Birdbrain Stuff

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Good Hobby

Being the last day of June, I thought I'd have a stab at a mega yomp before my old creaking body collapses into dust. I actually managed it too, getting some decent birds on the way from Ned Hill via TMR (bridleway only) then Fly Flatts onto Ogden Res and home via Oats Royd.
Ned Hill track produced my first Little Owl here for a year or two but wouldn't give it up for photos. So, I put the camera back into the rucksack, which proved fatal for the next good bird I encountered.

I got to the stables at the end of Coal Lane and noticed some excited Swallows; the cause of this was a falcon slowly circling above the Ogden plantation. It didn't look right for Kestrel and on my first good view, I thought maybe juvenile Peregrine. Then it became crystal clear when I saw it was wearing a pair of red trousers - Hobby!  It slowly spiralled upwards and drifted NE over Soil Hill; I opted to spread the news rather than go for the camera. (I've booked a doctors appointment to cure this benevolent attitude).

TMR environs: Snipe flushed at close quarter, 3 LBBG, Curlew, several Reed Bunting, 3/4 Swift, Oystercatcher, Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, pr Grey Partridge.

Fly Flatts Res: On arrival met with a male Stonechat. This was followed shortly after by an adult Yellow-legged Gull flying slowly > Leeming Res.

I then had quite a puzzle on my hands when a wader started creating from the grassy area next to the shore. It wouldn't shut up, but fortunately the camera eventually came to the rescue; it was a juvenile Dunlin and must have been born locally.

There was an awful amount of light bouncing around for the shore shots.
Also: Raven, Redshank, 8 Lapwing, 11 Common Sandpiper, 2 Skylark, 2 Grey Wagtail, others.
I was close to dropping by the time I reached Ogden Res: pr GC Grebe, Grey Heron, LBBG, 6 BHG, 2 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 2 WW, hirundines. Quite a few House Martin flying around between here and Bradshaw.
Oats Royd: forget it, now a question of survival!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quiet Queensbury South

I went down to the High Cross Lane/Cross Lane fields at 1410 hrs after inspiration from BS's latest report of moving Lapwings. Not only were there none moving but owing to long grass there were none settled in any of the fields. This wasn't totally unexpected, given the time of year. The grey skies and really cool temperatures did lead to 4/5 Swift flying around low down and same with a few Swallow and the odd House Martin.
Corporal Lane down to Green Lane came next and the trend was firmly set - no discernible movement, just limited bird numbers. I half-heartedly looked at the decrepit building where the Little Owl breeds without success, finding only a planning notice on a telegraph pole outside. The location known as Bloody Row  is intended to be used for a dwelling and other building. It's been nice knowing you Owly, hope you find a new home for next spring.

Birds: 4 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Greenfinch, 3 Goldfinch, Blackbird, couple Woodpigeon, few caaawvids, 5/6 Linnet, Willow Warbler. No gulls seen, which was a surprise.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Non Event

Ogden Res approx 1425 hrs deadly quiet overall. Bumped into Daniel and showed him the recent Wood Warbler site, where we stood for 25 mins or so and listened to the silence. A couple each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing, pr GC Grebe on the res. Managed 1 each of LBBG and BHG before going to...
Soil Hill:
4 Reed Bunting, 2 BHG, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Skylark and Meadow Pipit. Managed to get a few notes out of an apparently cheesed off Sedge Warbler. Also a Roe Deer.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ogden Res and Soil Hill

An early start via Oats Royd which had it's own share of birdsong going on, arriving at Ogden Res at 0740 hrs. Here too it was noisy with a variety of birds singing away, including the star of the show which gave a steady prolonged performance. These poor Wood Warbler photos show no yellow on two of the pics, that is because the area it was in had very poor light so I opted to try fill in flash for the photos. Fortunately, the last one does represent the bird's true colour to a better degree.

I bumped into DP just before we went to see the bird, previously he had been up at Giants Tooth and reports a flyover Buzzard being mobbed by a pr Curlew. I went up there myself and got a Spotted Flycatcher, the said Curlew and a family of 6 Tree Pipit.
Supporting cast: 2 Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Song Thrush, 4/5 Blackcap and Chifchaff, similar WW. A Curlew and a pr Oystercatcher went N/NW over the water and a Grey Heron circled above it a couple of times. Also a Jay and couple of Swift.

Soil Hill - 8 Swallow incl juveniles, 3 Whitethroat, similar Skylark, couple Meadow Pipit. A number of Linnet flying around and I discovered evidence of this species undergoing the second brood of the season. 2 nests; one with 2 eggs, t'other with 5. 6 Reed Bunting were seen, interestingly 3 males were in the bare tree branches of a garden.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Local Raven

In need of a change, I went down Station Rd this morning around 0945 ish and it turned out to be a fairly good move. Two thirds of the way down I heard unfamiliar calls from this location and looked up to find a Carrion Crow heading NW but closer to me a Raven > E. It probably was a juvenile both by the appearance and call, which lacked a really deep bass note to it.
Also 1 LBBG in the area, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, a number of juvenile Swallows. The bottom area was alive with Whitethroat singing and in flight, I suspect several young were knocking around. Others: 2 Blackcap and quite a few WW.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Queensbury Sth to Shibden Head

Not so easy to shake off the drug of birding - again. Qby Sth:
Bullfinch, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat, 3 WW, Swift, Common Gull, 3 LBBG, 2 Jay, c11 Linnet, 4 Skylark. It was encouraging to discover a hitherto unknown House Martin nest - c8 birds seen in the locality.

Shibden Head: 2 Blackcap, ditto Chiffchaff, c5 WW, Buzzard > NW (wonder if same or different bird as BS got later in day). Green Woodpecker and a family of 4 GSW. Song Thrush, 4 House Martin, Gt Tit family and usual stuff. Swallows throughout.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Birding In Perspective

Trip to Harrogate today for non-avian pursuits. Poole Bridge approx 1130 hrs 1 Red Kite at distance. Poole Bridge return journey approx 1650 hrs 4 Red Kite over the same field seen from 30 metres, binoculars not needed. This could just be the reason I need to stop birding in this poxy area and shut the blog down to concentrate on something worthwhile.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Oats Royd to Shibden Head

The doldrums are upon us; it was difficult to drum up any excitement in this afternoon's session from 1425-1610 hrs. I could only manage 1 Moorhen on the 4 ponds down at OR bottom plus one unid passerine flying from the reeds briefly.
5/6 Swift, similar Swallow, 4 Bullfinch, 2 Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warbler, LTT, 4 Mistle Thrush, 5 Blackbird, 6 Great Tit incl juveniles, 4 Linnet, 2 Greenfinch. 3 Jays, one of which appeared to be a juvenile. 1 LBBG > W, several Starling.

Shibden Head, a short stay. Green Woodpecker, 2 LBBG > W, 2 Goldfinch, Blackcap,  Chiffchaff, few Jackdaw, Swift or two, Swallows. Song Thrush, 4 Blackbird, many Blue Tit.

PS A Bonus bird at 2300 hrs - Tawny Owl calling loudly from over the fence of my back yard.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Soil Hill and Ogden

SH approx 0950 hrs in a very noticeable cool N/NE blow. Bird list similar to Friday but in scaled down numbers. Kicked off with good views of a Sedge Warbler at close range which then flew halfway across the rushes. The chipping Snipe was still at it, which reminds me this is the first time in a few years that Curlew have failed to breed down at the bottom. 3 Swift were flying around regularly at low altitude.
I got 2 LBBG > NW then some 25 minutes later a much paler large gull flew up the coll, seen from Causeway Edge. Having been inundated with Herring Gull at the coast this past week or so, that bird was my immediate reaction. However on a second sighting and the time of year, YLG too is a possibility, so orf to Ogden I went.

The only gull on the water was a LBBG briefly on the buoy (our suspect probably visited TMR).  2 Grey Heron stalking along the shoreline. Grey Wagtail, Curlew, 3 House Martin, 3/4 Swift, Swallows, 3 Chiffchaff c11 WW incl. recently fledged. Quite a few Coal Tit and Goldcrest knocking around probably incl juveniles.
Picked up a couple of unmentionable annuals outside the area thanks to DW - again! Oh and others who spotted one of 'em.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Newquay Continued

No prizes for guessing which Pipit species this is.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Leeshaw and Soil Hill

Leeshaw Res 0925 hrs courtesy DW. Rather an eventul morning in all during which we received an educational and corrective lecture from the farmer - see BS report also. Things picked up immediately after via a pleasant encounter with one HC who I used to bump into birding during the formative BOG years. Of equal importance: Cuckoo, Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 6+ Oystercatcher**, pr Reed Bunting, c40 Lapwing, c8 Curlew, several Greylag, less so Canada, Blackbird, Robin.

** The Oyks did something that neither Dave or myself have never previously seen. It could be described almost as a lek; 4 of them in line marched up and down their bills opening and shutting in unison.

Post 'Lek' display
We then went to SH, arriving at 1200 hrs. Sedge Warbler briefly, 6 Whitethroat, Snipe chipping away, 4+ Reed Bunting, c8 Linnet, Swallows. Sorry about the missed Sedgie Dave, but you were well compensated with the Whitethroat show - thanks for the ride.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Break in Newquay

Took a trip to Newquay, Cornwall and did a bit of coastal birding 7-11 June. The most notable aspect was not the presence of some birds, but their absence. Being June, all waders were elsewhere, either in UK or the tundra regions, getting it together. However I did manage some interesting and some memorable sights, including these 2 GBBG ripping then filleting a seabird carcass before eating.

I was fortunate to be in the vicinity where 3/4 pair of Fulmar were nesting, it was great watching them zooming back and forth on stiff wing beats to their nests on the cliff ledges.

There were plenty of Herring Gulls hanging around, but only 1 or 2 LBBG. This one almost stopped my clock when I saw it land next to a Peregrine to give me a ticking off for encroaching near it's nest site.


Friday, June 06, 2014

Local Circular

A session of mixed fortunes, starting off reasonably well then becoming hard work with scant reward.
Raggalds Flood 0845 hrs - Pied Wagtail, 7 Woodpigeon 3 Lapwing incl 1 juvenile.
Soil Hill - 9 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, c14 Linnet, 2 Willow Warbler, c5 Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Lapwing, Kestrel.

One o them selfish pics
I then dropped a clanger and decided to do Ogden Clough, hoping for a morsel or two. It was not to be, all I got was the exercise and a Grey Wagtail, 3 Mistle Thrush and a couple singing WW. So off up to Giants Tooth, hoping for Spotty Flycatcher and Tree Pipit. I may have had a glance of the former but twas too high up in the leaves. Guess I was lucky to manage the latter, against the backdrop of  almost nothing doing.

Lapwing, 4 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, c6 WW, Green Woodpecker and other woodlanders.
The Golf Course seemed empty: Curlew, Whitethroat, couple Meadow Pipit, ditto Linnet, LBBG > NE.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Another Day at Swillington

Feeling the need for a session away from our own macro wetland, RF, I arrived at Swillington Ings at 1125 hrs, departing at 1455 hrs. It was patchy but no complaints as I got another annual in the shape of an immature phase Little Gull. It stood out a mile as it dodged and weaved among the multitude of BHGs; this behaviour prevented any chance of photographs though.

Not a large Petrel but a BHG imitating one

Already this wet weather a la 2012 has resulted in the reduction of the Common Terns; their small nesting islands have been submerged. However, I was fortunate enough to come across 1, maybe 2 birds flying around.

I managed to reconnect with a Black-necked Grebe once again, while just across the bridle path a Gadwall pr made camera work easy. I must have seen over 24 Reed Bunting yet only in the last 30 minutes or so did I get a photo opportunity.

4 Pochard, 4 Shoveler, Ringed Plover, Redshank, 3 Lapwing, c8 GC Grebe, 7 Little Grebe incl chicks. The place was festooned with Greylag Geese and their young, with a lesser number of Canadas. A Cuckoo was singing constantly, ably supported by many Sedge and Reed Warblers and a number of  Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, WW. Another negative is that I failed to find a single Yellowhammer in what is my third visit this year; last year I got this number on my first visit.
Also Linnets, scores of Sand and House Martin, a few Swallow, Swift and these:

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Early Soil Hill

0755-0900 hrs, another satisfactory visit. Grasshopper Warbler singing strongly from usual area. Sedge Warbler also singing sporadically. 2 Whitethroat very active, 6 Reed Bunting, 8+ Linnet. A Snipe was chipping away down at the far fields and 3 Lapwing were giving me some hammer from above. Presumably their young had dispersed from the top field and had wandered down.
Also 3 Swallow, 4 Mallard, 1 ea of Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch and WW, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, c250 dispersed Starling, Blackbird.