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Monday, May 31, 2010

The puzzle of the town centre waders

Whilst walking in Halifax this afternoon 4 waders flew over very low and very fast, what they were is another thing, had we been at Scarborough Id have said Sanderling or Turnstone. I,ve just been on Calderbirds hoping someone else was down there but nothing.
We were walking on the precinct from the woolshops towards the piece hall by Peacocks when these 4 in a very tight group whizzed over our heads just above building level and veered over the shops towards M& S carpark. At least 2 birds gave out a sharp single note flute type call which was loud enough to make a few people look up, that was until they started watching me dashing back towards the woolshops like a headless chicken.
In the 2 seconds I saw them I got plain white bellys, stubby short winged birds with very direct fast flight.
Will have to find some info on the call but these birds will have to go down on that dreaded list of
Cud av bins.

One good thing if anyones interested, I bought a £10 top up for my computer doggle at the My 3 shop in the Woolshops and they are on offer for £11 for two vouchers but I dont know how long the offer lasts.
BS

Fly Flatts

Common Sandpipers


0730-1000hrs  Icy cold NNE >5, cloudy, some light rain early on.
No shoreline whatsoever at Fly with the water up to the top and splashing over the banking in the wind.
Canadas have bred well with 83 young ones counted .
2 Twite were very mobile and a single Reed Bunting was near the boathouse. A Ringed Plover flew low over the water and settled on the eastern shore and a noisy Redshank was defending territory.
2 female Wheatear were by the feeding station.

3 Common Sandpiper
2 Twite
2 Wheatear
1 Reed Bunting
83 Canada chicks
1 Redshank
1 Ringed Plover
Usual Skylarks and Meadow Pipits
Again only 1 Curlew seen and heard?
BS

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dailie Fields and Old Railway Station

pm visit in an icy cold  N>5
Checked the valley below Brow Lane which always produced Redstart not so many years ago but that was a bit on the optimistic side. This area was also good for Yellowhammer but thats going back to when Adam was a lad.
The place was heaving with Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs and a Whitethroat proved elusive in the brambles near the beck.
Two pair of Bullfinch were near the Tunnel entrance and a suprise to get a Peregrine whistling over the red bricked chimney.

1 Peregrine
4 Bullfinch
4 Chiffchaff
19 Willow Warbler
1 Whitethroat
2 Grey Partridge
2 Green Woodpecer
1 Kestrel
3 Linnet nesting in the gorse bushes.
1 Little Owl.
BS

Ogden / Back Lane

Plenty Shoreline but no waders


                          A Tranquil Scene

0730-0930hrs   Bright and sunny, cold NW >4
Although the water is now well down its just too late for the spring waders. The shoreline was deserted and the water only held about a dozen Mallard. LBB gulls continued to move through in small numbers and a Spotted Flycatcher was on the fringe on the Back Lane plantation. The Cuckoo continued to call throughout the visit.
1 Cuckoo
3 Garden Warblers
1 Spotted Flycatcher
Several Willow Warbs and Chiffchaff
9 LBB Gull >N  mostly 2nd winter plumage birds
+ usual sp.
BS

Friday, May 28, 2010

Around the area

Night clouds moving in.

Plenty young Starlings

Menwith Hill air force base golf balls on the horizon from Foxhill.

Foxhill park is now alive with young Starlings and House Sparrows tempting the local Sparrowhawk to make several visits.
Shelf Moor pond tonight held 3 Canadas and 1 Moorhen whilst several Swifts fed over the gorse field.
House Martins are now back on site by the Lion Gates and a pair of Grey Wagtails were carrying food nearby.
LBB gulls still continue to trickle through >N.
BS

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

House Martins arrive

More House Sparrows !


                                                 Spring Lilac

A good move of House Martins today with 9 birds blogging around the mill chimney before moving off >NE.
Also several birds moved through with 14 counted over Foxhill at mid day again all >NE. None have yet returned to their annual breeding sites at Foxhill.
Swallows have also made a comeback today with several bloggers but no sign of any Swift movement.
BS

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Queensbury today

One of two pair of breeding Kestrels in Queensbury have 2 fledglings now doing well.
A pair of Mallard flew >E over Foxhill at lunch time and 3 LBB gulls headed >NW,one having very black wings and mantle.
Swallows are a bit scarce at the moment and Swifts keep trickling through >N.
How nice today to get our Queensbury weather back with a cool wind, drizzle and some mist, a lot better than that hot stuff.
BS

Monday, May 24, 2010

Queensbury today

Good news on the garden breeding sparrows
                              I hate this hot weather !

A single Heron flew high >SW over the village early a.m. and a male Sparrowhawk took a young Starling from the garage car park also this morning.
Three House Sparrows have now fledged in the garden and a second nest has chicks. One youngster was taken when a kamikaze Magpie launched itself head first into the ivy and came out with a chick . Hopefully now a second batch will be underway.
A party of 35 Swifts came over Foxhill tonight at 1915hrs all >NW in front of the black clouds which eventually blew over.
Had a customer in today who commented on seeing NKs White Stork sighting on the Qby blog and told me he had seen one a couple of years back over Cooper Lane.
BS

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ringed Plovers, LBBs and Cows.

View Blockers
                                        Cotton Plants on the hill
1500-1600hrs  Skywatching,  Soil Hill
Bit like a desert up there with dust clouds blowing across the summit.
LBB gulls were trickling through >N along with Swifts. 3 Ringed Plovers flew in from the east looking to land by the NK pond but a quick change of plan made them lift up at the last minute and head towards Daves Oxenhope watchpoint but due to the heat haze could,nt tell if they went down or not.
The cows in the photo decided to come and investigate so came and stood right across the front of me.
3 Ringed Plovers
18  LBBs ....................>N
9 Swift......................>N
Several Mipits and Skylark food carrying.
BS

Ogden in the heat

Keeping a lookout

Panoramic View

                           Hot Dogs,

0715-0900hrs Scorching hot with a very slight >SW
Ideal wader movement conditions but not for Ogden.  Fly Flatts had its boating open day today so headed for Ogden hoping to bag some waders but the water and shoreline were deserted. DCB seemed to be getting them all at Oxenhope, see his vis mig site for details. A male Blackcap and several Willow Warblers were the only thing of note around the reservoir path.
Back Lane did better producing a single Tree Pipit which flew from the edge of the plantation towards the Devils Tooth. This was a very bright bird looking nearly yellow in the sun. A Spotted Flycatcher was back at its annual site on the bottom fringe of the plantation darting out for flies.
A cuckoo was in the clough calling all morning and just got one brief sighting as it moved positions.
Otherwise an early finish before the sun got too hot. Not often you hear that phrase from an upland birder.

4 LBB Gulls   >NW
1 Tree Pipit
1 Spotted Flycatcher
8 Willow Warbler
1m Blackcap
1 Cuckoo
+ usual sp.
BS

Friday, May 21, 2010

Foxhill Today

           Keeping a check on the wind direction, House Sparrow.                               

The first batch of juv Starlings appeared today with 50 + feeding on the football pitches.
An excited Sparrowhawk made a couple of half hearted swoops but went away empty handed.
8 Swifts were feeding over the Pineberry this evening and several Swallows were still making the best of the black fly invasion.
A single Curlew flew >W over Chapel Lane this morning which was an unusual sighting.
BS

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Foxhill Today

Classed as tree rats but I like em.

                       Whos been nicking my seed ?

Plenty blogging Swifts over the park tonight making the best of the shoals of black fly and green fly that are about in the warm conditions.
7 Pipistrelle bats were over the park trees yesterday evening and one larger bat but not being batman I dont know what sp. that was.Swallows seem to be everywhere now but House Martins have yet to make an appearence which will probably be in a couple of weeks time.
Hopefully Ogden will pick up a stray wader or two this weekend if the water is well down, its about the last chance of the spring to get them now otherwise we,ll atta wait for em comin back tuther roard.
A bit o Yorkshire there for ya.
BS

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blackflies and Bats

A reg. plate fit for a birder.

These trees in Foxhill are alive with bats on an evening

The last few days Foxhill has been alive with black flies. This has brought the Swallows out during the day and the Pipistrelle bats out on an evening, up to 11 bats were present last light yesterday evening.
A single Herring gull flew over >W today and 3 LBBs moved >NW.
A report today of a Cuckoo calling from Shibden valley heard from Shibden Head. The bird was believed to be in the area of Twist Wood.
The call of the Cuckoo was a common sound many years ago early in my birding career but is now long gone along with the Redstarts and Yellowhammers.
BS

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Local Stuff

Watching over his nest.

Local Sparrowhawk visits Foxhill.

                                      A clear sky last night

Queensbury/ Foxhill today.
LBBs had dried up today leaving just a few Swifts heading >N.
A single Heron went over >SW early doors very high and direct, mobbed by Swallows.
Three circles of feathers were in Foxhill park from a Sparrowhawk kill, the victim looking like a Blackbird. How vunerable they are just now perched high up in the open singing away.
Up to 16 House Sparrows are now roosting in the ivy on the house wall with 2 nests in use, this is alright until 5a.m. when they decide to get up and see who can chirp the loudest.
Good news from Ogden in so much as the water is now being drained right down for repairs in the basin possibly lasting into the autumn so hopefully the waders will be dropping in.

I,ll just tell you an amusing story now that I heard from a customer that amused me but that doesnt take much !
A Blackbird was in a farmers field during a hot summer with no food due to the dry conditions. Every day it grew weaker and became unable to fly . As its end drew near the farmer let a bull into the field and the Blackbird started eating the bulls droppings which were full of nutrients. The Blackbird grew stronger by the day and when back to full health it flew to the top of a tree outside the farmers house and sang day long.
This annoyed the farmer who came out with his gun and shot the Blackbird dead.
The morale of this story is, If you get to the top of the tree through Bull s**t keep your mouth shut.
BS

Monday, May 17, 2010

LBBs still on the move

A steady flow of LBB gulls > NW over Queensbury today presumedly heading for Walney Isle to join the summer breeding colony there.
Again , as yesterday, several Swifts were mingled in amongst them.
A bit of a raptor moving day today with 2 local Buzzard reports and a Marsh Harrier over Ogden/ Fly Flatts,
See Queensburybirder for NKs report.
BS

Sunday, May 16, 2010

LBBs and Swifts.

Soil Hill Watchpoint

                                     Swallows seem settled now.

SOIL HILL    pm visit.   Bright and clear , cool W>4
Very quiet as expected with now all the summit habitat gone including heather, scrapes and vegetation. The top is bone dry with the last of  the small scrapes remaining being dried up.
The only birds in the sky were LBB gulls still moving through and several Swifts in amongst them.
DCB could be seen on the next hill north and a skype call confirmed that he was getting the same.

21 LBB Gulls ...................... >N
41 Swifts.............................>N
usual Mipits and Skylarks.
Still no Stonechat at either Soil Hill or Fly Flatts.
BS

Winter returns to Fly Flatts

Greylag doing well.

                                           Rain squalls heading in.

Fly Flatts    0730 - 0945 hrs.  Attrocious conditions with near gale force wind WNW >6 , early  heavy shower followed by driving horizontal drizzle and loss of visibility by 0930. If this is spring roll on winter.

Quiet skies with the only moving birds being LBB gulls, spring migration is now obviously at an end apart from Swifts and gulls but July will soon be here when they start going tuther way.
Bird of the morning was a very flighty Whinchat which after several attempts to photograph I decided to stick with the Greylags, they move a bit slower.

28 LBB Gull....................>N
1 Herring Gull..................>NW
2 Wheatear
1 Whinchat
3 Common Sandpiper
2 Oystercatchers
1 Curlew
1pr Greylag + 6 young
1pr Canadas + 6 young
+ usual sp.
No Twite and again only 1 Curlew
BS

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Around the garden

A rare visitor



                         Plenty Collared Dove activity
Two Goldfinch visited the garden today on 2 or 3 occassions which may sound nothing special but its a mega tick for here,last recording was about 2 year ago.
Two pair of Collared Doves are breeding in conifers across the road  and now 18 House Sparrows are roosting in the ivy with 2 nests ongoing.
A Willow Warbler was singing this a.m. in trees in the grounds of The Willows medical centre
BS

Friday, May 14, 2010

Local trip round.


                         Waiting for lunch

  p.m.                                      
Shelf Moor pond :-
2 Canada Geese
1 Moorhen
30 + Swallows
1 Grey Wagtail

Corporal Hill/ Green Lane :-
26 Lapwing
1 Little Owl
1 Green Woodpecker
14 Woodpigeon
4 Stock Doves.

Long Lane :-
1 Kestrel
12 Goldfinch
BS

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Out and About

Heavy ground frost this a.m. then sunshine and showers with milder temperatures. No repeat of yesterdays snow showers.
p.m.
Bradshaw :-
2 Pied Wagtails by cenotaph
4 Swifts over >N
Several blogging House Martins.

Raggalds :-
4 Golden Plover over towards Soil Hill
3 LBB Gulls >NW
2 Swallows

Wilsden :-
1 Herring Gull >W
7 LBB Gulls >NW
1 m Pheasant

Well Heads :-
1 Little Owl
1 Song Thrush with 2 fledglings.
BS

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Swifts on the move



          Crows bathe on the Foxhill changing room roof.

                       Storm clouds over Foxhill

Spoke too soon yesterday about Swifts being scarce as today a steady flow has been moving over all day heading >NE. Conditions were ideal with the black clouds and heavy showers to move the Swifts on keeping ahead of the rain. In mid summer hundreds of Swifts can move in  large feeding parties ahead of weather fronts.
Several Swallows were also moving >NE today.
Early a.m. a Heron flew over the garage >E being heavily mobbed by corvids.
BS

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chapel Lane Graveyard


                         Plenty birds to be found in graveyards
Chapel Lane graveyard today held a singing Willow Warbler which for me is a first here. I walk past 4 times every day to and from work and have had a good variety of birds here. At the moment both Crows and Magpies are nesting hear along with at least 2 pair of Blackbirds. Robin, Wren and Dunnock are residents and Collared doves are usually letting their presence be heard in a morning. Chaffinch and Greenfinch are regular singers and House Sparrows nest in the ivy.
I bet on a good day and a bit of patience you could get up to 20 species in this little area. I used to work with a birder who specialized in graveyards for his birding until he moved on to golf courses.

Nothing much in the skies today amidst the sunshine and showers although Swallows are mostly back at their regular breeding sites. Swifts seem to have gone quiet for the moment.
BS

Monday, May 10, 2010

Foxhill Today

                  The reason for missing Saturday birding, daughter Rachel.

A snowy start to the day with sleet and snow as I walked to work, luckily it did,nt last, we,ve had settled snow in Queensbury at the end of May and even snow showers at the beginning of June in the past.
A single Curlew flew over Foxhill at lunchtime >W which made me look twice, it was one of those small, short billed versions but luckily it called so eliminated any doubts that I was thinking of having.
A pair of Pied Wagtails were on the top pitch along with 5 Goldfinch and the female Wheatear was still near the top of Harp Lane.

Heard today that when Soil Hill is complete it may be closed off for grazing land although there is a public footpath running through it, or there was till it was half buried in muck !
BS

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Soil Hill

                                 Soil Hill Reed Bunting
pm visit.

Very quiet on the summit and not a lot more down at the ponds. Sat by the cabin for 30 mins but no Gropper, that could be our bird thats turned up at TMR although there are plenty around locally at the moment. Also there are 2 Kestrels regular hovering over the reed bed so they could have possibly spooked it. A search for Wheatear and Ring Ouzel was fruitless.

2 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
4 Linnet
2 Mipit
1 Skylark
3 Reed Bunting
BS

Ogden

                                Plenty Mud but no waders
Down at the Shibden Mill Inn car park trimming daughters car up with  Just Married stuff this morning and other things to do today so had to make do with a visit to Ogden. Plenty inviting shoreline there ready for a wader invation but so far it has,nt happened.
Water and skies were quiet but it gave me chance to catch up on my warblers.

Mover :- 
14 LBB Gulls    >N and NW

Other
11 Willow Warbler
4 Chiffchaff
2 Blackcap - female
1 Garden Warbler
1 Whitethroat   corner of Syke Lane
1 Greenwoodpecker
2 Treecreeper
1 Moorhen
1 Heron
BS

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Queensbury/ Wilsden/ Heaton

Usual Thursday dash over the tops to Heaton delivering shopping to an elderly relative provided a few interesting birds. Queensbury was in the clouds when I set off but I soon dropped below the cloud base and on the way back it had cleared leaving a nice sunset.
A female Wheatear was on the wall opposite Keelham farm shop which is actually Soil Hill area. Female Wheatears seem to be greatly outnumbering the males this year or is that the way it usually is and Ive just forgotten.
3 Golden Plover flew over Well Heads and came down in fields near the knacker yard.
9 LBB gulls headed >NW over the cricket field at Wilsden and a Curlew was on the farm wall nearly opposite.
A Tawny Owl was calling at Heaton but too distant in the trees to get a sighting
and a Fox ran across the front of the car.
Several Swallow and at least 5 Swifts were feeding over St Ives.

No updates on this blog for the next two days due to the daughter getting married Saturday and the wife did,nt seem amused about me walking down the isle with my bins round my neck.
Don,t despair , Ill be back in action on Sunday dredging Fly Flatts for megas.
BS

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Harp Lane/ Springhead fields


p.m. visit.

Several Swifts and Swallows were heading up the valley >N even though the weather was damp and murky.
A Woodcock was flushed from the lower end of the lane which flew across the road and dropped down in the Dailie fields.
2 Wheatears were on the Springhead fields,as with all the Fly Flatts birds these were females.
A single Willow Warbler was in the Hawthorn and a Little Owl sat on its usual perch.
A green Woodpecker could be heard from the station

! Green Woodpecker
1 Willow Warbler
2 Wheatear
1 Woodcock
1 Little Owl
16 Swallows    >N
5 Swifts    >N
BS.