Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, July 29, 2016

Tale of a Pied Wag

Swalesmoor 0950 hrs. Walking up the track from the Queensbury end I came across a Pied Wagtail calling loudly; I looked down and it was on the deck a metre in front of me! It was scrambling away so I picked it up and found no obvious sign of injury, I put it down only for me to pick it up again as two cyclists were creeping up behind me. I put it back on the deck again and it moved into some grass and buried it's head, hence this photo.

When I got to the field of a thousand wagtails, I could plainly see there had been some movement of birds away from the area, probably due to the rainfall overnight. I spent about half an hour searching and found no sign of any flava wagtails whatsoever and the alba species were down to c20 birds.
On the way back, the a/m Pied was once again creeping up the track and as before when I passed over, it buried it's head in the grassy verge and I moved on.
Other: 4 Skylark, several Meadow Pipit, couple Whitethroat, few Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, 2 LBBG, an increased number of caawvids.

Mixenden to Ogden Res.
The pits; 3 House Martin over the water only. The walk along bottom of Hunter Hill to the golf course was boring producing only Jackdaws until I reached the style adjacent to the big juncus field. As I watched a flock of c18 Linnet and a WW in the Hawthorns, a Grasshopper Warbler gave two short reeling bursts from the deep vegetation. I presume this is the bird I saw here previously on Thurs 21st July.
I managed another WW here and a singing Song Thrush plus Blackbird then it was quiet until I got to the water.
2 Cormorant, c100 BHG, 5/6 Common & 3 LBBG, 1 Chiffchaff, ditto Blackbird and a final Song Thrush.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Swalesmoor Activity

Thanks to msgs from DJS/BS this am I was motivated to go down for the Yellow Wagtails, arriving at approx 1020 hrs.
It wasn't until almost an hour later I heard a call and picked one bird up about 25 metres away for a few seconds. This coincided with the arrival of DJS and Alan.
Then at 1145 I got a more distant view of both birds and then another glimpse of a singleton afterwards.

There was plenty of activity from other species to make for a very satisfactory if slightly damp session.
c30 Pied Wagtail, 5/6 Meadow Pipit ditto Linnet, 4 Goldfinch, 3 Skylark, 1 House Martin, several Swallows, 4 Swift. One family of 4 Whitethroat were in the vicinity and I picked up a single adult nearer to Swalesmoor road.
Also 7 LBB & 1 GBB gull and a Kestrel. Brief sighting of a Whinchat, pity I couldn't relocate for a really convincing view.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hartlepool and Teesside

Crimdon 0915 hrs Little Tern, Common Tern, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Whitethroat, Cormorant, Gulls, Sand Martin, Swallow, Swift, Meadow Pipit.

Greatham Creek. Grey Seals. Merlin male, Kestrel, Curlew, Greenshank, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Avocet.

Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Common Tern, Herring Gull, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great Tit.

Salthome RSPB. Greylag & Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveler, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Avocet, Lapwing, Blackwit, Dunlin, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Little & GC Grebe, Mute Swan, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Linnet, Starling, Caawvids, Pied Wagtail, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler.
2 Buzzard on return journey. Thanks to DW for a great trip and pics.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ogden and Mixenden

Plenty of gull activity around the Raggalds/ Bradshaw fields incl. a few LBB.
1050 hrs Ogden was the pits in a fresh NW'ly. 3 LBBG & c50 BHG, couple WW. The highlight here was the male Sparrowhawk put in an almost identical performance as the previous sighting. This time I could see the prey item looked like Blue/Gt Tit.
The start of the golf course walk was fruitless but it ended reasonably well. c150 Woodpigeon, 3 Grey Heron flying E. 2 WW, 6 Reed Bunting, 4/5 Linnet & Meadow Pipit, 1 each Swift & Pheasant.
The bottom of Hunter Hill was rotten with Swallows and House Martin chasing insects. Mixenden Res was quiet: few Jackdaw, 3 Canada, 1 BHG ditto Goldcrest and more hirundines over the water.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Sluggish Hill

Started off at bottom N slope Soil Hill approx 1250 hrs and it was uphill all the way in many respects. The Lapwing flock has dispersed and there were no morsels in the juncus, pond or small scrapes.
Around 6 LBBG flying around and 8/9 BHG on the deck with caawvids. Couple Swallow, Linnet, Meadow Pipit & WW. 3 Whitethroat still making threatening noises and pr Blackbird end Ned Hill track.

Down at Ogden there was noticeable gull movement e.g c94 BH, 4 Common & 7 LBB. I even tried my hand at fabricating L Michahellis out of 3/4 gulls in the lake middle but my brain reset itself and told me it was Graellsii.
As I decided I would abort the session and go home owing to both inertia and crowds a pleasant surprise ensued. Hearing a different loud honking sound from the norm here I spun round to catch 10 geese flying low overhead. They were Greylag and included a couple juveniles. It was no surprise really when they circled once and buggered off heading N.
Also 1 Chiffchaff and a pr screeching Jay.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Soil Hill to Mixenden

SH 0935 hrs. 11 BH & 7 LBB gulls, the latter heading NW.
1 Snipe on top field along with 1 Skylark & Linnet. c58 Lapwing  bottom NW field with caawvids. 2 Swallow, 1 Whitethroat displaying and singing. c4  Goldfinch & Meadow Pipit, 1 Blackbird & Pied Wagtail,  pr Stock Dove.

Ogden Res. 2 each Blackcap, WW & Chiffchaff, c62 BHG.
The golf course was quiet but ended very well. Halfway up the track to the Mixenden style I flushed a brown bird from approx 1.5 metres. I couldn't fail to see the lightly streaked back and the rounded spade tail - Grasshopper Warbler.
1 Curlew still present further up the hill.

Mixenden Res only had 1 House Martin flying over but as I saw and heard a pr Common Sandpiper, a pr Cormorant flew over SW and a LBBG dropped in. Also 1 each Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, GSW, WW.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Swillington Ings

2 Jay, 4 Stock Dove, 1 Buzzard & Kestrel. Grasshopper Warbler which is a personal site tick here. 3 Reed & c6 Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff.

2 Oystercatcher, 1 unid middling wader (heat haze and distance but subsequently thought to be the Ruff) several Lapwing.

4 Black-necked Grebe; both adults feeding one offspring each and showing well.
Also c7 GCG. Numerous Coot & Tufted Duck similar Canada & Greylag. 4 Pochard but for the first time no Gadwall. 2 Grey Heron, several Mute Swan.

Common Tern almost commonplace and I caught up with the Black Tern again!
Many BHG, 1 Reed  Bunting. I had to give into the free central heating and come home slightly early; I could  feel my skin sizzling.

Talking of heat, there wasn't a single hirundine or Swift to be seen here. My hypothesis being the midges and other flying insects were driven away so as not to cook and their predators had to follow in order to eat. Did they go higher? I don't know.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Soil Hill to Mixenden

Soil Hill 1030 hrs. 2 Pied Wagtail ditto Reed Bunting, 3 Mistle Thrush ditto Whitethroat. Pr Grey Partridge, 2 WW.  c100 Lapwing in newly mown field adjacent N slope tree line also several corvid here. LBBG movement about 8 birds. 1 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, 4 Swallow, 2 Swift.
5 Linnet which hopefully will increase by 4 as this photo shows.

Ogden Res: 4 LBBG, 2 Common & c50 BH Gull. 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap heard. 

Then around 1245 hrs the humidity and heat killed most activity and the golf course was redundant apart from moving Woodpiggies.

The track near to Mixenden produced 4 Linnet, 1 Curlew, 2 Meadow Pipit. The Res had slightly fewer Swallow and House Martin than my last visit but coughed up GSW, 2 WW, 3 Grey & 4 Pied Wagtail. A lone LBB represented the gull family.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Movement Indicators

Friday approx 1935 hrs as I crawled on my hands and knees out of the Crime & Punishment Arms I noticed a dozen BHGs around and above my house.
Sat am  a Buzzard and 2 big unid gulls at Swalesmoor prompted a search of Ogden Res after munch. We all make mistakes, it was gash.

Nevertheless the movement theory proved correct as when I arrived there were 22 BHG present & 1 Common. Within 35 minutes BHG jumped to c66 and 1 LBBG dropped in.
1 BHG was sporting a white ring on right leg but there was no chance of reading it.
Whitethroat still singing as were 1 Blackcap & Chiffchaff. 1 each  Swift, GSW and Siskin as I headed toward Mixenden Res...

2 each Pied Wagtail & Curlew, Blackbird, Chichaff. Plenty of House Martin & Swallow decimating insects over the water but not a single gull.
Yet again from the plantation side of the water, I startled a Common Sandpiper. It takes off from roughly the same area, this being the fourth time since early in May.
One wonders if breeding occurred, one does.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Swillington Ings

Arrvd late thanks to a  crash in Leeds at 1223 hrs so wasted no time and got stuck in. It was slow to start with but ended better than I dared hope for.
Waders were thin on the ground just a load of Lapwing and 2 Common Sandpiper.
Warblers came to 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 3/4 WW, 3 Reed & 5 Sedge.

I got carried away by standing just 4/5 metres away from mebbe 9 Common Tern flying around and diving for fish. This paid dividends: for the next 15 mins I watched a Black Tern doing exactly the same! This was the best show I've ever seen from this sp. which was going into non breeding moult. Pity it was simply too quick off the mark for old slowhand and his camera.

A party of c13 Sand Martin came dashing through, c6 Swift, few Swallow, 1/2 House Martin.
I couldn't get any gulls other than BHG but did find more Common Tern.
Also present on/around the drink were 1 Grey Heron, 5 GCG, 4 Pochard, & Gadwall, 1 Moorhen, c90 Coot, c40 Tufted, many Canadas, few Greylag, c12 Cormorant, c40 Mute Swan.

Other birds: 5 Reed Bunting, 1 Skylark & Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Bullfinch & Linnet. A good day out indeed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bradshaw to Stod Fold

A tale of two halves; starting good and ending badly.

Bradshaw halfway down/up Blind Lane 5 Redpoll flying around then landing briefly in the plantation. 3 Swift also in the area.
Corner Rocks Lane a singing and displaying Whitethroat.

Ogden Res WW seen with food dropping down to probable nest below a Willow appropriately. 2 more WW, Blackcap & Chiffchaff. Song Thrush, pr Blackbird & Chaffinch.
3 LBBG in different age phases, c19 BH & 1 Common Gull. I didn't  catch up with the leg ringed bird.
The golf course was deadly: Pheasant brood, few Goldfinch & Meadow Pipit. 1 male Reed Bunting.
Stod Fold had 4 House Martin & 2 Swallow along with a few Jackdaw. It was here that a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions took place; I lost my camera case. Boo bleedin hoo.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ogden Res

1145 hrs. Started off with a ringed BHG, green on right leg but poor light, distance and wind prevented a successful read. All I could capture on cam was 'J' then blurring; however I should be able to trace the country of origin, I think. The entire party of c10 took off with a LBBG and didn't return.
2 Chiffchaff, 3 WW, 2 Blackcap, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Blackbird, mixed Tit party, 15 Canada.
A male Sparrowhawk was almost lumbering along in the wind as it carried an unkown prey item.
I managed to get this poor shot of a singing Siskin just as it decided to flit.

Also 3 Swallow & Swift; few Goldfinch, 1 House Martin at Bradshaw.

PS It looks as though the leg ringed BHG is from Norway as the country code starts JV. Last year the bird shown in this link turned up on July 17th; making me wonder if it's the same bird. I can't wait to see it again.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Local Walk

0940 hrs. Swift, 5 Swallow, 3 Whitethroat, LEO, 1 each Common & LBB Gull. Down in a newly created scrape were 4 Lapwing and a feeding Snipe. The regular chipper was going bananas and I saw it flying - I suspect breeding success. A Pheasant brood - probably the ones from couple weeks back, now able to fly short distances. One male Reed Bunting,1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Skylark, few Meadow Pipits, c7 Goldfinch, similar Linnet, several Starling. I got one unid Phylosc warbler flitting from bush to bush, prolly a WW also a Mistle Thrush. A Grey Wagtail hanging around Brighouse Rd drug trafficking lights.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Back to Poundland

A number of Herrings seen from M'way throught to beyond Bristol. 3 Buzzard and really good if not too long a view of female Marsh Harrier hunting along edge of field. Poss another distant Marsh Harrier, Woodpigeons.

Svc stop1: Herring, Goldfinch, 2 Skylark. Then 2 Swift, 3 Buzzard, Kestrel.
Svc stop2: 1 each Buzzard & Kestrel hovering alongside one another, Herring.

I'm birded out now so here's some competition for Larkin, Hughes, Betjeman etc.
Help me get my marbles back, they just went sailing down the road.
My incontinence is really bad, my address  'Of no fixed commode'.
When visiting my GP I was given this advice "Don't buy extended play music, you'll never hear it twice".
I watched Father Ted on TV but my laughter turned to woe; outside a queue of undertakers knocking on my door.
I phoned the angel Gabriel, he answered with some ire "This is air conditioned mate, you're due for some fire".  

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Cornwall Day Trip

Spent 7 hours with relatives today on a non birding visit but some birds chose not to read the script. 5 Swift and a number of Swallows flying round the village on arrival. The place is well away from the coast but still had Herrings passing through. A couple Blackbird busy in the garden and pr House Sparrow mating. The highlight was House Martins have increased their numbers from 4 pr with nests under the family house eaves to 7 with 3  newbies under the old cottage just a metre above my noggin.

A bizarre but most satisfactory ending took place while I was visiting the old churchyard across the road. Imagining that spirit voices were saying effectively 'it won't be long before yr  joining us lad' I looked up to see 3 Buzzard circling directly over the house garden! I wonder what the Tarot card reader and Psychic lady who was sat next to me on the trip up would make of that.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Dawlish Warren

The downside continues starting today when I arrived at about 1100 hrs. I took a wrong decision and ended up on a private access road. Luckily this got me a Whimbrel which I think is an annual. Also c100 Oystercatcher seen here along with a small number of Shelduck and 3 Little Egret.
Once I got my bearings it came all too obvious that access is a major problem to this side of the vast Exe estuary.

Also seen: several Curlew, c30 Canada, 1 GBBG, few BHG, numerous Herrings, 2 Mute Swan, distant unid Duck sp. A Tern sp. seemed to be calling above my head but strong sunlight prevented a visual.
1 Chiffchaff, Gt Tit bunch, few Linnet, 1 Skylark, 3 Swallows, 1 Grey Heron & a final Little Egret. By the side of the road, 1 sociable Moorhen which allowed pics from this mobile bone.
Back in Torquay an evening stroll round the quayside coughed up a pr Pied Wagtail ditto Rock Pipit and a modicum of Larus Screamsoshrillus.

Verdict? Don't get lulled by good Summer weather, even the coast can be comatose.

South Devon

Mon 4/7 M'way trip down to Torquay quiet, birds seen: 2 Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch, Woodpigs, Crows, 2 Swift, Swallow, 9 Buzzard. High up raptor could be Kestrel/Sparrowhawk. Chiffchaff, Goldfinches, 4 LBBG & BHG, Mute Swan.
On arrival naturally Herring Gulls were prevalent and an evening post meal stroll produced a Rock Pipit which eventually gave itself up to the camera.

There was a dark seabird or three flying to and fro on the cliff top which brought either Sooty or Bridled Tern to mind. This requires further investigation; I may even get closer to the large net enclosure that held them captive!

Tues 5/7 Dartmouth with the tide in. 1 each Dunnock, Blackbird, Blackcap, Wren, Buzzards, Swift, Robin, BHG, Jackdaw, 2 House Martin, Shag.
A Herring Gull jumped onto a ladies head and pinched part of her biscuit cue one scream and some laughter. In the pm I attempted the Babbacome cliffs which turned up a few Shag and the odd Cormorant. By now the heat and sleep deprivation took its toll so twas off to the shoreline at low tide; it was tedious to say the least. Not a single wader in sight and the only new species was Great Big Bad Gull, just 2 of the muthas. A bit of entertainment was provided by Buzzard cruising about and really cheesing off two crows big time.

Its now time to get real, forget about padding this post out and announce 'The birding here is bleedin awful'.