Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, February 28, 2014

Walk to Low Moor Dams

Queensbury South approx 1100 hrs 6 Skylark, pr Canada Goose. Despite the Spring like feel (Rhubarb growing down Bowl Shaw Lane!) it took some time to pick up our feathered friends. Yet again the stretch from Coley to Judy Woods was almost a void, being alleviated once inside the woods.
2 GSW, 3 Nuthatch, 2 Jay, Goldfinches, Tits, uggins of Woodpigeon.
A Buzzard called 3 times in the middle distance; problem was I was under the tree canopy and couldn't see the rotter.

Park Dam and Harold Park

It's that time of year again.
10 Goosander, 3 GC Grebe, c10 Moorhen, c18 Coot, c14 Tufted Duck, Grey Wagtail, 2 Greenfinch, few Goldfinches, Collared Dove, 4 Mute Swan, c15 Canada, Blackbirds, many smaller gull sp.
14 Lapwing had appeared in the usual field on return home.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blacktoft Sands

3 Skylark, 2 Robin, 3 Chaffinch, 9 Tree Sparrow, 3 Dunlin, 4 Redshank, c100 Woodpigeon, 5 Snipe, Pintail, 2 Goldeneye, Little Grebe, 4 Shelduck, 4 Gadwall, Mallards, c23 Teal, c40 Wigeon, 2 Buzzard, 2 Marsh Harrier, Wren, Pheasant, Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 60+ BHG, c1200 PFG, m Scaup, 8 Tufted Duck, c20 Pochard, 9+ Moorhen, similar Coot, 90+ Greylag, c50 Golden Plover.

PFG kept coming in wave after wave, I could have missed hundreds.

Thanks for the journey to DW. Oh and 3 Canada Geese also. We missed a Little Egret flying past by a couple of minutes and although the Cettis Warbler was allegedly calling with the quieter contact notes, it was inaudible to us.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Raggalds Circular To Home

Raggalds Flood 1240 hrs 2 Lapwing; then up to Soil Hill. 14 Skylark here, Dunnock and pr Blackbird with 13 Canada on the recently constructed W slope pond.

Ogden Res was depressingly quiet yet again, the contradiction being it was also very busy. Work that one out, it's not difficult. Several Robin, usuall gulls, 2 m Pheasant. Got a lift from 2 LTT as I was hurrying away from the place.

2 LBBG flew > S over Bradshaw as I headed for Oats Royd where I had a male Goosander on the largest pond. This is a good record as this species is a rarity here, in fact I've only had one previous observation. Also present singing Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, pr Bullfinch. Still no Moorhen seen; I reckon last weeks Mink, now residing in Hades must have scoffed the lot.

Picked up a Grey Wagtail on the roof of The Omnibus in Queensbury with an adult Herring/LBBG flying overhead. I only had this bird for two seconds, got a glimpse of head and undercarriage hence no positive id.
I decided to go down to the fields down Qby Sth seeing as it was reasonably mild and light was on my side.
22 Lapwing, 24 Snipe, Meadow Pipit.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Queensbury South Quiet

Got caught unawares at approx. 1030 hrs at Jackson Hill Lane. Bins were still in jacket pocket when I caught sight of 4 waders climbing out of top end Shibden, flying > N. By a process of elimination and their jizz, I can only narrow it down to Snipe but not confirm.
It didn't do me much good when I did drape the bins around my neck as the fresh but mild SW'ly swept along on the way down to Paddock Lane. From their it was up Bowl Shaw, culminating in a sweep of the Cross Lane fields.
Few BH & Common Gulls, Skylark, pr Mallard, pr Canada, 17 Lapwing, 2 Snipe flushed, Grey Wagtail, numerous corvids.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hebble Trail to Cromwell Bottom

DW was good enough to take me to a new route this morning, ending up at the more familiar Cromwell Bottom then ending up with an unexpected bonus. We both got soaked to the skin and at first things didn't look too promising but eventually the birds came - 5 for the annual list is testimony to this.
Kicked off at Hebble Trail with a pr Dipper showing well, carrying beakfuls of nesting material!

The first annual on  the list to appear was a Treecreeper at the canal side on the approach to CB. The bird showed well for 2/3 minutes but photos were out of the question.

On arrival at the CB feeding site a pr Redpoll were on a feeder and the male Siskin had the decency to allow a couple of decent shots. Also present were the usual crew of Tits, Chaffinch, Bullfinch.
My first Grey Heron of the year (oh how I've tried) was spotted by Dave in somebodies front garden (albeit a large one).

Just as the heavy rainfall had by now penetrated to underwear level, we got a text from DJS about the Waxwings in St Albans Rd, so with nothing to lose, DW headed for the location. Our luck held: on arrival we got clear views of a single bird flying into the tree just a few metres in front of us. This coincided with DJS ringing me up to ask if we'd found the place! I assumed that the bulk of the party had simply moved off from the site but not necessarily miles away and were probably in the general vicinity.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shibden Park Kittiwake

The Kittiwake was giving excellent views this morning at approx 0955 hrs. Obviously hungry as it joined in with the BHGs in attacking visitor provided bread. A birder, SB, kindly provided it with some sprats, two of which it managed to gulp down - the rest being taken by Mallards. It was good to meet and chat with Steve and Gordon too.

Shibden Valley itself provided quite some interest: pr displaying Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Jay, 2 singing male Song thrush, 2 LTT, Nuthatch, 4 Fieldfare, pr Skylark.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Raggalds Flood to Oats Royd

RF approx 1245 hrs another site record - Greenfinch calling loudly. A pr Lapwing were active on the front shoreline.
Soil Hill 1255 - 1345 hrs - 11 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, pr Great Tit.
Ogden Res - finally connected with LTT for the year, 6 birds. Drake Goldeneye, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Goldcrest and unusually 3 Robin together amicably.

Oats Royd produced another Song Thrush, singing. I found a very recent Woodpigeon kill, which I thought was probably f Sparrowhawk. The place was extremely quiet, no Moorhen whatsoever, then I found the most likely cause of this. I heard a squealing sound and then the barking of dogs; the local vermin controller told me it was a Mink they were engaging with. The Mink, found to be a male, was quickly killed and hopefully the place will get the Moorhens back.

PS I received a detailed verbal report this evening from DW of Queensbury and DM who were at Hebble Trail this morning. They had good views of either a Marsh or Willow Tit on the ground in front of them at approx 1120 hrs. Coal Tit was ruled out as the bird was so well viewed they were able to compare it with the bird guide they had in their possession. Nice one lads.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Short Local Walk

3 Skylark calling in flight over Chapel Lane > W after lunchtime inspired me to go down south for a quick foray. Green Lane produced 3 Meadow Pipit, Jay, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, the ubiquitous Jackdaws, Common Gull but no Little Owl.
There were only 8 Lapwing present in the usual field no doubt owing to the amount of decibels being produced by some massive plant machinery moving around the trailer park and then into the large excavation site.
After a 10 minute walk around Cross Lane, I had to give up as a couple of White Van men started to walk up and down the marsh field for a couple minutes. No Snipe were flushed, but the singing Dunnock didn't appear to be bothered.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Soil Hill Curlew

Raggalds Flood 0940 hrs deserted again so I traipsed up the mist covered hill where it was dire until departure time. Robin and 5 Skylark were the only birds up there, then to save the morning a Curlew flew overhead calling > SW. This is certainly my earliest record since the trend of Curlew returning in February started about 4 years back.
Ogden Res was rather lively with plenty of singing woodland birds, some of these were: 2 Nuthatch, 3 Goldcrest, Song Thrush, 5 Chaffinch, 3 Blackbird. A drake Goldeneye was on the water and a Jay was at the far end of the embankment.

On the route to Mixenden Res via Hunter Hill bottom, I picked up another singing Song Thrush and a Reed Bunting. Otherwise it was very quiet here. The water held 8 Mallard, 2 f Goldeneye and a pr Goosander, plus a hoard of the usual gulls.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Herring About Here and There

What was meant to be a casual stroll turned out to be a bit of a slog; from home to top end Northowram and back approx 1045-1235 hrs.
Corporal Lane 14 Herring Gull fairly low down and directly overhead but not idling > W towards Swalesmoor. I managed one picture which was not of good enough quality to post but did clinch the id. Also here was a Skylark.
From then on it was downhill all the way, both birdwise and walkwise - the place was full of walkers and cyclists with a few motorists thrown in. I just didn't have any opportunity to look out for birds at all until I hit north Northowram and started back up Bowl Shaw Lane.

I spelled it wrong in the photos it's Bowl...

Just before I got to Higher Bowl Shaw, I nearly fell over, there was an Adult Herring Gull in a field giving very good views. It doesn't stretch the imagination much to guess what happened when I reached for the camera. The pond held a pr Canada Goose and ditto Mallard.

On arrival at Cross Lane I got another HG in flight > S, possibly the same ^ but who knows.
There were no Lapwing at all in the usual field but 15 minutes later a flock of c80 flew in from E, followed a few minutes after that with 21. Also present were 1 each of Snipe, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail.
Queensbury GC and the park were crawling with Starling, Redwing and less so, Fieldfare. I reckon c400 of the former, c85 & 30.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mixed Fortunes

Raggalds Flood 1040 hrs deserted. Soil Hill was the main source of entertainment this morning, on arrival I heard a couple of series of short calls from an unseen bird; the notes pitch and volume suggested a wader of some kind. 7/8 minutes later halfway up the track to the Radio Mast, 2 Golden Plover took off from the mast field, providing me with another annual. I hasten to add this was not the species that was calling earlier as I am very familiar with GP. A single Grey Partridge was on the top field along with 9 Skylark. 16 Fieldfare and probably a few Redwing were in with a rather mobile bunch of Starling numbering around 45+. Also seen 14 Woodpigeon and one singing Chaffinch.

Ogden Res was crap, so bad it doesn't warrant another word. On the way to Mixenden Res I picked up about 6 Goldfinch and there were 5 each of Canada Goose and Goldeneye, the latter all females, on the water. The dead male Goldeneye is still floating within an almost specific radius of where it was first seen, despite the winds. I'm beginning to think of possible entanglement in a fishing line maybe responsible.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quick Southern Dash

Qby Sth 1525-1555 hrs in a bracing cold W'ly. Surprised to see the Lapwing still there in about the same number as yesterday. However the wind had backed them up to the middle and rear of the central field as opposed to the usual one. An increased number of Starling, c130 were up there with 'em.
There was nothing on the Bowl Shaw Lane pond so I got out my snorkel and flippers and went into the marsh field - 13 Snipe and 1 Meadow Pipit. Just a singing Goldfinch on the way back.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Queensbury to Low Moor Dams

I'm just checking to ensure that a couple of my teeth haven't been blown out by the gale force blast from the south; at one time a gust blew me a good foot or so and I'm not exactly a lightweight.
Qby Sth 1030 hrs, first sweep was rubbish; the fields were still partially iced up and birdless. I decided to go down a recently found trail which gives views of a hitherto undiscovered pond - Bowl Shaw Lane. The entrance to this is opposite the marsh field and looks like it is private, but it is a public highway. As it happens there was just a Canada Goose lurking, but I have been informed by a resident that Grey Heron can be seen "standing around like old men" fairly often.

Once again the walk from Coley to Norwood Green, thence Judy Woods proved almost birdless, with one exception. Another welcome annual popped up at NG in the form of a Dipper about 30 metres down from the bridge. Judy Woods produced several Woodpigeon, singles of Jay and Nuthatch and 4/5 unid passerines thanks to poor visibility.
Low Moor Dams were in the path of the winds and it showed in the reduced numbers of birds present, e.g no Canada Geese whatsoever. 12+ Meadow Pipit, Pr each GC Grebe and Goosander, 4 Mute Swan, c10 Moorhen, 15+ Coot, similar Tufted Duck plus Mallard and usual Gull sp.

Qby Sth 1340 hrs, second sweep on return home - all change. 2 Mistle Thrush and a distant flock of Starling that looked to contain Redwing. 51 Lapwing, c36 BHG, several corvid incl Jackdaw and Rook all in the trailer park field. I wasn't geared for the marsh field both mentally and physically having already absorbed all the water I could stand.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Raggalds Flood to Mixenden Res

RF 1240 hrs - ice over and deserted.
I met a local resident of Perseverance Rd who reports c120 Pinkfooted Geese flying around Soil Hill at approx 1130 hrs, they flew off in an unstated direction. He then went on to tell me that twice in the past two weeks or so, he encountered a "Grouse" on his walks round the hill. On the second occasion, the bird flew just a few metres past him, squawking. He described the bird as being entirely black in colour and concluded it could have been a Black Grouse. I asked a couple of questions and we can discount this species, as he said "it was a bit smaller than a Red Grouse". The bird books show that Black is considerably larger than Red, whereas escaped exotics e.g Black Francolin are a couple of centimetres smaller than Red Grouse. We'll never know but it's very interesting to receive these reports on occasion.
My own birds seen 'pon the hellish hill: Kestrel, LBBG > W, Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark (much singing) Blackbird, Robin.

Ogden Res was quiet, the most notable birds being 2 female Bullfinch and a singing Song Thrush. Inevitably, I suppose, Grey Squirrels have discovered the bounties on the centre feeders - 4 of them were busy munching away. Just a Blackbird, 2 Great Tit, 1 Blue Tit and Dunnock were present here. Elsewhere here it was down to 7 Robin and numerous small gulls on the water.
The walk to Mixenden just coughed up a couple Greenfinch, several Jackdaw and other corvids and the finale proved to be a total disappointment. In fact, Ogden was rocking in comparison; the only bird on the reservoir was the belly up drake Goldeneye from last week. Nothing else at all, except a couple of Crows laughing at me.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

A Windy Walk

Queensbury South approx 1345-1505 hrs, in gusting mainly SW'ly blow, fortunately missed the rain.
The Park still had a small residue of Chaffinch left over from BS recent report, with more Goldfinch still around. Besides this were c26 Woodpigeon and a few Blue Tit and Crows.
The wind had forced c65 Redwing to hug the ground in the horse field atop Giles Hill Lane, but they appeared to be feeding well in the chopped up mud and grass.

At last some Lapwing are back in their usual haunt; I counted 31 mixed in with c60 Starling. Also hugging the wall base behind the trailer park were c11 Meadow Pipit.
19 Snipe were seen in total and one of them was a pretty good candidate for Jack. It took off in the characteristic manner, dropping after a short distance into the same field as the Lapwing etc. I could have done with another 3/4 seconds of it in flight as I failed to nail the little blighter on the deck.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Low Moor Dams

Prior to venturing to Harold Park and Park Dam, I received a phone call from DW shortly after 0900 hrs. He told me he was looking at 6 Grey Partridge once more in the fields from his window. Perhaps I should have allowed time to try and view these, given the up and down nature of my own day. Have a look at BS blog, he had a successful attempt.
Coley and Judy Woods were quiet once again, the latter did produce a Nuthatch however.

Park Dam: drumming GSW, singing Mistle Thrush, 50 Canada, GC Grebe, Little Grebe, 8 Goosander, 6 Tufted Duck, 3 Moorhen, 2 Coot, a small number of local gulls.

Harold Park: pr Collared Dove, 2 Blackbird, singing Mistle Thrush, pr GC Grebe, 4 Mute Swan, c10 Tufted Duck, c15 Coot, 5 Moorhen, 9+ Canada and the usual gulls.
The journey down and back proved monotonous, birds worth a mention are 2 Skylark, Kestrel, a small number of Winter thrushes. I chose not to visit the marsh field owing the brand new boots, should have had the wellingtons - on see AC Northowram blog report.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Super Dooper Whooper

Just as I was putting on my new boots with a view to breaking them in, I received a call from BS asking if I would like to go see 24 Whooper Swan on Mixenden Res. Would I! so some 5 mins later we were on our way. I have left thel nitty gritty story to Brian's West Yorkshire Birding blog out of fairness but here are some shots I took.

It was good to meet Dave and Jennifer Sutcliffe in on the action also. Thanks for the lift Brian.
I did go for a walk locally after which proved to be quiet: 3 Lapwing, Fieldfare, 3 Collared Dove, 5 Woodpigeon, Corvids and 9 Greenfinch.

Monday, February 03, 2014

A Welcome Buzz

Queensbury South 1240-1405 hrs. A lousy start in a gusting S'ly wind with nothing in the soon to be renamed Lapwing fields if things keep up. However, my spirits were soon lifted in the shape of a Common Buzzard giving fairly good views. I rang BS who just happened to be mobile; he came down and within a couple of minutes we could see there were actually 2 of them. Shortly after the birds headed off  > NW, it's good to get an immediately local first.
The wind subsided a bit later on and birds started moving: c300 Starling, c60 small gull sp. & 1 LBBG with 1 large unid gull. A mixed flock of c15 Fieldfare and 20+ Redwing, Jackdaws, 3 Stock Dove & c14 Woodpigeon.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Low Moor Dams to Coley

20+ Redwing and a few more Starling in the fields down Brighouse Rd on the way.
Harold Park approx 1120 hrs. Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, c250 small gull sp. mix, GC Grebe, c30 Coot, c26 Tufted Duck, 4 Mute Swan, c16 Canada, 10 Moorhen.

On arrival at Park Dam, 3 Herring Gull, 2 adult & 1 Sub adult phase were in the sky calling. The latter continued flying > SW but to my delight the adults settled on the water where they stayed for 10 minutes. The only reason they left, I'm sure is because I got near them, had my camera focused and was within 2 seconds of firing away. Amazingly I picked them up about 10 mins later at some distance, resting on a grass verge by the side of a road within a built up area; we don't get that in Queensbury.
Also here were: a few Common & BH Gulls, 8 Tufted Duck, c13 Canada, GC Grebe.

There on in from Judy Woods to Coley it got quiet: Fieldfare, Nuthatch, 5 Chaffinch, c9 Great Tit, 100+ Woodpigeon, Corvids and...

Thanks for the lift back home Brian.