Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Away Day Eccup Res

Courtesy of DP. This and another BHG showing signs of possible poisoning. There were signs up by YWA of an Algae Bloom; at first I thought the poor bugger was sunbathing!
About 6 Red Kite, 3 Buzzard, hundreds of Wigeon, thousands of gulls, Tawny Owl, Grey Heron, Greylags, pr Teal, drumming pr GSW, several LTT. A memorable afternoon.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Footsloggin In The Sun

High pressure, blue skies and sunshine made for little birding interest today. Soil Hell at 0950 hrs started off promising but it fizzled out, especially at Ogden Res. (Beware it's half term holidays!).
SH 10 Skylark, 5 of which were singers. Big female Sparrowhawk, c30 Lapwing, Starling, Blackbird.
Edge of the ice at Ogden
The last straw was when a few calling Crossbills overhead turned out to be an off-beat dog whistle, so I went to try Stod Fold out. This was blank apart from a handful finches and a single Meadow Pipit, so down to Mixenden. Here there were hundreds of small gull species, pr of Goldeneye and 3 Goosander plus many Jackdaw in the surrounding fields.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Walk In The Sun

Scant compensation for being too, er, domestically obliged this morning to try for the Whooper Swan at Fly Flatts reported by BS. But at least I managed to get out this afternoon for another quiet but rain, fog, snow and ice free walk with blue skies overhead.

50 Lapwing at Shelf Moor (trailer park field as usual). Little Owl not seen at bottom of Green Lane but heard calling loudly about 200 metres up from there. Several Jackdaw and Rook hammering the now softened earth, Mistle Thrush, Kestrel, Common Gulls, Starling, Goldfinch or two.

(Brian's call at least enabled me to get the news to DP and DS who both saw the Whoopers.)

The Definitive Bird Guide

At last, what we've all been waiting for - a publication that makes further publication of bird guides totally unnecessary.

Read it and weep...(or just be totally awe inspired)

Thanks to CS for forwarding this invaluable document to me.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birdbrain: Raptor Query

Birdbrain: Raptor Query
As suspected, photographic proof from Mrs JH shows the bird to be a Sparrowhawk. Thanks for sending the picture in.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Low Moor Dams

En route to Harold and Park Dams I checked for Lapwing at Shelf Moor - c42 birds present. I think they are getting flighty now as they took off and on return at 1310 hrs the fields were empty.

It was good to bump into a gentleman at Harold Park, who, as it turned out, was a former schoolmate way back.  I got a tip off that 6 Goosander plus a Little Grebe were at Park Dam, so off I went in the hope of another annual. Thanks, Geoff, (or is it Jeff? - sorry!)  but the Little Grebe decided not to show, still it was good to see the place busy with the usual plus flyover GSW and Cormorant.

Black Swan 1
Canada Goose 18
Common Gull 10+
Cormorant 1
Goldfinch 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
House Sparrow 4
Mute Swan 4
Wren 1
Black-headed Gull 80+
Carrion Crow(s)
Coot 10+
Dunnock 2
Goosander 6
Greenfinch 2
Moorhen 10+
Tufted Duck 14.   Total number of species 19

Thursday, February 14, 2013

North to South

Soil Hell 1355-1455 hrs. Skylark, 6 Crow, Blackbird, House Sparrow, 2 BH & 1 Common Gull. 3 Red Grouse happily did two anti-clockwise circuits at speed of the top field before dropping down into the heather patch on the N slope edge.
Raggalds flood just had 2 Mallard & 5 Common Gull

Shelf Moor 1545-1605 hrs.
5 Lapwing that didn't hang around (probably after reading the van frontage!). 2 BHG, 2 Crow, 1 Jackdaw.

Raptor Query

Took a photograph today 13/2/2013 of a bird of prey devouring a small bird in a garden in Deanstones Lane, could it have been a kestrel?
Mrs J Haggas

This is a classic scenario of Sparrowhawk activity, not Kestrel. Sparrowhawks dash through bushes and trees in gardens hunting specifically for such prey. Kestrels are more open country predators, searching by hovering above the ground for wee furry critters.. 
However because of the surrounding open areas, I cannot discount Kestrel as I have seen them take Starlings in such habitat.
We should be able to resolve this if you could send me the photograph as an Email attachment to: 

Thanks for your query.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No Bins Required

Can't moan about Soil Hell at 1250 hrs, I knew what to expect and after 3 Crows and 1 Blackbird I got off and ventured down to Ogden Res. Started off here with a couple of Siskin by the duck feeding station and zoomed downhill rapidly. By the end of the trip round the lake I was ready to pick up where I'd left off in embroidery class.
Not readily accepting defeat (except when it's my turn to get the beer in) I ventured down to Oats Royd. This too was almost an avian vacuum; 4 Mallards on the ponds spoiling the best worst session of the year.

At the top of the estate where the poultry pens are, I found this Redwing, which looked more cream crackered than I am. It stayed on this rock, Wheatear like, for approaching 15 minutes before I left it. It wouldn't surprise me if this bird succumbs to the cold conditions - one bird I found freshly frozen way back in '81/82' is residing in Cliffe Castle Museum.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Bradford and Queensbury Sth

Bradford Town Hall approx 1130 hrs. 3/4 Herring Gulls circling around calling; a pr parked on the town hall roof giving reasonable views (no bins). I can't get em up here in the wilderness; we ain't got the cliff tops like the city center has.

Queensbury South 1400 hrs (inc Foster Pk). The now world famous trailer park field had 41 Lapwing, 5 Jackdaw, c50 Starling and 2 Common Snipe present. The latter were a nightmare: although I attempted photography, they were quite happy to feed and hide.I have noticed that when the Lapwing and Starling are spooked and take flight the Snipe always stay put, no doubt relying on their cryptic plumage to protect them. Good to chat to Denise for the first time in months even though she is suffering from lens withdrawal symptoms.
Other birds: c20 Goldfinch, 3 Chaffinch, Blackbird, 2 LTT, few GT and BT, 3 Woodpigs.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Feedback: Ogden Ringed BHG

Remember this?

Birdbrain: Soil Hill and Ogden

Well, here is the reply from the ringer: (Neumunster is northern Germany, location provided page bottom).
Metal ring:
Helgoland ...5411233 Colour ring: White VS20

Ringing data


Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

Hood: 4
Age:   2y. Head: 81,1

Sex:  Male Wing: 305

Date :03-02-2012

Locality:  Neumünster-Stadtpark, Neumünster, DEQS 54.04N-009.59E

Ringer: Kjeld Tommy Pedersen, Matthias Haupt

Recovery data

27-10-2012  White VS20 OGDEN WATER HALIFAX GBWY 53.46N-001.54W

Alive Colour ring read Nigel Kerwin 7 81

Number of recoveries: 1

Local Round Trip

Shelf Moor 0850-0910 hrs. 44 Lapwing, 1 Common Snipe, 3 Starling, 2 Crow.
Raggalds Flood 1000 hrs 1 BH & 5 Common Gull.

Soil Hell - nothing on top field. I went down to the Ned Hill side track and headed toward the houses at the end where the conifer stand is. This little incident happened so quickly, I can't sequence it accurately, however:
A Blackbird zoomed past me at knee height less than 2 metres away. It shot into the garden and dived into a bush. All hell broke loose immediately; mainly House Sparrows screeching away. The Blackbird yelped and shot into another bush; a Sparrowhawk emerged from the garden and flew close by, up to the hill top. I looked for prey in it's talons but couldn't see clearly enough. The Householder came out into the back field and told me the Sprawk had nailed one of the birds.

Ogden Res 1040 hrs. 2 Drake Goldeneye, I managed to squeeze one shot off at a bird close in by the side near the Ogden Clough bridge. The other was nearer to the Skirden bridge but too distant to photograph. Also at the SKb was the dipper, showing very well, until I pointed the weapon at it.
Just a few small gull sp. and Mallard were on the water. Woodland birds included Bullfinch, 3 Goldfinch, Dunnock, 4/5 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, Coal Tit, 4 Goldcrest. A pr of Long-tailed Tit require further scrutiny as these birds were pale with a lot of white on the head and diffused black markings. They weren't Northerns, but I'm banking on possible central European birds - more to come on this.
I've also got to work on possible Brambling, which gave 2.5 seconds in flight, showing lots of white underbelly.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Local Movement

What a session this casual walk turned out to be:

Shelf Moor 1035hrs. 40 Lapwing, 3 Meadow Pipit, 12+ Redwing, c160 Starling in the usual fields. I walked along Cross Lane to look at the corner field which is full of sedge, bush and bracken. 5 Common Snipe flew over the road in front of me at head height just a few metres away! They appeared to go down in the first grass field up from the main road junction above the marshy field, so I went with camera at the ready. Having taken a few distant shots, I can now say they were actually a total of 7 birds feeding out in the open.

Foster Park proved to be Great Tit heaven, I had well over a dozen birds. It also provided me with 2 more annuals - Jay and Sparrowhawk, the latter giving superb views. There were 8 Blackbirds, 9 Woodpigeon, 1 Siskin, 1 LT and Blue Tits, 6 Goldfinch, 3 Chaffinch, plus corvids present.

Ogden Res Work

This is an article taken from the Halifax Courier which should interest all local wildlife enthusiasts:
Work on Ogden Water

Friday, February 01, 2013

Far Away Places

Wintersett Res and Anglers CP courtesy of DP who had earlier this morning in and around Foster Park  seen a pr Jay and Woodcock.

Wintersett - Cracking drake Smew, Goldeneyes, Tufted Ducks, Mute Swans, Grey Herons, Coots, Egyptian Goose, Moorhen and whatever else was at the far side.
Anglers CP - f Long-tailed Duck (the pic I took was of poor quality). 4 Snipe, pr Gadwall, Wigeons, Pochards, Canadas, GC Grebe, 2 Cormorant, Lapwings, 4 Tree Sparrow, GSW, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Kestrel. Also hundreds of small gull sp. but somewhat surprisingly, no large gull species.