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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bright and busy skies

                             

Bright skies from the word go this morning clouding early afternoon with a strengthening SW wind.
The problem with gazing skyward whilst walking to work in the wind is I have to keep setting off to chase my cap down the road, maybe I should try bluetack.
The skies were alive with birds early a.m. with winter thrushes moving over >S in small flocks and then several single Fieldfares kept coming over in the same direction.
A group of 4 Pied Wagtails headed >SW and unusually a single jay flew from the direction of the old station and headed off to the >W.
At midday 3 Herring gull flew high over the park >NW and a single Pied Wagtail was on the top pitch.
Just one month to go now for you to top up those annual lists and then its back to the start and do it all again.
Im afraid that once again this year my life species list has,nt altered with no new birds for me but thats one of the penalties for sticking to local birding although on that rare occasion when you finally get a lifer in your local area the pleasure is much greater than if you go off to see someone elses bird on a twitch somewhere,
BS

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Watch for those Snow Buntings


                       
                                                   



Snow Buntings are being reported well in the area at the moment with birds found by NK on Soil Hill, see Queensburybirder, then re located today in atrocious conditions by DJS, Calderbirds.
Another report was rung into me this pm of a single male near the Duke of York between Thornton and Wilsden. This is a strange place for Snow Bunting as the area just comprises of green fields but I had a single female there myself several years ago whilst driving past. The bird was sat on the wall and dropped down into the field where it remained for 2 days.
Nothing doing up in the heights of Queensbury today with a strong SSW>6 blowing increasing to SW>7 and torrential rain by early afternoon.
The daughter Rachel , who lives at Shelf, called in at lunch time and said, how can anyone live in such a god forsaken place as this, I think that was because she,d just had her hair done and by the time she,d got back in her car she looked like she,d been dragged through a hedge backwards.
BS

Monday, November 28, 2011

Queensbury Today

                                 
                                                   
                                               

Plenty winter thrush activity this morning with several flocks of both Fieldfare and Redwing over in various directions , probably most would have come out of the Queensbury Station
hawthorns where they seem to like to roost each winter.
Midday saw 28 mixed small gulls in the park and several Gt tits on surrounding feeders. A single Heron went over >E and a kestrel was hovering behind the Pineberry Inn.
BS

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Soil Hill

                                       
                                           

A little less windy on Soil Hill last light with a cold NW>5 and very hazy to the west.
Fieldfares were very mobile moving from field to field whilst a small flock of Linnets are still hanging on in there.
Seven Grey Partridge were present plus the usual  Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.

7 Grey Partridge
42 Fieldfare
17 Linnet
3 Skylark
4 Meadow Pipit.
BS

Blustery Ogden



                                  Goldfinch enjoying the Alders


Another poor Sunday morning with strong NW>6 gusting 7 and early rain showers. As predicted the morning brightened after 1000hrs but the wind remained.
Certainly not a photographic morning with the branches of the trees swaying about making photos of the Goldfinch like hitting moving targets.
The  water was quiet with high waves and white horses and just held a few Common and BH gulls whilst the outskirts of the wood was quite busy with several tit flocks with Goldcrests mixed in.
A flock of 11 Siskin flew over heading towards the giants tooth and 2 Redpoll showed briefly amongst a charm of 20+ Goldfinch feeding in the Alders.
A single Cormorant went over >E.
20+ Goldfinch
5 Goldcrest
1 Cormorant
2 Redpoll
11 Siskin
7 Coal Tit.
+ usual sp.
BS

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gale force winds and Fieldfares.

A breezy damp morning deteriorating by midday with gale force SW>7 gusting 8 and heavy rain continuing on into the evening. Looking sad for morning unless theres a rapid improvement overnight. The weather says its to brighten late morning which is too late for the early birders.
Late afternoon today at last light on the way to Shelf Moor several Fieldfares were coming in to roost in trees at the top side of the golf course with 1 flock of about 50.
Three Mistle Thrush were on wires and a flock of Chaffinch were mobile near the old bacon factory with some suspicious looking birds amongst them which were possibly Brambling but they disappeared behind the helicopter hangar out of site, will have to try find time to check them out tomorrow.
BS

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hail, sunshine, wind and rain. A typical Queensbury day.

                             

A real variety of weather today starting with strong SW>6 which dropped by midday. Some bright sunny intervals, then by early afternoon came torrential rain showers and a hail storm which left the car park white over for a short time.
Heavy overnight rain left the rugby field awash which suited the local gulls comprising mainly of Commons with a few Black Headeds. One LBB made an attempt at landing only to lift off again and head off >N.
At lunch time 6 Collared Doves were back around the park annoying the resident white wingbarred Carrion Crow.
Fingers crossed for the weekend with target birds, Black Redstart, Med gull and Waxwings, ok, you can stop laughing now !.
BS

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Clear skies and strong south westerlies.

                                      Sunrise back ot mill
                               


                                                       

A strong SW>6 kept the skies clear and blue today with some long periods of sunshine.
Several LBB gulls were heading SW  into the wind whilst early morning Woodpigeons made their way south after leaving the roosts.
An interesting sight today was a single Curlew very high over Chapel Lane heading >SE and calling. It almost slipped by me as at first I dismissed it for a Starling mimicking but then caught sight of it.
A report at the garage today from CK of Med gulls in the area some check out those gull flocks on your patch.
BS

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fogless at last.

At last the dreaded fog has been taken away by a strong W>5 leaving a clear but grey day. On the way to work this morning a nice red ball sunrise was showing at the side of the Black Dyke Mill chimney but by the time Id dashed down to get a good vantage point for a photo it had been covered with cloud and remained that way the rest of the day.
At midday a single Heron went over >E mobbed by corvids and 4 Stock Doves flew >W over the park.
The influx of Collared Doves from the other day have dispersed and their place around the garden feeder replaced by 8 feral pigeons.
Several reports of Yellowhammers on the Halifax grapevine today, a bird that has disappeared without trace around this area, I can,t remember when I had my last local bird although Denise had one in her garden last year.
They were a common sight down Queensbury station with birds always to be found on the wires and singing from the Gorse bushes but that was when I started birding 45+ years ago. I dont recall when the last one was seen down there but I would think it would have been in the late sixties unless you know different Howard as you continued to work it as your patch up to your departure from the hill top to the lowlands.
Elland G.P. held about 2 pair up to around 20 years ago but this species has also vacated this area.
Maybe one day they,ll return, stranger things have happened.!
BS

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Queensbury White Crow

                                Photos taken by Simon Dedrick , ( copyright)

The Queensbury white Crow seems to have suddenly become active again after a bit of an absence , firstly seen by NK in his garden and yesterday Simon Dedrick, who lives not far from Nigel kindly sent me a report of it around his garden along with these cracking photos. Thanks for that Simon, hope you didnt mind me sharing your photos.
A foggy start today but a stiff W>4 soon moved it away leaving a bright clear afternoon but very little seen in the skies other that a few LBB gulls heading >S.
BS

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bit of sun, lot of fog


                                       

Another day of that miserable cloudy stuff with a few short lived bright intervals in between. At some points there was no horizontal vision but a clear blue sky overhead. By mid p.m. the fog had come in thicker than ever and is still the same now.
A high count of Collared Doves was present midday around Foxhill park with 15 in one tree above a garden feeder and up to 8 others nearer to the Fleet Lane end. There may have been more but the dreaded fog closed in on me before Id had chance to get a full count.
BS

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A failed attempt at Soil Hill

Queensbury was above the fog around midday with clear blue skies and sunshine but by late afternoon when we got back from doing the family thing the mist was starting to roll in. By the time I got to Soil Hill the fog was thickening fast and within 15 minutes the fog was so thick it was hard to know which direction to walk in to get back to the road. The only birds seen were 4 Skylarks on the summit which I almost stood on before I saw them lift up and disappear into the fog.
Again its wait another week, surely one weekend has got to be clear before the end of the year.
BS


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Watch out for those Black Redstarts

Several reports are beginning to come in for Black Redstarts so keep your eyes open around old buildings and stony areas. Hopefully Black Redstart spotting experts DJS, NK, HC and DCB will be on the ball again this year giving us our annual records.
DJS usually turns one up around the Withins Gap, Cold Edge area which in the past has been a long stayer. NKs sighting was Perseverence Rd/ Soil Hill which stayed for a few days and HC/DCBs birds have appeared at Oxenhope.
HCs bird is a bit of a standing joke as one November we were at the watchpoint on the last Sunday of the vis mig season when Howard suddenly remarked, "Hey up, whats that little bugger on the wall " which turned out to be a Black Red. The year after in November, around the same date, again a small bird landed on the reservoir wall and just like an action replay Howard said "Hey up, whats that little bugger on the wall" which turned out to be another Black Red.
A bright sunny day from first light up here on the hill today with mist lying down in the valleys  but nothing bird wise to report other than 38 Common gulls in Foxhill early doors.
BS

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fieldfares but nowt much else

A bright morning clouding pm but remaining clear all day.
Several large flocks of Fieldfare came over Foxhill, the village and the garage early morning probably moving from roosts looking for feeding grounds, all were heading >S and >SE. Counted around 200 in all with a few Redwings mixed in otherwise the skies were quiet other than a few LBBs >NW and 4 Meadow Pipits >SW.
Looking a bit sad on the birding scene for me this weekend with outside jobs stock piling and limited hours of daylight when I can get to do them, I hate these dark nights.
BS.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A mish mash of birds

                                An autumnal Chapel Lane graveyard.

A bright sunny day with clear blue skies and a strong S>4.
The autumn vis mig movement has now come to a close other than geese and yellow billed swans but several birds out of their usual area can be found moving around to pastures new.
Four Herons together went over the garage >E this morning early on and mid morning saw 11 Stock doves heading >NE.
At mid day a single Cormorant was heading >N up the Aire Valley very distant and very high whilst 8 Mallard flew over >W in moving mode.
Chapel Lane graveyard held 4 singing Robins and 3 Blackbirds as well as the usual Magpie family.
BS

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gulls in the gloom

Common gull numbers building
Gulls through the mist


A grey morning followed by our old friend the fog by midday clearing slightly shortly before dark.
A few LBB gulls were seen to go over >NW this morning and unusually 2 were on the rugby field at lunch time.
Four Pied Wagtails were on the roof of the Willows medical centre and 2 very late Meadow Pipits came over
the garage >S early a.m.
Sounded like a good move around day today with several reports of misplaced ducks, geese and divers.
BS

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gulls on the move

A grey murky day with a  strong >E 4 but the cloud base keeping high enough to leave some visibility with even a bit of sun mid p.m.
Big gulls were the bird of the day with good numbers of LBBs moving >NW most of the day and 3 groups of Herring gulls totalling 7 went over >W mid afternoon.
Otherwise the large flocks of Starlings from yesterday had dispersed considerably and also the high count of Common gulls in the park was down in the 20s.
BS

Monday, November 14, 2011

Queensbury Today

A grey day and cool easterly but at least it was birdable as Mondays usually are when we,re back at work.
A good count of Common Gulls in Foxhill today with 84 present at 7000hrs before they broke up and went their own ways leaving   9 to stay the day.
Signs of a lot of shuffling about with the  birds this morning with 5 Blackbirds in the front garden first light and flocks of up to 100 Starlings moving around the local feeders.
Chapel Lane graveyard held 5 Dunnocks and 4 Robins with a noisy Wren dodging around the gravestones whilst a Chaffinch kept bursting into song.
BS

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beyond a joke, FOG.

                                       

As expected the fog from last night had thickened up to dense this morning so Fly Flatts was a no go.
On arrival at Ogden the fog was just as bad so with 3 dogs in the back waiting for their walk and me needing a birding injection drastic action had to be taken and head for the lowlands.
Elland Gravel Pits is usually a good get out but this morning the mist was hanging low and there was heavy drizzle throughout, even the anglers looked more miserable than usual as they peered out from beneath their umbrellas.
It was just a walk on the canal path and back as everywhere was thick of mud and I didnt fancy coming back to dog bathing.  The place has altered a lot since the days that I used to visit it every Sunday and I found it impossible to scan the ski lake now that its shrouded in trees,even from the layby.
However , as always, it produced some decent birds though fleeting glimpses and no chance of photos in the conditions other than the two above.

15 Cormorant
4 Little Grebe
2 Jay
11 Siskin
23 Lt Tit
1 Kingfisher
2f  1m Goosander
+ usual  sp.
BS

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blue sky at last, but will it last?

                                    Just practicing manual focus ready for a mega
                                       Just a few shots of the garden House Sparrows



A brilliant day today with clear blue skies and sunshine but unfortunately no time to get out birding in it.
Several Redwings were moving over the garage this morning probably looking for new feeding grounds whilst about 40 Woodpigeons moved >S in what was probably some of the last stragglers.
A  good number of Pied Wagtails were congregating on the roof of Halifax central library mid afternoon which were most likely ready for moving on to the Woolshops roost.
Looking a bit grim for morning with fog already moving in this evening, wheres that wind when you need it.
BS

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where,s the sky gone ?

                                   Foxhill Park at midday

Does anyone know if the sky,s still up there because I have,nt seen it for 4 days now on the top of this hill although a customer today told me it was lovely down in Brighouse.
Dense fog has hung on every bit of the day without attempting to clear even in the middle of the day.
This weather seems to give the garden House Sparrows an appetite as I have to top up the feeders morning and lunchtime as well as renew the fat balls. Up to 30 sparrows are visiting at a time now and seem happier since I moved the feeding station from the front to the back garden where so far no Sparrowhawk strikes have been seen with much more cover for the birds.
Surely this fog won,t continue over the weekend.
BS

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fogged out again

A beautiful red sunrise this a.m. lasted about 15 minutes before it was blanked out with yet more dense fog which lasted most of the day clearing to mist over the lunch time period.
More Fieldfares were moving >S around midday again skimming low and fast over the buildings with a couple of Redwings seen in amongst them.
Common gulls peaked at 32 today in Foxhill Park and a Meadow Pipit along with  a Pied Wagtail was unusual on the top pitch.
Hope this fog does,nt continue through the weekend
BS.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Red Skies on a foggy day

                                         
                                 
                                     
                                           
                                   
                                 



About 2 hours of grey dull skies midday today sandwiched between morning and afternoon fog.
Several Fieldfares were moving over >SW during the day skimming the rooftops in an attempt to keep below the cloudbase. These will probably have been established birds brought down by the fog.
Roll on those crisp frosty, clear mornings.
BS.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A foggy Queensbury

A test shot in the fog
 House Sparrow in garden

Dense fog all morning clearing to mist early afternoon then back to thick fog again.
A single Pied Wagtail was in the park at midday along with 25 Common Gulls and 6 Black Headed otherwise sky searching was like looking into pea and ham soup, hope it was clearer for birders down in the valley.
BSPosted by Picasa

Monday, November 7, 2011

More Woodies on the move

A bright start to the morning which quickly gave way to cloud and drizzle then dense fog by soon after midday which stayed for the rest of the day.
The big Woodpigeon push continued from first light this morning all >S and ceased by about 0915hrs. Around 400 birds came overhead which is about 350 more than I got yesterday when I was out birding, I,ll have to stick to working, it produces more birds.
Although there was a keen white frost this morning the local birds are acting as if it were spring with 2 Robins squabbling all day for territory and singing their hearts out and a House Sparrow in the garden has been carrying nest material into the ivy all day. Dont know if its nest building or making its roost better for winter.
BS

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fly Flatts/ Ogden

Bright and sunny with a cold N>3 wind and birdless skies.
First birds of the morning were a group of 20 Wigeon >SW over Fly Flatts but dont know if they came off the water or just fly overs but from there on it was downhill.
The massive Woodpig movement reported missed my area completely with just a few seen to the east.
Three squadrons of Starlings headed >NW and the water held 11 BH gulls and 5 Commons,
otherwise a few Red Grouse were present.
By the time I got to Ogden every man and his dog was there and apart from a good number of small gulls and 1 m Goldeneye that was it.
To make matters worse I was experimenting with a new camera and didnt get 1 photo worth showing, better get the manual out again?
BS

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Queensbury Today

                                         Night sky from Jackson Hill with Swalesmoor and Ringby
                                  on the horizon, the ski slope is lit up to the left of the picture.

A busy morning with an unexpected move of Thrushes, Pinkies and Whoopers along with early morning Woodpigeons.
Pinkies and Whoopers unfortunately avoided me at work despite a phone call from HC at Oxenhope with word that 37 Whoopers were heading towards me. A dash into the car park with camera at the ready then another call from HC to say they had veered off at the last minute and turned down the Calder Valley.
Woodpigeons came over >S in half decent numbers early doors and several flocks of Fieldfare, the largest consisting of about 60 birds.
Hopefully the fog will keep away from Fly Flatts in the morning and Ill have to try get on Soil Hill pm to try for Nigels Snow Bunting.
BS

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wet Start, Wet Finish

A terrible morning with heavy rain and mist clearing up by late morning leaving a real spring like afternoon only to return to heavy rain again after dark.
Woodpigeons were on the move from late morning ,through midday and on until the early afternoon which is unusual as Woodpigs move early and are generally finished by 0900hrs, probably a weather related thing with the rain and mist first thing.
A suprise over the garage early afternoon was a Snipe very high heading >E.
Hope there,s no Redwings shot down with the fireworks this weekend.
BS

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Queensbury Today

A deteriorating day with rain by pm though very mild for November.
Gulls stole the show today with a steady flow of LBBs all morning >NW and a group of 3 Herring Gulls >W at midday.
Foxhill park held 28 Common gulls and 11 Black Headed, also at midday, and unusually 2 Lapwings were on the rugby field.
A Sparrowhawk was in the front garden Hawthorns this afternoon until Lynda saw it and went out with waving arms to move it on whilst the House Sparrows watched on in delight.
BS

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Queensbury Today

A dull misty start then brightening only to turn dull again for the rest of the day and rain by early evening.
A scattering of Meadow Pipits came over >S first thing along with a few Redwing which looked to come up out of the old station roost.
Two Herring gulls flew over >W at midday along with 11 LBBs and 17 Commons were in the park.
For the second time this week I was only 1 mile away from a mega sighting, again from NK at Soil Hill who has now moved on from waders to Snow Buntings with a count of 5 up on the summit. His full report can be found on Queensburybirder, well done Nigel, another cracking record.
BS

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The art of bird photography


all copyright.

A mechanic that has a garage across the road from me, Ken Wood, brought me these photos of the Kingfisher which he took last week, not sure of location , but he was watching the bird fishing so stood quiet until it came within a few yards of him. Cracking photos taken with a 300mm zoom, Many thanks Ken

All quiet in the village today other than a few Fieldfare over and apart from the hot news from DJS, Calderbirds of a Swallow over his area.
BS