Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Bramblings

Fantastic, Nigel. Your previous Brambling jinx seems far away. You seem to have had a run of of good birds recently.

I've been meaning to post this picture for a couple of days (no suppression intended, just that I thought you'd all be sick of hearing about Bramblings in Park Lane!) This (top picture) came in last thing on Wednesday evening and I didn't notice the ring until Thursday. I haven't been able to get much on the ring-still trying, but it has been a rather skulking bird. However, this morning another three Bramblings came in to join it, so perhaps it might venture out. The un-ringed bird might well be the one you had this morning , Nigel! 

Also included, Brian's anticipated Redwing picture. It was taken earlier in the week in Green Lane. There's a good crop of  berries and  a few birds seem to have settled in.

The two Nuthatches have been coming daily for over a month now.

Ace Garden Tick

The mist had brought a small flock of Goldfinch down into the back trees and quite noisy they were too. I decided to clear my garden of leaves and recycle them by taking them into the copse and spreading 'em around. Damn fine move sez I, because at 1025hrs a Brambling flew in and started calling. I alerted Dave P next door, but as often is the case we didn't hear no more from it

Last night, Saturday around 2200hrs, a Tawny Owl started performing from the same trees and according to DP it went on for hours.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Woodpigeon Movement

Today was the day of the Woodpig with a personal record of c375 birds in 4 lots on Soil Hill at 0940-1105hrs. Most were going directly SW apart from a group of c45 going SE but then moving across to eventually go SW. Others:
3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Dunnock, Wren, c50 Fieldfare, 18 Grey Partridge, Grey Heron, Snipe. KM had previously seen a Green Woody fly over.
The landowner of the adjacent bottom W fields has done us a favour by extending the NK pond into more of a lagoon. No doubt BS will pick up loads of goodies with his scope as it is now more easily viewable.

Ogden Res approx 1125hrs nothing on the water 'cept small gulls and mallards. Here too, I got c25 Woodpiggies again moving SW. Another flock of c50 Fieldfare turned up; I suspect this could have been the earlier SH bunch.
A most interesting spectacle was the sight of several BHG alighting briefly in the tops of conifers. I think Goldcrests are too big for them to swallow so I'm going for the probability of insect catching. Also Jay, Green Woody.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Busy Hill

Soil Hill 0945hrs Kicked off with an unidentified Bunting overhead W giving three single note calls. This was the sign of a fairly active session; Meadow Pipit and Skylark made a return, there being c16 & 5 birds respectively. I also got a long awaited annual and what a belter it turned out to be especially as it was my last bird. I flushed a Woodcock which then flew a full circuit of the hill not once, twice but thrice, giving good close up views at times.

Also Grey Heron, c60 Lapwing, 1 Partridge sp., Kestrel, 4 Linnet, Goldfinch, 3 Reed Bunting, Snipe (KM had previously flushed 3 Snipe). Also the Gulls and Cawvids.

Ogden Res 1130hrs - eeeeeeewwwwww forget about it. OK, Perhaps a Siskin did stop the tears of boredom.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halifax Waxwings

I was halfway to the scene of the crime when I got a DJS text message about flighty birds so I decided to do King Cross Tesco first. Lo and behold within a minute, alerted by a trill initially I got 5 Waxwing, then another bird about 3 minutes later. I walked up to the main highway junction with the Fire Station in mind but I don't know where this is so I reacted to another text and went to Gibbet St where DJP reported 50 birds.

I'm glad I picked the town end of Gibbet St after a passer by told me its over 2 mile long! No matter, as just 5 minutes after arrival I got 9 birds in flight which appeared to double back and head for the a/m locations. There was never the slightest chance of photographs so I thought I'd see if 'owt was bothering the North Bridge Sainsbury customers - just a Grey Wagtail was all.

Other: c8 Redwing heading S over Queensbury High St approx 1345hrs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Windy Circuit

Soil Hill almost unworkable at 0945hrs; again no passerines. A Snipe flushed from N slope bottom LH pond for a change;7 distant Partridge sp. seen in flight.

Ogden Res 1100hrs thought one of the Mixenden Goldeneye may have been blown in but happy to get 3 Little Grebe together instead. What livewires these were diving left right and centre and calling loudly at times. Also 2 Bullfinch, Siskin and DJS.

Oats Royd - Flock c100 strong of mainly Fieldfare, some Redwing and c8 Mistle Thrush. I checked about half of a party of 15 LTT for northerners but these were all dark headed birds. Also Grey Heron, Green Woody, 2 Moorhen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soil Hill Consolation

SH 1050-1200hrs rather quiet and no sign of yesterdays Snow Bunting(s). Got a spankling male Merlin low down and close by heading SW, briefly harrassed by a Crow. Also:
Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Skylark, Grey Heron, 2 Mallard, Reed Bunting, 2 Goldfinch, 60+ Fieldfare and the RLP gang. Gulls reduced to 5 LBBG and odd BHG & Common. Still plenty of corvids around.

Good job I decided I needed some grub from the farm shop, because on the way home over Raggalds flood at 1230hrs calling was Snow Bunting heading W.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Queensbury Mega

Just received a report that an article appeared in the Yorkshire Post about a GANNET being found near Queensbury by a resident... Now some 15 minutes later after scrabbling furiously through DP's paper recycling bin I can reproduce the entry:

Yorkshire Post 16 October 2010 CountryWeek section BIRDWATCH by Bill Teale
There have been several inland sightings of juvenile gannets, including one rescued by reader Mrs Jane Leach and her husband from a moorland road near Queensbury, West Yorkshire late at night. The angry bird was secured in a duvet cover before being taken to their home. The following day it was collected by the RSPCA and later released none the worse for its experience.

I searched the BT directory to try contact the finder for more information but they are not listed. Should any local reader see this and know them, I would appreciate it greatly if they can ask them to contact me using the form at the page bottom.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ned Hill and Back Lane

I see we all visited similar areas again. I took the early shift and came away at about 11:30am.

There was little to see at Ned Hill other than a bit of a corvid ballet at the end of  the track. There were 70+ Jackdaws and Crows. A Grey Heron blundered in but was driven off and I thought it might have gone down to the pond.

I had a quick look around Ogden but spent time watching the LT Tit flock and trying to take a few pictures. No prizes for identifying the Ogden bird from the Suffolk one taken earlier in the week. Reaching the dam, I heard and saw 3 Fieldfare, followed a few moments later by 8 more.

I thought Back Lane would be worth a look and so it proved to be, with a total of 296 Fieldfare and 2 Goosander over.

PS A single Brambling in the garden on Wednesday , not seen since.

Soil Hill & Ogden

As expected it was busy all this morning at approx 0940hrs until approx 1150hrs when it tailed off.
Soil Hill: 2 Meadow Pipit alongside a Wheatear, which must be my personal latest record. There were two parties of Fieldfare, totalling a max of c100 birds. A Golden Plover was down by the NK Pond with c30 Lapwing in the field beyond it. Also present were Grey Heron, Kestrel, 12 RLP, 9 Grey Partridge, Snipe plus the Gulls and Corvids.

The Bunton excavator is till on the top field and I saw the Bulldozer being taken down to the hill bottom. The winds and lack of any water meant no birds were present on the top.

Ogden Res approx 1115hrs: started off with 11 Siskin, 3 of which flew around the Lodge area but didn't land in the garden. The water was monopolised by a few gulls but nothing else so I decided to force myself  without any enthusiasm for one circuit of the path. Three Duck sp. were flying high up; they circled twice then headed W/SW to Cold Edge. Although silhouetted I am positive they weren't Mallard but because I couldn't get any colours, they remain a mystery.

Then I got the birds of the day and much appreciated too, as they were another annual; a party of mebbe 10 Crossbills flew off calling loudly, heading NW. However, I am positive they simply dropped down deeper into the trees and could still be there. Also seen were 3 Bullfinch, c24 Fieldfare and the tail end of a small Redwing flock going W.

Shame about my mobile staying at home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fieldfare and Frustration

Fieldfares were the bird of the day, they seemed to be wherever I visited; Queensbury, Bradshaw, Ogden, Fly Flatts, Soil Hill.

Other than that it was a day of frustration, once again I'll blame the blue sunny skies (while accepting you can't win 'em all). Ogden Res was lousy so I waltzed up the track to Fly Flatts, checking Mixended Res for the Whooper Swan (DJS). The sun was reet in my retina so I can't say for certain, but I can say they weren't there on the return leg at approx 1415hrs.

Fly Flatts had 2 Canada and 7 Twite left out of the 9 DJS spotted. This was when my camera nearly ended up in the drink when 4 birds perched up unbelievably close. I couldn't focus and it was only when I stopped jumping up and down I remembered the dioptre wheel needed adjustment. Only other birds here were two Mipit and Red Grouse creating in the background.

Soil Hill - as before with the Gull and Corvid all in wrestling match. Grey Heron, Grey Partridge, RLP present as was a Linnet and 20 Lapwing. Worth mentioning here that since Monday the landowner has parked his bulldozer bang in the middle of the track, thereby preventing lorries from visiting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Ogden Tick

Ogden Res at approx 1125 hrs was so dull I decided to sit down and eat lunch then slowly walk back home. After doing just that and thinking that the best birds had been a pr Bullfinch and female Teal (Yes I checked, oh how I checked) back along the promenade I walked.

At about 1225hrs a Cormorant flew up over the embankment low down heading NW. A strand of fishing net was trailing from a wing, but not seemingly impairing it's flight. I scanned the drink to see if it had landed at the top end, when slightly to the right of me I saw another dark bird a few metres above tree top level, also going NW.

Immediately the smaller size and faster wingbeat indicated this was not of the same species and when I binned it, I could tell it was a Shag. This bird certainly did not go down and I lost it eventually over the moorland toward Fly Flatts.

This is also an area tick for me; keep 'em comin' Ogden.

Soil Hill Puzzle

After yesterdays biggie with the Grey Plover (BS) it was a big surprise for my first bird on the hill to be a Plover sp. coming in from the E at a fair rate of knots. I wasn't too happy about the view so I rang DJS at Hunter Hill who later confirmed he had scoped the bird, going W. He was only getting a distant view so this was one for the guide books and online photos. Well, I am now happy, but not overjoyed to say I have identified this bird as a Goldie, ah well.

Tweren't all bad; my second bird was a spanking king size Greenland Wheatear on a wall with a caterpillar in it's beak. Others present besides the gulls and corvids:

7 Mallard, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Pheasant, c8 Grey Partridge, c12 RLP, Skylark, 7 Meadow Pipit, 6 Linnet, Goldfinch, 6 Fieldfare. Glad I had a minor sneezing fit - flushed a Snipe.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Usual Venue

Early morning suggested birds may be moving as a number of Woodpigeon were over the back field, however it was not to be in the long run. I checked Ogden Res out to see if the Pochard was still present but as is usual with visitors, it had departed. Besides that it was 'orribly quiet; I was glad to get away from it.

So once again Soil Hill at 0925hrs provided the best entertainment but even this didn't warm up until about 1010. A Crow was singularly mobbing a bird that completely dwarfed it, fairly high up. When it got nearer I  could tell it was yet another GBBG, possibly a 2nd year bird. 12 LBBG were also present along with a 25 strong flock of smaller gulls.

Others: 4 Lapwing, Grey Heron, 3 Partridge sp.,Kestrel, 3 Reed Bunting, c16 Linnet and a flock of c50 Redwing > NE.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ogden Pochard

Splendid drake Pochard on the drink today at 1305hrs. I am 95% percent sure this is a personal site first; certainly I have not had one in over 9 years. Problem is my old records are now in practically unreadable format.

Another small duck in tow with 3 Mallard splashed down nr the top RH channel; it may have been a Teal but was not relocated. At this location a Nuthatch was calling loudly and there seems to have been a mini Goldcrest arrival throughout. Others present were GSW, 2 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare and the gulls.

Soil Hill Buzzard

Common Buzzard being chased by c60 Crows and 20+ Jackdaws over the reedbeds at approx 1135hrs. It appeared to have flown in from the W and when it reached Denholme Rd it turned SE, skirting the road until I lost it in the vicinity of Keelham farm shop.

Also present: 2 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipit, 30 Lapwing, 2 Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Blackbird. The large gull contingent have moved elsewhere and the Partridges now seem to have seperated i.e c11 RLP & 9 Greys.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Run Around

This little blighter with it's fidgety habits gave me lots of chances to run my camera to a standstill.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Dice Too Nice

Responding to a msg from BS about HC seeing a pr Swan sp. heading over the Ogden Res area I went up for an inspection at 1430hrs.  No Dice - no such bird on the drink, just the BHG crowd. In fact it was sickeningly sunny and bright with plenty of homo sapiens abounding. I had the shortest tour round I've ever made but got some joy with my first Redpoll for months flying over the water N and calling. There was a Grey Wagtail present also but no migrant thrushes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Similar route

We must have had the same idea, Nigel, but I went for the early shift.

Ned Hill 7:00- 8:15 swirling and chilly mist. Some mechanical clanking noises from your domain early on.
35 Meadow Pipit
44 Woodpigeon
6 Redwing
4 thrush sp
2 Alba Wagtail

Just 17 Long-tailed Tit and a count of 137 Mallards to add and I heard a Nuthatch on the path up to..

Giant's Tooth area 9:15-10:15
424 Redwings (It must have been my turn)
8 Fieldfare
3 Jay  to add. Most groups in the earlier part of the hour. Some groups dropped down into the clough and re-appeared higher up  before heading off over the moor.

At home, the Nuthatch cache must now  be at bursting point. There was a ringed Blue Tit on the feeder and  I've been trying to piece the number together from photos.

A Lively Day

A good session, reaping in the expected migrants in a warm bright day with predominant NE fresh wind. O' course on top of Soil Hell it weren't just fresh.

OGDEN RES (SE03 Q) SIGHTINGS 0955-1040hrs.
Black-headed Gull c25
Brambling 1 - Seen and alarm calls heard in bush by Lodge House
Coal Tit 3
Dunnock 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 - On Lodge House feeder.
Green Woodpecker 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Robin 2
Blue Tit - several
Chaffinch 5
Common Gull 2
Fieldfare 7
Great Tit 2
Greenfinch 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 6
Redwing 8
Woodpigeon 1
Total number of species 18

Blue Tit
Chaffinch 25 - Flying N
Kestrel 1
Red Grouse 1
Skylark 1
Brambling 1 - Calling from conifer.
Fieldfare 16 - Flying N
Meadow Pipit 9
Redwing c76 - Blogging; difficult count could have been half as many again
Snipe 2
Total number of species 10

Saturday, October 09, 2010


The fog was very much a factor in this mornings session on Soil Hell from 0945 - 1045hrs. I did consider trying to identifying birds by touch, but they wouldn't play.

Skylark, 4/5 Meadow Pipit, c45 Linnet. Despite the predominant E/SE fresh wind not a thrush species was to be heard, let alone seen.

Evidence of movement came in the form of a 21 Partridge sp. count, the majority being Grey. Also flushed on the W side of the N slope were 5 f Pheasant. A raptor (most likely a Kestrel) being chased by a group of Crows put up a large flock of mixed Gulls - c200 birds.

A Snipe and Golden Plover were flushed; the former from the N slope, latter from top field.

PS Respite at last. Heard contact calls through open door at 1630hrs so I shot into the back yard and nailed upto 20 Redwing into or over the nearby trees in the back field.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Good Day Out

Set off from my hovel just as 6 Long-tailed Tit landed in the Hawthorn at the back, which is the most I've had here. Soil Hill was very iffy until I left it, when at 1110 hrs a skein of PFG went straight over the spot I'd stood in 15 minutes earlier and fairly low down too. They were heading NW to TMR and I quickly guestimated c150 birds; if there was anyone up there to count them more accurately, I accept their figure.

Ogden Res had the Wigeon present and also these infamous birders who were heading for Fly Flatts, so I tagged along.
The Twite Guardians of Fly Flatts

By the former Withens Pub, Dave mentioned a particular field was good for Wheatear. He wasn't joking; 10 seconds later we were watching 3 Wheatear, this one chewing on a caterpillar.

Fly Flatts was deadly quiet, but as we approached the purpose of Dave and Jen's visit - the Twite feeding station, things picked up big time.

23 of these little beauties, were busy feeding and some were seen bathing. It was impossible to judge ringed legs from unringed, I gave up at 3 with and 4 without. Also present 2 Stonechat and a Meadow Pipit.

I'm off for me tea now

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ned Hill

Sorry for belated post.
I've been up to Ned Hill for the past couple of days to see what the weather produced (interesting clouds and a novel view of Wainhouse Tower). Yesterday, 93 Meadow Pipits passed in 2 hours. There was a group of 15 Chaffinches and one of 17 Goldfinches. 1  Grey Heron went north. There were 2 Alba and 1 Grey Wagtail on the farmhouse roof below. 3 Skylarks came across from Ogden and headed towards the top of the hill. Down at Green Lane, a Little Owl was sunning itself and one field held 80 Common Gulls with a few BHG but BHG were concentrated in another field further along - I counted 132.

Today  23 Meadow Pipits in the same time period and only 2 Goldfinch but there were 2 Swallows. 10 LBB went south. A Pheasant was feeding along the track and a Green Woodpecker dropped into the field below. Many fewer gulls down at Green Lane with 56 BHG and 15 Commons.

We still have Nuthatches coming in but less frequently and the Brambling was a two day wonder.

Southern Area

High Cross Lane Lapwing
Waltzed down to Northowram this arternoon and got all the birds in the first 15 minutes, after that, eeeeeewwwwww. Prior to the 16 Lapwing with c30 Starling, a Sparrowhawk flew into the Housing Estate from Jackson Hill.

The Lapwing followed me down to settle in a field below Whinney Royd Lane, where in a field below that resided a number of BHG. In the quarry at WRL were around 16 Linnet.

I think this is the latest I have gone into Autumn without Redwing or Fieldfare, so there's summat to strive for yet.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Another Fine Day

Bright blue skies, too good for birding but after yesterday it was great to get out. I relocated the Wigeon at Ogden Res at around 1330hrs; good job too as there was little else about apart from the gulls and GC Grebe. However, as I was leaving 2 f Goosander flew in and splashed down.

Soil Hill was quiet; the Linnet count was c11 birds with even fewer Meadow Pipit. I think the gulls will be present now until the work has ceased near the NK Pond - if it ever does. I must admit it's good to see LBBGs floating on that small stretch of water.

Others: 2 Skylark, 2 Grey Heron, 3 RLP, Reed Bunting and 2 Snipe flushed.

Last but not least, in fact it was first at 0935 hrs over Chapel Street - Swallow > SW.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Around the Area

The anticipated movement of PFG and Thrushes didn't materialise despite visiting 3 locations.

SOIL HILL SIGHTINGS FOR Saturday, 2 October, 2010 0940-1140hrs
Black-headed Gull 27
Chaffinch 1
Grey Heron 1
Jackdaw 8
Lesser Black-backed Gull 11+
Little Owl 1
Mallard 2
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 1
Reed Bunting 3
Skylark 8
Wren 1
Carrion Crow c14
Common Gull 6
Grey Partridge 18
Kestrel 1
Linnet 70+
Magpie 3
Meadow Pipit c45
Red-legged Partridge 1
Robin 5
Starling c12        Total number of species 21

OGDEN RES (SE03 Q) SIGHTINGS FOR Saturday, 2 October, 2010 1215-1320hrs
Black-headed Gull c45
Blue Tit 2
Coal Tit 3
Cormorant 1
Great Tit 3
Jay 1
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 1
Teal 1 Wigeon 1
Blackbird 1
Chaffinch 21
Common Gull c9
Great Crested Grebe 1
Greenfinch 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3
Robin 3
Wren 1        Total number of species 16

PS I never even give the duck a second thought, assuming it was one of DJS birds from yesterday. Thanks for your vigilance Brian (see comments) my embarrasment is almost cancelled out by this being a first at the location for me.