No sightings of Roe Deer, Hare or Badger will be mentioned on this blog throughout the year and links will be removed from other blogs giving the whereabouts of these mammals due to the rising influx of poaching, long dogging and lamping by sick individuals.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Black Skies and big black birds

                                 Black skies over,t mill.
                                   Mi grandmother called these  "Devil Birds"
She said if the devil birds were hanging round your house something grim would happen.
Something grim seems to happen to me daily, crows or no crows.

Had Gordon Denison in the garage today for his camper repairing so whilst I sorted that he walked on Swalesmoor and came back reporting a good passage of Swallows coming through Shibden valley >N.
These were his first Swallows of the year in the Calderdale area so he went away a happy man, motor mended and an annual tick to boot.

Well the holiday weekend weather has arrived with heavy rain most of the day up here at the back o the moon in Queensbury, hopefully it will improve although these heavy showers are usually good for bringing the waders down if they can find any mud. Fly Flatts is just limited to the northern ponds with no shoreline around the reservoir.
Soil Hill just has the NK pond with plenty mud around it now that the scrapes on the summit have been completely destroyed.
Has anyone local got shoreline around their reservoirs ?
Hope you all have a bird filled May Day weekend.
Watch this space to see if I do.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Foxhill Sunset

                                      Sunset over Foxhill

A bit quiet today to say the least with rain from mid day.
A few Swallows were taking advantage of the flies brought out by the rain and a single House Martin briefly inspected its old breeding site then moved on as it does every year before returning to refurbish its old nest under a neighbours eaves but this isnt until early June.
Several Curlews were in fields around the Duke of York  near Wilsden.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Harp Lane /Foxhill

                               Harp Lane / Foxhill
                     Carter  Lane / Spring Head Wood. Thornton beyond.
pm visit

1 Willow Warbler
4 Grey Partridge
3 Swift >NE
8 Swallow >N
2 Little Owl
1 Pied Wagtail

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hirundines over Queensbury

Good  movement of Swallows today early a.m. all powering through >NW along with 3 House Martins.
LBB gulls were also in evidence with a steady flow, again >NW.
This evening Swallows were feeding over Foxhill Park and a single Heron headed >SW

Swallows............32 >NW
LBB Gulls .......... 27 >NW
 Heron...............  1  >SW
 House Martin.... 3 >NW
Several blogging Swallows pm.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A quick walkabout

          Foxhill School and Pineberry Inn
              A murky south from above Roper Lane.
pm  walk

2 Wheatear in underground reservoir field
1 Wheatear above Roper Lane
6 Linnet, 15 Goldfinch, Richardsons farm
2 Swifts >N over Bradshaw
5 Swallows >N over Old Guy Rd.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bar Tailed Godwit for Soil Hill

pm visit 1430hrs  WSW>4 Torrential rain.

Just got dried out from this mornings outing so thought Id go do it all again.
Headed for Soil Hill hoping for some flyovers with the weather being ideal for migrants but as I got to the summit in the now black clouds I could see the broad front of a belt of rain heading towards me. Undetered  I scanned the area and what Id thought was a curlew by the NK pond was in fact a Bar Tailed Godwit when I got the scope on it. The bird was very pale still in winter plumage, pale grey apart from its neck which was just starting to darken. By now the rain was lashing down and the Godwit, having more sense than me decided to move on. As it flew I got the white V up its back and no wingbars taking any doubt away from Black Tailed, I hate Godwit i.d.
It flew low towards Thornton Moor reservoir but was lost in the rain before I could see if it went down or not.
After putting it out on the grapevine I rang DCB who told me he had a very pale wader this a.m. near Curlew size flying towards Soil Hill but didnt get chance to make a definate i.d.
Needless to say, again whilst Im typing this, the sun is shining through the window from bright skies but I think it was well worth the dousing.
If you come through Queensbury and see a large black rain cloud, wave because I,ll be under it.

PS.. For Wheatear photos like you,ve never seen before click on Dave Barkers visible migration link.

Fogged off at Fly Flatts

                                            Plenty Swallow movement
                                  Fog heading my way
                                 Blank out.  Twite in the fog

Fly Flatts  0715-1000hrs  Rain , Drizzle then fog. SW>3 .Real Sunday morning stuff.
A disappointing morning vis mig wise with heavy rain to start with followed by 30mins clear with drizzle during which time there was some decent movement but this was short lived as the drizzle increased followed by a second band of rain with dense fog to conclude, smashing!
Other than the poor weather a satisfying morning birdwise ,to get a list as this morning and only 10 mins from home ca,nt be bad.

Movers :-
12 Alba Wagtails   >W
73 Swallow        >N
12 Meadow Pipit  >N

Other :-
Several blogging Swallow
3 Common Sandpiper
1 Snipe
12 Twite
4 Red Grouse
1 Sparrowhawk
3 Wheatear
2 Oystercatchers
2 Greylag Geese
+ usual resident sp.
Thanks for skype call from DCB warning me of an approaching band of rain that had just passed over Manchester heading my way. Still got wet through but at least I was expecting to.
Typically now as Im typing this the sky is blue and the sun is shining, Bah.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Swallows back in force

                                 Plenty Swallows back at Shelf Moor tonight
                                           Foxhill tonight.

Nice to see Swallows feeding over the fields and on the wires tonight. Several LBB gulls were moving >NW and a large Lapwing flock went over very high >NE.

Shelf Moor
14 Swallow
4 Linnet
9 LBB Gull >NW
28 Lapwing NE

Corporal Lane / Green Lane
19 Goldfinch
7 Greenfinch
1 Little Owl
2 Linnet

1 Grey Wagtail
1 Pied Wagtail
2 LBB gull >NW.

Many thanks to all who watch this site, you have just taken me over my first 1000 visits.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Foxhill Today

                        Ollie getting bored waiting to go out birding

A cloudy , milder day with some signs of movement around lunch time and early evening.
LBB Gulls were still moving through >NW and Swallows were speeding through >NE.
A single Raven went over Chapel Lane at 0730hrs this morning >W cronking as it went. The local Magpies were up in force to escort it out of the area.

11 LBB Gull      > NW
5 Swallow        >NE
1 Raven          >W
5 Linnet
1 Pied Wagtail
4 Collared Dove
+ usual sp.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sunset ,Spring and Song Thrushes

                                    Song Thrush
                             Spring Scene
                                     Sunset from Wilsden

A spring like day with the blue skies once again filled with vapour contrails.
Well Heads to Heaton tonight :-
4 Grey Partridge
2 Curlew
8 Linnet
1 Heron >E
2 Song Thrush
1 cock Pheasant
4 Mallard >W
9 LBB gulls heading towards Thornton Moor Reservoir.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Skype video link to B.O.G.

Last night B.O.G. had a commitee meeting and one item on the agenda was the use of Skype for free communications between birders, mainly for use during the autumn visible migration period. The demonstration from the meeting was run by Dave Barker who called me up on my PC at home. Connected by video link from Daves laptop to my PC we could all talk freely and it was just as if I was in the meeting.
We also did screen swop where I could see Daves screen and he could see mine. The experiment went well and Im sure it will be a great asset to birders.
Pictured, taken from my pc, are left to right, BOG members Chris King, Dave Barker and Shaun Radcliffe.

Things have been quiet up here in the gods today other than the normal resident birds busy nest building.
The only other thing new today was contrails across the blue skies now that the planes are getting moving.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Queensbury today

                                     House Sparrows ready to roost

A brighter day with an icy cold westerly wind >4-5 with clear skies.
Slow trickle of Swallows >NE at lunch time and a good flock of Lapwing over Foxhill >E.  p.m.
Start watching for the first Swift anytime now. Has anyone had April Swifts in the past ?, my earliest record of  local Swift was 25th April 2004. Since then all  my first records have been early May.

8 Swallows  > NE
21 Lapwing >E
4 Greenfinch >NW
+ usual resident sp.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Swallows on the move

Queensbury today.
A bad start with snow this morning and thick fog at lunch time but fortunately a decent evening.
A steady flow of Swallows over Foxhill tonight with 23 counted all >NE.
Herons still seem to be moving with another tonight high and >SW.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Soil Hill

                                   Soil Hill stone circle
                         Heron high and north, thought I had an Osprey.

Soil Hill pm visit.  cool N > 4  cloudy, very hazy.
Quiet on the hill with still no signs of Wheatear.  A very high , soaring  Heron had me thinking it was an Osprey until it came high overhead and headed off north.

1 Kestrel
1 Redshank
2 Grey Partridge
1 Moorhen
1 Heron
+ usual Mipits and Skylarks

A Buzzard flew over Burdock Way Halifax this p.m. mobbed by a Sparrowhawk,very high and >NE

Fly Flatts

             An empty Twite feeding station
                                      A distant Redshank
                            The north end ponds

18/04/2010  Bright and warm with very hazy sunshine  W 3    0730-1000hrs

A good morning to be out but the hazy skies made watching very difficult.
Very little on the move till after 0845 then Mipits started to come over >N , some very high.
A Collared Dove >N was unusual for this location and it was good to get the first Common Sandpipers of the season.

Movers :-
1 Collared Dove >  N
64 Meadow Pipits > N
4 LBB gulls  >NW
6 Jackdaws > N
4 Swallows > N

Birds present :-
1pr Tufted Duck
1 Pink Footed Goose
1pr Goldeneye
3 Redshank
2 Common Sandpiper
4 Red Grouse
9 Linnet
1 Kestrel
24 Canada Geese
4 Greylag Geese
+ usual corvids and blogging Mipits.
No Scoter or Wheatear.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Out and About

                    The Lion Gates, Shelf Moor
           Shelf Moor Hawthorn field for wintering Lapwing.
  A hazy sky south over Roper Lane.

Evening mooch about, hazy skies putting paid to any sky watching.
Shelf Moor pond :-
1 Moorhen
2pr Mallard
3 Lapwing

Lion Gates  :-
1 Little Owl
1 Green Woodpecker
2 Swallow

Roper Lane :-
6 Linnet
1 f Wheatear
2 Lapwing
1 Mistle Thrush
8 Woodpigeons

Foxhill :-
2 Collared Doves
1 f  Sparrowhawk
4 Chaffinch.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shelf Moor pm

A bright spring like evening, lets hope its not the calm before the storm with gales sleet and snow possible next week, but like we say in Queensbury," Nare cast a clout till May is out. "   we,ve had snow regular in May up here,and what a strange site to see Swallows flying about over snow covered fields. Anyway, back to tonight,
Shelf Moor pond held 6 Canada Geese , 2 Greylag and a Moorhen whilst several Lapwings were displaying in surrounding fields. A single Skylark was up singing near the golf course and a Little Owl was near the Lion Gates.
Foxhill remained quiet today with nothing unusual to report.
Good birding for the weekend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Queensbury today

A quiet day today with very little in the skies. Only birds of note were :-
2 Heron >SW this makes about 5 this week plus some that DCB had all >SW.
11 Goldfinch in the Pineberry car park
2 Pied Wagtails in Foxhill Park
+ all the usual residents busy nest building

For satellite view of volcano dust cloud now over Shetlands click on weather link on the right.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Queensbury evening

                      Queensbury underground Reservoir, Mountain.
   The evening draws to a close. Towards Ovenden Moor from Mountain, QBY

A milder evening with the icy cold NE wind dropped, although snow is forecast for next week.
Swallows are starting to show more over the fields now and 2 Skylarks could be heard in the distance.
A single Curlew flew >W toward the moor and 4 LBB gulls headed >N.
A solitary Wheatear flittered about below the reservoir masts and 50 + Starlings were perched on the masts congregating before moving off towards Bradford to roost.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gull Movement Shelf Moor

1 hours watching at Shelf  Moor this evening produced :-
31 LBB gulls   >N and >NW
2 Herring Gulls  >W
2 Seperate Heron   very high and >SW
1 Curlew very high and >W
14 Lapwing >E. could be locals.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Queensbury House Sparrows

                                       Guardian of the Nest
                       Keeping a sharp lookout
                                         A regular nest site.

Queensbury is still one of the best strong holds around for House Sparrows, mainly because they seem to like the altitude and are hard enough to take the winters up here. Numbers declined over the last  few years, at one point it was common to have over 80 in the garden together but recently I am down in the twenties.
This year however flocks of 20 + are gathering nest material and I have 3 pair nesting in the Ivy along with 12 birds roosting.  Hopefully numbers will be on the up again this year,

For a stonking photo of the Fly Flatts Common Scoter click on Calderbirds,  nice one Jim.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Warblers and Butterflys. Oats Royd

                               The ponds from above.
                                         Peacock Butterflys everywhere
                            Overnight fall of Willow Warblers
p.m. visit  Bright but cloudy  ESE>2

Peacock Butterflys were everywhere and all were landing on the soil or moss down the banking, perhaps A.C. can tell us what the crack here is.
Otherwise Willow Warblers were singing well  but strangely no Swallows over the ponds
32 Peacock Butterflys
11 Willow Warbler
1  Chiffchaff
4 Moorhen
2 tame Canada geese
2 White ducks
1 pr Bullfinch.

Scoter still there at Fly Flatts

Keeping its distance.

Fowl Day at Fly Flatts

                                            Teal on the Move
                                        2 of 17 Wigeon.

0730-0930hrs   Dense fog clearing by 0800hrs.  Cold E>4
Thought Id taken a wrong turning and ended up at Fairburn Ings this morning with the ducks about.
Firstly flushed 6 Teal from the edge of the water closely followed by 15 Wigeon, all of which disappeared into the fog.  As the fog lifted the Wigeon took off from the far end of the reservoir and headed off >SW over Dean Head and down the Calder Valley. The Scoter was still present but always distant views and 1 pr of Wigeon were on the water. A flock of now 10 Teal kept flying round.
Nothing in the skies  moving this a.m.   Nice to meet Bruce at last and DCB was at the other end of the reservoir trying to snap the Scoter but all he got , the last I heard, was wet feet.

17 Wigeon
10 Teal
1 Common Scoter
You dont usually get a list like that at Fly Flatts !

Report from DCB of PF Goose also at Fly Flatts this a.m. grazing with Canadas by NE ponds.
See vis Mig blog for full report.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


                    Distant shots but better than nowt.
    Liked hanging around with Goldeneye.

Flying visit to Fly Flatts tonight to find the Common Scoter. As always it was at the opposite side of the water hanging around with a male Goldeneye. Kept diving to feed so hopefully may stay a while or attract more.   Thanks to DCB for skype call about the bird and well spotted to Brian Vickers ( BOG )
for spotting the bird this morning and passing the info on.
Also present
2 Wheatear
4 Twite
3 Oystercatchers

Another Buzzard report this morning with 1 heading >N over Shibden valley, thanks to IG.

Skype test

Test message sent from mobile phone via skype to blog site. Several swallows moving over queensbury all north this a.m. Viewed from work. Bs

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Swallows for Queensbury

A steady trickle of Swallows >N went over the village this a.m. between 0745 and 1315hrs, none were seen after that.  Meadow Pipits continued to head >N early doors around 0730 to 1015hrs. Report of a Buzzard late p.m. over Deanstones was heading >NW.
Shelf moor pond this evening held 5 Canada Geese , 2 Greylags and a Moorhen.

To view some amazing birds in flight photos including a LBB Gulls eyeball click on DCBs Visible Migration link on the right.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Well Heads

                      Soil Hill from Well Heads
   Sunset over the wind farm from Well Heads
A quick stop off and wander about tonight at Well Heads whilst passing on an errand proved worthwhile with Meadow Pipits moving overhead >N plus 2 Alba Wagtails >NW. Several Curlews and Lapwings were in the fields and a pair of Grey Wagtails were by the pond near the walls of Jerico. A single Moorhen was also on the pond.

8 Meadow Pipit........>N
2 Alba Wagtails........>NW
5 Curlew
7 Lapwing
1 Moorhen
2 Grey Wagtail
1 Little Owl.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sunshine and Swallows for Queensbury

A much better day up here on the tops with plenty sunshine, higher temperatures and very little wind.
Two Swallows flew >N over Chapel Lane at lunch time and two more were reported to me having returned to their old breeding site near the Traffic lights in the village.
This must be the first year ever that I,ve had Swallow before Wheatear
A pair of Woodpigeons were sizing up a nest in Foxhill park but were soon shown the way out by the Carrion Crows that are on with refurbishing. This particular nest has been argued over for years between Crows and Magpies which now seem to use it alternatively.
Hopefully by the weekend we,ll be knee deep in Hirundines and Warblers !

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Still Mipit Movement

Queensbury today.
Back to work and a 12 hour session to catch up for lost time but still time to do a bit of sky watching in amongst. Meadow Pipits were still coming over in ones and twos early a.m. >NW whilst walking to work and several small squadrons of Starling went over high and >N . These may have been coming from roost but the height and the direct flight made me suspect otherwise.
During the day a Heron flew over >NE which for a heart stopping minute I thought it was the Osprey that I had just received a text message about ,care of Calderbirds grapevine.See Calderbirds for report.
4 Common gull were in Foxhill Park at lunchtime along with a Pied Wagtail.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Soil Hill, Old Guy Rd, Roper Lane.

                Soil Hill in the background from Hunters Hill.

pm visit.  SW>5 on the hill, clear and bright.
Skies still quiet with no movement other than a few big gulls.

Soil Hill
14 Skylark
1 Kestrel
7 Meadow Pipit
5 LBB Gulls...............>NW

Old Guy Rd to Roper Lane
2 Skylark
4 Meadow Pipit
1 Herring Gull............>NW

And still Wheatear remains unticked for  this year.

Chaffinch fall at Ogden

                                  A good fall of Chaffinch
   Down the overflow, good for Dipper and Kingfisher.

05/04/2010   0815-0945hrs  Strong SSW > 5  Horizontal rain and Drizzle, Real Bank Holiday stuff.
Needless to say, things were quiet with Chaffinch being the dominant bird. An obvious overnight fall seemed to fill the trees with them, many singing around the edge of the reservoir.
No moving birds recorded in empty skies.

38 Chaffinch
1pr Goldeneye
11 Stock Dove in field with 15 Woodpigeons.
+ usual sp.