Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A male blackcap at the end of Summerfield Road, Todmorden this morning.


2 Whimbrel flew north east yesterday evening over Northowram and loads of nesting House Sparrows.2 reed Warblers,Garden Warbler,Blackcap,8 male Gooseander,40 + Swifts,Sand/House Martin ,Cormorant and Grey Heron at EGP today.

Sparrowhawk & Weasels

On my way back from my regular walk this morning I was just in the right place to watch a failed attack by a male Sparrowhawk on a finch of some sort (too high and too quick to be certain of sp). As I walked back up to Park Nook Lock near my house I saw a finch being pursued very closely by a male Sparrowhawk at a height of around 30 feet. The hawk gave up the chase very quickly even though he looked to be near enough to catch the finch despite the finches frantic twists and turns to avoid being grabbed. The second surprise in the chase was that as soon as the hawk broke off its attack several small birds chased it off over the river amongst these was the bird which seconds before had been chased by the hawk !!

A pleasant new addition to my daily walk down the towpath is the increasing frequency of weasel sitings. I now see one at least once a week somewhere along the towpath and as these sitings are spread from Rawsons pool to the Avocet factory I assume they are of different individuals rather than one pair or individual. I know the live trapping and removal of the mink along this section of the canal has been controversial, but it seems that with the removal of the larger introduced mustelid the smaller native ones have now managed to recolonise the area. I have not seen the large black dog mink in his usual patch since early winter and assume he has perhaps now died of old age ( I have been watching him for several years now). I know hes not been trapped as I released him on the one occasion he did enter the live trap last year. I regularly see a weasel moving around the old minks old home patch and it would not have done this had the old dog mink still been around. Nice to see the weasel but I have to admit that I will rather miss the old dog mink. I never saw him take ducks or fish and the twice I did see him with prey it was a large brown rat he was taking back to his lair in the canal wall. He never got used to my presence and always took off at high speed into the canal and swam under water to his lair whenever he spotted me but I shall miss his rather majestic presence on my walks down past Rawsons Pool.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean

Checked both valleys today for redstarts etc (having seen 5 redstarts at Malham last week). No luck and not much about other than usual sp....
1 nuthatch
1 common buzzard heading west towards Lancashire
4 wheatears together in Crimsworth Dean
1 Little Owl


Singing/displaying Garden warbler(2),Blackcap(4), Whitethroat(2), Linnets (4)and 2 paris of Longtailed Tit nest building today.

Gropper at Scammonden

Extensive search around Scammonden and Deanhead this morning revealed one bird reeling on the south facing banking, near the church. In previous years the groppers seem to have preferred the wetter areas covered with juncas grass, but this particular individual has chosen a dryish, steep south facing slope covered with brambles and a few hawthorn.

The bird showed once for around 15 seconds so photography could prove tricky and tiring actually getting to the area in the first place. No doubt Sean will come up trumps!

1 female Goldeneye and 2 Great Crested Grebe (which are not regular here) on the water, a Cormorant over going west, 2 Grey Heron and c20 Willow Warbler also around.

Reed Warblers

First Reed Warblers of the year seen and heard in the usual spot on the lagoon at Cromwell Bottom this morning.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Soil Hill

28/04/2008 1830hrs

1 Tree pipit
sev Wheatears
+ good numbers of blogging Mipits and Skylarks
No sign of Dotterel
Posted by Picasa

soil hill

got Brians text and was up in moments
however he wasnt up there and neither were any of the birds
(except 1 plover)

Fly Flats

This afternoon;
5 Common Sandpiper
4 Twite
16 + Wheatear
1 Kestrel
1 Pied Wagtail
2 Rooks over - unusual bird for Fly Flats!

Soil hill Monday morning

18 wheatear
1 Stock Dove
3 Snipe
1 Mistle Thrush
1 reed Bunt
2 Linnet

EGP Afternoon briefly
40+ House martin
200+ Swallow
1 redpoll
8 Swift
5 Sand martin

Swifts 28/4/08

Six Swifts seen over Lowfields Business Park today around lunchtime. The birds were quite high up and seemed to be following the river Calder upstream.

Ringstone E Res. yesterday April 27

G C Grebe 1
Grey Heron 1ad + 1 first S
Mallard 5m 1f
Lapwing 20+
Golden Plover (Northerns) 51 in East Field
Common Sand 2
Curlew 2 West Field
Whimbrel 1 was in the field behind the hide but moved to North field by aggressive Curlew flew East after feeding for 40 mins
Kestrel 1
L B B Gull 1 ad flew West
Swallow 5
Skylark 2
Pied Wag 2
Twite 2 Near feeding station but not seen at seed
Reed Bunt 2

Common Swift 30+ over Calder Valley just West of Elland Bridge at 17.45

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Crow Hill, the one at Sowerby

Heard on the grapevine about a Dotterel on Soil Hill, so went up to Crow Hill, Sowerby, where they have been found in the past ( 7 together once). No Dotterel, but a good trawl :
7 Lapwing -2 pairs on nest sites despite a flock of hundreds of Jackdaws and crows.
A crow's nest in a 4 metre Elderberry tree with 2 warm eggs.
2 Skylarks
Meadow Pipits a plenty inc. one carrying nest material
Wheaters at two sites
The moorland summit of Crow Hill, (Sowerby) now completely grazed off by cattle. A little grazing = good for biodiversity. Overgrazing = long-term damage.
Why can't something be done about this damage in what's supposed to be the South Pennines Special Protection Area?
The wet meadow below Pitts farm looks good for snipe
but the farmer looks like getting round to draining it soon.
A pair of Twite on a manure heap at SE024231 went east at approx. 18.00

Lee Mount

2 common Swifts through this evening at 6pm

Fly Flats

This afternoon
2 oystercatchers
2 common sandpipers
2 twite
1 redshank
5 wheatears
1 swallow >N
Then the call to Soil hill came - well done Brian-fantastic find!

The Cavalry arrive at Soil Hill

Posted by Picasa

Gathering on Soil this afternoon!!

Birders on Soil Hill this afternoon!! from TMR..... recognise the jiz?

Dave Barker

Soil Hill hits the headlines again

27/04/2008 1515hrs
1 Dotterel showing well BS
better photos to follow from SG
Posted by Picasa


half way up to soil hill this afternoon and hey presto, a text from brian saying a female dottrel on soil hill. its my first dottrel ever. the crowds were increasing as i left

Norland Moor 26/4/08

Not much around in the rain on the moor this morning but we did have six very depressed looking Swallows flying forlornly around at the bottom end of the moor (heading North) on our way back to the car. Only other birds of note were two Wheatears over the far end of the moor.

Malta Optics Update

The local birders trip to Malta to assist with Birdlife Malta's Springwatch Camp came to an end last Friday, full details of the camp, the Springwatch campaign and a diary of events can be found by follwing the links from
The fund raising efforts of local birders led to the purchase of 12 pairs of binoculars and four telescope and tripod combinations which were shipped out to Malta FOC by Air Malta. The optics were donated to Birdlife Malta (2 bins and 1 scope) for use by their staff and also to the Administrative Law Enforcement dept of the Maltese Police (10 bins and 3 scopes) for use in their surveillance operations against illegal hunting. Both parties were extremely grateful for the efforts of everyone over here and asked that we pass on our grateful thanks. I would like to echo these sentiments and congratulate everyone who took part, I can ssure you that having been out there and seen the hard work that is going on the equipment will make a significant difference.
Click on any image for a larger view.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I just noticed on the hit counter that we have passed 100,000 visits since we set up. A huge thank you to all who contribute, this is a great achievement.

I am aware the blog has it's critics, but the only content on there is your own. If you have any constructive comments on any improvements we can make, then please let us have them. Otherwise, keep placing your thoughts, sightings, comments and photos on here. It would die frighteningly quickly without your input.


OK, I know this isn't on topic but I am not a member of Paul's blog.

Just a quick ish one - are there any particularly good sites for butterflies in the halifax area? We have had one or two in the garden - comma and peacock but would like to have a go at photographing more and learning a few more species this year.

Thanks for any useful info - Andrew.

Common Swift at EGP

1 through this evening going W. 6 Blackcap and 2 Common Whitethroat also around. For the record I have recorded thus far a maximum count of 10 Willow Warbler and 8 Chiffchaff at this site on 22/4.


2 in my garden :)
not the first time either

Friday, April 25, 2008

Urbane Birds?

I was looking up at Square Chapel spire today, to see any sign of Peregrines (none) when I noticed a Carrion Crow go to its nest in the Sycamore there. Possibly from the family one of which sat cawing on top of the Piece Hall Roof while we were waiting for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to start a few years back, adding an extra a bit of Shakespearean atmosphere to the scene. _______________

Gordon Yates, the bird film maker from Rochdale, told us the local authorities in Lancashire have persuaded Peregrines to nest in more than one place simply by fixing trays of gravel in high places.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Common Tern at EGP

One present from 16:40 at least until 17:55 this afternoon when it flew E following R Calder.
Also present were:
2 Tufted Duck
2 Goosander
2 Great Crested Grebe
1 Grey Heron
1 Kestrel
3 Ringed Plover (one flew N at 17:30)
1 Common Sandpiper
2 BH Gull
2 LBB Gull
c30 Sand Martin
c200 Swallow
c50 House Martin
10 Lesser Redpoll

undisclosed site

2 starling nests located-good start for the spieces this year
also 1 nest in my roof-2nd year and they roosted there over winter

Just out of interest

More than half a million Mipits were recorded at VisMig sites (mostly coastal) across Holland yesterday(tuesday 22nd). Breskens – the prime SPRING vismig spot in Holland recorded an unbelievable 267,000, not to mention 96 other species seen. The ongoing E and NE winds are presumably ideal for pushing northward bound birds towards the west side of the low countries with them re-adjusting >NE into a headwind along the N coast. Good to see the UK (Heysham) chipping in with 44 birds!
Taken from Dave.Barkers vis mig site

Cromwell Bottom 25/4/08

Nothing earth shattering, but Whitethroats are now in the scrub around the lagoon. I did not see them myself (it was peeing down this morning when I get there) but a birder I see around told me he had seen 1 pair and 1 male in the scrub round the lagoon.

Herons nest apprears to have two young we think.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I am calling the extra ordinary meeting for 8pm on Tuesday 6th May at the Mytholmroyd offices of Calderdale Council above the library. The main priority is to select a New Chairman for the group to replace the outgoing Chairman Nick Carter.

Depending on how long this takes the floor will then be left open for discussion of other matters, at the head of this further agenda I propose the Twite Seed Project and nestbox projects.

If you have anything else you'd wish to be raised given time can you email me.

One proposal I have in terms of the Chairman is that we set a timescale for term of service in the position, I would suggest 2 years.

On the back of this John Beaumont has suggested that we also have a Vice Chairman who can stand in when the Chairman is absent but also will take up the position of Chairman once the Chairmans term comes to an end.

Hopefully this will perhaps make some of you consider taking up the role.

I hope that as many people as possible will be able to attend, don't forget that the Conservation Group is open to anyone looking to help protect and promote the well being of birds in Calderdale.

Also remember that these meetings are your chance to have your say on the actions of the group.


The Whitefront is still around - still with the same flock of Canada - on the Pond above Longfield on Lumbutts road this evening - a more picturesque view than Saturday's grim mud. Good find by the way. Thanks for posting it !!


saw 1 going to school this morning near the bradshaw tavern
saw the same bird flying aroung when i was walking home but it wasnt singing

Ringstone yesterday

2 Oyks,2 Greylags,30 Golden plover,1 female merlin,3 swallows,1 Willow Warbler,Lapwings,Redshank,Linnet,twite and goldfinch

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ogden/Fly Flats

2 Swallows
1 f Goldeneye
c4 Treecreepers
1 Common Gull
1 Moorhen
1 Snipe by golf course

1 Common Sandpiper
1 Dunlin
2 Swallows
3 Twite (only one with pink ring on left tarsus)
1 Raven at a distance

RSPB Campaign for Birds of Prey

Further to Paul's post below the RSPB have launched a campaign to try to prevent this, you can view the details and sign up here.

Wonder where all the Raptors went ?

Spotted this on the BBC website this morning. Perhaps we need to focus nearer home as well as on Malta !

Undisclosed Site - Misty morning

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ring Ouzel

2 cracking males on Wholestone Moor this afternoon. 200 Golden Plover (many northern race birds) also there. Noticeable easterly and north easterly movement of LBB Gull (50+), 2 GBB Gull, 10+ Swallow and 1 Sand Martin during the couple of hours I spent there.

2 Oystercatcher flew west from Ringstone earlier around 14:00

More interestingly a Ringed Plover flew north over Elland Ski lake at 13:30 today. I picked the bird up as I was watching a mixed flock of Swallows and Sand Martin moving through from the south. It was again very noticeable that small flocks of hirundines were periodically moving from the south or south west in an east or north easterly direction.

3 LBB Gull and 1 GBB Gull also picked up moving east along R Calder.

Twite - Site Visit to Deer Hill Bird Ringing Station

Please find below an invitation to visit the Deer Hill Ringing station on Saturday 26th April at 8 am.

This an excellent opportunity for anybody who has not got much experience of Twite in the field to gain some more experience in advance of this years survey.
Please could you email or call 01484 223490 by close of Wed 23 April at the latest if you would like to attend.


Sean Gray and Dave Pogson, both local bird ringers that operate the Deer Hill Bird Ringing Station have kindly agreed to host a site visit for interested Twite survey volunteers and other interested parties. The aim of the visit is to learn more about Twite and the ringing station project. On the site visit we hope to see and hear Twite and hopefully, see some birds being caught and ringed. David Sowter will also be there to discuss the North West Twite Colour ringing project.

We had originally planned for arranging a visit to the site in May or September time but given the Twite breeding survey is about to commence across the South Pennines this seemed a good time to meet and find out more about the ringing project and learn some more about Twite.

Please note the meeting details are as follows:
- Meeting point 08.00am at the entrance to Deer Hill Reservoir which is about a mile away from the site. Sean has noted that we will need to park here and make our way up to the site on foot as vehicle access up to the reservoir is restricted. Sean may be able to ferry up a few people to the site by car on the day.
- This web link takes you to a map of where to meet at Deer Hill End Rd,-1.87313164&loc=GB:53.60208:-1.8725:16marsden
- Please note the site visit is weather dependent. If it is pouring down with rain then the visit will not be able to take place. Fingers crossed it stays fine! Confirmation of the visit will be sent out 2 days prior to the event.
- Do wear warm outdoor clothing, suitable footwear and bring a flask as it could be a long wait between catches!

Soil hill Monday morning

2 Twite,2 Snipe,2 reed bunts,2 Linnet and 2 Stonechat the male showing a white rump and large white wing pannel.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

EGP - 13:00 - 15:00

Very quiet except for c40 Swallows and at least 2 Sand Martins over the water ski lake, 1 singing Willow Warbler, several Chiffchaff singing and usual tit flock. The mink was seen crossing the river by the metal footbridge a beautiful creature thats given a hard time by man, shame it's such an efficent killer and doesn't belong here. The fashion conscious and the animal rights activists have a lot to answer for.

White-fronted Goose (from Nick Dawtrey)

Yellowhammer Update

4 singing males and at least 2 females at Bradley Hall Farm this morning. 1 Grey Heron, 2 pairs of Grey Wagtail, 1 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler also seen.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Common Buzzard

One drifted NE over Upper Fell Greave Wood Fixby at 09:05 today

Friday, April 18, 2008

White-fronted Goose

Photo from this afternoon by Nick Dawtrey.
The bird was still present this evening at 7 pm in fields with 22 Canada Geese. Lumbutts Road near Todmorden.

White -fronted Goose albifrons

White founted goose found today by Brian leesey it showed very well in the rain and gale foce winds.It is of the race albifrons and only the 3rd record for our area.

18th April

Craking views of the White-fronted Goose found by Brian Leecy today.
Got some pics but having trouble posting them. Only the thrird record for Calderdale.Photos to follow hopefully.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Arctic Tern Elland G P


Stodfold and Golf Course
1 Snipe
2 Green Woodpeckers
2 Stonechats
1 f Sparrowhawk
2 Grey Partridge
1 Willow Warbler

1 Swallow
1 f Goldeneye

Elland G P

8 till 9.30 am
No sign of Arctic Terns at that time! Well done Andy
Just c30 Swallows
1 Sand Martin
1 Cormorant
2 L B B Gulls

Arctic Terns @ CB

Andy Cockroft just popped in and tells me that two Arctic Terns are on the Ski lake at Cromwell bottom near to the Ski Jump. Just posted this in case anyone wants to nip down for a look.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Fund Raising

I was persuaded into having an exhibition of my photo's some months ago, that exhibition will be held at Nelson's Wine Bar in Hebden Bridge from the 8th May until the 12th June.

On the opening night I intend to hold a raffle and auction for the Conservation Group, also all photo's sold will have a donation from the profits made to the group. My intention is for that donation to be 50% of the Profit but that is to be confirmed nearer the time.

If you would like to attend I will be getting an allocation of tickets which will entitle the holders to 1 free drink on the night.

Please email me if you would like a ticket and I'll make arrangements to get them to you, I hope we can make this another fun evening for the group and your support as always will be very much appreciated.

Any money raised is to go towards surveillance equipment for locally sensitive sites.

Optics for Malta

As most readers of this Blog will know local birders and conservationists have spent the winter raising funds to purchase optics to be presented to the police authorities on Malta to assist in their surveillance of illegal hunting on the island. Malta is well known as a hunting blackspot and as it lies on a main migration route for birds moving between Europe and Africa the impact of the hunting activities of somewhere in the region of 17000 registered gun owners (on what is a relatively small island) has ramifications for populations of birds conserved elsewhere in Europe. This year Birdlife Malta has launched "Spring Watch Malta" a conservation camp forming an integral part of BirdLife Malta’s fight against illegal spring hunting. Four local birders leave tomorrow to assist with the camps efforts and whilst there will present the optics to Birdlife Malta/ALE (local police).

I want to thank all those people who have contributed to the Optics Fund over the winter and to let everyone know that we will be presenting a total of 12 pairs of binoculars and four telescopes and tripods, an excellent achievement by everyone concerned. On our return we hope to have photos of the presentation.

For more info on the Maltese hunting issue go to

Cromwell Bottom

Quick walk round at lunchtime today. Unfortunately the heavens opened - as usual when I was at the furthest point from the car - so a little wet and subdued. The birds also seemed to be staying out of the rain. There was woodpecker drumming pretty persistently but will have to brush up on the drumming 'tones' to say which type as couldn't get a view.

Out of interest is anyone going to the wildlife weekend at lee valley 26/27th April? Lorna, Jack and I are going down to do some promoting but hope to do plenty of wildlife spotting in the evening.

Info on the weekend is here if anyone is interested:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


c400 Fielfares and c220 Starlings this afternoon in the field behind the hide. They took off towards Dean Head about 4pm after a hail storm.
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 Grey Heron
1 Greylag Goose
4 Linnets
1 Kestrel

Blake Dean/Lower Gorple/Widdop

Great morning for birding - very cold up there - better than working!

Blake Dean
We saw an Osprey through going west at. Seen from Widdop Rd the bird was heading >W at 12.55 coming along the ridge to the south into the wind and seen over the small plantation where the track heads up to Lower Gorple. Just as the hail storm headed in from the west it came in lower over the valley that heads up to Clough Foot and Widdop. It was lost from view in the valley but may have rested up at Widdop plantation (or Gorple) with the weather coming in so bad for the next hour or two. Probably over into Lancashire this afternoon? What superb birds they are!

Also seen
2 Tufted Duck (lower Gorple)
2 Oystercatchers
1 very hardy Swallow around Clough Foot car park
1 Golden Plover
Several Curlew and Lapwing
Canadas everywhere on the moor

Metal Head Pecker

On my morning trip down the canal this morning I heard a weird metallic rattle coming from near Crowther Bridge. Sure enough on getting the bins on the large pylon in the compound on Northbank Loop I spotted a male Greater Spotted Woodpecker hammering away on the tops struts. He kept this up quite while as I heard it on the way down past the pylon and as I walked further down to meet Les I could still hear him drumming away on the pylon. I mentioned this to Les when we met up and he said he had seen the same thing on a pylon lower down the canal last year.

All the usual suspects around this morning, looks like a new influx of Sand Martin have arrived on the Ski lake as Les as I spotted a fair number as we walked back up the running track towards Tag Loop.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Black Redstart (Nick Dawtery)

Fly Flats/Castle Carr/Cold Edge

Fly Flats - usual sp...+
15 Twite
2 Oystercatchers
2 Pied Wagtails
2 Ravens >NW

Castle Carr Road
1 Reed Bunting

Cold Edge
1 m Goosander
1 m Stonechat
2 Greylag Geese

Undisclosed sites

For the duration of the breeding season please use "Undisclosed Site" for all scarce breeding birds and raptor sightings. Birds are at risk if potential breeding locations are revealed, as this is a public blog. Any raptors seen passing through the recording area can be published as normal. Thanks.

First swallow

Noitced the first swallow circling around over our garden last night - anyone could think that summer is on the way!

Towpath & CB 14/4/08

Set off down CB this morning just after 7am, beautiful almost spring like morning, slight frost but very sunny. I had not walked 20 yards when I heard the first Great Spotted drumming in Park wood. A further 40 yards and I spotted the second Great Spotted on the road side of the canal above Rawson's Pool. Nothing much showing for the rest of the path on the way down but plenty of Chiff-Chaff calling on both side of the canal, with the odd Blackcap and Willow Warbler. Heard Green Woodpecker yaffling just as I got to the Herons nest, no sign of life in or around the nest.

I walked on the running track for a look over the ski lake and apart from one Cormorant and 5 squabbling Coots nothing much in sight, not a single Swallow or Martin as far as I could see. I cut across the path between the two lagoons and came out on the new motorway running alongside the river. Apart from the ever present Chiff-Chaff, not much here apart from a Kingfisher seen heading up river. Walked up river and over the pontoon bridge to Tag Loop and followed the path by the rivers edge towards Tag cut. Picked up another Kingfisher here but it could well have been the same individual seen earlier. Just as I walked into the open area near the willow scrub and tag cut a Tawny owl chased by two Crows flew overhead and on into Strangstry wood. Just as I got into the scrub I picked up the resident Great Spotted drumming on his usual perch. Nothing much along Tag cut, but I did spot one Roe Deer heading up towards the meadow on Tag after it spotted the dog. Came out of Tag Loop onto the riverbank and had another (or same) Kingfisher and a late red head Goosander.

Walking back up the canal towpath the weather had completely changed with heavy cloud cover coming over. Moving up the towpath I spotted the two doe Roe deer moving up into the scrub by Elland rd. Further up I had Tree Creeper and a pair of Bullfinch. Coming through near Rawson's pool I had the highlight of the morning in a male Lesser Spotted in the top of a large Beech. I only spotted this as I heard a strange call and saw it fly across the canal into the Beech. I had at first thought is a finch of some sort until I got the bins on it as it swung about under branches looking for insects. This is the third time in the last two years or so I have had all three Wood Peckers in one 90 min walk. After the Lesser Spotted I came home as I thought I had, had enough luck for one morning ! Calderdale might not get many rarities or particularly exciting birds most of the time but even numptie birders like me can see enough variety of species and bird behaviour to have something of interest most days of the week. Most nature observations are not particularly exciting but getting to know your own patch over a number of years brings its own quiet satisfaction I think. What ever type of wildlife watching is your "thing" the best and most enduring observations are made by those who get to known their chosen patch or patches over a period of years. Its all very nice chasing rarities occasionally but it adds nothing really to our knowledge of any form of flora or fauna and taken to its extreme the "tick" rather than the wildlife itself becomes all important. I hasten to add that these are my own opinions are not meant to deride anyone or assume I speak for anyone else on this blog or elsewhere

Checked the Sparrowhawk nest again today, just the male adding some twigs this morning.

Undisclosed Site

Taken this morning, this male Ring Ouzel is now on territory with a female. Meadow Pipit taken elsewhere but then they are everywhere.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Castle Carr Road

This afternoon (mostly in a hail storm)!
1 Snipe (drumming)
c12 Curlew
c20 Lapwings
Golden Plover heard
1 Wheatear
c80 Meadow pipits came down in the hail with 2 Pied Wagtails
6 Skylarks
c60 Woodpigeons moving through >NW

Black Redstart

Ploughcroft Lane top near ski slope
1 Black Redstart found yesterday by Iain Greenwood, first id as Redstart but
on better views today confirmed as Black Redstart. IG,NK,BS.
also 1 Dipper, Sowerby Bridge by tropical fish shop Water lane. BS

Callis sewage works - 11:30am

1 cracking white wagtail
c.30 pied wagtails
7-8 grey wagtails (inc. 2 on the river)
c. 8 meadow pipits
3 chiffchaffs (+1 at Jumble Hole)
2 willow warbler
1 raven over Erringden
Green woodpecker calling
GS woodpecker drumming

7 Wheatears at Greenwood Clough

This was last Monday. Managed to get 6 of them in one shot.
Got the quantity, just need to work on quality now !
Greenwood Clough is at the top end of Baitings Res.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Booth Wood Res'r

Just 2 Oystercatchers today on the far bank.

Callis Sewage works

Minimum counts of birds feeding on or over the filter beds

- 4 house martin
- 2 swallow
- 66 meadow pipit
- 14 grey wagtails
- 59 pied wagtails

Male goosander > east down the valley

ogden today

Very quiet in the cold wind
1 Female Goldeneye
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 Common Gull
2 Grey Wagtail
1 Greylag

Todmorden Saturday

Three shovellor have arrived on Longfield pond and have joined the party of Tufted ducks. A nice sight.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Callis sewage works - Hebden Bridge

7 house martins
40+ meadow pipits
11 pied wagtails

Friday morning

20,Swallows,2 House martin and 3 Sand Martin on the lake , 8 Chiff -Chaff,2 Blackcap,Linnet. bullfinch ,Skylark,Grey wagtail (singing), and Song Thrush around the river.
Soil Hill
Picked up NK on the way up there and had a good look round this morning .Started with Lapwing,LRP,Skylark and Meadow Pipit on the top and then down the slope to look for migrants,no luck with Wheatear,a Curlew flew over calling and 2 Snipe also.A couple of Linnets and a Reed Bunting were calling from the juncuss.Then we bumped into KMoir who was watching 2 Stonechats the male was showing characteristics of the continental race Rubicola,rubicola(showing a white rump)it looked very good for this .Any of you photographers out there it would be good to get a photo of this bird.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shameless plug............

Hi guys,

I just wanted to draw your attention to a new site that Lorna and I have been working on for some months now and which launched today. Hopefully it will be a great deal of interest to the group and I hope that at least some of your join our rather unpopulated forum. Also of interest to the group is the facility in the forum for wildlife groups to set up their own thread. Not too bad for HBCG as they have this blog but will hopefully prove popular with other groups to keep in touch.

Please have a look and let us know what you think

Also, if anyone is in a position where they can link to us that would be hugely appreciated though I will hold my hands up now and say that we are unlikely to be able to return the favour on our links page as we cannot provide links like that on a national scale.

Wanna be elected?

Following my recent decision to stand down as Chairman of the CBCG it is necessary to hold a meeting to select a replacement. Our usual venue of the GBN offices is unavailable due to building work but Hugh Firman has generously offered the use of the Council meeting room above the library in Mytholmroyd, the currently available dates are Tues 15 April, 29 April, 6,13,20 May. It has been suggested that as early a date as possible is chosen, please let Andy Huyton know which date is best for you and if there are any objections to the choice of venue.

Whilst I have the chance I just want to publicly thank all those that have supported me in my role as Chairman and for the work that those in the Group have done from the outset, I am sure any new chairman (chairperson?) will receive the same support.

Beacon Hill - Halifax

Approximately 4 wheatear in the fields at the back of Beacon Hill. 2 singing skylarks.
c80 geese flew NW at 1:30 heading towards Fly Flats - pretty distant but based on size I'd guess at Pink foot.

little ringed plovers

2 little ringed plovers at soil hill tonight-another first to my list
also presant were:
2 grey partridge flushed by the main pool
skylarks started singing when the rain let up
didnt bother to count them
lets just say lots
lots of mipits and lapwings 2

Elland G P

2 House Martins there today 12 noon over the ski lake/canal
12+ Swallows
5 Chiff-chaff
2 Blackcaps
c3 Willow Warblers
1 Reed Bunting
3 Tufted Duck
1 pair Goosander
1 Little Grebe
1 Curlew over >W

Old Tree Sparrow report

Colin Duke (HSS) sent us this record to day and if any one knows the area it may be worth a look Tree Sparrows seen at Cut Lane, Shelf SE107283, centered around Balms Hill Farm.(1989)Its an old record but is worth a look.One LRP seen today at Soil Hill flew north.

Walshaw Dean - 9:30

Lots of types of birds around, but nothing too out of the ordinary

Plantation - 25+ goldfinches, siskin calling, 1 stonechat, 2 song thrush, coal tit, pheasant, 2 kestrel, 8 wood pigeons, 1 stock dove, sparrowhawk over being mobbed by raven.
Lower Walshaw area- Lots of work being done. 6 mallard, golden plover calling from moors, 1 kestrel, 30+ meadow pipits, 5 skylark, 30 canada geese. Oystercatcher heard. 16 curlew.
Middle and Upper Washaw - Another 40 or more canada geese, another 6 curlew, blackbird and grey heron at top res'. Kestrel over moor.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cheap bins from Lidl

I was in Lidl the other day and noticed they were doing the Bresser 10 x 50 binoculars again - £11.99 I think. They are not the best bins you can buy, but definately the best bins that £11.99 can buy! Extremely good value for money.

Goldies near RER

c420 in fields near Ringstone this afternoon, quite a few males of the Northern race 'altifrons' amongst them.

1 female Goldeneye & 2 Great Crested Grebe on the reservoir

3 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 2 LBB Gull and 5 Swallow on ski lake at EGP later on

Sparrowhawk Nest

Sorry about that last cock up, the keyboard fell off my desk and posted the Sparrow Awk message ! Can you remove the mistake Matt please ?

What I had meant to say is I have had a Sparrowhawk nest under observation this week and watched both birds adding sticks to the nest this morning. To whom do I send details of where the nest is for the records ? I obviously do not want to post details on the blog but should anyone want to look at the nest at some point I will give out directions if this is acceptable, not sure if this is the done thing with nests or not ?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Fly Flats

Wheatear and landscape

Fly Flats/Withens Gap

This afternoon 8/04/08
Fly Flats
1 Oystercatcher
2 f Wheatear
7 Twite (5 with pink rings on L)
1 pair of Reed Buntings
1 Snipe
6 Lapwing and 4 Curlew

Withens Gap
1 Kestrel
1 f Merlin over the wind farm >NW
8 Wheatears (in field opposite the wind farm car park)
22 Golden Plover
Meadow Pipts and Skylarks very quiet today in the cold wind and hail - don't blame them!

Cold Edge
2 Oystercatchers

Osprey at Elland Gravel Pits

Lousy pic due to distance but a still a record picture. Walked down to canal to try for a clearer view but it flew of towards the skiing lake . Three crows were harrassing it at this time.

Soil Hill

08/04/2008 1930hrs
Hoping to get EGP Osprey over but instead got
4 Wheatear
1pr Pied Wag. no sign of AC and NKs White Wags
Posted by Picasa

Grapevine working well OSPREY

Thanks to Mike Sharp for his quick phone call tonight telling me of an Osprey perched in a tree at EGP. The info was put out in minutes and the 5 lucky observers who turned up had great views of the bird briefly perched then flying and circling over the gravel pits. Thanks to Mike for his call.

Hirundines at EGP

Very distant photo which they inevitably are at this site but thought it was worth posting due to the fact that most of the mixed flock of Sand Martins and Swallows suddenly flew towards and then rested in the tree for about a minute. I feel a bit sorry for them having made it this far to be confronted with weather like this!

Towpath & CB 8/4/08

A bit gloomy this morning but at least there were plenty of birds singing and showing. Herons nest is still under construction and hopefully eggs will be laid before long. Les and I had our first Blackcaps, Swallows and House Martins of the year. One male Blackcap seen singing and displaying in the trees on the opposite side to the towpath. He seems to have taken up residence just about the fence line between the angling lake and the ski lake. We had another male in the scrub near the top end of the lagoon near "newt corner". Hard to pick up the Swallows and Martins in the gloom but around a dozen in a mixed flock were feeding just above the water surface towards the club house end of the ski lake. No sign of any Willow Warblers this morning.

Les also tells me of a Buzzard still around near the Cooper Bridge area. Forgot to ask him about the Tree Sparrows though.

Cold Snap brings in Occassional Visitors

Forgot to add earlier that a male Sparrowhawk was also seen this morning, showing a great deal of interest in the Meadow Pipits, whilst a female had visited the garden a few days previous.

Also drawn into the garden by the cold snap and some late season food I put down were 2 rare visitors, first a single Siskin and then a pair of Bullfinch.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ogden/Fly Flats

This afternoon
1 Gt Crested Grebe
2 f Goldeneye
2 Canadas and 1 Greylag
1 Moorhen
1 pair Bullfinch
2 BH Gulls and 3 Common Gulls >NW

Withens Gap/Windfarm
1 f Merlin >N
17 Golden Plover
2 Wheatear
2 Oystercatchers over Cold Edge)

Fly Flats
10 Twite (5 with pink ring on L)
1 Snipe
1 f Reed Bunting
1 f Wheatear

High Royd - 12:00

5 coot
4 chiffchaff
1 (ever present!) treecreeper
2 goldcrest
2 moorhen
9 teal
2 little grebe
1 gs woodpecker
5 mallard

Large Movement of Meadow Pipits

I have noticed this morning a large movement of Meadow Pipits through the valley along Widdop Rd every field seemed to be holding flocks of 30+ birds, in total I have seen probably in excess of 200 this morning all seemingly heading N.

Also 2 Male Wheatears, 2 Kestrels m&f, 2 Oystercatchers, 7 Curlew.

NB. An Osprey was seen heading North at approx 10am this morning at Old Moor RSPB, keep your eyes on the sky if your out and about.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Chiff-chaff at Greetland

Close up sunlit views of one feeding and singing yards away from me among bare trees at at Freudenburg's factory along the Black Brook, Greetland. Camera in the car!
Dippers used to breed along this part of the stream, more than one pair. Sean has ringed some higher up this spring I believe, but none here today. Perhaps it's been polluted.
Nuthatch, Grey Wagtail, Song Thrush and the usual other woodland birds.

Photo's from the last few days within Calderdale

Meadow Pipit Cragg Rd

Greylag at Ringstone

Buzzards at undisclosed site

Pheasant at Ringstone

Ski Lake at Cromwell Bottom

Just a quick question. was anyone from the forum at the layby on Elland Rd near the Ski Lake at around 12am today ? Sue and I drove past and spotted several cars parked up with a quite few people with bins looking over the lake and wondered if we had missed any goodies ? We were unable to stop at the time as we were off to meet someone and when we drove back later no one was insight to ask and we had no bins with us.

Hardcastle Crags 6/4/08

Absolutely stunning views of the place at 8 am when we got there, with heavy frost on all the trees but hardly a cloud in the sky.All the usual suspects at the Crags this morning in some numbers and singing away happily despite the cold. No Chiff-Chaffs though. Best sightings were an assumed pair of Herons on the small dam as you take the footpath upstream behind Gibson Mill. Do Herons exhibit sexual dimorphism ? One bird was very much lighter and more delicate then the other which was very noticeably heavier and darker grey. We also had a Dipper near where the waterfall drips down in this area and runs through a tunnel/arch under the footpath into the river. This bird was carrying nesting material so we did not hang about in case the nest site was nearby (we had the dog with us). Might be worth checking out this area for the nest by those who visit the Crags regularly.

Jumble Hole / Callis Bridge

A quick half hour this morning:

- 2 swallows mobbing a kestrel, then over north (first of the year for me)
- 1 swallow feeding at Callis Sewage farm
- 1 green woodpecker
- 1 dipper on the stream at Jumble Hole
- 10+ pied wagtails at Callis.

Tripping around Calderdale yesterday PM

Picked Nick C up and we headed off to High Royd where we bumped into Pete Atkins and other than c12 Teal several Pied Wagtails and a Couple of Grey Wagtails, Grey Heron and some Mallard nothing else.

Next stop EGP here we bumped into Paul Talbot and his wife off out for a run (mad), Chiffchaffs singing all over the place, a few Longtailed Tits, a single BH Gull on the water ski lake and a pair of Coot on the lagoon nothing else.

Still not dis heartened we headed to Avocet wood in search in Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, not a peep!, we did get one Great Spotted.

Despite the constant on off showers and lack of birds we thought Bradley Hall would surely give us something, but with only brief views of 2 Yellowhammers (both males) it did little better than the other sites.

On to Jay House Lane where worringly not a sight or sound of any Tree Sparrows.

So we called it a day and headed back relived at least to have seen Yellowhammer.

As we passed EGP I told Nick to keep and eye open for fast low flying objects, "STOP" he yelled as we approached the layby "Swallow", diving out of the car we were treated to the sight of 5 Swallows as the flew around before heading West straight over our heads, first of the year for us both.

Reinvigorated we headed to Ringstone and had Greylag Goose, female Goldeneye, Grey Heron and 3 Mallard but the real stars of the show 300+ Golden Plover in fantastic summer plummage some being of the Northern Sub species with the full black face, bib and belly.

We headed home via Blackmoorfoot and finished the day with 3 Male Wheatears in fields near the farm with the sheep dogs chained up on the road side.

A typical day in Calderdale really, many hours and miles to be covered but you always turn up a gem somewhere along the line.


Can anyone (Paul T) help us identify this bug seen recently up Widdop Rd.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Today 5 till 6.30 pm
1 Gt Crested Grebe
1 f Goldeneye
2 Moorhen
9 Canadas and 1 Greylag goose
Green and Gt Spotted Woodpeckers
5 Redpoll over the east side plantation
c30 Woodpigeons coming in to roost

Bradley Hall Farm

3 male Yellowhammers but no females seen
2 Chiff-chaff
12 Linnet
1 Kestrel

Elland G P

This morning 9.0 am till 10.30 ish
4 Swallows
15 Sand Martins
2 male Blackcap with one of them singing along the canal side
c6 Chiff-chaff
2 G C Grebe
2 Little Grebe
2 Tufted Duck
Green and Gt Spotted Woodpeckers
2 Reed Buntings

5th April Roils Head

2 Wheatears were new in this afernoon, also 6 Skylarks present and a Common Gull west.2 Stock Doves over Mount Tabor.

Reminder over Bird Report 2006. We have now sold half of the copies available, so if anyone still needs one just pop in to Woodlesford News Agents at Pellon / Mount Tabor or get in touch with Nick Carter.

Darrel on his way to Ringstone

Looks like he took Andy's advice! :)


4 swallows on the lake dartigna round
1 chiffchaff in the bush opposite the canal
no scoter today
1 grebe in full summer plumage


as many of you will know, there has been a new koi shop set up near soil hill. however there is one small problem, the local heron (also at ogden) has been taking some of his fish. his has on previous occasion threatened to shoot the heron-are herons protected by law?

Friday, April 04, 2008


We tried the walk from Bridlestiles car park (Shelf) in the recent Calderdale Call today (not very clear instructions at the beginning for those, like us, who don't know the area). Apart from the expected Tits, Finches and Thrushes we found Dipper, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay and Mistle Thrush and heard both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the area around the stream and wood.

Not Birds but in Walsden

Driving home tonight - at 8:30 PM - along Hollins Road when three roe deer ran across the road just out of range of my headlights. A nice sight to end the week!

time to go

i have decided to leave this blog,ill be honest its become dull and uninteresting(apart from the ruddy duck/common scoter)
can we have a birders blog? for the few that are out trying to find good birds?(you know who you are) with out all the twite/conservation committee stuff oh and im bored of malta,by the way if you have all that money why not use it? oh its because being in a committee makes you feel important.

where is the website? why you need a focus group is beyond me,just do it!
back in the day when we setup the 'halifax birdwatchers club' i dont recall 'focus groups' and committee's.we just did it.

all the best

darrell j prest

Hardcastle Crags/Blake Dean

Struggled for birds today in the strong wind!
Hardcastle Crags;
3 Grey Heron
1 Dipper
2 pairs of Nuthatch
4 Treeceepers
1 Gt Spotted Woodpecker
c4 Green Woodpeckers
2 pairs Grey Wagtail
Several Goldcrests singing

Blake Dean;
1 pr Dippers
1 Kestrel
40+ Fieldfare
c30 Starlings
2 BH Gulls
1 Stock Dove

Ogden/Fly Flats

Yesterday ( 3/04/08) pm
Fly Flats
2 Twite but unable to see any rings as both birds very flighty in strong wind
2 LBBGulls over and 2 Common Gulls
1 f Goldeneye
1 Oystercatcher
1 Snipe
1 Pied Wagtail
plus usual sp

1 Great Crested Grebe in full plumage
1 f Goldeneye
1 Moorhen
7 Canadas, 1 Greylag, 1 Barnacle Goose
1 pr Treecreeper plus another 1 on opposite side of the res'r
1 Goldcrest

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Correction - Female Common Scoter at EGP!


Les Midgley tells me that the House Sparrows are showing interest in the nest boxes at jay House lane again. He will update me with information on numbers and nests over the next few weeks.

Herons nest has had no activity recorded for a couple of weeks now, but this has happend in the past and they reappear back on the nest after a couple of weeks. Crow, Magpie, Blue Tit all nest building at various points this morning. Also a pair of Canada Geese have nested on the Lagoon, one bird sitting this morning.

Literally dozens of Chif-Chaf singing all down the towpath and Tag Loop this morning. Both Green and Greater Pecker heard calling and drumming respectively. I also picked out several pairs of Bullfinch down the towpath this morning so assume they have paired up and are looking for nesting sites.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sightings of note this week.


c50 golden plover at ringstone in fields below feeding station today, flew in as I drove through Krumlen (prob spelt wrong but you know where I mean).


2 Grey Partridge in a field on left hand side of road just past baitings res as you come down from blackstone edge.

Halifax Town Centre Blackbirds

(part 2!) for Steve Blacksmith
Your prediction was spot on Steve for the car park nest site
Female Blackbird back in the same nest, seen this morning - she is sitting tight again


Male Ruddy Duck still in winter plumage on water ski lake late afternoon. No sign of Paul's Mandarin on canal

Distant, digiscoped, lopsided record shot you might say, I thought I was stood upright at the time, clearly not!