could be Hybrid, Herring /YL
or just a pale Herring. More studying needed on this one .

                  A bonus was 9 Golden Plover that came in mid morning
                        to the far east shore

The only good thing that can be said about todays weather is that its over.
The morning was,nt too drastic and although it was 21 degrees at 0715 hrs up at Fly Flatts there was a nice SE>4 keeping it bearable.  The afternoon still had the SE>4 but burning sunshine which amounted to a quick walk in the shade and a scope from behind the boathouse out of the sun. 30 minutes was plenty.
                              Most of the resident birds were in sleep mode this morning apart from 9 LBBs on the east shore along with the pale 2nd year gull which I am still looking into.
                              Too hot to trek about so sat in the shade on the east side cobbled banking watching and waiting which soon paid off when 9 Golden Plover dropped in to the east shore remaining there throughout but had gone by late afternoon. Luckily for them the Peregrine never appeared today.
                               This is the first Goldie sighting at Fly Flatts since late May when there was 137 on the Flat Moor.
A bit cooler tomorrow hopefully.