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No wildlife sightings including Roe Deer, Fox, Hare or Badger will be mentioned on this blog throughout the year due to the rising influx of poaching, long dogging and lamping by sick individuals.

Any sighting of birds of a sensitive nature throughout the breeding season will be omitted from the blog if I believe that in any way it could jeopardize the welfare or breeding of the species .
Sightings in this category will just be passed on to the Calderdale bird recorder.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Park Lane Bramblings and the last Soil Hill visit this year.

  Poor quality pics taken from a tree covered
Park Lane at distance through the tree covered garden.

 At least 6 showing, Denise clocked 9 this morning.

1430 hrs and on the way to Soil Hill I decided to call in at Park Lane to check the Brambling situation where Denise reported 9 present. The garden was alive with feeding birds and I soon started getting Brambling although photos were difficult as Park Lane is very dark under a canopy of mature trees and the birds were very mobile amongst the bushes and shrubs.
Present were at least 6 Brambling, 15 Goldfinch, several Chaffinch, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Dunnocks, Robins, Blackbirds and at least 2 Redpoll.
                                                                By the time I,d finished here I was almost out of time at 1515 hrs so a quick dash to Soil Hill to drop 3 bags of Nyjer down in selected areas with just 1 male Reed Bunting and a few corvids showing and that was it. I,ve decided that Im not going back up Soil Hill again this year!

All in all an excellent year for my area, especially Ogden through the autumn which produced well on wildfowl and passerines making up for a great lack of warblers through the summer.
Highlights of the year are :-
Barn Owl
Long Eared Owl
Short Eared Owl
Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Jack Snipe
Med gull
sev Yellow Legged Herring gulls
Common Scoter
Yellow wagtail
Greenland Wheatear
Ring Necked Parakeet
Black Redstart
Northern Treecreeper
Common Tern
+ many more species good for this area.

Common birds missed in my area this year :-
Red Kite
Garden Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Snow Bunting
Tree Pipit
Arctic Tern
Green Sandpiper
Little Egret
any Harrier

Oh well... look out 2017  here we come again !!


Friday, December 30, 2016

Icelandic Redwing i.d.

For anyone wanting to get involved in AC s Redwing  Coburni v Iliacus id of Icelandic birds I have put a link on my blog. Click on Two in a Bush and scroll down to popular posts for very explicit photos.

More near misses for Queensbury

With Pink Footed Geese all around the area today we still failed to get any over Queensbury. 2 skeins were heading for us but as usual drifted to the west or east of us being reluctant to waste that extra energy by climbing higher to get over Queensbury .
Several Fieldfares were on the move this morning with a total of 42 in small groups over the garage >SW early a.m.
                       Regular checks on the Rowan near the garage that held 2 Waxwings yesterday, reported by Yorkshire Birding birder Larry, failed to produce today although there are still berries on the tree.
Midday at Foxhill found 18 Common gulls in the park and 11 Redwing in the trees.
                                                           No afternoon birding session again today with a 3 monthly hospital check for Lynda which went well just 3 years on now from her cancer op.
Interesting to see 3 Herring gulls on the roof of St Lukes hospital, Bradford.
                                                          Last day of 2016 birding tomorrow, lets hope it goes out in style with something special for someone. Be nice for someone to turn up a Cedar Waxwing, especially if it was me.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Who says shopping does,nt pay. Sainsburys car park.

With a full program today and no birding time it was lucky we did our weekly shop at Sainsburys Halifax.
I,ve been monitoring the Rowan trees there for several weeks with just the odd Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds but today as I drove into the car park I could see plenty activity around the trees.
Most important thing first was get the shopping done, or at least thats what Lynda said, and whilst inside the store a message from Vicky J via the grapevine reporting Redwings out in the car park.
With the trolley in top gear burning rubber around the aisles the shopping was soon done and out in the car park, camera in hand. It would be safer standing in the fast lane of the M62 than trying to avoid cars and kamikaze women with trolleys whilst taking photos.
                                                        Everything was very mobile moving around from tree to tree
but splendid to see so many Mistle and Song Thrush, Redwings, Blackbirds and at least 6 male Bullfinch. Just the Waxwings were missing but they sounded content with Pellon Lane.
Well done to Vicky Johnson for checking berry trees in the area over the last few days and getting the reports in.

                                                     Song Thrush



            Bullfinch taking the seeds and discarding the berry

                                                 Female Blackbird


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Two different sp. for Soil Hill

              New arrivals for the hill, Goldfinch

                       Lapwing flying around the west summit
                        Good flock of Fieldfare over

                                  female Stonechat present.
A mid afternoon trek around Soil Hill found it in a better mood with a light SW>4 and plenty sunshine.  Overhead skies were blue but hazy sunshine to the west and low misty cloud to the east made scanning difficult.
Unfortunately the mega move of trans Pennine Pink Footed Geese that took place this morning had ended by the time I finished work at 1200 hrs so none seen from Soil on the afternoon visit.
The hill however was again busy with 2 new visiting species which was encouraging to find. Two Goldfinch were busy feeding on seed tops whilst 4 Chaffinch flew over dropping briefly on the western summit before continuing >W.
It may seem strange to non Soil Hill birders getting excited over 2 Goldfinch and 4 Chaffinch but as Daniel B said to me yesterday, "any bird is a bonus at the moment on Soil Hill ".
                                                           A single Lapwing was flying around and landing on the west summit which made me think of spring, whilst the female Stonechat and 1 male Reed Bunting made a brief appearance. Overhead 23 Fieldfare headed >W as well as 5 Herring gull all of which continued on over Fly Flatts.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Birding History, Shibden Valley

Just received this e mail from customer, blog watcher John Kaye.

Alas Brian not a current one but one from 750 years ago.
Reading a Christmas present on local history I thought you might be interested in the following from 1275.

One John De Stancliffe , owner of Scout Hall, Shibden Valley, was found liable for the neglect of monitoring a nest in woods he owned - taking/ touching a Merlins nest which was lost or stolen.
Fined 6d payable to the Earl of Leeds.  Probably a fair sum of money in those days. John.

Interesting stuff John, just shows that even in those days when everything was shootable there were certain birds protected.
                                  Thanks a lot.  Brian.

Soil Hill p.m.

       Number 1 Reed Bunting, hiding in vegetation
   Number 2 out in the open .

                    Male Stonechat still present.

As I arrived at Soil Hill Daniel B was just leaving with a despondent look on his face after a 20 minute full dip so things were,nt looking too good for me.
Luckily I had a decent hour and a half which just shows how quickly things can change on the birding scene.
First off was a male Reed Bunting snooking around in the long grass after moving away from one of my Nyjer seed patches and as I was watching that a second male appeared about 30 yds away on a small sapling before disappearing down into the reeds.
The male Stonechat showed briefly from the mounds over to the west summit but re appeared by the track as I was leaving. It was last seen on the stone circle.
Otherwise it was 4 Meadow Pipit, 7 Fieldfare at the top of the north slope  and 3 Herring gulls heading for the Oxenhope roost.
As I was leaving JL was arriving so the hill got a good coat of looking at today.

Leeshaw Reservoir

Another of those grey dull mornings with Leeshaw just below the cloud base which was putting Fly Flatts in the fog but at least the wind had dropped to a cold W>5.  No photos this morning as everything in silhouette.
Disappointing on the water  first light but things livened up slightly by 0915 hrs with a steady flow of Cormorants and Herring gulls >W whilst Fieldfares, Starlings and a small flock of Meadow Pipits were present. A few Greylags came in on the water but these were the only geese present. Good to bump into Cullingworth birder NP who had stopped off on his way to Redcar Tarn.

7 Greylag
9 Meadow Pipit
c50 Fieldfare
c150 Starling
32 BH gull
3 Mallard
16 Herring gull >W
4 Cormorant   >W
3 Cormorant blogging.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Soil Hill p.m.

Early afternoon and a 1 hour session on Soil Hill in a severe gale WSW>7 gusting 8 but dry and bright. A quick check on the east summit was bad enough but the west summit was unworkable being difficult to even stand up.
                                        The conditions gave me a good opportunity to check the bottom of the North slope where the bulldozer has been working so I followed the tree line down to the bottom and then towards the NK pond to the wrecked Sedge Warbler area walking right along the bottom to the red container. This is a very hazardous area with soft sinking mud and deep ruts but it is exactly like the summits used to be and is ideal for Snow Bunting with vegetation already growing through. A walk into the quarry found the same type of habitat and its now a worry that any passing Snow Buntings will choose this lower area rather than the grassed over tops.
                                           This bottom area is too dangerous to keep a regular check on so its a matter of hoping any passing Bunts get tempted to the Nyjer seed the same as the Reed Bunts have. Nyjer seed is now spread in several areas mainly around the east summit, mounds and track, who knows , we may even get some spring Twite in.

Nice to get a call from blog watcher Sylvia today asking where she could get a view of Waxwings, a first for her, so I directed her to Long Lover Lane and it was pleasing when she rang later to say she had got good views of the birds in a tree just above her, Vicky J also confirmed today that around 40 were still present.

Soil Hill
15 Fieldfare
7 Redwing
100 + Lapwing
1pr Stonechat
3 Meadow Pipits
2 Blackbirds
4 Stock Doves

Boxing Day Bash, Ogden

                  Boxing Day sun up over Queensbury

                                       First light Ogden
                                   Sun breaking through the clouds

                                                     High Tide
 Commons and BHGs on choppy water

A first light visit to Ogden found the showers just passing over leaving a hazy sunrise and an icy cold NW>6 blasting over the water.
Just the usual small gulls and Mallards on the water but quite lively around the circumference of the water but all keeping low out of the wind and the poor light meant no pics.
                                                            Plenty blackbirds around, probably being continentals whilst Wrens seemed to be in every bush.  Two pair of Bullfinch were in Alders on the western shore where the Dipper and Kingfisher made brief appearance's.

1 Dipper
3 Goldcrest
2 pr Bullfinch
14 Blackbirds
13 Wrens
8 Goldfinch
2 Coal tits.
+ usual sp.
Real shortage of Long Tailed Tits this season.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day Session, Ogden.

         Black Headed gulls in the bread lobbing corner.

Ogden. 1330-1430 hrs. Grey skies , light showers , strong WSW>6.

A quick hour at Ogden to stop me getting that caged bear feeling that I get when Im confined to barracks so whilst Lynda was busy sorting her Christmas stuff I took the opportunity to grab Ollie and run.
Amazing but encouraging to see how many families had taken the choice to walk around Ogden rather than watch the tele though admittedly most had a dog in tow.
                                                            The wind was blasting across the water which had a good supply of gulls out near the centre and with conditions as they were Kittiwake sprung to mind but not to be on this occasion.
The majority were Black Headed with several Common and just the 2 big gulls but both interesting, one being an adult Herring and the other an adult Lesser Black Backed of the continental race l.f. Intermedius having a very black mantle.
Passerine alley held 3 Goldcrest and 2 Robins whilst the feeders just tempted 5 Blue and 2 Coal Tits.
                                                             Well, its all over now bart shouting so with 2 days off work I,ll be out giving it some stick in the morning hoping for a goody or two before the year end. Hope you,ve all had a good day making merry.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Pit Lane Lapwings

An after work Christmas Eve dash to check the Pit Lane Lapwing flock in torrential rain showers and howling W>7 failed to find any Golden Plover but a good count of Starling and Lapwing.
The Lapwings were stood head down into the wind whilst the Starlings were slowly moving across the field feeding. A few Fieldfare were in the trees beyond the pitch as well as Blackbirds.

163 Lapwing
est 300 Starling
5 Fieldfare
3 Blackbird
19 BH gulls
5 Common gulls
sev corvids