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, October 31, 2013

Queensbury, Woodpigs, Wagtails and Fieldfares

                                       Woodpigeons heading >S

An ideal vis mig morning with a slight damp haze and calm with a good grey sky.
Woodpigeons were the first over all >S in good flocks of around 50 up to 100 flying directly over the village.
Meadow Pipits were moving all morning but only in twos and threes also >S whilst 2 seperate groups of 4 and 6 Alba Wagtails went in the same direction along with 2 Skylark.
The Woodpigs had fizzled out by 0830hrs when Fieldfare began to come over in some massive flocks of 100+ again over the village High Street >S with the last flock being noted at 1000hrs .
These had the jizz of new in birds flying very high and slow, unlike Fieldfares earlier in the week coming over low and fast.
A report today from Ken Jarvis of the Shelf Moor winter Lapwing flock increasing with c 100 birds this afternoon in Tracys field by the trailer park, thanks for the call Ken.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Queensbury Tawny Owl back at roost

                                         Tawny Owl, well hidden

                             Could,nt resist peeping out

               Was,nt easy to find,  Centre of pic

A bright breezy day with several threats of rain which did,nt develop until after dark.
Meadow Pipits and Woodpigeons came over >S in good numbers from first light but fizzled out by 0900hrs.
Just as I,d mentioned about the Queensbury Tawny Owls being seen but not yet returned to their roost on last nights blog the owner of the garden called in at work this morning excited because one had returned.
Lunchtime, after a dog walk up the park, which was all quiet, it was a quick visit to the garden to find the owl. The wind was blowing quite strong although the sun was out so I knew it would be well tucked into the tree to shelter.
After 10 minutes search and rapidly running out of dinner hour I was about to give up when I spotted it tucked in behind the leaves in a near impossible place to get a photograph, especially as the leaves were wafting about in the breeze and the camera was focusing on anything but the bird.
Luckily it edged out slightly to get into the sun so out of about 50 shots I managed to rescue a few.
Hopefully it will be joined with its mate soon and on a calmer ,sunny day I,ll get some better shots.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Queensbury, more Blackbirds

             Autumn in the Baptist graveyard
                     At least 11 Blackbirds here midday
                           The lawned area is most inviting for them
                                A carpet of leaves to forage in .

Another day of sunshine and showers with a strong W>6 decreasing to near calm by mid afternoon.
Several flocks of Fieldfare were moving over >S from first light until around 0830hrs but by the height and jizz these birds were probably birds already in and just re locating.
Foxhill park was ultra quiet at lunch time with even the gulls absent and nothing in the clear blue sky.
Several Blackbirds were moving around gardens by the park and a check in the Chapel Lane graveyard on the way back to work found an unusually high count of at least 11 male Blackbirds in the undergrowth which coincides with the high count at Ogden at the weekend.
Blackbirds are partial migrants moving south for the winter but mainly without leaving the British Isles with exception of southern birds where several cross the channel so the influx to our area could be birds from the north of the country or even northern europe birds from Scandinavia, Finland or Russia coming across with the other winter thrushes.
The local Queensbury Tawny Owls are being seen regular late evenings but have not yet returned to their regular roost.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Queensbury Today

                                          Foxhill Common Gulls

                                 Rainbows and dark clouds to the North
                            Blustery westerly , Foxhill school weather vane.

A day of sunshine and showers with a blustery westerly wind as todays storm swept past to the south of us.
Meadow pipits were moving well mid morning with several small groups passing overhead all >S, these probably now being late breeders or far northern birds this late in the season.
Foxhill park at lunch time held the usual Common and Black Headed gulls in small numbers and several Redwings were moving around the trees in surrounding gardens.

I,ve added a link to Meg Ghylls blog , a local pencil artist who is also interested in birds and nature in general ,and from her blog you can visit her website with galleries of her drawings, well worth a visit, her drawings are amazing.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Storm Force Soil Hill pm visit

                                             Flushed Common Snipe
                                         Entrance to Soil Hill
                                  Stone circle and ruined mistle.
                                         NW summit
                                       Hardy Mallards

After finishing family stuff it was 1500hrs leaving just over 1 hour of daylight or even less in the black cloud conditions so the nearest option was Soil Hill in hope of snapping a flushed Snipe or Jack Snipe, not an easy task and even worse in poor light.
Intermittent blue skies and heavy showers as I arrived with a howling WSW>6 , not the best conditions for trudging the hill.
Surprisingly several Meadow Pipits were present along with 7 Skylark and 6 Mallard whilst 14 LBB gulls battled the winds heading >S.
About one third of the summit trudged and the first Snipe up, a common , but dropped quickly down again over the west slope, result 10 blurred shots.
A bit further on and a second bird up, another common but during a lashing rain shower when the camera was being sheltered in the bag although it too moved so fast skimming the ground before dropping out of site, result, no shots.
The third bird came up during a break in the rain whilst the camera was on at the ready. Another common and again keeping low refusing to break the sky line so the camera was trying to focus on the vegetation in the background, result, 9 good vegetation shots with blurred Snipe in the foreground and one half decent Common Snipe, job done.
No sign of Jack Snipe and by now the wind had increased to a fearsome WSW>7-8 with torrential horizontal rain, time I was,nt here although by now I could,nt get any wetter.
Be interesting to see if the promised storm for tonight and tomorrow drops us any goodies in although for me its down to dinner time birding only during the week until the light nights return.

Ogden in the wind and rain

                                             A bright start

                                         From the gusty top view point

                              Unusually high number of Jays in the wood
                                       Fall of Blackbirds with 38 counted
                                 Chaffinch enjoying the berries

                      Nice adult winter Lesser Black Backed, Graellsii.

A blustery showery morning with little chance of vis mig so checked Ogden out for anything exotic on the water which there wasnt. A single Cormorant was being heavily mobbed with BH gulls whilst 2 Sparrowhawks were harassed with corvids.
The wood held an usual number of noisy Jays and Blackbirds were in every berry tree with a count of 38 just around the perimeter of the water, possible continentals.
Tit flocks were non existant probably well in the wood for shelter.
Nothing moving in the sky from the top watch point in the now increasing wind and heavy showers started to move in so it was up stumps and head for home.

A check of Raggalds Flood on the way back found 22 BH gulls and 5 Commons.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Queensbury, best vis mig morning this year. + Leeshaw

                    Swarms of Woodpigeons >S over Queensbury
                            Appearing through the mist

                                             Heading over the garage

                            Specks in the sky, Fieldfares >S

                                   Mistle Thrushes stopping off briefly

                    Cormorants common at Leeshaw
                    4 Distant Teal on the far banking
                                   Raggalds Flood back to its former glory.

The busiest vis mig morning this season over Queensbury with light mist and drizzle from first light clearing by 0830hrs.
Unfortunately working so all reports casual observations to and at work.
First over were masses of Woodpigeons from 0730- 1000hrs with near on 1000 being counted all >S, largest flock being 360 birds.
A slight lull around 1000hrs then Fieldfares came over in swarms >S with many Mistle Thrushes in with them along with a small number of Redwings, again all >S.
Strangely the Mistle thrushes seemed unable to keep up with the Fieldfares and many stopped on chimneys and aerials waiting for the next wave to come along when they would fly up and join them.
Several reports of skeins of Pinkies around on the Calderdale side but not seen in this area.
AC at Northowram , and other sites in Calderdale were equally as busy but didnt hear anything from Oxenhope so presumed it was quiet at that end.

Two hours at Leeshaw late afternoon expecting Pinkies either over or on the deck produced nothing other than 4 Teal on the far shore, 1 Cormorant and a few BHGs.

Good to see Raggalds flood full of water again, so hopefully it will start appearing on the blog reports soon.

Clocks back tonight so 1 hour extra birding daylight in the morning ( no, not 1 hour longer in bed , plenty time for sleeping when you,re dead ,as my old grandmother used to say ). Problem will be for the tea time session when it will be coming dark after 1600hrs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Queensbury, Possible Water Rail ?

A real mish mash of a day today with dense fog and heavy rain till midday then a brighter afternoon with one or two light showers until 1700hrs when the black clouds came over bringing with them thunder and lightening, which is unusual in October for Queensbury with our colder climate, then some of the heaviest rain that I,ve seen for a long time. Luckily I got a good view of it as I was walking home at the time, it,ll be a while before my clothes dry out.
Foxhill park at midday produded a few Meadow Pipits >S and 4 late Grey Wagtails also >S which was a bit of an unusual sighting.
A customer rang this p.m. reporting a very noisy bird at Oats Royd over lunch time down at the ponds and got a brief glimpse of a brown bird, Coot size run into the Bullrushes. From his explanation of the call it made and the description I can only put it as Water Rail .
I have had Water Rail down there many winters ago in the early days of the reserve.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Queensbury, good start poor finale.

                                 Plenty Common gulls >E

                                           Murky cloud to the east from Foxhill
                  Menwith Hill golf balls over Shipley Glen from Foxhill
                                       Foxhills look of autumn.

A bright start this morning with a good passage of movement in mainly small numbers but a good variety of species including, Skylarks, Blackbirds, Meadow Pipits, Green and Chaffinch, Fieldfare, Redwing and Wood Pigeon all >S.
Meadow Pipits were most numerous with over 100 counted to and at work, me not the Pipits.
Keeping in contact with DCB at Oxenhope warned me of a bank of fog heading towards Queensbury which soon arrived and blanked everything by 1015hrs and refused to clear until mid day when I was left with clear blue empty skies despite DCB getting several skeins of Pink Footed geese over the Aire Valley and reports of several geese over Manchester.
Common gulls were relocating today with a good count of 72 in Foxhill park first light and several moving >E throughout the day.