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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Fog continues

A full day of fog at Queensbury today although it cleared briefly in the village but higher up at Foxhill it remained dense all day hence the Soil Hill visit had to be abandoned.
A shopping spree at Halifax Asda  and Matalan this p.m. found 3 Waxwings flying over Queens Rd, Pellon Lane junction and 4 over the play area near the junction but no time to follow these up as Lynda had her serious shopping head on!
Its wait  till next weekend now but its bonfire weekend which usually brings fog on the Sunday morning so Im not holding my breath.
BS

Oh eck its foggy

Fogged Out

Dont think the gulls could find the water

Ogden 0800-0930hrs Calm, Dense fog and light drizzle
A complete blank out at Ogden with nil visibility both in the sky and on the water.
A few black headed gulls were on the overflow rails and a flock of 17 Lt tits were in Alders by the footpath.
Otherwise it was down to Robins , Wrens and Blackbirds + the usual Mallards which could be heard but not seen, grim....
BS
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Woodpigs galore

Woodpigeons piled over the garage this morning from first light all heading >S and >SW with the biggest movement of the season over Queensbury. After 0830 the flocks had stopped coming over the immediate area and continued moving over more to the east of me and all >S.
Several Fieldfare and Redwing were flying over but in no specific direction and were probably resident birds moving from roost to feeding areas.
Checked Sainsburys car park today but no sign of Waxwings although the Rowans have masses of berries.
Bit of shopping to do at Asda Halifax tommorow pm so will have to tell Lynda that traffic is diverted up Hanson Lane via Pellon Lane via Gibbet St via Skircoat Green via King Cross and we may even see Waxwings on the way.
Dont forget to put your clocks back tonight.
BS

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Autumn Scene

Chapel Lane Graveyard

As usual in autumn the little graveyard at the bottom of Chapel Lane begins to liven up with bird life.
Fieldfare and Redwing can be found in the mature trees whilst Dunnocks, Wrens and Robins skulk about in the low vegetation .
Blackbirds and Mistle Thrush turn leaves on the ground looking for grubs watched from the treetops by the resident nesting Magpies.
Grey Squirrels have recently started using this area and although disliked by many birders (tree rats) it pleases me to watch them launch themselves from one branch to another, everythings a predator of some kind so I dont think squirrels are worse than any other.
The only predator I can,t get on with is man but thats another story!
The only berries in the graveyard are a few on the Holly bushes so its unlikely to ever hold numbers of thrushes or attract Waxwings but as most places this time of year anything could turn up. In the past Ive had Lt Tits and Treecreeper here and even a stray Pheasant so every day I walk past on my way to and from work I,ll be keeping a close watch on it, who knows!

You may wonder why I,ve written all this gobble di gook, well its because the skies were empty today with no signs of vis mig in the windy,damp conditions but normal service will resume as soon as possible.
BS
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fieldfares run the show

A good morning for movers with that proper vis mig feel to the day, as NK remarked, you can smell vis mig this morning.
Fieldfares came over in semi large flocks all >S till 0830hrs but some good size flocks were seen at mid day from Foxhill but these were to the east  of the village over Baildon Moor area still all >S
Some of the morning flocks contained Redwings and also odd Woodpigeons were in amongst them.
A small flock of Collared Doves (6) came over the garage >S which is unusual and the last morning birds I saw moving was a tight flock of 42 Linnet powering over >S.

Fieldfare......................236 >S
Collared Dove................6 >S
Linnet..........................42 >S
Redwing......................27 >S
Woodpigeon................11 >S
BS

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Woodpigs, Redwings and a Flycatching Magpie

Magpie hawking insects

A brighter day today after a night of heavy rain which moved away first light.
Woodpigeons were again on the move heading south but these were gone by 0830hrs. The largest flock today was 12 and most of the movement was in twos and threes suggesting the Woodpigeon movement is coming to an end unless we get another wave.
Several Redwings flew over during the day very high and >E but cannot be classed as movers now with so many resident birds about in the area. I carefully checked all the Starling flocks today for stray Waxwings but not to be, surely we,re due for some local birds this year after last years single report of one Thornton bird.
The Magpie in the photo was in Foxhill park midday doing the same as yesterdays Halifax Waxwings and launching itself up at passing insects which seemed a bit unusual.
BS
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Moving Woodpigs and resident Fieldfares.

A walk in the dark to work this morning because of the cloud and rain which continued most of the morning. By late afternoon thick fog decended but was soon cleared by an increasing westerly wind.
Woodpigeons came over >S in smaller numbers than yesterday and dried up by 0900hrs.
Lunchtime at Foxhill park found several Fieldfares in the trees around the edge of the park and 3 Redwing went over >W. Hundreds of fresh in Starlings were flying around from one garden to another after food and a female Sparrowhawk landed on the front garden wall only to be quickly moved on by Lynda who is getting a bit over protective of her House Sparrows. Up to 20 birds are now roosting in the Ivy along with 2 regular Starlings.
Good news that Waxwings are around the usual feeding grounds at Halifax now, see Calderbirds for details.
BS

Monday, October 25, 2010

Woodpig morning

Woodpigeons pile over early doors


A cold but bright morning with very little cloud. The water at work had frozen in the pipes but soon thawed as the sun got up.
Woodpigeons were piling over >S though not in the massive flocks we,re used to seeing, mainly 10 to 20 groups with the largest being just over 30. The pigeons sparkled as the sun shone on them making them look to be illuminated and glittering.
By 0900hrs things had come to more or less a halt but I saw one flock over at 1015hrs.
A few, now resident Fieldfare and Redwing were about but only moving between roost and feeding areas.
The rest of the day the clear blue skies remained birdless.
I dont think NK had a good day on the hill today as when he called in the garage on his return he asked where the dustbin was to dispose of his optics!

Heres a story of Nigel and the knowledge of a local patch.
I,ve always said that NK knows every inch of Soil Hill even though it is changing rapidly day by day but Nigel has the whole area mapped out in his head and today he proved it to me beyond doubt.
BOG had taken some photos of the Snow Bunting that visited there on Saturday morning and as Nigel said the next day and today he was going to check it out I told him I didnt know what area it was found in," Ar but I do" was his reply, " did you see that piece of blue string near to the bird on the photo, well that is half way down the northern track". Sure enough the short piece of blue band was exactly where he had said so we could pinpoint the exact spot where the Snow Bunt was. Now thats having local patch knowledge.
BS
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soil Hill

The rock on the top.
Dark cloud over DJS on Hunter Hill
A race north

Soil Hill 1500-1700hrs Cold N >3 inc. >5 Bright skies but hazy on far horizons though Ingleborough visible.
Not as productive as expected but still some Fieldfare and Redwing moving through. Redwing were going low >S and the Fieldfare were coming low over Thornton Moor before dropping below the skyline and heading >SW over the moor. Three Cormorant came through the Arc from the NW and headed >SE towards Yeadon.
Lapwings and Golden Plover were in the field behind the NK pond and at least 2 Goldeneye were diving on Mixenden Reservoir, possibly 4 birds in total but too distant to tell, possibly DJS ,who I spoke to by mobile on Hunter Hill, may know more.

Movers :-
72 Fieldfare.............................>SW
15 Redwing.............................>S
3 Cormorant...........................>SE

Other
83 Lapwing
5 Golden Plover
2 poss. 4 Goldeneye, Mixenden
BS
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Fly Flatts

Masses of Corvids moving around on the moor

The Nab
Fly Flatts 0800-1030hrs Icy roads leading to the reservoir, puddles froze over, cold N>4 Bright with good visibility but hazy to the south.
A good start off to the morning but empty skies from 0915hrs although DCB/HC started getting big numbers of Fieldfare after 1000hrs but these were hidden from me by the Nab and all moving to the NE of my position.
Woodpigeons were the main movers but a good selection of species came through but only in small numbers.
Fly Flatts itself was deadly quiet which seems to be the norm recently, I dont know what has happened to this area of late?

Movers :-
575 Woodpigeons.........................................>S
6 Brambling..................................................>SW
28 Chaffinch.................................................>SW
172 Fieldfare...............................................>W
17 Redwing...................................................>W
4 Jay.............................................................>S
3 Redpoll......................................................>S
1 Raven........................................................>W
1 Cormorant...............................................>NW
2 Reed Bunting...........................................>SW

Other.
9 Red Grouse
6 Canada Geese
BS
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bombers Moon


Just been out with dogs over Foxhill under a clear starry sky and a bright bombers moon with several Redwing calls overhead.
As I got to the top of Fleet Lane a wader called as it went unseen over the top of me >NW and kept calling until out of earshot.
At a guess I would say Redshank but I,ll have to do a bit of disc listening to confirm it.
BS
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Shelf Moor

A good count of Canadas at the pond

Autumn at the Lion Gates
A poor start to the morning then by 0800hrs a bit of blue started to show through before clouds rapidly filled over bringing heavy rain showers for the rest of the day until early evening when the skies cleared just before dark.
No signs of vis mig over the garage this morning even before the rain started.
Shelf Moor late afternoon found 35 Canadas around the pond area, 15 Fieldfare and around 30 Redwing in trees near the lion gates and a very mobile Goldfinch flock of around 30.
Hopefully these clear skies will last until the morning to get a decent watch in.
BS
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Saved by the Woodpigs

If it wasnt for an early morning move of Woodpigeons >S my day would have been birdless. Up to 150 came over reasonably high between 0700 and 0800hrs but after that the skies were deserted. Midday saw a few small gulls moving around but with no definate direction and 2 Pied Wagtails were on the football pitch at Foxhill.
A reliable customer rang this morning reporting seeing a single Swallow over her garden at Uplands yesterday afternoon heading slowly >S. Dont think we,ll get many more sightings this year now although I once had 2 over EGP on the26th November but that was a one off and many moons ago.
Nice one on the Crossbills today at Ogden, see Queensburybirders for NKs report. Theres a bird thats declined drastically in numbers around this area over the last few years.
BS

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Fieldfares ?

Strangely today I had no Fieldfare sightings at all over Queensbury even though a call from HC/DCB and a text from DJS reported heavy movements. Obviously the birds were coming in from a different area on a different flight path which took them to the north of the village unlike yesterdays birds which came through on a broader front.
A flock of 18 Redwing came over early morning >S fast and low and that was about it for the day.
Common gulls on the park this morning gave a record count for this autumn of 48.
BS

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fieldfare Invasion

Victoria Hall looming above the chimney pots.
Black Dyke mill chimney SSE of the garage

Overnight sub zero temperatures brought a morning of frozen puddles, iced over cars, clear blue skies and masses of Fieldfare.
Walking to work the skies were empty other than a few flocks of Woodpigeons heading >S but by 0745 Fieldfares started rocketing through all >NW and >N. The small flocks made up of up to 30 birds came through in a way I havent experienced in previous autumns by all flying very fast and low, some skimming the rooftops and the majority below building level following the old station valley and over the Dailie fields towards Mountain, all were coming from the east. Camera at the ready I hoped for the normal high slow moving flock but this didnt happen and even at mid day birds were skimming through with the same urgency. On the walk back to work after lunch 8 Fieldfare skimmed right over my head at the side of the Conservative club giving me amazing close views but no time to even take the camera out of my pocket.
An early phone call to alert DCB found he was getting nothing but whilst still on the phone he started to pick them up and after that was inundated with them, Ive yet to see his final count.
BS
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nobbut a few Wagtails

Clear skies and black clouds


Bright blue skies today with black clouds rolling in bringing showers p.m. Temperature taken a dive today with some snow forecast on high ground which usually means us. 3 small groups of Alba Wagtails over >S first thing this morning, 2 groups over Chapel Lane, a 3 and a 5 and 1 group over the High St of 6.
5 Mallard flew over the garage but these were probably birds that had roosted on Station Rd pond and a Heron came from the same area.
A bit of cold weather now should liven things up a bit and get those duck and swan reports flooding in.
Talking to a lady today who was going to see if Ogden would be interested in taking a pair of Mute Swans on, if they did this would be a tick for Qby unless anyone has had them previously.
BS
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Queensbury Today

A strong W>5-6 increasing and bringing rain by late afternoon quietened the skies over Queensbury today although the morning started off well then dropped off by 0900hrs.
The main movers today were Redwings all >S and high looking very much like fresh birds in. Also on the same flight path were Woodpigeons but only in small numbers with none of the large flocks that we like to see. Strangely a fresh wave of Meadow Pipits came over in 2 groups of 15 and 11 all >S, these being the first Mipits over for 2 weeks.
A great sighting by NK today with a Shag over Ogden, and a Plover sighting past Soil Hill, which was also briefly scoped by DJS from Hunter Hill, which could possibly have been another Grey coming in from the same direction as yesterdays birds though Nigel is tending to sway towards Goldie, maybe to be on the safe side. See reports on Queensburybirder and Calderbirds.

Todays birds :-
73 Redwing..................................>S
41 Woodpigeon...........................>S
26 Meadow Pipit........................>S
BS

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A cold Soil Hill

Life on the hill, DJS and Dishfish.
You,ve heard of Simons Seat, this is Brians Seat.
Sun rays over Mixenden reservoir

Soil Hill, 1500-1700hrs. Icy cold W>4 Blue skies becoming hazy for distant viewing.
All quiet to start with the expected skiens of Pinkies not materializing and very little else in the sky.
Scanning round I picked up 4 fast flapping birds coming from the SE over Yeadon airport towards me and my first thought was pigeons. As they got over Thornton I could see they were Grey Plovers in full winter plumage so as they got within 1/4 ml of the hill I took the bins off them and lifted the camera only to find they had disappeared from sight. Several minutes scanning failed to relocate them so I can only assume either I lost them below the skyline or they dropped down to the NK pond. Had they continued on I should have picked them up going over the Nab unless they went down at TMR?
A Kestrel was calling and arguing with a crow throughout the watch over the west bank and several gulls were heading to roost, small gulls down through the coll and LBBs towards Eccup.
Nice to chat with DJS on the hill for an hour and Dishfish turned up with camera at the ready.
BS
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Fly Flatts/Hunter Hill

                                        Fly Flatts, still as a mill pond
A good number of Red Grouse on the moor



First stop was Fly Flatts after a promising red ball sunrise and mist in the valleys. The sky was near cloudless in dead calm conditions with a heavy frost on the ground. Although Starlings and Woodpigeons were on the move it soon became apparent that things were moving over the hill to my east.
Luckily as I was at the far north of the water I picked up 5 skeins of Pink Footed Geese just disappearing >SE behind the Nab. They were well to the east of me and not visible to the naked eye.
A quick call to alert DCB found he had them much closer there and got some pics, the call also confirmed that things were busy at the east of the hill.
A quick dash back to the car and down the road to Hunter Hill proved a good move although according to DCB I had missed another 3 skiens in the process.
Hunter Hill was a much better option with more distant geese and a busy selection of moving traffic. By 1030hrs things had quietened down considerably though Fieldfare were starting to come over.

Fly Flatts :-
190 Starling...............................................>NW
96 Woodpigeon.........................................>S
c150 P.F.Geese.........................................>SE
Present :-
4 Twite
18 Red Grouse
Just 4 BH Gulls on water.

Hunter Hill :-
32 P.F. geese...............................>SE 30 and 2
370 Starling................................>NW
5 Brambling................................>SE
57 Fieldfare.................................>NW 4 Fieldfare.....>SW
11 Redwing..................................>NE
15 Chaffinch.................................>SE
12 Siskin.......................................>S
2 Raven.........................................>W
1 Sparrowhawk............................>S
Present :-
sev blogging mipits

The good news, I found my flask top which I thought Id left at Fly Flatts weeks ago and there it was at Hunter Hill,
the coffee had gone cold but at least DJS and Jen hadnt drunk it.
BS
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Queensbury today

Good numbers of gulls over last light to roost >E

What looked like an ideal moving day today turned out to be a damp squid, or it did over Queensbury at least.
Not much on at the garage this a.m. so spent most of the morning in the car park cutting trees back etc with some sky gazing thrown in.
Woodpigeons were moving >S first light but soon fizzled out. I expected big Fieldfare numbers but this didnt materialize although conditions were good and Redwings were moving well even through the showers all >N and >NE.
A tight flock of Siskins powered through >SW and a single Kestrel went over very high and >S.
This evening good numbers of gulls came over >E on route to roost with the majority being LBBs. Strange how ,as always, the big gulls come over first followed by the Commons and Black Headed.
Get ready for mega reports from Fly Flatts in the morning ( sez he hopefully ).
BS
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Fieldfare starting to show

A cold >N wind today making me think I was probably better off working than stood on an isolated watchpoint taking the full force of the weather. Then I heard of DJSs Hen Harrier past Hunter Hill and Fieldfares piling over Oxenhope and that soon made me change my mind.
3 Fieldfare came out of roost from the trees down Station Rd this a.m. along with 12 Redwing and all moved off >SW.  Otherwise the skies were quiet although there seems to have been a slight fall of Dunnocks with several more about that the norm.
Shelf Moor tonight had 2 Fieldfare in with 6 Mistle Thrush dropping in to roost by the old bacon factory and a flock of 15 Chaffinch came over heading for the golf course, probably again locals going to roost..
Lets hope the invasion of the Fieldfares happens this weekend and the weather is kind enough to let us see it.
BS

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Queensbury Today

A quieter day on the movement scene today although the sky looked good being 100% cloud cover which is usually good moving conditions.
A report via DJS yesterday of 4 Whoopers over Ogden at mid day sounds good although NK checked the area out today and got second prize of a drake Pochard which if it remains till the weekend, which is highly unlikely, will be another site tick for me. Ogden really has excelled itself this year. See Queensburybirder blog for full report plus a close encounter with a hedge trimming Buzzard.
For myself I had to make do with a few Mipits over along with a handful of Chaffinch.
BS

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wagtails and Finches

Another bright clear day with the mid day sunshine feeling quite warm.
Wagtails and finches were the order of the day today with 8 Alba Wags over >W early a.m. which was a suprise as its getting late in the season for them.
Otherwise it was a mixture of Chaffinch, Goldfinch Greenfinch and Linnet though only in small dribs and drabs moving >SW.
No winter thrushes today and yet again no Pinkies over, if they don,t show soon my neck will be permanently stiff, people round here must wonder why I always walk with my head facing skyward.
A quick dash to Shelf Moor tonight found 2 flocks of very mobile Lapwing, c50 and c80 flying around over the fields and on my return journey just after dark Lapwing were dropping in to roost in the cross roads circus field.
BS

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Song Thrush on the move

Clear skies and contrails

House Sparrow at the feeders

Clear blue skies from the word go this morning with a steady flow of Meadow Pipits >S although only in ones and twos.
Song Thrushes were the prominent mover this morning with 3 groups of 5 , 3 and 2 along with a small number of Redwings all >SE.
The rugby field held 41 Common Gull this morning which is a record count for this season so far and a customer from Wilsden had a single Swallow over his garden just before mid day.
Good to hear that Whooper Swans are starting to make an appearance in the area so keep an eye on those reservoirs and maybe we,ll manage a Bewick or two.
BS
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