Sunday, 31 January 2010

stocksbridge on saturday

spent all night hoping and praying that the pond would be frozen so that i would be in with a chance of seeing a water rail. oh i was thrilled when the pond was frozen but nevertheless there were still no water rails. even so we still saw lots of nice things:
plenty of reed buntings on the feeders
the best view of a long tailed tit ever, three in total
moorhens around the feeders
various garden birds-blue tit, great tit, blackbird, robin, wren etc
3 mallards sliding around on the ice
plenty of gulls on the ice
a grey heron
also this phesant which was waddling around. this bird made a real racket when a cat walking around the reserve spooked it.

however the best thing seen today must have been the foxes. at around 10.15 the gulls all suddenly took off and i thought there must be some kind of predator. i looked around the skies but saw nothing then on the beach was sat a fox looking hungrily at the gulls. there were some splendid views and then as that one slunked off a second appeared and they walked throught the brush together. they brought out a grey heron and i thought they may be hunting it but if they were they were being very slow about it and never caught it.

look what arrived on friday

my copy of the most complete guide to birds of britain and europe 2nd edition arrived on friday. although not much has changed from the first book it will still

be a very valuable asset to me. all things considered 1st edition is in peices from over-use

Saturday, 23 January 2010

soil hell and ogden

ignoring my own advice i headed back towards soil hill today. no sooner had i left the main road my fortunes changed as i spotted my first ever grey partridges not flying away as grey smudges. i could see 2 males and 5 females on a mound of earth. they were stunning to watch but eventually they went over the side of the mound and i spooked them going round it to continue watching.
as i reached the hill i ws releved to see no fog, but sadly there was also a similar lack of birds. on the calderdale side i saw nothing. not even a crow or blackbird. i headed down the bradford side unlike yesterday as this has not been churned upbut alas it was not to be. i found no birds on the pools or anywhere. in my distress i walked around the pools to find nothing until, half way round a small black bird flew down from the sky and perched on a reed. it was a reed bunting horay a bird on soil hill. however i saw nothing more and so i can now say
birds on soil hill:
reed bunting!

at ogden there were plenty of birds but nothing of any rarity. there was a largish flock of goldfinches feeding on the feeders in the wardens garden, plenty of black-headed gulls and mallards plus chaffinch, coal tit and great tit.

overall, besides the apauling conditions i would say it was a great walk

Friday, 22 January 2010

The real soil hell-unleashed

i went home after school to hopefully go swimming but the person i was supposed to be going with has "banged his head" so i diddnt go swimming. instead i decided to go up to soil hill. as i arrived the hill was shrouded in mist, a mystery waiting to be explored. however as i went upp dog poo path i saw that the guy had been busy with his bulldozer. the whole place was a mud pit. my boot got stuck multiple times and when it was free felt like it had bricks strapped to it. to make matters worse was the lack of birds. i never made it over to the bradford side it was that bad but the calderdale side has only a small patch of habitat left. i tried my hardest to get over there but resulted in my trouses also becoming ladend with mud. in
total i saw:
2 crows-in the fog
1 blackbird-in the fog
1 male siberian rubythroat-(only kidding)
overall i can only say that whoever owns the dump managed to turn a landfill site into even more than mess than before, if that is possible with landfill sites.
one final message to all those foolish enopugh to try getting up there:
you are more likely to be sucked into the mud and drowning than see any birds

Sunday, 17 January 2010

manor heath

at least one redwing there today weith the song thrushes and starlings. there could have been more but we sped past and i could not get a proper view.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Garden birds-besides the feildfare

unable to get out due to black ice i decided to do a spot of garden birdwatching. luckily the birds did not dissapoint.

this photo doesnt really show the sheer numbers of goldfinches that visit the garden frequently now but there are hundreds. absolutly loads

a little blue tit. also a great tit about which i havnt seen in a while

it isnt just goldfinchs that arrive in unprecidented numbers look at the numbers of sparrows here. unfortunatly the feeder is in the way for this shot but it still show the numbers.

this is the monster songthrush that chased away the feildafare multiple times

feildfare-shot at last

i dont mean litterally shot. i mean shot with the camera. this stunning bird sat at the bottom of my garden eating berries really placidly, so i could shoot it from my window. it really was awsome to see. the first three pics were taken earlier today. due to excess snow the photos are quite dark please excuse this.....

these three however were taken three days ago when there was less snow so the camera took it normally. i managed to get these in super focus so ithink they came out quite clear.

for today the bird kept coming and going, sometimes,frequently, being chased of by a song thrush that has also recently been coming to the garden. he made life hard work for the feildfare and was more camera shy so i dont have any real pics of him yet.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

little owl

i caught up with the little owl whilst rolling a snowball this evening. it flew straight up and landed my house roof.. all my little owls have been this year. becuase it was dark i could not see it clearly but the sky was slightly red and when it sttod there it stood out really bold with the dark of the roof.

Friday, 8 January 2010

sledging opposite my house

3 feildfares went over one at a time. i think they are the same birds that were in the garden 2 days ago. it is quite possible that all three are roosting in the small copse near that feild as i have seen them going there multiple times.

however as we were sledging a little owl flew over. it was a real surprise as this bird sits in the vally and calls all the time and we have never seen it so to see it in such unlikely circumstances was great. this is only my second time and its my little nemesis. having said that this will probably be the last time i will see it since he has haunted me since i was seven and i have never seen it. Grrrrrr

Friday, 1 January 2010

hardcastle craggs today

a dipper

these photos were long awaited, just magpie to go
as we arrived a massive tit flock awaited us including blue and great tits. robins were just about everywhere as were blackbirds. i managed to pick up that illusive wren photo. there were two mallards on the mill pond, plus a nuthatch in the woods. a goldcrest flock flitted in the trees although i only spotted one. a cracking find was thge first green woodpecker of the year closly followed by a greater spotted woodpecker. we also a real specalist-the dipper

the garden this morning

3 feildfares sat on the bushes at the bottom of the garden. unfortunatly a car spooked them before i could get any photos and they diddnt return!

EGP tuesday-in search of the scaup

went on the way to pick up the fish tank, which tradjically was broken, in search of the scaup. unfortunatly our search was not helped by the sheer numbers of tufted ducks. i also managed to get a scaup confused with a shellduck which was also on the lake. i love seeing shelducks but there werent as many as at martin mere. there were also plenty of mallards. a jay flew nearby. another great duck that we saw was a lot of goosanders on the canal. they flew all around too but the best bird we saw was a stunning male bullfinch.

up to 8 goosanders
a stunning male bullfinch