Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Soil Hill Surprise

That hill sure comes up with the unexpected; at the end of a very quiet session I bumped into a new breeding record for Birdtrack.
Red-legged Partridge chicks
I was coming off the top when I heard some squeaks and saw at least 3 very recently hatched chicks scampering in front of me and trying to hide. Moments later a parent Red-legged Partridge, presumably mumsicles, came past me chuntering loudly. She carried on into a clump of long grass; perhaps to guard the remainder of her brood?
The camera came out and I snapped off 3 shots, picked up my gear and legged it down the track for 25 metres. The parent then commenced clucking and snorting so I assume all went well. This does throw a cat among the pigeons (again) as I have been reporting a Grey Partridge recently, in fact, I saw one fly 15 minutes prior to this from the middle of the field. Or did I?

On leaving the hill I was re-acquainted with a thrusting bullock I've had jolly japes with before. This fellow likes nothing better than to run up and come to a grinding halt just an arms length away. It then commences to try and lick all the skin off your hand but will tolerate a boisterous pat or two on its cheek. Problem is, it's got bigger and stronger and won't take no for an answer; I had such a comical time giving it the slip, I nearly bought my own beer. Another couple of months hence I must remember to wear my brown trousers.

The start to the session had been at Brookhouse up through the GC; it was lousy, just a few Meadow Pipit and Woodpigeon. Ogden Res too was quiet, however a juvenile GC Grebe turned up to replace the adult from yesterday. I searched every gathering of gulls I could find throughout the entire session; no passing strangers. Raggalds Mud was empty.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stormy Birding

Got a reet soakin at Ogden Res this lunchtime before being almost blown dry on a return leg to Soil Hill. I went partially for that purpose but also to see what had been stirred up after the initial trip.
Raggalds 0945hrs. Yesterdays rain had broken through the crust and soaked away; even after the deluge at lunchtime today, there was no water visible. 2 Canada, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Linnet, 1 Common Gull on first leg, just a flyover Common Gull on the return.

Soil Hill - first leg. 1 Whitethroat, 10 Skylark, 14 Meadow Pipit, 7 Woodpigeon, 1 Stock Dove, 2 BH & 2 LBB Gulls, 1 Pied Wagtail, 5 Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Swift.

This Golden Plover was a welcome surprise in the field below the Radio Mast. I got 2 wing beats out the corner of my eye of a long winged brown raptor type flying very low toward Ogden. I think SEO is the most likely candidate, after last weeks sighting.
On the return leg after the rain, the Goldie was still present. 7 Lapwing and c55 BHG went over > S. 2 LBBG, c35 Starling, c19 Linnet, Kestrel, 2 Blackbird, more Meadow Pipit, Swallows.

Ogden Res had 12 Canada, 1 Grey Heron, 1 GC Grebe, not so many BHG as of late, 4 Willow Warbler, singing Blackcap.

I checked Queensbury North out and got good views of 11 LBB Gulls in among c6 Common & 12 BH on the cricket pitch.

Also 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Skylark, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Swallow, several Starling around. A further 10 BHG were at Fleet Lane.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Queensbury South

Approx 1225-1335 hrs.

10 Lapwing, 1 Stock Dove, 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 House Martin, 1 Swift, 3 Swallow, 1 Blackbird, 2 House Sparrow & 1 unid drop in at Cross Lane Fields.

Corporal/Green Lane - c8 Linnet, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch, 25+ Woodpigeon, c8 BHG, Little Owl, few Corvids.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Todays Birds

Around 0700 hrs - screeching Jay in trees at back, a garden first I think.
Had a change and did Wednesdays walk in reverse, starting at Brookhouse approx 1010 hrs. It was a much quieter session too with Soil Hill matching Ogden Res for sheer boredom. However the GC turned up 2 Whinchat and the Grasshopper Warbler put in 2/3 reels for DP who I bumped into.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lose Some Whin Some

Soil Hill approx 1010 hrs A flock of  80+ birds, mainly Linnet with a scintilla of Goldfinch. 3 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 BH & 1 LBB Gull also a Common Gull sized juvenile type that needs much more scrutiny; And a Grey Partridge in a fricasee.

Ogden Res was rancid. Apart from c100 BHG and some Canada, it got to the stage where I couldn't decide which was going in the water first: Bins or Camera. Then the cranial safety valve kicked in and said 'Try the Golf  Course.' The top pictures speak for themselves - yet another Whinchat family, with the juvenile just hours out of the nest I reckon. I never thought I'd see the day when a migrant Whinchat beats Stonechat 10 - 0 (or thereabouts).
Also 10+ Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 4+ Whitethroat (family) Chiffchaff at Oats Royd and a Water Vole there.

On a Bradshaw footpath with a dead Pygmy Shrew same area.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Leighton Moss 22 July

Jumped at the chance of a trip to a place I haven't visited in over 15 years, thanks to DW. Just before arrival a Yellowhammer was perched on the wires and within 20 mins we managed to pick up a much sought after migrant: a family of Redstart, damned elusive but much appreciated.

Redstart 3, Sedge Warbler 2, Reed Warbler 1, Willow Warbler 5+,  Marsh Tit (DW) Marsh Harrier c7, GBBG 4, LBBG 2, BHG c22, Black-tailed Godwit c45, Lapwing 8, Redshank 11+, Dunlin c9, Greenshank 1, LRP 1, Oystercatcher 6, Pied Wagtail 1, Sand Martin c15, Swift 2, Swallow 10+, Little Egret 11, Grey Heron 1, Pochard 1, Tufted Duck 12+, GC Grebe 3+, Little Grebe 2, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch 2, Tits on feeders

I missed the Marsh Tit, but there's no tears rollin down my big brown eyes after a day like this.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Another Annual Tick

Soil Hill approx 1055 hrs. Started off well with a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Bunting, double figure Linnet and Goldfinch down at the bottom.
I got to the top and was rewarded with my first Short-eared Owl of the year. A Common Gull was nearby and a Grey Heron flew over > NE. I watched a large pale mantled gull for around 5/6 seconds flying up the coll at a distance. I will leave it as unid but I noticed there are 3 reports of YLG on Birdguides today.
Ogden Res and the GC were quiet, with NTR apart from a Grey Wagtail family up by the Ogden Clough bridge.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Magic Moments

Ogden Environs approx 1010 hrs. Started off hot and quiet but then I hit the jackpot by the wooden signpost in the middle of the golf course.

A family of 5 Whinchat (maybe more) were either in the ferns or perched in an Hawthorn bush close by. I did have 3 together in one photo but the quality was appalling even by my standards. Luckily one bird fancied the idea of being digitally immortalised.
c75 BH & 2LBB Gulls plus 1 Common were on the water. Other birds seen here: 2 Blackcap (1 carrying grub) pr Bullfinch, Whitethroat. Plus usual expected.

Soil Hill was hard graft and the highlight wasn't a bird but a mammal. I was down in the overgrown undergrowth at N slope bottom and literally walked into a  juvenile  Roe Deer. It stayed put, but was too close for the camera especially on  dodgy sloping terrain. So I gave it a tap on the backside, expecting it to bolt, instead it just moved about 5 metres away and settled down! I think I'll blame the heat and also thank it.
4 Whitethroat were noteworthy birdwise. Oh and 3 Willow Warbler that I am convinced are movers from elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lowland Birding

I just wanted to see birds in volume today, so I abandoned the unforgiving upland sites and went down the road apiece to Allerton Bywater and did the riverbank until I came to St Aidans RSPB reserve. Gobsmacked I was and gobsmacked I shall remain for a couple of days.

Grey Heron 2, GC Grebe 2, Cormorant c21, Canada and Greylag - hundreds. Gadwall 4, Tufted Duck 10+,  Mallard 3 (only!) Lapwing 8+, Redshank 1. BHG 40+, Common Tern c10, Buzzard 1, Sparrowhawk 1.
The place was rotten with singing Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warbler. Also Garden Warbler 2, Blackcap 1 and a luverly singing Yellowhammer. Needless to say plenty of Hirundines. A final twist - not a single Willow Warbler!

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Site Tick

Ogden Res approx 1010 hrs. A Grasshopper Warbler reeling loudly and seen twice clearly but briefly at Brookhouse. It eventually flew off nearer to the area below the res embankment where a Blackcap was singing loudly. Here also was a family of Willow Warbler. 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Song thrush, several Goldfinch, 6 Blackbird, couple Swift, few Swallow, Meadow Pipit and a single Curlew. The water had 7 Canada, 2 Common, 2 LBB and c37 BH gulls on it.

Soil Hill was quiet, it had 2 Whitethroat, contrasting with 4 on Sunday (a pr carrying nest material) 3 Skylark (10 Sunday). Newcomers were a Grey Partridge, Pied Wagtail, and Mistle Thrush. I have to admit defeat with a small passerine calling in flight over Raggalds.
Black Dyke Mills roof held 8 BH & 2 Common Gull this am at 0820 hrs.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Brookhouse to Soil Hill

Brookhouse approx 1010 hrs. 2 House Martin and Swallows. Further up in the middle of the GC by the stone bridge a Whinchat perched atop a bush. Flyovers were a Grey Heron, Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew. Also present Pheasant, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Willow Warblers, couple Swift.
Ogden Res produced 2 Sand Martin among approx 12 Swallow and a Swift, all in a drinking frenzy. The BHG count was c11. Not much else about apart from couple Willow Warbler and a singing Blackcap; Curlew over Back Lane.

Soil Hill 12+ Swift, 4/5 Swallow, Sand Martin, 3 Goldfinch, 6 Linnet, Grey Heron > NE, 4 Whitethroat, 6 Reed Bunting, few Meadow Pipit, 2 Blackbird, Dunnock. No singing Skylark and none seen. A Weasel ran across the path at bottom N slope.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Friday Walk 05/07 Continued.

Yet again Ogden Environs were disappointing and Back Lane was awful. Few Willow Warbler including one of those tricky all grey affairs with no yellow wash, Chiffchaff, singing Blackcap, Jay. The water just had 3 BHG & 1 LBBG despite the ever shrinking shoreline.

The GC produced a few Linnet and Meadow Pipit, 1 Curlew, 1 Whitethroat.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Birds on the Go

Soil Hill approx 1005 hrs. To say this morning was overwhelming would be stretching it a bit too far, but it's a close call. 3 Sedge Warbler, probably more, one of which is poorly represented here.

The Grasshopper Warbler was singing all the time I was at the bottom, some 20 minutes plus. I managed some more poor shots, but I'm not bothered as I've never been able to get any at all in previous years.

6 Whitethroat, 3 Dunnock, 4 Reed Bunting. 1 Green Woodpecker calling loudly for a couple of minutes from the garden trees in Coal Lane.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Soil Hill Revisited (Again)

SH 1255 hrs after walking past the Raggalds dustbowl which had a solitary Magpie. Subdued avian activity here from a similar species count to the previous visit minus the Gropper. However there was increased activity from Homo Sapiens on the excavation front which has restarted with a vengeance.
Ogden Res had 2 each of BHG & LBBG; in previous years at this date there would have been scores of the former returned from breeding grounds.
Also Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Curlew, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks. Brookhouse/Stod Fold disappointing.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Feather and Fur

Got off to a great start at approx 1015 hrs but then things slowed down somewhat. Grasshopper Warbler in full reeling song for 10 minutes or so, showing itself on 2 occasions as it perched at the bottom of a bush.
3 Whitethroat, 5 Reed Bunting, c7 Linnet, Grey Partridge, 2 Pheasant, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Kestrel, Mistle Thrush chasing Crow.

Wierd cries I initially thought were from a Curlew turned out to belong to a couple of Fox cubs, 3 animals in total watched for a good 5 minutes.

The rest of the walk turned up 5 LBBG, 2 Mistle Thrush, 3 Pheasant, 5 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Curlew, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Blackcap, 4 Swift, few Swallows, Linnet, Meadow Pipits.

TFFKARF - nada, nowt, zilcho.

(The Field Formerly Known As Raggalds Flood - driza bone)