Birdbrain Stuff

Monday, September 29, 2014

Soil Hill to Ogden

An interesting session with some movement. SH 1045 hrs - Snipe, Wheatear, 8 Pheasant, 3 Skylark, c40 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, Jay, Stock Dove, 6 Blackbird. 5 Cormorant seen from W slope going E at Fly Flatts.

Ogden Res was similar to Saturday morning session but the f Tufted Duck count increased to 3. Also the Little Grebe put in an appearance as did a juv Cormorant which displaced a LBBG sitting on the buoy. I failed yet again to find the BHG that DS photographed with the rings on last week. Sparrowhawk, 2 GS & 1 Green Woodpeckers

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Soil Hill and Ogden

SH approx 0940 hrs. 2 Blackbird 4 Dunnock, 2 Robin, Wren, 3 Pheasant, Skylark, c35 Meadow Pipit. A flock of c50 Finches couldn't be identified simply because they were silhouetted and silent. Little Owl, 9 Goldfinch, 4 BH, 2 Common & 2 LBB Gull and a thin spread of Pied Wagtail widely scattered.

Ogden Res definitely lacked the liveliness of recent posts and the species present were similar apart from the presence of Cormorant, Swallows, WW and Chiffs. I did manage a Bullfinch, Treecreeper, 2 Chaffinch, Robins.
4 Jay flew from the top plantation NE across SH bottom. Also here were 1 Green & 2 GS Woodpecker, couple Goldcrest, Tits.

Walking back via Bradshaw produced more Meadow Pipt and Pied Wagtails and the only Swallows - about 6 which were quick flying movers.
Probably the best bird of the day was a Lesser Redpoll seen in flight calling over the plantation at the top of Blind Lane.

Friday, September 26, 2014


I've been up a couple of times in the last week. Mostly usual suspects apart from a flock with 18 LTTs, 3 Chiffchaffs, Coal,  Blue and Great Tits on 20th. A Willow Warbler sang briefly. I counted 17 Robins on the way round. The Toad was on the path on the way in. On the way out, the Weasel (tiny, relatively short un-marked tail and, I gather, the little dark patch on its neck is seen in Weasels and not in Stoats) popped out from the stones a little way along from the duck-feeding area.

Today: several parties of Goldcrests, two with a Chiffchaff each and one with a female type Blackcap. Also there today, a Grey Heron and a ringed Black-headed Gull. It was a white colour ring TRHR and a first look at the ringing projects suggests that it 's another Polish one. It flew off as I was taking pictures. I've sent the details off so perhaps we'll see.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Castle Carr and Fly Flatts

3 Snipe, 3 Wheatear, 2 Dunlin, Teal, Raven, 2 Reed Bunting, pr Kestrel, pr Buzzard, 10 Red Grouse.

2 Skeins of Pink-footed Geese: No.1 26 birds coming in from NE heading > WSW; No.2 c40 coming from S > N. 35 minutes later.

Thanks to DP

PS Did I see Andy Cockroft patrolling the shores in the arfternoon?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Twite At Last

Booth Wood Res courtesy of DP who saw that Twite had been reported here the day previously. Sure enough after a bit of a shaky start we found the right path and walked into them after a few minutes. The birds, c30, were rather flighty but at times would perch long enough on telegraph wires and the walls for us to get good views. Also Pr Kestrel, Peregrine, few Goldfinch and Linnet.

Ringstone Res - GCG, c40 Golden Plover, c120 Lapwing, 1 Snipe, c55 Linnet, 7 Pied Wagtail, 2 Skylark, Wren, few Goldfinch and Swallow. A fair number of small gulls on the shoreline.
On arrival we found the Goldies and Lapwing were airborne and in the turmoil I clearly heard an unfamiliar wader call at least 4 times. It flew across the water but was never seen, and a subsequent search failed to find it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Queensbury and Soil Hill

Started off with a front door garden tick in odd circumstances at 0845 hrs. Across the road behind a wall and presumably hidden in foliage was the sound of some creature creating a noise akin to a blues guitarist playing notes through a distortion chamber (fuzz box to you aficionados). This caused 2 Blackbirds and a couple of Blue/Great Tits to fly up into the nearest bush, but even better a GSW flew and perched on top of a nearby telegraph pole for a good 10 seconds. There may have been an influx of Blackbirds from the continent, given the 4 others I saw throughout the village.

Soil Hill approx. 0920 hrs a bit thin really; some respite provided by a Wheatear unconcerned by me stood below it for 5 minutes or so. Meadow Pipits were broadly scattered in low numbers with a couple of Skylark and Pied Wagtail flying over. A Moorhen and c9 Mallard were on the NK (Not Kerwins) pond, others include Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock.

Looking at the Bradshaw Pond from Roper Lane I could see c30 Canada Geese grazing. What I couldn't see despite blown up photos was any sign of the Barnacle Goose.

Old Guy Rd and particularly the cricket pitch were disappointing but I had a pleasant surprise near the farm at Fleet Lane top. A robust male Wheatear in full breeding plumage was flying from a wall to the grass and back up, eventually permitting these two average pics. I can't say wholeheartedly this must be a Greenland but I reckon it's a close cut thing; maybe we can settle at Icelandic!
Others: 2 Skylark, 5 Linnet, House Sparrows, and culminating in a Grey Wagtail from the back yard on arrival home.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Queensbury Explorers Discover Scarce Bird

At precisely 12:13 hrs today my quality of life switched from one of considered contentment to one of almost unbearable misery. The root cause being a text message from DM informing that he and DW (see the link below) discovered a Ring-necked Parakeet at the junction of Ravenstone Drive with Raw Royds, West Vale.

Birdbrain: Were The Devil To Cast His Net

Not having seen this species in our fair country let alone county, I know instinctively I will be subject to such derision never before seen since the day Algernon Snert's Uncle Montmorency trod on a Baikal Teal in Shibden Park lake.

Through gritted teeth, I say well done lads, please take a year off from birding.

PS 14:44 hrs, I quote "Two more parakeet overhead same area"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Soil Hill and Ogden

Yet another quiet session and I thought the E'ly breeze with a drop of rain may have some benefits, I was well wrong. Er, I just realised I did pick up a new personal location tick however for Soil Hill, oops.
SH 1250 hrs A Chiffchaff, highly visible and loud was flitting from bush to bush by the house at the end of Ned Hill track. Also here a couple Robin and Dunnock, Blue Tit. Elsewhere: 1 WW, 3 Reed Bunting, pr Kestrel, Common Gull, c65 Linnet, few Goldfinch and House Sparrows.

Ogden Res where the shoreline is probably approaching a record low. GCG, LG and Tufted Duck ever present. 2 LBB, c10 Common & c70 BH Gulls, A Sparrowhawk circled over the wet stuff and brought the attention of quite a number of Swallows. Pied and Grey Wagtails heard more than seen in low numbers. Also 1 Jay, couple WW.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Queensbury South

Another disappointing morning overall with no obvious passage. After hearing tales of moving Snipe I checked out the marsh field at Cross Lane to find it empty. The surrounding farm fields were also practically barren with the exception of 2 Skylark, 5/6 each ofLinnet and Meadow Pipit.

So down to Shibden Head where there were at least some birds active. A bunch of Crows and Magpies were so persistent in harassing a Sparrowhawk that once or twice they ended up chasing each other. 4 Jays were seen along with 1 each of GSW and Green Woody. Phylosc warblers were evident by the number of Hooet/Hweet calls and I was able to confirm 2 briefly singing Chiffchaff. 1 Blackcap was very tetchy calling from brambles.

Now for the part of the morning some people may not want to read, so turn away now.
I came across a 3/4 grown Rabbit that was obviously stricken with myxomatosis; the eyes were swollen and bulging. As it hopped about in no general direction, a terrorist terrier ran down the path and seized it, biting it's back several times. This caused another rabbit in the same condition to run and hide in some brambles, where it should probably eke out another few days of miserable existence. Rabbit No.1 was still alive so I picked it up and broke it's neck within a second. I left it's body in the open in the hope that some predatory critter will get a meal out of the episode.

9 Canada Geese flew across the top of Ford > E.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Local Doldrums

Did the Soil Hill to Mixenden hike again with enthusiasm deteriorating rapidly after the first 30 mins. Quite simply, there was no signs of passage whatsoever despite misty almost grey skies.
SH - 7 Skylark, sporadic Meadow Pipit movement with a handful of Goldfinch and Linnet thrown in. 2 Swallow, 3 Dunnock, 2 Robin.

Ogden was chronic; this could be due to somebody firing a shotgun off just before I got there. 1 each of GC and Little Grebe, Tufted Duck. Nuthatch, 2 Chiffchaff, few odds and ends.
Stod Fold just had 6 Pied Wagtail and a number of Meadow Pipit, plus Jackdaws and a few Swallow.
Mixenden Res was putrid - 1 GCG.

This session enhances the value of 3 Red Kite I got from the roadside between Pool and Pannal on Wednesday to a higher degree

Mistle Thrushes

I was on an errand first thing this morning so I called in at Old Guy Road. Only the usual Meadow Pipit/ Pied Wagtail/Linnet suspects that you and Brian have been seeing but there were 19 Mistle Thrushes on a wire. Only 16 in the shot!

A pair of Nuthatches still coming to the feeder at home. They must have a good cache by now, if any of it stays where they put it. I have seen the GSW come straight in to steal from one of their spots.

A flock which included at least 8 LTT came through a couple of days ago and they did bring in a warbler - a Chiffchaff!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Queensbury Action Day

Started off at around 1020 hrs with a new garden tick - 3 Canada Geese flew across the road > E. I decided to revisit a couple of areas I haven't been to since spring and it turned out rather satisfactory to say the least.

In no particular order: c15 Meadow Pipit, 1 each of Grey and Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, 4 Sparrowhawk, 4 Buzzard, 7 Jay, 1 each of GSW and Green Woody.
3 Chiffchaff, 6 WW, 2/3 Nuthatch, c12 Goldfinch, c35 Linnet, 2 Little Owl.

I may have had a Spotted Flycatcher but it was a flighty mover and I can't confirm.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Queensbury Sth to Nth

Three strikes not out; this time some birds were about.
Qby Sth 0820 hrs. Meadow Pipits scattered over a broad front moving intermittently seemingly without direction; difficult to count but in the region of 55 birds. Pied Wagtails were doing similar but on a much smaller scale.

6 Jackdaw and a couple of Crows had displaced the Little Owl from it's favoured spot making it easier to view. 18 Lapwing had apparently moved down to Corporal Lane from the Cross Lane area which was non productive in the main.
Others: Jay, GSW, WW, few Swallow, Goldfinch, Linnet and c35 smaller gull sp. 3 House Martin were flying over Deanstones Lane, where I received a call from BS about a potential Buzzard moving down. Thanks Brian, but it didn't materialise.

Queensbury Nth approx 0950 hrs. The cricket pitch contained Homo Sapiens so I resigned myself to just 2 Skylark and c20 Meadow Pipit. However my pessimism was unjustified as at the fields nearer to Fleet Lane, for a change, were 4 Wheatear giving good views.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Soil Hill to Mixenden Episode 11

I knew I had to get out on such a fine day but only expected Scratch Card birding after such a productive session from yesterday. Turned out I wasn't exactly correct.
Soil Hill 1005 hrs. 12 Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, pr Kestrel, 8 Skylark, 12 Goldfinch, c50 Linnet, c80 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail.

Ogden Res
Drake Wigeon
First water bird I looked at turned out to be a Wigeon. Also 2 Teal, 2 GC & 1 Little Grebe, Tufted Duck. The Cormorants had taken the day off ; 1 LBBG and the smaller gulls remained. A juv Redstart was up by the picnic spot on the RH Ogden Clough track and 2 Chiffchaffs were singing briefly. Also 2 WW, Pied Wagtail, 5 Swallow & 2 Sand Martin.

The Golf Course turned out to be deadly quiet but a nice surprise unfolded on the path from Brookhouse to Stod Fold. There is an overgrown pond here that can only be viewed from certain parts of the field - 4 Wigeon exploded from it as soon as they saw me.
The Barnacle Goose is still in the same field along with the Canadas and Mixenden Res woke up a bit too:
3 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal, GCG, 8 Mallard, Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, WW.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Spurn Point

Courtesy of DP at 1215 hrs on a glorious sunny day that certainly had it's moments even if a couple of target birds were missed. Good views were had of several migrants but often they were far too active for decent photos.
2 GBBG, Herring Gull, Sandwich Tern, 2 Turnstone, Curlews

21 Grey Plover, Curlews, Turnstone

A Surfeit of Sanderling (c90); a Gift of Grey Plover, a Dollop of Dunlin, a Group of Godwit (albeit small 2/3 Bar & 5/6 Black Tailed. A Litter of Little Stint, a Colossus of Curlew also double figure  Redshank, Knot, 4 Shelduck and whatever I've forgotten about.
5 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Whitethroat, 3 Spotted & 5 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 4/5 Wheatear and 5/6 Whinchat, Grey Heron, 2 Little Egret.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Fly Flatts and Leeshaw Res

Courtesy of DP approx 0940 hrs. A calm still morning at FF and a low shoreline to boot but not a single wader!
A steady stroll along the official footpath at the N end brought a small flow of movers but when we then went along the W bank now marked as a no go area, we didn't get a squeak.
1 LBBG, 2 Mallard, c10 Red Grouse, c30 Meadow Pipit, 1 highly active Wren, c13 Wheatear and a Whinchat.

Leeshaw Res: c55 Canada Geese, Little Owl, 2 LBBG, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant, 2 Lapwing. Kestrel, 1 Pied Wagtail, Curlew over calling briefly.

Sorry if I'm boring you

There were scores of Meadow Pipits knocking about and this lead to the highlight of the session. A fem/juv Merlin came dashing down the hillside and over the res. to the farmers garden where it dashed around chasing Meadow Pipits. This in turn flushed dozens more of them over to our side of the water.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Soil Hill Mixenden Route

I'll start by issuing another health warning on Soil Hell. The top field particularly and the N slope are so overgrown now that it is hazardous to leave the track. Previously, it was possible with care to remember the various ruts and gullies and recognize the safe routes established by the likes of myself and others. That is all history; the lush growth of natural vegetation plus the rye grass seeds having done a tremendous job have hidden all including the ubiquitous wire traps.

SH 1050 hrs. A pr Kestrel and a pr Sparrowhawk engaged in a short skirmish which encouraged 2 Crows to half heartedly join in. Also 5 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 2 Wren, Dunnock, Robin.

Ogden Res

Oi Oi what's this then, fancying  a trip out are we?

Geezer don't half move, wish I was more streamlined
Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, 4 Cormorant, 2 GCG, Tufted Duck, 1 LBB & several smaller gulls species. The Little Grebe wasn't traced. There was a fair bit of passerine activity: Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Blue, Coal, Great Tits, a few WW and 2/3 Chiffs. Also Kestrel, GSW, Green Woodpecker and a pile of Swallows.

Mixenden - after a very quiet walk from the golf course.

Umm nice clean white flanks, have we got a White?
Er, no sorry.
Barnacle Bill still at Stod Fold this time in the company of more Canada Geese, 35 in total. Similar no of Pied Wagtail to previous visit but they were much more active as were several Swallow and a fair no. of House Martin.
The session ended up with a teaser, from the Queensbury road back home I saw a largish raptor fly across the slopes of Swalesmoor below the skyline. Not a cat in hell's chance of any id.