Birdbrain Stuff

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Around and about

Undisclosed Site (Outside Area) - Long Eared Owl calls only; nothing seen.

Soil Hill - quick visit, cos they was nothing doing apart from Pied Wagtail, Linnets, Skylarks, Swallows, Swifts.

Ogden Res - Lots of homo sapiens. Grey Lag, GC Grebe, Swallows, Swifts, Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, Goldcrests.

Finally, earlier in the week DP visited Oats Royd and got a Wood Warbler.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Foxhill Today


1 Willow Warbler singing in park.... unusual
Several Swifts >NE pm
House Martins back at Fleet Lane breeding sight.
Report of 1pr Kestrels feeding young at undisclosed site.

Note.... If you want anything in the newsletter I need it by tomorrow p.m.
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yet another SH visit

Blackbird 3
Carrion Crow 5
Curlew 1
Goldfinch 1
Jackdaw 2
Kestrel 1
Lapwing 2
Linnet 3
Magpie 3
Meadow Pipit 4
Pied Wagtail 1
Reed Bunting 2
Skylark 5
Swallow 3
Swift 2
Woodpigeon 2
Number of species 17

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


2 Great-crested Grebes today and 4 Stock Doves on Back Lane.
Also c12 Willow Warblers in the woodland still singing

Soil Hill Soaking

Gambled on the wind and rain direction dropping something off on top of the hill from hell and so it came to pass. I got a personal patch tick, in the form of a Dunlin on what is left of the biggest scrape (the species has been seen before by BS). The rain is just going straight through, so it's going to take a few more buckets to replenish adequately.

Other species were sparse: 7 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, pr Grey Partridge, Kestrel, Chaffinch.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Foxhill Today

Strong ENE>4-5 26/05/2008
Now 3 pr nesting Collared Doves in Foxhill area
Kestrel hovering over Grimstons
2m Pied Wags on top pitch
1 Heron over >E a.m.
1st brood of young Starlings out now
15 House Sparrows on garden feeders taking food for young.
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Sunday, May 25, 2008


Mallard breeding success

Ogden 0730-0930hrs NE>5 cloudy 25/05/2008
2 Gt Crested Grebe
1 f Blackcap
1 Common Sandpiper
sev W. Warbs, Chiffchaffs and Swifts
+ usual sp.

Back Lane
2 Linnets
8 Stock Dove
Sev, Swallows and Swifts
+ usual sp.
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oats Royd to Ogden Res

Another early morning start; I'll have to stop this silly behaviour.

Oats Royd - 3 LBBG & 2 BHG over SE. The BHG were in summer plumage. I believe this movement is due to winds from NE, rather than unusual early returning birds. Several Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, pr Bullfinch.

Ogden Res - pr GC Grebe, Moorhen, Curlew, pr Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, several Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, Goldcrest, Song Thrush. One of the nest boxes occupied by Blue Tit, but interestingly at this hour there were no tits at all feeding on the dispensers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Spent the morning erecting another bird feeder and a nest box, donated by a kind neighbour who went on to tell me I have a slate loose. I have long suspected this - other's too no doubt.

Two Swift screamed down Brighouse road and I had close up views of a recently fledged Stock Dove in the other neighbour's yard. This neighbour, DP, mentioned he saw the White Crow yesterday and today (on one occasion it had it's normal coloured mate with it). Apparently the bird is at least 5 years older than was credited in a recent posting, having been seen by three worthies circa 1991.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Change of Mind

Wasn't going to bother reporting Soil Hill today, but on reflection Tree Pipit is worth it. Other birds were usual Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Lapwing and Reed Bunting. The old stone kilns on Coal Lane side had 8 Swallow licking their lips and now that I've woke up, I did see about 7 Swift by Ogden Lane.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


1 Bar Tailed Godwit reported >W over Northowram at 2000hrs tonight (20th) from Calderbirds grapevine.
Watched for it coming over Qby but no joy.

A Swift entry

Just for posterity 2 Swift flying over Black Dyke Mills at approx 1400 hrs. First locally this year and the latest ever.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Local and Oats Royd

Paid a visit to a local breeding haunt for House Martin and am relieved that 4 birds are back on site, whizzing around.

Oats Royd - now just one Chiffchaff, recognized because it has a stuttering call. At least 11 Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, pr Bullfinch, Swift, 4 Swallow. Good to see a recently fledged Greenfinch and parents vocally active; pr Goldfinch also present. Grey Heron on bottom pond; Chaffinch present throughout and other usual stuff.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Much the same.

Soil Hill 1430-1600hrs 18/05/2008 cool NE>4 Cloudy
Nearly a retake of Nigels visit with :-
3 Reed Buntings on wires
2 Grey Partridge
4 Woodpigs
+ all usual Skylarks, Mipits and Linnets etc.
Highlights :-
1 Curlew on top scrapes
Large feeding party of Swifts over >SE 100 +

Oh so quiet

Back to the cold conditions on Soil Hill again and not much doing:

Few Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 2 Lapwing, Curlew, 2 Grey Partridge, 4 Linnet, 3 Blackbird, 3 Reed Bunting, 7 Swallow, 5 Swift.

Shibden from 4.30 am.

Bit quiet really for 5 hours but some decent birds.


1 M Thrush
Pair Whitethroats
4 Stock Dove
2 Bullfinches ( males)
2 LT Tits
2 Song Thrush
Numerous W Warb and C Chaffs.

Shibden Head area.

1 House Mart (only my 2nd this yr)
2 Swifts
1 Blackcap (female)
1 Green Peck
1 highly probable Redstart in an area near Shib Head (will email BS/NK). Saw it from the rear silhouetted in a bush for a few moments. 98% certain on the id given the view I had.
Tawny Owl heard calling.
2 Bullfinch heard.
2 LT Tits
1 Coal tit
W warbs 'n Chiffs.
4 song Thrush
1 Kes.
1 knackered birder off to bed. Apparently the police were out yesterday for the lovely folk who motorcycle in Shibden. It *might* be quieter today.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Shibden from 8pm.

Quick trip yesterday produced a frantic pair of displaying Whitethroats displaying and calling.

I glanced what I thought was a distant Kes and took another look not recalling seeing the species hunting so late in the day (9.30pm). I'm glad I took another look, it was a Tawny doing that 'dangling on a string' hovering that Kes's do. Anyone else seen Tawny do that?

Moving off, I spooked another Tawny from trees above me. It moved only some 40 ft giving superb views sitting in the top of a tree. Unfortunately a damned magpie promptly came to give it the 'get off my land' bit.
These were my first Tawnys of the year and I can relate to the enchanted feelings expressed below in regard to close encounters with this species. Wonderful. To top it off I managed a Little Owl at Ploughcroft, nice to get the two resident Owls in!
Plenty of bats too to add to the magic of the nocturnal.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shibden Head Tawny

Brief circular starting 8.15 p.m- Hill End Lane down to pumping station, on to cross becks, up through Woodleigh back to Halifax road. 50 metres upstream from cross becks just happened to be gazing up into canopy across stream - Tawny Owl glides in and over my head about 20ft away. Just one of those uncanny feeling sightings and one of my most notable encounters with a wild Owl to date. Otherwise 2 jay, 5 reed bunting, 4 swallow and much birdsong with Song Thrush predominant.

Another day on Soil Hill

Different this morning; no sign of Grasshopper Warbler.
Usual Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, 4 Lapwing, Pheasant, pr Grey Partridge, 3 Woodpigeon, pr Stock Dove, 5 Linnet, 4 Reed Bunting, m Stonechat, f Ring Ouzel - very nervous, flew off toward Swalesmoor.

Noisy owls

Saturday and Sunday night we have heard what we think is a recently fledged tawny owl calling constantly late at night.We had them breeding in the garden a couple of years ago but I don't think they used the nest box this year.If we hear it again I WILL get up and go and look for it rather than just close the window and wish it would shut up. I have attached a photo of one that landed about 30ft away and waited for me to go back in the house and get my camera.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Soil Hill

Its a long way down and back just to dip.The dot in the centre is the red body.

evening visit cool NE>4 No sight or sound of Gropper but cold wind could be keeping it down.
2 f Goosander >E
Sev Swallows and Swifts all >E
8 Lapwing
4 Woodpigs
3 Mallard, one being the white necked one.
2 m Pied Wagtails
+ usual sp.
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The lower slope/Soil Hill

1 Red legged partridge calling
1 Snipe on the wall ...Kekking
2 Linnet
3 Swallow
2 reed Bunting
8 Skylark
4 lapwing
1 Kestrel
And the bird(call only)of the day a Grasshopper warbler reeling from the Juncuss,it could be herd for short burst of 15 - 20 seconds from the red container about 4/5 bursts in all.The strong wind was a real pain and the bird was not seen unfortunatly.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wibsey Park

Right on the eastern edge of our area, middle of the lake to be exact.
Well worth a visit but early mornings is recommended before dog walkers, joggers etc,
evenings definately not recommended. Large playing field area, lake with completely cut off island
holding several breeding ducks and Canada Geese, woodland walk and flowered area.
Good for Treecreeper, Goldcrests, Willow Warblers etc. Moorhen are everywhere, even walking about
on the bowling greens,plus 1pr Teal on the lake. Good place to practice those birding shots with
several photogenic birds. Lake could be interesting in winter. BS
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Foxhill Today


Several Swifts over park for first time this year
1 Willow Warbler in cut down trees, Grimstons.
1 Grey Wagtail in park.
4 Mallard >S high over New Park Rd, pm
1 Heron >E over Chapel Lane. am.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shibden Valley circular

This incl Lee Lane - jesus I'd forgotten how long and steep!) 8 Chiffchaff, 14 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, pr Bullfinch, Tawny Owl, 3 Green Woody, 4 Stock Dove, 3 Jay, 10 Swallow, 2 Skylark, 5 Linnet. Several other woodland species. I was too knackered to visit the pumpin stn, hope the Redstart hangs around. Don't know Cross becks. Noticed a bird not on the list? Swift!

The eastern fringe

Wibsey Park, as far east in the area that you can bird without falling off the edge.
4 Willow Warblers
2 Goldcrest
1 Treecreeper
4 Moorhen
1 Heron
1pr Teal
18 Canadas
sev hirundines and Swifts
+ all usual park sp.

Shibden Head, Pumping stn, Sewage Wks, Cross Becks.
5 Willow Warbler
8 Chiffchaff
4 Song Thrush
2 Treecreeper
1 m REDSTART. path from pumping stn. to cross becks
2 Green Wdpeckers.
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Touch of the Doldrums

Things were quiet this morning on Soil Hill now that migration has ended. The only excitement was caused by 6 Cows that had been stampeded and were running around in the juncus, with their owners in pursuit. I was hanging around in the hope that something juicy would be flushed, to no avail.

Meadow Pipits, Skylarks,2 Pied Wagtails, Curlew, 2 Lapwing, 4 Blackbirds, 5 Linnets. 4 Reed Bunting singing.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Oats Royd Debut Report

Since meeting Nigel up on Soil Hill on Monday, I've been fascinated reading what you've all seen and where. I reckon you guys can be variously described as 'Hawk-eyed' and 'Eagle-eyed', where as I'm perhaps more 'Hedgehog-eyed' in comparison. However, it was a lovely evening so I set off down to Oats Royd with a particular hope of seeing the Little Owls that I've seen mention of.

Here's what I enjoyed:

1 Mistle Thrush
1 Jay
1 Mallard
1 Moorhen
4 Willow Warbler
Many Chaffinch
1 Kestrel
1 Grey Heron - seen in flight twice being hassled by a crow on both occasions.

and yes!!

1 pair Little Owl - delightful.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Pub Tale

Straight from the Golf Club president's mouth, albeit a year too late! Two birds were noticed chasing each other around the spring before this. They were yellow and one of the golfers apparently is a bit of a birder, he said straight away they were (wait for it]...

Yellowhammers! I wish the two guys had been in the pub that night instead.

I know Brian recalls them in the Queensbury area from way back, let's hope they make a most welcome return. Hic, belch, oops, sorry.

SE breeze over SH

Sunny but windy. Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, 2 Curlew, 4 Lapwing, pr Grey Partridge, 6/7 Swallow, pr Swift, 4 Blackbird, 11 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting.

Grey Wagtail knockin around my house for 5 days now.

Queensbury White Crow

Hi there,
Not really a bird watcher myself but I stumbled across your site through the links section on the Q'bury village site.
I was interested to read about the white crow and was writing to let you know that upto a couple of months ago it was alive and well.
I first saw it in 2003 when we moved into the sandbeds / scarlett heights area and last saw it 2 months ago in the field at the back of my house. A weird but beautiful bird, I had never seen one before until now.
The bird is at least 5 years old now, how long do they live out of interest ?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Oats Royd Warblers

Lunchtime today was really an extraction from Brian's visit yesterday:

Skylark, Jay, Pheasant, Moorhen, 4 Blackbird, 3 Linnet, a plague of Chaffinch, pr Goldfinch, Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff, several Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat. The latter being very flighty, moving on and singing from any vantage point - but no display flight. Only 2 Swallow seen.

PS Brian Sumner's fame knows no bounds - the SH Dotterel appeared in a Yorkshire Post article very briefly. I've still got the cutting if you want it Brian.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Queensbury Birders Newsletter

Just over 3 weeks to the release of the next super exciting newsletter and so far the contributions I have received are somewhat sparce to say the least, 1 contribution and 2 promises to be exact. Come on lads, somebody must have a story to tell, a favourite bird , an ID aid , a special birding day or trip, even what they had for their tea yesterday, owt ,ll do. Send it me my e mail before the end of May so we can all share it. Bri.

Soil Hill mystery

Arrived at about 1100 and it was still murky which led to a bird's id being unresolved. Redstart type species perched on wall flitting onto ground and back to wall again, reminding me of the Ploughcroft bird three weeks back. However, this was not put out to Brian as possible Black for the local grapevine because I was seeing too much cream or white on the lower belly. As I didn't satisfactorily see any dark grey on the head and I did see brown on the upper body, if pushed I would have to conclude female Redstart. I went back to the spot with Michael Welsh, a Queensbury birder, 2 hours later, in bright sunlight but the bird had flown.

Meadow Pipits, 14+ Skylark, 2 LBBG, 2 Lapwing, Curlew, pr Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Kestrel, 3 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 4 Swallow, 3 Swift, pr Wheatear, m Whinchat.

A Wood Warbler in 'Proper' Queensbury

I saw a Wood Warbler at the top end of Shibden Head (About 50m heading down the valley from the Pumping Station with the overhead lifting beams). As it was a singing male, it was unmistakable. It was there for at least two hours this morning. I am counting this one as a 'proper' Queensbury bird as the one I saw last year was right at the western end of Ogden Reservoir.
Other birds of note were 5 Bulfinch and 3 Blackcap + all the other usual species.

Oats Royd/ Shibden Head

05/05/2008 Still and murky

Oats Royd
1 Garden Warbler
2 Whitethroat
2 Jay
1 Grey Partridge
4 Greylag
2 Canadas
Sev Swifts
Loadsa Willow Warbs and Chiffchaff
3 Roe Deer
1 Fox
+ usual sp

Shibden Head
4 Coal Tit
3 Willow Warb
2 Chiffchaff
Dipped on CKs Wood Warbler
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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Soil Hill

04/05/2008 mid aft. visit . Pouring down throughout.

12 Skylark
1 Grey Wag
5 Wheatear
1f Ring Ouzel
1 Ringed Plover... passage bird.
+ usual sp.
Had a Dipper yesterday in Shibden.
We have resident Swifts back over the house as from Yesterday when we counted 5. 7 yesterday evening over Claremount.
We saw a Magpie yesterday aggressively chased by a very upset Greenfinch. Wondering what all the upset was and what the Mag was carrying, I went for a closer look. It had a tiny Greenfinch and set about hacking it to bits. A "natural event" you might say. But is it entirely 'natural' when the Mag population is artificially high due to humans adjusting the environment in such a way that opportunists like Mags thrive? I'm sure we'll discuss this amicably if we do discuss it!
On a similar subject, in Shib, someone has set two traps (in plain view and near public footpaths) one with a decoy plastic Magpie and the other a dummy Crow. Is it legal and are they likely to be after those same species or something else?
Anyone else fearing we may be in for another almost entirely wet breeding season? Makes my heart sink looking at all this rain and the weather forecast.
That's all a bit glum. Back to where I started then-Dipper and Swifts....

Friday, May 02, 2008

Slowing Down?

A light SW wind was sweeping Soil Hill, but deep down I can't blame this alone for the paucity of birds. I think movement has basically come to a grinding halt, so somebody please prove me wrong!

6/7 Meadow Pipit, 12 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, 5 Mallard, 2 Lapwing, 3 Swallow, 8 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 2 Wheatear. There was a raptor knocking about that I got by call only; weren't a Kestrel but I am not going to hazard any guesses.

There were 5 Swallow around Queensbury, but have yet to nail Sand Martin, House Martin and Swift anywhere.

Had the pleasure of meeting one of our Blog readers on the way back from the hill. Surprising thing was he didn't look any worse for the experience! Hope you enjoyed your trip to Oats Royd, David.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


This morning;
1 Great Crested Grebe
c20 Swallows
1 Swift >NW
1 Moorhen
Several Willow Warblers
10 Stock Doves feeding in a field on Back Lane with 1 Woodpigeon

Bad Timing for the Birds

The large area of Rhododendrons near to the traffic lights in the village that have been there over 100 years and were fully of nesting birds including, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock and Collared Dove have today been wiped off the face of the earth by a bulldozer, nests , eggs, chicks and all, in the interest of progress . You,d think anyone planning to build there would at least considered the time of year but I suppose to them its a matter of times money.

On a brighter note.. 4 House Martins over Bradshaw tonight.
The Swifts are still avoiding Foxhill. BS

Soil Hill

A strong sw wind kept migrants off the Hill today
2 Mallard
2 Moorhen
1 Grey Heron
1 LBB Gull
4 Linnet
1 Grey partridge
1 reed Bunting
Lots of Skylark,Mipits and scrapping Carrion Crow with Lapwing