Monday, 30 December 2013

Birding Review of 2013

  We have enjoyed a good year birding in 2013 with many first sightings of new species
for us & plenty old favourites seen again.In the local BOG area we managed to see more
than a 100 different species for the first time along with a good number on our Nature
Reserve visits out of the area.
  The year started wonderfully well when on January 5th we visited Leeshaw reservoir &
found 35 Barnacle Geese on the water.Soon after we stretched our wings & went to the
RSPB reserve at Hodbarrow where we saw Red-breasted Mergansers for the first time.
  On Feb 3rd we visited Knotford Nook after seeing reports of a visiting bird, here we got
another first when we saw the Slavonian Grebe for ourselves.
 Things warmed up well in April as the migration season was upon us & we were able to
catch up with the Wheaters coming through at Leeshaw & Paul Clough, here we also had
another first when we saw a couple of Stonechats.
  Moving into June we joined fellow BOG members on a walk through the washburn valley
& seeing several Redstarts & Pied Flycatchers for the first time.Later  in August we also saw
a Redstart on nearby Harden Moor, we also saw a Garden Warbler here which B.S. gave us
the ID for from our pictures.
 On another walk on August 25th we saw a couple of Ravens fly over near Doe Park reservoir
with Ringed Plover & Teal at the reservoir.On a visit to Leighton Moss in late September we saw
a Curlew Sandpiper & Bearded Tits or Readlings for the first time.
  In November we got good views & some snaps of a Water Rail at the BOG members reserve at
Stocksbridge.Also on Nov 16th after following local reports we saw a pair of Common Scoters at
Mixenden Reservoir yet another first.Also in November we were able to see good numbers of
Golden Plover with the lapwing flock at Redcar Tarn.
  More recently we have been seeing the return of Redwing & Fieldfare, with Kingfishers showing
well  at Dowley Gap & even getting a winter Chiffchaff just yesterday.
 There have been many highlights in 2013 we have mentioned just a few above, below we have put
together our top ten, which can be looked at in many ways but its just a bit of fun.
 We now look forward to a 2014 where we hopefully will see a few more firsts a see all the old
favorites.Happy New Year to all that read & contribute to the blog & enjoy your birding.
10. Peregrine - Seen several times this year at an undisclosed location.
Peregrine Falcon
 9. Nuthatch - Seen at Leighton Moss of a bird usually seen in tree tops or on feeders,good picture
                     with a great back drop.
Nuthatch 23/4/2013
8. Bearded Tit - Seen at Leighton Moss, very restricted habitat of Reed beds near water, finally seen
                         after several attempts on the grit trays.
Bearded Tit 29/9/2013
7. Golden Plover - Redcar Tarn with the Lapwing flock only seen once this year & managed to get
                            close enough for some decent snaps.
Golden Plover 23/11/2013
6. Common Tern - Yeadon Tarn, this bird has appeared here for the last couple of years, pleased to
                            see it & get a snap.
Common Tern 7/7/2013
 5. Little Owl - Leeshaw, we don't see many owls in our area but the Little Owl can be seen usually
                      on walls, this one moved to a fence post giving a great view & snap.
Little Owl 27/7/2013
4. Water Rail - Stocksbridge NR, this BOG members only reserve came up trumps when we saw the
                      elusive water rail & got a few snaps.
Water Rail 2/11/2013
3. Waxwing - Cullingworth, last winter there were many reports of Waxwings throughout the country &
                     in the BOG area we thought we had missed the boat.Then in April right on our door step
                     my dad saw a flock of 13 birds.Hastily going back home for his camera he was able to
                     get some great snaps of the wonderful Waxwings.
Waxwing 21/4/2013
 2. Kingfisher - Dowley Gap, usually when we see this bird its just a blue flash but on this occasion it
                      stayed perched on a branch in the canal with good light long enough for several snaps.
Kingfisher 1/12/2013
 1. Common Sandpiper - Leeming reservoir, its always good to see these birds return in early summer,
                                      on this occasion there was a pair of birds with one displaying which we managed
                                      to capture in this picture.
Common Sandpiper 11/5/2013

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Dowley Gap

Sunday 29th December a.m.
 Another dull start to the day with some light rain but it soon brightened up & out came the
sun, our start temperature at Dowley Gap near Bingley was 5°C.As soon as we got out of
the car the first bird we spotted was a male Pheasant which soon disappeared into the
brambles at the other side of the field.It was good to see the Redwings here again before we
went along the canal side seeing Mallards on the water & a distant view of a Kingfisher.
 We turned back towards the road bridge seeing a Jay foraging for food in the trees as we
went.As we came to the locks a male Goosander flew low over the locks & landed on the
canal in front of us giving some good views & snaps.As we were taking these a female
Kingfisher landed on a branch just long enough for one snap before she was on her way.
 At the water works we saw a few Grey Wagtails but there were c50 Pied Wagtails plus
the usual BH Gulls.We went across the Aqueduct into Hirst Wood seeing a Nuthatch with 
a few more Mallards on the River Aire.Coming back across the Aqueduct we saw another
Jay & a pair of Long-tailed Tits, then we headed along the track running along side the water
works.It was here we spotted a small bird up ahead in the grass next to a building,through the
binoculars we could see to our surprise a Chiffchaff! We moved a little closer to get some snaps,
it then moved higher onto a window ledge giving a much better view & of course a few snaps
to share with you.This rounded off a great mornings birding with good weather & plenty of
exercise to walk off some of that Christmas food.

female Kingfisher

male Goosander



LT Tit

Chiffchaff showing above the grass

male Goosander made a brief appearance

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Redcar Tarn

Saturday 28th December a.m.
After a dull rainy start to the day we had some bright spells with sunshine and a temperature
of 3.5°C on our arrival at Redcar Tarn.Here the usual birds were on the water with the
Lapwing flock increasing in number in the surrounding fields.As we walked round it was good
to see Robin,Chaffinch,Dunnock & Goldfinch in the hedges around the Tarn footpath.
c150 - BH Gull
9 - Canadas
4 - Chaffinch
9 - Common Gull
15 - Coot
1 - Dunnock
3 - Goldfinch
c300 - Lapwing
2 - LBB Gull
c100 - Mallard
7 - Muscovy Duck
2 - Pied Wag
1 - Robin
c50 - Starling
6 - Tufted
plus others




Common Gull

LBB Gull

Tufted Duck

Lapwings with BH Gulls

Redcar Tarn

Lapwings & Gulls in surrounding fields

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dowley Gap

Sunday 22nd December a.m
 A bit more sunshine this morning with a temperature of 4.5°C on our arrival at Dowley Gap.
Some good birds again by the parking area with Chaffinch & some good views of Redwings.
It was quiet along the canal with just Mallards on the water a blue flash of a Kingfisher which we
didn't re-locate & there was a distant Jay.At the water works there were good numbers of BH
Gulls,Pied Wags & we spotted just one Grey Wag before heading back seeing a couple of
Robins along the way.



several Redwing were feeding on the ground

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Redcar Tarn

Saturday 21st December a.m.
 After the earlier excitement we headed for Redcar Tarn, as we approached we could see
Black sky arriving then spots on the windscreen soon turned in to a down pour, the
temperature was 8.5°C.Fortunately it soon passed over allowing us a quick walk round the
Tarn seeing the usual species.We spotted a Coot with a white leg ring with the code A3F in black.
c150 - BH Gull
3 - Canadas
6 - Common Gull
13 - Coot
186 - Lapwing
c75 - Mallard
7 - Muscovy Duck
2 - LBB Gull 1st Winter
1 - Pied Wagtail
c150 - Starling
6 - Tufted Duck
plus others
male Tufted Duck


Lapwing & Starlings

Coot with A3F ring

LBB Gull 1st Winter

Redcar Tarn surrounding field

Redcar Tarn