Thursday, 31 December 2015

Birding Review of 2015

Another birding year comes to a close with many old favourites seen and some new ones locally and indeed a few lifers both near & far.These include Snow Bunting,Whooper Swan,Ring Ouzel,SEO, Barn Owl,Green Sandpiper & Hen Harrier on the local front.Further afield we added Marsh Tit,Little Tern,Sandwich Tern and Black-necked Grebe.Some of these together with a number of old favourites we have put together for our top ten of the year.

Happy New Year for 2016, lets hope we have a good year for birding with some better weather conditions.

10. Dipper - This is one of my favourite birds always a joy to see it when your out birding, usually seen in fast flowing streams & rivers.The picture was taken back in January at Bolton Abbey which was also the location where I got my first view of the remarkable Dipper.
Dipper at Bolton Abbey 26/1/2015
9. Green Woodpecker - This is an elusive bird, which you are more likely to hear yaffling usually but we have been lucky enough to see them a number of times locally in 2015.This snap was taken near Hewenden Reservoir, the surrounding plants making for a good picture.
Green Woodpecker 11/7/2015
8. Redstart - This is a rare visitor to the local area these days with the most likely time to see them on passage in Spring & Autumn.This we managed to do a couple of times in Autumn with this picture taken on Harden Moor.
Redstart 17/8/2015
7. Marsh Tit - This bird we saw a couple of times this year on our visits to Leighton Moss, a bird requiring a special habitat such as the one found here.
Marsh Tit 11/9/2015
6. Little Ringed Plover - This little wader is again most likely to be seen on passage locally and we were delighted to see them a few times this year.The snap was taken at Redcar Tarn where a little pond over the road has proved to be a good birding spot although its days seem to be numbered.
Little Ringed Plover 15/6/2015
5. Cuckoo - This is another favourite & often the distinctive call is all that makes you aware of their presence.This bird was an early returning bird seen on Harden Moor back in April.
Cuckoo 16/4/2015
4. Hen Harrier - This is now a rare bird in England and indeed on the edge of extinction so it was good to see this young bird on Keighley Moor back in October.Lets hope the conservation efforts are successful and the numbers of Hen Harrier increase.
Hen Harrier 19/10/2015
3. Black-necked Grebe - This is a rare visitor to our region but Swillington Ings has been a good place to find them in recent years.This snap was taken during our first visit to this sight in early June.
Black-necked Grebe 1/6/2015
2. Snow Bunting - This bird is a Winter visitor found usually on the high ground of the area, one of its favourite spots being the renowned Soil Hill.A bird was found back in March this year so we braved the cold windy conditions up on the Hill to try & see a Snow Bunting for the first time. Eventually we found it & were delighted to get a few snaps.
Snow Bunting 14/3/2015
1. Whooper Swan - We got our first much sought after view of local Whooper Swans after seeing a report from B.S. that there were some at Mixenden Reservoir.A bit of an understatement, there were well over 200 a memorable sight a & clearly the highlight of our birding year.This is recorded further in our highlights pages.
Whooper Swans 22/3/2015

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Lister Park

Sunday 27th December a.m.
After the recent deluge of rain we started on a bright note with sunshine and a temperature of 6°C at Lister Park in Bradford.We started off with a circuit of the Lake seeing Canadas,Mallards,Tufted Ducks,Goosanders,Coots,Moorhen & a Mute Swan(Yellow Tag 201).Then a walk up by the stream in the wooded area produced Siskin,Blackbird & Robin.Then further over near he road we had Nuthatch,Coal Tit,LT Tit & a first for us here Goldcrests.It was good to get out in the morning sunshine, see some good birds and take a few snaps,lets hope the dreaded rain keeps away.


LT Tit


Tufted Duck


View of Lake


male Tufted Duck looking well in the sunshine

Canadas on the move

Lister Park 27/12/2015

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Yeadon Tarn & Knotford Nook

Sunday 20th December a.m.
 We started off at Yeadon Tarn where a dull start quickly brightened up as the sun came out giving a temperature of 9°C. From the car park we saw a charm of Goldfinch flitting about in the trees above us, then walking down to the Tarn we saw a solitary Redpoll at the seed heads as we did on our last visit to Redcar Tarn.On the water we saw GC Grebe,Goosander,Tufted Duck,Mute Swan & other common species.After a walk round the Tarn we decided to make the most of the sunny morning & go a few miles down the road to Knotford Nook.
 This is an area near Otley which has two lakes laying adjacent to the River Wharfe, the Lakes our now private & fenced off for the local fishing clubs.This used to be a favourite spot for local birder attracting a good variety of birds but in recent years has seen a decline.However it is still a place to see some birds, a couple of years ago a Slavonian Grebe was here which we managed to get over and see.This morning we walked along the road between the two Lakes which gives distant views of the birds through the hedges.We saw three drake Goldeneyes,Wigeon,Cormorant,GC Grebe,Tufted Duck,Goosander & c50 Lapwings fly over.We then walked back towards the car stopping at an opening in the trees for another scan of the Lake.We spotted a small bird on the water which was black & white with some feathers sticking up.What was this we asked ourselves? we ruled out male Tufted Duck,Goldeneye & Goosander so whats left?The bird seemed to be sleeping & did not lift its head making ID even more difficult but the only thing we could think of was a male Smew, have a look at the distant record snaps below & please let us know what you think?
Great Crested grebe


Common Gull

Mute Swan


Goldeneye-Knotford Nook

possible sleeping Smew?

head resting on its back

If only it would lift its head to have a look round

Mute Swans at Yeadon Tarn

sun catching this Goosander

Yeadon Tarn 20/12/2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Harold Park & Park Dam

Saturday 19th December a.m.
A cloudy dull start to the day with occasional drizzle but very mild at 14°C on our arrival at Harold Park where we headed for the Lake.Here the highlights were four Goosanders along with the resident Gt Crested Grebes, others included c80 Canadas.Many of the the Canadas left while we were here heading for the field near Park Dam where we caught up with them grazing later on.Other notables at Harold Park were Tufted Ducks,Collared Doves,House Sparrows,c30 Coots & Moorhens.
 Down the road at nearby Park Dam it was good to catch up with the four Little Grebes, others here were BH & Common Gulls,Coot,Moorhen,Tufted Ducks & Jackdaws.The field around the Lake had been spread with muck which attracted six Pied Wagtails.


Goosanders & Canada

Little Grebe - Park Dam

Pied Wagtail - Park Dam

Harold Park 19/12/2015

Monday, 14 December 2015

Redcar Tarn

Monday 14th December a.m.
With some spare time & a day off work I decided to go up to Redcar Tarn to see what was around, on arrival the temperature was 7°C & gloomy overhead.There were good numbers of the usual birds, I had a walk round the Tarn & stopped at the top end seeing some birds feeding on the seed heads at the edge of the water.After a while I finally saw to my delight they were Redpolls, a first for us at this site, I managed a few pictures before they were disturbed by a noisy Coot.Also in this area Robin, Dunnock & Chaffinch were seen as I made my way back to the car & off home.N.P.
Lesser Redpoll

Common Gull

LBB Gull

BH & LBB Gulls

Muscovy Ducks

Tufted Duck

Redcar Tarn 14/12/2015