Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mixenden For The Scoter

Drake Common Scoter as reported by DJS  still on Mixenden reservoir today at approx 1205 hrs. It looks like staying today due to the rain and slight mist which didn't inspire any attempts at photography especially as the bird kept itself at distance at all times.

The same conditions gave rise to low flying Swifts at head height allowing very good views with the naked eye. Also several House Martin few Swallows & 2 Pied Wagtail, 6 Canada, c8 Mallard.

Thanks to DP for the journey and Dave for the alert.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cold Edge to Ogden

Little Grebe, 3 Tufted Duck, pr Common Sandpiper then at 1110 hrs in the juncus below the farm house nr top dam a Grasshopper Warbler let rip for almost 15 minutes.
Also pr Curlew & Lapwing, 1 Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipits.

From Withens down via golf course to Ogden it was quiet. Meadow Pipits, 2 Whitethroat, pr Curlew, WWs, 3 Mistle Thrush.
Ogden had c40 LBBG, 4 BHG and usual.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wainstalls Killer Walk

Took the hard way up those bleeding steps top of Luddenden Dean to do the moors after the Wainstalls easy peasy start. Thing is the moorscape was frighteningly torpid I got about 4 birds not counting  Meadow Pipits.
1 Common Sandpiper in a drain, 1 Red Grouse, 1 Golden Plover chick I think at my feet & 1 unknown sp. dead chick in a drain. I found a couple of old what I presume to be SEO pellets.
Birds seen prior to this in the dean: 1 each  Buzzard, Grey Heron, Green Woody, GSW, Dipper, Nuthatch, pr Grey Wagtail.

Definitive ace drake Wigeon shot at 10 miles
Fly Flatts produced a nice surprise: 6 Wigeon, 5 if not all were drakes. 2 Redshank, 4 Lapwing, ditto Common Sandpiper, 5 Curlew, 1 each Dunlin & adult Golden Plover and the Canadas.

Ogden Res was boredom enshrined with c75 LBBG & 1 Herring Gull to break the monotony.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Soil Hill Sunshine

SH Approx 0815 hrs on a glorious summer morning. Nothing spectacular which is what I expected as I give the entire hell hill the once over from top to bottom and then some.
6 Greenfinch including young which is good for this area. House Sparrows, 2 House Martin, Swallows. 1 Lapwing ditto Curlew but the Oystercatcher(s) have legged it.

I may have had a smidgin of singing Sedge Warbler down in the remaining juncus patch but the problem is many Linnets were also screechin and singing and I couldn't get enough on the notes the bird rattled out on 2 occasions.
A pr of Whitethroat are breeding in an area formerly known as a regular spot now rendered inaccessible during the week owing to the ongoing excavations. 2 other Whitethroat were singing in the usual places.

The bottom pond gave cause for confusion: 3/4 juvenile Moorhen were floating around and in the heat haze I couldn't discern if the Little Grebe from a previous trip was still there.
2 male Reed Buntings were seen as were a pr Mallard, 1 Pied Wagtail, Skylarks and plenty Meadow Pipits. One of the latter, a juvenile was just quick enough to prevent itself from having 194 lbs of solid gristle and brittle bone step on it in the thick grass.

3 Skylark singing in Old Guy Rd Queensbury.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Local Doldrums Arrive

A quick tale of some enthusiasm that waned halfway round Ogden Res before giving way to abandonment at Stod Fold.
SH - providing a walkway only in a strong wind with a pr Swift struggling through not without valour.
I was surprised to find this Shrew on top of the hill which is officially 403 metres above sea level. I wonder did it die of hunger or from exhaustion after attempting to savage perhaps a passing Goshawk?

Pygmy Shrew
Ogden LBBG count upto 23, 4 BHG, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, pr Grey Wagtail, Coal Tit.
Stod Fold: few hirundines, 2 Pied Wagtail then I sued for peace and went shopping.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dump The Airhead

For chrissakes BBC2 get rid of that female doyen of personification NOW!

Swillington Last Gasp Success

With summer finally arriving even if only for a day or so I thought I'd go for the Black & Little Tern at Swilly.
It was a dour struggle to get to any decent watch point as the land is not managed nowadays and the vegetation is well overgrown.

After 2 hours of seeing the the regulars here I accepted defeat and prepared for the return home when the Black Tern swept over and circled a few times giving very acceptable views.
There was an additional bonus just 25 minutes later I encountered 2 duetting male Yellowhammers a bird I've seen only on Springwatch certainly this and probably last year also.
Others: Avocets with chicks, pr Shoveler & Shelduck, several Gadwall.
1 Garden Warbler, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, WWs, Reed & Sedge Warblers. c12 singing Reed Bunting, Common Terns, 1 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, Kestrel, Cormorants, Gulls, 1 Redshank, 3 Lapwing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Soil Hill and Ogden

Afternoon visit 1440 hrs. SH 2 Curlew, 1 Oystercatcher ditto, Kestrel, Lapwing & Little Grebe. 2 Whitethroat ditto Roe Deer one of which barked like a dawg.
The bottom of N slope will soon look like a motorway development.

Ponder ponder

Ogden c30 Canada, 6 BHG, 15 LBBG. One of the latter had me pondering; let's see what the photographs reveal. Pr Grey Wagtail, usual Warblers, 2 Song Thrush. Rocks Lane Whitethroat at full throttle.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Soil Hill Mixenden Walk

SH 1045 in blustery conditions. 3 LBBG, Pr Stock Dove ditto Canada, 1 each Oystercatcher & Whitethroat plus the residents. I disturbed a Little Owl on the track over the frog n toad from Coal Lane.

Ogden Res: 1 Common Sandpiper, 5 BHG, 24 Canada, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, WWs.
Halfway up from Skirden Clough bridge to Giants Tooth a Cuckoo called for up to 20 mins often almost overhead. Despite a concerted effort to latch my eyeballs on to it denseness prevented me from success. I'll point out right now the tree cover too was dense.

The second half of the walk to Mixenden was mundane apart from me disturbing Little Owl no.2 again perched on a wall. Several House Martins, less so Swallows & 3/4 Swift. 6 Pied Wagtails seen around the reservoir banking.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Windy Bank Environment

Last couple of days I’ve driven down Priestley Hill and at the top of Windy Bank, looked across towards the lane that leads down to Oats Royd, from Roper Lane
Friday am I Wandered down to the bit overlooking the wind turbines and there was a reasonable number of birds and plenty vocals. Stopped for maybe an hour and saw plenty Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, a quick glimpse of the arse end of two Partridge that were beating a very hasty retreat, Green Woodpecker (not seen, but calling on and off throughout), Bullfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and various other common species.  Towards the end, a Sparrowhawk glided through, close to the ground and although the calls continued, the sightings were then much less

PS Thanks Dave. As you said it is an under recorded area; I've been twice I think. I know that Wheatear and Buzzard have been clocked there.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Harriet To The Rescue

After registering my vote for the Free Beer For Life party I set off up to the hill from hell. Despite all the recent gravitational pull on the H2O it's still only Raggalds Mud.

At approx 1059 hrs a female Marsh Harrier flew over the hill top from the north. I had about 24 seconds on it and watched it pay attention to the vegetation on the NW corner briefly before continuing it's flight low down due south.
Others here were 1 each Curlew & Oystercatcher, 3 Mallard and the expected.

Ogden Res: the  Common Sandpiper pr were very active as were a number of noisy WW. 2 LBBG, 2 Chiffchaff & the Tufted Duck.
Mixenden Res: 2 Canada ditto Pied Wagtail, 1 Blackcap, pr Swift, few hirundines. The N shore metal gate has now been secured shut by YWA.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Washed Out

Today proved yet again that my insanity isn't quite stable. I went to Hardcastle Crags knowing it was gonna piss down but thinking it might break for a while. My clothing and boots are testimony enough that it stairrodded it continually.

Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, GSW, 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest ditto Song Thrush. An avalanche of young Blue & Gt Tits. Few Blackbird & Chaffinch & 2 Swallow.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Wake Up Call

At some unearthly hour this morning a Tawny Owlarm Clock went off thrice from the trees at the back of my hovel.
I used up my bird tokens last week and so had to fit an obligatory blank in today and where better a venue than Ogden Res. It delivered 2 LBBG, 1 BHG ditto Common Sandpiper, Tufted Duck & Canada Goose and usual WW, Chiffchaff.

Mixenden Res did just as well in terms of not much doing: 6 Swift and a higher number of House Martins & Swallows skimming insects also 5 Pied Wagtails attempting the same.
Access to the grounds is now available probably due to bolt cutters and sledgehammers. The litter on the N shoreline is almost a work of art.

A Buzzard flew over the frog n toad at Catherine Slack last Saturday am.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Summer Surprises

After a below par start at Soil Hill I turned up at Ogden Res to find a pr of unexpected Geese on the western shore at approx 1055 hrs. I had to double check them and am glad I got some photographs to boot. Pink-footed Goose. 😂

The second suprise is basically a free gift for the knockers and doubters. About 70 yards down from the Ogden Clough bridge on the E track I heard a call/song that stopped me in my tracks. It was coming from a sycamore tree in full summer foliage and I had no chance of seeing the bird which remained therein. I listened to it for 5 minutes or so and got on to Xeno Canto bird sounds both on the mobile and then my computer at home; It was a Turtle Dove! 

Others: A party of Siskin and Goldfinch up in the conifers near Giants Tooth, also a couple Blackcap, Chiffchaffs, few WW. 1 Tufted Duck & Common Sandpiper on the water.
Soil Hill still holding a pr Oystercatcher on the E quarry pond. 1 Whitethroat and the usual.
2 Whitethroat: 1 at Rocks Lane below Ogden, t'other just below junction of Albert Road with New Park Lane, Queensbury.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Gorple & Walshaw Dean

An early start courtesy of DW in breezy and cloudy conditions with the occasional break of sunshine. We had to work for the birds but got some reward eventually.

1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Cuckoos which were often distant and flighty.

Picture DW
Quite a few Chaffinch doing the rounds often out on to the open moor where there were fair numbers of Curlew and Oystercatchers. 5 Snipe and c9 Lapwing seen including a juvenile.

Picture NK
Other waders were 1 Redshank that wasn't very pleased with us walking past and 4 Common Sandpiper.

Picture DW
5 Lesser Redpoll were busy flying around calling ditto small parties of Goldfinch. There seemed to be Mistle Thrush everywhere with a few Blackbird thrown in here and there.

Pictures: top 2 NK, bottom 2 DW
3 juvenile Stonechat were watched for almost 15 minutes. 3 Tufted duck were on the drink and a pr Red Grouse seen nearby. Also 1 Blackcap singing as were many WW.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Gamekeepers v Ringers

Goes without saying that gamekeepers and their landed gentry landowner scuzzers are the barnacles on the arseholes of the world when it comes to raptor persecution. A pox on them and their patrons, preferably one that engenders such agony as enduring the Euro Song Contest 12 times in succession.

Bird trappers and ringers piss me off to a much lesser extent but still have a lot to answer for. Who are they trying to fool; all the hype about benefitting the bird is horse shit. Ultimately all the stress caused by a bird hanging upside down in a net before being manhandled then metallised is for one sole objective: to satisfy mankind's curiosity.

Yes I've been watching Springwatch.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

OK So I'm A Failure

I tried, I really did. 72 hours without birding cracked me up and I shot out the door early this am. No excuses, laugh, I don't mind.
Raggalds Flood - despite the rain it's as driza bone, no birds on it just a couple Pied Wagtail over the frog.

Soil Hill - 3 Oystercatcher on the E Quarry pond. Meadow Pipits n Skylarks very active, 1 Kestrel.
A Snipe was displaying noisily by the track across the road from Coal Lane along the plantation.

Ogden Res - drake Tufted Duck on the drink. Chiffchaff, couple of Blackcap and a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Goldcrest, Coal Tit. Oystercatcher overhead ditto couple Curlew.

Route to Mixenden - Curlew, Green Woodpecker, Lesser Redpoll, couple Blackbird. The res is full to the brim and had a few Swift doing the rounds along with more House Martin and Swallows. 1 Grey Wagtail seen.

I see the Friends of Mixenden Reservoir have done a terrific job in scattering litter around the grounds.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Scotland Day Four

Some Interesting Jockanese Birds at last as Spring weather hits Arrochar. This was probably scripted in the Old  Testament: 400 yards from my hotel bedroom window on Loch Long was a  Black Guillemot 😨.
3 Red-breasted Mercedes 🚔 were also present as was a Greylag Goose.

I went up a baby mountain (3 Soil Hills) and got  2 Tree Pipit, several Lesser Redpoll, Garden Warbler, Blackcap & 3 Goldcrest.
On descending the WW packed slopes I did a partial circuit of the loch and got an Eider drake, another Garden Warbler, Blackcap  & Tree Pipit then lunch break was signalled with a Spotted Flycatcher finally. Other birds on this leg were 1 each Chiffchaff, Grey Heron & Cormorant.
Song Thrush & Greenfinch also seen.

The flat tops of the walls on the loch side were festooned with cracked mussel shells; testimony to the work of the local Oystercatchers.
Sadly the pr Oysters that I saw nesting among the Herring Gull horde have abandoned the nest.

When I give up birding tomorrow at least it will be on a high note.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Scotland Day Three

Inveraray to Oban trip on another murky day. 5 Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Hooded Crow hybrid.

OK its time to get real I've fooled myself for long enough but don't want to fool my audience (yes I do mean all three of you) any more. Birding here is like doing 30 Ogdens without any relief - its utter crap. I've eyed more birds up in a packet of custard powder.

What a shitty pisspot part of the world this is.

Oban Harbour 14 Black Guillemot 😨😆 2 Rock Pipit & 1 Grey Heron. 2 Oystercatcher, Herring Gulls.

Other 1 Cormorant and a 2-1/2 second view of a rain soddend Short - eared Owl on a fence post. 1 Buzzard and Grey Heron no.2

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Scotland Day Two

Arrochar to Callander trip. Patchy with a few good sightings.
c14 Pink-footed Geese, c16 Canadas, a pr each of Red-breasted Merganser & Goosander, 1 Hooded Crow ditto Mute Swan, 7 Buzzard, 3 Pied Wagtail, ditto Cormorant.

I took photos of a pr of Oystercatcher that were pushing their luck by nesting among a pack of Herring Gulls. It could be that there is some symbiotic arrangement going on however. 1 Curlew was the only other wader seen.

I got my first Cuckoo of 2017 high up in the Trossachs. Another annual was Sand Martin already in breeding holes on the banks of the River Teith.
Others: 1 each Garden Warbler, Grey Wagtail & Reed Bunting. 1 each Grey Heron & Song Thrush, a good number of House Martins and Swifts. Swallows, few Blackbirds and the ubiquitous Siskin.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Scotland Day One

Basically birds seen from the coach en route from the Wetherby area to Arrochar with a few encountered around the hotel on arrival.
A total of 8 Buzzard, 1 each Raven, Red Kite & Kestrel, uggins of Gulls both large and small. Others: 2 WW, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Moorhen, 3 Curlew, 5  Lapwing, pr Dunnock, few Goldfinch, 1 Grey Heron.

After dinner when the rain cleared I had a short walk along the shores of Loch Long (there is no Loch Short) and found a platoon of Herring Gulls, 1 Mallard and a couple of Oystercatcher. These were overshadowed by a epidemic of Siskin in the trees. Also present a few Swallow, couple Chaffinch and a WW.
Hard to believe that of the caaawvids Magpie is a very scarce bird up here and to bear this out I only managed the one.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Taylor Lane & Ogden Res

A moderate walk round today starting with a Little Owl at approx 1040 hrs on the usual wall in Taylor Lane.
Just the residents present on Soil Hill with nothinge else to mention but an interesting interlude up Back Lane for almost 20 minutes.
Drawing level with the N end of Ogden Res I could hear a cacophony of sirens and klaxon horns being sounded continuously by 9 Oystercatchers. The birds not only flew around that end of the water but a couple of times they rapidly flew around E before returning to the res then eventually departing leaving this individual on the shore.

Another bash at looking for Spotted Flycatcher and Cuckoo in the same haunts of Ogden failed yet again. So it was heartening to find that the pr of Common Sandpiper reported earlier this week were showing on what is now the W beach.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mixenden Saves The Day

After yet another mind numbing day and the prospect of tying a heavy stone to my neck looming large, the sight of 8 Shelduck by the bank where the green metal gates are at Mixenden Res brought me to my senses. After alerting the troops I managed to get some photographs of the beauties as they drifted out to the centre.

Prior to this I'd done the route from Soil Hill and the heights of Ogden with scant reward until I got to the Mixenden stile by the golf course. Here I got a pr of  Tree Pipit one of which (not shown) was carrying a beakfull of food.

An Oystercatcher was in the quarry lake on SH with a Whitethroat on the Ned Hill track. Other birds include Curlew, Mistle Thrush, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, 3 LBBG winding up with 2 Swift at Shibden Head.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Respite Among The Rubbish

Early start from Queensbury to Mixenden mostly in the rain; Raggalds has about 1 litre of water starting to appear but no birds.
Soil Hell was lousy: Ogden Plantation was crap. There was a moment of positive action on Ogden Res - a pr Common Sandpiper were mating on the N shoreline. A pr LBBG were on the buoy and the woods surprisingly active with WW, couple of Chiffs & 3 Blackcap.
The walk across to Stod Fold and then to Mixenden Res was diabolical but yet again I was able to confirm that Meadow Pipits do fly from bush to bush, putting to rest the rubbish laid down by the guide books of yesteryear.
The Res was chronic - 1 each Grey Wagtail & LBBG and mebbe a Swallow or two.

This paragraph contains nothing about birds ( rather like the first one really). I chose to wear my nuclear reactor jacket today which is a yellow mustard colour. It had a profound effect on a bunch of Cattle. First off was 850 kg of throbbing gristle Bull that stood up and legged it down the field. Second, the cows and calves came running up to inspect me, one brave girl venturing forth for a sniff or two. Meanwhile Bully was hanging on behind the Cows but lets get real, I had a fence separating him from me and I certainly wouldn't have gone in and called him a sissy.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Soil Hill Sedge Warbler

Against the odds at 1015 hrs a Sedge Warbler was singing and displaying from a bush some 120 yards from where the earth has been ripped up by the excavators. I hope it moves on as it will only take a few days for the machinery to reach it's would be breeding site.

A Snipe was also seen at close quarters in the area along with 2 m Reed Bunting, a Red-legged Partridge, a Moorhen on the pond and this Oystercatcher.

A pr Curlew were on the top field along with the Meadow Pipits & Skylarks and a pr Swift were flying around with a few Swallows.
Others include Lapwings, Linnets, pr Dunnock, 6 Blackbird, 1 LBBG but no Whitethroats.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cromwell Bottom

1 m Sparrowhawk, ditto Reed Bunting, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Common Tern. 1 each Jay, GSW, Green Woodpecker. 3 large unid Gulls high overhead.
Swallows & Swifts but no Sand Martin seen.
Few WW, Blackcap  & Chiffchaff. 4 Whitethroat & 2 if not 3 Garden Warbler one of which was photographed.

Two acrocephaline Warblers were singing; one was a Sedge Warbler which was seen twice the other was a Reed Warbler which refused to reveal itself.
Song Thrush almost hit double figures as did Blackbird and it was good to get 3 LTT.

Goosander have bred with c12 birds being seen - 7 young 'uns in this gash picture.

On the way down a few Swift, Swallow & House Martin were seen between Queensbury Sth and Northowram.