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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mixenden Reservoir

                                          Still a few Common gulls around
                                         Mallard
                                    1 LBB in with the small gulls
                                           Oystercatcher on ice
                                         Good number of Goosander

                                            1 pair Teal
                                  Oystercatcher looking out of place

Checked the trailer park fields again late p.m. for Wheatear then the plan was a bit more sky watching from Soil Hill but unsafe to leave the car as a druggy looking meeting going on in the parking spaces so it was on to Mixenden reservoir.
The water is 50 % frozen but attracting good numbers of gulls and waterfowl.
An Oystercatcher looked out of place on the ice and a pair of Teal was a nice suprise whilst Goosanders were still coming in as I left probably forming a roost there with TMR being frozen over, that is where they usually head.

1pr Teal
7f Goldeneye
3m Goldeneye
8f Goosander
4m Goosander
c150 small gulls, 75 % Bhgs
1 LBB gull
2pr Mallard
BS

Fly Flatts

                                               The road to Fly Flatts
                                  One pocket of water
                                    The frozen north
                                             Solid ice
                                                Siberia
                                    Plenty Curlew established
                                     Greylags settling on the moor

                                   Good move of LBB gulls

                                         Meadow Pipit in the snow
                                                    Red Grouse

Fly Flatts   0700-1015hrs,  Slight E>3 Sunshine
Set off for Fly Flatts not really expecting to be able to get there but drove to the wind farm then on foot the rest of the way. Fly Flatts area and moor were suprisingly clear of snow , as DCB remarked it will all have been blown across into Lancashire, although the reservoir was 95 % froze over with just one small pocket of water in the SE corner where Canadas were congregating.
The moors were alive with calls from Canada and Greylag geese, Curlew and Golden Plover with several Meadow Pipits in the area.
A full scan round the walls and rocks etc from Withens Gap to Fly failed to turn up any Wheatear.
A good passage of LBB gulls was underway all >NE so at least things seem to be getting into the spring mode at last.

38 LBB gull.............................>NE
9 Red Grouse
2 Greylag
26 Canada..............Many more on moor
16 Curlew
11 Meadow Pipit
Sev Carrion Crow.
BS

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Waxwing reports and Osprey moving through

                    Lapwing holding ground

                                   The mate standing by
                        Mixenden reservoir from Soil Hill
                                   Withins from Soil Hill
                                         Magpies moving through

With a report of an Osprey on the loose over Halifax this p.m. from Hx grapevine I thought Id better get myself up Soil Hill watchpoint at 1515 hrs with a chance of it coming through.
Vehicle access from the Raggalds is now possible with a single track cut through although walking up to the summit means a bit of wall climbing and drift dodging.
Skies were much livelier today with a real sign of movement but a thorough search of the hill found no sign of Wheatear but its got to happen any day now.
A pair of Lapwing were establishing themselves on the summit and an unusual passage of Magpies was interesting whilst 12 Golden Plover flew >W over the Oats Royd area towards the Withins.

Deborah from Hebden Bridge kindly rang me at work this morning to report c30 Waxwings around her garden just above the Hardcastle Crags area
Glad you got your first Waxwings Deborah, I passed the report on to Halifaxbirders who put the message out on the grapevine but havent heard if they were relocated by the Hebden Bridge lads or not yet.
Thanks again for the call which was much appreciated.
A second grapevine message was from NK reporting c10 Waxwings near the end of Swalesmoor, Queensbury seen from the bus.

Soil Hill  1515-1630hrs
12 Golden Plover..........................>W
11 seperate Magpies.....................>NW
16 Woodpigeons...........................>W
3 LBB gulls....................................>NW
1 pr Lapwing on the hill
6 Lapwing down on the Shay
100+ Corvids down on the Shay
2 Skylark.
BS

Friday, March 29, 2013

In search of the Wheatear, Soil Hill

                        Welcome to Soil Hill
                  Track level wall to wall
                                    Chocolate sprinkled snow

                                       The stone circle
                                           9ft deep here
                     Trailer park Wheatear field
                                   Field looking good ready for arrivals
                                    TMR . blown clear of snow but frozen over

                                      Snow up on Pen y ghent
Late pm visit.

No vehicle access up Perseverance Rd so had to go from Ogden end up Ned Hill and managed to park in the water board pull in.
The drifts across the track in to Soil Hill were level across the wall tops so had to climb into the field and get in that way. Once on the hill there was very little problem as most of the snow had been blown off but care had to be taken in some on the ravines.
Apart from 2 hardy Skylarks and 3 Meadow Pipits nothing else was on the summit and just 8 Lapwing and several corvids were down near the NK pond.
Another check of the trailer park field fdrew a blank although the field is blown clear of snow and ready for arrivals.
Again no Waxwings showing around the Moorclose, Foxhill area.
Back to work in the morning but should get a teatime session in although its hard to think where to go in these conditions, like DJS commented, parkings the problem.
BS

NOT Good Friday

                                            Gulls on ice
                                         Trying to land
                                              Waiting for food

A bad start to the easter weekend with a trip to Ogden as most other venues are snowbound.
The reservoir was 75% froze and held just the usual Mallards 3 Canada Geese and the usual small gulls whilst passerines consisted of Blue and Gt Tits with the highlight being 2 Curlew over >W.
When I got back to the car I found the SLR camera I had in my bag for general scenes Id taken had fallen out. I carry the other SLR round my neck with the big lens on but as I put the other back in the bag I must have missed and dropped it in the snow.
A quick dash back to where Id used it last found nothing so pinned a note with my number on the info door waiting for the honest person that had picked it up to ring (Ha Ha), so an expensive outing.
On the way back
Raggalds Flood froze and snowed over
Trailer park field birdable but no Wheatear
Moorclose and Foxhill area, no Waxwings.
Apart from all that everything went well !!
BS

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Queensbury, More Waxwing reports and a steady thaw.

 Record breaking 9ft icicles.  

A slightly better day with a slight rise in temperature and a steady thaw showing. Some sunny spells and the wind dropped slightly moving round a notch to NE> 3.
Plenty Waxwings still moving around with first a phone call from blog watcher Peter Turner who was watching 2 above a garden showing berries on Cooper Lane, Horton Bank Top, thanks for the call Peter, and secondly a call from NK with the Foxhill flock showing on Weston Vale Rd and then a flock of c30 back at the old site of Moorclose Rd. See Queensburybirder blog for report and unusual photos in the snow.
Im glad Nigel relocated the flock because by the time Id kept him talking on the phone the birds had flown before he could get a photo.
Otherwise a quiet day apart from plenty small gulls now back in the area for food and a visit by the local Sparrowhawk into the front garden before being rapidly seen off by Lynda before it could get near her House Sparrows. I keep telling her to get a photo but she,s more likely to twot it on the head with the long brush.
A day off tomorrow but the problem of where to bird with most of the upland locations being snow bound, watch this space.
BS

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Queensbury Waxwing/Osprey watch

             Chapel Lane top to New Park Rd open


Roper Lane still blocked

                Last sun west from Roper Lane

                                     Sunset over the Withins from Lower Fleet

A morning of heavy snow till midday then snow showers during the afternoon clearing by 1500hrs leaving sunshine and blue skies.
The sky looked ideal for moving Osprey so a rushed tea and first a walk through Waxwing country, Coniston, Moorclose and Stonehouse but no sign, possibly due to the late hour and the mass of berries around Moorside Rd were completely stripped bare.
Through into Roper Lane for a quick skywatch hoping for an early Osprey heading north but nothing but corvids heading to roost.
Moorclose held 4 singing Blackbird, 1 singing Song Thrush  and plenty Starling.
A nice walk and a good sunset.
BS