Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hardacstle Crags/Walshaw/Gorple 28th Nov

Quiet day on the whole however a Woodcock along the side of the path from Lower Gorple res'r to Blake Dean was special. Sometimes these birds are so hard to find out of the breeding season. This one gave excellent views as it flushed right by me then in flight as it circled round and landed on the moor.

A Dipper was on middle Walshaw res'r and there were good numbers of Fieldfares in the crags and around the fields along Widdop Road. Very few Redwings though.

2 Nuthatches were also around the crags car park along with 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and lots of small tit flocks roaming in the crags along with Goldcrests and Treecreeper.


Short visit today but no sign of the Great Crested Grebe which has been ther over the last few weeks. Just a Dipper on the top pond, 80 Mallard and quite a few Goldcrests in the woodland pines along with Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

29th November

3 Bar-tailed Godwits flew west at High Road Well Moor, Mount Tabor at 2.45pm.

It now appears that the Barn Owl seen at the weekend is an escape for captivity. It appears to have 2 leather straps (jessess) dangling from its legs.

Wildlife Dairy

Vis Mig 1st sept - 20th Nov

Monday, November 27, 2006

Brockholes Quarry Appeal

I don't know if any of you have visited this site by the M6 / A59 junction E of Preston - there have certainly been some rarities, including a Collared Pratincole earlier this year, and it also hosts some important breeding birds. I have always been put off casual visits by the entry arrangements, as it is still a working quarry. However, Lancashire, Manchester & Merseyside Wildlife Trust are trying to buy the site to develop as a reserve, and need to raise £50,000 to "unlock" the rest of the funding - by the 15th December. Due to its prime location, there is a real risk it could be lost to housing or industrial development if this bid fails.
If anyone would consider making a donation, details are on their website at

Sunday, November 26, 2006


26/11/06 0730-0930hrs Blustery SW >4-5 Heavy showers
What a chuffing place this is. !
1 Goldeneye
6 Twite on seed
1 Linnet on seed
1pr Stonechat
1 Kestrel
1f Pheasant BS

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Final demand for records etc.

At the moment I am putting together the final touches to the 2005 bird report. Anybody with any articles or photos, could you please let me have them as soon as pos, for possible inclusion. There is still one outstanding record I have not recieved, which would be a new species for Halifax and is on the YNU list. It would be a shame not to include this record but the YNU insist on a Description.
There are still a few copies of the 2004 Halifax report left. Anyone wanting one can pick one up at a reduced price of 3 pounds from Woodlesford News Agents near Mount Tabor on Moor End Road.

Friday, November 24, 2006




Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Clock Face Quarry

In tonight's Courier there is a front page article about Clock Face Quarry. This clears up what is happening. Marshalls sold it to Caseys (used to operate the former Blackley Tip). Caseys now want to change it from accepting only inert building waste into accepting contaminated soil, gypsum and asbestos etc - but not household waste (yet!). I think there are two stages they have to go through: 1) get a pollution control licence, 2) get planning permission for any physical changes, more traffic etc. We are at stage 1. I have been and looked at their proposals file but there is not much in writing on birds/habitat to report back on. Anyone wanting to make their feelings heard needs to write BY FRIDAY THIS WEEK to Kevin Hall, Environment Agency, Trentside Offices, Scarrington Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 5FA. I think the file reference is EA/PPC/CP3036LT. There could be another opportunity when a Planning Application is submitted.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Withens Clough, Sunday

Confiding Kestrel by the reservoir. Early afternoon there were Bramblings in the Beech woods along the north side of the clough. One flock of about 20 was west of Swan Bank and others were heard near the hall. In the past there have been big roosts / pre-roosts of this species in the clough. Might be worth checking out.

Walshaw Dean, Sunday - reported owl sighting

Via Hugh Firman at Calderdale Council we have received a report of "....a very large white owl with black broken banded markings" flying out of the ruin on the North West side of Walshaw Dean. The observer flushed the owl, and it was seen at very close range. The lady who reported it to Hugh wondered what the owl could be. I have replied and suggested an escaped snowy owl, or more likely a short-eared owl with light plumage. The person reporting it is very familiar with barn owls and is positive it was not one.
Hugh is going up this afternoon to have a look around.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fly Flatts

19/11/06 0745-1000hrs Icy cold WSW>4 Thick fog throughout.
All puddles frozen over.
5 Twite on seed
4 Goldfinch
1pr Stonechat
6 Reed Bunting in solitary tree

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The inviting scrapes at Soil Hill.
18/11/06 1445-1530hrs cold W >6-7 Drizzle
Ever the optimist I went up Soil Hill in conditions near the same as last week but the scrapes were empty apart from one heart stopping moment when a Goldie appeared from behind a rock.
4 Golden Plover
5 Linnet on seed
2 Goldfinch on seed
sev Corvids. BS Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 13, 2006

Soil Hill Sandpiper


photos taken with a fuji A204 through a Leica apo 77 tellivid x 32 eyepiece (hand held). Posted by Picasa

More Pictures of Purple Sand

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Purple Sandpiper

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Purple Sandpiper

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Soil Hill Sandpiper 13th November


Calderdale's 5th Purple Sandpiper and first for 19 years. Very difficult to focus on due to howling gales.Most Calderdale listers have now clawed this bird back on me. More pics to follow. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Purple Sandpiper

This ones no better but if you click on it you can see a bit more detail. Honest ! Posted by Picasa


12/11/06 1615hrs Soil Hill
1 Purple Sand on scrapes on the summit of Soil Hill. Feeding well in the mud and moving about from 1 scrape to another.
Disappointing photo, best of 15 taken in very low light with camera telling me it couldnt be done, wheres Sean when you need him.
This bird looked well settled and hopefully will be picked up tomorrow, AC going up first light. BS Posted by Picasa

Fly Flatts

12/11/06 0730-0945hrs Icy cold WNW>6 dropping to W>3,drizzle
1pr Stonechat
3 Twite on seed
sev blogging Mipits
3 Goldeneye in from Sth as last week, could be same birds moving between here and CED. ?

33 Canadas
11 Greylag
Few Mipits over >W
6 Common Gull

Friday, November 10, 2006

Roils Head - Heath Hill Road 10th Nov

2 Stonechats still at Roils Head. Little Owl, Kestrel,50+ Woodpigeon Heath Hill Road.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

9th November Heath Hill Road - Mount Tabor

2 Goosander north over Wainstalls, 1 distant Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.

Walshaw Dean

Checked all three reservoirs today but unfortunately no sign of the Red-throated Diver - also checked lower Gorple but nothing doing there. 2 Reed Buntings at middle Walshaw and 2 Kestrels on the moor.

Visual migration again (10 am till 2 pm) today including fairly large movements of Fieldfares (at least seven groups of between 100 and 140 birds in each group) and Woodpigeons (a steady stream of groups 20 - 30 each) all going straight through heading west. Also a smaller number of Starlings heading in the same direction. There were also around 80+ Fieldfare in the woodland at Blake Dean and just a few Redwing and Brambling with them.

Walshaw Dean plantation produced Redpoll, Siskin and 6 Brambling as well as Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch - all very difficult to count in and out of the conifers. 2 Stonechats were feeding along the fence line of the Pennine Way and another 1 in Widdop Road near the Gorple footpath.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Roils Head 7th November

30 or 40 Blackbirds present, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Stonechat, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch etc.60 Lapwings at High Road Well Moor, Mount Tabor.

Note, Red-throated Diver still at Middle Walshaw perPGri East Lancs.

Monday, November 06, 2006


saw it saturday morning at dawn when it flew a little,this was taken on sunday also got some video of it swimming and coming out of the water

also a buzzard over green withens in the morning Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Middle Walshaw Dean 5th November

If you haven't seen the diver yet I suggest you do before it goes, its a real star, very tame even coming ashore for a time.Its now been here 4 days and in that time only one person as actually seen it dive. Most of the time it puts its head under the surface in the shallows. Thanks to DJP for the lift. Posted by Picasa

Walshaw Dean 5th November PM

The adult winter Red Throated Diver showed very well, even coming ashore right in front of us for several minutes. It never dived but snorkled in the shallows. Anybody any idea what its eating.
Also present 1 Common Buzzard, 500 Fieldfares, a few Redwings, 50 Brambling c 50 Chaffinch and c 50 Goldfinch.More diver pics to follow. Posted by Picasa

Fly Flatts

05/11/06 0730-1000hrs Cold W>5-6.Drizzle
3 Goldeneye in from SW, very flighty and unsettled,especially when a windsurfer turned up doing about 200mph in the near gale force wind.
68 Starling >W over the water
15 Mipits >W
1 Stonechat
2 Red Grouse

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Walshaw Dean - 1:00pm

Red throated diver still showing extremely well.
4 red grouse, c.120 fieldfare, c.100 siskin in plantation

Planning Application - Withens

In last night's Courier there was notice of a Planning Application for Withens: "Conversion of former Water Treatment Works to dwelling". Full details can be acccessed via Calderdale's Planning database - use this shortcut:

Withins Clough 06/02012/CON

There's volumes of material to trawl through. You can comment (for/against) online, but N.B. the Works is not actually in the SSSI. Don't be put off by the fact that the Application is made by Keyland Developments Ltd. This is Yorkshire Water in all but name.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Walshaw area

Fantastic days birding today starting off with Lesser Spotted Woodpecker along Widdop Road. It might be worth checking out the spot again if anyone is passing!

Go past the crags National Trust car park on the r h side of Widdop Road, 150 meters or so along the road going towards the camp site, is a small gully with trees leading up from the crags. The bird was in the top tree, right next to the road(quite a lot of dead branches) then flew across towards the farm copse across the road and lost from view in the farmyard trees.

Red Throated Diver on middle walshaw gave brilliant views - down to 50 mtrs. Well done with the pictures Shaun! Seen to catch one or two sticklebacks but spent a lot of time just looking underwater for prey without much success.

Also at the big plantation below lower walshaw were a lot of Chaffinch and some Brambling and Siskin. Migrating Fieldfares and Starlings were also going through there and Blake Dean in groups of 20 -40. They were moving through at least between 10.30 am and 2 pm so probably more than a thousand of each passing through

Also along Widdop Road a weasel caught and killed a full size rabbit and dragged it off into cover. Initially the rabbit squeeled for about 2 mins and seemed unable to run off with the weasel on its back and round it's throat. How does such a small predator take on such prey several times bigger??

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wainstalls/Fly Flats etc

Walk today from Wainstalls to Fly Flats and round to High Brown Knoll and Luddenden Dean. The moor was dead, surprising on such a wonderful day for walking and nothing doing either on the res'r at Fly Flats!

2 Stonechats were adjacent to the windfarm car park. and just 3 Twite at the feeding station at Fly Flats. 28 Lapwings and 33 Starlings over the res'r going north and 2 Red Grouse, 2 Reed Buntings and 5 Meadow Pipits on the moor.

Luddenden dean was more productive with c180 Fieldfares heading up to Castle Carr and 130+ Redwing and a lot of Mistle Thrushes scattered about the dean feeding on Rowan berries.

2nd November Red-throated Diver

A winter plumaged Red-throated Diver has been reported to me by a Rochdale birder at Middle Walshaw Reservoir.
It was seen at around 1.20PM this afternoon and seemed settled.This could be Calderdales seventh record and the first for 10 years.

Ringstone 1st November

1 kestrel as i walking to the hide,
2 golden eye
15 lapwings
100+ gulls
1 pied wagtail

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

1st November

2 Stonechats had moved from Roils Head to Norton Tower (photo taken through binoculars). 42 Lapwings at Heath Hill Road, 50+ Fieldfare north at Mount Tabor, 10 Redwings over Pellon and 5 Bullfinches at Ovenden Wood.
AC reports 250 Pink-footed Geese over Northowram. Posted by Picasa

Ogden/Fly Flats

Visit yesterday in the afternoon but very windy and cold northerly and not many birds about! Just a Great Crested Grebe still at Ogden and 6 Twite at the feeding point at Fly Flats. That was about it!