Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, November 28, 2013

More From The South

Foster Park/GC approx 0955 hrs. Rather busy, makes a change from Ogden. Double figure Great Tit, fewer Blue Tit, c10 Goldfinch, 1 Bullfinch, 9 Blackbird, 5 Mistle Thrush, pr Jay. The GSW I found at the GC bottom was one of the more photogenic ones I've encountered. Also several Magpie,  c25 Crow, 10 Jackdaw, 2 BHG.

The large Lapwing flock was situated in the field behind Spaniard Hall Farm, the one where there is that big mouse tethered in a yard. I didn't do a full count but I reckon c230 birds were parked up. Before I got to them I saw a c12 strong passerine flock but distance prevented id. Also 1 Meadow Pipit, 4 Dunnock.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

All Quiet, Well Almost

Nothing on Raggalds Flood at 1145 hrs so it was up to the Hill, which was also dire. The only birds seen were: Kestrel, 5 Common Gull & c29 Starling.
While walking down the W side of the hill to the Ned Hill track I was approached by a guy who I know has family in the house at the end of the track. He asked if he could help me and I responded in the negative as I had experience of the place and had permission to be there from the landowner. On hearing this he eased off but went on to point out that he worked for the landowner and wanted to point out the dangers of the place, which birders that go up there are all too familiar with.
I suppose this encounter does serve as a reminder that although there are a couple of footpaths through the place, permission is still required to wander around off them. When I eventually meet up with the boss again, I'll ask him to confirm I still have the right to do so.

Ogden Res: the recent improvement works have now ended and the result is that when you stand and look from the promenade S, you can see that almost 40 percent of the trees nr Boggart Brigg have been removed.
Cormorant, gulls on the water only. 5 Goldcrest, 7+ Great Tit and even more Coal Tit, 7 LTT, Bullfinch, Goldfinch and the usual.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Queensbury South Activity

Site NameQueensbury South (SE12 E)DateTue, Nov 26, 2013Time13:55 - 15:00
Species NameCountAccuracyIncludes Foster PkComments
Black-headed Gull1
Blue Tit2
Brambling1Foster Pk
Carrion Crow6
Chaffinch3Foster Pk
Great Tit2
Lapwing250Cc40 over Whinney Hill Lane
Long-tailed Tit1Foster Pk
Mistle Thrush3Qby GC
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)3
Snipe1Went down in juncus Cross lane
Sparrowhawk1Flew over juncus Cross Lane
Starling200CTrailer Prk field
Woodpigeon7Foster Pk
Wren1Foster Pk
Complete List? Y Total Bird Species: 18 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Raggalds to Mixenden Res

A bright sunny and relatively warm day, great for being out; naturally on the birding front it was very quiet.
Nothing on Raggalds Flood 0945hrs. Soil Hill sported only 7 Common Gull, a Lapwing and a Kestrel.
Ogden Res 7 LTT, Pied Wagtail, Little Grebe, gulls.
The Dipper seen last week was appropriately in the brook, just above Brookhouse.

Mixenden Res had 3 boats on it which left about 20 minutes before I got there. The only water bird other than the gulls which included just 1 LBBG,  was a f Tufted Duck. A Jay and a single Goldcrest were seen, also 50 plus Jackdaw, a pair of which decided to put on a brief courtship display.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Data Loss Warning

So you think all your hard work down the years has been worth it and will be available for interested viewers through the decades after you've reached birding nirvana in the sky?
Think again, Google operates a policy based on Data Protection rules that will prevent anybody viewing or using your blog for as little as 2 months after you've been planted or toasted. The individual cops for it in the main, whereas groups who share a blog can circumvent this problem. For more on this frightening prospect click here
I haven't yet digested the issue of Enabling/Disabling Account Manager, if anybody has feel free to comment.

NB In order to view the above Google page, you have to log into your account.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Soil Hill and Raggalds

Jack saved the session on Soil Hill at approx 1355 hrs as it was still quiet on the top field. I bumped into John from Bradshaw on arrival who reported he'd flushed a Jack Snipe which flew down the N slope. Congrats on your lifetime tick!
I searched the entire portion of the field to the left as you go up the track from the mast with nothing other than a Kestrel and a Meadow Pipit. However when I started to do the section of the field to the right of the mast I flushed another Jack near the edge of the long grass; it flew into the grass and dropped.
Only other birds seen: Pheasant, Mallard, c40 small gulls > N, corvids.

Raggalds Flood - nothing on the water but I'm glad I hung around for a bit as I got my first Herring Gull in ages  > N. Also 16 Mallard  > S dropping into adjacent fields and 15 Lapwing > N dropping ditto.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Surely last nights and todays E/NE'ly winds must have dropped something off at the hill from hell thought I, so up I went at around 1405 hrs.
Wrong! it was dire, not a visitor to be seen. Only Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, 3 Lapwing & 6 Gulls > NW and caaaawvids.
Raggalds Flood is a flood again, but nothing there either.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Low Moor Dams

Park Dam approx 1140 hrs. 5 Goosander, 2 Little Grebe, 6 Tufted Duck, 50 Canada Goose, 2 Coot, 5 Moorhen and a few small gull sp.

Harold Park lake. 30+ Coot, 7+ Moorhen, 18+ Tufted Duck, 3 Wigeon, GC Grebe, Little Grebe, 4 Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Mallard, numerous small gull sp.

I noticed a male Aytha duck that stood out from the others in not having defined lines of white/black etc, I thought it may remotely have been a first winter Scaup. When a female nearby drifted out into the open I thought it too looked a bit unusual for Tufted. Having been caught out at this time of year before, I managed to take the photo's at distance below.

I realise now having blown up the shots that the sun was not only bouncing off the duck's beak base but magnifying the white portion too. I'm glad I took the time to do this, it saves me having to go back in the morning and start searching again.

Messrs DW and DM sent me a text informing a Dipper and Kingfisher were showing well in close proximity to each other at West Vale around 1300 hrs. Good to know the 'fishers are still around, it's been a while since I saw one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

North To South

Appetite whetted by yestereday's Whetstone Gate Snow Bunting, I arrived upon Soil Hill at 1255 hrs to be greeted by some Starlings muttering and murmering. There must have been c550 birds which headed for the mast, settled and then in moments were moving off.

That was the excitement over, I'm afraid. The only other birds on the top were 3 Crows, a Kestrel and a pr Dunnock.
A small flock of Lapwing were settled in a field over the road from the N slope bottom and c19 Lapwing flew NW over Raggalds Flood. Several gulls were very active in the adjacent field searching for grub, as the grass has been given a makeover.

Queensbury Sth approx 1445 hrs. All birds present were widespread over 3 fields, with just around 10 Lapwing nr the trailer park, I estimate c140 of them in total. At the top of Cross Lane, I encountered this poor bugger with only one leg, however it still managed to feed by a combination of hopping and using it's wings for balance.

Interestingly, again there was a large Starling flock of similar size to the one at SH. Around 25 small gulls were present as were a Blackbird and a nearby garden Robin.

The thought just crossed my deteriorating mind that this year has been the slowest start since my sentence commenced for Snow Bunting and Woodcock upon t'hill.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mixenden to Raggalds Flood

Mixenden Res 1030 hrs. The female Common Scoter still present, however the drake that was seen over the weekend has now departed. There was a lot of noise disturbance caused by the grass being cut by two large petrol driven machines; this may also account for why there was just a drakeTufted Duck and 1 f Goosander only on the water, besides the gulls.
Other birds: Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Green Woodpecker, 40 Jackdaw. There was quite a bit of Gt Tit and Chaffinch activity at Brookhouse with 3 Blackirds also.
A pleasant surprise was a Dipper in the brook about 130 metres down from Halifax GC Clubhouse.

Ogden Res presented me with my first Autumn/Winter Goldeneye for the site, with a fine drake in the middle of the lake. A cormorant was on the buoy, otherwise it was rather quiet. Passerines included several Gt/Blue Tit and Chaffinch again, plus a Bullfinch.
Soil Hill was poor: Meadow Pipit, 5 BH Gull, 23 Common Gull, LBBG > N.

Raggalds Flood is no longer that; there are just two pools in the field separated by a patch of mud. 3 Lapwing were standing guard and 5 LBBG > N.

I just had a knock on the door from DP; he discretely viewed Denise's garden and was rewarded by a Brambling on the lawn. Of course I rang the owner and it just entered my head, there is enough daylight left for me to have a bash!
PS I didn't get it. By the time I arrived the light was just diminishing enough to make it difficult to discern between the Chaffinches, I hope Denise managed it. A Grey Wagtail went over Park Lane.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Around The Local Sites

Soil Hill 0945 hrs top field only - not much doing. c40 Lapwing in the air, Kestrel, 1, poss 2 Reed Bunting. I was told that some 3 days back on the Ned Hill track a probable Merlin was seen. Hope it reappears, as this is one bird that has eluded me this year.
Ogden 1050 hrs - woodland species very subdued. However the water held 2 LBBG, 2 f Goosander and a pr Teal plus the usual expected.

Mixenden Res 1210 hrs. The Common Scoter was rougly in the same area by the inlet. It must be finding the lake to it's liking as it not only dived a couple of times but also flew a short distance toward the 6 Goosander that were present. Also LBB & usual gulls present.
DJS told me about a Twite being present on Swalesmoor among a Linnet flock. I had a bash on the way home but couldn't find the flock. 2 Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch plus the corvids and gulls.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Soil Hill

Top field only 1500 hrs in a NW'ly blow but mild with it. Thought Snow Bunting might have turned up but it wasn't to be.
2 Jack Snipe on edge of N slope. 1 each of BHG, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Magpie. 6 Carrion Crow.

Raggalds Flood (water starting to recede) c12 small gull sp.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mixenden Common Scoter

Went to Mixenden Reservoir, courtesy of DP this morning (thanks to DJS for confirming the bird still  present). It was only a couple of minutes before we picked it up at a distance, so we galloped round for better views.

It never came close but was just near enough to give these borderline acceptable record shots. The last time I had this species locally was probably in the region of 9 years ago.
Also present: 2 Goosander, 1 drake Tufted Duck, 1 LBB & numerous smaller Gulls. A GSW was at the top of a dead tree calling loudly.

Ogden Res has reverted to that deadly quiet mode; Cormorant, Little Grebe, gulls but no action from woodland birds.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Birds North and South

The day started off quiet but ended rather well after 2 trips to Qby Sth with a Soil Hell saunter sandwiched therein. Before I go into the gory details, if you're reading this Geoff H, I can confirm the whistling calls you heard at Ogden Res this morning were indeed Wigeon. DJS confirmed 4 birds were present by text this afternoon around 1345 hrs.

Qby Sth approx 1020-1135 hrs. Trailer Prk field deserted but at 1035 hrs the first wave of Lapwing came up from SE. They were joined by another flock and spent some time circling between Qby Sth and Northowram, eventually settling in the a/m field. 7 Fieldfare were moving around with a small group of Starling, 3 Snipe briefly glimpsed above > N. 3 unid passerines went into the juncus field corner Cross Lane plus usual small gulls and a Mistle Thrush.

Soil Hell 1250-1335 hrs, covered in mist with a W/SW'ly blow, not too fierce. 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Common Snipe & 1 Jack Snipe, the first in around 3 weeks. 4 Redwing > W, 45+ Fieldfare > SW, c25 Starling, 6 Goldfinch. Surprisingly a pr Jay!

Qby Sth 1420-1530 hrs. Bumped into DP and as we were telling the tale, 4 duck sp. came over E, heading W at a distance. The flight jizz and shape plus colour DP detected slightly suggested possible Shelduck so I alerted DJS at Ogden. Wrong conclusion; I now happily settle for Goosander especially as DJS later confirmed that 2 birds splashed down at Ogden Res.
The trailer prk field was rotten with Starling, I guesstimate there were easily 600 plus birds. One of them had a completely white tail, I saw this bird twice as way of confirmation it weren't nowt else. The Lapwing flock got spooked once more and as they flew, 2 Common Snipe shot up from the back of the field and joined them. 8 Canada Gooses (always was crap at grammar) were feeding at the corner field, junction of High Cross and High Cross Lanes.


A welcome flash of colour in the hedge this afternoon-one bird.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Sunny South

Queensbury Sth 1000-1110 hrs. Nothing in the Cross Lane fields, however I had seen a large Lapwing and Gull flock in one of the Corporal Lane fields prior to arrival. Just as I was setting off to go there, c30 Lapwing came up from further down Shelf, heading to Corporal Lane. About 130 metres on the way the birds started trickling back up to the trailer park field, eventually the whole bunch settled down. Thankfully it was decent weather to be going backward and forward in, although there wasn't much activity otherwise.
Many Common Gull, fewer BHG. 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Blue Tit, Mistle Thrush, c20 Jackdaw, 3 Rook, other caaawvids, 2 Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Another Raggalds Flood Tick

A Grey Heron was on Raggalds Flood when I went there on the return leg from SH at 1505 hrs today; this cranks the species list to 51 now. On the first visit at 1340 hrs there were 6 mallard circling.

Soil Hill 1350 hrs, bloomin cold and windy. Meadow Pipit, Pheasant, Common Snipe, 2 Common Gull, Grey Heron > N on top field.
c70 Lapwing, 7/8 small gulls, c90 Starling, bottom N slope in the pond field, Grey Heron > NW and c11 House Sparrow in a garden where the terraced houses are.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Much Local Inactivity

A good day for walking but thanks to the high pressure and Omni directional S & W party the wind was throwing, not great for birds.
Raggalds Flood 0945 hrs - just the water.
Soil Hill - the top field was deserted apart from a bunch of Black and White Minstrels but on the E & W slope, some birds had the audacity to spoil the tranquillity:
14 Common Gull & a few BHG, c300 Starling, 4 Meadow Pipit, 2 Blue Tit, 2 Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Pied & Grey Wagtail.

Ogden Res 1100 hrs. Cormorant, LBB & usual local gulls. I had a job to locate what sparse passerines there were but finally nailed 'em in the trees above the track to Ogden Clough bridge:
4 Goldcrest, 3 LTT, 1 Coal plus the Gt and Blue Tits. A Pied and Grey Wagtail present were probably the ones I'd copped for earlier up the hellish hill. Wrens and Dunnocks were rather vociferous with other birds being a Blackbird and solitary Redwing.

Oats Royd coughed up just a pr Bullfinch, single Mistle Thrush and a Greenfinch.

Bradshaw Birds

Hi Nigel,

I MET YOU ON SOIL Hill the other day.
I went down to oats royd by the pools today 21 meadow pipets 100 yrs before the pond. A great spotted woodpecker at Bradshaw park. Thanks for your company I enjoyed the chat.Apologies for any spelling errors _ just got a kindle fire and Don't know how to turn off the auto correct yet.
Who would have thought that I used to programme in COBOL 30 years ago!
Hope to see you around

Kind regards

Monday, November 04, 2013

Soil Hill Sunshine

Site NameSoil HillDateMon, Nov 4, 2013Time12:15 - 13:25
Species NameCountAccuracyBreedingComments
Carrion Crow6
House Sparrow4
Lapwing18CBottom LH field of N slope
Meadow Pipit4
Red-legged Partridge2Pr by Red Cabin bottom N slope
Reed Bunting2Bottom N slope
Snipe54 on top field 1 bottom N slope
Complete List? Y Total Bird Species: 11 

Busy Ogden Firecrest Notwithstanding

Site NameOgden Res (SE03 Q)DateMon, Nov 4, 2013Time09:10 - 12:00
Species NameCountAccuracyBreedingComments
Black-headed Gull30C
Blue Tit6+
Carrion CrowY
Coal Tit1
Common Gull8C
Goldcrest6+No Firecrest among them
Great Spotted Woodpecker1
Great Tit4
Green Woodpecker1Heard calling briefly
Grey Heron1
Lesser Black-backed Gull1
Long-tailed Tit5
Meadow Pipit1
Nuthatch1First in over a year showing well
Complete List? Y Total Bird Species: 26