Saturday, November 08, 2008
Doing a THROUGH!!
I have made my mind up that this year as in 2005 I am not going to stop! But continue on with a winter THROUGH, just like they do in the Netherlands! Weekends at least. The autumn is just turning at my site with "all species" sightings reducing. Soon, another two weeks, much of the movement here will almost stop, with by default, very sad, empty and quiet skies. But here at Oxenhope there is much sky to view and in some years the westerly hard weather moves have been impressive with wildfoul and waders pouring through when conditions really stiffen. There really is nearly always something on the move. December days in the right conditions can be wonderful, as can those in January. As in 2005 I intend to get to grips with as Stephen calls it, the "McKay Return", definate reallity here, with Woodpigeons streaming N, NE and E out of Lancashire, especially in January. Also in January the first leg of the PFG return is the very essence of vis, on the right days with multiple exceptionally high skeins > NW in what we call the 11 o'clock rush, with the timing due to multiple dawn departures from Norfolk...... exciting stuff when you know they will be coming! Its February that I'm not too keen on here. You are right Nick the "ten coat" Mitchelin Man mornings with double Damart under garments as well, are nearly upon us. Ice rind round the coffee cups, rock hard chocolate, broken teeth, frozen book pages, dead pens, dew drenched optics, snow bound cars, drift bound ice covered deckchairs, wind toppled trypods, frosted hair, frequent deckchair recovery from the water, frost bitten fingers, stiffened bodies, slurred speach, ultimate hypothermia and what ever other hardships winter brings to the vis watcher in the hills (a good subject here for a little storey) are almost reallity now. Just try drinking coffee with little shelter in a F7 gale, in fact all fluids go the same way here, ending up at Spurn! I think so far that the weather has this autumn been remarkably soft in relation to some I can remember in the last decade with BS, HC etal at Oxenhope – no big winds, no really hard frosts, no snow to date, no really preventative downpours – just in balance a few very foggy fogs!
Anyone joining in with the THROUGH? I know Mavis will!
After all if you've never tried it, you never know!
White Hell!! - The Road to the Reservoir - Archive Material (c) April 1979
Ceasation of Rain 0755hr.... looking N (c) 2008
Breaking Sky.... panus over Rombalds Moor(c) 2008
Altocumulus lenticularis (c) 2008
Back Edge of the Front (c) 2008
(0725) 0755 - 1115hr DB/HC
S F2 rising S F5, 7degC, 20 - 65km, 8/8 reducing 3/8, QNH 1002 falling.
Rain overnight in this part of W Yorks only ceasing c0730hr. Very interestingly the surface wind was from the south whilst the upper wind at cirrus level was from the north!! A strange combination? Back end of a Redwing night migration over Wilsden and Oxenhope village at 0725hr but none see all moirning from the watchpoint. Initially a little flurry of Fieldfare going NW but then none for a couple of hours. Starlings were moving thinly all morning and all to the NW, most were low and very fast with the largest party being c80. Interesting was a Short eared Owl going high NW being mobbed by a C Crow as it went.
With out doubt the most interesting species of the morning was Pink footed Goose with a small skein of 31 high west at 0923 followed by a massive fragmented skein of c260 initially picked up (1025hr) at great distance travelling exceptionally high south, estimated to be over the Pudsey ridge 5 or 6km east of Bradford. They continued in this direction, but loosing height a bit until the back drop was just south of Morley Town Hall (estimated above Birkenshaw) when they made a dramatic fragmented 90deg+ turn and started to proceed in our direction, obviously using Airedale as a leading line NW. They continued in this direction estimated to be passing very high over Wilsden and Harden Moor and onward crossing over the Worth valley whilst loosing hight a bit. Here they gained hight dramatically continuing NW until they crossed the Pennine watershed into Lancashire high above Keighley Moor. Here as seen on previous occasions another dramatic fragmented 90 degree turn was made, to put them on a SW track, quite possibly when the Ribble / Southport area was first seen from great hight. They were finally lost from view high above and beyond Lancashire Moor after appearing to cut oblequely exceptionally high over the Coumbe Cross col. The time was now 1105hrs and we had been watching this skein for over 40 minutes!! Seen at distance and over time this whole manouvre was an obvious re-orientation and navigation, seemingly using known features and topography to put them on a direct course for the Southport area of Lancashire and quite possibly Martin Mere!! The leading goose might even have had a satnav on board!! it knew which way to go!! As it is exceedingly difficult to estimate the exact track of the geese whilst watching from distance, the route described is subject to minor modification if any of our readers / other observers saw this skien passing directly over head during the time period stated!! One final and important observation relative to this event is that whilst scoping the fragmented skein whilst at our perihelion it was most obvious that the third goose from the end of the last fragment of the skein, white wings with black tips flashing in the bright light above "Sun Hill" was a Snow Goose!!
Moving Birds in order of appearance:
Fieldfare 138 > NW
Starling 140 > NW
Magpie 1 high > NW
Meadow Pipit 2 > W
Short eared Owl 1 > NW
Greenfinch 10 > S
Pink footed Goose 291 > as described
Snow Goose 1 > as described
Common Gull 3 > S
Wood Pigeon 5 > N
Jackdaw 12 > NW
Dave and Howard
Pink footed Geese (part of a fragmented skein) high > NW above Airedale (c) 2008
Click to make it Bigger!
Leeshaw and Coumbe Cross Col (c) 2008