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Post Info TOPIC: St Aidans


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RE: St Aidans


A lovely day out here again yesterday 30th.

Just 1 red kite to greet me as I got off the train at Woodlesford, several more were seen throughout the day at St aidens.
Numerous buzzards throughout the day.
1 marsh harrier
1 kestrel
1 sparrowhawk
Again no sign of the little owl.
21+ black-necked grebes
At least 6 bitterns booming, they were at it all day, 2 were seen in flight 1 of them did show really well before it took flight as it clambered up to the top of the reeds.
Just 1 bearded tit seen.
Cettis warblers all around, several seen really well.
Just one water rail was heard.
30+ chiffchaffs
2 willow warblers
5 blackcaps
16 sand Martins
1 little ringed plover
1 golden plover
9 black-tailed godwit
25+ curlews
5 oystercatchers
Lots of lapwings
Several redshank
1 little egret
Couldn't find the garganey
Tufted ducks
Shovelers
Pochards
Goldeneyes
Gadwalls
Teal
Wigeons
6 shelducks
1 Mediterranean gull amongst the many black-headed gulls.
6 linnets
Plus all the usuals around.
1 Woodcock seen at dusk when almost back at the train station.








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Nice day out here today.

2 red kites greeted me as I got off the train at Woodlesford.
Several more were seen throughout the day at St aidens with 3 in the air at once.
2+ marsh harriers
Glossy ibis showed well.
Plenty of bearded tits were heard in different locations, 1 male showed well but down at the bottom of some reeds then another 6 were seen later on feeding at the top of some reeds.
Cettis warblers heard all around, just the glimpse of one.
Water rails heard all around, 2 seen.
6 grey partridge
2 buzzards
2 kestrels
11 stock doves
No little owl seen.
40 + curlews
Tufted ducks
Pochards
Teals
Shovelers
Goldeneyes
Gadwalls
Wigeons
Goosanders
4 shelducks
Lapwings
Just 1 snipe seen
1 grey heron
1 little egret
Plus usuals around.
1 woodcock seen at dusk.

2 water pipits were seen at lemonroyd sewage works.






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Highlights of today's High Peak RSPB group visit from 09:30-15:00

5 Whooper Swan, 2 Little Owl, Great Egret, Marsh Harrier, 4 Pink Footed Goose, Dunlin, Peregrine Falcon, 3 Red Kite, 6 Grey Partridge, 30+Pochard, 4 Golden Plover, 200+Lapwing, 5 Cettis Warbler, Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Swallow, Reed Bunting, Stonechat, 6 Curlew, 8 Little Egret, Raven. 



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Re: Mark's comment about Black-necked Grebe numbers:

A pair were feeding chicks in one of the drainage ditches on May 15th when we caled in briefly on the way back from our Norfolk Weekend (shameless tick and run to beat the late afternoon M62 traffic at Leeds biggrin). On a visit with Mike A on June 11th we only saw three adults in total during quite an extensive circuit.

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Called at the reserve, early afternoon, after ticking the Marsh Warbler at Calder Wetlands, on the edge of Wakefield.

Primarily looking for Black-necked Grebe and whilst I saw one adult with its still quite young chick, the rest of the breeding population here would appear to have already dispersed.

A Red Kite over the massive coal mining machine was a good start to the day and, after we had walked about one and a half miles, I left Mrs J to continue her walking circuit whilst I looked elsewhere.

The weather was sunny and probably a bit too warm. Highlights :-

Gadwall (6)
Pochard (1)
Little Grebe (4)
Great Crested Grebe (8)
Black-necked Grebe (2)
Oystercatcher (4)
Lapwing (4)
Red Kite (1)
Kestrel (1)
Sedge Warbler (2)
Reed Warbler (11)
Willow Warbler (7)
Chiffchaff (5)
Cettis Warbler (4)
Blackcap (1)
Whitethroat (3)
Reed Bunting (6)

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Appologises for a very late post, but due to circumstances, has made it difficult. This was from Tuesday 23rd.

I decided to visit here rather than Old Moor. I'm really glad I did....

With 56 species seen (including 4 along the route from the station) Highlights include:

1. Spotted crake showed well in the morning, though a good stones throw away. Only the 2nd time I've ever seen this bird and this gave the best views I've had.
2. Hobby x2 put on a show catching dragonflies.
3. Yellow wagtail x2+ Two of which landed briefly surprisingly with the spotted crake!
4. Spoonbill flew over - another year tick for me.
5. Red kite flew over me, showing well in the process.

Other Highlights include:

Reed warbler (family)
Black necked grebe
Common tern x3+
Black tailed godwit x1
Greenshank x2
Great white egret x1
Cettis warbler
Stock dove
Wigeon
Shoveler
Pochard
Red legged partridge x4+ on journey

Ta!

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11-14:00 today

Little Owl showing well by visitor centre, 4 Black Necked Grebe with a chick, 2 Red Kite, 7 Common Tern, some with young, 3 Cettis Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler, 15 Reed Bunting, 4 Common Whitethroat, 3 Little Egret. 



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Highlights of today's High Peak RSPB trip to the reserve from 09:15-15:30

8 Black Necked Grebe, 3 adult Little Gull, Bearded Tit, 1+ Red Kite, Grey Plover, 2 Ruff, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Whitethroat, 40 Sand Martin, 7 Cettis Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler, 9 Reed Bunting, 4 Swallow, 7 Willow Warbler, Great White Egret, 30 Pochard, 4 Stock Dove, 2 Goldeneye, 8 Blackcap, 3 Skylark, Chiffchaff, 7 Linnet. 



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I decided to make the most of my time of work, seeing the benefits of getting out and about.

I didn't quite manage to go around the whole area I wanted due to spending quite some time sat around the middle of the reserve.
With 58 species seen, highlights include:

1. Red kite seen flying over whilst many others were distracted by looking elsewhere.
2. Cettis warbler posed unusually well, though tricky to photograph with the odd strand of reed in the way.
3. Black necked grebe x12
4. Whooper swans totalling x26
5. Great white egret

Also noteworthy:
Little grebe
Swallow
Stock dove
Buzzard
Redshank
Little egret
Jay x3
Goldeneye
Gadwall showed very well
Chiffchaff was abundant in the wooded areas
Blackcap
Meadow pipit
Skylark

Red legged partridge along the disused railway from Garforth Station.

Ta!

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Long-toed Stint showing well in the Eastern Reedbed area this morning, initially middle ground (water) with Dunlin and Lapwings before moving nearer onto a small island for nicely lit views. Something spooked everything with all the Lapwing and other waders flying about and people saying they could see it in the flock, until Riggers pointed out that the Stint was still on the mud, wondering where everything else had gone. Once things settled down it wandered extensively over the island with, at one point, both Dunlin and Ruff in the same view for comparison. Party of 10 Bearded Reedlings showing well in the tops of the reeds and several skulking Cetti's Warblers were welcome additions to this year's paltry list.

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Rob Creek wrote:

With reference to parking at Fleet Lane

I didnt hear of any issues on Sunday and I myself have never had an issue parking here, whether in my car or the works van when I do the Leeds route. Ive never seen it full, always driven straight on and parked up. Many of the local birders and dog walkers use this car park.

The reason I chose this one was because the Stint spent much of Saturday on Astley Lake, and Fleet Lane car park is much closer than the RSPB car park. Fleet Lane is also a good option to try for Water Pipits in winter as Lemonroyd filter beds are literally a few minutes walk back under the bridge.


 

was quoting local birders, copied links so you can contact them not me ta :) was trying to help folk thinking of going in the future.

And talking of helping - the Long-toed Stint is still present this morning (Weds 13/10/21) for anyone thinking of visiting. (Wanted to bring the thread back to bird news as Ian requests, please PM me for any further discussion on parking, ta).






-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 13th of October 2021 10:09:51 AM

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With reference to parking at Fleet Lane

I didnt hear of any issues on Sunday and I myself have never had an issue parking here, whether in my car or the works van when I do the Leeds route. Ive never seen it full, always driven straight on and parked up. Many of the local birders and dog walkers use this car park.

The reason I chose this one was because the Stint spent much of Saturday on Astley Lake, and Fleet Lane car park is much closer than the RSPB car park. Fleet Lane is also a good option to try for Water Pipits in winter as Lemonroyd filter beds are literally a few minutes walk back under the bridge.


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I was there yesterday. Great little bird - my first ever sighting was in the Philippines many years ago

There is a collection box being carried around, but it doesn't seem to be being promoted very obviously

So, make a point of looking for it (after the excitement, obvs!) and do throw in a few quid - the staff have been going out of their way to make it a good experience for all

Oh, and there are Bearded Tits calling but not showing, Cetti's Warblers calling everywhere, and someone had a Bittern flying over

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As I'm from Yorkshire and used to bird here lots (before it was RSPB!!) I've lots of mates who patch Swilly. They asked if I'd post a bit of info on parking for anyone else travelling to see this bird or just to visit St.Aidan's in the future. To me seems like if you get there early enough to get in the car park at Fleet Lane (like Rob) then that's a good option, otherwise, like Dave & I, use the RSPB Car Park (or overflow onto the road!) with a bit long walk but car security. Hope this is of help. Cut and pasted:

Swillington Ings Bird Group
@SwillyIngsBG
If visiting for the Long Toed Stint tomorrow please use the RSPB car park and not the surrounding residential area's please respect residents privacy. Thankyou
 
 
Other comments cut & pasted re parking:
 
"The advice elsewhere on the internet is that Station Road is not a good idea, the local residents dont like it and vandalism on visiting cars has also been reported. So the RSPB carpark to the north of St Aidans is the place to head for!"
 
"The car park at the end of Fleet Lane is nowhere near any houses and holds about 20-30 cars.
But I do understand that the advice is to go via the RSPB centre at the other end. I presume entrance money for non-members goes to RSPB? Which can only be good. Just saying that those issues may affect Station Road but visitors are ok at Fleet Lane as long as there is space to park (20-30 cars at most) - which might be an issue."
 
"Hopefully you will be ok to park at the end of Fleet Lane today, but, if you are visiting Mon-Fri, when its quieter down there, I would try and avoid parking here and use the RSPB car park. Why? In the past there has been break-ins and petrol being syphoned off by putting a hole in your petrol tank!!!"


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Sunday 10th Oct.

Long-toed Stint (Lifer)

Couldnt make it yesterday so it was fingers crossed it stayed overnight. Got up for the Fury / Wilder fight (glad I did, what a fight!) and took the chance on going early morning before the report even came through.
Luckily it stayed and was reported at Eastern Reedbed around 7.30am. Id already parked at Fleet Lane side with the hope it was on Astley Lake but the extra walk was worth it.

I was soon watching the bird amongst the Dunlin, obscured at times behind a Lapwing and all the while against the rising sun, aaarrrgh! But after a while it flew off with the group of Dunlin and the decision was made to walk back to Astley Lake. Much better views were had here, a lot closer and the light was on the bird rather than against the light.
What a first quality little bird!

Met some nice people as I almost always do here, including a few Yorkshire locals and some Southampton birders!

Other birds of note
- lots of Cettis Warbler
- few Bearded Tits
- few Water Rails heard
- 3 Raven over
- 1 Lesser Redpoll over


-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 11th of October 2021 10:29:48 AM

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Long Toed Stint at RSPB St Aidan`s, Swillington, Yorkshire. 9/10/2021

  This story begins on Friday evening when a birder saw what he thought was a Temminck`s Stint on the eastern reed bed at RSPB St Aidan`s. The time was about 6pm, after sharing images of the bird, it was quickly re-identified as a Least Sandpiper. This species is a very rare bird indeed, now as the evening progressed and the images were further scrutinised and at around 10-15pm the bird was finally identified as a Long Toed Stint. Now as this species has only been identified in Britain 3 times and the last time in 1982, this makes it an extreme rarity!

  RSPB St Aidan`s is a large reserve with plenty of car parking and could easily handle the likely numbers of birders that would travel to see this bird. It was quite late when I phoned up Bob K and Kevin C and they both seemed shocked that such a bird had been found only 45 minutes from where we live! A couple of texts to our Huddersfield (where my aunty used to live) mates Rob D & Dave W for an early update. We decided to wait for news of the Long Toed Stint`s presence before setting off to hopefully see it. A restless sleep followed by an early text from Rob D who was onsite and searching for the bird. Then at 8-20am, the news that lots of people were waiting for, the bird was still present!

   Going into twitch mode is certainly a strange feeling, leaving home with nothing to eat or drink, just focusing everything on seeing the bird, then realising, have I got everything? Met at Kevin`s and we all headed of along the M62 at 9am. News that the bird was still present greeted us as we parked up, but as we got to the spot, it had flown off. Oh dear we thought, should we have set off earlier? The bird was soon found again on the eastern reed bed feeding with some Dunlin and a Ruff, it was a bit distant but most of the identification features could be picked out. A better vantage point was sought and closer views obtained of this distinctive wader, what a feeling to see such a rare species. A Bearded Tit, Kingfisher and large numbers of returning Pink Footed Geese flew over the reserve probably heading for their wintering grounds in Norfolk. Something must have spooked the stint etc as they all flew into the air and headed towards Astley Lake, the gathering crowd followed and were all rewarded with better, closer views of the main attraction. An estimate of birders that saw the Long Toed Stint was around 2000 counted by the staff at St Aidans, it just shows what a truly rare bird it is. Also great to see lots of familiar faces at the twitch, including none other than Alan N from Rochdale, Bob Eckersley, Andy M of Horwich Moors fame, all part of the fun. A refreshing cup of tea before heading home was enjoyed on a memorable mornings birding!

Dave Ousey



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Well the bird stayed overnight as I thought it would, even sorted my packed lunch last night as I was so confident!!

I headed over the 80miles to St.Aidan's RSPB with no traffic to speak of, a relaxed Sunday drive (albeit right at the speed limits!!). A huge line of cars were parked on the road outside, at least 50, but I chanced it and drove into the car park. There were justa few spaces but I fell lucky into an end bay near the gate. The wardens informed me that since I'd set off the bird had flown from the Eastern Reedbed to Astley Lake, just as it did yesterday, with its carrier flock of Lapwings. So I headed out on the relatively long yomp round the reserve. It felt longer going out as I was worried that the bird might fly, but on arrival I was told it was there, given directions and within 10 seconds had it in my bins, Long-toed Stint, a real Mega ........... and relax!

There was quite a crowd but having a straight scope I could view from behind them all and distance from them, looking over their shoulders as it were. I then rattled off c.850 shots of the bird confuse many unusable with it from behind , just walking out of shot or blurred. The distance made pictures hard, but views in the scope were phenomenal. I watched the bird, helping new arrivals get onto it, for over an hour and a half and then headed back to get some sustenance.

As usual I was recognised and had a few Focalpoint enquiries to field and will see the folk in the shop later this week or chat on the phone! I had a fruitless search for the resident Little Owl. To be fair it hadn't been seen by the wardens since last week! I then had a very relaxed trip home so that I had time to sort out my moth trap from last night!!

Rather than post a string of pointless blurry shots here is a single montage shot. It's one of my best ones of the bird and a high zoom and cropped insert shows the 'long toes' which give the bird its name!



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Late afternoon visit and seemingly avoiding most of the visiting crowds, but still plenty of people there. First trip here for me.

The Long-toed Stint was showing well on its favoured island and still present when I left. Second lifer of the day (after the Blue-winged Teal at Neumanns Flash this morning).

Also
1 Green Woodpecker
2 Stonechat
A few Bearded Tits were heard but stayed hidden in the reeds, as did numerous singing Cettis Warblers.

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Managed very good views of the Long-toed Stint on Astley Lake at St Aiden's  at 13.30.

Best access from parking on Fleet Lane, where you can get distant views. Crossed the Lemonroyd bridge to where the masses were and much closer here.

A record shot attached. 

Also Bearded Tit, 3 Cettis Warbler and Red kite. 



-- Edited by Chris Harper on Saturday 9th of October 2021 03:56:10 PM

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I managed to visit right at the end of May.  The Franklin's Gull was no longer present but lots of other exciting birds were present which are typically found here yearly. This Franklin's Gull was seen in Norway after it left Yorkshire in 2020 and then Belgium in April 2021.     If I remember correctly   I had not managed to visit in 2020 so it was the first visit since late summer 2019.    I have managed to visit yearly since 2013.  The highlight was this Red Kite with a  possible wader chick?   



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The Franklin`s Gull in Yorkshire. Monday 24th May 2021

   This bird was found last September 2020 in Bradford, Yorkshire, before spending a few days at Redcar Tarn, near Keighley, where I and my recently departed friend Steven Brown managed to miss seeing it!

  Fast forward to Tuesday 18th May this year, news that a breeding plumaged Franklin`s Gull was present at RSPB St Aidans/Swillington near Leeds. As the week moved onto to Friday our team decided to go see the bird on Saturday as the gull seemed to be fairly settled in with the Black Headed Gull colony on site. Along with Chris B and Bob K we arrived at 9am, no news on the bird was a little bit worrying as it was normally seen early on. With lots of birds on the reserve to keep our interest the hours rolled by, but around 3pm an Iceland Gull was found which was much appreciated. By 5pm we headed for home not having seen the main attraction!

   No news of the bird on Sunday, but on Monday morning a message telling me that the Franklin`s Gull was again present on the Western Reed bed at Swillington. No takers to accompany me over there, soon had me heading along the M62 for the 45 minute journey. Its about 30 long years since I have seen this species before and I was quite looking forward to it. Upon arrival the news from departing birder`s was good, until I reached the causeway, then news that the bird had flown away hit me! My grasp of the English language failed me and I`m afraid some bad words were said! Along the quagmire to the reed bed I joined a few birders who had also just missed seeing the bird. A Hobby passing over was a nice sighting just as the rain began to fall, light at first then heavy. Met a birding friend called Simon S and we exchanged numbers, just in case (wise move) at 3pm the bird was seen on the Ridge & Furrow by a person who we never located? I had a walk around there to no avail, by now I was saturated, but did I give up, no chance. Back on the causeway I was joined by a birder who I had spoken to from Nottingham on Saturday. What happened next was rather strange, Simon S rung me to tell me about a strange looking gull heading our way, just as the Franklin`s Gull flew over our heads calling!! Another dash through the mud and there it was a beautiful sight, after many hours searching. I watched it for about an hour and began the slog back to my car. I told my departed friend Steven Brown all about it. That one`s for you pal.

Dave Ousey




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Adult Franklins Gull present for its third day. Arrived at 6.50am, very few birders about but after a couple of hours, numbers grew. The bird seems to have been frequenting the Western Reedbed, then relocating to the Ridge & Furrow area. The reserve is large, to say the least and it really is a needle in a haystack job. Pleased to say that after three and a half hours, the gull was relocated by the aforementioned reedbed. It seemed settled and gave everyone present decent scope views, albeit a little too distant for good photos.

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After first checking on the government website to see if it was appropriate to travel here, I arranged with my dad (I live in the same household with my parents) to travel here. Desprate to spend a proper day out at a reserve, - the 1st of such trip in just over 8 months!!!!

61 species seen, and a few missed (heard only). This is the most I've seen here in a day!

Highlights include:

Just starting our rounds and someone passed me saying a Slovenian grebe has just flown in to the main lake. So I dashed round, leaving poor dad behind to catch up (don't worry, I asked him first). The views were tricky to start with but eventually managed some good but distant views (pictured).

A couple of glimpses of Cettis warbler was nice, with more singing than 2 years ago.

I could hear pinging, and 2 Bearded tits (reedlings) just flying across the reeds.

A quick look at Ridge and Furrow produced a real surprise- a Jack Snipe! Very distant (pictured) and behind me I spotted a Red legged partridge.

Other Highlights include:

Pink footed goose x2
Shelduck
Pochard
Wigeon
Teal
Pintail
Goldeneye
Great black backed gull
Common gull x1 on Bowers Lake
Redshank
Black tailed godwit
Oystercatcher x3
Little ringed plover x1
Common snipe (flew past close)
Black necked grebe
Little grebe
Stock dove
Skylark
Meadow pipit
Sand martin
Willow warbler
Reed warbler was singing but couldn't see it
Rook
Linnet

Legs ache after lots of walking today, well worth the effort!

Ta!

Hopefully if things continue to improve, I will look forward to having my cake and custard at Leighton moss again, oh how I miss that!



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Thanks Doc. It's still a cracking bird to see though.

And tickable if you have an 'escaped' list.



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Chris Harper wrote:

Sunny few hours here from 9am-1.30pm

Bufflehead, ........


 Just in case other readers don't know, but the female Bufflehead at this site is a known escape that has been touring the UK for some time now, so not a tickable bird !



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Sunny few hours here from 9am-1.30pm

Bufflehead, Red Necked Phalarope, Great Egret, Marsh Harrier, Barnacle Goose, 2 Pink Footed Goose, Kingfisher, Cettis Warbler, 6 Stonechat, 2 Kestrel, 2 Stock Dove, Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 3 Pintail, 7 Curlew, 15 Black Tailed Godwit, 300+ Golden Plover, 300+ Lapwing, 5 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, Reed Bunting. 



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Weds 2nd October.

Working in Leeds and surrounds today so called in at the Fleet Lane side of Swilly.

Long-billed Dowitcher.
Just missed it last week but not today. I made the short walk across the weir and round to Boomerang Island.
I was the only one there and I located it within seconds partially hidden in the vegetation at the waters edge, resting with head tucked in wing.
A few more birders arrived but the Lapwings were growing restless and soon had the Dowitcher up and about so it eventually showed well for them to pick it out. All the birds on the island was put up 3 times by a low flying Kestrel but they soon landed again.

I also had 1 Hobby towards the middle of the reserve but it soon disappeared.



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Late news for Wednesday 25th Sept.

I must have just missed you Rob, I was there before the Red Kite drifted in low.

The Long-billed Dowitcher showed well on the gate pond on the Ridge & Furrow, at first roosting up and lifting its head to preen and then feeding out in the open. I spent two spells watching it. The first allowed me to show a group being guided around the bird through my scope. Anorderly queue formed and everyone got to see it, about 12 in all. On the second visit to the Dowitcher I was there when the Red Kite flew wlow over and flushed all the teal, the Dowitcher and a Ruff. The birds never flew far but went into deep cover, so were well and truly out of site.  We had 3 Hobbies over us catching dragonflies, a couple of Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier and 2 Kestrels that had it in for a Hobby that was actually perched on the ground! I watched the Black Tern over Main Lake, first at a distance and then walked round for a closer look. A Great White Egret showed well out behind the dowitcher area too. Other birds of note were a Greenshank and a Kingfisher.

Not a bad morning and back early enough to avoid the traffic smile

 



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Weds 25th Sept

Working in the area so a chance to call in on my break.

The Long-billed Dowitcher along with everything else had been spooked by a low flying Red Kite and had relocated to one of the little islands in Astley Lake, Id not long since missed it.

Other birds of note...
- 1 Black Tern on the main lake
- 2 Hobby catching Dragonflies over the reserve
- 1 Red Kite
- 2 Common Buzzard
- 1 Kestrel

Possible Marsh Harrier over Astley Lane, infact Im not sure what it was, thought it was a Common Buzzard at first but in my opinion it was slightly bigger. A birder on site said thered been a Marsh Harrier hanging round so who knows, couldve been that. I hate it when that happens when its one that gets away!

confuse

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With a day off from work on Monday I decided to visit RSPB St Aidan's near Leeds with 2 others.  A Long Billed Dowitcher had arrived at Fairburn Ings and after a few days crossed over to the nearby St Aidan's Reserve.  Long Billed Dowitchers are very rare this far inland and a first for the St Aidan's Reserve.  256 species of birds had been recorded at St Aidan's as of January 2018.  When BBC Springwatch visited Fairburn Ings in 2018 they mentioned that this reserve has recorded the highest number of bird species for an inland reserve within Britain.  That did surprise me especially as it quite far North but obviously the area is a magnet for rare birds.

The Dowitcher was not that far from the visitor centre and we watched it feed - it drilled the ground and was surprisingly was not in a flock with other waders.  As one visitor put it - it is a cross between a Godwit and a Snipe - in looks and behaviour.  I could see why.  We had a walk around and the highlights were Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Yellow Wagtails, Bearded Reedlings, a Skylark which we nearly trod on, Greenshank, Ringed Plover and lots of other commoner species.   The Hobby was showing very well and gave very good views and the other 2 saw them hunt dragonflies.  I had never actually seen Hobby do that and missed that o this occasion.  It was constantly in the air with another Hobby seen frequently too.  The Marsh Harriers patrolled the wetland, the Bearded Reedlings called from the reedbed and the Yellow Wagtails fed amongst the cattle. 

Towards the end of the day we picked up a Kestrel and a Marsh Harrier which took our total number of raptors seen to 4.  What happened over the next 10 minutes was the highlight of the day in so many ways.  We watched the Marsh Harrier above the hillside but then suddenly a Buzzard appeared which was followed by 5 more.  Then a larger raptor was picked up and the forked tail gave us our 5th bird of prey for the day.  A Hobby or 2 had joined this group but the Marsh Harrier exited.  The Hobby buzzed the larger raptors on occasion.  The Buzzard number had grown to 8 and above them all circling was a Sparrowhawk - our 6th bird of prey of the day and within that 10 minute period. 

The icing on the cake was a cup of coffee at the visitor centre with a bakewell slice.  One of the best birding experiences I have had for a while.

 

 



-- Edited by Sarfraz Hayat on Monday 23rd of September 2019 10:56:44 PM



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You must have missed the Wood Pigeons John ! html> For anyone going this evening, the farmer is threatening (via Twitter) to flush the bird if people do not adhere to his request of not trespassing or double parking on Lower Mickletown Rd .... I parked on Pinfold Lane no problem which is only a 5 minute walk away. Roger.

-- Edited by Roger Baker 3 on Tuesday 6th of August 2019 05:24:24 PM

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South of St Aidens but near enough for this thread.

Little Bustard was showing remarkably well if a little distantly. Only a single Curlew and Magpie for company.

Cheers John.


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Today.
Parked up for a tacho break around lunchtime on Fleet Lane at the other side of Swillington Ings and had a little walk.

- 1 Little Owl on the farm
- 1 Hobby through chasing Swifts
- 1 Common Buzzard
- 1 Red Kite
- 1 Raven
- 1 Stock Dove
- 1 Whitethroat
- 1 Chiffchaff
- 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
- 2 Mistle Thrush
- Linnets and Goldfinch around



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I have visited Swillington Ings many, many times in the past for more years than I care to remember (I grew up down the road in York!) but always accessed from the Fleet Lane side and went to the Hide for members. But today for the first time ever I visited the flegdling St.Aiden's RSPB reserve (I used to visit the lake here long before the reserve too).

I've got to say what a brilliant job they've done and are still doing - management work was being undertaken today, but not causing much disturbance at all. The welcome from staff at the visitor centre was great and after this experience I'll be going back lots in the future. My first port of call was the machinery compound in the car park to look for the Little Owls. Sure enough one was sitting on the rigging and gave great views, I even took other birders back to show them where it was! Also on the machinery were nesting Kestrels and Stock Doves, all three species seemingly living in close quarters in perfect harmony! I headed round the reserve to the far reedbed complex (Western and Eastern Reedbeds) and had a Bittern booming right next to the path, but it never showed. Still a great experience being so close to a booming bird that it seemed to reverberate through my body. Also in abundance were Pochards, Tufted Ducks and a few Shovelers. Lapwings were also numerous and Skylarks sang all around me. On the walk round I recorded my first Sedge Warbler of 2019 and had views of Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings. Despite a search it seems like the Pink-footed and Bean Goose have gone. Finally three superb Black-necked Grebes showed fabulously well on Bowers Lake, the one nearest the visitor centre. What a great morning, I will be back!



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Ian McKerchar wrote:


 

 

Tundra and Taiga Bean Geese are now treated separate species.



Blimy, Thanks, Shows what I know!

-- Edited by Richard Thew on Saturday 6th of April 2019 06:09:59 PM


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Richard Thew wrote:
Ian Chisnall wrote:

 

Would that be a Taiga bean goose or a Tundra bean goose?



 


Sorry Ian, I'm in a habit of not including the races, it's the Tundra bean goose.

Thanks.


 

Tundra and Taiga Bean Geese are now treated separate species.



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Ian Chisnall wrote:

Would that be a Taiga bean goose or a Tundra bean goose?




Sorry Ian, I'm in a habit of not including the races, it's the Tundra bean goose.

Thanks.

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Would that be a Taiga bean goose or a Tundra bean goose?



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Another trip from a request of my mother as she wanted to see the black necked grebes and bean goose if possible.

It was very windy as the reserve is exposed to the elements so unfortunately, the trip was only a short trip, finishing at 1pm ish. As it was very cold in that wind and difficult to keep any views steady!!!

Only 40 species seen with a few highlights,

Sand Martins showed well,
As did 2 kestrels
Meadow pipit
4 stock doves
Little egret
Oystercatcher
Black tailed godwit (full summer plumage).
A buzzard that decided to tease some of the geese which I've never seen them do before (simular to the cheekiness of magpies sneaking up to tug on the tail of raptors)
I took mum to where the black necked grebes were and we timed it just right for some great views.
On the way back to the visitors centre, I found the pink footed geese on the marshy area with .... the bean goose! Yeah!!!! It was a little closer than when I was there on Monday and a lifer for my mother!

Another nice trip to visit this superb reserve!
(Though I'll try and pick a less windy day next time)

Attachment shows pink footed goose (right) in contrast to the bean goose (left).

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My 1st ever visit to St Aidens and I loved it every minute.

There ain't no hides around the trail and there wasn't any need for that either. You get great views from the paths.

52 species seen today! I had a target bird in mind - to find a black necked grebe! When I arrived at 9am, I got the info I needed and set off.

I found the pink footed geese and one of them looked very different but swam behind the reeds after a very brief view. I guessed it would have been the bean goose. But, even though it would be a lifer - I was more concerned over the black necked grebes, which I soon got belting views of and I'm over the moon with that as it was by far the best views I've personally had!!

Soon after that I had a kestrel hovering nearby and I decided soon after to pursue my bean goose which had since moved. Other highlights included. .....

A ringed plover showed well,
Wheatear
Redshank
Oystercatcher
Shelduck
Goldeneye
Little egret
Stock dove (a real beauty in the sunlight)
Sand martin.

I eventually re-found my bean goose and he was with about 8 Pink footed geese and distant too. I've managed a record shot of it and as I sat down on a bench, I helped a few people get good views of it and one individual said that it was the best view he'd ever had and was overjoyed with it!

A great day With one goal achieved and a lifer bonus!!!


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Weds 13th March.

Lemonroyd filter beds and surrounds.
- No Pipits of any kind
- 1 Green Sandpiper (still)
- 2 Oystercatcher
- 3 Grey Wagtail
- 30+ Pied Wagtail
- c10 Chaffinch
- 2 Goldcrest in wooded area at side of beds. Literally cms from me.
- Common Buzzard pair (displaying)
- 5 Red Kite

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Weds 6th March

Working in Leeds again so stopped off for a break at Lemonroyd filter beds since I was passing. Poor weather, quite windy, and raining.

Lots of birds on the filtration beds including...
- 1 Green Sandpiper
- 25/30 Pied Wagtail
- 3 Grey Wagtail
- 15/20 Chaffinch
- 1 female Bullfinch (which I thought was a bit odd)
- 1 Collared Dove
- and various Corvids

No sign of any Water Pipits at first but to be fair they have started to leave this overwintering site so I wasnt sure if any remained. What I thought was a single Water Pipit appeared on one of the beds but whilst watching it...it flew up onto a filtration arm and the sudden change in position caught the light to reveal its pinky orange legs. A Meadow Pipit!
A bit later another Pipit appeared, it too flew up and landed on a cable just above a filtration arm, but it was rotating away from me so I had to wait and hope it stayed put until it came back round.
Well it seemed to fit Water Pipit but I was a bit sceptical, they can be surprisingly difficult in the field.
Minutes later another Pipit appeared, similar in appearance to the last one but again I wasnt totally convinced. Both birds had seemingly darkish legs compared to the earlier Meadow Pipit, whitish superciliums, and general jizz looked good, but both had an olivey brown hue and obvious long hind claws. I was in two minds but put them down as Meadow Pipits but I thought I may as well check.
They are infact both Water Pipits so many thanks for that Ian.

- 6 Red Kite and 1 Raven in the Swilly area too.






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Weds 27th Feb.

Early afternoon visit to Lemonroyd sewage works / filter beds.

- only 2 Water Pipit remain now or at least that I could see.
One was showing well on the irrigation arm albeit distant and the fantastic weather made for poor vision with the glare against the wet filtration beds.
I walked further round the perimeter towards the railway embankment and viewed from there, where I picked up on another one just sat below the beds in one of the channels.

Also on the beds...
- 1 Green Sandpiper
- 2 Meadow Pipit
- 25+ Pied Wagtail
- 5 Grey Wagtail
- 10+ Chaffinch


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Weds 20th Feb

Lunchtime visit to Lemonroyd filter beds.

- 5 Water Pipits
- 8 Meadow Pipits
- 2 Grey Wagtail
- 1 Green Sandpiper
- 1 Oystercatcher
- 1 Pheasant
Plus usual finches, Pied Wagtails etc


Managed a few images of the Water Pipits, one individual has even started to show a greyish head. As I mentioned last week its difficult to count them due to the plant set up and bird mobility. I couldnt say I saw more than 5 today, and the fact Meadow Pipits are on the beds too makes it a bit tricky, but if the light hits the legs right...the Meadows legs show their pinky orange hue.

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Wednesday 20th of February 2019 06:57:32 PM

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Weds 13th Feb

Working in Leeds so called in at Swillington but I tried the other side this week.

Lemonroyd Sewage Works / Filter Beds.
Very hard to count the birds accurately due to the ground view of the filter beds, couple that with the rotation of the irrigation arms meant the birds were on the move and partly obscured a lot of the time with limited viewing.

- Water Pipit minimum 5
- Meadow Pipit 10+
- Grey Wagtail 5
- Pied Wagtail 15+
- Green Sandpiper 1 (possibly 2)
- Oystercatcher 1
- Chaffinches on the beds too

Only other things of interest around Fleet Lane side of Swillington was a Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, and plenty of Bullfinch.
Hopefully I got enough on the Water Pipits to ID them correctly but the images are not great due to the viewing restrictions.



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Thursday 14th of February 2019 06:55:33 AM

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Weds 6th Feb.

Took a break here as I was en-route to Rothwell from Garforth.
Ideally I wanted the Water Pipits at Lemonroyd but I thought No...they may well deserve a little bit more time incase they dont show, so I did the same as last week.

- Bearded Tit 2
As I approached the Bowers area I could see a crowd with big cameras chasing around on the path near the reeds, so I knew something was showing, but on arrival nothing was showing, flown off!
I distanced myself and managed to see 1 male fly low over the reeds and disappear and then it started again, people running with huge cameras and clicking away.
Another male had shown its face a couple of feet from the path and was feeding at the waters edge in and out of the reeds. What I will say in all fairness is that it didnt seem bothered with all the dashing about, but it was really annoying, and i even managed a few shots of someone blocking my lens as they ran passed, not giving any consideration for others.
In the end I managed a couple of ok record shots and I left before I said something!
Beautiful birds and a pleasure to see up close.


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Paul Hurst (sometime visitor to this forum) is currently one of the RSPB interns at St Aidans.



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Wednesday 30th Jan

Early afternoon visit on a tacho break whilst delivering on the Leeds round, I was actually passing a few minutes away on my way to Garforth.
I thought Ill call in and maybe go for the Water Pipits but within a few minutes I was chatting to a familiar Swilly local who said theyd not shown on Lemonroyd sluice since earlier in the morning but that some Bearded Tits were knocking about on the reed bed walk near Bowers lake.
Well they werent just knocking about, they were putting on an absolute show, 3 of them, a male and female at first soon joined by another male. Lovely to hear them calling and posing up in front of a small group of us. I gave up trying to get a good shot in the end as one of the males came to within 2 feet of us and sat there feeding, it was too close for my camera.
I was gobsmacked, both at how close it came and at how close one of the big lens brigade wanted to get by following it up and down the reeds! He got his shot and then proceeded to boast about it to everyone, and how hed waited years for a shot like that, probably change your field craft mate!
Another good tacho break!



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17.00-19.00 Saturday 30/06/18 with Colin Rushmer

Following a long session at Fairburn Ings we took the short trip here to look for a Black Tern, to try and hook Colin up with a new bird for his expanding list. No joy, but we enjoyed plenty of Common Terns and the overall cacophony of the Black-headed Gull colony. The reedbeds looked in fine fettle and the clear sign of this and highlight of the visit was a close view of a Bittern being chased by gulls and dropping into cover. This was superb to pick up a bird at a second site for the day, considering before the day began we had 2 sightings ever between us. Best of the rest was a smart Sedge Warbler that popped up by us and showed well.

Another successful site with real scale and obviously thriving.

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20/05/18

Called in this lunchtime as part of our West Yorks circuit. Looks to be developing very nicely. The volunteers we met were very welcoming and helpful and despite the large number of people using the site for a variety of leisure activities it didn't feel disturbed the way some places do. We did the loop around the Eastern Reedbed before moving on to our final destination.

Black-necked Grebes 3
Great Crested Grebes 2
Little Grebe 1 heard
Bittern 1 heard
Common Tern 4
Little Egret 1
Sand Martin 2
Swift 2
Little Owl 1
Oystercatcher 3
also
Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall
Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose
Pheasant, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull,
Woodpigeon, Skylark, Meadow Pipit,
Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat (3 - heard only)
Reed Bunting, Starling, Linnet.



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