Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, August 30, 2013

Denholme Clough to Soil Hell

DC 1005-1205hrs, bit blustery not too much movement but still productive. Pied Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 14 Swallow, 16 Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, usual expected tit types present.
A Chiffchaff sang briefly; 6 Willow Warbler, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Bullfinch, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk.
The Common Sandpiper was still present on Doe Park lake along with c20 Mallard and several small gull sp. also 4 LBBG overhead.

Soil Hell. LBBG, 9 each of Meadow Pipit and Skylark. 5 Linnet, couple Swallow, House Martin. 3 Wheatear. Brown Hare running around top field.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Soil Hill and Stod Fold

Soil Hill approx 0920 hrs this morning. DP had a quiet session then encountered 7 Curlew high up circling the hill before heading off.
He then took us to Stod Fold where within a 5 minute or so walk, we nailed 2 juvenile Whinchat  in the usual place. Also seen: Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, 2 Linnet, 15+ Alba Wagtail species, c25 Meadow Pipit. All these were very active and we just didn't get the opportunity to check for White Wags. A number of Swallow and a couple of House Martin also seen.

Wed 27/08 a verbal blow by blow account from two casual birdwatchers of a Sparrowhawk trying to kill a Collared Dove, which had a lucky escape. This was on a walk in the Sowerby/Soyland area, where they then flushed 3 Common Snipe some time later.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Around The Houses

Denholme Clough and Doe Park approx 1000 hrs - a rewarding effort although quiet at times.
3 GSW together, Jay, Mistle Thrush, 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Bullfinch, 3 Spotted Flycatcher.

Scores of corvids and smaller gull sp. were flying over and around the clough; I think insects were the reason. Around 6 LBBG, 5 Meadow Pipit & 16+ Swallow also seen.
Doe Park lake had a Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, 9 BHG, 1 Common Sandpiper & 5 Teal.

Soil Hill - 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Linnet, 3 Skylark, c6 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Wheatear, Golden Plover.
Old Guy Rd - Wheatear.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Soil Hill to Queensbury N

Soil Hill 1330 hrs quiet again in another mild E'ly breeze in bright sunshine. 3 LBB and several small gull sp. both on the bottom fields and in the air.
Pr Grey Partridge, 2 Skylark, 5 Meadow Pipit, 4 Linnet, 2 House Martin, 3/4 Swallow, c22 Woodpigeon.
There's a fweekin gweat big bwue dwagonfly up on top that makes a noise like a grass mower when it takes off out of the ponds. It's too fast for pictures and never settles when I'm about and it chased me away, but not before I managed this red 'un.

Raggalds had 36 Canada Geese in the former flood field with 1 Goldfinch, 12 Linnet, c38 Woodpigeon and a small mix of small gull sp in the adjacent fields, plus Swallows.

Old Guy Rd produced 6 Meadow Pipit and to crown the session a single Wheatear plus Swallows.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wild Queensbury Website Blunder

Not of any real significant importance but if it hadn't been for a request by an interested birder today, I wouldn't have realised that all the files on the wild queensbury website had defaulted to private viewing only for some unearthly reason.
I have quickly rushed through the settings and altered nearly all the articles for public viewing (big deal uh?) e.g the one in question - Soil Hill Dotterel 2008. produced by the finder Brian Sumner.
There are a few loose ends to be tidied up, if I have both motivation and time..

NE'ly blow in Queensbury

A fresh NE'ly wind did nothing for migration, both N & S. Old Guy Rd 0850hrs, c36 Meadow Pipit doing the rounds, 8 Swallow. I did get a LBBG overhead on the way up, but the BD Mills small gull flock had dispersed.

Green Lane/Corporal Lane. 3 House Martin, few Swallow, Willow Warbler harrassing 3 Goldfinch. 3/4 small gull sp, 2 Linnet, 2 Jackdaw.
c62 Lapwing had switched location to the field at junction Corporal & Shaw Lanes from their usual spot.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pictures from Thursday

Yesterday wasn't all about birds, the butterflies, particularly at Ogden plantation performed rather well.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Busy Day's Birdin

Hovel - overhead 0645 hrs 3 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, then about 90 mins later 2 Swift high up.
1000 hrs HX GC to Ogden Res/Plantation.
Jay, Bullfinch, Kestrel, 3 Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Tufted Duck, 5 LBBG, 6 Willow Warbler, several Goldfinch, plenty small gull sp.

Hit the jackpot for a long awaited annual at the topmost track of the plantation, a bird I have not had locally in around 4 years - Common Redstart.

Soil Hill 1230 hrs. Few Swallows, Pied Wagtail, Tree Pipit on Ned Hill track, c7 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark. LBBG and smaller gulls sp. often high up appearing to be catching insects. Still no Wheatear here.

Raggalds had a smattering of Goldfinch and 41 Woodpigeon, while Old Guy Rd coughed up pr Wheatear, Sparrowhawk, few Swallow, Meadow Pipit

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Swillington Ings

1135 hrs, quieter than previous trips. 5 Reed Bunting, 4 Linnet, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Grey Heron, 8 Cormorant, 14 Common Tern, c30 LBB & 1 GBB Gulls. 3 Kestrel in air together, 100+ Lapwing, hordes of Canada and Greylag. c11 Gadwall, similar GC Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 120+ Coot, scores Tufted Duck, Mallards. Far more Sand and House Martin than Swallow (c5).
8 Curlew flew over casually, heading toward Mickletown. Just 1 Acro Warbler gave short burst of song, I hasten to add that's the genus, not a man made fibre.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Moving Birds Finally

Soil Hill approx 1055 hrs. 13 Skylark, 18 Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail. 1 LBBG & 1 GBBG overhead, also mixed small gull flock c 28 strong, mainly BHG.
I flushed an adult Grey Partridge from the top field, then on the Ned Hill track, 10 juv Pheasants. Also 2 Linnet, Kestrel, c14 Swallow, Crows.

Ogden Res & GC. 6 LBBG plus usual assortment of small gull sp. 2 female Tufted Duck, Grey Wagtail, recently fledged Robins, Collared Dove, Woodpigeons.
I heard a couple of weak calls indicative of possible LSW by Skirden Bridge but bird not seen, however I did see a GSW in flight by the Lodge House.
3 Crossbill flew in from the NW and landed in the Lodge House garden trees for about 90 seconds, they then flew over the lake and settled in trees on the E shore. Also 4 Willow Warbler, Sparrowhawk, Blackbird.

The GC was quiet with Kestrel, 2 Linnet, 6 BHG, however a search of the Brookhouse area came up trumps with a juv Whinchat and 2 Goldfinch.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Queensbury South to North

More drudgery 0925hrs; the Cross Lane fields were deserted. Down Shaw/Corporal/Green/ Lanes: 2 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, 52 small gull sp, majority being BH. 5 House Martin, similar Swallow, Kestrel, Greenfinch.
Old Guy Rd to Fleet Ln. 3 Greenfinch, Blackbird, Skylark, Pied wagtail, c25 Meadow Pipit, 3 Swallow, 9 BH & 1 Juv LBB Gull, House Sparrows, few Starling.

I've seen more action in a pack of Brookbond PG Tips.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Local Doldrums

Yet another under performance by the usual venues as we start the second half of the month. I think this is probably the poorest August I've suffered in years so far.
Soil Hill approx 1000hrs. House Martin, c10 Swallow, 6 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, LBBG, Kestrel. I got off as quickly as possible.

Ogden Res and HX GC. Chronic again, 13 Canada, Grey Wagtail, some BHG. The GC had 2 BHG, 2 Meadow Pipit, 6 Linnet, Goldfinch.
Pick of the morning went to the fields at Mixenden end of Stod Fold. c11 Pied Wagtail (perhaps a poss White but I ain't goin there) flying around then stopping to feed. Also Stock Dove, a few Woodpigeon, ditto BHG, Swallows and caaawvids.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

More Wetland Birding

Tues 13/08 Swillington Ings 1130 hrs. 2 Whitethroat, 3 Willow, 1 Reed & 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, 7 Linnet, 2 Yellowhammer. 3 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, 13+ GC Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 5 Gadwall, 3 Pied Wagtail.

 At 1320 hrs a Red Kite flew over > N mobbed by BHG, putting all the birds up for a minute or so. Then 20 minutes later the local Buzzard came out to play. 3 Kestrel, Several Sand Martin, few House Martin, Swallows. Lapwing were the only wader sp. noted today. Terns, BH, LBB, GBB and Common Gulls.

Plus the hundreds of Geese sp. Coot, Tufted and scores of Cormorant.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Denholme Birds

Denholme Clough 1105 hrs. 4 LBBG, c44 Goldfinch, 10 Willow Warbler, 14 Meadow Pipit, Dipper, Jay, Wren, Blue & Great Tits.
A Grey Heron was on the shoreline at Doe Park lake but no waders present. 5 BHG, 8 House & at least 1 Sand Martin, c22 Swallow, 5 Mistle Thrush, Blackbird.

Soil Hill was being swept by a thrusting NW'ly so everything was down, apart from 1 House Martin and 4 Swallow. 19 Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, 2 LBBG, some BH and c5 Common Gull. Still no returning Wheatear. A Willow Warbler at Raggalds.
I went down Old Guy Rd out of desperation for Wheatear, but nothing. 3 Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch, 2 Meadow Pipit, 4 Swallow, 2 Common & c20 BH Gull.

Prior to this, upon leaving the hovel, a solitary Swift flew across the road.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hit and Miss

Soil Hill approx 1050 hrs. 13 Goldfinch, 3 Mistle Thrush, 8 Skylark, 9 Meadow Pipit, 2 Blackbird, 10 Linnet, 11 Swallow, 2 LBBG, 1 each BH & Common Gull, 2 Kestrel, Blue Tit, 2 Stock Dove, c8 Woodpigeon. All from the top fields area, where I also flushed a Golden Plover. This is the latest date I've ever had that no returning Wheatear have been seen. 4 Mallard and a Fox down N slope bottom.

Ogden Res was dire again, which means, I suppose we're due for a biggie. 2 LBBG, 1 Common plus the several BH Gulls. The juv GC Grebe managed to catch a fish. 8 Willow Warbler, Blue & Gt Tits, Robins, Grey Wagtail. In keeping, the Golf Course was also crummy: a Willow Warbler, 3 Meadow Pipit, GSW down at Brookhouse.

Mixenden had a few Swallow, 2 House Martin and a Swift. My mind is playing tricks, I can't remember if I had a Swift in Halifax too.

On the immediate local front, judging by yesterdays behaviour, the BD Mills Grey Wagtails had fledged young moving around.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Swillington Ings Wednesday

Another excellent day at the wetlands on Wed, which started off slower than usual but ended up in a lather. I was more than happy to discover a Yellow-legged Gull among the many LBBGs and amazingly I got the Wood Sandpiper by default when examining the photos of the tern's islet. 2 Greenshank put in a great display of flying around and calling.

c9 Sand Martin, Swallows, 4 Little Egret, 4 Grey Heron, 200+ Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Sedge Warbler family, 3 Reed Warblers, Reed Bunting, Bullfinch, GC & Little Grebes, several Gadwall, Kestrel, GBBG, BH and a few Common Gulls.

Calderdale could do with a few of these Mute Swan, they have plenty to spare. Not to mention the hundreds of Coot and Tufted Duck.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Quiet Again

Ogden Res approx 1035 hrs - the pits. Just the juv GC Grebe & 5 juv BHG plus mallard on the drink. 1 LBBG > SW. 2 Grey Wagtail, single Swallow, Bullfinch.

Soil Hill, scrapes now full to the brim. At least 7 Common Gull in with c25 BHG on the Ned Hill fields. 2 Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, 5 Skylark, 7 Meadow Pipit, few Swallow, 7 Linnet, 2 Greenfinch.

Raggalds Flood. 14 Canada Geese, single BHG > SW.
Old Guy Rd. 3 Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, BHG > SW, few Swallow, single Swift.
Grey Wagtail at BD Mills plus usual Gullery.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Crashing Back Down to Earth

Yesterday was a reality slippage; I'm back in the world of dire birding again.
Halifax GC approx 1410 hrs - 2 Meadow Pit, 4 Swallow. Ogden Res - eeeeeeewwwww. 3 Common & c35 BH Gulls. Juvenile GC Grebe, 3 Willow Warbler.

Raggalds Flood had a 2 x 1 metre lick of water on it, but no birds. Watch out - no Swifts about!
This morning: Sparrowhawk over Howcans Lane area; Grey Wagtail BD Mills.

Swillington Ings Friday

Tree Sparrows? (Unseen - check calls).
Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, 3 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, c70 Lapwing, 6 Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Many Tufted Duck, Gadwall family, 8+ GC Grebe, 4 Little Grebe, 20+ Cormorant, 5 Little Egret (No Grey Heron!) Reed Warbler, many LBB and BH Gulls, Hirundines, c22 Common and suspect Arctic Tern?
Hundreds Canada and Greylag. 2 Kestrel.

Translucent primaries? Long red bill.

The Terns were amazing. There was a woman with two big dogs in the water, a good 40 metres nearer to their island than I was. Yet when I turned up with backpack, bins and camera it wasn't long before they launched an attack. They scored 3 direct hits with their faecal droppings, one on the hat and when I took it off to look, one on the head plus one on the shirt. One bird in particular specialised in low level attacks, coming in at least 4 times at eye level and only skimming over at the last second. If I liked 'em before, I loves now, I does.
The 3rd pic down has caused me problems. A fair amount of translucency, a long red bill with no black and yet those tail streamers look the right length for Common. I've read the guides, viewed hundreds of pics and conclude nothing is cut and dried, i.e some Arctic with longish bills and streamers that don't look all that long.
Who'd be a birder if you could start over!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

South Again

Approx 1445-1555 hrs, returning in the heat soaking wet (better than freezing).
c29 Lapwing, 11 Woodpigeon, 3 Stock Dove, c 120 Starling, Pied Wagtail, c13 BHG, Little Owl, 3 House Martin, c20 Swallow, 3 Swift, 2 Greenfinch, ditto Linnet & Goldfinch. Caawvids.
Small Tortoiseshell flutterbys have had a field day - 45+ of the little blighters.

I may try Swillington Ings/Allerton Bywater tomorrow, being in a waderish and gullish mood.

Denholme 31 July

Denholme Clough and Doe Park 1130 hrs.

Grey Heron, Dipper calling in overhead flight. 7 LBBG over, 2 BHG on deck, 7 Canada. Although the shoreline was low, not a single wader.
Kestrel, c14 Willow Warbler, singing Reed Bunting, ditto Dunnock & 5 Wren. c12 Long-tailed Tit, 10 Blackbird, 5 Mistle Thrush. c40 Goldfinch, 5 Linnet, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Pheasant. 20+ Swallow, 2 House Martin, poss Sand Martin (distance) c7 Swift. 2 Jay flew over the water > SW. A large Starling flock of 350+.