Thursday, February 23, 2023

Around and about...

Curlews, Lapwings and Oystercatchers are being reported on a regular basis during the last week or so. It's likely that some of these birds will be moving on though others will soon be following, as many use Calderdale as a stopping off point though a few others will stay for the summer.

A 50+ flock of Brambling were reported today (PGr) from woodland above Cragg Vale near Withens Clough today. Skylarks have started singing at times on the moorland fringes when conditions have suited them.

Skeins of Pink-footed Geese are sill occasionally being seen passing over as they start to return towards there summer quarters. Iceland will be a favoured destination as the daylight lengthens. Whooper Swans will be following in the not too distant future and into March. Always worth listening for as well as watching for them. They will occasionally pass over during the night.

It's worth listening out for Tawny Owls after dark too with a few reports recently from woodland areas.

Stonechats have also been reported regularly, in suitable habit, over the winter period. Amazing how these, mainly insect eating birds, survive throughout our winter weather.

Withens Clough

Two drake Goldeneye in various stages of display to a single female on 21st Feb. In Calderdale we seem to be getting fewer of these superb ducks that come to winter on some of our upland reservoirs. 

It seems like both drakes had moved on today though the female was still there, thanks to an update from NG.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Ogden - late afternon

Message from JJL of a Great Crested Grebe this afternoon prompted a walk up Hebble Brook Clough and around the reservoir as the light was fading. The grebe was still there, appearing fast asleep on the water. Two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also on the water. A Buzzard also went over and a very distant Barn Owl was briefly seen over the moor. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker in the woodland along with a few Siskin in the alders with Coal/Blue and Great Tits, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and a single Treecreeper. Song Thrush singing. On last light 22 Canada Geese went off in the direction of Mixenden

Mixenden Reservoir etc

A check at Mixenden res'r this morning first thing. It's been really quiet at this site over the winter apart from the gulls. Mainly Black-headed and Common Gull with an occasional L B B Gull, though a few Herring Gulls, both adults and juveniles appear there most days to bathe and preen then move on. This morning was no exception with 50+ each Black-headed and Commons along with 8 Herring Gulls. 

Just about to head off around 09:15 when a distant flock of geese appeared over Bradshaw / Soil Hill area just at the same time as a text from DJB (yes, back on his Soil Hill patch) with a skein of c50 Pink-footed Geese. Fortunately they came high over the res'r heading in the direction of Mount Tabor. Always a great sight to see these skeins over Calderdale.

Just got home, and a Buzzard went over the house >S calling as it went. Always good to see.

Byron Edge

 Mallard pair

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Beacon Hill

 2 Stock Doves flew west.

The photo is of a female Hazel flower bud, in front of male catkins.

Hazel is monoecious: that is, male and female flowers occur on the same tree. But the females can only be fertilised by pollen from a different tree. Each bud consists of several flowers, each of which has 4 red stigmas to catch wind-blown pollen. One fertilised flower can produce one nut, and  the original bud will form a bunch of 1 to 4 nuts.

A recent episode of University Challenge had a team that had not heard of Hazel catkins: 4 brainboxes sadly divorced from the Natural World.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Monday, February 13, 2023

Friday, February 10, 2023

Tuesday, February 07, 2023