Birdbrain Stuff

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Soil Hill Delivereth

A Peregrine Falcon at 0955 hrs in a WNW'ly strong wind. Most welcome as it is a local annual tick on the last day of the year.
I thought there was a pair at one stage as another bird interacting in a brief chase appeared to have swept back pointed wings also. However after the excitement was over and the original bird had given me another 20 seconds worth, I'm just going to log the one on Birdtrack.
The only other birds seen were a few small gulls and a male Reed Bunting.

Ogden Plantation was quiet, just a Blackbird, a few Woodpigs and 2 finch sized critters that were too quick for me to id.
While walking down Back Lane I saw a Stoat peering at me from behind a supposed stone. It came closer and looked at me for about 10 seconds then dashed into a hole in the wall.
I walked to the stone only to find it was a freshly killed Rabbit! I left quickly and I hope Stoaty had a good meal. The animal wasn't dressed in Ermine, an indication of another mild winter so far.

Ogden Res was appalling again. The only small birds seen were 4 Robin.
3 Redwing and a modicum of Goldfinch and Jackdaw were in the Blind Lane area of Bradshaw.

Park Lane Bramblings

The count was up to 9 this morning! Fri 30 Dec.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Soil Hill & Ogden

SH  1045 hrs.
c26 Fieldfare, 1 Meadow Pipit ditto Reed Bunting. The same no. of Fieldfare were seen later on over Coal Lane in with a flock of c60 Starling.
At 1126hrs I was standing on the W slope when I rcvd a msg from DJS then the same txt alerting me of a large nr of PFG from BS a minute later.
Up went the optics and at a distance flying WNW were 2 skiens of Pinkfeet sandwiched somewhere between Dean Head and Stoodley Pike. Impossible to count but I guestimate 330 birds.

I went over the main road to give Ogden Plantation a coating of eyeballs. Lo and behold I got a flock  of 34 PFG coming in from the NE behind me heading S. I alerted BS hoping they would be visible from Queensbury and as we spoke a second smaller wave of 18 birds came over heading the same way. DJS was also informed of this sighting as was DW - both failed to get 'em unfortunately.
A very satisfactory morning for the Pinkieton Detective Agency!.

Reality asserted itself at Ogden Res; Human and  canine presence far outweighed birdlife.

Only BHG with leg ring VS20 is worth a mention, it was seen again on the railings. This is the Stavanger, Norway bird that has been reported here this Autumn/Winter at least 3 other times.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Park Lane Bird Reserve

Thought you might be interested in yesterday's haul from the garden which included-like something from The Twelve Days of Christmas: at least 6 Brambling, 5 Redwing-seeing off the last of the holly berries, 4 Bullfinch (1m; 3f), 3 Jay, 2 Nuthatch and a ringed Blackbird which has been coming in since 19th December. Yesterday, I managed to get enough pictures to piece the ring's details together and it's Finnish. I sent the information to the BTO so we'll see what comes of that.

One of the Jays buried a peanut, covered it with moss then carefully placed a stick to mark the spot.

House Sparrows, ousted by house-building down the road, seem to have adopted us; our maximum is 17.


Thanks for this fascinating info Denise, especially the ringed Blackbird and 6 Brambling. Over the next few days if you see a tent erected in a corner of your bird refuge, don't fret twill only be me!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Queensbury South Circular

Queensbury - Coley - Norwood Green - Judy Woods - Low Moor Dams - Queensbury.
I'm cream crackered after this one, but it was a glorious day not to be wasted.

Some of the birds seen:
c130 Woodpigeon, pr Pied Wagtail, 4 Collared Dove, c14 Redwing, 10 Blackbird, 13 Goosander, 3 Herring Gull, 1 each Cormorant & Grey Heron, c28 Tufted Duck, 5 Mute Swan, 3 Little Grebe.

1 each GSW, Nuthatch & Treecreeper, 4 overhead large gulls thought to be LBBG from underbelly view. Coots, Moorhens, numerous small gulls.
An unquantified no. of Goldfinch near Windmill Farm and at least 10 Pied Wagtail were in the Hoss field opposite the corner of High Cross Lane, Qnsbry.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Queensbury Circular

Raggalds approx 1005 hrs. 2 Starling & c100 Lapwing on the football field. The flood despite being about two thirds full was windswept and devoid of birds.
Soil Hill was under siege from the gale and at one stage blinding horizontal sleet forced me to shield my eyes with my paws while walking for around 7 mins. The male Reed Bunting and 2 Common Gull were the only birds seen.

Another helpless bird addict was on the hill - Daniel B. We had a natter then I headed down to Ogden Res.
The storm hadn't blown anything in, it had blown it straight through, probably to Fairburn Ings. Plenty of Dullards, small Dulls & 1 LBBG. 2 Dunnock & 1 Blackbird and nothingness.
4 Goldfinch were on the Blind Lane feeders as I made my way to a birdless Oats Royd.

The ponds are well underway to becoming an Anglers domain as mentioned by BS prior to the Xmas build up. Paths have been created and several trees have been chopped up.
I got some cheer as I started off home; 2 Herring Gull over Ladysmith Rd > W.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Low Moor Dams

Another interesting morning at the two stretches of water: Park Dam being by far the more productive. 14 Goosander were present, 9 of them on Park which also produced:
1 Cormorant, 5 Little Grebe, 1 Kingfisher, and a drake Teal. I'm almost certain the latter despite being a common duck is a personal site tick here.

There were plenty of small gull sp. knocking about, one of the shown above with the breeding hood underway.
c24 Tufted Duck, 10 of them on Harold Park, usual good numbers of Coot & Moorhen. 6 Blackbird, House Sparrows, 2 Collared Dove, few Woodpigeon, c72 Canada, several Jackdaw.
The Mute Swan appeared to have done a runner or were hiding at Harold Park.

Halifax Waxwings

DW went to Long Lover Lane ( I'm so sad I nearly broke into that Little Jimmy Osmond song) today and took these great shots of Waxwings. He reported c25 birds present at Charlton Court plus at least one Fieldfare.

All pictures by David Wetherell

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


1020 hrs. What a downer; the disappointment was of a magnitude hitherto unknown.
1 Mistle Thrush ditto Meadow Pipit. Several Caawvids and small gulls plus 1 LBBG. Couple Woodpigs, few House Sparrow.
There was one brief respite when I thought I heard the "prrrrreet" (or thereabouts) part of a Lapland Bunting flight call. This immediately brought to mind the bird seen on 15/16 Dec 2009 which I saw and heard several times.
However there were no follow ups and no bird was seen so I daren't risk the ire of local birders being alerted on such flimsy evidence.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Soil Hill & Ogden Res

SH 1045 hrs. 12 Fieldfare, 6 Lapwing, 1 Snipe & Meadow Pipit ditto Goldfinch, 2 Moorhen, few small gulls.
Ogden. 1 each Jay, Grey Heron & Sparrowhawk, Coal Tit.
Ringed BHG X2T6 discovered by BS on 25 November was photographed on the main overflow railings.

I am still waiting for the ringer to confirm details and therein lies a tale (tail?). The group using this code are supposedly based in Saxony SE Germany (formerly old E Germany). Yet one of them told me he thinks the bird originated from Hiddensee which is in N Germany on the Baltic Sea close to Poland. This is approx some 980 kilometres distant from Ogden.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Raggalds to Ogden Res

1015 hrs. A flock of c70 Lapwing were actively moving around Raggalds before eventually splitting up and a bunch of em shooting off up Perverse Rd.

Soil Hell had 18 very flighty Fieldfare on the top, 1 m Reed Bunting ditto Jack & Common Snipe.
The N slope produced a Meadow Pipit and more Fieldfare making a total of c44 birds. Again these were flightsome perhaps due to a Roe Deer moving in among them?

11 Redwing flew S over Coal Lane.
Ogden was less than scintillating; only a pr Jay & a Goldcrest really worth mentioning.

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 List: 7 Missing Locals

Strange how your luck can change from one year to the next. There are some glaring omissions from my list for the broader Calderdale area for this year, namely:
Black Redstart, Osprey, Short-eared Owl, Snow Bunting, Woodcock, Yellow-legged Gull, Whooper Swan.
The first two are acceptable on the basis of their being both scarce and intermittent
e.g historically I have sighting gaps in the past 16-1/2 years annual records.

SEO is the biggest mystery and disappointment having had them on a regular basis down the years and since 2007 frequently on Soil Hill. I Count 2015 as my bumper year having discovered a family of newbies in addition to known individuals.

Snow Bunting  & Woodcock are two birds found previously on Soil Hill regularly. I put down the overgrown vegetation on the top of the hill for the  former but the latter has me confounded. 3 sightings per Autumn/Winter of Woodcock was the norm, perhaps the reason for their absence is broader based.

Finally YLG & Whooper Swan. Just my bad luck this year for Yellow-legged; they have been around the local reservoirs. Ogden has been my main source but this year my timing has been out.
There has been a paucity of Autumn/Winter  appearances of Whoopers. Ogden Res has normally produced 2 or 3 sightings of upto 5 birds by todays date.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Queensbury and Low Moor Dams

Around 200 Pink-Footed Geese seen at Jackson Hill at 1400 hrs. They headed west and DW got em at Ogden Res going toward Fly Flatts.

😁Its been a very hectic morning; on the way down to Low Moor Dams there were 20 Lapwing in the 2nd field down from High Cross Lane and 4 Rook opposite. Then in a field at Pepper Hill I saw c50 Fieldfare mobile but giving good views.

Harold Park 1100 hrs 2 m Goosander, 8 Tufted Duck, 5 Mute Swan, Grey Heron,  2 Greenfinch, 1 Fieldfare, ditto Collared Dove and numerous small gulls. Also a few Goldfinch, singles of Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Robin. Usual Coot and Moorhen but for once no GCG.

Park Dam. No GCG here neither but 5 Little Grebe were very active.

9 Goosander were present along with 2 each Cormorant & LBBG plus the small gulls, Coots, Moorhens and c20 Tufted Duck.

The Kingfisher showed for a minute as it flew along the channel and c75 Canada Geese were in the adjacent field.
I came a bit unstuck at this neck of the wood. 11 small finches did a quick tour round out of the trees, circled twice then shot back over never to be seen again. The visibility was good but not one of them called - I can only think of Redpoll but there is some uncertainty. A GSW was in this wood and a Mistle Thrush flew over.

A pr Collared Dove, several House Sparrow and 4 Blackbird were hanging around the Leylandii hedge.
On the way back home, prior to seeing the PFG, c50 Lapwing were circling around Pepper Hill first before spreading out over the wider area. For some reason they seem reluctant to settle in the usual fields adjacent to the trailer park this winter.πŸ˜•

Monday, December 12, 2016

Raggalds to Ogden

c60 Lapwing were on the Raggalds sports field along with a few small gulls, there was nothing on the flood.
Soil Hill 1020 hrs. The top field was clear of birds. There were c80 Lapwing in the far left bottom field and again some small gulls.

Ogden Environs: 8 Blackbird, 1 each of Redwing, GSW, Pheasant & Grey Heron, c11 Common Gull at the plantation.
The reservoir was sporting 3 Wigeon, 2 m & a  f. I took 6 photographs but the light was so poor and I'm such a crap photographer they weren't even fit to publish on someone elses blog.
The usual small gulls and dullards were in good numbers, other than that it was down to 2 Goldcrest, 4 Robin and another Blackbird.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Birdbrain: Ringed BHG Feedback

Birdbrain: A New BHG Ring for Ogden

I received a reply from the ringers for green leg ring JET6 not JE16 as I quoted in error. Unfortunately it was in code so I've had to decipher the key facts which leads to somewhat minimal output.

Ringing Centre: Stavanger Museum Norway

Ring Number: 6236543

Age of bird: 2CY

Sex: Yes Please,er, I mean Unknown.

Ringed: Mosvatnsparken, Stavanger Norway. 58deg;57'34 N 005deg:42'33 E

Date Ringed: 06/07/2016

This bird was subsequently seen around this area on 24/07/2016 & 24/09/2016 until the Ogden sighting. This is now the second BHG recorded in our area from Norway.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Raggalds to Ogden Soaking

c50 Lapwing and a few small gulls on Raggalds sports field while 5 gulls only were on the flood.
The wet stuff nailed me up Soil Hill as I watched a large empty space after getting c7 House Sparrow up Percy Rd.

Ogden Res and a check for BHG green ring JE16 which didn't want to play. This gull is from Norway; I await further details. Apart from the dullards and small gulls, I managed 8 LTT, couple Blue & Gt Tit, 2 Goldcrest & 1 Chaffinch.

Usual Goldfinches and a pox outbreak of Starling at Blind Lane as I sloshed back home.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Grey Geese Over Queensbury

From DS 06/12/16.

150+ grey geese over the house (at speed) at around 11am this morning, heading towards the centre of Queensbury. I was in the garden and heard them in the distance, rushed in to grab the camera and just managed to get a couple of shots.

All photos DS
A couple of other visitors from the past few days.

Thanks Denise, I'd love to know what species those geese were. I've never known Queensbury get that many Greylag in the nigh on 17 years I've been up here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A New BHG Ring for Ogden

Yet  again Ogden Res coughs up a new leg ringed BHG. Green ring JE16 was on the right leg below the knee. The metal ring on the left leg was unreadable.

3 Teal were just about visible at the far end from the promenade. I went to investigate hoping for pictures but they had disappeared from view by the time I arrived.
Others: 6 each Blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldcrest with a couple Blue/Gt Tits thrown in.
2 Pheasant, 9 Common Gull were in the fields at Back Lane but nothing else was.

I'd been up SH at 1150 hrs. Singles: Kestrel, Little Owl, Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock.
Prior to this the Lapwing flock were in the field at corner Roper/Green Lane.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Quiet Queensbury Sth

Long spells of birdlessness: it dawned on me that there is a distinct lack of Redwing and Fieldfare around this winter.
5 Blackbird, few Goldfinch, 3 Meadow Pipit, ditto Common Snipe, 1 Rook ditto Common Gull, c40 Jackdaw, 2 Mistle Thrush.

Photo DW
DW reports a single Golden Plover in with the Lapwing flock this am at Raggalds sports field.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Crossbill Bonding

Here is another Crossbill picture from Tuesday's trip to Walshaw Dean. It shows the female ready to take food from the male. There appears to be two items protruding from the males beak - pine seeds I assume.

Photo: DW

Still Life

Raggalds and Soil Hill - Inert
Ogden Environs - Narcoleptic
Stod Fold & Mixenden - Comatose.
Perhaps I should take up browsing through graveyards for more action.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Raggalds to Ogden

c85 Lapwing on Raggalds sports field and a few small gulls, several Starling also present.
SH 1100 hrs really quiet. Small gulls, 1 Moorhen & c20 Lapwing.

Ogden Res: 9 Redwing, 1 each GSW,  Fieldfare &  Nuthatch, the latter my first in a while. It was fascinating to see 3 Wren & 2 Dunnock at close quarters creating a noisy assault on the ears. Tweren't me that was the object of their ire, rather a Weasel that was creeping alongside the pathside undergrowth.

The Kingfisher was whizzing up and down the embankment overflow channel.
Other birds:  3/4 Siskin, 10 Pheasant, c7 Goldcrest, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Chaffinch, ditto LBBG, c11 Common Gull, BHGs.

c20 Goldfinch, 4 Redwing & a horde of Starling were  at Blind Lane.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Walshaw Dean

Took a trip this am courtesy of  DW with Crossbills in mind. At least 15 birds were seen flying around the plantation with a few seen feeding/perching. 

The bottom 3 photos taken by DW.
3 Brambling, 1 GSW, 2 each Coal Tit & Siskin, c7 Goldfinch, 2 Stonechat, Dipper, c10 Goldcrest, c30 Fieldfare, 3/4 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, Red Grouse also contributed to a cracking session.