… Latest Sightings

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  1. Yesterday probable dark morph buzzard flew down A642 12:30 and kept going.

    Comment by Julian — January 19, 2018 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  2. Both Marsh and Willow Tit still visiting the feeding station at the rabbit warren and the Water Rail was on round island, Astley again this afternoon.

    Comment by jim munro — January 18, 2018 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

    • G W E back on Bowers this morning, no sign of Tundra or Whitefront’s today. 110 Redwing Swilly Park.

      Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 18, 2018 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

  3. A late visit due to the weather today. I got to the hide about 1500hrs and noticed a decent goose flock on the hillside so decided to have a look through, as there had been a few White-fronted Geese locally recently. Almost immediately I saw a White-front, then three more. At the distance from the hide it was difficult to be sure of the bill colour and so the sub-species. I carried on checking through the flock in case there were more White-fronts, and found a Tundra Bean Goose instead. I decided to head up to Astley Old Lane to get onto the hillside and closer to the flock, but the geese were difficult to see from the paths because of the hedges. I could just make out orange bills on the White-fronts, making them Greenland race rather than the more expected Russian race. Also in the flock was a lone Pink-footed Goose.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 17, 2018 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  4. Barn owl off Swillington Ln. 17:30, certainly wasn’t expecting it whilst there on business!

    Comment by Phil J — January 17, 2018 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  5. Several thousand gulls around the tip and fields off Pontefract Lane but only 500 in the roost yesterday. Three Snipe on the islands at Skelton Lake is the largest number I’ve seen for months. Still one Water Pipit on the filterbeds.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 16, 2018 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

  6. Photographs needed!
    There will be a feature article on St. Aidan’s in the RSPB’s Nature’s Home magazine. We are looking for some high-resolution landscape shots of the site looking splendid. The article will be in the summer edition so ideally the pictures need to be from spring or summer. We want to show off the reedbeds in particular, and pictures of the BHG colony would be fantastic. Also, any interesting portrait shots of kestrels, little owls or anything else of note would be really good. Obviously the photographer will be credited in the article.
    Please contact me by email at john.ingham@rspb.org.uk or drop into the visitor centre.

    Comment by John Ingham — January 16, 2018 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  7. Reading the 2016 report; Blue-headed wagtail 1st since 1998, It was my fifth since 2013 and there is no way I have seen all that have passed thro’ so either I’m lucky or others aren’t looking properly or aren’t reporting them. 2017’s Blue was a “channel” so is ???, and I know it was almost as elusive as the Arctic Redpoll and few saw it so perhaps I am lucky.

    Comment by julian — January 15, 2018 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

    • The ‘Yellow Wagtail’ complex is complex, so we require descriptions of all races. I can assure you that all the regular birders check for different races, so the fact that you have seen five in four year, when no-one else has seen any, means that you are very lucky indeed. The 2017 bird was seen by other people and considered to be a standard Blue-headed.

      Comment by Paul Morris — January 15, 2018 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

      • Sounds like 2 birds, pale blue head barely contrasting with broad supercillium is classic inter. Looks like not always lucky, missed one, thought it had hung around a bit long.

        Comment by Julian — January 16, 2018 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  8. Water Rail showed frequently throughout the afternoon. Several hundred gulls went down on the hillside.

    Comment by julian — January 15, 2018 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

  9. The Great White Egret flew over Lowther Lake onto Caroline Pond mid-morning.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 13, 2018 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

  10. Great White Egret reported back on Bowers lake this afternoon ( G O, RSPB warden)

    Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 12, 2018 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  11. The Water Rail has given prolonged views, of note is it’s rear which is at variance with illustrations and images available in the hide. Apparently there are gender differences!

    Comment by Julian — January 11, 2018 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

    • On the bill.

      Comment by Julian — January 11, 2018 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  12. Still two Water Pipit on Lemonroyd filter beds, 24 Goosander on Lem lake, 19 Goldeneye on main lake. Small gull roost. Marsh Harrier, same dark Imm. flew se at 1600.

    Comment by petegriff — January 11, 2018 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

  13. The Recorded Species page has been updated to incorporate the recent BOU/IOC species and order change, also local changes with LBBG intermedius ssp removed and Ring-necked Parakeet added (would you believe) in accord with YNU classification.

    Comment by Gordon — January 11, 2018 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

    • Also the Member’s Life List has been updated in accordance with the above.

      Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 11, 2018 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  14. Over 400 Tufted Ducks on the Main Lake, but already heading back to the river in small groups, with 197 on Lemonroyd Lake and a few others elsewhere on site – more on the river but not counted. 686 Lapwings, 2 Dunlins, the Oystercatcher and 30+ Curlews around the Main Lake but no Golden Plover. The Water Rail still showing well at times on Round Island at Astley Lake.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 11, 2018 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

    • Water Rail also on Main Spit. Marsh Harrier over Reed beds at 15.00.

      Comment by Rob Leighton — January 11, 2018 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

      • Another water Rail at side of Astley spillway this morning, Bittern onto eastern reedbed from SE and Red Kite through

        Comment by Dave Hunton — January 11, 2018 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

  15. Good view of Water rail on round island Astley Lake today 11.20am.

    Comment by pgcoates — January 10, 2018 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

    • Clockwise or anti-clockwise?

      Comment by Julian — January 11, 2018 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  16. Rabbit Warren from 1530, interesting Golden Plover with dusky underwings flying around with mobile Lapwings. Landed briefly on the lagoon, but fading light and skittish Lapwings offered no more clues. Could be worth checking out in better light?
    Also in same area were 2 Dunlin, an Oyc and 50+ Curlew. 4 ad Whooper went south at 1545 and 4 male Pintail displaying to 5 females on main bay.
    No harriers or owls seen, but Tawny Owl heard over Station Lane at dusk.

    Comment by petegriff — January 10, 2018 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

  17. On St Aidans today 10.9.18 pm. Little Egret & Red Shank on Eastern Reedbed also Redshank on spit by start of causeway with 30+ Lapwing.. Kingfisher by x roads at start of causeway. Watched it for 3/4 an hour catching fish pure delight made up for not getting Hen Harrier.Stonechat by trailer gate lots of Cormorants drying out. 6+ Goosanders Lemenroyd and Eastern Reedbed.

    Comment by Anne German — January 10, 2018 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  18. No sign of Hen Harrier at roost time over reedbeds, but a dark cream crown Marsh Harrier drifting around the site from 1500. Dropped into WRB, first at 1525 then again 1630. Probably same bird moving position. Thousands of large gulls going to roost in bad light from 1600.

    Comment by petegriff — January 9, 2018 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  19. Hen Harrier seen distantly on ridge and furrow at 12.30, apparently it flew up onto the hillside shortly afterwards (JK). Water rail gave good views from the hide on round island at 10.30, working its way anti-clockwise today!
    Mixed flock of fieldfare, redwings and a couple of mistle thrushes on the hillside at 12 noon. Stonechat on the fence nearby. Kingfisher on bullrushes near the crossroads and redshank still on ERB.

    Comment by Dave Musgrove — January 9, 2018 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

    • Must be plenty of food and cover for the Water Rail to stay/come back!

      Comment by Julian — January 10, 2018 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  20. Woodcock at Little Preston late morning.

    Comment by John Martin — January 9, 2018 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

    • Another at 11:15 near Lemonroyd entrance gate

      Comment by sibgchairman — January 9, 2018 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

  21. Hen Harrier still present this morning over the ridge n furrow (AR). It flew down from the hillside plantation onto the R n F.

    Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 9, 2018 @ 8:54 am | Reply

  22. Hen Harrier still on site at 16.30 so will be roosting locally. The bird was seen intermittently over Western Reed bed from 14.30 t0 16.30.

    Occasionally taking longer flights over reserve up to about 400ft. for the over 60’s and a lot more centimetres for the under 60’s.

    It flew around the reserve and over Astley and back behind the hide at about 16.00hrs.

    Last seen about 16.35 over R & F. from hide.

    Comment by Rob Leighton — January 8, 2018 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  23. 76 Shovelers in the small ice-free area at Astley Lake, with 34 more on Lemonroyd Lake. Looking from Caroline Bridge at least 525 Teal on the edges of the Main Lake, with probably some more out of sight behind the bulge, also 60 more on Astley. The Wigeon were more difficult, being in vegetation on the ridge and furrow most of the time, but at least 250 counted with probably 50 to 100 more. With most lakes at least partly frozen numbers of Tufted Ducks might have been impressive (over 200 on Bowers Lake for example) but most were on the river and there were no barges moving to flush them off. Over 30 Great Crested Grebes and 5 Pintails. At least 60 each Golden Plovers and Curlews disturbed on the ridge and furrow by the fencing contractors. At least 140 Fieldfares in hillside fields, most arriving from the south. Despite being on site most of the day I successfully managed to avoid the Hen Harrier.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 8, 2018 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  24. Male Hen Harrier over the R n F briefly at 9:15 then flew towards Swilly Park, it was seen by RSPB warden J P Ingham who was sat at his desk looking out of his office window, (needs to get more work done says his boss).
    The Hen Harrier was located later at the North end of the hillside before it was lost to view as it dropped down over the brow of the hill heading towards the main reserve (eastern reedbed / Balance res area. (GYL).
    Nuthatch at the bottom of Coach Rd near entrance to Swillington farm shop this morning, also 100 Redwings in fields there.

    Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 8, 2018 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  25. Water Rail on round island, Astley @1415, 1450 and 1520. Seemed to be going clockwise, can’t remember seeing one on the islands before. 6/1 @ wwtw a pair of Treecreepers loosely with Goldcrest and Coal Tit.

    Comment by Julian — January 7, 2018 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

    • Wondering if it’s a migrant, flew in at night and didn’t fancy flying or swimming off the island in daylight!

      Comment by Julian — January 7, 2018 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

      • Water levels are high on Astley and river bank so could just have been washed out of its usual spot?

        Comment by Rob Hunton — January 7, 2018 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

  26. Adult Iceland Gull in the main lake roost again this evening.
    Jack Snipe on Astley causeway this morning (AH)
    3 dunlin seen together today (GYL) and 2 Black-tailed godwits at dusk

    Comment by Rob Hunton — January 7, 2018 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

    • 100th species for the year with addition of Jack Snipe, Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit seen today.

      Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 7, 2018 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  27. General information for visitors.
    There are two car parks at opposite ends of the reserve. If birds are reported from Bowers Lake, Lowther Lake, the Main Lake, the ridge and furrow area or the eastern reedbed the closest car park is that by the RSPB Visitor Centre off Astley Lane, accessed (and signposted) from the A642 in Swillington village. For birds on Fleet Lane, at Lemonroyd, Lemonroyd Lake, Astley Lake and the western reedbed use the car park at the end of Fleet Lane, accessed from the A642 in Oulton.
    I spent quite a bit of time checking the finch flocks between Lemonroyd and Eshald Lane this morning. There was a mixed flock of about 35 Goldfinch, 20 Siskins and 12 Redpolls in Pit Wood and 8 Redpolls in the Old Brewery Plantation, both of which allowed prolonged views but I could see nothing but Lesser Redpolls.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 7, 2018 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  28. Dunlin on Astley and (possibly the same bird) on the lagoon and then main lake.
    Redshank on eastern reedbed.
    Black-tailed godwit opposite Caroline bridge on main lake.
    Green sandpiper between filter beds.
    2 green woodpecker flew out of rabbit warren
    1 water pipit on filter beds and also a chiffchaff in the holly bush.
    Great white egret still present, around Caroline pond this morning.

    Comment by Rob Hunton — January 7, 2018 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  29. Barn Owl opposite Woodlesford Lock viewing platform 0750.

    Comment by Reuben Mew — January 7, 2018 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  30. For anyone interested in viewing the gull roost from the rabbit Warren, please be warned that all access paths are very muddy just now and boots are recommended. Gulls start arriving after 1500 and continue until dark. Tonights Iceland Gull arrived at 1625. Hopefully it will return another day.

    Comment by petegriff — January 6, 2018 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  31. Great White Egret appeared on Astley at about 11am this morning before reappearing on the Eastern reedbed near the hillside where it was flushed by a dog off the lead. When are the RSPB going to do something about dogs causing havoc with the wildlife?

    Comment by Gary Vause — January 6, 2018 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  32. Adult Iceland Gull into main lake roost this evening (MB)
    Green sandpiper reported between filter beds.
    5 buzzards near the tip
    3 yellowhammer on fleet lane and a flock of 13 skylark here too.

    Comment by Rob Hunton — January 6, 2018 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  33. A Skylark, in full song, flew above r+f late morning, close to the bench at the bottom of the hillside. Somewhat unusual for early January.

    Comment by Rob P — January 6, 2018 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  34. 1.There will be a one-off work party at St. Aidan’s on SUNDAY 14th JANUARY to start clearing willow scrub in the reedbeds. This is a vital part of the ongoing management to stop scrub from taking over and drying up the reedbed.
    This is a fantastic opportunity to get out onto part of the reserve that is not accessible to the public, and which will soon be flooded again in time for the breeding season. It really does give a different perspective of the reserve once you’re out there in the heart of the habitat! It’s also a great opportunity to work off some of the Christmas turkey and mince pies!
    If you’d like to come along, please let me know so we have an idea of numbers. John Ingham and Andy Tiffany, the RSPB wardens, will arrange for all equipment but if you do help have loppers or a saw then please bring them along. You’ll need wellies or sturdy boots, clothes to keep you warm and dry, lunch and a drink. Meet at the ‘crossroads’ at the end of the Main Lake Spillway at 9.30. We will work until around 3 pm. If you are only available for the morning you still welcome. There really is an enormous amount of work to do and the more helpers the better.

    Comment by sibgchairman — January 6, 2018 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  35. Peregrine over Fleet Lane fields 11:45 this morning.

    Comment by sibgchairman — January 6, 2018 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  36. A request to those Members who are on the Members Life List table, as you know Bean Goose has now been split into Tundra & Taiga so can you please let me know if you have seen both species so i can amend your total. Taiga has only been recorded once in the area on 6th February 2012. ( Beware both Species were recorded that year). See 2012 report for dates.

    Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 5, 2018 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  37. Water Pipit at Lemonroyd WWTW early pm.

    Comment by John Martin — January 5, 2018 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

  38. This mornings highlights. Willow Tit Little Preston
    Bull Finch 8 Woodlesford lock
    Red legged Partridge 16 Fleet lane and Chiffchaff Lemonroyd WWTW in base of central Holly tree.

    Comment by John Martin — January 4, 2018 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  39. News from yesterday, the BBRC have accepted last years Caspian Tern (18/07/17) which is no surprise. So you can now officially add it to your lists !!!

    Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 3, 2018 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

  40. Surprise of the day was the first Little Egret for Temple Newsam woods flushed from the pond-dipping area. Two Tawny Owls roosting side by side there, but otherwise quiet, with just one small tit flock, no woodpeckers, Treecreeper or Nuthatch and even birds like Wren, Robin and Blackbird in short supply. Just one Water Pipit on the filterbeds this morning. 79 Curlews roosting at Astley this evening.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 3, 2018 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  41. 5 Grey Partridge late afternoon on Fleet lane just before road to sports fields.

    Comment by jim munro — January 3, 2018 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

  42. Bittern seen from the hide at dusk over WRB by Bob the globetrotter while I was trying to talk up a Water Rail out of the shadows. 2 Water Pipit still on the filter beds this aft.

    Comment by petegriff — January 2, 2018 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  43. Just the last dozen species left to complete the 2017 report. I don’t have many reports for Starling, with no more than 2000 in June and August. Does anyone have any other reports of murmurations (date and number)? Thanks.

    Comment by Paul Morris — January 2, 2018 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  44. 88 species seen today in the Swillington Ings recording area with information received so far . Highlight being the Great White Egret.

    Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 1, 2018 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  45. Happy New Year From the Swillington ings Bird Group as it enters it’s 30th year recording wildlife in the Lower Aire Valley. Also covered by individual birders for many years before the formation of the group. 183 species recorded in 2017 + sub species.
    #Swillyings #StAidans

    Comment by Gyl. SwillyBirder — January 1, 2018 @ 1:41 am | Reply

  46. Happy New Year everyone!!!
    Thanks for all of your reports this year, keep them coming next year!!!
    Don’t forget 2018 subscriptions are taken from 1st January. New members are always welcome!
    The old fashioned method of cash and cheque can still be catered for, but we would prefer electronic payment by bank transfer. Most bank accounts now have the facility of online banking and can therefore easily make an online payment directly into the groups bank account. Please contact me or Phil (treasurer) if you need any help with this.

    Just a quick note to the Bubo listers, as they have now updated the British List to mirror that of the IOU and as such, Bean Goose as we knew it has been split into Tundra Bean and Taiga Bean, so you’ll need to update your lists accordingly (they can’t determine which one you’ve seen). It’s very easy to do on Bubo, but your lists will be currently 1 less if you had Bean Goose on any of your lists and you haven’t updated already.
    This is the only split affecting our recording area, with both species been recorded on site (Taiga in 2012).
    The updated British list can be found online at https://www.bou.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/british-list-2017-12-06-0.pdf

    Comment by Rob Hunton — December 31, 2017 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

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