Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oats Royd

Found a pair of Flycatchers this aft. which I believe to be the Spotted variety, they were very active in the trees behind the memorials.

Also seen were a Kestrel, a Little Owl and luckily got a leisurely look at a female Sparrowhawk which was perched on a wall near the track leading home.

Where Else?

Soil Hill 1415 hrs. A female Sparrowhawk came cruising past the Ned Hill track amongst a party of approx 14 Meadow Pipit and went down toward Mixenden Res. It then did me a favour and relocated the Linnet flock I missed yesterday by flushing them some 15 minutes later, on a return sweep. I watched the bird as it flew around the hill top several times amongst evern more Mipits, being mobbed by a Swallow or two.

Others: Kestrel, Mallard, Moorhen, 3 Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, House Martin, 2 LBBG, 3 BHG. There were plenty of Swallow both low down and high up.

Two Wheatear were in the Perseverance Rd corner due the W'ly breeze - one being a brightly coloured Greenland, noticeably bigger than it's mate.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Walkies to Soil Hill

SOIL HILL SIGHTINGS FOR Monday, 30 August, 2010 0835-1005 hrs.
Black-headed Gull 4
Common Gull 1
Goldfinch 2
Kestrel 2
Linnet 7
Mallard 1
Red-legged Partridge 2 - flushed from a couple of metres
Skylark 7
Starling c25
Swallow 12+
Woodpigeon 5
Carrion Crow 8
Dunnock 1
House Sparrow 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3 - one having jet black, chrome finished mantle.
Magpie 2
Meadow Pipit c60
Reed Bunting 2
Sparrowhawk 1 - juvenile
Stock Dove 3
Wheatear 1                           Total number of species 21

Old Guy Rd on the way up at approx 0800hrs had 30 Meadow Pipit and a Common Gull. On the return leg at around 1035hrs there were 5 Pied Wagtail and 11 Linnet at Raggalds, with a few Swallow throughout.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Better Day

Although the morning didn't start off too clever with me skilfully eluding a Buzzard that BS rang me about, it did get a bit better. Had I delayed my start by 7/8 minutes, my route would have taken me past Brian's garage in time to see him crane his neck at the bird that was heading SW. Not bad, 2 raptor species in less than 24 hours; moral of the story is don't go out birding, stay put!

Old Guy Rd - 50+ Linnet, 2 Wheatear and a few Swallow.

Soil Hill approx 1020hrs - started off with a previously unrecorded species for the site. A Coal Tit was calling and showing at close quarters in the conifers opposite the track entrance. Others seen:

9 Wheatear (two of which were showing the size and strong colour/features of the Greenland race).
Reed Bunting
Pied Wagtail
6 Skylark
16 Common & 1 LBB Gull

The Linnet flock seems to have increased in size to 80+ birds and for once Meadow Pipit numbers were noticeably reduced. Plenty of Swallows flying high up and a Starling flock of c200 birds.

It was a good day for butterflies and once again I encountered two individuals of a  fritillary type that I am most unfamiliar with (recalling last years first encounter at this location).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shelf Moor

Had a sortie down Corporal Lane at around 3PM - more like Corporal Punishment; not a sausage 'cept mebbe a Swallow or three. So, I strode in a cowardly fashion down to Whinny Royd Lane, hopin' the Lapwings would be there at least. After mopping my tears up from the pavement, I went down Bridge Lane; here at least was some avian activity.

c180 Starling, 25 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet, Pied Wagtail, 2 BHG, several Swallow, some House Martin and the odd Meadow Pipit.

The general feel in the N winds and overcast sky was one of late Sept / early October - without the migration.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Something Different

Before I went up the hill from hades, which turned out to be real boring, I had this chat with an antipodean I know. He lives in 'strylia and his name has been encrypted to protect him cos he's as guilty as hell of, well everything really.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Vismig Walk

I've always wanted to be a proper birder so I thought I'd get up early. The first creature I saw of interest, at 403 metres alt. with no trees, on a wall, was a wet Grey Squirrel!

SOIL HILL SIGHTINGS FOR Sunday, 22 August, 2010 0720 - 0915hrs.
Blackbird 2
Common Gull 15
Grey Heron 1
Linnet c50
Meadow Pipit c35
Reed Bunting 1
Swallow 6
Willow Warbler 1
Wren 1
Carrion Crow 8
Dunnock 1
Grey Partridge 7
Magpie 2
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 1
Skylark 4
Wheatear 3
Woodpigeon 3                                                   Total number of species 17

Both myself and a regular resident walker saw a large raptor at different times and different slopes of the hill. It will have to go down as unidentified on my part owing to the brief glimpse, however I have my thoughts. Although the other person got a longer view, all he was certain of is it being much larger than a Kestrel.

Black-headed Gull 3
House Sparrow 1
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 2
Wheatear 1
Willow Warbler 1
House Martin 1
Meadow Pipit c25
Swallow 5
Whinchat 1                                                        Total number of species 9

All the action was at Queensbury CC apart from the Willow Warbler in Chapel Lane.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Local Walk part 108

I just managed to beat the effects of the SW'ly this morning at 0915 hrs on Soil Hill and got some indication of migration:

14 Golden Plover > W
3 Wheatear
Tree Pipit

The Common Gulls on the bottom W slope now number c80 birds. There was one LBBG circling the hill top and the Linnet flock was c55 birds. Also present: 5 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, c 14 Swallow.

Mountain had 6 Linnet, some Swallow and a Swift > W over Old Guy Rd.


One swift over Thornton this morning heading south east

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to the Hill

After a good day out yesterday with DP at Eccup Reservoir it was back to the mundane this morning, in a SW'ly to boot.

Soil Hill 0945 hrs - 2 Skylark, c45 Meadow Pipit, c70 Linnet, 20+ Swallow, Reed Bunting, Kestrel.

50 Common Gull & 1 LBBG were in one of the bottom fields on the W slope.

Best observation was when I passed BS house at 1140hrs on the way back. I'd heard a small commotion from the House Sparrers in his front garden so I walked round the corner for a gander. Standing in the middle of the road lookin somewhat miffed was a juvenile Sparrowhawk; it took it a while to realise it was better to fly away from an oncoming car.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A Nuthatch dropped in for five minutes this afternoon.
The Lapwings had returned yesterday afternoon. There were 83 with around 200 Starlings in a field off Cross Lane.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Soil Hill

Soil Hill 0945hrs - Only 2 Wheatear left from the big fall reported by BS. A Tree Pipit was perched on the wires above the bottom Red Cabin pond with a juv Stonechat and 2 Reed Bunting in the shrubs.

Also 13 LBBG, Dunnock, juv Whitethroat, pr Linnet, 3 Skylark, 5+ Meadow Pipit, pr Kestrel, several Swallow and a House Martin.

I reported a Sedge Warbler by mobile phone to BS; this was in the same area as the juv Whitethroat. Now, I am having this years attack of acute paranoia and the more I look at id sources, the more I become unsure by the minute. This is owing to the fact that although there were plenty of streaks on the back, I'm not happy with the small size of the supercilium I saw.

There were 6 Small Copper Butterflies on the hill, plus a couple of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. However the caterpillar was one of several that gathered round me while I was propped up against a wall in Bradshaw. This individual stuck with me all the way home, so I thought I'd immortalise it here before releasing it into the back field.

Ogden Res was putrid: 14 Canada, 14 LBBG, 2 Willow Warbler, Grey Wagtail, some Swallows.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Way Down South

Couldn't face any hills today so I went south to Corporal Lane; Shibden Head and Deanstones Lane at around 1245 hrs.

Corporal Lane:  few Goldfinch, c40 Swallow, 5 House Martin; the Lapwing flock has disappeared.

Shibden Valley to Shibden Head: absolutely shocking, hardly any birds present, just Kestrel, Willow Warbler and Robin.

Shibden Head to Deanstones bottom: produced more Swallows, 3 House Martin, c45 House Sparrow in gorse and the bird of the day, a Whitethroat. This must have bred in the scrub; it was quick to issue scolding calls as I passed by.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Local Walk

Site Name: Soil Hill Date: Sat 14 Aug 2010 Time: 11:10 - 12:35

Carrion Crow 15
Goldfinch 3
Kestrel 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
Linnet 4
Magpie 5
Meadow Pipit 24
Reed Bunting 2
Skylark 5
Stock Dove 5
Swallow 12
Swift 2
Woodpigeon 6

Number of species 13

Mountain had a Pied Wagtail, 4 Goldfinch and a large Linnet flock around the 100 mark.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Afore-mentioned Lapwing

Have a guess where

Soil Hill 1240 hrs bracing W wind, sunny. c20 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, 50+ Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting, 3 BHG, 4 LBBG, Kestrel and a few Swallow. A single Wheatear seen oddly enough heading W toward the wind.

Walked home via Mountain and down Old Guy Rd. 2 Wheater at Mountain, again flying low into the wind. Also here were a pr Linnet. Old Guy Rd had 24 Common Gull, a couple of Mipit and ditto Swallow.

Corporal Lane

Inspired by Denise's posting earlier this morning I got my bones down to the field at around 1015 hrs and counted 72 Lapwing, with the Goldie still present. One of the Lapwing had aberrant plumage and superficially looked like another Golden Plover from a distance, having a light brown back.
A pr Goldfinch were feeding on thistles and also present were several Swallow, plenty of Starling and one BHG.

Queensbury Golf Club had a flock of about 17 Goldfinch flying around near to the proposed building site for 161 dwellings. Thats something to dwell upon...


A single Golden Plover was with them this morning.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Lanes

It seemed like a Lapwing day, so I ventured out. Sure enough, there were 70 in Corporal Lane with Starlings and 3 BHGulls. Also seen, 4 Linnet, including an adult feeding a young bird. 7 young Swallows sat in the road-one almost bowled over by a gust of wind.  80+corvids in Green Lane fields and 8 more Swallows. A Kestrel also overhead. A single Swift over the Raggalds. 

Monday, August 09, 2010

TMR Cold Edge Circular

Went up Black Edge Lane to TMR where 20 plus Mistle Thrush were present along the bridleway. Apart from the hordes of Gull sp. there were a few Mipit, Willow Warbler and 2 Wheatear by the reservoir wall.
Walking across the moor by the top end of the wind turbines, I got two views of a Merlin in flight.
A Snipe flew up from this promising bog, situated at the N end of Fly Flatts Res (Warley Moor). 7/8 minutes prior to this I had great views of a pr Raven over the res, eventually heading off NW. Also here was a Wheatear and a calling Golden Plover, plus 4 Meadow Pipit.

Cold Edge was a major disappointment with no waders at all on the dams. Only 15 Canada Goose and a Mallard flock were here with one LBBG over NE.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Another Local Walk

As expected the SW'ly breeze killed Soil Hill at approx 1235 hrs with just a few gull species moving and mebbe 20 odd Mipit blogging. Rooks were in abundance though, with about 30 birds present, probably due to the recently cut grass.

Others: Reed Bunting, c12 Linnet, 4 Skylark, 10+ Swallow, Kestrel.

The very same wind however had a beneficial effect as it went through the valley between Bradshaw and Raggalds. Here, among the several Swallow, were 5 Pied Wagtail, 11 Linnet and 3 Swift. The latter will be a bonus sighting by the end of this week.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Gull Day to You

The predominant S'ly put paid to any Wheatear on the hill from hell but it sure pulled the gulls in. They were also evident in Old Guy Rd too, maybe flying in both directions.

Soil Hill 1410 hrs was fraught with danger. In the space of around 1-1/4 hours I reckon the rate of lorries tipping and returning with a load was at the rate of nearly 1 every 3 minutes. I had to concentrate on survival rather than focus on birds, of which there were:

c15 BHG, 5 Common, c16 LBBG.
11 Mallard, Moorhen - the far bottom pond now returning to normal again.
3 Skylark, c50 Meadow Pipit, 16 Goldfinch, c33 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 10 Swallow.

Old Guy Rd - 9 LBBG, 1 poss 2 Herring Gull, 10 Common, c100 BHG. Also 2 Meadow Pipit, c12 Swallow.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

SOIL HILL SIGHTINGS FOR Wednesday, 4 August, 2010 1410 - 1520hrs

Black-headed Gull 6
Carrion Crow c15
House Sparrow 1 - uncommon here
Lesser Black-backed Gull 5
Magpie 2
Meadow Pipit c16
Rook 8
Starling 7
Swallow 12
Wheatear 2
Blackbird 1
Grey Partridge 1
Kestrel - carrying Vole.
Linnet 12
Mallard 1
Moorhen 1
Skylark 5
Stock Dove 1
Swift 5
Woodpigeon 7 Total number of species 20

Mountain - House Martin

Three Lanes

Walked down to Halifax this afternoon which produced:

Windy Bank Lane - A Linnet , several Goldfinch and a dozen Swallow.

Crooked Lane - 2 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk.

Howcans Lane - 3 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and a flock of at least 35 Mistle Thrush.

At Home & Oats Royd

So far 4 juvenile Bullfinch have turned up at the garden feeders (click on photo to see 2 of them), at least 5 adults still visit too. Growing numbers of Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch as well mean the sunflower seeds don't last long at the mo.

Brief visit to Oats Royd yesterday produced Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel and 5 sightings of Sparrowhawk (2 individuals seen I reckon). Highlight was watching a Little Owl hunting and feeding a youngster that was hunting unsuccessfully in the field down the bottom.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Getting Interesting

Quite a lot of activity today around the Ogden Res and Soil Hill area, especially with gulls moving around in numbers.

Ogden had 11 LBBG among the BHG, one of them with an exceptionally dark mantle. Problem being when you even think of taking the camera out the big boys just fly away.

Also here were GC Grebe, pr Tufted Duck in eclipse plumage, Curlew, 2 GSW, 2 Green Woody. Nice to see a Song Thrush close up too.

Willow Warbler appear to have reached plague status in the Back Ln plantation where there were several LTT and Goldcrest knocking about. Soil Hill produced 2 juv Pied Wagtail, 2 Stonechat, 2 Wheatear, 3 Swift and the usual Linnet, Mipit and a couple of Skylark. The big Woodpigeon flock has disappeared and oddly enough the dredging of the far bottom pond got the attention of 5 Stock Dove.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Some Movement

SOIL HILL SIGHTINGS FOR Sunday, 1 August, 2010 0820 - 1015 hrs.

Black-headed Gull 1
Carrion Crow c20
Grey Partridge 8
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3
Magpie 2
Moorhen 1
Skylark 4
Stonechat 1 - juvenile
Swift 1
Whitethroat 1 - continual scolding call for approx 15 mins.
Woodpigeon 100+ - flock contained an all white bird.
Blackbird 2
Goldfinch 3
Kestrel 2
Linnet c24
Meadow Pipit c38
Reed Bunting 3
Starling 7
Swallow 10
Wheatear 4
Willow Warbler 2 - juveniles.
Wren                                                    Total number of species 22