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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ogden, the day the luck ran out.

     Ollie reaches the Giants Tooth
      Was,nt impressed with the gale force wind up there
                           Nearly took off like Dumbo
            Kingfisher saved the day
               Both images taken with bridge 60 x.

An afternoon free so off to Ogden with the intentions of firstly checking the water and the circumference path before hiking up to the Giants Tooth to see what the Pine cone situation was with a view to visiting Crossbills.
The water was alive with Mallards with a rough count of 160 plus a few small gulls but nothing else out of the ordinary.
Passerines were none existent around the waterside path so it was the uphill trek next on the list heading for the Giants Tooth.
The pine cone situation , as with the Tree Pipit area, is very poor this year and other than a few on the last few trees before the summit there are not enough showing to tempt down a flock of Crossbills .
                                                                   Going by this, any decent numbers of Crossbills are probably going to be around the Back Lane plantation area unless they give our area a miss and head to Walshaw where there looks to be an excellent harvest of cones.
Up at the Giants Tooth the WNW>5-6 howled across near to gale force but luckily lower down near the water was more sheltered.
                                             Back at the waters edge a few LBB gulls had come in to bathe pre roost and the number of BH and Common gulls had risen.  The Kingfisher was in its usual spot which was the bird of the day. Unbelievably, a full circuit of the water plus a trek up to the Giants Tooth produced 1 Robin, 1 Blackbird, 2 Carrion crow and the Kingfisher. After yesterdays amazing count of passerines at Back Lane I think that must be where all the birds are at present.
                                                 Never the less it was good to get the time to give Ogden a thorough top to bottom search and at least I know now where the Ogden Crossbill hotspot will be if any and Im sure that Ogden will soon provide again this December.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ogden/ Back Lane Plantation.

    Back Lane, poor but record shots near dark just
   to show the amount of passerines buzzing around.

                                         Chaffinch and Brambling

  Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Siskin. Goldfinch.

Ogden   1445 hrs
A quick check of the water which only held the usual sp. so up to Back Lane plantation.

Back Lane plantation  1500 1550 hrs.
The area was heaving with pre roost birds very mobile flying around in large mixed groups before eventually dropping deep into the plantation.
The Pine cone harvest is poor this time on the western outer fringe of the plantation but enough to pull  in some Crossbills and with the amount of passerines showing in the area I,m sure we,ll get some local records . Till then they,ll have to be put on hold with Waxwings and Snow Buntings.
Estimated count
Mistle Thrush.............7
Little Owl...................2
Tawny Owl.................1  heard only

Monday, November 28, 2016

Herring gulls on the move.

A bright start to the morning with Herring gulls moving over >SW from first light with a count of around 53 by 0900 hrs when the move fizzled out.
1 Cormorant went over the garage >NE shortly followed by 9 Golden Plover in the same direction.
A quick check on Raggalds Flood and Pit Lane found 2pr Mallard and several small gulls on the flood and 210 Lapwing on the football pitch along with c200 Starling.
                                                  No late afternoon session when a 1300 hrs hospital appointment with Lynda saw us coming home after dark, you can only watch Goldfish swim around a tank for so long before it gets boring.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Soil Hill pm visit

                   Plenty LBB gulls on their way to roost

A cloudier visit to Soil Hill this afternoon, 1430-1530 hrs which improved visibility without that blinding sun in your eyes.
Two searches of both east and west summits, the track and the mounds produced next to nothing, one of the quietest sessions yet. The only ground bird was a single Common Snipe with no sightings of the Jack Snipe for a couple of weeks now showing it must have moved on.
Stonechat, Mipits and Skylark were all noticeable by their absence and the Nyger seed remained untouched.
The only sky moving birds were several LBBs heading for the Oxenhope roost and a pair of Magpies around the old mistle.
Not the best of Sundays birding but every poor day means you,re one nearer a good day and after the run I ve had at Ogden recently I can,t complain.

Ogden/ Raggalds Flood/ Corporal Hill etc

  Kingfisher present 0800 - 0930 hrs
              Just a few small gulls on Raggalds Flood

A later start at Ogden waiting for daylight so could,nt get started until 0800 hrs when it was just breaking light. The water was quiet so I broke my tradition of staying where I can see the water and a good expanse of sky by trekking up to the top of the west bank to the Tree Pipit area looking for Crossbills.  The pines up there have a very poor crop of cones this year so it unlikely that Crossbills will show in this area, maybe Back Lane will have a better crop.
                                            Several Goldcrests were up in the woods and a couple of Treecreepers but way too dark for photos.
Back at the water the Mallard count has got up to 143 plus some possibly missed under the edges. 121 was down in the bread lobbing corner until some irresponsible nugget put his dog over the wall by the overflow and whilst he walked across the prom the dog walked in the edge of the water coming out in the duck corner flushing everything. I shouted a bit of abuse at him but he did,nt seem bothered.
                                                      The Kingfisher was present in the usual spot throughout and it was nice to bump into walker, nature lover and photographer Doreen who was pleased when I showed her the Kingfisher and she got some pics. Hope they came out ok Doreen.
                                                           Back at the Raggalds Flood just a few small gulls were present whilst the Lapwing flock had moved away from Pit Lane with football being on.
As a last resort to save the morning I went around Shaw Lane/ Corporal Hill etc looking for NKs Parakeet but no joy. Just a few gulls , Redwings and Lapwings.
Oh well, have to wait for the tea time session now.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Soil Hill , the search goes on.

                        A gloomy cloud hangs in the valley over
 Calderdale, whilst the shooters continue to burn heather in the back ground.
                  Wainhouse Tower
      Emerley Moor mast reaching out of the gloom.
                               Interesting skies to the west.
                         Fieldfares heading for the Ogden roost.
             Interesting cloud formation , Ovenden Moor.

Soil Hill  1500 - 1600 hrs.
A calm, mild visit to the hill with a slight NE>2 and brilliant blue skies above with a thick band of cloud which has hung down in the valleys throughout the day.
A full 3 circuits of east and west summit, which was badly hampered by the blinding sun, discovered very little with 3 Meadow Pipits, 1 Mistle thrush, female Stonechat briefly around the nw corner along with a pair of Mallard.
Sky wise, a few mixed gulls headed for the Oxenhope roost, 1 Mistle Thrush high and >S and 23 Fieldfare over heading to roost at Ogden.
Otherwise , apart from some spectacular skies, that was it but once again it re assured me that we,re now missing anything up there plus the fact that I got 4 good bags of Nyjer seed down in selected areas, we can but try.
A call from NK reported yesterdays Ogden Wigeon moved on ,as expected,. with no shoreline for them to graze on.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Ogden production line continues.

            One for Nigel. I think this bird is stuffed
 and someone keeps moving it from the top
    rail to the bottom.!
                                A line up of Wigeons, 4 pair.

  1 of 2 BHGs with leg rings. another for Nigel

     2nd ringed BHG
                                   Left leg ring was worn smooth

Yet again Ogden shines with waterfowl producing 4 pr Teal and 4 Pr Wigeon.
As I arrived at 1330 hrs my first scan of the water produced 8 Teal central and towards the north end but as I approached passerine alley they lifted off and headed >NE partly hidden from my view by trees.
Thinking that was it I continued on when 9 ducks were spotted towards the NW corner. My first thoughts were the Teal had returned but a scan revealed Wigeon. I put out 9 on the grapevine later to find one was a female Mallard in with them so there was actually 8 comprising of 4 male and 4 female.
Getting pics was a nightmare with the low sun straight at me so it was a dash around to the west path only to find the group was now down near bread lobbing corner but still well out.
Off again down the west path and across the prom in time to see them heading north under the east banking.
A quick Kingfisher photo down in the sluice gates whilst I got my breath back then off again down the east track towards passerine alley where once again they had gone back into the middle of the water and right in the sun.
A waiting game now for the sun to go below the tree tops and hoping the ducks would move which eventually they did as they drifted towards the promenade end and more out of the sun although still well out.
I fired away with the camera before they turned and again headed to the north end accepting I,d have to make do with record shots as time was running out.
                                                            Back on the prom 2 BH gulls were sporting leg rings, possibly NKs birds.
An elderly gentleman with a pair of pre war bins around his neck came up to me to ask if there was anything about so I proudly pointed out the Wigeon which were now well to the northern end. After a squint through his bins he said " I cant see anything" so I quickly told him theres a Kingfisher just down behind us so dashing to the railings he looked and said " I cant see anything ", and of course when I looked it had gone. He wandered off thinking " That nutter is making things up".
Another great visit to Ogden.
Good to see the Ring Necked Parakeet is still around the Corporal Hill area. This bird was reported to me about a month ago and re located today by NK, see his blog for pics.

Footnote :-  Congratulations to Dave Sutcliffes Mum whose hit 101 today. Hope we,re still trekking up Soil Hill at that age Dave.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Soil Hill, last light check.

                      A snowy Ingleborough from Soil Hill

                                   Sunset from Soil Hill

                                                 Last light

With limited time today it was up to Soil Hill at 1445 hrs for a last hour before darkness to continue the Snow Bunt hunt.
A icy cold E>4 blew but visibility was good with the sun reflecting on the snow still covering Ingleborough. Good to bump into DJS up there with the same target bird as me but both dipped but went away happy that we had checked the area and reassured ourselves that there were none present.
                                           The cold wind was keeping the bird life down with just a couple of Meadow Pipits present and a few gulls overhead as well as a single male Blackbird going to roost in the plantation. It was 19th November last year when DJS turned a Snow Bunting up on the hill , the only winter bird found up there so hopefully this year will give some better results.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Queensbury Pinkies and Ogden visit.

A good start to the afternoon when I was dog walking in Foxhill park as a skein of about 120 Pink Footed geese came from the east direction heading high and >SW right over the top of me.
Then came the panic as I tried to get the camera out with 2 dogs on leads and the pup under my arm because she can,t go down yet till the injections kick in. By the time I was organized the geese had disappeared full into the sun with just the contact calls fading away.
I managed to get the first part of the afternoon today instead of late afternoon which turned out to be a nightmare. Ogden and good weather don,t mix with crowds of people there including 2 mini bus loads of noisy school kids doing a circuit of the water, bring back the rain.
                                                       As I passed the lady at the info centre she said " it seems to have done us good being on Country File," which is not what I was thinking.!
Seeing it was pointless walking around the water I just scanned from the prom finding 1f Wigeon at the north end along with a female Goosander.
The Kingfisher was again down on the rails then moved position right down to the bottom corner.
Around 50 small gulls were present and 7 LBBs.
                                                           A check on the Raggalds Flood  found 2pr Teal and 1pr Mallards whilst 30 minutes at the Roper Lane watch point produced 38 |Lapwing >NE , 3 Greylag geese >W and 7 Herring gulls >SW, plus the usual sp.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Another Ogden soaking

A glorious day with blue skies and sunshine in mild conditions, or that was until my birding time at 1445 hrs when the clouds moved in and the drizzle started.
By the time I arrived at Ogden the fog was down and horizontal heavy drizzle was blasting over the water on a freshening N>5 cutting visibility to half way across the water.
                                                             Around 150 small gulls were out near the centre making it impossible to sift through them in the conditions but from what I could see there was nothing special.
The usual Mallards were in the corner and a count of 28 Canadas which took off and headed towards Fly Flatts.
                A few Chaffinch and Goldfinch plus 3 Goldcrests and the Kingfisher which seems to be super glued to the usual railing down by the sluice gates.
Its looking promising for an earlier start tomorrow so hopefully the fog will keep away.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ogden p.m.

An horrendous day from start to finish with a strong E>5 increasing after dark to E>6 gusting 7 with heavy rain throughout.
Looking on the bright side the rain will get rid of the snow for us poor souls that live up here in the clouds.
Ogden was very wet but slightly sheltered from the easteries with dark skies limiting visibility but ideal movement weather for something dropping in.
A pair of Teal were out in the middle of the water along with a female Wigeon and female Goldeneye, the latter 2 probably being DJSs Mixenden birds from this morning.
A flock of around 30 Goldfinch were around the car park area whilst the Kingfisher was again down in the sluice gates. Otherwise it was a few small gulls and Mallards.
                                                     A check on a very wet and blustery Raggalds Flood on the way home produced 3 pair Teal.
Once again Bradshaw John, JL. has claimed the star bird with a cracking two 2nd  winter Kittiwakes on Leeshaw reservoir. Well spotted to John once again, see his Bradshaw birding blog linked from mine for photos.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stonking Stonechats for Soil Hill

                                         Male Stonechat ( rubicola)
                                             female Stonechat

   Wishy washy pics at distance and fading light

 Was hoping for a ginger rump on this female to
make it into a Siberian ( maura ) but not to be.

                               Birds favouring the stone circle area.
                                         A wintery Soil Hill

                                  Sun and snow on Pen y ghent

A late afternoon Soil Hill Snow Bunt hunt failed to provide the target bird but rewarded me with my first pair of Stonechat at this location for a long time where once they were an every visit sighting.
This pair were reported by JL over a week ago at the NW end of the west summit but not been re located since.
As I trudged through snow over the boot tops in places on the east summit, hoping that some of the now thawed patches would bring a Snow Bunt down, a small bird flicked across the mounds and landed in some exposed grass, male Stonechat. It then flew across the track towards the west summit closely followed by the female.
After finishing my Snow Bunt check I circled around the west summit to try re located the Stonechats although daylight was now against me but as I was ready for giving up and heading for the track a small bird appeared in the distance on the stone circle, male Stonechat, followed by the female.
                                                                 The pair kept flitting down inside the circle then back up onto the stones giving me chance to snatch a few record shots before they moved off towards the old mistle.
Otherwise quiet up there in the conditions along with quiet skies but luckily , as most times, something turns up to save the day.