January started with a birthday day out on the first to Potteric Carr with a bunch of friends and for the famous Potteric New Years breakfast the birds were good along with me adding Siskin to the Potteric List.
Snow and freezing temperatures once again hit England but that didn’t stop the
birding with once again the Ring Billed Gull spending the winter at Sands Lane.
Brambling was added to the Old Moor list during a visit there.
February brought more of a spring like weather bringing a false sense of security with it, the birds were good at work with Siskins again seen along with an old friend in the form of a Dipper. The end of the month saw us at Clumber Park on a visit with us seeing a couple of Hawfinch along with stonking views of Nuthatch
March again saw us out at Clumber Park on the 12th seeing Mandarins this time but missing out on the Great Grey Shrike. Mid month we started to see some spring migrants with Wheatears around and a White Wagtail near Cheesegate Nab, Curlews and Oystercatchers returning to breeding grounds on the moors. The end of the month on the 25th with a visit to Pugneys brought the first Butterflies of the year Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell along with the first Chiffchaff but we were still reminded of winter with a splendid Male Smew on the nature reserve lake. The 26th I was out at Hatfield Woodhouse seeing plenty of Black Necked Grebes along with the Red Necked Grebe at ten Acre Lake. Plenty more spring migrants were appearing like Little Ringed Plovers and Sand Martins, we also saw Common Cranes even if they only flew over. Potteric Carr was also visited on the 26th with me seeing and adding a male Garganey to the year list and number two for the year on the Potteric Carr list.
April over the first weekend of the month we had a stay on Anglesey visiting South Stack and Cemlyn Bay whilst we were there. Highlight of the weekend were the amount of Wheatears moving thru South Stack this along with seeing Stonechat, Chough and Peregrines made for an excellent stay. The RSPB also opened up there new Café at South Stack which sells one of the best Chocolate cakes on the planet.
We came back home via Conwy RSPB seeing a huge amount of Sand Martins moving thru along with Red Breasted Merganser before there move into the mountains, there was also Little Egret and a small movement of Willow Warblers. Back home over the middle weekends saw a great movement of Wheatears around the Ingbirchworth/Broadstones area with a least 50 birds moving thru with my first Swallow at Sands Lane.
The weekend of the 15th saw more birds coming in with a visit to Old Moor seeing Green Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers and Whitethroats. From the 20th onwards in the Langsett area Cuckoos and Redstarts were appearing. The 23rd again at Leighton Moss saw Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers along with a Mediterranean Gull. The 25th again at Old Moor saw Mediterranean Gulls, Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat along with Little Ringed Plovers but the first Damselflies were appearing these being Large Red along with Dinky Skipper Butterflies.The 30th saw the appearance of Tree Pipit in the Langsett area with a Hobby going thru the Broadstones area, this being a Hudds first for me. Visiting Potteric Carr on the 30th saw a good movement of waders with me adding six species to the Potteric list these were Wood, Green and Common Sandpiper, Bat Tailed Godwit, Pied and White Wagtails, other waders for the day included Little and Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Redshank, and Avocet. It was also a great day for Butterflies at Potteric with Comma, Peacock, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Red Admiral and Green-veined Whites
May’s days out were fewer with a couple of visits to Old Moor a visit out to Spurn Point and a visit to Fairburn Ings. Spurns visit added four species to its list these being Common Sandpiper, Roseate Tern, Grasshopper Warbler and Sand Martins, there was also saw plenty of Whimbrel about along with a subalpine Warbler (the second for Spurn for me). Closer to home at Old Moor saw more Damselflies with Common Blue, Blue Tailed and Azure making an appearance. Avocets were the main attraction at Old Moor making their first breeding success here. Two first this month for the Old Moor list were Avocet and Grey Plover, along with Common Crane at Fairburn Ings things were looking interesting for the year. The find for May was a Lime Hawk Moth in Kirkheaton Parish Church yard on an early morning walk to work.
June started with an organised day out with Limosa Holidays around Lakenheath Fen and the Brecks on the 7th with us making an overnight stay at Magdalen House, we had a brief visit to Lakenheath after tea and saw Barn Owl again. The Butterfly visit to Narborough only produced a Common Blue Butterfly. The visit to Lakenheath produced great sightings of Cuckoo with glimpses of Bittern and Hobby with a brief call from a Golden Oriole and great views of Cettis Warbler. Hairy Dragonfly (Female) was seen along with Banded Demoiselle, and Mother Shipton Moth, in the Brecks Tree Pipit and Woodlark along with Speckled Yellow Moth, Brown Silver Line Moth. Fairburn Ings
mid month produced my first Four Spotted Chasers along with a Yorkshire first
in the form of a Great White Egret this was followed by a trip out to Bempton
Cliffs to see the usual seabirds. A great week at work on week 24 produced
firsts in the form of Small Heath Butterfly, Yellow Shell Moth, Large Skipper
Butterfly, and Azure Damselfly. On the 18th a visit to Old Moor gave me a first for Old Moor with Black Necked Grebe with Mediterranean Gull being seen this day too. A new butterfly sight visit on the 24th too Thurstonland Bank seeing loads of Common Blue and Small Heath butterflies and then a visit to Bulcliffe Colliery to see my first Bee Orchid. “6th of the month I was at the local ponds seeing my first Emperor Dragonfly, Large Red and Azure Damselflies for the area
July started at Fairburn Ings on a positive note seeing Spoonbill and my first Hummingbird Hawk Moth actually two . Still at Kirkheaton Quarry for the first half of the month brought great rewards with Emperor still on patrol keeping an eye on a Four-spotted Chaser. Work patch was also humming at the start of the month with three first on the pond these being Emperor Dragonfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly. Old Moor at this time of month brought sight of more Four-spotted Chasers along with a Brown Hawker.
Butterflies were also abundant ain the first half of the month with Large
Skippers, Meadow Brown, Ringlets, Speckled Woods and Small Skippers with
smaller numbers of Small Tortoiseshells.
The second half of the month saw the purchase of a Pentax K-r DSLR along with a prime macro lens which was just in time for more insect life Gatekeepers were starting to appear along with Green-veined Whites, Commas and Red Admirals. A new moth species was found at work in the form of a Swallow-tailed Moth along with bad news of my prime butterfly field being harvested but the field near the viaduct was to take over the mantle over the coming weeks. Later half of the month I tried to catch a Marsh Sandpiper at Blacktoft Sands on the 24th but missed it but saw Little Egret, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshanks and Avocets as a reward. I also took my first visit to Brockadale Nature Reserve may be a bit late in the year but did manage to see one Marbled White along with the more common species. The 30th saw us in Rutland at the Reservoir seeing 3 Ospreys and lots of common species of Butterflies and Dragonflies we also found a new Butterfly site namely Fermyn Woods and saw White Admiral, Holly Blue and Purple Emperor here a great time also was had in using the new 90mm Marco Lens.
August started on week 31 with great numbers of Gatekeepers carrying on from July. Week 32 saw a new first at work in the form of a Hobby. I also this month had the delight in trying out the bat detector for a good period at Old Moor and learnt a few things from the warden, we saw and heard 3 species of bat Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Noctule Bats. There was also a good number od waders now moving thru Old Moor with Greenshanks, Knots, and Green Sandpipers making their way south. Dragonflies/Butterflies were in good number, after a bad summer,with Blue Tailed, Common Blue, Azure and Large Red and a bad year for Emerald I only saw one this month after being abundant last year. Brown and Migrant Hawkers were staring to appear mid-month but August was to be a butterfly month with me making a trip out to a new reserve at Arnside Knott, finding Warton Craggs and Gait Burrows along side, at Arnside I saw Scotch Argus in good numbers with Grayling and Dark Green Fritillary with them. It was good to see numbers of Small Copper Butterflies this, especially on the work patch and seeing Wall Brown still at Scout Dike Reservoir.
September was at the beginning of the month a latebutterfly season with me calling at Thunderbridge Meadows a couple of times seeing a few late butterflies Speckled Woods, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined Whites and Commas were still about with the odd Migrant Hawkers around the woodland edges, with Common Buzzards overhead. We had another Bat night at Old Moor RSPB on the 6th but this time in cooler windier conditions which resulted in only one or two bats about, Soprano Pipistrelle was found in the out of the way places and Noctule put in a very brief appearance. Carrying on the bat theme we had a local night out on a warmer calmer evening and found Soprano and Common Pipistrelle and a lot of Noctule Bats giving us great views along with Tawny and Little Owls. From the 19th we could be found in Norfolk for a week’s holiday around the Cromer area visiting Titchwell, Cley and Ranworth Broad in a week that turned out to be warm and sunny. We clocked up 90 species of bird (nothing rare) but added Whinchat, Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper to the year list. Southern Hawker was found at Ranworth Broad along with many Common Darters with Red Admirals and Commas which were still out in good numbers (I think Red Admiral as had a good 2011) On the 26th I visited Pugneys Country Park to see a Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper that had dropped in this bird was giving fantastic views down to within a few metres around the edge of the main lake. The 30th I was back out at Old Moor RSPB seeing more Dragonflies on a day that reached the 80° degree mark giving us a very late summer, Common Darters in good numbers along with a couple of Migrant Hawkers. A few waders were still passing thru namely Greenshank, Dunlin and Ringed Plovers with the winter Golden Plover/Lapwing flock building up.
October I had only two visits out in October and both were to Old Moor the one on the 7th gave me two firsts for Old Moor , one being of a covey of 8 Grey Partridge and the other was Water Rail, these were seen whilst looking out for a Jack Snipe which didn’t show for me on the 7th, there was also still a few Common Darters still about in the late sunshine. The other date was the 21st were I finally got to see the Jack Snipe, another first for Old Moor which made it 8 for the year, but missed out on the Water Pipit. Still plenty of Water Rails to see and a Red Kite flew thru on the 21st and the Golden Plover flock was a few hundred strong with Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Redshanks mixed in
November was another quiet month for getting out the month turned out to be one of the warmest on record with a few rare moths from the continent making their way to Britain but not as far as Yorkshire. The 11thwe had a trip to Anglers CP to find the American Wigeon on Wintersett Reservoir with the following day the 12th seeing us at Potteric Carr looking once again at a new reserve first with Jack Snipe giving good views from Decoy Hide. The 26th saw me on a camera day course at Keighley with Going Digital run by Keith Hadley
December started at Pugneys CP on the 2nd where a juv. Great Northern Diver had spent a few days, the 27th saw me back at Old Moor on a Bittern search this bird once again lived up to its secretive nature and was not seen but it was good to see Grey Partridge again. The end of the year on the 31st saw us rounding off the year at Potteric Carr, in the vain hope of seeing a Bittern but alas it was not to be but we saw Siskin and Redwings to finish off the year.
SO A SUMMARY OF TALLIES FOR 2011
Life List > 0 British List > 0 Yorkshire List > 0
On The Huddsbirder Top 5 Sites :-
Blacktoft Sands > No additions
Huddersfield > 1 addition (Hobby)
Old Moor > 8 additions (Avocet, Black Necked Grebe, Brambling, Grey Partridge, Grey Plover, Jack Snipe, Knot, Water Rail)
Potteric Carr > 9 additions (Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Garganey, Green Sandpiper, Jack Snipe, Pied Wagtail, Siskin, White Wagtail, Wood Sandpiper)
Spurn Point > 4 additions (Common Sandpiper, Grasshopper Warbler, Roseate Tern, Sand Martin)
BIRDS > 54 BUTTERFLY > 16 DRAGONFLY> 7 MOTH> 6 FUNGI> 3