Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bolton Abbey Part II

Courtesy of DW who wanted to add some juicy migrants to his life list (Little did he know his chance of doing this was greatly reduced the moment I sat in the passenger seat). Arriving at 1035 hrs the pattern was not too dissimilar to Tuesday's visit, with the addition and subtraction of a couple of species.

4 Pied Flycatcher, 4 Redstart, 1 Wood Warbler in exactly the same place as the previous visit.This time Spotted Flycatcher turned up with 3 individuals showing rather well at times. Dave heard a distant Cuckoo call just the once.

A good first for both of us was a Dipper in a tree, I didn't have the heart to shoo it away into the river.
5+ Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, c5 Chiffchaff & WW. 4 Goosander, 2 Common Sandpiper,4 Oystercatcher, Curlews, 1 m Wheatear, Kestrel, Swifts, House, Sand Martins, Swallows, Pied and Grey Wagtails, 2 Treecreeper, 4+ Nuthatch, 2 GSW (one on the ground) other woodland birds.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hung(a)ry For Eagles?

Whilst enjoying your stay in Budapest, why not mosey around the city centre looking for Golden Eagles, they are really quite easy to find!

Come any nearer mate and your nose comes off
One way to keep those pesky breeding Peregrines away
Sent in by my cousin who is not a bird photographer but I do intend to find out what model camera he used.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bolton Abbey Bonanza

What a session with DP after a slow start to the morning from approx 0930-1400 hrs. It ended up almost mind numbing after a very satisfactory second half.

Leucistic Blackbird - eyes not pink.

2 male Redstart, 11 Pied Flycatcher, 1 very vocal Wood Warbler with support from Cuckoo, 2 Garden Warbler, 5+ Blackcap. The icing on the cake was a female Pied Flycatcher sporting a silver ring on the right leg.

Unreadable ring on right leg
Kingfisher, Buzzard, 3 Lapwing, 7+ Curlew, c9 Swift, c30 Sand Martin, 3 Nuthatch, Treecreeper, pr Red-legged Partridge, LBBG, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 GSW, Mandarin with young, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Pied Wagtail, c6 Grey Wagtail and others. Also 2 Weasel.

Thanks for the journey Dave.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Busy Soil Hill

SH approx 0830-0950 hrs bottom N slope. Someone threw a party, I'm glad I was present.
6 (Six) Sedge Warbler 2 Pr, 2 x 1 male Singers. This has got to be a record methinks.
6+ Reed Bunting - pr Adults carrying food, 7+ Linnet, pr Whitethroat on territory.
The f Wheatear from last week is still hanging around and an Oystercatcher was flying around the far left hand bottom pond. Also 4 Goldfinch, Swallows, 2 LBBG overhead, pr Blackbird, 1 ea of WW and Chaffinch.

Raggalds Flood much quieter: Woodpigeon, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, 35+ Starling and one patrolling Cat.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ogden Res Slog

Approx 1000hrs looking for anything that dare show itself. Nothing other than Meadow Pipit and a couple of Skylark on the Ovenden Moor stretch so I turned back and entered the woods. c7 LBBG were circling overhead but chose not to settle on the water which did have a GC Grebe on it and a Jay over.

Crummy Spotted Flycatcher pic.
I managed to get a pr Spotted Flycatcher, Chaffinch and Coal Tit before the heavens opened up. I also got 3 wish I'd never seen or heard 'em types fly close by twice, alarm or excitement calling as they did so. Here we go, I might as well let myself in for it: they were all larger finch size, base body colour was green showing double white wing bars. I can eliminate Greenfinch and Siskin immediately because of the plumage and plainly heard calls. Female Crossbill but especially Two-barred Crossbill sprang to mind and I have been listening to the calls of these for an hour or so from recordings. I'm not going any further with this, I just hope my anticipated bad dreams don't last too long.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Luddenden Lost Ogden Won

Courtesy of DP in search (somewhat desperate) of migrants. Luddenden Dean approx 0905 hrs: Grey Heron 2, Cuckoo 1 seen and heard, Whitethroat 1, Chiffchaff 2, WW a few singing. We had a few minutes of  Pied Flycatcher song, but the blighter was at the back of the wood and we were on the road so the decibel count was low. We thought this was hard work for barely satisfactory reward so off we went to...

Cold Edge: c34 Canada & 3 Greylag Geese, 3 Curlew, 1 each Oystercatcher & Red Grouse, pr Lapwing.
We heard a few characteristic but distant 'krok' calls from Raven(s) and then characteristically, because we tried and tried to see them but couldn't, we dismissed them as a possible nearby pig! We got this wrong too as events unfolded later on in the afternoon. Other - Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Skylark, Linnet, WW, Swallow.

Ogden Res 1320-1530 hrs. Things livened up here, in no small part due to a combo of calls from BS and DJS - thankee kindly. 4 Raven put on a display up and down the length of the location, at one point DP got views of a Buzzard joining in. We went up to cop a couple of Spotted Flycatcher and were well happy when a third came into view alongside. Also Treecreeper, Tree Pipit, Sparrowhawk, 2 Swift, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 LBBG circling upstairs, other busy woodland birds.

Monday, May 19, 2014

North Cave Wetlands

Plan was to visit Judy Woods and get double figures of Wood Warbler, Flycatchers, Redstart then return home and stop dreaming. Halfway twixt Coley Church and Norwood Green with minimal bird activity, I got a call from DP arranging to meet up. The bridge at NG coughed up a Nuthatch and a Blackcap and up the top of the hill, DP himself.
I was persuaded to be transported to the coast, the purpose of which being Red-necked Phalarope, Black Tern, Wood Sandpiper.

Lots Avocets, Black Tern, 10+ Gadwall, similar Shelduck, Shoveller, 6+ Pochard, Tufted Duck, pr GC Grebe, 4 Lapwing, Black Swan, pr LRP, pr RP, Red-necked Phalarope, Sand Martin colony, Greylag, Canada, c8 Common Tern, GBBG, Whitethroats, 2 Blackcap, pr Blackbird close up. Song Thrush, 2 Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, 3 Little Grebe, Mute Swan, many breeding BHG, Common Gull.

The Phalarope was swimming up and down a channel and very busy with it. By the time I was geared up with the camera, it had decided to swim back out into the lake. Still I managed these record shots of what was a very welcome lifer. The Wood Sandpiper appeared to have disappeared, no issues there as we got compensation from the Black Tern zooming around and giving a few reasonable sightings.

Sausage sandwich time at the mobile cafeteria where we were mugged by a pr of streetwise Blackbird, the female demanding to be fed.

Blacktoft Sands on the return journey and totally sedate by comparison, however we got quite acceptable views of probably my favourite duck.
pr Marsh Harrier, several Avocet, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Tree Sparrows, m Garganey, 6 Shoveller, 4 Shelduck, 4+ Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, Grey Heron.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Soil Hill

Stood having a natter with DP this morning when a pr Swift flew close by; this may have been an unconscious motivation to mention a saunter to the SH reedbeds. So, at around 1100 hrs the pair of us got out of Dave's car to be almost immediately greeted by a Sedge Warbler in full song and display flight. What makes this even more special is that it is a second male on site, the other being also found performing at the far side of the reeds.

It was generally lively at the N slope bottom half: 4 Whitethroat, similar Reed Bunting, 6+ Linnet, pr Mallard, Blackbird, Pheasant, f Wheatear, 2 Meadow Pipit, Swallows. The top of the hill turned up 3 Lapwing, c10 Crow, c7 Skylark.
I'm pleased you managed to connect with the Sedgie in big style after your earlier trips, Dave - thanks for the ride.
Another Swift and Swallow over the back on return home.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Down to the Valley

In vain hope of one out of three: Redstart, Wood Warbler, Spotty Flycatcher. I couldn't even manage a squeak of the latter; gone are the days.

This bird came with it's own frame.
c12 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 3 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 2 GSW, 2 Green Woodpecker, pr Jay, Goldfinches. c45 Jackdaw, Buzzard high up > NW, pr Stock Dove, Woodpigs, few Linnet et al.

I picked this young rabbit up, the poor sod was either paralysed from the waist down or its back had been broken. There was no indication of blindness caused by Mixenden Matosis and that is one reason why it's still alive. The cynic in me thought it would be better off if I broke it's neck, but when I looked into those big brown eyes, I couldn't do it. I'll claim the escape clause on this one: let nature take it's course.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ogden To Queensbury II

Differing route but same venues as Monday with a good start, poor middle and good ending.
Ogden 1005hrs - approx 200 metres from GC Club House. Cuckoo showing well but in interludes owing to being mobbed by Blackbird, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch and Great Tit - hence no photographs.

Monday's mystery singer resolved itself this morning on the golf course; with no wind and no distance to complicate matters I managed to both clearly hear and see the male Whinchat. 2 Wheatear were nibbling away on the patch of almost skinhead grass with a few Linnet in the vicinity and the Curlews were calling.
From this point on it was fairly putrid, for some reason Ogden had died: WW gathering nest material, 1 each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. A single LBBG having a doze on the buoy.

It picked up again at the bottom of Soil Hill where Reggie the Sedgie was doing a virtuoso performance. At one point he was so excited a Reed Bunting perched atop the next phragmites decided it had enough and scarpered right across the entire reedbed. Others: 2 more Reed Bunting, 3 Whitethroat, Linnets, pr Goldfinch, Swallows, Blackbird carrying food.
Raggalds: Sparrowhawk, 2 Linnet, 2 Wheatear, Pied Wagtail, Swift, Swallows.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ogden to Queensbury Circular

Kicked off with a Dipper flying downstream in front of HX GC at approx. 1015 hrs. Approx 130 metres up track from Brookhouse, I listened to a singing bird coming from the scrubby area and had to admit defeat. I know what it wasn't at least. A female Wheatear was on freshly mown grass at the top of that same track. A pr Curlew were flying around the general area and 4 Linnet plus a couple Meadow Pipit were seen.

I searched the top left area of Skirden Clough for Tree Pipit but drew a blank, however I was rewarded with a Cuckoo there. A couple of Swift were flying high around Giants Tooth. Also in the wider Ogden area: Tawny Owl, Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, small nr WW, Nuthatch on feeders, pr Kestrel.

Soil Hill - a solitary Swift and a few Swallow. Red-legged Partridge and pr Grey Partridge. 4 Whitethroat, 6 Goldfinch, c12 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting, LBBG > W. Amazingly, I didn't hear the Grasshopper Warbler; I flushed it from about 1.5 metres! It flew a short distance and dropped into a small clump of rushes, remaining silent.  I had a struggle determining Sedge Warbler, because drowning out the song I thought it was singing were a couple of wittering Linnet. However I managed to get a glimpse as it flew from cover and dropped down again.

Raggalds Flood held a single f Wheatear (see BS report) Pied Wagtail and 5 Swallow. The rain finally caught up with me and I gave up halfway down Old Guy Rd. It was good to hear the Grey Wagtail commotion at the nearby mill, I must admit.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Station Rd Circular

I remembered I used to do the walk via Low Lane a couple of years back so I give it a try at 0910 hrs. The Grey Wagtails have bred again at Black Dyke Mills and a House Martin was at the top of Station Rd.
Station Rd bottom: few Swallow, Goldfinch or 2, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler.
It was downhill (actually uphill) all the way from there to Raggalds: pr Lapwing nearby also pr Linnet, 32 Rook on the sports field, but nothing at all on the now full flood.
Old Guy Rd produced 5 Skylark and 2 Meadow Pipit and a pr Linnet were on the recently levelled earth field top of Chapel Lane.

Friday, May 09, 2014

OCD Rules

Common Sense lost out to mania this morning and I got my just desserts as a result. The Wind Cries not Mary, but NK "Stay in you raving idiot" backed up by the rain muttering "I told you so". I was of a mind to inspect the water levels of Raggalds Flood and two individuals who sent me messages about rising levels obviously hoped I would be the sacrificial lamb!
RF 0940 hrs two healthy pools of H2O were gracing the field but the aforementioned wind was too strong for anything to take advantage of them. Just a Blackbird and a Pied Wagtail flying over low and 4 Crows ditto high.
Soil Hill bottom suffered the same malaise; winds so strong I abandoned the single thought I had about going up to the top. I walked along the the edges of the sedges and back for about 20 minutes before accepting defeat and returning home. 2 Canada Geese, 7 Mallard Ogdeneii, 2 Linnet, 1 Whitethroat, Blackbird. The noise of the weather simply drowned out any calls or singing from whatever else was present.

Good luck to whoever ventures out this afternoon, hoping to reap any harvest after the current conditions abate as forecast. More juice to descend on us from above tomorrow, apparently.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Swillington Revisited

This wetland location really highlights the differences between my local patch and it, not only in habitat and species but migration patterns too. A good example is Swift; I must have seen 50+ birds here within 10 minutes and yet I haven't had a single bird locally so far this year.

This was the first time I experienced grey skies, wind and a drop of rain or three here, but it didn't stop the birds significantly.
Arctic Tern 2
Black-necked Grebe 2
Blackcap 5+
Carrion Crow
Common Tern 12
Cormorant 7
Gadwall 6
Goldfinch 2
Greenshank 1
Greylag Goose 5
Lapwing 2
Linnet 3
Meadow Pipit 1
Mute Swan 6
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 1
Reed Bunting 4
Ringed Plover 2
Sand Martin 20+
Shelduck 2
Skylark 3
Tufted Duck 26+
Willow Warbler
Black-headed Gull 500+
Buzzard 1
Chiffchaff 5
Dunlin 18
Garden Warbler 3
Great Crested Grebe 8+
Grey Heron 1
House Martin 12+
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
Little Grebe 2
Oystercatcher 2
Pochard 7
Reed Warbler 6
Sedge Warbler 4
Shoveler 4
Swift 50
Whitethroat 8+
Wood Sandpiper 1
Total number of species 49

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Soil Hill to Queensbury Nth

Nobody in their right mind would visit Soil Hill in a SW/W'ly blustery wind and expect to reap the harvest that BS got yesterday afternoon. So off I went, arriving there around 1255 hrs to find just 1 singing Whitethroat and 2 Reed Bunting plus a few Linnet down at the bottom N slope. The only other birds seen throughout were the usual Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 3 Lapwing and a single Wheatear, hiding from the wind on the hilltop. A Willow Warbler was calling from a telephone wire, with a Goldfinch sat nearby in Perseverance Rd.

Another WW was singing in the growing plantation in Roper Lane and I daren't imagine what the brief scratchy rattles were from a bird I couldn't see.
28 Crows were monopolising the cricket pitch for some reason and 2 Skylark were singing nearby. Another 2 Wheatear were hiding behind walls from the wind; one of them much nearer to Fleet Lane as opposed to the favoured Old Guy Rd end.
I got my first Reed Bunting for this location (subject to going over 14 yrs of records) it was a male, again shielding itself from the wind. Others: single Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, a few Swallow.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Down In The Valley

Spent two consecutive mornings doing Shibden Valley, Monday and today. Both were a total contrast, yesterday was overcast and still, today was bright with a definite breeze cooling things down. Significantly, Monday produced more birds in bigger numbers while today was hard work, but it did provide another annual. One Garden Warbler sang briefly by Shibden Mill Inn, while another one was singing loudly just a few metres from me at Shibden Head. The latter performance was enhanced in value by a Blackcap singing loudly close by; this being a great opportunity to compare both songs.

I've racked up both sessions birds on Birdtrack and I'm too past it to repeat the tally here, but here are some others:
Little Owl, 3 LBBG, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, WWarbler, pr Jay, GSW, 2 Green Woodpecker, Buzzard, Song Thrush, Swallow, LTT, Reed Bunting, Wheatear, fledged Robin. Still awaiting my first Swift.
Good to see Dave and Tracy W slogging away this morning.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Dunsop Bridge

Approx 1030-1440 hrs. Started and finished with a bang, Cuckoo seen flying across head of pass nearby and landing, it remained in the same area, calling on our return.
Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaff, numerous Willow Warbler, 3 Dipper, Grey Wagtail, 2 Kestrel, pr Stock Dove, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Oystercatcher (Hooray!) and c9 on return up as far as Keighley, (6 Mute Swan by canal). 6 Lapwing, 4 pr Stonechat, c50 Pheasant, female raptor species to remain undisclosed, Swallow, Red Kite, 2 Reed Bunting, LBBG, Chaffinches, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, 3 Buzzard, Grey Heron.

Thanks to DW and DM for the company, logistics and outstanding birdwatching.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Wednesday, 30 April, 2014 with messres DW and DM apologies for the order disarray - Adobe PDF download files aint the most user friendly in the world
Blackbird 2
Carrion Crow
Collared Dove 4
Goldfinch 6
Great Tit
Mistle Thrush 4
Sand Martin c9
Sparrowhawk 1
Blue Tit
Chaffinch 5
Dunnock 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
House Sparrow
Linnet 10
Meadow Pipit 8+
Robin 2
Skylark 5
Wren 3
Total number of species 24

Soil Hill Sedge

Tuesday 29/04/14 SH 1300 hrs Sedge Warbler singing nr red cabin bottom N slope, bird seen briefly. 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Pheasant, few Linnet. 6 Wheatear, one of which stuck out a mile as probable Greenland. 3 Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks 3 Lapwing.

When I gave a final look at the far bottom pond from the hill top, it looked like the 2 Teal had reappeared, but only a telling scope could have confirmed at that distance.

Raggalds Mud just had a Crow on it. Old Guy Rd turned up 5 Wheatear, 2 Swallow, 2 Skylark and Meadow Pipit similar.

Swillington Ings Morsels

Monday 28/04/14 1205-1515 hrs. 2 Drake 1 Duck Garganey, pr Black-necked Grebe, f Marsh Harrier, pr Shoveller, pr Shelduck, 4 Arctic Tern, c11 Common Tern, 7 Chiffchaff, 12+ Whitethroat, 10 Reed Warbler, c9 Blackcap, 3 GBBG, Cettis Warbler alarm calling, 10 Gadwall, 11+ Pochard, several GC Grebe incl chicks on back. Little Grebe x 2, several Cormorant, Cuckoo, thousand BHG nesting, Sand Martin, Swallows.2 Grey Heron, many Tufted, Coot Moorhen. 8 Reed Bunting. Lapwing, Redshank. An overwhelming experience.