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, February 28, 2021

February goes out in style, Fly Flatts.


                                       Two Barnacles settled at Fly Flatts now.

                                   Thanks to these two Oyks that I found the Ringed Plovers
                             Ringed Plover just 2 days earlier than last year at this site.

                                               Then there were 2

Very distant photos taken through a wire fence with a Mickey Mouse camera,
       Canon 1200d on Big Bertha lens , not a good combination for a rig.

A brilliant morning to be out in the uplands today with wall to wall sunshine on a very light W>2 at only 2 degrees but soon lifting to 8 degrees.
                        The whole area was alive with a full vocal orchestra of Canadas, Barnacles, Curlew, Grouse , Pheasant and Lapwing whilst Herring and LBB gulls passed overhead along with cronking Ravens.
             A walk the full length of the west bank failed to turn up any new wildfowl and no return of Wheatear as yet in the usual hot spots.
            Back at the boatyard I checked as far as I could on the east bank but the water is too high at the moment to gain me access so its a scoping job. Luckily for me, 2 Oystercatchers were part way on the banking which made me walk up to the compound fence to get a shot of them and it was then that I saw a Ringed Plover on the cobbles and a second one nearby. Had the Oyks not been there I would probably have missed them as they were part hidden by the reeds. 
These are just 2 days earlier than last year when the first one arrived back on the 2nd March.
            So I didnt get my February Wheatear but Ringed Plovers are a nice consolation prize.
Fly Flatts
2 Ringed Plover
2 Oyks
14 Mallard
c 200 Canadas
2 Barnacle
7 Curlew
3 Raven
c 70 Lapwing
12 Herring gull.......>SW
3 LBB gull.........>NE
+ usual sp.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Fly Flatts/Soil Hill


FLY FLATTS                                      Pied Wagtail back , an annual breeder
                                      First Oystercatchers back way over on the east bank.

A slightly better morning at Fly Flatts though poor visibility above with mist over the moor and low cloud base. A light W>3 was a bonus at 5 degrees.
                                       Around 30 Golden Plover were back on the Flat Moor hopefully staying longer this year after being flushed, not to return, last year by the Sphagnum moss planters.
Herring gulls started to head over >SW but the count was lost when the cloud base dropped even further down whilst the first 2 Oystercatchers were spotted across on the far east bank with their heads down and staying the same throughout.
                                 A single male Pied Wagtail was back in the boatyard and 4 Curlew were present near the turbines. 
                           A quick look on Soil Hill in the early arrival Wheatear hot spots came up with nothing, as expected, as well as a check on the Shelf Moor Wheatear field in hopes of my first ever February bird.
      Struggling without the camera and no one wants to know about repairs during lock down, and the ones that are still operational refuse to be pinned down to a time it will be away.

Fly Flatts
1 m Pied Wagtail
c 30 Golden Plover
19 Herring gull.............>SW
2 Oyks
4 Curlew
+ usual sp.

Soil Hill
4 Curlew
3 Skylark

Friday, February 26, 2021

Back to Fly Flatts


                                           Both Barnacles back at Fly Flatts

                                          Lower goose in the moult.

                                                   1 of 6 distant Stonechat

                                       Big bird over the western ridge.  Hercules.

An icy cold start to the morning at 3 degrees on a W>5 with 50% cloud and some sunshine.
                                             Both Barnacle geese are now back with the Canadas  along with 16 Mallard on the water. Curlew numbers are building with a count of 11, and 16 Lapwing but no Golden Plover on the Flat Moor as yet. A group of 6 hardy Stonechat were down by the feeding station as well as a single Skylark on the seed and later up singing. The first singing Skylark at this site for several years.
                                Very little in the sky other than a fly over of Merlin and Peregrine and 4 very noisy Raven over the east ridge.
                              A few shouts of Pink Footed geese stragglers today from DCB, DH, AC and an Ogden dog walker though none over Fly Flatts even though I was there when AC reported a skein over Soil Hill west which would have taken them over Fly Flatts but possibly up in the cloud.

Fly Flatts
2 Barnacle geese
11 Curlew
1 Merlin
1 Peregrine
16 Mallard
6 Stonechat
4 Raven
c100 Canada geese
+ usual Mallard

Thursday, February 25, 2021

A slow start at Fly Flatts.


                                          A few Red Grouse on the moor very vocal.

                                         Curlews arriving.

                                          Barnacle back with the Canadas

Half decent conditions at Fly Flatts today apart from the moderate SSW>5 increasing W>7 at 5 degrees.
A bright sunny start but soon clouding  over with a few specs of light rain.
                                Things have livened up since my last visit with the Canadas now up to around 100 and some already settled on the moor. One of the Barnacles has returned to join the Canadas but no second bird as yet.
                              Curlews are slowly moving in with 4 present along with 15 Lapwing and a hardy pair of Stonechat around the entrance track. Raven numbers were down with just 2 present but this species will probably be breeding by now, a very early breeder.
                               With a few Wheatear in the country now I checked the usual hot spots but very early yet, my earliest being 17th March with most years having them turn up the last 2 weeks in March.
Hopefully I,ll have a good spring for Ring Ouzel like last year when I was inundated with them, turning up 16th March and staying till at least the end of March but I failed to see them leave due to the first lock down.
                 As expected at Fly Flatts, a gull less day today.
Fly Flatts
c 100 Canadas
1 Barnacle
15 Lapwing
4 Curlew
2 Raven
1 pr Stonechat
2 Kestrel
6 Red Grouse
+ usual sp.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The day of the Curlew, Leeshaw, Mixenden, Ogden.


LEESHAW                         Curlews on the move this morning 
                                        Herring gulls heading >W
      A spaced out group of 48 Curlew came over heading >SE towards Fly Flatts.

A poor day with a strong SW>5, dark skies and rain showers at 7 degrees rising to 12 degrees.
                                   The highlight of the watch was a spaced out group of 48 noisy Curlew over heading >SE , flying over the Paul Clough mast and on towards Fly Flatts and Calder Valley.
                                   A low count of small gulls but a group of 36 Herring gull dropped onto the water briefly before moving off >W whilst 7 Oystercatchers were present.
                                  A look at Mixenden was disappointing with just c 75 small gulls on the water along with 2 adult Herring and 2 Cormorant.
                                  On then to Ogden with 14 Canadas on the water along with c 100 small gulls whilst 14 Herrings were moving through >SW, very high and circling, these being 2 adults and 
12 2 CYs.
               On the way back a look at the Raggalds Flood where the Pink Footed goose had reappeared
after going missing for a day. The bird seems to alternate between the Flood and Doe Park.

48 Curlew...............>SE
36 Herring
7 Oyks
+ usual sp

c 75 small gulls
2 ad Herring
2 Cormorants
4 Mallard

14 Canadas
c 100 Small gulls
14 Herrings...............>SW
+ usual sp.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The gulls are back, Leeshaw/ Cullingworth fields


LEESHAW                                     c 120 Herring gulls dropped into Leeshaw

                                               Oyk numbers building
                                       Nice to hear the call of the uplands, Curlew
  Photos taken with temporary use of  one of my first DSLR bodies, Canon 1200d 
                                     Lapwings displaying and holding territory
                                          Canadas in to land.
CULLINGWORTH  FIELDS                 Mass of gulls
                                                Very mobile working the fields.
                                        Jackdaws and gulls.

A dull morning with dark skies and a moderate S>5 at 7 degrees and light rain by 1000 hrs.
                                                 Gulls were back in the fields today after a few days absence with several fields through Oxenhope holding good numbers of mainly small gulls.
                                      Leeshaw had around 300 small gulls whilst around 120 Herrings dropped onto the water mid watch but only staying about 10 minutes before heading off >W. A good scope through found Herrings of every year but no Caspian or Iceland.
                                    Geese were also back in the fields before moving onto the water and the upland spring arrivals were building up with Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Curlew, with Redshank due to be the next to show.
                     Hundreds of  gulls around the Cullingworth fields but very mobile moving around from one field to another in the strong S>6 gusting 7. They started off in a field at Sugden Top by the 
lay-by then moved across to their favourite field near to the Flappit moor. As I parked up there I found KM scoping through them from his car. Keith managed to check them out whilst I got half way through before they moved off again not to return.
No sign of the Pink Footed goose on Raggalds Flood each time I passed today.
                     After trying 4 Canon camera bodies today, to use as a temporary measure, I ended up using one of my first DSLRs , the Canon 1200d . Its amazing how technology has improved since I first used this camera. The auto focus on the Canon 7d mk2 is killer fast picking up a flying bird whilst the auto focus on the 1200d gives you time to pour a drink from your flask whilst waiting for it to find the bird but its better than nowt for now.

c 120 Herring gull
c 300 Small gull
71 Canada
48 Greylag
9 Oyks
8 Curlew
c 200 Lapwing
+ usual sp.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Leeshaw and Oxenhope Reservoirs

 A good start to the day when AC found a single Pink Footed goose on the Raggalds Flood. Presumably the same bird, was seen earlier at Doe Park by MP. The Pinkie was later joined by a Curlew, DW, and the goose was still present as I passed late afternoon.
                                                        Leeshaw was buzzing in the spring like weather with a count of 14 Curlew and 6 Oystercatchers but very few gulls, mostly Black Headed with just 2 first winter Herrings.
Lapwings are now starting to hold territory in the surrounding fields.
                                                     A late visit to Oxenhope reservoir waiting for the gulls to arrive did,nt go to plan with very few gulls coming in and only staying enough time to freshen up before heading off towards Eccup. The best I got was 86 Herrings and 4 LBBs along with a few small gulls but the gulls were very difficult to see on the water with the sun full on in the face and reflecting on the water but nothing that I could say looking like the Iceland. I stayed until 1630 hrs by which time all the gulls had gone and no signs of any more coming in.
                                                 What I thought was a possible repair on the camera at lunch time proved me wrong when a skein of Pinkies came overhead and the camera refused to play. After that it gave up the ghost altogether so its chucked in the draw waiting for a price of a repair once the shops reopen again. I took the Canon 7d mk1 to Leeshaw which was worse than useless and the photos were not fit for blogging. The auto focus is so slow that the bird is out of the area before it gets a focus on it.
I,ve 2 more cameras to try tomorrow but I,m not holding my breath.

14 Curlew
6 Oyks
2 Herring
c 100 Small gulls
c 80 Lapwing
1 Grey Wagtail
+ usual sp.

42 Pinkies..............>NW
6m 8f Goldeneye
5m 7f Goosander
5 Teal
86 Herring
6 Curlew
c 250 Lapwing
27 Golden Plover
+ usual sp.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Fly Flatts/ Oxenhope reservoir, Return of the Curlews and Oystercatchers.


OXENHOPE RESERVOIR.                    2 Oystercatchers returned

                                         A  distant swarm of 200 + Lapwing.

A calmer drier day with just an odd shower or two on a light S>4 at 5 degrees rising to 10 degrees pm.
Full cloud cover this morning with outbreaks of sun p.m.
                                            A look at Fly Flatts and a top up of the seed found that ,as usual, Fly Flatts is about 2 weeks behind the rest of the region and hasnt kicked off yet. The water held 27 Canadas and 2 Greylags whilst the only fly overs were a Peregrine and a Kestrel and that was it.
                                           Oxenhope reservoir was lively on the water with Teal, Goldeneye, Goosander etc whilst there was a touch of spring in the air with the first returning Curlews and Oystercatchers.
                                        A massive flock of over 200 Lapwings kept blasting off and relanding in the Shay fields below Soil Hill.
                                        The last few days I,ve been getting fuzzy, soft images which I put down to the weather and bad lighting. I,ve even tried swopping lenses which made no difference. Attempting to take flying Curlews over the reservoir today the focusing packed up all together so it will have to go for repair if ever the shops open again. Probably worn it out with an average of 300 pics a day. Back to the old Canon 7d mk1 tomorrow with its very slow auto focus.
                                          As I left Oxenhope, CK was on his way for the second shift which proved a good move for him as an Iceland gull dropped in along with some more gulls. 
                                          After a lot of  exchanging of messages and photos yesterday between AC, KM, MP , MC and myself via the Bird News and Alert group we have confirmed there are 3, possibly 4 Iceland gulls in the area between Thornton, Blackmoor Foot, Redcar Tarn and now Oxenhope which has got to be the best year ever for this species in our area. There is also at least 2 Med gulls around as well as a Caspian.

Oxenhope reservoir, (BOG members only.) 
8 Curlew
2 Oystercatcher
3m 4f Goldeneye
4 Teal
6m 7f Goosander
23 Canada
sev Mallard
c 200 Lapwing
+ usual sp.