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”!

Monday, 8 February 2010


Saturday unfortunately wasn’t a day for bird watching, not around here anyway. The fog was too thick to make out anything beyond twenty meters. I put the miles in with a good walk around Langsett Reservoir. In some places you couldn’t even make out where the water line ended and the fog began. Needless to say my sightings for the day were somewhat limited. The only birds of note were Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and good numbers still of Red Grouse on the moor. An encouraging sign was a fresh Peregrine kill, which could have only been hours old at the most, the victim being an unfortunate pigeon. It had been plucked and stripped yards from the moorland path. The pigeon wouldn’t have had a chance of evading a Peregrine in these conditions; it would have been hit a split second after it burst from the fog.

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