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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A milder session at Ogden but less birds.

                                    Sparrowhawk high overhead.

1500 hrs at Ogden found it milder at 1 deg opposed to yesterdays minus 1 but the W>4 raised the chill factor and still no sign of a thaw.
                                                          The usual 2nd winter Herring gull was out on the water along with around 50 small gulls, mainly BHGs, other than that the water was void of birds, apart from the Mallards of course. Light was fading fast as I found out when a Sparrowhawk flew high overhead and I quickly snapped it on settings I,d used 10 minutes earlier and now it was completely under exposed.
            Only time now to walk to passerine alley and back with just 1 Jay, 5 Blackbirds and several Robins with 6 Robins under the feeders. No sign of the Moorhen tonight but the Grey Wagtail was down by the sluice gate.
                                      Again several Goldfinch in to roost and an encouraging 8 Chaffinch in the car park trees.
A birder that watches my blog, whom I bumped into on the promenade quizzed me about some areas I mention on the blog with strange sounding and often made up names ,such as passerine alley etc.
If anyone wants any info on things of this nature please dont hesitate to either e mail, text me or use the comment box and I,ll be only too happy to help.
No word from the vets about the BH gull as yet but Lauren is going to let me know the outcome.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ogden at tea time and a bird in a box!

 Always good to see Grey Wagtails

        The Moorhen was a little braver today

           Up to 5 active Bullfinch in the glare of the sun through
            the trees.

1500 hrs and back to Ogden, this being the nearest venue with the most time to watch caused by the early lack of light.
An icy cold minus 1 deg but bright blue skies with the sun already below the tree tops and heavy freezing on the north of the water.
                                       The Moorhen had ventured into the duck feeding corner for some easy food along with a Grey Wagtail which usually sticks to the sluice gate area.
Out on the water were around 50 small gulls and 3 Herrings whilst at least 5 Bullfinch were active through passerine alley.
A female Teal flushed from the waters edge by the west bank watch point and headed straight across to the east banking.
                             Plenty Goldfinch in to roost this evening but no Chaffinch.

Bird in a box.
                       A young lady ( Lauren ) rang me this morning from Illingworth saying she had found a racing pigeon near the Keighley Rd which seemed to have injured legs. The bird had a leg ring so I rang Dave, a customer that races pigeons and he gave me the number for the British Racing Pigeon Society who would supply the owners contacts.
                                                                            Lauren rang them but the bird was unregistered so she brought it in a box to the garage for Dave to pick up and attend to it,
Imagine my surprise when I opened the box to find this :-

 Thats no racing pigeon, thats a Black Headed Gull.
 Number Green J9M4  right leg
Silver metal ring 6233828 Stavenger N Norway, left leg.

  Needless to say, Dave would,nt take it to his pigeon loft.

Another call to Lauren who had contacted Hirds vets who said if possible they would treat it, this service is free for wild birds etc, so its in their hands now. To me the outlook is grim as its legs appear to be broken, possibly being frozen to the ground overnight and struggling to get free in the morning ?  Thanks to Lauren for her concern who just needs to brush up on her bird I.D.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ogden phase 2, last light

                                            1st winter Common gull
           Moorhen creeping through the undergrowth
                                    1st winter bird.
         Not a common species for Ogden

1430 hrs and a visit to Redcar Tarn was aborted due to fog over the hills and snow falling with threatening looking skies so again back to Ogden.
                                                           On arrival the snow was falling heavy on an increasing E>4 so I planned a quick check of the water then home before the roads got bad but fortunately the snow eased to a steady dusting throughout so managed a full session.
                                                         As I was walking down the hill by the info centre 2 Goldeneye were flying low over the promenade towards Mixenden but, as with the Shelduck this morning, I could,nt say whether they had come off the water or not..
A walk on the east bank as far as the watch point and back produced little in the way of passerines other than the usual stuff so I concentrated on the south end.
                                                           An unusual find for here was a first year Moorhen skulking under the SE banking before later taking to the water. Ive had several one off sightings for most months of the year of a single Moorhen but always very elusive,
                                                        A good count of Common gulls were on the water with 27 in amongst around 40 BHGs and a single adult Herring gull whilst 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew into trees near the north end of the car park.
Good news as I got back to the car when 7 Chaffinch dropped into their usual pre roost tree at the side of the car park so there may be a chance of Brambling yet.

Ogden first light.

                                       A snowy west bank

                                    Very little visibility over the water
                                    Frozen water , north end
                                           From the watch point
                                               These two enjoyed it
                                         Passerine alley.
                                  Around 30 BH gulls
                                     The sluice gate area
  Good count of Mallards for the winter.

With thick fog and bad road conditions Ogden was the only local option this morning so arrived at a late 0830hrs waiting for the daylight . A thick mist was hanging over the area so only half way out on the water was visible but satisfied that nothing was out there after a full walk around the perimeter.
                                                              A lucky break when Pippa started growling and as I looked up at the Squirrel that had caught her eye in passerine alley 5 Shelduck flew silently over >NE and disappeared over the trees in seconds. But for Pippa and the Squirrel I,d have missed them completely. I dont think they had come off the water as the wind was calm other than a slight E>3 so I would probably have heard them lift off.
                                                             Checking out the Tit flock found on the west bank it comprised of Blue,Great, Coal but no Long Tailed. Also present were 4 Goldcrest amongst them.
Looks like a year without Siskin, Redpoll , Brambling and Chaffinch flock with no banking of weeds to invite them in.
A good count of 18 Robins around the water, some resident birds very tame whilst several timid continental jobs. A good show of Blackbirds, again possibly continentals, along with Mistle thrush and plenty Magpies.
                             A count of around 160 Mallard around the feeding corner all in for easy food for winter whilst the seed feeders were busy with the usual species.
                                                              All in all a good morning and the frozen snow meant I didnt need to wash the mud off the dogs as I got home.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Snow disrupts birding.

           A snow and icy walk to work this morning
              Grit wagons are obsolete in Queensbury
                                         The icy route into Colditz.

A day of freezing temperatures and snow showers with no sign of a thaw.
                                                         Late afternoon and getting ready for my daily birding fix when the snow started coming down in flakes the size of half crowns quickly covering the roads and putting a stop to me driving anywhere. Plan " B " was harness up the team and walk through the snow covered fields to Old Guy Road although I had to carry the pup most of the way as the snow was deeper than him.
                          It was getting near last light and the fog was now creeping in so most of the gulls had left the fields and headed to roost leaving just a few Commons and Black Headeds which soon followed suit and moved on.
All quiet down Old Guy Rd and on the cricket field other than a few Corvids and 1 Pied Wagtail but as I got lower down the road 6 Snipe flew low over me and dropped down into DWs Partridge field not to be seen again. Obviously a roosting area for them.
                              If the forecasters are right about tomorrow, which will be unusual for them, its not looking good for the morning session but we,ll see what happens when we open the curtains in the morning but I,ll be up early and raring to go if at all possible. As my old Grandmother used to say,
" Thas plenty time for liggin i bed when thas deard ".

Friday, December 8, 2017

A livelier Ogden

                  1 of 4 Cormorant high and >NE

With all the upland venues inaccessible and daylight against me it was back to Ogden to see what had come in with the snow. I find it amazing that I have shoveled a good depth of snow this morning before work so the dogs could get out in the garden yet a shopping trip in Halifax this afternoon had no sign of snow what so ever.
                                               Things had livened up at Ogden due to the cold spell with 38 Canadas on the water as well as the usual Mallards. Around 200 small gulls were out in the middle along with
3 Herrings but no LBBs.
                                   Way over under the north banking 7 Teal skirted along the edge of the water disappearing into the NW corner whilst bird of the day was 4 separate Cormorant over very high and NE. The last time I got a NE movement of Cormorant, this time from Fly Flatts, a Gt White Egret followed on but not this time.
Back in the car park Goldfinches were coming in to roost whilst a Gt Spotted Woodpecker dropped down into the Rhododendrons .
                                             After a call from Craig at Mixenden reporting a bird larger than a duck with a bright orange bill on the reservoir I did a quick check on the way to Ogden to find ,as expected, a female Goosander mixed in with the gulls as well as 1 female Goldeneye . All the gulls were Common and Black Headed apart from 2 LBBs . Thanks for the call Craig, keep em coming.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ogden, Flying visit.

                                        2nd Winter  Herring gull.

  Several Black Headed still showing summer hood.

1500 hrs and a flying visit to Ogden in a  strong NW>5 gusting 6 and horizontal  sleet and snow.
                                                         Only around 50 small gull out on the water along with 4 LBBs and 3 Herrings. A small group of Jackdaws came in briefly, one being very white speckled.
                                                        A dash back home as I volunteered to drive daughter Rachel to a venue at Wakefield as she hates  motorway driving, so do I now. 2 hours there and 2 hours back  for a 30 minute journey. Probably the worst possible time of day with 3 lanes of crawling traffic both on the M62 and M1.  Ive never in my life seen as many cars and can,t imagine what it must be like to drive to and from work every day on the motorways it must we horrendous. Makes me realize how lucky I am walking to work. I,ll never moan driving to Halifax again.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A check around and back to Leeshaw

Sorry its more gull talk but December is the gull watching season.
                                                          A very dark, grey and windy afternoon as I set out at 1445 hrs to do a second day gull check at Leeshaw reservoir.
On the way there Pit Lane pitches held around 100 small gulls along with c 200 Starling whilst Raggalds Flood had plenty water in but only 4 Black Headed  gulls and 2 Lapwing present.
                                                                 The Shay fields below Soil Hill held the local Lapwing flock of around 150 birds whilst the Golden Plover flock was still present showing around 30 Goldies but hard to view from the main road due to walls and hedges.
                                                                 Leeshaw reservoir was very black and very windy with a strong SW>6 gusting 7 and large black clouds rolling off the moor.
In contrast to yesterdays session things were poor with around 400 small gulls and c50 large gulls but all were sheltering up in the NW corner of the banking out of the wind and all facing away from me into the wind.  A few Herrings were present but nothing on the scale of last nights influx whilst amongst the Lesser Black Backed one showed the signs of Intermedius with a very dark mantle.
                                                          Other than gulls, a pair of Mallard and a pair of Teal were on the water along with 4 Canadas plus the usual 3 Cormorants, and in the air , 16 Lapwings flew over the far fields with 2 Golden Plover in amongst them.
Dark by 1530 hrs this evening as I left Leeshaw but only 15 days left to Winter Solstice, the shortest  day when we turn the corner and slowly make our way back to lighter evenings.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Leeshaw, if you don,t like gulls read no further.

         Herring gulls way across in the farmers field

                                            and on the shoreline
                                              GBB, Herring and LBB

             A massive bird with bright pink legs.

                                      Herring gulls piling in

                                      Squadron of Greylags
                                              Skein of 55

                              Plenty Herring gull squabbles

       How to make an emergency landing on a moving gull
                                        Gulls like snow
                                                                 Around 70 Lapwings present.

An afternoon free with grey skies, drizzle and a strong W>5, good gull conditions.
                                         1315 hrs arrive at Fly Flatts with ,other than Red Grouse, not a bird of no sort in sight. On then to Leeshaw and absolutely alive with gulls, again this is to the east of the Nab, see HCs comment from Dec 3rd blog.
                                                            Around 600 gulls were on the far shoreline , 75% small, and 25% big gulls with 63 Lesser Black Backed, and an amazing 38 Herring gull plus 1 Great Black Backed. The Herring gulls were in the field far side of the water and also on the shoreline with several coming and going. All photos were very distant across the water and the poor light did,nt help but a good scope through them found nothing unusual.
                                                                             As I was photographing the Herrings squabbling in flight I heard, then saw a distant skein of geese coming towards me looking like Pinkies but as they got nearer they were the group of Greylags returning to roost in the fields near Oxenhope reservoir.
This flock was recognized by the white and part white geese present.
                                                                           A flock of around 70 Lapwing were mobile over the moor whilst 3 Cormorant were on the banking.
A pleasing afternoons birding.