Its been a crazy days birding for me. It all started this morning with strings of texts about Whooper Swans coming through in droves. With that in mind I decided to set up at my bedroom window, before church, to see if I could pick any up. It did not take long before I had a flock of around 150 birds. Thrilled with this Year and Garden tick it got even better as they began to descend and looked like they landed on Mixenden Reservoir.
I put the news out that it looked like they had gone down on Mixenden. I did not have to wait long before this was confirmed, but church meant I was unable to get up for a while, so I had to pray that they would stick. There were 239 at count, which was a massive total for Calderdale.
We raced back after church, I grabbed my gear and then off we went to the reser. Even as we drove along the top we could see the swans all down on the reser in the valley. As we pulled up my dad threw me out and I briskly walked down to get a look. I got to spend a fantastic hour with the birds. I set up under some trees on the far bank and waited. The birds went to and fro and came really very close to me as I sat there. I managed to get some reasonable shots as well as some truly fantastic views. The swans were very vocal, constantly calling, a sound I am really not familiar with on Calderdale reservoirs.
After an hour watching the birds I decided to head off onto the moors to see what was about up there. On my up I spotted a Kestrel and multiple Curlews. My first stop was Cold Edge Dams, where I stumbled across a solitary late Fieldfare, 2 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher and an array of usual moorland Species.
I then carried on to a site I knew about last year to see if its delightful residents were still present and indeed they were, looking lovely up against a wall. They were much closer to the road than last year so I was able to improve on last years shots. I was even able to show them to some walkers coming past. Smashing birds of real character, one of my favorites.
After a bit I headed along the path to the moors to head back home and hopefully scope the swans from Soil Hill. On the way back it was very quiet, only a single snipe and plenty of Red Grouse flushed. It was also nice to see Oliver Crawford up there, great to see him again after so long, nice to catch up.
On the way down to Ogden I spotted a small group of 13 Swans flying north, but then found out these must have been the last of the Mixenden lot as it was around that time they chose to depart. I wandered along the the dam at Ogden and picked out the Barnacle Goose (presumable feral) among the canadas.
And that was that really, it was very late afternoon/early evening and most things had quietened down. I did flush a Pheasant on Soil Hill but apart from that it was as bleak as usual. But it was a fantastic days birding, and so nice to be back out at all the local sites, especially when you can get fantastic birds like these.
Mixenden Reservoir: Whooper Swan, Canada Goose, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Kestrel, Robin,
Cold Edge Dams: Little Grebe, Redshank, Fieldfare, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Canada Goose, Mallard,
Moors: Little Owl, Grey Wagtail, Red Grouse, Common Snipe, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Lapwing, Curlew, Mallard, Herring Gull, Golden Plover,
Ogden Water LNR: Whooper Swans, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mallard, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Common Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Great Tit,
Soil Hill: Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Pheasant, Starling, Carrion Crow,