Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Down South

From 1425-1540hrs. The Lapwing have moved back up to the field at Cross Lane, where c55 birds were present along with a bunch of Starling. Unusually, a GSW flew over > W at this location.
The Corporal Lane fields were sparse, just a few Woodies and Corvids. c25 BHG were feeding with c18 Jackdaw in the field adjacent to the L'Owl barn; L'Owl was playing hide and seek in the RH wall.
A flock of c22 finches contained mainly Linnet, the remainder being Goldfinch. A single Willow Warbler was heard with a few Swallow knocking around. It's countdown time for Swift, sadly.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ogden to Mixenden

Ogden Res 1100hrs 35 BH, 1 Common & 2 LBB Gulls and a fem Tufted Duck on water. Very quiet in the woodlands but got lucky with a flyover calling Crossbill by the Lodge House with Sparrowhawk same vicinity. Also 5 Willow Warbler and a solitary Swift seen heading down the clough.

About 250 metres down the path to the GC clubhouse I got 3 seconds on a very compact juvenile gull heading low down towards Mixenden Res. I thought it maybe possible Little Gull so I trudge down to Mixenden even though I wasn't anywhere near certain. This was a big mistake, the only gulls present there being 3 Common & 1 BH Gull - nothing else on the water!
House Martin appear to be doing OK here, I got 10+ around the houses opposite the closed down Pub over the bridge and 4 more over the reservoir. Another 5+ Willow Warbler in the general area.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

South Once More

After lunch I looked at the status of the BDM shed roofs and got 7 Common & 13 BH Gulls, so I thought I may as well wander south. One solitary Swift followed me most of the way; no others were seen at all.
Lapwing were absent from both High Cross and bottom Corporal Lanes. Mowing has taken place in the adjacent fields to the one in the header pic, but there were only about 9 BHG present. A pair of pale graeslii LBBG were flying around, but try as I might I couldn't turn em into michaellis. The L'Owl was showing well but I'm sick to death of photographing it.
Other than that, just Meadow Pipit, 2 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail and the corvids.
On arrival home the local Grey Wagtail was knocking around calling noisily.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Ogden Res 5 Shoveller & 3 Teal still present at 1610 hrs
Queensbury 1655hrs Mediterranean Gull over Chapel St > SW (Green Lane direction) prolly same bird as last Friday.

A good moving afternoon as it turned out. I took a chance on Soil Hill top at 1355 hrs but gave up and decided to go down to Ogden after just a Grey Partridge, Pied Wagtail, 4 Skylark and 3 Meadow Pipit. A further prompt was the sight of a gull horde high up over Causeway Foot - I'd previously seen 70 BHG at Raggalds.
On arrival at Ogden I checked 100+ BH, 5+ Common & 4 LBB Gulls and was hoping for a Tern when I noticed the ducks with heads tucked in in the middle of the lake. Instinctively I decided they were worth a check as Ogdeneii Mallard tend not to do this. It was a while before one withdrew it's head and showed in profile, causing me to fight off the urge to scream. I have to admit being scared of mistaking these eclipse birds for female Mallard even after seeing the shovel as the plumage differences really ain't that obvious at distance. This is a long awaited new species tick here for me, having spent 12 years hammering the joint.
On the way back once again the BHG had moved to yet another location with c70 birds in the mown field adjacent to the SH entrance track. A solitary Swift flew over here also.

Around Queensbury

Top end 0710-0735 hrs. Started off with a climax then diminuendoed like a rap singer walking into a country music studio.
7 Golden Plover  fairly low over Foxhill Park, then > S. Old Guy Rd was clear of gulls except 1 BHG flyover. There were 3 House Sparrer, a pr Linnet and c220 Starling in the fields here. A Blackbird was carrying grub in Chapel Lane with a flyover BHG and one unid gull up above.

Bottom end 0750-0850hrs. 6 House Martin noisily in the air at Deanstones and 7 BHG there. I got to the L'Owl site and a black LRover pulled up and drove down to the big new shed. A guy got out and never even looked back at me, while the L'Owl never even bothered with either of us as it peered out from wall crevice.

Le Field held just a single BHG and c40 Lapwing with 13 Canada in the adjacent hayfield. Other: 2 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, similar Linnet, 3 Greenfinch, Swallers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Today's Birds

Or lack of birds to be honest as it was hard graft in the bright sunshine trying to get 'em this morning.
70+ Lapwing and a bunch of Starling came up from the top o' Northowram and wheeled back toward High Cross Lane. That was it, basically - nothing down bottom of Corporal in the fields other than Woodpiggies and few corvid. The L'Owl was showing off and a Kestrel, was being sorted by a Crow. Toward the Deanstones end, I am sure it was the Whitethroat that was kickin' off while a House Martin and Swallow were overhead.
Only gull seen was 1 BHG, but when I got home there were 5 Common on the shed roofs. Later on here a Kestrel flew over my hovel carrying something of Field Vole proportions.

Mr John Miller reports a probable Buzzard circling over Oats Royd at 0715 hrs. Before he could get binoculars on it for definite confirmation it had gone toward Ogden Res.

A Quick Look Round

About 06:15

Only 5 BhGs on the water at Ogden, along with the usual suspects. I didn't stay long.

The crow was in the same area and has a couple of juvs with pale feathers. There were 54 BhGs and 20 Commons on the cricket pitch. One of the BhGs had a yellow ring on its left leg (4 alpha-numeric coded, I assume). Throught the scope, it looked like N21.... It was just getting into a better position for me to be able to read the ring properly when two runners went straight past me and put them all up! Exercise is good for you but sorely-exercised patience not so.

No gulls on the "gull fields' first thing but a couple of Commons dropped in just before I left. I counted 70 Lapwings, 7 Stock Doves and 12 Canadas. Kestrel overhead and plenty of corvids about.

Monday, July 23, 2012


The Crow I saw last year ( I assume), which looked like a hybrid, was back on old Guy Road this afternoon, in a field where the hay was being cut. I caught sight of a second bird which seemed to have some paler feathers but  didn't get much of a look at it as it flew off with a prey item. There was a group of about 20 gulls further back from the road on the other side-mostly BHG but at least 3 Commons.

I took a look around Ogden yesterday but it was fairly quiet. Brian's Sparrowhawk had evidently been through the woodland and in the area where I had seen a Spotted Flycatcher a couple of days ago, there was a sad little pile of Spotted Flycatcher-coloured feathers.  I did catch up with 2 others later. Let's hope they manage to keep out of its way. Butterflies have been so scarce this year that it was nice to see three Ringlets in a grassy area.

Horton Bank CP

I took a chance on HB Country Park knowing the school summer hols are underway from approx 1340-1430 hrs. Despite the clamour of Homo Sapiens and Canis lupis familiaris, it paid off and to boot I was duly gobsmacked.

Little Grebe has bred and 2 juveniles were seen with an adult bird. They were so active I could only manage these record shots, but I'm happy as I haven't seen any prior breeding evidence within our boundary.
Also Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, 2 House Martin, Crows and one BHG which left after 2/3 minutes.

A Grey Wagtail has been hanging around Black Dyke Mills for the last 3 days.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Local Walk Again

0930-1100 hrs. No Lapwing at High Cross Lane but c32 birds with a smaller brown unidentified wader flying E. Got down to Corporal Lane fields to find c50 birds on the deck with c23 BHG plus corvids. 2 LBBG and 2 Common flew over and a Grey Heron went N. Then all hell broke loose as an unknown quantity sent them into the air. As they came into land I videod them and subsequently all hell broke lose in my hovel when I deleted it before editing.
These are the last Little Owl pics you will see from me from this location - I'm gearing up for a bad winter Snowy.
Other: Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Linnets, Goldfinch, Greenfnch, Willow Warbler, House Martin, 2 Swift, Swallows and the obligatory flying 12 Canada. 3 Foxes were playing in a field approx 150 metres away.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Soil Hill to Ogden


Soil Hill 0955-1115 hrs.
Finally after three long weeks and 6/7 attempts I managed a couple of record shots of the Sedge Warbler. It put on a great display of singing when perched and also in display flight, even if it didn't come too close or remain still for more than a few seconds. I also took this voice recording, but I have an audio quality problem that has yet to be overcome therefore please turn up your PC sound controls in order to hear it.
I'd just put my camera back in the rucksack when a Whitethroat came out and chased it around. At one stage both warblers were a foot apart in the same shrub. Otherwise it was quiet; Curlew have gone with just a few Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Linnet, Swallow and 2 Pied Wagtail present.

Ogden Res 1125 hrs oh so quiet. DS birds reported from yesterday have left. I did manage one Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Willow Warbler and Kestrel with 13 Canada, c35 BH & 2 LBB Gulls.
c40 BHG & 3 Mallard were at Raggalds prior to all this.


A couple of shots of yesterday's birds.

On the earlier shift today, there were 2 Common Sandpipers and a  skulking juv Moorhen which disappeared into the vegetation on the south side. 8 Swallows dropped in to bathe. I managed a  couple of snaps of a Spotted Flycatcher (rather  dark under the trees though). A flurry of activity at first with Willow Warblers, LTTs  and a couple of Treecreepers but then very quiet. Just 2 BHG, a Common Gull and a LBB.

On the way there were 5 Pied Wagtails along the road at Mountain and 2 LBBs and 7 Common Gulls on the Pit Lane football field.

Trichomonosis Warning-for those of you with feeders
Recently, I've seen a couple of cases of this disease of finches in the garden (in a Greenfinch and a Chaffinch). I took the feeders down for a few days.  I used Milton to sterilise everything and since I've not seen any further instances, have moved the feeding site and put everything back up. I've kept an eye on it and haven't seen anything since.

It's a horrible disease caused by microscopic mites  and affected birds look puffed up, are sluggish and in the late stage of the disease, have difficulty feeding and breathing. They drool and the disease can then be passed on at feeders. The prognosis is not  good.

South Queensbury Again

Sleep eluded me so I went down to the newly favoured location from 0535-0645 hrs. c50 Lapwing were back on the fields in High Cross/Cross Lanes area. 3 LBBG > NW, 5 BHG ditto, c12 Common Gull on the deck around Long Lane. 2 Swift and a few Swallow plus the recently recorded finches. c55 Jackdaw were noisy around their wall. I bagged the Green Woodpecker seen by DS yesterday, and a couple minutes later the lady herself turned up. Insomniacs Rule! Denise further reports from Ogden yesterday (Goosander,Tufted) 2 Oystercatcher flying around unable to land and 2 Spotted Flycatcher, one of which carrying food.
 I've decided the new BTO BIRDTRACK recording format is crap.

 In a Green Lane field I saw a slender looking, probably juvenile Fox, casually chasing a Rabbit, with another Rabbit about 4 metres away looking totally unconcerned.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mediterranean Gull

Junction Green/Corporal Lane 1425 hrs. Going through the feeding flock of BHG in the recently mowed field I discovered an adult full Summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull. I nearly jumped out of my skin because although at the far end of the field, the features were unmistakable. I got my camera out and to my utter dismay something overhead put the whole bunch of gulls and corvids up in the air.
Flying Mediterranean Gull bottom left of centre

Adult flying Mediterranean Gull - cropped image
I just managed to catch it in flight and the plumage of the wings plus the rounded edge compared to the BHGs plumage can be identified with a bit of effort.
Having deliberately left my mobile at home (can you believe it) because I didn't think there would be anything doing, I legged it back to my hovel to ring BS & DP. DP very kindly took us both down for another search, but after spending around 35 mins and totally satisfied we had seen all the gulls around we had to conclude it had moved on.

Other gulls present were 3 Common and a flyover LBBG. The Little Owl was not seen and neither were any of the Lapwing flock. 12 Canada Geese and 3 Roe Deer were in the field on top of the nearby 'Jackdaw' wall.
BS is going to have a crack at the same spot this evening; be lucky!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

South Queensbury

Took the same walk again as Tuesday from 1455-1600 hrs. A bit quieter and there were no House Martin doin the rounds this time, however several Swallow were out and about in general.
5 Swift, 2 Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, 2 Chaffinch, 4 Goldfinch, 7 Linnet, 5 BH & 1 Common Gull, 1 Little Owl, Stock Dove, Woodpiggies and Caawvids.
The Lapwing flock has moved back to it's usual residence where c50 birds were flying around. A Grey Heron went over the same fields heading SE.

6 Common & c10 BH Gulls on the shed roofs. Also this moth in my back yard on return home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Soil Hill 1355-1440 hrs a stiffish NW'ly put me off doing the whole circuit so I stuck to the top.
Curlew, 2 Lapwing, 3 Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch, 4 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, Crows.

Ogden was rock bottom, the only sound coming from the woods was a brief bit of Blackcap. GC Grebe, 17 Canada were on the drink along with 2 BHG. 2 Comon Gull  didn't land. A few Swift and Swallow throughout the general area.
Raggalds had 55 BHG.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Compensation Day

Queensbury South 1000-1110 hrs Deanstones, Green & Corporal Lanes.Got a bit tasty this session did:
5 House Martin, 7+ Swift, few Swallow. Whitethroat at junction Deanstone/Green chuntering away.
Sparrowhawk over Deanstones. 12 Canada Goose low over Green, heading SE. Little Owl at usual site.
4 Common and 2 BH Gulls hanging around Green. LBBG & 2 BHG over Corporal.

The Lapwings have moved from High Cross Lane down to the junction of Green & Corporal. There were c32 feeding alongside Rook, Jackdaw, Crow and Starling in the freshly mown field behind the small building with trees. Also 4 Linnet, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Woodpiggies.

Highlight of the session was when I clocked a tightly packed wader sp formation over at W Shibden/Swalesmoor area. They turned out to be a 40+ flock of Golden Plover which moved high up over Queensbury and surveyed the village 2/3 times before flying off E.

PS Brian, thanks for the 'scope loan. I checked the gulls on the shed roofs on arrival home to count 4 Common & 7 BH.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ogden and the Vacuum

Ogden Res 1410-1505 hrs. 2 LBBG on the bouy & 4 BHG. 1 Grey Heron, 1 GC Grebe & 11 Canada. I'm sure I got another glimps of the Spotfly I saw last time, up by the top RH pond. 1 Song Thrush singing, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap 4 Willow Warbler, few Swallow, Goldfinch.

To the E from Soil Hell and Raggalds all the way back to Queensbury was a virtual vacuum. 2 Curlew were on the top of SH and a Pied Wagtail, with 3 Meadow Pipit and 4 Skylark. Then it was clear of birds; nichts, nada, zilch, nowt. Roll on cremation.

PS Sorry about the tears you had to mop up in the garage, Brian.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Raggalds to Soil Hill

Raggalds Flood 0945 hrs. Overcast with a slight E,ly breeze.
Blackbird, 30 BHG, 3 Mallard, pr Linnet, Meadow Pipit, 9 Swallow. A pr Pied Wagtail were quite accomodating (see header). However not so user friendly was a very pale alba type feeding in a mud patch just far enough away to make photography extremely difficult. I did get 2/3 shots off and will circulate them in due course, as I am sure this was a White Wagtail.

Soil Hill. The Sedge Warbler was putting on the best performance yet and although still at some distance I did manage to see it out in the open. I had two attempts at video recording, mainly for the song but it was too much to expect and audio quality was poor.
Two Whitethroat were present along with 4 Reed Bunting and c8 Linnet. The far bottom NK Pond held a pr Mallard with about 6 ducklings plus a Moorhen.

The top field area had first returning Wheatear, Curlew, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and pr Kestrel. A few Swift and Swallow were present throughout.

PS To those who have been the recipients of the circulated  Alba Wagtail pictures now do you believe me about poor quality!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Drier Day

Determined to keep my feet dry I just did a skirt of Soil Hill from 0950-1040 hrs before legging it down to Ogden Res. It was rather quiet: Curlew, Kestrel, juv Pheasant, Whitethroat, 6 LBBG, few Swallows - more Swift, 3/4 Skylarks.

Ogden: The 6 LBBG had drifted over and a couple more turned up, along with 2 BHG. These were all overhead - nothing on the drink apart from usual Canada and Mallard.
Also Kestrel, 3 Goldfinch and a Whitethroat at Back Lane. Tree Creeper, Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, Goldcrest and quite a few Coal Tit. Again Swift outnumbered Swallow.
I came home via Oats Royd which had Garden Warbler and a number of Willow Warbler present. The Canada goslings amazingly are now close to complete adult plumage.

For photos of  non birding nature click here.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Semi Palmated Birder

It started off just fair enough to imbue a sense of (false) security. At one stage for 5 minutes out came the sun and I had to take the jacket off. 15 minutes later the weather became so inclement I hid under a rain cloud for shelter, but then it followed me around wherever I may go.
Soil Hill 0950-1150 hrs:
11 Lapwing, pr Grey Partridge, 3 Curlew, Pied Wagtail, 5 LBBG, c12 Swift, 15+ Swallow, 3 Reed Bunting. A Lesser Redpoll flew overhead nearby calling, heading S. I went to check the Sedge Warbler and got rewarded by the most prolonged song display yet. I only managed a glimpse of it however as it remained at distance. This bird has now been present 9 days. Also Stock Dove, few Woodpigeon, Meadow Pipits (breeding evidence) Skyarks, Linnets and Caawvids (a few fledgling Magpies present).

Ogden Res 1200-1250 hrs.
How things have got busy: 11 Canada Goose, 2 Common & 1 BH Gull plus a pr Tufted Duck! The latter didn't like the lay of the water and flew off after 25 minutes. Also Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff.

I passed Raggalds on the way back and peered through the window to see the downpour had downed c50 small Gull species plus 2 adult LBBG. I got very brief views of some BHG but can only assume there may have been  Common present.
I almost feel like saying it was worth the soaking, oh alright then, it was.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Shelf Moor

Having 3 pr boots still wet I wasn't going to risk the new pr so I donned the least dampest and stuck to the lanes around Shelf Moor at 0955hrs.

Swallows have raised young around the Power Sub Station - I saw this youngster with adults in attendance. The Lapwing count at High Cross Lane fields now stands at 45 birds. There was one gull seen - a small species just glimpsed high over SW and not identified. There were 3 singing Skylark and ditto Meadow Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail and quite a few Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch with 3 Swift. The yellow orb that sometimes appears rarely was responsible for 2 Swift over my garden too.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Grumble n Grunt

Got up to Soil Hell at 1455hrs to find a couple of walkers on the top field so had to give up hoping for a gem on the scrapes.
Walked down the N slope on the W edge and flushed a very young Deer followed by a Fox after disturbing not one but two singing male Whitethroats close together in the young bushes that are now springing to life with all the recent H2O.

Another serious recommendation now - please do not contemplate negotiating the bottom RH (Cabin) pond at present. Recent excavations there coupled with the water have made it a really bad dream. So much so, I gave up on the Sedge Warbler search and resumed albeit precariously, down what is left of the so called track. Lucky me, I drew near to the small bushes and was rewarded with a few grunts and grumbles (you and me both mate). A Whitethroat and 3/4 Reed Bunting were present in the area as were a few Linnet and a Kestrel.

On arrival at BS office I moaned about the lack of movement, especially Gulls, only to find a BHG cruised past as I left the garage. A lousy day or more likely just a state of mind.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

South of the Border

Also 22 Lapwing in second field down from High Cross Lane; dispersals have started earlier this year I guess. 3 Swift, 3 House Martin, 2 Swallow, Pied Wagtail, 7 Linnet, Greenfinch, pr Goldfinch, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Caawvids.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Ogden and Soil Hell

The anticipated and hoped for Gull rush failed to materialise; I didn't get one moving bird in 3-1/2 hours! Only one seen was a BHG at Ogden Res. between 1035-1205 hrs. An Oystercatcher was circling and calling overhead before moving off - nowhere for it to land.  I finally got my first Greater Spotted Woodpecker in over 3 months here - up at Giants Tooth. Also 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 4 Willow Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Skylark but not much else. (I searched for the Tree Pipit to no avail.)

Soil Hell in the mist - 8 Lapwing, Kestrel, 12 Skylark, c10 Meadow Pipit, ditto Linnet, c5 Reed Bunting, 4 Greenfinch, Dunnock, Whitethroat. The Sedge Warbler from yesterday was still singing in the same place.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Soil Hill Warbler

Sedge Warbler singing appropriately enough in the bottom N slope sedges this morning. My previous records have all been August/Sept birds so this is a welcome early one.
Reed Buntings have bred - an adult was feeding a youngster on a telephone wire. The mist prevented me from identifying two gulls that were high up. Also: Curlew, Lapwing, RLP with pr Grey Partridge, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Kestrel, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnets (which were widely ranging today).

Do not fret if you get approached by a young Jersey Bullock; it just wants to lick the skin off your hand and mebbe nibble your trousers.