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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More House Sparrow news

Yet more nest building

The nest area
Just when I thought I was getting near to trimming the ivy at the back of the house before it blanks out the bathroom window the House Sparrows are refurbishing the nest  for a late third brood. Another pair in the same spot have already reared 3 broods as well as 4 pairs nearby under the eaves. About 40 young have fledged between our house and the neighbours on either side. Not bad for a bird in decline, although Queensbury has never been short of this species. Looks like the ivy is going to have to wait a while yet.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Visible Migration is almost upon us..

We,ve almost got June out of the way now which in birding terms is the quietest month of the year with most birds busy breeding although June this year has been a good month for me with some decent sightings.
Of course the autumn vis mig doesnt really kick off until late August and into September but things certainly start moving in July. Already early dispersion is underway ,especially with the gulls as reported on DCBs vis mig sight who turned up a Yellow Legged Herring gull just the other day. Check those gulls out as July is the peak time to pick up a Yellow Legged.
I used to start my autumn vis mig watch in early august only to find I,d missed the Swifts going so I had to bring it back to July. As I mentioned on my Fly Flatts report for Sunday, already the moors are getting that quietness about them with most of the Curlews already gone apart for a few with late young to bring up.
So whos going to give it a go this year ? if you,ve done it before and been lucky enough to drop on one of the mega moving days you,ll definately be doing it again this year, ask DJS who last year dropped into the middle of a massive thrush movement at Hunter Hill and Fly Flatts, or DCB and HC at Oxenhope who recorded the largest counts ever of Pink Footed geese , winter thrushes and Meadow Pipits.
If its new to you just find yourself a nice quiet elevated watch point near home and watch the skies,you,ll soon pick up the pattern and get used to identifying birds by jizz. Apart from seeing numbers and varieties its suprising the rareties you can pick up in amongst the commoner birds.
On the down side you need to be up early,first light or before, some days you may stand and see nothing if conditions are wrong and autumn can throw some bad weather down , the worst being fog which stops the job and the wind and rain which just makes it miserable. However,if you get to your watch point and see a red ball sunrise, mist in the valleys and a slight SW wind chances are you,re in for a mega movement day when the Mipits are coming through faster than you can count them, thats true vis mig.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lapwings and Starlings on the move.

A bit of a Lapwing move on today with several small flocks over the garage all >E. Most of the movement was before 0830 peaking about 0900hrs.Starlings were also dispersing well with several small squadrons all heading >W. These were mainly juv birds but some adults were amongst them.
LBB gull numbers increased slightly with the first of the season being seen from the garage watchpoint >NW.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Soil Hill Boring but better than watching England

Looking down on Soil Hill

Garden House Sparrow
The tipping now on Soil Hill is so intense that you can actually walk up and look down on the original hill.It was 1200ft above sea level but is rapidly rising and could soon be touching 1400ft.
Things were very quiet on the hill but the good news is I didnt waste 90 minutes watching England get wiped out. Gulls were on the move mostly heading for TMR where I could just see a shoreline heaving with them.
Two that bypassed the reservoir were 2 GBBs heading >NE. The last bird seen and the highlight of the afternoon was a Hobby powering over the moor and >S past Hunter Hill.

1 Hobby          >S
6 BH gull          >N
11 LBB gull       >N
4 Herring gull    >N
2 GBB gull      >NE
+ usual sp inc Swifts and Swallows

Fly Flatts

Feeding Time

Fly Flatts  0730-1015hrs   Warm, Hazy sunshine,  W>3 turning SW>4
The moors are much quieter now with very little activity both on the water and on the moor itself.
The Canada numbers are down meaning several have moved on and the same applies for Common Sandpiper with just 4 remaining. An influx of very mobile Oystercatchers coincided with the same from DCBs watchpoint. A Common Buzzard steadily drifted over very high and >W.

8 Oystercatchers
3 Curlew
4 Common Sandpiper
3 Red Grouse
1 Buzzard,  mover
1 Whinchat
73 Swift  >WNW
5 Golden Plover
1 Grey Wagtail
+ usual sp.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shibden Top, Deanstones.


Shibden Little Owl

Shibden Top    pm visit

The area , which I have,nt birded for some time, was alive with bird life.
House Martins were everywhere with several young and a first that I know of with Sand Martins in and out of holes in the clay hillside which looks like a small breeding colony.
Whitethroat were doing their parachuting song ritual and several Linnet were in the gorse bushes.
2 Little Owl
3 Whitethroat
11 Linnet
7 Goldfinch
4 Willow Warbler
6 Sand Martin
15 House Martin
+ usual sp.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Third Time Lucky, Shelf Moor

Shelf Moor Little Owl

First time,bird and no camera, second time camera and no bird, third time it all fell in to place.
This cheeky chappie was sat waiting for me tonight and hung about posing just long enough for me to get some shots.
Foxhill was alive tonight with Swifts feeding very high, some nearly out of sight and all drifting slowly >N.
Swallows were sporting good numbers also with several birds feeding in the park just above ground level.
No gull passage seen today

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Signs of gull dispersion

A steady flow of gulls today over Queensbury all >N and >NW. The bulk of them were LBBs  but 4 Black Headed went over at lunch time, two of which were juvs, also 3 juv LBBs were seen. Swift numbers have been down the last couple of days and Swallows seem to be taking their place. Wilsden was alive with Swallows tonight as I passed through.
Nice to get a report of Quail in the region with a report from B.O.G. at an undisclosed site. Thanks for the text M.D.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A nuisance we long for.

One of my daughters and her partner have driven down to Torquay for a few days and to break the journey up they camped one night in Wales and one night in Somerset on the way there.
She rang to let me know they had arrived safe at their destination and said the only problem they had camping in Wales when they were having a barbeque was the Red Kites flying around close by. She said as they were leaving there were signs, 2 miles to the Kite feeding station.
Thats the kind of problem I could do with !

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Sky at Night

Last nights Skies over Foxhill

Swifts seem to be everywhere at the moment obviously taking advantage of the good weather but dont take them for granted, as soon they,ll be gone.
The breeding cycle seems to be slowing down now so hopefully I,ll be able to get my ivy trimmed back away from the windows. I think 9 young House Sparrows have been reared here in the garden this time and several more under the eaves of the houses around us.
Had another job to do at Shelf Moor tonight so took the camera this time and guess what, thats right , no Little Owl, oh well, thats the way the cookie crumbles.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cloud Formations

Some interesting cloud formations over Foxhill this lunch time,need DCB to tell us what they,re about.

Swifts were still moving over >N today though in small numbers and BH gulls were over the new mown football pitches. An unusual sighting by Lynda this morning of 4 Goldfinch chicks in our back garden Rowan tree. The parent birds have been knocking around a while which is an unusual bird for this area.
Tonight I broke my golden rule and paid dearly, I always carry my camera around wherever I go on the off chance of getting lucky, either to work,dog walking or most times when I go somewhere. Anyway, tonight I had some painting to do at Shelf Moor and on my way back a dumpy little bird flew up out of the field as I drove past. A quick stop and reverse down the road found a young Little Owl sat on a wire not 6ft away from me, where was the camera, on the kitchen table of course. From now on it goes everywhere.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Soil Hill Skywatch

Clouds with ice droplets, Fly Flatts

Soil Hill pm.  1400-1500hrs  N>4  Sunshine then clouded over.
1 hour skywatching saw LBB gulls moving through, several stopping off at TMR before moving on again.
Swifts still trickled through in well spaced out waves but low numbers.

49 LBB gulls   >N
29 Swifts     >N
7 Swallows   >NW
130 Starling   >W mostly young birds dispersing
1 Peregrine  >S  very high and direct
4 Skylark   locals
Sev Linnet, locals
1 Kestrel, resident.
2 Common Gull  >NE

Swifts Galore at Fly Flatts

Good move of Swifts
                                     Plenty Goldies bred this time

Fly Flatts 0730-1030hrs   Bright with cool N>3
The moors are much quieter now with most of the Curlews gone and no sign of Wheatear. Golden Plovers have bred well along with Common Sandpipers and Meadow Pipits are still food carrying. A good move of Swifts this morning carrying on from DCBs sightings yesterday although the early movement I was getting from the calder valley were not being seen at Oxenhope until mid morning when they started coming through on a broader front. By 1015hrs the movement at my side of the hill had almost dried up.
Sadly again no sign of Twite, this has got to be the worst spring / summer Ive had for Twite. A few years back I was clocking up 70 + on a regular basis as was DCB over the hill.

1 Whinchat
9 Golden Plover inc young
7 LBBs >N
8 Common Sandpiper
2 Redshank
1 Oystercatcher
135 Canadas inc young
258 Swift >N

Mixenden Reservoir
3 LBB gulls
5 BH gulls

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Leeshaw Reservoir

A peaceful quiet location
                                                   Plenty shoreline

Leeshaw Reservoir   pm visit.
A good evening to be out after a cold N, NE windy day. Swifts were in abundance, some moving through, others blogging over the reservoir. LBB gulls were also on the move with some at the waters edge including 2 adult Herrings. A single Cuckoo was calling up on the moor to the north.

32 Greylag inc young
Sev canadas
7 Curlew
Plenty Swifts, some >N
2 Herring gull on shore
4 LBB gull on shore
16 LBB gull >N
21 Lapwing
2 Redshank
1 Little Owl
1 Cuckoo, heard
Few Meadow Pipits but no other passerines.

Bad reports from Oats Royd  these bright evenings with half wits launching rafts and a canoe on the breeding ponds, 1 Moorhen and 1 Canada goose stoned and killed, 2 young Canadas so far surviving but very vunerable and several fires started with cider bottles and lighter fuel cannisters everywhere. The owner has been informed.
There has just been an organised deer cull down there to lower the herd from 14 to 4 because of tree damage but in my mind he,d have been better having a scumbag cull.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Queensbury Today

Red Kite over Queensbury
Crow on lookout
Last nights moon

Several Swifts feeding over Foxhill on an evening now till last light. Tried to get some photos but gave up after 15mins of trying.
Pied Wagtail numbers seem to be rising in the area with 6 on the park at lunch time and 3 in the garage car park. Grey Wagtails are still carrying food from the car park to their nest nearby. This nest is right alongside the busy main road but fortunately people walk by without giving it a glance.
14 LBBs flew past tonight >N , one being another dark job or the same bird as the weekend.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Foxhill Today

Evening Sky
Blue Sky and contrails

Plenty Swifts throughout the day all >N and >NW with the peak of the movement early evening.
2 Goldfinch were in the park feeding on Dandelion seeds and a Meadow Pipit on the top pitch was an unusual find for this time of year. Gulls were a bit sparce today with just 6 LBBs slowly heading >NW.
Late evening working prevented a planned trip to Leeshaw and it looks like the same tomorrow, will just have to wait for the weekend.

Monday, June 14, 2010


                              Ollie getting a taste for Canada Geese.

Not really, he just has a thing about carrying feathers in his mouth at Fly Flatts.
The Canadas have bred well again this year with several large groups of young which are well grown now and reasonably safe.
Swifts have been moving well today all >NW but the House Martin movement seems to have dried up.
Where are they this year ? there seem to be no breeding pairs in the village, not that I know of anyway.
As Im typing this,LBB gulls are slowly flying over >N and >NW possibly stopping off at DCBs watchpoint to refresh before moving on again.  Well done Nigel on the Red Kite sighting over Mixenden today, see Queensburybirder blog for details. Probably the same bird was later sighted over Heptonstall by Calderbirders.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Soil Hill pm visit

A good watch point

Kestrel coming in to land

    Skylarks never desert the hill

Very calm on the hill which is unusual up there but soon the mist and drizzle started rolling in followed by heavy rain,  LBBs were still moving through as were Starllings with small squadrons of young birds  all >NW.
The summit and part way down the slopes are
 now totally destroyed, even the Jack Snipe reed beds in the NE corner have gone. The only advantage to the hill now is an excellent vantage point for migration watch.
Having said that, a Red Legged Partridge was a nice surprise.
2 Cuckoos were heard calling, one towards TMR and the other from Denholme Clough.

2 Cuckoo
14 LBB >N
2 House Martin >N
7 Swift >N
4 Skylark
1 Red Legged Partridge
1 Kestrel
Sev Meadow Pipits  and  juvs

First signs of Dispersal, Fly Flatts

Plenty young Meadow Pipits

Common Sandpipers on the up.

Meadow Pipits have bred well

Fly Flatts  0730 -1000hrs   Early rain then cloudy sunshine. Cold W>4
A pleasing morning with plenty bird activity though little movement in the skies.
Signs of dispersal were apparent with several squadrons of Starlings moving fast and direct >W and >NW.
Curlews were grouping with  flocks of 12, 5 and 6 on the edge of the moor, also several loose birds were flying around. The groups were all long billed birds so obvious movers and not juvs.
Common Sandpipers were everywhere with several young calling.
House Martins were plentiful for the first time this year and Swifts trickled through.

1 Snipe
230 Starling    >W and >NW
10 Common Sandpiper   inc young
28 Curlew
2 Pied Wagtails
1 Reed Bunting
2 Redshank
4 LBB gulls >N
1 Herring gull  >W
2 Common gull  >W
11 Swift >N
21 House Martin >NW
42 Canadas and upteen young.
No Twite or Wheatears

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blue skies at last

Blue sky and Sunshine at last

Black Dyke mills chimney top, a favorite perch for Kestrels and Feral Pigeons.

A clear bright day at last after two days of dense fog up here in Queensbury.
Several Swifts moving steadily >N today and gulls are getting more of a common sight moving in no particular direction.
2 Common gulls flew over Foxhill at lunch time and a Black Headed flew around the newly mown football pitch.
LBBs still seem to be sticking with a >N and >NW direction.

A new link on my blog tonight for the son in laws new general interest blogsite, Stoosh Imagery.Worth a look at with some good sky shots. Should be of interest to DCB as hes wanting to get into SLR and needs a few pointers,, good luck with the blog Stuart.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Foggy Day and new follower

  A new follower has sneaked in to West Yorkshire Birding , namely  Stu the new son in law
and here he is , shiny shoes an all , with his bride and my lovely daughter Rachel.
Probably embarrassed them enough now. Welcome aboard son!

A grim birdless day today with wall to wall fog throughout the day on the top of this ere hill , this along with heavy rain and a cold ENE>3 things have been better.
One customer report to the garage from the Chalet warden at Goit Stock, Wilsden saying they have a Cuckoo over there, the first hes heard for 4 years in what was once a prime site. This coincides with the influx around the area this year with several birds being seen or heard..
Heres hoping the sky reappears tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A summers evening at Queensbury

The fog rolls in.

No Swifts tonight

          Totally fogged out. Think the two people there were trying to locate their dog

A real mishmash of weather today up here in the gods with rain, low scud clouds with drizzle and dense fog to finish off with.
Gulls were moving well at lunch time with several LBBs >NW and the rare sight of 2 Black Headeds over the park heading >N, the first Ive seen for a while, we,ll be getting the Commons back soon. For interesting gull reports and photos see Dave Barkers  visible migration site.