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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Collared Doves and a bogey bird

                                 An influx of Collared Doves
A poor start to the morning once again in the fog,one of the major hazards of upland birding, which cleared by 0930hrs bringing bright blue skies but few birds. Meadow pipits were the first over but in small numbers followed by a scattering of Skylarks and Chaffinch but as the morning brightened the movement stopped.
Lunchtime found an influx of Collared Doves around Foxhill with 11 counted in a small area. A stiff neck was the  only reward for constantly scanning the skies today for Pinkies , I felt sure Id get some today and kept the trigger finger on the camera ready but not to be.
The bogey bird was a Tawny Owl which flew across the front of the car tonight as I returned from my weekly run to Wilsden along Well Heads Lane, my second of the year and a bird I really struggle with.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Turn of the Finches

Skies tonight, looking good for tomorrow
House Sparrows on seeds.

A poor day today with fog till mid morning then a mixture of drizzle and heavy showers. By 1800hrs the sky cleared leaving a bright red sunset which will hopefully lead to a decent moving day tomorrow.
Today was the day of the finches with several good Chaffinch flocks over around mid day as well as Gold and Greenfinch moving in the light rain.  Three Jays went over west and a very high Sparrowhawk >S.
Flocks of up to 40 House Sparrows were after seeds on the rugby field.
No sign of any Redwings today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Two photos of Syke lane, yellow lines an all just to wind Djs up. Sorry Dave.

Redwings hit Queensbury

Heron on the move
Ogden gulls
Mallard attack

Walking home at lunch time today the fog was just lifting and several Redwings were flitting about in the Rowan trees up Chapel Lane. A walk up Foxhill with the dogs found Redwings pouring over >SW, some just below the cloud base, others in the fog only to be heard seeping as they passed over. The birds were coming from the direction of Otley and heading towards the Calder Valley, some dropping down into trees in the park and gardens. A quick phone call to DCB at Oxenhope only to find that he was still fogged out.
By the time I walked back to work just a few lingering Redwings were about but the day had a real birdy feel with Linnets, Goldfinches and House Sparrows on the thistle tops.
Redwings...................c250 >SW

A quick last light visit to Ogden tonight provided a few Redwings in the plantation, a single Heron >SW and 168 small gulls, mainly Black Headed which gradually moved off >S along with several of the Mallards.

Nice to meet Chris King on a 12 mile run which was going to take him up over the windfarm and over the moor, I was going to join him but the dogs would never have kept up with me !!!
Watch those skies tomorrow if the fog has gone.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The day the lights went out.

Gulls through the fog

This was as clear as it got.

Completely fogged out at Queensbury today from getting up , and it looks like, till going to bed.
A slight clearance at mid day from dense to thick when 21 Common gulls and 9 Black Headed were in Foxhill, other than that not a bird has been seen. Even the Jackdaw flock going to roost this evening could only be heard going over and not seen.
Should be a good moving day tomorrow if the lights come back on.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No Pinkies for me today/ Soil Hill

                          Top of the world. Soil Hill looking >SW.
              Oxenhope watchpoint from Soil Hill

                               Sparrowhawk mobbed with corvid.

Soil Hill   1500-1630hrs  Cold ENE> 5  broken cloud.
Excuse shaky typing but after an hour and a half of circling doing a 360degrees watch on Soil Hill it takes a while for your head to get settled.
The wind had dropped slightly and the massive area I was scanning was sure to produce PF Geese,or so I thought, but it wasnt to be. All I got was 2 Snipe >NW, 5 Swallow >S, a few Mipits >N ? and a Sparrowhawk mobbed with corvids. Oh yes, and a DJS on the opposite hill to me (Hunter Hill) squat down
between the hillocks trying to find shelter from the wind. Oh well, roll on next Sunday.

The Redwings are coming

Canadas on the move

Meadow Pipits hopping through

Fly Flatts  0730-0900hrs  Icy cold NNE>6  dark clouds to the north.
Movers struggling in the strong wind with most of the sightings coming up the valley from Paul Clough and low over the moor.A flock of Coal Tits were interesting and a flock of Canadas went east and continued going past the Oxenhope watchpoint. Thanks to DCBs call alerting me to watch for Redwings which I later got at Ned Hill.
Was going to move to Hunter Hill but as I got there a couple of shooters were just arriving so continued on to the Causeway Foot watchpoint at Ned Hill.
36 Canadas.......................>E
127 Meadow Pipit............>S
93 Chaffinch.....................>SW
41 Greenfinch...................>SW
11 Coal Tit......................>W
14 Goldfinch...................>W
9 Alba Wagtails...............>W

Ned Hill   0915-1015hrs. Bright sky but hazy in the distance, NNE>4 
Much calmer here with Swallows being the prominent bird. A single flock of Redwing flew through the col over Ogden and across the moor >NW which was nice to see but a reminder that winter is just around the corner.
17 Redwing.......................>NW
21 Swallow......................>S
10 Meadow Pipit.............>S
6 Chaffinch......................>SW

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Woodcock on the move

                                      Darkness over Paul Speak Institute, a landmark for birds.
                             Evening closing in over Foxhill.

A cold N>5 blowing but wall to wall clear blue skies this morning which is not the sort of sky preffered by moving birds. A few Mipits came over >S as well as small flocks of  Chaffinch and Goldfinch >SW.
The highlight of the morning was a Woodcock low over the garage >S from the direction of Station Rd which is a rare sighting for this area apart from a similar sighting on two previous years during autumn migration.
A good scan around Shelf Moor this tea time of the Pink Footed Geese flight paths proved fruitless with just half a dozen Lapwings in the area.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Causeway Foot Col strikes again

Strong N >6 winds and heavy showers dampened the vis mig today but the DJS team struck gold with a juv Gannet through the col above Ogden, see Calderbirds for details.
A great sighting there with the last Queensbury Gannets being 20 year since with 4 over Clayton 31/07/1990.
The last in Calderdale was a juv at Luddenden Foot and Walshaw Dean 28/09/2007 and 1 record before that in 1988, ( Hx Birdwatchers annual report NCD ).
Ogden has certainly been put on the birding map this year.

Only sign of movers today over Qby was a Peregrine >SW mid p.m. an a flock of 15 Goldfinch >SW a.m.

Hope this wind drops by the weekend

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Woodpigs then shutdown/Queensbury

Woodpigeons were on the move, though only in small numbers early a.m., but by 0830 down came the rain which put a stop to it. Even in between the showers the skies were empty which seemed strange after yesterdays movement. With the number of raptors reported on the move the last couple of days its probably as well the passerines were keeping out of the way.
This evening Chapel Lane produced a flock of 11 Linnets in the Hawthorns which is a very unusual sighting for this area.
My shopping delivery run to a relations past Wilsden on Thursday night is now a journey in the dark both ways so that puts paid to my birding .

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Skies Alive/ Queensbury

A bright clear morning from the start with blue skies and a slight southerly breeze.Rain by 1700hrs.
Unlike yesterday when I only got the second wave of birds coming over mid morning, birds were moving from first light with a better variety of species.
Meadow Pipits showed the largest numbers followed by Swallows and Chaffinch. A few Goldfinch flew over along with Skylark and Alba Wagtail and my first real moving Woodpigeons of the year were the last over late morning. All species were heading >S and the majority of the movers were to the SE of the garage in the greyer cloud preffering it to the clear blue sky.
The highlight of the day was a Buzzard over the mill chimney >S towards the Northowram end of Shibden Valley at 0955, I saw it from the car park but by the time Id dashed in for the camera it had gone, why do raptors always do that, one minute they,re there and the next they,re gone? You can see the position of the mill chimney over the garage in the photo on the right.
The only other thing of note was a squirrel that came across the car park right into the garage doorway not a yard away from me then shot back and over a garden wall, must have been looking for nuts but all ours are the type that screw onto bolts.

Rough count to and at work :-

48 Swallow..................................>S
180 Meadow Pipit.......................>S
2 Skylark....................................>S
15 Chaffinch...............................>S
12 Goldfinch...............................>S
87 Woodpigeons........................>S

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mid Morning Mipits

Sun burning its way through this a.m.

A foggy start but this soon cleared by 0730hrs and the sun came through leaving hazy blue skies with mist hanging in the valley. A real smell of vis mig was in the air but strangely the skies were empty on the way to,and at work. I rang DCB at Oxenhope, where the fog had just cleared, to tell him about DJSs Lap Bunt, well spotted there Dave, and he told me they were busy with Mipits.  By 1010hrs Mipits started coming over the garage >S and continued to do so until just after mid day although the groups were small,3s and 4s. No Swallows were seen today.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Swallows in the rain

Water pouring into Ogden yesterday

Another day of rain and drizzle with only about 1 hour of dry in between.
Swallows were coming through in good numbers this morning, even in the heaviest of the rain but no sign of Meadow Pipits or the Jays that are suppose to be on their way. Starlings have suddenly started to go mad with the Rowen berries which up to now have been left untouched. Its as if they know that the winter thrushes will be on their way shortly.
A customer at work said today that some friends of theres that walk their dog regular at Ogden flushed a large white bird the size of a Heron last Wed morning from the shale Dipper pond ( bottom photo). They said it was definately not a Heron and pure white. When flushed it flew east over Back Lane.
Have we had a Little Egret at our local hotspot !

71 Swallows...........................>SW

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A second soaking/ Ogden

My Sunday pm visit to Soil Hill was marred by the weather so it was back to Ogden to check out the gulls.
The weather was no different to this morning still with heavy rain but the gulls had reversed with BH gull now being the prominent species and Common gull low in numbers. Three LBBs were on the water along with the Gt Crested Grebe.
By 1545 the Black Headeds started  leaving towards Mixenden leaving just the Commons and LBBs, the Hybrid was not to be found. Several Lt Tits were flitting about and a small flock of Chaffinch flew over the water then >W over the trees but they did,nt look like migrating birds.
Nice to bump into Dave Sutcliffe which proved its not only me mad enough to stand there in this weather although this time he didnt produce anything good, perhaps he was missing his good luck charm,Jen. Anyway we had a good chat and put the birding world to rights.

c70 BH Gull
9 Common Gull
3 LBB Gull
1 Gt Crested Grebe
12 Lt Tits
1 Flock Chaffinch

A wet vis mig watch/ Ogden

5 Minutes shelter under the trees
A bleak outlook.

OGDEN    0800-1000hrs  Heavy rain throughout, low cloud, slight WSW>2
 Anywhere above Ogden was in the clouds this morning with large banks of fog swirling around.
Ogden itself was clear but very grey with heavy rain never easing throughout the watch though this didnt deter the birds from moving. Meadow Pipits numbers were low but Swallows piled through keeping just above tree level. Alba Wagtails came through well and Snipe and Chaffinch headed in the same direction.
A small flock of Coal Tit flew over very high and in a moving direction closely followed by Siskin.
The water level is well up now and the mud and spit favoured by the gulls has gone. Several gulls were on the water including the Hybrid Herring/ LBB ? and in the wood tit flocks are building with Ltt tits being the prominent bird.
I,ll try dry out now and put the dogs in the tumble dryer, only kidding, dont try this at home. Now I know what DJS s mobile phone felt like.

Movers :-
319 Swallow....................................>W then >SW
16 Alba Wagtail..............................>W
115 Meadow Pipit..........................>W
5 Snipe..........................................>W
18 Chaffinch...................................>W
5 Coal Tits.....................................>W
8 Siskin.........................................>W
7 Mistle Thrush.............................>W

Birds present :-
17 Ltt Tits
32 Common Gull
19 BH Gull
1 LBB Gull
1 Hybrid Gull  ,Herring/LBB ?
1 Gt Crested Grebe
usual tits, robins etc, high number of Dunnocks

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lapwings at Shelf Moor

The local Lapwing flock were spread tonight between the gorse field and the hawthorn field at Shelf Moor but were very mobile. Several Meadow Pipits were in amongst them and 4 Pied Wagtails. 12 Mistle Thrush were flying in and out of the trees by the old bacon factory. About 90 birds were in the Lapwing flock.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A strange coincidence

                                   Red Skies over Foxhill tonight.

A bright day with a cool N>3 but warm in the sunshine. Early morning had cloudless blue skies with several Mipits over >S but very high still coming over till after midday.
As I was closing up the garage this evening at 1710 hours a quick look around for Pinkies found a single Bunting overhead heading >N in the direction of Soil Hill. Although I had no bins I could see it clearly very light underneath and unlike Reed Bunting its wings were longer than its short knotched tail. Unfortunately the bird never called, or not that I heard for the traffic, but my immediate thought was Lap Bunt although I had to dismiss it as one that got away.On the way home I had that knattered feeling you,ve all had when you think you,ve had a goody but can,t be sure and then to make it worst I got the grapevine call from DJS reporting a possible Lap Bunt over Soil Hill picked up on call by JW. If  JW had just got the bird and the message was put straight out it was probably one and the same ?
Was it or was,nt it,  we,ll never know.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Queensbury Today

Soil Hill sleeps. The moonlit hill.
A brighter day today with only an odd shower and the wind dropped considerably.
2 Greylag geese flew >W over Foxhill mid day and a flock of 15 Lapwing headed >E. No sign of yesterdays Coal Tits which was lucky for them as the local Sparrowhawk made at least 2 visits to the garden today.
Sounds like its time to start looking for Pink Footed Geese on the move now with one or two reports of small numbers, usually its near the end of the month when the big skeins come.
No birding now on my weekly pilgrimage to Wilsden as its near dark as I set off and as you can see from the photos pitch black on my return at 2000hrs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Coal Tits on the move

Another wild wet and windy Queensbury day with nothing seen to move in the skies. However, this morning 4 Coal Tits were in the front garden Hawthorns with another 3 at the back. Apart from mid winter this is a species never seen in the garden other than dispersion time and autumn movement. On the walk to work 2 were in the bushes in the Willows medical centre. By lunchtime all had moved on.
Ogden yet again came up trumps along with Soil Hill, see Queensburybirder blog, its good that we have a small handful of dedicated birders willing to get out in all conditions to produce the goods, keep up the good work.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A wet and windy Queensbury

Sunset over Foxhill

A wild and windy Queensbury today with a W>6 gusting 7 around midday with several showers becoming heavy rain by 1900hrs.
A few Common Gulls were in the park at lunch time with their heads to the wind and gripping the pitch so as not to get blown away. Did a scan through them because twice now in previous years Ive found a Kittiwake amongst them in similar conditions.

The super Suts have struck again, this time finding another, or the same ad Med gull at Ogden today and well done on the cracking photos of yesterdays Terns which clearly shows one as a Common and to me, the other as an Arctic, a great find and unusual inland to have two different species of Tern together.
I was told today that they are now letting the water rise again at Ogden but it will be slow as it is also feeding Mixenden.

Arctic Tern is my 100th personnel species tick for Ogden.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Tern for the better

A good Tern movement day today starting with 2 Blacks at Oxenhope, vis mig blog, then two terns at Ogden this p.m. Again the founder was the sutcliffe team who kindly called me so I could alert NK who fortunately was on his way to Soil Hill. After about 10 texts and 15 phone calls later the birds were still there but an argument was brewing as to their i.d.
After gulping down my tea I shot to Ogden to find the birds still there but in well fading light, hence the naf photo, and that was the best one.
I binned the two for a minute then took some photos as I always do in case they leave but as I was setting up the scope a Sparrowhawk glided along the banking putting everything up, this was about 1840hrs. The gulls settled in the middle of the water but the Terns were gone not to return. I rang DCB at Oxenhope in case they came in there but he was in the same mind as me that they would be well on their way.
Poor Bruce turned up a few minutes later and I had to break the bad news to him.
I have,nt seen anyones photos yet or consulted the book but the impression I got from the few minutes I binned them was 2 Arctic Terns.

Was going to shut the garage doors today with a note saying
                         SORRY CLOSED. HAVING A FUNNY TERN.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Osprey Watch/ Ned Hill

Some Swallows still coming through.
Withens Gap through the haze from Ned Hill
Ned Hill watchpoint >NW towards TMR.

Ned Hill/ Soil Hill  1600-1700hrs  strong W>5, Bright.

Spent 1 hour here in the hope of an Osprey sneaking through but not to be. Swallows were still moving but in low numbers and the only other birds of note in the sky were LBBs and Common Gull as well as the usual corvids.
The summit of Soil Hill was alive with Meadow Pipits scratting about in the rubble where the scrapes used  to be but there were no sign of this mornings 6 Greylag geese that landed up there (DCB) mid morning.

A taste of Vis Mig

Scud coming over the moor, Fly Flatts
A very active clough, Hunter Hill
Still juv Mipits about.

Fly Flatts  0730-0815hrs  Heavy drizzle and low cloud moving over from the west.   NW>5
Some early movement before the worst of the drizzle but deteriorated with scud creeping in from the west so moved on after a short watch.

171 Meadow Pipit........................>W
96 Swallow..................................>W
2 Snipe........................................>W
19 Starling .................................>W
13 Chaffinch...............................>W
2 Alba Wagtail...........................>SW

Hunter Hill   0830-1000hrs   Bright with some dark clouds, dry, NW>3
A different story here with Mipits and Swallows constantly moving through mostly >W but later turning >S.
Chaffinch were piling out of the clough along with a Tree Pipit and a Spotted Flycatcher was down in the bottom of the ravine. A flock of Siskin over was a nice sighting, these also looked to come out of the clough.

213 Meadow Pipit..........................>W then >S
132 Swallow..................................>W
72 Chaffinch..................................>W
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker................>W
1 Spotted Fly...............................in tree
1 Tree Pipit...................................>W
2 Jay.............................................>W
7 Siskin.........................................>SW

Total mornings Meadow Pipits......................384
Total mornings Swallows...........................228

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Starlings Hit Queensbury

                                     A fall of Starlings.

Queensbury was over run with Starlings this morning which looked like masses of migrant birds moved in or
birds flocking ready to move out. One lady from Shelf Moor rang to say she had about 200 in the bushes in her back garden. Shelf Moor this evening had c300 in the Hawthorn field with 13 Mistle Thrushes mixed in.
Foxhill this lunch time held 14 Common Gull.
Is the vis mig going to excel itself in the morning ?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Poor weather means better birding.

Common Gull

A rainy drizzly day with a slight SW which perked the birds up no end. A scattering of Meadow Pipits went over >S early a.m. with c80 BH gulls also >S but unsure as to whether these were movers or leaving a roost,thats the problem with gulls at this time of year so after August I tend to exclude them from my vis mig count .
Foxhill park at lunchtime held 14 Common Gulls, 3 Pied Wagtails and 4 Meadow Pipits with several Swallows feeding below the trees.
This evening a single Curlew flew high over Foxhill >NW which looked to be heading for TMR.

Great observations today from eagle eyed Dave and Jen Sutcliffe for picking out an ad Med Gull at Ogden in terrible conditions, well done you two and thanks for the call which reminded me that there is life outside of the garage.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Evening Skies

Sunset, Wilsden towards Thornton Moor
Sunset, Wilsden towards the Arc

Evening sky over Foxhill

A brighter day today but very little in the way of movement apart from a few south heading swallows.
Several Swallows were on the move around the Wilsden area this evening but on my return journey at 2000hrs the daylight had gone and the only things in flight were several Pipestrelle bats over the trees.
Hopefully a good weekend will see the real start of vis mig.