Birdbrain Stuff

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Busy Morning

Soil Hill 1010 hrs in an E'ly breeze. 1 House Martin ditto Swallow. 5 each Pied Wagtail & Wheatear. Pr Raven, 1 Whitethroat. A drake Tufted Duck flew W and subsequently landed on Ogden Res. 1 Kestrel and the usual residents.




DP was on the promenade at Ogden and reports several Wheatear and a f Stonechat from the Cold Edge area. 3 LBBG were on the drink and the GC Grebe is still hanging around.

The route to Mixenden produced 1 Reed Bunting, 1 each Curlew & Linnet, a probable singing Tree Pipit (same area as t'other day) JL, a few WW, 2 Wheatear, 1 Little Owl.
Mixenden Res: a noisy pr Common Sandpiper, ditto Redshank, pr Grey Wagtail, pr Tufted Duck. Also 4 Canada, WWs & Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Raggalds Route Etc

Nowt bar a stiff breeze on the flood and a Pied Wagtail over.
Basically same as previous up the hill and at Ogden but a GC Grebe was fresh in.

Below the embankment in the open was a Tree Pipit with a nearby Meadow Pipit emphasising the plumage difference.
2 Wheatear, 1 Reed Bunting ditto Curlew.
Also 3 Swallow, 1 Cormorant, pr Redshank and usual Warblers.

I had been up Giants Tooth gasping away previously with nothing to show but a Red Grouse. While we're at it when is this fwicking winter going to expire? 😨

Monday, April 24, 2017

Raggalds to Mixenden

Raggalds Flood 1130 hrs. 2 LRP, 1 Swallow,  ditto LBBG over.  1 each DJS & AT also Pied Wagtail nearby.
The farm field up Perversion Road is being excavated; this attracted a Wheatear which perched on a nearby rooftop. Soil Hill top just held a Kestrel & the usual larks etc and the wind drove me off it real fast.

Ogden Res and golf course were insipid. 1 Cormorant, 2 Swallow, few WW, 1 Chiffchaff.
Once again things picked up over the stile to Mixenden. 3 Wheatear, pr Linnet & Meadow Pipit, 1 Curlew, ditto Mistle Thrush.
The reservoir held 4 Canada, 1 Swallow, pr Grey Wagtail, pr Redshank and a few WW. A bonus bird was my first Common Sandpiper of the year.

Crow Food
Both Ogden and Mixenden reservoirs had Mallard duckettes on them. I got to a family on the path at Ogden just in time to scare a Crow off from nabbing a young 'un.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Raggalds to Mixenden

Raggalds Flood 0930 hrs nothing; it needs topping up. (That statement will haunt me I'm sure)
Soil Hill bottom: Reed Bunting, Snipe, Wheatear, Pheasant, Lapwings. Pr Grey Partridge on top.
Ogden was full of WW also 1 Jay, ditto Grey Wagtail..
The golf course was quiet apart from 2 mating Crows. Another Crow was sat on a nest.


I'm becoming addicted to Hunter Hill bottom as it produced 4 Wheatear, 2 Curlew, 1 Mistle Thrush with a calling Tawny Owl across at Stod Fold. A drumming GSW and a Green Woody were also at the latter location.
One of the Wheatear perched in a tree for a couple of minutes an event I've only seen twice before.
Many won't believe this but I got my first Little Owl of 2017 by the brewery at Stod 😌😏 A Goldcrest was singing by the roadside in Mixenden.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Blacktoft and Swillington

Blacktoft Sands:
Montagues Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Garganey, Yellow Wagtail, Cettis & Sedge Warbler, Sand Martins, Grasshopper Warbler, Little Egret, GBBG, Avocets, Shelduck, Shovelers, Tree Sparrows, Greylags, WW, Chiffchaff.

Swillington Ings: Common Terns, Bittern booming, Long-tailed Duck, Black-tailed Godwit, Blackcap, WW, Chiffchaff. Wheatear,  Pochards, Sand Martins, Swallow, Gadwall, Redshank, Reed Warbler.

These are most but not all of the species seen today on a memorable trip thanks to DW.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Miss Then Big Time Hit

An appalling start at Raggalds Flood with nothing showing. The Hill too wasn't big shakes though I did spend some time with some photogenic Skylarks (pics to follow if I find time). 6 LBBG > N.
Ogden Res was also comatose: GSW drumming, Coal Tit carrying nest material, WWs and couple Chiffchaffs. I thought call it a draw and go home but my inherent stubborness and love of depression forced me on like a zombie.

Then up the track from Brookhouse in the rough ground, it started to happen.



I checked the wall and got a Linnet but then 3/4 minutes later I clocked this cracking male Whinchat which hung around for about 10 minutes. This certainly lifted my spirits and so I ventured on over the style and on to Mixenden.

Checking the spot where I nailed 4 Wheatear a couple days back, I got sight of a dark thrush type in flight and could tell it weren't yer average blackbird by the slender body and flight pattern. Was I over the moon when it stopped and perched atop a tree at Hunter Hill bottom.



As expected but in reality more hoped for it turned out to be a belting male Ring Ouzel which is a first for this location about 300 metres away from Mixenden Res and only my second of the year.
Shortly after taking these shots the bird flew off up the hill only to land atop another tree and survey it's surroundings.

The reservoir calmed things down: pr Grey Wagtail, 2 Chiffchaff, WW, 5 Swallow, no sign of  the Redshanks.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Raggalds Flood Delivers

RF 0900 hrs in a biting E'ly wind and bright sunshine. 2 Redshank and 2 Charadrius Plovers feeding in the open. The wind stung my eyes so it was difficult to split the latter but one did give the impression of LRP. Luckily DW responded to my msgs and turned up with his 83 x Howitzer. The images he took confirmed it was Little-ringed Plover.


Pictures DW
Soil Hill: pr Oystercatcher, chipping Snipe, Lapwings, Curlews, Linnets etc. Newbies for me were a Wheatear in Coal Lane and a brief Swallow across the road.
Ogden Res: 1 each Cormorant, Grey Heron, LBBG. c26 Canada. 2 Chiffchaff, 8 WW, 1 Blackcap ditto Nuthatch, 2 Song Thrush.


The walk across the golf course proved of interest with a singing Green Woodpecker down at Stod Fold and a Stonechat also singing near the footpath to Mixenden. 4 cracking Wheatear were at the foot of Hunter Hill flitting along nearby walls. 4 more WW were singing and a pr Curlew were bubbling along up the hill.
Mixenden Res: pr Redshank ditto Grey Wagtail, 4 Canada, 1 each WW & Chiffchaff. No Swallows seen today.

PS Dave went back to Raggalds Flood and was able to photograph both plovers and confirmed the other one was also LRP.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Reservoir Round Trip

I set off resolutely up to Soil Hill early to seek out Wheatear but DP kindly kidnapped me en route and we visited Fly Fly Flatts briefly, then Cold Edge Dams and Mixenden Res.
3 Golden Plover were at Nolstar and my first Wheatear of the year was a fine male in a farm field opposite the wind turbine site car park.

Fly Flatts was hard work in the blustery wind: couple Lapwing, Skylark, chipping Snipe. Had a natter with BS before moving back down to Cold Edge. A pr Red Grouse were flushed at close range here and a Snipe seen briefly with Curlews very much evident. Barnacle Goose with leg ring TA8 or BVT was in company with a few Canada and 3 Greylags. A pr Redshank were moving around, 4 WW were in the small plantation and a Swallow briefly zipped across the track never to be refound. This inspired a move to Mixenden in order to get DP his first annual Swallow.

Mixenden Res turned up trumps with Swallows seemingly moving in; first count 5 then after a 15 minute watch we both agreed there was a total of 11 birds skimming across the water. Also here was a pr Grey Wagtail, a Redshank wading just offshore and a singing Song Thrush performing with gusto. 1 singing Chiffchaff  heard.


PS I searched EURING which shows the Barnacle Goose was ringed in the Solway Firth Scotland and probably originated from Svalbard Norway.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hit and Miss

Raggalds Flood 1345 hrs 1 Redshank & 1 Pied Wagtail, a few Starling and a Lapwing turned up later.
Soil Hill had c14 Fieldfare on the E slope in with a bunch of Starling. 2 Oystercatcher and the Lapwings, c40 Woodpigeon, 1 Kestrel and the Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. A Kestrel was seen over the Ned Hill track.
About a third of the Coal Lane pottery building has been demolished - the one where Swallows bred in 😢

A pr Red-legged Partridge were in a field near the plantation at Ogden but the reservoir was eerily quiet, lacking birdsong. Exceptionally there were brief interludes from 2 WW and a Blackcap. 2 LBBG were on the buoy then a Cormorant took over.

DM reports 1 Buzzard in Shibden Valley.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Raggalds to Mixenden

When I looked out the window early on I thought only nutters and the mentally unfortunate go out in this filth. At 1035 hrs I was watching a Redshank on Raggalds Flood prior to going up the hill from hell.

It was just that, I got off sharpish with just Meadow Pipits and Skylarks to show and went down to Ogden. Moving on rapidly after just 1 WW heard I braved the golf course  and picked up another one and a couple of Curlew calling.

Stod Fold produced a few Goldfinch and a Grey Wagtail then Mixenden proved to be a fair choice. 1 each WW & Chiffchaff, pr Linnet, 6 Canada, pr Mallard, pr Grey Wagtail, 3 Swallow, 1 each LBBG & Redshank.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Today's Birds

Raggalds Flood 1235 hrs 1 Redshank on what is left of it.
Soil Hill this am had 7 Wheatear on the S slope (Bradshaw) DP. I had limited time so had to do a quickie and got only 1 Lapwing, 2 Canadas, Meadow Pipits & Skylarks.


Notice the detritus adhering to the base of upper beak.

Oh I do wish that photographer would disappear.
Ogden Res migrants came in two's but not pairs. WW, Chiffchaff & Blackcap, all singers as was a Nuthatch. A pair of Bullfinch seen.


A Cormorant was on the buoy and a drake Tufted was alongside the E bank.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Queensbury Circular Walk

At 0650 hours Raggalds flood was still present but no birds were. Soil Hill fared better: 3 Pied Wagtail, several Linnet, usual array of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, 3 Pheasants.
A pr Oystercatcher were mating, c14 Lapwing seen and a pr Snipe. One of the Snipe was displaying with gusto and at one time it perched on the telephone wires - BS also witnessed this in a recent visit.
Also 4 Canada, Moorhen, Chaffinch, Blackbird (thoroughly checked out) pr Dunnock.



Raggalds flood on the return leg had 2 Carrion Crow on it. Old Guy Rd produced 2 Skylark ditto Meadow Pipit.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Final Push For Glory

More like final stagger; I badly need new legs and probably a hip replacement soon 😮.
Still not much to crow about, no newbies and the first time I've crashed in the Mediterranean with flycatchers.

6 Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Zitbag carrying nest material. 3 Cow Egrets, Purple Heron, 10 BHG, Marsh Harrier male.
A noticeable increase in hirundines, also WWS & Chiffchaff. Redstart no.4 seen - yet another male.
2 Common & 1 Green Sandpiper plus uggins of BW Stilt and waterfowl.

Talking of crows there have been no Hoodeds in the area (thankfully it's Magpie free too) but there was a Crow around 3 days back which showed again this morning. This bird had all the traits of a UK type Carrion and the size was right too, seen close up. So why did it Krok Krok deeply like a Raven - a much bigger bird?!
My sanity is borderline at best I think I won't push it with this one 😨.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Local Area Upgraded

On the basis of another below average performance here in the S'albufera de Mallorca I have reviewed my appraisal of birding back home.
This morning was warm and dry but once again a nagging variable N'ly breeze was present. Activity was minimal and quite a few Waders were gone with just 2 new species to report. The first was a Sedge Warbler, the second was a House Martin.
A bit of positive action took place when a Purple Swamphen came out of the reeds with 2 youngsters in tow.

Summarising the past 10 day's birding here after comparisons with visits both last year and ones prior to that I wholeheartedly upgrade birding in areas such as Queensbury Soil Hill and Ogden from Abysmal to Appalling 😆.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Half Day Stroll

Having taken a full day off yesterday I decided on a half day this am looking around the agricultural fields. It paid off in the sense that I finally managed a pr Stone Curlew flying around calling loudly but not settling to give any type of view. Perhaps in the remaining 2 days more may arrive hopefully.

Another new bird was seen in flight giving fairly good views but not near enough for any contre joure photos. This was a Purple Heron which eventually landed in the reeds.
Another 2 Nightingale were singing and I was happy to get my 3rd male Redstart which reminded me with its flitting around that flycatchers are yet to appear.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Manifestations Of A Rancid Imagination

A birder I knew got quite flustered He really was keener than mustard. This came to an end one April weekend when he got kicked in the teeth by a Bustard.

There was a wealthy birdwatcher from Doha who booked a self drive bird trip to Goa. There was a big hitch he drove into a ditch and lost his Leicas, Manfrotto and Kowa.

There was an old birder called Drew who had a penchant for Pochard and Smew. Eyebrows were raised when he said he liked braised but he also would have them in stew.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Happy Monday

A much better day for being a birder with a fair bit of action and new species to boot, namely 4 Little Stint, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Blackcap, 3 Moustached Warbler, 2 Sand Martin. A Nightingale or Thrush Nightingale was singing from thick cover so I switched on the camera video recorder and hopefully playback and listening to Xeno Canto this evening should resolve matters. Also in new for me were 3 Redshank which is hard to believe for such a widespread wader.

Other players worth a mention: 1 Purple Swamphen, c23 Ruff that came swooping down in a rush, 2 Greenshank, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 LRP that came close for average photos and 3 Garganey not quite so close. 4 Pochard besides the c20 Red Cresteds. 4 Corn Bunting and a Hoopoe I managed a snap of.
I searched 2 historic Stone Curlew sites that normally produce by this date but none so far. Wound up the session with Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk.

PS The singer was Common Nightingale I would've preferred Thrush but let's not be churlish.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Sunday 2 Apr

Not up to a big slog after a Hoopoe in the hotel grounds did the job of an alarm clock so I did the southern shore in a cool NW'LY blow. As a result it was hard graft albeit there was one moment of interest. A Kentish Plover was holding territory among the rocks on the beach. This gave me time to fire off 4/5 decent shots before I scarpered. The bird is in for a rough time though, the area is a popular tourist spot.

Also 1 each White Wagtail, Meadow & Tawny Pipit, 3 Crested Larks, 2 Stonechat, 4 Linnet, 2 Turnstone, 1 Cormorant, few Audouins & 2 YL Gulls, Little Grebe, 3 Swallow and the ubiquitous Sardines.
I had fancied a Sandwich but no worries I'll make do with whatever is served at lunch (Tern 😆).

I slipped up real bad in the afternoon by visiting the salinas; the wind had turned to the NE and it was diabolical. Yesterday's Swifts had gone and apart from a Kestrel the skies were empty. I managed a Woodchat Shrike, Hoopoe, Chukar and Serins oh and I must give the many Cettis a mention having not done so previously.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Birthday Gift

I did the agricultural fields today and got 6 singing Corn Bunting, also 6 Hoopoe and a Zitter that stayed still for 5 seconds 😮. Also Crested Larks and Stonechats.
Swifts are now well established.

Inside the reserve I noticed another raptor interacting with the Marsh Harrier I was taking pics of. Twas only an Osprey which I accepted as a gift and not bad for ones fiftieth doncha think 😆

It was another busy session including 4 new Sanderling, 7 Garganey, ditto Green Sandpiper, c10 Spotted Redshank, new Great Reed Warbler & Woodchat Shrike plus those mentioned previously.
Then it pissed down.