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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

First birdwatch of the year, starting with an Owl and ending with an Owl (or three)

My first birdwatch of the year and along with Mark and Andy we headed over to Poppleton to pick up Pete Watson who was joining us today, while there we decided to check the area near the village he has been seeing Short Eared Owls recently, nothing showing at first but on checking the third field one flew in over our heads and then hunted along the far hedge, a good start also Buzzard in the area. We then headed for West Yorks starting at Pugneys CP where at least one of the juvenile Great Northern Divers was still present although it stayed out in the middle today, there was also a good selection of other birds present over the road at Calder Wetlands including a fine drake Smew, next up was a little place not too far away called High Hoyland where a Great Grey Shrike had been found a couple of days ago, it was still present and showing well this morning albeit a bit distant, we even observed it using its larder tucking in to what looked like a Long Tailed Tit it must have despatched earlier. Then it was on to Anglers CP and again there was good selection of water birds present and we soon located the drake American Wigeon that was still present then after a trek round to try and find a Greenland White Fronted Goose that had been reported we eventually found it back where we started where it and a Pinkfooted had joined the local Geese. With time getting on we shot back to Fairburn in search of another wild Goose, a Taiga Bean that had been found there recently or perhaps the bird that had been reported as a Tundra at the back end of last year, anyway we were soon watching it near the Flashes from the road then talking with some other birders there we got some info regarding some roosting Long Eared Owls no more the 5 miles away, we got to the site with still a bit of light left and found at least three birds showing, a fitting end to a pretty good day although we also took in a bit of astronomy with both Jupiter and Venus showing well in the evening sky.
Kingfisher by the hide at Pugneys unfortunately obscured by twigs

Goldeneye and Lesser Redpoll at Pugneys

Great Grey Shrike at High Hoyland

Countryside around High Hoyland

American Wigeon at Anglers

Pink Footed

and Greenland White Fronted at Anglers

Taiga Bean at Fairburn

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