Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


1 Coal Tit 4 Chiff-Chaff 1 Green Pecker 1 LT Tit 4 Willow Warb

3 S Dove 1 mallard 1 Phesant 1 Sp Hawk 5 Swifts over>E 4 swallows


8 Mipit 3 Sky Lark 4 Wheatear


2 LT Tits 1 Coll Dove 2 Jays 1 Sp Hawk up high above town centre.

7 Swifts>S 4 Swallows 7 Hse Spadge 1 Swift

Monday, April 28, 2008

Soil Hill

28/04/2008 1830hrs

1 Tree pipit on wires by LH pond
Sev Wheatears, blogging Mipits and Skylarks
Good search for Dotterel but no joy.
2 Roe Deer by mast
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Soil Hill at dawn

Photo courtesy of D Shields.

Arrived at 0530hrs and give the top field the once over twice so to speak; no sign of Dotterel but not too surprised as W wind fairly strong. Went down the slope and on return half way up, heard distinctive call twice, the first time being fairly close up. Nothing seen but on discussing with BS, it is felt that this was the bird - half a loaf is better than none methinks.

Also 8 Meadow Pipit, 10 Skylark, pr Grey Partridge, 3 Lapwing, Curlew, pr Redshank, 2 Moorhen, 3 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting, 5 Swallow, 7 Wheatear.

Soil Hill Dotterel

While I was housebound, Denise Shields was getting nearer to the photography hall of fame with this rather welcome visitor.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A busy Soil Hill

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A good 5 hrs out (not as good as Brian's!)

Ploughed field nr P.croft produced:

3 Swallows 1 S Hawk (big female)
25 Linnets 4 Mipits
2 P wag 5 Skylark and 1 Weasel down to 9 feet.

Black Boy farm/Hag Ln area:

1 Wheatear (f) 9 Mipit 3 Skylark
2 P Wag 9 Swallows 2 W Warb
4 LBB (mostly W) 2 Gldfinch 1 HOUSE MARTIN lingered at the farm to feed then seemed to make its way E. 1 Jay


1 Blackbird 2 Grey Part 3 swallows 1 Green woodpecker
7 Skylark 10 mipit 2 wheatears (m+f) 3 Linnets
2 mallard 3 Stock Dove 1 Grey Heron>W
1 SWIFT 1 Kes 5 LBB>W 1 completely tailess crow
1 P Wag 1 Rook 1 L Owl

P.croft Ln

1 Coll Dove 1 W Warb 1 S Thrush 1 L Owl

I'm happy to get Hse Mart and Swift today but will swop for Dotterrel

Soil Hill strikes again

1515hrs 27/04/2008 A single Dotterel giving good views, not sure to sex, poss male ?
Seems irrevelant now but got my first Swallows, heard 1 Ring Ouzel calling and
most important of all met the illusive Dave Sutcliffe. BS
Better photos from Denise to follow.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Local curcuit.

P croft

1 Willow Warbler
1 Bullfinch
2 Kes
1 Sp Hawk over>N
2 Swallows
2 L Owls
1 M Thrush
3 Hse Spadge
1 Stock dove>W


1 M Wheatear
1 Kes
10 Willow warbs (4 of these seen)
2 LT Tits
6 Swallows
6 Chiff-Chaffs heard
2 Green Pecker heard


10 Swallows
5 Wheatears (2 m 3 f)
6 Mipits
6 Skylarks
2 Mallards
2 P Wags


Belated report from Oats Royd - yesterday, Friday am, 25/4/8. Buzzard overhead seen by Dave Pinder and Barbara Wardman.

Well done sez I.

Not an (H)ill Wind.

Yet again the ever present wind scoured that hellish hill but this time it was kind to me en route:

Old Guy Road - pr Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark. Mountain had a pr Linnet and a Twite singing briefly from a wall. A Swallow was at Raggalds on the return leg.

Soil Hill - 7 Meadow Pipit, 9 Skylark, 3 LBBG over W, Grey Heron, 2 Lapwing, 3 Mallard, Kestrel, pr Mistle Thrush, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 m Reed Bunting, Stonechat, m Wheatear. Roe Deer

Was offline Fri 25 - Grey Wagtail from garden.

Ploughcroft area yesterday, brief visit.

2 Swallows over>W
40 Linnet
1 Stock Dove
2 P Wag
7 Skylark
6 Mipit
2 Kes

Park Lane Bird Reserve

More from the Lady of the Lens: this Siskin dropped in on Friday 25/4/8. Thank you Denise

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Soil Hill,briefly

2 Wheatear(male +female)
1 moorhen
3 Stock Dove
2 LBB gull
2 G.Partridge
1 Swallow

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Decided to make the newsletter a bi monthly instead of quarterly
because of the excellent number of reports Im receiving from the blog.I
think it will be easier reading covering 2 month at a time instead of 3, especially
during peak times like spring and autumn.
If you have anything to put in the next newsletter, which I will be grateful for, could you please let me have it before the end of May. I have already received one interesting article from DJS. BS

Oats Royd newbie

I learned a lesson about this place today: never go down in warm weather after school's out. I was young meself once (in fact I remember the Dead Sea before it reported sick) so I won't let bitterness creep in; sufficient to say it was rather noisy. However the day balanced out as I encountered a critter I have not seen in decades - Smooth Newt basking in a pond.

Birds - usual suspects incl Moorhen, Jay, Long tailed Tit, 6 Chaffinch, Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 11 Willow Warbler, pr Lesser Redpoll. No hirundines!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Ogden this pm

2 Swallows
1 f Goldeneye
c4 Treecreepers
1 Common Gull
1 Moorhen
4 Willow Warblers

Queensbury to Soil Hill

Old Guy Rd - 6 Meadow Pipit, pr Pied Wagtail, pr Linnet, 3 Skylark.
Raggalds - pr Pied Wagtail. It's interesting to note the varying black shades on females of this species.

Soil Hill - 23 Meadow Pipit, min 18 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, 5 Mallard, Grey Partridge, 2 Kestrel, 3 Lapwing, pr Linnet, 3 Twite, including singing male giving good views. Pr Reed Bunting, pr Stonechat, Swallow. The weather must have been too good for any Wheatear to stay around - not one sighted.

Monday, April 21, 2008


A bit more work on the sharpness,but getting better.This Stonechat show a distinct white rump and a good ammount of white in the wing.

Monday morning...Soil Hill

6 lesser bb Gull flew east over the top of the hill and it was very quiet as the east wind was still blowing .down the slopes the wind had eased and I saw the very elusive Moorhen(at last),2 Reed Bunts,2 stonechat(pics to follow hopefully)2 linnets ,2 Snipe,3 Swallow and the bird of the day 2 Twite on the wires.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Distant Goldeneye

These two were right in the middle of Ogden water.


Very little in the wind but still 3 goldeneye,2 Goldcrest,6 Curlew over and 2 Skylark

Soil Hill

The rain and mist had sent the birds in Old Guy Rd packing, with just 4 Meadow Pipit there on the way up to the shrouded hill.

Approx 6 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark. 3 Mallard, pr Lapwing, Moorhen, probable White Crow. 2 Stonechat - the male was singing it's heart out. Wheatear. Also Brian Sumner and two gentlemen on bikes, ripping it up.


20/04/2008 early a.m. icy cold E>3 damp. CHIFFCHAFF

1 m Sparrowhawk
2 Meadow Pipits

Old Guy Rd
Plenty blogging Mipits
Several movers >NW
8 Skylark on newly mown cricket pitch
1 Collared Dove

Oats Royd
2 Jays
6 Chiffchaff
8 Willow Warblers
2m 1f Bullfinch
2 Moorhen
+ usual sp.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Oats Royd is full of Finches

Oats Royd this morning produced: -

12 Willow Warbler (nice to see them finally back in good numbers!), 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Linnet, 5 Pied Wagtail, 2 Jay, 1M Green Woodpecker, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Goosander, 2 LBB Gull (OH), 2 Common Gull, 1 Grey Heron and loads of finches.

Has anyone seen the Little Owls recently?

Friday, April 18, 2008


Just a test photo to see if this broadband works for me courtesy of a mobile usb dogle
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Swales and P.croft

Couple of hours out this evening didn't produce much.


2 Stock Doves
22 Mipit
1 Skylark
1 very distant wagtail species over.


Eventually I had a very distant probable sighting of the Black Redstart in poor conditions perched on a telephone wire. A little further and higher up the hill than previously.

2 M Thrush
2 Greenfinches
1 Collared Dove
1 Kes
2 Goldfinch


This afternoon
1 Swallow >N
1 f Goldeneye

I also checked Ploughcroft this morning but I couln't find any sign of the Black Redstart - but the weather was awful!!

Soil Hill - Oats Royd

E winds didn't drop anything on SH but they did elsewhere. On the way up, Old Guy Rd:
3/4 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 9 Linnet.

Soil Hill - Quiet. 5 Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, 2 Lapwing, Kestrel, pr Linnet, Stonechat, Wheatear.

Oats Royd - 2 Moorhen, Grey Heron, Kestrel, 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Jay, 5 Willow Warbler singing, 2 Chiffchaff singing, Goldrest, 7 Greenfinch et al.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Soil Hill,briefly

Still bits of snow on the ground and a bitterly cold wind on the top.
1 Wheatear(male)
53 fielfare high west
4 Lbb Gull south
1 Grey heron flew low towards the Raggalds
2 Grey Partridge

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Fine Team Effort

Who said Queensburys poor for birding. Apart from all the reports of commoner species here is a list of the not so common seen in the Queensbury recording area from Feb 3rd to April 15th, thats only 11 weeks.
Little Grebe
Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Jack Snipe
Ring Ouzel
Black Redstart
Snow Bunting
Not bad eh Well done lads

Changeable Soil Hill

Old Guy Rd - 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark, 4 LBBG W, Linnet.

When I got up the hill from hell the killer SW wind was doing an efficient job of keeping birds off the top, but by the time I returned from the slopes it had stopped and a jet black cloud from the north came down and opened up on me. Fortunately, it brought a male Merlin, coming in high then flying low past me, to be mobbed by a Lapwing.

Other birds: 5/6 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, Moorhen, 2 Stock Dove, Reed Bunting, 3 Wheatear.

Returned home via Oats Royd and as well as the expected species, picked up my first and I think latest ever Willow Warbler.

Monday, April 14, 2008


A bit of variety comes to swales.
2 Linnets were the first of the year.
1 Grey Wag
A Sparrowhawk up high and involved acrobatic manouveres with two crows.
2 Kes
5 skylark
10 Mipit
2 Wheatears were encouraged down by a light shower and left northwards just as soon as the brief shower ended.
1 L Owl
2 Stock Doves
1 P Wag.

Black Redstart - Ploughcroft (Nick Dawtery)

Bird still present. Can be elusive, will sit in a bush for fairly long periods. It's favoring areas further down below the 'derelict' (occupied) farm near the houses. Please be discrete and respectful, I understand residents are pulling their faces (might make for interesting portrait photography).

I realise how grey the bird is, took a while to realise this. Must carry the scope more often though it bugs me to carry it.
Female or first summer? Not expecting the photography to clinch it!

From Denise Shields

Park Lane
Sunday 13/4/08 A pair of Jays in the garden today,
food-passing. (Camera unavailable!). Stock dove here
again too.

Soil Hill (just passing)
Saturday 12/4/08 Merlin, being pursued by one of the
two Kestrels which were also there.
Sunday 13/4/08 Stopped for a look on the western
slope: Kestrel, a pair of Stonechats and a Swallow.

Monday morning

4 Wheatear,2 linnet,2 reed Bunting,1 Snipe,1 House martin ,1 Swallow,30 + Mipits n/w and 20 blogging,1 Curlew,2 kestrel,1 blackbird,20+ Skylarks and a Stock Dove

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ogden and Soil Hill This Afternoon

When is finally brightened up, I headed down to Ogden Res, to see if I could relocate NK's LSWP but no such luck. Anyway, quite a few birds about including 1 Treecreeper,, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel,1 Great Crested Grebe, 3F Goldeneye, 1 Greylag and 20+ Fieldfare overhead.

Then headed up to Soil Hill and of course it started raining (quite crowded as two cars were leaving the Hill as I arrived!). Saw all the usual suspects including (at last) my first Wheatear of the year. I must be three weeks behind everyone else! Did quite well with Skylarks and Meadow Pipits too will double figure counts of each.

Shibden and Swales.

6 jays
2 M Thrush
2 Wren
4 Dunnock
1 LT Tit
1 G Heron
9 Blackbird
8 Robin
1 Grn Peck (2 more heard)
1 Moorhen
1 Chiff-Chaff (2 more heard)
7 Mallards
1 Grey Wag
Pair Kes


5 Skylarks
6 Mipit
3 Wheatears

Black Redstart Country

The Ploughcroft field favoured by todays Black Redstart.
The bird was at the bottom of the field flitting between the tractor ruts and the fence posts.
The Queensbury team strike again !
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Black Redstart Ploughcroft

Brian Sumner and myself decided to investigate Iain's Redstart report and within maybe 15 mins of searching discovered the bird amongst ruined farm buildings. It was a Black Redstart, the plumage indicating a female bird. Iain came down eventually, and although not seeing the bird as at the time of our departure, he did put us onto a pair of Little Owl. Well done Iain.

Queensbury - 12 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark 2 Pied Wagtail.

Soil Hill - small numbers Meadow Pipit, Skylark. 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Linnet 2 Blackbird, pr Grey Partridge, pr Lapwing, Curlew. Reed Bunting, pr Stonechat and 6 lively Wheatear also enhancing the afternoon before the rain came and made BS decide to drive to Ploughcroft for the bird of the day/week.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ploughcroft/ Swales/Shibden.


3 M Thrush
5 Grnfinch
1 B Tit
1 Mipit
2 Skylark


3 Mipit
4 Skylark
1 LBB gull
1 L Owl
1 Rook
1 M Thrush
2 Grey Partrid

Shibden (briefly)

1 Redstart
2 B Tits
1 Robin
1 Dunnock


Very quiet in the cold wind
1 Female Goldeneye
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 Common Gull
2 Grey Wagtail
1 Greylag

Friday, April 11, 2008

Soil Hill

Picked up NK on the way up there and had a good look round this morning .Started with Lapwing,LRP,Skylark and Meadow Pipit on the top and then down the slope to look for migrants,no luck with Wheatear,a Curlew flew over calling and 2 Snipe also.A couple of Linnets and a Reed Bunting were calling from the juncuss.Then we bumped into KMoir who was watching 2 Stonechats one was showing characteristics of the continental race Rubicola(showing a white rump)it looked very good for this .Will have to get back up with a scope.

Park Lane

Colin Shields mailed evening 10/04 to say the Brambling is still present with the Chaffinch flock.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Birded Out

Soil Hill morning - 5/6 Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, Moorhen, 2 Curlew, 2 Lapwing, 3 Kestrel, 4 Fieldfare, 4 Wheatear, pr Stonechat.

Ogden Res - 2 Greylag, GC Grebe, f Goldeneye, pr Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, one unseen caller driving me nuts and usual species. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker overhead into trees where it called weakly (glimpse of bird when further investigated). Taking the path next to the centre walk until the second bridge has been crossed. It was about 150 metres further along, just a few paces into edge of trees.

Soil Hill afternoon - now 5 Wheatear, Nick Dawson, LRP showing very well, f Ring Ouzel. I've had enough birding to last me a lifetime, goodnight Vienna.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Soil Hill

08/04/2008 1930hrs
Shot up Soil Hill after getting Calder grapevine report of Osprey at EGP with hopes of it passing over but got this
little fella instead.
4 Wheatear
1pr Pied Wags no sign of white
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Stock Dove DS 07/04

Monday, April 07, 2008


This afternoon
1 Gt Crested Grebe
2 f Goldeneye
2 Canadas and 1 Greylag Goose
1 Moorhen
3 Common Gulls
2 B H Gulls
+usual sp... including pair of Bullfinch and 1 Pied Wagtail


Osprey over Soil Hill today at 1530 hrs seen heading N between SH and Ogden toward TMR.

Also present were 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, pr Mallard, Grey Heron, Curlew, Lapwing, Kestrel, 4 Wheatear. A pair of Alba Wagtail were showing very pale features, bringing to mind ACs comments from Sunday 6/4. I did get some calls from one, but they were very flighty and never did settle down satisfactorily.

I spotted a raptor pellet and picked it up for dissection. It beggars belief that I found a leg ring from a pigeon (GB 05 D 05487) sticking out of it. I will report this to the appropriate body and discover it's origins.

What a day, too good to have all to yourself. I'll get a dog and train it up.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Snowy Soil Hill

The clear blue skies early this morning tempted me up to Soil Hill about 8am. Very cold on top but the winds were thankfully light. There was a dusting of snow and all the pools were frozen over. Plenty of birds about. Totals were Lapwing 3, Skylark 10+, Meadow Pipit 2 and Grey Partridge 2. However, the best bird was a Little Ringed Plover flushed from the flooded bit of the central track. The bird flew off some distance to the NW but I didn't see if it came down again or continued further on. Nice one!

More from Park Lane

Denise Shields was up early, reporting Sparrowhawk, 17 Chaffinch. Oh and this...


Blackie scratting in the leaves.
Ogden early a.m. 06/04/2008 Slight snow covering Heavy Freezing N>3
2 Treecreepers
1 Singing Chiffchaff
1 Singing Song Thrush
+ usual sp.
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Saturday, April 05, 2008


Visit from about 5.0 till 6.30 pm
1 Gt Crested Grebe
1 f Goldeneye
2 Moorhen
9 Canadas and 1 Greylag Goose
Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers
5 Redpoll flying around the east side of the plantation
1 Collared Dove and c30 Woodpigeons coming in to roost

The Hills are alive with the sound of WHEATEARS

05/04/2008 pm visit N>5 Snow showers

17 Wheatear down the slope towards the LH pond. Very flighty flying up and down the hill all the time.
5 Mipits
11 Skylark
8 Fieldfare
2 Lapwing
2 Grey Partridge

Finches at Park Lane

My thanks to Denise Shields who took these this morning. Nice to know Brambling are still around, it's been years since I last saw one - this bird appeared after the snow cleared.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Yesterday pm (3/04/08)
1 Gt Crested Grebe in full breeding plumage
1 f Goldeneye
1 Moorhen
7 Canada, 1 Greylag, 1 Barnacle Goose
7 B H Gulls and 1 immature Common Gull
1 pr Treecreeper on east side of res'r
1 Treecreeper on west side
1 Goldcrest

A Busy Day Birding

I'm so glad I decided to go out earlier than normal:

Old Guy Rd, Queensbury - 2 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 8 Linnet, f Wheatear.

Soil Hill - 22+ Skylark, 15+ Meadow Pipit, 4 LBBG, Grey Heron, Snipe, 4 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, 5 Mallard, Kestrel, 4 Blackbird, 7 Fieldfare, 2 Greenfinch, pr Stonechat, m Reed Bunting. A strange, game bird like call that went on for ages turned out to be a male Grey Partridge announcing his presence from the heather.

At last, 3 cracking male Wheatear, which were made to play second fiddle by yet another patch tick and a species we really should have predicted. A Ringed Plover flew over low, heading SW toward Mixenden Res and calling clearly at 1019 hrs. After ringing BS, I had another search of the top scrapes but could not find the bird; however approx 40 minutes later, there was another single call heard from above.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Still no Wheatear

Soil Hill in a very fresh NW wind. 17 Meadow Pipit, 12 Skylark, Lapwing, Red legged Partridge, pr Linnet, Greenfinch, pr Stonechat, 30 Fieldfare.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Ploughed field area in the heavy wind just after the afternoon's heavy showers.

1 Med Pipit
4 P Wag
2 Skylarks.
2 Kes.

Field has been flattened and I expect they'll sow grass seed which could lead to some finches visiting. I just hope they don't place a mechanical scarecrow on site. Probably not, a bit high-tech for these parts, the locks on the gates are straight out of the 99p shops. I don't suppose they'll mind me requesting organic bird seed and a scrape for the area.

Queensbury Today


1 Grey Heron over Chapel Lane >E
5 Lapwing over Foxhill park >W
Greenfinches nest building, MOT car park
Reports of Kestrels nesting, undisclosed site,(to be checked out)
No sign of Nigels Laughing Gull this morning, What date is it again ?
Common Gulls mostly moved out of area now.