Birdbrain Stuff

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Starting on a bright note; a Tawny Owl was hooting away from across the road for 5/6 minutes in the early hours of this am.

SH 1035 hrs. Taylor Lane had several Meadow Pipit and couple Swallow. As DW mentioned a month or so back, the nettlebeds are about a third of their height  compared to last August. Therefore the caterpillar numbers were decimated, hence no Cuckoos, apart from this one who tried gettin one.
The hill top had 3 Meadow Pipit and a Skylark. Ned Hill track 1 Robin.

Ogden Res eeeewwww. The passerine fest reported by BS in pm visits simply does not exist. I believe visitors and dawgs drive them off the alley and they only return for well mannered birders. 3 LBB & a small nr of small gulls, 2 Cormorants.

The golf course is easily dealt with: 1 each BHG, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting. Stod Fold - 3 Linnet, 10 Jackdaw, 1 Pied Wagtail, c7 Swallow.
If Wagtails and Swallows like shit tips, why don't I get 'em in my kitchen?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Wainstalls Mixenden Circular

Bumped into BS by the Delvers for a 5 minute natter.
3/4 each Meadow Pipit, Swallow, Goldfinch, 1 WW. 1 Tufted Duck bottom Cold Edge dam; nuthin on top.
4 Wheatear up the track from Cold Edge top dam. 

Withens was chronic.
Ogden Res 1 Little Grebe c45 Canada 3 Cormorant 2 LBB & reduced nrs small gulls.
The track by the golf course from Brookhouse was the best stretch. 3 Stonechat, 2 m & 1 f. 1 each Redstart & WW. Just a single House Martin en route Mixenden Res which was comatose.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Local Downer

Back to Crap; SH 1040 hrs. 2 Linnet, 3 Skylark, c14 Meadow Pipit, 1 LBB & BH gull. WW in bush Radio mast compound.

This scrape has recently appeared on the Eastern slope. Lets hope it doesn't go away for a few years at least.

Ogden Res: 6 Cormorant, usual gulls, 1 Wren. Plenty of noise from visitors. The lake was higher when I left it; tears can move mountains and rivers.
A walk across the golf course produced?
- I can't remember it was so barren.

Lo and behold Stod Fold to Mixenden lifted the spirits somewhat. 3 Blackbird, 5 Goldfinch, c11 Linnet & same no. Pied Wagtail plus c13 BH gulls in or around same field. Also several Swallow and 3/4 House Martin plus few Jackdaw here.
Further down the lane Swallows were gathering on telephone wires ready for the off and a single Collared Dove was seen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Swillington Ings

With messrs DW and DM.
8 Shoveler, several Gadwall, numerous Tufted & Mallard, several Cormorant, many Greylags.
2 Black-necked Grebe showing well. 5 Little Grebe & GCG into double figures.

Waders: 2 Common, 4 Green, 1 Wood & 1 Curlew Sandpiper. c9 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 2 Ruff, c8 Black-tailed Godwit, c12 mix Ringed Plover & LRP, few Dunlin, couple Snipe, numerous Lapwing.

Few Reed & Sedge Warbler, 1 WW & Whitethroat. Many Swallow, few House & Sand Martin. Red Kite seen a few times, Kestrel. 5 Grey Heron, 7 Little Egret, 1 Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipits. Common Tern still present in good numbers.

It doesn't get better than this; a gold medal for DW in the drivers seat, although I know he's happy with two lifers. Two annuals for me and DM is still counting I reckon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wainstalls to Ogden Res

1040 hrs. Several Swallow, 4 Linnet and a pr Buzzard showing well overhead at Wainstalls.
Cold Edge dams had 6 WW & similar Linnet, 2 LBBG, 1 Cormorant, pr Tufted, 4 Mallard, c22 small gull sp.

Yet again it was very quiet from there to Withens - 1 Kestrel, few Swallow, c40 Meadow Pipit then nothing until Ogden Res.

Ogden: GCG, c62 Canada splashing about in the shallows near the Ogden Clough bridge. 3 Cormorant, c110 small gull sp. I didn't count the several LBBG but I did take a few pics of a potential YLG. The bird then repositioned itself and the non reflecting bright sunlight showed it to be LBB.

Also a few Goldcrest, Tits e.g Coal around and couple WW.

Thanks to the sharp eyed Mrs SD back in Queensbury who alerted me to a raptor coming up overhead behind me. Turned out to be a male Sparrowhawk which flapped and glided over Baptist Fold, > NW.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Raven

Darker than the blackest sky, since immortal times gone by, mankind has watched me fly over hills and vales and woods.

I am a symbol of many things; bad tidings to some, yet others find it's hope I bring, as I bark from the heavens on my journeys.

In heraldry I exist, on flags and shields, in books, in stone. Artists scenes do bear my image, often bold, always silent, never timid.

Poetry serves me well; you will find my legacy in the minds of men who strive to pay homage to an icon of nature that is defined yet clouded and shrouded in mystery. For I am:
The Raven.

Written on a dank afternoon by yours truly. Copyright rules apply, as does questionable sanity should one be tempted...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Local Rubbish

Soil Hell 1135 hrs in gusting wind switching from S-SW. It didn't drop any birds in but may have moved my teeth around a few millimetres. 2 Swallow, 1 Skylark 3 Meadow Pipit.
Ogden was a magnet for misery; 2 passerines throughout! WW & Wren. 3 Cormorant & LBBG plus the usual small uns.
Bradshaw: 3 Linnet, c20 Goldfinch.
Roll on Armageddon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Soil Hill to Bradshaw

Being a sucker for punishment I found myself up the hill from hell at approx 1340 hrs. 3 each Blackbird & Linnet, 2 each Swallow, Skylark & Meadow Pipit, WW.
Ogden Res: Cormorant down to 3; LBBG upto c17; Small gulls increased by 50% mainly BH.
1 each Grey Wagtail &  Nuthatch, 4 WW, 4/5 Goldfinch. At least I'm pushing my luck with sunburn.
Recollecting last years Spotflyfest in early Sept I went up to GT. Nowt, Nada, Nichts except the midges.

PS A last gasp goody! I turned down Blind Lane to Bradshaw at 1630 hrs and startled a f Redstart  by the stables ; it flew across the path and settled in a garden bush. 
Amazingly BS rang me up for more specific directions when I got home and as we spoke he too saw the bird.
Further down in Bradshaw were 5 Swallow and a couple of Greenfinch.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Wainstalls Circular to Mixenden

Calling at Cold Edge, Withens, Ogden Res. I hoped to pull up the odd Whinchat and Wheatear, turns out I could only pull up my socks. It was one of the most unproductive yomps I've ever undertaken.
Cold Edge: Snipe, 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Whitethroat, several Linnet, couple Redpoll sp., 5 BHG, 6 WW, 2 Tufted, Canadas.
Withens area had only c10 Meadow Pipit.

Ogden Res proved the most interesting with a build up of Cormorants 8 and Gulls.
Usual BHG but not too many, c11 Common & 9 LBBG. 2 Swallow, Bullfinch, 2 WW.
The trek onto Mixenden Res was the pits but at least there were numerous small gulls over and on the water with 4 LBB also on the drink. Also here 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 House Martin.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Soil Hill Misery

SH bottom 0810 hrs - the start of a boring hour plus. c60 Linnet, few Meadow Pipit & Goldfinch. 2 LBBG, ditto Pheasant. It would appear that the Whitethroat have moved on however there were several Swallow about.
I went down Taylor Lane out of desperation: adult Dunnock feeding a well grown juvenile, pr Blackbird, 3 BHG, few Linnet & Goldfinch.

Roper Lane to Fleet Lane produced a few Meadow Pipit, c12 Linnet, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 BHG.
This could be a blessing in disguise; another couple of sessions of this calibre and it's back to the embroidery.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Calderdale Tour

Visited 3 locations this am courtesy of DP starting with Ringstone Reservoir which was on the quiet side despite a reasonable amount of shoreline. 2 Lapwing, 1 LBB, 4 Common & c 26 BH Gulls.
4 House Martin, c14 Swallow over the water with 1 GCG & 6 Tufted Duck on it. A Cormorant was flying around when it wasn't perched on the stone bank.
4/5 WW in the bushes and one in Dave's hand for a couple of minutes. Sadly, this as the pictures show was a very recent dead bird which I found in the grass at roadside.

Several Meadow Pipit also present and 1 Kestrel.

The next venue shall we say was a moorland site heading in the general Rochdale direction and this really woke us up, especially as it provided us with 1/2 annuals each.
6 Twite, Green Woodpecker, m Stonechat, m Merlin & a pr Peregrine which stayed in distant view for quite a while.

Finally in the hope of getting a shot at Whinchat for Dave we did the track up from Brookhouse by the golf course but it was back to reality and blanksville all the way. However that doesn't detract from what was a very enjoyable day.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Low Moor Dams

Harold Park Lake 1000 hrs. c50 Swift. What a spectacle this was watching numbers build from 14 as they noisily geared up for migration. 1 House Martin, 3 Swallow. 6 Mute Swan, 4 GCG, 2 Grey Wagtail, c22 BHG, 6 Tufted, 2 Blackbird, 23 Canada.

Holy Cow You sure is ugly

Park Dam: 1 each Sand Martin & Swift, 3 House Martin, 9 Swallow. 16 Tufted, 6 GCG, 1 each juv LBB & adult Herring Gull, c54 BH & 5 Common. 3 Little Grebe.

3 each WW & Grey Wagtail, 3 Blackbird, c10 House Sparrow, few Goldfinch, 2 Collared Dove, Woodpigs.
Parting shot: 2 Herring Gull over > E Halifax Rd.
Shelf Moor on way back few Swallow, 9 Mistle Thrush.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Humdrum Ogden Walk

I can hardly find any enthusiasm to post such was the lack of activity from dull Ogden to Mixenden starting at 1045 hrs.
WW were present throughout the entire session, being the only widespread indicator of migration.

3 Cormorant and the expected gulls: c65 BH, 5 LBB & 6/7 Common. 1 Bullfinch, few Swallow, 3 Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch.
The walk from Brookhouse track up the golf course produced only Woodpigs and from the Mixenden style just 1 Linnet. Thank providence I had to negotiate passage with a load of nice cows to relieve boredom.
Hunter Hill bottom did break the spell with a good count of c35 House Martin and a few Swallow extending to the edge of the reservoir. Here were 1 each Cormorant & LBBG with 2 BHG overhead.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Ogden to Mixenden

Inspired by a single WW calling from the one tree behind the Qnsbry Co-op car park plus the good weather, I thought I'd check out the migration status.
Ogden Res 0950 hrs. 7 LBB, 6 Common & c36 BH Gulls, 2 Swallow. The waterside was so lacking I went into the woods skirting the track upto Withens.
1 for certain Spotted Flycatcher, mebbe 2. c5 WW, 1 Nuthatch, couple Goldcrest, few Tits.

The walk across the golf course was uneventful as was the section to Mixenden Res. Few Goldfinch, 1 each Pheasant & Reed Bunting, 4/5 Meadow Pipit, c30 Linnet, 4 House Martin, c20 Swallows.
The water didn't have a bird on or over it. Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Jay, House Martin, all singles.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Ogden and Swalesmoor

After a productive 80 minutes doing a friends garden in, I thought I may as well now waste the same amount of time so I went to Ogden Res at 1150 hrs. It was gash: 3 WW, Gt Tit, 2 each LBBG & Cormorant, BH Gulls.

Trying to salvage some birdlife I spent an hour on Swalesmoor in a gusty SW'ly. The farmer was mowing and excavating the field below the wagtail site. Consequently a handful of Pieds were to be seen flitting about here. I walked up to the top of the track alongside the waggy field and back down. Just c10 Pieds, 1 LBBG and a couple Linnet were encountered.
Others: 1 each WW, Kestrel & House Sparrow, c7 Meadow Pipit, 4/5 Goldfinch, Caawvids.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Swalesmoor to Ogden

Arrived Swales at 0945 and found it busy with c10 LBBG, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Swift, c6 each Linnet, Meadow Pipit, 2 Swallow.
I went up to the top end of the field and went through the gap where the style was in order to go down the far side, where at the bottom I saw 1 juvenile Yellow Wagtail.

The farmer drove across the field from the track and after a very civilised chat it became apparent that although I was in his field he had provided the style years back so that walkers could access the track skirting the top outer field boundary.
I told him I thought he had removed the wooden posts and he responded somebody had actually stole them! We parted amiably and he asked me if I would close the middle gates after he had driven out of the field.
BS has circulated a msg round to various birders stating that any further viewing attempts of birds in this field should be made from the track only and I certainly support this as I now know the land is private.

I decided I'd do the walk from the Brookhouse track at the HX golf club bottom and end up at Ogden Res. At 1140 hrs I saw a large female raptor which I believed to be a Hen Harrier fly from the top end of the juncus field wall. It went straight across my field of vision, low over the vegetation heading in the direction of Mixenden Res and out of sight.
I walked up to the track that leads to the style and in the area where the Harrier was seen I came across yet another bird on the ground. 

Woodpigeon hiding in stone wall
It was an adult Woodpigeon and looked in peak condition but as it scrambled to escape my embrace I could see it was bleeding from the mouth. It eventually got to the wall where it hid and I managed this poor pic with my mobile bone.
So, a large raptor seen and then within 6/7 minutes in the same area a potential victim found bleeding. I feel I was probably responsible for denying one bird a meal and on the other hand committing another to a fairly rough time over the next day or two until nature works it's course.

I continued up the track with a Sparrowhawk overhead > E, Curlew, 2 BHG, 2 Swift and 2 WW for company until I bumped into DJS and we had a bit of a natter to say the least.
Ogden res held the usual BHs along with 6 LBBs and a similar count of Common Gulls. 3 Grey Wagtail were on the top Ogden Clough pool actively destroying the thousands of annoying midges. For the third time now a Sparrowhawk flew up the reservoir carrying prey, a small unid bird.

Approaching Ducky Corner, I saw a very strange sight. A black creature came out of the woods and twice scraped the right side of it's face leisurely along the track as if to remove an itch. Said critter then almost strolled into the vegetation on the waterside, leaving a good 6 inches of tail protruding. I thought If I'm quick I could grab the swine and rotate it 180 degrees before smashing its head against the stone wall. Then I thought, if the critter is even quicker it could separate a couple of my fingers from the beer glass holding hand in a breath so I passed. It was, horror of horrors a juvenile Mink.