Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, February 28, 2010


The jackdaw/rook/crow roost was good at Yews Green on Saturday evening.
The nex pylon had a similar sized flock as well.
Still got a pair of bullfinches in the garden.

Cuba was good as well!

Ringby Top

Snow on the hills above HalifaxPlenty Corvids
28/02/2010   Cold NW>5 , Cloudy and dry pm
Hunting the mystery bird!
The manure field held the goods as usual with the 23 Skylarks feeding and when flushed the small bird was in amongst them. I kept the bins on it in flight for some 5 mins then the Skylarks went down in the grass field at the other side of the track whilst the small bird landed in a tree by the track side. Although in flight it was very pale underneath it was a very dark bird when landed. As I edged nearer I could see it was a Twite but when I,d edged near enough to get a photo 3 women with dogs came on the track and flushed it into the grass field. I later got 2 Reed Buntings near the horse field and a quick glimpse of another bunting size bird which disappeared to the far end of the manure field. All I got to go on was a black bib so this was probably another Reed Bunting ?
Nice to meet the finder of the bird in the shape of a frozen IG who was hot with dashing up to meet me but soon cooled off on the summit. Well found yesterday Iain.

Ogden / Back Lane

Hungry PheasantSong Thrush in song90% Freeze up

28/02/2010  0730- 0930hrs   Cloudy, dry. icy cold N>3
No access around the reservoir again due to the powers that be closing the gates !
Most bird activity around the Rhododendrons  with several Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks in song.
Fleeting glimpse and a call from a Nuthatch on the top track below Back Lane.

1 Nuthatch
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Song Thrush
1 Pheasant.
Hoped for Goldeneye  as DCB has a reservoir full at Oxenhope but not to be.

10 Skylark     >NE    5.  3.  2.
2 Golden Plover  > E
19 Lapwing  >E
2 Meadow Pipit  >NE

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shibden Head

This afternoon:

Green Woodpecker
Great-spotted Woodpecker
4 Fieldfare

Lots of Crows and Jackdaws calling and displaying made for a lovely spectacle and overall there was far more bird song than I've heard in the valley for ages.


Keep the faith; they're on their way. 
These were taken in southern Spain, just over a week ago. As usual, masses of Chiffchaffs wintering there, but stacks (literally) of House Martins coming in on a couple of days.


Acting on a mysterious txt forwarded to me from BS, I went to Swalesmoor (Ringby Top) to view the Skylark flock for any possible interloper. Dave Pinder was with me and we stayed from approx 1430 - 1530 hrs in mainly dry weather, with a 15 minute max spot of light snow. Visibility was alright, never bad and after 8 sweeps of the 23 strong Skylark flock can confidently report there was no candidate among them for a panic attack. Other:

Pied Wagtail, imm LGGB > NE, Goldfinch and oodles of Crows and Jackdaws.

Thanks for the lift Dave.

Ogden & Soil Hell

Ogden at 1005hrs was more promising that the previous visit, with the woodland birds being fairly vocal. Of interest was a single Greylag Goose that flew over, circled and then headed S. Others:

Jay, GSW, Green Woodpecker, 7 Goldfinch, Bullfinch, 14 Woodpigeon, 2 Pheasant. 

I went  to Soil Hill to see what state it is in; it's in a right state. No one of sound mind should be up there - looking forward to your report tomorrow Brian!

Grey Heron, 2 Skylark (one in full song) Greenfinch, Dunnock.

Hard to accept that in 15 days or so, we can expect Wheatear.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big Mistake

Today was the most miserable birding experience I have had in my nigh on 10 year incarceration in them thar hills. Partly my own fault; I reckoned on the rising temperature and thaw, I didn't reckon on the mist staying.

Ogden & Plantation 1005 hrs. Respectively, Nuthatch calling overhead; Fieldfare in berry bush.

End of story.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sandbeds Loss of Habitat

This piece of information, I'm sure, will upset some Queensbury residents, but on the other hand, others may think it a worthwhile sacrifice. Click here for the news.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ogden & Surrounds

Ogden Res approx 1310hrs rather boring until 5 Siskin parked above my head.

There were a lot of the usual Gull sp. on the ice as well as 5 Canada and the Barnacle Goose.

Back Lane and Plantation produced 2 LBBG, 4 Pheasant, Stock Dove and a great close up view, if brief, of a lighter phase plumage Tawny Owl.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dailie & Shibden

Dailie Fields 20/02/10 - p.m

Little Owl
15 Fieldfare
4 Goldfinch

Shibden Head 21/02/10 - p.m

Grey Wagtail


Know what you mean Dave, was watching them today in the blizzard. I know they,re hardy but they should be inside in this weather. The RSPCA are looking into these two and two old horses down Ploughcroft that have been reported by residents but a mate who lives down Ploughcroft says little can be done as long as they are fed and watered. BS

Darrells Kites

To see Kite photos as you,ve never seen before go onto Darrell Prests Green Withens blog and double click the photos, they,re awesome !

Ringby Top

Skylarks in the blizzard.

21/02/2010  pm  Bright with low cloud then heavy blizzard.
After aborting this mornings trip due to impossible weather I headed for Ringby Top at 1430hrs only to end up in the middle of a blizzard on the summit.
Only 6 hardy Skylarks were present and the usual large flock of corvids plus 1 disorientated Herring gull flying low and >E.
One dramatic fall nearly produced a broken leg but otherwise the trip was uneventful.  BS

Goodbye Sean Gray

I have taken the liberty to post this link from our friends and colleagues in Halifax Birders and add that I too wish Sean Gray all the best in his new venture and consider it a privilege to have met him.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor) and Ogden

Still 17 Skylark at Swales this morning along with 1 Sparrowhawk high >W and 2 Grey Partridge.

Another single Skylark high >N over Ploughcroft

Couldn't find much at Ogden - 60%+ of the res'r frozen again.The feral type Barnacle Goose and and it's frendly Canada Goose are at Mixenden Res'r.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yet more winter !

The walk home from work tonight with yet more snow and fog. Still snowing now at 2050hrs with roads nearly stopped. What did DCB put on his blog at the weekend, Spring is here at last ?

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

18 Skylarks this morning and 100+ Carrion Crows

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Top; View over Halifax this morning
Lower; 14 Skylarks on this area at Swales Moor today
Also 1 Skylark over Ploughcroft high >NE
4 Herring Gull >W
2 Sparrowhawks and 1 Kestrel over

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor) and Ogden

Ringby Lane
Nothing moving, although it was quite misty up there this morning
5 Skylark and 1 male Reed Bunting on the top.
2 Little Owls and 3 Stock Dove at Ploughcroft

Syke Lane;
c230 Pink-footed Geese >NW (c110 at 11.50 and c120 at 12.00)
12 Lapwings >S at 11.45
c80 Fieldfare
c120 Starling

1 Green Woodpecker
1 Stock Dove
White Carrion Crow near the top of Field Head Lane (1st sighting for around 2 years)!
c90 Starling
Herring Gull 1 >W

Ogden & Soil Hell

Started off as a 'Why Bother?' sort of day but definitely got better in the murk and light rain/sleet.

Ogden Res 1005 hrs. 6 Canada Goose & 1 Greylag, which remained in the middle of the res, calling loudly and frequently. A male Sparrowhawk made a pass through the Lodge House garden where previously a GSW had been on the feeder.

Also present: Kestrel, Jay, 2 more GSW, 2 Green Woodpecker, 6 Goldfinch, 4 Goldcrest and the usual. I took a walk along the back track and skirted up the hillside to Back Lane. This proved to be a good move as I picked up a pr Nuthatch & pr Treecreeper in company together.

Back Lane sported a platoon of Magpie, several Woodpigs, 2 Moorhen and 12 Lapwing in the fields briefly before they moved off. I was in the plantation taking the footpath to the Hill from Hell when I got two texts from BS re movement of  PFG. Thanks for this but I was heading in the wrong direction, under the cover of both trees and eventually mist.

Soil Hill approx 1205 hrs. Kestrel, 6 Skylark, Grey Heron, Goosander > W and the unusual sight of 7 Canada Goose > E with a poss Imm GBBG in tow.

Sorry about the poor images.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ringby/Roper Lane /Soil Hill

 Two views of Sentry Hill,the rise in the foreground.DCBs 2nd watchpoint taken from Soil Hill. His 1st watchpoint,the reservoir can be seen on the lower picture to the left with Sentry on the right.
14/02/2010  pm.  Slight NNW>3, cloudy

3 Skylark
1 Reed Bunting
4 Herring Gull >W
6 LBB Gull     >W
2 Raven calling  > SE over Shibden valley

8 Fieldfare
11 Common Gull
1 Kestrel.

SOIL HILL,  dug to bits but still giving pleasure
2 Skylark
6 Meadow Pipit
1 Heron on NK pond
28 Lapwing in lower fields
c200 Starling in lower field
2 GBB Gull >NW
2 Herring Gull >NW
All birding done at bottom as bulldozer working the summit.Must have a deadline ?
Not long now for the call of the Curlew and an early Wheatear.

Ogden and Back Lane

Water still part frozenRobins up singingBack Lane Plantation

14/02/2010    0800-1000hrs   icy cold NW>4  Bright.

A keen frosty morning with bright blue skies but very little in them although DCB at Oxenhope was getting a slight Skylark and Meadow Pipit move. Birds of the day was 4 Crossbill which flew from the Back Lane plantation across to the Giants Tooth area, otherwise generally poor.

3f  1m Crossbill
1 Pheasant
4 Meadow Pipit on moor
Sev singing Robins and Dunnocks
2 Wrens
Usual gulls and Mallard on water
Pintail duck decided not to wait for me and has moved on.
CKs car parked up by mine but no sign of owner.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Bunting

A Snow Bunting came in from the East and circled a field calling; passing low overhead twice then >W. It looked like it might land towards Bradford Old Road but I couldn't retrace it. Perhaps it was just flying low and following the downhill contour of the land.

An interesting interaction ensued when I was looking for the bird. A woman stared at me for some time stony faced. I waved and said "hello" and she continued to just stare; I politely pointed out I was on a public footpath and asked was there a problem of some sort; she said "You're not passing thru tho are ya, you're jus bein bloody nosey"! At which I could but laugh.

Hag Ln area:

2 Spadge Hawks M and F
1 Skylark
12 Common Gulls
14 Black Headed Gulls (1 with a full hood was a welcome sight).
1 Goldfinch
8 Redwings
6 Mistle Thrushes
1 Jay
Great Spot heard drumming briefly.

Roper Lane

Raven over Roper Lane at 12.15pm heading NW.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor) and Ogden

Ringby Lane - on the top
6 Skylark
1 male Reed Bunting
7 Stock Doves
80 Carrion Crows

3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and that was about it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Crushing Boredom

The bright cold weather made for terrible birding today, I was glad when it was over, not that it really ever started. Best bird I reckon was a Redpoll over Bradshaw, calling before I got my bins out.

Ogden Res 1130hrs The usual Gulls etc on the drink and pr Jay creating near the Lodge House. The feeders there have been replenished and were swarming with Great & Blut Tits.
Oats Royd - rock bottom, just a Moorhen seen.

I met a student, a novice birder who asked me if her 8x42 bins were suitable for the coast to study Aythya marila. I suggested she purchase a Tele Scaup.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Expect The Unexpected Resurrected

Drake Pintail Ogden Res today at approx 1010 hrs giving very good views. Dave & Jennifer Sutcliffe also managed to turn up and get a great photo for the Calderdale Blog.

Otherwise quiet.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

One for Darrell


Big Gulls on the move

These birds were a few of the movers >NW on Sunday, 07/02/2010

Test to try put the weekends photos on by another method. BS

Thornton Viaduct

Quick walk round this afternoon produced not a lot. Only notable birds were a Green Woodpecker and 50 Common Gull with few BHGs in fields on Malt Kiln Lane

Oats Royd

07/02/2010 1430-1530hrs Misty with specks of blue sky. Calm

24 LBB gulls >NW
18 Herring gulls >NW
1 Little Owl
1 Moorhen
1 Cormorant flushed then >NW
25 Magpie
7 Siskin
2 Redpoll



Canadas in the fog

07/02/2010 o800-1000hrs Thick fog clearing slightly then rain, calm.

Another wander in the gloom with very little sign of spring . Virtually no bird song or activity in the wood and still no Goldeneye on the water although a call from DCB confirmed that there was 1 male on the water at Oxenhope.

4 Canadas
2 Redpoll
1 Green Wdpecker
4 Mistle Thrush on the wires. Syke Lane.
Usual gulls and a low count of Mallard.
Still struggling for Kingfisher, Dipper and Heron this year.

In the fog, on Saturday

A moment's optimism took me down to Shelf Moor, only to confirm that you could see "no further than your nose-end".

The garden had the usual suspects, including 15 Chaffinch, 17 Goldfinch, 6 Greenfinch (one with a white wing flash) and a drumming GSW. In addition, a Redwing and 6 LTT visited.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Ogden & Sludge

Ogden was once again disappointing. It started off OK at 1115hrs with two duetting Green Woodpecker and a Kingfisher, but then fizzled out. The Common Gull count at c30 birds outnumbered the BHG; 4 Canada were also on the drink plus the Mallard mob. The Lodge House feeders have not been replenished and the garden was empty; this would account for the feeders around the Visitor Centre being very busy with the ususal. A Stock Dove was also calling for all it's worth here and Back Lane sported 36 Woodpigeon and a Bullfinch.

Soil Hill approx 1245hrs - very difficult to negotiate owing to abundant sludge. I had the idea of creating a bathing area for a medium size Hippopotamus family, but the lack of birds would bore them. Seriously, it's pretty grim and hardly worth the effort. However, a male Peregrine flew over > NE, Grey Heron, 3 Grey Partridge, Kestrel.


walked up from town on swalesmoor road to catherine slack then across swalesmoor via ringby lane to ploughcroft .
given the fog it was not a suprise to see very little

skylark 1
reed bunting 1 male
meadow pipit 1
magpie 4
carrion crow

ploughcroft itself just across from the ski slope seems to have a good number of greenfinch(7) and house sparrows(12)

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Welcome to Darrell Prest to the Queensbury funny farm, an experienced birder who will be a great benefit to our area.

More Thrushes in the fog

04/02/2010 Mid day
Thrushes were again in evidence at mid day with 4 Mistle Thrush and 1 Song Thrush in Chapel Lane graveyard. When I returned to work 30mins later they were gone,probably due to the fact that I had my camera at the ready.
Foxhill Park was shrouded with dense fog so no observations could be made up there other than checking the trees which were bare.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mistle Thrush Movement

Foxhill. Mid day
Mistle Thrushes were on the move this lunch time all making their way west. They were coming over in threes and fours very low, some flying straight over, other settling in the park trees briefly before moving off again. A total of 23 were counted in the brief time I had in the park.
Greenfinch were also evident going in the same direction, approx 14. Perhaps this was just a move in front of the approaching snow storm.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Test posting

Redwing at Brackens Lane on Sunday.

All Change

Swalesmoor approx 1300hrs. Winds from W made for poor birding; the top field was frozen hard and I was surprised to see 2 Meadow Pipit and 4 Skylark in it. Plenty of corvids as always and thankfully two Herring Gull slouched over SW making for another annual.

I then walked down to Ploughcroft and didn't see any more birds. There was another birder walking up; we exchanged condolences and hurried on our way! I was so amazed at the empty skies, fields and bushes I walked down to Stump Cross, through Death, er, Shibden Valley - enough said.

Ogden & Shelf Moor

As Brian said, at Ogden this morning. Similar yesterday, when the highlights were 4 Bullfinch and some ice beads! I had a look for the Lapwings this morning and found 60 in the Corporal Lane field, but the Golden Plovers hadn't stayed for me.


Addendum  It took me a while to edit and post this Denise, the problem being the photos. For some reason the old issue of them being treat as 'mobile uploads' wouldn't let them post. I apologise if I cut any text out and I do think I have!