Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Birds of 2010

Sporadic movement throughout todays walk from Queensbury to Oats Royd via Mount Merde and Ogden Res.
Queensbury - 7 Woodpiggies > E; 3 LBBG > W; 15 Fieldfare > E at Raggalds.
Soil Hell 1035hrs - bleedin deadly: BHG & Common Gull. 2 LBBG > N; 60 Starling, sod all else 'cept Caawvids.

Ogden Res - Usual BH & Common Gull on slowly receding ice. 5 Goldfinch, 4 Goldcrest, GSW, Great, Coal & Blut Tit around Lodge House.

Bradshaw had c40 Redwing moving around in seperate small groups with mebbe c7 Fieldfare in among.

Oats Royd had 5 Mistle Thrush, 2 Jay, Green Woody, Grey Heron, c35 Crows. Jackdaw were moving throughout.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hard Work II

Soil Hill approx 1230 hrs 5 Grey Partridge.
Ogden Res - LBBG, Lots of BHG, less so Common Gull. Only real passerine activity was by Lodge House feeder mob apart from 2 Goldcrest, 2 Redwing and a Nuthatch.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hard Work in the Mist

1145hrs Horton Bank Top CP - inspired by BS birds on Sunday. It was a different picture today with hardly no movement in the mist. No sign of Coot or Moorhen, but around 15 BH & 2 Common Gull on the ice. Given the number of footprints on the ice I was surprised not to see the hands of the local numpties sticking out of it.
Passerine activity was mainly provided by Great Tits but I did find a Brambling in with 4 Chaffinch and pr of Bullfinch.

Shelf Moor on the return leg was dire; pr Collared Dove, odd Crow and 3 Greenfinch were only birds seen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cold Weather Movements!

2 Curlews going NW over the house this morning and the hibernating hedgehog ventured out for a snack.

Market Robin Beats Freeze

I had to go to Bradford today (note the word had) and visited John Street Market where I saw a Robin on the ground by one of the stalls. It then flew up onto one of the stall tops making me think that indoors amongst an avalanche of food is a premium winter residence. Then on arrival home I saw this news article; the market is a big place, plenty of room for more birds.

Prior to that I had bumped into one of the residents that lives very close to Soil Hill and is interested in the wildlife there. Just when you thought it safe to go back up Old Nick's Midden, you are reliably informed that somebody has applied for clay extraction rights. The location is in front of the farm house about halfway down on the RH side coming down from the top.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Soil Hill Bonus

After a quiet Ogden where there was no sign of the Med Gull I decided reluctantly to return home via Soil Hill. This was hard work and I was surprised to find a Goldfinch and Pied Wagtail on the bottom N slope but even more surprised at around 1440hrs. A pr Whooper Swan were flying low down, heading S toward Raggalds where I lost sight of them. It was a good job they angled a bit and showed all white because up until then in silhouette flying directly away, I was struggling to id them. Another local annual, I'm pleased to say - only others were well outside the area.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ogden Res again

The thought of Xmas shopping was too frightening to contemplate so I went to Ogden where the winter phase imm. Mediterranean Gull was on the ice at approx 1035hrs. I got good views of it in flight at 1120hrs, when unfortunately it flew S toward Mixenden.
Also present were single figure BHG & Common Gull and a very light mantled LBBG type larger gull flying NE; this was too dark for Herring and did make me think YLG. However as this thought was quite some time after, and I didn't get close views, I won't speculate further.

A very pleasant surprise here was a party of c11 Siskin feeding just off the path on Alders.

I went to Soil Hell acting on the possible Jack Snipe report on the Ned Hill track reported by BS. This was a big mistake; previous name calling has obviously been taken into consideration and the place opened up on me. Wind driven horizontal snow drove into my face then drove all of me off the hill as fast as I could go. No surprise then that I didn't see a bird, which means my first pure blank for the location - yippeeee, I think.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Three Time Loser

Mistake No.1 Getting out of bed; No.2 Visiting Ogden; No.3 Visiting Soil Hill.
Ogden was crap; a pr Jay and pr Reed Bunting at the Lodge House feeder plus a Treecreeper alleviating the crushing boredom.

The place where the Devil does his dirty drawers was really crap; I mean mind numbingly, teardrop inducingly so. Conclusion: today's experience proving that local birding can be and usually is CRAP!

That's it for me; back to my embroidery kit and knitting needles down at the rub a dub.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Southlands

Went down Whinney Royd Lane and back up via Score Hill from approx 1245-1410hrs this arternoon and there was quite a bit going on.

Paw Lane had pr Mistle Thrush and Common Snipe with 6 Lapwing across Briguss Rd in the usual area.
WRL halfway down had small numbers Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbird with c16 Goldfinch moving around.

On the way back, Gulls started to move which seems consistent with the birds BS was getting through the week from his observation post. Two lots of large types which must have been LBBG (not near enough to id) totalling c45 and a party of c14 Common. All were going loosely NW.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ogden On Wednesday

Thanks for the call, Nigel. I did catch up with it later.

Ogden Res

The Med Gull was on the ice until around 11:40hrs today when I left after succumbing to the numbing wind. This was no cake walk today as everything had moved nearer the middle of the lake and the footpath was lethal. Other than the Lodge House feeder, I didn't see one woodland species about.

Soil Hill was empty and Raggalds flood held 16 Common Gull.

PS relevant to the phone call and text rcvd about the Mt Tabor bird limping, I could see nothing untoward with this bird. However, I emphasise visibility was not good.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

You won't believe this

...but yet another annual!

I should compile wish lists more often. This Mediterranean Gull was at Ogden Res this morning giving me yet another Xmas present. The Danish ringed BHG reported by Denise previously was still there but there was little else worth mentioning.

The return trip via Soil Hill to search for the SEO proved fruitless, only birds apart from corvids were 7 distant Partridge sp. in flight. I'm not bothered!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Park Lane

Today's surprise in the garden.

Soil Hill Prezzie

Today at 1200hrs on that savage mound of icy misery I was most unirked; hard to believe that just 48 hours after my moan a Short Eared Owl turns up. It was perched on a farm buildinging on the hill top and then flew about 10 flaps over the crest of the N slope and disappeared. This was doubly welcome as it had been deadly quiet prior to this sighting; other birds here were just Kestrel, Corvids, Common Gull and LBBG.

Ogden Res at around 1020hrs was really the pits, totally the opposite to BS haul of yesterday. Gulls aplenty and a Canada Goose but nothing else stirring on the drink other than ducks. GSW, Siskin, Bullfinch, c18 LTT and usual bunch in small numbers.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

To Those I Miss

Sat here reflecting on what a good birding year I have had in 2010, it's worth mentioning absent friends; some I should have had perhaps and those that would always be tricky. So I raise a toast and look forward to meeting up with you in 2011, for I know there is no time left this year.

Barn Owl - tricky
Black Redstart - possible
Green Sandpiper - possible
Lapland Bunting - possible
Med Gull - possible
Pied Flycatcher - tricky
Redstart - possible
Ringed Plover - possible
Ruff - tricky
Sedge Warbler - possible
Short Eared Owl - possible and one that irks
Tree Sparrow - tricky
Wood Warbler - tricky
Yellowhammer - tricky
White Wagtail - possible.

All relative of course subject to right time, right place; some birders no doubt wondering what the problem is.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Garden Birds

Since I haven't been tempted out, I did a count in the garden. 
4 Woodpigeon
2 Collared Dove
3 Stock Dove
Sparrowhawk through once
Great-spotted Woodpecker (snow-clearing)
3 Dunnock (one with no tail)
2 Robin
31 Blackbird
5 Great Tit
2 Coal Tit
7 Blue Tit
2 Nuthatch
5 Magpie
2 Carrion Crow
23 Chaffinch
8 Goldfinch
5 Greenfinch
Today's surprises were a male Bullfinch(briefly) and 4 Starlings (a rarity here!). Also, a  very entertaining squirrel.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What's that on your leg?

This is the ringed BHG I mentioned, Nigel, which was at Ogden on the 19th November. The answer to the question, according to my sources, appears to be that it's a Danish ring. Unfortunately, it flew off before I could get all the details. I'll be giving the gulls a bit more than a cursory glance in future.

Plenty of birds in the garden.  Collared Dove and Stock Doves (2 of each) back after an absence of 3 months. Nuthatch/es still coming in also Sparrowhawk and Jay yesterday and a maximum count of 24 Blackbirds.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ogden Visitor Tick

I've never had one of these before so it's going down as a mega, even though I don't know what it is! It was with the Mallard at approx 1200hrs today and didn't seem bothered by me, so sadly I have to treat it as an escape.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Local Walk

I went down to High Cross Lane at about 1455hrs and was surprised to find 57 Lapwing still in the central field. Normally after a couple of days in a cold snap they depart down to Northowram where it is less harsh. There were no Golden Plover present this time, just a Grey Heron and a Kestrel which got lucky pouncing on prey.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Around and About

The cold bright weather put paid to much avian activity today after a start on Soil Hill at 0945hrs where there were 32 Lapwing, similar no of Common Gull, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit plus the caaaawvids.
Ogden Res was fairly putrid and Oats Royd fared little better. Greenfinch, Goldfinch & Chaffinch were seen in small numbers at both locations but not much else worth mentioning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Way Down South

Took a walk past Stone Chair to Coley Church this arternoon, making a note to check the Lapwing flock at High Cross Lane on the return trip. I did just that at 1525hrs and was ever so pleased to find 10 Golden Plover with the c200 Lapwing in the centre field. It got even better as the lot of  'em took flight circling and the goldies piping away before settling down again. Also here were 2 BHG and a Pied Wagtail; only c17 Goldfinch were seen at Coley and a few gulls.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ogden Res

1115 hrs Visitor Centre closed again and not many people present which gave me the opportunity to have a bash at this pr beauties.

Jack Snipe

Soil Hill 0955hrs Oh what a pretty hill this is, for today it spewed up a little gem. Flushed a Jack Snipe at 3 metres from a very small pool in the only remaining rough grassy ground on the top field. The bird took off and flew just above a metre off the deck for about 30 metres or so before it dropped down. Ironically, it went into a furrow of the recently excavated section with the bulldozer heading toward it some 50 metres away!
Others: Grey Heron, Skylark, Pied Wagtail. Plenty of corvids and smaller gull species.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Waxwing reaches Queensbury

Today's session definitely had a beginning a middle and an end; pity I don't write opera. Started off on the black hole itself at 0940hrs where the Sun dared to appear. I flushed a big fat Woodcock on the N slope and then without intention flushed it twice more elsewhere - great close up views achieved thricely. Only other birds here were 7 RLP, 7 Mallard Ogdenii, Moorhen & Reed Bunting.

So down to Ogden arboreal desert where the lack of birds was alleviated considerably by Denise being plonked on a bench, camera at the ready. After a chat we parted and I went down to Oats Royd in an act of sheer desperation. Amazingly this paid off because on staggering up the steep climb to the area just above le residence I got two Waxwing trilling and flying about at 1255hrs. Only other birds here were Jay, Green Woodpecker & Mistle Thrush.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I went to Hollingworth Lake this morning for a crack at the Pied Billed Grebe and was duly rewarded. The bird was fishing when I arrived but then took a rest on a small reed patch before resuming it's activity nearer to it's audience.

A classic remark from a passing local couple: She "What are they doing?" He "The're looking at a Duck, there's bleeding thousands round the corner!"

3 Whooper Swan also provided an annual. Others: 2 Cormorant, plenty of Canada and hundreds of smaller gull species. I managed to pick up a pair of Teal in a nearby pool. Not a bad day at all methinks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Good Weather Scarce Birds

Ogden Res was chronic; the only othe gull apart from BHG & Common was a LBBG.

Soil Hell - 3 Meadow Pipit, Grey Heron, Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Gulls & CAWvids. At approx 1230hrs a flock of 100+ Fieldfare flying at such a height they were identifiable to the naked eye, came over Keelham from the N. They then veered NW, taking them over the bottom of SH. Question is: Was this vismig or given the time, simply area movement?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad Weather Birds

Ogden Res approx 1000hrs in the rain. Nothing to start with then the Dipper put on a show before another blank period. This changed somewhat when the sun came out and a female Goosander seemed to appear out of nowhere on the lake. In the trees by the Visitor Centre the very weak call of what I strongly suspect of being the LSW came forth briefly.
Others: 10 Blackbird, pr Bullfinch, 2 Goldcrest, LTT, 10 Common Gull, 14 BHG & Kestrel.

Thinking I was due a break on Heavens Midden up I trudged where I was fortunate enough to meet KM at 1145hrs. He reported a Snow Bunting had been in the NW corner I had elected to walk past owing to the worsening weather. Sure enough within a minute the bird was seen to take flight and drop down a short distance away. We approached it and this time it repeated the performance, calling as it did so. Thanks to KM for a bird I could well have missed.
Others: 2 Skylark, Linnet, Kestrel. Bad weather then prompted me to return home via Raggalds flood which just contained the usual gull sp.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I won't Rail on but...

This bird was definitely not seen on Soil Hill

It's this Bird

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's This Bird?

It's got to the stage now where even birds are tellin me to kiss their ass! No prizes for guessing what it is, just a lil ole game where you state your answer in comments please.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Queensbury Pinkfeet

Chapel Lane 1312hrs c50 PFG flying low down > NW This was a lifesaver upon returning home from a downer of a trip to Ogden. In fact the aquatic desert was so grim it forced me up to the cesspit of the gods via Back Lane, where at least there were 15 RLP.

On arrival at SH, after refixing my toupee, I just managed Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 2 RLP and the Grey Heron before heading back via Raggalds flood. Here there were numerous small gulls, 4 Mallard and the increasing Lapwing flock now at 22 birds.

An afterthought - the bottom RH pond at Soil Hell is dying (drying?) out owing to massive silting up. However the NK pond over the NW side is growing bigger, or rather the marshy surrounds are. Fingers crossed.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pastures New

Went with Dave P this morning searching the extreme SE part of our patch mainly to look at the potential sites on offer. Although the wet weather put paid to good views, there was some activity and certainly some promising spots for quick trips during the shorter days. Birds seen:

c40 Lapwing, c20 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, c15 Woodpigeon, GSW, Kestrel, Mistle Thrush, Common & BHG Gulls, Blue/Great/LT Tits. We then suffered the effects of weather by being unable to identify a 12 strong party of smaller passerines whizzing along a stand of trees without calling.

Ogden Yesterday

3 Brambling in the garden and 60 Woodpigeons over, on the way to Mountain.

Ogden was as Brian said but I also saw a Reed Bunting and the pair of Bullfinches around the lodge. There was a small feeding flock with 4 Blue Tit, 2 Great, 3 Coal and 4 Goldcrests. I tried to play the Snap-the-Goldcrest game but they didn't know the rules. I heard Nuthatch, GSW and LTT but didn't catch up with them. 20+ Fieldfare crossed the car park, as I left, heading up towards Back Lane.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Hit Shole

Yet again nuthin doin on the latrine in the clouds:
3 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Linnet, Goldfinch, Grey Heron, 8 Grey Partridge, 9 RLP, 3 Woodpigs, CAAWvids.

I was on the top field when BS txted me about Ogden; Old Nick musta pissed hisself laughing as I read the message whilst sinking slowly into the mire.

Raggalds Flood - 2 BHG, Pied Wagtail, 7 Lapwing.

Vismig still in evidence when I left my hovel at 0810hrs - 200 Woodpiggies over > SW.

Friday, November 05, 2010

More Frustration

Friday morning started off reasonably well but then I developed a depression caused by probable misidentification and a sudden absence of birds. Raggalds flood was throbbing with c90 BHG & Common Gull, 8 Mallard, 9 Lapwing, 2 Pied Wagtail. Walking up the middle of Perseverance Rd toward Earths facsimile of Hades, I got 6 Bunting types one of which was lightly coloured and calling similar to Skylark a la Snow Bunting. How the hell do you confuse Snow Bunting? So on this basis I rang DJS, telling him I would investigate further as the birds had appeared to go down in the field below Sun Hill Farm. I never saw anything further and continued on to the cess pit of Calderdale. Big mistake - not a fwiggin tweet apart from the mocking sound of Cawvides.

Ogden Res - the crap continues. I checked the Lodge House feeders which were still empty. Only decent bird was a GC Grebe on the drink. Interestingly I only saw one Chaffinch - compare this with the no. that DJS saw just up the road.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ogden etc

My bird was a Pintail, just as I got out of the car-so no camera available. It was heading in the direction of the Giant's Tooth.

Up at Back Lane, other than the usual groups of Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies and a few Starlings, I saw  Meadow Pipit, 2 Mistle Thrushes and a Green Woodpecker.

There were still at least 6 Redwings in the trees in Green Lane and a couple of Jays in the same area. (I 'll mention at this point the strange sight, at about 11 am on Monday, of 7 Common Gulls chasing what I thought at first was a small bird but which turned out to be  a bat! It got away.) 

There were 144 Lapwings over Corporal Lane. 

2 Bramblings left in the garden today and a Treecreeper visited.

Ogden after Soil Hell

SH at 0945hrs was unbearable I couldn't find anything grounded by the strong wind and I've erased the paltry birds I did get from my mind.

So on to Ogden then at around 1010hrs when things improved by meeting Denise who had just completed her early tour. She has a bird of her own to tell us about so I won't mention it here. A trip round the lake produced 3 Goldfinch and this pr of Bullfinch.

As I was taking these shots I got real lucky - a LSW called twice and then flew in front of me across the water giving good views. It headed for the Lodge House and veered down right, into the area of the garden feeder. I went down there but sadly, there were no birds at all because for once the feeder had not been replenished.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Soil Hill & Ogden

Very much anticlimax today; quiet at both locations, particularly Ogden. The Grey Partridge count at SH is now c25 birds with the RLP count constant at 12. I managed 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Grey Heron, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and c30 Common Gull plus the Cawvids (now in reduced numbers). KM was present and reported Skylark, Snipe & Stonechat.

Ogden Res
Few smaller gulls and ducks on the drink, nowt else. The woods were almost lifeless, just:
GSW, Fieldfare & 2 Siskin sticking in my mind plus a Lapwing > N.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Bramblings

Fantastic, Nigel. Your previous Brambling jinx seems far away. You seem to have had a run of of good birds recently.

I've been meaning to post this picture for a couple of days (no suppression intended, just that I thought you'd all be sick of hearing about Bramblings in Park Lane!) This (top picture) came in last thing on Wednesday evening and I didn't notice the ring until Thursday. I haven't been able to get much on the ring-still trying, but it has been a rather skulking bird. However, this morning another three Bramblings came in to join it, so perhaps it might venture out. The un-ringed bird might well be the one you had this morning , Nigel! 

Also included, Brian's anticipated Redwing picture. It was taken earlier in the week in Green Lane. There's a good crop of  berries and  a few birds seem to have settled in.

The two Nuthatches have been coming daily for over a month now.

Ace Garden Tick

The mist had brought a small flock of Goldfinch down into the back trees and quite noisy they were too. I decided to clear my garden of leaves and recycle them by taking them into the copse and spreading 'em around. Damn fine move sez I, because at 1025hrs a Brambling flew in and started calling. I alerted Dave P next door, but as often is the case we didn't hear no more from it

Last night, Saturday around 2200hrs, a Tawny Owl started performing from the same trees and according to DP it went on for hours.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Woodpigeon Movement

Today was the day of the Woodpig with a personal record of c375 birds in 4 lots on Soil Hill at 0940-1105hrs. Most were going directly SW apart from a group of c45 going SE but then moving across to eventually go SW. Others:
3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Dunnock, Wren, c50 Fieldfare, 18 Grey Partridge, Grey Heron, Snipe. KM had previously seen a Green Woody fly over.
The landowner of the adjacent bottom W fields has done us a favour by extending the NK pond into more of a lagoon. No doubt BS will pick up loads of goodies with his scope as it is now more easily viewable.

Ogden Res approx 1125hrs nothing on the water 'cept small gulls and mallards. Here too, I got c25 Woodpiggies again moving SW. Another flock of c50 Fieldfare turned up; I suspect this could have been the earlier SH bunch.
A most interesting spectacle was the sight of several BHG alighting briefly in the tops of conifers. I think Goldcrests are too big for them to swallow so I'm going for the probability of insect catching. Also Jay, Green Woody.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Busy Hill

Soil Hill 0945hrs Kicked off with an unidentified Bunting overhead W giving three single note calls. This was the sign of a fairly active session; Meadow Pipit and Skylark made a return, there being c16 & 5 birds respectively. I also got a long awaited annual and what a belter it turned out to be especially as it was my last bird. I flushed a Woodcock which then flew a full circuit of the hill not once, twice but thrice, giving good close up views at times.

Also Grey Heron, c60 Lapwing, 1 Partridge sp., Kestrel, 4 Linnet, Goldfinch, 3 Reed Bunting, Snipe (KM had previously flushed 3 Snipe). Also the Gulls and Cawvids.

Ogden Res 1130hrs - eeeeeeewwwwww forget about it. OK, Perhaps a Siskin did stop the tears of boredom.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halifax Waxwings

I was halfway to the scene of the crime when I got a DJS text message about flighty birds so I decided to do King Cross Tesco first. Lo and behold within a minute, alerted by a trill initially I got 5 Waxwing, then another bird about 3 minutes later. I walked up to the main highway junction with the Fire Station in mind but I don't know where this is so I reacted to another text and went to Gibbet St where DJP reported 50 birds.

I'm glad I picked the town end of Gibbet St after a passer by told me its over 2 mile long! No matter, as just 5 minutes after arrival I got 9 birds in flight which appeared to double back and head for the a/m locations. There was never the slightest chance of photographs so I thought I'd see if 'owt was bothering the North Bridge Sainsbury customers - just a Grey Wagtail was all.

Other: c8 Redwing heading S over Queensbury High St approx 1345hrs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Windy Circuit

Soil Hill almost unworkable at 0945hrs; again no passerines. A Snipe flushed from N slope bottom LH pond for a change;7 distant Partridge sp. seen in flight.

Ogden Res 1100hrs thought one of the Mixenden Goldeneye may have been blown in but happy to get 3 Little Grebe together instead. What livewires these were diving left right and centre and calling loudly at times. Also 2 Bullfinch, Siskin and DJS.

Oats Royd - Flock c100 strong of mainly Fieldfare, some Redwing and c8 Mistle Thrush. I checked about half of a party of 15 LTT for northerners but these were all dark headed birds. Also Grey Heron, Green Woody, 2 Moorhen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soil Hill Consolation

SH 1050-1200hrs rather quiet and no sign of yesterdays Snow Bunting(s). Got a spankling male Merlin low down and close by heading SW, briefly harrassed by a Crow. Also:
Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Skylark, Grey Heron, 2 Mallard, Reed Bunting, 2 Goldfinch, 60+ Fieldfare and the RLP gang. Gulls reduced to 5 LBBG and odd BHG & Common. Still plenty of corvids around.

Good job I decided I needed some grub from the farm shop, because on the way home over Raggalds flood at 1230hrs calling was Snow Bunting heading W.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Queensbury Mega

Just received a report that an article appeared in the Yorkshire Post about a GANNET being found near Queensbury by a resident... Now some 15 minutes later after scrabbling furiously through DP's paper recycling bin I can reproduce the entry:

Yorkshire Post 16 October 2010 CountryWeek section BIRDWATCH by Bill Teale
There have been several inland sightings of juvenile gannets, including one rescued by reader Mrs Jane Leach and her husband from a moorland road near Queensbury, West Yorkshire late at night. The angry bird was secured in a duvet cover before being taken to their home. The following day it was collected by the RSPCA and later released none the worse for its experience.

I searched the BT directory to try contact the finder for more information but they are not listed. Should any local reader see this and know them, I would appreciate it greatly if they can ask them to contact me using the form at the page bottom.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ned Hill and Back Lane

I see we all visited similar areas again. I took the early shift and came away at about 11:30am.

There was little to see at Ned Hill other than a bit of a corvid ballet at the end of  the track. There were 70+ Jackdaws and Crows. A Grey Heron blundered in but was driven off and I thought it might have gone down to the pond.

I had a quick look around Ogden but spent time watching the LT Tit flock and trying to take a few pictures. No prizes for identifying the Ogden bird from the Suffolk one taken earlier in the week. Reaching the dam, I heard and saw 3 Fieldfare, followed a few moments later by 8 more.

I thought Back Lane would be worth a look and so it proved to be, with a total of 296 Fieldfare and 2 Goosander over.

PS A single Brambling in the garden on Wednesday , not seen since.

Soil Hill & Ogden

As expected it was busy all this morning at approx 0940hrs until approx 1150hrs when it tailed off.
Soil Hill: 2 Meadow Pipit alongside a Wheatear, which must be my personal latest record. There were two parties of Fieldfare, totalling a max of c100 birds. A Golden Plover was down by the NK Pond with c30 Lapwing in the field beyond it. Also present were Grey Heron, Kestrel, 12 RLP, 9 Grey Partridge, Snipe plus the Gulls and Corvids.

The Bunton excavator is till on the top field and I saw the Bulldozer being taken down to the hill bottom. The winds and lack of any water meant no birds were present on the top.

Ogden Res approx 1115hrs: started off with 11 Siskin, 3 of which flew around the Lodge area but didn't land in the garden. The water was monopolised by a few gulls but nothing else so I decided to force myself  without any enthusiasm for one circuit of the path. Three Duck sp. were flying high up; they circled twice then headed W/SW to Cold Edge. Although silhouetted I am positive they weren't Mallard but because I couldn't get any colours, they remain a mystery.

Then I got the birds of the day and much appreciated too, as they were another annual; a party of mebbe 10 Crossbills flew off calling loudly, heading NW. However, I am positive they simply dropped down deeper into the trees and could still be there. Also seen were 3 Bullfinch, c24 Fieldfare and the tail end of a small Redwing flock going W.

Shame about my mobile staying at home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fieldfare and Frustration

Fieldfares were the bird of the day, they seemed to be wherever I visited; Queensbury, Bradshaw, Ogden, Fly Flatts, Soil Hill.

Other than that it was a day of frustration, once again I'll blame the blue sunny skies (while accepting you can't win 'em all). Ogden Res was lousy so I waltzed up the track to Fly Flatts, checking Mixended Res for the Whooper Swan (DJS). The sun was reet in my retina so I can't say for certain, but I can say they weren't there on the return leg at approx 1415hrs.

Fly Flatts had 2 Canada and 7 Twite left out of the 9 DJS spotted. This was when my camera nearly ended up in the drink when 4 birds perched up unbelievably close. I couldn't focus and it was only when I stopped jumping up and down I remembered the dioptre wheel needed adjustment. Only other birds here were two Mipit and Red Grouse creating in the background.

Soil Hill - as before with the Gull and Corvid all in wrestling match. Grey Heron, Grey Partridge, RLP present as was a Linnet and 20 Lapwing. Worth mentioning here that since Monday the landowner has parked his bulldozer bang in the middle of the track, thereby preventing lorries from visiting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Ogden Tick

Ogden Res at approx 1125 hrs was so dull I decided to sit down and eat lunch then slowly walk back home. After doing just that and thinking that the best birds had been a pr Bullfinch and female Teal (Yes I checked, oh how I checked) back along the promenade I walked.

At about 1225hrs a Cormorant flew up over the embankment low down heading NW. A strand of fishing net was trailing from a wing, but not seemingly impairing it's flight. I scanned the drink to see if it had landed at the top end, when slightly to the right of me I saw another dark bird a few metres above tree top level, also going NW.

Immediately the smaller size and faster wingbeat indicated this was not of the same species and when I binned it, I could tell it was a Shag. This bird certainly did not go down and I lost it eventually over the moorland toward Fly Flatts.

This is also an area tick for me; keep 'em comin' Ogden.

Soil Hill Puzzle

After yesterdays biggie with the Grey Plover (BS) it was a big surprise for my first bird on the hill to be a Plover sp. coming in from the E at a fair rate of knots. I wasn't too happy about the view so I rang DJS at Hunter Hill who later confirmed he had scoped the bird, going W. He was only getting a distant view so this was one for the guide books and online photos. Well, I am now happy, but not overjoyed to say I have identified this bird as a Goldie, ah well.

Tweren't all bad; my second bird was a spanking king size Greenland Wheatear on a wall with a caterpillar in it's beak. Others present besides the gulls and corvids:

7 Mallard, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Pheasant, c8 Grey Partridge, c12 RLP, Skylark, 7 Meadow Pipit, 6 Linnet, Goldfinch, 6 Fieldfare. Glad I had a minor sneezing fit - flushed a Snipe.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Usual Venue

Early morning suggested birds may be moving as a number of Woodpigeon were over the back field, however it was not to be in the long run. I checked Ogden Res out to see if the Pochard was still present but as is usual with visitors, it had departed. Besides that it was 'orribly quiet; I was glad to get away from it.

So once again Soil Hill at 0925hrs provided the best entertainment but even this didn't warm up until about 1010. A Crow was singularly mobbing a bird that completely dwarfed it, fairly high up. When it got nearer I  could tell it was yet another GBBG, possibly a 2nd year bird. 12 LBBG were also present along with a 25 strong flock of smaller gulls.

Others: 4 Lapwing, Grey Heron, 3 Partridge sp.,Kestrel, 3 Reed Bunting, c16 Linnet and a flock of c50 Redwing > NE.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ogden Pochard

Splendid drake Pochard on the drink today at 1305hrs. I am 95% percent sure this is a personal site first; certainly I have not had one in over 9 years. Problem is my old records are now in practically unreadable format.

Another small duck in tow with 3 Mallard splashed down nr the top RH channel; it may have been a Teal but was not relocated. At this location a Nuthatch was calling loudly and there seems to have been a mini Goldcrest arrival throughout. Others present were GSW, 2 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare and the gulls.

Soil Hill Buzzard

Common Buzzard being chased by c60 Crows and 20+ Jackdaws over the reedbeds at approx 1135hrs. It appeared to have flown in from the W and when it reached Denholme Rd it turned SE, skirting the road until I lost it in the vicinity of Keelham farm shop.

Also present: 2 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipit, 30 Lapwing, 2 Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Blackbird. The large gull contingent have moved elsewhere and the Partridges now seem to have seperated i.e c11 RLP & 9 Greys.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Run Around

This little blighter with it's fidgety habits gave me lots of chances to run my camera to a standstill.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Dice Too Nice

Responding to a msg from BS about HC seeing a pr Swan sp. heading over the Ogden Res area I went up for an inspection at 1430hrs.  No Dice - no such bird on the drink, just the BHG crowd. In fact it was sickeningly sunny and bright with plenty of homo sapiens abounding. I had the shortest tour round I've ever made but got some joy with my first Redpoll for months flying over the water N and calling. There was a Grey Wagtail present also but no migrant thrushes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Similar route

We must have had the same idea, Nigel, but I went for the early shift.

Ned Hill 7:00- 8:15 swirling and chilly mist. Some mechanical clanking noises from your domain early on.
35 Meadow Pipit
44 Woodpigeon
6 Redwing
4 thrush sp
2 Alba Wagtail

Just 17 Long-tailed Tit and a count of 137 Mallards to add and I heard a Nuthatch on the path up to..

Giant's Tooth area 9:15-10:15
424 Redwings (It must have been my turn)
8 Fieldfare
3 Jay  to add. Most groups in the earlier part of the hour. Some groups dropped down into the clough and re-appeared higher up  before heading off over the moor.

At home, the Nuthatch cache must now  be at bursting point. There was a ringed Blue Tit on the feeder and  I've been trying to piece the number together from photos.

A Lively Day

A good session, reaping in the expected migrants in a warm bright day with predominant NE fresh wind. O' course on top of Soil Hell it weren't just fresh.

OGDEN RES (SE03 Q) SIGHTINGS 0955-1040hrs.
Black-headed Gull c25
Brambling 1 - Seen and alarm calls heard in bush by Lodge House
Coal Tit 3
Dunnock 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 - On Lodge House feeder.
Green Woodpecker 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Robin 2
Blue Tit - several
Chaffinch 5
Common Gull 2
Fieldfare 7
Great Tit 2
Greenfinch 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 6
Redwing 8
Woodpigeon 1
Total number of species 18

Blue Tit
Chaffinch 25 - Flying N
Kestrel 1
Red Grouse 1
Skylark 1
Brambling 1 - Calling from conifer.
Fieldfare 16 - Flying N
Meadow Pipit 9
Redwing c76 - Blogging; difficult count could have been half as many again
Snipe 2
Total number of species 10

Saturday, October 09, 2010


The fog was very much a factor in this mornings session on Soil Hell from 0945 - 1045hrs. I did consider trying to identifying birds by touch, but they wouldn't play.

Skylark, 4/5 Meadow Pipit, c45 Linnet. Despite the predominant E/SE fresh wind not a thrush species was to be heard, let alone seen.

Evidence of movement came in the form of a 21 Partridge sp. count, the majority being Grey. Also flushed on the W side of the N slope were 5 f Pheasant. A raptor (most likely a Kestrel) being chased by a group of Crows put up a large flock of mixed Gulls - c200 birds.

A Snipe and Golden Plover were flushed; the former from the N slope, latter from top field.

PS Respite at last. Heard contact calls through open door at 1630hrs so I shot into the back yard and nailed upto 20 Redwing into or over the nearby trees in the back field.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Good Day Out

Set off from my hovel just as 6 Long-tailed Tit landed in the Hawthorn at the back, which is the most I've had here. Soil Hill was very iffy until I left it, when at 1110 hrs a skein of PFG went straight over the spot I'd stood in 15 minutes earlier and fairly low down too. They were heading NW to TMR and I quickly guestimated c150 birds; if there was anyone up there to count them more accurately, I accept their figure.

Ogden Res had the Wigeon present and also these infamous birders who were heading for Fly Flatts, so I tagged along.
The Twite Guardians of Fly Flatts

By the former Withens Pub, Dave mentioned a particular field was good for Wheatear. He wasn't joking; 10 seconds later we were watching 3 Wheatear, this one chewing on a caterpillar.

Fly Flatts was deadly quiet, but as we approached the purpose of Dave and Jen's visit - the Twite feeding station, things picked up big time.

23 of these little beauties, were busy feeding and some were seen bathing. It was impossible to judge ringed legs from unringed, I gave up at 3 with and 4 without. Also present 2 Stonechat and a Meadow Pipit.

I'm off for me tea now

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ned Hill

Sorry for belated post.
I've been up to Ned Hill for the past couple of days to see what the weather produced (interesting clouds and a novel view of Wainhouse Tower). Yesterday, 93 Meadow Pipits passed in 2 hours. There was a group of 15 Chaffinches and one of 17 Goldfinches. 1  Grey Heron went north. There were 2 Alba and 1 Grey Wagtail on the farmhouse roof below. 3 Skylarks came across from Ogden and headed towards the top of the hill. Down at Green Lane, a Little Owl was sunning itself and one field held 80 Common Gulls with a few BHG but BHG were concentrated in another field further along - I counted 132.

Today  23 Meadow Pipits in the same time period and only 2 Goldfinch but there were 2 Swallows. 10 LBB went south. A Pheasant was feeding along the track and a Green Woodpecker dropped into the field below. Many fewer gulls down at Green Lane with 56 BHG and 15 Commons.

We still have Nuthatches coming in but less frequently and the Brambling was a two day wonder.