Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Birding Review of 2014

 Well we've had another good years birding with several new species seen along with many of our old favourites.We were pleased to get passed the 100 species mark again in the local BOG area with some good additions on our Nature Reserve visits, or coastal outings. We've once again put some of our highlights in to a top ten birds list.Looking forward to another exciting birding year in 2015, hope
you all have a Happy New Year.
10. Sedge Warbler
 We were lucky enough to see a local Sedge Warbler at Redcar Tarn this year but on a trip to Leighton Moss back in May my dad got this great picture.He was walking to the first hide through the Reeds with birds flitting about to his left but the sun was behind them. This bird showed to his right  with the sun on it making conditions just right for the picture below.
Sedge Warbler
9. Stonechat
 Back in July we were heading to see a bird reported at Fly Flatts when we saw a couple of Stonechats & were able to get this picture of the male as a welcome bonus.
8. Brambling
 A late entry into our top ten as we saw a flock of Chaffinch & Brambling At Redcar Tarn on Christmas Eve & were able to get a decent snap of this Winter visitor.
7. Willow Tit
 Whilst I was in Mansfield going through my grading for a Black belt in Taekwondo in early November my dad paid a trip to Carsington Water in Derbyshire.It was here whilst watching birds visiting a bird table that he saw Willow Tits, a rarely seen bird locally.
Willow Tit
6. Kingfisher
 This wonderful little bird has consistently made my top tens over the last four years while we have been out & about birding & blogging about our sightings.We have managed to get pictures of them each year which have improved with better cameras as we progress.This bird was pictured in late November at the edge of the canal on a visit to Dowley Gap.
5. Purple Sandpiper
 Back in April we had a family outing to Bridlington on the Yorkshire East coast whilst there the bird life was noted with Turnstones being there in good numbers.As we looked at the edge of the sea as the tide was going out there were a couple of small birds one was on a post.We took a few snaps thinking they were probably Dunlin & posted our report on our return.Thankfully we have always had good support from our fellow birders & bloggers, on this occasion NK who does the Birdbrain blog informed us we had a Purple Sandpiper. Thanks to him we had a lifer & it shows the importance of getting those snaps whenever you can, particularly if your unsure of an ID.
Purple Sandpiper
4. Great White Egret
 It was on another visit to Leighton Moss the RSPB reserve near Morecambe in August that we saw a rare visitor to the North of England in the form of a Great White Egret, another lifer.
Great White Egret
3. Great Northern Diver
 In July a Great Northern Diver was found by NK at Fly Flatts, a day or so later we had the chance to get up there & see it for ourselves just before it departed, another lifer.Recently we have all been treated to another GND at Mixenden reservoir & again we were able to see this bird.The bird pictured is at Fly Flatts.
Great Northern Diver
2. Red Breasted Merganser
 In October my dad paid a routine visit to Redcar Tarn, as he was walking round he bumped in to a fellow BOG birder who told him a juvenile Red Breasted Merganser was with the Goosanders.He was able to pick this out with its longer & thinner bill & get some snaps.
Red Breasted Merganser
1. Grasshopper Warbler
 Back in May my dad paid a visit to Denholme Clough which is fairly close to us.It was here that he saw a bird you normally only hear reeling in the long grass, he also managed this wonderful snap making it my number one for 2014.
Grasshopper Warbler

Monday, 29 December 2014

Ogden Water

Monday 29th December a.m.
 My dad had some shopping to do in Halifax and on his way back decided to have a walk round Ogden Water, here is his report.
 Another sub zero night with a deep frost this morning making conditions difficult,the car park at Ogden was bottle ice, the temperature just 1°C.As I walked across the car park I saw one chaps legs go from under him & fall on his backside,he was all right but a reminder of how much care was needed to keep up right.Still there were plenty of people about walking their dogs & some out with young children enjoying the Winter sunshine.
 So to the birds starting at the promenade there were Mallards,BH & Common Gulls & at the top end of the reservoir I could see a drake Goldeneye. I headed off to do a lap of the reservoir seeing Robins on the way then nearing the top end a bird was in a tree.I thought Kestrel, as I walked round to it I was surprised to see it still there, it was eating its breakfast, possibly a pigeon.By now the
Goldeneye was heading along the opposite bank, the top pond had a few Mallards on it & was looking very picturesque.I headed up to the Duck feeding area getting chance of a picture or two of Robins & Dunnock.The Goldeneye of course was now on the opposite bank, but then it headed into the middle & towards my bank so a quick back track & I managed a couple of pictures before it was off again.Then it was off to the bird feeders by the shop where I saw Nuthatch,Coal Tit,Blue Tit & Great Tit before braving the bottle ice in the car park & off home for dinner.N.P.



Kestrel with something in its claws


Top pond looking a picture

Ogden Water 29/12/2014

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Winter Walk

Saturday 27th December a.m.
 Some snow arrived yesterday evening & a keen frost leaving icy conditions with the temperature staying around zero all day.My first job was to clear the snow off our bird feeders then de-ice them
& top them up for the birds who will be struggling for food in these icy conditions.Through the day we had visits from Bullfinch,Greenfinch,Goldfinch,Chaffinch,Coal Tits & unusually Starlings with the unwelcome visits from Jackdaws & Grey Squirrels.
 Despite the cold it has been a bright sunny day so we set off on a walk around the surrounding countryside of the village.Not too much to report on the bird front the highlights being a Sparrowhawk & a flock of Redwings. Here are some of the snaps we took on our Winter Walk along
with a couple of garden visitors.


Grey Squirrel


Hallas Beck

Hewenden Viaduct

Cullingworth & Surrounding Countryside

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Redcar Tarn

Wednesday 24th December p.m.
 A better day than of late with some sunshine & occasional shower but feeling bitterly cold with the strong wind up at Redcar Tarn although 5°C.The Tarn held the usual species in good numbers & walking round we added Robin & Wren.In the field opposite the car park was a mixture of BH Gulls,Lapwings & Starlings which moved around as something lifted them, on one of these times we saw a Kestrel fly past.In the far corner of the field we saw some small birds flitting around under some trees so decided to go see what they were.A short walk along Tarn Lane took us to the spot where we could see there were a number of Chaffinch.We spent some time watching them as they moved around hoping to see a different bird amongst them, after a while success when we started to see a few Brambling.A real treat to see these birds among the Chaffinch flock & the first time I've actually seen them, worth getting frozen for.
 Merry Christmas to everyone! 

Redcar Tarn List

male Brambling



male Chaffinch

Redcar Tarn 24/12/2014

A real treat to see Brambling