Back on the patch today, but decided to make it a more extended affair to grab Red Grouse for my yearlist. My initial trip up the hill produced very little, absolutely no additional points for Patchwork Challenge.
I next headed onto Ogden where there was a smart male Goldeneye but again there was not much going on. Along the walk up to the golf course there remained quite little. Once I was up on the moors it did not take long to locate my quarry, with numerous Red Grouse on the moors. Other birds around the moors included Redshank on Fly Flatts and at least 3 Golden Plover on the moors themselves.
I wandered back and decided to call it a day and head home...
But then everything changed. As I was heading back I spotted an obvious bird of prey flying over the trees down from the patch. Long wings ruled out most suspects and I raised my bins to see a forked tail. RED KITE. Part of me was elated at finding a rare Calderdale bird, but another part of me was gutted that the bird had flown straight through patch, but whilst I was not there. There goes two fantastic points begging...
Stunned by what had just happened I decided to call in at the patch on the way back. 2 Little Owls were a one point reconciliation, a nice addition to the patch yeartick.
I made my way up to the top and scanned around in the faint hope the Kite would come back. As I scanned I picked up a bird flying towards me. The jizz seemed right but I could not make much out on it as it was flying towards me. As a result I could not call, but I had a suspicion that the bird was a Peregrine, which would have been a patch tick. As it flew its angle changed and I could make out a browish back, so maybe not. I was stood back from the hill so I was frantic when the bird dropped below the hill, out of sight. I rushed to the edge of the hill and started scanning again with the bins. I could not pick it out though, and I wondered if it was the one that got away.
That was until I heard a commotion near me and lowered my bins to see the Peregrine, locked in talons with a short-eared owl. Peregrine was a patch tick, but sadly it did not stick around. No sooner had I seen it but it dropped below the hill and I did not see it again.
The Owl that had now joined it flew around my head a couple of times before it too dropped, but it did allow me to grab a couple of shots in the low light. To have the bird flying round my head a couple of times was really special. And I was buzzing. A patch tick and a couple of two pointers, what more could I want?
I tell you what. When I arrived back and checked my photos I was stunned to see that it was not a short-eared owl as I had thought initially, but a Long-eared Owl, a patch tick. I had thought about it for a second whilst there and when I checked my photos on site I was surprised by the colour of its eyes, but I still did not expect this. What a result.
Its always a good day when your two patch ticks lock talons about 6ft away from your head.
I don't know why I ever bird anywhere else to be honest. It cost me Red Kite patch yeartick but resulted in two patch ticks. What a result.
Unspecified Location: Blackbird, Chaffinch, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Skylark, Carrion Crow, Meadow Pipit, Grey Heron, Curlew, Stock Dove, Magpie, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Little Owl, Red Kite, Teal, Mallard, Peregrine, Long-eared Owl, Lapwing,
Ogden Water: Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Starling, Mallard, Canada Goose, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Coal Tit, Jay, Goldeneye, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Robin, Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Meadow Pipit, Greylag Goose, Curlew,
Oxenhope Moor: Meadow Pipit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Red Grouse, Curlew, Lapwing, Stock Dove, Redshank, Wren, Golden Plover, Mallard, Skylark, Grey Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Pheasant,