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BREEDING SEASON EXCLUSIONS.

As of now through the duration of the breeding season all schedule one birds , red status birds and birds of a sensitive nature to this area will be omitted from the blog or reported as undisclosed site due to the widespread persecution of nesting birds by unscrupulous parties including game keepers and egg collectors.
Any of the above species that are obviously on passage through the area will be reported as normal.
This also applies to wildlife such as Roe Deer, Badger and Hares which are badly under threat from poaching and long dogging in the area at present and unfortunately this exclusion of wildlife will have to continue throughout the year.
Just another sign of the times.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Winter returns to Queensbury

          Back to winter this morning, Chapel Lane.
        Christmas card material.
             Linnet in the snow.

A wintery walk to work this morning but a suprise to see 3 Linnets in the rugby field trees which is an ususual sighting even in good weather.
More to match the weather were 2 Fieldfares >N and 5 Common gull >NW.
Looks like its going to be winter gear on for any birding this easter.
BS

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A few good Wheatear spots .

Soil Hill viewed from Syke Lane. Ogden

                                                 Ovenden Moor windfarm viewed from Ogden Lane.
                                    Withins Gap Farm viewed from Ogden.  Wheatear country.

Wheatears are now moving through the area and above are just 3 hotspots to see them.
Soil Hill on previous years has held up to 25 in one day at the peak of the movement.
Male and female are easily distinguished apart in the spring with the male in its amazing breeding plumage, but during the return journey from their breeding grounds in the autumn both sexes look alike. Autumn is the time to look for a long legged bruiser of a bird which may be a Greenland Wheatear.


All quiet around my neck of the woods today due to fog followed by torrential rain showers plus a bit of sleet. Lets hope it gets it over with before easter.
BS

Monday, March 29, 2010

Queensbury today

Report from customer of 2 Swallows >W over Brewery Lane then across low over Oats Royd this a.m.
Cormorant again seen at Oats Royd today.
1 F. Sparrowhawk over Foxhill at mid day scattering Collared Doves.
1 Wren in back garden
1pr Chaffinch starting to nest behind house.
The male Chaffinch every morning keeps flying at the garage window battering against the glass, this goes on for up to 30 minutes . Dont know if its trying to get to cobwebs on the inside of the glass or attacking its own reflection thinking its a rival bird. Any ideas ?
BS

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Soil Hill Trig. Point

The Triangulation Point on the summit of Soil Hill , a good spot for passing Ring Ouzel.

Soil Hill, pm visit. Strong WNW> 5 , bright and clear.
A full search of Soil Hill this afternoon has left me with yet again no Wheatears for another weekend..A concentration of the trig point area also proved fruitless for Ring Ouzel. On the plus side 2 Sand Martin came over >W towards Ogden and a Cormorant in from the east dropped down into Oats Royd.

1 Kestrel
5 Lapwing
8 Skylark
11 Meadow Pipit
2 Sand Martin >W
1 Cormorant, dropped into Oats Royd

No Wheatear.
BS

Blustery Fly Flatts

Hide Tide at Fly FlattsDean Head from Fly Flatts

28/03/2010  First day of British summer time.  0730-1000hrs Near gale NW>6 dry and bright. Icy cold.
Far too windy for much movement , biggest problem was keeping upright in the strong wind. Even then Mipits were battling into the wind with an early morning move dropping to a trickle midway through the watch. Disappointingly still no Wheatear and no Twite on the seed.

Movers :-
56 Meadow Pipits...................>N and >NW all low with very undulating flight due to winds.
2 Alba Wagtails......................>N
1 Snipe.................................>N
4 Jackdaws..........................very high and >N
1 Heron.................................NW  possible frog hunter.

Other :-
22 Canadas
1 m Stonechat
2 Oystercatchers
1 Redshank
+ usual Mallards and corvids
BS

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A blast from the past

HC and myself.DCBs ghostly figure

HC, DCB, MD.A keen DCB.

Autumn vis mig at Oxenhope in years gone by.
BS.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Top of the Hill

                              Over Thornton to Baildon Moor from Foxhill
Foxhill Park.

Several Chaffinch around at lunch time which is unusual for this area, some were up singing.
2 Pied Wagtails were on the top pitch whilst a Skylark could be heard singing towards Old Guy Rd.
The park still holds 4 early morning Common Gull but the BH gulls seem to have dispersed.
Shelf Moor this evening produced 6 Redwing in Hawthorns and 1 Little Owl.
Lets see what this weekend produces other than rain.
BS

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black Dyke Mills and Church

Black Dyke MillsQueensbury Church

Bit quiet on the birding scene today with nothing unusual other than 2 LBB gulls >W at lunch time.
Good to get reports of more Wheatears, see Darrells blog, Green Withens for report and cracking photos, and an early sighting of a Swallow over Soil Hill, Calderbirds, well spotted Dishfish.
BS

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Queensbury Today

                                       Robins now in full song.

A good start off this morning as I walked to work at 0730 with a single Curlew >W over the High St.
2 Blackbirds were in full song in the garage car park preparing to nest in the conifers as last year although one male last year became the victim of a cat.
Foxhill at lunchtime produced 2 Fieldfare >N , 14 Lapwing >E and 1 Meadow Pipit on the top pitch.
Local Collared Doves are now active and calling from first light.
Report today from HC of 8 Wheatear and a single Ring Ouzel in the Oxenhope area, thanks for the e mail Howard.
BS

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shock of the week

Whilst at home for lunch today and in the kitchen Lynda , my wife, shouted to me from the living room ," Is that a Nuthatch" ? With heart pumping and thoughts of a lifer garden tick I dashed in to look at the feeders only to find Lynda looking at a photo in the daily newspaper. I wish she would,nt do things like that, us birders are very sensitive!
15 Fieldfares went >N over Foxhill early this morning and 2 LBB gulls drifted >SW. Other than that all has been quiet with a mixture of rain, drizzle and evening fog.
Never mind, we,re half way through the week tomorrow.
BS

Monday, March 22, 2010

Told you Nigel would sort it.

As predicted,NK found the first Queensbury Wheatear this year for us at Soil Hill. For Nigels full report click on the Birdbrain link.
A quick visit to Wickes, Halifax tonight found 8 Blackbirds and 4 Mistle Thrush in the berryless Rowan trees.
Two pair of Kestrels have been reported preparing to breed in Queensbury at  undisclosed sites for the third year running.
BS

Sunday, March 21, 2010

WHAT ! No Wheatears

                                   Lonely Heron on the Nigel Kerwin pond
Wandered up Soil Hill this p.m. with a positive view of picking up my first annual Wheatear but came away with my hopes dashed although looking back to last year my first was on the 22nd so its not drastic. This happens every year when you tend to try to rush things on like the first Hirundine, first Swift and first Willow Warbler and then when you,ve seen a few you dont give them a second glance until you,re watching for your last of the year. Its all part of birding and the beauty of it is that theres always something new to expect every season.  Got to wait till next weekend now but at least we alter the clocks so a bit of evening birding is forecast.
Birds on the hill were
7 Mallard >NE
1 Curlew
1 Heron
Several Meadow Pipits and Skylarks.
BS

Bad Start. Good Results.

  From this.To this.To this
FLY FLATTS
21/03/2010  0730-1030hrs   Cold WSW>4 Dense fog clearing by 0915.
A terrible start with with what seemed like a waste of time in the 30yds visibility but when it eventually lifted the rest of the watch proved decent although a disappointement on Hirundines and Wheatear.

5 Twite on seed but very mobile
2m 1 f Goldeneye
4 Curlew
2 Oystercatchers
1 Redshank
6 Golden Plover
11 Canadas, many more on moor
6 Mallard
sev Meadow Pipits on moor.
3 Red Grouse

Movers :-
2 Alba Wagtails   >N
1 Grey Wagtail    >NW
11 Mipits         >N
2 Collared Doves   >N . very unusual for this site
3 Snipe          >N
1pr Peregrines  very high and >N.
BS

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mixendens white crow

                                     The white crow of Mixenden.  photo taken two years back, BS

A report came in to work this morning of a white crow on the roof of the Crown and Anchor pub at Mixenden, this was formely the Hebble Brook. The bird was of course the resident white crow which has been around the Shaking House area for many years. Perhaps some one could comment on first sightings ?
A similar bird at Queensbury has been around, to my knowledge for at least 12 years firstly at Foxhill then, Chat Hill area and more recently around the Sandbeds area of the village.
Also several of the crows that have bred in the Foxhill area in the last few years have either white tails or white wing bars. Must be something in the water up here !
BS

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sounds like spring

House Sparrows nesting in the garden ivy

Sweet song of the Blackbird
Its officially the first day of spring tomorrow and this morning at work it sounded like just that.
Blackbird,Dunnock, Robin, Greenfinch and Wren were all giving it full blast from the car park conifers whilst at home in the back garden House Sparrows were busy refurbishing their last years nests in the ivy.
Foxhill park is now down to the last 4 of the wintering Common Gulls and most of the Black Headed gulls now have their smart summer hoods.
Hopefully this weekend will see the return of the Wheatears to the uplands and keep those eyes to the skies for an early Swallow.
Hope Jens not on the Guinness this weekend Dave cos those Ospreys are heading our way.

Many thanks to all viewers of this new blog, numbers are increasing all the time and I hope you get as much pleasure from reading it as I do from writing it.
BS

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Woodpigs on the Move

Good Woodpigeon move this a.m. from getting up to walking to work. All birds were moving >NW and very high. Up to 200 birds counted.
Also just got report from DCB thanks to a Skype phone call of large movements of Sand Martins today throughout the country.Also one or two Swallows have been sighted.
Should be an interesting weekend, especially as Ospreys are now starting to come through the area.
BS

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An upland wader

Heres a cracking little wader to watch out for by reservoirs and streams, the Common Sandpiper. Usually first reported in April but an early sighting came in today, see Calderbirds.
BS

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Raptor Move

The Buzzard movement continued today when IG rang me to say a Buzzard was over Boothtown and heading in a westerly direction . The bird was heading towards DJS area but a phone call found him otherwise engaged so the next call was to NCD at Roils Head. Unfortunately the bird didnt pass over his area but instead must have veered in the usual direction of  >NW. Thanks for the call Iain. That was the only excitement for today as everything was quiet over Queensbury probably due to the dreaded SW wind.
This was confirmed also by NK who had little success on Soil Hill.
BS

Monday, March 15, 2010

Curlews on the move

Foxhill .    cold W>5 inc 6. Dry and cloudy.
3 Curlew flew high over Chapel Lane >W this a.m. as I was walking to work.
2 Pied Wagtails were in Foxhill park at lunchtime along with 4 hooded Black Headed gulls.
The winter Common gull flock is now down to single figures
A single Wren was in bushes by the rugby field.
BS

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Blustery Fly Flatts

Coming in to landThe wind blown boysMy first Goldeneye of the year

14/03/2010   0730-1000hrs  Strong icy wind WNW>6 decreasing to 4 mid a.m. Cloudy and damp start then sunshine.
Nice to get Fly Flatts back to normal with the reservoir 90% clear of ice and the call of Curlews and noisy Canada Geese although Id forgot how cold and bleak it was up there walking into the wind.
Very little moving birds but an early morning Buzzard moving over was a nice suprise along with my first Goldeneye of the year. No sign of Wheatear or Twite.
6 Mallard
26 Canada Geese.......Fly Flatts
14 Canada Geese......Dean Head
1 f Goldeneye
2 Red Grouse
15 Golden Plover..........east side of reservoir

Vis Mig
6 LBB Gull...............>W
1 Common Buzzard...>NW
1 Cormorant.............> NW
6 Meadow Pipit.......>NW
3 Skylark..............>NW
+ usual corvids
BS

Friday, March 12, 2010

Upland birds to look out for this weekend.

Check those dry stone walls for returning Wheatear
Listen for the haunting call of the Curlew which should be getting established back on the moor.
Get that Nyger seed down to invite Twite back to the feeding stations.
Scan those fence posts alongside walls,a favorite perch for Ring Ouzel.
Watch for the parachuting of the Meadow Pipits
Listen for the unique song of the Skylark
Look at the fields for Golden Plover and Lapwing
Search those skies for Spring migrating birds.
You can add more to these on comments.
Have a good birding weekend.
BS

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Buzzard over the area

It all started with a phone call from DJS as I was walking back to work at lunchtime informing me of an odd Buzzard sp seen by NCD from Roils Head which was now soaring over Soil Hill. I could see Soil Hill mast from where I was but no bird so it was time to get the local cavalry involved. A phone call to NK proved fruitful as he was in the vicinity of Soil Hill at Bradshaw but could see no raptor. NCD described the bird as having some feathers missing and very pale making him suspect Rough Legged Buzzard.
Shortly after I got a return call from NK saying he was on the bird which was being mobbed by corvids but had not got an i.d. at that time. The Buzzard was taking the usual raptor flight path SE over Oats Royd, Swalesmoor and Shibden valley so I rang IG who was watching from home and AC who overlooks Shibden but there was no answer from the latter. Later in the afternoon a weary NK appeared at the garage to confirm the bird to be a pale phase Common Buzzard so after several phone calls and text messages the story was complete and the case closed.
Well done to all concerned for their efforts and communications,with a team effort like this nowt will get past us!
For full report and photos see, Queensburybirder blog and Calderbirds site.
BS

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Wheatears are coming

Report today from reliable customer of 1 Wheatear on Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley this p.m. This coincides with DJS report on Calderbirds via Birdguides of sightings at Otley. Next stop Fly Flatts and Soil Hill.
BS

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

May Dunlins at Fly Flatts

Something to look forward to this spring.
BS

Monday, March 8, 2010

A few sky photos

   Solitary corvid, foxhill                            Sunset from RingbyStorm clouds, Foxhill

Sunrise, Ogden
BS.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Soil Hill

Skylarks still on the hill amongst the devastation
Soil Hill pm visit   Bright and clear, calm
Excellent visibility but near empty skies. Temperatures dropping as the sun went down which probably accounts for the lack of birds throughout the day. No sign of an early Wheatear yet and the Fieldfares are still hanging on in the fields.
18 Fieldfare
4 Skylark
2 Herring Gull >NW
5 LBB Gull >NW
1 Little Owl.
BS

Fly Flatts

Still winter here100% freeze upAn empty Twite feeding station

07/03/2010  0730-1000hrs  Wall to wall sunshine and blue skies. Calm
Despite the gorgeous weather bird life was virtually nil with very little in the skies and the water frozen solid.
First signs of Meadow Pipits returning to the moor and a couple of Curlew fly overs, DCB had several more at Oxenhope although he too was finding it quiet.

11 Mipit in from south and landed on moor
2 Skylark     >NE
1 Jackdaw    >W
2 Curlew    >N
6 Lapwing  >E
+ usual corvids.
BS

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One for DCB

This big bird was buzzing about over Foxhill tonight.
BS

The Nerve Centre

BS

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ringby Top

23 Skylarks battle it out in the snow on Ringby top. Also present at the beginning of March were 1 male Twite and 1 female Linnet whilst a Curlew flew overhead.
BS