Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, December 31, 2009


ALL THE BEST FOR 2010. BRIAN........

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Views of Ogden/Soil Hill and Queensbury from Lapland! and a female Reed Bunting (one of three there this morning)
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Lapwings >SW at 09.45
5 Great Back-backed Gulls >W at 10.30

New Garden Tick

Went to clear snow out from the back yard at 1415 hrs and got meself a new garden tick on the last day of the year - pr Redwing. It may have been two (kind of) because some 15 minutes later when I returned, I heard the deep krok calls of a Raven at least 4 times. Problem is, I couldn't see it, but then if it was on the other side of the road, the rooftops potentially blocked it from sight.


Haven’t been birding local for ages so had a walk round Thornton Viaduct area this morning. Usual species including 2 Bullfinch but best bit was I flushed a Woodcock, that’s the first I’ve had in Thornton.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Visitors to Park Lane

There's dedicated bird-watching and there's what I've been doing, i.e. looking out and hoping it's all going to drop in.  A Bullfinch came in on 28th along with 3 LTT and the Hedgehog, which was hibernating at the side of the house, ventured out for something to eat.  The Sparrowhawk obliged yesterday; 2 Redwing have been around for several days and 2 LTT came in today. Blackbird numbers are down to a more normal 12 today. 

'A Life With Loons' !

Radio 4 last night at 11.30 pm for half -hour had a really interesting programme;'A Life With - Loons'. In North America - a scientific approach on breeding/ringing/longevity/plumage/calls/feeding/migration etc. It's well worth catching up with if it's repeated - or on the computer i player !!?

TONIGHT - Radio 4 - 11.30 pm - 'A Life With - Ospreys'


1 Kingfisher there this afternoon - sitting on a branch by the outflow below the embankment
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker on the lodge feeder
2 male Sparrowhawks - hunting at the same time either side of the plantation
No wildfowl other than the usual - time for a rarity with this easterly blast!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor) and Ogden

This morning - like the Arctic up there!
1 Meadow Pipit
15 Common Gulls and the usual corvids

Passing Gulls >W
1 L B B G
2 Gt B B Gulls
9 Herring Gulls

Ploughcroft - in the fields
3 Redwing
23 Fieldfare
28 Starling

Ogden (pm)145 Mallard and that was about it on the res'r other than a small number of B H and Common Gulls passing through towards Thornton Moor
c50 Rooks and c12 Jackdaws >NE late afternoon

Monday, December 28, 2009

Skype Network

Brian and myself have downloaded Skype onto our PCs and although I have not yet purchased a Skype Phone, I have just had two conversations with Dave Barker on his mobile from my PC using a microphone and headset. Now this is most excellent believe me; I've been in communications since I was 16 and know a bit about it!

There are a few issues to develop on until we're in free flow, but this couldn't have got off to a better start. I strongly urge all local birders and bloggers to download this free software as it is definitely the way forward for keeping up with real time birding.

Cute but Deadly

'Ello 'ello 'ello Wot we got here then? A Mink, thats wot. I caught this critter with the lens just a couple of metres from the footpath at Ogden Res today.

The duty Warden has been informed but to their credit the staff are already aware of the problem and have implemented some measures to curb the threat.

Birdwise it was a wash out as was Soil Hill afterwards. Prior to this I had passed through Oats Royd which shared the same attributes.

Raggalds Flood - 8 Lapwing.

Dailie Fields

The Lonely Corvid.
Mist in the Valleys
First Light , Harp Lane
Start of a new day, Foxhill

28/12/2009 Calm, heavy overnight freezing

Just a quick walk round and back to the decorating before work tomorrow.
28 Common Gull
5 BH Gull
1 Pied Wagtail

Harp Lane
1 Little Owl calling
1 Snipe

Bell Wood
1 Woodcock at last

Dailie Fields
2 Green Wdpeckers
2 pr Bullfinch
usual tits and finches

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Sunday, December 27, 2009


The sign should say unsuitable for birders

27/12/2009 Heavy snow turning to rain then clearing mid a.m. NW>5 dropping to 3.

Deadly quiet but good to meet DCB showing me his Skype phone. Good to be able to look at our blog from Ogden.

1f Goldeneye
12 Fieldfare
6 Redwing
3 Jay
2 Gt Spotted Wdpeckers
+ usual sp.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day Bash

26/12/2009 0800-0945hrs W>3 Heavy Thaw.

A quiet uneventful visit with no signs of LSW, Dunlin or Goldeneye. I was hoping the Dunlin didnt show well as after 1 photo the camera batteries gave up so if the Dunlin had stood posing it would have been a real sickener. The perimeter of the reservoir was dead apart from several Wrens and a nice little flock of Siskin in the Alders. A steady flow of Herring Gulls was taking place in ones and twos all heading west.

38 Fieldfare
2 Jay
172 Mallard
7 Siskin
11 Common Gull
28 BH Gull
8 Wren
14 Herring Gull >W
+ low numbers of usual sp.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Another Blackbird


This morning's count was 36. Around 20 spent most of the day here and a Redwing joined them briefly. 
Merry Christmas to you  all.


A Woodcock on the top was spooked up into flight.

Ploughcroft- 2 Redwing.

Not a Stint

Apologies to all the Calderdale Grapeviners for the Ogden bird - tweren't a Little Stint, twas a Dunlin in Winter plumage.

Thanks to DJS for coming out and studying the bird. Thankfully it flew off calling, clinching the deal.

It was rather difficult correctly identifying a wader that you haven't seen in ages, especially in Winter plumage when it ain't supposed to be there. Somehow, I don't feel too disgraced, in fact it made a nice Xmas present.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Glen Cooper Memorial Trophy.

Nearly the end of another year and time to be electing the Qby bird of the year.

Because of the number of special birds Im awarding 3 trophies ( gasps of excitement), these will be awarded to 3 individual birders for their one or two best birds.

What I need is your opinion of the best bird, the second best bird and the third best bird or just put the nominated birds in top order.

The birds are , not in any order, :-

You can put these on a comment or e mail and dont be modest about nominating your own bird


c60 Goldfinch in a pre-roost flock outside the Causway Foot just before dusk - and making lots of noise - wonderful

94 Mallard, 1 Barnacle Goose and 1 Canada Goose

2 Nuthatch and 3 Teal yesterday (see Dish Fish report and photos on Calderale blog)

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

1 Little Owl opposite the ski-slope
1 Reed Bunting on the top
1 Wren on the top (why do they hang around in such an inhospitable place at 1,100 ft instead of in the shelter of the valley)?!!
2 Mistle Thrush
144 Carrion Crows
No sign of Skylarks or Mipits - think they have moved away for the time being!

FW: Another Birding Blog

Hello Nigel,

I would appreciate it if you posted a link to my blog in your estimable blog. My blog will mainly cover the Calderdale and Kirklees areas, but other areas as well, maybe even Cheshire!

Of course, I will return the favour.

Keep up the good work with the local patch watching.

Many thanks.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday-testing a new way to post.

This Rook has visited the garden  for the last two days. It's the first time we've ever had one. Denise

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shibden Head

Chanced upon a lone Nuthatch near pumping station giving lovely views for a few mins before it left the area. Along the hillside from cross becks a nice troop of perhaps a dozen Long-tailed Tit moved through, also in the area was a Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Treecreeper. I noticed a largish bird perched on the railing of the foot-bridge which turned out to be a female Sparrowhawk, it flew down to the stream and appeared to be taking a drink. Many of the holly trees were buzzing with Blackbirds and Thrush types and a Grey Heron was at the pond below hanging royd.

At home Pied Wagtail is my latest garden tick, being present every day recently and allowing very close approach.

Soil Hill Non Blank

After a quiet Ogden (see comments under MM posting) I decided the hill from hades would be a good bet for a blank. The top field looked like the Alps do from a jet going over, so far no birds...

Down the slope, even though a bulldozer was making more inroads and digging sods from that sodding hill, I came a cropper.

Kestrel, Pheasant, Common Gull. Bah Humbug

FAO Dave Barker

Thanks for the several Emails on Skype you have sent me. I will look into them over the next few days with a serious view to adopting.

Snowy walk

As it was such a lovely day I decided to go for a walk around Ogden and play in the snow.
At dawn there were about 200 jackdaws in the trees around West Scholes with about 50 rooks and crows in with them . They appeared to have roosted there over night .
Heard a tawney owl hooting in the garden , first one for a while.

At Ogden a nice mixed tit flock with 8 long tailed , 2 coal and a couple of gold crests . Normal stuff on the water + the barnacle goose and a coot.

Just south of Skirden Clough on the open moreland saw a flock of 11 reed bunting.

Happy Christmas

FW: Park Lane Birds

Of interest, perhaps, 26 Blackbirds in the garden, yesterday and today. A Song Thrush yesterday, LT Tit passing through and Sparrowhawk over. 6 Woodpigeons in today, the male GSWoodpecker and 2 Coal Tit still coming in regularly.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Dedicated Birder

Taken a few years back this was DCB ( dave barker) struggling up the banking to his Oxenhope watchpoint nearing the end of the autumn vis mig season. A truly dedicated birder.
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Ringby Top Blizzard

Ringby Top, pm 20/12/2009
Bright and sunny when I got to the top of Ringby but I could see the storm clouds rapidly approaching from the west, and then it hit.
Blizzarding horizontal snow blasted across completely blanking everything out and making it difficult to even find the track to get out of there.Visibility was down to 3ft at times. The bottom photo shows what it was like as I first arrived with loose snow blowing across and the top 2 photos are when it came over although they havent captured it like I hoped, it was horrendous.
Needless to say I got no birds including the Lap Bunt but if a double decker bus had passed me I wouldnt have seen it.
The one bird I did get on my arrival was a male Stonechat flitting about on the track so it made my visit worthwhile.

If I dont put any more reports on before Christmas I hope each and every one of the group have a good time and a bird filled 2010.
This also applys to all our blog followers and local birders who,ve supported us and sent comments and sightings through the year.
A big thank you to you all , especially the dedicated birders that have trudged out in all conditions to turn up some cracking birds that would otherwise have been missed ,( you know who you are). Keep watching this blog in 2010 for bird packed sightings.
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Local Walkabout

20/12/2009 am
Due to bad road conditions early on only a walkabout was attempted this morning with very little results.

Raggalds Flood
76 Common Gull
11 BH Gull
14 Lapwing

Old Guy Rd
1 Skylark on cricket pitch
8 Common Gull

Oats Royd
1pr Bullfinch
2 Reed Buntings
7 Fieldfare
4 Redwing
1 Little Owl
1 Heron
14 Magpie
Usual finch sp etc.

Crooked Lane
9 Redwing
1 Little Owl
1 Green Woodpecker

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wintry Walk

Went via Oats Royd to Ogden this morning in the first real touch of cold weather. Quiet it was too:

Oats Royd - 27 Goldfinch

Ogden - 11 Goldfinch, 5 Fieldfare, usual Gulls and the long awaited Goldeneye, a drake. Also DJ & J Sutcliffe. Always good to know I'm not the only sucker for punishment.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Calderdale Jackdaws

DJS is asking about Jackdaws in Calderdale on the Halifax Birders Blog.

I am not so certain of a roost Dave, but I see Jackdaws, often in decent numbers in Winter, floating past my back yard. Around dusk, they typically come from the Shibden area, S/SW and head NE. Sometimes I get 30/40 birds from my garden, but when I am walking back home from a trip, I have had around 100 or so.

This is a regular pattern - they do it at all times of the year, but the short daylight hours concentrate your focus more in Winter, than Summer.

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Several birders have drawn a blank today and found 7 Skylarks and several M Pipts reported so far! Let's hope it's still there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stonking little bird. Showing well this aft.

Swalesmoor Lap Bunt II

Better light at approx 1005 hrs giving rise to marginally better photos, just!

The bird once again flushed when the Skylarks did at approx 15 metres, but when left alone allowed close approach. At one stage I went back down the field and flushed it from 4 metres; it flew of giving the full krit krit call followed by the more musical notes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

I went up there this afternoon - weather not good but the top was just clear of mist but the light was not good.

I located a group of c10 Skylarks and as they flushed I noticed within the group a slightly smaller bird with them, but not a Meadow Pipit and no white wing flashes to suggest Snow Bunting. The flock flew around and landed down near the manure pile so I approached with caution - about 2 pm. After some time checking the birds, I relocated the the slightly smaller bird and noticed two pale stripes down it's streaked brown back and rump and a distinct facial pattern, pale bill and dark spots across the breastband. It was creeping around in the grass and furrows so I only got fleeting glimpses, but had a gut feeling for Lapland Bunting!

I called BS, AC and NCD and put it out on the Grapevine - for some assistance!

In the meantime the bird flew around the hill top and heard it's call - 'tue' or 'chu' and I listened for the rattle but could not hear it against the sound of machinery nearby.

NK arrived and later PJWS and we subsequently had excellent views of the bird in the tractor tyre furrows, in the short weedy grass and also on top of the manure pile. At around 3.40 it landed nearby, away from the Skylarks and crept around among the short vegetation to within 8 meters or so when we were able to see much more plumage detail of the bird which by this time we had confirmed it's identity as a Lapland Bunting having heard it's full flight call, seen the red/brown wing panel between narrow white bars, pale crown stripe, reddish/brown face pattern and dark eye, dark spotting down the flanks and pale belly/u tail. One outer tail feather on the left was showing creamy brown.

Nigel and myself did take some photo's but not had a close look at them yet - but the light was not good for shots of a small bird in the grass.
All in all not a bad afternoon. Full description to follow in due course to NCD

Lapland Bunting Swalesmoor.

Lapland Bunting in manure heap field Swalesmoor aka Ringby Top DJS the finder.

Apologies for lousy pictures taken in very poor light. See DJS posting also and thanks to BS for alerting me.

Others: Pied Wagtail, 2 Reed Bunting, 10 Skylark, c20 Meadow Pipit.

FW: Countryfile

From: Anthony Greenwood Ogden Website
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 18:07:28 +0000
Subject: Countryfile

Hi everyone

If you can, watch out for Countryfile, BBC1 on Thursday 17th at 8pm. You may spot something about Ogden!

Regards and Happy Christmas!

Anthony G

PS. If you miss it, watch out for another email.....

Monday, December 14, 2009


This afternoon;
1 Cormorant headed off >NE at 1 pm
2 Raven >NW at 1.10 pm
1 Dipper catching small fish in the top pond
1 Barnacle Goose still there with a Canada Goose
1 L B B Gull - probably scandinavian race
180 B H gulls and 40+ Common Gull
1 Goldcrest
36 Rooks >N probably going to roost

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lee Mount, Halifax

Thanks to a very 'eagle' eyed daughter for spotting 6 Whooper Swans overhead and heading SE towards Halifax at 1.10 pm today. They came from direction of Mixenden/Ogden. Anyone in that direction spot them?


The Summit by the scrapes before work started
The summit now with scrapes totally destroyed
Thick ouzing mud where the heather used to be
On the plus side, the SE corner is good habitat before the top soil goes on.

13/12/2009 pm. Cold NE>4 Cloudy.
Despite a warning from Nigel not to venture up the hill Id thought Id go anyway just to see the bulldozers work.
Getting to the hill is now no easy task and at one point I had to walk on the wall top to avoid the soft deep mud. The summit is completely destroyed apart from one small scrape and the whole area is totally inaccessible due to the thick soft mud. The only way to bird the upper part of the hill now is to walk around the perimeter just below the summit and even this is not easy as part of the public footpath is dug up and blocked. For now, most of the Jack Snipe path has been left untouched along with the North facing Wheatear hill leading down to the lower ponds,I dont know what the plans are for this area. There are small pockets of good Snow Bunting habitat in amongst the diggings but these are not accessible so hard to see.
The SE corner was the first area levelled and is now looking good with a stony surface and vegetation starting to grow through and this looks like the area most likely to hold Larks,Buntings and Pipits although with the amount of disturbance at the moment it is unlikely to keep anything down. If the whole area ended up like the SE corner we would be ok but I think that on completion of levelling it all has to be topsoiled.
I believe that after work finishes most of the same birds will still be attracted there because of its position and elevation and the stony surface will always wash through, the only birds to suffer will be the Waders if it is left without a scrape but if the worst comes to the worst we can always man the shovels.
Birds seen on this visit were as Nigels report.
When I got the message this pm for the Whoopers over Ogden heading towards Halifax I was driving up from town near crow point but missed them despite nearly hitting the railings and ending up in Holmefield, good job Lynda was watching the road, Thanks anyway Dave'.
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What a disaster.

I went up to the hill from hell to assess damage this morning and by jove, there has been some. The state of the mud was so grim, I had to abort the trip and return home early. This was not much of a loss as the only birds in the fresh NE breeze were: Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Blackbird. I can't see it being worth another visit until the end of February.


13/12/2009 Early rain then dry and bright, cool NE>3
A very quiet morning with nothing on the water apart from the usual, where are the Goldeneye this year?
The Lodge feeder was heaving but no sign of Brambling.

Lodge Feeder
4 Reed Bunting
1pr Gt Spotted Wdpecks
Sev Chaffinch and Tits

11 BH Gull
5 Common Gull
2 Redpoll
8 Coal Tit
6 Fieldfare
+ usual sp.

Raggalds Flood
83 Common Gull
14 BH Gull
15 Lapwing
4 Mallard.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shelf Moor

1/12/2009 1600hrs, last light.

78 Lapwing in horse field
4 Golden Plover over >E
9 Pink Footed Geese >E

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Post Editor

This blog has now been upgraded to the new post editor which means there are a few more icons visible on the tool bar of the text box. Apparently, when it comes to posting images, there are some enhancements available, we shall see...

It is also possible to post directly from your mobile phone at no extra cost, but let's face it, this is dreamscape. If nobody is posting from their PCs, how the hell are they gonna be bothered to post from their mobile. I am not exempt from that critiscism!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Soil Hill Buzzard

Soil Hill 1010hrs - may be on the verge of becoming unrecognisable owing the progressing excavation, but it can still pull 'em in.

Common Buzzard, believed to be juvenile, seen well on the Coal Lane side. I think it had been perched on the old pottery kiln roof because I was alerted to it by a BHG shrieking for all it's worth. The bird circled above me and then hovered for a brief while alongside a Kestrel, approx some 1.5 metres away. After a bit of mobbing interplay, the Buzzard then drifted off, heading S.

The word amongs the residents of Perseverance Rd is that the landowner has informed them all work on that hellish hill should be completed by end of Feb/early March 2010.

Ogden - deadly quiet, even the Lodge feeders, but 2 f Reed Bunting showing well. I went up to the Giants Tooth, sadly just outside our boundary and got DJS Red Grouse, another annual, plus 12 Fieldfare. No sign of the Crossbills, but no complaints neither.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


3 Crossbills flew over the pines near the 'giant's tooth' at 3pm (2 red males and 1 green fem/juv), they dropped into the top of some pines but we were unable to relocate them.
1 Barnacle Goose and 1 Canada Goose
1 Kestrel
20 Starling >W

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

This morning;
12 Skylark
2 Reed Bunting
23 Meadow Pipits
3 Pied Wagtail
Male and female Sparrowhawks
1 Kestrel
90+ Carrion Crows and 12 Magpies

Away Day

Soil Hill is out of the question now and I've been over Ogdened, so I took a trip due south to Scammonden.

Within 15 mins of my arrival at approx 1255 hrs, I couldn't help but see the GND at the narrow end, some 500 metres away. Things got better, it actually swam in my direction.