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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deep and crisp and even.

Chapel Lane Graveyard
The garage rose hips, a favourite with Greenfinch.
Qby m.o.t. nature trail, behind the garage

Todays report below.
BS
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Herring Gulls on the move


A decent covering of snow during the night left us with a 6" layer this morning with the side roads a bit worse for wear though the main roads kept moving. Lyndas been busy making fat cakes for the feeding tables bringing in Sparrows, Starlings, Sparrowhawk and of course the occasional cat.
Herring Gulls were the bird of the day with several throughout the day moving >W and >NW usually in ones or twos. 12 were counted in all but being at work these were the ones I clocked on occasional sightings.
A customer today claimed he had a Swallow last weekend over Asa Briggs football pitch in the afternoon but this is an unconfirmed report?
BS

Monday, November 29, 2010

A white Queensbury

A snowy Foxhill Park

Snow clouds looking east

A heavy snow shower this morning at first light but only left a light covering on the snow thats already down.
The skies seemed extra busy today with the birds having a sense of urgency to feed. Several parties of small gulls moved over >N whilst LBBs were moving >NW.
Redwings put in an appearance in bushes around the park after a couple of weeks absence and a few singles flew over the garage.
38 House Sparrows were on my garden feeders at mid day along with 20+ Starlings pecking at fat cakes. Im still hoping for Tree Sparrow but thats something Ive been hoping for over the last 25 years here.
BS.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

A few more from Ogden



An outside job for the daughter in the last of the afternoon daylight scuppered my chances to search the hill today for the second week running, Im beginning to get withdrawal symptons!
Shot out into Foxhill park just as we got home from shopping mid afternoon hoping to catch the 2 Buzzards heading from Northowram to Queensbury (AC) but like the Pinkies the other day they avoided me.
Just been out with the dogs and the snow is steadily coming down , thats something we can do without. Roll on springtime and light nights.
BS
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Ogden pics

Christmas card material
Early morning winter sun
Hungry Great Tit

Report below.
BS
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Ogden


An icy but lovely morning to be out with the reservoir partially frozen but wall to wall blue skies.
All bird life was busy feeding today and squabbling over any food available.
Nothing unusual on the water other than an increasing winter flock of Mallards with the normal Common and BH gulls.
The perimeter of the water was alive with Robins,Wrens and Dunnocks and 2 female Brambling were in with a very mobile Chaffinch flock. A pair of Crossbills flew from the Back Lane plantation across to the usual spot by Giants Tooth but no Waxwings were found this week.
2 Bramblings
15 Chaffinch
2 Crossbills
27 Common Gull
18 BH Gull
148 Mallard
11 Lt Tits
+ usual sp.
BS

Friday, November 26, 2010

Late moving Skylarks

Icy cold yet again with temperatures never rising above 2 degrees all day in the garage and the water system remaining frozen which played havoc with the cups of tea.
Interesting to see 3 Skylarks over >S late p.m., obviously got too cold for them so decided to move on.
Other than the usual Common and BH gulls along with the noisy Starlings the blue skies remained quiet today although I did get a text from DJS telling of Pinkies heading for Queensbury but this never transpired. All the PF Geese this year seem to have avoided Queensbury and the only sighting I have managed this season is from Fly Flatts and Hunter Hill.
BS

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The cold spell continues



An icy cold day with a strong northerly wind but very little in the way of snow fortunately but undoubtably our turn will come.
Three seperate Herons were seen today no doubt trying to find unfrozen water, and Redwing numbers in the area had increased.
A single Pied Wagtail was in Foxhill Park at lunch time and snow showers could be seen moving across the horizon to the east.
A customer rang me today from Wilsden to say he had just seen a Fieldfare in his garden , was this one of the first early arrivals?
I politely told him he was just over a month and 10,000 birds too late to record it as a first one!
Just heard today from Sue Cunningham that Phil (ex BOG, now Flamborough,) had just found himself a Great Grey Shrike over there yesterday, perhaps it was HCs bird from Oxenhope? That means Phil will yet again be appearing in Yorkshire Birding, I think they should rename it to Phil Cunningham Birding, we certainly miss him over here.
BS

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another red sunrise

Emley Moor at sunrise
Sunrise from Sourheads

Another bright, crisp clear day apart from a period of dark snow clouds mid p.m. which passed over without dropping their load on Queensbury. Temperatures were well down with icy puddles not thawing all day.
Surely DJSs Wheatear will have to move away in these conditions before the snow comes.
The sky today was dominated with gulls, mainly Black Headed and Common squabbling for food and terrorizing the Starlings trying to get them to drop the bread they were carrying.
A few LBBs moved over >W and 1 Herring gull headed >W over Foxhill at mid day.
21 Lapwings came over the garage late afternoon towards Jackson Hill just before I got a text from NK reporting c200 there which proves the winter flock is growing in numbers, ( see Queensburybirders for full Nigels report ).
BS
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A bright cold Queensbury

Sun rising over,t mill
Early morning moon, Chapel Lane
Jetting off in afternoon skies

A bright but cold day with temperatures never rising above 5 deg. in the garage today.
The Foxhill invation of Magpies from yesterday had today moved on leaving the 2 resident birds in the area. I have never seen a flock of Magpies in the area before other than the roost at Oats Royd which is usually 25+.
The garage Wren was knocking about again today dodging the local cats and 5 Greenfinch were in the conifers.
Starlings are still present in big numbers and the Foxhill Park/ Rugby Field Common gull flock is up to 48 at first light.
I see DJS struck gold yet again today with a Black Redstart in the same area as the now very late Wheatear,( Calderbirds). Well done there Dave,it just shows what time and dedication can turn up on your local patch.
Should be interesting to see what turns up or disappears if we get the snow thats promised later this week. I know what it will bring for me, cold brown slop dripping down my neck from underneath cars, yuk.
BS
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Magpie invasion

Magpies everywhere

Empty gull fields, Raggalds Flood

A heavy arrival of Magpies today around Foxhill with 22 birds together at one point on wires and dropping down onto a garden feeder.
Never seen these numbers around here before.
Otherwise a quiet day apart from the return of the garage Wren which appears each winter around the car park and has even been inside the garage.
Next door car sales reported a Robin inside the sales office on the desk over the weekend for about 15 mins.
BS
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shelf Moor Lapwings



Daughter and husband moving house to Shelf Moor so no time for birding today other than watching the fields each time I drove past.
A small flock of c40 Lapwings were very mobile moving from field to field throughout the day along with c30 Common gulls.
A Little Owl kept appearing on the roadside wires as did a female Kestrel.
Several flocks of Fieldfare were moving around the Hawthorn bushes with a smaller number of Redwing.
Most important job at the new house was the bird feeder up in the back garden so Id something to keep my eye on whilst working there.
Well done to DJS for finding another, or the same, Snow Bunting on Soil Hill, thats
typical on the first Sunday that I couldnt get up there.
BS
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Work affects Blog and Birding

Early morning mist burning off the village

A hectic week of late evenings helping the daughter move house so birding has been pushed to the bottom of the list for the moment.
Hopefully this coming week the job will be sorted and normal service resumed.
Have,nt heard of much going on so dont seem to be missing much.
BS
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Late Wheatears

Re DJS s late Wheatear( Calderbirds) it inspired me to check for late birds and found in that previous years moving birds have been reported until the end of December and returning birds as early as February 11th.
Also there has been a report of a bird over wintering in Sussex. None of these sightings were local and I think Daves report must be the latest sighting for this area,unless you know differant?
BS

Queensbury Today

A foggy frosty start to the morning but this soon cleared leaving bright blue skies and sunshine but temperatures keeping low.
Starlings were the birds of the day with large flocks moving round from one feeding area to the next which in turn brought out the local Sparrowhawk making 2 unsuccessful fly pasts so went  away hungry.
A group of 9 Mallard flew over at last light towards Station Rd pond presumably to roost.
House Sparrows were active on the garden feeders at lunch time with 32 present though unlike DJSs there were no Tree Sparrows amongst them.
What a good late record for Wheatear at Withins Gap,( Calderbirds) , we,ll be getting them over wintering next!
Well thats the news for today,sparse as it is, but with vis mig over it leaves a big gap in reporting.
BS

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun with gulls

1st winter Black Headed gull
Common Gull, not yet in winter plumage
Adult Black Headed, bird on right youngest of 3 with orange bill and legs but otherwise in adult plumage.
Common gull in full summer plumage.

With winter almost upon us its time to start a bit of gull watching checking through the increasing flocks around our reservoirs ,tips and fields looking for that white winged job which seldom occur around our area.
Gulls are something you either love or hate and can be the hardest of all species when it comes to i.d. Its not just the type of gull thats the problem, its when you start sifting through the juvs and then the 1st , 2nd, 3rd and 4th year birds when it starts to get mind blowing.
Ideally you need to find a roost such as B.O.G.s Oxenhope where you can have around 6000 gulls together but it gives you time to scope through the congregation comparing and counting the species.
I,ve always enjoyed gull watching and served my time at household landfill sites which have now long gone , such as Elland Gravel pits,
Sugden tip, Denholme, Manywells tip, Denholme and Blackley tip Huddersfield.
It takes many years studying to get to the Dave Barker standard but it can be enjoyable and the more you watch the easier it gets.
Ringby Top is one of the best places for the Queensbury area to see fly overs in winter with regular sightings of Herring and Great Black Backed heading west, and water wise Ogden and Mixenden pick up small numbers of gulls. Strangely some reservoirs such as Fly Flatts rarely attract gulls for reasons unknown yet Oxenhope over the hill gets the largest roost around. Strange birds gulls, but give it a go, looked what happened to DJS scanning gulls at Mixenden and picked out a Little gull. Good Gulling
BS
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Soil Hill

Sun going down, from Soil Hill

p.m. visit.
A bit of a quiet do on the hilltop today and a thorough search of the area proved it to be void of Snow Buntings unless one was keeping its head down somewhere. I suppose the half -wit on the motorbike didnt help screaming up and down like a lunatic!
You could tell by the skies today that once again the autumn vis mig has come to a close apart from possibly a few European birds coming over when the weather comes cold so now its watch for dispersed winter birds turning up and keep an eye on and over the water for water fowl and white winged gulls, who knows whats around the corner, as DJS proved today, see Calderbirds.

3 Skylark
4 Grey Partridge
7 Meadow Pipit
1 Wren
9 LBB Gulls towards Mixenden Reservoir.
BS
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Plenty to see at Ogden

Bullfinch, always good to see

Photogenic Robin
BH Gulls chilling out


A foggy start but this lifted by 0815 leaving clear blue skies. The wood around the perimeter path was alive with birds, mostly Tit flocks
busy feeding although I counted 38 Robins, none of which were of the continental race.
The Alders on the west bank held Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Siskin and Redpoll along with the usual tits.
A small flock of Waxwings came out of roost from the Back lane plantation and headed towards Halifax and several squadrons on Starling headed >NW.
As I got back to the car a flock of 32 Fieldfare came south over Ned Hill.
Nice to bump into Denise again who was just arriving for the second shift and CK was at Ogden then shot off to Soil Hill when I told him of the Snow Bunting.
All in all a splendid morning.

7 Goldcrest
38 Robin
14 Siskin
3 Redpoll
3m 2f Bullfinch
11 Waxwing
32 Fieldfare
128 Starling................................>NW
19 BH Gull
13 Common Gull
2 Jay
1 Sparrowhawk
5 Coal tits
+ usual sp.

The Lodge house feeders are now refilled and were busy with tits and Chaffinch
BS
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

A birdie morning at Queensbury

Although the wind had dropped considerably this morning the heavy showers continued with blue clear skies one minute and black clouds with heavy rain the next. Never the less the sky was active with birds looking desperate to feed after yesterdays gales. Two grey heron came up from the Station Rd pond along with 7 Mallard and several Fieldfare were in the trees in the same location.
18 Lapwing flew over the garage towards Jackson Hill fields and Redwing and Fieldfare were on the move most of the morning in various directions.
A report from gamekeeper Roy (not your average gamekeeper I hasten to add) told of a good size covey of Grey Partridge in the old railway station and he had also sighted Red Legged down there. He also came across 4 youths with air rifles down there but has informed the land owner who is looking into it.
Oats Royd has been donated 2 white geese from one of the chicken pen owners who has given up due to losing all his hens to Foxes. Hopefully the geese will help to keep the idiots away from the ponds as they tend to get a bit aggressive if approached.
Hopefully the weather will be something like in the morning and we can all come away with an abundance of birds.
BS

Friday, November 12, 2010

Birds of previous years

5 Goldeneye were on Ogden
Snow Buntings on Soil Hill
The Ringby Shorelark twitch. Finder IG on left and I think that was
DJS 3rd from left.

Just a memory jolter to birds of previous winters so you don,t think its all doom and gloom.
Hopefully this weekend will turn up the goods after the last few days of high winds and rain.
The wind up here at Queensbury reached 85mph during the night which really is just a stiff breeze for the top of this hill but dropped steadily as the day went on. Needless to say , the skies were quiet and anything that did go over went that fast you couldnt see it.
BS
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Howling Wind

Wet and windy all day here at Queensbury with a few bright periods mid day in amongst the heavy showers. The wind increased steadily throughout the afternoon till by tea time it was up to gale force continuing till the present time accompanied by horizontal rain.Several trees were damaged up Foxhill tonight and whilst driving over Mountain it was a case of avoid the wheelie bins and flying roof slates.
At least when it calms it may have blown some decent birds into the area.
Despite all this, Fieldfares were coming over well at lunchtime all >S even during the heavy showers. These may have been birds fresh in or just flocks skirting around the worst of the weather.
Bad news in the Willows medical centre grounds as today all the dense bushes and smaller trees that held the birds have been cut down leaving just about 3. mature trees.
Lets hope this wind blows itself out overnight.
BS

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Queensbury Today

Common Gulls in the park
Jackdaws going to roost
An Ogden Mallard, all out of eclipse now

Scraping the bottom of the barrel with the photos now, stick with me, its got to get better.
A bright but icy cold day day with clear blue skies.
The temp in the garage was 2 deg when I opened and 5 deg when I closed.
A real birdie morning with several feeding birds around. Up to 100 Starlings were squabbling to try get onto a bird feeder
at the top of Chapel Lane at first light and several Fieldfare and Redwing were flying around in various directions. Greenfinch were the bird of the morning with several in gardens on the way to work, not a species I commonly see.
A Grey Heron flew over very high >NE and 5 Dunnocks were in the Willows medical centre grounds.
Foxhill at lunch time held just 6 Common gull and 3 Black Headed plus the usual corvids.
BS
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