Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Catch Up Sunday

Not been out for 3 days so I got to Raggalds Flood this morning at 0900 hrs. It must have rained with a vengeance over night because the field was half full of water, pity there was just a Lapwing and a Pied Wagtail present.
Soil Hill was weird in the sense that although it failed to turn up Wheatear again, it still proved of interest. Meadow Pipits and Skylarks (c12) were singing and displaying with gusto as were 4 Lapwing. The Eastern pond which has been around for about 5 weeks now once again failed to produce as did the far LH bottom pond for a change. This didn't deter a pr Mallard - they just splashed around the top track.
Probably the most unusual find today was a bunch of 5 Greenfinch perched on the topmost tree by the side of the road. This is a very scarce bird up here, so it was good to see them perform and hear them call and sing.
Others: 1 each of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, couple Blue Tit, few House Sparrows and Starlings. A pr BH Gulls flew N and this was significant - I didn't see any more gulls at all.

I gave up on Old Guy Rd - 2 Skylark, 4/5 Meadow Pipit.

Wed 25/03 An appalling afternoon for birds. Went down Station Rd and managed to get a Greenfinch and Gt Tit. The Rookery near the Junction pub does appear to be doing alright.
Went down Old Guy Rd and that too was mind numbing; 1 Skylark, c25 Meadow Pipit and a Grey Heron > W.
Shibden Head did produce a Dipper, probably the same bird reported to me a few weeks back. It gave good views too but walking the muddy track down from Crossbecks is nigh on lethal. Also 2 Green Woody, Jackdaws and a Chaffinch plus a Snipe at Cross Lane.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hunting for Wheatear

Courtesy of DP who caught me coming out of the house this aft, I ended up going round the wider area with him looking for that which has escaped us both so far this Spring. Soil Hill at around 1430 hrs was a real downer, the only good part being we bumped into Daniel from Bradshaw and had a mutual moan. We caught c40 Meadow Pipit moving up the hill along Perseverance Rd.

Harden Moor was next stop; still no Wheatear but we managed to nail a pr Stonechat and a Green Woodpecker, possibly two. Others here 3/4 Blackbird, pr Fieldfare.
Dave really got the bit between his teeth and moved us onto Oxenhope - a good move indeed.

The sun came out from behind a dirty cloud just long enough to take a few shots of what must have been over 200 Golden Plover.
Leeshaw Res as the light started to wane was also more than interesting with lots of activity and noise from c7 Oystercatcher, 5/6 Redshank, several Lapwing, Greylag Geese and a few Canadas, plus 2 Grey Heron.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Soil Hill via Thornton Moor to Mixenden

Half baked birding today as I had the opportunity to bore a walking companion to death with plenty of other subjects. However, there was an unexpected observation after the Whooperthon enjoyed by so many birders yesterday. Leaving the Ned Hill track of the unproductive, mist covered hill a pr of birds came out of the murk and flew SE between Foreside and Ogden Res.
A number of Curlew, a few Lapwing, single Herring Gull, winter thrush types and a Greylag were also seen. I came across a patch where there was a notable deposit of Owl pellets but no supporting act.
Ogden was quiet, 2 LBBG pr still hanging round the buoy so on we galloped down to Mixenden Res. Nothing of note on the way; the water sported a GC Grebe, pr Canada, same Mallard and 2 pr Tufted Duck.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Today's Birds

1015 hrs start.
2 Snipe, 3 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 LBBG, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Nuthatch, 2/3 Green Woodpecker. At one stage I was almost savaged by a pr Long-tailed Tit; guess I must have encroached 'pon their territory.
Distant raptor showing buzzard features, Song Thrush.
I've witheld the location, well, because I'm awkward like that.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Surprise For Ogden Res

What's surprising about a Coot found feeding on the west shoreline at Ogden this afternoon? Plenty because they just don't other coming here! In 15 years of visiting this stretch of water, I've just had one previous record and I can't remember when without searching.

Before this nearly jumped out at me, I'd had a quiet time with 4 LTT and a Nuthatch worth a mention. Shortly after it, I got a Grey Heron overhead and this pr LBBG.

Prior to this I'd paid Soil Hill a visit, which was quiet again. The pr Teal from last week are still down on the far LH side bottom pond. A moorhen, pr Mallard and a pr Grey Heron also there to keep 'em company. At one stage, one Heron was half submerged in the pond and the other flopped own into the small bush on the edge, resting for a while. The top just had Kestrel, and few numbers of Meadow Pipit and Skylark than of late.
Raggalds Flood is now two small ponds and held 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Lapwing and 2 Crows.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Soil Hill via Thornton Moor to Mixenden

Soil Hill approx 1030 hrs; a fleeting visit only. No sign of the Snow Bunting, few Meadow Pipit and Skylark. There was a rather surprising bird present, a Long-tailed Tit. This is certainly my first here but I do recall AC & D.Prest claiming a couple way back around 2006 when the Purple Sandpiper stampede was taking place.
I gave Foreside a try and managed to only sink one foot about 5 inches into the bog. Got rewarded by a Snipe and 3 Curlew for this. At the end of this track I bumped into Mr & Mrs DJS, so we had a natter, then I proceeded up Thornton Moor. Another Snipe chipping here, 2 Red Gouse, 2 Lapwing and a Curlew. I was clocking 3 LBBG > SE and thought I caught a glimpse of a distant large long winged raptor heading over TMR. Don't fret, I'm erasing it from my mind with no further speculation involved.

Ogden Res - Green Woodpecker seen thrice, 2 Curlew over, Goldeneye, 2 Cormorant, Grey Wagtail, 16 Canada and Barney Calgoose - who is now tame. Aso pr Jay, 6 Goldfinch, c16 Common and a few BH Gull.

While eating some munch, I met Paul a photographer and new birder from Dewsbury visiting the area. He also went up to SH and confirms that he too never got the Snow Bunting. Good to meet you Paul, I'm sure your photos turned out great with that rig.

Mixenden Res - a Curlew over, Kestrel, 2 Canada Geese, 6 Mallard, GC Grebe, drake Goldeneye (could be same one as the Ogden bird left 20 minutes after the pic). Also a Moorhen here and a Nuthatch calling - this could be a personal first here, I'll have to search.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Coach Road and BradleyHall

DW has tasked me to find him LSW and Yellowhammer this year and so he got us down to the favoured location at approx 0955 hrs. Once again there was disappointment in the air but a degree of compensation too. I guess we must have seen and heard a total of 4 Nuthatch and at one stage a pr were active on the ground; this is something I've never seen them do. Also GSW, Jay, pr Bullfinch and Song Thrush present among others.

Bradley Hall. I've only ever once been here before - thank heavens for my 1950 edition of the Map of the Kwai bridge, after a couple of snags it got us there.
Within a couple of minutes of walking I heard that famous song, albeit updated to suit the modern era: A Little bit of bed and no sleaze repeatedly. A male Yellowhammer singing from a bush top was soon seen by both of us, giving good views.
Glad you got 50 percent of your target Dave, I can sleep easier now!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Soil Hill and Ogden Res

Raggalds Flood - some water back, just 2 Pied Wagtail.
Soil Hill approx 1240 hrs. 5 Teal did two circuits of the top field then left for who knows where. The Snow Bunting was still there and once again in inclement weather (hailstones form the E) very mobile. However at times it was visible with the naked eye, down to approx 8 metres. Meadow Pipits were numerous but mobile therefore no count. Skylark also mobile but numbers probably just hit double figures. A single Lapwing was in flight calling.

I joked with BS on the telling bone that I'd nip down to Ogden for Bewicks and Ruddy Shelduck. None of these present but I did jump when the first birds to catch my attention were 4 Whooper Swan.

These birds were very user friendly, allowing relatively close approach. They also give pair bonding displays - nodding of heads and honking.
Other - hard to say really as my bins were shot to pieces with the hailstorm previously, but I could see c11 Canada Geese and a few small gulls.
Good to see DW got to see these beauties.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Buzzard for the Parish

Queensbury Sth 1405-1525 hrs. Not a good start with the cool air, grey skies and changeable wind direction but the spell was broken at the top of Green Lane.

A large, distant bird was coming up from the Pule Hill area and started to circle around the junction of Green/Corporal Lane before heading N and passing over Queensbury E. A most welcome Common Buzzard for me finally after quite a few attempts in this area.

Then it was quiet again apart from c70 Jackdaw until I got to the top of the climb up from Corporal Lane when I got another raptor. A big female Sparrowhawk glided across a field and landed atop a wall staying for about 10 seconds before heading off again. The way up produced just a wierd looking Common Gull (plumage, bill, at distance on the deck), Dunnock and Greenfinch.
I decided to scan the fields around Brighouse Rd/Cross Lane and this brought out a female Kestrel from the marsh area. Also a Meadow Pipit and 2 Pied Wagtail were here and that is the end of the story.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Brighouse Area

Via DP after hearing news of the LSW at Coach Road - we managed to miss it. 3 Nuthatch, GSW, usual Tits, Finches etc.
We then went to Jay House Lane and immediately got onto c16 Tree Sparrows opposite from where DP parked up.

Also Skylark, Curlew, 2 Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, GSW, Jay, Mistle Thrush, couple Goldcrest. A satisfactory day as we also missed the Wheatear. (Never do things by halves!).

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Uphill and Downhill

DP fancied a crack at the Snow Bunting and so kindly gave me a lift up to Soil Hill which was experiencing moderate wind from the S. As before this influenced the behaviour of the bird and a much wider search beyond the mounds had to be mounted. Eventually after about 25 minutes we found it in the middle of the field with a Skylark and managed to get it a second time before leaving.

Ogden Res was probably the quietest I've ever known it, the monotony alleviated by 5 LTT and a Jay.
So down to Stod Fold and Mixenden Res hopefully for Dipper and Barnacle Goose, where the birding gods played a cruel trick. The Barney has gone AWOL once again and because of the positioning of the Dipper, only one of us had a seconds glimpse before it dashed upstream. Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinches and Tits were present and a Grey Heron (DP).
A strange day by all accounts but at least the key bird was seen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Soil Hill Bounty

If you ever hear me moan about the beautiful Soil Hill again, you have my permission to send me an Email bomb. On arrival at 1340 hrs I meandered along to the mounds to find the Snow Bunting feeding on the track.

While I was photographing this beauty, a Common Gull was screeching incessantly, which I ignored. I'm overjoyed I didn't ignore it a second time as the 'victim' wasn't a big Crow at all!

It came in from the glaring sun and flew over my bonce - a bloomin Red Kite! 

Also Curlew, c16 Skylark, Grey Heron, pr Kesrel, Meadow Pipit, Mallard.
Down at the far left hand side pond (some refer to it as NK) I kept noticing an ongoing commotion between 2/3 small waterfowl and with the aid of the camera zoom used as a poor mans scope, I could see they looked interesting. When I got down the bottom of the N slope I discovered a Little Grebe was doing battle with a pr Teal.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Raggalds to Mixenden

Whats left of Raggalds Flood 1425 hrs. Pr Lapwing behaving in a territorial manner. Pr Mallard overhead, Pied Wagtail in nearby field.

Soil Hell tops only. Pr Mallard, pr Lapwing, 2 Skylark and Snow Bunting. The latter gave sparse views in flight just twice as it and me battled the variable directional wind which eventually proved too strong for me to carry on searching.
I descended from the W slope to Coal Lane where I got a large duck in flight down the valley > S. It was showing a fair amount of white on the throat/neck with a large band of russet/brown on the chest - Shelduck! resonated from one side of my grey matter to the other. I lost site of it at Ogden so I decided to follow up and went down there.
Ogden Res - No sign of any ducks other than Mallard and a number of gulls on the water, incl 1 LBBG. 1 each of GSW and Green Woodpecker also JL sharing a period of lunacy.

Stod Fold - A Dipper was flying upstream from the bridge and the Barnacle Goose was in with 7 Canada in one of the fields.
Mixenden reservoir was disappointing - 4 Mallard and a couple of small gulls overhead. A Grey Wagtail flew over the adjacent houses.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Soil Hell Rewards

Despite the totally different conditions this morning - grey skies and rain, I had no option but to give the Snow Bunting reported by BS yesterday a try. I got to the top of Perseverance Rd (aptly named) at 0820hrs and trudged along the track that would bring me out at The Mounds. Bruce and Dave F were already keeping one beady eye on the bird and the other on me. I'm grateful for this as it allowed me to try my hand at some photos, 2 of which were just about acceptable owing to the poor light. That's it folks, give me any excuse and I will pounce on it.

Others present: 12 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Fieldfare, 1 Curlew overhead, House Sparrows, 2 Blackbird, Chaffinch.
Raggalds Flood had 1 Skylark, 2 Lapwing, 1 BHG. Once again the water is receding at a fair rate.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Local Birding Redeemed

Queensbury Sth 1135 hrs 5 Snipe, 4 Skylark, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 LBBG, a few small gull sp. On the return leg home a Grey Wagtail is back on site at BD Mills.

Shibden Head. Good to meet Mr IB and co who once again provided some valuable info. If yr reading this Ian, No! I didn't get 'em, but I did get a couple of winners. Standing under a beech tree, a pr Brambling took off when they saw me and flew across to some hawthorns, where I soon lost 'em. I continued walking and stumbling around until I got into a risky boggy area so I had to backtrack. This caused me to flush a Woodcock hiding in a small bramble patch.
Also here: 1 each of Grey Heron and GSW. 2 Jay, 2 Green Woodpecker, 3 Nuthatch, c6 Blackbird, several Woodpigs, Stock Doves, few Chaffinches, Goldfinches, usual Tits.
Permit me to add I also saw a Weasel buck the latest trend for hitchhiking - it was crossing a road.

Ploughcroft/Swalesmoor calmed things down - 2 Blackbird, handfuls Goldfinch, House Sparrows. 1 each Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail. There were far less corvids knocking around, in fact the fewest I've ever seen there.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Back To The Grindstone

It was inevitable really - I had to face reality so I found myself at Raggalds Flood yesterday Tues 04/02 at approx 1145 hrs.
c20 Lapwing were present along with c11 each of small gull sp. and Crows and a Pied Wagtail. As I commenced to walk along Denholme Rd, the Lapwing flock also started flying up the valley in the Denholme direction.

Soil Hill was hard graft, more psychological than physical, I couldn't wait to get off the dump. Grey Heron, 5 Skylark, Kestrel.

The improvement work at the bottom continues apace, soon the rushes and sedges will be no more and the summer visitors will have nowhere to breed. Nasty 'orrible things birds, I'm glad somebody is doing something about them.
Ogden Res - eeeewwwww. Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, 2 each Blackbird, Dunnock. Small numbers of Goldfinch, Gt and Coal Tit. 2 Canada and resident ducks.

The Barnacle Goose was on Mixenden Res among 14 Canada. 3 LBBG were in with the small gulls and 4 Boats were floating around (beats sinking I s'pose).

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Breydon Water Revisited

Thursday 26 Feb turned out to be a different day, a total contrast to Wed with light rain, grey skies and a mean W'ly wind blowing. I walked up the west bank in search of 2 Richard's Pipit that had been reported a few days previous with the added incentive of possible Hen Harrier.
It turned out to be rather a monotonous long walk but there were still some good new birds to be found and in some cases in good numbers.