Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Birdtrack Data Extraction

Here is a list of species I pulled up since 2008 from BIRDTRACK for the area centred roughly on Ogden Res. If there are missing records of birds that observers have seen, it's either because Birdtrack wasn't used as the data capture method, or, the area searched by my critiera excluded them. An example of this would be the Lapland Bunting on Swalesmoor a couple of years back. If I were to alter the Grid Ref criteria by 1KM further south, I would have pulled it up.

The list consists of  records input by people other than myself. It is certainly not an implication that everyone should use this method but it does show what can be achieved.
Further details of each species can be obtained by simply 'drilling down' on that record by clicking on it.

Finally BTO/Birdtrack themselves take care of the secrecy and sensitivity issue, so there is no need to panic about precious migrants, raptors etc.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunshine and Snow

Checked Raggalds Flood before going up the hill - mostly frozen, nothing doing. SH 1100-1155 hrs:
3 Pheasant, 8 Skylark, 4 Snow Bunting and c20 Lapwing (in the bottom field). The Buntings were mainly airborne; a couple of times they circled and climbed high out of sight. 13 Fieldfare flew SE as I passed on the return leg a couple of hours later.

Ogden Res 1205-1335 hrs. Action on the water was almost non-existent though I did spot the Cormorant diving a couple of times. I thought Giants Tooth might be a good bet for Crossbill and got lucky - a third of the way up the track one bird flew across the front of  me calling. Some 7 minutes later just below the GT another bird flew into the pines also calling. I didn't know if there were 2 birds or the same individual and on further investigation I couldn't fine any at all. I did turn up 3 Goldcrest at that spot and 2 Red Grouse took off from the heather. Further down a Nuthatch called briefly with lots of noise from Blue and Coal Tit elsewhere also 16 Goldfinch.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Interesting Local Trip

Site Name:Ogden Res (SE03 Q)
Date:Fri, 27 Jan, 2012Time:11:55 - 12:50
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Black-headed Gull    14
Blue Tit    5
Carrion Crow    Present
Common Gull    4
Cormorant    1
Goldcrest    4
Goldfinch    3
Goosander2 male, 1 female  3
Greenfinch    3
Grey HeronHeading SF - Flying1
Kestrel    1
Lesser Redpoll    1
Magpie    Present
Mallard    Present
Robin    4
Tufted Duck    1
Woodpigeon    1
Total number of species

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Soil Hill and Luddenden

DP and myself went to Soil Hill at approx 1050 hrs where 4 Snow Bunting were still present, if flighty. 6 Skylark were also on the top field along with a Golden Plover and Common Gull in flight. 60+ Lapwing were down in the bottom field.
Good to see AC up there pondering whether to give it a try in the blustery wind!

After receiving clear instructions both from DJS and Andy, Dave drove us to Luddenden Dean to search for the visiting Long-tailed Tits from afar. Today was not to be our day and also for 4 other birders conducting the search, but aint that how it goes.
However there were enough birds about to make it more than interesting:
12 LTT, Treecreeper, 2 Green Woodpecker, 2 GSW, Jay, Sparrowhawk, Raven, 4 Blackbird, 5 Redwing, c23 Fieldfare. The place was also busy with Blue, Great and Coal Tit, plus Chaffinches.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Puzzling Canada Goose

This short stocky necked Canada Goose species caught my attention so I took a couple of pictures of it. I've spent an hour or so on the 'net comparing for both Richardson's or Cackling Canada Goose and the nominate race. In favour of the former much rarer species is the a/m neck but more obviously the short stubby bill. Against this is there is no evident white 'sock' where the black joins the base of the neck - it is too clear cut. Just before I decided to submit to Birdguides, I rang DJS who said the bird was seen later congregating around the duck feeding area, so I declined.
Also present: Cormorant, f Tufted Duck, LBBG, Herring Gull both > NW. Smaller gull species, Kestrel.

Belated Reports

Wednesday January 18th Shibden Valley - 3 Buzzard. One was seen initially in the air; it was then joined by two other birds coming from the direction of  "the quarry".

Thursday January 19th Ovenden Moor - 12 Snow Bunting. Seen on the moorland in the vicinity of the Giants Tooth (Ogden area).

From Mr I Bruce of Queensbury.


Two here just before lunchtime. Up to 11 LTT for the last couple of days-all Nigel's "standard issues".

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Trip Aborted

Soil Hill 0945-1045 hrs in a fierce W/NW'ly. Ultimately, I had to abandon any thoughts of serious birdin as I was being blown all over plus tears were forming after just a minute or so of putting up bins to eyes. (Don't get much more emotional than that, lol).
I couldn't differentiate between Skylark and Linnet at more than 25 metres; all I know is there was one definite Skylark and 5 brown jobs on the top field. Here also was a Golden Plover that just didn't want to move off and 9 Lapwing. I did not see or hear any trace of our much feted visitors neither.
The bottom field appeared to have a fair number of Lapwing and around 11 Common Gull there.

A Peregrine was seen all too briefly just below Keelham farm shop. Raggalds flood turned up my first ever Herring Gull on the ground/water at this site. I had it down for a 3rd Winter however great pics from the Gull Research website showed it clearly to be sub-adult.
The possible Mediterranean Gull I rang BS about failed to materialise on checking plumages of all sub-adult phases. Once again the wind played it's part, blowing both the bird and me around. It just looked different to the similar plumaged 40 or so Common Gull that were present along with a handful of BHG.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Predator Problems

Soil Hill 1245 hrs.
I was told by a visitor how to find the Snow Buntings, and given clear instructions on the route I should take to do so. This was repeated by his wife, so there was absolutely no chance of me not getting the 'Snobs' as he referred to them. (Twitchers? I shit 'em!).

Lo! there were no such 'Snobs' just 10 Linnet and 4 Skylark and very soon these disappeared and after a blip, the culprit showed himself clearly. A raptor about 250 metres away, well beyond Cloth Hall Farm, was dashing around and about as well as up and down. 4/5 small passerines were both mobbing and avoiding the bird with some energy I must add. Erroneously, I put it down to a Merlin and rang BS with that info. However subsequently a male Peregrine circled low down above my head giving very good views and it all fell into place.

Some 40 minutes later on returning to the top field, it was still void of birds except a pr Golden Plover flying over W. The acid test for the Snow Bunting (take note, posers) is if they return to the grass roost this evening and are found on the morrow.
14 Lapwing and c30 Starling with some 25+ Crows were in the bottom fields.

Raggalds Flood had c15 Common Gull; 2 Herring Gull flew SW over BS garage followed 2 mins later by a Sparrowhawk > N.
PS 1605 hrs. BS sent me text msg informing Herrings (see? already I've become a twitcher) swimming, I mean flying W and SW so I shot outside and saw upto 20 from the back yard.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hard Graft Findin Birds

Site Name:Queensbury South (SE12 E)
Date:Tue, 17 Jan, 2012Time:13:45 - 15:05
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Black-headed Gull    3
Blackbird    2
Carrion Crow    Present
Common Gull    6
Golden Plover    1
House Sparrow    5
Jackdaw    4+
Kestrel    1
LapwingLarge flock disappeared  8
Magpie    7+
Mistle Thrush    3
RedwingFirst of the year Addersgate Lane  11
Robin    1
Rook    6
Total number of species   

Monday, January 16, 2012

Soil Hill and Ogden Res

Another brilliant sunny day and the birdin although quiet was rather enjoyable. Soil Hill was definitely subdued and I feared the worst on seeing the excavator had reduced one of the 'Bunting Mounds' by a good third. Fortunately while I went off to comb the grassy area, Dave Pinder stuck to the mounds and almost walked on top of the 4 Snow Bunting. Once again they lent themselves to photography, so here are some uploads just so I can bore the pants of people.

Other birds were down to 7 Skylark, Kestrel and Crows.

Ogden Res coughed up 5 Teal - 3 male and 2 female. The f Tufted Duck is still present but the Cormorant could not be located. There were lots of smaller gull species present also Jay, Mistle Thrush, Kestrel but very few woodland birds.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Frozen Soil Hill

SH 0905-1055 hrs. Started off in brilliant sunshine but eventually got cloudy with an interlude of mist at a crucial moment.
Even at around -5C there were 16 Lapwing and 3 Golden Plover on the top field. 4 Snow Bunting were flushed at very close range from the long grass at the NE end. These birds went on to give either great close up views on the frozen earth or they were flying around trilling and ranging away from the bare ground over the fields. This is twice I have seen this behaviour within a week; I think they are definitely getting restless.
The only other birds I saw were Kestrel, Crows and a couple of Jackdaw. I did however hear the PFG that flew over between Ogden Res and the hill - see BS today's report. JW author of the alert message also turned up on the hill as I left.

Raggalds Flood was frozen over but still turned up 4 low flying Herring Gull > SW. Several Common and a few BHG were knocking about generally and 20 Woodpigeon flew NW as I arrived home.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Sunny South

70 Pink-footed Geese over Green Lane at 1445 hrs.

Site Name:Queensbury South (SE12 E)
Date:Sat, 14 Jan, 2012Time:13:55 - 15:10
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Black-headed Gull    6
Blue Tit    1
Carrion Crow    8+
Collared Dove    2
Common Gull    2
Golden Plover    8
House Sparrow    4+
Jackdaw    circa 50
Kestrel    1
Lapwing    circa 110
Magpie    4
Pink-footed GooseOver Green Lane > WF - Flying70
Rook    20+
Starling    80+
Total number of species

Friday, January 13, 2012

Here and There

0945 hrs checked Raggalds Flood which was 40% ice covered. Several smaller gulls but no Teal present.
Soil Hill 0955 hrs. First Sparrowhawk of the year giving good views as it lazily flapped over toward Thornton.
Bunting Hunting produced just one bird, which turned out to be a bonus for a Calderdale birder who turned up with camera. A Kestrel and 20 Linnet were present along with 6 Skylark and c22 Lapwing esconced in the bottom field. (Two Roe Deer flushed a pr Pheasant from the top).

Thanks for the call on 2 Whooper Swan to DJS; DP turned up and took us down to Mixenden Res. At approx 1050 hrs, they had disappeared and were not subsequently seen at either Cold Edge or Fly Flatts. Perhaps they dropped in at Ogden?
Other birds around Cold Edge: Pr Red Grouse, Pr Tufted Duck, Canada and Greylag Goose, Bullfinch, Wren, small Gulls and 3 Rhea. The latter, surprisingly were not wild birds butt penned up by the houses nearer the top dam.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Local Site Tick

Site Name:Queensbury North (SE03 V)
Date:Thu, 12 Jan, 2012Time:12:05 - 12:15
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Common GullRaggalds Flood  circa 25
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)Raggalds Flood - Annual tick  1
TealPr Raggalds Flood - Site and Annual tick!  2
Wren    1
Total number of species
The flooded field is the one after the last house in the row and the Garage about 150 metres away going towards Keelham.

PS Dave Pinder reports 17 Pink-footed Geese over Oats Royd at approx 1145 hrs today.

Sunny Soil Hill

Site Name:Soil Hill
Date:Thu, 12 Jan, 2012Time:10:45 - 11:50
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Blackbird    1
Carrion Crow    4
FieldfareCovered Res field  11
LapwingTop field  21
Linnet    circa 23
Magpie    1
Meadow Pipit    1
Skylark    6
SnipeTop field - Annual tick  1
Snow Bunting    7
Total number of species

4 Snow Bunting together

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Antipodean Visitor

The Black Swan found yesterday at Mixenden Reservoir by DJS was still there today at 1230 hrs. Distance and poor light gave for low quality photographs but at least the red beak is evident on enlargement. I don't care if it isn't a wild bird as the only other one I have seen in West Yorks was an adult at Knotford Nook over 32 years ago.
Also present were 3 Goosander, Goldeneye, LBBG and several smaller gulls.
I'd made the effort after visiting Ogden Res which was frankly boring; hardly a squeak from woodland birds. The Cormorant and female Tufted Duck were still present along with the usual gulls.

Soil Hill at 0945hrs previously made for a brief visit indeed; despite the surrounding area at lower altitudes being mild and calm, this place yet again had it's own micro climate. The wind was in bouyant mood and the resulting chill not too efficacious for enjoying the birds, which were:
7 Snow Bunting showing well; 16 flighty Linnet and 2 Skylark.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Moving Day

Site Name:Soil Hill
Date:Sun, 8 Jan, 2012Time:8:45 - 10:30
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Black-headed Gull> WF - Flying7
Blackbird    1
Carrion Crow    3
Common Gull> WF - Flying1
Fieldfare    6
Grey Partridge    6
Herring Gull> NE (Yippee!)F - Flying3
House Sparrow    1
Lapwing> NW then c50 settled on top field for short time.F - Flying250+
Lesser Black-backed Gull> WF - Flying2
Linnet    12
Magpie    2
Pink-footed Goose> WF - Flyingcirca 300
Robin    1
Skylark    4
Snow Bunting7 together and separate pair.M - Migrant9
Starling    60+
Woodpigeon    1
Total number of species

A few of the 250+ strong Lapwing flock.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Local Loop

High Cross Lane 1240 hrs courtesy of Dave P.
260+ Lapwing with 23 Golden Plover and c100 Starling showing very well thanks to that stranger the Sun. A handful of small gull species also present.

Soil Hill approx 1305 hrs. Kestrel,  LBBG > W, 4 Skylark and 9 Snow Bunting. As recorded earlier in the week 7 of the latter finally gave crippling views; 2 others were seen briefly at the NW end.

Ogden Res - started off deadly quiet but here again satisfaction was achieved.
Cormorant, female Tufted Duck, Dunnock, Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, several Robin and small gull species. Pick of the bunch was a Dipper seen near the stone building in the embankment overflow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Another Soaking Part 113

Site Name:Soil Hill
Date:Wed, 4 Jan, 2012Time:11:40 - 12:55
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Blackbird    1
Carrion Crow    3
Fieldfare    M - Migrant6
Lapwing    12
Linnet    3
Pheasant    3
Skylark    5
Snow BuntingSingle male seen in flight thriceM - Migrant1
Total number of species
I am indebted to BS who upon seeing me while on a business related trip gave me a lift back to Queensbury village and not the Algernon Snert Home For The Disturbed

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Harzardous Quickie

I nipped down to High Cross Lane at 1420hrs and nearly didn't return. The Wind and hailstones was so ferocious it nearly blew 200 lbs of gristle and bone into the main road, so I used the couple of brain cells still working and made it a very short trip indeed. The Lapwing flock appeared to be c110 birds max here; perhaps others were in the general area. I'd almost given up on Golden Plover but on the last scan, I found 7 present among a cluster of Lapwings. Others: c90 Starling and 30+ smaller gull species.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Soil Hill 2012

Approx 1050-1220hrs 7 Snow Bunting showing well also 7 Skylark and DJS with BH. Otherwise it was very quiet with Grey Heron, House Sparrow, 2 Woodpigeon and 3 Crow being seen.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


330+ Lapwings and 6 Golden Plovers in Corporal Lane at lunchtime. Also single Mistle Thrush and Redwing near Brackens Lane. Rain (!) stopped play.

19 species in the garden including 23 Chaffinch.