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, 22 March 2010

Royd Moor

If Saturdays Sand Martins didn’t tell me that spring was well and truly upon us, Sunday’s cricket practise did! Rusty doesn’t even cover it; I had to check I wasn’t holding the bat upside down at one point! With that ordeal over and junior at back-to-back birthday parties I was free to roam. I had a great walk around Royd Moor reservoir.

There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but a good mixture of birds all the same. Singing Yellowhammers, displaying Meadow Pipits, drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, it was a superb couple of hours.

Blue Tit

Whilst watching a flock of Fieldfare go over I hit on a very high bird of prey circling. I did my best to try and make it into a migrating Osprey but as it neared it was clearly a Buzzard, it had the pulse racing though for the minute or so I was undecided.

Meadow Pipit


Give it a few more weeks and this place will be buzzing with summer migrants, I thought I might get lucky with an early Swallow but will sadly have to wait. It seems funny getting exited about a bird you know in a month’s time you will see thousands of?

The walk certainly took my mind off this coming week’s courtroom battle as I’m trying to win a Trade Descriptions lawsuit. Holidays in the past have been a problem, we can never find suitable care for our pet 750kg bull European Elk – Kevin. Kevin is a handful at the best of times so finding the right people is essential. It seemed all our prayers had been answered when Moose Storage opened only a few miles from our home, by the Sovereign Inn in Shepley. It did seem too good to be true. As we packed our cases and departed for Manchester Airport, the only thing left was to get Kevin into the adapted horsebox and drop him off at Moose Storage on the way through. Imagine our despair as the manager shook his head and refused to take him. It’s fair to say that Kevin’s behaviour didn’t help; I can only think he was disgruntled from the bumpy ride. His antlers kept protruding the sides of the horsebox as he aggressively stomped around inside. Surely though as specialists in this field, the Moose Storage team see this sort of thing everyday? No pet likes being left for two weeks! Either way, they weren’t taking him? Holiday over! As we turned back home, the words “I’ll see you in court” rang out like an episode of Ally McBeal. Should we win? The win will be for Kev!

1 comment:

  1. Ayup Shat - can you post a few pictures of Kevin please? He sounds most interesting!