Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Remember This?

Birdbrain: Queensbury North and South

Well this mornings disaster was even WORSE!

PS Some compensation at 2045 hrs. A Tawny Owl was in the trees over the back yard calling for about 5 minutes.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Soil Hill to Mixenden

Moderate Wind generally WSW with intermittent light rain. SH 0950 hrs.
8 Skylark, c23 Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, 2 Common Gull, Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock. Two Cormorant were wheeling around the western side.

Ogden Res. Another visitor in the shape of a Little Grebe (shades of BS recent post)
Still 2 GCG, 4 Cormorant, 11 LBBG, f Tufted Duck. A mixed flock near the overflow included at least 12 LTT, 2 WW and probably a Blackcap - heard only. A Curlew flew over calling but didn't land.

The track from Brookhouse by the GC produced a Whitethroat, which I think could be a late breeder as it was in the same spot as previous.

 No it's not a mini Barnacle
Beyond this heading toward Mixenden: Grey Heron, 3 Kestrel, c35 Swallow, Jackdaws. 8 Canada Goose and the Barnacle Goose still at Stod Fold. There were 14 other black and white birds present here - Pied Wagtails and yes I did go through 'em looking for Yellow without a sniff.
Mixenden Res just had the GCG and a smattering of woodland types.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Busy Soil Hill to Ogden

Soil Hell 0945 hours in an SE'ly blow that varied to NW during the trek down to Ogden and back before ending up as E/NE. At one stage I was flustered in trying to count birds which were all over the place. I also got another species site tick for the hill to go with the Redstart(s) seen recently. This was a f Blackcap looking at me from a bare bush at the end of the Ned Hill track before it turns left.
3 Skylark, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Wren, c16 Meadow Pipit, c75 Lapwing, c14 Mallard, pr Grey Partridge, pr Kestrel, Wheatear.
It was very difficult to count the horde of Goldfinch and Linnet that were whizzing around but it's something in the region of c60 & c50 respectively. Also 3 LBBG, few Common and BH Gulls.

Ogden Res

Cormorant count now back up to 11 and the 2 GC Grebes are still liking it. The f Tufted Duck is still with us and welcome newcomers splashed down in the shape of 4 eclipsed plumage Teal. (I had great fun sorting those little buggers out).
Also 1 each of Curlew, Grey Heron and Wagtail, GSW, 7 LBBG. Most of the small gulls had previously decamped to Raggalds Sportsfield where c90 had been present and there weren't many left here. 2 WW, 7 Chaffinch, c20 Swallows completes a very interesting session.

Here's the mornings Awwww factor:

This is what I think of you Kerwin
This is for Mrs W

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Queensbury Nth to Sth

Qby Nth 0745 hrs. The Barnacle Goose still among a group of c22 Canada Geese feeding in a field below the top of the Roper Lane plantation where a Bullfinch (rather scarce up here) and a WW were present.
In the general Old Guy Rd area incl the cricket pitch: Common Gull, 2 Collared Dove, 4 Wheatear, 8 Pied Wagtail, Skylark, 4 Goldfinch, Linnet,  c18 Meadow Pipit, Swallows, 2 Woodpigeon.
I had the pleasure of meeting a local lady who is a follower of BS blog and was able to point a couple of interesting birds out to her. Of course I tried to poach her into following this blog, I mean you wouldn't expect any less surely?

Qby Sth 0900 hrs large gull over Fleet Lane bottom - wouldn't tilt it's wings so remained unconfirmed. 6 House Martin top of Deanstones Lane - doing very well this year.

Green Lane to High Cross Lane: Jay, GSW, Green Woodpecker, 2 Little Owl, 5 Common Gull, 12 BHGs, Swallows, Jackdaws. The fields held 25 very mobile Lapwing along with c50 Starling, Dunnock. Finished off with c25 Linnet & 10 Meadow Pipit in a loose flock.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Similar Route - New Birds

Thought I'd try a twist on the usual walk today and started off at the N slope bottom of Soil Hill approx 1000 hrs.
1 each of Grasshopper and Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 each of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, 2 Swift, Swallows, Moorhen, 18 Mallard, 3 Pheasant, 2 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Linnet.
Also a very young Roe Deer.

Ogden Res - now 8 Cormorant, 2 GCG, 4 Common Gull, 3 LBBG and usual BHG. 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Curlew, 1 Grey Heron, 1 each of  GSW, Nuthatch, Whitethroat and a few WW. I got regular calls from, I think, a Buzzard over near the Giants Tooth - it never showed itself. Also 5 House Martin and Swallows.
A diving Duck had me stymied for ages as I was looking at it directly into the sunlight. It could be a eclipse type Pochard or a Tufted; hopefully I'll find out tomorrow when I process the below par photos.

This pic just good enough to prove it's a Tufted Duck
The trek from the Brookhouse track to Mixenden produced: Little Owl (a first for me here) 2 Grey Heron, c18 Linnet, 4 Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, c28 Swallow, 9 House Martin. The Res again was the doldrums: 1 each of GCG and LBBG, 2 Grey Wagtail, WW.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mixenden after Soil Hill

Same route, just thought I'd change the heading round. Met a local on Soil Hill at approx 0950 hrs who told me he'd had this 'hawk' he couldn't id; from his brief description I thought it could be a Merlin. I found it 15 minutes later, turned out to be a male Sparrowhawk but a larger female also turned up and they put on a great display. I had a regressive performance with my camera and despite some fairly close shots, the quality turned out crappers.
I turned up a better shot with this bird, anyone know what it is?

Also on the hill were 2 Swift circling over the top, a number of Swallow, few Goldfinch, 2 Blue Tit, Blackbird. Two flocks, one of Meadow Pipit, t'other Linnet were doing the rounds both numbering in the teens.

Across the road on the plantation track I spent 10 minutes listening to the call of finches hidden behind the conifers. I narrowed it down to either Siskin or Redpoll; problem is the recording I took doesn't tie in with Xeno Canto recordings. Another could have been...
Another Swift was seen here along with a small number of House Martin with more Swallow. 3 Kestrel were seen high up in the Back Lane area.
Ogden Res: 7 Cormorant, 2 GCG, 3 LBBG. A family of Blackcap were hiding in the vegetation and a Chiffchaff or two were present along with a greater no of WW. Also GSW, Green Woodpecker (on the deck).

Brookhouse track to Mixenden produced: 4 Goldfinch, GSW, Reed Bunting, Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, Grey Heron, Swallows. Just 1 LBBG and GCG on the water and another GSW by the metal gate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Queensbury South

Took a hike down to High Cross Lane then down Corporal and back up Green Lanes this afternoon.
The marsh field is still massively vegetated up and I didn't see or hear any sign of bird life so I let it be.
15 Lapwing were backed up in the field next to the farm outbuildings in HC lane along with a large group of Starling. Also in the farmyard a Coal Tit, not a common bird here.

It made a pleasant change to see a Green Woodpecker on the deck in Green Lane. The bird didn't hang around on seeing me though, it hopped straight over to Shibden Head.
Also Little Owl, 5 Linnet, c13 Goldfinch, 7 BHG, c20 Jackdaw, similar Swallow and 5 House Martin.
2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, ditto Woodpigeon.
I am sure I heard a Buzzard call in the distance, but it was only once and I never saw it.

Up The Hill And Round The Pond

Ventured out on the early shift this morning.
Old Guy Road: 30+ Meadow Pipits dropped into the cricket pitch, 10 Pied Wagtails and a single Wheatear also there, 4 Stock Doves over.

Taylor Lane: distant Little Owl.

Ned Hill Track in shadow and the wind felt as though it came straight from The Arctic: Kestrel, 3 birds came out of a bush and went towards the house never to be seen again, Robin heard.

Ogden: just BHGs and Mallards on the water along with 2 GC Grebes, 5 Cormorants on the bank. I caught up with a lively flock part way round: lots of Goldcrests and Coal Tits, 2 Nuthatches, 3 Treecreepers,  GSW,  2/3 Spotted Flycatchers-one feeding a youngster,  2 Willow Warblers. A couple more Willow Warblers as I went round, Song Thrush feeding on berries, Bullfinch heard in a couple of places and 2 juvs seen, Blackcap also feeding young.

A nice combination on the garden feeders this week. I've been hearing Nuthatches in the area for a while but they've only just started to come back to the feeders. Male and female Bullfinches have been coming in for a couple of weeks.

Thanks, presumably, to one of the local dogs for dropping its plaything.  The Magpie family had fun with it!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Soil Hill and Ogden Res

I wondered what the North Wind would have in store today; in fact it brought both tedium and a modicum of excitement.
Soil Hill 0950 hrs, top fields only. 1 each of Pied Wagtail and Skylark plus c 22 Meadow Pipit and a couple Swallow. The Ned Hill track had been cleared of birds by the blow.
Ogden Res proved somewhat livelier:

6 out of 7 Cormorant

Interesting portion of shoreline

Taken from the left hand track to the Skirden clough bridge

I got inspired by singing Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler followed by a calling Blackcap then I caught sight of 7 Cormorant, 6 on the shoreline along with 3 LBBG and another in the water.
Just after I'd shot the Cormorant (not literally) I was peering down into a bush about a metre away where another Blackcap was giving me a rollicking when a Curlew flew over from behind calling loudly. This brought me to my feet in time to see an adult Redstart fly out from a bush to my right, across the shoreline and then into a bush to my left. Wandering back down the track in a vain hope of a photo, I saw that a pair of Curlew had landed on the shoreline - good compensation doncha think!

The Golf Course was deadly quiet with the exception of the noisy Curlew pr which after about 20 mins flew back over it. Stod Fold and the track to Mixenden also in the doldrums apart from 3 Pied Wagtail.
Old Guy Rd on return back to Queensbury just had 1 each of Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Woodpigeon and Linnet. 2 Herring Gull flew across Chapel Lane > W 5 minutes before I visited BS to engage in both tales of joy and woe.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Birding A Good Hobby

Soil Hell and believe me it was at 1355 hrs with a W/NW blow and gusting to boot. However at the end of the Ned Hill track where the bushes and the house are, I managed an adult Redstart. Subject to checking I think this is my first record of this species 'pon t'hill. Further down the track opposite the old pottery was a Wheatear. Also present 1 each of Kestrel and Linnet, 4 Goldfinch, 1 each of BH and Common Gull.

Ogden Res - 9 Goldfinch, Pheasant, Swallows, Cormorants now back to 3, 2 GC Grebe, 5 LBBG and smaller gulls.
The highlight of the session came on arrival at Rockleigh at the end of Ogden Lane. I was watching a Swallow just overhead when a Hobby burst out of the conifers to my left and gave chase. I managed another few seconds on the bird before it darted out of sight. A fast moving flock of passerines was moving down through the willows and conifers on the track toward Ogden clough. I managed to get 3 LTT, Blue and Gt Tit identified and a Willow/Chiff but their speed and unfavourable light had me beat with the rest.
Still several Swallow flying around generally throughout the walk which ended with an aborted trip down Old Guy Rd.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Redstart Rush

DP offered me a trip out this morning but I politely declined owing to a long standing commitment to cleaning up the hovel (I even had to dust the vacuum cleaner!).

This is what I missed and the lad himself saw: 1 Redstart by the pottery at Soil Hill. 3 Redstart across the road and on the track at the top of Ogden plantation. A total of 4 such birds is both rather outstanding and encouraging for this species in our area. Also two Whitethroat and the 5 Cormorant are still present.
Well done you.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Soil Hill to Mixenden

Mixed fortunes again including a case of looking too deep into id features when initial judgement proved correct. However I don't feel too bad as the bird in question was a recently fledged juvenile Stonechat.

First Stonechat here for me in about 20 months
Situated opposite the pottery at Soil Hill
Soil Hill approx 1000 hrs. 1 BH & 2 LBB Gulls. 19 Canada Geese & 2 Moorhen on far left bottom pond. 1 each of Skylark & Reed Bunting, 2 Linnet, 5 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, 4 Rook. Also Blackbird, Crows, Magpies, Starlings.

Ogden Res c1110 hrs - started off alright with my first Swift in about 12 days, also a few Swallow. Moorhen, Jay, Green Woodpecker, 1 WW, 2 GC Grebe. Broke my Cormorant record here with 5 birds present and the usual BHGs.
There were c10 Meadow Pipit and a probable Tree Pipit along with a Whitethroat at the golf course bottom where 4 Pheasant incl 3 juveniles were flushed.
The walk along Hunter Hill bottom to Mixenden Res produced Reed Bunting, 2 Goldfinch, pr Jay, c10 Swallow. The res itself had a briefly singing Chiffchaff, GSW, GC Grebe

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ogden Res to Mixenden

The day started off as hard graft at 1005 hrs, partly down to the rapid fire intermittent wet and dry spells plus lack of avian action. However, during the interlude it sure picked up much to my delight, before tailing off again.
Ogden Res: juv GC Grebe, 3 Common, 4 LBB & c30 BH Gulls. A decent sized mixed tit flock flew over the bushes at the Skirden clough bridge, including 2 LTT and 3 WW. The reason for their flight may have been a female Sparrowhawk that soon followed.
The juv Cormorant was on the buoy and an adult bird was in the centre of the lake. I noticed this one had loads of yellow on the gular pouch and contemplated looking for double crests on the head. Fortunately another dowsing of the wet stuff brought me to my senses and I decided to get real and head for Stod Fold.

The first bird I encountered on starting up the track from the sheds was a juvenile Curlew on the edge of the golf course; it uttered one call before flying off NE. This was followed by a Tree Pipit a bit further up the track. Then the fun started; I got sight of a Whitethroat flitting at the bottom of a bush so I hung around. This proved fruitful: in the same bush almost next to it was a juv Redstart, the first I have had in this locality this year. I decided to walk along the bottom of Hunter Hill to the reservoir and was rewarded by a Snipe flushed from the rushes a few metres away. Several Swallow and 4 House Martin plus c4 Meadow Pipit were seen and then it nose dived at Mixenden with just 1 each of BHG, GC Grebe on the drink.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Ogden Common Scoters

Thanks to BS text originating from KM, DP got us both down to Ogden Res in record time, arriving at 1310 hrs. We were met by John Little who was scurrying hurriedly away from the waters edge, sorry john but you saw us!

In addition to the 3 drakes, yesterday's juv GC Grebe which I missed, decided to tag along.
Also present were: 1 LBBG, 1 Cormorant, 2 Swallow, a few Common and the BH Gulls. Otherwise very quiet but tomorrow should be potentially interesting when the tail end of the hurricane passes through.

For a while now, I've been missing punctuation marks but thanks to DPs sharp eyes I found this invaluable one:

Not had a Comma for a couple of years then in the last 3 days a couple flitted past, but this beauty was most obliging.

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Long Haul Revisited

Another bash at the wider area, this time it was harder work finding birds than previous trips. In no particular order: Wheatear near TMR where there were hundreds of gulls and an adult Curlew close by hiding in the heather. 2 Red Grouse, Kestrel, a few Swallow and 4 Canada flying across the moor.
Fly Flatts - it was almost criminal there being just 2 Common Sandpiper and all that lurvely exposed shoreline. A bit of excitement here: I watched a Wheatear still in adult male breeding plumage on a wall. It didn't hang around and when I tried retracing it, an adult male Merlin flew from the side of me just a few metres away. This made it 3 Merlin in total for the morning. Other here: 4 Red Grouse, 2 more Wheatear, 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 BHG and the Canadas.

There were c15 Linnet at Withens on the trip down to Ogden Res. I encountered the mystery 2CY large gull once more; this time I got some better photos which make me lean in the direction of Herring. The juv GC Grebe wasn't seen but an adult GCG was, unless of course the juv grew up fast overnight. 2 Cormorant, 2 LBBG, 4 Common Gull, 3 WW. I finally bagged Common Sandpiper after about the fifth attempt; it was creeping along the Skirden Clough bridge channel and flew to land further onto open shoreline. Also 2 Grey Wagtail and from the morning walk via Back Lane up to the moors, Jay and Green Woodpecker.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A Moorland Soaking

Got caught out by a wee dram of rain this morning but it was half anticipated. However by the end of the trek at Ogden the sun and wind had given me a blow dry.
8 Canada Geese on the Ned Hill track at SH also a fair number of Linnet and Goldfinch here.

The moorland route to FF produced 2 Merlin, one of which was chasing a Kestrel and 17 Red Grouse.
Fly Flatts 1142 hrs - despite the exposed shoreline there was just a Common Sandpiper to represent migrant waders. 25 Lapwing were mobile and the Barnacle Goose still present with a small number of Canada. Other: 2 Red Grouse, 8 Wheatear, 7 Meadow Pipit, 1 BH & 1 LBB Gull.

c45 Linnet were at the Withens along with a smaller flock of Starling.
Ogden Res - 2 Nuthatch, 4 WW, 7 LBBG, 4 Common Gull and the BHG's. 4 of the latter chased a Sparrowhawk over the water as I was leaving at 1415 hrs.

Finally, somebody managed to extract Denise from the mists of time:
Dipped my toe in the water this afternoon with a quick trip down the lanes. Very quiet but, of interest, a Kestrel putting up a decent-sized flock of finches in Cross Lane. There may have been 60+ but most of the time they were against the light. When the flock dropped in, behind the tyres in the field, there were a few Linnets on the wall but the rest disappeared. Half a dozen Linnets in Corporal Lane too.

Welcome back!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Another Quiet Local Ramble

Soil Hill 1000 hrs. Nothing juicy from the reedbed; the Reed Bunting I saw was on the hill top.  LBBG > W, c9 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark. Stock Doves showed up - 7 in number, ditto Woodpigeon.
Blackbird, Dunnock, small numbers Linnet and Goldfinch, Swallows.
It's got to the time of year when reported Swift numbers increase in value; I didn't see any.

Ogden Res - see comments on Bradshaw Rambler post.
Mixenden Res - pr GC Grebe, 1 BHG, 3 Grey Wagtail, 1 Pied, 4 House Martin.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Queensbury North and South

Today's birding can be summed up very briefly: crap. Now I've got 17 per cent of your attention I can mention there was a very good candidate for White Wagtail on the cricket pitch this morning. The criteria for assessing this race was highlighted by the Pieds that were also seen; all showed contrasting plumage in their various stages of maturity. Had it not been for 2 Little Owl out sunning themselves, the a/m descriptive word would have been in bold capitals.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Soil Hill and Ogden

SH 0945 hrs true to form the fresh SW'ly made for dull birding generally, apart from the gift of an annual totally unexpectedly.
Meadow Pipit were scattered around the top of the hill along with a few Goldfinch, less so Linnet and a Dunnock. This prompted me to forget the rest of the place and go down to Ogden, via Back Lane. 3 Redpoll flew from the plantation calling, heading NE. About time too; this is the longest into the year I've had to wait to tick 'em. A Reed Bunting was calling here and a Swallow or three was knocking around.
The lake held juvenile Cormorant, 4 LBBG, Common Gull and the ever present BHG. A few WW were calling quietly and other birds seen incl 2 Pied & 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Mistle Thrush.

Incredibly as I turned off to walk down South Peat Pitts Lane, Bradshaw 3 Redpoll flew over calling louder this time heading toward Oats Royd.
Herring Gull are still with us in Queensbury; 3 casually flying WSW over Deanstones Lane at about 1305 hrs.