Thursday, September 30, 2010

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

Thick mist up there first thing this morning but still a few birds about on the top weedy fields.
15 Skylark
12 Meadow Pipits
c50 Linnet
2 Pied Wagtails

Oats Royd

Has anyone a contact name and phone number for Oats Royd Nature reserve, Queensbury?

If so could you please contact me (

Many thanks

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wet Wigeon Day!

68 Wigeon at Ringstone in the pouring rain this morning between 09:00hrs and 10:00hrs, a huge surprise to see so many on a local water, but they must have been part of a fairly large scale movement across our area as I also saw 86 Wigeon in the Huddersfield Birding Area at other reservoirs later in the day.

All the Wigeon were either resting on the west bank near the hide or sheltering close to the west wall on the water. Just one of the sixty eight in total shown below.

Earlier 2 Mute Swan were notable at Elland Gravel Pits, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 20 House Martin still around.

Roils Head - Highroad Well Moor

3 Goldcrests and 2 Bullfinch at Roils Head this pm and 31 Skylarks and 20+ Linnets at Highroad Well Moor. There was a slightly smaller bird flying about with the larks but couldnt tell what it was in the bad conditions, so went back after tea with the heavy equipment ie scope and tripod and no sign of it.

Swales Moor/Ringby

Wet and misty up there this morning but plenty of birds about on the top.
c25 Skylark
c40 Meadow Pipits
c60 Linnet
4+ Reed Bunting
4 Pied Wagtails
1 Common Snipe

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I have recently texted all those members who are now out of credit. (AZ, AH, BHo, DB, JC, JW, JB, JS, MB, MH, NCD, SB, WB). Please let me have £5, or I will be at the meeting next week. If you post it then I will text you when it's recieved. This will last till this year end.

If I haven't sent you a reminder text you are ok till year end and in credit.
If you don't wish to continue please send me a text or email asap.

To save messing about with cash during the year I am proposing a charge of £10 up front at the start of the new year and for this to last for a full twelve months. More or less every message you send me will be sent to everyone (unless you request otherwise due to sensitivity of a species).

If anyone is able to help out as back up then that would be appreciated as if we trip off to Northumberland or the Lakes or Scotland then the service may well be down. If you are on unlimited texts then that all helps to keep costs down. Also it's an advantage if you can send group texts rather than sending individual ones. If you can help out please let me know.

I hope that sounds ok to everyone - but again please let me know if you don't wish to continue on the grapevine.

Hunter Hill (watchpoint)

Above - 1 of 2 skeins of Pink-footed Geese that came through from the east this afternoon. 112 at 2.45pm and 78 at 3.15pm.

A Stoat came to check us out at the watchpoint.

Other moving birds between 1.45 and 3.30 pm
43 Meadow Pipits
24 Swallows
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Snipe
1 B H gull
1 Goldfinch
Also present nearby; 1 Wheatear, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Grey Heron, Jay, Mistle Thrush and 9 Linnet.
Also from NK at Soil Hill this afternoon a Hobby came through and circled above the hill about 4 pm then off to the south.
Also from Queensbury, BS had c250 Redwings >SW just around mid-day. I wonder if any will be moving through the area tonight? Will have to go out and listen for them passing over!

Hunter Hill

Watchpoint this morning - mist and drizzle with visibility down to 100 mtrs max and no sign of clearing !
1 Meadow Pipit S/W
12 Swallows S/W at 9.25 just before I left were the only sign of any movement
5 Pied Wagtails on the deck
1 Chiffchaff in Slaughter Gap
1 Grey Partridge calling nearby
Hope it clears up later on today!

Monday, September 27, 2010


2 Chiff-chaffs in and around the hedge at the back of the Lodge and another one round the edge of the res'r this afternoon.
6 juv Swallows feeding around the lodge
1 G C Grebe

Lee Mount

10 Redwings over this morning in the mist >SE - these are probably some that came through in the last day or so in the strong NE winds and heading back ?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hunter Hill (watchpoint)

Vis mig this morning and again later this afternoon.
Very little movement here today in the cold N/E wind.
This mornings highlights!
1 Lapwing >N
1 Canada goose >N
62 Meadow Pipits >S ! had difficulty in deciding which way to go in the blustery wind
8 Swallows >S

This afternoon
1 Golden plover >N
9 Swallows >S
2 Sparrowhawk >S

Nearby 17 Redwings were seen over the Causeway Foot col this morning (BS) and 243 passed through >NW high over Oxenhope (just out of our recording area) earlier today along with another Lapland Bunting and a Grey Plover.
Another juv Gannet was also seen over Caldene Fields watchpoint today near Bradford heading over Birkenshaw and Wyke.

Yellowhammer Records Wanted

If anybody has had any Yellowhammer sightings this year, could they let me know the details ASAP, so that I can make up a report for the AGM?



This flock was circling against the light at Booth Steads, below Roils Head on the Luddenden side at dusk yesterday 25th. I had eliminated twite before they landed and felt sure they were linnet, but on their compact shape and tiny bill I'm tending toward redpoll now. I think I can see a suggestion of a black chin on one of them. Their chorus didn't immediately say linnet to me, being a quite soft, quiet twittering. The north wind could have brought them south.
I went back at first light this morning but of course they had moved off to roost somewhere probably yesterday after I left.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Whats next

Well done to DJS for his Gannet yesterday. Took this picture of an Arctic Skua at Filey Brigg the other day. The strong northerly winds had blown a lot of Great and Arctic Skuas in to the North Sea so perhaps we may be due a bird in Calderdale. Most Arctics in Calderdale have occurred in late August but the only two Great Skua records have been in September and October after strong northerly winds.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ogden - Gannet

Fortunately we were in the right place at the right time this afternoon !

Scanning from the 'giants tooth' area towards Denhole Gate/Bradford we spotted a large bird coming from the NE around 2.25 pm - as soon as we got the binoculars on we knew it was a Gannet with the characteristic cigar shape. I also managed to get the scope on it. It was a juv/1st winter, very brown job with a small amount of paleness on the underparts/head and tail. It was going like a rocket in the srong northerly wind as it headed fairly low over Back Lane to the west of Soil Hill, over the plantations and down towards the Wheatley and Calder Valley.

I did contact Dave Barker wondering if he had picked the bird up passing Thornton Moor but unfortunately not. I gather the weather on the NE coast was really bad today so it's not too surprising to turn up a bird like this. Unfortunately I couldn't get any camera shots - it went through too fast.

A 1st for us in Calderdale - what a treat that was.

1 Cormorant >NW, 2 Nuthatches and a pair of Tufted Duck on the res'r.
4 Swallows >SW

Underbank - 3:30

I often take a short 15 minute walk up the Pennine Way at Higher Underbank, and in the past couple of weeks it has been bizarrely virtually passerine free! Much better today though.

- 2 male blackcap (the first of the year on this stretch I think)
- 1 chiffchaff
- 3 female bullfinch
- 3 house martins over
Multiple other greenfinch, goldfinch and chaffinch, robins, dunnock, juv' blackbirds and large flocks tits, blue, great and coal but mostly long-tailed.
A flock of PF geese was heard at 3:30, but I couldn't see them so have no idea about numbers or direction.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scammonden 22/09/10

168 Pink-footed Goose NE at 09:02hrs was a great sight along with Peregrine, Sparrowhawk & Kestrel interacting over the area about 15 mins earlier.

Very good numbers of common migrants flitting around, particularly Chiffchaff (numerous birds singing), a few Willow Warbler and one male Blackcap plus influx of Mistle Thrush, Blackbird and Goldcrest.

Interesting observation (I thought so anyway) at Deanhead Reservoir was 12 Coal Tit in 3 different parties over the space of about 10 mins flew south over the dam wall and continued flying over the moorland to who knows where, presumably migrants? It will be interesting to note if any other observers notice an increase in numbers of this species.

5 Alba Wagtail also flew south there and a Little Grebe looked really out of place on the water. On that subject I realise this is old news (I did let Nick Dawtrey know on the day of the sighting) but I saw and photographed one of two Willow Tit on 23 August at Scammonden, I contacted John Beaumont to see if he had ever seen one at this site previously and having just returned from holiday he has confirmed that this is the first record of that species at this site, so it would appear that there may be a small number of them managing to hold on somewhere nearby, maybe Stainland Dean or Black Brook perhaps?

Various sites this afternoon


Juvenile Peregrine

Adult male Kestrel

Autumn Crocus

Redpoll on feeders

Received an e mail from Sue Turner of Wicken Hill near Midgley letting us know of a single Redpoll seen on their feeders on several dates around the end of August/beginning of September, I know Jeff gets them on his feeders but I don't know of any more coming to garden feeders? Sue also supplied some photos clearly confirming this is a Redpoll. On a different note I am hearing what can only be a parakeet of some kind up here in the village (presumably Ring necked?) but as yet have not managed to catch up with it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Various sites

Hunter Hill watchpoint looking towards the windfarm in the mist
today Hunter Hill looking towards Mixenden Res'r and Heathmoor today

Green Woodpecker at Hunter Hill today

Soil Hill mast in the mist from Hunter Hill this morning

Ogden Res'r 20th Sep - and filling up!

Ogden 'Giants tooth' 17th Sep looking towards Soil Hill and Bradford

Ogden 'Giants tooth' looking over the scope to Swales Moor and Emley Moor

Fly Flats

This afternoon:
1 Wheatear
c3 Kestrels
1 Peregrine
1 Skylark
12+ Red Grouse and starting to make a lot of noise!
And that was it apart from a few Meadow Pipits
NO TWITE (although still putting sseed down)

Hunter Hill (watchpoint)

Vis Mig this morning 07.45 till 10.45 with early morning mist slowly clearing from the watchpoint. Todays highlight was a Lapland Bunting heard approaching from the west at 08.20, fortunately it came overhead and headed off >SE towards Swales Moor.

621 Meadow Pipits came through >S with 121 in 1st hr, 321 in 2nd hr, 179 in 3rd hr.

Apart from c30 Swallows over Mixenden Res'r 124 came through >S from 9.10

Other movers:
4 Cormorant
1 Greylag Goose
8 B H Gull
4 L B B Gull
4 Woodpigeon
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
9 Skylark
4 alba Wagtail
4 Mistle Thrush
1 Rook
1 Raven
3 Starling
16 Chaffinch
2 Greenfinch
14 Goldfinch
2 Siskin
15 Linnet
Total 839 movers of 20 species in 3 hrs.

Buzzards over Fixby

6 Buzzards together over and into the woods at Fixby Golf Course/Grimescar Woods at 1.30 today, watched for about an hour; drifted slightly north, nicely into our area and slightly south into Huddersfield area. Suggests that some at least bred in the area this year ? Bradley Hall area is only approx a mile away so there could be connections with the pair seen there regularly in early summer ?


A female mandarin duck was with a dozen or so mallards in the Calder from the bridge on New Road 7.45am today. A bit aggresive as it warded off attention from the mallards

Monday, September 20, 2010


Nothing out of the ordinary here today;
1 G C Grebe
1 f Tufted Duck
1 Nuthatch

Ogden - Back Lane
No sign of any migration in the pouring rain
6 Skylarks
c60 Swallows
c30 Meadow Pipits

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Elland Gravel Pits 18/19 Sept

I was hoping that the poor weather might produce something really interesting on or over the water this weekend, however nothing much turned up really other than a male Mandarin, 6 Tufted Duck & a Great Crested Grebe.

What was perhaps more surprising was that a female Redstart was around yesterday (18/9) along with a few singing Chiffchaff and today there were at least 3 Spotted Flycatcher (family party) there. Both Common Redstart & Spotted Flycatcher are new species for me at this site so it was worthwhile getting soaked to see them!

150+ House Martin & 120 Swallow were also around the area this morning feasting on the abundant insect life present in the deluge.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Checked out Ogden this afternoon - quiet today on the res'r after all the excitement during the week!
1 G C Grebe
2 Tufted Duck

'Giants Tooth' 1.15 till 2.45 watching for migrants
63 Swallows >SW
28 Meadow Pipits >W
2 Goldfinch >NW
2 Chaffinch >SW

Roils Head

2 Chiffchaffs in the tit flock this pm also a fly over Siskin. Yesterday had a Whinchat at the Norton Tower end.

Lapland Bunting yesterday.

Well done to DJP for his Lapland Bunting at Beacon Hill yesterday (photo on Darrells Green Withens site).

They seem to all over the place this year so keep an eye out near you........

Gaddings Dam and Withens Clough this morning

My first skein of Pink Footed Geese this autumn - 29 over Gaddings Dam flying SW. They reappeared about 15 mins later (although there were 34 geese in this skein I assume it was the same one I'd seen earlier) flying NE then a couple of mins later 34 geese flew past going SW again. Strange.

3 Skylarks just past Gaddings and a few Mipits still about.

A single male Tufted Duck at Withens Clough and 86 Canada Geese. The res is fuller than last week following the rain but there is still a fair bit of shoreline exposed.


Would CBCG members please note this year's AGM will be held on Tuesday 5th October at 1930 at the Calderdale Countryside Unit's offices in Mytholmroyd. Nominations for officers etc to me please.

Mystery Tern - Mick Cunningham's views

The following has been received from Mick, one of our most respected local birders, very valuable contribution here (despite his opening comment!)

WARNING – the following could be complete tosh! Photos are too hard.

Finally, have had a proper look. The only definite ID proposed on blog is Arctic. But apart from leg-length noted by DT, I can’t see anyone’s actually firmly asserted any feature as def diagnostic of Arctic (tho NCD I suspect knows in his own mind).


I too think it has to be aged to start with. I don’t see anything on the bird that’s definite 1st summer – all the non-adult features I see are supportive of 1st W at least as much and often more so.

Scallops on upper mantle- Malling-Olson says diff between 1st W and 1st S is uppers just about plain grey with no marks or only faint ones on latter age (as Martyn saw). When pic is enlarged they look q obvious to me and do I detect a hint of brown in the scallops? If yes these must be retained recent juv. Those on the terts seem pretty strong to me too.

Primaries– I think there was mention of these poss being bleached/worn. They look new to me, hence the unworn, clean white rims. Again this = 1st W, whereas 1st summers would be worn as they’re old and their next moult won’t be until on winter quarters. (I know in adults fresh flight feathers have a pale bloom on them which lessens with wear, exposing dark base so feather becomes darker – which is why the new feathers on inner hand of common tern in spring are paler making the diagnostic dark upperwing wedge less obvious when they first return but darker as season goes on. I don’t know if same goes for juv flights, tho I read these get dark with wear so I assume so. The pic from Cambridge seems to show this. In any event, they’d look worn in some way. These don’t to me)

Primary Pattern – contra my earlier post, I think this can be used even on resting birds. And I think this is a non-subjective feature that shows it’s an Arctic. Initially, I thought it showed a solid white line right along the top edge of the folded wing. If this were so, it would have to be a Roseate. Indeed this feature is annotated in Collins on the plate on the juv Roseate. As the primary pattern is same at all ages this is important. Closer looks show the apparent white top border is illusion caused by diff positions of individual primaries/photo blur . If not, it’s a Roseate. Incidentally, Roseate has white tips to all primaries, even those with dark shafts, like Little gull rim – but it needs good pics to see this.

Outer Tail – Mr Dawtry is too tentative. I think the preening bird shows dark sides to outer tail. This rules out Roseate. Unless it’s photo effect.

Legs – when enlarged, the photos really do seem to show the legs are short – legless. Roseates are longer legged even than Common.

Head Pattern- I’m not sure I’ve fully understand what the lit says about the black lower edge on juv/1st W cap being a diff shape on Roseate but here goes: it seems to indicate the ear cov dark is angles at a sharp point. If I’ve got this right I think the (slightly?) more rounded lobe projecting down behind the eye in the photo = Arctic. I also think this rules out 1st S Arctic as the (limited) pics I’ve seen seem to show the lower edge of the cap has no lobe projecting down but cuts across mimicking shape of adult summer. Also, most 1st S pics I’ve seen show peppering in white forehead (dunno if this always holds).

Odd Stuff

Bill looks long to me – but I now read there’s overlap with the supposedly longer-billed Roseate.

Jizz looks diff in diff pictures – tho wings look long compared to length of whole bird as contrasted to roseate – but this is not scientific.

Call – did it sound like a sandwich ie a roseate??

Folk who saw it said they saw NO black rim on under wing tip. Worry is - why not??? Taking it other way, on the poor flights, the inner under-wing has an obvious pale window on inner prims and some kind of dark at tip – whether this is arctic rim or roseate dark and white lines up the individual outer primaries (venetian blind) is hard to say.

Nick D said coastal birders would laugh at our puzzlement. Maybe, but they usually have flight action to help and, even then, I’ve heard debates and fall outs. See what a mess some of em make of perched raptors and you won’t feel so bad.

Anyway, that’s my two penn-orth.

Interested to hear views – as Mr Garner says – “always learning”.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ogden Gull 15-09-2010

Could this be the same bird Dave... it looks like it to me? but will have to compare critically when side by side on the blog.... if so it has been about on and off for the whole of the back end of the summer at Oxenhope just over the hill. As a guess with the shades I have put it as a hybrid as well, possibly Herring x LBBG but has any one got any literature to support this? as could be wrong. Sorry about the poor quality of the snap but we have got to work at long range here! Snap possibly taken c two months ago but can get date if required.


More tern stuff

"portlandica" is a term used in the Handbook for the 1st summer plumage of Arctic Tern. This plumage is rarely seen in NW Europe n, the following are key identification features for this individual: - very short black legs - short entirely black bill - overall smaller and daintier than Common Tern, particularly the small neatly rounded head - largely white forehead, with a black triangle extending backwards from the eye ..........................Found this ont net from cambridge in 2003.....................


Open wings with L B B Gull in foreground

With a Common Gull in background
With a L B B G behind

This afternoon - no sign of yesterdays Mediterranean Gull but the pictures above are worth having a look at. At first I thought it was a Herring Gull with the paler wings compared with the L B B G. The legs were flesh colour at the top but the lower leg and feet were yellow and the bill looked odd. Andy C also saw the bird and we came away discounting the idea of Yellow-legged Gull but were not convinced about it being a Herring Gull either and thought it was perhaps just an odd LBBG with perhaps some Herring Gull mixed in! - Any ideas??? DJS
Common Tern through this morning between around 10.30 and 10.45 in apalling weather conditions. NK

15th Sept

Flushed a warbler this evening at Tower Hill, it flew into a patch of nettles then in to long grass not to be seen again. Fairly sure it was a Grasshopper Warbler.

The Ogden Tern

Before we even try to id this bird we must agree on its age. My personal view is that it is in first winter plumage (advanced). If you click on the images and blow them up you can clearly see markings on the mantle. You can clearly see the markings on the tertials without blowing them up. If it was a first summer bird then I would have expected the bird to be much cleaner showing much less traces of juvenile feathers as Martins previous picture shows.
The bottom picture shows the bird preening, is it me or can I see a dark edge to the two outer feathers (would that not suggest Arctic) I believe Roseate doesnt show this feature, (I may be wrong). Any more suggestions!

1st summer Arctic Tern

I've just copied this photo of a first summer Arctic tern from the excellent Common & Arctic Tern Alula article (there seems to be very few photo's of this age about) , I am also in the process of scanning the entire article so hopefully this will shed some light on this difficult subject. I also have the old BB Common,Arctic & Roseate Tern article if that is any help to anyone,
please note the last part is in Finnish but does contain some useful photos

anyone who would like a copy send an email to and I'll send you a link

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Med Gull

Med Gull back at Ogden at 4.00PM. Adult winter plumage with a pinkish ring on left leg and bto ring on right. Sorry grapeviners but service is still down.

Mystery Tern

These are the only flight shots I got yesterday. Once again my camera was on the wrong setting for the first 2 and they have come out blurred, by the time Id sorted it out the bird was further away and ive had to blow them up. Perhaps somebody can find them useful for ID ?
In the top two blurred ones I can not find a dark line on the primmaries but I may be mistaken.

Yesterday's Mystery Tern at Ogden

I agree with most of Steve's comments and think he is correct in mentioning the possibility of a 1st summer Arctic Tern as the head shape, bill, legs and length of wings are typically Arctic and not Roseate, therefore I agree entirely with the comments made by Andy C & Andy H.

Lack of black showing in primaries is apparently usual in a 1st summer Arctic Tern and at this time of the year could also be due to bleaching by the sun!

I photographed (not very expertly!) a juvenile Arctic Tern at Scout Dike on 01/10/07 and for plumage comparison thought it would be a good idea to include it on here, hence the new thread.

The bill shape is identical as is the the head shape of the bird and the short legs make the bird look dumpier in appearance than a Common Tern or a Roseate Tern would do. Bearing in mind that this bird was photographed on 1st October (ie 18 days later than yesterday's bird), although I appreciate that the appearance of Terns can change rapidly at this time of the year, I still think the possibility of juvenile Arctic Tern moulting into 1st winter plumage is not likely.

It was mentioned that the mystery bird called at times, what did it sound like? I should have thought It would have sounded noticeably different to the Common Tern present if it was a Roseate Tern.

I could be completely wrong but I am 99.9% certain in my own mind that yesterday's mystery bird is a 1st summer Arctic Tern which is still a great record and one that is rarely photographed having trawled the internet for the last hour or so.

Well Done Dave, Nick and whoever else was present at the time!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ogden - mystery tern?

Several more photo's taken this afternoon - in the pouring rain. We found these 2 terns around 1.30pm - they left around 6.0pm. (click on the photo's to enlarge)

Above - Mystery tern?
Above - Mystery tern?

Above - Common Tern

Common Tern - left

Common Tern - left

Common Tern - left

Common Tern - right

With apologies for the delay in getting these rather poor shots on but they do show some comparison between the two terns. The Common Tern was the obvious one with the longer orange/red legs and colour on the bill etc. The other one we struggled with all afternoon with the main debate being over whether it was Arctic Tern or Roseate Tern (?) Both terns flew around several times with calls being heard and the unidentified one was very pale underwing (with no trailing black bar on the wings), short black legs and black bill.
Any further thoughts on this bird?

Mystery tern Ogden

Any thoughts on this one. The bird showed an all black bill and black feet. Some people suspect it to be a first winter Roseate Tern although the tertials look more like Arctic ? The trailing edge of the secondaries showed a very noteable white line and there was a noteable white tertial step. The primaries also showed a white edge and faint scalloped effect could just be seen on the mantle. The conditions were very bad so poor quallity to pictures, Dave might have some better ones.