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, March 31, 2011

Howling gales and Alba Wags

Darkness setting over Ovenden Moor from Ned Hill.

A blustery day with near gale force SW>7 gusting >9 with some sunshine and fine drizzle showers.
Had a small window in my commitments tonight just before last light so headed up to Ned Hill to check out the western hillside of Soil Hill and see if anything was moving in the darkening sky,( a good time for Osprey).
The SW wind was howling up there and as expected in the conditions the sky was quiet other than 5 Goosander heading for the Oxenhope roost, 1 Kestrel struggling to hover in the wind and a few Meadow Pipits moving from field to field.
An influx of Alba Wagtails was apparent with up to 11 in and around the goose field, this sighting coinciding with 5 seen whilst driving through Bradshaw earlier in the evening and 4 at the bottom of Perseverence Road.
No Wheatears showing but as DJS said, the second wave will be on us shortly.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Queensbury Today

                                 We get some odd vehicles in our garage for M.O.T.

A wet drizzly day with occasional rain showers and cool SW>4.
Very little to report on today in the skies other than a steady flow of Woodpigeons >N but only in small flocks of up to 12 birds although this movement seemed to carry on most of the day.
A new garden feeder put up in a garden backing onto Foxhill Park full of sunflower seeds is attracting good numbers of Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch, all of which are unusual to the area. Reports today from Calderbirds of Sand Martin and Willow Warbler is encouraging although the run of good weather over last week seems to have taken the brunt of the Wheatears straight over us to their breeding grounds.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dinner time dash to Soil Hill

                                            Field full of Meadow Pipits

                                                   Gloomy view over Causeway Foot Col towards Ogden

A dull gloomy day with drizzle and slight rain and visibility very poor especially to the east, very little breeze.
Had to go back to work at lunchtime in the car so took the advantage of a quick 15 minute dash to Soil Hill to check out the western hillside from the Ned Hill track.
No signs of Wheatear or Ring Ouzel but the place was crawling with Meadow Pipits which all looked fresh in the way they were feeding together. Around 70 were in the well grazed goose field and several others were scattered along the wall tops.
Three Alba Wagtails went over >NW but visibility was too poor for sky watching.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Queensbury Today

A quiet day today around the village with very little sky activity other than a small number of early morning Meadow Pipits over >NW and 2 Alba Wagtails moving >NE.
Wheatears seem to still be thin on the ground but Ring Ouzels are starting to come through earlier than usual,DJS, Calderbirds.
The Foxhill BH and Common gulls have now moved off to their breeding grounds.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


1615-1815hrs cool N>3  Sunshine.
High hopes of another Wheatear, Swallow or moving Osprey but not to be on all counts although DCB had 3 Wheatear at this site earlier in the day.
Curlew were showing in good numbers over the water moving from the fields to roost and several Goldeneye were on the water.

32 Curlew
5 Goldeneye
11 Goosander
3 LBB gulls >N
1 Redshank
1 Stock Dove
usual Canadas and Mallard.

Fly Flatts/Cold Edge Dams

Good to bump into a fledgling birder
nephew Nigel and his son Daniel, much needed young blood

                               C.E.D. Oystercatcher managing well with only one leg.

A cold start to the morning at Fly Flatts with mist and a cold SE>4 keeping birds down. Two Twite were at the feeding station and a Snipe was flushed by the car. Still no sign of Wheatear but the morning perked up when a pair of Shoveler appeared through the mist and flew overhead and off SE. Judging by the height of the birds I dont think that they came off the water.

Cold Edge was a little better weather wise and bird wise although I got there a little late and dog walkers were letting their dogs run along the shoreline. 1 Little Ringed Plover was flushed and flew off towards Oxenhope and 2 Redshank flew to the lower dam.
The Little Grebe was still showing on the small dam and at last a cracking male Wheatear was in the field near the boathouse landing briefly on the wall then disappearing never to be seen again.
Several frogs were spawning at both sites hence the number of Herons around.

2 Twite
1 Redshank
6 Red Grouse
4 Golden Plover
1 Snipe
4 Heron
+ usual sp.

3 Heron
2 Redshank
2 Oystercatchers
1m Wheatear
1 Little Grebe
+ usual sp.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Queensbury Today

Chaffinch, a rare bird for north QueensburyPosted by Picasa

A cold dull day with full cloud cover but remaining dry despite black clouds.

Very little movement other than a few Meadow Pipits over >NW early this morning and 16 Woodpigeons >N.
A near miss with the Whooper Swans this a.m. reported over Southowram( see Calderbirds), unfortunately these birds were heading >N so will have passed to the west of the village.
Shelf Moor tonight held 4 Canada Geese, 2 Mallard and a single Moorhen on the pond and after a sudden stop in the car and grabbing of the camera the suspected Whooper Swan in the field turned out to be a large piece of white plastic blowing on a barbed wire fence.
Hopefully tomorrow will produce me Wheatear and LRP but who knows ?
Note to DJS, got the Trill out in the garden today so say goodbye to your Tree Sparrow, it,ll be heading for Queensbury now!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Queensbury Today

Chaffinch nest building behind the house.
Jackdaws annual attempt to nest.
A mild but greyer day with very little sunshine and mist in the distance. By late pm a cold wind was blowing from the N>3.
Nothing much happening in the area today other than a pair of Chaffinch are nest building near the back of our house which is unusual for this altitude and the Chaffinch is a very rare visitor in the area, one in the garden would be a mega tick.
The other item of note and just as rare for Queensbury is a pair of Jackdaws attempting to nest under a chimney pot stone, seen on the right of the photo. This happens every year with noisy Jackdaws trying to get under the stone and each year the attempt has been abandoned. Jackdaws are rare in most parts of Queensbury other than the roosting birds congregating and flying over the village morning and night. Its only in the last 30 years that Jackdaws could even be seen over the village. When I started birding 40 odd years ago a Jackdaw was a mega tick for the area but we did have Yellowhammers singing from the wires so that made up for it.
Target birds for the weekend, Wheatear, Swallow, L.R.P. would like to say Osprey but thats like wanting to win the lottery.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Queensbury Today

Another mild spring day although much cloudier than yesterday. Visibility was poor at a distance with hazy mist, especially to the east.
No time for the Dailies today  but I dont think anything was missed going by lunchtimes sightings from Foxhill.
The only movers today were Woodpigeons with a steady flow >NE at midday with around 60 counted.
Three Pied Wagtails were near the top of the park, again all males, where are all the females ?
Four Meadow Pipits flew over and went down in fields by Fleet Lane and a Skylark was again singing from the direction of Old Guy Rd.
Still no Wheatears on Soil Hill according to NK , it,ll be strange if I get a Swallow before a Wheatear although I remember the strange sighting of Swallows flying over snow covered fields a few year back in early April.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Raptors and Butterflies

Peacock butterflies on the move
These specks were small tortoiseshells flying past
A touch of spring

A glorious spring like day with wall to wall sunshine and very little breeze.
Fifteen minutes at the top of the Dailies found first a Buzzard moving >N closely followed by a Sparrowhawk also >N both in moving mode out to the east above Clayton where the sky had a hazy cast. Luckily Id taken my faithful bins instead of the compacts otherwise they would otherwise have been missed.
A suprise to see butterflies moving >N with up to 30 small tortoiseshells going over, some at height and 9 Peacock butterflies also moving >N but much slower and low down often settling briefly before moving on again, hence the blurred photo, the beggers wouldnt keep still.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Double dash day

Sunset over Ovenden Moor
Last sun, Withins Gap
Heather burning , east from the Dailies

A cracking day with clear blue skies, sunshine and a slight NNW>3.
Took advantage of the weather today although I found that good weather for birders is not good weather for birds.
Dash 1.
Lunchtime and just 10 minutes to spare to sky watch from the top of the Dailies, target birds :- yellow billed Swans and Osprey, may as well set the target high. Neither of course developed and the skies remained empty other than the usual corvids and Magpies. One good sighting was the return of the breeding Linnets to the gorse area with several flitting about and some in song.

11 Linnet
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Meadow Pipits
+ usual sp.

Dash 2
Tea rushed down , dogs harnessed up and head for the west slope of Soil Hill via Ned Hill entrance. Target birds, Osprey and Wheatear, didnt really expect an Osprey but thought Wheatear was nailed on. Again neither developed but well worth the effort if only to watch the sunset behind the wind turbines.
An unusual sighting of a Red Grouse flushed from the heather which I suspected was around that area on Sunday, and this was closely followed by a cock Pheasant.
Most of Sundays Mipits had moved on leaving a few behind and 2 Skylarks were in the grass.
At least we know that Wheatear are in the area , see Calderbirds, so hopefully the fall will happen for the weekend.

16 Meadow Pipit
2 Linnet
1 Red Grouse
1 cock Pheasant
+ usual sp.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Queensbury Today

A bright start to the day but cloudy by mid afternoon. Now staying light till 1845hrs and the clocks go forward this weekend.

A steady flow of Meadow Pipits over today all >NW but in small groups of twos and threes.
Two Pied Wagtails came over >W this pm closely followed by 3 Skylark going in the same direction.
All the gulls seem to have left the park now and the House Sparrows are busy nest building again in the ivy in the garden.
First report of an Osprey through the area today( Calderbirds) so its time to get the fish paste sandwiches made and up on the garage roof to attract them over!
Hope DJS and eagle eyed Jen are on form this year to bag us one or two. Its about 5 years now since my last bird.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Murky Soil Hill

Thought with the strong SW>5 and the mist and drizzle there was sure to have been a Wheatear or two dropped on Soil Hill but after an extensive search of the whole of the hill, end to end and top to bottom I can safely say there are none. The track from Ned hill and the western hillside was alive with Meadow Pipits which encouraged me even more but I had to go away disillusioned.
At least it saved Keith Moir putting his boots on as he pulled up just as I was leaving and on hearing the outcome he headed off to another venue.
Its down to you now Nigel to get one during the week!

c200 Meadow Pipit
2 Grey Partridge
5 Skylark
1pr Reed Bunting
1 Kestrel
c 300 corvids, 60% being Jackdaws

Cold Edge Dams

Oystercatchers on the shoreline
Geese Galore

Cold Edge Dams 0945 1030hrs
Drizzle and strong SW>5

Quiet on the water but nice to see the shoreline attracting the waders with several Lapwings, a Curlew and 2 Oystercatchers present.

68 Canadas
11 Greylag
8 Lapwing
6 Curlew
2 Red Grouse
2 Oystercatchers
5 Mallard
sev Meadow Pipits
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Fly Flatts

Canadas back on the moor
Red Grouse in breeding plumage
Rain heading my way

Fly Flatts 0800-0930hrs

A rapidly deteriorating morning from bright and breezy to near gale force SW>6 and driving rain by 0900hrs then fogged out, just normal sunday morning stuff.
The moor is back in full swing not with Curlews established along with Meadow Pipits and a single Redshank. Couldnt find a Wheatear but there again it took me all my time to find the footpath on the walk back in the horizontal drizzle.

19 Canadas
11 Curlew
1 Redshank
4 Red Grouse
Sev Mipits
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby Talk

The wife finds it funny when Im left holding the baby. Our Lucy.
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Skylarks moving in

A bright morning and cloudy afternoon with very little breeze.
A quick pm 15 minute watch at Shelf Moor found several Skylarks moving over >NW with some settled in the fields. At least 6 Meadow Pipits were in the gorse bush field seeming to be fresh in.
A small flock of Canadas came over >SE possibly moving to a local roost and tonight hospital visiting at Bradford Royal Infirmary a Tawny Owl was calling in the grounds.
Will be popping out in the morning to get me a Wheatear !

Friday, March 18, 2011

Queensbury Today

Jackdaws, once rare in the area and now a common sight.
A bright clear day with a cool >WNW 3 but warm in the sunshine.
Limited time at midday so had to make do with a scan around from Foxhill park which produced very little.
Several Woodpigeons were moving >N, around 80, and 11 Lapwings were heading >NW possible heading for Oxenhope.
A couple of Pied Wagtails were on the top pitch, both being males and 2 Mallard flew >N towards Raggalds flood.
A flock of 8 House Sparrows have taken up residence in the Clematis behind the garage possibly with a view to nesting there for the first time. Otherwise Robin, Blackbird and Dunnock are busy nest building in the conifers.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fog gone.... To the Dailies

The Gorse area
Looking up the hillside

A foggy start but clear and bright till midday then a cloudy pm with light rain near tea time.

Visibility was poor from the Dailies with mist to the far east and a light westerly starting to pick up.
Nothing in the skies and a good scan of the walls failed to produce Wheatear although I did get a bonus with a male Stonechat some distance away on one of the dry stone walls. Several Chaffinch were present but the early returning Linnets have now moved on and should be replaced shortly with the annual breeders.
Grey Partridge were calling down near the station and the usual mob of Magpies were squabbling in the hawthorns.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Dailies dash today

Staring into the mist

Starlings in the fog.

Another full day of dense fog in Queensbury aborting any thoughts of a dinner time dash to the Dailies.
Other than feeding Starlings and House Sparrows nothing else was seen. A visit to the garage from NK today found him climbing the walls with withdrawal symptoms at not being able to get out.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pinkies on the move

Foxhill, the story today, all day.
A grim day today with hardly a breath of wind but dense fog from morning till night.

On the bright side, one of the dogs went out in the garden at 2115hrs yesterday evening and suddenly stopped dead looking skyward with its head moving side to side listening. From the kitchen I could hear what I thought were dogs at the nearby kennels but when I went out I had a skien of Pink Footed Geese going overhead >NW. I could just make out the shapes of the edge of the skein as they flew passed clouds lit up with the moon but couldnt even start to estimate how many there were.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

LBBs on the move

A couple of depressing cars in at work today but I suppose
Im better under them than in the back!

A typical Monday morning with wall to wall sunshine , blue skies and very little breeze.
Nothing of note in the skies till after midday when LBB gulls were noticed trickling over all >NE. A total of 23 singles were counted till last light but these were only casual observations, its not easy counting gulls when you,re underneath a hearse.
Three Pied Wagtails were in Foxhill park at lunch time and 2 Meadow Pipits went over >NW.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011


Curlews coming in
Golden Plover in the fields
Lapwings on the shoreline

Oxenhope 1515-1715hrs Slight WNW>3 Clear blue skies and sunshine

A beautiful afternoon in contrast to this mornings washout but even in the calm conditions the skies were empty other than the usual roosting species . Golden Plover were back on the moor and as we left 2 Pied Wagtails came in and 3 more as I was unlocking the gate.
A good scan of the walls for Wheatear proved fruitless although one was reported today from Skipton,(GH).

18 Golden Plover
1pr Goldeneye
6 Goosander
43 Lapwing
8 Canada Geese
5 Pied Wagtail
1 Sparrowhawk
1 cock pheasant
1 group of 15 Curlew + several others in surrounding fields. approx 40+
8 Mallard
1 Hare
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