Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Swillington Pics 27/05/15

One protruding head

Two protruding heads

It was only when I got the photo's processed that I realised the Black-Necked Grebes had raised chicks!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Catch Up

Tues 26/05
Went down Shibden Valley again this pm and thanks to the nagging cool W'ly wind the birdlife was timid. Species were similar to Sundays foray in lower numbers but nothing to lift the spirit took place..
27/05 Swillington Ings
 2 Cuckoo 1 Common Tern 4 Black Necked Grebe 1 Buzzard 1 Shelduck 6 Gadwall 2 Pochard 1  Redshank 4 GBBG numerous LBBG c8 Sand  Martin many House & Swift Swallow. 4 Skylark Reed Bunts Reed & Sedge Warbler 4 Whitethroat Blackcaps Chiffs similar Willows. 1 Grey Heron Greylags etc.

Somewhat underpar.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Longest Walk

I blame it on the beer: woke up this morning (blues refrain) gobbled down some victuals and shot out the door. Soil Hill - Ogden - Fly Flatts - Cold Edge - Mixenden where both my legs and will power gave in.
SH - among the sedges and sludge at the bottom. 2 more singing Sedge Warbler.  pr Curlew, pr Oystercatcher, Grey Heron, 4 Lapwing, 6 Canada, similiar Linnet, pr Pied Wagtail. Now a total of 4 Whitethroat over the broader area.

A long slog over the moor via Back Lane produced a slow procession of LBBG and a single Golden Plover. I was getting a bit ravenous when 4 Raven appropriately kronked and krokked overhead for 5 or so minutes. Pity I was slovenly with the camera because I let 'em get away before I started taking pics.

Fly Flatts c13 LBB and 2 Herring Gulls, Wheatear, 3 Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Reed Bunting. I watched 2 Red Grouse flying alongside the reservoir. One of them flew across just inches above the water and at one time actually splashed down for a second; don't we live and learn.

Cold Edge - the Golden Plover numbers now up to 25 birds, spread across 3 of the fields. By contrast just one Lapwing seen.

Throughout the trek were good numbers of Curlew, several Swift & Skylark, 3 Kestrel. By the time I'd done I lost the will to count.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

This Afternoons Birds

No point in trying to fool the majority as I only go local but withholding the site owing to breeding sensitivity.
Good to see c10 House Martin back on a site; by contrast just 3 Swallow seen. Swift numbered about 7.
WW - once again the predominant warbler species but not quite into double figures. Chiffchaff 3; Garden Warbler 1 for certain. Blackcap 2/3.
Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, Blackbirds, Nuthatch, 2 Green Woodpecker, 3 Jay, Grey Wagtail.
Enough Woodpigeon to shake a stick at - pity I left this one at home and only took the Turtle Dove stick out, which was a failure.
Buzzard, er, shall we say just happened to show some encouraging signs.

Angle Shades moth - Id provided by Andy C
When I got home this little critter was lying in wait for me on the hovel carpet. I was too lazy to take out the camera and got a below average pic with the mobile bone.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Soil Hill to Mixenden

SH 1230 hrs misty. Tree Pipit in the hedge down N slope my first locally this year. Sedge Warbler usual spot heard and seen. 3 Whitethroat, Kestrel, 5 Blackbird, 6 Linnet, pr very agitated Lapwing.
Ogden was mistier which probably accounted for the complete lack of hirundines. 3 GC Grebe; the pr and a separate adult some distance apart. Also 3 Tufted Duck, again a pr and the nutjob by the shore.
2 singing Song Thrush, pr Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch. WW very vocal in numbers, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, c6 Blackbird.

Stod Fold - pr Grey Partridge, Curlew, 2 Swallow, Reed Bunting, 2 Goldfinch, otherwise very quiet. Mixenden Res once again delivered up singing Garden Warbler in the big hedge; same spot as the original finding.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Soil Hill & Ogden

This was a walk accompanied with a friend and bins/camera in the rucksack. I must try it more often as we got great views of a BUZZARD at the end of the Ned Hill track. Being harrassed by Crows we watched it flying low toward Ogden for a minute or so. Had the optics been out Im sure we wouldnt have witnessed this; subsequently with bins at the ready it was hard going. Also here 2 Whitethroat, Skylark & Swallow.
Ogden GT or rather 150 metres below were 2 calling Spotted Flycatcher but thats yer lot. A Walk over the Golf Course just turned up Linnet and Meadow Pipit.

Evening  Back Lane courtesy DW 1 each LBBG, Curlew, Oystercatcher, 2 Swift. Then up to Cold Edge 3 stunning Golden Plover, Little Owl and Brown Hare.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ogden Area

No rhyme nor reason to birding and this stinking weather: I passed though Oats Royd again and it was jumping with birdsong this time.
I went down Rocks Lane and crossed the stream via the stone bridge c200 metres below the reservoir embankment - 1 Dipper, WW, Goldfinch, 2 Linnet. Then a different Dipper in the stream skirting the white house at Brookhouse. Up the track alongside the GC from here - 1 Whitethroat, pr of Whinchat, several Meadow Pipit, Curlew. A pr of Tufted Duck flew over low heading toward Cold Edge.

Then the rot set in as I decided to search for the dream team while keeping the eyeballs peeled for any sign of yesterdays Crossbills. Nothing doing on both counts; best I dreamed up was a fleeting possible Spotty Fly below GT.
Here I came across DP who reports a Tree Pipit in a tree up by the Tooth some 40 mins or so earlier. Up I went but found no trace, birds present were: Green Woodpecker, pr Curlew, pr very agitated Lapwing suggesting young present and a Meadow Pipit.
A pr GC Grebe were on the water and the male maladjusted Tufted still hanging round the feeding area.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Queensbury to Low Moor

The intention was to apply the Spotty Fly/Redstart/Wood Warbler package to Judy Woods - this failed dismally. Not only but also salt was rubbed into the wound too - not even a singing WW or Chiffchaff! A brief glimpse of Buzzard was the best I could muster others being GSW 2 Great Tit and a good number of Blackbird. Previously the walk down from Coley Church to Norwood Green gave up just a few Swallow, Song Thrush and a LTT family.

Thankfully it was all change when I emerged from the wood and hit the top track to Royds Hall where a Blackcap was singing. The area was rocking with Swallow, House Martin and a number of Swift. There must have been over 90 of the former flitting across the surface of Park Dam.

Breeding evidence was seen for GSW; plus Coot, Moorhen and a GC Grebe on the dam. I saw Red ring Y725 on the left leg of an adult Mute Swan, the only one here. 8 Tufted Duck, 1 BHG, 5 large gulls over couldn't be identified because the light was coming down my bins. Also 1 each of Pied & Grey Wagtail, 4 Linnet, Canada Goose and Blackbirds. Once again when I walked up and down the inlet stream I heard what can be only described as a Kingfisher call. I haven't seen it yet but the place is really overgrown here.
A brief walk round Harold Park Lake turned up 9 Mute Swan, pr GC Grebe, more Tufted Duck, Coot & Moorhen. Yet again c90 Swallow flying over the drink with c8 House Martin and a few Swift.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Oats Royd to Mixenden

OR was just a stage in the trip to Ogden and I didn't hang around as it was quiet: WW, Chiffchaff, Blackcap in singles plus the odd Chaffinch etc.
Ogden Res at 0935 hrs appeared deadly but it ended up delivering the goods. I was 60 percent certain I had a singing Lesser Whitethroat in the rhododendrons by the reception centre which only lasted about 45 seconds unfortunately. On top of that it wasn't exactly booming through, nevertheless I rang DJS who wandered down later. He couldn't confirm as there were no more vocals but having just listened to 5/6 recordings I am now 80 percent certain it was - not enough to record on BirdTrack, but pleasing.

A pr Spotted Flycatcher were in the trees adjacent to Giants Tooth. I then met Dave who also got a Spotty Fly and we searched for Tree Pipit with no luck. Two minutes after we departed, as I headed over the golf course a pr Swift flew over, subsequently a total of 6 were seen.
At the opposite side (Hunter Hill) a superb male Whinchat was singing from a bush. Pity two golfers were waiting to tee off close by, as this prevented me from getting the camera out. Ah well. I went down to Brookhouse to check on the gropper (PS) but heard nothing. The walk turned up a Whitethroat and a pr Grey Partridge - my first of the year!
Taking the path below Hunter Hill to Mixenden Res I got another Whitethroat, 2 Reed Bunting and a pr Red-legged Partridge.

At Mixenden Res it ended as it had started - quiet. Chiffchaff, usual woodland species with a Moorhen and the pr GC Grebe on the water. Not bad really; 4 local annuals and a very good potential scarcity.

PS Just spoke to DW who was out running at 1230 hrs and witnessed a low flying Buzzard being mobbed by Crows at Raggalds, it headed off over the flood field.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Shibden Valley

Down to the bottom and back up to the top in pleasant sunshine, cool at times. Glad to report the overall migrant health is rather good with Chiffchaff, WW & Blackcap creeping into double figures. Whitethroat hitting 8, local birds being 1 at the Queensbury GC entrance and 1 at junction Deanstones/Green Lane. I listened intently to 1 Garden Warbler at close range and possibly another, problem was with this bird a nearby Blackcap was belting one out simultaneously.
Pr GSW, 1 Green Woodpecker, f Bullfinch, few Swallow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch but no raptors.
Once again I made the attempt to track Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart & Wood Warbler as I have been doing for 8/9 years with the same result - zilcho.
On a positive note I counted at least 9 singing Song Thrush.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thwarted at Ogden Res

Despite the wind being a FSW'ly I still thought the springlike day may produce a Spotty Flycatcher or even if I was very lucky a Wood Warbler. I was so wrong of course; just subdued no's of Chaffinch, WW & Chiffchaff made themselves heard. An Oystercatcher went north over the drink, calling and the loony Tufted was diving just its body length of the shoreline by the duck feed area.

The scrub area at the junction of Rock Lane with Keighley Rd produced a displaying Whitethroat. This area has never let me down in the past 9/10 years although 2014 was a bit sparse.

My exploits at changing my blog URL to foil the foul fiends was successful - the salacious swine have not latched on to the new one. Neither have some of the former followers, but hey what the hell are they missing.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Soi Hill via Raggalds

Raggalds Flood about two thirds full; 1 Lapwing.

SH 0905 hrs started at Reedbeds hearing a WW close by. Chipping Snipe, m Wheatear, few Linnet and a most welcome Sand Martin. Moved over to W side where the Sedge Warbler was both vociferously and visibly active. A male Reed Bunting was almost monitoring it's every move while 2 f Reeds hung around. I found a Linnet nest here that won't last more than a few days being in such a vulnerable position.
Moving up to the top I picked up the Whitethroat and on arrival once again picked up the pr Oystercatcher in the same field. Just below them a pr Curlew and Lapwing were flying around. Although Swallows are now well established try as I might I could not get a residual Swift from the BS bonanza of yesterday.
A single f Wheatear was in the field next to the Perseverance Rd exit and a pr Blackbird plus a Greenfinch were by the road edge. Not forgetting the resident Pipits, Larks o 'course.

Came home via Roper Lane/OGR only Skylarks worth a mention.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Blacktoft Sands

DW asked me if I would like to visit Blacktoft Sands with the intention of seeing the pr Montagus Harriers; after we had stitched his hand back on we set off and he picked up DM on the way.
On arrival we were told the birds had been seen early that morning so we set off to the prospective hide. After a suitable spell we decided we would visit the other hides and return later - this proved to be costly as the pr put in a food pass during our absence.

However thanks to RazorEyes DW we got more than solace from a passing overhead Osprey, giving excellent views. I being a true amateur had kept my camera in the rucksack (I'm trying to set a trend y'know) and paid the price with this paltry pic of a passing prize bird.

Within a couple of minutes we also got a Cettis Warbler exploding from the bushes about 2.5 metres away max. True to form the bird skulked away but I'm still trying to eradicate the ringing in my ears.

Other birds that gave us joy on a warm pleasant session: Shelduck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted, Greylag, Little Grebe. I must mention Coot as DM has found himself a new star bird. Reed & Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow. While we were watching at least 5 Marsh Harrier a Little Egret flew casually across and 4/5 Swallow put in a belated appearance which reminds me we didn't get a single Wagtail species! Waders were represented by a squadron of Avocet and a troop of Black & Bar Tailed Godwit. The episode ended as it had started with a Buzzard flying close to the hide. I'm fairly certain I've missed a scene Dave, but thanks for a memorable trip.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

More Local Migrants Finally

After I'd voted for the Reticulated Brontosaurus Party, I decided to give Soil Hill the benefit of the doubt and it turned out successful  - eventually. At approx 0900 hrs it was a poor start from Perseverance Rd until I got to the track end just before the mounds. A pr Oystercatcher were calling loudly and were located in the green field adjacent to the N slope at the W side. They stayed there for some time along with a pr Stock Dove and c20 Crows and Jackdaws that found the place appealing.
Time to get down the slope and do a warbler check - Bingo!

A Sedge Warbler started to sing and carried on long enough for me to get these workable shots at a distance. Twice it was joined by a male Reed Bunting sitting just a foot apart. The Whitethroat that's been down that area over a week now also put in a brief vocal performance.
Also 3 Canada Geese, pr Lapwing, Blackbird and the same Whitethroat still present on the Ned Hill track.

Ogden Res - 4 Greylag at Back Lane. When I got down to the water I was in between the Ogden Clough (green) bridge and the Skirden Clough bridge (green) A Cuckoo started calling from a tree just a few metres behind me. I hung around the area as it moved a bit and called 3 more times; it must have been subdued because on each occasion it never gave more than two sound offs.
Also Cormorant, 3 Curlew, Red Grouse, pr Lapwing, 3 Coal Tit, 12 Goldfinch, 2 Blackcap, WW & Chiffs.
I found another Whitethroat at the moor edge down by the promenade where a Grey Wagtail was hanging around the overflow.

Encouraged by this productive walk I pushed onto Mixenden via the path skirting the bottom of Hunter Hill and encountered 6 House Martin, my first of the year. A Curlew was here along with 2 Linnet and a Blackbird but the water was quiet: Moorhen, pr Tufted, 4 Mallard. No complaints whatsoever; I got 3 local annuals out of a rather pleasant saunter.

I'd encountered this unfortunate road victim at Raggalds where a Sparrowhawk was doing a couple of rounds. Which reminds me, I never did check the flood.

Hard Graft - Nothing Doing

Thurs 07/05 I've checked the stats after changing the URL of this blog and touch wood it seems the badlads have been shaken off. When I did a Yahoo search on one of their website address, it got reported as Illegal. I wait with bated breath, meanwhile I got some birding in - refer to subsequent post.

Wed 06/05 Walking along past the school at 1709 hrs toward the W. A large bird with long wings was ahead of me going in the same direction until it veered up between Old Guy Rd and Rope Lane. It threw me and at first I took it for a gull until I got a second chance and realised it wasn't. I must stress, it was seen without the aid of binoculars and will have to remain unidentified.

Blank Holiday Mon 04/05 Back up Soil Hill and no improvement.
Two Whitethroat at different spots. 4 Stock Dove, 2 Mallard chicks, 1 LBBG, 3/4 Swallow, Kestrel, few Linnet, Lapwing and other residents. I must be the only birder now not getting Grey Partridge.
Ogden was a tourist trap. No Waders, WWs & Chiffs, 2 Blackcap. 1 LBBG. Just that crazy male Tufted Duck and the Mallards on the drink.

Sunday 03/05 a traipse down south that only proved worthwhile for the exercise if truth be known. I went with the hope of finding House Martins - I never even saw a Swallow.
Couple Goldfinch, few more Linnet, handful Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, Pied Wagtail. 1 WW singing down at Deanstones Lane where I had a quick natter with AC.
The local Grey Wagtail flew across the back on return home.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Soil Hill to Oats Royd

Soil Hell 1030 hrs. in an E'ly wind that didn't drop anything in. Now 2 Whitethroat singing, 1 Reed Bunting, pr Pied Wagtail, 4/5 Linnet, pr Goldfinch, pr Lapwing, Curlew, Stock Dove, Robin.

Ogden Res - Tufted Duck, pr GC Grebe which performed the mating ritual 3 times. 1 Common Sandpiper, 10 Canada, Jay, Grey Wagtail.

Oats Royd not worth mentioning. 5/6 Canada Geese flew across bottom of Roper Lane from Shibden Head.