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, January 31, 2013

Gusty Queensbury.

A mainly dry day but winds reaching gale to near severe gale W>8 gusting >9 at Foxhill midday with a enormous flash of lightening and crack of thunder around 1700hrs.
Took the dogs over the Mountain this evening to find the wind has dropped considerably but forecast over the weekend.
Watch for those tree branches at the moment as many have been broken by the recent weight of snow and are wedged in position but now being shook loose with the wind.
A Queensbury walker took a trip around St Ives wood, Bingley yesterday and one of the unfortunate ladies in the party got twotted on the head with a falling branch and ended up leaving St Ives courtesy of an ambulance, luckily nothing serious.
Nothing exciting on the bird scene today other than 7 Redwings going into trees at the top of Station Rd p.m. possible the same birds as seen today by NK.
At least the dreaded January is out now so another 2-3 weeks and anything could happen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Queensbury Tawny Owl

                                        Spot the Tawny
                                    Keeping in out of the wind and rain
                                    Took some finding today

A blustery day with a howling gale and heavy rain , sleet and snow showers pm.
In desperation for my daily update for the blog I called at the local Tawny Owl site at lunchtime to see if the bird had returned after the spell of severe weather. After a bit of searching and knowing roughly where it favours in bad conditioned I finally located it deep in the foliage. No way was it going to let me get a decent shot of it as it kept tucked well in to the trunk whilst the tree swayed in the wind.
At least I know it survived the cold spell and returned back to its favourite roost.
Otherwise things are still quiet but hopefully this wind will move the birds around.
With one or two Slavonian Grebes around, see Calderbirds and Birdbrain, theres always a chance of one at Ogden or Fly Flatts.
Fly Flatts has had 3 records in previous years but always summer/ autumn birds , these being
August 1942,  August 1950 and October 1958 and the last sighting for this area was Ogden 10/01/1997 DJS.
These references were taken, thanks to NCDs book,The Birds of Halifax. and Vertebrate Fauna of the Halifax Parish, by the Halifax Scientific Society.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Queensbury Today

Another deteriorating day with a bright start then strong SW>5-6 increasing >7 with heavy rain after midday and on into the evening , the wind reaching near gale force at one point.
Lunchtime in Foxhill park found the usual Common and Black Headed gulls in small numbers, usually by this time of year there is up to 70 gulls but this year so far has peaked at 28.
Two Redwings flew from the Cotoneaster berries where the Waxwings were recently and several Feral pigeons were raiding bird tables.
A flock of 32 House Sparrows , 2 Dunnocks and a Blackbird were feeding in the front garden and so far this year, no sign of the local Sparrowhawks.
Well done to NK for getting up Soil Hill in horrendous conditions and discovering 2 Golden Plover back on the summit after a long absence , see Birdbrain blog.
Nigel called in the garage on his way home today looking like something the cat dragged in, soaked to the skin but a smile  on his face at finding the Goldies, dedication or what !

Monday, January 28, 2013

Not a good day in Queensbury.

                              A good clear sky first light

                                          Oddball gull back in Foxhill

A beautiful sky early morning but short lived to be replaced with grey skies mid a.m. then strong SSW>5 winds and heavy rain by midday lasting on into the evening.
Plenty corvid and small gull movement until the weather broke leaving empty skies. Foxhill park held 15 Common gulls and 8 Black Headed at lunchtime including the small oddball Common gull.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just one of those birding days. Oats Royd

                                                  The Gulf
                                                Good move of Common gulls.

With a strong W>5 and still plenty snow I decided to give Soil Hill a miss so with limited daylight left it was back to Oats Royd to try get some Siskin snaps which I missed yesterday.
Arrived at 1515hrs with blue sky and sunshine but, as with Ogden, the icy cold westerly wind was keeping the birds down.
Yesterday the trees were alive but today only a few Chaffinch and Gt Tits could be found skulking about in the undergrowth. A scramble about in the thick Pine forest failed to locate me a Woodcock, its amazing how dry and sheltered it is in there with a soft carpet of pine needles.
Didnt manage any big gull movement today but there was an obvious passage of Common gulls all >NW and very high.
So all in all, not a great days birding but always good to get out there with the hopes of something turning up and getting out is the only way of finding something,

Birding at its worst, Ogden

                                        m Goosander

                                    1 Goosander, 2 Goldeneye
                                          m Goldeneye

Horrendous conditions at Ogden from first light with torrential rain sleet and snow driven by a strong WNW>5 and walking treacherous in ankle deep sludge. By 0930hrs short periods of sun showed but wave after wave of heavy showers kept driving through.
Unbelievably not a single passerine showed around the reservoir perimeter with just 2 Gt Tits on the feeders.
Just as I thought all was lost I got to the NW corner to find a male Goosander, ( a rarity for here,) along with 2 male Goldeneyes so the morning was saved once again.
Birders that read this blog from further away areas must be gobsmacked to think 1 Goosander and 2 Goldeneye make a decent mornings birding here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oats Royd

                                                                f. Chaffinch
                                                     f. Bullfinch
                                        m. Bullfinch
                                    Halifax from the top of the Gulf.
             Entrance to Oats Royd from the top of the Gulf

After heavy overnight snow most local places are  inaccessible and with the time at 1500hrs Oats Royd was the nearest venue.
On arrival there was a lot of disturbance in the bottom with sledges and dog walkers so I trudged through the knee deep snow to the top of the Gulf where several birds were active in the Alders and conifers with Bullfinch, Siskin, Chaffinch and Blackbirds but a walk through the plantation proved negative on the target bird, Woodcock.
The bottom edge of the Gulf was alive with tit flocks moving through the trees in wave after wave , sometimes with Siskin and Chaffinch mixed in with them but very mobile.
Just had one chance of a cracking shot of a f Siskin but had knocked the camera setting round a notch so just a blur.
At 1630, last light, Fieldfare and Redwings were dropping out of the sky into the Holly bushes to roost so quite an interesting hour. There must be Brambling and Crossbill at this location.

3pr Bullfinch
9 Siskin
11 Blackbirds
3 Greenfinch
sev Chaffinch, Fieldfare and Redwing
3 Herring gulls.................>W
19 LBBs........................>NW
Sev Gt Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Looking on into February

Pics from February 2012

                                    Still 4 Snow Buntings on Soil Hill

                        Great Black Backed Gull over Fly Flatts

                                   Snow Bunt that nearly got away
                            Mixenden white Crow
                                   Pair of Goldeneye on Ogden

                                          Buzzard over Foxhill park.

                                            Back Lane Crossbills

With February just around the corner I looked back to see what was around in 2012 and what to expect.
Gulls were the main issue with movements of big gulls throughout the month including a GBB over Fly Flatts and several Herring gull with 18 counted in one hour at Back Lane >W.
Four Snow Buntings were still present on Soil Hill but so far this year we,ve only had short term passes.
 whilst a flock of 18 Linnet were present.
Fieldfares were on the move >NE with flocks of c 300 and c 400 over Fly Flatts and Soil Hill with smaller groups of Redwings.
Crossbills were being seen regular at Back Lane along with Siskin.
A pair of Glodeneye were on Ogden and otherwise it was just normal run of the mill stuff.

Just the norm about today apart from a small flock of 5 small passerines circling over the garage which had me going a bit till they briefly touched down in the conifers to see they were Goldfinch, an unusual bird for this location.
A thaw starting up here this evening despite light snow flurries with a strong wind picking up.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Queensbury today

                                 Hungry BHGs waiting for their next meal

          Nobody can accuse the con club of serving warm beer

A slight thaw today but slow with temperatures up a couple of degrees.
A nice suprise at work when we actually started getting water out of the taps after a week of being frozen up.
Plenty Common and Black Headed gulls around but sticking to the garden areas waiting for food to be thrown for them, otherwise all quiet. The big thaw forecast for this weekend after more snow tomorrow with strong to gale force winds and heavy rain for Sunday, nothing new there then. Hopefully the cold spell will have shuffled things around a bit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A newcomer for Foxhill and more wayward Wrens

                  A welcome newcomer to Foxhill park

      May seem common to most but not up here.

  The first sighting, this looks like something different I thought!
             More Wrens getting desperate and daring

A degree warmer today but still no thaw, looks like we,ll have to wait for the weekend for that.
Usual sp. about but lunchtime in the park saw 2 interesting passerines from a distance which turned out to be a pair of Greenfinch which is pretty rare up here at Foxhill, it just shows how the weather is stirring things about.
Wrens seem to be suffering with 2 more seen today out in the open, these being up Chapel Lane, one pecking in the gutter at the roadside. Another couple of days and they should have made it through ok.
A report today from a customer of a Woodcock at the top of the Dailie fields under the high wall, my bogey bird strikes again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Queensbury today, plenty sunshine, no thaw.

                      No shortage of House Sparrows in Queensbury
                         Common gull in the blue sky                  


                            Same young Blackbird apple picking
                                    Trees around Foxhill park.

No more snow today and a glorious afternoon with blue skies and sunshine but despite that no sign of a thaw took place.
Just got in with the dogs and its foggy with a slight thaw from the trees and rooftops but freezing as it hits the ground.
Again just the usual resident feeders  with 28 House Sparrows in the front garden along with the usual Blackbird after the apples.  Two Collared Doves are new to the area and are moving around Foxhill feeding.
Mid afternoon today the resident garage car park Wren flew inside the workshop , flew round a couple of laps and landed on the tyre machine but by the time id shot to the office for the camera it had gone.
Every winter when its bad it makes 1 visit, sometimes going up into the corners after the cobwebs.

Monday, January 21, 2013

More winter scenes

                                       New Park Rd to Chapel Lane
                                         Chapel Lane

                                   Arriving at work

                                         Chapel Lane top
              Ogden yesterday, frozen overflow
                                         Water ice free
                                Dipper area clear

                                       Winter woolies.

A shock awakening this morning as I opened the door and got a drift dropping into the kitchen.
Had to shovel the garden before the dogs could get out and no dinner time walk, its not easy when the snow is drifted 2ft deep and your legs are only 4 inch long.
Plenty small gulls about feeding and the young Blackbird was at the apples again all day.
Nigel called in the garage on passing to report 2 Redwing over just after midday, strange, he was,nt going to Soil Hill for some reason.
A hard time for the birds just now, hope all those feeders are well stocked up and water thawed.