Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ogden Water

Great Crested Grebe still there and a drake Goldeneye this morning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Rewarding Walk

Soil Hill was still a bit blustery so I went via Bradshaw to Oats Royd and it turned out to be a good move.

SH - Blackbird, 2 singing Skylark, Kestrel. Weasel

Bradshaw - approx 50 Rook, 25 Jackdaw, several Greenfinch, 2 singing Chaffinch, 3 Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush.

OR - pr Mallard, 3 Woodpigeon, Kestrel, 4/5 Greenfinch, singing Goldcrest. A Kingfisher was giving a good show and I got a personal patch tick and repeat of CK predicted species that BS got earlier. A Redpoll was flying all over the place, calling and singing, which helps! Also 3 Roe Deer, Water Vole

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ploughcroft and Shibden.

I too was surprised by the cold and the wind today. I was headed for Swales but I thought the wind might have killed it off.

Ploughcroft area.
12+ Mistle Thrushes and 3+ Redwings amongst them.
1 Little Owl
2 Skylarks 2 Greenfinches
1 Kestrel giving great views.

3 Bullfinch, additional birds heard.
Another show-off Kestrel in various stationary, hovering and flight poses kept me entertained during the quiet moments.
10 Long-Tailed Tits were giving great views.
4 ish each of Great Tits and Blue Tits.
1 Jay (others heard) 1 wren
2 Blackbirds.


Lulled into a false sense of security today Nigel - agree it was very cold, looking mild on the surface! Didn't brave Soil Hill - still recovering from the last visit.

We did manage to find c40 Fieldfares, 8 Mistle Thrush, 30 Lapwings, c140 Starlings and 2 Stock Doves in the fields on Back Lane at Ogden. 2 Goosanders >W overhead.

Great Crested Grebe still on the res'r and catching plenty of small fish also 5 Canada Geese. 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Kestrels and a fleeting glimpse of a Sparrowhawk.


When I got up not too early today, it looked mild and calm from the back bedroom so I tooled up and went out. Dearie me, within 50 yards I knew I'd slipped up, but I persevered up to that Hellish Hill nonetheless. On arrival, I found the wind had strengthened and scoured the place clean, apart from:

Pr Skylark, pr Mallard, 2 Starling and a Crow, or three.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Foxhill Today

Several Starlings and House Sparrows on feeders.
32 Common Gull in park
9 BH Gull now in summer plumage
1m Sparrowhawk over garden
3m 1f Blackbirds around garden, plenty singing.
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Oats Royd

Queensbury cricket field. First stop off point for returning Skylarks.
24/02/2008 Strong WSW>5 Drizzle.
A very poor morning with 1 Song Thrush up singing. Several Chaffinch and Greenfinch about but keeping down out of the wind.
2 Little Owl
2 Roe Deer
+ usual sp.
14 Skylark on and around cricket field but very mobile.
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gallery Part IIIIIII

Colin Shields has sent me a pic of this Magpie in Queensbury preparing to breed this morning, Feb 23rd. He mentions that Denise will have some more shots for us in due time - good show and thanks.

Well done Iain and Brian the pair of you have posted to the gallery, and you never had your PCs switched on! I have sent you and updated Email with an additional step in it which should cure the problem BS mailed me about.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ogden Water

This afternoon;
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 drake Goldeneye
1 early returning Curlew over the res'r flew off towards Thornton Moor.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


More dreadful photos. Digiscoped ones this time. Shibden Head Feb 12. They're not enhanced in any way, no point doing that until I get the photography bit right. I'm hoping they'll magically look better on the blog! The best of a bad bunch; you should see the others!

Ogden Water

Great Crested Grebe still there and a drake Goldeneye (left >W at 09.45) this morning.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Not Queensbury area YET.

Just happened to catch a programme on Radio 4 and I found it really inspiring. In part it's about 'our' songbirds making their way north to Gambia and eventually here. Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and willow Warblers are discussed and recorded. A Nighingale throttles its song out.
The prog is part of a series 'World on the Move' bang that in a search engine. You may need to be registered to BBC iplayer (free radio and telly online). The series features many forms of animal mig not just birds.
They are having a competition between 3 different obs for the first migrants. Bit off topic perhaps and outside the recording area but not for long.

Ogden Water

Ogden mostly frozen over this morning. Great Crested Grebe still present and 2 sightings of single Crossbills. One over the pines on the west side flew up Skirden Clough and the other, or the same bird over on the east side flew out from the pines and over the res'r and back to the pines.

I think there could be others there but if they don't call - very difficult!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Heres a Sickener

Received a copy of 1962 Nature Survey for Shibden Valley put together by Cliffird Lees from the
Halifax Scientific Society, kindly given to me by Andy C.
The bird part of the survey, which also covers moths and plants, was mainly for song birds ,which apart from the common species included several Redstarts, Whitethroats, Yellowhammers, Tree Pipits and Cuckoos.
60 species were recorded during the survey which also included, Lesser Peckers, Water Rail , Corncrake and Pied Flycatcher. How times change. We used to get Water Rail most winters down there when the sewage works was active and Yellowhammers were common down Queensbury station. BS

Misted Out

Oats Royd didn't get the sunny respite that most of Queensbury enjoyed this afternoon and stayed murky, so birds were almost absent, again. 5 Woodpigeon, 3 Greenfinch, Blue & Great Tits, 2 Wren, 2 Robin, Green Woodpecker, Little Owl (I have yet to see the pair together)2 Roe Deer

Monday, February 18, 2008

Queensbury Today

3 male Blackbirds been in garden for several days now sorting out territory
Mistle Thrush singing in park.
Report of 2 Little Owls and regular Kestrel around New House Lane allotments.

Undisclosed site....Report of Stoat in pure ermine coat seen on several occasions in same area.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Shibden Head

1500-1600hrs No bikers, no walkers and hardly any birds
Plenty Robins and Chaffinch singing
1pr Gt Spotted Wdpecker
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Song Thrush
+ usual sp.
no Treecreepers at usual spot
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Shibden Valley

Tawny Owl, Stock Dove, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Green Woodpecker, 4 GSW drumming, pr Kestrel scrappin with Carrion Crow, 2 Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, pr Bullfinch. Plenty of Blue Tits, Great Tits and a plague of Magpies. Looked out for Nuthatch and Creeping Trees without success.

Oats Royd

17/02/2008 0800-1000hrs Sunny, Calm, Very cold.
All ponds frozen over.

A quiet morning apart from lots of singing Chaffinch mainly on the Gulf.
2 Green Woodpecker
4 Siskin
1 Goldcrest
2 Jay
3 Moorhen
2 Little Owl
1 Roe deer

Old Guy Rd
3 Skylark on cricket field
4 in fields, 1 singing

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Murder and Mugging

This incident was witnessed by a couple of residents in the Chapel St vicinity yesterday 15 Feb. Their garden is often visited by a male Sparrowhawk, attracted by numerous Starlings and Sparrows using the bird table and feeder. The Sparrowhawk grabbed a House Sparrow but before it could carry off it's prize, 3 Magpies set about it in a serious manner. Apparently, the struggle went on for some time, as the 3 muggers attempted to sieze the House Sparrow from the predator. Eventually, though the Magpies gave up and the garden assassin managed to take it's meal away for digestion. No legality, nor morality in this scenario, just survival in the suburban jungle.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The Easterly breeze didn't do nothing for the birds at Oats Royds:

4 Greenfinch, singing Goldcrest, Grey Heron, 20 Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Moorhen.

Grey Heron over my house on return home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


An hour in the afternoon.
2 L Owls
90+ Crows
1 Pied wag
4 Comm Gull

How long before we get Wheatears on the tops? Hopefully pick up some more White Wagtails this year too.

Morning Sortie

Maybe I was a bit too early today and should have given Soil Hill a chance to warm up - ice was still present over the pools and ponds.

8 Skylark - a pair in courtship display. 6 Common Gull, 29 Lapwing, 3 Fieldfare, 4 singing Robin, ditto Chaffinch and Reed Bunting. Roe Deer

Qby, Old Guy Rd - Meadow Pipit, 2 Common Gull, 3 Skylark going bananas, 3 Linnet over SE. Plenty of House Sparrows around Chapel Lane.

Apart from Feral Pigeon, Brian, I have updated Article 'Soil Hill' from your own list, thanks. However, I am still 4 short and am ripping more hair out than normal. Hopefully, I'll get there...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Swales and Shibden.

A great day to to get out, unseasonally very mild with a very light breeze even on Swales Moor.

14 Redwings 2 Pied Wagtails
80+ crows, one with hardly any tail at all. 1 Rook.
3 Skylarks, 1 singing.

Shibden to Shibden Head.. 12.45-5.30 pm.. spring has come to Shibden..

3 GSW's and several drumming. 2 Green pecker heard and 1 seen.
4 Song Thrushes singing vigourously were a delight to hear. These were the stars of today's show. 2 of these were watched for a while just 50 feet apart belting out their gorgeous song.
1 Fieldfare 12 Mistle Thrushes
17+ Redwings 2 Goldcrests
2 Jays (heard) 1 Kes (male)
2 Wrens
Plenty of vocal Blue and Gt tits but where are the LT Tits of late?
And the sparrowhawks?

Bit busy towards Shibden Head, I think it's the school holidays.
I've been told crossbow bolts have been found in the valley. These are thought to have been used against large mammals. Please keep your eyes open for any such activity and report it to the police.

Well done to Nigel for the Green Peck and the Snow Bunt, also to Brian for shedding his Treecreeper curse.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Curse of the Treecreeper broken

Shibden Head 10/02/2008 late afternoon.
A thorough search from Shibden Head down past the
sewage works for Treecreeper and Nuthatch proved fruitless
until on my way back I managed a solitary Treecreeper just above the top sewage works gates
in Henacre wood. Other wise all quiet apart from Kestrel, several Blue and Gt Tits and
1 Green Woodpecker + usual sp.

Sub tropical Soil Hill

Good for people and good for birds too, early afternoon.

6 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, 3 LBBG, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 22 Lapwing, Snipe, Goldfinch, 2 singing Robin, 2 f Stonechat.

I got a new species for the SH list - Green Woodpecker. I first heard it at close quarters down the hill near the house; I think it was actually on the deck somewhere. Then I heard it again as I was leaving the hill, giving the typical breeding call.

Qby Cricket Club down to one Skylark.

New Park Rd to Oats Royd

The Gulf
Entrance to Oats Royd with sun on the Gulf
10/02/2008 Still, bright sunshine. Frost low down.
53 Common Gull
9 BH Gull
3 singing Blackbirds

8 Skylark back on cricket field
24 Common Gull
2 Collared Doves

2 Little Owl
10 Greenfinch
4 Siskin
3 Moorhen
1 LT Tit
1 Singing Mistle Thrush
2 Grey Partridge
1 Collared Dove
6 Chaffinch
+ plenty singing Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks
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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Soil Hill

09/02/2008 1500-1600hrs
8 Meadow Pipit
1 Skylark
+ usual corvids, gulls etc
No sign of Snow Bunting.

Heres a prediction for you, How about a February Wheatear for Soil Hill,
It felt just right today

Friday, February 08, 2008

Snow Bunting

Soil Hill - Snow Bunting took off, calling, by the 'Creek' and landed at the very end, some 20 metres away. I spent 10 mins searching to no avail, so explored the rest of the hill. Returning some 40 mins later, I had another 15 minute search without result. The bird may have flown, but like those last November, it could have simply got it's head down in one of those ruts.

Also 3 Skylark, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Partridge, 4 Fieldfare, 3 Stonechat. 2 Roe Deer.

Gallery Update

I spent a bit o time retrospectively perusing the blog for photos to upload to the gallery, with a little success and some failure. Rather oddly, some images failed to become viewable, meaning I couldn't upload, yet a few others came readily to sight. All images in question were Brian's, which leads me to...

Credits - I will try and edit the ones that don't have an author attributed to them, but would ask anybody that uploads to include their initials in the title, e.g. NK Lesser Grey Shrike (Hahahahah he cried, as they led him away). However, rest assured I won't be laying claim to your hard work then selling off and living a life of luxury.

Now, let us patiently await the subject matter...

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Great Crested Grebe still on the res'r this afternoon and starting to change plumage ie. head feathers. 7 Canada Geese among the usual mixture of Mallard. 220 B H Gulls and 35 Common Gulls all carefully looked at in case of a Med Gull!

Also of note - a Tawny Owl singing at 14.30 in the woods leading up to Skirden Clough.
Also overhead 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Jay.

44 Goldfinches singing in the trees just after the turn into Ogden Lane off Keighley Road.

Queensbury Today

A touch of Spring today with 1 Blackbird singing at Foxhill,
1 Dunnock in full song in Chapel Lane graveyard and
1 Robin singing in the car park at work.
Lunchtime today, a female Sparrowhawk skimmed across Chapel lane and
landed on the grass in the grounds of the Willows before taking off again.
A Starling nearly had me fooled in Foxhill park piping like a Redshank.
Well done with the photo gallery Nigel, the problem for me is with this pay as you go it takes forever to load,
still need broadband. BS

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Hill and the Vacuum

Soil Hill had 3 Lapwing & 7 Fieldfare in the blustery wind this afternoon. Oats Royd, on the other hand appeared to have had all the birds sucked out of it, despite being really calm. Just 2 Greenfinch, 5 Chaffinch, Kestrel and Blue Tits.

Shibden 11.00 am- 2.30 pm

15 Blue tits
7+ Great Tits
1 Woodcock. This is my second ever in Calderdale and a first for this area for me. This was near the large ruin that's just South of the former sewage works.
2 Bullfinch. Then 3 more at Shibden Head.
7 Blackbirds
5 + Jays
2 Green WoodPeckers were heard.
2 Kestrels. 1 male was seen to fly for some time carrying a small mammal. Some kind of display perhaps?
6 Lesser Black Backed Gulls headed South.
2 Dunnocks
3 Robins
2 Wrens
3 + Goldcrests
1 Treecreeper. This was just off the track leading down to the sewage works. Near the blue rope swing and just up from the small ruin. Another sighting of possibly the same bird bathing in a stream.
1 Coal Tit.
1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

Possibly would have seen more if it wasn't for having to watch my feet. The ground on the slopes was treacherous with the recent rain and motorbikes ripping the surface of the tracks up.
Very accomodating birds Treecreepers. I spotted the one today as I was making my way up a muddy slope. I spotted the bird then my foot slipped and I landed on my tripod with a loud clatter. Conveniently the bird, only some fifteen feet away, was totally oblivious.

Photo Gallery anyone?

It entered my rancid little mind to try incorporate a photo gallery on the blog, especially as I am toying with the idea of reprising my former hobby and going digital. I can conceive a workable link without having to upgrade to Website status, thereby keeping it nice and cosy. Will it be worthwhile? Are you interested in having your shots viewable, without having to backtrack? Maybe it will encourage more photographic records? Let me know at your convenience, but before the rush of Spring rarities, if you please.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Another Shibden Treecreeper and two stuffed owls

Shibden Head this morning produced all the usual woodland species including Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Goldcrest and 5 Redwing. Also saw another treecreeper this time near the old quarry next to the pumping station. Anyone see one there before?

Headed down to Oats Royd to look for the Siskin/Redpoll but no luck. The two Little Owls I saw on Sunday were still in exactly the same position! I think they are stuffed and someone is having me on!

Oats Royd Revisited

Despite my optimism yesterday, there was no sign of the Redpoll & Siskins at 1530 hrs this afternoon.

2 Blackbird, 3 Chaffinch, Kestrel, Little Owl, Jay, Green Woodpecker, 2 dueting male Goldcrest. Plus the Blue & Great Tit and corvids.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


2 Little Owls
1 Sp. Hawk over. These are an infrequent sighting for me lately here and in Shibden.
1 Kes
10 Mistle Thrushes feeding in the fields.
2 Gt Tits c. 6 B Tits
1 Dunnock
c. 6 House Sparrows

Shibden (in passing)

1 Jay
1 G Heron
1 Moorhen
4 Grn finches
2 Blackbirds.

One for sorrow, Two for joy, Twentyeight for ... er

Headed down to Oats Royd for an hour this afternoon to look for the little owls. Saw two right where NK said they would be (thanks!). Also saw a kestrel, 1 sparrowhawk, 2 common gull, 3 wood pigeon, 17 jackdaw, 1 starling and 3 greenfinch being blown rapidly backwards overhead.

On the way back up to Roper Lane, stopped to look back down over the pools and saw a small tree full of magpies. There were 28! I've never seen so many in on place before. Someone will have to invent more lines for the nursery rhyme!

Soil Hill

03/02/2008 1500-1545hrs Dry, SSE>5
No birds at all on top of hill, just managed 1 Skylark half way down hill
and 5 Goldfinch on teasels.
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A Windwalk

Soil Hill - One birder of questionable sanity, plenty of wind, also: 3 Meadow Pipit, Golden Plover. I got blown down to Oats Royd and returned home to find Brian had sent me a text message. See BS posting for Oats Royd and Comments.

New Park Rd to Oats Royd

03/02/2007 Dry, Cold SSW>5 turning S>
Fields to Old Guy Rd
42 Common Gull
1 Snipe
1 Pied Wag on cricket field.

Oats Royd
5 Moorhen
1pr Mallard
1 Heron
8 Siskin
1 Redpoll
3 Roe deer
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Saturday, February 02, 2008


Access via Brewery Lane or footpath from Priestley Hill.
From the bottom of Brewery Lane walk down the track which was once the access road to the sewage works, which when working in the 1960s was good for waders,wagtails and meadow pipit.
On the left of the track is Henacre wood which covers the steep hillside down to the beck, this is a good springtime catchment area for warblers.
On the right are firstly fields which hold winter thrushes and lower down the track, still on the right, is Hanging Royd wood. The remains of the old Hanging Royd barn can still been seen which was famous,again in the 1960s, for the illegal sport of toss ha,penny gambling. " Gammers" would come from all over the country on Sunday afternoons to the barn where large amounts of money would change hands. We were chased off many times by the
" crows" ( lookouts ) when birding in this area.
Lower down on the left is a large open area with a few trees where little owl, tawny owl and woodcock can be found on an evening visit. The Hawthorns on the right hold winter tit flocks and warblers in the spring/summer.
Treecreeper and nuthatch have recently been sighted near the sewage works gates, IG, CK.
Green and Gt Spotted woodpeckers are resident breeders in the area along with most of the commoner woodland species.
Roe deer can often be seen low down in the valley. BS
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Friday, February 01, 2008


Great Crested Grebe still there - and 1 Goldcrest. Checked a lot of the woodland but too windy and nothing around at all, although found quite a few owl pellets but no sign of the owls!