Monday, January 31, 2011


The finch flock at the back of 'The Delvers' was showing well this morning (TM and SL) and we also caught up with them mid afternoon. Several Brambling were present with the mass of Chaff's and Goldfinch with a few Greenfinch as well.

We were heading up to Fly Flats - but it was thick fog up there!

Bird Report update

The 2009 Halifax bird report is now at the printers and will hopefully be out in the next few weeks. Can I please have any remaining records for 2010 in the next few weeks so I can make a start on it.

Jay House lane

28 Tree sparrow
14 Fieldfare
2 Redwing
1 Mistle thrush
8 Goldfinch
4 House sparrow
9 Lapwing
23 Common Gull
4 Chaffinc
1 robin
All seen by/over feeders.

Lumbutts/Mankinholes yesterday

 In a field between Mankinholes Bank and Lumbutts yesterday afternoon:
46 Redwing
3 Fieldfare
c. 80 Starling
No Wrens about, nothing on Lee Dam either as it was frozen.

Also a Little Owl on London Road - I've sent an email to myself!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cold Edge

Nothing at the Delvers field this afternoon. The finch flock seems to favour mornings!

Cold Edge
7 Greylag Geese in the heather
6+ Red Grouse

Cold Edge/ Mixenden

Mallard over a frozen Cold Edge Dam.
30/01/2011 Early a.m. Calm,cold and frosty,light snow first light.

Cold Edge Dams. Top dam froze, lower dam partially froze
18 Mallard
4 Red Grouse
1 Peregrine >N

c 150 mixed finch flock of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch
At least 8 Brambling
3 Meadow Pipit
c40 Fieldfare
c25 Redwing
c18 Mistle Thrush

Mixenden Reservoir
2 Cormorant
4m 2f Goosander
1m Goldeneye
c 200 small gulls.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shibden to Beacon Hill - 29/01/11

Shibden Park - lake mostly frozen

Robin 1
Blackbird 1
Jackdaw 30
Blue Tit 6
Coal Tit 1
Kestrel 1
Blackheaded Gull 80
Common Gull 1
Moorhen 5
Mallard 100

Dark Lane up to Beacon Hill

Crow 4
Magpie 3
Wood Pigeon 2
Long Tailed Tit 8
Coal Tit 2
Treecreeper 1
Blackbird 2 - chased by a female sparrowhawk right onto the track in front of me. I think I startled them and scared the sparrowhawk off.

Willow Tit 1 - about 10m up the track after the sparrowhawk. It was feeding in the hedge at the side of the track. I managed to see it for about a minute before it headed down the track into the higher trees. It was calling on and off for about 20 minutes but I didn't get another view.

Bullfinch 2
Wren 2
Goldfinch 1

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stock Dove

This is the unfortunate Stock Dove caught up in string this afternoon.

Various sites

Swales Moor (am)
4 Skylark
30 Linnet
1 Kestrel

Mixendedn Res'r
1 drake Goldeneye

Crimsworth Dean
1 Raven over high >SE
2 Great Black-backed Gulls >SE
1 Little Owl
c60 Fieldfare
c30 Redwing
1 Nuthatch
2 Kestrel
Only 1 Wren found in the dean
3 Stock Doves - plus another one high up in an inaccesible tall sycamore with its legs tangled up with string around a branch and dangling from the tree upside down flapping away - afraid there was nothing we could do late in the afternoon. We hope it is dealt with by a raptor as quickly as possible.

Hartshead & Kirklees Hall area

A very muddy walk down from Hartshead produced a striking male Yellowhammer calling loudly from the top of a hedgerow.
A Kestrel was prey-watching from a nearby tree and a Cormorant flew overhead.
Perched on the boundary wall of the K H Estate were two Little Owls- I've not seen them just here before, but the habitat seems perfect.
On the return walk, a group of trees contained a large, noisy mixed flock of Tits, Goldfinches, Siskins and Greenfinches, with at least 3 Bullfinches nearby.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Various sites

7 Blackbirds and a Dunnock on the lawn the other day. There has been up to 12 Blackbirds together but can't get them all in the frame at the same time. They love Robin food, quaker oats and apples and are there at first light.

Very early lambs, taken on 19th January just behind the old Withens pub - well there were no birds about!


There were 80 plus Waxwing  at the top of garden road Brighouse this morning at 10 30 but were not there at 2 30pm

Night out

OK, taking all availability into consideration, the night out will be Friday 25th February at the New Moonlight in Luddendenfoot. Let's say 7:00-7:30 in the bar downstairs and eating for 8ish?

Sorry to those who cannot make the 25th, but with the feedback I had received both on the blog and on the phone, it is the date that the majority can make. And this doesn't have to be the last time we get together either!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sowerby Bridge centre

A single Peregrine over near the bridge at approx 10:25 this morning, mobbed by black headed gulls.

Wainstalls and Luddenden Dean

2 or more Brambling with a large finch flock (c80 - mainly Chaff's and Goldfinch and a few Greenfinch) by the shrubbery at the far end of the field behind the Delvers pub at around 12:30. In the fields across the road were c 50 Fieldfare and 6 Redwing. We called back later in the afternoon to put some seed down but there were only a few Chaff's there!

Luddenden Dean
1 Green Woodpecker
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Redpoll
2 Grey Heron
1 Sparrowhawk
No Little Owls or Wrens!

At Jerusalem Farm there were no less than 25 Great Tits in and around the feeders along with good numbers of Blue and Coal Tits and 2 Bullfinch.

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

This morning;
32 Linnet
1 colour ringed Twite
1 Reed Bunting
2 Meadow Pipit
2 Skylark
Pair of Kestrels at Ploughcroft but no Little Owls

Monday, January 24, 2011

Night out - final try

Ok, it has been suggested we should offer three dates up and take a poll as to the most popular, so here goes. I putting down Fridays, as the consensus was that was the best day.

Friday 4 Feb (I can't make, but as said previously, don't let that stop it happening)
Friday 11 Feb
Friday 25 Feb

Please post your thoughts. And if you're waiting silently in the wings to see what date is picked, please now raise your hand, otherwise it is in danger of being cancelled due to what could be mis-interpreted lack of interest!

Beer, curry, and an informal chat about birding. Come on - it's a no-brainer!

Mixenden and Ogden Res'rs

Mixenden Res'r
4 Goosander

Ogden plantation
3 Treecreepers together, all feeding at the base of trees mainly with moss growing around them

Ogden Syke Lane - all mainly feeding in freshly manured fields
50+ Rooks
60+ Jackdaws
c70 Fieldfare
20 Starlings

We checked several traditional Little Owl sites but drew blanks at every site!

More pinkies

c100 Pink-footed Geese flew north west over Pellon at 1.35PM.

FREE to a good home

A large selection of Birdwatching and BBC Wildlife magazines, can deliver this week or preferably for collection.

No room in new flat - great reference material.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Other news today

22 Waxwings at Ennerdale Drive, Upper Edge near Elland around 10 am today (DP)

A Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in the Ryburn Valley earlier today was an excellent find (TW)

Castle Carr Road

This afternoon;
c140 Fieldfare heading towards Castle Carr at dusk and another 40 (including 2 Redwings) heading towards Cold Edge
1 Brambling with 3 Chaffinch heading to roost at Castle Carr
2 Reed Bunting by the top lodge at the end of the road
2 Kestrels over Midgley Moor
1 Little Owl singing from a wall top at dusk

Upper and Lower Gorple - 10:00am

The highlight was a pair of crossbill giving views down to 9-10 feet. Did I have my camera?? Oh noooo. One other single at Upper Gorple Plantation

- 3 crossbill
- 2 reed buntings
- 30+ red grouse
- 3 greylag geese on L Gorple
- 1 goldcrest
- 2 LBB gull over
No raptors at all

Just before the Ridge pub there was c80 fieldfare and c.70 redwing on the wires and feeding in the field

Friday, January 21, 2011

OK not birds but...........

This is something we need to address, see...

EGP and Brighouse Garden

EGP this afternoon

9 Goosander

3 Grey Heron

4 Little Grebe

2 Teal

c80 Canadas

c50 B/H/Gulls

3 Nuthatch

8 Siskin

12 Cormorant

14 Coot

Lots Blue/Great and Long Tailed Tits

Waterloo Rd,Brighouse

21 Redwing

1 Waxwing

Garden photo tells its own story.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Night out

As far as I know, the date for the proposed night out has not been finalised. I personally cannot make Friday 4th February, but if everyone else can then of course go ahead. Alternatively, would Friday 25th February work for anyone?
Please post your views and thoughts, then the details can be finalised.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Various sites

Mixenden Res'r (am)
4 Goosander
2 Greylag Geese
2 Goldeneye

Cold Edge (pm)
1 f Goosander
7 Greylag Geese
2 Red Grouse
130 Fielfare with 1 Redwing and 18 Starlings in fields along Cold Edge Road

Fly Flatts
1 f Goldeneye
20+ Red Grouse
1 Kestrel
4 Carrion Crows

A first at High Road Well Moor

A Raven north over Heath Hill Road and AH and JC south.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

3 Skylarks there late afternoon
2 Reed Buntings
Linnet flock was around 38 birds today along with 1 Twite

c60 Lapwings also seen flying over the fields towards the Shelf/Queensbury Road

BTO Atlas

A 2 hr tetrad survey this morning in the area just to the west of Sowerby Bridge (including part of the canal and High Royd sewage works) produced 613 individuals of 30 species.
Count highlights included;
24 Teal
93 Jackdaws
40 Robins
49 Blue Tits
27 Long-tailed Tits
27 Great Tits
2 Treecreepers
1 Goldcrest
87 Feral Pigeons!
Only 3 Wrens - which was not unexpected bearing in mind all the freezing weather we had in December.

Lee Dam and Longfield

Lee Dam
Goosander - 2 females
Teal - 4 (2 pairs)
Canada Goose - 2

Longfield Dam
Black-headed Gull - 15
Lapwing - 3

Also a Kestrel being harried by 2 Crows above Sisley Lane, Mankinholes.

Pink Feet

A phone call from DJS this dinner time, he told me that a flock of pinkies were on the way over so I grabbed the camera and within a few minutes 3 skiens of over 300 birds flew west. A walk over Mount Tabor half an hour later and I flushed this bird from the ground, it circled 3 times then flew west. I returned 1 hour later and the bird was back in the same field only to flush again when a dog walker approached.

Numerous Nuthatches

These elegant woodland birds seem to be positively thriving, considering the grim winter conditions that they've had to cope with -
one calling repeatedly from tree tops at Coach Road, Brighouse for the last week.
3 at Coach Road yesterday, with 2 together behaving like a pair.
4 at Upper Fell Greave Wood, Fixby today; and Lower Fell Greave (in Hudds area) always seems to contain at least 2/3 birds.
Maybe the better management of mixed woodlands is a factor, plus the increasing areas of open spaces in the woods due to storm damaged/felled trees has helped ?
But great to see the continued expansion of this tuneful species in Calderdale !

Mixenden Res'r

First thing;
1 Cormorant
1 pair Goosander - with the male displaying
1 drake Goldeneye
Too early for the gulls!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mixenden and Ogden Res'rs

1m and 2f Goldeneye there this afternoon along with 1 Goosander
c100 B H Gulls, 20+ Common Gull and 1 adult L B B Gull
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Dipper at Stodfold
c80 Fieldfare over Hunter Hill heading towards Cold Edge

c100 B H Gulls
40+ Common Gulls
1 adult L B B Gull

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

Above - this colour ringed male Twite (pink rump not visible on this shot) has been at this site since at least 28th December. I am waiting for further details from the 'ringers' about this birds history with the colour combination on the left and a single BTO ring on the right. Today it was very obliging with the Linnet flock of around 48 birds in the fenced field opposite the quarry.

Above - Herring Gulls moving through >NW this morning
Also present
2 Reed Buntings
Pair of Kestrels
usual corvids
63 large gulls moving through including 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 38 Herring Gulls and 23 Great Black-backed Gulls - they make a great site!
Oh and 1 Jeff Cox - good to see you Jeff - hope you got the Linnets !
Lower down, at Boothtown playing fields at Grantham Road the patch of tall Alders just above the changing rooms had 1 Redwing, c25 Goldfinch and 20+ Siskins feeding in the tops but I couldn't find any Redpolls!


Part of a flock of c200 at Woodlesford Pellon this PM.

Kestrel at Tower Hill, Norton Tower this PM. Also had c20 Fieldfares at Heath Hill Road.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

The Linnet flock is still about with c48 birds present , though very mobile this afternoon in the mist. No Twite found.
1 Skylark
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Kestrel
c200 Jackdaws heading off to roost

Halifax Scientific Society Walk to Shibden Park 15.1.11


Rookery - SE107257 - not reported in 2009 rookery survey - about 14-15 nests. Just above the playground.

5 Moorhen

c.40 Black-headed gulls

Mallards - far fewer than gulls

4-5 Robins singing

4 Mistle thrushes inc. 1 singing all day

10 Long-tailed Tits

1 Wren

(This is an extract from the full report which may be read on the HSS - Calderdale Wildlife Blog)

Book Advice

After living on the coast here in N Wales for the last three years I feel I ought to at least try and get to grips with some seabird ID's. Not being sure of the best books for this purpose in the Uk I thought I might ask here as most Calderdale birders seem to spend more time in Filey than Halifax birding :-)) The books I know of that look fit for purpose are below. Anyone use these and any other recomendations ?

Flight Identification of European Seabirds
Anders Blomdahl, Bertil Breife and Niklas Holmstrom

Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere
Richard Chandler


Friday, January 14, 2011

Several upland reservoirs

A wander around half a dozen of our upland reservoirs yielded exactly what I thought it would at this time of the year - not much. Lower and Upper Gorple, Widdop and the Walshaws looked great in the afternoon sun with a Grey Heron, a Kestrel, 6 Fieldfare, 25 hardy Mallards, 2 Mistle Thrush and the ubiquitous, vocal Red Grouse interrupting the quiet of the day.

Think I may migrate and join Dave S and co at our more productive sites in the East.

Upper Walshaw Dean after the showers ended.

Swales Moor

3 Twite still there including the colour ringed one (white above green above pale blue on left and a single BTO ring on right)
1 Skylark
1 Pied wagtail
1 Mistle Thrush
2 Reed Bunting
1 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
c40 Carrion Crows
1 Herring Gull, 1 B H Gull and 2 Common Gulls >NW

The Linnet flock of c60 were lower down today around Swales Moor Road about 200 mtrs up the road from the ski-slope, but very mobile.


No shortage of nest boxes for this individual to try out this afternoon at Elland Gravel Pits.

15 Goosander (10male & 5 female) around & 13 Siskin nearby.

Public Meeting - Sowerby Bridge Copley Valley "Transformational" Project

Dear all,

Copley Village Environment Protection Group have called a meeting on Monday 17th Jan, 7.30pm, at Old Rishworthians Club House, Copley, Halifax, HX3 0UG. (Bar open if that helps).

This is chiefly to consider

- the new road which was built without planning permission through the woods and wetland from Fall Lane, SB to Hollas Lane, Copley between 12 & 24 Dec

- the closure of Sterne Bridge (just extended until August) used to justify the road. (It is a temporary bridleway diversion apparently!)

- the now imminent planning application for the whole valley project.

If any CBCG members, birders and local naturalists could attend it would be a big help,

Thanks, Steve


At least 25 tree sparrows today feeding on feeders on Jay House lane,2 Great Tit , 2 Blue Tit ,3 Magpie ,1 Robin and 43 Fieldfare.

Halifax Scientific Society - 1st walk of the programme

There will be a walk around and in Shibden Park tomorrow 15th. Meet 10.30 for a 10.45start at the bottom car park. Steve Blacksmith leading and to look particularly at ferns and discuss their place in ecosystems. Also to listen out for bird sounds; a useful month to start for beginners to bird id. by ear, while there are just a few tuning up. We will see where Rhododendrons have been removed to try and stop the spread of the sudden oak death disease.

This is designed as an easy walk for those not great at stiles. We usually picnic at about 12.00 weather permitting. If weather atrocious leader will still be there, and meet might turn into a museum visit. Lifts available from Halifax/ Skircoat area.
Tel or text 0771 500 5379


Neighbour now seeing daily visits of 3 Redpoll & 4 Siskins to the feeders (Thistle Seed)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Halifax Town Centre

15 Waxwings at Gaol Lane at back of GPO at 9.0 am this morning

More Goosander

3.30 pm yesterday

7 (2m, 5f) on a small private pond in Sowerby Bridge.

Also there were 3 Canada Geese, Grey Heron, 2 Redwing, Blackbirds, Blue and Great tits. Cormorant flew W overhead (becoming a common sight)

Barn Owl nestboxes

The CBCG has recently purchased 9 Barn Owl boxes, we intend to place three in the Tree Sparrow area, one in Northowram and two at Bradley Hall GC. The remaining boxes were originally intended for the EGP area but as the proposed location is due to undergo capping work followed by habitat creation we have decided to delay locating these boxes until this work is completed. If anyone knows of area where they feel barn owl boxes may be useful please get in contact. Further boxes could be purchased if there are considered to be enough locations.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean

Hardcastle Crags:
2 Nuthatch
3 Treecreepers
1 Grey Heron
1 Dipper at Gibson Mill
3 Stock Doves
40+ Chaffinch heading towards a roost at Walshaw
6 Redwing
12 Fieldfare
c30 Goldfinch

Crimsworth Dean
2 Green Woodpeckers calling from different areas of the woodland
1 Kestrel


Several reports today:
37 at Willow Rise/Burnley Road near the top of Bairstow Lane feeding on a white berried rowan around 12.45. (DJS JS)

20+ reported from St Bevans, Skircoat Green area (SJ)

c50 around Halifax GPO about 1 pm (also a Sparrowhawk there had just taken a feral pigeon and was approached down to a few feet with the hawk still clutching its prey) Pleased it did not take a Waxwing ! (NCD)

15 flyovers at Albert Promenade late afternoon (SB)

Swales Moor

The flock of c60 Linnets were still present this morning - feeding in the fenced field just before the high point up Ringby Lane. At least 2 unringed Twite were feeding with the Linnets.

Another single Twite (2 fields further up - hay rack field) - this is the same colour ringed bird which has been up there since at least 28th December. (white above green above pale blue on left and a single BTO ring on the right. I will try to find further details of this bird and where it was ringed.
No Skylarks found today
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Meadow Pipit
8 Grey Partridge
12 Fieldfare
23 Common Gulls >NW
1 Fox

Willow Tit

Just a note on Willow Tit there are upto 5 visiting a bird table on the hillside above slaithwaite less than a mile from scammonden, so scammonden is probably a good bet.

Little Owls - a request for sightings

 The Little Owl apparently goes under-reported in the UK, only 70 nest records have been submitted to the BTO, and it is not specifically monitored by any of the NERF Raptor Groups. In order to try and redress some of this under-reporting, at least on a local level, I have volunteered to collect and collate records of Little Owl sightings in Calderdale. These records will be submitted to the Calderdale bird record-keeper (Nick Dawtrey) and to the Calderdale Raptor Group at the end of the year.

So can I please ask anyone who sees Little Owls in Calderdale to not only note it for their own records, but also to send details to the email address given at the top of this page (

Please provide the location and number of bird(s) seen, the date and time and any comments you can add about its behaviour (feeding, roosting, nesting etc.). A grid reference would be helpful but is not necessary as long as the location is described. Little Owls can be seen during the day perching quite openly on walls, fences and wires so please keep a look out for them.

Thanks everyone, and I look forward to receiving your sightings.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

HSS Meeting

Thanks to Steve Blacksmith and Halifax Scientific Society for the open invitation to tonights meeting at the central library. The talk by Steve Downing was really informative and interesting, even though the content was upsetting regarding the wholesale slaughter of song birds for restaurants in Sardinia and the random shooting of anything that flies over Malta.

We are thankful that Britain has many dedicated people and organisations that work hard to protect our wildlife. Even though there are problems in our own country with persecution of birds of prey and illegal hunting, this is small in comparison with the slaughter on Mediterranean islands.

I hope we never become complacent and continue to do all we can to protect and appreciate our natural world both at home and abroad.

Species lists for 2010

Gordon Denison has asked if local birders would send or text him the list of the number of species they had in Calderdale in 2010. Please remember too, to send your Calderdale records for 2010 to our recorder Nick Dawtrey as soon as possible please.

Other reports today

From Mick H today- 20 Wawings just around 12.30 at Newlands Road, Warley.

Booth Dean Clough

I tried looking for Willow Tit this afternoon (below Booth Wood Res'r). I think Sean J has had them at least once at this location in recent years - and in another valley nearby! We know they are very 'thin on the ground' in Calderdale and very elusive as well. Nothing doing this afternoon other than Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits and 1 Goldcrest.
I think the most recent record for Willow Tit in our recording area was around Scammonden (DT) in autumn so it would be good to find some this year.
1 Kestrel
1 f Sparrowhawk
1 Jay
3 Siskin
6 Redwing

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pellon Lane

c30 Redwings this morning in trees at the lower end of Pellon Lane around 'The Range' car park

Swales Moor

The Linnet flock was around 60 strong this afternoon and very flighty, at one time splitting up into two seperate groups and proving very elusive when feeding in the field
3+ Twite also present in the field but feeding in a different spot from the Linnets
3 Skylark
2 Meadow Pipits
1 Reed Bunting
3 Pied Wagtails
8 Grey Partridge
c12 Fieldfare
1 male Kestrel
5 Herring Gulls over >W
DJS and NK

First Brambling of the year

A female Brambling in the garden this morning was my first of the new year.

Yesterday along the Rochdale Canal towpath I sat down on a bench for a while and along came a pair of Mallards. They displayed for a minute or so, heads bobbing and circling each other, then mated - possible early ducklings here soon?

Birds on the Brigg

A week in September spent with Nick Dawtrey at Hunmanby Gap resulted in the making of this short piece about the birds of Filey Brigg.
or alternatively;
Okay, it ain't Calderdale......but as half the birders in Calderdale seem to migrate to the east coast every Autumn, it kind of feels right.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane) + other news today

An impressive and unprecedented winter count of c78 Linnet at this site this afternoon along with 5 Twite - see the link to Brian Sumners blog for the full list of birds.

Also reported today from SJ were 12 Waxwings at Springwood Gardens, Copley early afternoon, they were feeding on a white berried rowan sp..

Later in the afternoon Sean had another good find with a Woodcock on Norland Moor

More goosander

I thought what about a detour via Lumbutts -  stopped at Lee dam where 10 goosander ( 4 Male 6 Redheads)  were swimming in what open water there was.  Male Goldeneye on Longfield pond again in the limited open water!

Shibden - 09/01/11

I glanced out of the window today and noticed some redwing foraging in the oak leaves. I'd just grabbed the bins and a small camera when a kestrel pounced on one of them. It took a few minutes to kill it before flying off.

I'm always surprised when I see one hunting anything but voles.

Also saw a small party of long tailed tits, great and blue tits, plus a couple of squirrels who keep fighting over the buried acorns.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Todmorden Centre

Just getting my parking ticket at Lever street car park by the Canal when i noticed a female goosander in amongst the usual Mallard. 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Steve Downing Talk


At Halifax Scientific Society on Tuesday 11th Jan 7.15 - 9.00
Halifax Central Library, Northgate. Free Entry - all are welcome.
Steve Downing will be showing pictures and explaining his work with LIPU, the Italian Bird Protection League.

The trapping of migrating songbirds is now a growing commercial trade for gourmet restaurants around the Mediterranean.
Birds that have bred in Northern Europe, including Britain, are involved.
Come along and see what is being done to combat this illegal slaughter.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Evening get together??

As proposed via email by Andy H pre-Christmas, is there any appetite for an evening out sometime? No meeting, no agenda, just an excuse for a beer, a curry and a chat about birding.
My suggestion is in February, maybe a Thursday night, and I reckon the New Moonlight Indian restaurant in Luddenden is pretty central, accessible, good value and decent food. However, if anyone else has any other suggestions on date or location then please shout.

Swales Moor

I received a call mid-morning regarding a finch flock of 20+ which PS had just seen (possibly Linnets) near the top field but he had not been able to get a positive identification on them. Later on I got a call from NK who was up there with DP confirming there were 33 Linnet on the site along with 3 Twite (including at least 1 colour ringed individual).

With apologies to grapevine members for my error in location which I put out as Soil Hill instead of Swales Moor!!

It is unusual to get a Linnet flock in mid-winter as they are usually summer visitors/spring and autumn migrants so this is a really good find for Calderdale. Well done.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Ploughcroft and Pepper Hill

Lots of birds in fields on top of the hillside above Claremount this afternoon making the most of some softer ground for feeding
c100 Fieldfare
30+ Redwing
12+ Mistle Thrush
40+ Starlings
20+ Common Gull
1 Green Woodpecker

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Mammal records

Ian Lomas collects mammal records for the Halifax Scientific Society and has asked local naturalists for any mammal sightings they have for 2010 (and throughout 2011), all records are welcome with the usual date, location etc info.

Ogden and Mixenden Res'r

Patterns in the ice today at Ogden (above) and Mixenden (below)

1 Dipper in the stream at Stodfold
1 Green Woodpecker near the golf course along with 8 Fieldfare
1 Siskin over the lodge at Ogden
One of the white Carrion Crows is still around near Lane Head Lane
1 Sparrowhawk

Swales Moor

3 Skylarks still there this morning despite the atrocious conditions !
18 large gulls >W including at least 4 Great Black-backs but the others were difficult to identify being high up and into the sun but were probably Herring Gulls
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel

Monday, January 03, 2011

Other news today

Drake Goldeneye, some Teal and lots of Goosander on the Calder near Brookfoot earlier today (TM)

Fly Flats

The res'r was completely frozen this afternoon (no surprise). In this area by the outflow the ice looked very strange where it had refrozen after the partial thaw. It could be like this all winter the way things are going!!

Various sites

Green Woodpecker at Swales Moor this morning

Swales Moor (am)
3 Skylark
2 Reed Bunting
2 Meadow Pipits
1 Green Woodpecker
Common Gull 6 >N
Great Black-backed Gull 1 adult >S

Withens Head
8 Fieldfare

Fly Flatts
4 Carrion Crows
c30 Red Grouse - very vocal

Hunter Hill
40 Rooks
20 Jackdaws
25 Fieldfare

3 Waxwings flew across the road from Pellon Club area around 3 pm and landed on a TV ariel near the Half Way House in Moor End Road. There is a Cotoneaster with lots of berries on near the Post Office, so they could be around there tomorrow?
c60 Starlings around the same area

Lots of open water on Albert Road Res'r late afternoon with Black-headed and Common Gulls coming in to bathe - we didn't get chance to check them out but it might be worth a check another day!


Not much to be honest but 5 Crossbills commuting between the plantations was a nice year tick.

Soil Hill invasion

Winter Thrushes piling over Soil Hill.
Wainhouse Tower in the background .
Mainly Fieldfare but Redwing and Mistles in amongst.

Soil Hill was alive with winter thrushes this p.m. with many coming in at last light.
The majority of birds were Fieldfare with several Redwing and a scattering of Mistle Thrush.
Good to meet Jane Uttley up there on the ice cap looking for the group of Grey Partridge which seemed to be keeping their heads down, hope you were lucky Jane.

Fieldfare c 350
Redwing c 60
Mistle Thrush 10
LBB gull 6
Thanks for sorting blog Andy.
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Around Stainland this morning

plenty of Redwing
3 Grey Heron on Black Boy Brook
5 Bullfinch
2 Treecreeper
Dipper on Black Boy Brook
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Missle Thrush
2 Teal on Bower's Mill pond

Don't know if this counts but saw a Black Swan on mill pond on edge of Mill Bank yesterday

Belated happy new year........

To all Calderdale birders.
I have collected the log sheets from the hide at Ringstone this morning and will send them on to Nick D along with my paltry few records for 2010. Seed has been put down at both Ringstone and Whiteholme. Very little at Ringstone apart from 100 Fieldfare and 20 Redwings, even less at Whiteholme, just a Wren in the drainage ditch.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Soil Hill

Perishing up there this afternoon - but always a chance of finding something!
1 Kestrel
7 Grey Partridge
4 little brown jobs flushed from the heather but gave me no chance of identification flying directly away from me in fading light with no calls heard - possibly Twite or maybe Reed Buntings (?)
c40 Fieldfares headed over Ned Hill >N as dusk approached
It was good to meet up with BS on the hill and we watched a few small gulls heading over Ogden and the golf course towards a Calderdale roost. 150 or more Jackdaws were heading to a roost in the opposite direction heading towards Denholme.

2nd January

5 Goosanders flew south at Roils Head, 10 Herring and 1 GBBG flew west at Mount Tabor. Lots of Fieldfares about with a few Redwings in with them.

Lee Mount

An unexpected new year garden tick today with a male Blackcap on the garden feeder.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year day 1

Busy garden and surrounds today. In the morning before my walk -
23 Goldfinch
13 Chaffinch
3 Lesser Redpoll
Mistle Thrush
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Walk to Stoodley Pike, Warland res, Gaddings Dam and Lee Dam yielded....a Goldcrest at Lee Dam. Not even a Canada Goose or Mallard. Most of the water is still covered in ice.

Back home 2 Ravens flew over at 13:00, quite high, going NW. One was calling which is how I got onto them.
Later, a large flock of Redwings (74 at least) and Fieldfares (5) were in the fields behind the house accompanied by around 20 Starlings. Still there as I type this.

Good kick off for the year.

Happy New Year All

Stood eating my daily bowl of Alpen (other cereals are available) and staring out the kitchen window wondering what would be the first bird to flit into sight I got to thinking how many of us did exactly the same this morning and what variety of species we all had as our first bird of the year.

Well mine was a male blackbird dashing past, I hoped for it to be closely followed by a sparrowhawk but no joy, instead a Pheasant wandered into view plodding it's way through the garden.

Over to you guys what did we all turn up first?