Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, July 31, 2009

Queensbury Today

Several Swifts moving low and >SW at lunch time over Chapel Lane.
2 more sightings of the f. Sparrowhawk which is terrorising the local bird community
at the moment. This is a very large female with bright supercillium and nape and if it was seen
over a plantation we would be getting reports of Goshawk.
Have recorded your sighting from Raggalds flood of Y.L. Gull Nigel ( 30th ) as I believe your i.d. skills to be enough to go on and its the second sighting for that area, well spotted.

15 House Marts looked like movers
6 Goldfinches
1 Kes
6 Swifts >S
6 Swallows and 4 juvs being fed
1 Pere over >S
35 Rooks together in field
A few gulls heading South. A few each of BH, Common and Herring.

Black Boy area

1 Whinchat
2 Mipits
10 Swallows (locals)
10 Swifts >S
1 Kes
Several Swallows plus 4 juvs being fed

Hag Ln

2 Jays
1 Green Peck
2 Stock Doves >S
15 Mistle Thrush (flock)
15 House Marts appeared very localised around several properties in the valley.

1 Grey Heron seen from home. Looking for water? Eventually gave up and headed East.


3 Kes
2 L Owl

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ogden then SH

The majority of BHG must have drowned - only 5 present. 33 Woodpigeon, Curlew, GSW, Blackcap, 6 Willow Warbler, 8/9 Swallow. Grey Heron > W. In between deluges, the usual woodland types were busy feeding in the tree canopy. Muscovy Duck now down to one again.

Soil Hill - 9 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, Kestrel, Grey Partridge, 3 Swallow, 5 Swift. A Moorhen seen with 2 recently hatched chicks on bottom RH pond. Whitethroat in nearby bush calling. Curlew still flying around making noises too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Foxhill Today

29/07/2009 0800-0830hrs
30minutes skywatching tonight in perfect conditions, low sun and
grey skies, produced
2 Swifts >E
9 Swallows >W
11 LBB gulls >NE
32 BH gulls, >E ... usual route to roost
1 Sparrowhawk very high and >SW.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Ogden this afternoon;
1 Crossbill (possibly more?) with a large flock of tits and Chaffinch/Greenfinch/Goldfinch, Treecreeper and Willow Warblers, all in the area below the Giants Tooth
1 f Goosander
3 Curlew over >NE
35 B H Gulls

Ovenden Moor;
2 Cormorants >N flew over towards Thornton Moor
Meadow Pipits still feeding young
8 LBBG's >NE

A Walk in t'Rain

Soil Hill unworkable owing strong wind coupled with escalated excavation. The Eastern side of the top field track is now 90 percent brownfield.

Skylark, LBBG, 2 Reed Bunting, couple Goldfinch, Greenfinch.

Ogden Res: Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, 2 Common & c50 BH Gull. A Cormorant was very active, often underwater - must have been hungry. A female Goosander, and f Tufted Duck also present. The woodland species were quiet, just 4 Chaffinch seen clearly.

Oats Royd: 3 Moorhen, Kestrel, f Sparrowhawk, 2 Willow Warbler, 7 Swallow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Soil Hill

A bit of beauty amongst the rubble.
pm visit. Heavy drizzle and rain, strong SSW>5.

1 Wheatear, Ned Hill end
2 Grey Partridge
1 Kestrel
2 Skylark
Several blogging Meadow Pipits
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Shibden Head & Oats Royd

4 Woodpigs, 3 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, pr Swallow en route Shibden, where a couple more Swallow and a House Martin were seen. The wooded area was a virtual vacuum, with just a few calls heard, so I went to Oats out of desperation.

Oats Royd - 2 LBBG, Kestrel carrying prey which I took to be a vole. 3 Willow Warbler, pr of very noisy Chiffchaff. Singing Lesser Whitethroat seen twice, flitting between the trees and bushes on bottom track.

Up by the allotments an unseen, therefore unknown, Warbler sp. was rasping and chuntering from an Elderberry bush.


A second Muscovy for Ogden
The last remaining shoreline

26/07/2009 0739-0930hrs Bright start then heavy rain with SW>4.
Early movement before the rain came with :-
7 Swifts >S
11 Meadow Pipit >W very high
9 LBBs gulls >SW
11 CROSSBILL , from Back Lane plantation to Giants Tooth area.
1 Cormorant brought down in the heavy rain.
1 f Goosander on water
1 new Muscovy duck appeared.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shelf Moor

25/07/2009 pm
42 Lapwing in field
4 Mistle Thrush
Sev LBBs >SW
Plenty feeding Swallows
3 Swift >S
1 Little Owl
1 Moorhen on pond

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Breeding Success

A success story today with a known Kestrel breeding site in the area raising 2 young.
These were up flying with the parent birds today.
Still a few blogging Swifts around but probably not for long now.
Nick Dawtreys report for Calderbirds is now available ,( see Calderbirds blogsite. )
This publication covers much of our area. Well done yet again Nick.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nigh on Birdless

Crap SW blow meant I should have dug somebody's garden. Instead:

Ogden - High water levels, nothing doing.

Soil Hill - Strong wind; Curlew still present, 18 Linnet.

Raggalds Flood - 5 Canada Goose; there's a surprise.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shelf Moor

21/07/2009 1930hrs
52 Lapwing in Hawthorn tree field below old abattoir, using field regular now.
Several feeding Swallows
5 Swift >SW
2 Kestrels hovering side by side.

Partially back in action now due to renovated old computer of daughters. Still a lot of sorting to do yet with docs, photos and e mail address.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Red Kite

Red Kite reported at 1645 hrs over Station Road, Queensbury. One of the two observers who saw it is the same person who witnessed the October 2008 bird on the same day as BS.

Mixed Bag

Queensbury - White Crow. Pleasant surprise with breeding Grey Wagtail in village centre.

Soil Hill - Shite

Ogden Res - 65+ BHG, 6 LBBG > W. Common Sandpiper, Pr Oystercatcher, Blackcap.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Soil Hill BS

Soil Hill (rcvd from Brian Sumner at 16:16 by Mobile text)

144 LBBG & 6 Herring Gull > SW. c40 Swift blogging.

NK Pond held 1 each of Curlew, Oystercatcher, Redshank.

Addendum - thanks Brian, good movement there. NK

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ogden - Quiet(ish)

As already mentioned in NK's blog, there was a Common Sandpiper present at Ogden this morning. The two LBBGs were a bit unusual but hopefully the gull numbers will start to build up again and we may get something unusual. I missed the Oystercatchers but did get a Kingfisher in the channel at the bottom of the reservoir embankment. That is an unusual Summer record for Ogden I think. Not much else apart from and adult Pied Wagtail showing a juv how to catch flies.

Ogden then Soil Hill

White Crow feeding on grassy area 30 metres away from my garden.

Ogden 1000 hrs fresh W Wind. Nothing spectacular but evidence of movement. 20+ BHG, Common Gull, 2 different year moult stage imm LBBG with adult LBBG overhead. Met CK who reports Common Sandpiper present. Approx 20 mins after leaving Chris, pr Oystercatcher flew in for 5 mins before departing E.

Several Swift & Swallow throughout area.

Soil Hill - pr Blackbird, 4 Reed Bunting, 3 Linnet, Whitethroat. LBBG, Curlew, 5 Golden Plover.

Raggalds Flood - Common Gull, c9 BHG, 4 LBBG. Another Gull present looked like poss Yellow Legged. Pity they all flew within minute of my arrival, even so marked contrast with the other large gulls noted.

Friday, July 17, 2009

More Peres - out of area.

About an hour ago from my place of work in Bradford centre I heard a raptor calling so looked outside expecting to see the juvenile Kestrel that's been knocking around recently. Instead I saw a huge looking bird repeatedly landing and taking off from a nearby chimney, a female juvenile Peregrine for sure - very large and powerful but in the early stages of mastering the air. In the gusty wind and heavy rain I thought it was going to collide with the chimney on several occasions. I watched it for a good 10/15 minutes feeling both awe-struck and concerned for it's welfare, then to my delight a male turned up and made a few passes before they together began patrolling the surrounding area. I'm still buzzing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Heavy Swift Traffic

Dave Barker beat me to this from BS

Brian's PC has croaked it's last, a victim of cyber flu.

Thanks for the phone call Brian; I managed to see one only at 20:45 a local bird.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


2 Peres (pair?) over home this evening very low and >NNE calling loudly. Was alerted to their presence a good 20 seconds before I could see them.

Still a few local Swifts around not sure how many as yet.

Is anyone else enjoying Springwatch with Chris Packham? First time I've ever watched the whole series. Not just because the man has fine taste in music. He's just not silly.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Viewing Permission Refused

As mentioned in previous post, I spoke to the landowner regarding viewing of the far bottom scrape (header pic)
Birdbrain: Nuthin Doin

The landowner has been having major problems with quad bikes on that land, to the extent the bikers have attempted to knock the recently erected fencing down.
Although he stated he planted the trees/shrubs with a sympathetic slant to wildlife, he does not want anybody using his land to watch birds from. The logic is simple; he believes all comers will walk the land if one single person is seen to have permission.

I actually waded through the reedbeds from the side we are allowed to walk and although it's not a cakewalk, there are no ruts, snags or boggy bits, if you stick near to the wall/fence. The best bit was the Lapwings remained put on the scrape and did not take fright nor flight.

Usual Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 3 Reed Bunting, c16 Linnet, 8 Goldfinch, Grey Partridge, 2 Curlew, 7 Lapwing. The Whitethroat family were very active and one unexpected bird was juvenile Dunnock.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sickening Sou'Westerly

Where oh where do our fair birds go
when the barren Sou'Westerly blows.
I'll wager not one mortal soul knows.

So wrote Algernon Snerge (1873-1947) in his famous tome Birding the Brecons by Bicycle*.

Fly Flatts: a few Meadow Pipit, Curlew, Golden Plover, pr Kestrel. 9 Linnet. Numerous Canada Goose.

Cold Edge: ditto Pipit, Curlew, pr Common Sandpiper. Some Canada, more Greylag.

5/6 Swift became evident over Mt Tabor.

Roll on late August.

*Published by Glom, Clitterbuck & Dibble. Bird reports also available: Clamorous Reed Warbler in Soho; The Lister Park Ross's Gull; Breeding Sooty Tern in Cemlyn Bay.

NB The publishers refuse to release transcripts of the authors interview with Adler & Jung.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ogden/Soil Hill

Ogden 0730- 0930hrs early showers, W>4
Very quiet around the water with very little bird calls.
82 Mallard
25 BH Gull
4 Common Gull

Back Lane
Several Woodpigs on Billberries
2 Curlew
Sev blogging Mipits
7 Swift >SW
Good number of dispersing Swallows

Soil Hill 1530-1630hrs
Ultra quiet with a few Mipits and Skylarks
2 Curlew
15 Lapwing in low fields
NK pond deserted apart from 1 Woodpig.
23 Swifts >SW

Computer packing in and threatening to give up altogether so you know whats happened if I disappear.
Unable to put photos on and can only use pay as you go.

Oats Royd

2 Kestrel including a calling juvenile
Swift a constant feature probably at least 30
1 Swallow
1 BH and several Common Gull drifting over >W
2 Goldfinch
3 Moorhen including a juvenile
4 Chiffchaff including 2 juveniles, didn't hear any Willow Warbler
Wren nesting activity in 2 different spots

At Home a pair of Bullfinch have been regular visitors to the garden during the past week or so, as have 4 adult Goldfinch and this morning a juvenile Goldfinch.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ogden and Soil

Ogden - some Power Predator took this Mallard's head off but left the body on the shoreline. I reckon Johnny Fox is responsible.
Several Willow Warblers, mainly juveniles, feeding off insects in the branches of Sycamore trees etc. 3 singing Blackcap, Jay, Common Sandpiper.

Soil Hill - Curlew in aerial skirmish with pr Kestrel for around 7 minutes. 5 Lapwing, 3 Blackbird, c20 Swallow, Reed Bunting, several Linnet, m Stonechat, LBBG > E. The Whitethroat pair bred successfully - 3 birds seen in a noisy get together. Carrion Crow chasing a small raptor, but distance prohibited proper id.

We have another temporary scrape on the top field.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Heptonstall to HB Circular

This was both an enjoyable and then a disastrous long walk, the first leg being up to Lower Gorple reservoir. Birds seen on this leg (not mine) were:
c12 Meadow Pipit, 5 Curlew, 170+ Canada Goose, 8 BHG, 1 each of Grey Heron, Oystercatcher and Common Sandpiper. 1 Pied and 1 Grey Wagtail also present.

A family of 4 Siskin were busy and noisy around the house garden; they must have bred in the nearby plantation.

I managed to catch good views of female Ring Ouzel as it darted from a prominent rock perch, into cover.

Blake Dean area sported 3 Curlew, Little Owl, GSW, 4 Mistle Thrush, 4 Willow Warbler. At the wood edge I managed very good views of a Spotted Flycatcher.

Then it went downhill as I entered the woodland. A Nuthatch was heard, 2 juv Grey Wagtail seen and a Tawny Owl called 4 times. The only other birds noted, sparsely, were Chaffinch and a few Tits. I walked for 10 minutes or so on several occasions without even hearing a bird. Another birder spoke to me and we discussed the paucity of species, both of us concluding something is drastically wrong and the future doesn't look good.

Summer on Soil Hill

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Foxhill Today

08/07/2009 Mid-day
Good move of Swifts over lunch time with 80+ counted during a short dog walk in Foxhill Park
all >SW.
also :-
4 Lapwing >NE

Monday, July 06, 2009


This afternoon;
Pair of G C grebes - and display/pair bonding
2 adult Common Gulls
55 B H Gulls
90+ Mallard
3 Blackcaps still singing
6 Willow Warblers still singing
2 Treecreepers
2 Bullfinch
Meadow Pipits still feeding young
3 Song Thrush still singing
1 female Sparrowhawk
20+ Rooks feeding on Soil Hill

Nuthin Doin

All change today, both Soil Hill and Ogden were almost stagnant. The latter was down to a GC Grebe on the water - the others had gone. 4 LBBG went SW plus approx 40 BHG taking it easy.

Soil Hill - no waders on the lagoon. 38 Lapwing and 10 Starling were in the field however. In the plantation down Ned Hill a Garden Warbler was singing.

I was lucky enough to see the landowner who informs me that the cultivated sloping field leading down to the lagoon belongs to somebody else. This includes the fenced off section that has been planted with Shrubs/Trees. A name and company has been quoted, so I shall pursue contact details and adopting my best crawl and toady behaviour, ask permission to access.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Two for DCBs album.

05/07/2009 1915-2000hrs
Foxhill skywatch
18 BH Gull >N
6 Common Gull >N
14 Swift >SW
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The Nigel Kerwin Lagoon

Oystercatcher near pond
2 Oystercatchers in field
Lapwings in field
The Nigel Kerwin Lagoon

05/07/2009 1430-1545hrs Hot and sunny
A definate place for autumn here if its left alone.
52 Lapwings were moving between the field and the shore.
2 Oystercatchers were near the waters edge whilst another 2 were in the field.
3 Golden Plover were near the shoreline and 2 Curlews were on the ajacent walls.
One drawback is its a scoping job and I struggled with a 32W on. Will take zoom next time but its
not easy hugging a tripod and scope over the hill.
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Things on the move

Common Gull
One for the Flora fans

05/07/2009 0730-0945 hrs Calm, Sunny with occ. shower.

1 F. Goosander
3 Oystercatcher >W, coinciding with NK sighting yesterday and see DCBs vis mig blog for this a.m.
28 BH Gulls back by water
1 Common Gull
2m 1f Tufted
1 Grey W agtail
+ usual sp.
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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Herring Gulls and Herons

04/07/2009 1930-2000hrs
Thirty minutes skywatching tonight from home produced :-
4 Curlew >W
2 Herring Gull >NW
85 BH Gull >N . Probably to roost
6 LBB Gulls >N.
2 Heron >E
3 House Martin >NW
Sev Swallows and Swifts blogging.
Conditions were ideal with sunshine in the west and black skies to the east.
Another form of rewarding birding promoted by DCB.

Soil Hill dispersals

Soil Hill today at 14:20 hrs. All the interest was down the slope and at the bottom, the top being driza bone. I'm looking forward to watching this temporary scrape, if it lasts, in Autumn. 26 Lapwing were present, with a Curlew not far away. Others:

7 Woodpigeon, 14+ Meadow Pipit, circa 7 Skylark, 2 Goldfinch, 20+ Linnet, 6 Reed Bunting. Twite; no rings seen but excellent views of it's back!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Tales from abroad

I went extra parochial today and got to grips with Cold Edge dams at 12:30 after an absence of over 2-1/2 years.

Moorhen, Grey Heron, pr Lapwing, Curlew.

On the water were 9+ Canada Goose, 13 Grey Lag Goose and a Barnacle Goose. The latter must be the same feral bird that visits Ogden, but it showed different behaviour, e.g it flew away on approach.

A single Reed Bunting was busy ignoring me while gathering grub for it's brood.

4 Linnet were knockin about, with a couple of Meadow Pipit and Skylark.

Most welcome were a pr Common Sandpiper, 3 Redshank and a pr Whinchat.

Things went rapidly downhill after that as I made my way back via Ovenden Moor. The heat became a bit too dicy for prolonged perambulation and it also knocked the birding back. For the first time out over moorland, I didn't even hear Red Grouse.

FWD Email

Wednesday 01 July 2009 8:10 pm

An evening trip to Back Lane tonight produced,
1 m Merlin after Mipits
1 Woodcock near house
1 Spotted Flycatcher bottom end of owl plantation same place as last year.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Swifts and Swallows

Been away for a couple of weeks so thought this evening I’d check out the local swifts and swallows. Plenty of swifts at the viaduct, loads of repair work too, good news is they don’t seem bothered and were whizzing in an out of nest holes. Counted 20 fledged Swallows along malt kiln lane, they have done well, plus adults were mating again, still time for a second brood. Also Nigel well done on the White Storks, fantastic record, just shows what is possible even in an area like ours.