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Kingfisher alert…

Just received an email from Andrew who was walking in Toad Holes Beck on 23/11/18 when he saw a Kingfisher sitting amongst the Reedmace at the middle pond. Andrew watched the bird for a good 30 minutes.  Fingers crossed this Kingfisher may spend the winter with us so if your in TH Beck keep a look out…

 

 

Visible migration comes to an end…

Did an hours visible migration today and I think it is fairly safe to say that the main autumn migration is now over.  I’m sure there will be a few late staggers or cold weather movements but no main arrivals…..But this is bird watching so anything is possible.  During today’s watch I noticed 4 local female Bullfinches enjoying the fruit of the Rowan but interestingly there were very few thrushes about.

Workday and recent sightings

On Saturday we had another workday which was well attended.  The task was to clear the Toad Holes Beck entrance at Furnace Road and to remove old hedge cuttings from Furnace Road.

Initially the task looked like we would never get in done but as we all got stuck in it took about 2 hours and the job was complete.

Recent sightings: 14/11 all flew south, 4 Whooper Swans, 21 Brambling and the star bird a Hawfinch at Caldene fields. 17/11 a Common Buzzard was found sitting in a tree at Toad Holes Beck.

Birstall Scout group meeting…

Yesterday I attended at the Birstall Scout groups meeting and gave a presentation to twenty 8 to 10 years old scouts on ‘ The importance of Insects ‘

I took along a moth trap, a Bee nesting box, observation vessels and various photos so it was a hands on experience for the audience of the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts.

When I asked the scout leader how long he wanted the talk to last ‘ About a hours fine ‘ I thought the children would be getting bored after half an hour.  But I was wrong their enthusiasm for the subject and their own wildlife experience’s like how they had built Insect Hotels was simply brilliant and I answered the final question at 8.30 meaning the talk lasted one and a half hours…

I was really pleased with the wildlife knowledge these children had and some of the questions they asked were beyond their years.  So to all at the scout group keep up the excellent work you are doing..

Three good things about today…

An excellent watch today with a site first and two other good birds. Firstly a party of Crossbills came in low from the N and appeared to be landing at the watch point at Caldene fields before moving off S. Then a party of Redwings came in again from the N at a reasonable height followed by a Woodcock giving brilliant views !. It’s not uncommon to disturb Woodcock in the Raw Nook NR area in autumn. I have always thought these birds had move down from a local breeding site during the autumn/winter period.  However, to have a genuine migrant bird moving through I’m not too sure!. Then around 09.30 as the rain and low cloud increased a ‘ Blast from the past ‘ ( As Yellowerhammer used to regular at CFs ) a low flying calling Yellowhammer came in from the S and moved N. Three reasonable sized parties of Fieldfare also came in from the N.

Looking N/E from Caldene fields.

Even though it was misty today the colours of autumn are beautiful this year.

A welcome sight…

Saw two Grey Partridge today not within our recording area but on the outskirts.  This is very welcome news in that at the same location last spring a single bird was observed.  The species used to be fairly common in our recording area and it was not uncommon to see Grey partridge regularly at Caldene fields sadly those days have long gone….but maybe,  just maybe they may return..

There was a good movement of Fieldfare passing S/W through our area this morning a total of 2,144 flew S/W and 93 to the N.

Bramblings…

During the last two days I have recorded 29 Brambling passing through or stopping off in our area.

The one above was one of a pair that stopped off at the watch point.  So keep an eye out in your gardens and bird feeders for these attractive finches that have come to spend the winter with us…

 

Sightings update…

Yesterday I observed 32 Fieldfares flying towards the watch point at Caldene fields.  I thought the birds would carry on their migration and fly over but they didn’t they needed to refuel and the next minute the birds had landed and were feeding on Rowan berries.  The birds must have been very hungry as the trees were about 10 feet away!!! allowing some excellent photo opportunities.

Toady there was another Wood pigeon movement with a total count of 5,963 recorded moving south.  Also at least 28 Brambling were recorded moving to the S/W.

Two Small Copper butterflies were enjoying the sun at Caldene fields 0n the 25/10

 

Building on success…

Clare and Richard who are active members of the Low Moor & Oakenshaw Conservation Group came up with a brilliant idea!. They contacted Yorkshire Building Society and asked if staff in the IT department would be interested in a conservation volunteering day at Toad Holes Beck and Raw Nook NR.  The YBS kindly gave the thumbs up and Clare arranged a 09.30 start on Friday the 19th of October.

Clare, Richard and volunteers from YBS

Work was firstly carried out at Toad Holes Beck which involved a general tidying up, Bramble clearing and spreading wildflower seed Yellow Rattle as invasive grasses have encroached into the meadow area.  It was then time for a packed lunch at the local Woodlands cricket club who very kindly allowed the group to use their facilities.  But the real hard work was about to start as the group then moved into Raw Nook NR.

There were two jobs Clare and Richard had arranged one was to carry on digging up the Silver Birch saplings from the lowland heath habitat and the other was to try to establish the plant Yellow Rattle in the wildflower meadow.

Volunteers stripping out 4 small areas of invasive grasses to create a habitat for Yellow Rattle to establish.

The other group worked just as hard pulling up the Silver Birch saplings and cutting back Bramble to create this…

A super potential wildlife bank which in spring will create ideal nesting habitats for local Robins, Thrushes and Wrens.

But come on guys it’s a conservation day not an archaeological dig…as relics from the old Low Moor station were found..

So it’s really big a thank from the LM & O conservation group for all the excellent hard work all the volunteers did and to the Yorkshire Building Society for allowing their staff to take part.  And for me…to here comments like ” Can I come back in spring to see how the Yellow Rattle is growing ? and can I come back and do another work day with your group?  clearly demonstrates the value nature can play in people’s lives and what a wonderful urban site we have…

 

 

 

A welcome visitor…

Today like yesterday there was a large movement of Wood Pigeon, Jackdaws and finches particularly Chaffinch with a record count of 162 S/W and 42 N.  However, today was a bit special as I had a wary friend as company a migrating Chiffchaff which stayed resting and preening for about 30 minutes at the watch point before moving off.

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