Birdbrain Stuff

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More from the Hill

Soil Hill 0930 hrs 10 Linnet, pr Skylark, Jack Snipe and pr Snow Bunting

reported by Dave Pinder (I had to go shoppng).

PS Went down south to High Cross Lane area to count the Lapwing flock at 1355hrs - 125+ birds present.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Early Bird...

The Hill won today 29/11 1005-1045hrs. Strong wind drove birds and me off after just 3 Skylark, 14 Lapwing on the bottom field. Mebbe Bruce persevered and picked something up...

Such was my comment made on yesterday's post (now deleted) because I didn't think a full post was warranted today, however:

DP just rang to say he was up on the hill while it was still dark before approx 0800 hrs. He flushed a pr of birds thought to be Snow Bunting and persevered walking the top field until he encountered them again at 0910 hrs. This time he clinched the birds with certainty, watching them for around 20 minutes. Just goes to show, never say never and thanks for the encouraging info Dave.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Soil Hill Pinkies

I missed out on the SB with my camera but managed to get some ropey shots of these c400 PFG which took me by surprise at 1035hrs.
Pink-footed Geese over Soil Hill on a Seek and Digest Mission

Another Good Session

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Mon, 28 Nov, 2011 Time: 9:45 - 11:30
Species Comment Breeding Status
Carrion Crow 4+
Common Gull circa 11
Grey Plover Top field with 8 Lapwing flew off calling > N. 1
Lapwing 8
Linnet 18
Magpie 1
Mallard 3
Meadow Pipit 1
Pink-footed Goose Directly over my head, top field > N then veered W F - Flying circa 400
Reed Bunting 1
Skylark 5
Snow Bunting Male on top field 1
Starling circa 50
Total number of species

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quiet but Good

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Sat, 26 Nov, 2011 Time: 9:40 - 10:55
Species Comment Breeding Status
Carrion Crow 4
Jack Snipe Great views when flushed from 2 metres and kept being blown back by strong SW,ly before dropping down. 1
Linnet 3
Pheasant 2
Skylark 3
Snipe Flushed on top field 1
Starling 2
Total number of species

Raggalds 1110 hrs 500+ Pink Footed Geese flew over > E/SE I am pretty sure this is the same bunch or thereabouts that went over St Ives t'other day as the timing is bang on. Also here were 4 Mallard and c25 Common Gull.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

St Ives Bingley

Went to foreign parts this morning courtesy of Dave P and within a few minutes of disembarking in Altar Lane at 0955 hrs we were given a great display of nature. 3 waves of Pink-footed Geese came over giving very good views as they flew low down over the estate > E. I didn't have much chance of an accurate count because of the speed and treeline but I can happily say they must have been c600 birds.

Coppice Pond had 5 male and 3 female Goosander present along with the numerous Gulls, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen. The nearby hide had several members of the Tit family hammering the feeders along with 2 Nuthatch. This bird was just simply too active for me to capture a crisp shot in the subdued lighting. Others: Siskin, pr Pied Wagtail & 5 Bullfinch among usual expected species.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Down Under Plover

We don't get too many of this species in the Queensbury area, in fact we don't get many at all in the UK. It's a Spur Winged Plover and was photographed in Victoria, Australia just outside a house. Didn't see any point in ringing you with this one Brian! My thanks to the sender for making me envious - I've only ever seen one before in my life on a Turkish holiday in April this year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Hill

Soil Hill 0940-1055 hrs; calm with weak sunlight and intermittent mist.
21 Fieldfare, c50 Starling, 8 House Sparrow (in flight which is unusual here) Robin, Blackbird, pr Dunnock. 4 Mallard Ogdenei flew W.
The top field failed to produce Snipe today and just 2 Pheasant, 7 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark materialised. OK also 2 Magpie and 4 Crow if you insist.

PS Noticed at least 4 Redwing contact calls in the village tonight between approx 1800-1930hrs from my house up to Chapel Lane. Has to be local movement at this late date I reckon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Home and Away

Home, approx 0800hrs. 20+ Fieldfare > S, White Crow with 4 other in standard issue plumage.

Away - Ringston Edge 1140-1220hrs. Quiet with numerous small gull species only on water.  A flock of 25 Golden Plover flew around twice before landing in an adjacent field. Other - 2 Pied Wagtail, plenty of Starling.

Greetland - Coal Tit, deceased, presumed roadkill. Ah well that's one less bird terrorising the neighbourhood.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Local White Crow

Not bad for a venture out into the back yard at 1415 hrs.

Soil and Water

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Thu, 17 Nov, 2011 Time: 8:05 - 9:20
Species Comment Breeding Status
Black-headed Gull 2
Blackbird 1
Carrion Crow 5
Chaffinch 1
Grey Heron 1
Grey Partridge 10
House Sparrow circa 6
Kestrel 1
Lapwing 10
Linnet 8
Mallard 2
Meadow Pipit 2
Pheasant 2
Reed Bunting Male still in bright summer plumage 2
Skylark 11
Snipe 1
Starling circa 35
Woodpigeon 7
Wren 1
Total number of species
Ogden Res 0930hrs was quiet but alleviated by my first local and national Kingfisher for the year! Others: Cormorant, Grey Wagtail, Kestrel and several smaller gull species.
I decided to give SH top field a second sweep on the way home to no avail. 3 people enquiring about Snow Bunting presence were disappointed by their absence; at least they were local birders who hadn't travelled far.

Prior to this at 0800hrs Raggalds had c45 Woodpigeon > SW, 7 Lapwing > S plus a Pied Wagtail.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whooper A Daisy

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Tue, 15 Nov, 2011 Time: 8:35 - 9:55
Species Comment Breeding Status
Blackbird 2
Carrion Crow Present
Chaffinch 2
Great Tit 1
Grey Partridge 10
Lapwing Flying around the top 7
Linnet circa 14
Meadow Pipit 1
Pheasant 4
Reed Bunting Top field 4
Skylark 8
Snipe Flushed from top field 1
Snow Bunting Top field 2
Whooper Swan Came in calling in a bank of mist then > W 2
Total number of species

Monday, November 14, 2011


Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Mon, 14 Nov, 2011 Time: 9:40 - 11:15
Species Comment Breeding Status
Blackbird 1
Carrion Crow 8+
Common Gull 1
Grey Partridge 13
Jack Snipe Flushed close up flew approx 30m dropped into cover top field. 1
Kestrel 1
Linnet 17
Magpie 2
Mallard 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Pheasant 4
Skylark 7
Snipe One flushed top field the other top of N slope 2
Snow Bunting Male flew up and circled singing then joined by another bird 2
Starling 9
Total number of species
A very good morning thanks to the weather and E,ly wind. There was movement all around too as on arrival home a Sparrowhawk flew over Black Dyke Mills and there were 3 Blackbird, 8 Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch and Robin in the trees beyond my back yard.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Morning Walk

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Sat, 12 Nov, 2011 Time: 9:40 - 10:45
Species Comment Breeding Status
Carrion Crow 7+
Dunnock 1
Fieldfare 10
Golden Plover Over top field in flight called 3 times 1
Goldfinch 1
Jackdaw 3
Kestrel 1
Lapwing Bottom field 12
Lesser Black-backed Gull Looked like 1st winter 1
Linnet 4
Magpie 2
Mallard 2
Meadow Pipit 1
Skylark 5
Starling 5+
Woodpigeon 1
Wren 1
Total number of species

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Sucker Punch

Looked out the window after lunch and thought the bit o blue sky hangin 'round might lend itself to an afternoon trip up Soil Hell. Arrived at 1355 hrs to find 170+ Fieldfare skimming over walls and fields heading toward Bradshaw. 15 mins later the blue went and in raced the grey clouds, just as I was halfway round the top field. 3 Skylark, 4 Pheasant, 4 Grey Partridge and a Linnet later, I  was on my way back home after less than an hour's birding.
Apart from smaller gulls hanging around Raggalds, I did notice that House Sparrer appears to be thriving at Mountain, judging by the racket.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Ogden Yesterday

It was as David said,very quiet. Only 3 Bullfinch to add (male, female+1). They were feeding in the rose bed by the building and hovering to pick something off.

The only real entertainment provided by these gulls. Look carefully-answers on a postcard........

Monday, November 07, 2011

Local Movement

Soil Hill for a quick visit 0945-1055 hrs in an E'ly with overcast sky.
5 Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, 3 Skylark, 3 Linnet. A c50 strong flock of Redwing went over the top toward Mixenden. The bottom field had c70 mixed smaller gulls and a LBBG, a few Lapwing were also present.

Raggalds 1105 hrs c10 Meadow Pipit went over toward SH. c150 Fieldfare flew > E and I can't be certain but from the call I think a Brambling may have been with 'em.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Quiet Soil Hill

An almost 2 hour session (0840-1035) 'pon the Hill produced these birds only:
1 Woodpigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, pr Kestrel, 1 Linnet, 1 Greenfinch, 2 LBBG, 20 Lapwing (bottom field), Crows.
Raggalds - 4 Meadow Pipit, several smaller gulls, mainly Common; Pied Wagtail.
Queensbury - GSW constantly calling from Tesco car park. 12 Woodpigeon, 1 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush.
Bring on some lousy weather.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Soil Hill and Ogden

Rather than blow anything juicy in, the N/NE'ly blew those birds previously present off the hill top; Swalesmoor might be worth checking up on just down the road.
3 Skylark, 5 Goldfinch > NE, Lapwing > S, 7 LBBG circling, BHG, Kestrel, c30 Carrion Crows.

Ogden res 1120hrs, bit of an improvement today:
2 Cormorant, 20+ Common Gull, c30 BHG, Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, 3 Bullfinch. A very tame Robin allowed my outstretched (empty) hand to with 6 inches before casually hopping to a nearby twig.
Most of the BHG were doing what they did this time last year, i.e hovering and perching around the tree tops feeding on unknown insects.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Changeable Soil Hill

When I arrived on that hellish hill at 0945hrs 'twas damp and murky, so much so I got disorientated once or twice. Fortunately, I soon blundered into 4 Twite on the N edge, followed shortly after by the Snow Bunting. Despite a long slog searching the pools and ruts for possible Snipe/Jack Snipe nothing materialised. DJS turned up and shortly after this the sun broke through and we were blessed with good visibility. Even so it took another complete overhaul of the top field before Dave nailed the Snow Bunting by the Radio Mast after we had decided to go home at about 1150hrs.
Others: 5 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 6 Pheasant c12 Linnet.

Fingers crossed something naughty could turn up following the change over to NE'ly winds overnight.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Picture Imperfect

Poor pics of a Snow Bunting still on Soil Hill this morning at 1130hrs. KM and I had probably walked within 3 metres of this bird on what appeared to be a fruitless search; indeed the entire top field was quiet. However on setting off to search the N slope I flushed this bird which flew toward KM and we managed to get very close to it at times. This bird behaved as Snow Bunt should; it never flew away from us, just crept along and proved hellish to focus on.
On the final sweep of the N end of the top, I almost trod on a Twite! When it flew, so did another one nearby, so it looks as if they were the pr DJS found on Sunday.
Other: 5 Skylark, 6 Grey Partridge, Grey Heron, 3 Lapwing, 14+ Crow.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

SH Snow Buntings

Soil Hill approx 0930-1110hrs in a fresh SE'ly and fairly clear skies, with Dave Pinder (thanks for the ride).
Not much doing for the first 20 minutes or so until we got to the well vegetated mound by the trackside. I flushed a pr of birds, one of which showed an obvious white patch on it's rump; the other one was a brown and white job. Although I debated with DP it may have been a Wheatear, I was far from happy because of the bird's jizz and the way it dropped into sparse grassy cover.
We got to the area and this time DP flushed the pair, one of which flew across my field of vision and dropped down revealing it as a Snow Bunting! We had to scour the entire top field area in order to stand a chance of getting good views as the birds were flighty. Some 15 minutes later on returning to within 60 metres or so of the original id spot, DP flushed a party of 5 birds.
Other: 4 Pheasant, 3 Skylark, c14 Linnet, 7 Meadow Pipit, LBBG, Corvids.

Ogden Res 1125hrs - eeeeeeeewwwwwww, well, apart from around 10 blogging Lapwing.