Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome Migrants

Went to Oats Royd at lunchtime and returned home via Shibden Head, which was a good idea.

Oats Royd: Grey Heron, 3 Moorhen, Jay, Sparrowhawk, 3 Swallow, 2 Bullfinch, 6 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff. It was quite busy with all the expected residents being vocal and good to get a f Wheatear on the slopes near the Radio Mast.

Pick of the bunch a singing Whitethroat.

Determined to at least try for an April Swift I decided to starve for another hour so set off walking and hoping.

Shibden Head: Blackcap still singing; something 'orrible screeched but remains unidentified. 3 Swallow made me look at the skies and talk about being lucky - one Swift overhead which quickly moved on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quiet again on Soil Hill

1410 hrs Fresh wind from S meant top field quiet; a pr Stock Dove being the only addition to the residents. No Swallows seen today. The slope down to the ponds performed only slightly better:

4 Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting, Stonechat, 2 Wheatear.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh what a lovely Hill

1410 - 1610 hrs Wet n Windy from the West before drying up. I love Soil Hill, I really do - don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Ruff, in dark plumage, took off from the only scrape holding water (see BS pic from yesterday). Called about 3 times as it steered a somewhat erratic course W, before dropping down into the bottom pasture.

Also LBBG, 5 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, Moorhen, Kestrel, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtail, Skylarks, 3 Swallow.

The male Stonechat was active and of 8 Wheatear giving me the run around, at least one heavyweight looked like a contender for leuchoroa. It wasn't all plain sailing: one LBJ kept just far enough out of viewing range and was just too fidgety to id correctly.

Never mind, as the finale was another annual tick in the form of 3 Twite; very vocal by the heather patch.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wood Warbler Thornton allotments

My Dad had a Wood Warbler this morning in Thornton Allotments; it was calling and showing well in trees next to the bowling green. I was birding out of the area so wasn't too impressed when got his text, just checked the allotments out now for an hour when I got back but nothing. My Dad even managed to record it singing, should have stayed birding local today instead of going off.....

3 Skylarks
3 Mipits
6 Linnets
3 distant House Marts were my first for the year.
c.6 Swallows
1 LBB >E


Just about to drop into the valley proper when I paused to watch several House Martins along with half a dozen Swallows. They were briefly joined by 2 (or was it three) Swifts that didn't hang around.

Green Pecker (heard)
Tawny Owls (male and female heard calling, not unusual down here during the day)
1 Pheasant
3 LT Tits (others heard)
Bullfinch (heard)
1 Jay
2 Chiffchaffs
5 Willow Warbs
1 GSW (heard)

Soil Hill

26/04/2009 pm
All quiet on Soil Hill with no replay of last years Dotterel although they have been on the move this weekend.
Dipped also on Ring Ouzel and Swift.

3 Wheatear
1pr Stonechat
6 Lapwing
3 Mallard
2 Curlew
3 Pied Wagtail
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Shelf Moor & The Valley

Started off reasonable at 0905 hrs with singing Reed Bunting; 3 Skylark, Lapwing and Sparrowhawk at Jackson Hill. As the morning went on, it became clear that we are short of birds throughout. This sentiment was echoed by IG who I bumped into in Shibden Valley, which sported:

Pheasant, 2 Green Woodpecker, Jay, Tawny Owl, Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Swallow and several Willow Warbler. A first for me at this location was Little Owl, in flight. Plus other expected species.

Ogden / Back Lane

26/04/2009 0730-0930hrs . Early frost cool SW>4 sunny

Plenty singing Willow Warblers
2 im. LBB Gulls
+ usual sp.

Back Lane
Several Swallows + some movers
Otherwise very quiet.

DCB reported 2 Cuckoos calling in Oxenhope early a.m.
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Evening Walkabout

Old Guy Road, Cricket Field and Underground Reservoir

25/04/2009 Cool SW >4 Suny

Fleet Lane
4 Linnet
2 Pied Wagtail

Old Guy Rd
Umpteen Swallows
8 Linnet
4 Skylark
3 Meadow Pipits
1 Little Owl

Roper Lane
2 Fieldfare
150+ Corvids, mainly Jackdaws
1 Kestrel

Underground reservoir field
1 Grey Wagtail

Foxhill Park
8 LBBs >NW
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Near Oats Royd

Wandered far and wide today and had just about nothing of note until the last 10 mins of the session.

3 Swifts were seen. Very lucky to get on 'em. Saw them blurry and through a tree as I had the binos on a peasserine in the tree.

Had an unusual sighting, Brian and Nigel are aware so further info from them.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Migrant Absence.

Ogden Res was quiet again apart from the singing Willow Warblers and 2 Swallow. Some joy was provided by brief views of Buzzard overhead and a single Sand Martin.

Soil Hill before lunchtime had been quiet with 2 LBBG over N, 2 Curlew, Lapwing and the usual.

Also present were Roe Deer and Fox.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thornton Viaduct area

Blackcap singing on Green Lane side of the Viaduct,
2 Willow Warbler
Apart from that quiet although nice to see most swallows are now back, waiting for Swifts. A bit a of change from looking at Black Vulture, Red Rumped Swallows, blue rock thrush and Wrynecks in Majorca, i could go on and on but i'll shut up.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunny Blue and Birdless

Lurvely day, but blank from a birding viewpoint although I did find 6 happy Swallow that have started refurbishing their nest site.

Tonight I shall console myself by watching a tough guy birder movie starring:
Robert De Vireo, Michael Crane and Bruce Willet. It is directed by non other than Russell Crow, naturally and I got it cheep (well it is Budgie Day).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lazy Ogden

This LBBG is the same bird, which just shows how different lighting angles can make the shade of the mantle appear different.

Also 2 BHG present. Others:

Willow Warblers were singing in chorus. Siskin were also singing, but I couldn't do a count as they were hidden. I managed another annual with Greylag Goose; otherwise just a Swallow and Kestrel apart from the residents.

Sunshine Hill

The Sun shone in more ways than one eventually at lunchtime, albeit after a quiet start:

3 Pied Wagtail, 8 Lapwing, pr Golden Plover, few Linnet, Reed Bunting, pr Stonechat, Wheatear, 4 Swallow and usual residents.

Just after I had photographed my first Peacock Butterfly of the year, I looked up to see a soaring...

Sunday, April 19, 2009


19/04/2009 early a.m.
14+ singing Willow Warbs
2 Chiffchaff
1 Green Wdpecker
1 Gt Spotted Wdpecker
4 Siskin
+ usual sp.
No Goldeneye present
Still no sign of Common Sandpiper

A second dip on the Soil Hill Ring Ouzels

Swallows now getting a common sight, whos going to get the first Swift in our area ?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ogden and Soil Hill

Loads of the usual species at Ogden first thing. The best being Grey Wagtail 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2, Siskin 8, and the usual pair of Goldeneye. Also saw a house sparrow round the feeders which isn't all that common. The feral Barnacle Goose has joined forces with a Canada Goose and a Greylag and the trio were paddling up and down the reservoir like a small Armada.

Then onto Soil Hill with a little reluctance 'cos it was chilly in the wind. Glad I made the effort tho' 'cos as NK has already reported, there were Ring Ouzels about but I only saw the male near the trig point. Also saw a number of other good birds. 2 Fieldfare were in the fields near the track, 6 Lapwing were displaying, 5 Golden Plover passed overhead and 7 Linnets were around the Service Reservoir. Haven't seen a flock of Linnets at Soil Hill for a while.

Soil Ouzels

Pr Ring Ouzel this morning approx 0900 hrs on Soil Hill. They were very flighty but still in area of Trig Point at 1100 hrs.

Also present: pr Blackbird, Kestrel, 7 Lapwing, Curlew, Reed Bunting, Stonechat, usual Meadow Pipit and Skylarks. I may have had a possible Whinchat (brief unsatisfactory view) so watch out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Elland GP

Heartily sick of birdless trips, I went to foreign parts this morning and will probably do so again.
Plenty of action from:

Cormorant, pr Goosander, Coot, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail. 5 singing Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff and several Willow Warblers.

All the common Hirundines were present, especially over the Ski Lake and 10 Redpoll were giving very good views along the canal bank there. Strange, but not one single Gull species.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Soil Hill, on the kind of day that makes you want to give up birding:

Space - Seemed much more of it today
Some Wind - E/NE in generous quantities.
Lots of Sky - Grey mainly, with smidgins of Blue.

Birds - apart from the residents, very few. 4 LBBG > SE. Pied Wagtail.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thornton Viaduct

walk into Thornton produced the following today
2 Swallows
5 Willow Warbler
1 Chiffchaff
2 Siskin
3 Bullfinch
2 Grey Wagtail
2 Jays
Just waiting for Blackcaps now

Play Misty for Me

This mornings early start on Soil Hill wasn't productive due to the intermittent mist which eventually lifted at approx 1020hrs.

Swallow, 3 Fieldfare, m Wheatear were only migrants present. The m Stonechat put in an appearance; otherwise, similar to recent posts.

Ogden in the fog

13/04/2009 0800-1000hrs Early dense fog then hazy sunshine. Calm
8 Siskin
9 Willow Warbler
2 Song Thrush
1pr Goldeneye
1 Treecreeper
1 Heron
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Sparrowhawk
+ usual sp
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back Lane to Ogden Clough

12/04/2009 Evening visit . Very still and hazy.
90+Golden Plover
6 Curlew
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Red Grouse
1 Dunlin
4 Snipe
1 Mistle Thrush on top of moor

Still plenty bikes attacking Soil Hill.
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Afternoon Loop

Oats Royd - 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Mallard.

Bradshaw - pr Sparrowhawk, 3 Swallow (my first this year).

Ogden - 2 Willow Warbler, pr Great-spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Siskin, Swallow, Kestrel.

Back Lane - Curlew, Sparrowhawk being hassled by a Wagtail - it pretended not to notice and slowly drifted high over towards Bradshaw.

Soil Hill - on Ned Hill Lane track I looked back towards Ogden to see a Sparrowhawk being hassled by a Curlew for several minutes even as it circled at high altitude, again the hawk pretended not to notice. Also 2 Grey Partridge, 5 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 2 Lapwing - alas no Wheatear for me.

Deadly Quiet

Took a walk just after lunch down the sharp end of Shibden and birdlife was symptomatic of post breeding July rather than Spring.

Things perked up when I returned to Shaw Lane and got my first pr of local Swallow. Other:
Grey Heron, pr Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark.

Ogden/ Back Lane

Carrion Crow taking small frogs from water
12/04/2009 Calm Bright and sunny. 0730-1000hrs
A quiet morning with near birdless skies when watching from Back Lane.

1 f Goldeneye
9 Canadas
1 Barnacle
5 Willow Warblers
1 Heron
+ usual sp.

18 Mipits >N
7 LBBs >NW
3 Swallows >N
1 Jay very high and >NE
1 Jay very high and >N
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Soil Hill near miss

Wheatear numbers down today with only 3 females and a male.
Male Reed Bunting, 4 linnets and usual suspects.

Had a possible Ring Ouzel by the trig point field landed on a post but was silhouetted so couldn't get a decent view, it then flew off low eastwards and I couldn't relocate it, didn't call either. Have to go down as one that got away, as I drove off though a Blackbird was on the wall by the row houses on Perseverance lane, was it trying to string me

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Back Lane to Ogden Kirk

Ovenden Moor silhouetted
Soil Hill in the background
11/04/2009 Evening. Calm, specking with rain slightly. Ring Ouzel Country
Flock of 25 Golden Plover
2 Snipe
4 Curlew
6 Swallow
1 Peregrine , very fast and >NE
1 Willow Warbler
8 Goldfinch
Dipped on Ring Ouzel

2 Quad bikes and 3 Trials bikes buzzing around Soil Hill all evening from the Ned Hill side this time.
Could have real problems there with the closure of the Flappit, yet another snag to bother about.
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1 Willow Warb was my first for the year
1 L Owl
1 Skylark


Lots of chicken crap, wood pulp, plastic, rubber tubes, oh, and chicken and turkey feet.

The birding was a bit better though.

c.9 Linnets
c.18 Mipits
1 Skylark
1 L Owl
Min. 4 Wheatears. Two were females.
6 stock Dove
4 Swallows, all movers. One over Shibden. A single, then a pair chattering overhead.
Min. 150 Crows
2 Jackdaws
2 P Wags
1 Blackbird

SH Movement

A bit more like it on the hill:

21 Meadow Pipit, 17 Skylark, pr Pied Wagtail, 7 Lapwing.
2 Curlew, Pheasant.

Common Gull >SE, 7 LBBG >S.

Blackbird, Kestrel, 4 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting.

The best bit was a fall of 16 Wheatear and a struggle not to ring BS up with possible Whimbrel. Everything was almost right, but it didn't call so I played the safe card. (Whimbrel today on Birdguides in W Yorks)

3 Pied Wagtail, pr Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark at Queensbury.


A pair of Goldeneye still there yesterday along with the feral type Barnacle Goose
Also still lots of Siskin about but the Willow Warblers from the weekend had moved on.

At least 2 Tawny Owls singing in the plantation yesterday evening at 8.45 and 1 Tawny Owl on Back Lane but that was it!

Friday, April 10, 2009


This lovely chap is a daily visitor at the moment and this afternoon he ventured onto the lawn, wonder if he might bring some pals soon. Also 3 Siskin, 3 Goldfinch and a female Sparrowhawk was on the scene twice at least and briefly perched in tree looking gorgeous.

Another Wet Soil Hill Report

10/04/2009 1430-1530hrs Misty, very wet with a S>4

Must have just missed Phil who also picked up on the fall of Wheatears.
I counted 17 in all, 12 female and 5 male. Two of the males were the brightest I,ve seen in a near vivid orange although they were all northerns.
11 were all together on or around the old mistle , 5 on the scrapes and 1 down the track . They were typical moving birds, very nervy and mobile.
2 Grey Partridge + the usual sp.
Checked around the trig point area for Ring Ouzel without any joy.

Wet Soil Hill

8 Wheatear, 4 males 4 females.
plus usual species


10/04/2009 0730-0930hrs Calm and dry start then S>3 and rain by 0800hrs.
Good fall of Willow Warblers with at least 12 counted, several singing.
4 Singing Song Thrush
1f Goldeneye
1 Chiffchaff
1 Siskin
2 Jays
4 Swallows
+ usual sp.
1 heart stopping moment when a large droopy winged bird came over high but turned out to be a Heron.
Couldnt match your photo Nigel but got loads of empty branches.
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Pair of Goldeneye still at Ogden yesterday.
Still also plenty of Siskin about round the plantations + plus a hint of singing birds
2 Meadow Pipits up by the 'giant's tooth'
Barnacle Goose still there with Canadas

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Failed Vismig

Got up early and met BS on my way to Ogden, commenting the conditions seemed ideal for movement. Wrong!
3 Curlew, Skylarks, pr Goldeneye, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Siskin, 3 Willow Warbler. Usual Tits and Finches present. 3 Collared Dove were present, 2 being recently fledged juveniles.

Couldn't face Soil Hell (3 Linnet on way to Ogden) so orf I went down to Oats Royd:

Meadow Pipit, 3 Moorhen, Grey Heron, pr Jay, pr Bullfinch, 3 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warbler.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


One seen from home this evening.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hag Ln

Single Siskin
Flock c. 50 Mipits were very flighty
1 Swallow over Shibden valley was my first of the season.
1 F Sp Hawk over Shibden
3 Mipits constantly chasing about were very entertaining and gave views down to c. 8 feet.

BB farm area

4 Mallards
14 Linnets
2 Pied Wags
1 very smart White Wagtail was most welcome. Seemed to appear from nowhere then shot off northwards.
1 male Sp Hawk
3 Skylarks
1 Mipit
c. 6 Stock Doves
1 Coll Dove

Pcroft Lane

Pair Bullfinches
7 Goldfinches
1 Greenfinch
1 Mistle Thrush (Yesterday morning had flock of 20 Mistle Thrushes near home).

Misery Alleviated

Back to bread n butter stuff but with jam on it:

Adult male White Wagtail at Fleet Lane Farm/Kennels, Queensbury.

Soil Hill - 7 Fieldfare, 5 Meadow Pipit, 10+ Skylark, Grey Heron, Kestrel, pr Grey Partridge, 4 Mallard, Curlew, 7 Lapwing, Goldfinch, m Wheatear.

S' only Meee

My oh my, you have been busy haven't you? Well, I'm back and for the next few days you're going to be very bored.

The Header pic is a manifestation of some deep rooted trauma I suffered as a result of missin' the Soil Hill bird.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Soil Hill

05/04/2009 1430-1530hrs Bright and sunny, cold SW> 4
11 Skylark
18 Mipits
14 Lapwing
2 Curlew
1m Reed Bunting
1m 3f Wheatear
4 Grey Partridge
2 RL Partridge in new tree area


05/04/2009 0730-0945hrs Early frost , bright and sunny, cold SW>3

1pr Goldeneye
2 Willow Warbler
1 Dipper on shale pond
+ usual sp.

1 Chiffchaff
4 Swallow >N
2 House Martin >N
38 Mipits >N
5 Snipe >NE
2 Snipe displaying
15 Lapwing >E
4 Curlew
6 Skylark
1 Buzzard circled then >W poss. same bird as seen by DCB at Fly Flatts

2 Pied Wags

1 f Wheatear

Early Soil Hill

Soil Hill
Male and female Wheatear
Lots of Mipits and Skylark
2 Lapwing
2 Curlew
5 Mallard
Female Reed Bunting
pr Grey Partridge
pr Stonechat
4 Linnet
Snipe drumming by the left hand pond

Saturday, April 04, 2009

An Ogden Swallow

Saw my first Swallow of the year at Ogden this morning whilst out for a run.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Oats Royd Birds and Mammals

I made a late evening trip down to Oats Royd to see how many Blackbirds and Robins were singing. Lost count so I conclude that there were lots. A Little Owl and TWO Grey Herons were my best bird finds. Also saw 2 Roe Deer, 1 Fox and at least 10 bats (no idea what sort) out hunting bugs (also no idea what sort).



pr Bullfinch
Grey Heron


m Goldeneye


Grey Heron


plenty of Skylark and Meadow Pipit (couldn't keep track of numbers)


4 Pied Wagtail

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


10 Linnet
c. 10 Mipit with 3 in song-flight
1 Skylark in song-flight
2 Stock Dove over >E

Lots of human activity up Swales from the tip/processing plant sending out great clouds of wood dust and lots of muck spreading.

The area around the muck piles and northwards has been covered with a layer of pulped wood.

Shibden briefly

1 Tawny Owl flushed from bushes. Previously heard calling to its mate.
1 Treecreeper
1 LT Tit
Green Pecker heard 'yaffling' away
Again no peckers drumming whatsoever though I wasn't around long.


01/04/2009 1930hrs
2 Swallows feeding over Fleet Kennels and Foxhill Park tonight

Soil Hill Sortie

The weather must have been too good this afternoon as birds were hard to find. Usual Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Lapwing, Curlew. 2 Reed Bunting and a Goldfinch were singing and a pair of Kestrel were very inspired. Another Kestrel and single Grey Partridge also seen, as were 5 welcome Linnet. No migrants at all.

Just my Luck

As I hurriedly prepare for a break in Cornwall this weekend, I can't help but curse at the breaking news of Brewer's Blackbird reported in Queensbury. The bird was seen first thing this morning in a field at the back of Brighouse Road, when the observer got out of bed to get some aspirins for reasons unknown. If confirmed this is a true mega, as the species is a wide ranging breeder in the northern USA.

Crikey, just about to log off the blog when a Galah shoots past me window! Strewth, wot's goin on Bruce? Where's me sanity?