Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday 31st

My resolve to knock it on the head almost worked when I set off on a basic needs stroll. The Devil changed matters 😈 soon after as Apus and The Apodidaes struck up a few chords in the skies above. 5 Swift came flying around the hotel soon to be joined by c15 more.

So once again I was on  the southern rocky shore chalking up a couple of White Wagtails, Kentish Ps, Crested Ls & a Common Sand. Also the Adouin crew, 2 Ron Cormos, Stonechat, Linnets,  Lil Egrets & YLG.
I screwed the bobbin  and returned to the hotel for lunch to fined Apus and his ensemble had moved on.

The northern salinas provided 2 more newbies and better viewing conditions confirmed Slender - billed Gull,  3 of 'em. Incomers were Great Reed Warbler and a pr of Little Ringed Plover. 4 Marbled Duck were dozing with the Woodchat Shrike still present. Others: Hoopoe, Common Sandpiper, 4 Common Tern 2 Little Grebe et al.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

More Sufferring

Another hard days slog and all because I'm a pathetic helpless birder. New today were 6 Spotted Redshank, 1 Ruff, 3 splendid Woodchat Shrike one of which was rather photogenic. 3 BHG & a couple of possible Slender billed Gulls that need verifying as do a couple of distant marsh terns.
Event of the day has got to be when I let go a loud belch and flushed a Little Bittern.
The sun and distance is problematical e.g Ringed or Little Ringed Plover and at one stage are those all Green Sandpiper or is one a Common?
More to follow unless I get lucky and manage to get a cure for this debilitating illness.

PS I managed to verify all GREEN Sandpipers and the two Marsh Terns as WHISKERED which is splendid.  The Slender bills will have to be passed over.


Session 2. Went out at approx 1415 hours to an area of conifers which eventually lead to the southern rocky beach where I have had some good birding in visits of yore. There were stacks of Serin which nearly drove me nuts with their monotonous call. Also couple Blackbird, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and 4 Sardine Cans. The first 40 minutes on the beach nearly had me turning back such was the feeling of abject birdlessness. Sticking to it did pay off, I'm happy to say: 1 Tawny Pipit, 3 Stonechat, 4 Crested Lark, similar Linnet. c7 Kentish & 1 Grey Plover, 2 Turnstone, 1 Common Sandpiper. Returning to Base a male Marsh Harrier did 3/4 sorties and a couple of Swallow drifted by with a Cormorant flying NW. A check on the small well populated harbour area produced 2 YLG, 5 Audouins Gull and a welcome Green Sandpiper.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Starting off on Monday afternoon with a soaring Black Vulture seen from the transfer coach giving good views. Only been 29 years since my last one. Then a session with the  camera and c9 Audouins Gulls in the air.

Tuesday 28 March. If your busy break away now - this is gonna take some time.
1 Great White Egret, c23 Cattle Egret, c10 Little Egret, 7 Night Heron.
c16 Red - crested Porchard, 1 Marbled Duck, 8 Gadwall, similar Teal, 1 Wigeon, 6 Garganey, c16 Shoveler, c22, Shelduck, 1 Cormorant, Mallards.

Some of the reed bed pools were flooded so a few Waders were missing but there were: 4 Kentish Plover, ditto Snipe, c14, Black - winged Stilt, 8 Avocet, 1 each Greenshank & Green Sandpiper. The jury's still out on distant Marsh Sandpiper.
Just 2 raptor sp. today: 1 Kestrel & 2 pr Marsh Harrier - the latter often causing hell for the Waders n Ducks.
A pr Commic Tern  seen all too briefly; c10 YLG were the only Gulls. Also present few Coot, 2 Red -knobbed Coot, 2 Little & 1 GC Grebe, Moorhens.

Other: 3 Linnet, 1 each Redstart, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler & Song Thrush. 4 flava Wagtail methinks Blue - headed but the sun was dazzling. 1 White Wagtail and the usual Sardine Can Warblers, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin & Zitbags.
The last bird I heard before I hit the Wine Store was a singing Hoopoe.
I hope it's a quiet day tomorrow I can't stand this pace for long.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Soil Hill On Form

SH approx 0955 hrs. 2 Drumming Snipe, one on top t'other down the bottom. The so called NK pond at the far left field held 3 Mallard, 1 Moorhen, a pr Wigeon and a pr Teal. I'm not sure if the Wigeon stayed or not as I couldn't relocate 'em 20 mins later; however if they were under the near bank it's impossible to view.
There were 4 Golden Plover one of which was being harassed by a Lapwing of which numbers were around the 18 mark. An Oystercatcher was also in the bottom field with a Curlew calling nearby. As well as the several Skylark and Meadow Pipits a pr of Linnet put in an appearance briefly.

I scoured Raggalds Flood before going up the hill - it was clear of birds. When I revisited at about 1120 hours the reason became clear also - a ginger cat was doing the rounds prowling through the rushes.😻.
Old Guy Rd was quiet: 3 Skylark, 1 Lapwing, couple Meadow Pipit.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Queensbury to Ogden

Old Guy Rd approx 0930 hrs. 2 Skylark, 3 Lapwing, c16 Meadow Pipit and DW who had got 4 Teal on Raggalds Flood previously. Sure enough they were still there feeding busily at 1000 hrs.

Soil hill was gash in a SE'ly wind just c40 Lapwing and the usual larks and pipits. Back lane was also comatose leaving Ogden to provide some stimulation.

13 Goosander were for once almost tightly bunched 12 f & 1 male. 9 Common Gull & a drake Tufted were also present plus  the Canadas.

Once again an annual cropped up in the form of a singing Chiffchaff. By sheer coincidence DW reported one singing in Halifax town centre shortly afterwards.
Again quite a bit of Tit activity and 4 Goldcrest, 1 each Song Thrush & Grey Wagtail.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Local Rarity

Decided to search for Wheatear up Old Guy Rd, arriving at around 1335 hours. I did find a pr Mallard, 1 Skylark, 2 Woodpigeon, 3 Lapwing, c11 Meadow Pipit, c150 Starling & 2 Snipe, but not the intended. I am not in anyway depressed by this, as I found something of  far more importance for the local species list. A male Ring Ouzel was sat in the middle of a field about 35 yards away from the track leading to Fleet Lane. It flew onto a wall for a few seconds before dropping down out of sight.
I alerted local birders and while in conversation with BS, I saw the bird again flying from the said wall back in the direction of Old Guy Rd. I tried to retrace the bird, camera at the ready but to no avail. Even with the help of messrs DP and DW the bird remained hidden or it had moved on.

DP and me then paid a flying visit to the Cross Lane area only to find 4 Meadow Pipit in the fields but were happy to get a low flying Sparrowhawk > S. DP was also happy to have had his first Merlin of the year at another location.

DW reports 3 Wheatear, 2 Stonechat in fields by the wind turbines and also a flock of Golden Plover in the vicinity plus one other.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rained Off

Despite the rain I thought the E'ly blow would drop something in so I went up the hill from hell; the only thing that dropped was my body temperature. Just 1 Grey Heron, a few Skylark and Meadow Pipit present with a couple of House Sparrers in Perseverance Rd. 4 Redwing were in the plantation at Back Lane plus a couple of Pheasant.

2 Common Gull & 11 Goosander were on the water at Ogden with an Oystercatcher doing the rounds and 2 Curlew low overhead > W. There was a lot of activity from Blue/Gt Tits and for the first time in over a month a pr of LTT were seen - on and around the feeders. Two singing Song Thrush were nearby with a bunch of Goldfinch. A Grey Heron flew over > SW.

DW had a good sighting in the fields at Old Guy Rd, he reports c12 Lapwing and 10 Snipe the latter feeding out in the open and showing very well. Also present a large flock of Starling.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Old Birders Roll Over

Monday, March 20, 2017

Poor Start Good Finish

Ogden Environs approx 1255 hrs. Grey skies and light rain, winding up with sunshine and blustery NW'ly.
Not much change really: pr drake Tufted Duck, 10 Goosander, few Canada, singing Song Thrush, couple Goldcrest. one small gull, few Jackdaw.
Then a spirit bolstering loud chipping sound woke me up to see 4, probably 5 stonking Crossbills. Also couple Curlew, 1 Grey Wagtail and others.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Todays Birds

c30 Fieldfare, 2 Pied Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit, 19 Skylark, 2 Lapwing. Something orrible caused consternation among a party of Curlew for a few minutes.

It was very much now you see me now you don't on the H2O. In just over 20 mins the following splashed down and then moved on: 6 Common Gull, 3 LBBG & a juicy 2CY GBBG. There were 7 Goosander still hanging on and the 2 drake Tufted trying their best to get fat in ducky corner.
Also 1 each Bullfinch, Dunnock, Blackbird, several Goldfinch & few Chaffinch.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Soil Hill to Mixenden

SH 0950 hrs fresh SW'ly so got off asap just a few Skylark, 1 Kestrel.
On the walk to Ogden managed a flyover Siskin and Curlew.

Ogden Water Moorhen - a rare sight.

10 Goosander on the water, one female seen struggling with a frog which it eventually golloped down. Even scarcer was a Moorhen here; probably the 3rd record in almost 17 years on the main lake. 2 m Tufted Duck were iin the feeding corner.
A Green Woodpecker called twice.

The golf course was just a pleasant walk while Stod Fold turned up 5 Curlew, 2 Mistle Thrush, 6 Stock Dove & Woodpigs. A f Goldeneye was on Mixenden Res along with c12 Canada and a bunch of small gulls.

PS Tawny Owl Hooting away from the trees over the back yard at 2035 hrs.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Redcar Tarn

Approx 1140 hrs in an overcast sky with a strong NW'ly blow. I was greeted by the most desirable sight of c22 Golden Plover whizzing around for a minute or so; although they flew low, they never stopped, sadly.

There was no trace of last weeks Iceland Gull: another birder RP, also failed to see it. A few LBBG and c10 Herring Gulls were present, along with a multitude of smaller gulls, mainly BHs.
Others: 2 Oystercatcher, several Lapwing, couple Curlew, many Tufted Duck, 3 Chaffinch, Skylark, Pied Wagtail.

RP kindly gave me a lift back to Denholme where I had intended to visit Doe Park, however I changed my mind and went via the moors to Ogden. Here were a couple of Curlew, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and a Red Grouse; the wind doing a good job in keeping stuff down.

Ogden Water still held the 8 Goosander, 1 Cormorant and several Canada with the above Gt Tit & 6 Goldcrest also seen.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Busy Queensbury South

0905-1020 hrs, the place was alive with avian activity from the park round through the fields to the bog at Cross Lane.
5 Brambling seen although I'm sure more were around. Drumming GSW, White Crow, Chaffinches, 1 Greenfinch, few Goldfinch, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Mistle Thrush, similar Redwing, c16 Fieldfare, uggins of Starlings. Several Blue/Gt Tits, 3 Blackbird, 2 singing Song Thrush, 2 Collared Dove, Woodpigs.
c10 Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark, 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Snipe, singing Reed Bunting.
Magpies seem to be swarming around but not a single gull sp. seen at all.

PS 51 Brambling seen by Denise Saturday afternoon !!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Todays Birds

c19 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, 4 Curlew, c20 Lapwing, 5 Greenfinch, Kestrel, 4 Goldcrest, several Goldfinch.
2 pr Goosander, one pr certainly in breeding mood.

2 singing Song Thrush, 3 Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeons, 2 Chaffinch, 3 Pied & 1 Grey Wagtail.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Testing Witheld

Actually I'm doing a witheld test and not witholding any testing .
Yesterday Messrs Names Witheld visited Location Witheld and got a Brambling photo from about 2 yards. They also saw c10 Redpoll and later visited another Location Witheld failing to see a Witheld Species.

Elsewhere Name Witheld reports Witheld Species now standing at 10.

I'm getting excited by this new reporting format, perhaps my enthusiasm should be Witheld? 😎

PS This lunchtime I was assured that the Elsewhere Witheld Species has risen to 38.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Quick Swillington Trip

Thanks to DW I was unexpectedly on my way to Swillington Ings at 0935 hrs. 6 Shelduck, 14 Shoveler, 4 Pochard, 8 Gadwall, several Teal & Wigeon, hordes of Tufted Duck.

A surprise single Pinkfoot was in with a mobile 4 Greylags while many more of the latter were on the deck feeding.

4 Goosander chose to waddle across a partially flooded pathway giving us the opportunity to see this species actually walking on dry land, well almost.
Two annuals for the pr of us were seen: Black-necked Grebe & Great White Egret.
Other birds: 2 Curlew, 4 Oystercatcher ditto Reed Bunting, 1 each Meadow Pipit, Skylark & Tree Sparrow, pr Bullfinch. The floorboards were creaking under the weight of BHGs with a fair number of Lapwing also around.

One of the distant big gulls appeared to have dipped its head and shoulders into some red dye or a bloody carcass.

One Mute Swan was bearing a ring on the left leg: white on red Y830.

PS from Judy Hogg:
Here we go. This swan was ringed 22.07.11 as a cygnet at Pugneys Country  Park. Also sighted on 04.07.16 at Swillington and 15.11.16 at Allerton Bywater.
For a swan of that age it doesn’t seemed to have travelled far and there is no record of it breeding anywhere. Wonder where it was between 22.07.11 and the 2016 sightings. Wish we could encourage more people to read and report ring numbers. Thanks Nigel and hope this is of interest.

Very interesting and thanks.

Monday, March 06, 2017

A Moving Day

Soil Hill 1440 hrs. 8 Skylark, 2 Robin, Dunnock, Lapwings on bottom field. Conifers at end Ned Hill produced a much appreciated witheld which flew out  close by on my left hand side then 5 mins later after a brief sortie headed south, gained height and disappeared.
A Kestrel was seen giving good views as it carried a vole off.

The plantation area: 2 Redwing and individual Curlews in flight. While viewing, I stepped back and startled a Woodcock sat at edge of trees which it quickly flew back into.

On the drink: c40 small gulls; 3 of them being full summer breeding head BHGs. 1 Cormorant, 30 Canada & a pr Greylag Geese.

DW reports c10 Brambling at the usual site and a female Sparrowhawk over his garden.
DP reports the Tawny Owl blasting away around midnight maybe from his roof or nearest tree. (I was out for the count). He also got the 11 Whooper Swans on Cold Edge dams.

Saturday, March 04, 2017


After a report of a Barn Owl being seen, I visited the site with an optimistic air. This didn't last long upon encountering a person actually walking around the private land. Then to compound the issue a jolly family party let both their dogs loose, which then ran amok in the field that we view from the bridle path.

I went for a walk around the res which produced more tourists and gulls followed by a last gasp attempt at the track. A Raven called and I spent some time chatting to AC and watched 4 more people stroll the juncus field as 15 Curlew came over from NE. A small party of Goldfinch also turned up also Song Thrush, Blackbird, Bullfinch. Further down the road apiece a pr of Lapwing were displaying.

Owing to events occurring today which led to the infringement pertinent to the Schedule 1 Breeding Birds  list, I feel obliged to restrict viewing of this blog to those I feel are responsible people. In fact, I have to admit I slipped up by posting news of a sensitive species in the first place, even though the location was not specified.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Queensbury Update

This morning, a Buzzard which had perched in the trees opposite flushed by noisy and persistent corvids. It set off down the lane, in your direction.

Other than that, another Siskin on 25th Feb. Both ringed birds still here and the Brambling count was 38 yesterday.


Thanks for the info Denise, good to know it's still all happening in the reserve. I got some more audio evidence of a Tawny Owl in the 'hood at an unearthly hour this morning.


Thursday, March 02, 2017

Windy Ogden

In a bone chilling blast: 6 Canada, 1 Kestrel, few Goldfinch, c50 Fieldfare. Highlights were c40 Curlew feeding and a Raven. Plenty of Magpie knocking around, Woodpigeons.