So why the Shat Birder?

I got a bit of stick for calling my blog The Shat Birder and contrary to the jibes it is not a description! Shat is actually (believe it or not) the local name for the village in which I have lived all my life, Skelmanthorpe.
Skelmanthorpe is on the outskirts of Huddersfield and in the 1870’s during the construction of the railway line (which is now Kirklees Light Railway), local unskilled labourers were drafted in to chip away at the rock that would later carve out Shelley Tunnel. These local lads were nicknamed stone “Shatterers” by the Irish navvies who had been employed to lay the line. The taunting from these “foreigners” actually ended in a 200 man mass brawl, which saw one of the Irish workers getting part of his ear bitten off! It was this incident that coined the phrase “Shat lug oyl biter” which when translated from broad Yorkshire is basically “Skelmanthorpe Ear Hole Nibbler”. Since then though, nearly 140 years on, Skelmanthorpe is still known as Shat! And all its inhabitants by the abbreviated “Shatters”!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Winscar & Harden

This weekend has been fairly bird free to be honest, with no new additions to the 2010 list. A walk around the outskirts of Skelmanthorpe didn't bring much, possibly due to an organised shoot in Blacker Wood. If the birds knew what was best they would have stayed away? I did head up to Winscar though for a couple of hours to see if anything was on the water but that too was quiet. It did make for some great scenery though.

Winscar Reservoir

I parked up to take a walk out on one of the footpaths in the Harden/Snailsden valley as it has been very good in recent years for wintering raptors, a Kestrel was the only bird of prey sighted. Red Grouse were vocal in and amongst the heather and a small flock of Bullfinch flited around the tree's on the roadside, keeping their distance. All in all it was a great walk, just short on numbers when it came to species of birds seen.

Harden Reservoir

A distant Castle Hill

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