Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Swalesmoor & Shibden Head

Swalesmoor 1305-1405hrs - finally got a single Meadow Pipit. The Linnet flock showed 40 birds on the frame I took of them in flight; I don't know if the Twite was among them.
Also present: 2 Skylark, Reed Bunting, 2 Fieldfare, Kestrel, 3 BHG, Stock Dove and corvids.

Shibden Head proved lively after a sluggish start. A Nuthatch was very active and calling so incessantly I thought there were two of them (of course, there may have been). A very wierd sound of a bird I'd never heard before turned out to be 2 Grey Squirrel having a dispute. At least I didn't have to wait long for the problem to be resolved.
I heard a pr Geese overhead > NW but the treetops blocked my view, however by the calls I would say they were Greylag.
Others: 5 Stock Dove, 27 Fieldfare, 4 Mistle Thrush, 3 Blackbird, 8 Redwing, 25+ Goldfinch, c10 Greenfinch, c11 Chaffinch, , Common Gull. pr Roe Deer.

The local Lapwing flock had moved down a field nearer to Cross Lane and numbers were reduced to c55.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Old Guy Rd

I took advantage of the increasing daylight and walked the long way round to the boozer. At 1630hrs there was a flock of Fieldfare with (fewer) Redwing present by the Cricket Club. A casual count indicated there were around 65 birds or so. I'm glad I didnt' do it on the way back; who knows what morsels I would be reporting!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Never Rains It Pours

Went down to Horton Bank Country Park from 1355 -1435hrs in the hope of catching a Coot. There wasn't just one, there were four, split up into 2 pair - one pr showing agression to the other. Big Deal some may think but in nigh on 11 years exist, er, living in Queensbury this is my first local sighting. Hundreds of visits to both Ogden Res and Oats Royd have not produced a single bird and my memory tells me that mebbe only 2/3 have been recorded by local (Qby) birders.
Others: 39 BH & 3 Common Gull, Canada Goose, Moorhen. Passerines noted by their absence.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'Pon Soil Hell

Fairly misty on arrival at 1005hrs which would explaint the big flock of Fieldfare, Redwing and Starling that were moving around continually. Quite a job breaking down the numbers but c75 Fieldfare; c30 Redwing; c45 Starling. The 16 Linnet are still present in the same spot and a Green Woodpecker flew across > E calling. Also 2 BH & 1 Common Gull, Grey Heron, Mallard, Pied Wagtail, Skylark and corvids.

Other: Johnny Fox; Pr Roe Deer.

Chance Garden Tick

0820hrs went into back yard to pick up wind blown watering can and copped for a Waxwing flying and calling over the copse at the back. The bird was heading toward Park Lane; doesn't come any better than this and another annual to boot.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Soil Hill Movement

1030-1210hrs Overcast, slight variable wind NW/N.
3 LBBG with very dark mantles > W; Herring Gull > W; c14 Common & c7 BH Gull > W. The latter were at Raggalds flood approx 1 hour previously.
5 Grey Partridge, Skylark, 16 Linnet blogging. This is the first time I've had a Linnet flock so early in the year, prompting one to think did they come from Swalesmoor?

Bird of the day was an Imm. Peregrine over the reeds putting the Caaawvids up for a couple of minutes. Also 3 Stock Dove > W. It had been a very quiet start via Old Guy Rd with just a Wren and 2 Pied Wagtail apart from Starlings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Returning Tawny

First Tawny Owl of the year returned to the copse behind the back yard last night Thursday 20th at approx 2030hrs if it's hooting was anything to judge by.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Way Up North

Went with DP beyond our northern limits to Hewenden Res area at around 1050hrs. Was a patchy start but once again turned out very satisfactory with a few annuals turning up. Bird of the day was a cracking Raven, first heard kronkin away a few times before it flew directly overhead and put on a short display. Others:

4 Goosander, 3 Goldeneye, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Greylag, Jay, Green Woodpecker, 4 Stock Dove, Dipper, Goldcrest.
Small numbers of Winter thrushes seen along with 3/4 Mistle Thrush. Plenty of small gull sp. but no large gulls, the former mainly concentrated around Doe Park area.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mixenden to Cold Edge

Dave Pinder nabbed me after I'd returned from the am session and without much force persuaded me I should go with him for more birding. Mixenden Res still held the pr Goosander and a male Goldeneye along with the BH & Common Gull. While we were listening to a GSW/LSW type call a Redpoll flew overhead, itself calling. Calling was very much the keyword of the day, as I received three such on the telling bone from DJS. This was to inform about 3 lots of PFG zooming around the area - thanks Dave but we were able to miss them with consumate ease.

So, onto Cold Edge via Castle Carr lodge, which proved very interesting as hanging around with a Chaffinch here were 6, if not 7, very accomodating Reed Bunting. A Kestrel also made an appearance.

Cold Edge Dams 4 Goosander, female Goldeneye, Lapwing, Pheasant, 7 Greylag Geese.
As we got back in the car from the Goosander viewing DP alerted me to a Sparrowhawk that had just alighted on a fence post some 4 metres away and was staring straight into the front windscreen. I tried my best to stealthily position my camera, but was perhaps 10 seconds away from a potentially good shot when the bird took off.

Swalesmoor am

0945 - 1110 hrs Windy from W/NW. Linnet flock very much in evidence, moving around considerably; I think the Twite was among them. Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, c60 Fieldfare. 3 Common, 18 LBB Gull primarily > NW.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ogden Active

Things livened up today after the nightmare session BS had yesterday. I got there at approx 1225hrs and went up Back Lane - good move as I got my earliest ever Red Grouse there. It was also good to see a Reed Bunting actually at lakeside too, although it did move to the Lodge House after a while.
There was a Jay on the feeder and these two Great Tit were going bananas in the grass; the usual species were busy feeding here too.
The lake had c120 gulls on it with Common just edging the majority over BHG and an imm. LBBG was circling overhead.

A Calm Soil Hill

I would have lost money today as I incorrectly thought Soilage would produce some birds in the mildest day we've had for some time. Arriving at 1115hrs it wasn't until 1150 hrs that I got a bit of action lasting just 8 minutes:

35 Fieldfare > SW; Skylark; 11 smaller gull sp. > SW; 4 LBBG > NE.

Still need Meadow Pipit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Swalesmoor Action Group

Hi everyone,

 Following discussion with our group Calderdale Planning and also Gerry Sutcliffes office an extension has been given to allow objections to be made.(31 Jan)
 DO THIS NOW AND HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS, Email this to as many people as possible to spread the word.
We have the support of Gerry Sutcliffe show your support, this could be your only chance.
Remember if you don't object you are helping them.

Send your objections now to  , DONT DELAY
Calderdale Council,
Planning Services,
Northgate House

Quote ref 10/01320/ Ful  Multiple applications  Quote Ref 10/1264/Ful Shed 3 Pet Food Objection.

State I object to the above applications .......

Do you want yet another new  bulking up shed for food waste , shed 9 this is nationwide food and catering waste which could smell , more transport between Swalesmoor and Erlings Works?
If not you need to put an objection in.

Do you want more transport through our village,highway safety  ?
 Highway safety has to be considered, detail dangerous manouvres you may have seen at swalesmoor Road Junction or Queensbury Crossroads Eg large vehicles having to go on to the wrong side of the road to make turns ,  so they are going into the path of oncoming traffic, the freeflow of traffic is prevented. Do you have photos of this add it to your application.

 Do you have children at the Local schools.
Request that your local school be given the same agreement as Keelham School so that lorries don't come passed your childs school at opening or closing times. Requesta section 106 planning obligation.

Do you want heavier transport through the village ? the intention for the Pet Food Extension.  If you believe heavier/ larger lorries may make the junctions more dangerous  say this in reference to Pet food extension shed 3.

 Do you want more vehicles disturbing your sleep? say no to 24/7 /365
In the Erlings Works report at Thornton the  planning inspector suggested that the noise of these vehicles would likely disturb sleep and the World Health Organisation considers people should be able to sleep between 23.00 and 07.00am and the same peace and quiet should apply on Bank Holidays and Sundays.
If you suffer excessive noise  more than normal due to low gears etc, mention this in your objection, bigger vehicles for Shed 3 petfood extension will create more noise.

Do you want to see less spills.
Request that similar conditions are given as in Erlings Works , labelling of lorries and trailers in view of different companies on the site and all vehilces carrying the animal By products should have "top lips" to reduce spills. Detail spills you have witnessed.

 Do you want less smells, does it affect you queueing in traffc, walking in the village, at the pub, in your garden, in your home, Sunday Church. Say how it affects you and again say we want respite night sundays and bank holidays from the horrendous smells.  If you dont go out walking in the area because of the smell say this

 Does it affect your business, say how , do the odours get in your shop and affect your customers.

 Do you think this is overdevelopment in greenbelt , if so say so, . Has it affected you walking in the valley say why you dont do this anymore

 If you want to discuss the applications with Calderdale Council contact Stephen Littlejohn on 01422 392228.
Quote ref 10/01320/ Ful  Multiple applications  Quote Ref 10/1264/Ful Shed 3 Pet Food Objection.

The planning Applications website is,
 The numbers are 10/01264/FUL Pet food extension and construction of  plant building and machinery retrospective

10/01320/FUL  office extension (part retrospective) Garage Building Extension, Replacement Shed 4 building, Replacement Shed 2 building, Food store building, Canteen, Extension to wood chip area (retrospective) and alterations to internal building with addition of retaining wall.



Friday, January 14, 2011

Red Kite Report

Littlemoor Lodge Tuesday 11th January afternoon - reliable report received from landowner. A large raptor with long slender wings seen "Gliding" overhead. When questioned further, using methods I picked up from my Conquistador phase, I'm satisfied it was probably a Red Kite.

Tough Old Day

Another grinding session with generally sparse bird activity.
Soil Hill approx 0945hrs c7 House Sparrow at Hartley Sq Farm, Common Gull, Linnet, c30 Fieldfare and Corvids galore. I flushed a Grey Heron from about 4 metre which is an highly unusual event. There was an obvious reason for this as the bird was carrying prey in it's bill. It flew up near to the top and landed, immediately mantling the prey and getting stuck in, like raptors do. Here's the contentious part as I'm only seventyfiveish percent sure but the victim appeared to have been a Snipe! The colours and size were right but I couldn't seen the bill; mind you it was being carried away from me.

Ogden Res 1120 hrs - there is still 40 percent thin ice cover, which is where the small gull species were. Not much else going for it until departure time when a group of feeding woodland birds appeared. This included a pr Treecreeper which at least made for another annual tick. Others - Great, Coal & LT Tit. Imm. 1st Winter type LBBG floated in too.

Swalesmoor approx 1325 hrs - what a downer. At one time the W wind was soooo strong I could hardly point my soon to be binned oculars, let alone focus 'em. I heard Linnety voices at one stage but couldn't see any. Only others were Skylark, Common Gull, c25 Fieldfare.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

East To South

East was crap, being Horton Bank CP where only 3 BH & a Common Gull were present. This was all down to Dogs, Human Beings and Kids being in abundance.
South was pretty good, being the stretch from Soaper Lane up to Shelf Moor:

c17 Redpoll in Alders at Peakstones Farm, Soaper Lane. 100+ Starling here with Fieldfare and Redwing thrown in. A few smaller Gull sp moving around here also.

Here's a rough tally of birds:
Fieldfare c150; Redwing c40; Mistle Thrush 8; Starling 160; Woodpigeon c18; Crow c15; Collard Dove 26. Interestingly 21 of these were at Queensbury GC in one tree. Also 5/6 Blue Tit.

Finished orf with c60 Lapwing at High Cross Lane. No Medder Pipit yet!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Long Slog

What a nightmare start to a day that ended with moderate success. Soil Hill at 1015hrs was a cold windy horror story from start to finish. The ground is still 70% or more frozen, meaning there were no birds apart from corvids present. Even these were down to threes n fours - I couldnt get off quick enough.

Ogden Res - from the frying pan into the fire or more like skating rink. Most of the lakeside path is a combination of lethal rainwater on top of ice. Once again the Lodge House provided a bit of respite with several birds, including GSW, on the feeders.

As a last resort I went to Swalesmoor at about 1415hrs where DJS was patrolling the favoured field. View the Calderdale Blog for species seen, including 5 Herring Gull > W which at least gave me another annual.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Park Lane

A different Brambling in the garden this morning.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Swalesmoor & Oats Royd

Ploughcroft - Swalesmoor at 1245hrs. 33 Linnet with 3 Twite among them; flighty but settled on a fence on one occasion, giving good opportunity to scour their ranks. One Twite showed brief glimpse of rings on left leg, can't be sure but images of Silver/White and Blue flashed through my mind.
Also Pied Wagtail, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Skylark, Jay, c30 Fieldfare with a few Redwing in support.

Oats Royd - what a contrast from yesterday; really quiet. However hard work paid off to an extent as D Pinder and I were rewarded with pr Redpoll blogging toward end of visit. Also: Grey Heron, Jay, 4 Goldfinch and a Bullfinch in with 5 Chaffinch.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

An Improving Day

Soil Hill approx 0945hrs. I could do with a right kicking; couldn't be bothered taking my binoculars out of the rucksack immediately upon arrival. Result, one unidentified Bunting/Finch type that was the only passerine up there, in flight over my head. What a burke.
Clay extraction has begun in front of the farmhouse on RH side going down track from the top field. Already 3 Willow bushes have disappeared and I reckon the remaining bush should go pretty soon. Birds seen were 3 Grey Partridge, 2/3 small gulls, corvids. 2 Roe Deer.

Ogden Res was depressing as the mist worked it's magic over the very few birds seen. Welcome relief came in the form of a drake Goldeneye that landed on the ice at the top end, skidded, then waddled to the water hole. The mist did lift to reveal the continual movement of Winter thrushes in the general area.

Oats Royd provided some goodies: 6 Mallard, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Little Owl, Green Woodpecker, 2 Jay. Most welcome was a flock of c27 Siskin wheeling around continually and landing before moving off again.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Ultimate Bird Protection

Birdbrain: Happy New Year
I found out what these two were up to all in the name of Bird Welfare

East to South

Not much doing in the 90 minutes I spent walking from Littlemoor to Shelf Moor then home, owing to darkening skies and increasing Wwinds.
Littlemoor Park had 25+ Goldinch, including one that insisted on wheezing like a Brambling (Swine) also Chaffinch, Greenfinch present. There were numerous Redwing and Fieldfare and also a male Sparrer 'awk.

Shelf Moor was all down to Fieldfare and Redwing, others were 6 Stock Dove, BH & Common Gull, Kestrel.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Littlemoor Park and Park Lane

Went for a walk around the park, across the fields and down as far as New House Lane.  2 Lapwings went up, as we crossed the fields towards the road and there were 3 Stock Doves on the wires. 70+ Redwings fed in the trees and fields around Bobby Green along with a few Fieldfares and a Mistle Thrush. It seems to have been a good Redwing day, with another 50 on holly trees in the park and up to 30 feeding in the garden. Although we've had Redwings in the garden in previous years, this is the first time one has come to food.  A Brambling came into the garden this afternoon and there were good numbers of finches again.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Circular Dailie Fields to Shelf Moor

To the wise guy who planted an imitation Owl in a tree down Station Rd: Nice try but you have to get up really early to catch me out. After 1115, I'm on fire.
At first I thought the Mountain locals were putting out Condor bait

But it's more likely likely to be Carpet on the Hoof
Although somewhat patchy I did better for birds than I dared hope with each location adding something new to the list. Dailie Fields was by far the quietist coughing up just Blackbird, Jay, Great Tit & Common Gull.
The area just below the Junction Pub in Brow Lane then up to Pit Lane was OK. 6 Blackbird, 8 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, 3 LBBG > E was most welcome. I always tend to struggle for this gull at the start of the year.

Roper Lane produced 4 Mistle Thrush and c28 Magpie, 24 of them in one party.
Shibden Head threw up pr Stock Dove, 3 LTT, GSW before arrival at Shelf Moor.
Here there were 27 Lapwing in the fields at High Cross Lane and a Kestrel. 8 Fieldfare went NE over the Golf Club. I did get other easily obtainable birds but the one conspicuous by it's absence was Coal Tit.

PS 15 mins after this post got a good garden tick: 4 BHG mobbing female Sparrowhawk overhead.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Five minutes after my previous post, I came back from the kitchen to find this on the lawn! Inevitably, it was gloomy and the battery on the camera was exhausted so I'm posting what will, hopefully, be my worst pictures of the year. It was only here for a couple of minutes and seemed to have come in with a large group of finches-there were 50+ Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch on the ground at one point. 

Happy New Year

Who knows what might turn up at Ogden this year?