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.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

A pleasing finish to the month.


   OGDEN                             Around 12 Long Tailed Tits in passerine alley.
                                   The water was 1/3 frozen

                                       Pink Footed geese heading >N

                                              1 Skein of 156 birds.

A brighter morning at Ogden and a bit ambitious for me to risk it on a Sunday but with limited time it was the nearest port of call and got there early before the rush. As I left at 0930 hrs the car park was heaving.
An icy cold E>3 at 1 degree and broken cloud which had frozen about 1/3 of the fringes of the water overnight.
                 Around 100 small gulls were on the water with several stood on the ice which gave me the opportunity to check for leg rings, but none showing.
A Green Woodpecker was calling from the trees below the car park but remaining unseen. This is a species which used to thrive well at Ogden but are now becoming something of a rarity.
              Passerine Alley was buzzing with Long Tailed and Coal Tits as well as a few Goldcrest plus the usual Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks.
                 As I got through the alley in the direction of the info centre I heard the familiar contact calls of Pink Footed geese so it was a quick dash out of the trees to get a sighting. It was frustrating to hear them but not see them until I looked directly above me and there they were, very high and heading >N so only time to knock a few photos off before I could only see the tail end of them heading over TMR.
              A few more reports came through during the day meaning there must have been a bit of a move on, most of these heading to the east of the region up the Aire Valley.
              Up then to Ringby Top with a 360 degree view though conditions in the sky were poor with a hazy sunshine and a light haze all around the horizon. The wind had increased to a bitterly cold E>5 with the temperature of 1 degree but feeling much colder with the wind chill.
              Nothing in the fields other than the usual Corvids and only 1 Common gull present plus 2 LBBs >SW.
A flock of 16 Lapwing were to the east in the distance which were probably the Shelf Moor birds whilst the highlight was a flock of 9 Golden Plover which appeared from nowhere and flew fast and low below me over the field to the south of the Snow Bunt field before disappearing over the ridge of the quarry, possibly also heading for Shelf Moor. 
             No chance of a photo with the birds being low and fast plus the fact that I went into panic mode trying to get the camera out from under my coat with a button still fastened and after I,d done flapping like a headless chicken, the birds had gone.
Good to bump into local birder Ian who was giving his patch the once over before heading off down Shibden Valley.
            Anyway, a good finish to a poor month, so hopefully February will be better once, we get rid of the promised snow mid week. 

1 skein Pinkies.................156  >N
1 Green WdPecker
c 15 Lt Tits
c 100 Small gulls
+ usual sp.

Ringby Top
9 Golden Plover
16 Lapwing
2 LBB..............>SW
1 Common gull


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Winter at Fly Flatts

 An icy cold visit to Fly Flatts this afternoon with wintry snow showers on a strong E>5 at 1 degree with full cloud cover.
                         Lesser Black Backed gulls were heading over in 1s and 2s all >SW with a final count of 32 otherwise the skies were understandably quiet in the conditions.
                        Two points showing a step nearer to spring were Canadas are now returning to the water with 4 present after an absence of 3 months. By June they will be up to around 350 with around 80 goslings or possibly more this year now that the water it back up.
                       The second point being several Snipe on the moor are constantly chipping meaning soon they will be up drumming. Curlew will be starting to show within a week or so and Oystercatchers will be sorting territory , Oyks being the earliest wader and can be expected on the moor any time from early January.
             Though the water at Fly Flatts is well into overflow there is still a good shoreline along the south shore which was created by Bentleys during the recent work here.
                                             Another 2 new Calderdale grapevine members joined today with the total number of members now being at 58. If all 58 are active this year we should get some good sightings in.

Fly Flatts
4 Canada geese
6 Red Grouse
3 Raven
5 Mallard
32 LBB gull.............>SW.
sev Snipe chipping

Friday, January 29, 2021

Ogden/Fly Flatts and local Common gulls


                                       Foxhill park Common gulls
                                        winter flock up to 53 now first light counted from bedroom 
                               window before dog walkers arrive.

Ogden                               Just 4 Goldcrest present
                                                   Robins up singing now.

A drizzly start at Ogden but brightening up as the morning went on with a light W>4 at 4 degrees.
                                                   A full circuit of the water found very few passerines other than 4 Goldcrest plus a few Robins and Blackbirds but the highlight being a pair of Dippers displaying which looks promising.
                         A small group of 17 Lapwing flew over >SW whilst 2 Greylags headed >E very high and fast. A single Moorhen was by the duck corner along with 1 Canada goose and the usual Mallards with around 70 small gulls.
                       Fly Flatts was just a formality getting some Nyjer seed down in bird less conditions other than a few Red Grouse with strange weather in a mix of dense fog and blue skies with sunshine changing ever few minutes.
                      On the way back, 44 Collared Doves were on wires by the old Delvers pub at Wainstalls, an area they use as a pre roost meeting point.

2 Dipper
4 Goldcrest
2 Greylag................>E
17 Lapwing ............>SW
1 Moorhen
1 Canada
+ usual sp

44 Collared Doves.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Ogden and Horton Bank Top area.


OGDEN                                   2 Herring gulls present

                                            2f 1m Bullfinch in the car park trees.

HORTON BANK TOP                    Gulls still on ice.
                                                                         1 LBB
                                                        1 Herring
WIBSEY PARK                            plenty small gulls to sift through

                                      Drake Shoveler still present.
                                                   Good count of Tufted.  male

                                         2nd winter Herring gull

A real miserable bank of weather today with thick fog and never clearing all day but swirling around both on the tops and lower ground. Heavy drizzle all morning on an E>3  turning NE>3 then S>3 at 3 degrees.
             Ogden was very wet and misty with only 3/4 of the water visible and heavy drizzle throughout.
 The water held 2 Herring gull and several small gulls as well as the usual Mallards whilst a female Goldeneye flew across the water and disappeared into the mist. I only got it by hearing the unique noise they make as they fly.
                 Gt Spotted Wdpecker and Nuthatch were around the lodge house feeders and 3 Bullfinch were in the car park trees.
                  Trying to get away from the fog I did a gull check at Horton Bank Top country park only to find the water was still 50% frozen with just a few Black Headeds present plus an adult LBB and Herring with the normal species on the water.
                  Wibsey Park fared better with around 200 small gulls but a sift through failed to find a Med gull. Just the one big gull with a smart looking 2nd winter Herring.
                 Surprisingly the drake Shoveler was still present on the lake which was first located 9/1/21 by DH , very unusual for them to hang around this long. Around 14 Tufted were present along with 4 Mute swans, 3 with rings and 1 unrung bird. Lots of Canadas, Greylags etc showing that parks are where a lot of the winter wildfowl hang out for easy food over the winter.
2 ad Herring
1 f Goldeneye
1 Gt Spotted Wdpeck
1 Nuthatch
2 f 1 m Bullfinch
+ usual sp

Horton Bank Top CP
2 Mute Swan
1 ad Herring 
1 ad LBB
c40 small gulls
+ usual Tufteds, Coot, Moorhen etc

Wibsey Park
4 Mute Swan
1 m Shoveler
14 Tufted
1 3cy Herring
c 200 small gulls, mostly BH gull
+ Canadas, Greylags, Mallards, Coots, Moorhen etc

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Oxenhope Reservoir gull roost.( Members Only).

 A pleasant late afternoon with a light W>3 at 6 degrees but dark skies as I arrived at Windy Corner.
                                                         Gulls were already coming in to the water mainly from the NE, E and SE which is the usual direction as they leave the feeding fields to roost on the reservoir. Very difficult looking for something special with the poor light making photos as they flew in very sub standard whilst once down they blended into the shimmering water.
                                                        Not the biggest of counts but as I left there was still a good hour of daylight left and gulls were still pouring in. A flock of 42 Lapwings were mobile over the Shay fields along with 18 Stock Dove whilst a Sparrowhawk flew over the 'Bumps' before disappearing beyond the Nab.
The water held 9 Mallard and a single female Goldeneye.

Oxenhope Reservoir
42 Lapwing
1 f Goldeneye
9 Mallard
18 Stock Dove
c 500 Herring gull
c 4000 Common gull
c 3000 Black Headed gull
9 Lesser Black Backed gull
4 Mistle Thrush
+ usual sp

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Fly Flatts/Mixenden.

 A very icy Fly Flatts this morning with the top road and entrance track only just passable now and the reservoir banking was like walking on glass. A light S>3 was pleasing with a temperature of -1 degree rising to 0 degree by the end of the watch. A full cloud cover with the cloud base just above the turbines.
By afternoon it was a mixture of low cloud with rain, sleet and snow at 2 degrees.
                          Very little happening in the sub zero temperature but reassuring to get 6 Mallards back on the water which is a good sign as a starter for ten with geese, Lapwings and Golden Plover usually showing shortly afterwards.
                          Another good sign was Lesser Black Backed gulls starting to re appear after the majority spend the winter further south with warmer and unfrozen roosts. This species used to be fully migratory but in recent years have turned semi migratory with just a southward movement although a low number still stick the winter out in this area.
                         A count of 11 LBBs headed >NE whilst 3 Herrings headed >SE. A Raven over the quarry and 5 Red Grouse on the moor concluded the watch.
                        Mixenden also had LBB gulls with 2 on the water along with a single Herring and around 50 Black Headed, mostly stood on the ice but none showing rings. A pair of Mallard and a single Moorhen were the only waterfowl present whilst 2 Ring Necked Parakeets were in the usual trees.
                      A scan across Shelf Moor trailer park fields produced 27 Mistle Thrush and 7 Fieldfare along with c50 Starling, once again, all in the second field back, but no Lapwing today. 

Fly Flatts
3 Herring gull...............>SE
11 LBB gull.................>NE
1 Raven
5 Red Grouse
6 Mallard

2 LBB gull
1 Herring gull
c 50 Small gull
1 pr Mallard
1 Moorhen
2 R.N. Parakeets
+ usual sp.

Shelf Moor
27 Mistle Thrush
7 Fieldfare
c 50 Starling.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Ogden/ Shelf Moor


                                  A picturesque Ogden was as good as it got.
                                               West Bank
                                           Frozen water

                                       Kingfisher way down in the sluice gate area.

A bright sunny morning after heavy overnight freezing with a temperature of 0 degree on a W>4 but sheltered around Ogden with ,once again, fog on the tops. The weather deteriorated as the day went on with a strengthening W>5 bringing some heavy blizzard snow showers but only fine stuff so not settling.
              Thirty minutes into the watch and it was time to take off the 600mm and fit the 18-55mm as it was obvious that the only photos I was going to get was a few landscapes with very little in the way of birds. Absolutely nothing around the waterside trees and nothing in the lodge house feeding area.
             The water held a good number of small gulls and the usual Mallards whilst the Kingfisher was down in the sluice gate area and 8 Lt Tits were on the info centre feeders. A single Song Thrush was the star bird.
             Shelf Moor trailer park field was lively though birds were distant in the second field back and the Cross Lane field with Lapwings, Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush along with a good flock of Starling.
This is another poor year for Lapwing with 38 present today whereas the flock used to be over 300 by this time each year along with Golden Plover, another species gone.
           We,ve always watched Lapwings in this area but it was 15/4/2012 when Tracy Collier alerted me to this field with 21 Wheatear present which stayed around a few days so the field has been watched more closely ever since. NK also discovered a good roosting area for Snipe nearby which peaked at 48 back in 8/12/2013 but unfortunately work is now in progress in the Snipe field. I wonder whatever happened to Tracy?

c 150 BH gulls
8 Lt Tits
1 Kingfisher
1 Song Thrush
+ usual sp.

Shelf Moor
1 Sparrowhawk
38 Lapwing
16 Fieldfare
13 Mistle Thrush
c 50 Starling.