Birdbrain Stuff

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pinkfeet Over Soil Hill

At approx 1227 hrs after deciding to return home via Oats Royd, I stopped for a final look at the hill from hell. I'm sooo glad I did because a skein of c88 PFG were coming in from the E above Raggalds Flood. I rang DJS as they then appeared to be heading SW toward Holmefield once they hit the hill top.

 However after finishing the conversation, the flock switched back to the W once they got to the Radio Mast, taking them over Ogden Res. Just 3/4 minutes earlier I'd said goodbye to a walker/birder from Bradshaw. If you're reading this John, I sincerely hope you saw them before arriving home

Earlier on arrival at the hill it had been another poor session with just 6 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark and 2 Reed Bunting present.
Ogden turned up Grey Heron, Cormorant, LBBG and a Bullfinch and Oats Royd produced Grey Heron, Kestrel, 4 Moorhen, 6 Mallard, 2 Bullfinch.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oats Royd

OR 1345-1440 hr: another session's hard work producing little reward.
Common Gull, Moorhen, Pr Bullfinch, 3 Blackbird, 3 Redwing, Pr Mistle Thrush, Blue Tit, lots of Magpies and Crows.

Raggalds Flood deserted.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Raggalds To Ogden Res

Raggalds Flood 1045 hrs 14 Lapwing and similar count of local gulls.
Soil Hell - 2 Common Snipe, 2 Skylark, 7 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird. Gulls and Crows. Also a Brown Hare the size of a small Alsatian.

The trip to Ogden was a reminder as to why I haven't been recently; it was crap. Apart from the odd annual surprise, this place is a birding desert. 1 Canada, 2 LBBG plus the usual. 4 Robin and a Blackbird were the only passerines.
12 Goldfinch at Mountain on the way home.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Raggalds and Soil Hill

Raggalds Flood 1355 hrs. Drake Teal all alone by itself. When I returned at 1510 hrs it had gone but c14 smaller gull sp. had settled in, with plenty more on the sports field.

SH 1400-1500 hrs top fields only. 22 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 2 Common & 1 Jack Snipe, c19 Common Gull, 6 Pheasant, 3 Grey Partridge, Sparrowhawk, Blackbird.

Two days to go before we lose an hours birding.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wintersett and Anglers CP

After an appalling session around Leeshaw and other reservoirs yesterday 23/10 with just Fieldfare and a pr Sparrowhawk to show, DP conveyed us to south of the border this morning.
Both lakes had decent birds present, but Anglers CP had more species and greater concentration.

A few Skylark overhead. Mallard, Pochard, Shoveller, Teal, Wigeon, f Goosander. Many GC Grebe, a few Little Grebe. Cormorant, Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 1 Greylag.

We had almost given up after going through distant Mute Swan without luck when a passing birding couple mentioned a couple of Whooper Swan had just dropped in at the far lake end. Sure enough we nailed 'em but photographs were out of the question.
A couple of seperate Swallow were seen: one en route in a location I don't know and one on the lake seen by DP.

Others: 2 LBBG and smaller gull sp. Tree Sparrow, GSW, 5 Jay, Kestrel, Tawny Owl and an assortment of finches and Tits.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Soil Hill and Raggalds

SH 1355-1455 hrs. 14 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark. A number of BH & Common gull plus 1 LBBG.
2 Common & 1 Jack Snipe. A Sparrowhawk drifted over > SW.

Raggalds Flood had 80+ Common & BH Gull splashing around but in the nearby fields there were many more; could have been c300 birds in total.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Soil Hill Goody

SH 1150-1250 hrs, soaked to the skin and worth it. A Grey Plover was on the top field NW scrape briefly; it flew off calling when it saw yours truly.
Also 2 each of Common & Jack Snipe plus 10 Meadow Pipit and 4 Crows.

Raggalds Flood just had a Pied Wagtail on it while at the nearby sports field there was a 90+ mix of Common and BH Gulls.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Queensbury South

1350-1510 hrs. c95 Lapwing, c35 BHG, c70 Starling, 2 Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit - trailer park field nr Cross Lane.
Corporal & Green Lanes. c60 Jackdaw, 10+ Common Gull, 50+ BHG, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Woodpigeon. I got sight of a large flock of passerine types up high over Queensbury village but distance prevented id.
Also present Denise - good to have a little natter.

On arrival home Grey Wagtail over the roof, Blue & Gt Tit in the back, which reminds me I had about c25 Redwing and 3 Fieldfare over > SW this am.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Soil Hill Snipe Fest

SH 1000-1210 hrs. Common Snipe hit back this morning with 12 birds present on the top field area. A cluster of 6 flushed along with 2 x 2 & 2 x 1. This count beats my previous record of 10 birds seen one September about 5 years back.
A large skein of PFG went over the back of TMR > E. Hard to quantify at the distance, but must have been 500+ birds at least. This was an Autumn first for me.
Also c50 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 13 Fieldfare (also an autumn first) 4 Robin, 2 Chaffinch, 5 Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Linnet, Moorhen, small gull sp.

c85 Fieldfare flew W over Raggalds Flood. Old Guy Rd produced 2 Meadow Pipit, several small gull sp - mainly common. A group of 6 Lapwing flew up it > N and down at the junction with Moorclose Rd a garden held 2 LTT along with a couple of Blue Tit.
Back at the hovel, c15 Redwing flew overhead > S at 1325 hrs.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Here and There

Yesterday's downpour raised the water table sufficiently enough for Raggalds Flood to do just that. This morning the field was up to almost a third of it's capacity with the adjacent juncus field almost brimming over. 2 Meadow Pipit and 6 LBBG flew over.

Soil Hill approx 1000 hrs, generally quiet with grey giving way to blue skies in W/NW winds. There is one Jack Snipe up there that probably doesn't realise how lucky it is to be still intact. As I put my foot down on the N edge of the top field, the bird flew up besides me, just a couple of inches away. Otherwise, 25+ Meadow Pipit, few Linnet, small gull sp.
I wonder if anybody else got the large white seabird type heading E between Ogden and the Hill at 1025hrs? It had quite extensive black from the wing tips up, but the distance and general shape deters me from any further speculation.

Ogden was boring again and noisy - Little Grebe & LBBG plus whatever. Stod Fold doesn't even merit a mention, oops I've done it.

DP reports c110 Lapwing and a number of Starling in the Cross Lane fields.
DW reports a skein of geese passing the fields area of Fleet Lane at 0920 hrs today - probably PFG.

PS I hasten to add it weren't the Grebe and the Gull being noisy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wherelse but?

Soil Hill 1400-1510 hrs top area only. 2 Skylark, c23 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 1 Common Snipe, 2 Jack Snipe, Kestrel,  SEO seen flying around area.
Also Common Gull,  2 Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Blackbird

Monday, October 14, 2013

Soil Hill and Ogden Res

SH approx 1140-1230 hrs courtesy of DP. Top field only - the Jack Snipe count has now risen to 5 birds! Also a similar figure of Meadow Pipit and Skylark. The Linnets appeared to have gone elsewhere. A loose flock of Redwing were circling around the Ned Hill road area, probably in the region of 30 birds. Also seen a pr Pied Wagtail. (Grey Wagtail at Tesco Store this morning).

This morning I had to make the decision before 0925 hrs of the trip to the hill from hell or process a birthday card and gift for a relation. The b'day card won and the price I paid was - a pr Gannet missed flying over the top, seen from birders at TMR. When will I ever learn that the only thing in life that means anything is birds!!!

Ogden Res had 2 Cormorant, 1 LBBG and a Little Grebe plus usual smaller gulls and 7 Canada on the water. It was good to see a Song Thrush too, a bird being unjustly overshadowed by it's incoming cousins. A Jay was flying over the Lodge House. A walk to Stod Fold and back proved fruitless, just a few Meadow Pipit and a Pied Wagtail seen.

A Volunteer at Ogden came out to ask us to confirm the two large birds on the buoy which were the Cormorants mentioned above. She added that the visitor centre binoculars have been "misplaced". Can I therefore ask any birder in the area who has a spare set of old binoculars to kindly donate them if possible.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Soil Hill

0950-1055 hrs, misty in a N/NE'ly blow. Visibility at best approx 25 metres.

3 Jack Snipe in close proximity by the two pools on the Mounds area.
11 Linnet & 1 Goldfinch in the same place. 5 each of Meadow Pipit and Skylark and 1 Redwing.

Other Redwing: One or two over the back yard of the hovel in the trees this morning. c40 at Raggalds and a lower number over Mountain at approx 1105 hrs.

Queensbury Eagle Owl

A resident of Ridgeway, Queensbury spoke to me this morning, the first opportunity he had since my return from holiday. He gave me a detailed report of an exciting and interesting observation of an Eagle Owl, seen from his garden.

On 29 September 2013 at 1030 hrs, he saw a large bird flying low over the roof of Black Dyke Mills coming toward him. The initial reaction was Grey Heron, but this was quickly dispelled as the bulky broad winged bird got nearer, completely ignoring the Crows that started to harrass it. He identified it as an Eagle Owl as it flew directly overhead, heading SE.

I am grateful for this information, which as a few local area birders know is not without precedent. We may be poor but we sure do get 'em.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Jack Snipe Record Goes

Soil Hill approx 1300-1350 hrs. 3 individual Jack Snipe seen on different areas of the top field, each dropping down into cover quickly after the initial flush. 2 were in close proximity to each other, the other was about 100 metres away. This breaks the record of October 15th 2012 for being my earliest observation, when I saw 2 birds here.
Also present - 1 Common Snipe, 1 Golden Plover, 4 Skylark, 5 Meadow Pipit, 15 Linnet, c20 Redwing.

Prior to this I'd been struggling down in Denholme Clough where a fresh NE'ly had been blowing up it. Both at the top end and down by Doe Park lake c30 Redwing were roaming but apart from 11 Chaffinch not much else was moving through. Regulars seen were: Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Jay, 3 Pied & 1 Grey Wagtail, Bullfinch, a smattering of small gulls and dozens of Magpies. The lake held only 3 BHG.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Queensbury Redwings

2 waves of Redwing flew over the High Street this morning at 0945 hrs totalling c70 in number.

Soil Hill 1245-1325 hrs top area only - 6 Meadow Pipit, 1 Skylark, 11 Linnet, 3 Snipe, 1 Wheatear.

Ogden Res was of value for the exercise only. On the way to Oats Royd - 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 f Sparrowhawk, c30 Meadow Pipit, c100 Starling, a few small gull sp.
OR was as bad as Ogden but by then I was exercised out.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Mallorcan Star

I had two weeks birding in and around the Albufera Natural Park, Mallorca from 24 Sept until 08 Oct 2013. It was hard work at times with birds being few and far between, but here is a shot of surely one of the world's most attractive gulls.

Audouin's Gull
A full report and more pictures will follow asap.

Friday, October 04, 2013


A re-sighting of this Black-headed Gull, previously seen last October, by Nigel.  A male, now 3 years old and ringed originally in Germany.

2 Little Grebes; 2 and perhaps 3 Chiffchaffs but only usual suspects otherwise. Rain stopped play.