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Monday, October 31, 2016

"The Birds" A Halloween to remember !

From first light this morning after a bright red ball sunrise thing soon started to transpire with Woodpigeons piling over continuous in flocks of 20 to 30 but none of the massive flocks usually seen.
Next to appear was Fieldfares with some decent flocks of 50 to 60 birds reasonably high.
Walking to work at 0745 hrs I was going down the High Street and saw what looked like a large black cloud about to disappear over the mill , this was actually a flock of Fieldfare tightly packed looking like a cloud of roosting Starlings. By the time Id grabbed the camera they were lost from view over the roof tops. This has got to have been the largest flock of Fieldfares I have ever seen  and a quick call to HC at Oxenhope confirmed he had scoped them at distance and estimate at least 1800 birds, thats a lot of Fieldfare in one go.
A call to NK who was also getting Woodpigs over plus Long Tailed Tits , some of which dropped into trees behind his house.
Woodpigs and Fieldfares continued coming over the garage along with several Chaffinch and Meadow Pipits whilst a group of 18 Siskin flew low over my head followed shortly by 3 then another 2 dropping into conifers at the back of the car park along with Coal tits.
                                                    Whilst all this was going on I had a count of 18 Herring gulls >W and several LBB gulls >NW.
By 1030 hrs the flood gates closed and all was quiet.
What an amazing morning.
Thanks to HC, NK and DJS for running reports.

Vis Mig from home then casual obs to and at work.

Woodpigeon......................................c1500  >S and >SW
Fieldfare............................................c 3000 with 1800 in one flock  ..............>S  and >SW
Meadow Pipit...................................39 >S
Siskin.................................................28 >S      18  2   3   5
Chaffinch............................................123>S
Coal Tit...............................................7 >S
L.T. Tit................................................2 >S
Herring gull........................................18 >W
LBB gull.............................................21 >NW
BS

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Soil Hill, mid afternoon

A grey dark hill with horizontal visibility only of about 5 miles with low hanging clouds above though very mild with plenty midges around.
A different story to yesterday with the flock of Mipits moved on along with the Reed Buntings and no sign of the Jack Snipe in its usual haunts.
Just 5 Meadow Pipits left on the west summit along with 2 Mallard, 8 Stock dove and a single cock Pheasant.
A group of 13 Woodpigeon flew >SW below the cloud base whilst LBB gulls headed >N to the Oxenhope roost.
The eastern fields held 37 Common gull along with 5 BH gull.
                                                          A bad birding week coming up with work in the mornings and a wallpapering job for the daughter in the afternoons then early darkness in the evenings but I,m sure I,ll find a bit of something to blog.
BS

Ogden, early a.m.

Another murky grey day at Ogden with mist over the plantation but remaining dry.
Very little in the way of vis mig with around 50 Woodpigeons >SW and 1 flock of 38 Fieldfare also >SW.
The majority of passerines this morning were Long Tailed and Coal Tits with just a small flock of 18 Chaffinch although I only did the east side of the water.
2 Siskin flew over the promenade whilst I was looking for the non existent Kingfisher whilst a Jay was calling from near the lodge house.
The usual few gulls were on the water but no sign of the Little Grebe.
BS

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Soil Hill

                                       Mipits in the mist



1500 hrs and a check on a misty, dark and drizzly Soil Hill.
On arrival the hill was just below the cloud base but after 1 hour trekking the tops the fog lowered shrouding the hill in dense fog.
The stone circle field was alive with around 50 grounded Meadow Pipits whilst 3 Common Snipe came up off the track and down towards the reeds at the top of the north slope.
The Jack Snipe was again present on the east summit but getting wise to the camera now as it let me walk past it before flushing behind me then dropping down in long grass on the east slope.
2 LBB gulls went >N low below the cloud and 4 Stock doves were in the trig point field.
                                                           A final scan of the stone circle field before I left in the fast approaching fog gave me a heart stopping moment when I picked up 3 light coloured Buntings feeding in the grass. With Snow Bunts in mind I strained to see through the fog but as they came a little closer I could make out that they were Reed Buntings.
Not Snow Bunts but a pleasing find for the area, these probably being grounded movers.
Don,t forget to put you,re clocks back tonight to get an extra hour of vis mig daylight in the morning if the fog lifts.
BS

Friday, October 28, 2016

Return to Ogden

                                    1 of 3 female Goosander on the water





Another poor vis mig morning with just around 50 Fieldfare over >S and 15 Redwing >E after the rain had cleared.
By late afternoon a visit to Soil Hill had to be aborted due to thick fog so down to Ogden which was just below the cloud base but dark, grey and drizzly. Even with those conditions it was a problem parking and the disturbance was horrific, thank goodness its back to school next week, though having said that much of the disturbance was from adults. One instance was I,d just found the Chaffinch/ Brambling flock after a lot of searching when along came a group of 12 adults and even though they could see I was watching something they decided to stop by me to take snaps of each other with plenty noise so away went the flock. I think Ogden should be made permit holders only, who me, selfish!!.
                                                                  Anyway, with that behind me it was a bonus to see 3 female Goosander drop down out of the low cloud and stay on the water throughout along with the Little Grebe.
No sign of Kingfisher or Dipper by the sluice gates but disturbance from YW in the area so on to the west bank Alders where all the action was and less nuggets about.
The whole of the area was heaving with birds but very difficult to spot silhouetted against the dark sky looking like a mass of black dots flitting about.
I checked around 15 Goldcrests but its looking as if we,ve missed out on any Yellow Browed this year so we,ll have to watch for Firecrest now instead.
Passerines in the Alders were :-
c15 Goldcrest
8 Long Tailed Tits
c20 Chaffinch
2 Brambling
c30 Goldfinch
4 Siskin
1  Redpoll
Sev Gt, Blue and Coal Tits.
BS

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fly Flatts / Ogden

Late afternoon and a quick drive up to Fly Flatts in a howling W>6 to check for Whoopers after reports of moving birds this a.m., Oxenhope watch point, but nothing on the water other than a female Tufted and 18 Mallard.
No sign of the Black Red or Wheatears although they could have been keeping their heads down in the wind.
Back down at Ogden the wind was still blowing but more sheltered around the reservoir track although most passerines seemed to have headed for shelter in the deeper wood.
The Kingfisher was down by the sluice gate but tucked well back out of the wind whilst the Dipper was walking about in the water.
No sign of Goldcrests today but 1 Brambling showed briefly amongst around a dozen Chaffinch at passerine alley whilst 6 Goldfinch fed in the Alders on the West bank but nothing in with them.
The Little Grebe was still present but other than that it was just down to the usual sp.
Bumped into JL who was also struggling in the wind.
BS

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A picturesque trip around Ogden.

No birding today due to grand daughter duties so just a few pictures showing the beauty of Ogden.

         The sluice gates, Kingfisher country
                                           From the SW corner
                                              Starting point of the west track
                                             Western shoreline
                     The Alders, west track
                                    Firecrest alley, west track
                                             Dipper Dyke, north end
                                          Northern track
                                 Looking south over the water
                                      Parakeet pond
                            The Beach, eastern shoreline.
                                 Passerine alley watch point
                                         Passerine alley, east track
                     Easier to watch now with leaves down.

Quiet skies again this morning with visible migration drawing to a close at the end of another season.
Still chance of a big Fieldfare day and Woodpigeons should pile through when the weather gives them chance,
BS













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.

MEET PIPPA.
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.
BS

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.
BS

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.
BS

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.
BS

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Soil Hill/Ogden

                         Nice to get 2 Dippers by the sluice gates
                                                            Ogden


                                   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.
BS