Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Luddenden Dean

1 Green Woodpecker
6 Long-tailed tits
1 Little Owl
2 Ravens over high >SW
13 Mistle Thrushes heading up to roost in Castle Carr + 2 Redwings
1 Pheasant had a close encounter with a fox and escaped just in time!

Dancing Gull Update

Hi all
A few weeks back I posted a question about some strange looking Gull behaviour and asked what it was doing. A rain dance for worms was the answer and Andy C very kindly sent me this link today from the Bradford Birders site...well worth a view

Monday, December 29, 2008

Roils Head

Posting for Nick Dawtrey
4 Crossbills this afternoon (2m 2f) in pines at the NW end of West End golf course - grid ref SE 060 259. The track leads from the top of Paddock Lane towards Rye Lane. They were about half way along the track where it meets another track heading off at right angles towards the playing fields.
3 Stonechats also nearby, and from yesterday 4 Reed Buntings

High Royd, Sowerby Bridge


40-45 Teal
2 Moorhen
2 Coot
3 Mallard
30 BHG
Grey Heron
Kestrel (f)
Magpies, Jay, C.Crows, Wood Pigeons.

Shroggs Park

A female Sparrowhawk took a male Blackbird from right in front of me this morning!
c12 Long-tailed Tits also around in the park

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday 28th - Todmorden

Out for brief walk up by Great Rock - Fields full of Fieldfare and two grouse low over the moor spooked by the crows !

Nothing on Longfield pond though.

Swales Moor

3 Skylarks and 8 Meadow Pipits on the top this afternoon
c70 Fieldfares and c35 Redwings near the ski-slope

Saturday, December 27, 2008


coal tit
not much to see this morning
1 greater spotted woodpecker
usual black headed gulls and mallards
bird table birds:
2 coal tits
2 robins
1 great tit


Called in at Ringstone this morning to replace the log sheets, very little around but did see

Canada Goose 56
Black headed Gull c300
Common Gull c50
Golden Plover 10
Starling 10
Lapwing 4
Carrion Crow 22

Willow Hall Dams

Took a short walk here yesterday.

1 magnificent Kingfisher
4 Mallard (2M 2F)
Plus the usual Tits, Corvids etc

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas

Thanks to one and all for your help and encouragement to couple of amateur (very !) birders so far in 2008. We have been so encouraged and enthused by your help that our Xmas day is going to be spent out walking and birding amongst live birds rather than contemplating how we are going to eat a large dead bird sitting on a plate :-))

A very happy and enjoyable Christmas and happy and healthy 2009 to all from Paul & Sue in North Wales.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Best wishes to all local birders for Xmas and 2009 and thanks to everyone who has supported the work of the CBCG during the year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


6 Great Black-backed Gulls over >SW at 3pm
1 Tawny Owl singing in Skirden Clough late afternoon + Red Grouse calling nearby
2 Goldcrests

Elland Gravel Pits 23/12/08

37 Tufted Duck plus one duck that was associating itself with them in the main but it appeared to be slightly smaller with whitish/light coloured markings on the flanks. It also had a thin white band near the tip of its bill. It was always distant as most birds invariably are here but I think it could well be worth someone more experienced checking this individual out if they are in the vicinity bearing in mind Andy C's comments on 26/11/08.

In addition also present were:

1 female Shelduck was present which is uncommon here.
1 Goldeneye
1 Goosander
4 Little Grebe
3 Great Crested Grebe
4 Cormorant
15 Coot
120 Black-headed Gull
10 Common Gull
20 Siskin

Monday, December 22, 2008

High Royd Ponds, Sowerby Bridge


20-25 Teal
1 Little Grebe
2 Grey Heron

Waxwings now in Sowerby Br

30 today just above the Church at the bottom of Tuel Lane. Opp the locks and Lidl car park.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ringstone hide log

I have called at the hide today and taken the log sheets for this year (to date) to enter the records onto the BOG recorder for Nick, I will get the remainder early in the new year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Soil Hill 14:00-15:00

25 Lapwings (over > SE)
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Mipit
2 or 3 Herons (May have seen 1 twice)
1 Short Eared Owl - First for my mate I was with

Wear wellies!

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Pied" Thrush

Received from Martyn Hayes today

Hi Nick,

This may be of intrest to you. I had a male Blackbird in the garden this morning that was "Pied" ie at least 75 percent white, it was patchy with one white tertial and then one black one etc and the body plumage was say two white feathers for every black one, most of the primaries were white although it's head was black. A really interesting bird, I don't know where it's come from as I know all the local Blackbirds (9), including one with a white feather above it's left eye, you get to recognise them when you see them nearly everyday, so presumably this pied bird has turned up during the cold spell. I remember the Pied Thrushes in Sri Lanka, perhaps I should put it on Birdline as a "Pied Thrush".............I've seen the comments about the white crow at Mixenden but did you know there was actually five in the early nineties, I had a photo somewhere of them all in one tree.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

20 Sites Covered

Great news in that Jane Uttley has kindly forwarded on her records from Ogden on Sunday meaning a superb total of 20 Sites were covered.

Jane saw:-

65 Mallard
c130 BH Gulls
6 Robins
2 Goldcrests
7 Carrion Crows
4 Blue tits
2 Magpies
3 Blackbirds
3 Coal Tits
3 Dunnocks

My thanks to Jane and once more to everyone else who took part.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008



My son has reported that redpolls are again on the track between Oldroyd & Kilnhurst. He saw a small flock yesterday

Winter Wildfowl Survey Results

Tim Walker covered:-

Ringstone Reservoir - 24 Mallard (with more coming to roost from all directions after dark - 16:30)
- 26 Goosander (majority coming in at dusk W/NW)

Booth Wood - 2 pairs Mallard

He also covered the following sites with negative results

Green Withens, Spa Clough, Booth Dean Upper & Lower.

Matt Bell covered:-

Longfield Dam - negative results on Wildfowl but did hold 70 BH Gulls & 8 Lapwing.

Steve Ellement (apologies if that is not your surname Steve, just assuming due to your email address that it is) covered:-

The Canal from Hebden Bridge to Copley -

285 Mallard
19 Greylag Geese (feral)
7 Canada Geese
6 Muscovy Duck

The Calder from Copley to Sowerby Bridge - 2 Goosander

Rose Grove (alias High Royd ie:- Old sewage works) - 6 Teal (m)

Other species seen by Steve:- Kingfisher (x3 all Sowerby Bridge), Treecreeper, GSW, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Blue tit, Great tit, LT tit, Collard Dove, Wood pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Magpie, Jackdaw, Starling, BH Gull, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch.

Andy Cockcroft covered:-

Brighouse Canal - 86 Mallard

Sunny Vale - 10 Mallard
- 2 Goosander

Ringstone - 5 Teal

I covered:-

Middle Walshaw res - a pair of Mallard

Upper Gorple - Goldeneye (m)

negative results from

Lower & Upper Walshaw, Widdop Res & Lower Gorple

Other species seen by myself:-

Along Widdop Rd - 1 GSW, 1 Mistle Thrush, c30 Goldfinch, 3 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing, 1 Green Woodpecker (heard), 1 Wren, 9 Pheasant.

At Blake Dean - 1 Grey Heron, 3 Goldcrest.

At Walshaw incl res and plantation - 24 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 1 Kestrel (m), 1 Red Grouse (though plenty more heard), 19 Pheasant, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Dunnock.

At Widdop Res
- 1 Kestrel (f) very tatty tail missing several feathers.

At Gorple - 5 Red Grouse, 3 Stonechat (pair at Upper Gorple, Single Juv/Female on Dam wall at Lower Gorple), 5 Redpoll, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Kestrel (f) full set of tail feathers.

Huge thanks guys, a fantastic effort to have covered 19 sites a real shame we didn't get Ogden or Elland covered off, just think of the area that could have been covered with a few more people joining in. We could have had almost a complete picture of the numbers of Wildfowl wintering in Calderdale prior to Xmas.

Some good news since Sunday is that Steve revisted High Royd and the number of Teal present had risen to 17. As Nick Carter pointed out nowhere near the numbers of years gone by, but certainly not as worrying as only the 6 seen on Sunday.

As for the 11th Jan 2009 we are going to go with Andy Cockcrofts idea of a survey of Sowerby Bridge and Copley, centring on the area of planned development. The records pulled in from this days birding will be vital in shaping bird life/conservation in this area for years to come and I therefore ask that as many people as possible join in. 2 Key birds to wet your appetites will be Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Water Rail.

We still need a volunteer to help organise this, any offers??

Raptor calendars

Still time to get the raptor calendar, they make ideal Xmas presents, cover 18 months and include superb photography. All profits go directly to raptor conservation in Calderdale, each calendar costs £10 (+£1.50 P & P if required) and can be obtained from Nick Carter or Tim Walker or by posting a request on this post, one of us will contact you.

Sean's Ringing totals

We are fortunate in having Sean Gray as a fully licensed ringer in our area. Sean has been carrying out his ringing work at several locations locally as well as further afield as part of the Dale Ringers Group and has published his local ringing totals for December 2007 to December 2008 at the following link. These figures do not include twite ringing which was carried out as part of the North West Twite Project using their rings.


Thanks are due to Sean not only for his ringing work but also for his generosity in allowing his photographs to be used in CBCG work and HBWC reports etc. as well as initiating and running several nest box projects locally. To see his superb photography go to www.grayimages.co.uk

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Roils Head area

Posting for Nick Dawtrey;

1 Waxwing this afternoon in rowans at the top of Rye Lane, Pellon by Rushton Hill Close. In the same spot as where 2 reported on 27th November.

57 Lapwings in nearby fields (between Roils Head and Mount Tabor) along with 32 Common Gulls

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Wildfowl Survey Records

Just a quick plea for any of you that joined in on Sunday to send your records to me by Wednesday then I can post all the results on the blog.

Many thanks to Tim and Steve for their records already gratefully received.

The NEXT date for your diaries will be Sunday 11th January 2009 !! I unfortunately won't be able to join you on this day as I'm in training with a team from work for a crack at the 3 peaks in June so I'm looking for someone to take the lead on the next project and also open to ideas.

Thanks again to those who took time to take part this weekend, I look forward to seeing the results.

And to those I won't see before hand A VERY MERRY XMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Luddenden Cemetery

1 M Bullfinch this afternoon


Spotted 2 Stonechat while driving through this morning. 1 posing nicely at the tip of a willow herb stem.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Still time to Join In.

Tomorrow's Winter Wildfowl Survey and with some important sites still to be covered, incl:- High Royd in Sowerby Bridge which in the past has been an excellant site for teal and Elland Gravel Pits.

We really do need these sites covering so I'd be extremely grateful if someone could take an hour out of their day to cover them.

Sites which are being covered are :- Ogden,Green Withens, Boothwood, Sunny Vale, Both Gorple's and all 3 Walshaw res.

We are NOT meeting at the Barge and Barrell at the end of the day instead if people can just email me their records I'll post all the results on the blog and email them to Nick D for entry in the report.

Thanks to those who have already made a pledge and to those of you who join us, I look forward to getting your records.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bird Report

Posting for Nick Dawtrey
The text for the 2007 report is almost complete however Nick would like to include some photos of local birds taken in 2007. Please forward any you have for posssible inclusion, on a disk to Nick as soon as possible.

2008 Records - Please can you forward all this years records to Nick before the end of January as he is considering including 2007/2008 together in one report (with a summerised version of 2008) This will help to 'catch up' with records in one report. If you use the BOG system this is the most helpful as if you send a disk then Nick can collate the records much more easily than hard copy paper records. If you don't have the BOG system then please still send your paper records in !

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Savile Park/King Cross

3 Waxwings reported by Andy C today at King Cross. In trees on the grass area at the bottom of Warley Road. Same spot as they were seen recently.

Also nearby 2 Nuthatches off Albert Promenade overlooking Scarr Wood, also Great Spotted Woodpecker there.


Just a reminder to those that have not yet paid their grapevine contribution that it is now overdue, if you no longer wish to be part of the grapevine please let either me or Dave know ASAP, thanks

Night Vision ?

Hi all
I have a couple of Tawny owls feeding on the mice and voles attracted to the spilt seed around my feeding station in the garden. I have toyed with the idea for years of buying a night vision scope or bins and feel it would now be worthwhile for bat/badger/owl watching here in Edern. There seem to be dozens of models and makes on offer, so my question is does anyone use these or have a recommendation ? Obviously I don't want to pay silly money but I don't want poor quality either so I am prepared to pay a decent amount.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Local Twite in Norfolk

Just received an e mail from Nick Wilkinson (RSPB Twite researcher) to let us know that a twite ringed this year as a pulli at Fly Flatts has been sighted recently at Happisburgh in Norfolk.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

All abit last minute but.........

At the last meeting I suggested we have work groups once a month, on the back of that it was felt it would be a good idea and that the second Sunday in each month be the day.

I hope that despite the last minute reminder and organisation enough of you are still interested and further more have put the day aside in your diaries.

To kick things off I thought we could do a Winter Wildfowl Survey as for this to be a success we need as much of Calderdale's open water covering as is humanly possible I suggest that everyone pledge to cover an area and that to keep it on a group theme we then meet up at the end of the day to collate our records.

If you can email me your contact details I shall endevour to co-ordinate everyone so that as much area is covered as possible.

Although this is a wildfowl survey please do record other species but concentrate on the wildfowl and numbers.

I will also ask that people pledge to do an area close to home rather than everyone wanting to cover Ogden and Elland.

I also going to suggest that we finish each working party with a pint somewhere and suggest we kick off by meeting at the old haunt of the Barge and Barrell at Elland (maybe even we could all do the last hour of the day at Elland Gravel Pits.)

I will send an email round as well but I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible and seeing you all on Sunday.

I will start by pledging to cover Upper & Lower Gorple along with all 3 Walshaws, Hardcastle Crags Mill pond and Nutclough Wood (given enough time) Anyone want to join me for the full day (or part of it) and a long walk.

My email address is andrewhuyton@hotmail.com


I also did my tetrad to-day (it's amazing what the sunshine brings out) It covers a very good area ; some built-up areas ,Boothtown,Lee Mount but also some lovely open country; Swalesmoor and the other side of the ski slope and the top of Shibden Valley.
Found 22 species including a tawny owl sunning it self near the ski slope,a pair of kestrels, hopefully in their breeding area, approx. 22 field fares, 12 redwings, 7 mistle thrushes,30/40 starlings,a jay as well as umpteen magpies and a lot of other smaller birds. An enjoyable morning out.

BTO Atlas Survey

Tetrad today around Wainstalls, Withens, Cold Edge and Hunter Hill above Mixenden.
Just 22 Sp...
2 Stonechats (different locations)
1 Reed Bunting
1 Meadow Pipit
77 Jackdaws
17 Rooks

Buzzard Feeding Station

Just a couple of rather crappy shots of two Buzzards that appeared at my feeding station behind the caravan today to clear up two duck carcases put out for them. The tree in the photos is around 12 feet from my office window in the caravan. Its a real privalage to be able to watch such magnificent birds mere feet from my window. Added...I thought I had better just make this clear, the photos are from outside my home in Edern in North Wales not Calderdale

Monday, December 08, 2008

Barn Owl

A Barn Owl flew right infront of my Land Rover on my way to Marsden this evening (7.15pm), just inside our recording area at Vicar's Lot, Marsden Gate, Outlane. No mistaking this one, saw it face-on. Quite a surprise at 1110ft!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pink-footed Geese

90 over Shelf >w at 12.15 from Brian Sumner

64 over Northowram (AC) at 2.30 this afternoon passed over Swales Moor at 2.38 (DJS) then over Queensbury area at 2.40 (BS) heading toward Ogden - well done guys!

2 Skylarks and 2 Meadow Pipits also at Swales Moor
1 Little Owl up Ploughcroft and 5 Fieldfares

Strange Gull Behaviour

Hi all
A question about some bird behaviour I have never seen before and cannot find in any of my books. Sue and I had a walk along the coast today here in N Wales as the weather was so beautiful it made tweeter watching a real pleasure as one could sit and observe for long periods without getting chilled (in fact we got sun burnt faces). As we made our way across Nefyn Golf course (a superb spot for wildlife of all kinds) we watched a Herring Gull behaving in a most peculiar fashion. The bird appeared to be dancing or drumming its feet very fast on the grass in one small area and then pausing and looking at the ground. Occasionally it would peck up something and eat it. The bird continued with this drum and pause for the 15 mins or so we sat watching it from close range (around 30 feet). I could only assume its drumming on the ground was either disturbing or attracting invertebrates to the surface which it then ate. Now one possibility we thought of was that the drumming made a sound like heavy rain and attracted worms or something to the surface ? I have never seen another gull or any other bird do this so wonder is this a recognised behaviour amongst gulls or any birds for that matter ?

The gull stayed in a flat area (tee off for one of the holes) and never moved more than a small area of say one metre square the whole time we watched it and the drumming of its feet lasted for say around 60 seconds at a time and then the bird paused and waited whilst looking at the ground. We watched the bird for 15 mins or so and it was still in the same place drumming as we left to head home. Any help with an explanation most gratefully received.

Cold Edge - Lunchtime

Not surprisingly very quiet with bottom lake 80% frozen. Just some miserable looking Mallard, Crows, 1 Kestrel and 1 unidentified little brown bird. Then a skein of 40ish Geese flew over that I assumed were Canada but my books don't show geese underneath in flight well. Looking at the photos the legs don't look black. Could someone confirm the type of Geese?


Halifax town center friday at 5.00
i was in town yesterday and remebered about the wagtail roost but looking up could see none. i walked under the tree 5 mins later and something fell on my head. i looked up and there they were sat in the top of a tree.it was amazingthe most amazing wildlife spectacle this yearwell worth itthere must have been about 300 in one tree

Ogden saturday morn
1 treecreeper
3 goldcrests
1 wren really close
1 woodpecker heard

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Shibden Park

Saturday 8-10 am

Lake still mostly frozen with the ducks and geese limited to a small section by the visitor centre.
50+ mallard
7 canada geese
4 moorhen
2 pied wagtail
20+ black headed gull
Flock of approx 6 goldcrest at the side of the path.

1 GS woodpecker
Party of LT tit
2 treecreeper
1 nuthatch

One of the gulls

Crows, jackdaws, rooks and magpies

Rare Garden Visitor

Got up this morning and the first thing I clamp my eyes on as I stare out the kitchen window turns out, having quickly grabbed some bins, is a Redpoll. This is quickly joined by 2 others one of which stood out as being paler with a distinct white (rather than the buff on the other 2) wing bar. streaking on the flanks also seemed more defined.

Whether this was a Meally or not would take a better birder than I to tell you but nether the less Redpoll in the garden is a rare site.

Last weekend (Sunday lunch) a Kingfisher was on the canal Hebden side of Mytholmroyd just past Burnley Rd School by the bridge.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Halifax Town Centre

Wade Street (by Wickes)
1 pair of Bullfinch there the last few days eating the yellow rowan berries looked fantastic
1 Grey Wagtail over

No sign, or reports of Waxwings in the last day or so locally since 1st December when c20 were reported on Bird-Guides at Wade Street - their favourite berries on the rowans have been scoffed!

Hardcastle Crags

At least one Nuthatch near the crags car park today
1 Grey Heron
1 Common Buzzard
c6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Treecreepers
2 Siskin over
Good numbers of Blue , Great and Coal Tits and Chaffinch especially down the track to the river from the Midgeholme car park
16 Redwings in Crimsworth Dean
Only 2 Goldcrests today

12 Meadow Pipits (Shackleton Knoll)
2 Kestrels

Coach Road, Brighouse area - pm

3 Goldcrest
7 Goldfinch
2 Mallard
2 Treecreepers
10 Magpies
Grey Wagtail
6 Blue Tits - at least
2 Great Tits
Redwing - just the one
5 Blackbirds
Nuthatch on the 3rd - regular sightings of 1/2 birds through winter months

Longfield Dam area - Todmordern. 2:30pm

Longfield - 8 lapwing seemed unseasonal?
10 canadas
12 black headed gull
20+ starling
9 mallard
No tufties at all
Lumbutts Clough Dam (below Longfield towards Castle Hill)
2 male goosander

Also, a nuthatch yesterday at Knott Wood (Turret Royd), Hebden Bridge.


noon. two male goosanders on river near sowerby bridge moorings

Twite Recovery Project Officer appointed

Received from Roy Taylor (RSPB)

I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Kerry Gawthorpe as the England Twite Recovery Project Officer. Kerry was outstanding in interview and has a superb knowledge of upland farming (having been involved in farming all her life) and how to communicate effectively and enthusiastically with the land owning community.

Kerry will start on 7th January and will no doubt be meeting with many of you over the coming months.

With Kerry's appointment, we can at last say that the Recovery Project is now truly underway and build upon the excellent survey and monitoring work of the past summer and turn our attention to delivering direct habitat intervention around the remaining twite colonies.

I am sure you will all join me in wishing Kerry (and the partnership which epitomises this Recovery Project), every success in the challenge of reversing the fortunes of this this plucky little finch!



Thursday, December 04, 2008


Fivers are now due please to Nick Carter or me (or via Nick Dawtrey) - that is everyone except AC GD SG and SJ who are all in front!

PLEASE let us know sooner rather than later if you do not wish to continue.
Many thanks - Dave

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Normal Behaviour?

I've just watched a Magpie present a twig to another. The receiver didn't take it. Is this normal out of the nesting season?

Rural waxwings

A near neighbour of mine has just told me they had 2 waxwings in their large garden at Winters, nr. Blackshaw Head, Hebden Bridge on the weekend of 15th November. Their brother was visiting from Sheffield, who is a very keen birdwatcher, and identified them. They watched them for some time feeding on a rowan, and gave a very accurate description. They haven't been seen since, which is a real shame, as I'd love to see waxwings in the 'countryside', as I've only ever seen then on an industrial estate / retail park!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sparrow hybrid?

I was just browsing through some old photos I took during the 90s and came across this one (originally from a film camera) of two sparrows on my garage roof in suburban Skircoat Green. The right hand bird appears to have the cheeks and white collar of a Tree Sparrow but the grey crown and location would suggest House?? According to an old copy of "Bird Identification " by Harris, Tucker and Vinicombe hybrids are rare, so I was wondering if anyone else has come across one locally.


Monday, December 01, 2008


Monday 13:00 20-25 birds in Birch and Alder - On Wade street between Sainsbury's and Wickes. The odd one was also seen on Friday. Lower down Wade street - where the yellow berried prunus are, it has been good to watch a pair of Mistle thrush defend "their" trees against all comers, mostly blackbirds but also a small group of bullfinches.

Lesser s woodpecker

10.30 just below norland moor. great views as it searched for food in low trees. no other birds of note

Sunday, November 30, 2008

RE: lee mount

i took this on Saturday morning from Norland and did not notice the geese until today when i connected my camera to my PC, wonder if these could be the pink feet?

Swales Moor

Checked the site at around 1.30 pm but no sign of Thursdays Snow Bunting although it was cold enough! 3 Skylarks, 1 Pied Wagtail and c16 Meadow Pipits on the top


On Friday followed up recent sightings of waxwings on Burdock Way roundabout; they were still there (probably the same group as previously) Also 2 blackbirds and 2 mistle thrushes valiantly trying to defend their trees but when they failed were seen to be eating as many berries as they possibly could force down.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lee Mount

Small flock? of Pink-footed Geese heading over >W? at 11.00 am in the fog - heard but not seen!
c30 Redwings feeding in the holly trees in Shroggs Park along St George's Road this morning


not much there this frosty morn
1 goldeneye was out in the middle of the res, male
usual suspects besides that

2009/10 Raptor Calendar

The CBCG has recently entered into partnership with Rishworth and Heathfield School in a fund raising project to raise money for raptor protection in Calderdale. Thanks to the efforts of Tim Walker and Steve Downing plus the enthusiastic support of both the School and the PTA we are planning a fund raising day in February next year (more details to follow). To start the project off the school has generously financed the production of a superb high quality calendar covering an 18 month period from January 2009, each of these magnificent calendars features breathtaking, full-sized, high-resolution, rich-colour photographs of raptors (supplied by Sean Gray amongst others). All money made from the sale of these calendars and other associated fund raising events will go directly and specifically to raptor conservation in Calderdale. The calendars make ideal Xmas presents, cost £10 and can be obtained from myself via midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk or Tim Walker at timeatonwalker@msn.com

Friday, November 28, 2008


Copley - 1 (possibly 2) Water Rails making a racket today in the reedbed adjacent to the River Calder upstream from the former Sterne Mills on the south side of the river.

Norland - c290 Lapwings in fields to the south of Norland Moor
5 Reed Buntings at the junction of Norland Road and Turbury Lane
c40 Redpoll over the hillside looking east, near the top of London Road. Lots of thrushes also there along with Jays and Woodpigeons

Bradley Hall Farm 28/11/08

c40 Redpoll there this morning feeding in silver birch near railway crossing.

A pair of Goosander on the canal surprisingly.

Nothing else of note other than 1 Grey Heron, 1 G S W and 3 pair of Bullfinch around. Whilst down there I had an interesting conversation with a guy who lives in the vicinity and seemed to know his stuff birdwise and he has had Willow Tit annually in his garden since moving to his present house in 2000. His garden bird list is 85, I thought I was doing ok on 57, can anyone out there beat 85?

Taking of garden birds a female Blackcap has taken up residence in my garden in the south of the Halifax Birdwatchers Recording Area, it was first seen on 26/11/08 which equals my earliest ever date in the winter period since moving here in 1991.

Redpolls at Bradley Hall Farm

Fieldfares & Redwings

On a brief trip back to Halifax this week I was taken out on a "industrial history tour" by a local historian. The only relevance that has to this post is the almost complete absence of Fieldfares & Redwings seen on an 8 hour walk around a large part of Calderdale. We walked along the canal from Elland to Salterhebble, along the Hebble Trail to Halifax, though some minor backroads and paths I never knew existed to Rowntree Macs, then back up Southowram Bank to the Magna Via, up to Beacon Hill, down to Shibden, then to Sunny Vale, back up to Southowram and thence along the hills to Park Wood and Elland. In the whole walk I saw ONE small flock of around 15 Mixed Redwing and Fieldfare near the Farm shop at Southowram in a hedge feeding on Hawthorn Berries. Is this a particularly poor year so far for these species or was I just unlucky ? I would have expected to see far more numbers of both species in the largish area covered in a days walk.

I was particularly keen to see some flocks of these two birds and they are only around in very small number near my home in North Wales and I had hoped to see them in their usual numbers in Calderdale as I particularly like these two handsome species.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Roils Head area

Posting for Nick Dawtrey;

2 Waxwings in trees at the top of Rye Lane today (near the turning circle at Rushton Hill)
2 Stonechats at Roils Head playing fields

c27 Lapwings off Heath Hill Road (5 Golden plover also there recently)
c70 Starlings and 1 Herring Gull

Soil Hill

1 SEO on the northern slope at 4 pm
c12 Meadow Pipits on the top
Also NK had Jack Snipe and Woodcock there earlier today

Swales Moor (habitat)

First photo below shows an area of landfill topsoiled over to return to grassland

Photos below show some of the existing habitat which is, at this altitude, exceptionally good for migrant and wintering birds ie. Snow Bunting, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits etc.. (Shorelark from 26/12/06 to 26/03/07) Snipe and possibly Jack Snipe. Also summer visitors such as Twite, Linnet and Goldfinch
The soil is poor and produces a crop of low growing plants suitable for birds such as Snow Bunting in winter. This type of terrain is very valuable and wonder if it can be retained as it is rather than topsoiling it over to grassland - which we have no shortage of!

This is one of the items discussed at the CBCG meeting earlier this week and other similar sites may be suffering the same fate at Soil Hill and Cold Edge.

Boothtown - Square Park

4 Bramblings reported by Sean Gray on a feeder at the back of Chester Road (Square Park) at lunch time!

Swales Moor

Male Snow Bunting this morning on one of the old landfill sites, on the most exposed bit (same area as the Shorelark in 2006/7) - very windy and difficult to hold the camera still through the binoculars, but still very rewarding. This is the habitat we are trying to retain as it is and will post some further photos of the site for comparison.
5 Skylarks and 7 Meadow Pipits also present.

Halifax Town Centre

60 Waxwings still this morning at 08.45 on Burdock Way roundabout. Best viewed from back of Great Albion Street high rise flats.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Always at its best at this time of the year ,keep thinking a Ring necked Duck will turn up.So keep a close eye on the lake
34 Tufted Duck
4 Great Crested Grebe
1 Grey wagtail
1 Kingfisher
3 Cormorant
10 gooseander
1 Goldeneye
1 Little Grebe
Coot,Moorhen and Mallards
2 Waxwings flew n/w over Northowram school at 3.25

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Halifax Town Centre

c12 Waxwings today still by Albion Court flats/Burdock Way at 9.0 am then others reported from Andy with c30 by the Police Station and on Burdock Way roundabout at 11.30 am. None at Warley Road - checked at 9.30

Halifax birding - the way forward?

Following a well attended Calderdale Bird Conservation Group meeting last night the issue of the existence of both the CBCG and the Halifax Birdwatchers Club alongside each other was raised, it was suggested that with the advent of the proposed Calderdale birding website this would be a good time to consider merging the two groups together. As several birders who submit records to the Club were not present we need to seek their views on this idea, with this in mind Nick Dawtrey has offered to contact as many contributors to the report as possible. If anyone prefers to pass their views on by e mail please contact either myself on midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk or Nick D on halifaxbirders@connectfree.co.uk or alternatively leave a post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Mill Dam, Todmorden

5 F Goosander & 1 Kingfisher there at 3.40

Also my neighbour tells me she had a Sparrowhawk in the garden today. One turns up quite regularly (always when I'm not about unfortunately)

Ogden/Fly Flats

Fly Flats (0.5c and blowing a blizzard at 1.30pm)
1 Stonechat by the wind farm car park and that was it!

Ogden (warmer at 2.0c !)
1 Redpoll over the plantation
1 f Goosander
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Jays

Halifax Town Centre

c60 Waxwings reported this morning 9.30 am from SG. c12 still there there at 11.30 feeding in rowan trees outside Albion Court high rise flats and flying into trees on Burdock Way roundabout but very flighty - probably getting disturbed by traffic!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Warley Road

More Waxwings from Warley Road taken last Friday

Roils Head

14 Herring Gulls and 1 Great Black-backed Gull >NW over Pellon/Roils Head this afternoon. Also 1 Stonechat at Roils Head.

Not for the faint hearted this posting for Nick Dawtery who found this severed head of a badger at Highroad Well Moor. It seems badger baiters are still operating in Calderdale? The remains are being sent off for analysis. This is the third badger found dead in the last couple of years in this area.

Warley Road

About 50 waxwings reported - still at the bottom of Warley Road today.

Cromwell Bottom area

River-- 5 Goosanders, 2 Little Grebes, and 2 male Bullfinches on the riverside
Canalside - mixed flock of Siskins and Goldcrests
Lake - 8 Goosanders, 3 Little Grebes, single Great Crested Grebe, Heron, 2 Cormorants,
Kingfisher, c150 BH Gulls and an impressive 26 Tufted Ducks.

Best view of whole lake seems to be from the back of the 'Casa del Lago' pub where there are some handy walls for Scope support !

Crimsworth Dean

One Buzzard and a Raven this morning but very little else!

Soil Hill

2 Snow Buntings reported by Nigel on the top at 11.30 am today

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Waxwing Again

Not quite in the same class but here was my best shot,

Waxwings at Warley Road

Saturday 8:30am to 12:15pm

49 waxwings at the Allan Fold. Spent an interesting morning with Sean watching him ring.
Also saw a couple of herring gulls by People's Park and 70 pink foot over heading west.

Waxwings Still There

Don't know if anyone's still interested but forty odd Waxwings still at Allan Fold this aft. Even my wife was impressed she thought they looked like Cockatoos! None at Wickes I assume they are the same birds that have moved up.


Quick question. Is it possible to tell migrant Starlings from indigenous ones ?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rochdale Canal

Between Luddenden Foot and Hebden Bridge
1 Kingfisher on the River Calder at Luddenden Foot and at the same place on return
1 Dipper at Hebden bridge on the Calder at Calder Holmes Park
1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel over
Several Redwings and Mistle Thrushes along the canal eating berries in thorn bushes
c150 Canada Geese
Surprisingly no Redpoll or Siskins in the canal side alders - yet!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bottom of Warley Rd, King Cross

36 Waxwings there at 1.45pm

4 Goldfinch on my apple tree at lunchtime

Luddenden Dean

During a walk along Castle Carr Road battling gale force winds we disturbed a grumpy looking grey heron and saw a pair of stonechats sitting it out on a fence! I spotted and David identified a meadow pipit as we descended into the calm of the Dean.
c 30 redwings
20+ fieldfares
8 mistle thrushes
1 male kestrel
1 sparrow hawk and various woodland birds
Following the message on grapevine we headed off to the bottom of Warley Rd where we saw the 36 waxwings reported by Mick.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fly Flatts/High Brown Knoll

We walked round the res'r and on the catchwater drain to High Brown Knoll (443m) today as we thought about the possibility of Snow Buntings on the tops - nothing doing. Lovely day but very quiet for birds apart from 30+ Red Grouse on the moor.
2 Reed Buntings
1 Wren
1 Kestrel
1 Carrion Crow
11 Starlings over >N
17 B H Gulls

Halifax Town Centre
No reports today of any Waxwings although Wade Street and Winding Road were checked around lunch time by AH

Mytholmroyd - sparrowhawk

Going for my bus today at 1.15 in Mytholmroyd - had just come over the bridge to wait in front of the toilets opposite the Dusty Miller. In front of me with a bemused look on its face was a beautiful male sparrowhawk (must have been a male as it was so small and delicate) just sitting on the pavement. I think maybe it had tried to catch one of the numerous pigeons that are always pecking about there (but not today!) In any case it must have been only half the weight of a pigeon. We looked at each other for a few seconds then it wheeled round and flew over the road behind the pub. Lovely moment.

Buzzard Feeding

Just a quick note from North Wales. Just had my best ever view of a Buzzard around 30 feet from the kitchen window. The bird (juvenile) has just spent 20 mins plucking and eating one of two dead Magpies I bagged from the local farmer yesterday. I chucked these out into the field last yesterday in the hopes a fox or badger would come along last night for me to watch, but nothing appeared and the dead birds were untouched this morning. Just as I was making my lunch today in the kitchen the Buzzard glided in and after a quick wary look around started to pluck and then scoff one of the Magpies no more than 30 feet from me. I had fantastic views through the scope of its plucking behaviour and feeding, all rather clumsy due to the bird being a juvenile I assume ? The bird tried to stand on the Magpie but kept falling off when it tugged at the feathers :-)) Surprisingly to me it started on the head and back of the Magpie rather than the breast which I would have assumed it would start with first. The bird also consumed quite a few feathers deliberately with no meat attached this I assume is for roughage ? The bird eventually took off clutching the Magpie in one foot as some live Magpies where starting to mob it. A question on this, do Buzzards have a favorite plucking post like some other birds of prey ?

Its all very strange round here with the farmers and wildlife (or at least the ones I have spoken to so far) most kill every fox on their land as most have sheep and free range chickens so I suppose its understandable even If I don't like it. Most of them also blast any Carrion Crow or Magpie they spot, not as might be thought because of possible stock losses but due they tell me because Crows and Magpies take the small birds they like to see nesting on their land. But unlike most gamekeepers they seem perfectly happy to live and let with birds of prey which is great. The local farmer I got the dead Magpies off yesterday asked me to tell him if any foxes appeared but was perfectly happy if Badgers or Buzzards took the dead Magpies. At least I don't have to tell him any porkies about no foxes appearing.

Monday, November 17, 2008


1 f Goosander
1 Green Woodpecker
c20 Greenfinch
1 Sparrowhawk
c180 B H Gulls and c30 Common Gulls

Halifax Town Centre

28 Waxwings down Winding Road this morning at 10.15 (Wickes car park area) from PJWS. None at Raglan Street (9.0 am) djs

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Halifax Town Centre

15 Waxwings below the bus station opposite the RSPCA this afternoon - I just passed there at 4 pm- they were trilling away in the tops of a tree then left towards Sainsbury's/Wickes - presumably to roost. Not many berries left there now but plenty down Wade Street and a few in Sainsbury's car park!

We also had a report of c360 Pied Wagtails roosting in the trees outside WH Smiths in the town centre (traditional winter roost there in the last few years)

Pickwood Scar

1 M Kestrel
3 Bullfinch
Mxd Tit flock
20 Woodpidgeon

Hollas Bridge

Fantastic view of Kingfisher on the river

Milner Royd

c150 Geese flew over >S at around 10.30am Sorry, no positive id. Pink feet?
1 Grey Heron
Flock of mxd Tits
6 Goldcrest
1 M Bullfinch

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gorple and Walshaw Dean etc

Gorple from the track leading up from Blake Dean to lower Gorple this morning

I got a bit of a shock when I came across this juv Goshawk sitting on a fence post at Blake Dean this afternoon. Something odd when it just sat there then flew onto the next post 'with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes' so to speak. Bells and jesses - then the falconer came down to collect it. Buzzard size with some nice plumage details.

Also in the area
1 Peregrine juv on the moor
2 Redpoll over at Walshaw Dean plantation and Chaff's going to roost there
c200 Fieldfares and a few Redwings and c400 Starlings all going >W
Gorple plantation, just below the lower res'r, this morning had a good number of small birds including Blue, Great and Coal Tits. 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Reed Buntings and mixed flock of c50 Chaff's/Greenfinch/ Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits nearby

7 Whooper Swans came in from the west to roost at Gorple (lower) last Wednesday evening and flew off on Thursday morning.

Scammonden this evening

From the footpath along the dam wall of Dean Head Reservoir. 14.00 -16.45

Short-eared owl 3

hunting at the top of the valley at dusk some fantastic fairly close views perched and in flight. Two birds were flying from 14.15 coming up the valley one picked up over Scammonden Dam perhaps suggesting a movement into the valley this afternoon.

Lond-eared Owl 1

Hunting the southern valley slope and often perching on the fence posts at the side of the footpath. Came incredably close hovering only 10 m away


1F - just been watching the first of the season on the feeders at home along with the Chaffinches & Greenfinches. The latter being far the most abundant.

Friday, November 14, 2008


1 Waxwing this morning at the top of Lower Edge. It was feeding in a rowan in a garden next to the road between Booth Royd Lane and Nunnery Lane - there could have been others in the Field Lane area but non found!

Help !

Hi all

A quick bit of advice needed from a novice in North Wales. Amongst the Chaffinch flock frequenting my feeding station at the moment is a bird which I think is a Cock Brambling but I have my doubts as it does not quite fit with the description on Collins bird guide. The main thing thats making me doubt Brambling is that the bird does not have a white rump (nor tinged yellow) and it has white tips to the end of the tail feathers. I know its not much to go on but can anyone suggest something else it might be other than a slightly odd Brambling ? I think it probably is a Brambling but I hate to shoehorn something into a definate as its the nearest fit. The bird is very agressive and shifts the Chafinches from the food if they come anywhere near. Its most distinctive feature is the almost "punk" like markings to to either side of the head and the rear of the neck which resemble a heavy black dotted line down from the top of the head, down the neck almost to its wings. The bird, I think its a cock due to its very bright colour, is roughly Chaffinch sized, but more heavier in its body. Its neck is grey and this comes down in a clear line from the base of its bill and from the front looks like a judge wearing wig ! Sorry this is all a bit messy but I have no what all the technical terms are for bird features

Twite supplementary feeding

Roy Taylor (RSPB/twite recovery project) has e mailed those interested in the issue of supplementary feeding and especially whether to do so in winter or not, his e mail gives sound advice for the way forward. I have attempted to forward it on to all those I know who have or are involved in feeding twite, if you haven't received a copy and want to know more please contact me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Very misty there today!
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Redwing
2 Treecreepers
19+ Goldcrests
11 Coal tits plus usual woodland sp...


From PJWS at 2.57 pm c275 Pink-footed Geese >SE over Soil Hill.

Also yesterday 7 Waxwings were still opposite the RSPCA office at 9.0 am but no update since then.


Above - 2 shots of a female Merlin last week on our local moors - it was quite a distance away and I got it through the digiscope. In comparison (top) - what about this photo of a male at Orefordness (Suffolk). It was sent on from David Crawshaw a former (and still occasional Calderdale birder). The male Merlin was ringed as a chick in Yorkshire in 2005 and controlled at Orefordness in the last week or so. Many thanks David.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For sale

I saw a pipistrell Bat flying around a church spire in brighouse today.It reminded me that i had a new Bat detector still unwrapped from last X-mas.Its a CIEL CDB 301 which is a good make ,if you want it or know someone who would like an excellent X-mas present please leave a comment below and i will get in contact with you.


Managed a 10 minute walk along the canal.
1 Brambling
2 Bullfinch
2 Grey wagtail
8 Cormorant
Redwing,Fieldfare,Great Spot and LTTits

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Reserve closed this afternoon due to high winds - very wise!
2 f Goosander sheltering in the NW corner, a few Black-headed and Common Gulls and home!

Halifax Town Centre

7 Waxwings at the bottom end of Halifax bus station reported by Andy Cockroft this morning, opposite the RSPCA centre. Still there till at least 12.30. Non found at Raglan Street this morning or the bottom end of Warley Road (a traditional spot) but 2 Redwings there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Various sites

Checked Ryburn Res'r and woodland this afternoon with Nick D
1 Cormorant
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Kestrel
c80 Fieldfares and c300 Starlings nearby

c60 B H gulls and c20 Common Gulls started coming in to roost
1 G C Grebe

Withens Clough Res'r
c800 Starlings >E
1 Kestrel

Wheatley Valley
1 Goosander over >NW this morning

More Waxwing - Halifax Town Centre

Monday 12:30pm

7 waxwings in trees by the Halifax bus station (opposite RSPCA on Winding Road).


saw it between wolsden (near todmorden) and littlebourgh
it was standing in a cricket/football feild (i think)
what made me think it was a crane were:
its posture-not at an angle
its head height of the ground and neck length
its short bill
its size
no pattern visible although it was from a distance
i only saw it driving past so i dint get a good view
it was only after i had left it that i though that it could be a crane
please could somebody check it out

Sunday, November 09, 2008

this morning-ogden

birdlife very good:
2 jays
numerous robins, dunnocks and chaffinches
1 female goosander
the usual suspects-black headed gulls and mallards
1 roe deer too
absolutly smashing view deep in the forest as it climbed up one of the river banks


10 waxwings at raglan street
smashing birds
very bold

Waxwing Update

15 at Raglan Street this morning

Shroggs Park

A few Bramblings (3or 4?) heard in the trees around the Park Lodge this morning. Also Redwings, Mistle Thrushes and Goldfinches nearby feeding on holly berries.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Unfortunately not the best of conditions, poor light and very windy.

And a fieldfare that also visited the waxwing tree.