Birdbrain Stuff

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Quieter Day

Soil Hill 0945-1025 hrs the strong S'ly wind made for hard work on the top field and I had to cut the session short. There are still 10 Twite down by the mounds at the end of the top field track. Also seen 16 Fieldfare, Blackbird and Common Gull.
I got chatting to the farmer who owns the middle farm on the W side of the Ned Hill track. Twas interesting to learn that he has had a pair of Little Owl hanging around his buildings "for years". I have seen about one a year from the hill so this is good news.

Ogden Res - juv Cormorant, this f Wigeon, Dipper, 9 Long-tailed Tit and smaller gull sp. I may have had a pr distant Raven high up over Back Lane > NE over SH. However although the tail on one looked bang on, the general shape seen didn't quite convince me, so it will have to get filed under 'Could Have Been' - again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Two here again today.
Sparrowhawk through.
Goldcrest has been here for a few days.
19 Blackbirds at one point.

Robin doing a territorial display when a second bird came in.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Soil Hill and Ogden

Soil Hill 1015-1125 hours in light rain. 2 Jack Snipe flushed about 25 metres apart. 3/4 Twite, c10 Goldfinch, 7 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Pheasant, 4 Common Gull, Dunnock singing. Was fortunate to walk through the long grass near the old mistle - a Short-eared Owl took off at close quarters giving superb views.

Ogden Res - A very interesting session on the RH track toward Ogden Clough bridge. A lot of activity from Goldcrest (11+) Long-tailed Tit (7) Blackbird (4) Chaffinch (4) and Dipper with Robins and Coal/Great Tit thrown in. I took too many pictures to include in this post.
Also Cormorant, 6 Canada, Grey Wagtail, and small gulls sp.
Finished off with another ringed Black-headed Gull; this time a single metal ring on RH leg. c55 Fieldfare flew across Rock Lane > W.

Park Lane

Two Bramblings in the garden this afternoon.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Soil Hill

1015-1135 hrs. First birds seen were 3 Twite together on the track end mounds; must be same birds as BS reported yesterday. I then got another one in among c8 Goldfinch, feeding among thistles but flighty with it. The last sweep of the top N edge produced Jack Snipe once again; following the usual pattern it took off and dropped off down the N slope proper after a short flight.
Other: 1 unid game bird sp. at distance. 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Common Gull and 2 unid small gull size critters flying with intent from SW to NE.

St ives

Quick visit to St ives and plenty nuthatch, on the feeders.

I spotted a pied wagtail on the stable roof, he was just walking around catching flies,,, how lazy is that?

An abundance of long tailed tits and 3 Jay flew over.


10 Teal this morning.

Friday, October 26, 2012


96 in the usual field, with a similar number of Starlings, when I came past this afternoon.

Soil Hill and Ogden

One very tired looking Common Gull resting, probably after being blown about by the gusting NE'ly cold wind. I didn't stay more than 35 mins in those conditions, only other birds were 5 Mallard,1 Skylark, 6 Linnet, pr Kestrel.

Ogden provided an interesting Black Headed Gull with rings on it's legs. Right Leg ring WHITE marked VS20. Left Leg SILVER with just marks LG (G?) on middle row and BM bottom row visible.

I will try follow this up and publish the result. Other: 16 Canada, Cormorant, Dipper, Goldcrests.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Some illustrations to go with your sightings, Nigel. These were taken on the north side of Soil Hill, this morning, when around 200 birds were gathered in the mist. They were mobile and hard to count, dropping into the fields and then back up onto various wires but probably half of them were Starlings, the rest being mostly Fieldfares with a few Redwings. Perhaps some of the birds you saw heading towards the hill. There were 2 Lapwings in the air with them at one point.

Only GSW, 7 Long-tailed Tit and a Chiffchaff to add at Ogden. It's amazing how different they look in different light.

At home, 40+ Redwings and 3 Brambling in the trees at lunchtime.

Finally Fieldfared

Bunches of Fieldfare seen throughout the morning today, ending my longest ever wait for them.
Bradshaw - 40+ in two lots and a few Redwing > NE to Soil Hill.
Ogden Res - c45 > E to SH
Queensbury - c50 > WNW, skilfully avoiding BS walking down Chapel Lane around 1255hrs.

Ogden Res was quiet again - 2 LBB and usual small gull sp. Sparrowhawk, Cormorant, 2 Grey Wagtail.
Soil Hill - c15 Meadow Pipit, 5 Redwing, 4 Skylark, 8 Linnet, RLP, and unknown number of PFG. The Pinkies were down beyond the S slope in mist and it took a couple o minutes to work out they were heading toward Cold Edge area.
Across a broad front c14 Alba Wagtail were moving individually from the E.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Park Lane

Brambling-barely visible-and at least 10 Redwings in the trees in the garden this morning. Note authentically atmospheric shot!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Local Birdwatchers - A Compliment

The following was received via the Contact Point; it is encouraging to know that people with a general interest in birds appreciate the Queensbury blogs. Thanks to Mr E Langford, I hope we continue to furnish you with more articles on local avifauna for a long time to come.

Just a statement really Nigel. I think Queensbury is sooooo well represented by all you keen watchers and photographers. The different birding sites compliment each other well even though there is some repetition, obviously! A great pleasure to view and read your efficiencies. Thank you all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rained On Fogged Out

Ogden Res 1005-1055 hrs 1 Cormorant, 1 LBB and usual small gull sp. Dipper showing well Skirden Bridge pool.
Soil Hell 1110 hrs flushed Jack Snipe at 1.5 metres from the last pool searched known to favour them, on N slope. If it hadn't been for this lil darlin and a Magpie, I could have probably had my first ever blank in over 12 years. Psychologically, it would have done me head in, must admit.
29% Snow forecast for our area this coming W/E and clocks go back too; whoopeeeee!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Slow Start - Good Session.

Soil Hill 0855-1005 hrs - blue skies and bright sunshine made for a very quiet start, even though I flushed the Jack Snipe from 2 metres on N edge of the top field. Then after phoning BS to tell him how deadly it was,  things started happening: 5 Golfinch took off from the mounds followed by 5 Jay low down heading toward Ogden. 1 each of Reed Bunting, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet, LBBG, Grey Heron also went W and 3 Blackbird, Kestrel, 6 Meadow Pipit, 2 Dunnock and Blue Tit were present.

I just had to check out Raggalds Flood on the way back and was glad I did as 3 Teal were present along with a collection of small gulls, mainly Common.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Soil Hill and Ogden Res

SH 1045-1145 hrs. First Snow Bunting of Autumn calling in flight, heading E. This was followed immediately by a Green Woodpecker. c24 Meadow Pipit, a Common Gull and a Chaffinch were knocking around the top field, but nothing else present here.
I got sight of a large single skein of Pink-footed Geese beyond the Mixenden/Wainstalls area. They appeared to head toward the Withens but then switched and went up toward Stoodley Pike where they disappeared N of there.

Ogden Res had plenty of small gull sp. on the drink along with 2 Cormorant. I met a birder from Fairburn Ings, who was looking in the direction of SH and pointed out a "Geeb" high up. After my 3rd attempt sure enough a sub-adult phase GBBG was circling overhead. This chap was familiar with Bradford birders and quoted with admiration a few names, one of which was a certain Mr Howard Creber.

Called in at Oats Royd on the way back and nearly ruined the morning; absolute rubbish it was.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Soil Hell to Stod Fold

SH 0945-1035 hrs. SW'ly killer operating after the rain stopped and mist cleared. 3 RLP, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit or two, a Few small gull sp present in the fields by Ned Hill Rd. In a field at the top of Syke Lane, I thought I'd got a 1st W Mediterranean Gull and went down to Ogden Res to search. I cannot confirm this species so will have to let it go.

Ogden Res was quiet generally, usual small gulls, 2 LBBG, Grey Heron, 2 Cormorant, Dipper and pr Crossbills flying over W.

Stod Fold also quiet but interestingly 2 Great Big Bad Gulls flew over at moderate height > W ignoring Mixenden Res; I ignored it too. A Sparrowhawk and 2 Pied Wagtail also seen.
Anybod got any Fieldfare for sale? I can't believe I ain't had one yet this autumn.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jack Snipe II

Soil Hill 0945-1045hrs 5 RLP, Kestrel, few Meadow Pipit. This time I flushed 2 Jack Snipe about 25 metres apart from each other.
Nothing to report about Ogden really, 4 Cormorant, several small gull sp. and a flight of Canada > W numbering 8/9.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Soil Hill Movers

SH 0835 hrs. Started off real slow after getting 11 Redwing over Mountain > NW prior to arrival. Was on the top field just about to call BS to say how poor it was when I flushed a Jack Snipe from about 3 metres! It dropped down after the usual short flight just over the edge of the N slope; this is my earliest ever record by 3 weeks.

5 Red-legged Partridge were by the two pools on the mounds. I was clocking these when BS rang me to say 3 skeins of Pink-footed Geese where heading over my way. Sure enough within 30 seconds they emerged from over the wind turbines heading SE over Queensbury.A local resident alerted me they were then heading  S after a change of direction so I rang DJS.
All in all a memorable session; thanks for the call Brian.
Also present c18 Meadow Pipit and a very tame looking Goldfinch which I couldn't photograph as it was outside a house window, so I got consolation with this Kestrel.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ogden and garden

 A bright blue morning and a visit to Ogden first thing with my precious camera ( many thanks to Brian,,,it's a long story,,) 3 Cormorants, 30 mallard, 45 BHG. and sle grey wagtail in the overflow.Then to my garden and 37 Goldfinch, 2 Blck bird, 5 Bluetit, 3 Gr tit, 2 coal tit and refilled feeders.

Greenfinch bully boys say no to the goldfinch.....

Friday, October 12, 2012

Piping Shrike

This is how they photograph and watch birds in South Australia.

More on this bird here

Thanks a lot Pete; 'scuse me while I go dump my camera and have a good cry.

Bird of Prey Persecution

This moving piece of avi-literature is taken from the Calderdale Wildlife blog. This is how to do it in a politically correct, civilised manner.
This is how to do it with passion and emotion:

I'm calling you out scumsuckers; history has never been changed by words alone.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Busier today:
Lots of Wrens, Robins and Goldcrests.
4 Cormorants
90 Pink-footed Geese>W
Wigeon and 7 Teal
Male and female Bullfinch
Grey Wagtail in the overflow
Dipper on the pond

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Soil Hill to Ogden

SH 0945-1035 hrs. For the first time in months no Skylark seen. c11 Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, 5 alba Wagtail > SW. Grey Heron > SE. 5 Mallard also in the air; Snipe flushed. 7 LBB were with an assortment of smaller gull sp. in fields at bottom N slope.

Ogden Res 1045 hrs c13 Chaffinch, 1 Redwing, 4 Blackbird, 2 Jay, 2 Cormorant, 6 Canada. BH & Common gulls in small numbers.
2 alba Wagtail > S from back yard on return home.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Back Yard Birding

Went outside this morning between 0750-0815 hrs to find evidence of migration: 4 Jays and 2 Redwing.
Black-headed Gull 2
Common Gull 1
Blue Tit 1
Jay 6 - a further 2 birds went over at 1030 hrs.
Redwing 2
Meadow Pipit 1
Blackbird 1
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 2
Woodpigeon 5
 Total number of species 9

Denise Warbler Woman Shields fame knows no boundaries. This is a verbatim quote from the Yorkshire Post Birdwatch column by Bill Teale Sat Oct 6:
There were also more yellow-browed warblers - one of these was seen inland at Ogden Water, near Halifax, in a tit flock along with two chiffchaffs.
Thanks to DP for pushing the copy through my letter box.

Had a venture around Queensbury N & S at around 1330 hrs. First up was yet another Jay! For the second time running there were no Lapwing in the fields at High Cross Lane. c18 Common and a few BH & 1 LBB Gull. Green Woody, Kestrel. Pick of the bunch was a Lesser Redpoll flying W over Old Guy Rd.

Monday, October 08, 2012


I tried the other end of the day for a change. Apart from the usual suspects:
2 BhGs with metal rings.
Chiffchaff in the willows and Song Thrush on the path in that area. Redpoll over there too.
2 more Redpolls lurking in the vegetation at the water's edge between the cloughs.

Mist up and sun down. Very atmospheric.