This years revision break was not as extravagant as last years. I decided I'd had enough of the library and needed to spend a day in the fresh air. What better way that to try my luck at a pair of Black Redstarts near Orgreave lakes. I arrived early morning to the news that the male was still present but had gone off according to birders on site. I spent two mins looking where it had apparently gone and immediately refound it. It was very mobile and at no point did I get an outstanding clear view, but its my first adult male Black Redstart and a stunning bird.
Not long after it was lost again and in my attempts to try and refind it I stumbled across the female bird feeding down one of the side roads with some Dunnocks. It was a far more obliging bird but in the gloom I labored to get a decent photo. In the end I managed a couple of record shots of the bird which I am very happy with. A morning well spent I would say.
-Female Black Redstart
After a while I decided to give up on the male and head over to Orgreave lakes themselves. Being so early in the year I was blessed with a host of yearticks. The best of these was a nice flock of around 40 Siskin feeding in the alders near the track and the host of waterbirds. By far the most abundant bird were the Pochards, which are now a red listed species but very abundant at Orgreave.
-Pochard and Goosander
Whilst at Orgreave I managed to get two patch ticks, something I had not counted on. The first was a bird that has been around all winter but only now connected, a beautiful Short-eared Owl. Another birder I saw let me know he had seen it around and as we talked I picked it out quartering over the hill and then beyond, lost to view. I headed up the hill for a look and was delighted to see it perched up in a tree. It was not bothered at all about the passing lorries but decided not to risk getting any closer. What a superb bird, and probably the best view I have ever had of one.
The second patch tick was a solitary Lesser Redpoll. Just as I was finishing walking round a lake I heard a finch calling overhead and considered that it might be a redpoll. So when it landed I was pleased to see I had been right, and that I could add another species to my patch list for here.
On the way back I decided to try my luck at the gulls in Attercliffe to see if there was anything unusual among them. Sadly there was not, only commoner large gull species, but it was still a nice way to end the afternoon. More often than not when I try here the large gulls just don't bother landing at all.
-Herring and Great Black-backed Gull
Orgreave Lakes: Skylark, Magpie, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Dunnock, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Starling, Carrion Crow, Robin, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Siskin, Blue Tit, Fieldfare, Long-tailed Tit, Pochard, Coot, Goldeneye, Great-crested Grebe, Herring Gull, Mute Swan, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Mallard, Goosander, Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Short-eared Owl, Grey Heron, Common Teal, Feral Pigeon, Stonechat, Lesser Redpoll, Grey Wagtail, Great Tit
Attercliffe: Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Mallard,