Birdbrain Stuff

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Local Patch Birds

Soil Hill 0950-1110hrs - evidence of migration. 6 Skylark, 42+ Meadow Pipit, c30 Goldfinch, 100+ Linnet, Blue & Coal Tit, Stock Dove, pr Woodpigeon, Kestrel. 3 Wheatear were together on a wall and a pr Curlew were present on the top grass fields. The Sparrowhawk was a bit of a star (some of us love them!) as it ripped through the Goldfinch flock and then later on had a bash at the Kestrel. Other: Swallows, 2 LBBG, 6 Common Gull.

Ogden Res 1125-1235hrs. Swallow numbers in the wider general area must have been in the hundreds. 7 Meadow Pipit, Goldfinches, GSW, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe. A Grey Heron was chewing on a frog in the embankment overflow, as it munched away a Peregrine Falcon (believed to be adult male) flew low down > NE heading for the hill from hell.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Denholme Clough to Doe Park

Thought I'd revisit haunts from my earlier days in Queensbury so orf I went to Denholme Clough from 1420-1605hrs. Talk about a slow start and lousy middle, ending on a fairish high note when a few birds dropped in after the light rain. 3 Meadow Pipit, 12 Pied Wagtail, 10 Common Gull, Grey Heron, pr Kestrel, numerous Swallow. About 15 House Martin put in an appearance over the low water levels of the lake, but nothing else noted. A few Willow Warbler present, with 2 Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. Also Mistle Thrush, Great Tits, Linnets, Goldfinch. It was good to see 3 Redpoll flying around at the end of the session.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Corporal Lane

I went for a quick look around the lanes this morning:
Around 30 Swallows on wires and under the trees near the Lion Gate. Also in that area, similar numbers of House Sparrow and Goldfinches.
This Wheatear in Corporal Lane. Other movers overhead were 5 Meadow Pipits and 3 House Martins.

Bit Of Vis Mig

Little Grebe at Ogden Water
Started early today and went to Soil Hill, then Ogden and back via Oats Royd.
SH 0740-0815 hrs. The wind put paid to a full circuit and in some ways I'm glad I cut it short. The top field even though subject to a bullish wind still held c110 Linnet, nearby were 2 Skylark. Meadow Pipit were blogging throughout, but I can't see there being more than 30 birds. The interesting bit was down Coal Lane where c20 Goldfinch were present. A 10 minute inspection also produced 2 Reed Bunting and a Twite in with them. Other: Roe Deer

Ogden Res - not much change from BS report of yesterday. The Little Grebe was very close to the shoreline and the Tufted Duck stood at 3 birds. 14 LBBG were on the drink besides the several BH and Common gulls. There may have been a Crossbill flying across from the plantation, however it only called twice briefly so I'm letting it pass.

Oats Royd was deadly quiet - 9 Woodpigeon, 4 Moorhen, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saved By A Grebe

Soil Hill was rank from 0945-1100 hrs in the cold slightly rainy variable W-N,ly wind.
c22 Meadow Pipit, c50 Linnet, Kestrel, 2 LBBG being the only birds seen.

Ogden Res 1115-1235hrs also started off quiet so it was good to see my first Little Grebe of the year here.

I hope it don't get picked off by any of the raptor's when the're flying tomorrow.
Other birds: pr Mistle Thrush, pr Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, several Swallow, GSW and gulls.

Friday, August 26, 2011


I also took a trip past the Lapwings yesterday so nothing to add. I saw you heading down that way, Nigel, but had gone past before it registered. My flight identification of local bird-watchers is pretty poor I think and I'm wondering if it was Brian that I saw in the opticians last week (you can see why I needed to be in there!)

However,I thought you might like to see the latest migrant through the garden, especially as it stood in the open and posed-something they don't usually do for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Queensbury South

Took a stroll around Shaw Lane to Green lane from 1425-1525 hrs and was pleased to see the c110 Lapwing flock is still showing well.
A Little Owl was calling from a wall in Green Lane. Also 7 BHG, 4 Woodpigs, 4 Linnet, 5 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel a few Swallow but not much else.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ogden Buzzard

Ogden Res perked up from the doldrums at 1255hrs when a largish raptor emerged from the plantation chased by 5 Crows. It was flying low and relatively close and caused me some confusion, so I rang BS with possible Honey Buzzard. Fortunately, the bird returned and circled overhead, showing clearly it was a Common Buzzard (I'm still well chuffed though). A Kestrel took over mobbing it before it drifted over toward Mixenden area. Where was my camera you say? Well, safely packed up at the bottom of my rucksack, but of course.
Prior to this a single female Sparrowhawk flew over the res heading for Giants Tooth. 14 Goldfinch were at Back Lane.

Soil Hill - subdued by the now increasing SW'ly. I picked up what I thought was a flava wagtail on call over the Horsey place in Coal Lane. Subsequently, I listened to recordings and I can state it definitely wasn't a Yellow, so I'm letting that one go. The Linnet flock was in action on the top field, now c120 strong. Others: 30+ Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Reed Bunting, 3 Stock Dove, 2 Woodpigs.

Spotted Flycatcher in Park Lane

This passing Spotted Flycatcher dropped in for a while yesterday afternoon. A new bird for the garden list. I wonder how many we've missed over the years!

Oats Royd

OR approx 0955-1105 hrs. 7 Moorhen, 2 Grey Heron, Kestrel, Chiffchaff, pr Bullfinch, Little Owl, 2 Meadow Pipit. Signs of Autumn evident with a flock of c30 Mistle Thrush on the pylons. As I walked up the track toward Bradshaw a pr of Curlew flew over Soil Hill, calling just once, heading SE.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oats Royd Twilight

A quick dash to Oats Royd from 1855-1930 hrs to investigate a report received.
3 Adult & 3 juvenile Moorhen. Grey Heron, Green Woodpecker, several Woodpigeon, Great Tit & Linnet. Corvids flyng over.
Nothing else.

Deanstones Lane, Qby 2020 hrs 9 House Martin flying high up and calling.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fly Flatts to Oats Royd

Another warm day and a slog which was made worthwhile by just one bird as overall it was the doldrums. Fly Flatts 1105-1230hrs Greenshank at the far end muddy shore.
Good to meet Jane Uttley who arrived shortly after these long distance photos were taken. I hope you got the bird. Also 2 Curlew, 8 Wheatear & pr Kestrel present.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

FW: Peregrines in our area.

Subject: Peregrines in our area.
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 17:45:24 +0100

Hi Nigel

On Monday I headed down to Oats Royd (my first visit for a couple of months), where I immediately saw a Raptor which I followed via the Mayroyd track.  Once I reached the more open area there appeared to be a few raptors in the air and in fact I saw one of them dive at a hovering Kestrel. I felt I was watching a pair of Peregrines, as always in these situations I was questioning my thoughts until at one point a bird passed so close that I had to take my bins away, Peregrine indeed. They stuck around for a good 10 minutes carving up the sky.

When they appeared to have left the area and my heart-rate had become more manageable, I dropped down to the lower track with the small ponds where I found a male Sparrowhawk trying to pluck small birds from a bush, couldn't tell if it succeeded. Following that, a female Sparrowhawk was hassling a Kestrel, they dueled for a few minutes with the Hawk often dangling it's legs as if ready to grab. Soon after the Sparrowhawk tore across the hillside and out of sight. I headed back up the hill, as I appeared at the top of the initial and steepest part a bird flew vertically up from the ground, into a tree and then away - The female Sparrowhawk had killed a Woodpigeon and eaten it's brain.

All in all - easily my most exciting visit to Oats and a prod to get out more frequently.

Subsequently, I've returned to the Mayroyd track most days and today around 4 o'clock I had just turned to head home when I saw a bird dive at a Gull causing it to squawk. The Peregrines were back and again they remained in the area for several minutes affording me some lovely views.

Apologies for the wordcount Nigel, as you can tell i'm really buzzing about these sightings.

All the best


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Soil Hill then Ogden

Soil Hill 1045-1210 hrs warm sunny, partial cloudy, fresh wind variable from S-W. Not a bad session at the start although it did fizzle out, especially at Ogden.
c50 Linnet, 10 Goldfinch, c20 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, Kestrel, 14 LBBG, Common Gull, c20 Swallow. Along with some of the latter were 3 House Martin - an increasingly scarce observation these days.
On one particular wall were 3 Wheatear, one of them a male still in bright colours. On the same wall, mebbe 20 metres away was an adult male Merlin! Fortunately it flew on seeing yours truly and headed toward Ogden. There was an additional Wheatear elsewhere and down at the bottom, Reed Bunting and  Grasshopper Warbler which called twice, albeit briefly.

Ogden Res 1225-1335 hrs. Contrastingly quiet, in fact I felt sick. Only thing of interest was another adult LBBG with pink legs and a nearby sub-adult showing the same (which is expected). A pr Kestrel were being escorted by about 9 Swallow also c10 Goldfinch.

PS On August 28th, next Sunday is the annual Raptor Circus, so go elsewhere Brian for your Lesser Yellowlegs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Downs and Ups

Soil Hill from approx 1450-1515 hrs was, shall we say dreadful. It was warm and sunny with just a few clouds and although mainly still and calm, with effort a breeze could be detected from SE.

c25 Linnet, 3 Goldfinch, 5 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, juv Robin, c16 Swallow, 10 Woodpigeon, 2 Stock Dove. A sign of new arrivals came in the form of 6 Grey Partridge on the top field and 1 individual that crept out of the rushes at the bottom just in front of me.
So feeling rather disappointed I was perked up when recieving this Barn Owl report from a local resident for which I am thankful.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Soil Hill Migrants

Three Wheatear were back on the hill this afternoon between 1245-1415 hrs. The large Linnet flock is still present, as was a Reed Bunting and c26 LBB Gulls down at the bottom.

I had a surprising encounter with a LBJ about a third of the way down the N slope. It got blown across me and went down into a clump of scrub, digging itself in almost. I was about a metre away when it flushed, only to drop down again some 7/8 metres further on - Grasshopper Warbler.
Other than this the wind ensured it wasn't too busy - handful of Meadow Pipit, some Swallows and a Kestrel.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Local Movement

Queensbury South 1340-1450hrs. Amazing what a local walk can do, especially after yesterdays grind.
High Cross Lane - c110 Lapwing & 90+ Starling. These birds were spooked and the whole circus moved down to Corporal Lane bottom.
In the field opposite at Corporal Lane junction with Shaw Lane were 5 Grey Partridge. While I was pondering whether this was a locality first a juvenile Curlew came over calling, then veered NW to see if BS was in Foxhill Park.
Others: Sparrowhawk, Jay, 3 LBB, c24 BH & 14 Common Gull. 6 Meadow Pipit, 8 Golfinch, 5 Linnet, several Swallow and mixed Caaaawvids.

This morning the Black Dyke Mills gull roost had increased to c75 Common & c18 BH gulls.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Win some Lose Many

As regards a visit to Fly Flatts this am the least said the better! as I commented on BS blog.
Walking from Cold Edge to Ogden I picked up one Wheatear and 2 LBBG. As I descended from the Giants Tooth through the woods, I had an interesting if frustrating experience. A raptor was calling loudly for about 2 minutes, but I couldn't see the blighter! From experience I narrowed it down to either Red Kite, Goshawk or Sparrowhawk and quickly eliminated the former on listening to recordings. Have a listen to Goshawk and Sparrowhawk when you have time - the similarity is really close.  Only common sense tells me it is the latter bird, as I have seen a female fly over to Soil Hill previously this week.

I found the green legged Common Gull again and saw two others with yellow-green legs close to it. Further study shows that a few of this species are known to have a noticable green hue on their legs. Problem solved.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soil Hill to Ogden

I just did the top section of Soil Hill today at around 1350hrs - the Linnet flock is now 100+ and still flighty. There were 6 Skylark present in one small section which to me indicates recent arrivals. In a field almost opposite the now almost half demolished pottery were c55 Common, 8 BH & 1 LBB gulls. Other birds seen were Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Swallows and a couple of Meadow Pipit.

Ogden Res 1445-1535hrs a very interesting adult Common Gull with brilliant green legs; all it's mates had the standard yellow. I've looked up briefly at racial differences but this needs further work.

A pr of Curlew dropped into feed and stayed at least half an hour; I've never recorded this wader actually on the shoreline before here. Also Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Bullfinch a few Swallow and  the usual gulls etc.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Another Soil Hill Annual

Soil Hill 0905-1040 hrs. Fairly busy and certainly worthwhile as I knocked up yet another raptor annual. The Linnet flock is now upto c100 and as I tried to photograph them, I noticed the birds split up somewhat disproportionately to my presence. The reason for this was discovered as I decided to walk back up the track toward the top field centre, as opposed to going down the road itself.
A spanking adult male Merlin was perched on a mound of earth at the track side. Although it took off, just a couple of minutes later it returned and flew just a few metres past my right shoulder, heading toward Ogden.
Down at the bottom there was still one Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Bunting, several Swallow and a Swift. Other: 2 BHG, 4 LBBG, Dunnock, 3 Skylark and a pr Kestrel; the female bird was carrying a mouse. A young Fox was investigating something in the reeds of the RH (Cabin) pond.

Ogden at 1050hrs by contrast was yet again very quiet. The most notable bird was a Curlew overhead, calling a couple of times. There were c14 LBB, 7 Common & c30 BH Gulls present.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Soil Hill Soaking

SH approx 1100-1200hrs rained on my parade it did. Also saved me a shower as even my underwear was wet through (you think I'm joking?).
W/SW winds were driving the rain and the only movement was on the top fields where c25 Meadow Pipit and c50 Linnet were present. Only other birds were a few Swallow, Pied Wagtail and Jackdaw - birding sure can be fickle.

At the Raggalds were about 30 BH & Common Gull with 2 big gulls in the air fairly low down. My bins were locked away safely, so I can't be sure but they had that Herring feel about them. Not once did the rotters lower their wings sufficiently to confirm.

Finally, the Blogspot people have sorted it so you can actually EDIT a POST with IE9. Previously I had to switch to Google Chrome to edit the pack of lies I've been publishing.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Nuthin Doin

Soil Hill 0950-1110hrs deadly in the direct fresh W'ly. Nothing down by the sedges, not a squeak. The top field still holds upto 50 Linnet and 5 LBBG were overhead. The W side facing Ogden had a pr Kestrel and about 9 Swallow mobbing a female Sparrowhawk. Other - 2 Pied Wagtail, odd Mipit or 3.

It's going to be tough for the breeding Swallows next year; somebody has bought the ramshackle old pottery that Isaac Button made relatively famous. Already, they are ripping out this and installing that etc.

Ogden Res 1125hrs - 2 Grey Wagtail, LBB, Common and BH Gulls, few Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler and usual (subdued) species.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

New Record for Ogden

Got me both an annual and a personal site tick for Oggie today at approx 1141hrs. The quality of this image doesn't do the adult bird justice - it was sensational in the sunlight

RED KITE soaring above Ogden res.
The YLG wasn't present today.

The Hectic HIll

Soil Hill approx 0950-1115hrs I thought it might get a bit tasty when I copped for 2 Coal Tit at Perseverance Rd bottom - a very scarce species here. Sure enough:
Common Buzzard soaring fairly high above the back of Keelham Farm Shop - a local annual tick.
Pr Kestrel, 9 Swift, plenty of Swallows, c50 Linnet, 2 Greenfinch, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, Blackbird.

The reedbed area at the bottom of the hill had a loosely knit party of moving passerines:
Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, pr Sedge Warbler, juv Robin, 3 Reed Bunting and a Grasshopper Warbler.
Also Woodpigs, Stock Doves and a few corvids but only 2 BH gulls seen.
What a start to a great birding session (see the Ogden post).

Monday, August 01, 2011

Hot Sticky Slog

I must remind myself never to walk from Ogden via Withens around Fly Flatts then back again to Ogden, crawling home via Oats Royd in weather conditions like these today (Typing that took my breath away too). The birds were low profile also with Fly Flatts being a real downer just 6 LBBG, Curlew and 6 Wheatear, plus a Kestrel. 4 Wheatear were at the Withens as was DJS, good to see you and have a natter Dave.
Ogden still boasts the YLG in with the other gulls. Also Grey Heron, pr Tufted Duck, Treecreeper and usual. Not one Swift seen throughout the general area but consolation came in the form of a pr Whinchat.