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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

North Yorkshire 3 Peaks from Soil Hill

Ingleborough
Pen-y-ghent
Great Whernside

Just some of the scenery that can be viewed from Soil Hill. Also on show on a clear day is, the north yorks white horse, Humber Bridge, Grimsby tower, York Minster, Selby Abbey, Hambleton Hills and many more local landmarks. Well it gives me something to do when the birding is quiet.
BS.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Soil Hill p.m.

Starlings piling through
Soil Hill. pm visit   75% cloud cover but some sun. Dead calm.

As this morning skies were relatively quiet apart from Swallows moving through very high up. Blogging Mipits were everywhere probably ready for tomorrows early morning move.
At 1530hrs I scoped a massive  flock of birds very high and to the north towards Ingleborough and as they got nearer I could see they were Starlings. The flock spread out to a broad front between Soil Hill and the wind turbines and carried on through Causeway Foot col and down the Calder Valley.

Movers :-
38 Swallows............................>SE
182 Starling.............................>S
2 Wheatear on deck

Other :-
c50 Blogging Meadow Pipit
c 40 Linnet
11 Woodpigeons, sev were juvs, no white neck band.
Sev Common and LBB gulls moving to TMR and several >S, probably to roost.
BS

Blue but empty skies, Fly Flatts

Blue Skies and Blue Water,shame about the birds
Fly Flatts   0730- 1000hrs    icy cold N>5 decreasing >4 Wall to wall sunshine and clear skies.

Just goes to show that the weather we like,the birds dont. A cracking morning apart from the cold wind but very little movement in contrast to yesterday when it was teaming down and birds were plenty.
The moors are now near abandoned and silent other than a few Red Grouse with no Curlew or Skylark to be heard and even the geese have moved on. The water held 1 Canada goose and 3 Mallard and that was it.
No sign of Twite though there were several Wheatear and blogging Mipits around the feeding station area.

Movers :-
39 Meadow Pipit..................................>NW
41 Swallow..........................................>NE then >SE when wind speed lowered.
2 House Martin....................................>S
1 Alba Wagtail....................................>W
2 Grey Wagtail....................................>W
2 Snipe...............................................>W
11 Lapwing........................................>E
7 Wheatear........................................ on deck, all northerns.

Other :-
70+ blogging Meadow Pipit
4 Red Grouse
3 Kestrel
1 juv LBB........>N
+ usual corvids
BS

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Suprising what you can see from Soil Hill

DJS on Foreside Lane...
DCB on Windy Corner
                                             Sparrowhawk moving through.

Soil Hill p.m.visit   1515-1630hrs.  Strong NNW>6 gusting 7  Bright and sunny.

Blowing a gale on the hill and struggled to stay upright. Far too windy for sky movement although a few Swallows rocketed through and 2 Sand Martin over the NK pond boosted moral.
Received 2 phone calls whilst up there with birders wanting to know if I was the idiot stood there on the highest point in that wind. First was from DJS down on Foreside Lane about  half a mile below me hoping for something good on the fringe of the moor ,and the second from DCB on Windy Corner at his watchpoint, about a mile away, as the crow flys, who was probably getting blown about as much as me. Good to see you out giving it a go lads.

Movers
18 Swallow.........................>SE
2 Sand Martin....................>SE
1 Sparrowhawk.................>S but had the movement of a local bird.
BS

Migration in the rain

If you enlarge it the dots are Swallows
One of each, LBB, Common, BH.
2nd year LBB

Ogden.  0800-1000 hrs.  Strong WNW>5  Heavy rain followed by torrential showers.
If theres one thing in life you can depend on its Bank Holiday weather!
An horrendious early morning made Fly Flatts a no go so headed to Ogden where there is at least some shelter from the elements thought as I discovered , very little.
Not suprisingly it started off quiet so it was round to check the gulls first job to find several Commons and Black Headeds and 4 LBBs, one of which was a very light phase but try as I may I couldnt make it into a Yellow Legged.
Meadow Pipits were moving over steady and I counted 8 very camera shy Grey Wagtails grounded with the rain.  Theres something on my camera that when I focus and start to press the button the bird flys?
By 0930 the rain was lashing down and thats when the excitement happened. Suddenly the sky was full of moving Swallows coming over in swarms in the torrential rain and these were closely followed by 6 seperate Cormorants all >SE. When the rain stopped so did the birds, just a 15 minute shower brightened up my morning.
See rain soaked poor photos of Cormorants below.

Movers

51 Meadow Pipit................................>W
242 Swallow......................................>SE
17 House Martin................................>SE
4 Snipe.............................................>W
3 Alba Wagtail..................................>W
8 Grey Wagtail.................................on deck
6 Cormorant......................................>SE
BS

Cormorants moving in Torrential Rain

Excuse bad photos but lucky to get any in the conditions
BS

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Out and About


Shibden Top from Green Lane. Whitethroat country
Plenty Starlings around.

A search around Corporal Hill this afternoon turned up no Lapwings in the usual fields and birding was generally quiet. House Martins were a good find but the Sand Martins have now moved on.
Vis mig over the garage was quiet this morning apart from Swallows moving well.

Shelf Moor
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Pied Wagtail
11 Goldfinch

Shaw Lane
14 Linnet
6 Greenfinch
18 Goldfinch

Corporal Hill
2 Mistle Thrush
19 BH Gull
6 Common Gull

Shibden Top, Deanstones
1 Whitethroat
1 Chiffchaff
4 House Martin
Plenty Swallows

Movers this a.m.
27 Swallow..........................SW
5 Meadow Pipit....................S

Good photos of Whitethroat and Whinchat DJS on Calderbirds.
BS

Friday, August 27, 2010

More Raptor Movement

Another off chance lucky sighting today with a Buzzard over the garage at 0950hrs moving >SW. This bird was only about half the height of yesterdays raptor and was going in the same direction towards the Calder Valley. Swallows were moving well also early a.m. also going >SW.
Just when you thought it was all over DJS goes and bags another 7 Swifts today, well done there Dave, at this rate we may get a September bird.

Movers :-

32 Swallows................................>SW
1 Buzzard................................... >SW

Yesterdays mystery raptor, which after looking at several referances Im still going for female Goshawk, will have to go down as a " cud av bin" but at least it served its purpose and got the comments going and the id books in use. Thanks to all for interest!
BS

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mystery Raptor


The mystery raptor
On walking back to work this lunchtime I spotted a raptor slowly moving over >SW towards the Calder Valley. The bird was ridiculously high and I was only observing with the naked eye but the size of the bird stood out to be buzzard or above size. My first thought was Buzzard but the wings were very broad and the tail was long.This put it in the accipiter range but for the size I can only think female Goshawk.
The lower photo makes it look to have narrower wings but this is deceptive with the angle it was at.
Maybe I should carry binocs in my pocket instead of the camera.
I was hoping this would be picked up down the valley otherwise it will just have to go down as a "cud av bin"
Anyone any ideas ?
BS

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Buzzards on the move

Tonights sun lowering over Foxhill
Yesterdays rain coming down in stair rods

Three reports of moving Buzzard today, 2 from Calderbirds grapevine and one from a customers phone call.
Two of the birds were in the area, 1 west over Holmefield and 1 west over Northowram, the third bird being at the far side of Halifax. Well spotted to those alert observers.
I think all the birds must still have been drying out today after yesterdays torrential downpours as the skies have been quiet.
A quick visit to Black Dyke Mills to pick up some tyres today found a flock of c80 feral pigeons and 2 Grey Wagtails.
The Swift situation has been quiet for the last 3 days now !
Footnote :-
Does anyone else get all this junk mail to their e mail address, so far this year Ive won 10 prizes of over a million pounds, 3 top of the range BMWs , a holiday in Florida and several offers to claim the estate of people that have died in America with my name, all this and Im still crawling under cars to earn a crust!
BS

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Woodpigeons

Torrential rain showers together with a force 5 westerly wind until late afternoon made it a somewhat non birdable day although Woodpigeons leaving the roost and Ferals over the Victoria Hall did,nt seem to mind the rain at all. The Woodpigeon roost in trees down Station Rd has now reached about 80 birds which leave in small groups each morning to the fields in search of food. The roost will build up to about 150, then by the end of October all will move south. Woodpigeons are one of the last birds to move on visible migration so as the flocks of finches and Mipits cease to show theres always the Woodpigs to look forward to. Sometimes the flocks moving south on a typical vis mig morning, red ball sunrise, mist in the valleys and a light SW breeze, can be almost uncountable as they go past at distance in their thousands. The red sunrise makes the purple on their bodies shine and the fast flapping of their wings makes them look to sparkle.
This sight has to be seen to be appreciated and once seen you,ll be hooked on vismig forever.
Although our resident Woodpigeons move south they are soon replaced with northern birds 3 fold over creating massive roosts over the winter months, one of the largest around here being opposite Elland Gravel Pits in the trees at Park Wood.
BS

Monday, August 23, 2010

Queensbury Today

                               2 Steps from heaven, up in the clouds at Soil Hill

A bright start with blue skies and sunshine quickly to be replaced with grey sky and drizzle by mid morning
becoming, as usual, heavy rain over my lunch time. Little improvement throughout the rest of the day with occasional rain and drizzle showers.
A slight Meadow Pipit movement this morning with a scattering of Mipits >W early on in front of the rain but the bird of the day being a House Martin over the garage spotted by NK as he paid me a visit this morning.
This is a rare sighting this year with House Martins being near non existent in Queensbury around their usual nesting sites.
Three Pied Wagtails were feeding on the new cut grass in Foxhill Park but gulls were noticable by their absence.
A Sparrowhawk skimmed overhead, which was probably the juv spotted by NK last week, whilst 4 Lapwings headed >E very high.
Looks like DJS has got the monopoly on the late Swift so far with one on the 22nd
BS

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The elevation point cont. see last entry

From the hill looking east, north yorks and beyond to Humber Bridge
Looking west, Ovenden Moor, Studley Pike and beyond.
BS

The ever increasing hill

Hows this for a vantage point, a hill on a hill.
Looking south over Saddleworth Moor
Looking north to Ingleborough

Soil Hill. pm visit.
A mound of earth has been dropped  on Soil Hill 18ft above ground level which makes an amazing 360 degree watch point, as long as its not windy, the only snag being that when a plane is coming in or out of Yeadon airport you have to duck. Problem was , as I was playing silly beggers here, a Buzzard was seen to come from the north, over the Oxenhope watchpoint and low through the Causeway Foot col to continue down the Calder Valley. DCB was talking to someone at the time and missed it, I was hill climbing and missed it but luckily BV was on the ball and possibly got a photo as it passed low over his head. This is one of the first migrating Buzzard this time.
Otherwise things were quiet with a steady flow of Mipits and a number of gulls heading for Oxenhope.

Movers :-
26 Meadow Pipit....................>W

Other :-
3 Grey Partridge
19 Woodpigeons
3 Stock Dove
+ usual gulls and corvids.
No Wheatear,  the next batch of Wheatear in Sept. should bring some Greenlands with them.
BS

Vis Mig Washout

Small gulls + 1 juv LBB
Ad  LBB about to be attacked

Fly Flatts / Ogden    0730-1015hrs
Started off at Fly Flatts in torrential rain which I stuck out for a while till the dreaded fog came down which meant it was time to abort. The sky over Ogden looked a little brighter so headed there to check out the gulls. On arriving the sky was brighter but the rain was just as wet but at least there were plenty gulls to sift through. The rest of the morning was sunshine and showers ( well done to the BBC weather forecast for getting it wrong once more).
The woods were deadly quiet, the silence only broken by Robins and Wrens now back up in full song. Tons of mud showing but unfortunately no waders although these have been a bit sparce these last couple of weeks around the area.
Gull numbers are growing well with a good count of small gulls, large gulls dont seem to like this location but over the hill at DCBs watchpoint the story  is reversed.
Several Common Gulls are now getting their winter streaked head.

Fly Flatts early a.m. movers :-
16 Meadow Pipit....................>SW
2 Grey Wagtail.......................>W
1 Alba Wagtail......................>W

Ogden movers
24 Swallow.........................>SE
Other
132 Common Gull
210 BH Gull
1 ad LBB gull
2 juv LBB gull
BS

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mistle Thrushes start to flock

Dark clouds and sunshine over Foxhill early evening.

An unexpected dry day with wind less than forecast. Some very dark clouds over early evening but passed over to leave red skies.

Shelf Moor tonight had a large flock of Mistle Thrushes flying round ( c 25 ) which had it been November could have been mistaken for Fieldfare. The birds flew over the Hawthorn field then landed in trees along with c20 Linnets at Lower Giles Hill farm next to the old Bacon factory. Several Pied Wagtails were also around the area. Plenty Swallows about but non movers.
BS

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thunderstorms, sunshine and showers

Sunshine on Emley Moor
Gulls have quietened off slightly
                                                 Cloudy skies over Foxhill

A right mixed bag of weather today with morning thunderstorms and torrential rain followed by a day of sunshine and heavy showers although temperatures were up.

Quiet on the gull scene today with only 2 Commons in the park and very few fly overs, these all being small gulls. Shelf Moor pond held 2 Moorhen and 6 Canada Geese with a pair of Mallard in the ajoining field but the Lapwing flock was nowhere to be found. A customer today reported c200 Lapwing over the golf course this a.m. but this number is probably exagerated somewhat?
The Hawthorn field at Shelf Moor held 16 Woodpigeons and 5 Stock Doves.
Sounds like we.re in for a breezy ,showery weekend which could cut down vis mig movement but, ever the  optimist, could blow something good our way, watch this space!
BS

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Solitary Swift for Queensbury

Starlings flocking in the village
Morning Sky , Mottled clouds and contrails
Black Headed amongst the sheep, Well Heads

A good move of Swallows >S in front of the approaching rain at 1715hrs followed by a single Swift over Chapel Lane >S moving steadily in no great rush.
Plenty BH Gulls in a sheep field off Well Heads this evening but no big gulls. When I returned 1 hour later the gulls were gone.   Lynda told me of a Sparrowhawk ploughing into the Hawthorn after House Sparrows this morning in our front garden and then landing in the middle of the road, this was also witnessed by NK who was trudging back from Soil Hill at the time. The Sparrowhawk was described by Nigel as a juv.
BS

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Queensbury Today

Strong W>5 a.m. then calm with sunshine and showers p.m. Luckily missed the torrential rain reported from Halifax and Brighouse areas.
Very little in the skies today apart from a few blogging Swallows and a local Heron going down to the Station Rd pond.
On my way home a Sparrowhawk glided slowly overhead being mobbed with 2 Collared Doves and several Swallows but before I could get the camera out it had gone into the sun never to be seen again.
BS.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Remains of the fall

Queensbury Today.
Still a few Willow Warblers left in non common areas after the fall of the last day or so. Eight were counted between home and work this morning whilst again a scattering of Meadow Pipits flew over >W early on.
Swallows were again moving > SE but in smaller numbers than the weekend.
A single Jay flew over Chapel Lane at mid day very high and >W.
Four Pipestrelle bats were over Foxhill Park last night but sadly the colony down Brighouse Road have moved on due to the new Tesco development.
BS

Monday, August 16, 2010

A collage of Mips and Wheatears

Some of this weekends birds.
BS

More autumn falls

Blackbirds everywhere this a.m.

Blackbirds were again showing in numbers this morning with 9 counted just around the back of our house. Also 3 Willow Warblers were in the front Hawthorns which is very unusual and coinciding with several reports of good falls of Warblers throughout the area today, especially Willow Warbs and Spotted Flys.
The autumn vis mig season is really starting to kick in now.
BS

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some more of todays birds

                                  45 Wheatears counted today between 2 sites, Fly Flatts and Soil Hill

c 440 Meadow Pipits counted between the two sites sev were juvs.
BS.

Its alive wi Wheatear !


Soil Hill p.m.visit  Hot and sunny, almost thought it was summer !
The whole western side of the hill was crawling with Mipits and Wheatears the same as Fly Flatts this morning though a phone call to DCB found he had none.
A record total of 34 Wheatear were counted and if I had have had time to scan the walls etc Im sure there would have been many more.

Wheatear............17 around Ned Hill track
               ...........14 by old mistle and surrounding fields
               ...........3 by mast
Total 34.
Mipits around mast and Ned Hill track............138
Woodpigs.....................11
Moorhen.......................1
Tortoiseshell butterflies everywhere.
BS

Wheatear and Mipits Day

Wheatear fall after a clear night

Fly Flatts   0730-1000hrs  Foggy start which soon lifted to leave bright blue skies and warm sunshine. NNE>5
Most of the movement was at the start of the watch whilst the skies were still misty, once the sun came through the birds settled and started to feed.
As I drove on Withens Gap road Meadow Pipits were everywhere on the roadside and walls but by the time I returned all had moved >W.
Down by the water Mipits lined the shoreline slowly moving off in dribs and drabs >W,and Wheatear seemed to be on every rock and fence post. A moving Tree Pipit was a nice suprise, especially as it dropped down in a bush momentarily before moving on again.

Movers

Meadow Pipit...........................82 >W
Meadow Pipit.......................... c 350 Bloggers
11 Wheatear on deck
92 Swallow................................>SE
2 Skylark..................................>SE
1 Tree Pipit..............................>SE
4 Alba Wagtails.......................>W

Other
12 Canadas
4 Eclipse Mallard
1 Golden Plover
+ usual corvids
No gulls or Twite
BS