Monday, 6 April 2015

Soil Hill and Garden

Bank Holiday Monday: a day spent trying to avoid the crowds. As a result we went to Wycolle in the morning. It was another lovely day but the wildlife remained a little on the sparse side, a pretty usual feature of the site. In the duckpond there were plenty of frogs, as in absolutely loads, and even a couple on the lawn around that we moved to avoid anything bad happening to.
Birds were the usual suspects although my dad and I walked a little further than usual and were rewarded with nice views of Common Buzzard, which is the first time we have seen one here. Other than that there were only a usual assembly of moorland species; Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing being the highlights.

Species List:
Wycolle CP: Meadow Pipit, Pheasant, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Magpie, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Great Tit, Skylark, Oystercatcher, Woodpigeon, Mallard, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Common Buzzard, Curlew, Lapwing, 

In the afternoon I went up to Soil Hill armed with the scope and tripod, hoping to pick out an osprey. Sadly I did not pick one out but I did manage to spot another Common Buzzard, first at half 3 distantly over Oxenhope and then at half 4 more over towards Bradford when I was able to pick out actual plumage features for the first time. Also had a Sparrowhawk, or possibly 2 and 2 kestrels. Aside from them there was nothing unusual, but it gave me a chance to practice more with the scope and get used to identifying small blobs on the horizon for 2 and a half hours. Inexplicably still no wheatears! I bumped into Brian Sumner too, which was nice to have a catch up.

Species List:
Soil Hill: Common Buzzard, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Linnet, Lapwing, Curlew, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, 

Between site visits the garden was a hive of amphibian activity. I reckon we had at least 25 frogs in the two ponds with out first clumps of spawn for the year. There was one group of around 10 frogs all sat together in one of the plant pots, creating a very crowded scene!
-Common Frog
While watching the frogs a Long-Tailed Tit flew over, which is only the 3rd record for the garden. It landed in a tree adjacent to the wall along the field. It then flew off up the track. My mum had said she had seen one on the feeders 2 days ago, so I guess this is the same bird.
There continued to be a few Meadow Pipits flying over, and we heard a bird of prey calling but could not find it. It would seem likely that this would be the Buzzard frequenting the nearby moors, as that's the only bird of prey we have seen around recently.

Species List:
Garden: Long-Tailed Tit, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Blue Tit,


  1. A good try on Soil Hill for the
    "W" ....
    Not there today as far as I could see.

  2. No, I had a quick look after failing again at them lesser peckers and I diddnt get any. Typical, they start dropping in all over Calderdale except for us. Haha