Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last Trip Out

Soil Hill - 3 Skylark, Kestrel, 11 Common Gull, 16 Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Stonechat. 3 Roe Deer, Fox.

A little mystery was resolved today. On about 3 occasions, I thought I had heard the call of a Raven, when there has been no such bird in sight. I now know it to be part of the reportoire of Roe Deer calls - the rotters.

That's it anyway, I'm sick to death of birding, I won't be doing anymore until next year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Soil Hill x 2

Early am visit by BS - Meadow Pipit, 4 Golden Plover, 17 Fieldfare, Stonechat.

Mid day visit by NK - Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 5 Grey Partridge, 9 Fieldfare, 4 Goldfinch, pr Stonechat. The Goldies are consistent with their disappearing and reappearing act (usually at last light).

Also 3 Roe Deer and a party of joggers. The latter must be out of their minds; I mean, which sane person would go up there?


Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 12:46:39 +0000


Looking for Christmas Dinner: We don't get many of these in the Park Lane area. This one turned up (with a female) at 12.20 a.m. today looking for the peanut feeder. Let's hope they hang around for a bit. They are usually a one-day wonder at this elevation. Merry Christmas everyone!! Colin Shields. Picture by Denise Shields.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Sunday was so grim up on t'hill I couldn't even be bothered making the effort. I met KM at the track, who told me the entire place was devoid of passerines. He was correct; not a sausage, nichts, nada, nowt, zilcho. He did get 3 Herring Gull, which has always avoided me; all I saw were approx 16 Common Gull and some Crows.

BS has confirmed he is still having problems with connections - a potential for defusing a joyous yuletide methinks.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Brian's Communications

Brian has made the transition from dial-up modem to Broadband. Unfortunately, he is experiencing teething troubles; hence the reason for this posting to explain why he may not be publishing for a short period.

Assuming you can read this Brian, please send me an Email, should you not be able to make any comments as to the state of things.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grey Wag

Grey wag seen Tues afternoon flying from Boothtown park, landed on main rd momentarily before flying off low West.
2 Rooks on our street yesterday. Regular pair of Pied Wags too, one a Juvenile.
Who is the mad 'monk' figure in the Bradford/Royston Vasey postcard? He waves at everyone he passes. Apparently he used to be aggressive with a friend of ours, pursuing her through the streets of Bradford. He must have thought she was the Antichrist. Maybe it was a case of 'There's nothing for YOU here!'

Queensbury News

Flock of 25 Greenfinch flew out of the Conifers at the M.O.T. station at lunch time today.
1 late Hedgehog by the back garden at 1900hrs tonight.
Going to try change to Broadband now so this could be the last entry I ever make ?

Soil Hill

The cool easterly wind didn't bring anything from the orient, let alone three kings. Skylark, 3 Blackbird, 3 Fieldfare, 2 Mistle Thrush, pr Stonechat, Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel.

Queensbury sported 3 Pied Wagtail.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Soil Hill

16/12/2007 1430-1530hrs
Went in the hope of Jack Snipe after 1 at Fly Flatts this a.m.
Yes, this was a first for me at Fly Nigel. Soil Hill was alive with Snipe
with birds flying around all the time, I had 6 in the air together at one point.
Unfortunately no Jack Snipe.
A bonus then with 4 PF Geese over low between the hill and TMR >W over Ogden
and disappearing past the wind trurbines.
Otherwise just 1 Kestrel and the tough little f. Stonechat. BS

Frozen Soil Hill

SE corner was still holding a Meadow Pipit and female Stonechat, despite the fact the place was white with frost. Down the slope: 3 Mallard, Grey Heron, Snipe feeding in the vehicle wash. Flock of 20+ blogging Blue Tit (most unexpected), 3 Redwing.

7 Greenfinch were at Chapel Lane top; Raggalds had 11 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 2 Blackbird. Mountain had 1 Fieldfare.

Well done with the Jack Snipe at Fly Flatts, Brian. Was this a first for there?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Foxhill Today

15/12/2007 mid pm
17 Common Gull
8 BH Gull
2 Fieldfare in top trees
1 Pied Wag on top pitch
1 singing Robin
9 Mallard over >W
1m Sparrowhawk low over Fleet Farm.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Cold n Misty

Not much doing on Soil Hill; almost as many birders as bird species in fact. 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, Grey Heron, f Stonechat, Mistle Thrush heard singing. Met DS & KM; the latter having just feasted on Mediterranean Gull, outside this patch at Cullingworth. Also Weasel.

12 Magpie in Albert Rd, Queensbury. I have not seen the White Crow since Spring; perhaps it has ceased to exist.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Consolation Prize

I was convinced the cold crisp conditions we had this morning would be potentially good for Soil Hill, so up I yomped. Things were promising in Old Guy Rd, Queensbury, with a female Stonechat, showing well.

Soil Hill itself also sported a f Stonechat in the SE corner, but the flashes were empty. Maybe because a large raptor gave a glimpse as it flew low across the edge and down the hill. I got views of long, broad, dark brown/grey wings with an ample 'hand' - immediately female Hen Harrier sprang to mind. Despite further searching, I could not relocate the bird and because I didn't see the rump area, I can only submit the record as a probable.

Consolation came in the form of a nice, fat, Woodcock, flushed from about 2-1/2 metres in a patch of heather. Also present were 2 Meadow Pipit, 4 Goldfinch, 14 Lapwing in the bottom fields, and a Fox. (No Roe Deer today, but then that fox did look well fed!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Quiet on Soil Hill

Needed to use some day's leave up before Christmas and managed to pick the first dry day in what seems like weeks. Finally got round to doing my Timed Tetrad Visit for Ogden and Soil Hill. Loads of birds at Ogden... Hardly anything on Soil Hill. Total count for Soil Hill (11-12pm) was 1 Kestrel, 3 Crows, 3 Skylark and 8 Golden Plover. Lots of soggy ground up there at the mo'. Didn't see a Jack Snipe but did find a new hole in my boot.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Soil Hill

Quiet. despite the very still conditions. 15 BHG, Kestrel, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Blackbird, 85 Fieldfare with Starlings in among them, on bottom field. Roe Deer now up to 4

There were around 60 House Sparrow around Foxhill area; previous counts this year have been far less.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Soaked again - Reprise

The wind was far too strong to visit the hill from hell so I went out in a bright sky around Littlemoor and Shelf Moor. Alas, I was caught out yet again and mighty cheesed off with it I was too! Birding is absolutely chronic in these conditions; I may find an alternative hobby such as embroidery.

10 Blackbird, Dunnock, 10 Carrion Crow, 5 Common Gull, 60 BHG. Best of the pick was close up of female Grey Wagtail, a species that hasn't been readily available this year.

Twite - Email fm David Sowter

Hi Nigel thanks for keeping in touch. I think it was a poor breeding season in the S Pennines and few birds about until October when we appear to have a good number of birds. In fact Sean and Andy managed about 200 new birds at Deerhill though fewer at Warley.
However, the good news is many of these and some from cant Clough are already being seen on the east coast at places like Donna Nook, Saltfleet Haven, frieston and the N Norfolk coast round from Holme to Blakeney with more birds near Walberswick in Suffolk.
We also have bird moving down the west coast with over 100 ringed on the Duddon estuary and a recapture of a bird from the Ribble in the 04/05winter. there was also a Ribble bird ringed in January 2007 at Machrihanish BO on west coast of Mull of Kintyre last month, along with a bird from Heysham ringed in the winter of 2004.
Still no clearer idea of where the birds that appear in October come from though pretty clear they're coming to us down the Pennines from the north.
I attach a copy of the latest update on the project and the ID sheet updated.
thanks again its good to know you are still looking - so= in some ways negative feedback is just as important as actually sightings.
Cheers for now but keep in touch please.. dave
David Sowter

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 5:19 PM
Subject: Bradford Area Twite

Hello David
I haven't forgot about your work; I have no records of Twite this year for my patch! It's hard to believe but Soil Hill hasn't seen a single bird since the Winter/Spring period. Furthermore all numbers are down in the local area e.g Fly Flatts, according to my co-birders.
Nigel Kerwin

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wind Dried

Got soaked again, but the rain eased off and the wind blew me dry to some extent. Soil Hill - 6 Common Gull, 3 Skylark, 8 Golden Plover, pr Stonechat. 2 Roe Deer.

Raggalds - Gull count still 120+; mainly Common.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Foxhill Today

Another windy wet day, if we get any more water in Foxhill Park
we,ll be attracting waders.
2 Mistle Thrushes were on the wires over Grimstons field at
lunchtime today.
Several Chaffinch were around the garden feeders at the bottom
end of the park which is unusual for this area.
This obviously attracted a f . Sparrowhawk which glided silently
over the hedge tops but did,nt make a kill.
Quite a few Wrens about just now clicking away in various gardens. BS

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturated on Soil Hill

I went up to SH mainly because I've stayed in for two days and didn't expect anything really. The wind was driving the rain so hard that I did have to abandon the trip, but not before seeing:
12 Common Gull, Skylark, Golden Plover, 4 Fieldfare, Snow Bunting. Only a glimpse of the latter and when searched for was not seen again - probably blown onto a Thornton rooftop!

Raggalds had about 100 Common Gull and 20+ BHG. Foxhill Park 26 Common Gull.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Foxhill Today

30/11/2007 Lunchtime

6 Fieldfare in trees by New Park Rd top gate
Several Tit flocks in gardens ajoining bottom of park, mostly
Blue and Coal but a few L T Tits in with them. As mentioned on Calderbirds,Great Tits
are noticable by their absence this year ?
2 Lapwing over >W and 68 Common Gulls on top pitch early a.m. BS

New Template Amendments

I've been doin some more pottering, which means Links to other Bird groups are obtained by scrolling down toward the page bottom.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Drama on Soil Hill

A strong SW gale was blowin on the hill from hell, so not much doing. Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, Snipe, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Blackbird. The female Sparrowhawk, had chased the Blackbird into the garden of the top house on the Perserverance Rd bend. Fortunately for the latter, the predator was a bit bulky for the hedge and briefly got itself in tangle, giving it chance to escape. After a couple of seconds the larger bird freed itself and flew off low out of the garden and away.

Also present: 2 Roe Deer, Field Vole, black Cat. I found a dead Field Vole on Sunday; now I know what probably bumped it off.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pied wag Roost Halifax Town centre.

Whilst I remember to post this...
Last year saw a great P Wag roost in Halifax in the trees outside Coffee Cali-this is situated to the
left of the main walkway into the Woolshops which extends from Coffee Cali to WH Smiths. The coffee place is next door to the Halifax bank with the trees just by the side, you can get a brew in there and a great position for the roost (no neck strain!) (If the roost happens this year).
Haven't been in town at the right times for a few weeks but I did see c.15 P Wags roosting here. So keep your eyes open. So many people passing underneath and these little birds just above
their heads.
Well over 100 birds roosted here last winter (Possibly a lot more) and a Sp Hawk would pass through hoping for its supper. They started to gather early on calling from the tops of buildings. We both really enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much we didn't do a formal count because we were too busy enjoying all the unfolding drama. Fingers crossed for this winter..

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Soil Hill

25/11/2007 1000hrs Cold NW>4
Got seed down and trudged about with hopes of Jack Snipe but dipped as usual.
Checked for Snow Bunt in usual areas but looks like its headed east with its mates.
Theres good numbers showing down the east coast,mainly Flamborough and Filey.
4 Golden Plover were on the scrapes and the usual 5 Grey Partridge were about.
Other than that, 2 Mipits and a few Corvids. BS

Shibden Head + Roper Lane

Quiet down in Shibden Head this morning with what seemed to be reduced numbers of the usual species. The Jackdaw roost comprised zero birds! Don't think I've ever seen (or not seen!) that before. There were 20 or so Redwing feeding on the holly berries but other than that, the only birds of real interest was a Jay and Green Woodpecker (heard). On my way back home, I detoured down to the pools below Roper Lane where I saw another Green Woodpecker and a nice male Bullfinch. Soon got bored 'cos there wasn't much else there either but on my way back up (is it me or is that lane really steep?) I saw a massive skein of 160 odd Pinkfoot Geese heading SW (10.30am). Someone in Halifax must have seen them as they passed over the town centre.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Info for Iain G.

In answer to your questions Iain, the Eagle Owl was around most of 1998 where it
started off in Shibden valley by Scout Hall,then moved near to the sewage works
before moving across the road to Oats Royd where it stayed for about 3mth.Thats where I
got this photo of it, I also have it on video. It then moved down near Shibden park but
got publicized by harrassing dogs and it even carried at Jack Russel the length of the park
before the dog escaped and went back to its owner. After this it mysteriously disappeared
believed shot.
The Glaucous Gull was put on birdline by an unknown birder 11/01/2003 and was on the
envirowaste site which at that time was a household waste site.
Interesting records of yours from the Ploughcroft area. BS
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Yorkshire Post

Soil Hill hit the media big time today with a mention of Snow Bunting there
in Bill Teales Birdwatch column. That there hill is getting famous.
Didnt get time to get up there today but will get some seed down Sunday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cool and Crisp

Lurvely day for a walk this morning, even if quiet in Queensbury. 3 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, 2 Fieldfare and most odd, 6 Grey Partridge, at Raggalds.

Soil Hill - despite 2 sessions combing the favoured area, no sign of Snow Bunting. Kestrel, Grey Heron, 3 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, 19 Fieldfare, 3 Blue Tit, Goldfinch, m Stonechat, 30 Lapwing in bottom fields.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ploughcroft, swales 'n Shibden (Yesterday!)


Nice to see 5 Bullfinch on Ploughcroft Lane.
1 Sp Hawk over
5 Mistle Thrush
2 chaff
2 P wag
1 Kes (F)
2 G Finch
4 B Tit
7 Gt Tit
1 Dunnock
2 rob
1 wren
2 B Birds
1 L Owl


Very busy with earth-moving and agricultural machinery. Noisy and smelly too! Bit more challenging to view the area because of agricultural fencing (they had the decency to preserve SOME of the public rights of way). The massive trucks steam along the bridleway so watch out if you get stuck in a bit that's fenced. These are BIIIG trucks! Mud splashes are the least of my concerns.

No skylarks seen/heard
14 Mipits
2 P Wag
1 crow with considerable white to tips of Primaries and secondaries. (dozens of other crows).
1 G finch
60 starlings.


1 L owl
2 Phes
1 Grey Partridge
1 TREECREEPER (Big deal, but first in the Swales end of valley for me in over 6 months- GSW far more infrequent too).
8 LT tits
10 Bluetits
9 Gt Tits
3 Coal tits
2 Robins
2 Dunnock
2 Wren
2 Jays
3 Bullfinches
1 Green Pecker heard and seen.
1 GSW heard calling.
1 Kes (F)
Sorry if a list is a bit dry and boring but it's better than 'nowt!


I've tidied up the Local Patch List; if any contributors get time I would appreciate you havin a gander and posting comments, bad or otherwise! Your article on Shibden Valley, Brian, has been moved to the right hand column to join your others.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's Still There

Snow Bunting still in same area of Soil Hill early this afternoon and still very confiding. Otherwise it was deadly quiet: 3 Fieldfare, Reed Bunting and a flock of Common Gull. Peter Smith was up there and also so a flyover Golden Plover - a bird I haven't connected with yet up there this season. The 3 Roe Deer are back, giving great views.

The Common Gull flock drifted down to Raggalds, increasing the numbers there to at least 130. Only other birds were single Fieldfare, Greenfinch, Pied Wagtail.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coming in to Land

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Snow Bunting

A report today from Andy Cockroft through the Calderbirds grapevine
that the single Snow Bunting is still on Soil Hill.
Well done Andy, you,ve tried hard for that bird.
This is the 9th day that Snow Buntings have been present on the hill starting
with 7 birds then 4, dropping to 2 and then this single bird staying 5 days so far.
Birding in the village otherwise has been none existant with a cloud of fog and
drizzle hanging over us for the last 3 days . BS

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Soil Hill

Back to Soil Hill in the snow but with camera repaired. Snow Bunt was in same place as
yesterday and just as friendly but light was very poor hence the not very good photos.
Also present
1 Mipit
21 Golden Plover on scrapes. BS
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shelf Moor & SH

I went down to High Cross Lane this a.m to look for a large group of Lapwing and poss Golden Plover reported to me last night. They weren't there, however in recent Autumn/Winters they have sometimes roosted in the evening. Present were: Pied Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, 18 Common Gull.

After lunch I visited Soil Hill luxuriating in a very fresh SW wind, aka birdkiller. 75+ Lapwing were in the bottom LH field near the road, but nothing on the top field, or so I thought. An extra two pair of eyes turned up in the shape of two lads from Thornton, and my thanks go out to them for almost treading on the female
Snow Bunting. I must have walked past it twice, such was the excellence of it's camouflage. Brian Sumner managed to get up in time before the light went, and I feel he may have something to say about the subject!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ambler Thorn

A really good haul of common birds here today, lots of activity.
Birds of note: 1 Little Owl, 1 Grey Wag, 2 Skylark over to the East, a Kingfisher on the pools in the valley bottom.
I was at Swales first light. 12 species including 3 Skylark.

Oats unfit for Birds?

I saw an opportunity to obtain in bulk some Oats, the kind you make porridge with. However, I have some reluctance to purchase because I imagine they may swell in the birds gut. Has anybody any definite knowledge about this?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Late Shift worked

Thought I'd try Soil Hill later on, seeing as other birders saw Snow Bunting after I'd gone home on three previous occasions. This time it brought success; a male and female were busily feeding on the rough ground in the NW corner. These birds were very approachable and gave great views; one approached within 3 yards of Bill Halling at one stage.

Apart from 4 Common Gull and one unidentified flyover finch type, t'was barren. But no complaints this time!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Mountain - Pied & Grey Wagtail.

Shit Hole - Plenty of wind. pr Mallard, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Skylark, 2 Stonechat, Reed Bunting. A Jack Snipe was flushed by J Crawshaw, but as usual not seen again after a further search.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunny Soil Hill

Grey Heron, 11 Common Gull, Fieldfare, Stonechat, Peregrine Falcon. Met KM who had flushed a Jack Snipe and RLP earlier. Despite the pair of us trying to relocate the JS, we failed to do so.

23 Common Gull by Old Guy Rd.

My brand new copy of Collin's Bird Guide, finally arrived. Yippeeee

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chris,s Snow Bunts

Soil Hill 3m 4f.
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Nearly Missed a Treat!

After a freezing cold hour at Thornton Moor Reservoir, I nearly decided to not bother calling in at Soil Hill on my way back home. Good job I decided to brave the wind again as I encountered a flock of 7 Snow Bunting on the Northern edge of the Hill. They were flying about and dropping down to feed on the open waste areas. Had excellent views for 15 minutes or so before deciding I needed to get home and phone NK... and warm up with a brew. Other birds included 4 Meadow Pipits near the seeds and 8+ Grey Partridge in their usual place near the flooded bit of the track.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Soil Hill

10/11/2007 Howling wind W>6
Just same conditions as this time last year put no Purple Sand.
Had to chase my cap twice and did a full length dive over a piece
of wire which
took me back to my goalkeeping days except the ground feels
much harder now.
Got plenty seed down but birds were poor,
4 Mipits
1 Kestrel
1 Skylark
6 Grey Partridge

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tawny Owl

A Tawny Owl flew across Brighouse Rd into the grounds of the Royal Eastern at 22.12 hrs last night. My neighbour DP, mentioned that he'd seen it roosting in a tree behind our back yards earlier in the week.

I went through Shelf Moor into Shibden Valley this afternoon and it was hard work to spot birds. Half way through the SV trip I met this guy with a metal detector who told me he had just seen a flock of 12 Hawfinch just 90 yards away. He then confided that at the far end of Judy Woods (Wyke area) there is a pair of Harris's Hawks breed and 4 birds can often be seen hunting. I told him I'd have a look at the Hawfinch and hurried off, keeping a watchful eye over my shoulder!

LBBG, 8 Meadow Pipit, Blue, Great & LTT in small flock, 3 Jay, Sparrowhawk, Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Fieldfare at last. Quite a sizeable Magpie roost of 25 birds min. GSW at Littlemoor Park.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Two Local Ticks

Figuring that today's NW breeze may have dumped summat on the Hill from Hell I went up there. I was wrong, it dumped them on my very local patch in Queensbury; at Old Guy Rd to be precise: 3 Meadow Pipit, male Stonechat and Jack Snipe.

The Jack Snipe was flushed by my voice; I was laughing aloud at the antics of a young bullock when it took off from long grass. It remained silent, never flew more than 2 metres off the ground, veering somewhat but landing approx 25 metres within a few degrees short of a direct line from take off. I noted the spot, amongst rough pasture and walked to within about 8 metres from it, seperated by a wall. Feeling guilty, I coughed a bit, grunted and clapped my hands once, to no avail, it stayed put.

Onward then to the place which promises so much, and sometimes delivers, but not today, again - Soil Hill. 2 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Goldfinch. Kestrel and Crow having a dogf..., er, birdfight.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Responding to stimuli and heartily sick of the birdless waste up the road, I tootled off down the opposite direction this morning. Although I didn't see the Nuthatch reported by Chris yesterday, it was certainly still in the vicinity; this time it was calling from high in the mature trees on the hillside. I was hoping for Fieldfare and Brambling too, but it looks as though they'll be my Autumn nemesis birds.

Lapwing, pr Meadow Pipit, 7 Pied Wagtail, pr Rook in 'Billing' courtship display! 45 Jackdaw, 3 Jay, 2 Green Woodpecker, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, pr Bullfinch, 4 Chaffinch, 5 Greenfinch, 5 LTT, etc.

I wonder why GSW don't appear to be present; I can't recollect any in 3 visits down the valley.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Queensbury birding hotspots

SHIBDEN VALLEY.... Green Lane Top.
There are several tracks leading into Shibden Valley, this is to the NE of the valley below Deanstones Lane.
The whole of the hillside here is rich in berries from Bramble and Billberry to Hawthorn and Holly attracting
a wide vareity of birds. The hillside drops steeply to the beck which runs down into the cross becks below Henacre Wood.
In spring Linnets nest on the hillside in the thick heather and gorse bushes. Chaffinch,Greenfinch,Bullfinch and
winter Brambling are always present along with Green Woodpecker, winter thrushes and Jays. Little Owl is often
seen on the wall tops and Tawny Owls hang out in the holly bushes. Well worth a visit though the climb back up the hillside is steep
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Shibden Head - Good! Soil Hill - Well about normal really!

The early fog resulted in a slow start but the day soon improved. Shibden Head was well worth a visit and I saw Redwing numbering over 70 in feeding parties on a good crop of holly berries. Also saw 8 Fieldfare which are far less common in the valley. Starling numbers overhead were reasonable with about 300 heading north including one flock of 200 odd. Jackdaw numbering about 50 were near their roost.

The usual woodland species were present with an impresive number of over 40 Long Tailed Tits in three feeding parties accompanied by Blue and Great Tits. Other good birds included 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Jay, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Common Gull, 1 Grey Wagtail and best of all, 1 Nuthatch near the old Sewage treatment Works. This is the first I've ever seen at Shibden Head. (Now I only need Treecreeper to complete the set!)

Full of enthusiasm, I then headed up to Soil Hill and saw the grand total 4 Linnet and 3 Crows. Put some food down near the rock which soon was being investigated by the crows as I left. Oh well, I'll keep going up there 'cos you never know your luck.

Friday, November 02, 2007

BTO Bird Atlas Timed Tetrad Visits

Hi Nigel

I contacted the BTO a few months ago about the 2007-2001 Bird Atlas and volunteered for Timed Tetrad Visits for Ogden Reservoir where I already do the WeBS Core Count(which also covers Soil Hill) and for Shibden Head as it is the Tetrad in which I live. I was also going to submit 'Roving Records' sheets for general sightings. However, if you are already submitting records on the Bird Track System, is there a danger of duplication?


BTO Bird Atlas

I'd just like to add my own bit to what has been said on the Calderdale blog by Nick Carter about national bird recording for the new bird atlas. If, like me you are an existing Birdtrack recorder, then your records will be picked up, without the need to register for the Atlas project. If you aren't registered with Birdtrack, then I encourage you to do so because apart from the obvious it does provide a personal record backup facility. Records can be downloaded from the BTO website into an Excel spreadsheet, should you lose your data from, say, Group Recorder.

In the future I envisage that Birdtrack will be adopted by recorders as the main database, thereby dispensing with the need for duplication of work. To this end, Birdtrack have already arranged for data to be downloaded to County recorders.

PS Afternoon - Skylark at Mountain. 5 Linnet, 8 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, pr Stonechat, Kestrel at SH.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Queensbury Today

A single Whooper Swan flew over Soil Hill this a.m. about 0830hrs.
It was first picked up over Ogden flying with 2 unidentified grey geese
by Dave Sutcliffe and then by Howard Creber at Thornton Moor after
it turned to fly up the Aire valley. The geese must have carried on >E
as they didnt pass HC.
2 Fieldfare flew >W over Chapel Lane this lunch time. BS

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Foxhill Today

Foxhill Park lunchtime
1 Sparrowhawk low over football pitch putting up
Starling flock of 100 +
7 Golden Plover >W over park towards Thornton Moor Res.
Several Robins around now and extra large flocks of Starlings.
1 Wren in back garden. BS

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Foxhill Today

30/10/2007 A bit of a Halloweeny photo for tomorrow

Foxhill Park early a.m.
43 Common Gull
8 BH Gull
Few Mipits over >S

Lunch time
Carrion Crows scratting amongst the fallen leaves
2 Pied Wags
several very noisy BH Gulls. BS
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Grim Part III

This fair weather isn't doing much good bird wise on Soil Hill:
Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Common Gull, Grey Heron, 5 Grey Partridge, Pheasant, 2 Goldfinch.

The seed in SE corner has been eradicated to no good visible effect. I think the corvids and Partridge are just gulping it down at speed; I topped up with my last nyjer anyway.

If anybody wants, I can direct them to a new hole to lose 12 inches of leg in and I promise I won't take your money.

Skylark at Mountain, 2 Pied Wagtail at Raggalds.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Soil Hill

28/10/2007 1500hrs
A quick look up on the hill to try make up for this mornings washout.
Strangely the full 3kg bag of seed I put down at last light yesterday plus
a scattering of peanuts was completely gone, either eaten or washed away
with this mornings torrential rain?
Just 8 Goldies were on the scrapes but I suspect more will come in to roost.
14 Blogging Mipits were about which were,nt there yesterday and also
2 Skylark. BS
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Still Grim

Talk about Doldrums; Soil Hill was unbelievably quiet. LBBG, 2 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 10 Grey Partridge. Nearly all the seed has been eaten already.

8 Finch types flew over Black Dyke Mills this morning; I'm still working out the two calls I heard, hoping it was Brambling.

PS They weren't.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Grim Soil Hill

27/10/2007 1600hrs
A last tea time wander before the end of British Summer Time.
Strong >W 5 Fog rolling in.
2 Chaffinch on track up to hill made me stop and look , thinking of
Snow Bunt. I think these are a site first for me.
Got plenty seed down and wandered over to scrapes in the thickening fog
pleasingly to find 18 Golden Plover on the summit. BS

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Inclusion of BS posts under Articles

I bunged your Posting of Chapel Lane graveyard over to the right Brian and discovered a slight problem. The pics don't load automatically so you have to click on the x button to view them then use your browser back and forth buttons, which is very unsatisfactory. I can't remember the cure for this right now; mainly because of premature senile dementia, but when/if I do, I will correct it. Meanwhile, I shall postpone the other entries on Local Hot Spots until remedied.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Soil Hill

30 Common Gull, 3 Skylark, 8 Linnet, Chaffinch, pr Goldfinch, Grey Heron, 5 Grey Partridge, Reed Bunting, Snipe. Seed nearly all gone from SE corner; I put some Nyjer down for the Twite that have not yet reappeared.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Queensbury Today

Several flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing came up out of the old station area
probably from roost and headed >S around 0800hrs.
3 flocks of Lapwings flew over the MOT station >NW but not sure if these were
migrating birds or locals. 82 in total
Several Dunnocks in Chapel Lane graveyard which are possible movers.
Foxhill quiet today with just the usual Common Gulls + 2 Pied Wags. BS

Queensbury Hot Spots

Chapel Lane Graveyard
Not actually a hot spot but well overgrown and good for holding birds.
Good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing get in the trees here and there is
always a good supply of Hawthorn berries. Robins,Dunnocks and Blackbirds
are resident here and I have have blue, great ,coal and l.t. tits . Collared Doves are here
on a daily basis and Woodpigeons occasionally roost. As with most
graveyards its a place where anything can turn up. Its just 30yds up the
road from here at the Willows medical centre where Nigel K got a flock of Waxwings a couple of winters ago. BS
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Queensbury birding hotspots

Dailie Fields leading down to old railway station.
This is first of a few favourite birding locations around Queensbury that I intend to post.
In the foreground are the Dailie Fields which are good for breeding Linnet in the gorse bushes, Wheatear
and Snipe use the hillside and Little Owl are always present.The rows of Hawthorn and Holly bushes hold
good numbers of Redwings and Fieldfare and also large flocks of roosting Woodpigeons.
Bell Wood,in the centre of the picture is by the old railway tracks and hold several summer Warblers inc.
Redstart. Bullfinch are common here as are Jay, Green Woodpecker ,and Tawny Owl is usually around.
When Howard Creber and myself started birding here 40 yrs ago, Yellowhammer were common but are no longer found.
In the background is Fox Brow by the chimney which is also a good area. Kestrels used to nest each year on the chimney till the top section was removed. The top of the brow would make an excellant vis mig point. BS
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A Quiet Return

Easing myself back in, I walked from Queensbury to Soil Hill. The Rugby pitch at Chapel Lane has got Common Gull remains decorating half of it, which is more than the fields at Fleet Lane have.

Soil Hill - 2 Meadow Pipit, 5 Common Gull, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch, 8 Linnet. Yet another NIL return on Skylark within a month. Snipe flushed from bottom LH pond and the days good news: Wheatear, big and leggy but no supercilium.

Two Crows were gobbling up the seed, but there was still lots left at about mid day. Two quad bikers were enjoying the sunshine.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

S.H.Feeding Station

Yes , thats right Chris ,the block marks the spot. Ive set it up there so it can be viewed from a distance
without disturbance.I went up at tea time today but other than 4 Skylark and 1 Snipe the hill was dead.
Pleased that you can help with the seed.
Sorry Nigel but its a buy your own job if you want to put some down. All Im doing is buying wild bird
seed and mixing a small bag of Nyger with it to keep expense down. BS
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Concrete Rocks !!!

After a good morning at TMR watching Fieldfares and Redwing heading North, I went up to Soil Hill at mid-day to see if anything else was enjoying the sunshine. Not much about. 3 Kestrel, 9 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 4 Linnet, 8 Starling, 2 Jackdaw, 8+ Crows and 1 Magpie. Heard a Reed Bunting on the North side. Also saw a Red Admiral Butterfly and one I think was a Tortoishell. (Probably spelt that wrong).

Anyway, I'll join in the seed feeding at the SE Corner. I assume the lone white 'boulder' is actually the lump of concrete about 1 foot square.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Queensbury Today

19/10/2007 early a.m. Casual obs to and at work.

Fieldfare ........... 380>W HC had 3000 + over Oxenhope this a.m.
Alba Wags............11 >S
Woodpigs............,72 >S much quieter that yesterday.

HC also rang me late morning to tell me that 7 Whooper Swans were heading in my
direction over the Paul Speak Institute but they must have passed to the east of me.

The Bitch is back

Just got back from a very interesting and productive birding stay in Cuba; the mosquitos were nice too. Thanks for keeping the blog going lads, I will look at in depth tomorrer morning.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


18/10/2007 early am.
A good morning for Woodpigeon movement with 430 >SW over Queensbury
just through casual observations to and at work. HC counted 830 from the
Oxenhope watch point along with 1125 Fieldfares.
Also over Qby early on were 2 Fieldfares >W and 11 Alba Wagtails, we seemed
to miss out on the Fieldfare move although because of the clear skies HC said that they
were moving very high and it was a binocular job. BS

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Soil Hill Feeding

After meeting Andy C. at a quiet Soil Hill today we have decided to re-start feeding up there in the hope of attracting winter buntings or anything else for that matter. Last time we used either wild bird seed, nyger seed ,or a mix of the two which seemed successful. The seed will be put down in the SE corner by a single white boulder so that the seed is concentrated to what seems to be the best area, so if anyone going up there fancies taking a pocket full of seed to drop down occasionally it will be greately appreciated. BS

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Soil Hill

13/10/2007 1600-1745hrs Heavy drizzle, misty with low cloud S>5
Went up tonight hoping for a wader being brought down in the perfect conditions but although the scrapes are topped up ,
not a wader in sight other than 2 Snipe. 6 Grey Partridge were feeding on the summit joined with 2 Red Legged Partridge which are
reasonably new commers to the hill. 8 Skylark were present plus 4 Mipits with a Kestrel hovering overhead in the mist.
The pond area was quiet with just a pair of Mallard. No sign of the single Wheatear today. BS
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Brief visit Swales and Shibden


Still 2 lingering wheatears or Whitearses as they are known in the Anglo-Saxon.
Only 3 skylark
Mipit numbers down to c.30
Fewer Linnet and Goldfinch too-40 and c.20 respectively.


My first Fieldfare of this Autumn flew in from the east, spent 5 mins calling from a treetop then took off N.
6 Redwings
2 Jays
Its nice to gain the winter Thrushes as we lose our summer visitors until the cycle begins again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Foxhill Today

09/10/2007 Lunchtime
A good movement after a mornings heavy rain.

2 Fieldfare...................>S
8 Redwing...................>S
130 Mipits ..................>S
4 Alba Wagt................>S
1 Jay...........................>W

Monday, October 08, 2007

Swales Moor.

From 4PM-5.50PM.

2 L Owl
1 Mistle Thrush.
1 Robin
1 BH Gull South and 1 Common Gull S
2 Wheatears
NO STONECHATS. They've cleared off before the mist descended.
3 Skylarks.
7 Mipit
3 Linnet
1 Goldfinch
2 Jays
Forgot my notepad but that's about the extent of the species seen. I thought the mist and cloud may have brought something in but maybe it was a bit late in the day.
Is Nigel abroad now? He'll be checking here daily and laughing because he probably gets fifteen new species from the balcony during morning coffee. I'm not at all jealous.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Swales Moor and Ploughcroft

Mipit 70 plus in scattered, highly-active flocks.
8 distant Gull species headed S
12 Skylark
2 Wheatear
1 Grn Wood Peck
40 plus Linnet
20 plus Goldfinch
1 Wren
1 Dunnock
2 Kes
2 Sp Hawk
5 STONECHATS-2 M 2 F 1 probable Juv. Really chuffed with these. Spent 15 minutes before I could confirm 5 rather than a likely four.
2 Jays over
A walker reported multiple Sightings by him and his neighbours of 2 Buzzards here. I'm sceptical to say the very least. There is a crow around with white primaries and it dosen't take much to trigger fantasy. This is my strangest local report since the local Sp Hawks were said to be fed daily by hand. Oh, and a Harris Hawk reported to be a Hen harrier. Then there was the Lynx.....


1 L Owl spooked from 5 feet away.
15 Mistle Thrushes in a field.
2 Pied Wag 1 slightly yellow-faced
1 Redwing
1 Bullfinch Female.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Soil Hill

06/10/2007 1600-1700 hrs
Still 2 Wheatear hanging on up there.
The large flock of Mipits from last weekend have gone and I only found 2 Skylark.
Nice charm of 16 Goldfinch , 1 Kestrel and 1 Cock Pheasant.
4 Swallows flew overhead >S.
The Linnet flock was down to 12.
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Friday, October 05, 2007

Queensbury Today

Over Qby MOT, just above traffic lights, early a.m.

MEADOW PIPITS..........................38 >S
JAY.............................................5 W
REDWING....................................32 >W
CHAFFINCH................................7 >S

Starling flock above Foxhill now increased to 300 +
Wonder how Nigel,s getting on in Cuba. BS

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Foxhill Today

Early a.m.
1 Sparrowhawk being mobbed by 3 Crows
22 Common Gull in park
18 Chaffinch over >S
27 Mipits >S
1 Grey Squirrel running along the point of a bungalow roof.

Lunch time
3 Pied Wags in park + 2 Linnets

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Desolation Row

Perhaps I am unkind, but this afternoon's sortie brought back memories of Dylan's music. Quiet is not the word! I am proud to present a NIL return on Skylark for Soil Hill, which is probably the first in over a year. Present were 2 Kestrel, 5/6 Meadow Pipit, 2/3 Linnet, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, pr Dunnock.

Queensbury did have a Skylark and also 6 Meadow Pipit, 5 Linnet, 5 Common Gull, Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail. The Starling flock at Foxhill/Mountain is now well over 200 strong.

That's the way it goes and anyway 'pon my return my friendly neighbourhood postie had 2 juicy books on Cuban birds to await my perusal thereof. Thanks very much Dave.

Good birding everybody.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Soil Hill

30/09/2007 1630-1715hrs
The SE corner and mast field was alive with Mipits and Linnets, the Mipits probably waitng to move in the morning.
Mipit 150 +
Linnet 50 +
Skylark 4
Wheatear 1
1 Dishfish finding his way round. BS
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Up with the Lark

Thought I'd join the big boys n girls this am and do the Vis Mig watch; maybe it was the local Tawny Owl calling early on that woke me up. Started off slowish, Queensbury sporting just 11 Pied Wagtail, with a Great Tit at Raggalds, which is certainly uncommon.

Soil Hill - 8 LBBG, 3 Grey Partridge, 50+ Meadow Pipit, 11 Skylark, 2 Pied Wagtail, 18+ Linnet, 2 Greenfinch, 40 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, Stonechat. Flushed 1 Snipe from bottom RH pond, made my way over to LH pond and got a call from BS to say flock of Pink Foot geese on way. Flushed 2 Snipe from this pond as PF came across and veered E over Denholme/Thornton, counted 45+ (BS says 50-odd). 2 more Snipe came over and for a couple of minutes I saw 4 together circling overhead. I then got the palest Sparrowhawk I have ever seen in my life, very light grey and 2 Kestrel. Icing on the cake - 3 Jay which is another species for the SH list.

Thinking I was due a good dip after this lot I went to Ogden and found the Red Breasted Merganser pair have gone. Not surprised - mill pond calm, good conditions for moving on. Still managed Redwing, Bullfinch, Goldcrest and the ubiquitous Goldfinch.

I also got 4 Cats - do these get passed to the Vis Mog team?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ploughcroft, Swales Moor, Shibden. Sat 29 Sept


1 Pied Wag
2 Chaff
4 Blue Tits
4 Green Finch
4 Mistle Thrush
1 Jay

Swales Moor

2 Sparrowhawk
8 Pied wag
50 plus Mipit
2 Little Owl
1 Robin
40 plus Goldfinch
Good numbers of Skylark-31 minimum.
1 Dunnock
20 plus Linnet
1 Wren
1 Squirrel (Grey of course). Hardly any trees up here, just a few stunted bushes.

Shibden valley

1 Green woodpeck
2 Kes
7 Jays
Gt Tit 8
LT Tit 14 plus
Blue Tit 14
4 Robin
4 Blackbirds
1 BLACKCAP (male)
1 Coal Tit
1 Great Spot Pecker
8 chaffinch
2 Mistle Thrush
3 REDWINGS over from the NE.
Another surprise mammal, a Weasel, gave superb prolonged views as it darted in and out of a wall and kept poking its head out to watch me while I sa15 feet away.
Nice bit of birding. Really happy with the Swallow, Blackcap and Redwings.
Swales was entertaining, all birds were constantly up and very mobile. Sparrowhawks passed through twice and made unsuccessful attempts at the flocks.

Could it be?

Went up to Soil Hill at 11.30am. It was quite warm in the sun, with little wind and there were plenty of birds were about. Recorded 60+ Meadow Pipits in small groups around the flooded track and off towards the East of the site. Wandered over towards the SE corner, stopped to get a good view of a Meadow Pipit on the ground and then walked towards the rock pile where I flushed what I first thought was a Skylark from about 1 metre. It turned out to be a snipe but it looked small to me (Skylark size) and it made no sound as it flew off, I didn't particularly note a long bill. However, I did see white feathers which I think were on the sides of the tail. I've never seen a Jack Snipe before so could this be one? The bird flew aproximately 100m off in that tottering way that snipe do to the NW and came down on top of the hill. Headed off in hot pursuit to towards where I saw it decent to try and find it again seeing 40+ Linnet and 11 Skylark on the way. Met Keith Moir walking up from the north track so we both spent an hour hunting for the 'Snipe'. Keith did flush a proper 'Snipe' on the north so conclusion for my bird was probable Snipe. Conditions look good for it's smaller cousin so a few more trips to the Queensbury Mecca are in order.

Other birds noted were 1 Kestrel, 3 Carrion Crows, 1 Magpie, 6 Partridge, 1 Swallow and 1 Wheater (autumn male) on the 'Stinky' bit of the track. Bargain!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007


2 mins after leaving my house, 5 Redwing flew over the road at approx 1210 hrs. 17 BHG roosting on roof of Black Dyke Mills shed earlier. Today was a day of frustration: 25 strong flock of small finches at Mountain - unidentified, unfamiliar call, visibility not good. At least I got low flying male Sparrowhawk there. A flock of around 9 Duck shot across Chapel St over High Street unexpected - bins tucked away. Old Guy Rd had around 25 Linnet and the Starling flock is increasing noticeably.

Soil Hill was disappointing - instead of the N/NE wind dropping things on top, it was too strong and blew them away. 12 Skylark, 25 Linnet, 6 Grey Partridge, Kestrel, much reduced Meadow Pipit numbers. 5 Thrush types flew off in the distance giving silhouette views only!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


27/09/2007 a.m.
After being alerted by DCB from his Oxenhope watchpoint about heavy Redwing movement I watched out as much as possible from work and got
320 REDWING..............................>W
5 BLACKBIRDS.............................>W
3 ALBA WAGS..............................>W
25 MIPITS...................................>S

Most Redwings were going directly over the village.
Dave got nearly 4000 just over the hill from us. BS

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Postpone the Megas

In a fit of insanity I just booked a holiday in Cuba next week; make sure them there Upland Sandpipers and Greater Sand Plovers stay away until I get back. Thank you

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Foxhill Today

3 Pied Wags in Foxhill Park
Few Mipits and Swallows over >S early a.m.
6 Canada Geese over New Park Rd >W 1715hrs, unusual.
Only 3 Common Gulls seen in park today.

Usual Route

Queensbury - 3 Greenfinch. 3 Skylark, 10+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Wheatear (1 Greenland) approx 20 Linnet, 5 Pied Wagtail, 3 Mistle Thrush at Old Guy Rd. Sparrowhawk flying over Raggalds sports field gave a half hearted dip at the 10 or so Common Gulls and 1 adult + 3 imm LBBGs idling there. Mountain had 6 Alba Wagtails but all were perched on house roofs so there was no way I was going to try and sort the two palesfaces out. I never have had the guts to point my bins in the direction of living/bedroom windows!

Soil Hill - Meadow Pipits scattered all around in 2/3s, 10 Skylark, 2 Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, 12 Goldfinch, 18 Linnet, pr Stonechat, 3 Reed Bunting, 6 Grey Partridge, 10 Swallow, 3 Wren.

So, who's kidnapped the waders then?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Swales Moor and Shibden

Swales Moor
Even wilder than usual up here today. Eventually gave up due to the driving rain.
6 Mipit
2 Skylark
1 Wheatear

Quick visit.

2 jays
9 LT Tits
1 willow warbler
A few Blackbirds enjoying the berries, they'll be on their guard when the winter Thrushes start arriving.
A few Gt and Blue Tits.

Foxhill Today

Foxhill park
Record count of 165 Common Gulls on top and bottom pitch at 0715
12 Swallows through >S at lunch time in strong wind and pouring rain.
14 House sparrows on feeders.
3 White necked Mallard over park last light. BS
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Queensbury Today

Common gulls over Foxhill

Soil Hill from Fly Flatts
23/09/2007 0630hrs

112 Common Gull on Foxhill Park football pitches
also 2 Pied Wags + 6 Swallows over. DCB had over 600 Swallows
past his Oxenhope watchpoint, all of which will have past Soil Hill. BS
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Queensbury and SH

Queensbury windwise was fairly still but Soil Hill was subject to the killer SW breeze, so for once my back yard patch had more movement as BS reports.

Qby, Old Guy Rd and Mountain at 1320hrs - 100 Meadow Pipit, 12 Linnet, 22 Goldfinch, 1 critter in a bush sounding very much like the call of a Willow Warbler but not seen. On the return leg I got very good views of 6 Alba Wagtails on the deck, one of which was a White and one other probable. Raggalds was host to 47 Common Gull.

SH - All the seed I put down t'other day has been gobbled up. 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 6 Skylark, 3/4 Linnet, 12 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, Stonechat. 2 Mallard were in the LH pond, (looking downhill) and so was something I couldn't identify. It called twice from the reeds sounding like a cross between a Little Grebe and a raptor - 'orrible really, could have been the ex girlfriend. 6 Grey Partridge have also turned up; it will be interesting to see if their numbers grow to that of last year.

A Moving Morning

Casual observations to and at work this a.m. produced :-

MEADOW PIPIT....................................170 >S
ALBA WAGTAIL.....................................14 >S
Also :-
38 Common Gull in Foxhill Park 0645hrs.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Queensbury birds

Just need another good twitch now Iain like your Shorelark sighting above.
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You mean like this Nigel?
Many thanks for sorting it.

NK Proving The System

Hello Iain

I got your Email and have forwarded the two I originally sent you just over a week ago giving access instructions. Providing your PC is configured correctly, you should be able to log into the blog as I am doing now on your behalf.



Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Wheatear

Winds from the W this morning; quite fresh but not strong. Queensbury had a total 26 Common Gull blogging between Foxhill Park, Raggalds and Old Guy Rd. The latter also had a Mistle Thrush and 2 Wheatear.

Soil Hill - 80 Meadow Pipit, 9 Skylark, 25 Linnet, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, Sand Martin, 8 Swallow, 4 Wheatear, 2 of which were Greenland. I had some seed left over and put in down in the SE corner, which last year had produced Twite. It goes to show how important this was, as I have not had any so far this season.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Northerly over Soil Hill

I was rewarded far more than I anticipated when I got to SH at around 1110 hrs. First off was a large dark Wheatear with an extended white rump and a loud teck teck call that was drinking from a pool. It flew toward me and revealed a dark breast also, before flying into the Radio Mast compound and staying put, not to be seen again. I'll just have to wonder about the species with an open mind indefinitely. A Greenland Wheatear was showing very well, also:

1 White Wagtail, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 12 Skylark, 30+ Linnet, pr Mallard, Kestrel, 4 Stock Dove. 5 Swallow. During a sudden cold shower a Short Eared Owl came into view, being pursued by a Crow. Then a pair of Raven flew over and made their way in the Ogden Res/Mixenden direction.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Foxhill Today

16/09/2007. 1600 hrs
Wind dropped quite a bit from this morning and turned full >SW. Slight rain.
Several Swallows coming through >S very fast and low.
4 Linnets on top pitch
2 BH Gulls
5 Common Gulls
3 Mipits over high >S
Report from a dog walker of a Little Owl on bottom pitch last night.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A visitor to the table

Still managing up to 9 House Sparrows today on the Table + 1 Wren
Dont know where this fellow appeared from but seemed happy to sit up there chomping nuts.
Few Swallows over >S. BS
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Quite Quiet

As expected the fresh SW wind made for a mediocre return:

Queensbury - Kestrel, 6 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Wheatear.

Soil Hill - Kestrel, 20 Meadow Pit, 5 Skylark, 55 Linnet, Reed Bunting, pr Stonechat, 5 Swallow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

House Sparrows

Had a shuffle round in the garden with the bird table and feeders etc and started a serious feeding program with a reward of 10 House Sparrows in the garden today.Hopefully I can bring back some of the missing birds.
No sign of movement in the skies this morning. BS

Local Patch List

I have uploaded a very basic list of birds seen locally under Articles. Needless to say, there is some further editing and updating to be done. If you have anything to add, or comments to make, please do so.

Thanks to BS for providing the original list which I should have posted at least a year back.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Green Woodpecker

1 Green Woodpecker flew over the main road by old guy rd tonight at 1830 heading towards the old station.
Few mipits over early a.m. all >S.
Still odd Swallows feeding over Foxhill Park.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Foxhill Today

1 Kestrel over park moving hirundine like amongst a swarm of black flies
1 Sparrowhawk over Mossy Bank
Bit of a raptor day today Nigel with 4 species close to home.
Also today, 4 House Sparrows in front garden on feeders after a 2 month absence.
This time last year was getting 80 + during post breeding season.
1 Grey Squirrel in Qby MOT car park. BS

Local Jackpot

Queensbury - 14 Meadow Pipit, 18 Linnet, 35 Goldfinch, Merlin. The latter was perched on a wall at Mountain, eyeballing the Goldfinch flock presumably. It flew low giving good views and I reckon it was an adult female. This is a personal tick for the much beloved parish and as far as I know nobody else has reported one in many a year.

Then it got better at Soil Hill. I was watching a female Sparrowhawk circling just above my head, when a Buzzard glided nonchalantly into the same frame! This was at 12:09 hrs and it gave great views as it soared and twice hovered for 4 minutes. It then went into the Sun so I had to forget the bins, as I am quite fond of my eyesight, but I saw it for another minute or so. Finally, it disappeared south over Bradshaw. This is another personal local patch tick and one that I won't ever forget in a hurry having watched this venue for almost 5 years solid. ( I just had to break off writing this - 3 Long-tailed Tits creating in the back yard) Also present SH were Kestrel, 5 Skylark, few Swallow, Reed Bunting, 20 Linnet, several Meadow Pipit, 3 Stonechat.

PS 10 House Martin over my house and back of Black Dyke Mills at 16:36 hrs

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Just a test to see if this works. If it does, well done Nigel.

Shelf Moor

Took a walk in the afternoon sunshine to find things definitely on the quiet side, e.g Littlemoor area had no sights and not too many sounds other than Blue Tit. Shelf Moor is the area just beyond Queensbury Golf Club down to the Windmill Pub and incorporating Pepper Hill and Cross Lane.

8 Meadow Pipit, 2 Goldfinch, 5 Linnet, Kestrel, 5 House Martin, 10 Swallow, Kestrel, Willow Warbler.

I wonder if the dry weather has contributed greatly to the missing Lapwings that congregated in the fields around High Cross Lane a couple of years ago. Of course it may have been the nigh on 7 week deluge we had in the breeding season that reduced their numbers significantly.

Welcome back Iain & Brian

Hope you are reading this Iain and Brian. I have tweaked the system and created fresh User accounts for this blog. This proves that the blog is workable with these new id's & passwords. All that remains now is for me to send you the details and for you to log on yourself. Please note this applies to this blog only - you will not see any other blogs when you log in. To view your other blogs log in using your existing, original details.

You may have received invites sent from the system today 11/09 as before - ignore them please.

No doubt, we shall be back and forth a number of times with Emails before we are all in a comfort zone with this.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Ringing Return

I had my second ever ringing return this morning; the first was a Long-tailed Tit way back in early '80s. Sorry to disappoint, but this was a Racing Pigeon, however it shows the value of ringing birds. I found it partially decomposed on the grass verge by the top of Perseverance Rd and took the ring from it's leg. The bird was ringed in 2007 by a fancier who lives in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Peregrine Falcon

Craning my neck upwards way beyond 2 Swallow going over Soil Hill, I thought I may have a candidate for BS September Swift. Turned out to be a Peregrine flying in a business like manner but fortunately slowing down to circle 4 times before carrying on South.

Also present: 30 or so Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, 2 Grey Partridge, 25 Goldfinch, 2 Blackbird, Reed Bunting. The Linnet flock is now well above 70 but try as I might there weren't a Twight in sight. (Twite; I know, it's the solitude wot does it).

Queensbury coughed up 6/7 Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail and a Wheatear in the usual place.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bird's View of Queenbury

The fields twixt the Cricket Cub and Foxhill Park is where them juicy Wheatears and Whinchats turn up in August & September. Interesting in that they are migrants, whereas to the best of my knowledge nobody has ever seen Stonechat here, which breeds up the road at Soil Hill.

(Roll mouse over image and click to enlarge)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sunny Soil Hill

AC up there before me reported appox 100 Meadow Pipit early on; I managed about 40 on my round. 7 Skylark, 9 Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Stonechat, Wheatear, 3 Whinchat. No sign of Black Redstart now for second day running.

Queensbury - 16 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Whinchat in Old Guy Rd. 2 House Martin over Chapel Lane.

Learned something today - saw a Dung Beetle pushing a dog turd up Soil Hill; I've seen hundreds in the tropics etc but didn't know they lived in temperate climates like ours.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Black Redstart still present

What a rewarding afternoon after yesterday's soaking. The Black Redstart showed well if infrequently; I last saw it at 1525 hrs being chased by a Robin. Pleased to say that Andy Cockroft turned up and saw the bird, as did David Tattersley. The Swallows are still in and out of the shed and the big Linnet flock is still floating around.

On the way back I checked Queensbury out:

Several Swallow througout; Sparrowhawk and 6 Goldfinch at Mountain. The fields between Fleet Lane & Old Guy Road produced 7 Linnet, 2 Pied Wagtail 3 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear. House Sparrow continues to do well in our area - I recently found out it has been put on the nationally threatened species list.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

FW: Black Redstart Sat 01/09

To Nigel Kerwin
From Brian Sumner
Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2007 19:50:04 +0100

The bird today was well below the pylon on the wall amongst the Thrushes but spent all its time in and out of the field with a flock of Starlings.It even flew with them to the bottom wall and onto the remains of an old building down there.Views were restricted to 30 secs a time but at least I got it. Wish Id have been up there when the Osprey flew over.

PS keep a look out in that field for Ring Ouzel.

To Brian Sumner
From Nigel Kerwin
Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2007 6:58 PM

Thanks for the text. At last! I'm sure you'll feel it was worth the effort. I've already got withdrawal symptoms and I was up there on Thurs, so unless there's an earthquake tomorrow, I'll be having a go.



Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dipped again.

No sign for myself or three other birders of the Black Redstart. Apparently
Brian Sumner has had it today though so it's still about! I guess the wind
still isn't helping matters much. Managed a Whinchat.
Also (just from memory)
8 mipits
4 Skylarks
c. 40 Linnets
12 Goldfinch
4 Mistle Thrush
3 Kestrels
1 Common Gull
4 BH Gull
3rd sighting in two visits of a Weasel.
No sign of the juv Stonechat
Why no Little Owls up there? Do you get them Nigel?
A few pools on soil hill look good for passing waders to drop in. Bleak spot
though so well done to the Soil hill regulars for putting in the effort.
Dippee dee doo dah, dippee dee day.

Iain G


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Soil Hill Saga

I got up to SH at 0810 hours to find Iain already there and between us we watched for 3 hours without any luck with the Black Redstart. Upon reaching Queensbury, I received a text at 1125hrs from DS to say the bird was present! On returning to the site with BW we got a good view within minutes of getting out of the car and then a couple of glimpses as it perched on the walls. Because of the fresh wind blowing from the W, this was the pattern of behaviour throughout - it would perch then disappear for some time. Fortunately, it did reappear to the benefit of 4 other observers.

Also seen: 20+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 50+ Linnet, 3 Robin, 4 Goldfinch, approx 20 Swallow, 2 Stonechat, Wheatear, Whinchat.

A pair, possibly more, Stoat, in the road side grass verge were creating noises for the duration.

Queensbury - 3 Wheatear Old Guy Rd.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Posing Black Redstart

My thanks to Sean Gray for sending me these shots in record time.