Birdbrain Stuff

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ringstone Reservoir

Courtesy DP once more. On arrival 0955 hrs the first bird to be noticed was a drake Common Scoter in the middle of the lake, where else? Even when the wind blew it nearer to us the range was such that decent photographs were out of the question.

Also: pr Cormorant, GC Grebe, 6 LBBG, c20 BHG, c8 Lapwing, c11 Canada, Mallards, 2 Swift, Swallows. On returning back from the track to the exposed shoreline at the corner, we picked up a Redshank and LRP.
We got a number of unusual bursts of unfamiliar passerine calls by the bushes, without the culprit revealing itself. However, from experience I am sure this was not the Lesser Whitethroat. We did pick up 3 Willow Warblers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Good Days Birding

LEO I can't remember where I saw this hehehe, but less than 10 minutes after taking a few photographs the bird chose to fly over my head carrying an assumed field vole in it's talons. Whitethroat also seen here.

The next goody was a  juv Cuckoo that flew across me at the top of Ogden Clough then turned and went down towards the reservoir. This was followed by a long hot slog broken up by a male Merlin and 2 Raven.

Fly Flatts produced 6 Wheatear and a pristine bright Willow Warbler, Dunlin, Golden Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, Barnacle Goose and this rotter which wouldn't give up it's identity. I couldn't get any closer to it than this.
Head and neck color russet like Godwit sp. but never revealed it and didn't call.
En route to Ogden via the wind turbines I got lucky with a male Whinchat. The lake itself was rather lively, a YLG was circling overhead and an Herring Gull, plus the mystery bird previously reported were present. The HG was whizzing round being mobbed by BHGs prior to roosting peacefully among them 5 mins later. This roost also contained one Oystercatcher. Other gulls: 1 LBBG & 3 Common.
I also heard that sickly weak potential LSW call again without any sighting and a Grasshopper Warbler was doing a kind of sub reel a couple of times from the undergrowth over the embankment. Upon checking the overflow out I got sight of a Mink casually strolling down it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tour of Queensbury

Queensbury Sth 0820 hrs. Fields in the Cross Lane area devoid of birds and wasn't a promising start. Fortunately, 3 Little Owl provided a modicum of entertainment shortly after.

A Green Woodpecker was calling from the valley top. Also present 14 Goldfinch and a Greenfinch, single BHG, 2 Common Gull, 4 House Martin, a few Swallow, corvids.

The hike up to Old Guy Rd was only worth it for the exercise, especially as a roller was keeping anything and everything off the cricket pitch. 1 Willow Warbler, a few Starling, 8 Meadow Pipit, 5 Swift.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ogden and Mixenden Res

Sparrowhawk over back field this a.m before setting off.
Ogden Res 1005 hrs met by a juvenile Cormorant on the buoy but the Common Scoter from Thurs had left.
3 LBBG, 2 Common and several BH Gull.

6 Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit, Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Blackbird, some Canada. The woodland was quieter than ever.

I tried to boil this gull down between 2CY (second year) Herring or YLG as the imm. plumage was too brown and not dark enough for LBBG when seen close up on the shoreline. Pity it flew out into the middle as soon as I appeared as these photographs are unreliable.

Went to check Mixenden out but was also quiet: 3 LBBG, 1 BHG, Swift, 3 Swallow. The pr GC Grebe were engaged in courtship and display ritual at this somewhat late date.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Soil Hill and Denholme

Struggled in the heat today to find birds with SH being particularly quiet, hence the follow on to Denholme Clough and Doe Park.
SH 1145 hrs: 3 Swift, 4/5 Swallow, 1 WW, 4 Whitethroat, 4 Reed Bunting, 3 Meadow Pipit, unid Wagtail owing blazing sun and 1 Pied for certain. 2 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet, ditto Skylark and Woodpigeon.

Denholme Clough 1315 hrs where Swallows were abundant. In the small stream opposite the houses a Dipper was trying it's hand at a spot of flycatching. c13 Goldfinch, 3 Linnet, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, c8 WW, Kestrel, Jay.

Cormorant towing a piece of airfreight
Doe Park lake with plenty of shoreline: juvenile Cormorant, Grey Heron, pr Oystercatcher, 3 Moorhen, c19 Mallard. BHG, LBBG, 3 Blackbird.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Reservoir Route

Decided to do the route across Oxenhope Moor and end up at Ogden again as it was a bright warm day. Turned out to be too summery with the last stage hardly producing birds but there were a couple of interesting moments. One of them was watching 2 Raven actually perched on the moorland in front of me, this was a first, previously I've only ever seen 'em up in the air.

The f Stonechat was very lively but I couldn't find the male today. Despite the ever increasing shoreline at Fly Flatts it was a poor for waders even though 3 Oystercatcher were basking in the sun. 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 small unid wader and 1 medium unid - distant shoreline. The Barnacle Goose was good enough to be swimming but still too far off for photos.
In no particular order other birds seen: c50 Lapwing, 8 LBBG, pr Kestrel, 1 each of Curlew and Golden Plover heard. Small nr of Swallow, 2/3 Swift and at Withens c20 Linnet.
Ogden isn't worth a mention apart from a Stoat on the NW shore and the danceband scumbags throwing rocks into the pool at Ogden Clough bridge.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Moorland Grind

The winding down of moorland birdlife was very evident as I repeated the route from Ogden East into the TMR environs at 1030 hrs. Then there was one of those magic moments occurring within a space of 2 minutes that make the effort worthwhile. c210 Lapwing sprang up from the fields and started wheeling around, about 300 metres away so I looked up to see what had caused the panic - nothing. A small raptor flashed into vision directly in front of me  at a range of about 20 metres and promptly dived behind a wall. Bins glued to the spot I saw a female Merlin pounce back up clutching a Meadow Pipit in both talons and fly low in a SW'ly direction. Also seen here were 3 LBBG, 2 RLP, 6 Skylark and a few luckier Meadow Pipit.

The track across the moorland from TMR to Fly Flatts itself provided another interesting interlude - a family of 5 Raven meandering to and fro flying so low it was easier to view with the naked eye. 7 Red Grouse together exploded from the heather in unison. The Stonechat pr were very much in evidence making quite a bit of noise too.
A very strong E'ly blow put paid to seeing much down on the water; in fact I had to eat lunch sheltering behind the water pumping station. A check by the nearby gates failed to produce a single Twite. All I can report is 1 sub-adult phase GBBG, 1 adult LBBG, 3 Common Sandpiper and 3 Swift.

Ogden Res: Curlew by the golf course, 2 Grey Heron, 4 LBBG, 1 Common Gull, numerous BHG. 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Jay, 1 juv Green Woodpecker, Canadas and expected woodland birds.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

East Coast Trip

North Cave Wetlands courtesey of DP. A laid back session, struggling to come up with specialties and the wader situation was disappointing. 3 Sedge Warber, Reed Warbler, Cormorants, BH Gulls, no sign of the Mediterranean gull that bred. Several Shelduck, 2 Little Grebe, 4/5 GC Grebe, 7/8 Avocet, ditto Oystercatcher, Redshank calling from behind grass. Common Terns were quite active being thinly spread throughout and a few juveniles seen. Plenty of Greylag around, pr Pochard, handful of Tufted. A few Tree Sparrows, Goldfinch.

Blacktoft Sands after lunch.

12 Spotted Redshank

Now yer talkin, the place was heaving with birds and personally I stopped watching the Marsh Harriers flying up and down after a while. A Common Buzzard made a welcome change. A juvenile Cuckoo kept us busy as it first appeared, disappeared and then kept reappearing in the reeds. 3/4 Little Egret, 4 Grey Heron, many Greylag, 3 Avocet, Green Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, c15 Spotted Redshank, c8 Redshank, 1each Ruff and Snipe. 2 Gadwall, c22 Teal, c6 Shelduck, 3 GC Grebe, Little Grebe. Unexpectedly a GSW flew over close by across the hide tops and onward over the marshland. Tree Sparrows were nigh on biblical proportions by the feeders. 1 each Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Woodpigeons, Coots Moorhens.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Area Reservoir Check

Knowing that summertime inland Common Scoter have a reputation for early departure in the main, I arrived at Ogden Res at 0550 hrs (yes five fwickin fifty!). Twas to no avail, the Scoter was absent, gone, departed. A traipse round the lake produced the usual mallard and canada but nothing special; I was grateful just to see an Oystercatcher doing the rounds. Other birds here: Grey Heron, 1 LBBG, BHGs, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, several WW, GSW, Green Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Swifts etc.

A walk down to Mixenden Res produced the GC Grebe pr plus 5 Grey Wagtail, Swifts etc. so I walked via Hunter Hill back to the golf course: Curlew, 2 Linnet, Reed Bunting, a few WW and sadly once more no Whinchat.

DP then rang and picked me up at Bradshaw to check for any other strays at:
Leeshaw Res. Grey Heron, 2 LBBG, few BHG, Canada and Greylag Geese, 2 Oystercatcher 5/6 Lapwing, Little Owl. Plenty of Meadow Pipit knocking around.

Lower Laithe Res: pr Cormorant, several BHG and one freshly dead LBBG which looked to have flown into the metal pier and broke it's neck.

Fly Flatts NW end only: pr Stonechat, Kestrel, Peregrine oops, Hobby! 3 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, Curlew numerous Canada. It was good to catch the Barnacle Goose out on the shore and water.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blustery Soil Hill

A very fresh NW'ly blow on arrival at the bottom of the N slope at 1055 hrs. What birds were present had all been blown into the E corner and a Whitethroat was singing loudly in display flight near the end house.
Less than 100 metres up the track, blasting loudly away from the sedges was a Grasshopper Warbler. Also present here were 2 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting and a Linnet or three. The top area produced 1 adult and 2 juvenile Grey Partridge, a Pheasant, 7 Skylark 3 Meadow Pipit, 5 Swift, 1 each of Common and LBB Gull. Raggalds to Old Guy Rd was poor but again there were c5 Swift doing the rounds with a couple of Swallow and 1 House Martin thrown in.

BHG are back on the flat roofs of the Mill and  there is some evidence that the Grey Wagtails have raised another brood.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Low Moor Dams

A very still atmosphere this morning as I walked down through Qby Sth and Shelf Moor - no movement whatsoever. It was the same throughout both Harold Park lake and Park Dam, the latter having slightly more variety.
Harold Park - 1 LBBG, several BHG, 4 Tufted Duck, Mallards, 3 Moorhen, c35 Coot, 3 GC Grebe incl 2 juv, pr Collared Dove, several Canada.

Park Dam:

9 Mute Swan incl 7 juveniles. Little Grebe, Swift, few Swallows, 6 Tufted Duck, Mallards, c30 BHG, GSW, Chiffchaff, 2 House Sparrow, 6 Coot, Moorhen, 5 GC Grebe, incl 3 juv.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Fly Flatts Diver

Great Northern Diver seen at approx 1250 hours today - swimming at the sharp end of the reservoir, confirmed still present at 1700 hrs

GND classic pose - snorkelling.

It was against all odds that I discovered this bird as I'd given up hope on anything being present due to the activities of the Fire Brigade on the water. The guys in the dinghy were racing up and down the water, doing figures of 8 and emergency stalling etc; meanwhile Looney just kept on bobbing and weaving among the waves.

Others of interest: Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, Golden Plover among the grasses calling, Stonechat.
Previously around the TMR area I'd seen the YLG fly over the moorland up to the reservoir from the Ogden direction. Also my first Red Grouse in months, pr Kestrel, single Curlew.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Ogden and Mixenden Area

Decided to try my luck with Whinchat this morning without success; this time last year I'd had a really good tally. I started off at Ogden at approx. 1005 hrs where a number of BHGs had returned from their breeding areas. Also 2 Grey Wagtail here, c7 WW incl juv, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, LBBG. Despite the generous shoreline, I failed to nail Common Sandpiper. 4 LTT were seen one of them being a juv and a couple of Goldcrest.  I got weak woodpecker calls several times, reminiscent of LSW but I didn't see the bird so cant claim it.

There was a Tree Pipit singing and displaying at the bottom of the golf course also 2 Reed Bunting, Whitethroat.

Several Swallows and a single House Martin were at the bottom of Hunter Hill plus 4 more Reed Bunting along with a few Linnet and Goldfinch. A single Curlew was heard higher up on the hill.
Mixenden Res held a pr GC Grebe; I feel sure they are the same birds at Ogden previously. I didn't stay here, the only other birds seen were 2 LTT and a Moorhen, although there was plenty of noise from the woods.

Others: few Meadow Pipit, Blackbird or three, Woodpigeon throughout, just a single Pied Wagtail.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Soil Hill

A quiet morning walk around the hill produced 4 Swift, Swallow, pr Kestrel (good to see 'em back) Mallard on the far left pond with 4 recently hatched duckettes.
Pick of the bunch has to be Grasshopper Warbler singing from the dense vegetation just off the top of the NW corner of the summit.
Also pr Whitethroat, 6 Skylark, ditto Reed Bunting, 2 Blackbird, several Linnet, 3/4 Meadow Pipit and a Roe Deer.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Not a Bird but...

I would appreciate some of you lepidopterists out there identifying this here caterpillar species, found on Thornton Moor on Wed July 2nd. The first one was dead, having been flattened by creatures or persons unknown, the second was very much alive. Both were on a dry sandy track leading through the heather.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Thornton Moor and Fly Flatts

A less intense slog today, patchy birding but nonetheless worthwhile. There were two incidences of birds appearing in quick time; No.1 was Raven, Yellow-legged Gull, Curlew and Swift in view almost simultaneously. Then a quiet patch, with a pr Red-legged Partridge breaking it up on the TMR bridleway. The topmost pond by the reservoir entrance, provided a few interesting moments:

A hint of jumbo Garganey eyestripe, Mallard and Shoveler
There was no speculum visible on this duck and the enlarged black bill also confused the issue; when it flew the croak did resemble Mallard to a degree. After the perusal of guide books, descriptions and scores of pics, I conclude hybridised Mallard.

Also a number of LBBG, couple of BHG, 2 Sklyark and several Meadow Pipit seen.

Fly Flatts - a Merlin seen dashing along the edge of the top road, mobbed briefly by what looked like a Meadow Pipit.

It was much quieter around the reservoir this time and things didn't help when a YWA van was patrolling the former public (now closed off) footpath. However I did get another period of heightened activity with Dunlin, Redshank and Little Ringed Plover all in the same mud patch together. 3 Common Sandpiper, Wheatear and a Lapwing also seen.
Returning home via the top road, with some difficulty I managed to pluck out Barnacle Goose from the hundreds of Canada on the banking. I'm happy with this as it adds to the annual list. Another Raven seen also. I just remembered this has been a poor year with Golden Plover for me here, none at all encountered.

Ogden was similar to the other day, minus the pr GC Grebe.