Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, June 28, 2013

Birding Weather

Raggalds Flood 0945 hrs 7 Lapwing, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail. The farmer in adjacent field got his lawnmower out and they soon scarpered. Soil Hill was poor - LBBG, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, residents.

Ogden Res and GC - Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, 8 Canada, Blue Tit family. Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 singing Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher.
Had a bonus at GC bottom and Stod Fold - cracking male Whinchat flitting from stone wall to track and back before flying off. A family party of 7 Whitethroat noisily moving around, 3 Willow Warbler, Jay. Also Curlew, Mipits, Skylark, 2 Swift, few Swallows.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Low Moor Dams

Harold Park 1010 hrs. Several Coot in all stages of development and this one that appears to be starting afresh. 4 Tufted Duck, Moorhens, Mute Swan with cygnets. GC Grebe.

Park Dam was much more interesting and I got a location tick with singing Whitethroat. A pr GC Grebe were breeding in a very safe area, too distant for photographs. More Coots and a Moorhen or 4. Several Mute Swan and Canada with young.

Hybrid Tufted and whatever?
Young of the above mentioned
6 male Tufted, 3 LBBG, 2 House Martin, 3 Swallow, c5 Swift, 4 Blackbird, Coal Tit, 5 House Sparrow.
Donkeys years ago, when I lived here, this breedng success just didn't happen; any nests found were immediately destroyed by the natives. Nowadays the locals feed the birds that just hang around confidently. Thank providence for wildlife education.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

mobile test

testing post to blog from mobile email.

Nigel Kerwin

Monday, June 24, 2013

Raggalds to Stod Fold

Raggalds Flood at 1045 hrs produced another personal location tick - 2 Grey Wagtail. Also 2 Pied Wagtail, Swallow and the Redshank showing very well in the middle of the mud.

Soil Hill bottom - Sedge Warbler showing reasonably well for a few seconds as it sang from top of a bush. 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Whitethroat, Moorhen, Kestrel, couple Swift, Swallow, 4 Linnet, 2 Blackbird.
The upper area produced a Grey Partridge, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Corvids, 5 LBBG, Kestrel, Dunnock. The recent rains simply appear to have gone straight through the surface - no pools.

Ogden, well what can yer say - crap springs to mind. The plantation is being tinkered with again and the reservoir was deadly. Usual Canada and couple of LBBG up in the air. Song Thrush, few Willow Warbler. The GC had just Mipits, 2 Curlew over and Stod Fold further down had Song Thrush, Grey Heron, Chiffchaff, couple Swift, Swallow and House Martin.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Busy Shibden Valley

Went down Hag Lane at approx 1015 hrs to check the possible Redstart reported by DJS t'other day but had neither sight nor sound. However, it was a productive morning otherwise throughout the valley.

When I had a closer look at a supposed Green Woody in a dead tree it turned out to be a juvenile Cuckoo. Pity about the below par photo's but at least they serve a record purpose. There were no other birds present near it, so I'll never know the host species.

Also: 3 Green Woodpecker, pr Jay, 1 Collared Dove, 5 Stock Dove, several Woodpigeon, Kestrel. 2 Skylark, 2 LBBG > W. Pied Wagtail, 2 Song Thrush, c14 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Swift, c9 Swallow. Usual woodland suspects.

Queensbury - 3 House Martin, 2 Swift, Blackbird, 1 singing Whitethroat.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Walk Ovenden Moor and Ogden

3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Oystercatcher, c9 Redshank, c20 Curlew, 6 Lapwing, 1 LBBG, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Kestrel. Also Canada and Greylag Geese.

3 Linnet, 1 f Whinchat, pr Tree Pipit, 1 Blackcap. Willow Warblers.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

An Interesting Morning.

2 LBBG over the back field at about 0755 hrs this am convinced me, along with the grey damp skies, that making the effort for Soil Hill could be worth it. It proved to be a good move:
5 LBBG, 3 Curlew, Kestrel, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Pied Wagtail, 8 Linnet, 4 Blackbird, 1 Dunnock, 1 Robin. 4 Reed Bunting, 2 singing Whitethroat, 1 each of singing Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Meadow Pipits and Skylarks also active, but just a couple of Swallow seen.

Raggalds had the Mudshank, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing and Blackbird. A Warbler type flew into the shrubs/small trees across the road from the viewing point, probably a Willow but couldn't nail it.
Grey Wagtail vocal at BD Mills.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Oats Royd Friday

Species NameCountAccuracyBreedingPoints to check
Blackcap1S - Singing male
Blue TitY
Bullfinch1S - Singing male
Canada Goose3
Carrion Crow4
Chiffchaff2S - Singing male
Dunnock2S - Singing male
Goldcrest1S - Singing male
House SparrowY
Linnet6H - nesting Habitat
Robin2S - Singing male
Song Thrush2S - Singing male
Starling30COne bird was 70% leucistic on head wings tail body light brown
Willow Warbler4S - Singing male
Wren3S - Singing male
Complete List? Y Total Bird Species: 27

Friday, June 14, 2013

Local Little Grebe

After an appalling 0940 hrs start at Raggalds Flood where the wind was gusty and swirling, I shot off down to Horton Bank Country Park and was rewarded by my first local Little Grebe of the year.

Also present c7 Coot, 4 Moorhen, 6 Mallard, 2 Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon and expected species like Wren, Robins etc.
There were no Swallow or Swift and no returning gull species.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Over The Border

Had an away day today at Yeadon Tern looking for Tarns; er well I suppose you can work that one out. The terns present earlier this year were absent, presumed gone elsewhere. Which is a pity because the place wasn't overly exciting.
You sure are ugly but I loves yer.

Sure wish these had been Whoopers, oops muted again.
6 GC Grebe, 1 LBBG, 8+ Mute Swan, 1 Swallow, Blackbird, several Moorhen and Coot with young. Mallards with young but no other waterfowl.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bradshaw Circular to Raggalds

Bradshaw 1050 hrs. Whitethroat singing so loudly it was going down the mic on my mobile!
HX GC - male Bullfinch, Goldfinch family, singing Blackcap, Kestrel. After another failure to find Whinchat and Stonechat, I'm wondering if  last years birds we saw on a regular basis must have been incomers from a breeding area further out in the wilderness. Unless, of course, this cold Spring is responsible.

Another 2 singing Blackcap were in the woods at Ogden Res and it was encouraging to discover successful Tree Pipit breeding evidence. A Grey Heron was stalking the slowly increasing shoreline and I got my first Treecreeper in months. The latter was close up but of course when my camera came out, 2 people and a dog jumped out from the footpath nearby. The adjacent stone wall will bear my teethmarks for many a month to come.
c15 Swift and a few Swallow were busy feeding and throughout the general area 12 LBBG trickled through, all going E/SE.

Not much change on Soil Hill which is now driza bone. The E slope must have had about 8 vehicles on it, all involved in the development of wind power.
Raggalds Flood is now down to approx. 10% water and 90% mud. The digger shown on BS report of Sunday has gone. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and be unsettled thereafter, I wonder if the H20 will stay put. Just 3 Pied Wagtails, a Lapwing and 2 Swallow present.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

That Warbler

This is a reply from Mick Cunningham, he of a longstanding reputation of serious bird study:

Hi Nigel
did you get my email? sorry I cannot seem to post on your blog. My comments would be...
as soon as I saw this on my phone screen I thought Willow Warbler. But just to alleviate any doubts re the Marsh Warbler possibility. There are good field-based clues it is not a Marsh
1 it has short undertail coverts, hence the long-looking tail. Acrocephalus warblers have long undertail coverts
2 the alula is visible. On marsh this is dark and contrasts with surrounding feathers. On your bird it is same colour, there are other clues but the above instantly take Marsh Warbler out I  suggest.
I too think it's a willow - if you painted it green and yellow the wing length, face pattern, soft part shape and colour fit. So why is it odd looking colour? I dunno except, I see brown and white Willows every year, to the point I don't really look any more. Years ago, I used to try to pin them down to Acredula (not Incredula) but there are Acreds which look at look greeny yellow and trochilus that look brown and white - allegedly anyway.
Then there is wear. As you know, many plumages fade and bleach owing to rigours of breeding and I wouldn't rule this out. I wouldn't have it as a juv . Willow Warb juvs are famously bright green and yellow. Equally, any ringer can bore you with Svensson facts, one of which is WW is a unique warbler in that it has a full moult on breeding grounds as well as another on winter grounds. The 'top' bird suggested as a juv looks to be moulting to me eg lost tertials which would in theory mean adult (which start "early June" - but how early???). Once adults have moulted they too are bright green and yellow and hard to separate - tho sometimes white can be seen admixed in belly - unlike all yellow belly of juvs.
My guess is you were thrown by unusual posture and unfamiliar colour.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Mystery on Halifax GC

I stumbled upon a pr of this species this afternoon at 1313 hrs. They were in the little stream that passes over the cobbled section of the golf course, just about 300 metres above Brookhouse. I whipped my camera out immediately as I sensed this was going to be a difficult case of identification. Fortunately one bird was very cooperative, in fact it appeared a bit confused as to what it was doing. It's mate, uttered a single musical note and disappeared in the opposite direction.

There are two experienced birders who can't identify this bird so far. They shall remain nameless because we are both embarrassed! It appeared Warbler like in a couple of stances, but then Pipit/Wagtail sprung to mind and just look at the primary projections and the longish tail! No streaks were detected and apart from a bit of fluff over the eye, all plumage appeared adult in nature.
Get to it lads!

PS Drove myself nuts but after consulting several websites and looking at scores of pictures etc, I am beginning to think that Marsh Warbler could be considered as a contender. Of course, I would want that wouldn't I?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Shibden Valley

I did my annual search for the Holy Trinity - Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler at approx 1325 hrs. This was the third attempt on the trot and like the previous two years was a complete and utter failure. Last year I did get compensated with Spotted Flycatcher, I didn't even come close this time. Another bird missing was Green Woodpecker; I've averaged two per trip for the previous 11/12 years. Whitethroat too was down, just the bird singing at Deanstones bottom, whereas in previous years I've managed 3/4.
House Martin were nowhere to be seen, altogether a dismaying legacy of the extended cold Spring.

On the positive side: Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, GSW, Jay, 2 Swift, 3 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, c10 Willow Warbler. Linnets, Goldfinches, 2 Wren, few Robin, few Swallow, Chaffinches, Grey Heron.

Monday, June 03, 2013

A Satisfactory Day

Bradshaw approx 0945 hrs Whitethroat.
Ogden Res - 2 Dipper seen approx 130 metres downstream from Promenade; one a juvenile if not both.
LBBG, Grey Wagtail, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, several Willow Warblers and Goldcrest, Swallows. A Cuckoo called from Skirden Clough, was located and seen in flight, calling.

Finally nailed local Spotted Flycatcher - a family of at least 5. 3 Blackcap, 3 Swift.
I took a walk up to the top of the GC looking for Whinchat/Stonechat and failed to find either. However, I heard Snipe, Golden Plover and got a Curlew directly overhead.

Stod Fold had Tree Pipit,  Blackcap, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, Chifchaff; rounded off with a House Martin.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Soil Hill and Raggalds

Raggalds Flood first sweep - deadly quiet, but when I returned for the second at 1020 hrs it was a bit better. 2 Lapwing, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Crow, Woodpigeon, 5 Mallard, 3 Swallow. The Oystercatcher had turned up but it decided to fly off within 5 minutes, heading NW.

Soil Hill has had some breeding success I'm pleased to say. 3 Swift, 4 Swallow,  Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Reed Buntings, Linnets, Lapwings, Curlews, Wheatear, Starlings, Mipits, Skylarks.
It looks like another species, Kestrel, has now joined Stonechat as no longer viable up there. Last yr I was getting 2/3 regularly, I can't remember the last one I got this year.