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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Soil Hill, more birders than birds.

                                 female Stonechat, Soil Hill

 Caught this Spurnite snooking about the hill.  Daniel Branch.
   231 Lapwings Pit Lane

The art of good blogging is being able to make something out of nothing which I had to do today.
Managed to get up Soil Hill in full daylight for a change 1400 - 1500 hrs to find a very quiet hill other than the female Stonechat which has been around for about 3 weeks now but no sign of the male today.
Another bag of Nyjer down and a full search of the tops helped by Dishfish and Buttershaw birder Larry but nothing else to be found.
A bit of a down to earther for poor Daniel after spending the best autumn ever at Spurn and back to a full blank on his local patch but like a true birder he took it on the chin and said he,ll be back up there tomorrow.
On the way home I stopped off at Pit Lane and counted 231 Lapwing on the pitch, looking spectacular as they flew around and moved away to roost.
Also a good 100 Starlings were present.

Ogden early a.m.

             Teal with the Mallards well out first light.

                                 Stuffed Kingfisher still there
Looked at last Decembers pics and it was still there,
                                            same place.
             Plenty gulls over, Herrings and LBBs >NE
                                        Teal sticking in the middle.

Ogden 0800-0930 hrs.  SSE > 3 turning >E Dull with sun failing to break through.

Not doing my photography any good lately with near dark when I,m out in a morning and near dark for my late afternoon sessions. Think I,ll have to buy an Infra Red camera for a decent shot.
Ogden was,nt up to November standard but enough to keep me active with a single female Teal mixing with the Mallards but very flighty moving around the water and always keeping well away from the shore.
The Kingfisher was again on the bars along with a Dipper in the water and a Grey Wagtails in the area.
Several Goldcrests to sift through for Firecrest but all keeping low down in the part dark conditions.
A good move of big gulls was apparent with Herring and LBB all >NE counting well over 100 throughout.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Blast from the past, December birds from previous years.

Town shopping and dog grooming day today so by the time we were back and the dogs were fed, walked and watered the daylight had gone. Welcome back and well done to Daniel Branch for giving Soil Hill a coat of looking at and turning up a mixture of species including Red Kite and Great Black Backed gull..

Meanwhile heres a few birds thats turned up in December from previous years :-

   Pink Footed geese over Queensbury
                                Pair Stonechat, Fly Flatts

                      Goldeneye, Ogden

           Gt Northern Diver, Mixenden

                                 f Goldeneye, Mixenden
                                                  Curlews at Leeshaw
         Record number of Snipe at Shelf Moor
                                           Shelf Moor Snipe
                      Soil Hill Snow Buntings

                         Mallards on a frozen Ogden
                 Drake Wigeon Ogden
                                           Pinkies over Ogden
                                                    Oddball duck Ogden

          Also, to add to the above I had an usual record of a Greenshank 9/12/2007 at Fly Flatts.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Another pilgrimage to Soil Hill

1515 hrs before I got out today with another afternoon of watching the Goldfish swimming round in the St Lukes waiting room.
Right on the edge of dark and damping I knew Id be drawing a blank but still worth a Snow Bunt check as this sp ground feed right up to dark and beyond. In previous years I,ve had them scurrying about like mice barely visible on the edge of darkness as I,ve been leaving the hill.
With the summits, mounds and track checked to my satisfaction I decided to try to save the visit with a roost watch for the last 20 minutes of light. This is another aspect of birding I,ve done in the past and was just brought back to mind a few evenings ago when I bumped into DJS on the hill who mentioned about when he used to do it.
                                                             Watching from the NW corner over the Causeway Foot col proved interesting with good numbers of Chaffinch and Goldfinch coming across from Ogden and dropping into the Back Lane plantation along with at least 8 Blackbirds.
A few Siskin/Tit type sp did the same but ID now was using jizz alone with the light well on its way.
16 Fieldfare flew overhead dropping into the same area but disappointing not to get my first Waxwings of the year as these can usually be spotted when they have been in Halifax coming up the col to drop down in the Ogden plantation.
A Little Owl was calling from  the Ned Hill track area and a Kestrel was having a last attempt of hunting before dark.
BS  .                                                                                                                                        

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Soil Hill, late pm.

Just time for a quick check on Soil Hill late afternoon on a dull, overcast and damp visit.
December and still no sign of the target bird, Snow Bunt ,but a few now scarce birds on the hill returned for a visit with 2 Grey Partridge , 1 Pied Wagtail and a female Stonechat whilst 4 Linnet flew overhead dropping down in the tree line to roost.
Two Common Snipe flushed from the west summit whilst 5 Mistle Thrush were around the mast area.
                                          Nothing sky wise other than several gulls heading to the Oxenhope roost and a very distant Buzzard over Whetstone Gate.

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