Monday, November 01, 2010

Oxenhope.... stratospheric surge! 01-11-2010

A glorious Sunrise today!.... (c) 2010

The Northern Skies.... (c) 2010

"Egret" Watch!!... (c) 2010

Red Kite after passing overhead... (c) 2010

Welcoming Party.... (c) 2010

Egret skies.... (c) 2010

Great Grey Shrike!!!!.... (c) Howard Creber 2010

Great Grey Shrike!!!!.... (c) Howard Creber 2010

Out that Way.... (c) Howard Creber 2010

Oxenhope, Bradford (W Yorks, England)
Monday 1 November 2010
Counting period: 6:25-15:30
Weather (first period): CALM, 7degC, 20 - 40km, 7/8 improving 5/8, QNH 1014 ridging
Observers (first period): Dave Barker, Howard Creber in morning, just HC in afternoon.

Moving birds:
Cormorant 1 -
Common Gull 10 -
Redwing - 210
Great White Egret - 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 45 -
Great Grey Shrike 1 -
Grey Heron - 2
Stock Dove 111 -
Jackdaw - 118
Pink-footed Goose 20 -
Woodpigeon 3889 -
Starling - 2639
Goosander 3 -
Skylark 15 -
Chaffinch 18 -
Red Kite - 1
Meadow Pipit 7 -
finch sp. 11 -
Sparrowhawk 1 -
flava wagtail sp. 1 -
Goldfinch 36 -
Merlin 1 -
alba wagtail sp. 8 -
Linnet 1 -
Lapwing 9 + 35
Blackbird - 3
Lesser Redpoll 7 -
Common Snipe 3 -
Fieldfare - 970
Reed Bunting 4 -
Black-headed Gull 23 -
Song Thrush 4 -

Totals: 8208 individuals, 32 species, 9:05 hours

Comments: Another watchpoint today selected from our range of locallities.... certainly produced the goods!! Rain overnight, fine by dawn becoming broken then scattered. QNH ridging 1014 at c 1000hr with v light wind from N, then CALM then S.... A tremendous morning in the uplands with everything right, that is with the exception of the visibility out to the east which was relatively poor. Thrushes over Oxenhope all NW. Absolutely everything here this morning, exceptionally high... even the Starlings were much higher than normal with long strings, waves and squadrons all coming over from the SSE, the first bigger and urgent starling day of the season. Thrushes all big tight flock c every 30 mins here... not o/a big numbers but quite obviously fresh in but to be quite honest we were concentrating on the pigeons in tremendous flocks, much much higher than normal and most out to our west and NW, all going south.... some overhead could bearly be seen with 10x bin as they were so high and the westward bias was very unusual! as was the greatly extended perod of movement... right up to c 1015hr and possibly a bit beyond. Perhaps all can sence the idealic calm before the dramaitic storm... Best bird At 07.55 hrs, whilst scanning north west for Woodpigs, which were today, atypically, coming out of Lancashire in large dambuster- like exceptionally high flocks, I picked up a very large white bird flying high,circa 500 to 600 feet up, in a northerly direction. It was about 2 miles away over Oxenhope Moor and my immediate impression was a swan sp. given its large and cumbersome size, but its shape was all wrong and I said to Dave ( as daft as it sounds !), "this looks like a swan flying backwards". Its "front end" appeared thick and heavy and it`s "back end" looked like the long neck of a swan. No time for guessing here and I quickly switched from bins to scope power. I soon located the bird,though it was a good way off, zoomed in to 50 X and wallop..... a Great Egret !!!!. I shouted to Dave, "Egret" and he said "is it a great white" and I confirmed. DB got a quick look through his bins and confirmed the really long legs and then lurched for his camera to try some shots.The bird continued north at hight over Keighley Moor and out towards the Skipton area till lost to sight.....A Red Kite also outstanding for our watchpoint came right overhead at 0845 and left to the SE... most interestingly GH reported dozens of Blackbirds apparently just arrived tday from the valley bottom at Skipton... this equated to our three west, quite unusual here from the watchpoint.......; "Birdy" skies continued throughout the afternoon, with Starlings predominating. Also of note was the movement of 101 Stock Doves in 6 flocks (21,10,16,6,41 & 7), all East.Then at 14.45 hrs, whilst scanning out over Bingley, one of the two star birds of the day came racing through my bins, giving an absolute eyeful - a beautiful Great Grey Shrike !!!!. It came in from the north west, over the nearby farmhouse, then over the road to the watchpoint and into the adjacent field , whereupon it alighted on one of the large round fence posts. This allowed time for some snaps. The bird was approx 100 metres away and over the next ten minutes, it steadily made its way down the fence (east) whilst dropping to the ground momentarily on several occasions. It eventually flew off towards the Bradford conurbation. A superb sighting, very much fulfilling one of our most wanted site birds and complementing nicely the Red Backed Shrike here of yesteryear..... Starling - 773 NW..... Mipit - 3 S..... Jackdaw - 6 NW.... Skylark - 2 SE.... Woodpig - 89 E.... Stockdove - 101 E (6 flocks).... Chaffinch - 2 E.... Goldfinch - 10 E.... Linnet - 1 S.... Finch sp - 11 E...... Fieldfare - 125 W.... Redwing - 6 W.... Alba Wag - 3 S.... flava Wag - 1 W.... Reed Bunting - 1 W.... Lapwing - 9 high W.... Goosander - 3 W (inclu one white back).... Great Grey Shrike - 1 E....

Dave and Howard in the morning and Howard in the Afternoon!