Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30th November

Only six Waxwings briefly today, no doubt the local Sparrowhawk is spooking them. Went to High Road Well Moor with some kitchen scraps for the gulls in the hope of getting some photos of Common Gull. On the way home the Sparrowhawk put on quiet a show.

Monday, November 29, 2010

29th November

Sparrowhawk over Pellon Lane.

7 Waxwings this PM at Silverwood Avenue feeding on berries also 3 Sparrowhawks seen today in the Pellon area.

Bullfinch eating berries

Sorry for poor quality Steve B. Ive been trying to get shots of Bullfinch for ages but they are proving very difficult. This bird was feeding on the same berries as the Waxings, yellow rowan berries I think.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bits this weekend

- Woodcock flying over the road at Portsmouth, nr Cornholme at dusk yesterday.
- 2 nuthatch calling in Jumble Hole Clough. Atawny owl was in a tree right next to the lane later on.
- A flock of 15+ fieldfare were scoffing the last of the apples on the tree in the garden

And more Waxwings

Found 50 Waxwings at Silverwood Walk Pellon this PM, also Bullfinch feeding on berries.

Walshaw Dean

Fairly quiet at Walshaw Dean today other than when a low flying plane went over and suddenly the skies were alive with large grouse flocks, must have been in excess of 300 birds in total, by far and away the most I can recall having seen up there. Apart from that very little just a single Peregrine and a couple of Goosander on the upper res of note.

Withens Clough

3 Goldeneye (1 male, 2 females) at Withens Clough this morning.

The reservoir surface is about 50% covered with a thin layer of ice.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

27th November

Just 1 Waxwing this PM at Silverwood Ave Pellon. Also 4 Herring Gulls west at Heath Hill Road.

Moorwatch Website

Take a look at the following website set up by Pennine Prospects as a means for the public to report damaging activities on our moorlands (eg illegal off roading etc)


I have added it as a link on the blog.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Around 20 feeding on Rowan at the bottom of Skircoat Green allotments this afternoon. They were just yards from me as I was picking brussel sprouts. A favoured site for them at the mo.



About 90 pinkies(may have been more) flew towards Queensbury from Lee Mount area this morning at about 10:10 am

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Sounds good but does anyone know any more about this?


Raptor Conservation - A Biologist's Perspective

For those that missed the NERF conference, here is an abridged version of the presentation by Dr. John Edwards from The Hawk and Owl Trust. I filmed this during the lunch break.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NERF Annual Review 2009

The Northern England Raptor Forum covers the uplands of Northern England from the South Peak, in Derbyshire to the Scottish borders and includes the Bowland Fells and the North York Moors.

The 2009 NERF Annual Review is the first annual review of the work undertaken by the Forum. The Review identifies the NERF geographical coverage and habitat types before taking an in-depth look at the 22 species of raptor (and also including Raven), that are known to occur as a resident, migrant or rare vagrant in the North of England. The report is essential reading for anyone interested in birds of prey in the northern uplands.

Each of the species reports outlines the national historical perspective, the population estimate, conservation status, and the national and local threat assessment before setting out the local perspective within each of the NERF recording areas.

The Review also contains articles from:
Guy Shorrock, RSPB Investigations Dept. outlining the Society’s latest Birdcrime Report
Stephen Murphy, National England Hen Harrier Recovery Project in relation to Hen Harrier dispersal,
George Smith, a Scottish Raptor Worker, on the use of PIT Tags being used in a Peregrine Project, and,
Geoff Saliba, Birdlife Malta on raptor persecution on the Maltese Islands

The Review contains c 40,000 words, 72 pages of A4, printed in colour throughout and is ‘perfect’ bound.

Copies can be ordered from Nick Carter at midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk alternately they can be collected from Tim Walker at The Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden.

Cost £10, collected, or £12, including postage and packaging.

Withens Head

Earlier today

Black Redstart


Withens Head Farm

Black Redstart opposite the wind farm car park (probably a first winter male, as it was just starting to show some pale panels on the wing) just above the farm at 9.15 this morning - it stayed close to 2 Stonechats for just over an hour feeding along the walls and on the mole hills. It was last seen at 10.30 along the wall to the rear of the former Withens pub and still with the Stonechats.

Wheatear still there this morning from 9 am feeding mainly on the mole hills just above the farm. Later on this afternoon it was very elusive and flew off towards Slade before returning briefly then off back towards Slade again.

It was good to see Nick D. Niall and Bill there too this pm, and although we only had brief views of the Wheatear and the Stonechats, the Black Redstart was not re-located.
Some photos of the black red to follow but unable to get any decent shots of the Wheatear.

Lee Dam

 5 Teal (3 males)
18 Goosander (4 males)
Tree Creeper
The Tree Creeper landed on the trunk of a large hawthorn just a few feet from me. It stayed for about a minute, unconcerned that I was watching it. I've seen Tree Creepers many times but never seen one so well without optics. What a cracker, with just stunning markings. No camera with me so I wasn't distracted by trying to get photos and could just enjoy and admire the bird.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ooooh matron....


Waxwings - Elland Golf Club - Friday

For info........

Friday, November 19, 2010 3:53:18 PM To: Countryside Subject: Waxwings... Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear sir/madam.
Don't know if the above are of interest to you, but I just saw a substantial flock of these intriguing birds at Elland Golf club (feeding on berries between the 9th/18th tee and green).
To me, they were a remarkable sight, since it has been over thirty years since I last saw them in Calderdale.
Keith Smith

Withens Head

Total surprise late afternoon when we came across the Wheatear again around Withens Head Farm - opposite the wind farm car park.

I am sure this is the same bird that's been here for a few weeks now and I am convinced it's a Northern form - however due to the bird being so late I would value a second/third.... opinion.

I cannot turn it into Isabelline or Desert Wheatear but the nearest other Wheatear would be female Black-eared as this bird does have a really orange breast and looks quite darkish underneath. I know this is very unlikely as they should also be in Africa long since but I would hate to get it wrong.

Not able to get any photo's this afternoon as the light was so poor and perhaps that's why the bird looked so dark. HELP!!!!

Mixenden Res'r

1 f Goldeneye there this afternoon
2 drake Goosander

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Soil Hill

I trogged around the summit (thinking of possible Snow Bunting) for over an hour this afternoon - what a muddy mess on the top and I guess it's not worth the risk walking over the thick deep sludge - but the edges facing north and west are not too bad with gravel areas and some weedy patches along the edge of the heather.
1 Skylark
1 Common Snipe
8 Grey Partridge

I had just about given up on Snow Bunting and the light was going at 3.50 so took the west side off the top, down a short grass track - and just in front of me a female type Snow Bunting took flight and headed up towards the top. Unfortunately I wasn't able to relocate the bird in the fading light.

Please do not go on the site when the heavy plant/earth movers are working there.

NERF Annual Conference

A couple of photos from yesterdays highly successful NERF annual conference hosted by the CBCG and held at Rishworth school, over 140 delegates from all over the country enjoyed an excellent series of talks from raptor workers and scientists at the forefront of their fields. I would like to thank the sponsors, speakers and head and staff of the school for making the event such a success but especially Steve Downing and Tim Walker for their huge efforts in bringing the event together.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ferruginous duck???

Report on Birdguides 1:05pm of a ferruginous duck at Ryburn Reservoir. Watch this space. This would only be the second ever record in Calderdale, the last being 1947.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bird Report update

The 2009 Halifax Bird Report has been sitting on my computer for a few weeks now, I am still awaiting the printers to give me a price, they have had 2 weeks to respond but Ive heard nothing. Just wonder if its worth looking somewhere else, or would it be better to wait until next year and bring out another double report 2009 and 2010 together, any thoughts are most welcome.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Various sites

Poor conditions today with the afternoon rain and strong S/E wind
1 drake Goosander on Mixenden Res'r plus a few gulls
c70 Rooks feeding in fields at Cold Edge with c20 Jackdaws
No sign of the Wheatear at Withens Head
7 Starlings at Fly Flats
Nothing on Ogden other than 1 LBBG and a few BH and Common Gulls
2 Waxwings and a Sparrowhawk over Lee Mount first thing this morning

Tree Sparrow Nest Box Cleaning and Repositioning

Message from Caroline......

If anyone would like to get involved we will be repositioning the nest boxes along Jay House Lane in Clifton from around 10am on Friday 19th November. We’ll be there until at least lunchtime and there are plenty to move. All are welcome so come along if you would like to get involved!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Various sites

Mixenden Res'r
80 B H Gulls
25 Common Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
1 Grey Wagtail

Withens Head
Wheatear still present there this morning

Fly Flatts
2 Stonechat
1 Canada Goose with a damaged wing

High Royd
1 Kingfisher
34 Teal
30 Mallard
3 Moorhens
2 Coot
2 Nuthatch
3 Grey Wagtail
3 Grey Heron

Swales Moor
1 Reed Bunting
1 Skylark
25 Meadow Pipits

Various sites

Mixenden Res'r

Withens Head

Wheatear still present there this morning

Elland Gravel Pits

Around 20 Siskin feeding on alder cones today

Yesterday an adult Herring Gull was on the water just about visible through the mist

Decent numbers of gulls were feeding in the fields to the north of the lake.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Unexpected waxwing - Colden

I was doing the school run this morning, and a single waxwing was at the top of a larch next to Colden school, calling loudly before flying off in the direction of the Crags.
A pleasant surprise.

Withens Head/Fly Flats

Above and below with a Stonechat

Withens Head
With apologies for the poor quality of these shots in the bright sunshine, of a late Wheatear this afternoon at Withens Head Farm - opposite the wind farm car park - but such a late bird needs to be checked with care (thanks to Nick D's prompt to put the photo's on the blog for further scrutiny) in case of a rare Wheatear - some of which have a habit of turning up in Britain very late in the year.
I think it is our routine Northern Wheatear, albeit very late on it's way to Africa but please check it out ! It was still there at 15:30 in the fields just above the farm.

Little Owl
1 Kestrel
1 Stonechat
Fly Flatts
1 Raven
1 Stonechat
No Twite

Lee Mount

3 Tree Sparrows on garden feeder again this morning around 09:30 but not seen later today.

Shroggs Park - immediately behind the lodge by St George's Road at 10:00 in the tree tops
12 Waxwings
1 Brambling

More Waxwings

Found 2 Waxwings at Silverwood Avenue Pellon this PM, 57 Lapwings now at High Road Well Moor.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NERF Conference

Still some places left for anyone not booked, now over 130 delegates, promises to be a very interesting day at Rishworth school next Saturday.
More details from midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk

Lee Mount surprise!

Above - 3 Tree Sparrows in the feeders and a Chaffinch in the middle
Tree Sparrow
Jen spotted these 3 special birds which turned up on the garden feeders just before we started lunch. They were totally unexpected, and turned up again later in the afternoon, firsts for our garden since we came to live here in 1974 ! They were feeding on various seed, including some millet.
Tree Sparrows are a Calderdale rarity at the present time with only one known small colony that we are aware of. In past years they were locally common at a small number of sites and their scarcity is in line with a national decline which is hopefully showing small signs of a recovery. Lets hope we get some more reports - so keep a close eye on your garden feeders.
Anyone not familiar with Tree Sparrows especially need to look out for the distinguishing features of a rusty brown cap and the black cheek spot - to avoid confusion with the House Sparrow.

snow bunting

soil hill yesterday, went up after the text and found it strait away but it was so windy so could not get a very good photo

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lee Mount

Terrible picture I know, but taken in haste through our kitchen window at 7.30 this morning ! -It was a real surprise to see a male Blackcap in our garden and just a few minutes later seen feeding off Cotoneaster horizontalis berries. Not seen again later in the day.

Jumble Hole

22 pink feet flew west at 9:00am
Green woodpecker gave good views in the garden, followed later by a treecreeper.
A single fieldfare was eating the last of the apples on the tree. A heron has been in the garden pond on two occassions this week.


70 - 100 at bottom of Warley Road King Cross at lunchtime (Andy Crystal)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ogden/Mixenden/Cold Edge

I did a quick round this morning in the blustery wind to see if anything had been blow in following yesterdays and overnight gales - nothing.
1 Goosander at Mixenden !

Lesser Redpolls are back

I had the first Lesser Redpoll for 2 months on the garden feeder this morning. The last record I have was on 11 September then they disappeared and I haven't seen any until today. The same thing happened last year and in 2008, with the birds disappearing for around 2 months after the breeding season.

Perhaps the birds that breed here leave in Late August/early September and are eventually replaced in November by birds coming in from Europe? All the birds are cabaret ssp by the way. Or maybe they just move elsewhere in the country for a while/keep their heads down to moult?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I know that it is nothing to do with the Calderdale area but thought you might like to have a look at this blog that I was led to yesterday
Im sure you will like it

Mixenden and Ogden Res'rs

Mixenden Res'r
No sign of the Little Gull from yesterday unfortunately. Just a few Black-headed and Common Gulls
2 Goldeneye dropped in but did not stay
Good to see 'Martynbirder' there and to have a chat.

The 'big hedge' looked good with c30 Blackbirds, c20 Chaffinch and 80 Fieldfare split between the 'big hedge' and the nearby fields.

1 Dipper below the embankment
1 Sparrowhawk - in flight looked to have a damaged leg as it trailed below!

Just outside Calderdale

Me and Dave slipped over the border to Hollingworth Lake this PM for the Pied Billed Grebe. At first it stuck to the bank and was hard to photograph but eventually it gave good views. Later back in Calderdale we had 3 Woodcocks come out of Walshaw Dean plantation.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Little Gull at Mixenden

Dropped everything and rushed up to Mixenden Res this pm to see Dave's latest find an adult Little Gull. Well done Dave, more pics to follow on heavybirder.


Little Gull with ad Common Gull to the right
Little Gull

I had an hour to spare this afternoon so thought (Ogden or Mixenden)??? Chose the right spot I think, with an adult Little Gull feeding over the res'r at 13:15. What a bonus as think it could be 30 years since my last one in Calderdale - must look it up.
I still wonder what might have been at Ogden ?!- never know after this bad weather - anything can turn up!
How hard is it to digi-scope a Little Gull feeding - tricky. I guess Nick D will have got some better pictures. bring em on Nick!

Pied-billed Grebe

Hollingworth Lake !!!!! now thats a twitch have to catch ferry

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pellon Lane

c60 Waxwings late afternoon around Crossley Gardens/Miall Street/Raglan Street but mobile!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Soil Hill/Mixenden/Ogden

Soil Hill
2 Kestrel
8 Grey Partridge
18 Lapwing
1 Golden Plover

Mixenden Res'r
4 Goosander (2 males)

20+ Waxwings (possibly a lot more unseen ?) came over towards Back Lane plantation near dusk with 7 birds landing in the top of a Sycamore along Ogden Lane - not sure if they are roosting at Back Lane or whether they went into the main plantations (?)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Elland Gravel Pits

Went up to Ringstone yet again to check on the Whooper and yes, it is still there, also present were 250 Lapwing, 1000 Black-headed Gull & 100 Common Gull mainly feeding in the fields which have been 'heavily manured' very recently!

I was just on my way down to Elland Gravel Pits from Ringstone when I received a text from Dave Sutcliffe that Mike Henshaw had seen a pair of Pintail first thing down there, however no sign of them during my visit from 09:00hrs until 09:30hrs.

9 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye, at least 2 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron and c20 Siskin were present at 09:00hrs and later on 328 Pink-footed Geese flew south-east at 09:30hrs in one skein which was a great sight.

Just for a change.....Waxwings!

After the news broke on the grapevine this morning, I thought I'd give Warley Road a look for some Waxwings.
As usual there were none around, having dispersed already, so a quick detour around Hanson and Raglan before cutting through Kings Cross en rote to St Albans and Skircoat Green. I had a quick peek behind the fire station before moving on. and this time, made contact. There were about 70 (around 100 later) in a tall dark green tree, that took to the air almost immediately due to the attention of a passing Sparrowhawk.
Luckily they alighted in some tall deciduous trees by some nearby garages, and in between bouts of fly catching, sent raiding parties into the nearby Rowans.
Excellent close views, and excellent lighting conditions.
Iit was not long before I was joined by several other birders, and we soon attracted the attention of a few curious locals......"What are they?.....are they rare?......where they from, then?......."
At one point they flew off when a Sparrowhawk went over, but around a dozen hung around long enough to get some reasonable footage. The flock appears to break up into smaller groups during the middle of the day, as groups of 12 or so go foraging in various directions. It would not suprise me if they all re-assemble around 3.30-ish and roost, either at Kings Cross or perhaps over Ogden way, with Kings Cross being their first port of call after sunrise.
Mid afternoon, however, was time for my regular Harrier watch. Sadly, there was no sign of either, Ringtail or male, but then there is a massive area to cover....
Tomorrow?.......who knows.

Pink and Gold

A large skein of Pink Footed Geese flew over the house at about 9:00 this morning going East.

Lee Dam had just a single Moorhen on the water but a flock of about 8 Long Tailed Tits had a couple of Goldcrest tagging along.

I also had a Red Admiral on the wall basking in the sun this afternoon. I've never seen a butterfly this late in the year before.

Pigs on the wing(Part 1)

A classic Woodpig morning at Northowram with clear blue skies and excellent visability.

7.00 - 8.00 3850 s/w
8.00 - 9.00 1375 s/w
9.00 - 9.30 350 s/w
total ............... 5575 all s/w
Pink footed Goose
8.00 - 8.45
total 535 all east
Other birds of note apart from a Skua species which eluded id .. I was going with juv dark phase Pom and I see no reason on refering to books that it was'nt this species.but the view was all too brief (drat)??
2 Goosander west
10 Greenfinch west
30+ Chaffinch west
22 Siskin west
50 + Common Gull west
1 Pied wagtail west
1 Mistle Thrush north
5 Mallard west

Friday, November 05, 2010

Various sites

Reports from GS earlier today to say the Waxwing flock of around 50 birds was around King Cross/bottom of Warley Road. Later this afternoon the flock had increased to c100 (SB)

GS also confirmed that a small flock of around 30 Redpolls was in trees along the canal tow path near Elland gravel pits - with a few Siskin in among them.


Little owl this morning near Hunter Hill
Colour ringed Twite taken on 25th Oct at Fly Flatts

5th November

Out with DJS this PM. 1 Raven over Crimsworth, 30+Red Grouse, 30+ Pheasants, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels and 2 Grey Herons.

Hunter Hill (watchpoint) and Cold Edge

Vis Mig from 08:15 till 10:15.
Westerly F4. 10c - overcast with reasonably good visibility (and it had stopped raining!)

Chaffinch 52 >NW (the promising early movement of chaff's soon fizzled out)
Woodpigeon 8 >SW
Redwing 2 >NW
Starling 14 >NW
Grey Heron 1 >SW
Great-spotted Woodpecker 1 >NW
Lapwing 2 >N

Lots of B H Gulls and corvids in the very wet fields after yesterdays continuous rain
1 Little Owl nearby
1 Green Woodpecker
Also previously at 07:44 I received a call via BS from HC at the Oxenhope watchpoint of 2 Whooper Swans heading our way (towards Rinby/Swales Moor) but unfortunately I could not locate them from Lee Mount.

Cold Edge
1 f Goosander
1 Tufted Duck
16 Canada Geese
1 Snipe
1 Little Owl
4 Meadow Pipits
3 Kestrels

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NERF Conference

Bookings now well in excess of 100 but still places left, contact midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk for further details.

Swans over Pellon

9 Swans either Whooper or Bewicks flew south then turned west over Pellon at 12.30pm today. 1 Waxwing south over Moor End Road, Redwings and Fieldfares over in small flocks and also found an injurred Robin at Broadley which had trouble flying.

ID on this Goose

Only seen this on 2 early morning visits to Brookfoot and it flies away with the Canadas just after first light.

Waxwings at Brookfoot

Located a small flock feeding on the rowan berries alongside Avocet Works. Very poor light and they all took of towards Elland at 0815 and there were 14 in number.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Mystery Bird

Help wanted identifying a mystery bird ringed in Malta.....


Heads Up for Pied Wagtail Roosts

Anybody in the City Centre as the sun goes down?
It's worth keeping an eye open for those Pied Wagtail roosts. Any tree that's still in leaf will do, preferably under a street light or near a hot air vent.
The last one I saw was in the tree on Market Street by the Woolshops, about 2 or 3 years ago.

Bradford Waxwings

Around 9.00 a.m. this morning I picked up another flock of Waxwings in Bradford as 50 or so went over Little Horton Lane.
After parking up, I relocated around 20 of them in tall trees by Mary Seacole Court on Park Road before they flew off in the direction of Manchester Road.
These birds appeared to be picking insects off the leaves of the trees that they were perched in.

Around and about

Weather conditions deteriorated this morning though conditions were not too bad up Swales Moor first thing apart from a strong westerly wind.
Swales Moor
3 Skylark
25 Linnet
6 Meadow Pipits
c35 Fieldfare
c6 Redwing
1 Kestrel

Ogden - just a few B H and Common Gulls
Mixenden Res'r - c80 B H Gulls and 25 Common Gulls, 1 Grey Wagtail
Cold Edge - 1 f Goldeneye
Fly Flats - 1 Canada Goose!


Check out the Visible Migration link for some fantastic sightings at this site yesterday from the dedicated team up there. Well done for some fantastic birds. and so close to Calderdale.


70 Pink-footed Geese going west over Lee Mount at 08.30

6 Brambling in Shroggs Park just behind the park lodge opposite St George's Road

It was good to see Steve C along with the Waxwings at St Albans Road late morning

Fly Flats
No Twite today but plenty Red Grouse on the moor and becoming very vocal
2 Stonechats around the sailing club

Lee Mount 50-60 Waxwings went NW in a very tight flock, trilling away at 4.15 pm heading towards a roost site, probably towards Mixenden or Ogden (?)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Inspiring People

Loads of locals around St Albans have been inspired by our Scandinavian visitors.
I had folk queuing up to use my bins today, and I even had several offers of cups of tea, one of which I gratefully accepted.
On Saturday, one guy managed to get some photos using Nicks scope and a couple of local youth thought it was really "Cool!"
It's always a pleasure when locals get inspired from the wildlife that you can show them on their doorstep.

Todays Waxwings

Today's Waxwings started with a big zero at Hanson Lane and surrounding area. I managed to relocate 7 birds of the "Manor Heath" flock at St Alban's Rd. They were fly-catching from the tops of tall Lime Trees at first, occasionally taking long circuitous flights after their quarry - more like Swallows than Flycatchers!. DJS joined me for a while, and the birds moved to the bottom end of St Albans where they hung around a tall Rowan, before moving off again.
I relocated them, (now 12 in number), in Rowans and other taller trees by the A & E entrance of Calderdale Royal, now feeding on Rowan Berries.

Went up on th'moors later but had no sign of Saturdays male Hen Harrier. It's always worth braving the elements up there in late afternoon. There's always a chance of finding something nice.

50,000 hunters.

50,000 hunters are now busily engaged in decimating the wildlife of Cyprus.
That's 50,000 guns in less than 10,000 square kilometres
Oppose the slaughter in Cyprus. Read the article at -
and post a comment at the bottom of the article.

Documentary on twitchers.

BBC 4 tonight, 9.00pm  following the lives of dedicated twitchers. It's not often you get documentaries on fringe wildlife activities so should be worth a look.

Pink-footed Geese

400+ flying NW in two skiens over Cornholme Sunday AM