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, February 29, 2020

Redcar Tarn, Keighley / Fly Flatts.

 REDCAR TARN                 Iceland gull still present.

                                    1st winter Caspian in the snow.

                     Caspian rear left. Herring rear right with
                                                                bottle top.

                                 Plenty Redwing in the trees

                                                   Herring gulls

                                         ad Lesser Black Backed
FLY FLATTS                 9   first winter Herring gulls >SW

Another day of strong south westerlies increasing by late afternoon bringing snow showers throughout the day at 2 degrees rising to 4 degrees.
                                         A visit to Redcar Tarn this morning in hopes of a Med gull and thinking of the possibility of more Whoopers cutting across from the Aire valley.
A real bleak start to the visit with a strong SW>5 and horizontal snow storms which died out mid watch leaving a bright but windy morning.
                                       No Med gull but surprisingly the 1st winter Caspian and the Iceland gull are still present but both birds headed for the fields shortly after finding them. Three laps of the water with the dogs produced a small flock of Chaffinch and Brambling deep in the Hawthorns and several Redwing in the higher trees. At one point 23 Herring gull were on the water along with 2 LBBs and all the usual species.
                                 Good to meet up with James Longbottom and his dad giving the area a good coat of looking at. I,ve dealt with James for a long time now through e mails and texts etc but never met him so it was good to put a face to the name. James picked up on 2 Oystercatchers which I hadnt seen but each time I walked past the island the snow was so heavy I kept my head down.
                               Late afternoon and I thought I,d better frame missen and get agate to Fly Flatts to see whats developing. The wind was blowing SW>6 with some heavy snow showers but nice bright intervals in between and some good skies for sky watching.
                                A ray of hope at last with 22 Canadas returned , some on the water and others in the boat compound which is a good sign of things starting to move after a desolate 2 months. Birds attract birds so hopefully more species will now follow and its proved the water is deep enough to attract Whoopers which I usually get near the end of March up there.
                                Otherwise it was just down to 9 first winter Herring gulls heading >SW into the wind with a couple of Carrion Crow over the east ridge.
I was hoping for a morning visit up there tomorrow but the way the snow is coming down and drifting at the moment its looking a bit sad. At least February is out of the way and we can get started on the active months.

Redcar Tarn, Keighley
1 1st winter Caspian gull
1 1st winter Iceland gull
23 Herring gull
2 LBB gull
2 Oystercatchers
+ all usual sp.

Fly Flatts
9 Herring gull................>SW
22 Canada geese
2 Carrion Crow.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Reservoir check for Whoopers, Leeshaw, Lower Laithe, Ogden, Mixenden.

 LEESHAW                  A good count of Herring gulls

 MIXENDEN                               Plenty small gulls
                                            2 Adult Herrings
                                             Summer plumage.

                                  2 pair of Goldeneye present

A very wet day throughout with heavy sleet, rain and snow this morning turning to heavy snow midday and then heavy rain all afternoon with fog on the tops due to the wind dropping to a light SE>3 then SW>2 at 2 degrees lifting to 4 degrees.
                                                  With 8 Whoopers turning up at Mixenden on the 27th Feb last year and a report from Keighley Moor Reservoir of an amazing 55 Whoopers over >NW coming out of the Aire valley I thought Id better check a few local waters just in case.
                                               Thanks to James Longbottom for the report. James watches Keighley Moor Reservoir alongside IH and passes reports to me of anything special. Several times birds passing over Leeshaw have also be seen shortly afterwards over Keighley Moor, the last one being a Marsh Harrier that I got over Leeshaw which was then picked up by Ian at Keighley Moor.

Hows that for a Whooper Swan sighting, jealous ! who me !!!!
        Photo copyright 2020 and courtesy of James Longbottom.

Lower Laithe failed to produce anything other than 2 Oystercatchers with nothing on the water as usual, I dont know why I bother here although it has turned up a few specials over the years.
                                                  Meanwhile back at Leeshaw the same sort of species as yesterday but on a lower scale with only 2 Curlew and no Goldies though the weather was grim throughout with heavy rain sleet and snow. The 15 Oyks were present and 4 Mistle Thrush in the stubble field along with Lapwings and a few geese.
                                              Gulls were the bird of the morning with 29 Herrings on the water of various ages along with Commons and Black Headed.
                                             Heavy snow settling over the early afternoon left Lynda panicking that we would nt get back home from Sainsburys but by the time we had finished it had turned to rain with Queensbury shrouded in thick fog.
                                              With shopping sided and flask filled it was off looking for Whoopers again with first a check of Ogden which was in the mist but visibility over the water enough to see that there were no swans there.
                                             When I arrived at Mixenden it was bouncing down and continued throughout the visit but with my waterproofs still dripping from this morning it didnt really matter.
A very sloppy, muddy walk around the full perimeter of the water found 2 pair of Goldeneye and 12 Mallard out on the water with a single Moorhen skulking under the west bank trees.
                                            Several Common and Black Headeds were on the east bank before taking to the water along with 2 very smart looking Herring gulls, adults in summer plumage.
                                           The highlight here was as I was getting my wet gear off back at the car a small flock of about 20 birds dropped into the Alders by the roundabout with about 15 Goldfinch and at least 5 Siskin. The birds were hard to pick out in the centre of the thick tree with rain too heavy for pointing up with the camera plus the nearby school was losing and a nurd in a dripping wet suit and camera in hand would have probably have got me arrested.
Back home next job to dry out the camera and bins ready to get them soaked again tomorrow and by this time the rain had stopped so a dry dog walk around Foxhill but still in dense fog.

15 Oystercatchers
29 Herring gull
4 Mistle Thrush
+ usual species

2 pr Goldeneye
2 Herring gull
1 Moorhen
c 15 Goldfinch
5 Siskin

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Ogden a.m. / A buzzing Leeshaw p.m.

 OGDEN                         2nd winter Herring gull
                                       Picturesque waterside track

                                                     Black Headed gull
 LEESHAW                         Curlews and Oystercatcher
                                            5 of 33 Curlew

                                                Golden Plover

                                   Golden Plover, 84 present
                                         2nd winter Herring gull

                                                     Big numbers of geese

                                                  Distant pair of Teal

                                                      Oyks, 15 present

                                   Curlew way across the water
                                     A line up of Oyks

Another wintry start to the morning with heavy overnight snow and freezing so yet another trip to Ogden which is beginning to get boring now.
                                                         Just about the same birds as the last few days with the Canadas up to 10 but no sign of the Goosanders. Again the Tit flock had the 3 species of tit but no Goldcrests or Treecreepers and still no sign of Redpoll or Siskin. A few small gulls on the water and just the one 2nd winter Herring.
                            Leeshaw reservoir late afternoon was buzzing in decent conditions with clear blue skies and sunshine and some very heavy snow showers but only in short bursts. The wind was W>5 at a temp of 2 degrees.
                            The place was absolutely alive with the call of Curlew, Lapwing and Oystercatcher with good numbers of all 3 species along with a decent flock of Golden Plover but keeping to distant fields and only showing as they moved around.
                           The stubble field held the Greylag flock, less the Pink Footed, as well as a building flock of Canadas whilst a mass of Starling, Fieldfare and Redwings moved around the fields.
Just a pair of Teal were the only wildfowl newcomers dropping straight down into the conduit and out of sight.
            The birding there today was mind blowing and at several points got overwhelming not knowing what to count and photograph next and not being able to set the camera quick enough with birds everywhere, some in dark sky, some in bright sky whilst others had the fields for a background and others the water  though I still came away with over 200 images, most being very distant.

10 Canada
11 Common gull
23 Black Headed gull
1 2nd winter Herring gull
Tit flock
+ usual sp.

276 Greylag
113 Canada
84 Golden Plover
33 Curlew
15 Oystercatcher
sev Lapwing
c 300 Starling
c 100 Fieldfare and Redwing
1 pr Teal
1 pr Goosander
3 Herring gull
sev small gulls
+ usual sp.