Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Redwing and Lapwing

Got off to a crappy start on venturing down to Daillie fields at lunchtime. I took the entrance from Albert Crescent and ventured down the steep hill to be met by a deep bog at the bottom and the uncertainty of the footpath having wire across it. So back up to the top and down to the Station Rd side to try again. Just
9 Stock Dove, 1 Woodpigeon, 11+ Magpie, 5 Common Gull, Great and Blue Tit and a mobile flock of c20 Redwing.

Went down to Cross Lane at 1305 hrs to check the Lapwing situation; hugging the turf, hiding behind whatever clumps they could find were 30 birds. About 35 Starling were in the same area. Having had enough of the blustery wind, I returned home immediately to be greeted by c20 Redwing flying across the road > W at Jackson Hill. They disappeared into the bushes and trees; surely they must have been the bunch I saw an hour previously.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scammonden Dam

A wild blustery morning with plenty of White Horses on the water to make observation difficult. However at about 1135 hrs the Slavonian Grebe was spotted close to the last oil drum at the sharp end beyond the Boathouse buildings. It was showing quite clearly but all too briefly, in fact, DP and I were amazed at the way it seemed to completely disappear.
Other birds (very few) 6 Herring Gull flying over, 3 Common and 1 BH Gull. Also brief views of a Peregrine shooting over and 4 Crows.
A memorable day as this is my first ever inland record of Slav Grebe, oh it's also an annual!
Thanks a bunch for the trip out, Dave.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Modicum of Success

As expected, but more hoped for in reality, I got a smidgin of movement as per yesterday's post. A pr of Golden Plover were on the Soil Hill NW scrape at around 1410 hrs. The normally deadly SW'ly was rainloaded and I'd gambled that would drop something in. I got a reet good soaking but it is another one for the annual list. The only other birds up there were 1 Woodpigeon zooming over and 8 Starling.

Prior to this I'd had a quick sortie down to check for Lapwing around Cross Lane, but there were none. Birds seen around Green Lane were: Little Owl, Kestrel,  c200 Starling, 80+ Jackdaw, c50 small gull sp., 1 Greenfinch and 7 unid finches. I got just one call from this lot and the only thing I have to go on was possible Goldfinch.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rock Bottom Birding

Soil Hill 0950 hrs, surprisingly very little snow about! Almost no birds about either - 1 Lapwing 3 Magpies.
Ogden Res by contrast was full of snow and icy footpaths. 2 Great Tit near feeders were all I saw apart from ducks and a few small gulls.
In sheer desperation I came home via Oats Royd but after 5 minutes with nothing, I called it a day.
Tomorrow in our area temperatures of 12C are forecast, surely there must be some movement!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Foster Park to Green Lane

Foster Park approx 1020 hrs. The bottom half is a swamp without birds; water is pouring through the walls onto the exterior footpath.
On the higher less saturated ground birds did appear but nothing too beaucoup. Several Blue Tit, lesser numbers of Great Tit, 6 Woodpigeon, 2 Goldfinch, Corvids. Even that place which no mortal birder dare contemplate only held 1 Blue Tit.

I went to check the fields around Cross Lane and as expected they are still too wintry to attract any Lapwing back, just a handful of Starling seen. Plenty of Jackdaw and a few Rooks knocking about with 2 Common and 3 BH Gull also seen in the Corporal/Green Lane area.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Way Down South

I decided that if I wanted to add to the annual list this aft' I'd have to drop down to a lower altitude so I went back to another place I haven't seen in around 35 years.
Shelf Hall Park 1305-1400 hrs.

I was rewarded with both GSW and Treecreeper for my efforts, while this Nuthatch entertained for 10 minutes or so. Other: Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, 4 Woodpigeon, 6 Rooks in attendance at the small rookery at Shelf Mills.


Nothing to report en route via Cock Hill back to Queensbury, other that a few small Gulls and corvids. Then I found this road victim Wren at the junction of Jackson Hill and Corporal Lane. BS Wayward Wren's of Foxhill maybe transgressing, but at least there still drawing breath.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Todays Birds

In the Queensbury CO-OP car park at about 1130hrs I came across a Grey Wagtail that let me approach to within 2 metres before flying off weakly. Yesterday in a nearby yard, this bird was actually perched on a doorstep, it's footprints clearly left behind in the snow. How an insectivorous bird is going to survive another 36 hours or so in these conditions in this environment at this altitude, is beyond me.

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Oats Royd approx 1350-1500 hrs. Bright sunshine and on the quiet side, kicking off well though with a pr Siskin. 4 Bullfinch were once again very active, flying around the area, calling frequently. Other birds: Robin, Great Tit, 4 Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Kestrel, 3 Common Gull.
By comparison with OR, Shibden Head was like a graveyard; the sun and gone in and the grey had emerged. Just 2 Blue Tit, a few House Sparrow, Jackdaw and Magpie seen.

I'll be glad when this White Shit has gone, then maybe I can get Sparrowhawk, Jay, GSW and Green Woodpecker on the annual list, just like what them proper birders do.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Shibden Head

Stock Dove is a bird for me that always eludes my first 5/6 trips to top up the annual list, so I thought today I'd go for a knocking bet.
Shibden Head 1340-1435 hrs. 3 Stock Dove, 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Mistle Thrush, 2 Blue &1 Great Tit along with 8 LTT.
I then thought I'd push my luck and went to an area where I know Nuthatch were breeding last year; lo and behold after 20 minutes or so I got a bird first calling and then in flight.
Other: 2 Common & 3 BH gulls, few House Sparrows, Blackbird,  Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, corvids and one unid calling passerine.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

SE Border Trip

Three sources of inspiration prompted me to visit a location just slighly further afield than my loosely defined local radius. 1. I wanted to see some birds and Ogden just doesn't provide the variety. 2. I used to live in this area and wanted a trip down memory lane. 3. Danny's Blog has mentioned the area in the recent past.


Harold Park 1045 hrs - Lots of BH Gulls and a few Common along with 7 Mute Swan, including 5 immatures. I have had to travel to Elland GP in my 13 year stay in Queensbury for this species previously. The Black Swan was so close, I had to back off to take pictures.


I didn't do an accurate count of Tufted Duck but there must have been close to 50 present and about 20 Coot and 7+ Moorhen.


Passerines were very hard to come by; Blackbird, Mistle Thrush and a Goldfinch or 3. I then went to Park Dam, which in my youth was also known as Royds Hall Dam. I used to fish here in my early teens but wll never forget one day in May 1964 when I flushed a Dunlin.
This place is a wilder spot than Harold Park but still produced 5 Coot, about 30 small gull sp. and a GC Grebe, to boost the annual list.


The trip back via Shelf Moor turned up 7 Mistle Thrush throughout, but as expected no Lapwing flock.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Soil Hill to Oats Royd

Mainly a quiet day with a rewarding spell at the end of the session. The sunshine made for quite a few photographs 4 of which appear here.




Soil Hill 0950-1040 hrs top field - no birds but 2 Roe Deer present. 2 Common Gull, Crow and a Wren elsewhere.
Ogden Res - Grey Wagtail, Goldeneye, Kestrel, LTT, a few Common with more BH Gulls.
Oats Royd - Kestrel, 3 Moorhen, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Coal and Great Tit, 3 Chaffinch, 5/6 Bullfinch which were calling frequently and 4 Siskin.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Soil Hill

SH 0950-1050 hrs. CK was already on the top field and reports a Dunlin by the mounds. He had done a thorough search of the top and reported nothing else, so I decided to do the N slope. 20 metres down, a Jack Snipe took off from the bare earth patch there and dropped down into the long grass after a short flight.
Other birds: 12 Lapwing, Common Gull, pr Mallard, 5/6 Fieldfare, Blue tit, Robin, few Starlings and House Sparrows.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Expensive Birding - Denouement

Birdbrain: Expensive Birding
I contacted the Environment Protection Agency manager and put forward my basis of a potential legal appeal based on the dropped Banana skin being bio-degradeable, supported by the suggestion of people festooning the place with bread for ducks and apple cores being left out for birds.
The appeal process without going to a Solicitor is done via the Magistrates Court and if the appeal fails the maximum fine is £2,500.00. It was pointed out that this is rarely levied, but even so you have to ask is it a risk worth taking.
The Council could technically prosecute an individual dropping bread in the Duck Feeding area, but they take the standpoint that this is a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years and will not take action. This view being reinforced by the fact that the bread is quickly removed by the said beneficiaries e.g ducks.
However, should an individual be seen for example to be dumping 25 loaves of bread, then prosecution would certainly take place.

So apart from breaking the law, I also committed the offence of being caught. This is as far as it goes; I will cough up, aggrieved though I am.
Psychologically it has had a peculiar effect and I'm not sure I want it to go away. While out yesterday and this morning, viewing all the hardcore litter around I am no longer revolted by it, in fact I view it as street art.!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Expensive Birding

I found out to my cost today that the Law sees no dichotomy between biodegradable litter or 'hard' litter such as coke cans etc. (Environmental Protection Act 1990 Section 87, 88(1).
I dropped a Banana skin into grass at the side of a tree trunk in the Ogden car parking area, knowing that it will rot down in due course. The paper wrapper I took from a biscuit bar, remained in my jacket pocket for disposal in a nearby bin.
Two stalwart upright citizen officers of Calderdale Council just happened to be prowling for soft targets and pounced immediately. The end outcome of our 7/8 minute conversation was my acceptance of a statutory £80.00 fine, reduced to £50.00 on payment within 10 days. On contacting an Environmental Agency staffer, I was left in no uncertain terms that litter is litter, end of.
Wracked with guilt I shall now spend the rest of my life picking up soft drink cans, beer bottles, plastic bags, you name it, that other people throw away cheerfully. I am left wondering naturally, were I a 110 Kg tattoed ex convict with a Rottweiler, would I have been so enthusiastically approached by the untouchables?


Today's birds. Jack Snipe flushed from 1/2 metre top field Soil Hill flew down N slope and settled at the bottom. 1 Fieldfare causing id problems in a field beyond Coal Lane until photographs confirmed the bird and a Kestrel.
Mixenden Res - 4 Goosander, 4 Goldeneye, Grey Wagtail, numerous small gull sp. and LBBG on the buoy, pr Mistle Thrush.
The Delvers Pub held several Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, Blackbirds, Redwing, Blue Tits.
Ogden - 1st winter drake Goldeneye, small gull sp. otherwise zilch, well, apart from hysterically happy memories. Thanks to DP for the lift.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Searching for Barnacles

Went along wth DPs invitation to search for Barnacle Geese at Leeshaw this morning. At least we can say we covered all angles of view, before finally reaching the crucial spot. Here were c24 Greylag Geese plus 1 Canada on the water along with c9 Mallard. Thanks for the phone calls Brian.
Also seen were 30+ Fieldfare, 3 Dunnock, several Woodpigeon, Cormorant, Pheasants, 3/4 Red Grouse, numerous small gull sp. and I believe DP caught sight of 4/5 Grey Partridge.

1 minute after DP left Soil Hill at 1200hrs after dropping me off, c60 PFG flew N on the W side near to Ovenden Moor. Apparently these must have been the same skein reported at Cold Edge by DJS. The top field of the hill held 10 Lapwing and interestingly a pr of displaying Skylark. Already the pools are starting to dry out here, such is the legacy of the clay removal during the excavations 18 months back. Raggalds flood was empty, er, well there is still water there.
Thanks for the trip Dave.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Soil Hill and Ogden

This morning appeared not to be as doom laden as the past couple of weeks, so I tentatively prepared for a full attempt at local birding once again.
Soil Hill 0945-1055 hrs. Kicked off with a great start; not one but a pr Grey Plover on a small pool in the center of the top field. They immediately took off, flying low E toward the back of the mounds on the other side of the main track, however, subsequently they were not found.
Other birds here were 4 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron > E.


Ogden Res 1st Winter Drake Goldeneye and Cormorant on the water plus several Common with not quite as many BH Gulls. Also a male Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Coal Tit and 6 Goldcrest making up the annual numbers.
As I passed through Bradshaw I thought I heard overhead geese calling in flight, but because I was standing near to a farmyard, I convinced myself it was the geese there. This is despite having received a msg that PFG were active in the area previously. Sure enough, I got a msg of 50 Pinkfeet > N over Soill Hill some 5 minutes later DOH!
A few Fieldfare and Redwing were seen on the way back via Oats Royd which held a singing Mistle Thrush.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Trying to break the Habit

In an attempt to break the mould, I went down to HB Country Park at 1400 hrs till 1430. Very quiet:
c50 BH & 2 Common Gull. 2 Coot, 1 Moorhen, Wren, 5 Magpie, Crow and one unid passerine.
Shelf Moor 1445-1530 hrs. c230 Starling, Pied Wagtail, 2 Redwing, Great Tit, c110 Lapwing, c10 Common Gull.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

First Teal 2013

Pr Teal on Raggalds Flood 1455 hrs also 3 Mallard, 3 Common & 2 BH Gull plus Crow.
Previously Soil Hill - c60 Starling, 5 Fieldfare, Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark.
Pied Wagtail Mountain area.