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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking back at Fly Flatts 2011

                                          Sanderling and Ringed Plover
                                     Some of the 19 Ringed Plover

Looking back at 2011 it will always be remembered as the year the water dropped and the waders moved in to Fly Flatts. From April to September the shoreline was producing waders like never before.
Waders seen there were :-
Golden Plover
Common Sandpiper x 11
Grey Plover x 2
Bar Tailed Godwit x 2
Ringed Plover x 19
Little Ringed Plover
Also the water held :-
Shoveler x 2
Plus the usual sightings of  :-
Greenland Wheatear
plus a Yellow Legged Herring Gull.
Lets hope 2012 produces another summer at Fly Flatts like this one.

A couple of other things of note to me in 2011 were
White Stork low over Halifax 17/4
Raptor move day at Soil Hill with 1 Osprey and a possible Marsh Harrier though the latter I cannot claim
as not enough i.d. on it.   24/4.

Wishing you all a year full of megas in 2012....... HAPPY NEW YEAR.
p.s. Hope 2011 takes this wind ,drizzle and fog with it or my new year list tomorrow will have nothing but garden House Sparrows on it.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Queensbury, bright start, foggy finish



A bright frosty start to the day with a pleasing sunrise and clear skies but by mid day the skies were grey bringing heavy rain and fog by late afternoon.
Good to hear that the Snow Bunts survived last nights gales with 7 showing on the hill today thanks to reports from NK, DJS and Muxy.
Only thing of interest today was a single Meadow Pipit heading >S over Foxhill park at midday, dont know if this was a very late mover or an over wintering bird on the move.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Queensbury Today


Last night was a real humdinger of a storm and I was suprised to awake this morning and find no damage other than bird feeders and fat balls all over the garden.
My garage and 2 of the neighbours garages had their doors swinging open this morning so either the wind came with a pair of bolt croppers to cut off the padlocks or it was a dirty little scumbag creeping about like a rat in the night looking for something to pinch. Luckily all he got away with was a bit of tackle and a large bag of Boneo dog biscuits from next door, hopefully he,ll choke on them.          
A few big gulls were moving around this morning with about a dozen LBBs heading>SE possibly towards ACs spot but no Herring gulls were present, just a few small gulls going in no particular direction.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Windy weather

I hope those Snow Bunts on Soil Hill have got well down in the long grass tonight or they,ll end up in North Yorkshire with the wind as it is now.
The SW>5 has steadily increased all day and Ive just come back from dog walking in a howling storm force SW>9 and frightening to walk in, hopefully it will blow itself out during the night.
It looks to me as if the Soil Hill Snow Buntings are  due to over winter up there now that they seem settled and spreading out over the entire hill. The Bunts that come and go always stay in tight flocks feeding and moving around together but these long stayers are splitting up and just coming together to roost.
Unless we get a heavy snow to cover all the vegetation they.ll hopefully stay on and possible attract more birds to join them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Soil Hill roost

Got home from family things by 1500hrs with the light fading fast but went up on the hill anyway again hoping to get the roosting Goldies but again no joy.
As I walked up the track 7 Fieldfare landed on the wall near the mast before flying down into the roadside pine trees presumably to roost. Up on the summit 6 Herring gull came over >SW, another 9 had gone over Ogden this morning which I forgot to add to my post, then DJS had some p.m. so it looks like a bit of a move was on.
As I was watching the gulls disappear  I noticed a Snow Bunting in the clover near to me so I backed away so as not to disturb it on the edge of darkness and apart from that Id probably get lynched if I posted any more pics.
I kept watching the area from a distance when suddenly 6 Bunts lifted up and kept flying a circuit over  the hill and after a few minutes 3 more flew in from the north of the hill and joined them. All 9 then dropped down into the area of the longest grass in the SE corner and all went still, this supposedly being their roost.

Ogden below the cloudbase


A visit to Fly Flatts was aborted due to dense fog this morning so it was a revisit to Ogden which was just below the cloudbase but was grey with drizzle, at least the wind had dropped.
The whole area was quiet with no signs of yesterdays active passerines and still nothing on the water other than 4 Common gulls and 8 BH gulls. The now resident Cormorant was showing after being absent yesterday and several tits were around the lodge feeders.
Still fog on the top as I passed Soil Hill but KMs car was parked up there, probably hoping for a re enactment of yesterdays ordeal.
Looking a bit sad for me getting out again today with the list of family visiting Ive be told we.re doing and its back to work tomorrow but at least its a short week and another extended weekend.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Shelf Moor

Shelf Moor, last light this evening  held 400+ pre roost Starlings, 50+ Redwing and 30+ Fieldfare in the hawthorn field. No sign of the part white Blackbird.

An amazing experience on Soil Hill



An hour on the hill this afternoon in a WSW>7 gusting 8 near gale force wind but dry.
Hoping for some Goldie photos but the north summit was bear other than 4 Skylarks, so it was back to the Snow Bunts with 5 well spread out birds showing.
After Id got a few snaps Keith Moir appeared and we watched the birds before I started to walk off to leave with Keith going to check the grass area. As I neared the southern edge of the area I stopped dead when I saw 1 Snow Bunt 8ft away from me so I carefully knelt down with the tripod low to take some pictures but as I did so the bird kept coming nearer to me. Keith was by now stood to my right watching this develop as the bird carried on feeding towards me and even though I shut the zoom right down it was too near to focus. We both watched in disbelief as the bird passed me near enough for me to touch it and then along came another 2 which did the same. I felt like David Attenborough knelt there surrounded with Snow Buntings, what an experience with such amazing birds.

Ogden, Boxing Day


A brighter, dry morning with a mild WSW>4 but not showing daylight till 0900hrs.
Ogden was very quiet with the water void of birds other than a few small gulls and the usual Mallards who,s winter numbers are much lower this year due to the mild weather.
A few small tit parties were around the edges of the water and 2 Goldcrest and a single Redpoll were present but very fidgety. The Treecreeper was teasing me avoiding the camera by keeping mobile and hidden in the branches meanwhile 4 Siskin flew out of the top of the Alders.

4 Siskin
1 Treecreeper
1 Redpoll
2 Goldcrest
1 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
plus usual sp.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Party on Soil Hill

At the risk of being a saddo I slipped out an hour on Soil Hill. After a hectic morning of presents and the other daughter getting a suprise proposal of marriage Lynda wanted a bit of time to mull through her presents so Soil Hill bound for me.  Again the weather was dreadful with a howling W>6-7 with heavy rain and drizzle but its Christmas, who cares.
The Snow Buntings were oddly seperated in ones and twos scattered all over the hill and as you can see by the photos they were looking in a wet sorry state. Only 4 could be found ,3 of which were very mobile.
Two Lapwing were on the NW summit along with 9 Goldies which flew before I got within 100 yds of them.
A dozen Linnet were on the grass hill and 6 Fieldfares were in the field near the mast.
All in all, a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bad weather, good birds, good company. Soil Hill

 An early finish at work this a.m. left me 1 hour spare to visit Soil Hill.
On arrival the rain was pouring lashed by a cold SW>5-6, real atrocious conditions, but I wasnt alone, a lonely wet figure was walking towards me. I thought , who else would be mad enough to visit the hill in these conditions and on Christmas eve so that narrowed it down to either DJS or NK and it turned out to be NK.
After a lot of searching and watching several aerial displays from the 6 Snow Buntings we finally caught up to them feeding in the bumps and luckily the weather eased a bit to get the much wanted photos.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What a grey day.

A terrible day up on the tops today with heavy rain throughout and a strong >NW 4-5. By dark the sky had cleared and freezing was taking place so hopefully we could get a clear weekend but still the wind to contend with.
I,ve been told birding is off this Sunday for some reason but I,ll be back at it on my 2 days off, Monday and Tuesday to try and top up my annual local list which is about 4 birds down on last years.
Some commoners missing are Woodcock, Brambling, Whooper Swan, Stonechat , SEO and Waxwing.
Also did poor on waders during passage time, oh well, theres always next year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How the wind blew. Soil Hill

                                  This isnt camera shake, its hill shake

                                                           Nearly missed that one !

Just in case the Soil Hill Snow Buntings leave before the weekend I decided to make a dash for the hill at lunch time. The sun was out and a visit to the garage from NK telling me the birds were about clinched it so after a quick lunch and dog walk I set off up there with 20 minutes spare in which to find the birds and take the photos.
After a fruitless search of all the south and east summit I doubled back up the main track and saw the birds in the trenches to my right but they were very fidgety in the wind and kept moving around.
A quick look at the watch, 5 past 1 and start work at 1.15 with a 5 minute journey back, TIME UP !
A quick few half  hearted shots in a W>7 gusting 8 with it near impossible to stand up, I was moving, the camera was moving and even the hill felt to be moving, the only thing not affected was the birds ?
Ever time I rush up for these birds on limited time they turn up in the last place I look when its too late, next time up I,ll look in the last place first, that,ll fool em.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shelf Moor conclusion


The mystery of the Ring Ouzel/Blackbird was concluded today thanks to contacts through DJS. Steve Loveric was actually able to re locate the bird and identify it as a Blackbird but showing a broad white neckband. I shot down there at dinner time hoping for a photo but the field was empty and with only 10 minutes watch time I had to give up. Will get down over the weekend to try get a photo just out of interest.
Thanks to all birders that gave it a go, especially Steve for sorting it, see Calderbirds for report, and a big thank you to Mr Turner for being sharp eyed and reporting the sighting to me . He seemed suprised that his report was followed up as it was but the outcome could have been totally different and that is how rare birds are found,keep those sightings coming in, apart from owt it keeps us lads on our toes.
Whilst down there today 15 Herring gulls came over in the mist >W which was part of a big gull movement witnessed by AC, Northowram blog.
Also large flocks of Starlings were in the fields along with small gulls, seems like an area to watch for that rare winter thrush.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Foxhill today


A bright start with a red sunrise but deteriorating as the day went on with drizzle and low cloud.
Just the usual resident stuff about today apart from a single Jay over Grimstons field towards the station at midday and a flock of 15 Redwing in the same area feeding in Hawthorns.
Thought Id cracked it on the way back to work when I saw the silhouette of 6 birds feeding in a Rowan tree in the grounds of the Willows medical centre but after a short dash with camera at the ready they turned out to be Starlings and not what I was hoping for, Waxwings. This same tree held a small flock of Waxwings a few years ago, (NK).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shelf Moor Ring Ouzel ?

A milder but damp foggy morning with rain and drizzle throughout the day.
The only bright thing today was a reliable source customers report of a probable Ring Ouzel in fields at Shelf Moor feeding with winter thrushes. The bird was described as a Blackbird with a white collar/breast band. It could have been a part white Blackbird but to strengthen the sighting another Ring Ouzel was reported in the Manchester area also today.
Thanks to the Calderbirds lads that  went out in search of the bird and thanks to Mr Turner for the sighting, lets hope its there tomorrow when you take the dog.  See also report on Calderbirds for area.
Well done to NK for tackling Soil Hill today in the fog and rain to check on the Snow Bunts, see his report on Queensburybirder.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fly Flatts/Soil Hill


An icy cold morning at Fly Flatts with a freezing NNE>5 but bright clear skies after early mist.
The whole area this morning was void of birds both on the water and in the sky apart from 1 Red Grouse and a few Corvids.
On the way back The Delvers field held 9 Chaffinch and 3 Greenfinch as well as Robins and Blackbirds but no sign of Brambling as yet.
Dropped the dogs off at home and a quick shoot back to check Soil Hill but after three quarters of an hour zig zagging the whole summit nothing was found.
Out of time I headed back via the SE corner and the only place I had,nt checked was the grassy area so, thinking there,s no chance of them being there I ventured in and after 3yds 1 Snow Bunt flew up in front of me followed by the other 8. They did a circuit of the hill and came down in the sun somewhere near the mast but time had run out so still no photo, at least we know that they are still there.
Nice to bump into Jim Welford on the hill.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shopping and birding combined

A mainly bright day in the village with just a few snow showers in the morning but plenty sunshine although heavy freezing all day.
Shopping in Halifax found 3 Pied Wagtails on the library roof, 11 Black Headed gulls around Sainsburys along with 1 Grey Wagtail, about my second this year, and 6 Chaffinch in the Rowans.
Looks like it may be good for a change in the morning but Im not holding my breath.
A customer rang me to say he had been up Soil Hill this morning but no sightings of the Snow Bunts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Less snow, more ice.

A night of heavy freezing leaving a bright clear day until late afternoon when dark clouds came over bringing some short lived snow showers then back to freezing by dark. Only 5 days now to the shortest day and then we,re on the long but steady road back to lighter nights.
Four early morning geese came over >W making me think Pink Footed but as they came over in part darkness they were seen to be Canadas probably looking for unfrozen water.
A single Heron, probably on the same idea, went over >E.
Plenty male Blackbirds about at the moment but strangely no females, is anyone else finding a shortage of females?
An unconfirmed report through NK of a Lapland Bunting on Soil Hill earlier in the week( B.O.G.) but this was neither reported or put on the groups blog site?
Weekend again so lets see what goodies it turns up other than the dreaded Christmas shopping, or is that just me thats turned into Ebenezer.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snow Joke in Queensbury


A heavy overnight snow storm left us with a decent covering this morning although the temperature was up slightly,4 deg in the garage, so a steady thaw took place all day. By mid afternoon drizzle followed by light rain fell shifting some of the snow and leaving the rest in a sloppy mess, just nice for dropping off the underside of cars and down the back of my neck.
Of course this morning for 2 hours all the roads through Queensbury were gridlocked and it was even on the national news that the Halifax to Bradford roads were at a standstill. We,d be better getting rid of these computerized summer only grit wagons and go back to how it was in the days of Queensbury Urban Council with our own gritters, ploughs and salt pile and ten times more snow, the roads were always kept clear. Even the dustbin men were out shovelling and salting the pavements, those were the days.
Birdwise things were quiet with garden birds frantically feeding ready for a cold night ahead and my seed feeders have had to be filled twice today.
Its strange to me why our local House Sparrows put up with our severe weather in Queensbury when they could fly 15 minutes away to lower greener habitat but I suppose you could say that about people that live up here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sun, snow and ice

A bright clear sunny morning with the overnight gales dropped leaving a light SW>4. By 1100hrs grey clouds were taking over the blue and with them came some very heavy snow showers on and off all afternoon clearing by dark leaving clear skies and heavy freezing.
Big gulls were on the move mid morning with a constant flow of LBBs all >S and at least 4 Herring gulls heading in their usual direction of >W.
Hopefully the gales forecast for Friday will waft things about for the weekend for us so watch those gull flocks and local waters, we could do with a mega to see the year out.
A nice find for AC today with a Woodcock on Soil Hill along with the 9 Snow Buntings, see Northowram blog for his report.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How the wind blew.


A wild day up here at Queensbury today with the wind increasing steadily as the day went on getting up to gale force SW>7 gusting 8 to 9 which in Queensbury terms is, nobbut a stiff breeze. At least it remained dry throughout apart from one or two half attempted snow showers.
The puddles are frozen over tonight but the gritter has just been down the road so thats a sign of good weather, they dont come out if its bad.
Just the usual gulls in the park to give me something to photograph but its not easy in a howling gale.
Well done to DJS for tackling Soil Hill today and picking up 9 Snow Buntings for us, good job he had his heavy boots on or I,d have seen him soaring over the garage.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good start, bad finish


A decent start to the day with a cool W>4 but plenty of sunshine and remaining dry until late afternoon when, as forecast, the wind increased W>6 with heavy rain which is promised to go on through the night and into tomorrow.
NK confirmed on Soil Hill today what I suspected last night , that the 3 Snow Buntings have gone from the area following the other 3 birds that departed last week.
Common gulls again returned to the park now that the snow has gone and a Pied  Wagtail was on the bottom pitch.
Thirty two House Sparrows were on and around the feeders midday today, surely a Tree Sparrow has got to get mixed in with them one day?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another soggy Sunday

A now, whats come to be the norm, lousy sunday morning with early fog and mist and horizontal drizzle blown across with a W>5 only to be replaced mid morning with heavy rain.
A once round Ogden reservoir produced very little other than 2 m Goosander >E and a single f Goldeneye was on the water along with 2 LBB gulls and a scattering of Commons and Black Headeds.
The winter Mallard flock has now got to around 180.
We,re sure to get one good Sunday morning out of the two thats left this year, are,nt we?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Snow and bright skies + a dip at Soil Hill




A bright start to the day with interesting cloud formation and red sky soon to be taken over by cloud and
snow showers until midday when the temperature started to rise allowing a thaw to start which continued on until after dark.
Very quiet skies although the gulls that have been absent for a few days were more in evidence today.
A quick dash up  Soil Hill at 1500hrs proved fruitless with no sign of Snow Bunts although to be fair I did only get chance to search the SE area including the lumps and bumps and had to leave the northern end due to rapidly fading light. The pair of Pheasants were present along with 3 Skylark.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Snow


A day of heavy snow showers and sunny intervals up here in Queensbury with 2 hours of gridlocked roads this morning courtesy of Bradford council looking after their salt pile.
No customers could get near the garage until late morning and unfortunately there was very little in the skies to
watch to pass the time on.
Lunchtime produced a single GBB gull over very high and >W closely followed by 3 LBBs in the same direction.
The local Sparrowhawk passed through the garden twice today according to Lynda but went away hungry.
Hope this weather improves for the weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Horrendous Weather

A damp windy morning, then by late morning the wind increased to gale force >SW 7 with torrential rain and sleet showers.Dog walking at lunch time was horrendous with waves of white water blowing across the park in the strengthening wind. By early evening the wind had risen to severe gale force SW>8 gusting 9 and seemed to peak around 1900hrs dropping slightly with less frequent rain showers.
Needless to say no sightings to report today but well done to NK for tackling Soil Hill and coming away rewarded, see Queensburybirder for his report.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Queensbury Today

A better day road wise up here on the tops with overnight rain shifting most of the snow.
A strong SW>5 throughout the day with rain showers and some snow which quickly melted in the rising temperatures.
Common gulls were back in Foxhill park, now that the snow has gone, with 28 at midday. Must be that they can,t feed through the snow.
A flock of 11 LBBs  flew over >NW in v formation making me believe that they were geese until they got closer and 8 Collared Doves are back around the park area.
A kestrel was hovering over Grimstons field.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What a Day

1 of 5 Skylark on Soil Hill

A lovely bright clear morning so at lunch time I broke the land speed record of walking home , getting my dinner and walking the dogs before flying up to Soil Hill for a Snow Bunt photo session and back to work within the hour.
My thoughts were that if the Snow Buntings were in the SE corner where they prefer Id have time to get some photos in the perfect conditions but as I arrived with 15 minutes to spare no birds could be found and then in the last 5 minutes I saw the 6 fly across the NW corner so time up and back to work with just a photo of a distant Skylark in the snow.
To make matters worse, Ollie our Llaso Apso was at Thornton for his hair cut and when I finished work at 1715hrs I had to pick him up.
By this time the snow was piling down and all roads out of Queensbury were gridlocked with traffic queueing for miles in all directions stuck on the sheet ice and snow, well done Bradford Council for cocking up once again, we should get a rate reduction in Queensbury.
There will have been some head of traffic nerk looking out of his window in Bradford seeing the rain and not being wise enough to work out that it could be snow higher up.
Anyway, I ended up walking over to Thornton and most of the way back before I was rescued by Stuart the son in law from Shelf and even then at 1930 he couldnt get all the way back as traffic was still stuck and still is now at 2000hrs.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Snowy scenes

Shot ice on the roads up here last night then snow showers through the night and throughout today leaving the main roads gridlocked most of the morning. I was sure the council said they were ready for it this year but I think because of health and safety the grit wagons can only come out in Queensbury during good weather.
There has been some nice sunny periods with clear blue skies between the snow which gave birders from Halifax chance to get up Soil Hill to find at least another 3 Snow Buntings have arrived up there, what hardy little birds these are.
Otherwise things have been quiet with unusually no gulls in the park this lunchtime.
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another salvaged photo

This one,s a male

On a second look at the photos there seems to be 2 males and 1 female.
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Soil Hill Re visited

A bit of a clear window in the weather when we got back from the dreaded christmas shopping this p.m. so it was back into my still wet from this morning birding clothes and head for the hill.
Almost immediately I saw the three Snow Bunts fly from the far side of the summit and drop down towards the bottom of the hill but I was hopeful they had gone full circle and returned.
After 1 hour of a full scale search and rapidly running out of light I decided to call it a draw after 1 final sweep on the way back to the road..As I neared the SE corner a movement caught my eye like a mouse running across one of the ruts and there it was, a Snow Bunting, then another, then the third.
By now the light was well on its way, hence the poor photos , so out of about 30 taken at 400mm these were the best I could salvage, the rest being blurred.
At least perseverance had payed off and I had my photos but now I want some better ones, roll on next weekend.

Another Sunday Soaking

First stop Ogden 0800-0900hrs in heavy rain and NW>4 with nothing to report other than a few small gulls on the water and the usual Mallards. Passerines were near non existent  apart from a few tits and Robins.
Dropped the dogs off at home then back to Soil Hill in an aim to photograph Snow Buntings which turned out to be mission impossible.
The conditions were atrocious with near gale force NW>6 and heavy rain turning to snow. Each time the weather cleared slightly the next bank could be seen heading down from North Yorkshire.
The 3 Snow Buntings flew from the top field lifting high and doing a circuit overhead before dropping low towards the SE corner but disappearing into the squall. Another hour of trudging about in the flooded ruts failed to re locate them although in the conditions I could have walked within a few feet of them.
Hardy Skylarks were present along with Mipits, Pheasant and Grey Partridge.
3 Snow Bunting
7 Skylark
4 Meadow Pipit
1 Common Snipe
1 Pr Pheasant
5 Grey Partridge
1 Very wet birder.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Shelf Moor

A terrible day with blustery SW>5 veering W>6 and heavy showers throughout the day.
Shelf Moor at last light held 2 Greylags and a Canada by the pond and around 200 Fieldfare moving around from field to field favouring the area opposite the gorse field. This was probably a pre roost flock possibly heading for the trees around the golf course.
Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wild and Wet

Looks like we,re back to the gales and rain for the weekend again after a deteriorating day today. All the cars at work this morning were entombed in ice and then we had a short snow shower quickly turning to rain. On the bright side its only 19 days to the shortest day and once we get christmas and new year out of the way we,re heading in the right direction.
Gulls were on the move today with several LBBs heading >NW and at least 3 Herring gulls went over >W, gulls are the only birds that dont seem to mind the winds and look to enjoy tacking into the wind.
A Green Woodpecker was a rare sight over Foxhill at midday dropping down towards the old station whilst a charm of about 12 Goldfinch were feeding on weeds behind the Pineberry Inn.
Check those supermarket Rowans this weekend for Waxwings and sift through any numbers of Greylags, there seems to be an influx of White Fronteds around the area.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Foxhill Common Gulls

Common gulls in the park.

A cold but dry day with rain appearing after dark. Some nice blue skies early on but these soon clouded blanking out the sun and dropping the temperature. A few snowflakes were in with the rain around 1800hrs giving Queensbury its first threat of winter.
The daughter Belinda, who works as a computer analyst for Morrisons, is at the moment at their I.T. office in Israel and rang me today whilst sat having her lunch on the beach, I told her to get ready for a shock when she comes home tomorrow!
Quieter skies today with only 3 Fieldfares seen over although this morning a flock of about 150 Woodpigeons came over >S at around 0750hrs which must have been a roost breaking up.
Had a play with the camera at lunchtime harrassing the Common gulls.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bright and busy skies


Bright skies from the word go this morning clouding early afternoon with a strengthening SW wind.
The problem with gazing skyward whilst walking to work in the wind is I have to keep setting off to chase my cap down the road, maybe I should try bluetack.
The skies were alive with birds early a.m. with winter thrushes moving over >S in small flocks and then several single Fieldfares kept coming over in the same direction.
A group of 4 Pied Wagtails headed >SW and unusually a single jay flew from the direction of the old station and headed off to the >W.
At midday 3 Herring gull flew high over the park >NW and a single Pied Wagtail was on the top pitch.
Just one month to go now for you to top up those annual lists and then its back to the start and do it all again.
Im afraid that once again this year my life species list has,nt altered with no new birds for me but thats one of the penalties for sticking to local birding although on that rare occasion when you finally get a lifer in your local area the pleasure is much greater than if you go off to see someone elses bird on a twitch somewhere,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Watch for those Snow Buntings


Snow Buntings are being reported well in the area at the moment with birds found by NK on Soil Hill, see Queensburybirder, then re located today in atrocious conditions by DJS, Calderbirds.
Another report was rung into me this pm of a single male near the Duke of York between Thornton and Wilsden. This is a strange place for Snow Bunting as the area just comprises of green fields but I had a single female there myself several years ago whilst driving past. The bird was sat on the wall and dropped down into the field where it remained for 2 days.
Nothing doing up in the heights of Queensbury today with a strong SSW>6 blowing increasing to SW>7 and torrential rain by early afternoon.
The daughter Rachel , who lives at Shelf, called in at lunch time and said, how can anyone live in such a god forsaken place as this, I think that was because she,d just had her hair done and by the time she,d got back in her car she looked like she,d been dragged through a hedge backwards.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Queensbury Today


Plenty winter thrush activity this morning with several flocks of both Fieldfare and Redwing over in various directions , probably most would have come out of the Queensbury Station
hawthorns where they seem to like to roost each winter.
Midday saw 28 mixed small gulls in the park and several Gt tits on surrounding feeders. A single Heron went over >E and a kestrel was hovering behind the Pineberry Inn.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Soil Hill


A little less windy on Soil Hill last light with a cold NW>5 and very hazy to the west.
Fieldfares were very mobile moving from field to field whilst a small flock of Linnets are still hanging on in there.
Seven Grey Partridge were present plus the usual  Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.

7 Grey Partridge
42 Fieldfare
17 Linnet
3 Skylark
4 Meadow Pipit.

Blustery Ogden

                                  Goldfinch enjoying the Alders

Another poor Sunday morning with strong NW>6 gusting 7 and early rain showers. As predicted the morning brightened after 1000hrs but the wind remained.
Certainly not a photographic morning with the branches of the trees swaying about making photos of the Goldfinch like hitting moving targets.
The  water was quiet with high waves and white horses and just held a few Common and BH gulls whilst the outskirts of the wood was quite busy with several tit flocks with Goldcrests mixed in.
A flock of 11 Siskin flew over heading towards the giants tooth and 2 Redpoll showed briefly amongst a charm of 20+ Goldfinch feeding in the Alders.
A single Cormorant went over >E.
20+ Goldfinch
5 Goldcrest
1 Cormorant
2 Redpoll
11 Siskin
7 Coal Tit.
+ usual sp.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gale force winds and Fieldfares.

A breezy damp morning deteriorating by midday with gale force SW>7 gusting 8 and heavy rain continuing on into the evening. Looking sad for morning unless theres a rapid improvement overnight. The weather says its to brighten late morning which is too late for the early birders.
Late afternoon today at last light on the way to Shelf Moor several Fieldfares were coming in to roost in trees at the top side of the golf course with 1 flock of about 50.
Three Mistle Thrush were on wires and a flock of Chaffinch were mobile near the old bacon factory with some suspicious looking birds amongst them which were possibly Brambling but they disappeared behind the helicopter hangar out of site, will have to try find time to check them out tomorrow.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hail, sunshine, wind and rain. A typical Queensbury day.


A real variety of weather today starting with strong SW>6 which dropped by midday. Some bright sunny intervals, then by early afternoon came torrential rain showers and a hail storm which left the car park white over for a short time.
Heavy overnight rain left the rugby field awash which suited the local gulls comprising mainly of Commons with a few Black Headeds. One LBB made an attempt at landing only to lift off again and head off >N.
At lunch time 6 Collared Doves were back around the park annoying the resident white wingbarred Carrion Crow.
Fingers crossed for the weekend with target birds, Black Redstart, Med gull and Waxwings, ok, you can stop laughing now !.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Clear skies and strong south westerlies.

                                      Sunrise back ot mill


A strong SW>6 kept the skies clear and blue today with some long periods of sunshine.
Several LBB gulls were heading SW  into the wind whilst early morning Woodpigeons made their way south after leaving the roosts.
An interesting sight today was a single Curlew very high over Chapel Lane heading >SE and calling. It almost slipped by me as at first I dismissed it for a Starling mimicking but then caught sight of it.
A report at the garage today from CK of Med gulls in the area some check out those gull flocks on your patch.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fogless at last.

At last the dreaded fog has been taken away by a strong W>5 leaving a clear but grey day. On the way to work this morning a nice red ball sunrise was showing at the side of the Black Dyke Mill chimney but by the time Id dashed down to get a good vantage point for a photo it had been covered with cloud and remained that way the rest of the day.
At midday a single Heron went over >E mobbed by corvids and 4 Stock Doves flew >W over the park.
The influx of Collared Doves from the other day have dispersed and their place around the garden feeder replaced by 8 feral pigeons.
Several reports of Yellowhammers on the Halifax grapevine today, a bird that has disappeared without trace around this area, I can,t remember when I had my last local bird although Denise had one in her garden last year.
They were a common sight down Queensbury station with birds always to be found on the wires and singing from the Gorse bushes but that was when I started birding 45+ years ago. I dont recall when the last one was seen down there but I would think it would have been in the late sixties unless you know different Howard as you continued to work it as your patch up to your departure from the hill top to the lowlands.
Elland G.P. held about 2 pair up to around 20 years ago but this species has also vacated this area.
Maybe one day they,ll return, stranger things have happened.!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Queensbury White Crow

                                Photos taken by Simon Dedrick , ( copyright)

The Queensbury white Crow seems to have suddenly become active again after a bit of an absence , firstly seen by NK in his garden and yesterday Simon Dedrick, who lives not far from Nigel kindly sent me a report of it around his garden along with these cracking photos. Thanks for that Simon, hope you didnt mind me sharing your photos.
A foggy start today but a stiff W>4 soon moved it away leaving a bright clear afternoon but very little seen in the skies other that a few LBB gulls heading >S.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bit of sun, lot of fog


Another day of that miserable cloudy stuff with a few short lived bright intervals in between. At some points there was no horizontal vision but a clear blue sky overhead. By mid p.m. the fog had come in thicker than ever and is still the same now.
A high count of Collared Doves was present midday around Foxhill park with 15 in one tree above a garden feeder and up to 8 others nearer to the Fleet Lane end. There may have been more but the dreaded fog closed in on me before Id had chance to get a full count.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A failed attempt at Soil Hill

Queensbury was above the fog around midday with clear blue skies and sunshine but by late afternoon when we got back from doing the family thing the mist was starting to roll in. By the time I got to Soil Hill the fog was thickening fast and within 15 minutes the fog was so thick it was hard to know which direction to walk in to get back to the road. The only birds seen were 4 Skylarks on the summit which I almost stood on before I saw them lift up and disappear into the fog.
Again its wait another week, surely one weekend has got to be clear before the end of the year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Watch out for those Black Redstarts

Several reports are beginning to come in for Black Redstarts so keep your eyes open around old buildings and stony areas. Hopefully Black Redstart spotting experts DJS, NK, HC and DCB will be on the ball again this year giving us our annual records.
DJS usually turns one up around the Withins Gap, Cold Edge area which in the past has been a long stayer. NKs sighting was Perseverence Rd/ Soil Hill which stayed for a few days and HC/DCBs birds have appeared at Oxenhope.
HCs bird is a bit of a standing joke as one November we were at the watchpoint on the last Sunday of the vis mig season when Howard suddenly remarked, "Hey up, whats that little bugger on the wall " which turned out to be a Black Red. The year after in November, around the same date, again a small bird landed on the reservoir wall and just like an action replay Howard said "Hey up, whats that little bugger on the wall" which turned out to be another Black Red.
A bright sunny day from first light up here on the hill today with mist lying down in the valleys  but nothing bird wise to report other than 38 Common gulls in Foxhill early doors.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fieldfares but nowt much else

A bright morning clouding pm but remaining clear all day.
Several large flocks of Fieldfare came over Foxhill, the village and the garage early morning probably moving from roosts looking for feeding grounds, all were heading >S and >SE. Counted around 200 in all with a few Redwings mixed in otherwise the skies were quiet other than a few LBBs >NW and 4 Meadow Pipits >SW.
Looking a bit sad on the birding scene for me this weekend with outside jobs stock piling and limited hours of daylight when I can get to do them, I hate these dark nights.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A mish mash of birds

                                An autumnal Chapel Lane graveyard.

A bright sunny day with clear blue skies and a strong S>4.
The autumn vis mig movement has now come to a close other than geese and yellow billed swans but several birds out of their usual area can be found moving around to pastures new.
Four Herons together went over the garage >E this morning early on and mid morning saw 11 Stock doves heading >NE.
At mid day a single Cormorant was heading >N up the Aire Valley very distant and very high whilst 8 Mallard flew over >W in moving mode.
Chapel Lane graveyard held 4 singing Robins and 3 Blackbirds as well as the usual Magpie family.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gulls in the gloom

Common gull numbers building
Gulls through the mist

A grey morning followed by our old friend the fog by midday clearing slightly shortly before dark.
A few LBB gulls were seen to go over >NW this morning and unusually 2 were on the rugby field at lunch time.
Four Pied Wagtails were on the roof of the Willows medical centre and 2 very late Meadow Pipits came over
the garage >S early a.m.
Sounded like a good move around day today with several reports of misplaced ducks, geese and divers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gulls on the move

A grey murky day with a  strong >E 4 but the cloud base keeping high enough to leave some visibility with even a bit of sun mid p.m.
Big gulls were the bird of the day with good numbers of LBBs moving >NW most of the day and 3 groups of Herring gulls totalling 7 went over >W mid afternoon.
Otherwise the large flocks of Starlings from yesterday had dispersed considerably and also the high count of Common gulls in the park was down in the 20s.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Queensbury Today

A grey day and cool easterly but at least it was birdable as Mondays usually are when we,re back at work.
A good count of Common Gulls in Foxhill today with 84 present at 7000hrs before they broke up and went their own ways leaving   9 to stay the day.
Signs of a lot of shuffling about with the  birds this morning with 5 Blackbirds in the front garden first light and flocks of up to 100 Starlings moving around the local feeders.
Chapel Lane graveyard held 5 Dunnocks and 4 Robins with a noisy Wren dodging around the gravestones whilst a Chaffinch kept bursting into song.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beyond a joke, FOG.


As expected the fog from last night had thickened up to dense this morning so Fly Flatts was a no go.
On arrival at Ogden the fog was just as bad so with 3 dogs in the back waiting for their walk and me needing a birding injection drastic action had to be taken and head for the lowlands.
Elland Gravel Pits is usually a good get out but this morning the mist was hanging low and there was heavy drizzle throughout, even the anglers looked more miserable than usual as they peered out from beneath their umbrellas.
It was just a walk on the canal path and back as everywhere was thick of mud and I didnt fancy coming back to dog bathing.  The place has altered a lot since the days that I used to visit it every Sunday and I found it impossible to scan the ski lake now that its shrouded in trees,even from the layby.
However , as always, it produced some decent birds though fleeting glimpses and no chance of photos in the conditions other than the two above.

15 Cormorant
4 Little Grebe
2 Jay
11 Siskin
23 Lt Tit
1 Kingfisher
2f  1m Goosander
+ usual  sp.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blue sky at last, but will it last?

                                    Just practicing manual focus ready for a mega
                                       Just a few shots of the garden House Sparrows

A brilliant day today with clear blue skies and sunshine but unfortunately no time to get out birding in it.
Several Redwings were moving over the garage this morning probably looking for new feeding grounds whilst about 40 Woodpigeons moved >S in what was probably some of the last stragglers.
A  good number of Pied Wagtails were congregating on the roof of Halifax central library mid afternoon which were most likely ready for moving on to the Woolshops roost.
Looking a bit grim for morning with fog already moving in this evening, wheres that wind when you need it.