Birdbrain Stuff

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I'll save you from a drenching if you want to add Brambling to your list, Nigel. They were a one-day-wonder, I'm afraid but I'll let you know if they re-appear. Everything else is still around.

Happy hunting, all.

Friday, December 30, 2011

EOY Low Note

I thought Soil Hill was crap at 1045-1125 until I got down to Ogden and did a session from 1135-1210 hrs. It was so deadly quiet here, I staggered back up the hill to try and salvage the morning with Snow Bunting.
Sure enough 7 SBs were present if somewhat flighty. I kept hearing this dry rattling sound from one bird which was new to me so I checked out Xeno Canto bird sounds for Lapland Bunting also. What I did find out, almost by way of reconfirmation is that the two species have soooo many sounds in common that if you ain't getting Laps regularly, there is no chance to define the species.
DJS put it beyond doubt after a phone call as he had good sightings of all 7 birds on the deck together.
Others: 4 Skylark, 4 Pheasant, 8 Fieldfare, Blackbird, Grey Heron.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Windy Hill Part 137

Site Name:Soil Hill
Date:Wed, 28 Dec, 2011Time:9:40 - 11:20
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Carrion Crow    5
Lapwing    9
Linnet    3
Magpie    2
Reed Bunting    3
Skylark    1
Snow Bunting    5
Woodpigeon    20
Total number of species

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Bramblings

I managed to catch up with Snow Bunting this afternoon.

While my back was turned six Bramblings dropped into the garden. I wonder if they've been in Mark's garden again. They were still here when I got back so I'll be looking out again tomorrow morning. The garden has continued to be busy: 2 Stock Doves, 2 Jays, Nuthatch, male and female GSW, 2 male and 2 female Bullfinch and Treecreeper today, along with the usual suspects.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day

Soil Hill 1030-1125 hrs in a perky SW'ly.
8 Golden Plover, 7 Linnet, 2 Skylark, 6 Snow Bunting. 5 of the latter were airborne a few times traversing from W to SE; a single lone female was on the deck at the N end.

Raggalds flood held 6 Mallard and c60 gulls, mainly Common.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Xmas Eve on Soil Hill

Approx 0945-1115hrs rain being driven from SW by a cheeky little breeze.
10 Golden Plover, 2 Blackbird, 4 Fieldfare, 18 Linnet, 4 Skylark, 6 Snow Bunting.
I was joined halfway through the session by BS who eventually with help from a break in the sky went on to hold a great photographic session with the Buntings.
Thanks for the lift back, Brian.

Merry Christmas

It's traditional to send robins so here are three from Australia (Scarlet, Flame and Pink).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blown Away

There are 4 birds here - I had a helluva time finding the brown jobs!
Soil Hill 0945-1055 hrs. Strongest winds I've experienced in years but despite this 8 Snow Bunting feeding out in the open terrain!
Also present: 4 Skylark, Reed Bunting, 2 Linnet, 6 Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Golden Plover. Thanks to the wind there was one flying jackdaw size bird that I failed to identify. A few Common Gull and Corvids were knocking about the bottom field.

Raggalds flood held 14 Mallard and c60 Common Gull, with the odd BHG.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Win Some Lose Some

Shelf Moor approx 1200-1230hrs Blackbird, 2 Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail, several smaller Gull species, few Goldfinch. DP and myself aborted the mission after consulting my mobile phone containing the information of the true id of suspected Ring Ouzel. After the initial disappointment one thinks (one does) how dire the ire would have been had the bird been the real thing and we hadn't ventured out. Horton Bank CP for a quick perusal of the lake - 2 Moorhen, Crow, Dunnock and many smaller Gull sp. Thanks for the lift Dave.

PS A Pox on the Weather Forecasters!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jack Snipe Hill

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Tue, 20 Dec, 2011 Time: 10:45 - 12:45
Species Comment Breeding Status
Blackbird 1
Blue Tit 1
Carrion Crow 4
Common Gull 7+
Grey Heron 1
Grey Partridge 5
Jack Snipe How this bird missed being trod on, I'll never know 1
Linnet 18
Magpie 2
Meadow Pipit 1
Pheasant 4
Skylark 4
Snow Bunting 1
Starling 5
Total number of species

Monday, December 19, 2011

Misty Soil Hill

SH 0945-1100 hrs in very limited visibility. 4 Pheasant, 4 Skylark, Linnet, 8 Snow Bunting, Blackbird. I wonder did a Gyrfalcon take the 9th Bunting - Mwuuuuuaaaaaaahhhh.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Soil Hill Blank

Well, almost as I managed 3 Skylark, Pheasant and a Magpie between 1350-1455 hrs. I met KM on the way up there who told me that 9 Snow Bunting were still present but had flown "to the far end". Perhaps the two other birders who turned up 15 minutes before I left connected with them. KM reports sight of a Lapland Bunting on the top field on Monday 12th December. As far as I have been able to search, this is a first record of this species actually on the hill.

PS Thanks ever so much for that framed photograph of the Snow Bunting, Brian. I'll mount it on the wall a.s.a.p

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Frozen Hill

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Wed, 14 Dec, 2011 Time: 10:45 - 11:50
Species Comment Breeding Status
Black-headed Gull Bottom field 10+
Blackbird 1
Carrion Crow 5+
Common Gull Bottom field 20+
Magpie Present
Pheasant 1
Skylark 4
Snow Bunting Feeding among the top field frozen furrows. 9
Total number of species
Raggalds Flood had 12+ Common Gull and 10 Lapwing present.

Monday, December 12, 2011

sNOw Buntings

Soil Hill in a rather brisk W'ly to say the least 1045-1145hrs.
Blackbird, 3 Common Gull, 4 Skylark, c20 Linnet, Caawvids - nothing else to report.

Plenty of Common Gull at Raggalds flood and several at Foxhill also.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

SH Buntng Check

Soil Hill 0945-1050 hrs 3 Snow Bunting still present but very mobile this morning. Also 6 Skylark, Blackbird, Wren, Pheasant 3 Carrion Crow.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Soddened on Soil Hill

SH 0940-1040 hrs in a driving SW rainstorm. I may have been wetter than this fully clothed at some time in my life but I really cant remember when.

At the far end of the track on the E side I flushed a Jack Snipe from just over 2 metres; it performed as per usual, dropping down onto top of N slope. Turning the corner and heading back down the track I then flushed 3 Snow Bunting from the stony mound area. On the flooded area where the pools and ruts are I flushed 6 Lapwing and yet again was another Plover sp. This bird first of all flew toward me before taking up and flying alongside the lead Lapwing > W. I tried my best to turn it into a Golden Plover, especially as this time it didn't call. However, even in those dank conditions I could see it flew like a Grey and I managed to catch sight of dark axilliaries - certainly not white.

Reading up on Grey Plover, the one factor on Soil Hill that supports a Winter bird is the terrain which certainly bears a resemblance to a stony shore line. Furthermore Goldies are not waders inasmuch that they like drier pastures and fields. Anyway, please oh Bird God let some bugger else see it well and confirm the mystery.
Other birds: 4 Skylark, Pheasant, 6 Grey Partridge. Quite a few smaller Gull sp. and 9 Mallard at Raggalds.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Buntings and Snow

Sunny Soil Hill

Site Name: Soil Hill Date: Tue, 6 Dec, 2011 Time: 9:45 - 10:50
Species Comment Breeding Status
Blue Tit 1
Carrion Crow 4
Dunnock 1
Grey Partridge 6
Kestrel 1
Linnet 1
Magpie 2
Pheasant 1
Skylark 9
Snow Bunting Showing well feeding close by on top field. 6
Total number of species

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Hellishly Wet

Soil Hell 1140-1310 hrs in fairly strong N'ly switching later to W/SW,ly. The bottom of the hill is now dangerous as a result of excavation, mud and water. The Vehicle Wash is now flooded; perhaps we will get some wildfowl on it, lol. Seriously, I do not advise anybody to negotiate the surrounding area; remember I do it so you don't have to. Leave it to the imbeciles and you'll be OK.

The 3 Snow Bunting were still present on the far E side of the top field, creeping around ever so creepily. When they took flight, they had no choice to return here because of the wind. When I first encountered them, I tried to attract the attention of another birder who had started off back down the track. The wind must have drowned out my shouts and perhaps he took fright of my manic waving.

The Short Eared Owl was seen again in flight over the reed beds, giving about 2 seconds worth more views but impossible for photography. Also present: 4 Skylark, Reed Bunting, c22 Lapwing, and distant small gull sp.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Soil Hill Convention

Joint SOE Bunting Hunters Soil Hill
Two Special Operations Executives from the Cross Border Force were present on the hill this morning. Their mission was accomplished when 3 Snow Bunting were seen shortly after this photo was taken. Nothing more is known about the photographer who has been reported MIA.

During the past two months I noticed the Eastern slope excavations have created fresh scrapes now full of water. No birds have been seen here yet but I shall certainly step up observations once March is upon us. Ideally, one should stand on the foreground ridge and look down, but I advise against this when the machinery is working, often close by.

Then they were Three

Site Name: Soil Hill
Date: Thu, 1 Dec, 2011 Time: 9:40 - 11:55
Species Comment Breeding Status
Carrion Crow 5+
Common Gull 2
Grey Heron 1
Grey Partridge 6
Lapwing Bottom field circa 21
Linnet 8
Magpie 2
Mallard 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Peregrine Pr together low down > S F - Flying 2
Pheasant 1
Reed Bunting 1
Short-eared Owl On N slope flew from W > E dropped and stayed down. 1
Skylark 3
Snow Bunting A third bird joining the orig pr or different birds? 3
Total number of species