Friday 9 January 2015

Xmas and New Year 2014/15 Birding Summary

Back home in Yorkshire for Xmas and New Year and managed a fair bit of birding paying particular attention to the Barnsley/Sheffield moors and the gull roost at Anglers CP just over in West Yorkshire.

A handful of visits to the Anglers CP gull roosts produced regular sightings of 'Psycho' the adult Yellow-legged Gull, who could be picked up on its mewing like call, and similarly a regular and stonking 3rd winter Caspian Gull. One evening saw 2 (1st winter) Iceland Gull present, and another of an adult Mediterranean Gull which settled all too briefly on the rocks in front of the hide. Wintering Goosander and Goldeneye were present but the range of wildfowl played second fiddle to the Larids. This site is getting excellent coverage and regular updates can be found at Barnsley Bird Sightings.

The moors yielded erratic raptor sightings. Didn't connect with any Rough-legged Buzzards that had been present before Xmas but saw Red Kite on 2 visits, a handful of Common Buzzards and a Merlin hunting over the picturesque snow fields. A Brambling flew over Ewden Heights and Stonechat rested on the stone walls nearby on one visit.

Went to Old Moor RSPB only once, the day after the snowfall. Quiet at this time of year with a group of Goosanders looking very smart, as always, a Little Egret looking very unseasonal and the feeding stations packed full of passerines.

Further afield birding included twitching the Blyth's Pipit and 'Thayer's' Gull at the hot spot of Pugneys CP and surrounds, An Iceland Gull present near Dewsbury at the original haunt of the 'Thayer's' Gull sat on the refuse site roof in the cold winter sunshine. I twitched the East Yorkshire Little Bustard on New Year's Eve mid afternoon and after seeing the 'mega' caught up with the wintering Rough-legged Buzzard at Grindale. Saw this stunning raptor a couple of days later as well and a minimum of 8 Mediterranean Gulls were present up the road at Holbeck, Scarborough. I dipped Kumlien's Gull at Wheldrake Ings in the New Year but was compensated with flyover Peregrine and a local Barn Owl prior to dusk.

For more photos from this period please click on 'Latest UK Bird Photos'.