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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back ,but not with a bang

                    This was the fly situation at Jammy Fold

              1 of 5 moulting Robins below Ned Hill track
     3 Wheatear in the same area, very distant

                 50 + Swallows on wires, Syke Lane

No birding or blog yesterday due to me volunteering to take daughter Rachel to Calderdale hospital for a post baby check, bad move. We arrived for appointment at 1700 hours and arrived home at 2300 hours after two 15 minutes examinations and over five hours waiting in between to see the doctor.

Just over 1 hours birding today, mainly on a migrant search, was very hard work, only managing to scrat a handful of birds together at 3 locations.

Jammy Fold provided a Spotted Flycatcher briefly in the same place as last years 2 but the bird disappeared into a garden not to be re located. Also present were 6 Blackbirds, 2 Robins, 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers.

Ned Hill track held, 1 Whitethroat, 5 very tatty Robins along with 3 Wheatear way down below the track whilst a Swift and several Swallows headed >SW through the col.

Ogden was heaving with public even at 1900 hrs, mainly undesirables, so a quick check of the water for Scoter and the skies for Osprey and that was it with just the usual sp.

Around 50 Swallows were on wires along Syke Lane which coincides with a good vis mig of them over the last 2 days with a steady flow throughout the day all >SW.
Hopefully this hot sticky weather will do the same as the Swallows and move off >SW so we can get back to normal.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ogden , pm visit.

                        1 Cormorant over very high and >E

With little spare time today it was down to an evening visit to Ogden which was a real mud bath after the recent heavy rain.
2 Cormorants were on the water along with an ad Gt Crested Grebe keeping across to the far NW corner.  A single moving Cormorant went overhead very high and >E.
Gulls were few with 4 LBBs, 38 BHGs and 2 Common gull with a steady flow of LBBs over heading >N probably to Oxenhope.
                                          Just 1 Willow Warbler in passerine alley otherwise quiet on the passerine  scene other than the usual Dunnocks, Wrens and Blackbirds.
A quick check on the golf course found at least 4 Wheatear around the green, part way up the Withins track obviously moving through.
Plenty Swallows but no Swifts for a few days now.
                                                      Many thanks to Mick Cunningham for his interest in the blog and dedication to birding when he  asked me to e mail him gull photos from yesterdays Oxenhope report as there was one gull he was interested in.
He returned 1 photo this evening with a gull marked as a possible Caspian and the reason why but unfortunately with lack of some details on the photo it was impossible to give a definite thumbs up.
Thanks for your efforts Mick.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Med gull at last, Oxenhope, members only.

                                     Gulls galore

               Well in excess of 1000 gulls

         Pick a Caspian out of those Mick.
  Cormorants on the shore
    and in the air, an unusual visitor to Oxenhope

Oxenhope  1445-1615 hrs Bright and breezy. WNW>5, light showers, good visibility

An amazing show of gulls this afternoon with well in excess of 1000 birds, 75% being LBBs, the others BHGs with only 9 Herring gulls but no Yellow Legs.
Surprisingly yesterdays Ruff was still present but keeping in the shelter of the spit in the SW corner.
The Ringed Plover and Dunlin were still by the back ponds, which are now well topped up after last nights rain, but no sign of the LRPs.
                                                            The gulls were very nervy today even though I never saw anything to spook them but every 15 minutes the whole shebang would lift up in the air making a breathtaking sight as they circled around to land back on the water before they returned to the shore.
It was after one of these time when the gulls were on the water that I picked out a 2nd year Mediterranean gull in amongst the Black Headeds with possibly a second bird but this was a juv so not certain on that one.
During a rain shower 5 Cormorants dropped onto the shoreline , an unusual bird for here, and after about 15 minutes preening 4 headed off >NE with the 5th bird gone but that must have moved in a different direction.

A text from MC, Hudds, whilst I was up there telling me he had Osprey and Marsh Harrier over as well as Common Scoter and Black Tailed Godwit on the local res. Nice one Mick.
Its all happening now.

Leeshaw/Fly Flatts, and how it rained !

 The bird in the centre, not the flying one,
looked good for Whinchat but beyond
bins vision and too wet for scope so
took a couple of zoomed in shots and
lo and behold it is a Whinchat.

                5 Wheatear at distance , Fly Flatts.

Leeshaw 0730-0900 hrs.  Clear but windy start then torrential rain by 0845 hrs.

Just 2 birds on the water  as I arrived, one being the Yellow Legged Herring gull and the other a Cormorant which swallowed a massive Trout whole.
78 Canadas were in the field along with 2 Greylag whilst a few LBB gulls flew overhead.
Lots of passerines feeding on the weed and thistle tops, mainly Linnets, Goldfinch and Meadow Pipits but 1 bird stood out as being Whinchat looking but too far away on the banking to i.d. it through the bins. Took some shots on full zoom then went to the car to get the scope out but thats when the heavens opened so end of play. When I put the shots on the computer I was pleased to see my first Whinchat of the year.
A very wet drive over to Fly Flatts where the torrential rain never ceased but managed to check the water which was void of birds and picked up 5 Wheatears at distance on the wall tops.
Nice to meet BV at Leeshaw.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Back to wader watch, Oxenhope, members only

   Mega out of range Ruff, probable female/juv Reeve type

        All above, Canon 420mm SLR

       All above Canon Bridge 50x.
                          Eck, here comes the rain
   Sandwich time till the storm passes over

With a text this morning from KM reporting another Ruff and Ringed Plover at Oxenhope showing the wader movement was getting into full swing so it was a late afternoon visit up there.
Once again the weather was atrocious for humans but good for birds with heavy drizzle in amongst torrential rain showers blown in on a WSW>6.
I managed to scope from outside the hide today which is much easier and the building sheltered most of the wind although I had to keep abandoning the watch and rush all the gear inside whilst the heaviest of the showers passed over.
There were a lot fewer gulls at the start with around 500 plus but this doubled to near on 1000 by the time I left and they were still coming in thick and fast.
                                                         A fresh batch of waders had arrived overnight with KMs Ruff working the shoreline whilst 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin were on the ponds. On the walk back along the banking a final scope of the north shoreline produced KMs Ringed Plover.
As MC said in a text, watch for Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper in these winds, we live in hopes. Its probably 20 years ago since Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper were up there along with regular Greenshank and Green Sandpiper.
As usual with waders , the 3 Turnstones from yesterday had moved on.

c 300 LBB gull building to c600
c 200 BHG gull building to c400
14 Herring gulls inc 1 3rd summer and 1 adult Yellow Legged
2 juv Pied Wags
1ad Grey Wag
3 f Goosander
143 Lapwing
2 Little Ringed Plover
1 Ringed Plover
1 Ruff
1 Dunlin
+ usual sp.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wind, rain and mist, perfect stuff for the reservoirs. Oxenhope reservoir, members only.

  Mega distance shot in torrential rain and mist
  Taken with Canon bridge camera 50 x.
                               3 on the waters edge

Midday and Queensbury was shrouded in thick fog but by the time we got back from shopping duties the heavy rain and SW wind had closed in lifting the fog into a low mist cloud.
As any birder knows, this is the stuff required for movement around the reservoirs so it was head for Oxenhope reservoir.
On arrival the cloud base was low but enough visibility to scope the far shore although the rain was now torrential and by the time I,d got on to the hide I was dripping.
Gulls were plentiful with around 400 LBBs, 200 BH gulls and 19 Herring gull, 2 of which were adult Yellow Legged.
As I checked through the Black Headeds for Med gull, which was near impossible in the conditions,
3 small waders flew across the vision of the scope with wing bars , a bright white flash up their backs and bright orange legs which straight away put them as Turnstone.
                                              After about 15 minutes the trio returned settling opposite the hide to preen in the waters edge briefly before dashing around the shore in amongst the gulls. The birds were very mobile flying from one end of the res to the other but always returning to the same spot . They were still present as I left.
Another soaking walking along the banking back to the car but that failed to take the smile off my face.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Oxenhope Reservoir,( members only,) and a Queensbury Buzzard.

                The best shoreline for around 10 years

       If we dont get waders this year we never will.
  The lads out in force Keith Moir, Brian Vickers.
               A Foxhill Buzzard heading >S

Arrived at Oxenhope res at 1500 hrs to find it like old times with KM and BV up on the banking raking through the c600 gulls.
As expected CKs Black Tailed Godwit had moved on which is normal here for waders, the problem being, with such a vast number of gulls, which are spooked easily, the whole flock regularly take to the air with any waders lifting off with them. The majority of gulls usually fly around before landing back on the water then returning to shore whereas the waders usually keep going.
                                                        Unfortunately , just before I arrived, a Med gull which was being watched by Keith lifted up with the gulls not to be re located. Likewise , the Lapwing flock were spooked and as they flew Keith picked out a wader amongst them which was probably a female Ruff going by its size and trailing legs but instead of circling and relanding the flock flew off returning 30 minutes later minus the wader.
                                                So that was a good start for me with 2 birds just missed but still a good session scoping through the crowds of BH gulls for the Med and sifting through a record count of 51 Herring gulls for Yellow Legged and Caspian.  No Caspian but a cracking ad Yellow Legged along with a 3rd summer bird. As Keith remarked, who would have ever thought that Yellow Legged Herring gulls would be commoner than Gt Black Backed.
Brian Vickers says Whinchats and Wheatears are on the move with several sightings around the area.

Back home and a dog walk up Foxhill park produced a very high Buzzard heading >S over the mill towards Northowram so a quick alert to NK and AC who were in the line of fire and just chance of one record shot before it was into the glare of the sun and out of site. Once again, carrying the bridge camera everywhere in my pocket proved worthwhile.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hunting the migrants, Bradshaw

             Jammy Fold was alive with Willow Warblers

A late afternoon check on the Blind Lane site to try pick up the pair of Redstarts proved a no go with horses being trained in the paddock where the birds favour so back for tea then a mid evening check again but from the other side of the hedge this time scanning from the roadside but nothing doing.
                                                     Up to Taylor Lane for an hours walk about looking for Cuckoo and Spotted Flycatcher in last years sites but a double dip.
A good coat of looking at down the track at Jammy Fold found it alive with Willow Warblers with at least 8 counted , mainly in the top quarter,
along with 20+ Goldfinch, 5 Linnet, 4m Blackbirds, 1 juv Blackbird, 2 Mistle Thrush and a Greenfinch.
A Grey Wagtail was in the horse field, an area I always say is potential for Yellow Wag.
This area has got to pick up some migrants in the next few weeks.

Just as I arrived home a text from CK reporting a Black Tailed Godwit at Oxenhope res, hope it stays till tomorrow tea time which is highly unlikely.

2 Swifts over Crow Point today motoring SW in migration mode.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NKs Bradshaw Redstart hunt.

      No, this isnt a Redstart but I had to do something
                        whilst I was waiting.
                         Thanks to the Wren for keeping me entertained.

Early evening and off to Blind Lane, Bradshaw to seek out NKs earlier sighting of a Redstart.
Once I was in the immediate area a phone call to Nigel for final instructions where I was only 20 yds away from the birds last position. Nigel directed me to the area and said look across into the edge of the garden which I did and to our amazement there it was, how did you do that Nigel ?
By the time I put the phone and bins down to raise the camera it flicked just around the corner out of sight.
From here it all went pear shaped with a chain of events which stopped me getting the shot I was after.
Twenty minutes wait and just as a lady with her 2 Grandsons was coming to see what I was looking for the Redstart appeared in the same spot. Hello she shouted, goodbye the Redstart shouted back again flicking out of sight.
When she had gone another 15 minutes wait and the bird came partially into view just as a man with a barking dog arrived , exit the Redstart again.
With the sun now going down I thought I,ll just give it another 15 minutes when the lady and boys reappeared armed with a bird book for me to show them the bird.
With that it was enough is enough and head for home.

The sting in the tail is, when I got home and read NKs blog he reported a female Redstart whereas mine was a male with still the full black head and grey back but a very blotchy red breast in partial moult.
Well spotted to Nigel in a very unusual place for a Redstart and thanks for the call.