Way out West

Today I had a trip out for a few dirty twitches round West Yorkshire to look for some of the good birds that have been hanging round and that I haven’t had time to go and see yet.

We started at Sands Lane GP near Mirfield to look for the ring-billed gull that’s been there recently, but there was no signs of it, despite our attempts to turn the common gulls into one. There were a couple of goosander on the river, but apart from that sadly not the best start to the day…

Next stop Calder Wetlands, where we picked up a nice range of wildfowl that included more goo sander, gadwall, wigeon, goldeneye and tufted duck, but a passing birder put us on to the fact that the bird we were looking for – the great northern diver – was back on the lake at Pugneys. We caught up with it giving great views on the opposite side of the lake, and on the way back to the car at the Swan & Cygnet spent some time with a very photogenic kestrel.

From there it was a quick drive round to the other side of the river to Millfield Lagoons, where after a bit of a search we found the two drake scaup that had been reported, tagging on to a flock of tufties.

Then on to Wintersett Res, where our two targets – a handsome drake smew and a winter-plumage black-necked grebe – showed well without too much fuss. Sadly the smew took flight with a flock of goldeneye before all our party could see it however.

Finally on to Anglers CP, for the American wigeon. There were loads of European wigeon there, and it took a while to find it, but we eventually did, and a cracker of a bird it was too. And as a bonus the smew put in an appearance too, obviously taking a break from Wintersett, meaning we all got to see it. Other highlights included willow tit and tree sparrow on the feeders.

A great day, with some great birds seen, and all without travelling further than 40 minutes from home. Tallying up, today’s sightings bring me on to 121 for the year. Sadly this excellent start has ignited the yearlisting bug in me for 2012… I wonder if it’ll last?!

Some pics…

Kestrel

Kestrel

Spot the scaups...

Spot the scaups!

Black-necked Grebe (record shot)

Black-necked Grebe (record shot)

Goosander

Goosander

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Pete

My name is Pete

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