Birdbrain Stuff

Monday, June 30, 2008


This afternoon
1 Grey Heron
13 L B B Gulls
15 B H Gulls
6+ Siskin - 'Giants Tooth' area
Several Willow Warblers, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiff-chaff
1 Gt Spotted Woodpecker
Several young Coal Tits (Coal, Blue and Great Tits seem to have done realy well this year with lots of young birds around)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ogden briefly.

Given the choice of a walk round the res or an hour's birding I opted for the latter. Not a hard decision: Chavs with blinged-up Staffs, disobedient dogs off leads, screaming kids versus near solitude, peace and quiet.

1 Grey Heron
1 Grey wag
2 Willow Warb
2 Curlew

Ogden etc

29/06/2008 Drizzle, W >3-4 early a.m.
1 Heron
1pr Tufted
2 Jay
1 Grey Wag
1 Common Sand in overflow
2 Curlew >NW

4 Linnets
1 Little Owl
42 Swift >W
190 Lapwing >W

1pr Stonechat + 2 juv
1 Kestrel

usual stuff
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Despite the sunshine this morning I knew it would rain as I decided to go up Soil Hill again. It did, so I can't complain. Quiet too; 2 Lapwing, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Curlew, LBBG, 4 singing Reed Bunting. I searched for some time for a Stonechat without any luck. Such is birding - beats staying in.

I have decided to develop a wildlife website to cover the area we bird in. This will enable us to incorporate mammals, plants and insects, keeping them seperate from birds. Obviously the blog will be part of it and remain unaffected and Andy's blog will be a major player in the insect section.

Don't hold your breath, I've got a lot of remembering to do and expect to really get stuck in come late Autumn.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


A pair of Siskin in the Back Lane plantation this afternoon flew off towards Ogden plantation. Could this be a breeding pair I wonder or an early return? I also had 2 pairs of Siskin in Crimsworth Dean this week. These are the first I have had locally since end of March. If they are breeding pairs then where have they been since then. Any ideas?

Oats Royd - This time full of Warblers

Wasn't sure what the weather would do so took the safe option of Oats Royd this morning. Loads of warblers about. Willow Warbler 7, Chiffchaff 4, Blackcap 1 and best of all, 2 Whitethroat. I think they may have nested (100m upstream from the bridge on LHS). Other birds of note were Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Swallows (at least 20), Reed Bunting, Grey Wagtail and Jay... and I didn't get rained on! Also spooked another Roe Deer. Seem to see more of those than sparrows.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Foxhill Today

27/06/2008 Mid day

30+ Swifts >W
2 Pied Wags on top pitch
4 newly fledged Chaffinch in park trees
3 LBB Gulls >E

Brighouse Rd
4 House Martins over Park Lane
1 Woodpig walking on pavement outside NKs house.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Surprise Duck

No, not this pic, this ain't a Duck (is it?) Last night 23/6 we were travelling roughly halfway between West Scholes and Chathill when I looked at a pond as we slowed down. I'm not going out birding alone any more - it's not good for my mental well being. There was a Shelduck preening itself on the grass! The only other critter around was a Cow, no other ducks geese or hens; somebody please tell me they know it's a feral despite this.

Flying Long Ear 'Oles

This shot by Denise at an undisclosed location shows clearly the differences between SEO & LEO, notably the head, breast,belly & wing markings.
Thanks once again Denise.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shibden and Swales.

Yesterday in the a.m. (won't say how early, BS will attribute it to insomnia!)


4 Mipit
1 Skylark


I had a Tawny Owl low down in a tree sat on a branch just 20 feet away from me. Prolonged views as it casually turned to check me occasionally. I really like this species and this was my best daylight sighting of Tawny in many years.
2 Bullfinch. Others heard. Pick these up every trip, seem to be in decent numbers.
2 Green Pecker
2 Chiffs
5 W Warbs
3 House Martins. Have been seeing up to 5.
6 Swifts.
10+ Swallows
2 M Thrush
2 S Thrush
1 Jay.

And today.

7+ House Mart
20+ Swallows
10+ Swifts
1 Jay
1 Green Peck (1 more heard)
2 W Warb
1 Chiff (heard)


4 Mipit
1 Skylark.

Rarity alert! Hse Mart today was a scarce house tick.

Soil Hill

22/06/2008 1430-1530hrs Gale force SW>7 gusting 8. Drizzle.
Hard to even stand on the summit.Nearly took my last tuft of hair off.
7 LBBs > NE, seems to have been a move on today.
5 Skylark
Sev Mipits
1 Kestrel
1m Stonechat
1 Wheatear on slope above LH pond, female or aug. plumage bird.
Could be the same bird as Ned Hill.

Bird Deformity

Whilst watching a group of Starlings rummaging, squabbling and bathing in the lane, I noticed that one of the juveniles was somewhat larger than the rest. It was also a rather peculiar shape and possessed an uneven, wide-legged gait. It was clearly struggling to perform the bowed over fluttering action of bathing in a puddle.

When the group suddenly took off this bird stayed on the ground and headed for my garden. It paused outside my gate, absolutely motionless for a couple of minutes as though confused or mesmerised. Once inside my garden it hung around for so long I was able to recharge my camera and take this pic. It seems to have a large swelling or growth from the top of its head running down the nape and mantle (kind of looks like a Treecreeper is nestled in there). Eventually it did fly away successfully. Just wanted to share this anomaly as I've never noticed anything like this before, has anybody else?

A Wind Blown Tour

Looks like Ogden has your problem Nigel.

22/06/2008 Strong SW>5 Slight showers 0745-1000hrs

8 Canadas
2 Greylag
1 Treecreeper
2 Pied Wags
1 Grey Wag
+ usual sp.
25 LBBs >NE
30+ Swifts >W
1 Spotted Flycatcher in same spot as last sighting
4 Stock Doves
1m Stonechat
14 LBBs >NE
50+ Swifts >W
3 Kestrels up together
No sign of Wheatear.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Shibden Head - A mammals day

Managed to get an hour at Shibden this morning before the drizzle set in. Quiet though with many birds hidden in the trees feeding young. Best birds were Bulfinch, 2 Green Woodpeckers, Garden Warbler (near the Jackdaw roost) and a Jay. I also encountered a Roe Deer, Fox, squirrels and loads of rabbits... and there was a frog making a long drawn out whistling noise like it was deflating? Bizzare.

Camera Test

This was taken hand held on full zoom in foggy conditions in P mode. The former bird feeder, now a fully appointed Squirrel feeder, is in my back yard.

So far a piece of cake. Pitfalls? bring 'em on. (I say that tongue in cheek, cos I know I'll drop some big ones out in the field.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Undisclosed Site

Last night 9.45 till 10.45
Long-eared Owl - adult not seen but at least one young heard calling very loudly.
Also 4 Woodcock roding

Small selection of feathers found in Shibden valley. Judging by the spread of the 'em on the ground, summat's been 'ad. Note the end of the shafts are nipped-off. Any ideas?

Haven't done much birding recently and when I have there hasn't been anything of note so I couldn't be bothered posting it up and boring us all. Seeing as I'm on though:




Flock of 15 + Mistle Thrushes.
1 Green Pecker
6 Goldfinches
2 Bullfinches
1 Chiff
5 W Warb

Usual walk but different

This morning. Old Guy Rd had a couple of Meadow Pipit and 5 Linnet while most unusually Raggalds had a Chiffchaff singing it's heart out. I thought the moderate W/SW winds must be responsible so hoped Soil Hill would have something interesting on the menu. In fact it wasn't too busy - but did have Great Blacked Back Gull slowly drifting NE. There were about 10 Swift being just that, Lapwing, LRP, a few Meadow Pipit, some Skylark, Linnet and Goldfinch.

I went down to the ponds and counted 5 Reed Bunting and a recently fledged brood of Wren with a hovering Kestrel present. Then over the reed beds flying almost toward me, a Hobby. It came close by, giving good if brief views and here is where I have to eat humble pie, Brian. I stated it was probably a female, however, they have red trousers too, there was no red present so I am forced to conclude it was a juvenile. I can live with this!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Return to Photography

After a summary conversation with Brian this afternoon and recalling one with Andy on Soil Hill back in April, finally...

I have ordered a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18 18x zoom after spending over 2 hours comparing specs for this range. Didn't you get a similar model Andy? Anyway as far as the competition goes it does well, as it also appears to do in user reviews.

Apologies for the moans n groans in advance over the next few weeks, until I get my eye in.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More from Ned Hill

Just summat to look at while its quiet
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Garden Birds and feeders

Got two good articles in so far for the next newsletter with your views and comments on feeding habits in your garden including regular and best garden birds or fly-overs. All I need now is more from the remainder of you if possible to complete the article. It does,nt need to be anything fancy , just a few notes will do. Cheers, BS

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Lower slopes

Walked from the bottom around the lower slopes this afternoon
4 Reed Bunting(female carrying food to nest + 3 males )
1 Whitethroat singing its heart out by small pool
1 Grey partridge
1 Kestrel
1 LBBGull (south)
1 large Juv Moorhen
6 house sparrows
10 Swallows
4 linnet
Starling,Carrion Crow,Meadow Pipit,Magpie,Skylark and Pied wag

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Soil (with weeds) Hill

Soil Hill now has quite a bit of vegetation growing on it now it has been left alone for a year. Won't be long before we get a Wood Warbler there!

Anyway, this mornings sightings were Skylark 12, Meadow Pipit 3, Pied Wagtail 1, Swallow 3, Swift 20+ moving SE, Lapwing 2, Starling 11, Mallard 1 and A Roe Deer with 8" horns from about 20m away. It didn't seem phased by my presence.

Ogden still had a single Great Crested Grebe on the res (not it's lucky year!) and also two Great Spotted Woodpecker families with 1 and 2 young each. A couple of Bullfinch were also nice to see birds.

Soil Hill

15/06/2008 1530-1645hrs Cloudy, NW>2
Summit :-
1 Redshank
4 Linnet
4 Woodpigs
2 Lapwing
9 Skylark
3 Mipits

Western track, Ned Hill
11 Stonechat, 1pr + 3 juvs 1pr + 4 juvs
1f Wheatear
1 Little Owl on telephone wires.
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Dry Soil Hill

Early afternoon. Not much left of the scrapes and green algae even overwhelming the trackside ditch. Approx 12 Meadow Pipit, with at least 4 doing parachuting song display. 10+ Skylark, 4/5 Linnet & Swallow, 9 Swift, Kestrel, Curlew, Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, 3 Pied Wagtail.

Down the slope - Grey Partridge, Reed Bunting, Whitethroat. The latter was singing and ranging from the Portakabin area to the new plantation about 150 metres away.

2 Skylark still singing in Old Guy Rd.

NB Brian - add this to my Email on Garden Feeders if you will: Grey Squirrel on Peanut feeder on return home. Finished the lot off; wonder whether to wait a day or two before replenishing.

Shibden Valley

The Pond- Shibden
15/06/2008 0730-0930hrs Calm, cloudy

Quiet down in the valley today with the density of the leaves making it near impossible to
find the birds.
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker
2 Ad. Green Wdpecker with 2 juvs + 3 more ad.
4 Treecreeper
3 Blackcap
1 Chiffchaff
8 W. Warbs
6 singing Song Thrush.
Loadsa Jackdaws with young
+ usual woodland sp.
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Shibden Revisited

Went a different route through part of the valley and wound up at Shibden Head. I noticed there is a plant that is widespread and very similar to Indian Balsam. It grows to approx 2m tall and takes over everything, actually occluding some footpaths.

Jackdaws have fledged in the colony, with about 45 adult birds in the air and young on the walls.
I took DPs digital voice recorder with me, hoping to catch the Nuthatch but without success.

However, this dipper didn't dip on Dipper - one called and flew under the metal railed bridge. This is the first for me in about 6 years at this location; let's hope there's an upturn. Also present:

2 Stock Dove, 2 Green Woody, 2 GSW, 4 Song Thrush, pr Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch, 4 Goldfinch, 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap (one successfully recorded). A Garden Warbler was singing at the Deanstones Lane end, also recorded but distance prevented decent volume.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


1 G C Grebe still there
2 Black-headed Gulls
1 L B B Gull >NW
1 Grey Wagtail
c 20 Willow Warblers (several of them found with beaks full of food for young)
1 Chiff-chaff
2 Blackcap
1 male Sparrowhawk
1 Gt Spotted Woodpecker
c30 Swifts over the moor by the 'giants tooth'

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Foxhill Today

Continuous movement of Swifts midday all >W
Several Swifts on an evening now over Foxhill Park
Willow Warbler in park trees early a.m.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The pest with the newsletter

When I delivered the last newsletters I noticed that most of you had feeders in your gardens.
Perhaps,if you find the time you,d like to send me, by e mail, a bit of info on your garden bird sucesses.
Just things like what you put out and what brings the best birds etc, also your best garden birds or best garden fly-overs, things like that and I can put a bit of an article together for the next newsletter.
Also any article for me to include will be greatly appreciated. BS

Shibden Head\Valley

Decided to have a stab at the Redstart seen previously by BS & IG, so went down with Dave Pinder this am. Of course, we dipped and generally it was a bit sparse, excepting:

Wren brood newly fledged all over the shop, male Sparrowhawk, 3/4 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 2 Green Woodpecker, pr Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, pr Treecreeper. In the same vicinity Nuthatch called twice, which is a while since last heard/seen. Birdbrain: Nuthatch

Opened my big gob and told DP to look at the field guaranteed to hold Stock Dove (gulp) this time they were Woodpigeon. Good to see House Martin & Swift activity.

Thanks for the lift and the bird mags Dave.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Soil Hill

08/06/2008 Soil Hill, pm visit hot and sunny, NNW>2-3
1m Stonechat
1 Curlew
3 Reed Bunting
+ usual Linnets, Skylarks.Mipits etc.
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A trip downt valley

08/06/2008 0715-0930hrs Hot and Sunny. CROSS BECKS.
2 Green Wdpeckers
4 W. Warbs
2 Chiffchaff
1f Redstart carrying food

6 W. Warbs.
2 Chiffchaff
1pr Song Thrush + 3 young.
1 Green WdPecker
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker

1m Blackcap
1 Whitethroat
15 Stock Dove
1 Green Wdpecker

1 Treecreeper
1 Tawny Owl

+ all usual common woodland sp.
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Saturday, June 07, 2008

What big ears you,ve got

07/06/2008 1930-2045hrs Slight NNE>2
2 LEOs showing well after 40mins wait. First in trees then quartering fields.
1 Kestrel
4 Curlew
1 Snipe
Plenty roosting Woodpigs.
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Soil Hill

Carrion Crow 4+
Chaffinch 1
Curlew 1
Dunnock 1
Goldfinch 6
House Martin 1
Kestrel 2
Lapwing 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull 4
Linnet 10
Little Ringed Plover 1
Magpie 3
Mallard 2
Meadow Pipit 9+
Moorhen 6 including 5 newly fledged chicks.
Reed Bunting 5 including 2 newly fledged chicks.
Skylark 12+
Starling circa 12
Stock Dove 1
Swallow 8+
Swift 10+
Whitethroat 1 Singing & displaying. A personal site tick
Woodpigeon 2
Wren 1
Number of species 24

Friday, June 06, 2008

Never the twain shall meet

Those stones are a giveaway for the location that these two were seen last weekend by...

"Having read the blog this evening, I thought I'd send this for the gallery. It was taken on Soil Hill lastweekend. Very quiet at the "Bird Reserve"-all busy".


Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Doldrums

Soil Hill this afternoon was almost unbearable, such was the lack of activity. 7 Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark, 2 Lapwing, 1 LBBG, 8 Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting, 4 Swallow, 3 Swift.

Undisclosed Site & Species - the entity of several Emails this spring appears to have flown the coup, finally.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Blog Newsletter

Just an entry to say thanks to BS, who circulated the second newsletter the other day, by hand so we got it hot off the press. I still have only read about a third of it, not because I don't have time, but because it's so damn juicy, I keep backtracking.

Well done Brian both for the quality and the painstaking effort you put in. I hasten to add, you ain't getting another award - two is enough AND you got the opportunity to retrieve your old boot!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Soil Hill Area - Evening

Taylor Lane - 1 Little Owl, 5 Linnet

Ned Hill, track/footpath across lower slope of Soil Hill facing Ogden just before sunset - great view of a pair of Stonechat feeding 3 young. Simultaneous close-range view of Stoat/Weasel with prey bobbing up and down behind wall. 1 Kestrel and 2 Lapwing also.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Oats Royd

7.30-9.00 p.m

1 Jay
1 Kestrel
1 Little Owl
2 Bullfinch
2 m Mallard
Several Willow Warbler, plenty of Chaffinch and the usual other species.

An Evening Sortie

Undisclosed Site (Outside Area - I don't care!) 2 LEO - this picture published by David Sutcliffe.

A walk down from Soil Hill to the outskirts of Bradshaw produced Skylarks, 6 Linnet, Little Owl, 3 Song Thrush and my first Spotted Flycatcher in over a year. It was quite a productive evening, with all the usual expected species present.


1 Great Crested Grebe this afternoon and 1 Spotted Flycatcher in Skirden Clough but no sign of the Crossbills. 1 House Martin in Ogden Clough.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


01/06/2008 0745-0930 hrs E>3 Misty and damp, fog and rain by 0930hrs.

1pr Crossbills very mobile, trees below giants tooth.
2 Jays
1 Pied Wag
1 Treecreeper
1 GtCrested Grebe
+ usual woodland sp,

Back Lane
3 Stock Dove
1 Snipe
+ usual sp,
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