Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shibden Head

This afternoon:

2 Nuthatch
Grey Heron
4 Long-tailed Tit
Green Woodpecker

Also, Ringby Top - 4 Skylark, Kestrel. Windy Bank - Sparrowhawk.

Ringby Top / Ploughcroft

Studley Pike from Ringby Top
31/01/2010 pm Cold NNW>4. Bright

Unfortunately the day did,nt get much better from this morning but at least January has gone now.
Got some more seed down near muck piles, near styles and banking above bonfire site although Daves was rapidly being devoured with a flock of Partridge ( I know its not a flock but I can,t think of the word ).
Strangely no Little Owl at Ploughcroft.

9 Grey Partridge
14 Magpie
1 Skylark
usual corvids.

11 House Sparrow
1 Green Wd Pecker
22 Woodpigs in field
9 Magpies
1 Dunnock

Thats the end of todays doom and gloom reports.
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Littlemoor to Shelf Moor

Some activity today all round as I had c40 Fieldfare and a Redwing in Littlemoor at approx 1220hrs then one hour later a very similar count down in the Bracken Lane area of Shelf Moor. Also at Littlemoor Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, parties of Blue & Great Tit, 8 Goldfinch, Greenfinch, 2 Chaffinch, Kestrel and 7 Woodpigeon.

Shelf Moor - 50+ Lapwing moving from the Bracken Lane area to the field amidst High Cross & Cross Lanes. 13 Woodpigs, pr Stock Dove and a nice annual in pr Little Owl showing well but too far for photos.


31/01/2010 0800-1000hrs bright but icy cold
Its hard work this year with a near birdless morning. The reservoir is now clear of ice apart from a small area at the northern end but this failed to tempt anything down. Passerines around the fringes of the wood were non existent and the skies were empty.
Back Lane also proved fruitless apart from a number of birds on the feeders up there. Birds of the day were 2 Fieldfare >E and I,d have missed those if I had,nt met up with Denise and had them pointed out. Nice to meet you again Denise, sorry that the dogs were in a noisy mood.

84 Common Gull
15 BH Gull
1 Canada
1 Barnacle
Usual Mallard but low numbers
2 Fieldfare >E

Back Lane - feeders
2 Coal Tits
1 Gt Spotted Wdpeck
Chaffs, Greenfinchs Robins and Dunnocks.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shelf Moor

30/01/2010 1500hrs
Hawthorn field

76 Lapwing
11 Golden Plover
2 Pied Wagtails
4 Mistle Thrush
2 Fieldfare

By 1615hrs the field was deserted.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Updates - Contact Point

I've tidied up the LH column a bit as it was getting cluttered. The Contact Point has been replaced by a form (I like being nerdy) and finally we have put Bradford's disciple to rest.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Circular Tour

Nothing spectacular but plenty of activity this morning. Bradshaw 0945hrs - Mistle Thrush, 6 Fieldfare.

Ogden Res 1005hrs - c100 BHG, c20 Common Gull, 8 Canada Goose and a f Sparrowhawk circling over the water. A party of 4 Goldcrest had a Treecreeper in tow but I couldn't id a distant party of 7 small finches; their silence not helping matters. Also 3 Jay, GSW, 2 Moorhen, 3 Pheasant and the usual.

Soil Hill is now only good for transient birding en route home but it was better than the trip earlier this week, just. 2 Grey Heron, 4 Woodpig, 2 Kestrel, 2 BHG & 7 Common Gull, 8 Magpie.

Mountain - 10 Fieldfare, Grey Wagtail.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wide Area Bird Ringing Group

I've added Wharfedale & Calderdale Bird Ringers to the the LH side column under Birding Links as it provides some information on the movement of birds in the broad area covered by Calderdale birders and BOG.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Tawny Owl, male singing at Stodfold (just below the golf course) mid afternoon.
c70 Rooks feeding in the fields near Cold Edge Road along with a few Jackdaws and Carrion Crows
Golf Course and Ogden res'r very quiet birdwise today with just 1 flyover Siskin

c300 mixed B H Gulls and Common Gulls at mid-afternoon roost at Mixenden Res'r

Swalesmoor & Oats Royd

Swalesmoor 1345hrs remarkably quiet. Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, Goldfinch, m Reed Bunting. This time 2 Bullfinch turned up to feed on the embankment nr the track side. Usual corvids but I failed on Gulls.

Oats Royd 1445hrs - Grey Heron, 2 Moorhen, Green Woodpecker, 8 LTT, 10 Goldfinch, 50 Jackdaw > N, 8 Woodpigs, 3 each Chaffinch & Greenfinch.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor) and Ogden

WOW it was cold up there this afternoon!!
On the top (manure field)
4 Skylark
1 male Reed Bunting
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Pied wagtails
4 Herring Gull >S
usual corvids

7 Fieldfares
12 Greenfinch
1 Stock Dove

Ogden (res'r now about 40% open water)
1 Little Owl on the edge of Back Lane plantation
c40 Fieldfares and c20 Starlings on Syke Lane

Soil Hill 2010

I went up to Hades for the first time this year and would have had a fine blank if it weren't for 3 Magpies and Crows. The only other birds were a Kestrel and a singing Robin further down Perseverance Rd.

Excavation and dumping has been going on surprisingly, despite the chronic weather until recently. Inroads have been made into the N slope and another large chunk of heather has been removed from the top field.

Raggalds flood was also quiet with a pr Mallard and Common Gull, however there was quite a flotilla of Corvids in the adjacent field.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ogden - Cold and Wet

Needed to do my BTO WeBS survey today for Ogden Reservoir so set of down there in the gloom. Wish I had done it yesterday! The reservoir is still mostly frozen over so it was easy to find the birds. Counted 108 Mallard, 2 Canada Goose, 20 BHG and 6 Common Gull. Like BS, didn't find much else in the woods. 2 Treecreeper were my best.

Ogden in the fog and rain

24/01/2010 0800-1000hrs Early thick fog followed by heavy rain clearing to leave drizzle and low cloud. W>3

Seem to have had the same problem as Denise today as I also couldnt post until now for some unknown reason.
A miserable morning at Ogden in the cloud and wet with very little bird activity.
The Lodge feeder provided the only birds of the day but these were the usual species.
Reservoir still 95% frozen and paths closed which doesnt help.

2 Canada Geese
1 Jay
1 Gt Spotted Wdpeck
usual Chaffs, Tits etc
All in all a bit of a washout,roll on next Sunday.
Nice to meet CK doing his web count.

Posting Problems

Dashed if I'll let these gremlin boundahs prevent the posting of avian information eh what? One of the gels this morning couldn't post from her country residence, I had to cancel the morning croquet to sort matters.

If this doesn't post, I'll have those responsible horsewhipped and sent to Botany Bay. Now, where's my Tanqueray and 'baccy.

Via Email

I was about to post on the blog this morning:
Lots of finches in the garden today, including 26 Goldfinch and a Brambling. The Lapwing count was up to 63 at Shelf Moor, when I passed yesterday afternoon.
However, it appears that I've passed my sell-by date, invitation-wise, and need to contact Brian-or, presumably, you? I don't have Brian's e-mail.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ogden Res

Now 3 Canada and Barnacle Goose. 2 GSW, Treecreeper & Nuthatch, the latter showing well but too quick for photos. Otherwise, just the usual players although c90 Fieldfare & Jay at Back Lane.

Previously I had been at Oats Royd where the songbirds were giving it some. I had a real frustrating 5/6 minutes as I was stuck in an ice patch when a party of large Gull sp went W. I daren't risk breaking a limb by raising my bins and I couldn't even dance up and down in rage! Finally, I managed to get one straggler at distance which was possibly Herring Gull.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A welcome visitor

21/01/2010 2245hrs
The unusual sighting of a Tawny Owl which flew across Chapel Lane rugby field and landed in trees at the junction of New Park Rd and Chapel Lane. Probably one of the Queensbury Railway Station birds.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


99.9% of the res'r still frozen over!
c20 Siskin - all feeding in the top of larch trees on the west side of the res'r (no Redpoll)
c4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Canada Goose, 1 Barnacle Goose and c60 Mallard on the ice
2 Goldcrest

Back Lane
c70 Fieldfares
1 female Sparrowhawk hunting at dusk
30+ Magpies and c12 Stock Doves roosting
c60 Rooks heading towards roost site, Bradford area
4 large gulls heading south over Soil Hill
c300 mixed B H Gulls and Common Gulls heading south at dusk (wonder if Thornton Moor is also frozen over)

Tawny Owls back

Tawnies appear to be back on territory, judging by the din at some unearthly hour this morning. One was probably in Littlemoor, whilst the other more distant call could have been down Station Rd or beyond.

I forgot to mention I was contacted by Fifi La Rue, Manager of the Queensbury Adult Film Club. A bird was sitting on the front row of the seedy establishment, staring intently at the screen. It was a Porncrake.

PS I was shown a pic on a mobile phone taken at 1320hrs today down Station Rd. A female Sparrowhawk flew into the householders garden and whacked a pigeon out, taking it with force to the ground, then carrying it off with much effort. Methinks this could be the same bird that flys down the alleyway where Brian works?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Around and About

Swalesmoor 1035hrs Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 5 Grey Partridge, Corvids. Also quite unexpectedly a female Bullfinch feeding on the landfill site track side.

Shibden Head 1145hrs - unusually quiet. Blue & Great Tits, pr Mistle Thrush, Stock Dove.

Shelf Moor 1215hrs - 2 Chaffinch, 3 Greenfinch, c20 Goldfinch at Paw Lane. The field at High Cross Lane (aka 'Horse field') now holding 37 Lapwing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A strange thing (to me at least!)

At 10.55 p.m a crow was calling very loudly and appeared to be displaying over an old nesting site in the trees opposite home. It performed some pretty nifty moves in the strong wind for about 5 minutes before drifting away.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ogden Tick

Like Brian said yesterday, Ogden still icy and potentially dangerous in parts. The promenade certainly tested your skills at staying upright and I have to say being re-routed through the woods makes sense now. The re-route made me happy in another sense too:

Nuthatch among a moving party of Blue & Great Tit; it was elusive but did call briefly.
This is a first for me at this location in 9-1/2 years of trying. Also moving with the party were a pr Treecreeper; in contrast they gave very good views.

The Dipper and  Kingfisher were close together in the embankment overflow area, both were very active.

c50 Jackdaw > N, Jay, GSW, usual Goose & Gull sp. etc.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


34 Lapwings in the "horse fields" at Shelf Moor, at the end of the afternoon.
6  Long-tailed Tit in the garden, yesterday. 


17/01/2010 a.m. Milder, drizzle and low cloud.
Most of the snow now gone but very sloppy and icy. Water still frozen over 95% and perimeter path closed.
Very quiet with an eerie silence in the woods. Several Common and BH Gulls on the ice and usual Mallard and geese in the small area of water.

38 Common Gull
21 BH Gull

Lodge Feeder
2 Gt Spotted Wdpecks
2 Reed Buntings
usual finches and tits in small numbers.
3 Siskin over info centre.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shibden Head

This Afternoon:

Began on Hill End Lane and was wondering if the fog would prevent me seeing anything when the large female Sparrowhawk flew close overhead giving lovely views.

2 Jay
Grey Heron
2 Goldcrest
8 Long-tailed Tit

A lone Fieldfare passed through at home this a.m.

No waxwing this weekend

Thought the Waxwing from last week would have been long gone by today and it was. Checked all the trees around the Fireclay Ind. site and even round the back on the old railway. Hardly any birds at all, in fact most of the berries had been eaten, only a Mistle Thrush left guarding one bush.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Greenfinches in Park Lane

We've had an influx during the past week, with up to 10 at the feeders- perhaps they're some of Mark's. We've also had maxima of 12 Goldfinches, 15 Chaffinches and 27 Blackbirds (most days we've been getting low 20s). Unusually, there have been Woodpigeons dropping in daily, with a high count of 13 yesterday. Other novelties have been Song Thrush on Sunday and Mistle Thrush on Monday. GS Woodpecker was drumming today. No Brambling, so I'm not breaking out the tea and chocolate biscuits yet, Brian!

Monday, January 11, 2010


The garden feeders were busy today which was lucky as I was snowed in anyway.
10 chaffinch
2 gs woodpecker
6 blackbirds
1 fieldfare
23 starling
+normal stuff
no bramblings or waxwing )-:
We normally have a big greenfinch flock at this time of year but there were only 6 around has someone else got them?

Blog Recording Form

Being snowed in I thought I'd pick up on what I used to do many moons ago for a laff and create a recording form - see top LH column. This really is in trial format and needs the addition of a species list to make life easier - when I shake some rust off I will do just that.

The Form and Spreadsheet has been removed from the blog for the time being.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Desolate Woods

Woodleigh rest home, have to get myself booked in here.

Shibden Head

10/01/2010 pm. Cold NE>3 Snow Showers.

Brewery Lane, Shibden Head, Cross Becks, Sewage Works and Hanging Royd.
Could,nt get onto the blog at lunch time for some reason otherwise Id have been at Thornton Waxwing hunting and by the time I saw the posting it was dark, think we need a grapevine?
Shibden valley was completely void of birds other than the Jackdaw roost, all the activity was at the top near the houses and rest home, obviously where the food was. No sign of Nuthatch but disturbance with sledging in the area.
Woodleigh and Brewery Lane
4 Collared Dove
1 Mistle Thrush
Tit Flocks
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Thornton Waxwing and Thrushes

The Waxwing was still there at lunchtime, along with about 40 Fieldfare, perhaps 4 Redwing and 2 Mistle Thrush. It was still spending most of its time in a tree in the garden opposite the Fireclay Business Park. 


Waiting for the Thaw

OGDEN 10/01/2010 a.m. Cool NE> 4 Water now 90% frozen. Paths around reservoir closed.
A very quiet morning with the usual sp on the frozen water.
Several tit flocks were about with a few Goldcrest.
The lodge feeder only held a few Chaffinch and tits.
Several Coal tits around the info centre feeder.
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Thornton Waxwing

Caught up with the Waxwing today reported by K Moir on BOG website yesterday. It was with approx 40 Fieldfares and feeding in bushes above the Fireclay Business park sign, grid ref SE084327. It's on Thornton road where the old railway line runs under the road, it's west of Simmonites 4 X 4 garage and just at the entrance to the fireclay business park. The flock spent most of their time in trees on the other side of the road to the business park then flying across to feed. Got some poor photos on my phone but better than nothing.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Shibden Head to Brewery Lane

Shibden Head approx 1040hrs: few Blue & Great Tit, 1 Coal Tit. 3 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Jay, GSW. Nuthatch put on a good show, climbing the branches and in overhead flight, calling.

Nice to meet Mark and Caroline Murray, who report a Woodcock flying across their field of view. I hope I haven't stolen your thunder Mark; perhaps you got other birds further down the valley.

Despite the efforts of a total of 5 birders there were no reports of any Brambling at Brewery Lane.

Desperate times

Just watching a wren in the garage scrating about for food. Even come down for some broken biscuits.wish i had my camera at work. Bs.

Brian Sumner.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Birding Humour

This was passed to me from Dave Pinder via Nigel.
The Brambling note on the top was for Nigel which is now on the blog. Thanks Dave.
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Queensbury Bramblings

I just received a report from my neighbour DP that an unknown number of Brambling were seen yesterday 7th Jan in Brewery Lane, Queensbury.

I duly collected my trophy from the Birding Service Station, thanks once again Brian.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


The Finished Product.

Awaiting distribution when I can get the dogs harnessed up to the sleigh.
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Late afternoon;
Res'r frozen over except one very small pool of open water at Ogden where there were c90 Mallard, 1 Canada and 1 Barnacle Goose
6 Goldcrests in the plantation - they must be struggling now in this weather!
1 Coal Tit singing!
3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 large female Sparrowhawk

Ogden Ice Rink

All the Gull and Duck gang were concentrated in a small stretch of water at the N end of the reservoir, the rest being completely iced over. I got 5 very flighty Bullfinch in the Alders at the top end and wondered if they were the northern race. I can dispell any such thoughts now after reading up; despite not calling, their size says the're not. The northern birds are real brutes, apparently.

Others: Sparrowhawk, 8 Long-tailed Tit, 12 Rook and the somewhat thinned out feeder visitors.

As I arrived home a Grey Heron flew over my roof > W.

NB Halifax Birders, if you don't know this already, there are small parties of Fieldfare and Redwing in the traffic roundabout trees by the Albion Court flats.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fieldfare numbers

Lots of Fieldfare about last few days. 100+ near Claremount; a couple of Redwing and Mistle Thrush associated with them. Smaller flocks seen (c.10-20) birds moving.


This afternoon
1 drake Tufted Duck along with the usual Mallard, 1 Canada and 1 Barnacle Goose
1 Green Woodpecker down on the golf course
2 Sparrowhawks - both males together over the golf course and displaying as one headed off towards Mixenden plantation and the other back towards Ogden
16 Fieldfares and 1 Redwing over Syke Lane


Testing sending report from skype mobile phone to blog. Test successful. Bs.

Sent from my Nokia Phone

Blogged Out

Have I got meself back into this devilish blog?
Yes, I have. I dunno what happened; it's easy to blame the computer but I wonder, Did the Beer Faeries come for me?

NB All members should have a password reset instruction from Google as a result of my meanderings around cyberspace. Please IGNORE it.

Dailie Fields 1330hrs - Barren fields more like it. Crows, Magpies and just Robin, Blue Tits, 1 Goldfinch. It was more interesting watching the usual Gull sp. in Chapel Street.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Trophies awaiting badges, plates and engraving. BS
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Skies Alive at Ringby

Corvids in the air
Corvids in the snow
The distant mast where Buzzards soar

03/01/2010 pm

DCB predicted a moving day today and once again his vis mig prediction came true.
Several reports up and down the country came in for PF Geese including the Oxenhope watch point, also big gull movement and winter thrush.
The first birds I picked up from Ringby scanning to the west was a skein of Pink Footed Geese followed by several moving Herring, LBB and GT Black Backed gulls.
2 Buzzards were observed soaring over the mast on the horizon,see bottom photo, which I think will be Saddleworth Moor as planes from Mancester were taking off just behind it.
The geese were over Studley Pike.
The hill itself held nothing other than the usual corvids and a distant Sparrowhawk.

DCB has predicted a move of waders this coming week and has started it off himself this morning with a Redshank so eyes to the skies .

28 PF Geese >WSW
4 GBB gulls >W
17 Herring Gulls >W
15 LBB gulls >W
2 Buzzard
1 Sparrowhawk
Sev Corvids.
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Long Tailed Tit
Winter Wonderland
Moon going down.

Ogden 03/01/2010 Icy cold but bright .
A bit more activity in the woods today with a good flock of Blue, Great,Coal and Longtailed tits, Goldcests and Tree Creepers all in the same area. The water was quiet and 3 parts frozen over but Mallard numbers are increasing.

32 Lapwing

11 LT Tits
2 Treecreepers
2 Goldcrest
Large Tit flock
193 Mallard
+ usual sp.

Got a mobile to mobile Skype call from HC this a.m. who,s also on line now as well as DCB.
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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Glen Cooper Bird of the Year Award

Its that time of year again and what a year its been for birds.I have comprised a list of birding highlights for 2009 showing special birds, reporters and dates which will be published on the web in due course. The list this year is 3 pages long so it shows how hard you,ve all worked in the last 12 months and though you all deserve an award we,re not out of the credit crunch yet, Im not anyway!
After a lot of discussion, votes and head scratching the decision is this :-
To be fair and spread the prize Ive gone for 3 individual birders each with their best bird and best reserve bird from the chosen finalists shown on the blog.

1st Prize Bird of the Year.........................Lapland Bunting
Reserve Bird..............................Shoveler
David and Jennifer Sutcliffe

2nd Prize 2nd best bird of the year.........Sandwich Tern
Reserve bird.........Marsh Tit
Chris King

3rd Prize 3rd best bird of the year........Pied Flycatcher
Reserve Bird........Lesser Whitethroat
Nigel Kerwin

Well done to Dave and Jen for 1st place, a very close run thing with Sandwich Tern, just clinching it with the bird remaining in the area for some days and the skills of identifying it from Reed Bunting which was also present and in one of our hardest habitats to bird on a day of terrible weather.

Well done to Chris for a marvellous inland sighting and a first for Queensbury as it flew over Soil Hill. Thanks also to the Oxenhope team DCB and HC who also sussed the i.d. of the bird.

Well done to Nigel for his Pied Flycatcher which was found in an area of Ogden which is very rarely checked. A good decision to check out the area otherwise the bird would have gone through undetected.

So there you have it, trophies will follow shortly after engraving, Id scratch the names on myself but Im not allowed anything sharp in here.

The field is wide open now for 2010 so get out there clocking them up, so far this year Im in the lead with Tufted duck but I am the only one thats reported owt yet and if nobody beats Tufted duck we,re in trouble.
Thanks to all. BS

Glen Cooper Award Background

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

I did try the site this afternoon nothing doing other than 1 male Sparrowhawk over and around 150 Carrion Crows in the ususal spot

Friday, January 01, 2010

Soil Hill

Deep drifted snow
The entrance, knee deep
The track,s there somewhere
The Summit, top of the world

01/01/2010 pm
If you,re going to have a mega dip without seeing a single bird either on the ground or in the sky you may as well get it over with on the first day, it can only get better from here.
Never the less it was well worth the effort for the breath taking views up there in the snow. The top of the hill was all accessible due to the dug up earth being frozen so you could walk mound to mound avoiding the deep snow. Conditions were ideal for winter Buntings but it was,nt to be, but never mind, just to be able to look across at the snow on Malham Cove and Ingleborough beyond made it all worthwhile.
Pleasure Factor...... 100%
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Start of a brand new year
Nice to see Tufted at Ogden

The Blizzard

Ogden 01/01/2010 Cold NW>4 Sunshine with heavy snow showers.

Very quiet on the start of the new year with no real goodies to start my list off. A flock of mobile Siskin was nice and 2 Tufted were the birds of the day. Had a chat with DCB on the new Skype system mobile to mobile which worked well, also spoke yesterday computer to computer which is a good do. My 2009 list died at 108 Qby species which was just one more than last year.

2 Tufted
7 Siskin
1 Sparrowhawk
+ usual sp.

22species this a.m.
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