Birdbrain Stuff

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
Posted by Picasa

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
Posted by Picasa

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
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa


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
Posted by Picasa

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