Birdbrain Stuff

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Quiet Session

Grey skies and fresh NE'ly wind over Soil Hill at 1245 hrs meant I didn't stay long, especially as there was no inkling of any Wheatear. Yet again the top field was busy with a few Skylark, numerous flighty Meadow Pipit and mingling Linnet. Also present: pr Curlew, pr Pied Wagtail plus a Kestrel being mobbed by a Crow.
Interestingly on the way back home I noticed evidence of Meadow Pipit movement - one field alone about 200 metres above the Moorlands Pub held c60 birds.

The plantation at Back Lane and Ogden Res itself was noticeably quiet. Here were just  Woodpigeon, Curlew, Pheasant, Chaffinch and on the drink, pr Goldeneye, solitary BHG, Canada Geese and a Grey Heron flying over. I did get the opportunity to try out my new camera at least.

I wonder if the Tawny Owl that woke me up at about 0430 hrs this morning will do a repeat number tomorrow morning?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Todays Birds

Went via Soil Hill to Ogden Res via the Plantation then home via Oats Royd. I spoke to the landowner and finally pinned down the official footpath route taking you from Back Lane through the plantation straight up to the unmade road turning right for the Coal Lane entrance to Soil Hill (and vice versa). Glad I got that sorted as it saves about a mile in distance and almost 20 minutes yomping time.

Soil Hill - no change except 4 Pied Wagtails and the recently reported.
Back Lane - Stonking Red Crossbill singing it's heart out from a tree top. Usual Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon and nearby Curlew, Skylark.

Ogden Res - Good to tell my new camera isn't with me yet; great views of Nuthatch and Treecreeper. Oystercatcher circling and calling and Curlew too in GT vicinity. Pr adult light grey mantled LBBG on the drink as were solitary BHG, pr Goldeneye and c14 Canada Goose. Chiffchaff singing loudly and often from below the embankment and several Greenfinch both here and in the Bradshaw area.

I decided to cut short on Oats Royd, even though another singing Chiffchaff was present. Two decidedly unsavoury characters were returning from an assumed poaching trip from the ponds. They stopped to ask me details about the fish present so I fobbed em off - my Queensbury kiss ain't what it was and I ain't had much practice punching the mother in law recently .

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No F in Wheatear

Same old story regarding the search for Wheat(F)ear. I walked through the local fields from Fleet Lane to Old Guy Rd before hitting the hillhole. Just a couple of Meadow Pipit and a Skylark present here.
The Hill had several more Meadow Pipit and Linnet than of late plus an extra Skylark or two. It was odd to see them spending quite a lot of time on the bone dry section of the top where the long departed Snow Bunting used to frequent. There must be some kind of seed attracting them there; it sure as hell isn't water. Also present was an alba Wagtail and in the adjacent green field were c25 Crow.
A distant large black bird circling high over the Illingworth area turned out, I think and hope, to be a Raven. A pr Curlew were seen and also a Kestrel. A few Pied Wagtails lined the fields and walls on the way back via Raggalds and Mountain.
I must admit because of the warm sunshine and blue skies I found it odd not to see Swallows or House Martins darting around!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Swalesmoor to Upper Shibden

Approx 1320 hrs Swalesmoor - hard work. 10 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark, Pied Wagtail, 7 Linnet, Crows. 5/6 Chaffinch, pr Dunnock, Greenfinch at Ploughcroft end.

Upper Shibden - 2 laffin Yaffles, drummin GSW, chortling Nuthatch, 2 chuffin Chiffchaff and usual (subdued) species.
Weather supposed to turn back to normal at W/E. I bet it's this high pressure that's keepin the little buggers at bay.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Walking in Sunshine

The day got off to a poor start but then picked up in the afternoon. Soil Hill isn't worth reporting and I got off it and went down to Ogden Res area.
The Plantation at Back Lane coughed up a handful of Redpoll in flight, singing Goldcrests and a Curlew. I legged it up to Giants Tooth where I managed 4 Crossbill at around 1310 hrs. This was followed almost immediately by a pr Siskin and Sparrowhawk. Goldfinch were noticeable throughout the area.
There were c18 Canada Goose, f Goosander, pr Goldeneye and pr Teal on the drink.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Expensive Trip

Whilst the Hill from Hell giveth, it can also taketh away. Not only were there not any Wheatear present, I returned home with the battery for my camera resting overnight in the grass somewhere. Just when I promised myself today was my last trip ever, I'll be up there again in the morning as I do have a good idea where the a/m battery doth lay.
Just the recent usual species to report; nothing too beaucoup moving in the hazy sunshine.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Back Yard Chiffchaff

Nearly fell over when a Chiffchaff started singing from the stand of trees over the fence at approx 1213 hrs. I remember a similar event taking place two years ago - see link below. It turns out today's bird is one day earlier;  we have had a better March than in 2010 but this can't be an importan factor in my opinion. The bird was still singing loud at 1255 hrs so I've been compensated for being a Wheatear Tard.

Birdbrain: Garden Tick II (too)

Others over and around the house: Blue Tit, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fly Flatts to Soil Hill

Although it has been a sunny day with a SE'ly breeze, I perhaps expected too much in the way of birds. Yet again no sign of any Wheatear and no hoped for raptor movement materliased.
Fly Flatts 1100-1210 hrs - 6+ Curlew, Redshank, 4 Red Grouse, 2 Skylark, several Meadow Pipit. A pr Oystercatcher were mating on the pier by the Boat House, hope they come out winners.
Down by the Pumping Stn were a very nervous pr Twite; I heard their calls a few times before catching sight of them. It was impossible to look for leg rings or try any photography. A pr Grey Heron flew over the N end and disappeared into the reeds.

Ogden Res still had 8 Goosander. A Golden Plover flew N over the moorland toward the Withens where a pr Kestrel were hunting.
Soil Hill had Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, pr Curlew, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and a slightly bigger Linnet flock than yesterday, oh and a single Lapwing on the top field.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Day O Spring

Site Name:Soil Hill
Date:Wed, 21 Mar, 2012Time:13:25 - 14:40
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Blackbird    1
Blue Tit    1
Carrion Crow    9+
Chaffinch  S - Singing/breeding calls heard1
Curlew  H - Seen in suitable nesting habitat2
Dunnock    1
FieldfareHeading > E over S slope.F - Flying70+
House Sparrow    2
Lesser Black-backed GullHeading > WF - Flying1
Linnet    16
Magpie    Present
Mallard    2
Meadow Pipit  S - Singing/breeding calls heardcirca 18
Pheasant    2
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)    1
Skylark    15
Starling    250+
Stock Dove    2
Total number of species   
I was sure there would be a Wheatear in the mild conditions; there wasn't a squeak. However on the top field a DJS turned up later.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Round the Houses

A different story today in the cold predominantly Wl'y wind; I could face only the top field of Soil Hill from 0945-1025hrs. 4 Meadow Pipit, 11 Skylark, 6 Linnet, Chaffinch, Grey Heron > N.

Ogden Res - 20 Canada Goose, 8 Goosander, pr Goldeneye, Cormorant and 6 small gulls on the water. A Nuthatch was calling from the lakeside trees and a single Siskin and Crossbill were seen in Back Lane plantation. In the surrounding area were Curlew, Lapwing, Woodpigs and c7 Meadow Pipit. The felling operation appears to have ceased, for the time being.

Came back via Oats Royd, hoping for Little Owl but drew a blank. Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, 3 Bullfinch, 4 Canada Goose, Greenfinches, Chaffinch.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bunting and Buzzard

Soil Hill 0935-1110 hrs. The hill continues to deliver: Snow Bunting seen and although flighty it did stop a few times to sing loudly by the top field mounds.
At approx 1042 hrs I received a txt msg originated from SC and forwarded by BS. I was on the N slope bottom so promptly dropped everything on the deck and raised my bins up to the hill top. A Kestrel was hovering, but unbelievably a large raptor flew in from behind it at a higher elevation and circled a couple of times. It was a Buzzard species and although the sun stopped me from seeing plumage details, everything else told me it was probably a Common. This has got to be the same bird reported to the Calderdale birders, surely.
Also: 6 Meadow Pipit, 22+ Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, 4 Linnet, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Corvids. Alba Wagtails were present throughout the general area, i.e Raggalds, Mountain with Pied clearly being seen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Soil and Water

Soil Hill 1250-1405hrs This place never fails to amaze me; although I didn't get the hoped for Wheatear (DJS got two at Foreside - well done!) I did get another new species for the location. A pr of Siskin flew close by calling, heading NW and I may have seen another in with a group of Skylark.There were 22+ in total of the latter, 5 Meadow Pipit, 5 Linnet, Dunnock, Blackbird, and 3 Lapwing also.

I got to Raggalds thinking about checking the flood field out, but there was no need to. A Peregrine skimmed over the field, ditto rooftop and zoomed straight toward me. It veered left and went down Roper Lane > SW. I was so stunned and it came that close I'm unable to determine whether it was male or female. Also a Pied Wagtail in the horse field.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Soil Hill Marsh Harrier

Adult female Marsh Harrier followed by 6 Crows seen from the top field flew due S down the valley between Ogden on the hill side at 1100 hrs this morning.
There were also c22 Skylark, 5 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, 3 Reed Bunting, pr Stock Dove and a Kestrel carrying a vole.

The Back Lane plantation was like the woodcutters ball without the singing. However the felling machinery more than made up for this so I didn't hang around too long. No sign of any Crossbill, but there were songs from Goldcrest and Chaffinch and in the open a Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting were flying across.

The reservoir at Ogden itself was busy for a change, there must have been a hiccup elsewhere.

5 Greylag & 6 Canada Goose, 9 Goosander (4 pr & 1 female) 3 Goldeneye, Moorhen and a handful of small gull sp. Watching the Goldeneye was interesting as they were in breeding mood and displayed a few times. The male of the pr was also busy driving off the other male which ended up on the top channel. A Tawny Owl called from nearby a couple of times.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ogden & Fly Flatts

Arrived at Ogden thanks to DP just after receiving news that the Whoopers had departed so we had a crack at the Crossbills in the plantation. Fortunately at least 6, mebbe 7 flew out of the middle to the footpath side and started scoffing within a few minutes. They then started the usual trick of flying around with at least 3 going over to the reservoir side. Also seen were 4 alba Wagtails overhead > W and I'm sure I got 3 Cormorants flying over the water, but this was from a distance (how do you confuse a cormorant?).

Fly Flatts was a non starter as it turned out; several calling and visible Red Grouse plus Oystercatcher but no Twite present.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Interesting Afternoon

The smell of Spring was very evident around Soil Hill and particularly Ogden Res this arternoon with quite a bit of movement.
Soil Hill 1400 hrs top field. 17 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, 2 Linnet, Kestrel and surprisingly c11 Greenfinch flying low > N. I had a struggle with a big distant gull flying over > W; GBBG thought I, but when the sun caught it's back it showed no black, just silvery grey. As there were a couple of more accomodating Herring Gulls later on, I'll settle for that.

Ogden and Back Lane - no residue left over from the experience BS had yesterday, not even a squeak. However, I did get a pr alba wagtail flying low enough to show very pale bodies and clean cut appearance with White Wagtail springing immdly to mind.
Also: pr Grey Partridge, 2 Pheasant, 4 Lapwing, 2 Curlew and singing Chaffinch, Coal Tit and Goldcrest. About 55 Woodpigeon were feeding out in one of the fields

The reservoir - 8 Canada, pr Goldeneye, 2 pr Goosander, Cormorant, GC Grebe and Moorhen, which is a scarce occurence here. The tackled up drake Goldeneye recently mentioned was not present. Gulls have returned in larger numbers - 60+ BHG, 7+ Common & 1 sub-adult phase LBBG. The woodland was busy with several Goldfinch, less so Greenfinch, LTT, singing Robins.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Sunny Walk

Great day for perambulating even if the local birdlife wasn't exactly buzzing:
Raggalds Flood 1350hrs - 3 Mallard 2 Pied Wagtail.

Soil Hill - Chaffinch, Dunnock, Kestrel, c13 Linnet, 16 Skylark and small count of caaawvids. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody in the general area gets Wheatear before the week is out. For further evidence of Spring click here.

BS sure had a good afternoon at Ogden Plantation - have a gander at his blog.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Soil Hill to Ogden

I thought I may be in for a day of movement when a Herring Gull flew low over Brighouse Rd > SW a minute after I left the hovel.
SH 0950-1035 hrs top field only. 3 Meadow Pipit, 9 Skylark, 11 Linnet, 2 Chaffinch, 7 Lapwing, 4 Mallard, Pheasant and pr Grey Partridge. Flyovers were just 1 Common and 1 BH Gull.
It should now be worth watching the pools formed by the excavation on the E side of the hill (track from corner of Perseveance Rd).

Ogden and Back Lane kicked off with 6 noisy Crossbill flying in from N and settling on tops of conifers briefly before dispersing. Also here were singing Chaffinch, Goldcrest and Coal Tit with a Lapwing and 2 Curlew out over the fields and LBBG > N.
I went up to Giants Tooth for more Xbills but drew a blank, before walking round the lake. Here was another Wish I'd never seen bird but for a different reason. A drake Goldeneye was being followed constantly by a BHG so I persevered with the bins until it came closer in. The object of curiosity was an orange and white fishing float being towed by the Goldeneye about a metre behind it. It never came close enough to shore for photographic evidence to be obtained.
Also present were a pr Goldeneye and 4 Goosander consisting of 2 males & 2 females, plus a few gulls.

For the return leg I went back to Back Lane at 1335 hrs and was promptly rewarded by a Crossbill heading toward the plantation calling frequently. As soon as it arrived, it was joined by a bird already present and the pr spent a minute or so chipping away in flight. A Grey Heron flew out of the plantation and headed NE over t'hill.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Ogden to Soil Hell

Ogden Res 1155hrs. Pr Goosander, f Goldeneye, 4 Canada, 3 Common & 2 BH Gull on the drink. A small WTF was that gull in 2nd ish Winter plumage went over N with no intention of dropping in (Swine bird)
Interesting to see a small party of 2 LTT, 4 Blue Tit, Nuthatch & Treecreeper for 5 mins - the 'creeper was up and down feeding off a lichen covered wall.
Back Lane had 10 Lapwing > W, Curlew & 7 Skylark dropped in to feed in the Hoss field.

Soil Hell 1255 hrs but not for long on top field only. 3 Skylark, pr Grey Partridge, 2 Crow, 3 Fieldfare and a wayward Racing Pigeon.
Pied Wagtail and handful o small gull sp. Raggalds.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Crossbill Activity

Site Name:Ogden Res (SE03 Q)
Date:Mon, 5 Mar, 2012Time:10:45 - 12:45
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Black-headed Gull    16+
Blackbird    2
Blue Tit    5
Canada Goose    7
Carrion Crow    Present
Chaffinch    circa 6
Coal Tit    1
Collared Dove    1
Common Crossbill1 singer Giants Tooth for good 1-1/2 minute. Others traversing twixt GT and Back Lane giving good views in sunshine.S - Singing/breeding calls heard8
Common Gull    3
CurlewBack Lane fields  2
Goldeneye    2
Goldfinch    4
Goosander    2
Great Tit    3
Greenfinch    3
Magpie    Present
Mallard    Present
Moorhen    1
Robin    2
Starling    Present
Woodpigeon    8+
Total number of species   

Soil Hill and Raggalds.

SE Slope and Top Field 0950-1035 hrs; fairly active with a varying NE/N breeze in sunshine.
2 Pied Wagtail in flight, also Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Linnet singles in flight. Flock of 90+ Starling wheeling around and a pr Dunnock. There were 1 Lapwing, 15 Skylark and 13 Linnet on top also a pr Stock Dove and a Kestrel later on the way back.

Raggalds Flood and nearby Sports Field had 35+ Common Gull plus a few BHG. On return leg there were just 11 present on the flood field. I thought these had gone to breed, just shows what a wind direction change can do.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Cold Edge and Fly Flatts

Courtesy of DP we had a very interesting session mid morning through lunchtime, ending with a quiet trip around Soil Hill top field.
Cold Edge: 3 Goldeneye, pr Tufted Duck, 4/5 Curlew, Oystercatcher, pr Reed Bunting,  a few Red Grouse, Canada and Greylag Geese. Less than 9 small gull sp. present. It was great to see a pr Raven flying S calling a few times.

Fly Flatts: The laying down of nyjer seed has paid off; 4 Twite were very accomodating, the male showing off his pink rump. No leg rings were noted, but I have to admit we didn't make much of a concerted effort on that issue.
A real plus here was a pr Stonechat turning up and settling on the pump house wall for just over a minute before flying off about 30 metres away.
As we were departing a pr Herring Gull had the good grace to circle around before settlling down on the drink. A pr Oystercatcher were parked on the boathouse pier, with a couple of Curlew and Red Grouse in the area.

Soil Hill: The least said, the better, just 7 Skylark on the top field.