Birdbrain Stuff

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Another Belting Bird

1435 hrs a Barn Owl watched in flight for well over a minute before it flew behind trees but appeared to stay in the general location.

Other birds seen today: 1 each Curlew, Kestrel & Sparrowhawk. 2 Jay, c50 Fieldfare, 8 Skylark, couple Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, numerous Lapwing. Only 7/8 small gull sp. throughout.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Hectic Morning

After a txt from DJS via BS I was on my way courtesy of DW to find 13 Whooper Swan on Mixenden Reservoir (approx 1015hrs) which were greatly appreciated being camera user friendly as well as a local winter annual.

Cold Edge Dams: 1 Greylag, 2 Barnacle and several Canada Geese. 1 each Curlew, Oystercatcher, Red Grouse. A couple of  small flocks of Lapwing were circling. Also single Skylark, Reed Bunting & Goldeneye.

Then it was up to Swalesmoor for the Ringby Top (Pule Hill on Birdguides) Snow Bunting. How fitting that we should meet DJS on the way back complete with smiling face😁.
The bird appeared after a 10 min search and put on a great show for us both.

Thanks for the trip Dave.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Snow Bunting At Last

Thanks to DJS for his txts I eventually got a belated Snow Bunting for this Winter. The Swalesmoor bird was doing a better job of coping with the howling wind and rain than I was too.

Wait till I find the swine that posted these ropy pics on My Blog!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Dorset Trip 2

The journey back to the grim northern wastelands so far has been kind to me. The fair county of Oxfordshire providing me with 3 Buzzard and 2 Red Kite. Elsewhere pr Mute Swan and Rooks at the nest. 1212 hrs.

Subsequently pr Pied Wagtail, 4 Coot. Buzzard count now 6. 1 Kestrel & Blackbird, several Lapwing.
Amazing how sightings dry up once we hit Porkshire 😮
Oops another Buzzard & Kestrel seen, also Moorhen, 4 Blackbird, c200 small guls & c250 Woodpigeon.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dorset Day 4

After 2-1/2 hours in Swanage I went into a booksellers and found 3 copies of The Birds of Swanage. It is one page shorter than the Birds of Ogden i.e 2 pages in total. I took a copy and the counter person paid me £1.50 for the inconvenience.

The most interesting but brief experience was when an auk sp appeared out of nowhere about 35 yards offshore. Twice I raised the bins and twice the bird took this as a cue to dive. It then disappeared, didn't fly, just removed itself from view. I'm clocking it as a Guillebill.
Others: 2 each Rock Pipit & Pied Wagtail, 1 Blackbird, Gulls.

Poole Harbour although very windy did alleviate the frustration with a fine drake Red-breasted Merganser, Turnstone, several Oystercatcher, some distant unid waders, 5 Brent Geese and a flock of Canadas.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dorset Day 3

All thoughts of Dartford Warbler at Hengistbury Head were crucified by the same wind that kills local birding around Queensbury, a strong SW'ly.

18 Brent Geese over > SW. 11 Redshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 each Little Egret & Grey Heron, 1 each Jay & Green Woodpecker, c22 Mute Swan, several Teal, numerous Wigeon, 4 LTT, 1 Stonechat ditto Skylark.
Finally 3 flying waders that came over rather close and thankfully called - Greenshank.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dorset Day 2

I walked along Bournemouth beach before the coach for Lyndhurst was due and got 2 GBBG before sighting about 11 Sea Duck types way out. I took quite a few extended digital zoom shots and tried to nail the species without success. Best I could manage was possible Scaup.

The ride through the New Forest was boredom enshrined; only birds seen were 2 Mistle Thrush & 4 Blackbird. Things changed in the most interesting NF Museum when I got Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Goshawk, Treecreeper and others down to 2 feet indoors.

I was so cheesed off on returning to Bournemouth I legged it all the way to Hengistbury Head and back and although it shortened me by about 2 centimetres it proved worthwhile. I got specific info on the local Dartford Warblers for a bash at them tomorrow and saw the following species.
13 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank, 9 Teal, c55 Wigeon, 8 Linnet, 7 Stonechat, 4 Greenfinch, 1 Skylark, 1 unid raptor zooming into a bush, uggins of gulls, Cormorants.
Stonechat down here are approachable so I burned a few hundred megabytes of camera storage space off.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dorset Trip 1

Birds seen on way down; hardly any, in reality the quietest journey I've experienced.
c58 Lapwing, pr Buzzard & a single, few large gull sp in the air. 2 Kestrel, 5 mute Swan, busy Rook colony, pr Pied Wagtail.
On arrival in Bournemouth I scoured the beach only to discover c14 BHG with hoods (in keeping with blooming daffodils) c20 Herrings, 1 Pied Wagtail, & 2 Greenfinch.
Off to the expansive New Forest tomorrow which should turn something up given the springlike climate.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Soil Hill to Oats Royd

1050 hrs bottom of N slope SH hoping for Curlew - nonsuch. c200 Lapwing in usual field and that was it apart from a Reed Bunting. The top section turned up 14 Skylark & 3 Meadow Pipit. The Ned Hill side at least provided another annual tick; a pr of Grey Partridge.
5 Roe Deer were present, the most I've ever seen here.

Ogden had nothing special on the water. Elsewhere there were 1 each Nuthatch & Song Thrush, few Goldfinch and c26 Fieldfare. c18 BHG were perched up on the rails but none were bearing rings.

Oats Royd where I spotted 4 parked vehicles and 2 anglers in full swing also turned up 1 each Jay, Sparrowhawk & Green Woodpecker, 9 Common Gull, 7 Rook.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bramblings - Look Away Now!

In case you're not bored to death with Brambling numbers, yesterday afternoon's count came to 42.

Thanks Denise, the day I get bored with Bramblings is the day I go live at Mountain and take up backgammon.

The Doldrums

Raggalds Flood full but empty 😰 Soil Hell at 1040 hrs 10 Skylark on top, Lapwings at the bottom.
Ogden reverts to the norm which is crap. Moorhen, 2 each Goldcrest and Goldfinch, Song Thrush, few Tits, Dullards, 6 Canada. Kestrel > SE.

Stod Fold 2 Goldfinch Blue/Gt Tits.
Mixenden c28 Canadas; the Goldeneye were missing. On a bright note I got a pr of calling Redpoll from the plantation edge.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ogden Whooper Swans

Thanks to a text from DJS (subsequently BS also) I was able to ring DW and pass on the news of 5 Whooper Swan on Ogden Res. This was a superfluous action: Dave had just parked his car there and within a couple of minutes he was on to them. I rushed to get ready and then received a call from him saying that they had flown off in the general direction of TMR at around 0950 hrs.

Photos: DW
Seeing as I was dressed I traipsed up to Soil Hell in the hope of seeing the Stonechats at the 13th attempt. I failed miserably: it would seem these birds are either BS fans, PM fans, or both.
There were 10 Skylark on top, c60 Lapwing down at the bottom also 2 Mallard and a Grey Heron in flight. Fog prevented me from picking out any Golden Plover that may have been present.

Raggalds sports field held about c190 Lapwing and 5 small gulls. I decided to go down to the cricket pitch in Old Guy Rd, Queensbury to look for Skylark. Only this Common Gull was present, along with one more in a field.

All was not lost in the plodding up and down, I got my first Grey Wagtail of the year...
at Chapel Lane in Queensbury.😌

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ogden Res Redeemeth

Oh yeth it doth. Lesser-spotted Woodpecker called nearby from E shore tree then flew across toward W. It then circled twice before dropping down into trees roughly halfway between the two green metal bridges.
Also a Nuthatch, Blue & Great Tit, 2 Blackbird, LBBG & small gulls.

Prior to this Soil Hell produced 1 Meadow Pipit & 6 Skylark. Raggalds was shrouded in fog and unworkable.
Stod Fold turned up a welcome pr of Dipper and a Goldfinch while Mixenden Res held the 3 Goldeneye, c28 Canada, c60 Jackdaw & a horde of small gulls.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Belated Whooper Swan News

Sorry for the late posting but 2 Whooper Swans went over early yesterday afternoon. They were to the south of us, going east and calling all the way before changing direction and heading off NE.

I should have said the Brambling had a Brussels ring rather than that it was from Brussels. Still awaiting a response from Belgium. All still here this morning.

We've never seen this before: 15 of the 17 Stock Doves which came right up to the house; Bramblings in the mid-distance.


Thanks for the info Denise. This winter Whoopers have been at a premium so its good to know they have started moving.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Queensbury Brambling Saturation Continues

Just an up-date for you. After several hundred shots, I managed to piece together the ring details for the afore-mentioned Brambling and it was ringed in Brussels. I've sent the details off through EU-Ring and I'll let you know if there's much more of a story. 30 birds here yesterday and a similar number today. One of the males is in very smart plumage.

Photos: D Shields
The Finnish Blackbird is still around. The next photo-challenge would be to get both ringed birds together...

Thanks once again for the news update Denise and the great pictures.

Other news today from DM: A Brambling seen near garden feeders in The Hough, Northowram along with a Greenfinch. 2 Redwing and 6 LTT were seen in the wider area and a Buzzard reported calling from the W side of Shibden Valley.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Swillingtons Ings

Started off at 1150 hrs in cold damp conditions with grey skies; light sleet following soon after. I managed two hours birding before my aging body succumbed to common sense and I called it a draw.
Large flock of Goldfinch with some Greenfinch, Chaffinch and a pr Bullfinch thrown in. Another smaller party of Goldfinch had a few Lesser Redpoll in with them.

I spent a good 25 minutes searching for the Long-tailed Duck and finally found it among some Goosander, Goldeneye pr and a bunch of Tufted; views weren't exactly scintillating however.
A massive skein of PFG were seen in the distance, possibly over 500 birds.
Gadwall numbers were good, not so Pochard with only a pr viewed.
Tufted numbers were high. 3 Little Egret (I missed the Great White).
c11 Cormorant, 1 Shelduck, 6 Greylag, c70 Canada.
Waders were down to 1 Redshank and maybe c200 Lapwing.

Im not sure about a fleeting glimpse of f  Marsh Harrier but I did get 2 f Kestrel, one of which allowed a photo. 1 each of Skylark & Reed Bunting also encountered, plus the expected water fowl, several GBBG were on the deck.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Final Med Gull Info

The ringers have replied re Med Gull Yellow 2H47. This gull bucks the trend of BHGs coming to the UK from Europe in that it was ringed in Yarmouth and paid only one visit to the Netherlands.
Click here for details of the PDF file - you will need to use the + key to enlarge the text.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Raggalds to Stod Fold

8 small gulls on the flood. At 1130 hrs half way up the hill from hades a Green Woodpecker flew across Perseverance Rd > W then switched direction to Bradshaw. The hill top had 10 Skylark most of them singers. A local chap told me a Snipe was flushed earlier.
Looking down at the N slope bottom fields were uggins of Starling in with c200 Lapwing but no sign of the Golden Plover seen by BS last night. A Herring Gull high up was circling.

Ogden plantation coughed up c22 Fieldfare then the taps got turned off. The res was tear jerkingly boring and Stod Fold too was inert. Time to leave and return home and give Mixenden a miss.

Park Lane Update

Hi Nigel, 

There were 23 Brambling today but not the ringed individual. It was here again yesterday but I couldn't get anything on the ring. Let's hope it hangs around for a while.

The white crow has found a source of food, as you can see-not from us!  Up to 4 Bullfinches coming in, the Treecreeper was here for quite a long time.

Pics: Denise Shields
This afternoon and this morning's bonus bird, was a Siskin.

Denise 06 Feb

Thanks yet again Denise for this info. Caught up in the Brambling avalanche recently, it's been easy to forget what other good birds you get as visitors.

PS This morning 7 Feb there were 34 Brambling in the garden.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Foster Park to Low Moor

First let me inform those unfortunates that read this blog both Foster Park and Littlemoor Park are one and the same; the latter being the local name for the place.
FP 0855 hrs c24 Brambling very active. 2 Song Thrush duetting, 2 Mistle Thrush, 4 Blackbird, Blue & Gt Tits. The White Crow flew across > E.
Here are 5 pics, the first 3 are mine, the last 2 amazingly unbelievable shots are from DW, who followed me down.

bottom 2 pics by DW
Cock Hill: c34 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, several Starling, few House Sparrows.

Harold Park lake at 1050 hrs was covered in mist and I could only see 5 Mute Swan, 1 f Goosander, 2 Redwing, 3 Blackbird & a few Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, several muted small gulls.
Park Dam 40 minutes later was better as the crap slowly lifted: 3 Goosander, 2 each GC & Little Grebe also Herring Gull. 1 Cormorant, c28 Canada, 5 Blackbird, several Coot, few Moorhen & Tufted. Several small gulls and as I was leaving the 5 a/m Mute Swan tickled the sound barrier and flew in.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Queensbury to Shibden Valley

At 0955 hrs a short session of about 10 mins in Foster Park got me: 3 Blackbird, 1 Jay, few Blue & Gt Tit and 6 Brambling. The latter were in the hedgerow within the top Park Lane entrance, but I bet I know where they were thinking of going or had just left..

One Skylark and 3 Common Gull around Corporal Lane, then for a good hour or so, it was downhill all the way both literally and metaphorically. Shibden was almost like an avian vacuum: any action took place sporadically within a minute or so. Again Blue/Gt Tits mainly with some colour provided by Green Woodpecker, Buzzard and Nuthatch. A Tawny Owl did call briefly.

The return leg proved rather interesting; uphill all the way and I discovered a new marine training route.🏃 Barbed wire, steep inclines, boggy bits ankle deep if you were lucky. At least I proved I'm fighting fit - fighting for breath and fit to drop 💩👅

Queensbury Bramblefest

Hi Nigel, Just to let you know, I'm still seeing Bramblings, daily, in various parts of the garden but they sometimes congregate under the feeders at around 2pm. There have usually been 9 or 10 birds but this afternoon there were 20. I was trying to see how many I could get in a frame and, unfortunately, didn't notice the right-hand bird until I checked the pictures. The ghastly crop doesn't reveal anything useful. There's a challenge, if it comes back tomorrow...

Pictures Denise Shields
The Finnish Blackbird is still coming in. My Garden Birdwatch count included 14 Stock Doves, 18 Blackbirds and more Bramblings than Chaffinches.

Denise 02 Feb

Thanks a lot Denise; what an impressive count for not only the local but I should think a wider West Yorkshire area.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Med Gull Ring Info

This Med Gull from Yarmouth E809 15207 is a well documented bird and its been around so long it has had the white ring replaced a couple of times.

Click here to see the full documentation, if you are interested of course.

I am still waiting returns for Black on Yellow ring 2H47 but indications show it was ringed in the UK! Amazing that Ogden Water BHGs come from further afield than the Meds I saw in Norfolk but then again the Meds don't come to Yorkshire as often 👀👺

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Raggalds to Mixenden

c65 Lapwing & 1 Pied Wagtail Raggalds at 0935 hrs, the former flying around.
Soil Hill was shrouded by the fog undertaker and birdless. Ogden back lane had 9 Pheasant and some Woodpigs. The res was chronic; only a Nuthatch saved my receding sanity.

Stod Fold by contrast was lively. 26 Canada, 3 Goldfinch, 1 LTT ditto Mistle Thrush. c15 Pied Wagtail, c10 Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, 4 Blackbird, 1 GSW.
A large flock of Starling had about 35 Fieldfare in among while c45 Redwing were flying around seperately. Also many Jackdaw in the wider area.
Mixenden Res sported the 3 Goldeneye, 4 Mallard and a host of small gulls.

DM reports 2 Buzzard showing well in Shibden Valley.