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, 24 May 2010

Local Reservoirs

The last few weekends have been cricket overload so the birding has had a bit of a back seat. I have managed a few nice additions to the year list though with Temminck’s Stint being the most notable. It was a twitch! I had seen a Hobby flying close to the road earlier in the day whilst driving through Lincolnshire so had basically got the buzz. When I got home to find that a Temminck’s Stint had been found at Wombwell Ings I thought what the hell, and headed out. Certainly not a bird for photographing, it was a mere speck in the telescope, never mind the camera lens. If it didn’t move it could have easily been dismissed as a stone on the shoreline. Fortunately two guys were already there on my arrival, die hards who had been to Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire in the morning for the Oriental Pratincole and Potteric Carr in the afternoon for the Iberian Chiffchaff. They were already on the Stint so basically I had it handed to me on a plate, easy! The only disappointment was dipping on four Yellow Wagtails, which had been feeding close to the hide moments before my arrival; I think they saw me coming!

Before the games I have been getting out for a few hours and scouring the local reservoirs, a Wood Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher were nice finds at Langsett, with the Wood Warbler showing far better than my previous record in Denby Dale. It didn’t come too close but close enough to admire its markings as it sang away on exposed branches.

Wood Warbler

House Mouse

Green Veined White

Small Copper

Speckled Wood

The Tawny Owls seem to be doing well too. One chick was still in the nest although it had nearly out grown it, while its sibling resided in a nearby bush. The same area had a very vocal Lesser Whitethroat too which oblivious to my presence came to within a couple of meters of me, as I raised my camera though it responded by disappearing into a thicket depriving me of what would have been a prime photo opportunity for quite an elusive bird.

A nice part of an already enjoyable walk around Ingbirchworth Reservoir was the sound of young Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling from a nest and it was only minutes of us being there when the female arrived, beak full, to quickly dive in and out of the nest. Even Miss Piggy enjoyed herself whilst we sat watching and listening!

Ingbirchworth had its alien invaders in the form of ornamental carp, which had come in to the shallows possibly to spawn? There were at least 5 or 6, which varied in markings; obviously re homed by the public when they possibly out grew their garden ponds. The two domesticated geese, which have recently made Ingbirchworth their new home, seem to be basking by the dam wall every time I go. Get too close though and you get hissed at.....bad goose. And still no Black Tern!

I’m probably not alone when I say that due to the recent rise in temperature I’ve been struggling to sleep, tossing, turning, kicking the cover off etc. The other night I was awake at around 3-30am when through the slightly opened bedroom window I heard a Cuckoo? It was quite distant and called on and off for around 20 minutes. What made it more interesting was a post on the Calderdale Bird Blog from someone reporting the exact same thing in the Halifax area. He’d checked it out and it’s correct that Cuckoo’s occasionally call through the night? You learn something new every day! Just wish I’d seen it, I haven’t seen a Cuckoo in Skelmanthorpe for years.

No comments:

Post a Comment