Birdbrain Stuff

Monday, March 29, 2010

Brief Respite

Managed to get to the dump 1110hrs. Several Meadow Pipit, Skylarks, LBBG, 2 Grey Heron, pr Grey Partridge, 5 Wheatear.

Ogden, once again quiet. Moorhen, Pheasant, pr Curlew, pr Goldeneye. First local Oystercatcher for me flew in from Fly Flatts, circled then headed N.

Please look at BS West Yorkshire blog regarding suspension of posting for this one.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Windy Soil Hill

0945hrs really bad news SWly. Usual Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. Reed Bunting. 2 Wheatear, male and female. I got of the dump in record time and all I picked up on way back was Pied Wagtail at Raggalds; Skylark and couple of Meadow Pipit in Old Guy Rd.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


1 Green Woodpecker
1 Little Owl
1 Sparrowhawk

1 pair of Goldeneye
3 Common Gulls
1 Goldcrest
1 Redpoll flyover over the plantation

Meadow Pipits singing and displaying by the golf course
2 Skylarks singing
2 pairs of Lapwing nearby

Busy Day

Soil Hill 1110hrs - 3 Pied Wagtail, c24 Meadow Pipit & 12+ Sklyark in song and display flight. Pr Grey Partridge, 4 Lapwing, 1 Curlew and my first Snipe, chipping away in the reeds.

Blackbird, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, pr Reed Bunting and again another annual - pr of Stonechat. I believe the Wheatear I saw on Monday to be the same bird I saw today; it seemed to be hanging around what looks like very tasty habitat.

(There were no Heron today - perhaps the Frogs won)

Ogden 1230hrs. Again rather quiet, that is if you discount the very loud cheerful singing Song Thrush perched atop a conifer. Also present:

Curlew, Moorhen, Pheasant, pr Goldeneye and an industrious pr LTT building their nest.

Bradshaw Church -  48 strong Winter Thrush flock, mainly Fieldfare with a handful of Redwing.

Halifax North Bridge - pr Grey Wagtail

Garden Tick II (too)

Went into my back bedroom at 0750hrs today, where the window was open. Nearly fell over; coming through it from the trees adjacent to the back yard was the song of a Chiffchaff. I couldn't see it after nearly ripping the back door off it's hinges and set about listening to recorded calls to see if I could specifiy the sub-species.

Sufficient to say, after a discussion with BS over the phone, involving Iberian/Siberian, I am going to settle happily for the standard collybita. This is after further song and call searches as well as some time spent on 'net publications and my birdguides.

I recall one cold March afternoon, about a week earlier than today's date back in 2002 getting close up  views of a drab looking Chiffchaff in Shibden Valley.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Garden tick

While repairing a flat tyre in the kitchen I noticed a drab "gold finch" on the niger seed. It hang around for about an hour late afternoon.

Soil Hill Movement

1110hrs 10 Meadow Pipit, 11 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, pr Lapwing, pr Curlew, Kestrel. Several Mallard where flying around all over the joint.

Finally, 8 days after the date of  last years bird, a cracking male Wheatear.

The NK pond had 3 Grey Heron on it. This huge figure is a record count for me here; no doubt the frogs were getting some stick. Also 3 immature large Gulls > S, I got enough on 'em to believe they were LBBG.

Contrast Ogden approx 1230hrs - stomach grindingly quiet, only birds worth mentioning a pr Goosander and a pr LTT.

Oats Royd had a pr Canada Goose and a feisty pr domestic pure White jobs there. I got caught out on the wall where Little Owl likes to perch; the birds that kept duckin n divin turned out to be a pr Mistle Thrush.

News from afar: my cousin who lives in Denmark just phoned and casually mentioned the lake just down the way had 50 Whooper Swan on it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soil Hill

Ringby from Soil Hill
Up with the Larks
The untouched pond

Bit more levelling needed

Soil Hill pm visit.   Cloudy but clear, slight SW>3

A quiet visit with still no sign of Wheatear,surely they,ll turn up this coming week.
Extensive work still ongoing and getting dangerously close to the Skylark breeding area.
The skies were quiet but Mipits are beginning to get established up there. Looks like its down to Nigel to get us the first Wheatear this week.

7 Mallard  >NE
1 Curlew
1 Heron on the NK pond.
Sev Skylark and Mips


There are around 30 Redwings in the field at the top of Park Lane this afternoon. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Soil Hill

1410 hrs. I thought that the light rain and cloud cover might temper the effect of the dreaded Sou'Westerly today and this was in evidence, just::

3 Meadow Pipit, 9 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Mallard, Lapwing, 2 Curlew, pr Grey Partridge and a newcomer in the shape of a male Reed Bunting.

When will the Stonechat return, let alone Wheatear?

Priestley Hill

this afternoon saw well over 150 fieldfare in field behind woodyard at top of priestley hill you can get great views down footpath cos you are hidden behind the wall loads of other birds as well.

I Bruce via Contact Point


Wednesday, March 17, 2010



Carrion Crow circa 25; Jackdaw 8 ;  Kestrel 1;  Magpie 5; Meadow Pipit 5 ;  Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 1 Reed Bunting 2  ;  Skylark 13

Went to the hilly part of Oats Royd hoping for Wheatear - nowt, nada, zilch, nichts. Green Woody calling.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sickening SWesterly

Inspired by a Meadow Pipit flying over the back of my garden I went to Soil Hill at 1410hrs then remembered it was a Sou'Westerly. Too late, the die was cast, hardly any bleedin birds:

Curlew, then 3 each of Meadow Pipit, Skylark & Lapwing. Grey Partridge pr still hanging around.

On  the plus side, the topsoiling of the top field is well underway; on t'other hand looks like we will lose the bottom RH Pond due to silting and prevention of inflow.

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

1 Woodcock on the top at 08:15 headed off >W (unfortunatley it saw me first - as Woodcock do!)
3 Linnet
5 Skylark
1 Reed Bunting
2 Grey Partridge
2 Pied Wagtails
3 Kestrels together soaring over Shibden Head
2 Stock Doves
20 Woodpigeon >S
4 Meadow Pipits >N
1 Little Owl at Ploughcroft

Monday, March 15, 2010

Old Haunt Revisited

I took a trip to my favourite birding spot of yesteryear today, Knotford Nook. I last visited in 1999 in the week that 5 (I think) Red Kites were released nr Harewood. I didn't see any but wasn't expecting miracles, and in fact Red Kite has always been my nemesis bird.

How things have changed; from Pool to the bridge just above Knotford, I saw 3 Red Kite and a Buzzard. Even the latter bird was one I never saw here and it was especially welcome as it came out to play almost alongside a Kite. Also present was a Duck species I never encountered previously and there were 12 of them - Wigeon.

Others present included: 2 Greylag & 16 Canada Goose, Cormorant, 6/7 Tufted Duck, 4 pr Goldeneye, pr Goosander. Plus several Coot, Moorhen and the expected Gulls.

I also encountered 3 Brown Hare in a field with 16 Curlew and was blighted by 2 Long Tailed Tit teasing me from about 2 metres distant.


1 Great Crested Grebe this afternoon
1 pair Goldeneye
1 Dipper at Stodfold
White Crow - near Mount Zion Chapel

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shib n' Oats

Very quiet all round this aft:

Shibden Head - Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker.

Oats Royd - 2 Grey Partridge, Kestrel.

No Wheatears Today, Soil Hill

                                       The end of the rainbow

Soil Hill, pm. visit, Heavy rain showers NW>4
A quick tour of the hill,or as quick as you can ankle deep in mud, hoping for Wheatears proved fruitless. The whole of the hill was quiet and all the activity was in the SE corner.
6 Goldfinch
4 Linnet
2 Skylark
1 Kestrel.


female brambling with a pair of bull finches in the garden this morning

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Soil Hill to Ogden

Soil Hell 0945 hrs cold and windy. Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, pr Grey Partridge, Lapwing. I had some respite from the tedium - pr Greylag Goose flew in from SW, circled over, giving good views then flew NW. This is a personal first for this location.

Ogden surrounds 1110hrs.

The place was very busy, what with the Police search still evident and a race meeting being held (lots of fit b*st*rds running around).

Moorhen, 2 Pheasant, 2 Jay, Sparrowhawk, 6 Canada Goose, f Goosander and a pr Goldeneye. I managed to pick out what looked like a second year Herring Gull in the air, among the Common & BHG. Woodland birds weren't up to much, c9 Goldfinch standing out.

Ford n' Shib

This afternoon:


pr Mallard
pr Song Thrush
2 Goldcrest


2 Treecreeper
Long-tailed Tit

Finished with a female Sparrowhawk over Halifax Rd and down into Oats Royd.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

I had about an hour there first thing.
c6 Skylark - think these might be residents!
2 Pied Wagtail
2 Meadow Pipits >N

2 Little Owls at Ploughcroft

An Eventul Day

Soil Hill 0950hrs 21 Skylark, 2 Grey Heron, Kestrel, 14 Lapwing, 18 Golden Plover, pr Grey Partridge, Chaffinch and Corvids.

Ogden & Plantn. Moorhen, 2 Jay, several Woodpigs, pr Stock Dove, Green Woody, GSW.
A Skylark was singing at Back Lane and my first Curlew of the year flew over high up calling.

The Lake was a non-event as the Police were present with vehicles and a Launch, searching for a missing person.

Bradshaw 1332 hrs received a call from BS about an unidentified Buzzard sp. seen circling over Soil Hill, which I had just scanned 3/4 minutes earlier! This made me cancel my plans to go home and take the path down to Oats Royd. I had just flushed a Little Owl from a wall, close by, when I heard 4 Crows a crowin' big time, mobbing a large bird over Bradshaw.

1348 hrs I phoned BS to tell him a Common Buzzard was over my head now with 2 Crows at Oats Royd, heading SE to Shibden Head. The Crows left it, where it continued over into Shibden Valley.

After finishing off with a circling Sparrowhawk, I then was lucky enough to get a lift home by a passing friend, called in to fill BS in on the id details and went home rather elated.

25 minutes later, I was heading back to Oats Royd to pick up my glasses. I found them OK - marking the spot where I managed to take these distant pics. Doh!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Wheatears are coming

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Report  today from reliable customer of 1 Wheatear on Cow and Calf rocks, Ilkley this p.m.
This coincides with DJS report on Calderbirds via Birdguides of sightings at Otley.
Next stop Soil Hill.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

c10 Skylarks there this morning along with 1 Pied Wagtail - and that was about it - plus the wonderful view of course.

Where Good Birdies Go

View Larger Map

This is Allerton Bywater, where you can take 4 minutes to walk from the main road and see:

Cormorant 6; Shag 1; GC Grebe 2; Gadwall, a pr for the delight thereof. Wigeon, ditto. Teal 6, Shoveller similar, by now I wasn't right bothered.

More? OK - Goldeneye female, Tufted Duck a flotilla; Shelduck conveniently flying over. Greylag 6; Redshank 1; Oystercatcher 2. Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan and others I can't remember.

So that I didn't get completely overwhelmed, I came home early.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Mediocrity Enshrined

Soil Hill 1410 hrs 5 Skylark, Dunnock, Robin, Grey Heron, 19 Lapwing.

Ogden Res etc 2 Moorhen, Pheasant, Green Woody, Song Thrush, finally. 15 Canada Goose and Barnacle also usual Gulls.

Roll on the law that prohibits birding in this area.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Soil Hill

Skylarks never give up on Soil HillA temporary new scrape appears on the summit.

Soil Hill  07/03/2010  pm Calm and bright.
The quiet skies from this morning continued with very little moving. It seems now that the main of the Pinkies have gone through and have arrived on the west coast ready for the next stage of their journey. Fieldfares were still present in the fields but it wont be long before they are gone and replaced with the first Wheatear.
18 Fieldfare
4 Skylark
2 Herring Gull >NW
5 LBB Gull >NW
1 Little Owl.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Shelf Moor

06/03/2010  pm
Shelf Moor
25 Fieldfare over >E
2 Canada Geese >W
15 Lapwing in Hawthorn field

Soil Hell

I went up that Murderous Mount at 1410hrs.

Blackbird, Dunnock, 3 Skylark, Grey Heron, 22 Common Gull, 33 Lapwing.

It was great to get an annual with 21 Golden Plover putting on a show.

Also 2 Kestrel, c130 Starling and something that spooked the lot of 'em without me seeing it.

Swalesmoor in the murk

1120 - 1200hrs best visibility 15 metres. 10 minutes after I left the mist cleared (but of course).

Twite still present with 6 Skylark. Only seen once but on 3 occasions it sang, from different locations. Twice from the manure heap field and once from the field next to it heading to Ploughcroft.


Friday night 1845hrs a Tawny Owl flew up Shibden Head across the road and over the Omnibus Pub. This coincided with a report from resident of Station Rd that their local Tawny too was active.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Ogden - Back Lane
30 Lapwing
c180 Starling
2 Stock Doves
1 Grey Heron over Soil Hill

2 Treecreepers
1 Goldcrest
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Kestrel at Swales Moor this morning
5 Meadow Pipit >N
c10 Skylark
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Twite
3 Lesser Black-backed Gull >N
3 Herring Gull >E

1 Little Owl
35 Woodpigeon

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

12 Skylark this morning
1 Twite - headed off high >W
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Pied Wagtail

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Soil Hill & Ogden

SH approx 1250hrs 6 Skylark, 5 Common Gull, Grey Heron, 20 Lapwing, pr Grey Partridge.

I then went down to Ogden, which was rather fowl.
Not only did I get my first pr Goldeneye here for the year, there was also a pr Teal on the drink. These were in the middle of the water, well apart from the Mallard and 2 Canada Goose.

Also 35 Goldfinch, Nuthatch and the usual. I did hear a soupcon of a call which could have been LSW, but certainly not enough to be sure.

Buzzard Report via Contact Point

Hi guys while washing my car this afternoon I heard gulls high up making a right din looking up I saw five big gulls mobbing a big bird of prey I thought it was a Buzzard but it was too high and sun was in my eyes. this was about 1.30 and it headed off north.

PS i live moorclose area and i realy enjoy this site cheers.

I Bruce.
02 March

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

1 Twite still there this morning and giving lots of 'twangy' song from the bush
12 Skylark still around (along with song flights)
2 Grey Partridge
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Meadow Pipit over Ploughcroft >NE
2 Goosander >N

Thornton Viaduct

Had the morning off work and seen as the weather was so nice thought I’d have a walk around.
Lots of bird song today, especially from Chaffinches and Robins
2 GSWs, 2 Bullfinch, Mistle Thrush singing away, Moorhen (not seen one here for ages), Pied Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, 50 Common Gulls in fields on Malt Kiln Lane. Also Tawny Owls been very vocal last few weeks around area, think there’s at least two pairs

Monday, March 01, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

1 Pied Wagtail and 1 Twite still at the site this morning - feeding along the fence line.
The Twite is a male - lovely pink rump and singing quite a lot (sounding as if there were half a dozen there - but only one!) No rings.
1 Curlew >NE
12 Skylark on the ground + 4 >NE
1 female Linnet feeding on the manure heap then with the Skylarks
2 Grey Partridge
1 Sparrowhawk
1 L B B Gull >N
3 Common Gulls >S
usual corvids

Around and About

Dave Pinder was kind enough to offer the chance of the Ring Billed Gull at Sands Lane Gravel Pits, Mirfield, so off we went. As happens, the bird had been present but we couldn't find it and another birder confirmed he had seen it fly off prior to our arrival. We did see 4 Goosander and a Little Grebe there before DP decided Elland Gravel Pits would be a good idea.

EGP too was quiet, certainly compared to the trip Dave had taken the previous week.
8 Cormorant, 4 Goosander, 3 Little Grebe, one seen gobbling down a fish. 5 Tufted Duck were present as was this pictured oddity. Instant reaction was Tufted Duck, but there is no tuft and you can see a Mallardy sheen on the side of the head.
Also Jay, Green Woodpecker, 2 Reed Bunting and plenty of smaller gulls.

A most pleasant surprise on the way back was the re-discovery of the local Lapwings. A flock of at least 45 birds are in the Pig field, nicely ploughed by the porkers, where Whinny Royd forms the junction with Brighouse Rd.

At Home

Good to see a male Reed Bunting feeding in the lane outside home this morning in the bright sunshine, if the same individual then it's the 3rd consecutive year for this bird now which turns up around this time of year. Also a glorious pair of Bullfinch present.