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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Out amongst the Goldcrest. . Ogden.

        Plenty Goldcrest but no Yellow Browed Warbler.

A late afternoon visit to Ogden with the intention of sifting through the Goldcrests still clinging to the hope of turning up a Yellow Browed Warbler or even an early Firecrest, well you,ve got to think positive in birding.
As expected, busy with the public during school holidays but not too drastic in the grey cool S>4.
No sign of the Goldeneye but a female Goosander had replaced it on the water keeping to the NW corner, otherwise it was down to gulls and Cormorants.
                                     Goldcrests were in good numbers along passerine alley with around 15 individuals counted but no sign of Treecreeper or the Chaffinch flock.
The Kingfisher was also absent but by now it was 1630 hrs and getting towards roost time.

I know nothing can replace Rooney but this little girl we went to see today certainly put a smile back on Lyndas face and will fill the gap in the birding team when she grows up. We pick her up in 2 weeks time when she,s old enough to leave her mother.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Soil Hill, pm visit

                                  Jack Snipe, Soil Hill

1530 hrs and up to Soil Hill with Snow Bunting, Ring Ouzel and Jack Snipe in mind plus possible Pink Footed geese overhead but only managed the Jack Snipe with the bonus of a photo.
As I first walked up the track 2 Common Snipe flushed in front of me and zlg zagged high over to the nw corner of the hill. A steady trek across the east summit with loaded camera at the ready finally found the Jack Snipe right at the very northern end of the summit on the mounds. It flew low and fast before dropping down in the centre of the west summit where I left it be.
                                                                  After firing about 50 shots at it I came out with one acceptable one, the rest being out of focus or badly silhouetted against the background.
A check of the northern slope and tree line produced 26 Meadow Pipits whilst 164 Lapwing were down on the Shay along with around 100 Starling and 21 small gulls.
4 Mallard were on the NK pond whilst the sky and Ring Ouzel alley remained quiet.
This is the first year I,ve known for there not to be over wintering Skylarks on the hill.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Return of the Ogden Kingfisher

                      Good to see the Kingfisher back.

                    First winter male Goldeneye, very elusive.

Ogden 1500 - 1630 hrs.
After yet another day of deteriorating weather with late afternoon showers it luckily cleared up as I arrived at Ogden along with the crowds although once parked up they did,nt interfere with the birding much as I concentrated on the sluice gate area and the water for this mornings Goldeneye.
                                                  1st prize from the promenade where the Kingfisher was deep down in the dark corner of the sluice gate area only allowing record shots but nice to see it has returned after its absence during the breeding season. Hopefully it will over-winter here along with the second bird.
                                              Passerine alley was a little livelier with a small mobile flock of around 20 Chaffinch with at least 2 Brambling in with them but I did,nt spend much time with them due to a steady flow of noisy public. Four Goldcrests were also spotted.
                                                               After a lot of scanning around the water I was ready for saying this mornings Goldeneye had gone until I suddenly spied it diving over in the NW corner but after a quick dash round there it had once again vanished.
Walking back towards passerine alley the bird appeared again but well out on the wqater and diving frequently. This was the bird I saw at distance this morning and could now be identified as a 1st year male with the amount of white on it and the 4 white wing markings.
A nice early returner, it was 26th of December when I got my first returning Goldeneye last year.

Ogden, a.m.

                         Cormorant over high and >E

            First Ogden Goldeneye of the season
   Record shots from promenade to north shoreline 600mm.

A hectic start to the morning with Woodpigeons piling over both >S and >E. Some of the flocks were very high and fast moving . Approx 300 >S and 100 >E.  Also 1 Cormorant very high and >E.
                                                              Otherwise things were quiet with a circuit of the water just producing a few Chaffinch, 3 Goldcrests and several Wrens.
Luckily as I was doing a Kingfisher check and sky watching from the promenade I bumped into DF who had just spotted a female Goldeneye at the north end of the water but we were unable to re locate it. After Dave left I spent 10 minutes scanning the water and finally came across it right at the north end of the water working its way along the edge of the shoreline but this ones a male so obviously a pair present.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Soil Hill/Ogden

                         Nice to get 2 Dippers by the sluice gates

                                   No sign of Kingfisher.

Another of those days with a decent day until late afternoon when the black clouds came over and down came the rain.
As the skies cleared around 1500 hrs it was head for Soil Hill on a Snow Bunting check with the intention of a bit of sky watching but after a 15 minute check of the east summit the black clouds came in on the ENE>4 and once again down came the rain.Good to see JL up there giving it a coat of looking at.
Knowing that the chances of turning anything up there in the conditions was nil it was on to Ogden for a quick check to try save the afternoon.
The rain was still coming down in stair rods but soon cleared giving me 30 minutes before the next shower.
Same subjects on the water plus the addition of 15 Canada geese whilst the sky remained empty other than the usual gulls.
Still no sign of the Kingfisher down in the sluice gates but 2 Dippers stayed around 10 minutes before heading off down stream.
A fall of Coal Tits was apparent since yesterday with around 20 counted in the feeding area along with Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tits , plus the usual Dunnocks , Robins and Wrens.

Again, nothing in the way of vis mig over the village early a.m.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ogden , flying visit.

Very little time today so a quick check on the water , a Kingfisher check down by the sluice gate and a look on passerine alley all of which produced next to nothing.
The water held a good number of gulls with around 100 small gulls, 75 % being Black Headed plus 9 LBB gulls. Passerine alley was as yesterday, deserted, with just a couple of Chaffinch and 3 Jays.
Looks like this high pressure has taken a lot of the migrants away.
Another poor morning on the vis mig scene with just a few Woodpigeons >S. This is another year with very little vis mig over our area apart from 1 half good Mipit day and 1 Redwing day.
Fieldfares should still be to come although its getting late in the season now which leaves us with just Woodpigs and Starlings.
Most of the Pink Footed geese seem to have by passed us this time and are now in their wintering grounds but hopefully by next month we,ll start getting sightings as they follow their trans pennine route from coast to coast.

A sad day today with a member of my team missing when I had to take little Roo on his last visit to the vets late last night when he lost his fight with a brain tumour. He,ll be missed on my birding trips.
                             Rooney.   2004-2016. RIP.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ogden, what a transformation.

After yesterdays mega session at Ogden and several reports today of Whooper Swans on the move I thought it worth a return visit late afternoon to recheck the passerines and see if any Whoopers had dropped in on the water.
Nothing on the water other than the usual species and a double check of passerine alley found it completely void of birds.
The Willows and Alders that were heaving with migrants yesterday were strangely quiet with not even a sight of a Chaffinch after yesterdays 100 plus. The only birds found were 3 Wrens and 2 Robins with a couple of Blue Tits and Dunnocks around the feeders.
Back on the promenade sky watching, with the hope of Pinkies or Whoopers,  found quiet skies and the star attraction being a single male Goosander >N probably heading for the Oxenhope roost.
No sign of the Kingfisher by the sluice gates although I am getting people telling me daily now that they have seen the bird, also got pics from birder Jack Ibbetson with it perched near the pump house.

Vis Mig was poor this a.m. with very little over the village.

32 Woodpigeons.......................>S
7 Meadow Pipits......................>S
46 Redwing.............................>E

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Magic of Ogden.

                  Alive with Goldcrests

                                       Everyone thoroughly checked

                                            Redpolls starting to show

            Numerous Blackbirds, possible continentals.
                      A good count of Brambling

                                Brambling in the back ground

                      Nearly 2 hours standing to get these pics.

 Believe it or not, my first Treecreeper since 2014.

With a free afternoon from 1300 - 1500 hrs it was off to Ogden to check out the situation.
As per norm, a bright morning at work then black clouds and light rain showers from lunch time but drier than my previous visits and sheltered from the W>4.
I decided on walking the perimeter of the water clockwise as it was a bit early for birds to collect in passerine alley so after a Kingfisher check in the sluice and a scan of the water, both producing nothing , I headed for the west bank Alders.
                                                                      Plenty Goldcrests along Firecrest alley but a meticulous check of each failed to show me an eye stripe so on to the Dipper Dyke which surprisingly produced me my first Dipper there for quite a while as it flew from the shale, under the bridge and across the water to the east side,
Further round at Parakeet pond several Chaffinch were in the foliage and dropping onto the banking in an unviewable area although I did pick out 1 Brambling. After watching them a while they started to fly across to the east bank just as I had suspected they would. Passerine Alley, here I come.
                                                     Walking on the track from the NE corner towards passerine alley birds were moving through the trees ahead of me and I could tell this was going to be the big one.
On entering passerine alley all hell let loose with birds in every tree at both sides of the track. A quick scan through as many as I could found, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Redpoll, Blackbirds
plus GT, Blue and Long Tailed Tits. Even my first Treecreeper since 2014, an absolute breath taking experience.
After finding the best vantage point for photos, although it was dark skies and drizzle, it was sit and get what shots I could with was difficult with the birds in mobile mode.
                                                        Other than getting rarities at Ogden, today has to go down as one of my best ever experiences there even though there was no Yellow Browed to be found but theres still time yet.

20+ Goldcrest
17 Brambling
3 Siskin
4 Redpoll
c 100 Chaffinch
c 40 Goldfinch
1 Treecreeper
19 Blackbirds
1 Dipper
+ usual sp.

A quiet mornings vis mig with very little moving. Several reports of Pink Footed Geese unfortunately by passed our area.

42 Woodpigeon....................>S
3 Meadow Pipits..................>S
19 Redwing........................>SE

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ogden in the wind and rain

                                 Foam and white horses on the water

                             Passerine Alley on the right.

No repeat of yesterdays Thrush movement this morning with just a few Woodpigeons >S.
A small skein of geese were flying fast and low >E when I walked out into the car park to bring a car in but by the time I saw them they were just disappearing behind the houses heading to go low over the mill and away over Clayton.  A quick call to the Oxenhope lads to scope them crossing the valley got no reply so will have to let them go.
1500 hrs at Ogden found horrendous conditions with a near gale force W>5-6 and heavy rain showers brightening slightly as I was ready for coming home.
                                                         The conditions did,nt deter the Chaffinch flock working their way up the east shoreline through passerine alley but very mobile eventually flying across to the west shoreline with at least 7 Brambling with them whilst 2 Siskin flew over the info centre.
Otherwise , a double circuit of the water provided very little else other than the usual sp.
I check the sluice gate area each time I visit but still no Kingfisher sighting.

Monday, October 17, 2016

In search of the Snow Bunts, Soil Hill

    Ideal vis mig sunrise on the way to work this a.m.

                       Large sun dog to the east 1730 hrs.

A strange day starting with a brilliant sunrise and winter thrushes piling over >S and >SE but just as I was thinking this is the day, the clouds rolled in and all signs of movement had stopped by 0900 hrs.
The first real signs of Woodpigeon movement was also apparent this morning but as with the thrushes, this was short lived.
The rest of the day until mid afternoon was a mix of sunshine and showers, the heaviest of showers being lunch time as I was up in Foxhill park with the dogs, nowt fresh there.
                                                  1530 hrs and off like a man on a mission to Soil Hill to do a thorough search of the summits with Snow Bunting in mind, especially after the report from Calderbirds of a single on the deck near Fly Flatts.
Walking up the track the Jack Snipe flushed about a yard in front of me giving me a cracking view of its brightly coloured patterned back but it was away so fast and low I did,nt even get time to lift the camera up. The bird dropped down at the northern end of the east summit.
A full zig zag search of both summits twice over just provided around 30 Meadow Pipits and strangely no wintering Skylarks as yet.
Once again I came across the Jack Snipe at the top of the east summit which rapidly disappeared over to the west summit not to be see again.
Nothing in the skies other than a few gulls and 2 small flocks of  bounce back Redwings > west and still no geese.
Around 150 Lapwing were down on the Shay along with c 50 Starling and 23 Mallard.

Queensbury vis mig a.m.

c 200 Redwing.........................>S  and >SE
c 40 Fieldfare...........................>S
38 Woodpigs...........................>S