Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ogden then Soil Hill

Ogden Res 1100hrs disappointing that the fresh W'ly hadn't dropped anything of note in. Just 3 BHG with one LBBG overhead and this female Tufted Duck. The Common Sandpiper flew across the water and a Sparrowhawk took it's time flying over carrying prey which looked like a small bird species. 4 House Martin flew around briefly but didn't stay and a pr Jay were creating. Otherwise it was down to general expected species recorded recently.
Soil Hill approx 1225 hrs plenty of Gull action, once the chopper flew over and put them in perspective. Viewing the landfill from the N slope gives a false impression e.g. there appeared to be about 30 birds, but when flushed from the blind side it was more like 100 plus. Once again and with better visibility this time, I am just a molecule short of being totally convinced the YLG I suspected on Saturday, was present. The bulk of the gulls were LBBG, with a few Common, and even less BHG present.
Other: 7 Swift, few Swallow, 2 Blackbird, Dunnock, c22 Linnet, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, 7 Skylark and surprisingly not too many Meadow Pipit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ogden and Fly Flatts

Kicked off at 0715hrs with a pr Grey Wagtail heading S calling in flight outside the front door...
which provided more inspiration to get out.
Ogden Res approx 1005 hrs had pr Oystercatcher & BHG seen from the promenade as I waltzed up to Fly Flatts also Curlew overhead.
FF 1050-1230hrs 6 Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Golden Plover, 4 Curlew, 2 Redshank, 4 Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, 5 LBBG. I think yesterday's Ruff must have left; I didn't see them after a walk to the far end and back of the reservoir. A party of 5 Twite nr the feeding station included two young uns and as I stopped for a nosh 3 Raven kindly flew overhead and circled a couple of times.

Ogden return leg 1315hrs Oycs gone but a Common Sandpiper preening itself on the shoreline with BHG now upto 6. 3 Redpoll, 2 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Willows. A c20 strong party of feeding Blue, Coal and Great Tit also had 2/3 Willow Warbler tagging along. Whitethroat still giving it some at Rock Lane.
I was twice honked by a passing BMW or Mercedes, once at Fly then again below Ogden. I caught your wave but sorry I still haven't worked out who you are.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Soil Hill Soaking

1150-1315hrs I just had to get up to that horrible hill as my gut instinct told me there would be gulls about in today's weather system. Sure enough on the landfill site bottom near the NK pond were c16 LBBG along with a Common and one candidate for YLG. The latter couldn't be confirmed owing to rain, visibility and distance plus my annual clanger for the year has already been used up so I ain't takin no chances. The LBBG were in a mix of various plumage phases. Surprisingly there wasn't a single BHG present. 
Also on the landfill were around 75 corvids with Jackdaw outnumbering Carrion Crow. Elsewhere 3 Reed Bunting were present; c9 Meadow Pipit, 14 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, c16 Linnet, 2 Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Pheasant, 6 Swallow.
I'm happy to confirm once again 2 pr Whitethroat breeding at opposite sides of the hill.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Autumnal June Trip

Got to Ogden about 1000hrs without much enthusiasm in the W'ly gusts and leaden sky; good job I wasn't optimistic as there was nowt doin'. The GC Grebes have moved on leaving 12 Canada Geese and one Mallard on the drink. I'm glad the Whitethroat was in full song and display because apart from a Green Woody piping up a couple of times, nothing else was really vocal. Other: Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willows and usual but all suppressed in numbers.

I decided to return home via Oats Royd which was marginally more interesting. I recorded a pr of Sylvia species calling and singing on my mobile. The closeness of Garden Warbler and Blackcap is sooo tight; I managed to discern it was the latter after some minutes of comparison back home.
Canada Goose have proliferated here: 4 Adults with 5 goslings. Last year 1 pr raised 1 young un - not looking good is it Dave?
Other: pr Bullfinch, Chifchaff, Willows, Green Woody, Jay, Grey Heron, Moorhen and brood. I did check for Whitethroat which has bred previously and may have got a couple of sound bytes but can't be sure.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Soil Hill then Ogden

Not a bad session in all with a couple of things of interest to mention. Kicked off on the Hill at approx 0950hrs and good to see a thin carpet of vegetation slowly making an assault on the top field. Plenty of Meadow Pipits about and a number of Skylark too, making lots of noise. Good news on the Reed Buntings reported previously by myself and BS - I watched both adults and 3/4 fledged young crashing about in the long grass. A pr Whitethroat were busy flying around singing and calling; I think this could be the original breeders maybe starting up again.
Ogden Res and surrounds approx 1125-1335hrs. A pr GC Grebe on the water was a welcome observation as this is an uncommon sight here. I can only recall getting singles, certainly in the past 8 years.
I came across a Spotted Flycatcher making sorties into the air from about 3 different launch pads in the trees. Just a couple of seconds after landing on it's 4th flight, a female Sparrowhawk zipped over my head and tore into the spot it had gone down in. A couple more seconds and the raptor emerged,  and flew off. It was too fast for me to see if it had prey but as I hadn't heard any squawks, screams or squeals I think it may have gone hungry.
Others: juv LBBG, Snipe, pr Kestrel, pr Grey Wagtail, GSW, Blackaps, Chiffs, Willow Warblers, pr Swift, plenty Swallows. At last I found a singing Whitethroat in the scub at Rock Lane - first of 2011.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Birders Alternative

Ah so it's that time of year once again. Twenty minutes or so after ringing BS who confirmed there was nothing doing on the avian front, I went out to the front garden and found:
I believe this is a Ghost Moth and after dipping on getting a shot of probable PB Fritillary in May, I didn't hang around this time.
Which reminds me there were dozens of Six-spot Burnets on the grassy hill over the bridge at Elland GP on Wed 15th. If anybody in Calderdale wishes to record Moths and Butterflies they can post to ACs excellent blog or they can record on this form and I will forward to him at year end.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tree Sparrow Outing

Back to the stuff that matters this morning with a visit, courtesy of Dave P, to Jay House Lane. Almost on cue birds began appearing in the Hawthorns and the silage heap. Discounting the same bird cropping up twice etc, I reckon we got at least 7 birds. Also here were Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting and a Whitethroat heard singing from the golf course area.

We eventually decided to visit Elland GP afterwards, which turned out ok but rather mysterious in that we only got one Gull sp (LBBG) throughout the duration. The Ski Lake was the quietest I've ever known, but the bushes and old filter beds were very busy. Here were, Little Grebe (one also on canal) Reed Bunting, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler singing that remained unseen. Good if brief views were had of a Kingfisher by one of our party; pity it wasn't me! Others:
Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Grey Heron, Goosander.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Park Lane Garden

A Single Siskin dropped in a couple of times yesterday.

At risk of upsetting Brian (my penance is not to leave the garden!), I can confirm that there are 5 Bullfinches. The GSWmale is feeding two youngsters: the female just gives them a dirty look and chases them off.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Belated Red Kite Report

I have just been speaking to a lady who reported a Red Kite in Littlemoor Park to me on Sunday 5th June; this was the prompt that got me down there to go walkabout after calling BS.
A full picture of the observation has now emerged:

The bird was on the ground in one of the fields and was first observed by another lady who went home and told her husband. In disbelief the gentleman accompanied his wife and saw clearly the bird was indeed a Red Kite. Along comes the lady I know and she not only saw the bird, but after it had gone, walked into the field to discover a fresh pile of bird feathers scattered around. She actually asked me this afternoon if I had seen this evidence - I hadn't because I had decided to walk around the general perimeter looking for a bird in flight.

Another great record of a magnificent raptor for our locality and thanks very much for the info to those concerned.

Garden Tick & Local

Went outside to clean boots approx 0845hrs and got a briefly singing Blackcap in the trees next to the back yard. This is a welcome garden tick as I have never had this species in any of the places I have lived previously.
Inspired by BS trip to the Old Station yesterday and not upto another slog, I too went down Station Rd and back up Bridle Stile Lane for an hour. Got off to a good start with a female Sparrowhawk over the terrace roof tops next to the Tesco store. Other:
Grey Partridge calling, GSW, Blackcap, Willow Warblers, pr Swift, Swallows, Linnets, Goldfinch, Greenfinch. Once again managed to confirm breeding Whitethroat, a species that does appear to be increasing around here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Birds and Rain

Got my first annual Whinchat singing at Ovenden Moor below the old Withens Pub at approx 1040hrs. Then balanced this out by missing a Hobby at Fly Flatts; this could have been avoided had I not had a jaw stretching session with another birder for 20 minutes. Let's not be churlish however, we both enjoyed exchanging juicy birdbits both from abroad and local.
Met DJS the Hobby observer down by the waterside track - see the Calderdale blog for info. Waders were in action again: Curlew, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Golden Plover. There were a couple of juv Pied Wagtail knocking about on the shoreline, with a handful of Swift also zooming around. Others seen include Kestrel, Twite, Meadow Pipit and Skylark.

I then went to another location for a survey and got pissed on. Not just a bit, quite a lot and...
it was bleeding cold.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Soil Hill

Approx 1450hrs bright and sunny with some cloud. Several Swift active with a few Swallow. Was great to confirm a pr Whitethroat are breeding with both birds showing well, especially the male. There were 5 LBBG flying about with a Great Brutish Black Gull high over Ogden - especially welcome as it's a long awaited annual. A Common Gull along with a Woodpigeon were the only birds present on the NK pond. Linnet were very much in evidence all around the hill, as were Meadow Pipit. Skylark were present in less than double figures and a total count of Reed Bunting came to 3 singers.
A Really Black Bird

Shibden to Stump Cross

Couldn't face any windy moors today so I decided upon one last attempt at finding prime woodland migrants like Redstart & Pied Flypastyer. I failed, miserably, not even a glimpse nor a squeak. Kicked off with two House Martin giving it some at Green Lane - no Sand Martin there this year so far.
Whitethroat 3, Chiffchaff 6, Blackcap 5, Spotit Flypastyer 1 - down at Stump Cross. This area reeks of Yellowhammer country - nothing.
Also, Nuthatch 2, Green Woody 2, GSW 2, Grey Heron 1, Sparrerork being mobbed by Mistle Thrush. Oddly enough, apart from 3 at the start of the walk, Willow Warbler were silent throughout the valley. Plus the usual expected woodland types and young.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

More Bullfinches

The woodland telegraph has conspired to make a liar of me.

Since my last posting-about Bullfinches being uncommon visitors to the garden-I've had them in every day. The original bird came in for a couple of days, then I noticed a second male which, as can be seen from the photograph, was in perfect condition except for the horrible wart-like growths on its feet (I gather that it's caused by a virus which enters through a wound so I'm cleaning the feeder area as often as possible). A day or so later it returned with a female and today we've had 3 males and one or possibly two females. Until now the female has only been seen with the second male but today the two other males came in at the same time then a female appeared on the feeder with one of them. All very unexpected at this time of year.

Blue Tit, Great Tit and GSW are feeding young. Jay and Stock Dove have been regular visitors and the Nuthatch has been in a couple of times.

Littlemoor Park

Had a 40 minutes stroll around locally at 1500hrs. Nothing extraordinary but good to see local and migrant species doing well. Pr Mistle Thrush, GSW, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and of course Willow Warbler. The golf course was well flush with Swallow, Woodpigeon, Crows and couple of Swift.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cold Edge circular Oats Royd

Cold Edge at around 1100hrs was pretty quiet owing to higher water levels. 2 male Tufted Duck on lower; Common Sandpiper on high and a chipping Snipe nearby.
Fly Flatts from 1200-1400hrs (I must have just missed DJS).
4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Oystercatcher, Redshanks, Curlews. Ringed Plover and Dunlin still present with about 10 former and 8 latter. Thanks to the 2 male homo sapiens 'orribilis who were walking around the rocky pool area near the boathouse - much appreciated on behalf of the birds. Also a pr of Twite flying over the moor, calling briefly and a Wheatear plus hordes of Mipits and the odd Skylark.

I went home via Ogden and Oats Royd and here birding slowed down as the sun began to shine. I double checked Ogden for the PFG and am somewhat relieved to find no trace of it. Oats Royd produced breeding Moorhen, Canada Geese, Jay, Mallard, Sparrowhawk, Blackcap and Willow Warblers etc.

On arrival home I tried taking a photo of the long staying Grey Wagtail calling from Black Dyke Mills roof so I could pinpoint it for BS. Even with the lens at 23x tripod mounted at approx 300 metres it proved too tall an order!