Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, July 30, 2010


I had a relapse today and tried to recapture the days of yore when I used to yomp Dartmoor. This was inspired by the fact that yet again birds were a bit thin, with one exception being TMR.

Ogden Res - yawn; just BHG and GC Grebe. Well, there was a LBBG I s'pose.

Cold Edge Rd by former Withens Pub - interesting; 2 Pied Wagtail and at least 150 (One Hundred and Fifty) Linnet.

Fly Flatts - dearie me; just 2 Swift, 4 Mipit, 2 Wheatear, some Canada.

TMR (viewed from bridle paths) Crawlin with gulls, BHG, LBBG, Common. It will be interesting to see if either DB or BV report YLG tonight as I am fairly certain one was calling, as was Herring Gull.

Others here were Kestrel, 2 Oystercatcher, many Canada, Swallows, Mipits, 2 Willow Warbler, RLP. The Red-legged Partridge was calling briefly from undergrowth at bottom of a bush, remaining unseen. Thanks to BS for suggesting the probability; playing back recorded calls confirmed the species.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another Slack Day

NK Pond (to be renamed if it don't produce waders)
Soil Hill this afternoon was again poor for birds owing to the driving W'ly wind. The wind did produce 7/8 Swift and another slight difference to yesterday were 2 Common Gull, otherwise t'was similar.

A bit more news on the development front from the main man himself. Warren Greenwood stopped to give me a lift to the site and a bit of low down thrown in too...

He confirms that, all being well, in two weeks time a Council member will attend the site for inspection and to "sign off" the necessary documents and declare the work completed. He dispelled another myth that was circulating about footpath closure and cattle grazing,- stateing it is outside his remit to do the former and never had such an intention to regarding the latter.

The picture shows that part of the hill belonging to another landowner, who was responsible for the shrub planting last year. This excavator dived into the pond and removed large amounts of mud and silt, which accounted for the brown water colour of this past two weeks or so. I find this rather encouraging in that he appears to want the pond to remain; otherwise why go to this trouble?

This BHG was one of several attending the harvesting of a field at Raggalds. A couple of Common Gull were present and a pr of LBBG went over N. One Kestrel literally made a killing by following suit - it zeroed in on some small mammal in the grass and after what seemed a long minute, carried it off.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two Pipers of Soil Hill

This is the first Piper, who was heard long before being seen; I hoped he'd pipe me down a Piping Plover.

The second Piper relates to the fact that the development on the top field does appear to be nearing it's deadline. A drainage pipe has been laid down from the SE to the NE corner. Topsoil has been laid down once more and levelled out, with just one pile of earth/rubble left for processing.

The gentleman in the picture is a resident of Perseverance Rd and reliable informant of  what juicy birds he sees. Yesterday, 27 July, at 3pm, he was lucky to find an Owl perched opposite his living room window for five minutes. He described it as a Long Eared Owl, but daren't leave his seat for his binoclulars. He can be forgiven, if it was in fact the SEO that returns around this time of year.

Now the least interesting part of the morning - hardly any birds. The W'ly wind combined with light rain seems to have driven the blighters straight through. Just a few Mipit, Linnet, 2 Skylark, 3 Swift, 3 LBBG, BHG.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Foraging for Black Redstart

DP and I were up at Soil Hill at approx 0835hrs and were met by the landowners representative who reminded us of the footpath being closed. After a further chat he kindly informed us we could search for the bird seen by BS the previous evening, providing we didn't go near any working machinery. This is worth remembering for any other would be seekers of juciy birds.

There was no sign at all of a Black Redstart in any area of the top field, including the track alongside Ned Hill. However, when we got down to the bottom RH pond we had cause to check our pulses and ruminate a while. A chat sized bird with a grey back, indicative of juv/female Black Redstart was seen to fly from the mud into shrubbery and disappear. We never saw the bird again upon returning to the spot a short while later, hoping for at least a glimpse of the tail. So this brief view remains inconclusive - guess I'll be up there on the morrow.

Two Willow Warbler were seen, a sure sign of dispersal and the Meadow Pipit count must have been 50+. Others: 7 Mistle Thrush, 5/6 Goldfinch, several Linnet, c8 Skylark, c8 LBBG, 2 Reed Bunting, Wheatear.

Cold Edge Dams

No sign of Black Redstart nor Groppers. But by jove there were two very friendly horses gallopin up n down. Several Linnet, pr Swift, Swallows, 5BHG, Oystercatcher, 2 LRP, 2 Dunlin, Geese.

FW: Black Reds

From C Shields

Subject: Black Reds

The finding of two Black Reds in Soil Hill area reminds me of a record back to 1980s of a family party in the Bradshaw area. The area just south of the telephone box at the top of the village (on 2 and a half inch map) where the 26 bus used to turn round would be worth a look. There is a network of footpaths here that criss-crosses the stream. Denise and I suspected that they may have bred near the spoil heaps, but they were not seen again.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

SWly over t'hill

After missing DJS Black Redstart at Cold Edge by probably less than an hour yesterday, I thought I'd see if similar had turned up at Soil Hill around 1415 hrs. No Dice and with a killer SWly wind, I didn't expect much else either.

Usual Mipits, Linnet, Skylark and seemingly ever increasing Woodpig population. Kestrel, LBBG, pr Grey Partridge, pr Goldfinch, pr Swallow. One Meadow Pipit decided to ignore the fact that most of it's pals are thinking of leaving - this nest was just a few metres from the top field.

On return home with bins safely tucked away in pockets, I noticed at distance a big 'orrible brown job head NW over Queensbury CC. C'est la vie.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All Quiet on SH

Soil Hill 1415 hrs in a cool very fresh E/NE. Started badly, discovering a still born calf nr Sun Farm and didn't get any better really after informing the landowner.

Mipit, Linnet, Skylark numbers all reduced. At least the gulls returned - 5 BHG & 8 LBBG in mixed directions. Star of the afternoon was a once common bird here until last winter - Stonechat.

Others: 45+ Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Kestrel, c10 Swallow. Raggalds had 4 Swift and Pied Wagtail carrying grub.

On a different note Blogger has introduced it's own Stats tab and it's much better than Sitemeter. You can see the paltry number of people who view your blog and the limited places they do it from!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


SH today 1415 - 1520hrs a bit different in that I didn't get any gulls and the Woodpig count shot up to c47 birds. Otherwise no big change with Mipits, Linnets and Skylark hanging around. The latter, 10 in number contained one individual still carrying food and calling.

Talking about food, one Kestrel went hungry at least for a while as it tried whacking out a Starling on the deck but missed. I got about 6 notes out of the Whitethroat and maybe half a wind of the reel from the Gropper, however of the 4 Reed Bunting present, two were very vocal.

Swift outnumbered Swallow by about 7 - 3.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ogden & Cold Edge

Ogden Res approx 0950hrs failed to turn up any waders after the BS Bonanza of yesterday, but it did throw up my first GC Grebe of the year for the location. Among the BHG were 5 LBBG, including one pale bird worthy of further inspection; the bird obviously knew this and promptly flew off. The only other action was provided by a moving flock of Blue & Coal Tit, with a couple of Willow Warbler.

DP then drove us up to Cold Edge Dams which was quiet in the main although it did produced a couple of highlights. The only wader on the mud was an Oystercatcher, which remained, despite the interest of at least two passing hound dogs. Around 18 Lapwing were moving about in the sky but never did drop down to the shore. I got a brief view of a large distant bird which then drifted out of sight before it could be confirmed.

Then pleasant surprise No.1 - a deep krokking noise got me eardrums throbbing, followed by another two calls. Sure 'nuff above our bonces heading N was a big ole Raven, which then took pity on us and half circled above our heads. As we both danced with glee (my first for the year and DP first for Yorkshire) it's mate came in from the E and they both headed of W.

Encounter No.2 was DJS complete with telling scope on the lower dam. He reported a Buzzard which probably confirms the a/m large bird I'd seen earlier. Despite a thorough scan, Dave too didn't see any other waders.

Still plenty of Linnet, Meadow Pipit and a couple of Willow Warbler. 5 BHG, 3/4 Greylag along with 6 Canada geese.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday afternoon

As I drove home from work for the last time yesterday (retired!) around 40 Lapwings flew across the road just below the Corporal Lane field. Auspicious-maybe I'll get out more now...

I had a quick look this morning but they hadn't come down in any of the usual spots. 

Soil Hill Story

Some old stagers are familiar with this, but for any interested newbies click here

Friday, July 16, 2010

Soil Hill Once More

SOIL HILL SIGHTINGS FOR Friday, 16 July, 2010 1410 - 1615 hrs.
Blackbird 2
Golden Plover 1 - stopped for few minutes on top field then off.
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 27 > W
Magpie 2
Meadow Pipit c12
Reed Bunting 3
Starling c10
Swift 1
Carrion Crow c18
Goldfinch 1
Kestrel 1
Linnet c40
Mallard 3
Pheasant 1
Skylark 7
Swallow 2
Woodpigeon 2
Total number of species 18

Swalesmoor to Ploughcroft

SWALES MOOR SIGHTINGS FOR Friday, 16 July, 2010 1040 - 1140 hrs.
Blackbird 1
Carrion Crow c25
Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 2
Linnet 5
Meadow Pipit 8+
Song Thrush 1
Swallow 1
Willow Warbler 2
Bullfinch 1
Common Gull 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Magpie 2
Skylark 10
Stock Dove 5
Swift 1
Woodpigeon 2

Total number of species 18

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ogden Lousy SH...

SOIL HILL SIGHTINGS FOR Wednesday, 14 July, 2010

Carrion Crow c10
Goldfinch 5
Lapwing 6
Linnet c23
Reed Bunting 4
Stock Dove 1
Swift 6
Woodpigeon 4
Dunnock 1
Grey Partridge 8
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Meadow Pipit 9
Skylark 8
Swallow 2
Whitethroat 1

Total number of species 15

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Black Dyke Mills

The Gull Roost on the flat topped shed roofs kicked off again today; there were two Common Gull and 10 BHG present at around 1410 hrs. I watched them for the first time last year, noting that circa 50 seemed to be the highest count before April departure.

There appeared to be a large raptor floating high above Swalesmoor this morning at 1209hrs. I saw it from the bus without binoculars and no mobile to alert people, tut, tut.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Out in the Rain

Ogden Res approx 1000hrs. 5 LBBG still present; 5 others had just taken off > SE. c30 BHG & 3/4 Common Gull also present but once again not a single wader.

Cold Edge Dams approx 1110 hrs. c25 Linnet, 4 Curlew, 15 Lapwing, 2 Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, 8 Swift. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at close range in the field behind the modern farmhouse.

I had a puzzle bird fly over S below the ridge. It appeared bigger than any of the large gulls but was all white with rounded wings. I considered the White Crows in the general area then Little Egret crept into the picture because of the size. On this basis I sent a txt to DJS (with reservations) who later reported back that he did not see it. After further thinking about the flight pattern, I am not happy with LE and will not be submitting a Birdtrack report as such.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Park Lane

A post breeding influx of birds into the garden this weekend, including a  Jay family of 2 adults and two young. A Nuthatch has dropped in on both days-it seems to be travelling around with a tit flock which is at least 20 strong. It just stops for a quick drink rather than using the feeders. Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Goldfinches are coming to the feeders in low numbers. Young birds seen include: Coal Tit, Dunnock and Robin. We've seen very few young Blackbirds. The GSWs were successful and two different young birds come in frequently. A pair of Bullfinch visited on Thursday and the female was here again on Saturday. 


Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Capella Locustella

Soil Hill 1300 hrs Grasshopper Warbler reeling big time from sedges until I left the area at 1345hrs. I managed to get two very brief glimpses of it but my attempts at recording were futile owing wind and background noise.

Other birds besides Mipits and Skyarks: Pied Wagtail, 4 Lapwing, BHG, 2 LBBG, 3 Reed Bunting, circa 20 Linnet. Whitethroat highly visible as it sang from wires; at one stage I thought I'd heard another singer too.

I bumped into a local chap who has been in touch with Bradford Council, apparently the works on the top field are due to cease within 3/4 weeks. He is to phone the council back on Monday for further details and I'll learn more next time I see him. Allow me to comment for you: Don't Hold Your Breath!

Thornton Swifts

Checked out the viaduct this morning and swifts were everywhere. Over 25 birds, hard to count them but there were a lot compared to the normal 10 you can count. I suspect some of these maybe fledglings so good news on that front, won't be long till they head south

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sand Martin

The mystery continues: certainly one, possibly two Sand Martin over Ford > N at approx 1700 hrs this evening from direction of Shibden Head.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Way out West

Well, North West to be almost precise beyond the county. DP kindly drove us to watch a successful brood of Peregrines that had been raised in an old Raven's Nest.

Twas great watching these birds perform at a distance which was both safe for them and not close enough for adequate photography! DP did see the luckiest Grey Partridge on earth as it ran across the top of the ledge where all 5 birds were within striking distance. Or, perhaps they don't go for potential prey on the ground close to their domain.

Otherwise it was quiet but there were Cormorant, 5 LBBG & 4 Oystercatcher around.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

More Hill Hell

Soil Hell approx 0950 hrs. Welcomed by a sign over the track saying Footpath 18A temporarily closed - I'll investigate later. Then I saw this machinery, plus a van which drove toward me as I walked up the track. I veered off left and skirted the top field and was left alone. On the RH side of these pics is a depression about 1.4 metres deep. I would like to think it was part of the supposed scrape promised over two years ago, but the expense of hiring such machinery tells me it isn't so.

Fortunately, today birds were quite active:

2 Blackbird, 2 Dunnock, 2 Kestrel, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, 5 Swift, several Swallow. Whitethroat singing from favoured location. 10 LBBG > W, Herring Gull > W.

12 Woodpigeon; Meadow Pipits and Skylark down to single figures. A flock of  Linnet numbered circa 48 and a nice surprise - 2 Redpoll calling > SW.