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, 5 April 2010

Easter East Coast

This Easter weekend was spent on the east coast with the nature theme running through it like a stick of rock. If we weren’t walking we were trawling rock pools and if we weren’t rock pooling, we were bird watching. If we weren’t doing any of the aforementioned, we were carrying junior back to dry her off after falling in a rock pool! It’s amazing how the medicinal qualities of a Doughnut from Coble Landing’s “Suga Shack” perk a shivering 6 year old up?

Seawatching this weekend had been on the quiet side with no migrating sea birds recorded. A Common Tern which had slipped the net, turned up in Scarborough and birders at Flamborough Head had an early Manx Shearwater. Those two ‘misses’ I can live with, what does grate though is spending Saturday afternoon at Bempton Cliffs, only to find out that a White Tailed Eagle had been seen a few miles further south at Flamborough! What a tick that would have been! I can’t let it taint a great afternoon though, more so for Junior than me.

The RSPB had put on an Easter Egg hunt and combined it with a sea bird quiz, which the kids were loving. Along the cliff top paths were things to collect along with facts about the birds, which answered the questions on the sheets that had been handed out in the visitors centre. During the summer months Bempton is home to some 200,000 sea birds which return from the open sea’s to nest on the cliffs so there is something to see at every vantage point. We were too early in the year to see any chicks but later in the year the sights and smells will be overwhelming. You don’t have to be interested in birds or nature to enjoy this place either.

Start em young!





Puffin & Razorbill

Herring Gull

10 minutes after this was taken she was soaking! One day she will realise that kneeling down next to a rock pool and reaching out with her net only ends in tears!

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