Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another SW dampener

Despite the milder temperatures, the dreaded SW moderate wind ensured that Soil Hill was going to be quiet; and so it came to pass. 4 Mallard, 5 Golden Plover, pr Stonechat, pr Twite by seed. More seed laid down - hope they don't become junkies.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Soil Hill at Sunset

26/11/06 1300-1400hrs Slight WSW setting sun. One of the better days
17 Linnets
5 Twite
1 Skylark
All down Partridge hill below solitary tree.
Got some more seed down. BS Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another early start

A rainy beginning and a windy finish. 10 Fieldfare and a Pied Wagtail over Springfield. Robin singing it's heart out in the Willows. Approx 140 Common Gull spread between Foxhill Park, Old Guy Rd and Raggalds sports field, the latter having at least 90. BHG present in small numbers only.

Soil Hill - Meadow Pipit, 6 Mallard, Pheasant, 18 Grey Partridge, Golden Plover, Snipe, Reed Bunting, Stonechat. Seed put down in SE corner with no sign of Linnet party.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Thanks for the nyjer seed Brian, I have got enough for the next 6 months now! With the news that Snow Bunting have arrived, I did intend to visit SH today, however other events overtook me. It may be difficult getting up there Saturday as I understand that we are due for a battering from 80 mph westerlies. If it's got a bit easier by Sunday, I most definitely will be up, just to see what's been blown in (or off).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Misty Benefits

Having experienced what a good holding mist can do at this time of year, I went up yon Hill with reasonable expectations.

Mipit, Goldfinch, 14 Linnet, 2 Twite, pr Stonechat, Little Owl, Pheasant, Grey Heron, 24 Golden Plover, Woodcock.

The Linnet party, with Twite enveloped, were almost waiting for me to put the seed down in the SE corner, as was the cock Pheasant. The Goldies were in the scrape area and the Woodcock was flushed from about 2 metres. This is my third bird in as many Novembers and was located only about 20 metres away from the first one I experienced.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Early Sunday Trip

Don't know why but I felt the urge to go up Soil Hill early again. Got 1 Fieldfare over Springfield and Common/BHG in the fields. See comments on BS entry for SH yesterday, on what was a bizarre morning's experience. Somebody has been naughty and dumped what I can only describe as "not quite rubbish" - 2 bottles Asti Spumante, 1 bottle Macon Village, 4 Cans of Boddingtons, a crateful of Red Wine amongst other items. I'll let you know if this lot is drinkable, naturally. Please don't give out my phone numbers or address, in case I ripped off the Queensbury Mafia.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Soil Hill

The SE feeding area, Soil Hill
18/11/06 1445-1530hrs Howling >W 6-7 Drizzle
Tried for a rerun Nigel but it was,nt to be.
4 Linnet enjoying seed
2 Goldfinch also on seed
4 Goldies
Got some seed down in this area. Discarding seed in other 2 areas to save spreading birds all over the hill and making them hard to watch.When the Lap Bunts come in I want to be in the right spot ! BS Posted by Picasa

Queensbury List

At last I have started to convert the data kindly provided to me by Brian Sumner, listing the bird species seen locally in the last 10 years. When I have finished processing, I intend to upload it and make it viewable as a linked file to this blog. Individual user online updating will not be possible, so periodically I will review posts and update the file. Hopefully, I'll be busy on this, given our species rich environment (cue laughter).

As I already have a bird list for Soil Hill, Brian, you may note the odd deletion from your original list and possible additions from my observations. I will ask you to view the completed job and make necessary comments etc, before declaring the version as 'polished'.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Recruiting another Queensbury Birder

The stalwart Postman wot delivers my bills and causes much grief, has gained access to the internet and in a short space of time, discovered our local birding journals. Welcome to the grapevine Dave Pinder, as discussed, I am going to Email you and hopefully recruit you as a subscriber to this here blog.

A horrible thought entered my cranium last night; we are all of a certain age, one foot in the grave and all that. Are there any young birders out there who are potential observers for the local birding spots? It may be that the Playstations and X-boxes have claimed our nation's youth, but should any of the first generation want to contribute, don't be afraid to contact us.

Another visit to SH

On the strength of the Purple Sandpiper turning up in the afternoon, yesterday 13th November, going against my so called intelligence, I forced myself upto Soil Hill. On arrival at 0910hrs, I found Keith Moir had arrived a short while previously. There was no sign of the bird whatsoever, but we persevered for about an hour and a half, being joined by Brian Vickers in the latter stages. It will be no surprise to me if the bird turns up again this afternoon, but I won't be partaking in any more early morning searches. Sufficient to say a number of birders have gained satisfaction, and it proves yet again that this unforgiving location, does turn up some decent birds.

2/3 Mipit, Pr Stonechat, approx 20 Linnet, 3 Twite on call in flighty conditions, but maybe a couple more, Golden Plover. I put some more seed down in the SE corner feeding station.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bird Crazy

0645 this morning in near total darkness with a gale force 8 westerly blowing ,5 birders including myself tried to keep on our feet long enough to see a little grey wader which didnt seem interested in either us or the weather.On our arrival a flock of 38 Goldies were circling around the summit and the Purple Sandpiper was happily feeding away in the scrapes.I told the lads with me that this was just a stiff breeze for Queensbury as we all tried to keep our feet on the floor. For cracking photos of the bird see Calderbirds,once again Sean Gray has excelled himself ,even if we had to hold on to him so he didnt get blown away.

The bird hath flown

Thanks for the phone call this am Brian, informing the Purple Sandpiper was still present and close up on Soil Hill. Unfortunately at 0920 hrs the bird had disappeared; even a combined effort a bit later with David Sutcliffe, failed to turn anything up. There were 3 Golden Plover present, which I am further informed by BS, had reduced from 38.

Other birds: Little Owl, Starlings, Linnet, couple of Mipit.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mega Tick for Soil Hill

12/11/06 1615hrs
A chance in a million as I decided to dash up to Soil Hill at near last light to put down some more seed and retrieve an unused feeder that I had up there .On walking back passed the scrapes on the very summit I firstly got a quick call and then saw a small wader 30yds in front of me which was a Purple Sandpiper. I took some photos,see Calderbirds for the best of a shocking lot as it was now near dark.
It just goes to show, had I stook with my first decision not to bother as it was getting late the bird would have gone through undetected. BS

Soil Hill again

18 Common & 5 BHG in fields at Old Guy Rd and usual Starling bunch. Re-seeded Soil Hill under a battering from the wind. I now feel we are mainly feeding the Partridge, oh well.

Mipit, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Robin, 3 Blackbird, Reed Bunting, 12 Grey Partridge, 20 Linnet, Little Owl.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Approx 20 Fieldfare 1150 hrs flew into trees, Brighouse Rd -back of Downeys Solcrs.

Friday, November 10, 2006

More Woodies

10/11/06 early a.m.
Another good morning for moving Woodpigeons with several groups of up to 100 all >SE. Also this morning saw a good move of Mipits all >SW in small flocks of 5 or 6 .Otherwise just a few singing Robins about. Foxhill park at lunchtime was quiet with just 4 Common Gulls. Looks like this is going to be another year with no sightings of PF Geese over the village, again all sightings has been to the south of us. BS

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Seeding Duty

Went up to Soil Hill and picked up 3 Pied Wagtail on the way. Once again, no seed traces in SE corner, so I put some more down. The top field was completely birdless and it was all in all a quiet session:

2 Meadow Pipit (note how it's always the full version and not Mipit, when there's nowt doin!) 13 Mallard, Grey Heron, 15 Linnet, 3 distant, silent, undistinguished brown jobs.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


08/11/06 a.m.
Several Blackbirds this morning with
3 in the grounds of The Willows,
4 in Chapel Lane graveyard and
4 in conifers in the works car park.
These birds had all appeared since yesterday coinciding with the large fall ND had at Roils Head ( see Calderbirds ). BS

Monday, November 06, 2006

More Woodpigs

Another morning of moving Woodpigs but this time smaller groups of up to 50 and less frequent. All were heading >SW with a few Mipits over going in the same direction.
Foxhill park held 42 Common Gull and 14 BH Gull this a.m. but these had dispersed by lunchtime. BS

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Yon Hill

It was bleak today up yon hill; the hellish wind blew my toupee off, a blonde one with black roots, should you find it.

Every seed at the feeding station had been gobbled up, and little presents of droppings are now turning up - methinks tis the Grey Partridge. I left them and whatever else is partaking, some more seed, but they'll have to wait for the wind to drop. There were a pair of finch types kept being blown about that may have been you know what, but I only got one squeak out of 'em so it's unfair to claim.

3 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Kestrel, 12 Grey Partridge, pr Goldfinch, 11 Linnet, Reed Bunting, pr Stonechat.

Just my luck that 10 minutes before I composed this, 6 sparrow sized birds were blogging over Springfield and Chapel Lane. I have no excuse on this one because although my bins were upstairs, they did call a few times. I couldn't identify the call, and thus don't know what species they were. Damn.

Friday, November 03, 2006

More Woodpigs

Another morning of good Woodpig movement all >SW with flocks of up to 100 birds.Movement stopped much earlier this morning than yesterday with empty skies by 0830.
All quiet in Foxhill park at lunchtime with just 1 Pied wag and a few Starlings. The massive flocks of Starlings seems to have moved on from the village now. BS

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Good numbers of Woodpigs >S over the village early a.m. with several flocks of 50+.
Foxhill Park at lunchtime had 26 Common Gull and 15 BH Gull + 1 Pied Wagtail.
Only other thing of note was a Magpie on the sill above Nigels door drinking from the overflow. BS

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A leg ring at last

Nonchalantly (I lie of course,) swaggering past the Bull lying in wait for me in the Queensbury fields, I made my way up to Soil Hill with a few handfuls of seed. On arrival at the SE corner I found all seed had been gobbled up, so prompty scattered my own offerings. On taking a few steps away from the feeding station, I flushed 4 Twite, which perched on the rockpile a few metres away. One bird had 3 rings on it's left leg: White/Salmon/White, no markings were visible and the right leg wasn't seen clearly, but appeared bare. I would appreciate any feedback on this, as a comment here, on the Calderdale blog, or Email.

There was another party, also believed to be the previous seen Twite, about 15 birds, down the slope. However, these were very flighty and some calls got me thinking there maybe a Linnet or three in with them, very difficult to tell, they'll keep, I hope. Other birds were thin on the ground: Kestrel, Goldfinch, 3/4 Mipit, 3 Stonechat and a Fieldfare at last. A femal Roe Deer was in the reeds by the wader pond.