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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The usual Queensbury hike.

  Old Guy Road                   Skylark numbers building.

                                    Plenty Blue Tits about
                                          Good Starling flocks

                             Starlings on the wires

 Dailie Fields                                     Wren
                             1 of  9 Buzzard

                          All slowly heading up the Aire Valley

A milder day with a light NE>3 and some early drizzle. A burst of warm sunshine late afternoon.
                                                 The usual hike around Roper Lane, Old Guy road and Dailie fields which could start to get boring if this lock down goes on for long, Im starting to miss the gulls and waders.
            More or less the same around old Guy Road but 8 Linnets present today along with 6 Skylark around the cricket field but still no sign of Wheatear, I think the cold spell must have put the stoppers on them. A flock of around 50 Starling but the large flocks of continentals have now moved on.
           A new bird for the Dailie fields with a Coal Tit getting chased round with the Lt Tit, otherwise  it was down to Linnets and the usual Tits.
             A good scan of all the fields failed to find Grey Partridge , a species that used to do well down there, and Green Woodpecker, which bred there annually , were noticeable by their absence.
            Half way back up the Dailies I sat on the hillside in the sun, partly to scan the sky and mainly to get my breath back , when 4 Buzzards came into view very high and distant over Thornton soaring and slowly drifting >N up the Aire valley. Shortly afterwards another 5 followed the same route but slightly further away over towards Baildon Moor, an obvious move going on with DW getting 3 over Stubbs today and Dan B getting 4 from Soil Hill, possible the same 4 that I got over.
                                 April tomorrow when we should see the arrival of Warblers, Wheatears, Swallows, House Martins, and dare I say waders, which will be sadly missed. Last April CK got a Black Redstart at Oxenhope so something else to look out for.

Old Guy Rd
8 Linnet
6 Skylark
6 Canadas,   ..............Bradshaw pond
c 50 Starling flock
1m Pied Wagtail
1 Herring gull
1 Pheasant
+ usual sp.

Dailie Fields
9 Buzzard..............>N
5 Linnet
2 Robin
1 Coal Tit
1 Lt Tit
Blue and Coal Tits
+ usual sp.
Stay safe, BS

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Local Slog, ( Queensbury)

Old Guy Road                       1 of 4 Skylark

                                             Plenty Meadow Pipits
             1 pr Pied Wagtails on the cricket pitch.
 Dailie Fields                               Great Tit
                                                   1 of 2 Kestrel
                                                   4 Linnet present

         Colony of around 30 House Sparrows.

Another day of cold wind from the N and later turning NE though not as strong as yesterday and ,although some very dark clouds, there were no snow showers today.
                                                      A repeat of yesterdays walk which will be repeated for quite some time yet as its close to home and plenty potential to produce as the weeks go on. I,d like to do Shibden valley but its just too far for the time I have out.
                                                      Old Guy road was much livelier with 2 singing Skylarks up and 2 on the cricket pitch along with a pair of Pied Wagtails whilst the single Curlew was back in a distant field. Plenty Magpies around with 18 counted, a species thats rapidly growing in numbers in most areas.
A flock of around 40 Starlings were mobile and 3 Stock Doves were in a field off Roper Lane where 6 Herring gulls flew >E over Bradshaw.
                                                  The bottom of the Dailie fields was more sheltered from the cold wind today so the birds tended to show more with 4 Linnet present along with 1 Lt Tit  plus Greats and Blues. A Goldfinch was a new bird down there from the last few visits along with 2 Wrens darting in and out of the dry stone walls. Two raptors showing with a Kestrel over the station and a soaring Buzzard way across the valley over Baildon Moor.
                                                  Back at the top of the Dailies there is a good colony of House Sparrows with at least 30 noisy, squabbling birds but a good scan through failed to find any Tree Sparrows.
                It seems very strange to me doing this sort of birding, suddenly going from scanning over acres of muddy shoreline, moors and water to sorting through Hawthorns , Broom and Gorse bushes for tiny birds but in a way I,m enjoying the change and I got a message today from a local who,s had Snipe and Woodcock down there recently plus the Hawthorns should attract a good supply of Warblers when the time comes.

Old Guy Road
4 Skylark
2 Pied Wagtail
1 Curlew
sev Mipits
3 Stock Dove
6 Herring gull
18 Magpie
c 40 Starling

Dailie Fields
4 Linnet
1 Goldfinch
1 Lt Tit
3 Gt Tit
5 Blue Tit
2 Wren
1 Buzzard
1 Kestrel
1 cock Pheasant
c 30 House Sparrow
Keep safe, BS

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Local walk in the snow showers.

                      Looking down Old Guy Rd in fine snow
        A deserted cricket pitch and a blizzard over Fly Flatts
                                looking back at Queensbury church.
           As near as I can get to Fly Flatts from Roper Lane.
                           Across the Causeway Foot col to Withens gap.

A day of snow showers on an icy cold  NE>5 and cloudy skies.
                                            My walk today took in Old Guy Road and Roper Lane ending up back down the Dailie fields.
                                A much quieter day bird wise with the cold wind keeping things down with only a couple of Skylark and a few Mipits briefly down Old Guy road and no Curlew today. A check of all the Wheatear hot spots around the cricket pitch and through the snicket into Roper Lane found none at all with the usual lull after seeing the first one or two. A few Lapwings were on the Raggalds Flood
along with a pair of Mallard with more Lapwings on the Pit Lane football pitches.
                            Just a brief sighting of 2 Linnet ,down the Dailies ,which quickly dropped down into the gorse bushes out of the wind. A few Blue and Great Tits were in the Hawthorns with LBB, Common and Herring gulls overhead heading >E to the Eccup roost which will soon be breaking up now.
      With those of you doing a garden tick list whilst imprisoned at home, Mick Cunningham has just had a Marsh Tit in his Oxfordshire garden, the first since he moved there a few years ago, just shows that anything can turn up.
      AC mentioned nocturnal flight movement on his blog. DCB is set up with dish and recorder and picks up an amazing number of species at night over his house, especially during autumn vis mig time. The only problem with this extension of birding is its very time consuming having to go through a night time of tape to hear the birds and then they all have to be identified which is not an easy task for the less common birds.
               Thanks to all for the interesting comments on last nights blog and good to hear from Nick Carter at Hunmanby. The blog seemed to hit the spot bringing me more comments than if I,d found a mega. With this lock down threatened to go on till June at least I,ll probably be putting more nostalgia in the reports as I start to run out of ammunition.

Queensbury, local
2 Linnet
Great Tits
Blue Tits
2 Skylark
4 Collared Dove
c50 Starling flock
sev Meadow Pipits
3 Herring gull
4 LBB gull
2 Common gull
sev House Sparrows.

Todays advise, Avoid the news and papers etc, it only puts the fear of God in you..stick to the blogs.
Keep safe. BS

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Back to where it all began, Dailie fields to Queensbury old railway station.

            A first for me this year, Long Tailed Tit.
    Looking down the Dailies to the old triangular
                               railway station site.
  View to the NE, Baildon Moor on the horizon.
                                   One of the old tunnel vent shafts.
          Looking down the old track. A carriage used to be winched
 up here with goods from the station to the village.
 These Hawthorns were only planted a few years ago,
                                                  now its a jungle.
  The long climb back up. Seems steeper than when I was 12 yrs old.
                    Perfect Gorse habitat. This area has held Linnets
                                   since I first began my birding here.

A cloudy day with a cold NE>4 and a few light showers.
                                            Todays walk took me to where my life of birding began back in 1963 when HC and me started off our birding career at 12 years old some 57 years ago. We used to trek up and down the Dailie fields and into the old railway station on a regular basis as well as Shibden Valley. Surprisingly the fields have hardly changed apart from where there was just plain grass the hillside now is a jungle of Hawthorns which will be a haven for passerines in another few weeks.
                                          As I walked down this morning I could remember each area well and the birds we saw down there. A large area of gorse half way down always held Linnets and today I got my first of the year in just the same spot. In those days Yellowhammer , Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat were common sightings.
                                         We watched it that regular that we got to know where every species could be found, along with their nests and every Holly bush that held roosting Tawny Owls.
                                         The station area is well overgrown now and a cycle track runs through it to Thornton. Arguments are still ongoing whether to repair the tunnel that goes through to Halifax making it into a tramway and cycle track. We went in the tunnel several times lobbing stones at massive icicles that hung off the ceiling. The station was still complete with lines and buildings along with the old viaduct. We used to play in the signal box and once collected a load of track blocks to take home for fire logs. The farmer saw us and chased us up the Dailies , each with a bag of logs on our back ,and still he could,nt catch us. I dont think I could do that today.
                                           As I say, each time I revisit here, this place needs watching, and then it gets neglected again with visiting other sites. Birds were quiet today with the cold NE wind and early in the season but I,ll be spending more time here whilst the lock down is on at least. I only did the Dailie fields area as access into the station is not easy with 3 dogs in tow .

Dailie Fields
5 Linnet
2 Long Tailed Tits
3 Blue Tits
7 Great Tit
1 Robin
2 Dunnock
1 unseen calling Green Woodpecker
+ usual Corvids etc
Keep safe and don,t forget to put your clocks forward. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Local dog walking.

                                            1 of 4 Skylark

                                   Several Meadow Pipits

                                        Singing male Chaffinch.
              Rare bird for me, 3 Greenfinch.

         Lesser Black Backed heading for the Eccup roost.
                 2 Kestrels over

                                                Chased by Corvids.

        Queensbury railway station red bricked chimney

                                                  Black Hill behind chimney
       Looking east from Harp Lane. Listers Mill Bradford, centre
                    Yeadon Airport on horizon above the chimney.
                        You can just see the plane tail fins when you
                                    click to enlarge it.

Due to revised corona virus emergency laws yesterday stating that the form of exercise must be from your home making driving to a location for exercise or pleasure illegal ,my visits and reports for Fly Flatts reservoir will have to be laid to rest for the foreseeable future and birding will be confined in with  local dog walking. The bad news is the blog will still continue the same so you,ll still have to read in but maybe with a bit more drabble than usual.
                                                        Another bright and clear day but with a cold NE>4 after a night of early clearing fog up here in the gods.
                                                       My walking today took in Foxhill, Old Guy Road, Roper Lane and Harper Lane all within a couple of miles from home with farm fields, hedges, small woodland, a cricket pitch and distant views to the east, south and west.
                                                      As expected, no great number of birds but 3 surprises with Greenfinch, Skylark and Curlew all found down Old Guy Road.
The cricket pitch down Old Guy used to be a hot spot years ago for early Skylark with double figure counts but only a pair of Pied Wagtails on there today which was disappointing until I found 4 in a field a little lower down along with a single Curlew in a distant field nearby, another bird that used to breed in the area. In my younger days I could open the house door and hear singing Skylarks and calling Curlews but those days have gone.
                                                    At the junction of Old Guy Road and Roper Lane I heard a familiar buzzy call and looked up to find 3 Greenfinch in a nearby tree, a rare bird for me over the last couple of years although to be fair I spend most of my time on the uplands.
                                                 Roper Lane had singing Chaffinch and a few of the expected species whilst Harp Lane had 2 Kestrels up together getting moved on by Crows. A small group of Stock Doves were in the field along with 8 Magpies. Harp Lane is a good spot for Visible Migration in the autumn with views to the north as far as Ingleborough and east beyond Yeadon airport to Otley Chevin. This watch point has been used by both myself and HC.
Keep Safe.  BS

Old Guy Road
3 Greenfinch
1 Curlew
1pr Pied Wagtail
4 Skylark
18 House Sparrow
sev Meadow Pipits

Roper Lane
2 Chaffinch
sev corvids

Harp Lane
2 Kestrel
5 Stock Doves
7 LBB gull...............>E
+ usual sp.