Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fairburn Ings

Courtesy of DP approx 1125 hrs primarily in search of f Smew which we failed on but happy with the birds we did get.
Probable Jack Snipe judged on characteristics of quick jump from A to B in total silence but visuals very brief indeed. However all not lost because a search of the spot produced very good views of a male Stonechat.
Good to get some big gulls and the biggest of 'em all, c10 GBB. A number of Herrings, same with LBB and the small gulls.

Accurate numbers are out the window but:
c100 Greylag Geese, c17 Mute Swan, c20 Goosander, 8 Pochard, c16 Shoveler, 2 Goldeneye, pr Gadwall, few Tufted, c18 Teal and Wigeon, c8 Cormorant and plenty Mallard, Coot, Moorhen.
6 Tree Sparrow, pr Bullfinch, couple Fieldfare, usual woodland types and conspicuous by their absence not a single woodpecker sp.

Wish we had Tree Sparrow in our back yards.
PS I have a contact in South Australia who informs me that there are Tree Sparrows in every garden where he lives. They were introduced by British settlers way back, but still get harassed by the native species there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Harold Park and Park Dam

An eventful session as I walked down to Halifax Rd via Cross Lane and Cock Hill at approx 1110 hrs. c55 Lapwing were mobile, eventually settling on the larger quarry works banking. A small group of small gull sp. and a few winter thrushes were at Cock Hill bottom.

Park Dam approx 1140 hrs. Rather breezy and cool and sadly I didn't find the Gadwall after a concentrated effort. This Mute Swan wasn't too mute, in fact it made the most noise I've ever heard from one, a kind of gutteral Blerp, uttered 5 times with a minutes interval.

Red ring Y725 on left leg.

2 Cormorant, one with a large white breeding patch were present as was a drake Goosander which left for HPL within 5 minutes. 2 imm. LBB were the only large gulls present, with many of the smaller sp vary active. 2 GC & 3 Little Grebes, the former having paired up.

Pleased to say the f Goldeneye is still present and I feel it worth mentioning that HP Lake has a poster up informing us that this species has never been reported there (dates unknown) while Scaup has! Also: c12 Moorhen, c40 Coot, c44 Canada Geese, a bunch of House Sparrows and somewhat reduced no.s Tufted Duck and a few Mallard.

Harold Park Lake was undergoing a pestilence of Goosander with 11 birds present.

2 Mute Swan, 1 each of Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail and Collared Dove, c14 Tufted, 2 Blackbird, c28 Coot, Moorhens,loads small gull sp. One of the Woodpigeon there was carrying a twig in it's beak.

On the return leg up Cock Hill a flock of c40 Lapwing were circling. I got to  Cross Lane at 1410 hrs to find c35 Meadow Pipit casually flying over and around the corner field which held 2 Snipe with c100 Lapwing in the trailer park field.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Queensbury to Mixenden Res

It's a good job I decided to push myself for a long yomp today because the exercise was the only worthwhile thing about the outing. 
Nothing en route to Raggalds where apart from several small gulls there was almost nothing. Soil Hill at 1115 hrs had more people on it than birds: 5 PCSOs at Perseverance Rd top and 8 Power Grid workers in the second field up. Compare with 4 Mallard and 1 each of BHG and Crow.

Ogden Res had c40 Lapwing fly down from Back Lane over the top end  and then immediately back up. After an appalling lack of birds I too left in a hurry for Mixenden.
5 Canada Geese were in the adjacent field with c40 Jackdaw hanging around.
The GND was still present and a few small gulls, never have I been so glad to cut a trip short and head back home.

Park Lane

Fresh in today; just the one.

Followed, later, by a Treecreeper and a Siskin.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Testing from Mobile Bone to Blogger Email

Here's a picture message you've been sent from 075********
You can send a message back from your mobile phone. But don't reply to this

Hmmm, I can send text as MMS to my Blog Email address and either save it for inspection or publish it immediately. When you create the msg as SMS on your telling bone, the system automatically recodes it to MMS.

But sending any ordinary text msg from my telling bone to my Blogger Mobile facility has not yet worked. This is probably because registration of the actual mobile seemed to fail.

NB For those of you who want to become Blogger Marconis, your credit will certainly get swallowed up somewhat.

Soil Hill Development

I bumped into a resident of the houses just below the Keelham Farm Shop on the opposite side of the road yesterday. These skirt the bottom of Soil Hill and each received a note informing them that Restoration to the adjacent land would commence shortly. I didn't ask for any dates or timescales as I assumed it was tied in with the planning note going back to last summer, pertinent to the land improvement scheme. If I find anything that inspires a glimmer of hope for the flora and fauna, I will post a.s.a.p.

PS I've done a bit of digging (pun intended) and discovered the end date of the operation is March 31 2015 - Bradford Council application no. 08/06053/FUL refers.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Dash down South

Returned home from shopping and was inspired to go down Green Lane and up Corporal to the fields as the white filth was no longer a stumbling block from 1500-1610 hrs. At the junction of the two a/m I was amazed to witness a repeat performance of what took place a year ago within 3 days of todays date. I saw c21 finch types flying around 3/4 times before settling in the trees in the small dwelling on the LH corner. My hopes were confirmed; they were all Greenfinch and the most I have seen since the previous occasion when I counted c60. If this isn't an indicator of their decline, hit me with a rotting kipper and call me Yorick (but don't pity me)

Other players, not necessarily in order of appearance: 5 BH, 3 Common & 3 LBB Gulls. c35 Starling, House Sparrows, c25 Jackdaw and other Caaawvids. 2 Woodpigeon, 1 each of Blue, Great Tit, Snipe and to close the show a Sparrowhawk.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Birds in Bad Weather

I bucked the trend on Tues when it was dry crisp and bright and stayed in for some domestic issues. There was a good reward for this - a Raven from the back yard at approx 1535 hrs seen clearly without bins, calling and heading E.
However frustration manifested itself this morning and despite the weather, I indulged myself in the pathological need for birds and got out of Queensbury faster than a Rat up a drain.

Swillington Ings 1115 hrs in inclement conditions i.e snow, sleet, rain, and a modicum of wind. All this lent itself to reduced visibility and poor optical performance, hence take the larger species numbers with a pinch of salt.

Thrilled to bits to see c250 Golden Plover in flight several times, landing relatively close by, where in the same field were c60 Fieldfare and in the adjacent field c13 Pink-footed Geese. 2 Snipe flew from the long grass while I was taking these pics which coincided with Curlews calling, c9 I think with 4 being seen later.

I decided the conditions had to be respected and therefore cut the trip down to cover just half of the reserve, even so I kept on getting birds:
c30 Lapwing, 6 each of Grey Heron and Pochard, 7 Shoveller, 4 Shelduck, 3 f Goldeneye, c24 Gadwall, 7 GC and a single Little Grebe.
Wigeon proved to be very problematical; although I could hear scores of them calling, I could only see around 8 by the shoreline. Teal, however were much more accommodating c21 were close up by one of the tracks so no bins needed, a pity the camera lens was now misted up and psychotic.

Also 7 Mute Swan, Mallards galore, c140 Tufted Duck, pr Goosander, countless Coot, dozens Moorhens. Strangely only 6 small gull sp!
Passerines included 1 Goldcrest, 6 Bullfinch, c7 Blackbird, 4 Greenfinch, Chaffinches and a very hard to count flock of Redpolls. On two occasions I was stood only about 4 metres away from the latter and still struggled to identify them, until the clincher happened - a male kindly started singing.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Low Moor Dams

 Approx 1200 hrs had a walk round Harold Park Lake before moving onto Park Dam. HP Lake was partly frozen which allowed for reasonable views of gulls on the ice. 2 Herring Gulls and a similar sized bird with extended wings and black primaries with hardly any mirrors stood out. I didn't follow this one up because my attention was caught by a solitary small gull swimming and not mixing with any of the others apart from when a BHG stood near it on the ice, appearing 20% larger. Little Gull sprang to mind so I took some below average photos. The bird was low in the water and appeared bedraggled but I am now certain it was not a LG from the detail I picked up in the pics. I conclude it was a 1Winter BHG that was probably injured and in some distress.

Other birds here: 1 Goosander, 4 GC Grebe, c60 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swan, Grey Wagtail, Coots, Moorhens, Mallards and a host of small gulls, mainly BHG.

Park Dam was busy and interesting. I was hoping to get the Kingfisher recently reported and I'm sure I heard it call 3 times, but damned if I could see it. Not to worry I was happy with what I did get.

1 each of Gadwall, Goldeneye (f) and Cormorant. 5 Mute Swan, 4 Goosander, c20 Tufted Duck, 2 each of GC and Little Grebe. 3 Herring Gull (probably the previous a/m) several small gull sp, c55 Canada Geese. 2 Reed Bunting, 1 each of Jay and GSW, Coots and Moorhens, few Woodpigeon.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Local Short Walk

As I was leaving the hovel at 1223 hrs to go get some road kill for t' girlfriends dinner, I received a telling bone msg from DW informing that c50 Pink-footed Geese had gone over his house and were heading for Ogden.
This inspired me to trudge down south in the hope that others may move across the skies, but it wasn't to be. The entire area was virtually devoid of birds except for a Mistle Thrush, few House Sparrerrs, 1 Common Gull, 2 Magpies and a couple Woodpiggies.
I declined to visit the snow filled Cross Lane field on the basis that if there were any Snipe there they really didn't need me to flush 'em in these conditions.

I got to thinkin' about the trailer that's still on it's side and why the stable lass hasn't pushed it back upright by now. As it appens, she was stood on top of a 4-1/2 ton pile of hoss shit, shovelling away and lookin as appy as a brewery rat. She looked reet warm up there in just her jeans boots and thermal t-shirt. Back in't yard her mother was knockin a couple of shoes on t'cart hosses feet, contentedly smokin her pipe.
I felt reet soothed by this rustic scene, it reminds me of how life should be; womenfolk grafting away and finding time to cook and housekeep, while t'menfolk drink and do important stuff.

Here's a tip for a reet grand brew. Next time tha's passin a big pile o steamin hoss shit, sneak a couple o' pund into thee haversack. When tha get's home, let it dry by t'fire for a day and then drop a tablespoon full into a pint pot with a used teabag for company and pour boilin hot water over it. Stand a coal shovel in it  yer can, my grandma used to swear by it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Local Snipe Finally

Queensbury Sth (excluding the park) 1400-1515 hrs. Nothing doing in the trailer park fields so I ventured into the Cross Lane swamp. Hey Presto! a single Snipe in the middle of the field, my first for the year. There was also a Pied Wagtail and a Common Gull in this area.
Corporal Lane via Green Lane to home produced:
Dunnock, 2 Blackbird, 5 Redwing, Robin, 17 Woodpigeon, c20 Jackdaw small no's Magpies, Crows, 2 Rook, Wren, Starling, couples of Common and BH gull.

FW: Geese via Email

Hi Nigel,
A belated Happy New Year!

I haven't done much local bird-watching lately but happened to see these 43 Pink-feet going over Ogden this afternoon heading SW-ish.

Up to 5 Jays and 6 Stock Doves in the garden and a maximum of 30 Chaffinches. 2 Nuthatches daily since the end of August. Female Bullfinch and 2 Redwings earlier in the week. The white crow has dropped in a couple of times. 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Recent Trips

Tues 13/01 Queensbury South approx 1400-1510 hrs. Another mind crushing walk in the cold wind, starting off with Foster Park - just 4 Chaffinches, 2 Blackbirds a few Tits and a Sparrowhawk.
Heading off to the Cross Lane/HCL fields I caught a few small gulls and the very mobile Lapwing flock, numbering c75 birds.
The fields were almost blank, just 2 Meadow Pipit and a Wren. The trailer did a proper job falling over this time; the signpost and a good portion of wall have been flattened.

Wed 14/01 PM Chatting with DW and DM in the rubadub. They had been to Black Brook and Bowers Mill and report numerous Redwing and 10 plus Teal, stating the latter were whistling loudly even from cover. 6 Dippers were reported, incl. 2 together on a rock. However I think it's reasonable to assume a couple of these will have been double counts.
DM also mentioned that he had seen the Ring-necked Parakeet again at West Vale, first seen on 17/09/2014.

Thurs 15/01 1145 hrs Raggalds Flood - Lapwings, Starlings a few small Gulls.
Soil Hill was appalling - this place has really lost it, I got off as fast as possible.
Ogden was also rubbish and the rangers weren't helping much with the large scale operation of weaving Xmas trees into the barrier areas. Is this really a LNR? I don't think so.

Mixenden Res - 17 Canada at Stod Fold with the Barnacle Goose still in absentia. I was hoping to find the GND gone, but it was still present at 1410 hrs.(As the temperature rises and daylight lengthens the killer instinct of the local shooters strengthens.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Raggalds Flood to Mixenden Res

Last minute change of mind from visiting the Low Moor Dams saw me arrive at Raggalds Flood at 1145hrs. This was a very good move as, in atrocious weather a pr Wigeon were there along with c8 Mallard. Also present c70 Lapwing, several small gulls sp. and a larger imm gull I couldn't determine owing limited visibility. Sadly, the ducks didn't hang around for BS to pick them up at approx 1300 hrs.

Ogden Res was it's usual boring self, a pr Goosander and 4 Bullfinch relieving the monotony. Also seen were the Tit flock and a Jay.
The Barnacle Goose has gone AWOL again from the fields adjacent to Mixenden Res, just 5 Canada Geese, Jackdaws and c9 Stock Dove being seen.

When asked by the YWA manager if he had been guilty of purloining fish, George Norman Diver, simply replied buuuuuuurp.
Freshly dead Perch
Mixenden Res produced viable evidence of the nutrition the place is providing for the GND.  I'd seen the diver in action near to where the Perch was washed up on the shoreline. It's worth noting this species has somewhat elongated spines, much more so than Roach or Rudd and perhaps it simply couldn't glide smoothly down the birds throat.

Also seen: c6 each of Goldcrest, LTT, 3 Mistle Thrush, a number of Goldfinch and a Treecreeper. There was a party of c9 small finches fly across the road, a couple calls suggesting Redpoll sp. but I have to let those go unclaimed.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Raggalds Flood to Mixenden

RF 1245 hrs despite last nights deluge the water has receded a few yards. Nonetheless I got a very healthy count of c80 Lapwing there.

After avoiding Soil Hill for a week or so, I decided to chance it and once again was disappointed.
Stock Dove, c9 Canada Geese (Coal Lane pond) singles of Fieldfare, Kestrel, BH and Common Gull.

Ogden Res was also diabolical and in fact urged me on to Mixenden Res which turned out to be a good move. Here was just a Sparrowhawk, Grey Wagtail, the Tit gang, Dunnock, c9 Robin 1 LBBG and the small gulls.
My first Chaffinch of this year came courtesy of a male by the golf course vehicle sheds en route to Stod Fold, along with 2/3 Goldfinch.

My spirits took a rise when I discovered the absentee Barnacle Goose had returned to the Stod Fold area to mingle with 10 Canada Geese.
Mixenden Res is still holding the Great Northern Diver along with just a handful of gulls.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Brighouse Environs.

Jay House Lane approx 1050 hrs courtesy of DP. Only 3/4 Tree Sparrow seen in the feeder area, but still welcome. We walked to where the large flock of Golden Plover and Lapwing had been reported recently but again we were out of luck.
Then we got lucky...

c100 Pink-footed Geese
I heard the familiar sound of Pink-footed Geese and sure enough creeping up behind and aloft a flock flew directly overhead. They appeared to be heading over Bailiff Bridge in the direction of Shelf/Queensbury - apparently they didn't make the latter.
Other: 21 Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, 4 Goldfinch, Jay, few Redwing, less Fieldfare, uggins of Starling.

Cromwell Bottom - windy and cold. Rather quiet here on the whole. 4 Bullfinch, pr Goosander, pr Cormorant, 4 Tufted Duck, GSW, Grey Wagtail calling well but not showing. A few Canada Geese and plenty small gulls.

Mute Swan - cygnet showing ring details: LEFT LEG, YELLOW, No. 106. There was no ring on the right leg.

Thanks for ride Dave.

Queensbury South

Tues 06 Jan
Down south 1420 hrs reverse pattern: Green Lane first so I could end up at Cross Lane around 1520 hrs. What a failure, it was deadly, the only thing out of the ordinary, if you could call it that was a LBBG.
I got to the top of Corporal Lane too early so I ventured down to the top outskirts of Northowram where it was also virtually sterile. Fearing the warlocks, ogres and hobgoblins that come out in the evening there, I hurried back up and went into Cross Lane. Nothing! Nowt! Zilcho! The adjoining fields were also devoid, but as I almost raced back home a single Lapwing flew overhead as if to mock me.

Wed 07 Jan
DP went down to the Cross Lane field before dawn and reports that not a single Snipe took off for their feeding area (unknown). He walked most of the waterlogged field and reports that the water is a dirty dark brown colour as though the horse manure has polluted the place. Our mutual conclusion is that the ground can no longer support insect life for any bird to feed on. Tragic.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Queensbury South Again

Incl Foster Park 1410-1520 hrs. Pr each of Mistle Thrush and Bullfinch, Jay, c14 Goldfinch, few Tits and Woodpigeon. A cold W'ly blow didn't encourage much and I still failed on Chaffinch.

I got to Cross Lane at about 1500 hrs and there were still no returning Snipe to roost. It was a bit odd around here with c60 Rook suddenly appearing out of the blue and the 25 or so small gulls also springing into flight. Shortly after this c50 Lapwing came over and started wheeling about so I kept looking for a raptor but surely the single Kestrel wasn't the culprit. The Grey Heron is still hanging round and there were 4 winter thrush types flying that defied id.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Todays Harvest

A glorious sunny morning and one that came with birds too despite a slow start. The southern farm fields were empty but Cross Lane turned up Grey Heron, Reed Bunting, Wren, Meadow Pipit.
I couldn't help but notice the overturned trailer is now back upstanding again, probably down to one of the stable lasses lifting it during her coffee break.

I found the Lapwing flock down Corporal Lane, sandwiched in fields between there and the top of Northowram, at least 80 of them. The Jackdaw colony was throbbing with c90 birds very active and Rooks were congregating too in much smaller numbers.

3 Green Woodpecker were very active; there may have been a 4th present in the far distance. Believe it or not I still haven't picked up Chaffinch and Kestrel this year, but I did manage:
Buzzard, Tawny Owl, Bullfinch, GSW, pr Jay, another Grey Heron, c7 Blackbird, c11 Redwing, Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch.
A healthy count of over 52 birds for the list which will come to a shuddering halt in the next few days and escalate when April arrives.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Mixenden Res to Raggalds Flood

Mixenden Res 1115 hrs. Relieved to find the Great Northern Diver still gracing the place, even if it was on the mobile side. I dropped a clanger, it was fairly close and heading my way, but instead of just firing off shots I got a bit smug, ending up in the bird surfacing about 140 metres away!

At least 5 other birders saw it today, including a couple of guys from Leeds.
Also present a LBBG and a reduced number of small gulls. The Little Grebe showed well if at a distance and a GSW was at wood edge.

7 Fieldfare and 3 Redwing were at Stod Fold as were 5 Canada Goose and a Meadow Pipit.

Things nosedived somewhat at Ogden Res, which was throbbing with humanity and canineinity er, caninenes, er there were lots of dogs. The water produced nothing of interest but I shouldn't be too churlish as I was exposed very briefly to Treecreeper and Nuthatch.

I reserve the churlishness for Soil Hell, it was the pits, I can't even summon up any superlaxatives for it. An all too brief look at Raggalds Flood produced a number of small gulls plus one larger gull that I simply had to leave - the lasting image was of 3rd Winterish Herring.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Queensbury Sth and Park Dam

Out the front door 0907 hrs 1,2,3 - pr Collared Dove, Carrion Crow chasing no.3 a female Sparrowhawk, nice!
Down the road apiece by the fields were 12 Redwing and 6 Lapwing. The journey from there to Park Dam started to fill in the slots for the new year list  for the common species (yes, I'm an offical saddo too) and the final destination did a very reasonable job.

Park Dam approx 1035 hrs, very busy. Drake Gadwall which showed well enough for a photo at one stage until a very friendly collie burst onto the banks out of nowhere. Female Goldeneye, pr Goosander, 2 Cormorant, GC and Little Grebe, several Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Ducks, c52 Canada Goose and 5 Mute Swan.
The two ladies that monitor and care for the Swans gave me an education, which I appreciate as it really opened my eyes. One of them had come from Carnforth and another had been recorded at Boston Spa! It's odd that this site is just outside Calderdale which sports hardly any of the species yet just up the road at Wibsey Park another 2 or 3 can also be found.

Others: 1 each of adult Herring and LBB Gull, plenty of BH and Common too. 2 Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch and the fast disappearing Greenfinch. Plenty of House Sparrow and Starling.