Birdbrain Stuff

Monday, March 31, 2014

Soil Hill

SH approx 1140 hrs. I've been on the flat for 17 days so my first reintroduction was a reminder of how unforgiving this dump is. However despite the legs complaining, I managed some birds at least.
Many Meadow Pipit and Skylarks, 6 Linnet, Pheasant, m Reed Bunting, Snipe, 5 Lapwing, Kestrel, and the sought after Wheatear - a single male. Also in the distance calling a pr Curlew.
Raggalds flood was gash. The first sweep in the mist produced a single Mallard, on the way home even in the sunshine, just a Pied Wagtail.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Queensbury South Reprise

Back to it from 0910-1015 hrs in a misty E/NE breeze.
Song Thrush, 2 Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, 2 Collared Dove. I couldn't see much of the trailer park field on the first sweep so carried on hoping visibility would be improved on the return home. Not feeling up to the Green/Corporal Lane slog, I went the opposite way down Bridle Styles Lane. This proved a good move as I managed another one for the annual list - 6 Linnet.
4 Snipe, 11 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 5+ Pied Wagtail, Sparrowhawk flying low over the a/m trlr prk field.
Looking forward to my first encounter this year with local Wheatear tomorrow.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Back On The Treadmill

Some people may have wondered about the absence of drivel on here during the past 16 days; others may have been jumping for joy. Fact is, I had another trip to Turkey, returning home at midnight last night. I didn't miss local birding too much admittedly, but from what I heard, I certainly missed the glorious weather you've been experiencing.
There were quiet sessions, few and busy sessions, many; there were also sessions that resulted in sensory overload to the extent I couldn't stand the sight of another bird. I'm presently copying 288 pictures from the camera to my laptop hard drive, I think this represents about 37 percent of what I actually took.
I haven't had time to count the species of which some of the numbers were incredible, I even had a lifer, 2 if you go into the realms of subspecies being declared full etc. I'll make a report; it should be finished by Septober.

FW: Oats Royd via Email

Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:59:17 +0000
Hello Nigel.
Dave and me decided to just do a steady local walk.  We made our first ever visit to Oats Royd.  Tracy has been before and told me about it, but I'd never actually been.  It's like a small oasis and we were both  more than pleasantly suprised.  The weather was kind to us too.  There was birdlife everywhere.  We had great views of a Green Woodpecker, which we'd first heard calling.  Dave thought my impression wasn't so bad.  We also saw chiffchaffs, greenfinches, goldfinches, canada geese, mallard, wren, various tits and greylag geese.  Two of the latter were less than impressed to see us and basically came after us.  Try and imagine Dave and me doing our version of the end of the Benny Hill Show.  I think you could say we were both Billy Bigsteps.  The geese were whipped up into a frenzy by then and ended up making a right racket and chasing the mallard, canadas and one of the other greylags. We started walking into Shibden, but the weather started to turn, so we called it a draw.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sunny South Queensbury

Approx 1405-1515 hrs clear blue skies, breeze from E.
Little Owl, Green Woodpecker singing, 4 Goldfinch, 1 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 4 Carrion Crow, 14 Rook, 2 Jackdaw, 10 Woodpigeon, Wren, 4 Lapwing, 17 Snipe, 3 Pied Wagtail.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ovenden Thornton Moor Round Trip

DW offered me the chance to visit the area he and DM visited last Wed - Birdbrain: Ovenden and Thornton Moor. After stitching Dave's hand back on, we arrived at Back Lane at approx 1100 hrs and set off up the track, where Goldcrest, Great and Coal Tit were seen. A few minutes later in the far distance a sizeable raptor, bigger than the crows near to it, was watched for a minute or so and taking all things into account was concluded to be a Buzzard.
We then went along the track that took us below TMR, near Foreside Lane, through a very boggy field indeed. This is significant as back in late Jan/early Feb DM was trudging through the bog and flushed 5 birds from his feet which dropped down after a short flight into the rushes. I told him they could have been Jack Snipe; lo and behold, a third of the way through a Jack Snipe and 2 Common Snipe were flushed from the same place. (Birdguides in their wisdom classify this area as Ogden!) Also here was a male Reed Bunting and a Kestrel.

From the main track that leads up to TMR: 23 Curlew, c18 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, Stock Dove, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. Actually both MP and Skylark were abundant throughout the trek, especially the latter.
Skirting the end of TMR we then took the track back to Ogden, taking the opportunity to view TMR from it. Here were just a handful of small gulls, 7/8 Canada Geese - a pr were mating in the water and 3 Goldeneye. Best of the lot however was our first Redshank of the year, busy working what was a very limited shoreline. A pr Kestrel were working the moor. I would have lost money had I placed a bet because I predicted Oystercatcher would be on the menu but it failed to happen.
Ogden Res was busy with visitors and bird activity minimal: 2 LBBG among the smaller sp. several Canada Geese, Grey Wagtail, pr Goldfinch. Thanks a lot Dave for the trip and to Mrs W for providing the logistics and charm. (You should see me crawl under a snakes belly)

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Blown Off Track

BS sent me a msg about 2 Teal flying over his place from the Raggalds Flood area this morning (no doubt he will post later) so I had a look at 1240 hrs. There was a lusty gusty SW'ly wind in operation and the place just held the resident Lapwing pr, 3 BHG, Pied Wagtail.
This disheartened me for the hill from hell but as I was togged up I gave it a go, however the wind was strong enough to get me off it after 50 mins or so.
12 Lapwing, 5 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, Crows.

I'm  certain I saw a forecast this morning that said winds would come from SSE varying over the next 2/3 days; I hope so as this gives us a least some small chance of an early morsel.

PS Wheatear today at Longshaw, Manchester - Birdguides.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Todays Birds South

Qby Sth 1040-1155 hrs a quick scoot around Littlemoor and the fields. The park wasn't too busy but did show the expected residents, incl. Jay, singing Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush.
Cross Lane area produced: 2 Mallard in flight, 3 small gull sp obscured by bushes, remaining unid, caaawvids.
The gusting WNW wind had backed 7 Lapwing up to the middle of the middle field. 5 Skylark were seen; 2 feeding in the trailer park field and 3 upstairs singing. Also 8 Snipe, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, c25 Starling.
I just realised I demoted Snipe to also ran; a year back I would have been jumping through hoops!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ovenden and Thornton Moor

Received a great report with satisfactory descriptions from Messrs D Miller and D Wetherell this evening, who had done a 5 hours slog across the moors today. (You should have seen the mess they were in while imbibing in a local hostelry).

Ogden Back Lane - Goldcrest.
Ovenden to TMR and then Withensmoor: 2 Grey Partridge, 5 Curlew, chipping Common Snipe. 2 Jack Snipe flushed at close quarters and characteristically dropping down after short flight. Several singing Skylark on territory.
To top this, when they got to the old Withens Pub, a Buzzard was circling overhead.

Well done lads, there's many a seasoned birder would have enjoyed a session like that.

Queensbury Sth to Soil Hill

Qby Sth 1040-1100 hrs. A very quick forage round the Cross Lane area provided me with my latest ever Jack Snipe in the marsh field. It saw me first for a change, flying from the banking by the footpath. I deduce it was sat out in the the open. It went about 40 metres dropping down at the end of the trailer park field, where I must add there were no Lapwing at all. 17 Common Snipe were counted also, plus 2 Skylark and 2 Meadow Pipit, 4 Jackdaw, c14 Rook.

Raggalds Flood just had a Pied Wagtail and the pr of Lapwing, which were displaying. The sports field nearby held 19 Common Gull with another Pied Wagtail further up at Mountain.
Soil Hill 1155 hrs. 18+ Meadow Pipit, 29 Skylark, 2 Reed Bunting, 9 Lapwing, 10 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, Blackbird, pr Great Tit, Chaffinch, pr Goldfinch. The far bottom pond was completely deserted; I put this down to the non user friendly SW'ly blow.

Monday, March 03, 2014

The Hellish Hill Delivers

The Mound of Manky Misery turned up a personal tick this morning at approx 1015 hrs on the far left bottom pond of N slope. 2 pr Wigeon were basking on the bank in the bright sunshine and although at a distance I managed some poor photos which helped to separate them from the Teal I presumed them to be.
My records show that the species has been recorded in the past by person or persons unknown, probably in flight.

2 pr Wigeon with a drake Mallard right for size comparison
This is the first time they have been reported on this pond which was constructed some 6/7 years back. The pond has been named the NK pond by another well known local birder; today it can stand as that, when it's empty or dull again, it can revert to the one described above.
Also present: Mallard, Moorhen, 3 singing Reed Bunting, 5 Meadow Pipit, c15 Skylark, pr Grey Partridge. Two singing Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin.

Raggalds Flood previously had just the pr Lapwing on the shoreline.
Ogden Res was yet again awful and like a recent visit I couldn't wait to escape from the extra curricular noise. 2 Pheasant, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch, plenty small gulls and I don't care what else.
There were 2 Peacock Butterfly seen in the plantation.
The Mixenden Res area had, Sparrowhawk, singing Song Thrush, 2 Blackbird, pr Goldfinch, pr Bullfinch, 2 Pied Wagtail. The water was quiet: Grey Wagtail, f Goldeneye, 5 Canada, just a few small gull sp.