Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Windy Hill

Thankfully the swirling NW/SW wind wasn't cold. This picture (click to enlarge) shows that now there are fresh excavations beyond the longstanding ones adjacent to the bottom LH pond. Meanwhile, work continues in the top field NE corner and a right quagmire it is too.

Birds: 1 Lapwing showing territorial behaviour despite the presence of the digger. 11 Skylark, Grey Heron, pr Grey Partridge, 3 Common Gull, Fieldfare, Greenfinch and one that 'got away'. For peace of mind I have decided not to speculate. What is certain though - still No Snipe!

Usual Gulls at Raggalds and Pied Wagtail at Mountain on way home.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


1 G C Grebe in full head dress
1 fem Goldeneye
1 Greylag Goose >S
120 Mallard
1 Gt Sp Woodpecker
35+ Chaffinch
1 Bullfinch
c80 Goldfinch in sycamores by the 'Causway foot' probably a pre-roost flock with a lot of singing

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Out in the Rain

Went from Shelf Moor to Oats Royd at lunchtime in a driving Westerly with light rain. The Sun came out when I was halfway home; this is not an unexpected occurence, oh nooo.

Shelf Moor - 42 Lapwing at High Cross Lane.

Shibden Head - 20 Stock Dove, which is the highest count I think I have ever had. GSW, Song Thrush singing and the usual suspects.

Oats Royd was terrible but a crumb was thrown in the form of 2 Moorhen, giving me another annual tick. The alleged Deer Cull hasn't been too Draconian - 4 Roe Deer present.

Monday, February 23, 2009


1 Lapwing over Back Lane
1 second winter Herring Gull on the res'r with 60+ B H and c28 Common Gulls
1 Treecreeper in the woodland and that was about it!
1 very tame Barnacle Goose

Larking About

Queensbury - 3 Skylark at Old Guy Road, including one singer. Meadow Pipit at Mountain. 13 Common and 3 BHG at Raggalds.

Soil Hill - 15 Skylark (about 6 singing). Grey Heron, pr Mallard, 4 Grey Partridge, 2 Greenfinch. Finally got another annual tick with adult LBBG over S. Once again no Snipe, however I met a BOG birder who assures me he has had 2 birds up there this year.

The landowner has recommenced work on the top field, making noteable inroads in the NE corner.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


3 Skylarks, one in song flight.
1 Mipit
1 P Wag
8 C Gulls >N


2 Green Peckers
1 Great Spot
6 LT Tits
6 Gt Tits
c. 12 B Tits
2 Dunnocks
2 Wrens
2 Chaffs
1 Grey Heron
Pair of Stock Doves
4 Blackbirds
2 Herring Gulls>S
1 Song Thrush singing beautifully.

Still cold on the tops with the wind but lovely and spring-like in the valley.

Oats Royd

Approx 60 Lapwing heading North(ish)
pr Jay
Little Owl


22/02/2009 0800-0945hrs NW>5 Drizzle
A bit spring like with plenty bird song and sev BH Gulls with hoods but a disappointing morning.
Several Tit flocks, LT, GT and Blue, no Goldcrests
56 BH gull
12 Common gull
+ usual sp.

6 Golden Plover >E towards Soil Hill
4 Pied Wagtails in horse field
1 Kestrel
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Friday, February 20, 2009

More Pinkfeet

Approx 1135 hrs this morning 70 Pink Footed Goose up Old Guy Rd heading W toward Ogden. Initially reported as approx 120 by mobile to BS, they had done a formation change while I counted. This was corrected when they reformed the > or ^ whichever!

A quick sortie on Soil Hill - 5 Skylark.

Ogden Res - Usual cacaphony of Gulls. Same Canada and Barnacle crowd. Several Goldfinch flying around, Tawny Owl called. No woodpeckers at all. Only real activity provided by Tits on the feeders.

Oats Royd - GSW, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Kestrel, Bullfinch.

My PC is on the way out and the chances of me suddenly disappearing offline for a few days are pretty high.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swales Moor/Ringby

c342 Pink-footed Geese over Swales at 12.33 today heading west. 5 mins later another 70 from Andy Cockroft were seen from Swales heading over Pellon direction.
1 Skylark on the top
1 adult L B B Gull, 13 Common Gulls and 1 juv Great black-backed Gull >N

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No more silly amounts of semi-permanent snow please. Soil hill from Swales (not today!!)

Ogden & Soil Hill

Don't want to complain about the weather, but it was probably too mild for much bird movement, although Ogden had it's share of singers. 6 Canada and feral Barnacle Goose, Green Woodpecker, GSW, 3 Fieldfare, Tawny Owl giving alarm call. No ducks other than Mallard and the usual crowd of Common and BH Gulls.

The driver of this digger managed to walk away without injury at the bottom of Soil Hill fortunately.

2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 3 Grey Partridge, Kestrel, pr Mallard, 3 Woodpigeon, pr Mistle Thrush were the birds seen this afternoon.


2 Redwings on deck then >S
19 Mipits
2 Skylarks heard
1 Dunnock
1 Wren
1 Green Pecker on approach
3 Goldfinches
2 F Reed Bunts (1 pictured above).
1 P Wag on deck
1 Cock Phes

A marked contrast from recent visits in the snow cover.


2 kes
1 Coal Tit
8 Greenfinches
Several of: Chaff, Goldfinch, B Tit, G Tit.
8 Greenfinches
2 Blackbirds
1 Dunnock singing voraciously

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Foxhill Today

17/02/2009 Mid-day

4 Herring Gulls >W over Chapel Lane
1 Blackbird in full song.
1 Heron over park very high >NE

Monday, February 16, 2009

Up for a Lark

Queensbury, this morning - Skylark over New Park Rd SW. 5 Skylark N up Old Guy Rd; 3 Mallard circling also 3 Meadow Pipit. 14 Common, 6 BH Gull at Raggalds Flood.

Soil Hill, in a fairly strong NW wind. 3 Meadow Pipit, 19 Skylark (10 being forced SE) 3 Golden Plover, 7 Lapwing, pr Grey Partridge, 3 Common Gull. Still no Snipe.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


15/02/2009 Strong W>6 , bright. 50% of snow gone.

To say it was quiet would be an understatement, the entire hill was void of birds with just
7 LBB Gulls over >W.
The first time I have ever known there to be no Snipe in a Jan/Feb.
By this time there are usually singing Skylarks up there and plenty Mipits.
Never mind,a couple of weeks and we,ll be looking out for the first Wheatear.
If Id have been up another 30 mins Id have got PF Geese going over IGs house >W but instead I was back home when he called me. Roll on next Sunday.

Oats Royd

24 Lapwing >W
2 Grey Heron

just as I was leaving a raptor glided into view, it's heftiness instantly ruling out Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, sure enough the bins revealed it to be a Peregrine heading NW. I sprinted back around the path to track it some more but could not pick it up again. No Little Owl visible again this visit.

Contrast to Yesterday

OGDEN 15/02/2008 0800-0930 Dense fog, strong WNW >5 Drizzle

1pr Goldeneye
Few blurry images of gulls out on the ice in the fog.
No Oyk that I could see, no geese.
Just missed it all by one day.
If it was,nt for bad luck I,d have no luck at all.

Spoke to DCB who informs me that LSWs do move around quite a bit at this time of year.
Also he has put a link to us on his vis mig site. Thanks for that Dave.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Shibden Head/Hanging Royd

4 Great Spotted Woodpecker (2 drumming, 2 chasing each other around and squeaking)
2 Green Woodpecker
6 Long-tailed Tit

What a Day!

It started off with 90-100 Pink Footed Goose flying up Brighouse Road, Queensbury behind me then over Brian's garage heading NW at 1020 hrs. Then BS hit me with text messages for the next 30 minutes. 200 PFG out of area Fly Flatts to Oxenhope; 2 skeins totalling circa 225 PFG Northowram (AC) culminating in 200+ PFG heading W, which I saw from Old Guy Rd.

On arrival at Ogden Res I immediately saw a welcome tick both for the location and year - Oystercatcher on Ice! A Green Woodpecker was calling near the visitor centre and the tame Barnacle Goose has returned. There were several calling Chaffinch and Greenfinch througout, but generally it was quiet, until...

I stopped for a snack in the picnic area where I have photographed birds that use the feeding post where the wooden tables are. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew directly over my head, low down, giving very good views, as it headed SE. It may well have dropped into the trees where the centre toilets are, rather than travelling on. Definitely worth checking Sunday morning, given the weather and the availablity of food.

Returning back to Camp Ylobacter via Oats Royd, I managed Little Owl, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail and Kestrel carrying prey.

Ogden Oystercatcher

As you probably can deduce from the Blog title, there was an Oystercatcher at Ogden Reservoir this morning looking a bit lost out on the ice. It was there until at least 10.00am. Other birds of note were Kingfisher, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (both drumming - the first I've heard this year), 7 Long-tailed Tits and a Jay. Many of the woodland birds were singing with enthusiasm. Counted 129 Mallard, 55 BHGs and 14 Common Gull. The feral Barnacle Goose was also back with 8 Canada Geese.

Thursday, February 12, 2009



8 LBB >W

Usual Crows and several Magpies.


1 Sp Hawk
1 Lapwing over >E
1 Jay
1 Song Thrush
1 Redwing
2 P Wags


1 Coal Tit

C. 6 each of Green and GoldFinch Blue and Great Tits. 10 House Spadge. 1 Wren 1 Dunnock 1 Robin.

Swales Moor/Ringby/ Holmfield

Not a sign of a Sparrowhawk today on the top - just 2 Stock Doves over and c50 Carrion Crows. Also a fox was nice to see there. Lots of snow up there still.

Beechwood Park (Holmfield ex army camp site) 2 Snipe flushed by dogs and 1 Grey Heron there this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Swales Moor/Ringby

This afternoon for an hour and a half on the ridge top;
7 Sparrowhawk sightings (the wind was perfect for them) min 4 individuals. All came over from Shibden valley area, 2 separate females went really high on the westerly updraft and headed off >W as far as the bins could see. A male drifted >S along the ridge towards the ski-slope. Another female type went high and plummeted down into the valley towards Holmfield and another in the distance over Oats Royd and one over towards Queensbury and again over Shibden valley. Fantastic plumage details seen and encouraging to see some aerial activity and decent weather conditions for raptors
1 Little Owl calling near the ski-slope and 1 Kestrel over Shibden Valley
No Skylarks or mipits - a lot of snow up there!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Just back from holiday

We have just come back from a sunny caribbean island to find all this snow and lots of hungry birds in the garden.
If anyone is interested I have done a bird report on the travelling birder website.Be gentle as its my first go at this sort of thing and its taken me all afternoon.


3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers this afternoon on the lodge feeders. Bullfinch also there along with the usual tits and Chaff's. No Goldcrests - abandoned the site I think for the time being - who can blame them!
148 Mallard but no sign of the Teal or Moorhen today

Shibden Head & Oats

A game of two halves this. There was much activity en route to Shibden then a sudden fall off coinciding with the clouding over on arrival at Oats Royd.

Shibden Head: Blue, Great, Coal, LT Tits, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Robin - in small numbers. Drumming GSW, calling Green Woodpecker, pr Mistle Thrush, 4 Woodpigeon.

Oats Royd: 8 Chaffinch, 4 Greenfinch, Jay, Kestrel, f Sparrowhawk.

Conspicuous in absentia Fieldfare, Redwing, Gulls!

Swales Moor/Ringby

Yeterday afternoon:
1 m Sparrowhawk over Ploughcroft
1 Great Black-backed Gull >S
1 Pheasant
60+ Carrion Crows in the quarries
200+ Jackdaws heading >N to roost

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Snow Tour


Great-spotted Woodpecker

was hoping for Dipper, Nuthatch and Treecreeper but dipped on these, distant Roe Deer was looking good though.


pr Kestrel
pr Jay
pr Pied Wagtail


Grey Heron
Grey Partridge

Another Ogden Blue Tit

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Hazardous Birding

SOIL HILL 08/02/2009 1430-1530hrs
Deadly walking with drifts waist deep in places.
Very quiet as expected but lots of interesting tracks of Rabbit, Fox, Weasel and Deer.
Lots of bird tracks around the weeds holding seed, probably Grey Partridge, as suggested by NK who was at home
getting over his visit from Sam n Ella.
Only birds present were Corvids feeding on the hay pile put out on the Shay for the horses.
Hoped to sneak over the 60 species mark this weekend but Soil Hill let me down.
If anyone gets the Ring Billed Gull at Ogden they,ll be walking away with this years trophy !.
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A Bit Like Fairburn

OGDEN 08/02/2009 0800-1000hrs
Even though the reservoir was mostly frozen it was the busiest I,ve seen it with ducks constantly in the air and by the unfrozen water.

178 Mallard
95 BH Gull
9 Common Gull
1 Greylag
1pr Teal NW corner
1 Moorhen NW corner
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker
1 Green Wdpecker
1 m Bullfinch on lodge house feeder
Sev Blue,Coal and Gt Tits
1 cock Pheasant
1 Heron
2 Mistle Thrush
No Goldcrests

Just out of the area :- Report from YNU through B.O.G. of 1 Ring Billed Gull at Allerton SE 1233 . Seen recently + 3 sightings in Dec.
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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Shelf Moor

Shelf Moor 1700hrs till dark.
Hoping for Tawny Owl but not to be.

9 Mistle Thrush
Several Fieldfare and Redwing
1 Little Owl calling
1 Fox making a blood curdling screechy noise
7 Lapwing
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Friday, February 06, 2009

Restricted Birding

Now that Sam n Ella have finished their rollercoaster ride through my intestines, I may be able to venture forth shortly. They do say every cloud has a silver lining; yesterday approx 1640 hrs female Sparrowhawk gliding perilously close to Brian's garage door. Add to that, 2 Herring Gull this morning N over Queensbury Church.

Any early Warblers yet? (Guess I'm still not right).


Res'r mostly frozen over but still some patches of open water
144 Mallard
8 Canada Geese
2 Goldeneye (1f and 1 probable 1st winter male)
1m Bullfinch by the lodge feeders plus Blue, Great and Coal Tits and a few Chaff's and Greenfinches

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Somewhere to watch

Been reported to me that the horse field at the corner of Syke Lane, Ogden has been noted to have been holding good numbers of Wagtails recently.These were mainly Pied but a few Grey were also seen along with Meadow Pipits. This was just before the snow but its worth a look if you,re Ogden bound.
Please note the field is strictly private and must be viewed from the road.
You may notice an absence of reports from Nigel over the next few days whilst he is horizontal with a touch of the dreaded lurgies but Im sure he,ll soon be back giving it some stick. Get well soon Nigel.
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Oats Royd

3 Bullfinch (2m, 1f)
2 Jay
Mistle Thrush

A Short Walk

I got my Snow Boots on and trudged down the road and as expected encountered only a few birds. Corvids, pr Greenfinch, Jay screeching away in the valley. Also 3 Roe Deer down Green Lane.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Fw: Soil Hill

Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 2:18 PM
To: Nigel Kerwin
Subject: RE: Soil Hill

Hello Nigel,

Our planners are currently negotiating with Mr Greenwood. I'm still pushing for the retention of habitat to the left of the track. I'll contact you again when I know anything more definite.


Hugh Firman

Conservation Officer


From: Nigel Kerwin []
Sent: 02 February 2009 11:53
To: Hugh Firman
Subject: Soil Hill

Hello Hugh

Notwithstanding the bad weather presently, there has been no further work done on the field we met at on Soil Hill last month.

At your leisure, could you let me know contract dates between Warren Greenwood and your Council planning department please?


Nigel Kerwin

At "The Reserve"

Plenty of activity here today:
3 Woodpigeon
2 Collared Dove
2 Robin
3 Redwing
14 Blackbird (first thing this morning)
7 Great Tit
2 Coal Tit
10 Blue Tit
2 Magpie
3 Crow
16 Chaffinch
8 Goldfinch
3 Greenfinch
Denise Shields

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Swales Moor/Ringby

2 Skylarks and 1 Meadow Pipit this afternoon on the top

Siberian Soil Hil

The Frozen Circle.
01/02/2009 1400-1500hrs Icy cold E>5 Fine snow blizzard.

Very near to beating Nigels previous report of two birds on Soil Hill until my attempt was spoilt
with 1 Carrion Crow and 3 Woodpigs which I had to scan over Back Lane for, oh and one Weasel.
If this is a sign of February roll on March.
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Out an About

01/02/2009 0800-1000hrs Icy cold E>4 Fine snow

A quiet morning , especially around Ogden.

1 m Goldeneye
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker
Few Gt, Coal and Blue Tits
Sev Chaffinch
52 BH Gull
1 Common Gull
Low count of Mallard.

Green Lane
1 Green Wdpecker
5 Redwing

Paddock Rd
15 Redwing
6 Fieldfare
5 Blackbirds

Whinney Royd Lane
12 Lapwing
1 Kestrel

Paw Lane
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker
2 Redwing
1 Kestrel