Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Buzzards Part II

Further to BS observation, Derek Adams saw a pair of Buzzard fly over the Rugby pitch at Chapel Lane on Sat 28/04/07 approx 1145 hrs.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Queensbury to Soil Hill

The fields from Fleet Lane to Old Guy Rd were busy with about 8 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, couple of Linnet and 3 Pied Wagtail at the Cricket Club.

Pr Curlew, 3 Lapwing, Swallow, 5 Wheatear, 3/4 Reed Bunting, 3 Greenfinch, usual Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Skylark were at Soil Hill. Also a Carrion Crow observed breeding, in a very inaccessible location!


Brian Sumner saw 2 Buzzards reasonably low flying over the George Hotel, Chapel St, Queensbury at approx 1700 hrs on Thursday 26/4.

Well done Brian, this species still continues to elude me, locally.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Soil Hill visitors.

4 Wheatear, 2 of which appeared to be Greenland. Stalwart male Pheasant, 11 Skylark, a few Meadow Pipit and scattered Linnet. The strong SW wind kept things off the top and on the slopes.

3 People were present on the bottom by the reedbed and pond nearest the Portakabin. They had the appearance of surveying types and spent about 40 minutes in all discussing whatever issues. I dread to think...

Mountain had a Swallow and a Sparrowhaw, along with a couple of Linnet.

House Martin

Got a couple of Swallows over back of my house this am, but prior to that had a couple of House Martin. This is the latest date I have had this species in the 7 years I have lived in Queensbury.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ring Ouzels

A fresh SSW with light drizzle was just enough to keep the top of Soil Hill quiet, e.g no Wheatear. Fortunately, as I thought, it drove the birds over the NE side, where I found the prize winners. 3 Ring Ouzel, comprising of what appeared to be a pair and a seperate female were on a wall in the Trig Point field. Just to add to the fun, a male Blackbird kept duckin n divin over and between walls.

Others: Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Mallard, Lapwing, Curlew, Linnets, 3 Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Swallow.

I have sent you another invite, if you're reading this Brian.

Between Queensbury and a Hard Place

Where birders fear to tread.
(Place pointer over image and click to enlarge)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

How Fortuitous

As I was walking to the boozer for a jar or three, a Grey Heron flew over The Halfway House at 1915hrs, Friday 20/4

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cool Southerly over SH

Despite the wind being from the S/SE it was a bit on the nippy side and didn't bring much with it:

5 Wheatear, Swallow, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Pied Wagtail, 3 Curlew, 4 Goldfinch, Linnets, Chaffinch.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Back to hard work

The W breeze certainly has changed things:

Willow Warblers singing at Foxhill and Mountain.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Swallow & Raven report

BS reports a Swallow over Foxhill Park on 14/04/07 in the evening, which is 4 days earlier than in 2006.

I received very encouraging information from an authentic source yesterday about a Raven flying roughly from Warley Moor towards Queensbury Church one day last week. The observer was stood on Soil Hill when he heard the bird calling, looked up and obtained very good views.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Soil Hill Birds

Meadow Pipit and Skylark all over. 2 Swallow, 5 Wheatear (one very pale male) 2 Reed Bunting, singing Stonechat, Curlew, 2 Lapwing, several Linnet. The SE corner seed has been gobbled up and more laid down. KM and meself found 3 Male Ring Ouzel, one more than yesterday's report. Although flighty, I did see them again later in a more settled mood - mebbe they'll hang for a day or two.

Regarding the LRP report(s) I did anticipate this species dropping into this locality as the present state of the hill top makes it very attractive. KM and I probably spent a good hour scouring this morning, with no sign of such a bird. Currently, the ground is almost parched dry, with only 3 scrapes having any water in them - another 2 days of no rain and I reckon they will go, leaving the deeper pools on the former track. Any bird choosing to breed here will have the obvious problem of finding food, especially if present conditions prevail.

Should anything develop, I will keep all involved posted, bearing in mind the sensitivity and status of this species.

2 Swallow back at Raggalds.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Glorious Spring Day

Today's saunter was around Ogden, with a Wheatear on the way there as an aperitif.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Queensbury Owl on TV 10/04/07

A couple from Queensbury sent in a photo of an Owl sunbathing on branches, to either Look North or Calendar (the one with Christa Ackroyd). The weatherman stated this was a Barn Owl - how I wish this was so; in fact it was a Tawny Owl. Still a good observation though.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


8 Linnet at Fleet Lane this morning, along with Meadow Pipits and 3 Skylark in the adjacent fields.

Went up Soil Hill in a very fresh W but still found 3 Wheatear and others.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Aerial Shot Soil Hill

My new helicopter sure does help me take photos better than when I was standin on a step ladder.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Soil Hill Sunshine

The place was throbbing with preparing breeders, if not migrants. I watched a pair of Meadow Pipit go through their courtship display on the ground at close range and the male Stonechat was singing, as were 2 male Reed Buntings. For the first time in quite a few years to my knowledge, another pair of birds have returned to breed. While not uncommon for this habitat, I am not going to disclose the species until the outcome of their efforts has concluded, one way or the other. The 3 Roe Deer appear to have adopted this place as their home now.

Several Meadow Pipit and Skylark, Mallard, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Kestrel, 2 Pied Wagtail, 3 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, pr Grey Partridge, 10 Linnet, 2 Wheatear, 3 Reed Bunting, Stonechat.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Soil Hill

Sunny, slight generally W breeze. 20 Meadow Pipit, 16 Skylark, Pied Wagtail,pr Stock Dove, Kestrel, pr Grey Partridge, Moorhen, Lapwing, Snipe, Blackbird, Greenfinch, 15 Linnet, Twite, 5 Reed Bunting, Stonechat.

A large, all white, broad winged (not a gull sp) flew from direction TMR down valley towards Thornton in distance. I am inclined to discount the local White Crow but don't want to speculate as to what species it was.

2 Meadow Pipit in Foxhill Park on return.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Vismig Item from Colin Shields, Queensbury

I thought this on radio-tracking might interest you

From: Christina   Williams  USFWS=20
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 8:48 AM
Subject: Fw: Bar-tailed Godwit Movements

Interesting bird news...

March 29, 2007=20

The news yesterday morning is that the experiment of
putting satellite
transmitters on Bar-tailed Godwits in New Zealand to
track their
northward migration has been a resounding success.=20

One bird has just reached Yalu Jiang, at the northern
end of the Yellow
Sea in China, in a non-stop flight from Miranda Nature
Reserve, in the
Firth of Thames in North Island, New Zealand. The
distance between
two locations is 9,575 km but the actual track flown
by the bird was
10,200 km. This is the longest known non-stop flight
of any bird. The
flight took approximately nine days. While this bird
could have chosen
to stop further south on the tidal mudflats of China
it chose to fly
non-stop the extra distance to the northern end of the
Yellow Sea to
stop and feed before its final leg to their breeding

At least three other Bar-tailed Godwits also appear to
have reached the
Yellow Sea after non-stop flights within 6.5 - 7.5
days from New
Zealand. Several others are still in flight and
following the same
track. Three out of 10 satellite-tagged birds which
have so far
appear to have stopped off on their way. One diverted
westwards and has
stopped in the Philippines, one is in Micronesia and
the third has only
reached Papua New Guinea. The New Guinea bird appeared
to have changed
its mind about the migration and has now flown south
to Queensland.=20

These very exciting results are a reward for the
perseverance and
development effort put in by the Alaskan/New Zealand
team over the last
three years. It appears they have now really developed
a satellite
transmitter that is not significantly affecting the
flight capabilities
of the birds. We are now seeing a true picture of what
happens during
the migration of these birds.=20

Only 10 to 15 years ago many people were sceptical
that godwits and
flew from the north west of Australia 5500 km non-stop
to Chongming Dao
in the Yangtze River Estuary. Since then it has become
apparent that
Bar-tailed Godwits fly up to 11,000 km non-stop on
southward migration
from Alaska to New Zealand and Australia. It was
thought this was
achieved because the birds were aided by weather
conditions which gave
them an extremely strong tail wind in the early stages
of that flight
from Alaska. Researchers have now shown that
Bar-tailed Godwits are
capable of flying a similar distance on northward
migration, without
apparent exceptionally favourable wind conditions.

It has long been suspected that the very high weights
reached by
Bar-tailed Godwits, and several other species, before
they leave south
east Australia in March/April indicated the capability
of the birds to
reach China in a single non-stop flight. It would have
been impossible
to prove this without the use of satellite

These results are a huge step forward in our
understanding of the
capabilities of migratory waders and therefore of the
strategies they employ. Congratulations to the whole
US/NZ team on this
hugely successful exercise.=20

The Bar-tailed Godwits can be followed on:

For answers to questions about this list, as well as
current Texas
Birding Links, visit the Texbirds Reference Page at

Denise and I are off to Mallorca today for a week's

Colin Shields

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Soil Hill Sunshine

A bright breezy ENE day. 16 Meadow Pipit, 18 Skylark, 2 Common Gull, 2 Curlew, 3 Lapwing, Grey Partridge, 3 Reed Bunting, Greenfinch, Wren. Flighty party of up to 18 Linnet had one Twite amongst them. SE corner nyger seed untouched now in three visits, although Skylark and other do take the grain.

Finally, 7 weeks after planting a bird feeder in my back yard, I got a result with a Robin taking bread and evidence of other attempts by unseen visitors.