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Friday, November 17, 2017

Fly Flatts, playing ball again.

                                              Peregrine way over the moor

                                             Harassed by Raven

                                    3  Pink Footed Geese over

                                 still plenty Stonechat present

                                          resident Kestrel
        Cold Edge Dams  78 Canada, 2 Barnacle, 2 Greylag.

A couple of hours to spend whilst the dogs were getting their make overs at the groomers so arrived at Fly Flatts at 1300 hrs greeted by an icy cold WNW>5 and 80 % cloud cover which later reduced to 40 % as the sun appeared.
                                           After dipping the last few trips it finally came back round to my turn for birds with things much livelier up there despite the strong wind. Buzzards were the first birds of note with 2 well out over the moor slowly drifting >SW. This sighting was quickly followed by a Peregrine high and distant then dropping over the moor to the NW with a Raven very agitated nearby.
                                                                        Sky watching from the NW corner of the water picked up 3 grey geese well out to the SE heading west and very high. After 2 minutes getting the camera onto the tripod the birds had disappeared from sight but luckily, after diverting in a giant arc , re appeared over the Nab and again heading west in my direction. The 3 , which turned out to be Pinkies and not Bean goose as I had hoped, kept high but flew directly over the top of me and I found out why bird photographer Arthur Morris says you should always use a Gimbal head on your tripod as my camera wouldnt tilt vertical enough to get them overhead using a standard Manfrotto swivel head.
                                                                  The 3 Pinkies dropped over the west ridge and were picked up by Pete Grba as they landed on Withens Clough.
Down by the feeding station at least 5 Stonechat and a single Reed Bunting were present.
                                                                    With about 15 minutes spare before picking the dogs up I dropped in at Cold Edge to check the goose field which produced 78 Canadas, 2 Barnacle and 2 Greylag.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Fly Flatts pilgrimage continues.

 The conduit always gets checked for Rock Pipit at this time of year.
                                 Clear skies over the wind farm
            Looking back from the west bank
                                         Last light.

        Goodness gracious great balls of fire.

Being a glutten for punishment I arrived at Fly Flatts once again at 1500 hrs with clear blue skies having only 10 % cloud cover and a cold NW>5. A real struggle with the light now giving me just about 1 hour before shut down. Another week and Fly Flatts will be restricted to Sunday mornings and any free afternoon and it will be down to a quick check of Ogden.
                                                           Yesterdays female Tufted had moved on leaving 17 Mallards out on the water along with 9 BH gulls. A Peregrine flew low way out over the moor closely pursued by 3 Raven and scattering several Red Grouse.
The resident Kestrel was over the Nab whilst a steady flow of Black Headed gulls headed >NE . Down by the water 2 Meadow Pipits were busy feeding, the first I ve had for a couple of weeks. Possibly late movers or over winter visitors. A Wren was near the boathouse which was unusual for this location.
                    So another quiet visit bringing me one step nearer to another Mega sighting and theres always the stunning sunset to watch from the west bank in near dark.
A free afternoon tomorrow whilst all 3 dogs get groomed although early afternoon visits dont usually do me any favours, watch this space.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Snipe are back on the Flood and a quiet spell at Fly Flatts.

                                Nearly impossible to see the Snipe
                                           5 in the edge of the mud
                                3 in LH rushes  4 centre  1 RH.  honest
      Dont worry if you cant see them all, I cant and I know where they are.
                                                 Looked ok well blown up.
                                          3 hidden in the rushes
                                         Nice female Tufted visiting Fly Flatts

1500 hrs and a real pleasant walk along the banking at Fly Flatts in a mild S>2-3 and 100 % cloud cover. The water was rippled slightly at the south end but otherwise like a mirror reflecting the clouds and Nab.
             Nothing special showing but much livelier than my last visit with 15 Mallards on the water as well as a newcomer, female Tufted which is a rarity for here silly as it sounds.  Birders that don,t do upland reservoir watching will wonder why the excitement about a Tufted duck when the local parks are full of them but believe me, a Tufted duck on Fly Flatts, Mixenden or Ogden is a special bird to us Hill Billys.
                 The continuation of Herring gull movement ,that has been apparent throughout the day all >SW , was still going at last light with birds very high and in twos and threes with  around 18 over in the hour I was up there. Otherwise it was down to a few Black Headeds and around 12 Red Grouse which had to listen to their mates getting blasted away by saddos somewhere over the moor to the west.

On route to Fly Flatts I called at Raggalds Flood after a text from DW saying the Snipe were again showing  from yesterday. As I arrived DW was just walking up the hill away from the flood but scanning across the field there were no Snipe to be found and I was beginning to think they must have just left when a head appeared in the reedy left hand corner of the water.
                                                  Steadying the bins on the side of the car a careful scan found 5 and from several shots of the area later revealed the other 3 in reeds further left of the others.
If I had,nt been looking for the known Snipe Id have had a quick scan and said there was nothing present. Thanks once again to DW for the text.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Raggalds Flood strikes again, Snipe

                                       8 Snipe present on the Flood
           Naf photos in the fog and last light but gives you an idea
                                          of the scene.
                                                   All Commons.

After a text from DW reporting 8 Snipe on the Raggalds Flood I got up there late afternoon at 1530 hrs with the fog rolling in and light almost gone following a grim dark, dull day.
                                                           Luckily the Snipe were still present and out feeding in the grassy area but very difficult to see at the distance and in the conditions.
Probably 8 but possibly more hidden with the grass tussocks. A few poor record shots with the camera wide open trying to get some light in and a mega high ISO setting of 16000 which is as high as the camera goes.
Hopefully the group will remain or even increase in the area for winter. What an amazing field this really is.
Well found to DW and thanks for the text.

A quick dash over the hill to check the water at Ogden in near darkness to find around 300 pre roost small gulls on the water and a  single female Goosander.

Monday, November 13, 2017

What a difference the Nab makes. Fly Flatts.

 The Nab , dividing east from west.

                The Bumps, a continuation southwards of the Nab
                                  That looks like CK up on the top road busy scoping.

Yesterday afternoon I visited Sentry Hill on the east side of the Nab above Oxenhope reservoir and experienced the nightly occurrence of thousands of gulls and jackdaws going to roost as well as many ducks and geese and this was in poor weather with a near gale force icy wind.
All the birds seen were either coming from or going east.
                                                                     This afternoon I visited Fly Flatts in better conditions with 90 % cloud cover and hazy sunshine with a SW> 4 which seemed ideal . The time was just the same as yesterdays visit to Sentry Hill.
Sentry Hill is just half a mile away from Fly Flatts divided apart from each other by a high ridge running north to southwards, the North end being the Nab and the hillocks continuing south the Bumps.
The 1 hours birding at Fly Flatts produced 2 Black Headed gulls on the water and 3 Red Grouse and that was it. You could even hear the gulls on the Oxenhope roost just over the ridge.
                                                                What is it with this east west divide making birds reluctant to come over the ridge from the east to the west side. It is,nt shelter from the westerlies because its just the same scenario when a strong easterly is blowing and although gulls dont like the peaty water at Fly other birds also stick to the east. I ve had several mornings during vis mig when the skies were empty over me yet HC on the east side of the ridge had experience birds piling through including passerines.
I can,t knock Fly Flatts, a place I love and providing me with a species list of 110 over the years including some real special birds but it would be a lot livelier place if the Nab was,nt there.
Theres something for you to chew over.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sentry Hill, Oxenhope, Members Only.

       Silhouetted Mallard heading for the reservoir roost.

                  Thousands of Black Headed gulls in to roost
                                         As well as Commons
                                     Looking across to Ingleborough.
           Greylags in the setting sun pass over the Sacrifice Stones.

                  Masses of Jackdaws.

                                   Here come the gulls
                      The roost must be into 5 figure numbers by now

      Lesser Black Backs pile in with good numbers of Herring.
          Gulls and sunset over the Nab

           What a beautiful way to end a days birding.

1500 hrs and because it was getting late I settled for Ogden to check the water, BAD MISTAKE !
Ogden Lane was gridlocked with irate drivers trying to get in and out of the car park and more people than Blackpool front on a Wakes weekend. Get me out of here was my first thoughts so a quick reverse back to the main road and head North towards tranquility.
                                                                 Leeshaw was next on my mind but with the light fading and 20 minutes drive it seemed hardly worth it so a stop off at Sentry Hill which turned out to be one of my better moves. As I went through the gate and parked at HCs watch point gulls were already piling into the reservoir roost. The wind from the NW >5 was bitter even standing behind the car and I thought of HC standing there ever morning during the vis mig season in the cold winds, rain and even fog undeterred in order to get a count, a truly hardened vis migger, well done Comp.
                                                                      A quick dog walk down to the bottom of the hill and back got the blood flowing then back to the watch point for some serious scanning.
                                                                     I,ve never experienced as many birds together in 30 minutes of watching than I did tonight with gulls, large and small piling over continuous as well as Mallards, Greylag geese and corvids. At one point the sky overhead was literally black with Jackdaws heading to roost, possibly at Hewenden . As  the sun went down it was spectacular to see gulls passing through the bright orange sky passing the Nab and Sacrifice Stones to drop down onto the reservoir and Im sure Howard will get a similar sighting in the mornings at sunrise as the gulls leave for the fields.
                              An amazing last light session, something money can,t buy.