Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Birding without Bins

Had to go visiting again so I walked down via High Cross Lane through Shelf Moor to Halifax Rd, without binoculars. I shall have to do it more often!

Female Sparrowhawk being mobbed by Swallows, 6 Woodpigeon, Little Owl, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Evening trip to Oats Royd

A late evening visit to Oats Royd turned out better than expected with first meeting Michael Welsh - nice to put faces to names on the Blog - and then a Little Owl (back down in its usual haunt), a single Jay and a few brief bursts of song from a Blackcap. A few BHG's were seen heading SE towards Shibden Head and loads of swifts were over Bradshaw.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Queensbury Today

Up to 8 Common Gulls on Foxhill park now.
4 Lapwing >W mid day
Good move of Swifts over Crow Point late p.m.
2 juv Carrion Crow in Foxhill park with white wingbars.
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2 Great Crested Grebes still this afternoon
Siskin over the information centre

Attention Andy Cockroft

I have done a bit of detective work regarding this observation on July 18:

" ringed LBB Gull yesterday it had a large black ring with bold gold letters WCBS .????? "
quote taken from Calderdale blog as it was outside the Queensbury patch.

It was ringed on Walney Island and most likely involved David Sowter, the Twite man. Determining the year isn't easily done; you may want to visit this site:

(Soil Hill was lousy this afternoon).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shibden at a slow pace

The Sun certainly put paid to birding in volume, but I did get a few butterfly shots for Andy's blog. When I got home I had to rush out again on family matters, so I won't be able to post them today.

100 Jackdaw, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 4 Linnet, numerous Goldfinch, Bullfinch, 3 Green Woody, 5 Swift, 3 House Martin.

There were 7 House Martin feeding just above roof top level near Tesco Halifax Road this evening.

Soil Hill

Reed Bunting

Soil Hill. pm visit, Baking hot.

6 Meadow Pipit
Umpteen Linnets
1 Gropper reeling
2 Twite, 1 with pink leg ring, Fly Flatts bird.
4 Reed Bunting
3 Skylark.
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Todays Outings (so far!)

27/07/08 1-3 p.m

Decided to suffer the oven-like conditions since a dawn time trek round Shibden Head left me feeling slightly cheated as I'm not normally known as a morning type, only found 4 Green Woodpecker, 2 Kestrel and a Little Owl.

Oats Royd came good in the form of a Whitethroat and my 2nd personal tick this week, also present:

1 Sparrowhawk in classic prospecting flight, went really, really high.
1 Kestrel
1 Grey Heron
1 Jay
4 Moorhen (3 ad. 1 juv.)
5 Willow Warbler
1 Goldfinch
28 Mixed Gulls
Sev. Swifts and Swallows

p.s. - in favourable weather many of the ponds are attracting a good number and variety of Dragonfly and Damselfly.


27/07/2008 am

1Yellow Legged Herring Gull
42 BH Gull
3 LBB Gull
6 Common Gull
1 Tufted Duck
1 Gt Crested Grebe

1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker
6 Linnet
11 Goldfinch
2 Mipits
Sev Swallows and Swifts.

17 Mistle Thrush
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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ambler Thorn - Evening

34 Linnet up on wires near Fireclay Works
8 Canada Geese heading towards Bradshaw
1 Kestrel juv.

Foxhill Today

26/07/2008 lunch time.

52 mixed small gulls very high, soaring and slowly drifting >E.
Several Swifts all moving >S
3 Kestrels up together over Crow Point

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oats Royd

2 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
2 Linnet
2 Moorhen
5 Willow Warbler
4 Long-tailed Tit
8 Mistle Thrush
30+ BHG in fields at bottom
Roe Deer

24/07/08 - 8 Canada Geese on largest pond

This Evening.


4 LBB > W
c. 40 BH Gulls came north along the valley between Boothtown and Queensbury. On reaching Swales they circled to gain height and continued towards Queensbury .
4 Swifts
6 Swallows
3 House Martins
1 Little Owl
Several Greenfinch
Pair Goldfinch

Passing Strangers OR NOT!

One, probably 2 Kittiwakes with BHG at Old Guy Rd, Queensbury this am. I'll send you the other pics as promised via Email Brian.

Soil Hill - almost as last reported except the Gropper wasn't heard and a Whinchat was a very welcome addition.

Addendum 26/08 - the species pictured is arguable, see BS comments.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

tuesday 22/7/08

Had a day off in the garden at Yews Green
4 curlew over heading towards Soil Hill
1 weasel (a garden tick)
the pair off bull finches still present but no young
20+swallows feeding low over garden

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Teaming Oats Royd

Arrived a bit earlier than I have been of late and what a difference in activity levels. Lots of Chaffinch and Greenfinch, families of Goldfinch, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Willow Warbler. A flock of 10 Mistle Thrush and 9 Woodpigeon. 2 Moorhen, 2 Kestrel, 2 Linnet, 1 Jay and a male Blackcap (my first ever).


Just had c. 200 Gulls over the house and headed east at 9.18 pm. Quite a surprise. Black Headeds seen but could have been some Common too. Next stop where?

Little blob on a fence post.

It's a Little Owl (dunno how apparent that's going to be in the pic!). Digiscoped this evening from the bedroom. It's just a bit of fun, I had the scope out and decided to try a long-range subject (it's about quarter of a mile or so away, maybe a bit more). Don't worry lads I won't put it in the gallery.
I was premature in announcing our local Swifts had left their territory. 9 are overhead and screaming right now.
Also from home, picking up more Mistle Thrushes together (up to six), LBB, Common and Black Headed Gulls over. Also Kestrels (at some distance).
Yesterday was a mega day with a family party of six Blue Tits outside the house! This is a bit of an event here. Last night a Bat was over the row of houses.

Busy Day

Queensbury CC & Old Guy Rd - 9 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark (one dustbathing) 20 Linnet, 12 Common Gull, 8 BHG, Swallows, 4 Swift.

Raggalds - 25 BHG, 2 Common Gull, 2 Pied Wagtail, Swallows.

Soil Hill - Several Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, LRP, Pied Wagtail, 3 Blackbird, 4 Mistle Thrush, 7 Linnet, 16 Goldfinch, 7 Reed Bunting, 4 Stonechat. One of the latter was lucky to be alive, as it flew into land a Stoat leapt from the grass, only just missing it. Whitethroat still present and one week on the Grasshopper Warbler is still reeeling.

Endure it while you can

Soil Hill this morning. Fennell Green & Bates - Building Surveyor and Mining Engineer Services. (Copy and Paste the link into your browser)

We may be OK for a year or so.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bit of a move on


2 Raven very high and calling moving >W 1315hrs over Foxhill
4 Common Gulls on football pitch
Male Sparrowhawk regular over New Park Rd or in garden

Waste of Time

I Replenished the feeders this morning for the last time until I can purchase a Laser Gun for which to vaporise the Tree Rats.
The only consolation is a Woodpigeon visits to peck at whatever bits are on the deck; hopefully it's the next victim of the lens. 2 Goldfinch flew over, reminding me they never seem to visit mine nor DP's feeders/table next door.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Deer Stalker

Oats Royd 7 - 9 p.m

The upper reaches of the conifer plantation were buzzing with Goldcrest calls, after some time 3 were seen with several more heard. Heading down the hill Greenfinch calls were notable but no visual was made, 3 Kestrel were less shy as was a Grey Heron. At the bottom and turning right a Moorhen on the path and 2 Linnet up on wire.

Towards the end of the track I noticed 2 Roe Deer in a small clearing, the male chasing the female amorously around in circles. Once they remained out of view I crept quietly closer, loud and aggressive barking and grunting began, sending the horse bolting in the field behind me. This was a new and startling noise to my ears and I must admit I quickly and nervously put some distance between myself and the happy couple.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mixed Fortunes

I got to Soil Hill to be put off trying my luck by the combination of a lusty wind and even lustier Alsatians off on their outing. So, down to jolly old Ogden went I. In fact I went off the patch up Ogden Clough and dismal it was indeed; the only birds in it were 2 Goldfinch.

Around the reservoir, there were Coal Tit and Robin families, 2 Willow Warbler and a briefly singing Chiffchaff. On the water, apart from the usual motly crew, were 2 GC Grebe and a party of BHG with a Common Gull or two thrown in. I tried turning the former into Med Gull without any success.

Oats Royd on the way back turned up Grey Heron, Moorhen, 2 Jay, Bullfinch, 7 Willow Warbler and a female Whitethroat carrying food! Good to know this species is doing well in our parish.

Generally, there were a good few more Swift around than in the preceding week or so. Which leads to the obvious statement: it's building up to departure time folks. See how many you get after August 5/6 let's say.

Local circuit


1 Willow Warb 1 Chiff
1 Female/Juv Blackcap was a nice find on Ploughcroft lane.
5 House Martins
3 Swifts
1 Juv House Spadge
3 Coll Dove
15 Black Headed Gulls > W
1 Bullfinch
Lots of young Greenfinch.


GSW (heard)
Tawny Owl (heard)
Green Pecker. 2 seen 1 heard.
1 Juv Kes
1 Sp Hawk (an increasingly scarce bird around here, anything to do with those ominious shotgun blasts?)
10 Swifts
20 + House Martins
Only 6 Swallows seen.
3 Bullfinches
2 Chiffs


Several Swallows and House Marts.
2 Swallows
1 Green Pecker on lower W slope
2 each of Mipit and Skylark.
1 Little Owl.

Shibden Head

5 - 7 a.m (No doubt inspired by IainG)

3 Goldfinch
3 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Nuthatch
1 Kestrel
1 Little Owl
2 Long-tailed Tit
1 Jay

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Evening Circular

Oats Royd - 2 Kestrel, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Little Owl in bottom fields.

Taylor Lane - 5 Linnet.

Soil Hill - 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Kestrel, 7 Woodpigeon & a thorough soaking.

Perseverance Rd - 5 Greenfinch, 7+ Pied Wagtail, a flock of 20+ Mistle Thrush at Small Tail Farm.

Old Guy Rd - 9 BHG and 1 pied Wagtail on Q.C.C pitch.

Moor Close Lane - 30+ BHG flew over.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Just back after a spot of spotting with my good luck Taliswoman.
Over Shibden we had a Hobby, silhouetted and long-distance at first then good views as it passed almost overhead and low allowing me to pick out the red 'trousers'. It eventually shot off eastwards.

An hour later we were at a spot where I previously had poor fleeting views of a flycatcher-like species I had presumed to be probable Spotted.
However, on arrival, in the same spot was a female Pied Flycatcher. We both had good views of it before it made off.
Perseverence paid off here, two prior visits failed to turn it up.
The spot isn't easily accessible and I'm not even going to attempt directions. I'm happy to take you to the spot. Bear in mind though two previous visits didn't amount to anything.

Also- 5 Green Peckers (3 juvs)
15 House Martin
40 plus swifts
17 LBB South
4 Jays
Forgot about anything else with the excitement.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Grasshopper Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler reeling in overgrown field fronting farm house - RH side of track 2/3rds way down from top Soil Hill. At one stage it was in company with a singing Whitethroat, just a few metres away.

Also: few Meadow Pipit, 12+ Skylark, 2 LRP, Curlew, 10 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, Moorhen, 2 juv Stonechat, 4 singing Reed Bunting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Queensbury Movement and more Rain

70+ BHG flew over Brighouse Rd W approx 1400 hrs today - NK & DP. There were two Semi Palmated Birders seen this evening at Ogden after the rain had worked it's magic. Also present in the brief visit were:

Greenfinch, pr Chaffinch, 14 Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, Curlew. I'm sure there were more but beating Pneumonia became top priority.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

You know the venue

1 - 0 to me versus the rain this morning. I also got 6 Pied Wagtails! 1 at Qby CC, 1 at Raggalds, 1 adult on Soil Hill and also an adult carrying food accompanied by 2 juveniles on Ned Hill side of that aforementioned Devil's playground.

Also: 2 Common Gull, LRP, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Linnets, pr Goldfinch, pr Dunnock, 3 Blackbird, 4 Swift, 5 Swallow, Sand Martin, juv Moorhen, 3 Reed Bunting, Whitethroat. I missed the 2 juv Stonechat that Dave Pinder saw down by the Portakabin.

A Meadow Pipit has reared young at Mountain and for the second time in about 5 days I am sure I have heard Blackcap song from back of Downeys Solicitors.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


1 Great Crested Grebe
19 B H Gulls
9 Canada Geese
1 Greylag Goose
2+ Siskins over (1 by the lodge and 1 over the visitors centre into the pines)
1 pair of Stonechats in Ogden Clough

Monday, July 07, 2008

Stormy Monday

I prefer Leslie West's version of the song to what I experienced, however there was some interest which made today's soaking worthwhile.

When I got home Brian, I poured through the guides on that raptor that I rang you about - sat on a post approx 18 inches above ground, being mobbed by Swallows. The contenders are female Sparrowhawk and male Goshawk as both have whitish looking throats; I know the former does have white collar if it has the back turned to you. Despite the soddened appearance and visibility not being good, I have to go with Sparrowhawk, but believe me, I would readily be persuaded to go the other way!

Also present, 2 Lapwing, pr Linnet, dozen or so Mipit, 7/8 Skylark, 3 Reed Bunting, Kestrel. The singing Whitethroat was showing well and a juvenile Wheatear was by the stone circle or Vaccary wall as they are known to those wot are more educated than I am.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Not the best place in a Storm.

SOIL HILL ...on a bad day. BS
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Storm Clouds over Queensbury

06/07/2008 pm visit SSW>4 Sunny then thunderstorm.

Just got dried out from Ogden in time to get caught in a thunderstorm on Soil Hill.

9 Skylark
1 Whitethroat
1 Ad Moorhen
Sev Mipits
Plenty sky movement with Swifts >SW & LBBs >NE
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Soggy Ogden

Ready for the Waders.

06/07/2008 0730-0930hrs Heavy Drizzle followed by torrential rain. SW>2
Stood at far side of reservoir in pouring rain, me , 2 soggy little dogs and a Muscovy duck.

2 Heron
1 Gt Crested Grebe
Sev Lapwing moving >E
+ usual sp.
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Undisclosed Location.

2 LEO's watched from 10 pm, showed well. Some quartering and perching up. Lots of moving from tree-to-tree.

More Movement over Foxhill

2 Curlew very high, again >SW 1900hrs
5 Lapwing flying very high and direct. >E 1920hrs
Several Swifts drifting >S.

Report of white crow on Park Lane bird table.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Before and After the Flood

The Hill from Hell toyed with me today and Andy C, whom I met halfway up or down - take your pick. I got soaked by one downpour, then we both got hammered by another one, however it did bring bird movement.

Several Skylark incl one carrying food. Greenfinch, 2 Linnet, Grey Partridge, Mallard, 2 juv + 1 adult Stonechat. Pr Whitethroat singing/displaying (after I told AC the previous one had now gone!) 3/4 singing Reed Bunting. After a quick visit to the farm shop the weather had improved so I went back to see if anything had been dumped. A Snipe was chuntering from a fence post and 13 Lapwing went over S.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Bit of a move

02/07/2008 Foxhill
1 Curlew flew >SW over Foxhill Park at 1915hrs which being unusual for here is a good sighting I thought but then at 2030hrs a single COMMON TERN flew >S over the rugby field.
Several Swifts have been moving >W most of the day probably avoiding the rain showers.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Oats Royd and surround.

So that was you Nigel leaving at 3.45 with a tripod sticking out your rucsac? I was just arriving but from a little further down the valley nearer the main road.

1 Grey Heron I suspect this dropped in having seen your back Nigel then took off again some 15 mins later when I made an appearance.
3 Kes up together.
1 Sp Hawk
2 Will Warb
1 Goldfinch
5 Greenfinches
c. 15 swallows in surrounding fields
5 Swifts
5 Hse Marts.
1 Moorhen.

First visit to O.R. proper.
Dead cow in stream at the bottom was rather whiffy (you've been warned!)

Around the Area

Had a yomp around the patch today and by christ did my legs know it when I got back. As is usual with good weather for human beens (or has been in this case) it doesn't always rock it for birds.

Soil Hill - 9/10 Skylark singing their heads off. 2 Lapwing. Still failed to see Stonechat, but I did get a Sand Martin and a Weasel taking a bath and the usual stuff.

Ogden Res - 12 BHG, Grey Heron (see below) Curlew, 12 Long tailed Tit, 3 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler.

Oats Royd - Moorhen, 2 Bullfinch, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Stock Dove. Peacock butterfly (see below).

A Sunny Day Out