Thursday, July 31, 2008

Woodchat Shrike

Apologies - I thought directions had already been posted on the blog!

The bird was seen last Thursday. Get to Cottonstones Church(up Lumb Lane from Mill Bank) (or via Rooley Lane from Sowerby). Going south west from the church pass Alma Inn and go on Clay Pit Lane (about quarter mile past the church). Turn right on Wicken Lane and the bird was seen on land around Noah Dale Farm.
Nick and Roy checked the site tonight without success but very misty although habitat looks good! It could still be there???

Woodchat shrike

Woodchat Shrike

A birder has reported seeing a woodchat shrike near Halifax a few hours ago. This info was on the Bird Forum. He was wondering where to report it to. He's also posted a photograph of the bird. Nothing yet on Bird Guides.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jumble Hole / Underbank

6:45 - 7:30

- 1 wood warbler feeding. Probably grounded by heavy showers
- 1 unusual looking phyllosc' warbler skulking the scrub. Probably a juv' chiffchaff.
- 1 green woodpecker
- 1 nuthatch
- 1 treecreeper

Grasshopper warblers

Grasshopper warbler found by Andy Huyton outside his house (Widdop Common) at 6:50am.

I went up at 9:45, aand got two birds calling and showing reasonably well down to 10 feet. Still calling up to 10:45am.


c60 text messages sent out in May/June/July.

Grapevine funds are due now please for;-

In credit still are BH, IS, NDawson, SG and TW

Fivers to Nick Carter, Nick Dawtrey or myself as soon as you can please
Thanks - Dave

Please let one of us know if you no longer wish to be part of the text service

Wheatley Valley

Yesterday afternoon on the former Birks Hall and Shroggs Tip sites. Bird life was very quiet (time of year I think) but the area has wonderful habitat on both sites.

Birks hall (access from Brackenbed Lane)is full of young trees including rosa, rowan, birch, alder, hawthorn, blackthorn, willow, oak and maple with an interesting understory including willow herb, nettles, blackberry etc. It looks a wonderful site for warblers, insects and later on wintering thrushes.

Shroggs tip site(up from B&Q and Dorlux)is planted around the edges with alder and birch etc and has a broad expanse of flat grassland in the middle. All the grasses are flowering and setting seed and there were hundreds of meadow brown butterflies and probably a few other interesting insects too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bird Report

Nick Dawtrey has asked me to remind everyone of the importance of bird report sales in ensuring the following years report can be financed, this year has seen a significant downturn in sales of the current report. Copies are still for sale at Woodlesford Newsagents on Moorend Road and are also available from myself or Nick (phone 01422 364228). Reports cost £5 each or £5-60 including postage. Pease help to support the archive as well as getting an informative and interesting read!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fly Flats yesterday

25th July
Twite feeding on thistles

Golden Plover

Also present
2 Curlew
2 Common Sandpipers
2 juv Wheatears


3 Buzzards seen soaring together today at 15:40 at undisclosed site, the birds were within half a mile of a suspected breeding site, only our 2nd in Calderdale. Hopefully this is a sign of successful breeding at the site, although the birds were only seen through bins and viewed from a hillside opposite. None of the birds appeared to be in moult so it was impossible to age any of them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Warblers singing

Chiff-Chaff at the tree Nursery, Beardsworth's, last Wednesday 23rd on the A58 just before the Chain Bar junction.
Blackcap at Northowrham on Thursday.
Could be the good weather, I don't know. They seem to tail off singing before the longest day and then have a short song period later. Mostly I've heard Willow Warblers singing late.
Did anyone find a Wood Warbler this year in Calderdale, either early or late?

Thrushes anvil in a Northowrham garden. They were the common garden snails. I had seen Song Thrush there earlier in the year, carrying food, but the nest was in the next door garden, so I couldn't record it.

A worker at the Piece Hall, when I asked him to point out where they Peregrine chicks could be seen, pointed to the hole I (and Sean ) had identified Kestrel chicks. He admitted they were assuming they were Peregrines. I doubt if Peregrines could be in another part of the steeple.

First Garden Nuthatch

Popped home (Copley Hill) for lunch today and saw the first Nuthatch I have seen in our garden, I have seen them several times near the church in Copley so knew it wouldnt be too long.

Not a rare bird but I do like watching their antics - used to get plenty in when we lived up Berwick so nice to be getting them here now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Leica binoculars for sale

Pete Gee is selling his Leica 8 X 32 BN binoculars, they are in mint condition, boxed as new and come with Optech strap, he is looking for £500 for them and can be contacted on

Fly Flats/Castle Carr/Cold Edge

Male twite at Fly Flats this afternoon shownig pink rump and ringed colour combination on left tarsus.

Cold Edge -
1 pair of Tufted Duck

Withens Gap
c25 Linnets
c30 Goldfinch
c15 Greenfinch
30+ Meadow Pipits
1 Reed Bunting

Fly Flats
3 Wheatear (2 juvs)
3 pairs of Twite feeding on thistle heads near the feeding station
Colour rings top to bottom male pink/white/blue and another male pink/blue/yellow
1 Oystercatcher
2 LBBGs, 24 B H Gulls, 2 Common Gulls

Castle Carr Road
14 Twite - post breeding flock in the fields near the far end of the road by the old railway cabins

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Woodland birds

We have had a dreadful breeding season for many of our woodland birds (notably wood warbler - not sure that there has been a single sighting?) , but we are not alone

Monday, July 21, 2008

Undisclosed site - 6:45 to 10:45pm

- 4 short eared owls (2 adults hunting, 2 fledged young on wall and fence)
- 4 long eared owls (Known site. 2 adults, 2 young - one seen, another hunger calling.)
- 1 little owl
- 1-2 crossbill
- 2-3 siskin
- 2 common sandpiper
- 3 oystercatcher
- 2-3 sand martin, probably passing through
- 4+ kestrel
- 10+ red grouse
- 3 stonechat

Long eared owl hunger calling at second site on way home (again, a known site)

Ogden Garden

It seems to have been a good breeding season for garden birds. In the last month we have had young blue tits,great tits,coal tits,goldfinches,siskins,chaffinches, greenfinches robins dunnocks and great spotted woodpeckers [ at least three]at our garden feeders.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Callis Bridge sewage works - 7:00 - 8:00pm

Amazing site tonight, with a large gathering of hirundines. Minimum counts of

- 450 swifts
- 110 swallows
- 140 house martins

They all melted away suddenly at 7:50pm. I thought they would attract a raptor, but nothing in the time I was there.

Also, 12 pied wagtails, 9 of which were juvenilles


Sue and watched a pair of Merlins displaying around a mountainside in Wales this afternoon. Would they still have young in the nest at this time of year ? The reason I ask is we want to walk up the mountain on a particular route tomorrow and would not wish to disturb nesting birds.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Callis Bridge sewage works

In the rain at 3:00pm, minimum counts of:

- 180 swifts
- 150 house martins
- 70 swallows
- 100 jackdaws

I've still never picked up a sand martin there, not even on passage.

Med Gulls Jay House lane

There was 1 adult bird there yesterday morning , but none today at 2.00.There was a ringed LBBGull yesterday it had a large black ring with bold gold letters WCBS .????? The med gull (2nd summer)the day before was ringed with a green ring on the left leg.There has obviously been a movement of gulls through our area from somewhere.?? Also present 3 Stock Dove,2 Skylark,20 Tree Sparrow,200 BH Gull,1 Sand Martin,100 lapwing,2 mallard,20 Linnet,18 Greenfinch,20 Common Gull,70 starling and 5 Pied wagtail.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jay House Lane

Mediterranean Gull - photos from Nick Dawtrey

Med Gulls Jay House lane

This afternoon there were up to 4 Med Gulls showing,2 full Adults ,1 adult showing 3 black spots on primarys and 1 first winter type showing black mask and black primarys.Hope someone gets some photos as they are showing from the road by the broken down barn,also 100+ Lapwing,13 Greenfinch,LBB Gull,Common Gull BH Gull ,Stock Dove,Goldfinch and Tree Sparrow.

Halifax Peregrines?

Press release from Calderdale Council - I assume it is accurate though I haven't seen them myself.

Peregrine falcon chicks are taking their very first flights around the Piece Hall in Halifax.
The stunning birds of prey became local celebrities in May, when a breeding pair joined the growing number opting for urban living and nested in the Square Church spire next to the Piece Hall, central Halifax.
The proud parents hatched chicks, which have now fledged and can be spotted swooping down to the Piece Hall as they learn to fly and hunt for food.
Some fantastic aerial displays could be in store for Piece Hall visitors over the next few days as these magnificent birds teach their young the awesome hunting and flying skills that peregrines are renowned for.
The birds are easily identifiable by their striking black hood, black 'moustache' and flying speed of over 100 miles an hour - making them the fastest creatures on the planet.
Michael Devereux, Piece Hall Operations Manager, said:-
"The birds are a magnificent sight and now the chicks have fledged, we expect them to be gone in a week or so, once they learn to fend for themselves. The best time to spot them is in the early mornings or evenings in the Piece Hall, when they swoop over on the hunt for food."
Until recently, peregrines were purely associated with wild crags or sea cliff faces, but changing landscapes and a general increase in numbers mean they have adapted to living in more unlikely places and have broadened their options. To a peregrine, a tall building has the same benefits as a cliff face - its high, safe and has plenty of food in the surrounding area.
The RSPB will be keeping an eye on the falcons and is running a campaign to raise awareness about illegal killing of birds of prey like peregrines.
The RSPB's Matthew Capper said:
"It's fantastic news that peregrine falcons are rearing their chicks in Halifax. Not that long ago these awesome birds were very rare but the fact that they are now successfully nesting in towns is a great sign their numbers are recovering. It's just totally unacceptable that in some part of the UK these birds are still illegally killed."
Peregrine populations hit an all-time low in the 1950s due to pesticides in farming but they are increasingly thriving in urban areas. Breeding pairs dropped to just 360 pairs in the UK but the RSPB believes there are now 1500, making their appearance in towns and cities even better news. For more information on how to help birds of prey like the peregrine falcon visit

Monday, July 14, 2008

Undisclosed site

The crossbill seen the other week were probably two different groups as I had a flockof 12 last night,male,female and juv present. Also LEO, SEO, merlin, plenty of siskin. Little Owl at two other sites.

Gamekeepers were fairly active yesterday, quite a bit of shooting when there wasn't anything really to shoot at.

Cross Stone, Todmorden

Juv' redstart on a dry stone wall on the Tod' side of Cross Stone, 9:30am

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jay House Lane, Clifton

A short evening stroll along the lane produced some 'goodies' in the nearby fields and especially by the 'muck stack'.
A flock of 75 Lapwings together in the field
14 Tree Sparrows around the old farm and the small muck stack
30 Swallows on the wires
6 Linnets on the wall
7/8 Goldfinch in the bushes and trees
8/9 Long Tailed Tits in the trees
2 juv Pied Wagtails by the small pools
and what looked like the back end of 2 weasels diving into the grass by the stack !

Saturday, July 12, 2008

EGP - Saturday morning

It's been a while so I had a quick trip to EGP this morning.
Nothing on the ski lake.
Large flock of long tailed tits.
Willow warbler.
Blackcaps, including a pair that seemed to be feeding young.
Reed bunting.
Reed warbler.
Whitethroat singing.

Lots of small toads so watch your step on the path across the lagoon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Malta Raptor Camp

Yes, I know I'm on about it again but if anyone is interested in taking part in this years Raptor Camp please go to for full details. Several local birders have taken part in recent Spring and Autumn camps and can supply full details of what to expect plus photos etc. This is an excellent opportunity to take part in front line conservation work, strongly recommended.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crimsworth Dean

2+ Treecreepers and usual woodland species.
3 Redstarts together at top end of woodland today - at least 2 of them were young birds! 1 Spotted Flycatcher also there along with c6 Siskin and 5 young Kestrels being fed by parents.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Undisclosed Location

A great night out last night, SEO out early at 1720. Also seen; two groups of crossbill, one 5 birds the other 6, could have been the same group though. Merlin, LEO, LRP, lots of stonechat, spotted flycatcher, Roe deer, melanistic rabbit.

Watched SEO do a food drop into the heather then later take another catch to a close but different location, could mean chicks are fledging?

Prob -Yellow -legged Gull

Last night about 7.10,I noticed a group of 14 LBBGull heading west,as I was watching/scoping a kestrel at the time I decided to have a closer look at the gulls immediately one stood out to be a grey backed gull, similar in shape to the LBBGull's,as it banked sideways the yellow legs could be seen.All though I am not 100% on this it is well worth looking at all groups of LBBGulls at this time of year for a Yellow Legged.!!!!Good luck

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Golf Course area
Grassshopper Warbler singing in a boggy area at the side of the course today
Also a pair of Reed Buntings
1 Great Crested Grebe still on Ogden Res'r along with 19 B H Gulls

Monday, July 07, 2008

Missing Parrot

I have been requested (via Sean Gray) to post an appeal for any sightings of a recently lost African Grey Parrot to be passed on to Jo via 07815 095 818

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Last week after careful checking there was no sign of a second brood we checked the box the Redstarts bred in to see if any birds had died in the nest. None - all gone just an odd slug and woodlice left in and that was it.
We cleaned the box out and also the box next to it where the front was dropping off -there was an old nest in that one similar to the succesful box so maybe the Redstarts bred in that last year?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Undisclosed site

Friday 7pm - 10:30pm
Checked 3 new sites for LEOs with Nick D. Nothing at the first 2 but we had success at the third. This makes confirmed breeding at 7 sites so far this year with probably 16 or 17 young in total.

At the third site we picked up the calls of 3 young followed immediately by a stange barking sound. An adult owl came out of the wood and flew towards us before perching in the tree above. It continued to make the strange call, presumably trying to distract us from the young further up the track. We moved back a bit and after a minute or 2 the owl disappeared off into the wood.

Also seen little owl, redpoll, linnets, meadow pipits, skylark, 1 snipe, 1 hare, 2 bats and approximately 5000 midges!

Buzzard = Kite ?

Hi all
A quick question. Whilst speaking with a local here in Wales this morning, we spotted a Buzzard wheeling overhead and pointed it out to him. Oh you mean the Kite ? We were somewhat surprised that a local could mistake a Buzzard for Kite, until he explained that it was a Big Kite due to its wide wings and "fingers" at the end of the wing, Red Kites were the small Kite and had forked tails so were easy to distinguish from Big Kites. As anyone else come across this name for Buzzards ?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Undisclosed site

Went out looking and listening for long eared owl with Andy H at a new site with huge potential. However, got no LEO's possibly due to fairly constant disturbance from motorbikes zooming randomly across the moorland habitat.

- 100+ swifts feeding
- 1 male reed bunting, looking as though he was defending a nest
- 12+ meadow pipits
- skylark calling
- 1 tawny owl calling
- 1 fox
- 1 short eared owl spotted from the car on the way over. Caught a small rodent, then sat on a fence post eating it (Andy - any pics worth posting?)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fly Flats

Female Twite bathing this afternoon in the culvert

Juvenile Red Grouse

Jumble Hole area

Woodcock still roding on an evening (2 yesterday)
Nuthatch calling from the garden yesterday, which is unusual for summer in this area. A first for the garden as well.
Tern sp. over 2 days ago, but I wasn't quick enough to the bin's.
Blackcap, chiffchaff and garden warbler still singing from scrub on Underbank

last night

up on warley moor and res last night with david sutcliffe
2 twite (or one come round twice)
1 juvenile stonechat
a family of 6 juvenile kestrels plus 2 adults
1 sand martin at dean head