Sunday, October 31, 2010

Out of Town Waxwings

30+ Waxwings repoted from Ilkley Town Centre Car Park on Wednesday

Shroggs Park

6+ Brambling with c10 Chaffinch, 6 Redwing and c20 Goldfinch late afternoon. All in the very tops of trees immediately behind the park lodge by the start of St George's Road, probably a pre-roost gathering with the Bramblings calling a lot. They may have been on 'the lodge' feeders or feeding on the prolific holly berries nearby. Will do a further check in the morning!

Hanson Lane

30 Waxwings reported today around 11 am from JS near the Jubilee Childrens Centre.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Todays Waxwings

Digi Scoped pictures of Waxwings at Skircot Green today.
More on Heavy Birder blog.

Dances with Waxwings

Things looked a bit grim this morning after finding absolutely no Waxwings at any of the currently favoured locations, nor at any of the historic locations.
I spent ages driving round Winding Road, Wickes, Sainsbury's, Raglan St, Crossley Gardens, Hanson Lane, Gibbet Street, Violet Street, Kings Cross, Warley Rd, Tescos, Haugh Shaw Rd, Skircoat Moor Road, Skircoat Green, Dudwell Road before finally stumbling upon three birds high in a tree near Saville Parade, These birds became six but were in a poor location for filming. They were busy fly-catching high up in a tall leafless tree. I sent a text to DJS as I watched a Sparrowhawk pass overhead. As I assembled my camera the birds gave a trill and flew off east towards Manor heath. After driving around the block a few times all I could manage was a flight view of 6 birds over Manor Heath Park.
After another trip via Sainsbury's and Pellon Lane, I picked up NCD and tried Kings Cross, picking up supplies from Tescos en route. Still nothing. Then onwards to Saville Parade, Skircoat Green and Dudwell Road again. Nothing!
As the afternoon was slipping through our fingers we decided to go on a Hen Harrier hunt instead and drove back towards Kings Cross. Reaching Kings Cross, the message came over the grapevine...."Waxwings on St Alban's Rd, Skircoat Green......" What? We must have driven past there about three times already........A quick U-turn and we were back on track....meeting JW and SB at the location. They had had about 12 that had recently been bombed by Mistle Thrush. Luckily, five were still hanging around as we arrived and I managed to get some footage of them in Rowans and Birch. These eventually were seen to eat some of the berries, but from what I understand, many people are seeing birds fly-catching from taller (berry-less) trees rather than feeding on Berries.
Thanks to JW for getting the timely message out.
JW and SB went off to try to find alternative sights....(Any joy guys?) whilst NCD and myself found a male hen harrier at an undisclosed location

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hunter Hill (watchpoint)

Vis Mig this morning 7.50 till 10.50 (DJS and JU) difficult with the wind southerly, gusting F4/F5
It was dead!
2 Goosander >S
14 Woodpigeon >S
7 Starlings >W at 10.50

Other birds nearby were marginally better
27 Canada Geese over Cold Edge
c120 Fieldfare in the valley
6 Redwing
c80 B H Gulls
c20 Common Gulls
2 L B B Gulls
c90 Lapwings (Soil Hill) and another 80 (Queensbury/Shelf)
1 Grey Heron
50 Jackdaws
20 Carrion Crows

Even More Waxwings

41 Waxwings around the fire station/Warley Road this lunchtime. They were very flighty and never settled for more than a minute or two on any one tree so it was hard to get a decent photo.
This one was taken while they were on a tree near the bottom of Warley Road and I was trying to get over King Cross junction to get closer. They moved on before I could.

More Waxwings.

A rough count of around 100 birds  at 12.20 this afternoon which very briefly alighted in a large Sycamore tree on Dudwell Lane, Skircoat Green just east of the school.

There were a few left up to an hour later when a female Sparrowhawk drifted over - none seen since!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bramblings anyone?

So where are all the Bramblings hiding? I don't believe that they were "just passing through".
Time to check out their previous winter sites methinks.
Those that I saw on the coast recently were all on grassland, but previous sightings in GM were all on paths in residential areas.
It would be interesting to hear other folks experience of these winter specials. For some reason I associate them with Beechmast, but have never seen them anywhere near a Beechwood.

Another Whooper

One adult at Ringstone this morning, not on the water surprisingly but initially found dozing, then occasionally grazing in a large field to the west of the reservoir. It is the first time I have seen one grazing in the Calderdale area, all my sightings previously have been either in flight or on the water, so it was nice to see one looking reasonably relaxed in a moorland setting.

Great bird in a superb setting, beats supermarket car parks any day!

No sign of Waxwings

Walked around all the Waxwings favorite haunts, Pellon Lane, Raglan Street, Crossley Gardens, Gibbet Street, Tescos, the Fire Station and King Cross this PM with no luck. A quick walk over Roils Head produced 1 Redpoll, 2 Bullfinch and a couple of Redwings.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ogden and Mixenden Res'r

3 Little Grebe still at Ogden this afternoon

2 f Goldeneye on Mixenden Res'r plus 80 Fieldfares behind the plantation feeding in hawthorn bushes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There here

16+ Waxwings found this PM with DJS behind the Fire Station at King Cross. The birds were not bothered about the millions of berries available but were fly catching from the tops of trees instead. DJP joined us and after we left he found 26 birds further towards town opposite Tescos.
(more on heavybirder blog).

Ducking for apples

The following was put on the Calderale Wildlife Network Noticeboard by Philip Marshall of Todmorden.

I was watching a couple of Mallard ducks by the river at Barley near
Pendle Hill yesterday. They were busy swallowing small apples which had
dropped from a crabtree; I didn't know they ate fruit and the effort in
swallowing some of the larger apples looked very painful!


Ogden and Mixenden Res'rs

Mixenden Res'r
1 f Goldeneye
c20 L T Tit flock with a few other tits and 1 Treecreeper

3 Little Grebes together (thanks to NK for the tip-off)
1 Siskin
18 Starlings N/W

Fly Flats yesterday

4 Twite including one colour ringed bird - which I will send details to Nick Wilkinson
c10 Red Grouse
1 Peregrine had a go at a Woodpigeon
1 drake Goldeneye and 1 Canada Goose on the res'r
35 Fieldfares N/W late afternoon

Also the highlights from yesterdays 3 hr vis mig at Hunter Hill (see Visible Migration link for full details)
Going south or south west -1,405 Woodpigeons, 63 Chaffinch, 38 Linnet
15 Pink-footed Geese going S/E
1 Brambling N/W
487 Fieldfare N/W
20 Redwing N/W
146 Starling N/W

Colour ringed Twite sighting

Nick Wilkinson (RSPB) has informed me of a locally ringed twite being seen at Selsey in West Sussex last week, it was ringed as a nestling in the Rishworth area and subsequently seen locally on 22nd June and 17th August. This is an interesting record given its location on the south coast whereas the majority of birds winter on the east coast between Lincolnshire and Kent.


12 birds on a couple of chimneys on Green Park road, Skircoat Green at 12.15pm today. I walked straight past them until I heard those distinctive calls.

It's been 19 years since I last saw any on the estate so it might be a good sign of things to come.


Ringstone 25/10/10

Eclipse male Goldeneye yesterday afternoon on the water and Golden Plover numbers continuing to increase in the west fields, around 220 now present.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hunter Hill (watchpoint)

Fieldfares and Redwings still moving NW through our area today including 126 Fieldfare and 23 Redwing in 2 hrs this afternoon at the watchpoint.
2 f Goldeneye on Mixenden Res'r
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Grey Partridge
c50 Meadow Pipits around

Waxwings reported arriving on the east coast today between Kent and Scotland and several sightings in West Yorkshire this afternoon so keep a look-out around our area !

Lee Dam, Warland res and Lapland Bunting

A fantastic day for a walk so went up to Warland res. There were lots of people in Mankinholes and on the moors as East Pennine Orienteering Club had an event with 400 people heading off onto the hills between Mankinholes and Withens Clough res. I've never seen as many folk wandering about off the paths - good job they don't run these events during the breeding season!

3 Teal, a Goosander and a Little Grebe at Lee Dam. The 3 Goldeneye that were here Friday and Saturday must have moved on.

All quiet until I got near Warland Drain when I saw the Bunting.

All I usually see up here are Meadow Pipits and Skylarks so assumed it was a Mipit at first until I got the bins on it and saw it was a Lapland Bunting, a Calderdale first for me.

I followed it for several minutes as it crept and ran along through the grass, then it hopped down into the drain for a drink and came back back up again - only to be scared off by a cyclist splashing through the mud on the Pennine Way. Best views I've had of a Lapland Bunting.

97 Fieldfare (maybe more but that's how many I captured in one photo) in the fields at Knoll Hill, Warland.

3 Lapwing, a Tufted Duck, 5 BHGull and numerous Canada Geese at Longfield Pond.

Ogden Garden

A male brambling was feeding amongst the tits on the bird feeder this morning

Friday, October 22, 2010

22nd October

1 of 40 Common Gulls at Heath Hill Road this PM.

These Black-headed Gulls were behaving strangly, almost landing in the tree tops and apparently picking things off the leaves (insects ?)

Not much else except a couple of Redwings over Tower Hill.

Hunter Hill/Ogden

2 hrs Vis Mig this morning from Hunter Hill in a strong westerly F4/5 wind produced:
Fieldfare 334, Redwing 211, Chaffinch 56, Brambling 3, Starling 16 - all >NW

Southerly movers were Meadow Pipit 10, Sparrowhawk 1, Woodpigeon 3

Also present nearby were Green Woodpecker 1, and Stock Dove 6

3 Snipe over Back lane
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
3 Meadow Pipits

NK reported c10 Crossbills in the plantation late morning and a late Wheatear still at Soil Hill

Lee Dam

3 Goldeneye, 3 Teal and a Little Grebe at Lee Dam this morning. 
5 Mistle Thrush flew off as I arrived and landed on holly bushes in Lumbutts churchyard.

Later (about 17:30) 29 Fieldfare landed in the field behind the house. Good to see a decent sized flock after reading that they had been arriving in numbers over the previous week.

Insect or spider?

I took some photos of Long Tailed Tits by the Rochdale Canal yesterday in the hope of getting a good one. I failed, but as I was viewing the photos I noticed an insect in the centre of a spider's web in this one:

but in this one, taken 2 seconds later, it has disappeared. I didn't see the bird take it although it did move towards the web. However, that isn't the reason for posting - I've looked at the insect and it doesn't look like a spider as the shape looks wrong. Any ideas what it could be?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Whooper Swan 21/10/10

One lone adult braving the elements in gale force winds at Ringstone this afternoon.

Interesting that the head and neck are still stained brown at this time of the year, is this to do with the terrain on their breeding grounds?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black-winged Stilt report

The observer (John Ross) said he saw a large black and white wader going north west over Shaw Lodge Mills, not very far up above the building. He described a loud piping call and VERY LONG trailing legs. So long were they at first glance he thought it was emptying its bowels! This was at 5.30 to 6pm on Tues. 19th Oct.

Of course I quizzed him on heron, white stork. He is very confident it was neither of these. I didn't think of oystercatcher, but they don't trail very long legs. He is as incredulous as me, but he seems sure. I'm sure he will be familiar with oystercatcher from locally and from British coasts.

He is an artist with a keen interest in wildlife, goes birding with someone from Huddersfield, where he lives. He can talk about all European birds, runs Artworks, Shaw Lodge Mills. He has a holiday home on the Cabo de Gato ( Cape of Cats ) near Almeria east of Malaga, where there are salt flats with all the med's waders - B W Stilts, Flamingoes, Avocets, etc. I know, I was there in 2000.

Withens Clough

You were right Matt - 38 Redwing at Sisley Lane, Mankinholes on my way to Withens Clough this afternoon - you said they were on their way!

9 Mipits at Withens Gate
4 Coal Tit, 3 Blue Tit and a Siskin feeding on a mass of cones at the top of a fir tree in the small wood NW of Withens Clough res
1 Goldeneye (female) on the res
8 Mistle Thrush in the fields below Stoodley Pike

Mixenden to Hebden Bridge

4 Whooper Swans at Mixenden Res'r this morning (2 adults with 2 juveniles)

Crimsworth Dean - upper valley

Autumn colour in Crimsworth Dean near Hardcastle Crags car park

We went over the moors from Mixenden via Cold Edge/Fly Flatts/High Brown Knoll/Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags.
Not entirely unexpected, with the cold air and northerly air stream, the site of 4 Whooper Swans on Mixenden res'r was a nice surprise. We had no further reports from Mixenden later in the day so we are not sure if they have moved on, or if so what time they left.
A fantastic day for Fieldfares with a massive movement across our area today with flocks ranging from small groups, up to larger flocks of up to 300 birds. From leaving Mixenden at 9.30 to High Brown Knoll at 1 pm we counted just short of 1,300 - all were travelling NW, with some flocks low across the moor and other groups high up. Other sites in West Yorkshire were also noting similar arrivals including Queensbury (BS) and the Oxenhope vis mig site. We only noted single Redwings in one or two flocks with a maximum of 8 individuals. The only other birds moving were a few small flocks of Starlings - again NW - with a total of no more than 100 birds.
At Fly Flatts 9 Twite were present at the feeding station.

Ringstone 20/10/10

Fantastic sight early this afternoon at Ringstone, 241 Lapwing and 208 Golden Plover observed feeding in a field to the west of the reservoir, then all up the air at the same time wheeling and calling

and finally huge numbers bathing in the north-east corner. Two species you expect here at this time of the year but great to take in the sights and sounds nonetheless!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Long-tailed Tit

Photo from David Crawshaw taken in Suffolk recently (northern europe form - caudatus)

It's worth noting to check all L T Tit flocks very carefully in case any of these little beauty's turn up!!
Thank you David

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

This morning 8 am till 9.30 am (with some visible migration evident)
'movers' going west
Redwing 18
Woodpigeon 56
Long-tailed Tit 9
Coal Tit 1
Mistle Thrush 3
Chaffinch 31
Fieldfare 14
Sparrowhawk 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
Alba Wagtail 5
Bullfinch 1
Meadow Pipit 6
Skylark 3
Starling 62 >NW

'movers' east
Redpoll 1
Blackbird 1
Black-headed Gull 1
Snipe 1
Greenfinch 4

other birds nearby
1 Reed Bunting
c45 Meadow Pipits
1 Kestrel
1 male Sparrowhawk
1 Green Woodpecker near the ski-slope

Monday, October 18, 2010

Luddenden Dean

Distant shot of a Peregrine this afternoon over the dean.

Other birds in the dean
Green and Great spotted Woodpecker
c60 Fieldfare
30+ Redwing
2 Sparrowhawks
1 Kestrel
c20 L T tits
Lots of Jays about

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Other news today

1 Black Redstart reported from Walshaw dean this morning but no further details of exact location (PG via NC)

4 Grey Plover this afternoon coming from the east seen from Soil Hill at around 2.10 pm (BS) - also several skeins of Pink-footed Geese going south-east over Fly Flatts/Thornton Moor/Hunter Hill this morning (BS et al)

Ringstone 17/10/10

Texted DJS at 09:15hrs to inform him that Shoveler and Wigeon were at Ringstone early this morning as I realised that Shoveler is uncommon in Calderdale. Took a few shots from the roadside but really needed an ace digiscoper or someone like Nick Dawson to get a decent shot as it was always distant.

The Shoveler and Wigeon eventually moved a little closer but still too far away for my equipment but heavily cropped shot attached 'for the record as they say'.

34 Pink-footed Goose flew SE at 08:37hrs over the reservoir, around 60 Golden Plover and 26 Lapwing also present plus 1 Great Crested Grebe.

Withens Clough 1:00pm

A quick walk (with noisy kids!) this afternoon:
- a dipper was on the reservoir edge
- 2 raven high over
- 2 kestrel
- 14+ meadow pipits
- 1 m. goldeneye

Ringed Necked parakeet..???

I was speaking to a friend of mine and he tells me there are at least 6 Ringed necked parakeets roosting in Sandy foot clough which is the wood just before Barkisland on the left hand side as you come up from west vale.He got them on call first as he used to live in London where they were common...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hunter Hill/Fly Flatts

Above - Twite at Fly Flats this afternoon.

Hunter Hill
At 11:45 I was scanning over Swales Moor when I picked up a large bird in the scope, at a distance, which I thought was a skua against the sky until it dropped against the hillside and into the valley. It was then evident it was a ring -tailed Hen Harrier showing it's distinct profile and white rump as it passed below me heading towards the golf course. In the blustery wind I lost it as it went through a conifer plantation and I was unable to relocate it presuming it had headed off towards Ogden.
80 Pink-footed Geese also went high down the Calder Valley heading S/E at 11:15
44 Fieldfare >S
32 Redwing >NW

Fly Flats
5 Twite including 1 ringed bird with colour combination as above

Thursday, October 14, 2010

2010 BTO House Martin Survey

The results from this year's BTO House Martin survey are now available:
The single nest on our house produced 2 successful broods, although one chick needed a helping hand back into the nest after it fell to earth before it fledged.

Flight calls for vis - miggers

Hi all this is an excellent web site for calls of birds going over whilst vis migging thanks to all who posted and I am now sorted for calls and songs .Thanks Dave B Jeff and Dave sut.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Part 4 of Birds, Bins & Bullets Now Online

It seems only like yesterday that I was filming members of the Calderdale Bird Conservation Group assisting Birdlife Malta and the Maltese Police Force in the efforts to combat poaching in the Maltese Islands.
I have just added to the first three parts that are currently on line by uploading Part 4 that features an eloquent speech by S.D. given at a BM press conference in September 2007.
This piece also shows the bird rehab facilities that were being provided by Ian Balzan. Sadly, this facility no longer exists.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


2 Whooper Swans over the coll at Ogden around 12.15 today (thanks to our friends at the Oxenhope watchpoint) they were seen coming from NE.
Later on this afternoon 2 Whoopers were reported by N Dawson at Warland Res'r and these were possibly the same birds.

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

Late morning
8 Skylark
c35 Meadow Pipits
5 Linnet
22 Goldfinch >E
1 Siskin >E
1 Green Woodpecker

Birdlife Malta Podcast

Below is a link to an excellent podcast of Charlie Moores interviewing Geoffrey Saliba from Birdlife Malta. Excellent insiders view of the current state of affairs over there.

12th October

Sunset from Tower Hill looking towards Stoodly Pike and Sunderland Pasture. Visited Cold Edge this PM. 7 Greylags in with the Canada Flock, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Stonechat and 3 Wheatears near the wind farm, Kestrel and Mistle Thrush also seen. After tea walked over Roils Head again, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Snipe flushed at Tower Hill.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Has anyboby got calls /flight calls of european birds on CD...? I would like to borrow it for a day to download on to my i-pod.Or does anybody know where I could download one off the net...???

Fly Flats/Withens Head

2 Wheatears at Withens Head Farm opposite the wind farm car park this afternoon.

Fly Flatts
1 Dunlin on the edge of the res'r flew off high >SW
19 Twite (c5 ringed birds) by the feeding station
2 Starlings >NE
1 Goldfinch >NE
c25 Meadow Pipits >NE

Back to reality

After yesterdays trip to Spurn it was back to normal with a walk at Roils Head which produced 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.


It seemed as though it was jackdaw party time in the Wheatley valley last night. There were 100+ birds flying around and coming from all directions; landing on the tall beeches next door, having a good chatter then off again, over Pellon, back again for about 30 mins.Finally most leaving in a northly direction, except our 3 pairs who nest in the barn (they were not giving-up their cosy place.)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Help Stop Poaching in Cyprus

If you haven't already done so, please could you go to the CABS website and sign the petition to end bird trapping in Cyprus. Full details are on the page reached by the following link -


Lapland Bunting at Wholestone Moor 08/10/10

Decided to nip out late this afternoon after fog and mist had cleared. I bumped into Sean Johnson at Ringstone which turned out to be a blessing as it left me little time because of fading light to visit anywhere else other than Wholestone Moor on my way home.

On Ringstone incidentally were 2 Goosander, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 3 LBB Gull.

Got to Wholestone Moor around 17:40hrs and 40 Golden Plover were on the ground so gave them a wide berth as I didn't want to flush them or any other birds around. As I walked the area I flushed quite a few Meadow Pipit, particularly from areas of longer vegetation.

Around 18:00hrs as I approached one of the areas which has small pools of standing water, my attention was drawn to a bird of similar size to a Meadow Pipit or Reed Bunting that suddenly started creeping along the ground to my right, I immediately froze and got my bins on it and noticed it had reddish-brown ear coverts which were highlighted by a dark triangular stripe surrounding it. Other prominent stand-out features were the reddish-brown panel on the greater coverts, pale white wing-bars, lightly streaked breast and pale looking bill. I have made loads of other notes which I will submit to the recorder in due course.

I continued to observe the bird in fading light for around a further 5 minutes having telephoned another birder in the meantime, before I then heard the call of a bird coming from behind me which I had not heard before (a short almost flutey whistle). I turned around and briefly saw another bird again creeping away from me that seemed to behave in exactly the same manner as the Lapland Bunting I had just been observing. I walked in the direction of the second bird but I couldn't find it.

I left the area at 18:30hrs in fast fading light and believe neither bird had flown off at that time.

8th October

Had a House Martin north over Pellon this PM. Large flock of Long-tailed Tits at Roils Head and a Sparrowhawk over Ovenden Wood again.

Lee Dam

5 Swallows over Lee Dam this lunchtime. A single female Goosander on the dam and 3 Pied Wagtails at Lumbutts chapel.

News from North Wales

Hi all
Just a couple of observations and updates from an (happily) exiled ex Halifax naturalist.I keep an eye on the Calderdale blog and it’s great to see it going from strength to strength with some excellent posts everyday now. Here in North Wales the birds I rarely saw or thought that they were scarce at best, are around in huge numbers, Birds such as raptors, ravens, choughs are so common place that you have to keep reminding yourself that in much of Britain they are scarce or declining, its very easy to get blasé about it all if you are not careful.

One species that seems to be bucking the national trend, and a bird I was very familiar from a young age back in Calderdale is the House Sparrow which is around in huge numbers still on the Llyn Peninsula. Having done a spot of “farm sitting” for the last couple of weeks ( also Yorkie exiles) its not hard to spot why House Sparrows are around in the numbers I remember from my childhood in the late 50’s and early 60’s in Calderdale. The farm I was looking after has a series of old stone stables which now house goats, donkeys and sheep as well as stored hay and straw. Each morning I would get up to go and tend to the animals before it was light and as I switched on the lighting in each stable dozens of roosting House Sparrows would start chattering and flying out of the buildings. Given that this one small farm of 27 acres has a large resident House Sparrow population it’s not hard to see that by multiplying that by the hundreds of similar small farms on the Llyn the sparrow population must be huge. Because most of the farms also have extensive old stabling and barns then the potential nesting sites on offer (as well as the farm houses themselves) is massive. I usually have large numbers of House Sparrows at the feeding station by the van and it’s been nice to watch the youngsters from this year gradually moulting into adult plumage.

Most British finch species are around in large numbers due to the old fashioned low intensity family farming carried out on the Llyn. Much of the winter food for the livestock is grown on the farm so lots of seed is left lying around before and after its harvest. Given the huge number of small farms there are also lots opportunities for small birds to forage around the farms themselves in winter for food. Obviously given the size of the finch and thrush population the raptors are around in huge numbers to feed on this large food source.Because we also have a huge number of hedges here around most of the fields which are tiny by current agricultural standards then the potential feeding, roosting and nesting sites are also large. Although the area is extensively shot for the pot, rabbits, pheasants, duck etc, predators such as raptors, stoats, weasels etc are in the main left alone in my experience with no illegal killing of raptors being reported to my knowledge. Foxes, crows and magpies are shot on sight by just about everyone here because of predation on free range chickens chicks and eggs and also maybe surprisingly, simply because people like to think they are removing threats to song birds nests. Ravens, Jays and Jackdaws are left well alone and not persecuted. Even with all this pressure on crows they still thrive in healthy numbers on the Llyn. For example I personally know of 150+ crows bagged in one session when four people where shooting wood pigeons on some stubble last month. The crows were coming in faster than the pigeons and being shot in larger numbers than Woodies (only 105 of them) but were still flooding in when the shooters packed up

My feeding station is alive with birds from dawn to dusk each day and it being around 6 feet from my office window in the van means I get some superb views of birds all day long whilst working. Badgers have moved into a sett near the van so sadly all the hedgehogs we had coming to the garden have either been scoffed by the badgers of left for safer pastures. Bertie the buzzard still pops down periodically to see if I have chucked out any chicken carcasses for him but he or she tends to spend the whole day around the feeding station I set up for buzzards in the winter months when I usually have a ready supply of game carcasses and dead crows and magpies for the feeding station.

Just off for a couple of hours break from work and will work my way down the coast to Morfa Nefyn and the golf course to see what birds are around and if any dolphins or porpoises are showing off shore this fine sunny morning. I shall round the walk off in a local cafe with a bacon buttie and glean all the local gossip from Albi & Val the owners before coming back home to some more work....its hard life here on the Llyn but you have to push yourself to keep going :-)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Pink-feet & Canada Goose sp at Scammonden 07/10/10

I originally thought that 68 Pink-feet flew NE over Scammonden at 09:15hrs this morning but when I looked more closely at a number of photos that I took, I noticed that one of the 68 isn't a Pink-footed Goose, but instead appears to be some species of Canada Goose with obvious white chinstrap, shortish neck similar in length to Pink-feet, brown/white breast and no noticeable difference in overall size to the Pink-feet.

Bearing in mind that this particular individual is migrating with 'wild' geese, does anyone have any thoughts on the id of it?

In addition 23 Lapwing S, 40 Golden Plover SW, 10 Coal Tit on the move again S & 2 Twite S.

Attention vis miggers!

News from Holland of a mass and intense westward migration of birds on the radar this evening, also occurring in Belgium, they reckon 3 hours flight time to cross North Sea, so visible migation could be mega in the morning?

Shibden Park - 7th October

On the way through the park this morning:

70+ BH gull
12 moorhen (my largest count so far)
1 little grebe
1 smaller duck - possibly a juvenile tufted but there are a large number of various farmyard hybrids there at the moment.

1 nuthatch heard
1 sparrowhawk
10 starlings

Ogden/Fly Flatts/Hunter Hill

We bumped into Nigel K at Ogden across lunch time and we walked up to Fly Flatts together for a really enjoyable afternoon. Nigel had just had c150 Pink-footed Geese >NW over Soil Hill.
1 f Wigeon still at Ogden
c12 L B B Gulls
1 Kestrel

Withens Head
3 Wheatears in the field opposite the wind farm car park (but they had gone when we came back)

Fly Flatts
23 Twite was a real bonus but we were unable to get any ring combinations today
2 Stonechats
1 Skylark over and a just a few Meadow Pipits about
2 Canada Geese
c12 Goldfinch
2 Kestrel
We also met Brian V who has had lots of Coal Tits moving through Paul Clough earlier and heading over the moor towards Luddenden Dean/Midgley Moor

Hunter Hill
2 Little Owls
c30 Meadow Pipits
1 Kestrel

7th October

160+ Pink Feet flew north at Pellon at 6.45pm. Stonechat still at Roils Head, also 3 Goldcrests, 2 Bullfinch 2 Redwing and 2 Sparrowhawks over.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

NERF Conference - a reminder!

Northern England Raptor Conference20 November 2010
Rishworth School, Rishworth, Halifax, HX6 4QA

This year's annual NERF Raptor Conference is being hosted by Calderdale Bird Conservation Group at the prestigious venue of Rishworth School. The conference committee has drawn together an exciting and varied program that will address a wide range of issues that are of interest to Raptor Workers, including habitat management, the use of technology to track and monitor individual birds as well as contributing to the debate surrounding the status of eagle owls and lowland hen harriers. There is ample on-site parking. Registration, coffee and exhibits will be available for delegates from 0830 and the conference will open at 0915. Lunch and afternoon refreshments will be provided. This year’s conference has four themes and each theme has two highly respected speakers. Some of the issues are extremely contentious and delegates will have an opportunity to put in-depth questions to the speakers at the end of each session. Paul Irving, NERF Chairman, will also bring us up to date with current developments within the Forum.

Speakers are:

Dr. John Edwards 'Raptor Conservation – a Biologist’s Perspective’

Simon Thorp, Heather Trust 'Heather Burning Regulations, three years onAnalytical science'

Lee Walker, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology 'Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme'

Arjun Arun, RSPB 'Peregrine persecution in the NERF region, a 10 years study'

Stephen Murphy, Natural England 'Hen harrier dispersal - satellite tracking'

James Leonard, RSPB 'The use of technology, including cameras for monitoring, research and crime detection'

Dr Andrew Kelly, Belfast University 'New research into the status of eagle owls'

Paul Castle, Wiltshire Raptor Group 'Montagu’s harriers and lowland hen harriers'

Delegate Fees £10.00 for delegates aged 14 – 18 years and £20.00 for adults.

Demand for places at this year’s conference has been high therefore please book ASAP to avoid disappointment.

This is a high profile national conference and one for which we are proud hosts, any birder with an interest in raptors is bound to find something of interest here, to book please contact


1 Peregrine drifting round Wainhouse tower
this A.M.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


1 f Wigeon
1 Great Crested Grebe
Small tit flock included Goldcrests and 1 Treecreeper

Hunter Hill

Vis Mig 07:30 till 10:30 in a blustery W/S/W F3/4 wind with low cloud
222 moving birds of 15 species
Hard work this morning in the wind (the birds felt the same I think!)
Looked promising first thing but tailed off quickly with nothing after 9:15 other than 2 Mipits.
Moving birds included
92 Meadow Pipits
13 Starling
21 Chaffinch
47 Redwing
1 Reed Bunting
12 Siskin came through so low they nearly flew into me!

Others around the site
1 Wheatear
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Little Owls calling
2 Sparrowhawks
1 Grey Heron
7 Red-legged Partridge

Monday, October 04, 2010


Went for a wander around Langfield to see if I could see any Stonechats but none around today. 5 Twite flew over though and went towards Jail Hole. I walked over but there was no sign of them when I got there, so can't say if they were ringed or not. Also a Kestrel and about a dozen Mipits.

Fly Flats

Twite at last ! - 9 individuals there this afternoon at the feeding station - 6 unringed and 3 colour ringed birds combinations as follows.

L - dark blue above BTO ring (with numbers including 79)
R - orange over pink

L - dark blue above BTO ring
R - pink over pale blue

L - green over BTO ring
R - pink over pale blue

1 L B B Gull
3 Kestrel
4 Stonechat
c25 Meadow Pipits
Red Grouse

Gadwall at Ringstone 04/10/10

Male Gadwall there in the warm sunshine this morning, always distant and very often hiding in the vegetation on the north bank.

4 Cormorant were snorkelling around the edge of the reservoir.

2 Wigeon were present early here on Saturday (2nd) and I have had a few Brambling south or south-east overhead since 30/9 around this area which might be of interest to any 'vis-miggers' out there, DJS in particular.

Roils Head etc 4th Oct

The Whinchat and Stonechat were still present this PM. The Stonechat was catching insects in flight from gorse bushes. Also 4 Bullfinch at Roils and 3 Common Gulls south at Tower Hill.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


88 Twite at Derby Delph feeding station this afternoon, eager for the niger after the rain.

Green Withens: 1 Kestrel, I Merlin; several mipits & goldfinch, 1 Stonechat; 12 reed Bunting; usual corvids.

Roils Head etc

Stonechat still present also 23 Pied Wagtails on football field. 2 Goosanders north at Heath Hill Road and 11 Skylarks at High Road Well Moor this PM.

Cold Edge

Fortunate this afternoon - just got there as the rain stopped and the sky cleared!
1 Little Grebe on the top small pond with 2 Moorhens
11 red-head Goosander on the lower large dam
1 Little Owl
11 Goldfinch
1 Kestrel
c20 Meadow Pipits

Also a reliable report of a Red Kite over Wainstalls at 7 am (last Tuesday 28th or Wednesday 29th September)

Also from Ogden this afternoon
1 Wigeon and 2 Greylag Geese (BS)


I was looking out of the kitchen window this morning to see if the rain was likely to stop any time soon when I saw a small flock of 6 Mistle Thrushes on the field wall. With them was a Fieldfare which is a very early arrival in our neck of the woods. Sorry for the hazy pic but it was taken through the window which was smeared with rain.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


A brief amble down by the Heronry produced a total of zero Herons this afternoon. I had one fly over Moderna, so decided to see if they were using the Heronry post breeding season. I had two staying on after breeding earlier in the year (August I think), but today......zilch. They may have of course, been away feeding, but a big fat zero suggests that they may not be using the area as a post breeding roost site at all. Could do with further investigation to confirm one way or the other.

A large tit flock was moving along the canal nearby, mainly Long-tailed, but with Coal Tit, and Great Tits amongst them and a large party of Blue Tits travelling in parallel on the other side of the field. 2 Nuthatches were also in amongst them, but I could not tell if this was coincidence, or if they were actually travelling with the flock. 3 Jays were also nearby, plus the usual Jackdaws, Rooks, Wood pigeons, Collared Doves and Robins


4 swallows over > S were harrassing a sparrowhawk, and vice versa

Later, jackdaws were mobbing a raven that passed over.

Roils Head

This afternoons walk produced 1 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat, 1 Sparrowhawk, c40Redwings, a Long-tailed Tit flock and 13 Skylarks at High Road Well Moor.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Late afternoon - and still siling down!
2 f Teal
1 G C grebe
1 Gt spotted Woodpecker

Jay House Lane

Friday, 1 October 2010

Just spent an interesting morning (in the rain) discussing the hedge laying as part of the project to enhance the area for tree sparrows. I met up with Hugh, Caroline, Robin and Chris from Countryside and some guys from a forestry contractor.
They are going to re-lay the hedge on one side of the lane in 2 sections (1 this Jan. and the rest next Jan.)It may look a bit drastic for a while, but there are plenty of other places for the birds to nest in the area. In any case many of them nest in the houses and these will not be affected.
This has been a good breeding year for the spaarrows with quite a number of them having several broods.
We may be asking for volunteers to help with the laying. Watch this space.

Beacon Hill - Thursday 30/09/10

Had a quick trip up Beacon Hill at lunchtime.

70+ meadow pipits
1 linnet
1 kestrel
2 magpie
30 goldfinch
2 stonechat - 1 a juvenile I think

Also last weekend:
1 little grebe catching fish in shibden park boating lake - a first for me at this site