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, 19 July 2010

Rutland Water

The birthday bash of a relocated school friend saw us donning fancy dress and hitting Market Harborough this weekend. I’d love to say I had a cracking night but a combination of ‘silly’ shots and cocktails saw my condition rapidly deteriorate around the 1am mark leaving the last hour a blur. I could have done with a black box recorder to help piece the night together?
On Sunday morning I was poor to say the least, so fresh air and a stroll were the order of the day, this came in the shape of Rutland Water. Rutland Water in recent years has seen the reintroduction of Ospreys with the programme itself being a huge success. Two breeding pairs are now in the area, with one nest viewable from a series of hides within the Lyndon Nature Reserve. Sixty Four Ospreys were released at Rutland Water between 1996 and 2001 with around ten of these birds returning. This year’s pair has successfully raised three chicks which can’t be far off fledging? One of the birds released here has already had six successful broods at a reservoir in Wales, with a Scottish born female, so the expansion is taking effect, albeit year by year. It was also a sad fact to learn that around 70% of juveniles die in their first year with the bulk of this statistic perishing on their migration back to Africa. With £18m from Anglian Water though, money and time is on side to hopefully dramatically increase the English and Welsh populations, so fingers crossed.

The views today were distant with the sheer size of Rutland Water sadly meaning they were always going to be. The three chicks could be seen through the scope, with the watchful adult close by. It took to flight twice whilst we were there with the following photo’s being the best I could do, nothing more than record shots really.

Still a great couple of hours though and the paths between the hides gave me a good opportunity to photograph some of the various species of Butterfly on show.




Small Tortoiseshell

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