WEST YORKSHIRE BIRDING

BRIAN SUMNER.
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KEEPING BIRDING LOCAL.

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NOTE !!
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.
BS




Friday, December 31, 2021

The last dabble this year, Leeshaw/ Mixenden.

 

LEESHAW                 Plenty water down the overflow
                                          Good count here of 32 Mallard
                                          A good move of Herrings through >W
                                        Mostly first and second winter









MIXENDEN                               2 male 3 female Goldeneye present
                                                      female
                                                     Male
                                              Only 3 Herring gull present













A very dark miserable morning at Leeshaw with light drizzle on a moderate WSW>4 at 11 degrees.
                                              Just a single Cormorant and a count of 32 Mallard on the water until Herring gulls started coming through, all landing on the water briefly before moving off >W. The majority of the gulls were 1st winters with a few 2nd winters and just 1 adult giving a total of 47.
                                   A poor count of small gulls today with around 50 on the water and none located in the local fields. Several Fieldfare and Redwings were moving around the local fields and hedges.
                                    Mid afternoon was much brighter with broken cloud and sunshine with a light W>3 at 12 degrees on arrival at Mixenden reservoir.
                                     Good to see Goldeneye numbers building at last with 2m and 3f on the water but very flighty with plenty disturbance on the banking which is usual at this location in decent weather. At least it gave me an opportunity for some flight shots as they kept moving from one end of the reservoir to the other.
                  Apart from the Goldeneye there was just a single Cormorant on the waterand a low count of small gulls along with 2 2nd winter and a 1st winter Herring gull.
                  The reservoir was well checked again today with DJS in the morning, NK midday and myself mid afternoon till last light, all still hoping the Smew will make a return appearance.
                  Looking back at records from the days when we used to get regular Smew with up to 5 together at Knotford Nook and Otley Gravel Pits in the 80s and 90s these birds usually stayed around for several weeks and months between November and March, sometime moving from one site to another and were nearly always found where Goosander were present.
                 With a good Goosander roost at TMR and Goosander found at several locations I believe there is still chance of the bird, or birds, being local. Cold Edge Dams could be a good spot for it to turn up. See what 2022 provides us with.
                           WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY AND BIRDY NEW YEAR.
BS

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Mixenden in the rain. p.m.

 

                                               Distant female Goldeneye
                                            Just the one remaining today.

                                                2 pair Mallard present

A wild morning up on the tops with a near gale SW>7 and heavy rain.  A mid afternoon visit to Mixenden found the wind down to SW>3 but very dark skies and rain throughout at 11 degrees.
                                      Down to just 1 female Goldeneye today along with 2 pair of Mallard and 2 Moorhen on the water whilst gull numbers were well down with around 60 small gulls.
                                  The west bank waterside trees held at least 8 Goldcrest and 2 Treecreepers  moving along the waters edge in very dark conditions but otherwise all was quiet.
                                      A report has been put on Birdguides today stating that the red head Smew was still present on Mixenden today. This I believe to be a mis identification for the female Goldeneye as the reservoir has been watched today by DJS this morning and myself  mid afternoon till last light.
BS

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Back to Mixenden am./pm.

 

                           The new out gull bible dropped through the letter box today.

                 Full of useful comparison pages which lots on hybrids and 1st winters.
Mixenden                                     Two pair of Goldeneye present                                                                                             


                                                                     male
                                                             female

                                                    Just 3 Herring gull present

An horrendous morning at Mixenden early doors with fog rolling in along with heavy rain on a light S>2.  
       Well done to the lads that turned up at first light and early morn to see if  yesterdays Smew was still present, which as expected, it was,nt. All was not in vain though with 2 pair of Goldeneye on the water as well as a Cormorant and a good count of gulls. A walk around the water failed to turn anything else up until eventually the fog made it unworkable.
                 A second visit mid afternoon found it clear with a few bright spells on a W>4 which was well sheltered compared to the near gale force W>7 at Queensbury.
The same birds were present as this morning but a lower count of gulls with around 80 small gulls, 3 Herring and a single LBB.
                 Thanks to the crew that braved the elements this morning on yet another Mixenden twitch,
Dave Sutcliffe, Dave Franz, Pete Grba, Nigel Kerwin and Mark Pearson.
BS.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Back to birding with a bang. Mixenden. Common Scoter then a super mega, Smew

 

                                                Noisy Raven over >W
                                           1 of  3 Goosander
                      The black blob on the water turned out to be a drake Common Scoter.
                                                 Female Goosander

                                             Drake Common Scoter.










                                    Sunshine at last over Soil Hill.
                                            A mega dropped in last light, female or juv Smew

                                           Photos taken full length of reservoir.












Another very wet and foggy morning but the fog cleared by midday and dried up leaving it a dark but dry afternoon on a W>3 at 8 degrees.
                                      After our usual midday outing I was pleased to get out after 5 days weather lock down so headed for Mixenden reservoir with the hopes of the fog holding something down.
                                  First impressions were disappointing with only a few small gulls on the water but 2 male and 1 female Goosander started to raise my hopes. I then spotted a black dot in the middle of the water but being pessimistic I thought probably Tufted but worth investigating.
                               I didnt have to walk far on the banking before identifying it as a drake Common Scoter, a good bird for this location, things were looking up. A couple of laps of the water to get some half decent shots though distant and poor light I headed out of the grounds satisfied at my hours birding.
                         A last check of the water got a noisy Raven overhead going in the direction of Slaughter Gap whilst the 3 Goosander  and Scoter were still present. 
                          A double check of the Goosanders found that a small Grebe type duck was in with them but over at the far end of the water and with time and light rapidly running out I took some pics without thinking too much about it.
                            Back in the car I checked the photos briefly and knew I was onto something special with Slav, Black necked and Red necked grebe in mind but when I dropped the photos onto the computer I was gob smacked to see a female Smew. A photo and text to MC confirmed it could be either a female or a juv of either sex depending on the colour of its lores.
                         A very rare species for this area and my first for around over 40 years when they used to turn up fairly regular in winter at Knotford Nook.
Hopefully it will stay around but thats a bit of a long shot.
BS