Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sun 24 Aug (last Sun) late eve.

Hag Ln:

Pair of Tawnys sat in the treetops.
2 heard further down Shibden.
1 L Owl
5 bats (dunno species).

BB farm area:

6 Mipits

6 Linets.

We love rain!

Near Black Boy farm:

Pair Stonechat (my 4th record for patch)
25 Linnets
30 Goldfinch
1 Kes

Then the sky went black:

150+ House Martins
150+ Swallows
Many flying within a few feet of us. Absolutely awe-inspiring. Thank you rain!

2 Skylarks

Hag Ln:

Mixed flock: 1 Coal Tit, pr Blue Tits, 6 LT Tits 2 Willow warblers.


1 BH Gull >E
1 Kes
1 L Owl
2 Bullfinch
1 Greenfinch
Jays heard
1 Coll Dove.


Queensbury - 2 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat at Old Guy Rd. 13 Pied Wagtail, 9 Linnet at Raggalds. A couple of the Wags appeared very pale with no obvious grey on flanks but visibility prevented any convincing evidence of alba.

Soil Hill - 30 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, 2 Kestrel, Curlew, Grey Heron, 3 Grey Partridge, 110 Goldfinch (onehundredandten) 3 Reed Bunting, several Swallow, 3 Wheatear.

Foggy Oggy

Ogden 31/08/2008 0730-1000hrs Very still, dense fog, starting to clear at 0945hrs

Up to 8 singing Robins
Sev Tit flocks
12 Common Gull + few BH Gull

Vis Mig
35 Swallows low over water >SW
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Oats Royd

Bizarre - very still and humid with clouds of midges, but no Swallows! Hard to remember it this quiet:

2 Blackbird, Goldcrest, pr Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Little Owl, pr Jay, 2 Moorhen, Grey Heron, 19 Common Gull, pr House Martin in distance over Bradshaw.

Met a bloke from Bradshaw who reports a pr Buzzard were circling over the area Thursday 21/8.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Permit me a little indulgence, I'm intrigued by cobwebs in the rain.
Picture looking in a NE direction from behind BB farm (just off Hag Ln).

Pics are enlargable by L clicking if you're so inclined.


1 L Owl
1 Bullfinch
1 BH Gull Queensbury bound
1 Kes
2 House Spadge

Hag Ln area

10 Greenfinch (c. half juvs)
10 Goldfinch (several juvs)
6 Bullfinch (at least 1 juv)
1 distant Chiff/ W Warb
Jays and 1 Green Pecker heard down in Shib.

BB farm area (where the serial killer John Christie lived!)

20 swallows.

Slight Movement

Precipitation prevented me from pursuing a prolonged perambulation but produced particular birds.

Soil Hell - 18 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, 8 Grey Partridge, Reed Bunting, 4 Swallow, pr Wheatear.

Mountain - 7 Common Gull, 4 Pied Wagtail.

The Starling numbers mentioned by BS have dropped dramatically to usual levels.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Whilst the blog is quiet heres a tranquil picture to unwind you from your stressful day !
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The Starlings have Landed

Massive flocks of Starlings have descended on Queensbury in the last few days.
The rooftops around Foxhill at lunch time today was black with them. Also the garden feeders were heaving, very much like Marks. Not sure if these are birds moving through or just grouping ready for dispersion, one for you DCB.
Getting both male and female Sparrowhawk in front garden daily now.
All quiet otherwise apart from a few moving Swallows and one or 2 small groups of Greenfinch over >S.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy in the garden

I think this must be a record for the number of birds in our garden at one time. Both photos were taken Monday morning while we cooked breakfast.

Ogden Revisited

25/08/2008 0745-0930hrs SW>4-5 Cloudy

1 Common Sandpiper
4 Grey Wagtails inc 1 juv( centre pic.)
1 Kingfisher
Usual Grebes, Heron, Gulls etc.
Plenty blogging Swallows

Vis Mig
15 Mipits >W
2 Pied Wags >W
Otherwise empty skies.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oats Royd

This Afternoon

2nd time recently when I've seen a pair of Sparrowhawk lift up from Royd Hill and gain considerable altitude before gliding over towards Illingworth/Bradshaw, often buzzing each other on the way. Great to watch but a recipe for neck ache. Also:

4 Kestrel
1 Little Owl
2 Grey Heron
2 Moorhen
1 Willow Warbler
Several Swallow and a few House Martin
and a single Sparrowhawk which may or may not have been one of the pair seen earlier.


When I set off to Ogden the winds were NW ish so I thought Old Guy Rd would show potential and it did:
8/9 Common Gull, Wheatear, Whinchat. Numerous Swallow throughout general area.

Unfortunately Ogden was er, crap as by now the killer SW was prevalent, however I did cop for 2 Grey Wagtail.

So orf I went to Soil Hill, which was er, crap: 3 Kestrel, 4 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark. It wasn't all bad, Brian was at the top - thanks for the lift home.


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LBB checking the depth.
0730-0945hrs W>3 dropping Drizzle at first, fine period then heavy rain by 0930hrs. 24/08/2008
1 Cormorant on water, was told it was also there yesterday.
3 Common Sandpipers, 1 on west bank, 2 flew low over east bank.
26 BH gull
22 Common gull
1 LBB gull
1pr Teal NW corner.

48 Swallows >S
4 House Martins >S
2 Jays, very high >W
4 Snipe >W
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Seeing as no-one posted anything today, here's a bit of local exotica.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shibden Head

This Afternoon

3 Willow Warbler
3 Goldcrest juvs.
2 Jay
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Kestrel
25+ House Martin
8 Swallow

Grey Skies and Dailie Fields

Meadow Pipit, pr Jay, Kestrel, 20+ Swallow, 3 Linnet, 7 Goldfinch, pr Mistle Thrush, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Willow Warbler, Stonechat.

First bird I saw when leaving the house was Sparrowhawk over Brighouse Rd.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


1 Teal today along with usual sp...
1 Grey Wagtail

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bloomin South Westerly

The killer SW struck again so I decided to visit Ogden, which was full of people on some kind of gala day (after seeing what MW got at Oats Royd, I should have gone there!).
LBBG in with the other Gulls. 20 House Martin feeding over the top end bridge and a few Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler.

I decided to visit the hellish hill on my way home, via the Coal Lane route. Good to see around 3 Swallow still breeding there and 3 Pied Wagtail. Only other birds were 10 Meadow Pipit, 1 Skylark, Kestrel, 3 Linnet, Reed Bunting and 13 or so blogging Goldfinch.

Raggalds had 26 Carrion Crow and 8 Greenfinch and finally; despite my desperate searching throughout, no Swift anywhere.

Oats Royd

1.45 - 3.30 p.m

14 Swift heading NW - a group of 9 followed by a group of 4 a few minutes later and then a single one after a few more mins.
3 Little Owl
3 Kestrel
2 Sparrowhawk
3 Moorhen
2 Grey Heron
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Willow Warbler
2 Linnet
Near Black Boy farm (off Hag Lane)

15 Swallows
4 Mipit
1 BH Gull > S
1 Comm Gull > S
2 Goldfinch

Scanning a distant fence I picked up a dull orange-brested passerine looking good for a Stonechat or Whinchat. After a long walk I managed to get a lot closer for decent views. I was thinking Stonechat but was picking out a fairly distinct buff supercilium and, more crucially, white to the upper half of the tail as the bird took flight- Whinchat. Only my second sighting on the patch so I'm quite pleased.

The only wader I have for the patch is Golden Plover! Oh and Woodcock. Not a single Snipe! Unless my inconsistent records state otherwise, I may not have Lapwing either. I went to Blacktoft last week to remind myself what waders look like. It was a little confusing I admit!


1 L Owl
5 Swallows


60 Linnets in a very mobile flock were a welcome sight (and sound). I was getting a bit concerned having not picked them up in any decent numbers until today.
17 Goldfinches
3 Kes
1 Starling on the deck (hey it's novelty!)
3 LBB > W
17 small Gulls down on fields at Holmfield
4 Skylarks
9 Mipits
3 Swallows.

It's all a bit on the quiet side

Had a few trips out this week with nothing to report, one trip to Oats Royd only produced 1 Kestrel where usually at least 3 is the norm. On Mon 18th had a very grand total of 16 Greenfinch in my garden after a bit of feeder re-arrangement, obliterating my previous record of 7. On the 19th one spot in Shibden valley was host to at least 25 House Martin with a few swallow around aswell. Seem to be spotting more Roe Deer and Foxes at the moment - ah well the leaves are turning colour, slowly.

Monday, August 18, 2008


This afternoon (33 sp..)
1 Swift over by the wind farm
2 G C Grebes
3 Gt Spotted Woodpeckers
c42 Lapwing in the fields between Soil Hill and Ogden
Tit flock 12 LTT/10 Coal Tits/ Goldcrest and 3 Willow Warblers

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Soil Hill

Soil Hill Feral Formation Team.

Soil Hill, p.m. WSW>4 dry,cloudy

Very quiet on the hill with the main being 22 Feral Pigeons
3 Skylark
8 Mipits
26 Common Gull
10 BH Gull
1 Buzzard, not actually a Soil Hill bird, this was soaring over Whetstone Gate for 15 mins
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Swift Movement

At 3.05 p.m whilst sorting out bird feeders had 9 Swift over heading West.


Very foggy when I arrived at Ogden Reservoir this morning. There were swallows overhead in the murk but not sure if they were local or moving through. Fortunately the fog began to clear at about 7.30ish and the birding picked up. Usual species on the res. and in the woods + 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Greylag, 8 Willow Warbler, 1 House Martin, 50 Lapwing (high overhead from Thornton Moor way) and a family party of 4 or more Goldcrests (The juvs with no crest had me fooled for a mo!) Possible Siskin also heard calling in the car park area.

A brief trip down to Oats Royd mid-morning produced Little Owl and Jay. Quite a few swallows about too.


17/08/2008 0745-1015hrs Water level now high with very little mud.

SW>3 Cloudy,dry

4 Willow Warbler
8 Lt Tits
2 Goldcrest
Sev Tit flocks, Great and Blue
Low gull count

Back Lane
3 Goldcrest
Sev blogging Swallows

200+ Swallows >S 0745hrs
All came through within 15 mins down Ogden Clough low over water.
Some skimmed water and several stayed briefly on tree branches and wires.
CK reported them moving through earlier in the early morning fog.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mistaken identity!

How about this bird that had me fooled last week by Castle Carr Road, Wainstalls. it got down to 2 metres away and I couldn't pin identity down. Making strange calls and six chicks just about 3/4 days old with it!!!! Any comments!

Record withdrawal LSW

Birdbrain: Shibden Head\Valley

After re-assessing the circumstances of this observation, I have decided to withdraw the species and accept it was Great-Spotted Woodpecker, not Lesser. Reasons:

The two birds I saw in the undergrowth were the same size as Lesser but I now believe to be juvenile GSW. On subsequent visits both DJS and myself saw or heard GSW family within 40 metres or so of this sighting.

I have listened many times to calls of both birds and the agitation calls of GSW bear resemblance to the LSW song notes.

No other report of LSW has been submitted subsequently, begging the question 'How did these birds disappear so fast?'

Apologies to everybody; shit happens.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Close-up views of a juv Kes.
15 Swallows
3 House Martins
6 LBB > E
1 L Owl


3 kes
18 Goldfinches
20 Linnets
1 juv Pied Wag
12 Mipits
3 Skylarks
20 Swallows

Shibden (brief visit)

Seemed quiet:

Bullfinches heard.
GSW heard
1 Green Pecker plus another mocking my efforts.
1 Kes
10 Swallows
1 Jay

Ogden and Oats Royd

I welcomed the warm weather for a change but at the cost of birds until I reached Oats Royd.

Queensbury CC - 90+ Gulls, mainly Common. 20 Meadow Pipit were at Taylor Lane.

Ogden Res - quiet. 4 LBBG and usual Gulls, 2 GC Grebe, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Goldcrest, 2 GSW, Swallows.

Oats Royd - Meadow Pipit, Grey Heron, 5 Moorhen, pr Kingfisher, Little Owl, Jay, 2 Green Woodpecker, 3 Kestrel, 6 Willow Warbler, several Swallow.
2 Golden Carp & 3 Common Carp were basking on the surface in two ponds.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Well done to Dish Fish reporting 7 Oystercatchers at Ogden this afternoon (must be a record!)Resting there until at least 3.45 pm they seemed very settled - even when the B H gulls flew up in alarm the Oystercatchers stayed put, perhaps had a long overnight journey last night - who knows!
1 Dipper in Skirden Clough (this was my first there this year!)
5 Siskin
1 Gt Spotted Woodpecker
1 Green Woodpecker
11 Swifts through >S at 1.30 pm in the area between Soil Hill and Ogden
12 L B B Gs, 30 Common Gulls and c150 B H gulls
2 G C Grebes still there
2 Willow Warblers and several Goldcrests

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Late afternoon 5 till 6.15 pm
2 G C Grebes
220 B H Gulls
34 L B B G's
12 Common Gulls
78 Mallard
4 Swifts >N at 6 pm heading away from the storm clouds!
1 Kestrel
18 Swallows
1 Willow Warbler
2 Siskin over
2 Treecreepers (one looked soaked through - or was it just juv plumage?
usual woodland sp.. plus 4 Goldcrests and 4 Mistle Thrush

Gull Invasion

Foxhill Park

A record number of mixed small gulls are on the football pitches every morning now at around 0600hrs before the dog walkers appear. There is about 200 with a third of these Common and the rest Black Headed.
They move off during the day but are back early evening between the park and rugby field.
Good news on the weather today, hopefully the heavy rain will have spoilt the unglorious 12th for the sad men that get their pleasure by killing something.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The moment you,ve been waiting for

Thought Id put the answer on now as all Qby members have replied.Well done to all correct answers and hard luck to the incorrects.
The answers I got other than Waxwing were good answers showing some thought had gone into it.. Its a worthwhile thing if it makes us get the books out. The bird in the background was a bit of a give away showing that it was a flocking bird. Thanks for your interest. BS
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Not a Bad Day

LBBG with Common Gulls Old Guy Rd, Queensbury. First one I've had on the deck, although they do fly over, usually W. Also present 6 Swallow flying extremely low and 3 most welcome Wheatear.

Soil Hill - 11 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, Blackbird, 9 BHG over W, Kestrel, 3 Reed Bunting, 8 Swallow, 3 Swift, Wheatear, 24 Linnet. A flock of 18 Linnet were being pursued by a Merlin, which flew past me, giving very good views. The bird was showing the brown plumage of juv or female and follows the sequence of being yet another 'August' bird at this location.

Finally, I encountered a bird in Perseverance Road on the edge of binocular range that perfectly fit the LBJ tag. It sat atop a fence post, just chipping away, sufficiently unidentifiable enough to make you realise sometimes you have to return to the drawing board.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mystery Bird

Right , time up, Ive got 5 out of 7 replies from members but Im not going to spill the beans just yet.
Ive put the picture on the blog so if any non members want to try their luck they can.
To those who dont know what Im talking about, above is a cropped photo of a bird I took in the Calderdale area but it has been seen on several occasions in Queensbury. I put the photo in the Qby newsletter and asked the members to name it by e mail to me. Ive now thrown it open to anyone who wants a stab at it by simply putting you answer on the comment. I,ll put the full photo on the blog Tues night so you can all check your answers,
exciting stuff this ! BS
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Oats Royd

4 Kestrel
1 Little Owl
4 Linnet
6 Swallow
1 Swift

At Home: Gt Spotted Woodpecker on peanut feeder this a.m. Tawny around lane last 4 nights.


All that mud and no waders !

10/08/2008 0745-1000hrs SSW >4 Cloudy
160 BH Gull
25 Common Gull
12 LBB Gull
1 Gt Spotted Wdpeck
2 Grey Wagtail
3 Heron
No passerines.

Back Lane... Vis Mig
2 Swifts ..........................>SW
48 Swallows ....................>SW
3 House Martin................>SW
9 Meadow Pipit................>W
1 Sutcliffe Siskin, blogging.
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Raptor Report Soil Hill

A report from Bruce (Calderbirds) of a large dark raptor over Soil Hill on 08/08/2008 coincides with a cream crown Marsh Harrier around Leeshaw Reservoir seen by KM and BV (BOG)

Brian's Newsletter

I have managed to spend a bit more time reading the latest Blog newsletter and such is the richness of the savoury ingredients, I only sample a little at a time, saving the best for last! Which gives rise to another problem, how do I decide what is best? I think it's better to settle for 'not best, just different'.

The mystery bird identity picture is a real killer in my opinion. The species I opted for casually on first encounter bears no relationship to the answer I finally Emailed to Brian just now. Do have a go and don't feel any shame if you are wrong - I too am bracing myself.

Thanks for your hard work and skill in the compilation of the newsletter Brian and thanks to everyone for their contributions.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Dailie Fields/Bell Wood area

Little Owl, Sparrowhawk, 11+ Linnet, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Jay, 6 Swallow, 4 Wren and usual woodland sp.

Just had a Sparrowhawk over the house following Starling flock(40+).

Soil Hill quieter but...

Sedge Warbler in reeds, bottom pond, RH side, going downhill. Also 2 BHG, a few Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Stock Dove, 4 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Stonechat, (putrid pic) 5 Swallow, Swift, 2 Wheatear, Whitethroat.
Queensbury: 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Linnet, 3 Swallow a few BHG and 12 Common Gull.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


This morning
1 Siskin (for NK)!
50+ Willow Warblers (overnight fall with 20+ in Skirden Clough and similar numbers,if not more, in the bracken leading up to the 'giant's tooth)1 Chiff-chaff with them.
Also Coal Tits must have been moving through in groups - they seemed to be everywhere, even harder to count than Willow Warblers!
40+ House Martins,6 Swallows and 1 Swift moving >S over Skirden Clough were a bit easier to count
Several Goldcrests aand L T Tits may have been on the move as well

2 G C Grebes and 1 Grey Heron - need a wader!
1 f Sparrowhawk preening - Back Lane

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


1 over house yesterday evening.
4 over home tonight. These were headed north so maybe just feeding up in the poor weather?

Foxhill Today

Several Swallows >S
4 Pied Wags on football pitch
1m Sparrowhawk sat on peak of Nigels old house then low over rugby field.

Only 1 member e mailed me so far with a stab at the newsletter mystery bird !

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


11 Siskin (9 together over the embankment followed by two more a few minutes later)
2 Great Crested Grebes
120 B H Gulls and 3 Common Gulls
1 Grey Heron
2 Grey Wagtail
Meadow Pipits still feeding young
1 Treecreeper
1 Weasel

Soil Hill Movement

Goldfinch circa 40
Grey Partridge 7
House Martin 8
Linnet circa 30
Meadow Pipit 22+
Reed Bunting 3
Skylark 15+
Snipe 1
Swallow 9
Swift 3
Wheatear 9
Willow Warbler 2
Woodpigeon 7
Greenfinch 2
Mistle Thrush 1

Also 2 Roe Deer present. Queensbury had 3 Pied Wagtail, 12 Common Gull, and 1 Swift, among others.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Oats Royd Warblers

Still a few Willow Warblers in their familiar patch down the bottom this afternoon - 3 seen (more heard), 1 of which was a juv. being fed. On return at top of hill another flew overhead.

RE - Gulls

I have posted the info on the LBBGull at Clifton .Thanks NK and also there seems to be a debate brewing on the YLGUll at Ogden a few for and a few against have you got any pics to post on the Calderdale blogg.BS.Cheers all still a few Swifts at Northowram today

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Locally from 3.40 pm -7.00 pm.

Ploughcroft-Black Boy Farm

1 Kes
20 + colony of House Spadge. Over half were juvs.
1 juv Blue Tit
2 Goldfinch
3 Mipit, one carrying food.
2 stock Doves
15 Swallows-at least 9 juvs.
1 BH Gull South.
1 LBB West
1 probable Yellow Wag (distant) came from south then easterly towards Shibden park. Bit frustrating these 'probables'. Entirely frustating really!


2 Jays
Pair of Tawnys heard calling. Obviously in close proximity to each other with the volume turned right down.
2 Bullfinches. Others heard.
1 Kes
No signs whatever of Warblers, Swifts or House Marts.
6 Swallows

A few swallows around Ploughcroft Lane area.

From home:

This am 3 swifts over > S. One this eve >S @ 8.20pm.
100 distant Gulls >E @ 8.24 pm.
Our local Swifts appear to have departed around the 1st of the month.

7-8pm Trip to Soil Hill

A nice (but breezy) evening tempted me up to Soil Hill. Didn't hold out much hope of anything spectacular but did see loads of Stock Doves (about 12), Meadow Pipits (8), Skylarks (6 - all flushed from the top), Wood Pigeonss (4), Common Gull (1), LBBG (2), Swallow (3 - near the spoil hills on N Side), Kestrel (1), Crows (4) and Linnets (7 - Track area). Not bad for a quick stroll.

Ingleborough from Soil Hill

Good visibility at Soil Hill tonight though a bit murky to the N with Ingleborough in the mist and sun on Malham Cove.
Clear to the E and SE with York Minster, Selby Abbey and the Humber Bridge standing out.
Well the birding was quiet, I had to look at something.
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Aerial Display for Soil Hill

03/08/2008 1700-1815hrs W>4-5 Dry
After a quiet visit to the hill a final scan round found what looked like 4 Kestrels in the air together over Mixenden Reservoir.
One bird could be seen to be much bigger and heftier and as they drifted closer it was 3 Kestrels mobbing a Peregrine.
They were high up and came through the gap between the hill and Ogden and when the Kestrels turned back the Pere set off in full flight and disappeared to the N towards Simons Seat.

Also present
7 Grey Partridge
Sev , Mipits, Skylarks and Linnets.

Why do I alwats fumble with the camera at a time like this ? I go to extend the lens and switch it off instead, hence the rubbish photo
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