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”!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Another Skelmanthorpe Lifer

Tuesday night had the not so rare treat of watching our Indian cricketing genius Wasim Jaffer amass yet another century, this time putting Thongsbridge CC to the sword in the Examiner 20/20 competition. As I was sat padded up awiating my bat though, a flock of 10 Crossbills flew over the clubhouse! Their distinct call making my ears prick up and alerting me to their presence. I've never seen Crossbills in Skelmanthorpe before ever? They came from the Bretton direction, straight over the club, then on towards the windmills at Ingbirchworth. No doubt heading towards the Langsett area? The only place I have ever seen them locally. Not entirely sure where they could have come from, maybe one of the wooded areas to the south of Bretton Lakes? Possibly a dispersed feeding flock on it's return to Langsett to roost? Either way, a great sighting in Skelmanthorpe!


  1. They're on the move at this time of year, there are currently quite a few knocking around Orkney. It is worth listening carefully to the call carefully as some of these migrants have significantly different calls and may have interesting origins. See Loxia fantastica blog - link via Literate Herring if you want to find out more.

  2. Many thanks Alastair, I will certainly have a look.