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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mixenden res and a tour of the Queensbury fields.

                                       Lapwings keeping spread around
                                                   Always plenty Starling
                                    Restless Lapwings
  Golden Plover in the background
  Out of camera range, 3 fields away in heavy rain.
                           1 Goldie amongst 98 Lapwing.
                                          Heading off to roost

By late afternoon the snow was gone but the wind had increased to SW>5 with horizontal drizzle turning to heavy rain .
Mixenden reservoir had poor visibility due to low lying scud and drizzle blowing across the water so a quick visit revealed 11 Common gull, 34 Black Headed gull and a female Goldeneye being hard to see out in the centre in the high waves.
A count up of Lapwings around the Queensbury fields produced,
74 down the Bonnet along with c 100 Starling
61 in fields along Deep Lane along with a few small gulls
15 on the Pit Lane football pitch along with c 150 Starling
4 down Old Guy Road
98 At Shelf Moor along with, surprisingly , 1 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Wagtail and 2 Chaffinch.

Snow, Sleet, Rain and Fog, Otherwise good conditions. Ogden

                                Lapwings looking miserable in the snow

With fog on the hills it was down to Ogden which was just below the cloud base but a mix of rain, sleet and snow.
As expected all was quiet with providing me with just a Grey Wagtail plus the usual small gulls and Mallards. All the feeders were empty so no passerines around that area.
No sign of Dipper or Kingfisher and didnt walk around the reservoir path which was deep in mud and Ollie had just had his £35 make over yesterday so I dare,nt take him back muddied up.
68 Lapwing and around 50 Starling were in their usual field down the Bonnet but no Goldies and unable to check the Queensbury fields for fog.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Keeping up with modern technology.

Apologies for anyone who has had duplicate comments from me on their blog lately.
For the last 2 weeks I have been trying to come to terms with a new i phone, I think thats what they call it, which does everything except what you want it to do.
I was quite happy with my 15 year old Nokia push button, even though you could hardly seen the screen for scratches, but with pressure from Lynda and the daughters off I went into the 02 shop to check things out and reluctantly came out with a new set up and only costing me about a fiver  a month more on my contract.
Lynda calls them a slidy slidy phone with is not compatible to motor mechanics fingers either sliding it too fast or trying to stop it on someones number and dialing someone else.
The good news is I sorted how to do the grapevine straight away with it which was the most important thing.
The salesman in the 02 shop asked to see my old phone with regards to updating it and when he,d stopped laughing asked if it was a collectors item.
He told me these new phones are marvellous , they can even tell you where you,ve been during the day and put it on a map for you to which I replied, "but I know where I,ve been, why do I have to look on my phone to see that". He,d no answer to that other than he thought, I,ve got a nutter here.
Anyway, its a 2 year contract so by that time I may have got used to it.
The handy thing is I can check the blogs and e mails at work instead of waiting for the evening session on the laptop so until I suss it you may get 2 comments each.
So thats another move forward that I said I,d never do the same as CB radio for birding contacts and then computers which I said would never catch on.
I must admit, against my Victor Meldrew opinions, that  modern technology has opened a whole new world on the birding scene. When I started ,and for many years after, if you found a mega you had to leave the area and dash around trying to find a phone box that worked , always  keeping tuppence in your pocket for the call, and when you had alerted the cavalry and returned to the site you had lost the bird.
You will have probably realized after reading all that garbage that I did,nt get out birding today due to a howling snow blizzard as we got back from town which lasted over 1 hour until near dark leaving us with a good covering and treacherous roads. See what happens in the morning.

Friday, January 29, 2016

And how she blew !

A terrible morning after overnight gales which sounded as if the house was about to blow away. The strong wind, W>6-7 and heavy horizontal rain continued until just after midday when the sky brightened leaving a clear afternoon with rain returning by last light. Good to see it light until almost 1700 hrs today.
Bird life was poor in the conditions though several Common gulls were up in the afternoon making the best of the lull in the weather. 18 were in Foxhill park all crouched down facing the wind along with a single Pied Wagtail which was unusual in that area.
A dash to the top of the Dailie fields at lunch time found several Goldfinch and Chaffinch in the Hawthorns and around 8 Redwing down in the station.
A real shortage of Fieldfare around this area all winter.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Checking the fields.

A cracking morning with blue skies and plenty sunshine but as my dinner hour approached so did the black clouds and by dog walking time the wind had increased and rain started to fall.
A dinner time dash around the local fields failed to find the Goldie or Lapwing flock and produced little of interest although to be fair time was limited and I could only do the north end of the village.

Pit Lane
9 Lapwing
c 50 Starling

Raggalds Flood
8 Common gull
11 BH gull
1pr Mallard

Sandal Farm fields
2 Lapwing
c 100 Starling

Deep Lane
14 Redwing
2 Greenfinch in Alders
Sev Corvids

Old Guy Rd
2 Skylark
1 Mistle thrush
Sev small gulls

Roper Lane
2 Canada Geese
1 Heron
Sev LBB gulls heading >NW through the col.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

February on its way, Fly Flatts season

With January out of the way this weekend and February waiting in the wings the Fly Flatts season is about to begin.
February is the time when Curlew slowly begin to return to the moor along with Golden Plover, Snipe and Redshank. It can be a terrible place to visit during February and March with the icy cold wind blasting across the moor with no shelter for the poor birder, usually me, but a hint of spring can usually be picked up with an early Curlew call, the piping of a Redshank and drumming of Snipe beginning to display.
Its a time of cross over when winter birds are leaving and summer birds are moving in. I,ve had Whooper Swans and Pink Footed Geese on their way out and Curlew and Wheatear on the way in on the same day.
Winter thrushes can be seen heading north whilst flocks of Golden Plover along with Canada and Greylag geese return.
February into March is one of those interesting months when you can never predict just what you,re going to see but usually well worth the effort to get geared up and pay it a visit.

Here are just some of the birds you can be expected to see but be warned, several visits can provide you with a bird less trip as DJS will back me up on, but stick at it and you will get rewarded.

                       Always present, Red Grouse
                     Sound of summer  Curlew
              Shelduck,  Not easy to come across

                          Always good to find your first Wheatear
                     Common Sandpiper  can arrive in good numbers
                                          Common Sandpiper
                                                 Greylag goose breed as well as Canadas
                                  The odd ball goose can turn up.
                                        Oystercatcher, a well known call
                                                  Redshank, usually very timid

                         Snipe, more often seen in flight
                                             Curlews fly overhead
  Lesser Black Backed gulls are always on the lookout for eggs
  You may be lucky and spot a Short Eared Owl

                         Amazing to see a Buzzard fly over

                                                   common Sandpiper
                                                  Fly Flatts on a bad day
                                        Fly Flatts on a good day

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One of those, time to get decorating weeks.

Wild and wet was the story in Queensbury today with it peaking at lunchtime where the wind was up to gale force SW>8 with winds in excess of 40 mph making it a difficult dog walk at dinner time being hard to keep upright. Its ok for the dogs under the shelter of the wall but I was getting the full drenching.
By this evenings dog walk the wind had calmed down but the rain still lashed down.
Needless to say, nothing seen on the bird scene today other than the resident stuff around the bird feeders.
An e mail from blog watcher Delia yesterday reporting a Goldcrest in her Queensbury garden led us on to mention the Queensbury white crow. Today she sent me a pic of the Mixenden bird taken in 2008, does anyone have any records of this bird earlier than that. I have records going back over 20 years of the Queensbury crow.
Apparently there are several white crows around the Gargrave area where Delia used to live. Thanks for the info Delia.

             Mixenden white crow taken at Mount Zion 2008
                                          Photo courtesy Delia Fawcett.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Queensbury Monday ,Bright start, poor finish

                                     First light this morning
                      Breaking up by 0815 hrs
                                          Troubled skies

A bright start to Monday morning but short lived with troubled skies turning cloudy on a brisk  SSW> 5 but remaining dry until mid afternoon. By last light there was heavy rain and increasing wind strength.
Pink Footed geese seem to be getting restless now with another skein reported today by DJS, again over Swalesmoor heading >W.
The spell of mild weather is getting several birds up and singing with Robin, Dunnock and Wren around the garage claiming territory whilst a customer reported a Mistle Thrush nest building in his garden where it nests annually.
28 Common gulls on Foxhill park mid day and still large Starling flocks moving around the village.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

All or Nowt !!

                               Buzzards on the move
                                   Not the best of pics in fading light.

        Then along came the supporting act
                         65 Pink Footed Geese >W

A check up Ringby late afternoon was poor other than gulls and corvids so a quick tour of Swalesmoor and Shibden, Slack Top.
First bird was a Buzzard high up in the darkening sky which was then joined by 2 other Buzzards soaring round as they slowly drifted >S.
As I was waiting for the 3 to close in for a photo of the 3 together I was interrupted with the magical call of Pink Footed geese which appeared from the direction of Northowram and heading west over Black Dyke Mill.
By the time I,d got messages out and snapped the geese the Buzzards had disappeared.
What a hectic half hour.

Leeshaw Reservoir

  Cormorant already in breeding plumage with white spot
                                          and head

As expected this morning with temperatures up to 11 deg at 0800 hrs down came the fog with a bank of low cloud right across the high ground which put Fly Flatts out of the running.
On then to Oxenhope with a quick check of Lower Laithe where there was 1 pr Goosander and several small gulls.
No Goldies back at Upper Marsh as yet so on to Leeshaw.
Leeshaw was just below the cloud base but very dark and damp so the camera had to take a back seat after a few shots resulting in blurred images.
The area was lively but only with the usual species and very quiet on the water.
4 Cormorants were present, one of which was already showing breeding plumage with white spot and head markings.

4 Cormorant
4 Stock dove
2 Heron
2 Mistle Thrush
Sev Redwings
5 Fieldfare
c150 small gulls
4 Herring gull........>SW
2 LBB gull...........>SW
1pr Mallard
2 Greylag geese
4 Canada geese