Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Postcard From Turkey

Hello each
I've had to take a day off  from manic birding, I've ran out of energy and my plates o meat are killing me.
Just as you think it's all over, something takes you by surprise, e.g T'other day a Caspian Tern crept up from behind  screeching and yesterday while casually looking for Corn Bunting, a Savis Warbler popped up in front of me.

I was going to txt BS with either Masked or Woodchat Shrike, based on back views of 2 seconds. I'm glad I didn't it turned out to be Collared Flycatcher. Silly me, I mean we get so many in Littlemoor Park too!

The only other birders here are German so we exchange species names observed in Latin after greeting in respective Pidgin languages. We then discreetly go our own way and set booby traps and lob grenades at each other.
Right, I may wander out and try to get Chaffinch, I know they are supposed to be out there. If not I'll take consolation from the Black Winged Pratincoles I nailed as a lifer.

Monday, April 16, 2012


A Nuthatch pair in the garden this afternoon; the male in fine plumage and singing.

I couldn't add anything significant from my quick swoop round this morning, other than a single Swallow in Taylor Lane. Nice to hear the Skylarks singing at various points.

Soil Hill and Qby

Soil Hill at 0945 hrs yet again failed to produce Wheatear and none were found at Mountain or Old Guy Rd. Perhaps instinctively the birds are sticking to the lower areas because food can be found; the hill for example was cold with no obvious insect activity.
A pr Red-legged Partridge and a Swallow were seen in addition to the recent records reported by both BS and myself.

As my Wheatear pics from earlier this morning were poor, I took revenge on this Starling at Fleet Lane Farm.

Local Wheatears

After hearing from BS about the Wheatear count last night, I got out of my pit this morning early and promptly shot down to the Cross Lane fields. I spotted one on a wall top immediately at approx 0710 hrs then slowly as they warmed up it became apparent there were 6 birds present. About 30 minutes later they were hopping around in the short grass, but the distance meant focussing was poor for decent photos. This is the latest date I have ever had them, but better late than never.
DS was also present and reports no other birds present after a tour of the other fields. Also: Skylark, Meadow Pipit, pr Linnet.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Fruitless Search

A quiet day all around today. Soil Hill still hasn't coughed up a Wheatear and on Ogden there wasn't a single gull on the water, just 4/5 Mallard and 4 Canada Geese. I managed 4 LBBG > SE, two at each venue.
Migrants were down to 2 Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff. On the bright side the shoreline at Ogden is receding which means BS can watch dogs splashing in the water tomorrow morning.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


This smart male was in the garden this afternoon.

Early Hobby

Three days after I slagged the hill from hell off it produces another goody. At 1058hrs a Hobby flew over low down giving good views even in the grey sky. Initially heading S it veered SW taking it in the direction of Swales/Holmefield area.
Other birds: Lapwing, pr Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Dunnock, 3 Mallard, pr Curlew, Skylarks. The Linnet and Meadow Pipit flocks have slightly increased in number. Also 4 Pied Wagtails and a further 4 down at Raggalds. 2 high up unidentified big gulls > N
This bird could not move; it had been immobilised by a vehicle.

Ogden Res - nothing on the water except a couple of Mallard and 4 Canada Goose. However the woodland was quite interesting, with evidence of more migrants and the usual species sounding off. 4 Willow Warbler (pics to follow) 2 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap, all singing. In fact one of the Chiffs was just a couple of metres away from the Blackcap, both at it loudly.
Other birds: Curlew, Sparrowhawk, Song Thrush, pr Siskin, Jay, Tawny Owl.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cliched Feeder Pics

OK this couldn't fit on the feeder.

Annual Top Up

Site Name:Elland GP (SE12 G)
Date:Tue, 10 Apr, 2012Time:11:10 - 13:10
SpeciesCommentBreeding Status
Black-headed Gull    20+
Blackbird    5
Blackcap  S - Singing/breeding calls heard6
Blue Tit    Present
Bullfinch    6
Canada Goose    30+
Carrion Crow    Present
Chaffinch    Present
Chiffchaff  S - Singing/breeding calls heard11
Coal Tit    3
Coot    3
Goldeneye    2
Goosander    1
Great Crested GrebeFishing pond nr Avocet works  1
Great Tit    4
Grey Wagtail    2
House Martin  F - Flying2
Jackdaw    2
Jay    1
Lesser Redpoll    1
Long-tailed Tit    4
Magpie    Present
Mallard    Present
Mistle Thrush    3
Moorhen    1
Mute Swan    2
Nuthatch  S - Singing/breeding calls heard1
Reed Bunting    2
Robin    2
Swallow  F - Flying6
Willow Warbler  S - Singing/breeding calls heard5
Woodpigeon    Present
Wren  S - Singing/breeding calls heard7+
Total number of species

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Devil's Toilet

Soil Hell 1035hrs - the place that inspired a thousand birders to consider the pros and cons of euthanasia. Wallowing in misery, I had a momentarily flush of joy when I came across a piece of old rope that looked as if it would support my weight. This quickly turned to even more dismay when I realised the nearest decent tree is a mile away. The only different birds from the ones recorded in the recent week were a pr of Canada Geese flying low > NW. What a shithole.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Whooper and Down

At approx 0905 hrs this morning I was in Bradford when a pr Whooper Swan flew low overhead in the vicinity of the University campus > SE.
This is not without precedent; back in Feb 2007 I got much better views of a pair, click this link:
Birdbrain: One for BOG

Thats the good birding done, it was downhill all the way at Soil Hill and Ogden in the afternoon.  A Peregrine > W over t'hill at about 1400hrs relieved the monotony, otherwise it was Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Skylarks, Kestrel and a pr Grey Partridge. Ogden was really quiet after this singing Song Thrush piped down.

The Goldeneye pr were still present, along with the same BHG and a Common Gull.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Birds Bees and Snow

Twas hard to reconcile breeding birds and buzzing bumblebees in the snow, especially on the white hill, which I left in somewhat of a hurry; just a handful of Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Linnet up there

Ogden Res via Back Lane plantation - a pr of Siskin in the latter and the usual. 2 male Goosander and a pr Goldeneye along with 3 BH & 1 Common Gull were on the drink. A Chiffchaff is still singing below the embankment; I'm that knackered I can't remember anything else! Oh once again there were several Meadow Pipit hanging around fields at upper Bradshaw.
I tried to photo it's head on the nest but I got a bum deal.
Oats Royd - pr Bullfinch, 4 Canada Goose, Moorhen, 2 singing Chiffchaff and usual.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Soil Hill to Ogden

What the hill taketh away it can also returneth back; by simply sticking to the footpath and not working 2 metres either side of it, I found my camera battery! How odd that this path runs from Perseverance Road. I got it home and after a 9 day stay in the grass, I only had to give it a 4/5 minute charge and it worked perfectly.
The God of Birding wasn't so bountiful though, just the same critters as previously; I've still got to nail my first annual Wheatear.

Ogden Res approx 1200 hrs - fairly quiet here too. I spent some time at GT but nothing doing so back down to the drink where I found this pr GC Grebe doing a courtship ritual. They were very distant and naturally when I walked round to the bank they were nearest to, they promptly swam back toward the bank I'd just left. In the 11 years I've been observing here, I have seen no more than 4 breeding attempts and everyone failed.

Also pr Goldeneye, pr Jay, Chiffchaff, two big gull sp high up > SE and usual expected species.

Oats Royd coughed up good views of Little Owl which is my first of the year. Not that it wanted to be photographed; every time the lens went up it flew off a further 30 metres. Also Chiffchaff singing here.

Well done with the Red Kites, Dave and thanks for the call.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

In Memorium

I post this as my personal tribute to a true birding pioneer, one of the old school and the founder of Bradford Victorian Birdwatching - Algernon Snert.