Thursday, 27 June 2013

Fly Flatts

Since I have so much time now my exams are over I decided to go to Warley Moor/ Fly Flatts to see if I could see any green hairstreaks. The wind was so bad when I woke up I nearly diddnt go, but luckily I decided I would, though I did not think I would see any butterflies. 
However, crossing the fields behind my house I encountered a small heath, so obviously I have some chance, and further up there was another. That though was it until I made my way via Ogden back lane onto the moors. 
Even there there was not much, plenty of Meadow Pipits, but that was about all, which was disappointing. The only other wildlife on Ogden moor was a red legged partridge which I flushed accidentally before I had seen it.
I then headed over the moors towards Fly Flatts to see what I might get. The add to meadow pipits I had skylarks, of which a few were still singing. The real highlights of this section of the walk were the low flying swifts and the moors covered white by the cotton grass
-Cotton Grass
It wasn't until I reached the bridleway near the old Withens pub that there started to be quite a few birds. No sooner had I reached the bridleway then did I see this lovely male reed bunting, which was very flighty and dropped as soon as I came anywhere near.
-Reed Bunting
Across the Bridleway from where I had come there were a good number of meadow pipits and skylarks so I headed over to have a look. As with the trip to Burnsall, There was a constant cheeping in the foreground which took me while to notice and even longer to find its source. Then I got a real surprise as I spotted a lovely young snipe, i'm not sure which. It made me rather worried because of its constant racket when I was stood right next to it. Something nasty and it would have been a goner. It was lovely to see, and quite cute, but I did not hear it on the way back.
-Baby Snipe
I left the baby and headed to the road. As I walked up the road I looked in the neighboring fields to see what was about. In the first field there was a Lapwing which was just standing there. It was some way off at the far side of the field.  
Further up the road I was less than welcomed by a curlew which was obviously distressed about my being there. I tried to move on as quick as I could, so that it did not feel as threatened. I did however come very close in its display so in my retreat I got some pretty good views of the bird. 
I made my way to the entrance to the bridleway down to the reser, but the stile had been remove. That made my entry slightly more tricky, but after I had hopped the gate I was able to get some shelter from the wind behind the bank on the right hand side. In the field beside that bank there were a good number of Lapwings, seemingly surfing the wind. There was one bird among them which was not a lapwing, and when it flew overhead I immediately thought that it was a snipe, but the closer it got I realised that it was a golden plover, which made a lovely addition to the list of birds I was making for myself on this walk.
-Golden Plover
When I reached the waterside near the boathouse I was able to watch swifts hunting insects over the water. They were incredible to watch, so I perched myself down at the waterside to try and get some photos. Sadly they came too close for me to manage with my camera, but so close I could touch them if I tried. It was without doubt the best view I have ever had of swifts, even better than at school. 
As I perched myself down on the beach I flushed a common sandpiper, which flew off over to the small stream on the other side of the path. After the swifts I followed to get a good view and was able to track the bird on its return to the waterside. So here begins the account of my tracking the common sandpipers around the edge of the reser. They were very bold, so I was able to get some great views. 
-Common Sandpiper
At the bridge next to the overflow, the bird perched on one of the fence posts allowing me to get some great shots. I was able to get some smashing views of the bird, even better than at Burnsall. At the same time there were others around the waters edge feeding, so there is clearly a good population of these birds on this reservoir.
-Common Sandpiper 
As I made my way over the dam wall there continued to be plenty of swifts and they continued to be very close. I was also able to see on the water flocks of Canada and graylag geese
I made my way over to the marsh on the far side of the reser but there was not much there, only one common sandpiper on the waters edge, so I headed back over the dam wall. There I continued to get common sands, either on the path or the reservoir beach. As I made my way off the dam wall the birds became bolder so I was able to get some great views and photos of the birds.
-Common Sandpiper 
The lapwings were still there on the walk back up the bank, and the curlew became distressed again as I passed that spot. I had re-entered the bridleway back down to Ogden. looking for the baby snipe/ woodcock when I flushed an adult snipe. I think that this was a common snipe as it was not really big enough to be a woodcock, but it gave a start as it rocketed out of the reeds. That did mean though that I had no decent photos for a proper I.d. I would also say that this bird was probably the parent of the baby that I had seen 
-Common Snipe
The rest of the walk was a little barren on the bird front. There were plenty if Meadow pipits and skylarks and there was a curlew on the golf course, but there was nothing on Ogden as I walked over the promenade.