Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Uploading Files To Blog Accounts.

As expected, I didn't get any takers for these instructions on uploading files but here it is anyway, if you have any queries Andy C, just contact me.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Raggalds to Swalesmoor

Taking in  Soil Hell, Ogden, Stod Fold, Mixenden Res.
Raggalds Flood 0940 hrs - pr Redshank, Pied Wagtail, 4 Mallard.

Soil Hell with freezing rain courtesy of a cheeky little wind (I didn't hang around). 1 Wheatear, 3 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, Skylarks etc and hanging high up in the sky a Great Big Bad Gull.

Ogden Res - a few Mallard on the water, 3 Willow Warbler just worth noting. I went up to check for Tree Pipit but the joint was empty.
The GC coughed up 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Dunnock, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Wheatear and one unid that flew from the reeds. A Curlew or three were calling from the tops.

Stod Fold provided the lift of the day. As I turned the corner from the Brookhouse track turning right down to  the bridge, I noticed a couple of pipits flying around. One of 'em landed on the wires by the cottage and gave very good views - my first Tree Pipit of the year. It then flew to a nearby tree and started singing (didn't drown out the voice of the barkin' dog however).
At the bridge itself a pr Chiffchaff were chasing each other about. Also 3 Swallow here.

Mixenden Res held 5 Goosander 2 m & 3 f, 1 Common & 2 LBBG.
Ploughcroft  and Swalesmoor was crap. Crows, 1 Skylark, 2 Woodpigeon.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Holiday Notes & Blog List Compilation

I've completed documenting the notes I took on my daily field trips in Turkey earlier this year - see top RH corner of blog or click on Turkey Feb/Mar 2013 page and scroll down to the link.

Andy C posted a comment on the page about difficulties publishing Excel lists to his blog. I intend to knock up instructions on how to do this within the next week or five. The good news is, bloggers use their existing Google account to create Google Spreadsheets, Documents, etc or upload their existing Excel files etc to their account and publish to the web. This is easier to do than people may think because of file interfacing software in place requiring minimal user input.

When I've completed this I will either Email out to interested birders, or publish on this blog. I would appreciate anybody who does want a copy mentioning it as a comment.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Todays Birds

Soil Hill 1345 hrs. A cool NE'ly blowing away and brief hailstorm. Usual Mipits and Skylarks. 5 Wheatear, Stock Dove, Snipe (first of the year here) Kestrel, pr Canada down on far left pond. 2 Swallow, 3 Blackbird, Robin, pr Curlew, 2 Lapwing.

Raggalds Flood. 2 Mallard, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, 2 LBBG > SE. Redshank.

And Also.....

Not a great deal to add from yesterday other than these Little Owls down the afore-mentioned lane.

The only redeeming feature at Ogden was the presence of 6 Willow Warblers, several of them singing  and one with a ring. That particular bird kept its distance. Where's a 1000mm lens when you need one?! I can't make anything out other than what looks like an "X" on the top line.....

Friday, April 26, 2013

Soil Hill

Checked out Raggalds Flood at 0940 hrs - 4 Mallard, Lapwing, 2 Pied Wagtail.
Soil Hill - 3 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, c7 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Dunnock, 2 Swallow, 4 Wheatear and my first Whinchat of the year. This was in the first field you come to if you take the track from corner of Perseverance Rd.

It was good to meet Denise on the way back, had a good old birdin' natter didn't we!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Queensbury Ringed Plover

We may be poor, but we do get 'em. I struggled working this one out because of the distance, however these  poor photos provide proof of a Ringed Plover on Raggalds Flood. The bird was still present at 15:30 hrs.

Also Redshank, Pied Wagtail, pr Mallard. 2 imm. phase LBBG > SW.

Soil Hill 1430 hrs approx. Got a fair soaking and also 1 Lapwing, 3 Curlew, 4 Wheatear, pr Blackbird, 9 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

North Cave and Flamborough

A great day out on the E coast thanks to DP where we reacquainted ourselves with some seabirds and encountered most welcome migrants.
North Cave Wetlands - a very accessable reserve and due to expand sooner rather than later. Plenty of birds present, including:

Avocet, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, GC & Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Gadwall, Shelduck, Shoveller, Teal, Sand Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap.

Flamborough Head - windy but it still produced migrant Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat. Also Gannet, Fulmar, Puffin, Herring Gull, Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, Kittiwake, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Skylark.

To prove that you can never really get away from it all, we met a couple and started yapping. The gentleman said he used to work up at the old quarry next to the Radio Mast on Soil Hill - poor sod. Then they told us that they presently live close to Bradley Hall - redeemed!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Todays Windy Walk

Raggalds Flood 1350 hrs - Nowt.
Soil Hill - almost nowt. 6 Crow, 1 Skylark. I had to abandon this as the WSW was blasting away.

Ogden Res - BHG, LBBG, 7 Canada, Swallow, Willow Warbler singing, Pheasant, usual woodland species hiding while singing.
Oats Royd - Grey Heron, 3 Canada, pr Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, 3 Bullfinch, Chiffchaff singing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Park Lane

These two in the garden this afternoon.

DP Saturday Shelduck

Birdbrain: Back Yard Flyover

Soil Hill Merlin News

"Hi Nigel
I went to Soil Hill today ( Saturday 20 April ) to see the wheatears. Saw one by the radio mast then went to the west slope - I thought it was the north slope till I checked my I-phone compass - where I had two more plus two lapwing and three skylarks. The main point though is that I am fairly certain that I saw a pair of merlin - very short glimpse as they flew from very low cover and kept flying low over a hillock crest. The first bird out was dark blue grey and the second was larger and browny buff - as I say it was a very short glimpse. I just wondered if you had seen merlin there yourself or if they could have been something else. Hope you can enlighten me. Cheers

Mr A Thomson 
20/04/2013 19:01:30

Thanks for this encouraging news Mr Thomson. I haven't seen Merlin up there this year so far, however your color description certainly ties in with a pair of this species. I'll keep my eyes peeled for them in the next few days.

New Local Record

Started off rather well in Queensbury this morning at 0745 hrs with a Sand Martin over BS wrks garage > SW (no other hirundine seen anywhere). Then I got a Jay at Hill Top Farm, but the best was saved for last with a pr of Redshank at Raggalds Flood on the way back at 0937 hrs.

Also present was a Lapwing, Mallard, 2 Pied Wagtail.

Soil Hill 0815-0920 hrs in a scouring SW'ly wind: 3 Wheatear, 2 Curlew, 1 Lapwing, 7 Linnet, 2 Pheasant, pr Blackbird, Corvids, Mipits, Skylarks.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Short Tour

A quick outing this morning to re-acquaint myself.
A couple of Swallows exploring buildings on the corner of High Cross Lane; another over the rowan field at Bracken Lane. Some work being done in the field and a Little Owl enjoying the sunshine on one of the soil heaps.

2 Meadow Pipits in Corporal Lane and Skylark heard.

3 Wheatears and a Kestrel in Taylor Lane and a couple of Pied Wagtails on the roof of Cloth Hall Farm. 3 more Wheatears on the track up to Soil Hill.

2 Willow Warblers at Ogden; another Swallow over the water; the Goldeneye was still there; Cormorant over >TMR; Sparrowhawk over the car park as I left.
2 Pheasants, 2+ LTT and a Jay at Boggarts Brig. We're getting up to 3 Jays in the garden too.

Back Yard Flyover

Went out to the back at 0918 hrs this morning and got brief views of a large white bird in slow flapping flight coming from NE > S in direction of Shibden Valley. Couldn't get to the bins in time so will never know but appeared to be almost twice size of local white crow so I feel that can be discounted.

DP reports from FF 0945 hrs 2 Twite, 1 Common Sandpiper, lots of Wheatear and 2 Shelduck.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Queensbury Sth and Soil Hell

Fields at Cross/High Cross Lane 1050 hrs No Wheatear present. 4 Woodpigeon, 1 Swallow, 3 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit.

Got a call from DP who had been up t'hill checking for the Ring Ouzel with negative results. On the bright side he mentioned Wheatear numbers were climbing so I went up at 1345 hrs.

11 Wheatear on the top field; concentrated within 100 metres of the Radio mast. Elsewhere 16+ Skylark, c20 Meadow Pipit, 3 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, Blackbird, Chaffinch, 3 Greenfinch, 6 Linnet, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Corvids.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ogden Res to Stod Fold.

Ogden Res 1245 hrs. Nothing much in the plantation apart from Woodpigeon, so I decided to check the small pond where the track comes in off Back Lane. I have had pr Teal and Mallard here in the recent past but I never expected to find a pr Redshank running around the shoreline! They tolerated my presence for about a minute before flying off in the direction of TMR. Also an LBBG > N. The reservoir was very quiet once again, not even a single gull on it. However this male Goldeneye provided some relief from the previous photographic frustration.

The Golf Course was being blasted by the NW'ly and produced just 4 Meadow Pipit plus a Roe Deer. Stod Fold too was quiet but I did manage half decent views of a foraging Chiffchaff in a bush and a Pied Wagtail. Another LBBG > NE.

Soil Hill Action

SH 1145 hrs. Two kinds of action; birds and mankind. Despite the crucifying NW wind I thought it must be worth the effort and was rewarded by a cracking male Ring Ouzel by the mounds on the N side, top field. The bird was calling and singing as it flew around a couple of times but I could never get within 40 metres of it and gave up any idea of photography.
A male Wheatear was also in this area and when I went over to the W edge of the top field a Golden Plover took off at close range, calling and flying N. Also present 10 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipit, Robin.

The Eastern slope is being excavated big time; it appears a track is being made from the Trig Point field to the bottom of Denholme Rd.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bingley to Shipley

I couldn't face yet another virtually birdless day in windy Queensbury, so I went down to my former stamping ground of some 13+ years ago. Yes, there was some wind in Myrtle Park and along the canal, but it was weaker and there were birds everywhere.
Dowley Gap must have had c55 Swallow flying over and around it. A pr Oystercatcher flew in and settled down to feed next to a pr Magpie (must be the colours). A male Blackcap was perched on the edge of a bush singing regularly and a Jay flew by the filter beds.

Heading back toward Saltaire, a pr Nuthatch were displaying and calling and then a couple of minutes later I got really lucky. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called just twice before it launched into it's song that seemd to go on for a good two minutes. What a way to pick up an annual.
Other birds: Willow Warbler 3, Chiffchaff 4, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush 2, Greylag (domesticated?) c11, Mute Swan 2,  Meadow Pipit 1, and usual woodland types.
Then the curtain came down; walking from Shipley on the canal bank beyond Baildon, produced nothing so home I came.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Halifax Golf Course

Started Ogden Res at 1305 hrs with 2 Swallow flyng over but the lake was so quiet I decided to move on; 6 Canada, 1 LBBG.

Halifax GC 4 Wheatear which were very flighty hence these below par shots. 3 LBBG > NE a pair of which were calling loudly and displaying. A few distant Curlew were calling from the moorland fringe and c18 Meadow Pipit were flitting about. A male Reed Bunting perched in a tree, 1 Blackbird and 2 Pheasant seen also, while a party of 16 Crow > W.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Saturday Waxwing News

Approx 10 Waxwings are perched on a TV aerial in Appleby Close, Queensbury
D Wetherell 09:47 13/04

Thanks Dave, great to know they are still knocking around.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Breezy Soil Hill

SH 1345-1425 hrs. All change from earlier; grey skies, fresh wind, spring feel gone. 2 LBBG > W by Raggalds. 1 Linnet > N, 2 Curlew, Blackbird, Chaffinch, c45 Starling. In with the latter were c18 birds I haven't seen in a group for months - Fieldfares. Usual Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Kestrel, Pheasant.
Checked Old Guy Rd out for Wheatear - nowt, just few Mipits, single Skylark, Starlings.

Queensbury South Movement

0925-1040hrs First checked the fields nr Cross Lane for Wheatear - none present. However was rewarded by my first Linnet of the year. Some 10 minutes later flying around the farm at Shaw Lane end was another annual, a Swallow. A real spring like feel with a slight S'ly breeze, moving Mipits and singing Skylarks.

Blue Tit 1, Curlew 1, Goldfinch 4, Jackdaw c92, Little Owl 1, Meadow Pipit c24, Robin 1, Starling 7, Woodpigeon 8, Carrion Crow 6, Dunnock 1, House Sparrow 2, Linnet 1, Magpie 5+, Pied Wagtail 1, Skylark 4, Swallow 1.
Total number of species 17

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Soil Hill

1355-1515 hrs. 11 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Curlew, Lapwing, Chaffinch, Blackbird. 2 very nervous male Wheatear were hanging around the mounds, quite impossible to photograph.
I went down the N slope for the first time in months and was rewarded by a pr Oystercatcher whizzing in from nowhere and flying low down close to my bonce. LBBG > W.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring is Sprung

Plenty of birdsong this morning in the welcome sunshine around the Brighouse area, Courtesy of DP.

By far the most welcome sighting was my first West Yorkshire Yellowhammer in about 18 years at Bradley Hall Farm. I first heard a single short songburst, then some 15 minutes later located this bird further down the track, so there may have been 2 present.
Good to see a Chiffchaff and hear at least 4 birds in total. Other: 2 Bullfinch, Buzzard, 3 Greenfinch, Song Thrush.

Elland GP - c9 singing Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 5 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 5 Jay together. Kingfisher, 2 Mute Swan, 5+ Coot and woodland types. Hoping to get Siskin on Redpoll around the feeders but none present.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Visit to Cold Edge

Cold Edge Dams 1615-1710 hrs. Courtesy of DP.

Bloomin cold just like the name says but at least there were some interesting birds compared to SH and Ogden.
Pr Curlew, pr Oystercatcher, pr Wheatear (very difficult to see at distance but we got em). Pr Lapwing, Grey Heron, pr Greylag, Canada, Moorhen.
DP copped a Stoat.

Soil Hill and Ogden

Approx 1325 hrs. Courtesy DP. Very different from yesterday even though wind still blowing from E. I reckon it's because the sky was much clearer. SH 2 Curlew, 4 Skylark, c20 Meadow Pipit, Grey Heron.

Ogden Back Lane - 3 Curlew, Lapwing, 2 Skylark. NK copped a Stoat.
The Res was quiet again so it was good to see 4 LBBG flying over. 2 kept on going but a pair hung around the buoy and feeding station.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Even More Movement

I set off this afternoon with no anticipation of what was to come; turned out nice it did.
Soil Hell 1355-1500 hrs. 4 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Curlew, Grey Heron, 2 Wheatear. (second latest I've had after 2012) I went down the Ned Hill side and was both stunned and pleasantly surprised to get 3 Raven flying low overhead > N, kronking away.

Ogden, plantation and res. 2 LTT, Moorhen, 2 Pied Wagtail, 4 Curlew, 3 Lapwing, pr Red Legged Partridge (another annual). A Cormorant > N and a Crossbill was singing. The res was quiet: Goldeneye, 6 Common & 5 BH Gulls, 10 Canada, Sparrowhawk overhead. Woodland species were singing well, appearing to ignore the cold E'ly wind. Also my first Jay in quite a few weeks.

Finally to round it all off, yet another Woodcock. This flew up from Shibden Head, over the main road then > N up Roper Lane.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Local Migration

Meadow Pipits were moving throughout the area on a thinly scattered broad front this morning. 19+ seen between Old Guy Rd and Roper lane. 8+ Were at Raggalds Flood (Just a Crow and Pied Wagtail besides) but the birds on Soil Hill were hard to count owing their mobility.
Skylark 10 were in Old Guy Rd while Soil Hill had 13 present.
Another noticeable mover was Greenfinch - singles twos, threes seen throughout.

Soil Hill also had 25+ Starling, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, unid small gull sp. over. A Woodcock took off from the NW corner slope and headed toward Ogden. 2 Curlew were flying in a wide area around the hill.

The walk had started off on the Waxwing route, no birds seen but I did get a pleasant surprise with a Tawny Owl flying across Fleet Lane from one garden to another where it settled.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Queensbury Sth for Annuals

1345-1450 hrs down to the fields hoping for Wheatear in the pleasant sunshine, but it was not to be. In fact this was the most disappointing stretch of the walk - nothing present.
So I went down to Green Lane, hoping for Green Woody which was eventually provided by a bird calling from over the valley at Shibden Head.
2 LBBG & 1 Common Gull also flew > E here and c50 Jackdaw were circling high noisily.

I was presented with a golden opportunity by the White Crow as it perched unconcernedly by the roadside on the way back. Other birds: 4 Stock Dove, 3 Woodpigeon, 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 9 Magpie, few House Sparrow and Starling.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Waxwings Continue To Thrill.

Report No.1 

Just for your info - the waxwings are still in the area.  Have been watching a flock of what I thought were starlings in Appleby Close, near to Fleet Lane buzzing around for the last 10 mins.  Some landed on a nearby roof and when I got binos on them could clearly see the crest and saw they were waxwings.  They're still flitting about now.  I'd say at least 20 of them.

Mr D Wetherell 09:32 05/04/2013

Thanks a lot for this Dave, I believe this somewhat overshadows the Fieldfare in your berry bush during the week, although I wouldn't mind having one in my garden.

Report No.2

Hello Nigel,

To my detriment I've not read your blog for a while but looked the other day. I was excited to read about the waxwings in my own road (Coniston Avenue). On my third walk to look for them I found them this morning Friday 5.4.13 1020hrs 20-30 birds on the wires around the telegraph pole where Coniston Avenue does a right angle soon to join Parkway. I watched and took pics for a few minutes then they flew 200 yds or so and dropped down somewhere between Moor Close Rd and Bradshaw View. I searched but couldn't find them again. I could send a pic but don't know how to on your contact form.

Roy Waller

Thanks Roy, I did the same route this afternoon on return from Soil Hill, unaware of all this but saw none. Pictures could be sent via the CP by using a link to the published photo. However, it is far easier to attach one to an Email which should be sent to I'm looking forward to receiving it (Subsequently published).

Around and About

Queensbury South 1045-1150 hrs. Still quiet throughout; the fields at Cross/High Cross Lane just held 4 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail and 2 Skylark plus a Crow or two.
Littlemoor Park (this name hence for uniformity plus thats what the sign says) was similar to the most recent report regarding woodland species. Home in time for lunch, a Song Thrush was singing from the trees in the back field.

Soil Hill 1355-1450 hrs still breezy but not so fierce. 4 LBBG > NE, 3 Skylark, 2 Blackbird. Good to see a pr of Curlew doing a bit of prospecting on the top.
Came home down the Waxwing route via Roper Lane but apart from Woodpigeon  and Starlings, nothing to report. I must add, two minutes after writing this, I discovered 2 messages via the Contact Point from local residents who say that Waxwings were seen in the area this morning - see subsequent posting.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Even More Waxwing News

The flock of waxwings were on the telegraph post edale grove again 8.30 this morning numbers circa 30

Mr I Bruce 21: 08 hrs Tuesday 02/04/13

Thanks a lot for this great news Mr Bruce, input from local residents is always welcome.

Todays Few Birds

Soil Hell and Ogden Res courtesy DP. SH approx 1030hrs. Despite a very healthy E'ly blow there were about 8 Skylark up at the top and quite a bit of noise from them. Also 3 Woodpigeon and around 6 Meadow Pipit. The far bottom field had around 12 Lapwing max, but were difficult to see unless they moved.

Ogden Back Lane - 3 Lapwing, 4 Grey Partridge, 200+ Starling, Woodpigeons, Chaffinchs. I wonder what has happened to the Crossbills this year?
Ogden Res - 6 Canada, 1 Goldeneye, 1 imm LBBG, 1 Common Gull with pronounced ring on end of bill. Generally quiet but the Song Thrush started piping up loudly toward the end.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Park Lane Bonus

Queensbury Sth 1410-1510 hrs. Thought I'd have a wander around Foster Park as I'd heard a few tweets and chirrups en route to the postbox. 3 minutes after I left the hovel and turned the corner I met an overhead Woodcock flying down Park Lane! It was rather amusing to watch it veer left at the junction with Brighouse Rd then follow it down south until it disappeared. Another annual and a reminder in early April a couple of years back I watched one fly over the main road.

Blue and Great Tits were very active plus a single Coal Tit. Kestrel, 7 Blackbird, 3 Chaffinch, a few Goldfinch, Dunnock, Woodpigs and corvids. The Met people (you honestly expect me to spell out meteorological?)give us cause for some optimism later this week, I have to admit this afternoon did have a spark.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Queensbury Sth

Approx 1330 hrs. Checked the fields nr Cross Lane - 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 singing Skylark.
Nothing in Corporal Lane. Green Lane - 22 Woodpigeon, 40+ Jackdaw, 3 Greenfinch, Goldfinch or two, Wagtail sp overhead briefly, I think. Gulls absent. That's how desperate Spring birding is in these here parts.