Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ogden/Fly Flatts

The adult Yellow-legged Gull which has been seen at Ogden over the last few weeks was also there this morning. Probably the same bird was roosting at Fly Flatts tonight along with 81 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (NCD)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yesterdays reports

Adult Yellow-legged Gull still present with the Lesser Black-backs. Also thanks to a call from Bruce I just managed to see the Common Tern that arrived mid-morning and headed off north around 11.40.
4 Tufted Duck also present.

A dark phase Arctic Skua was a great bird passing through our area during the morning at Whiteholme Res'r. Well done to Alan N for such a good find.

Fly Flatts
A late evening visit with Nick D produced 3 Redshank and 58 Lesser black-backs.

At another site we went searching for Nightjar. This is our third night looking for this elusive species without success. It's
mow 19 years since the last confirmed sighting of Nightjar in Calderdale so finding one or more would be a real bonus! In the absence of Nightjar other late evening birds included Oystercatchers, Spotted Flycatcher, Tawny Owl and 2 Long-eared/Short-eared Owls sparring in the dim light but we were unable to confirm which species.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Coppy Nook Lane

Little Owl
Swallows & House Martins
Gold Finch
Two Brown Hare & a Weasel completed a nice evening

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fly Flats/Hunter Hill/Ogden

Yellow-legged Gull with Lesser Black-backed Gulls this afternoon at Ogden

Ogden looking down over the golf course towards Illingworth and Wheatley Valley

I gave up Fly Flats as a bad job this morning, nothing doing at all, mind you the Fire Service were carrying out an excercise on the water.

Hunter Hill was much more interesting with;
5 Wheatears
40+ Meadow Pipits
c40 Linnets
6 Stock Doves
2 Green Woodpeckers
4 Kestrels

1 adult Yellow-legged Gull with 8 LBB Gulls on the reservoir as well as 2 Common Gulls and c40 B H Gulls
c40 Swifts were feeding high above the 'Giant's Tooth' area above the plantation
Lower down on the golf course were 1 Reed Bunting and 2 Whinchats and a Little Owl at a new site

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


5 sand Martins there this afternoon but soon moved off NW at 3.50
Not much else there other than 1 GCGrebe a few Swallows and 1 Reed Bunting

Fly Flats

No waders today other than 2 Common Sandpipers
6 LBB Gulls
2 Kestrels
2 Twite and 3 wheatears at the feeding station
Several Red Grouse on the moor and distant Peregrine

Cold Edge and Ogden

It seemed very quiet up there yesterday afternoon, the highlight being a swarm of bees which had taken up residence in a thorn bush right next to Moorlands Farm. We were doing a butterfly survey but despite the warm day we found not much else other than Small Tortoiseshells and a few Green viened Whites
Nearby there was a Little Grebe with 2 chicks, a Little Owl and lots of juv Linnets.
In the Ogden area a Whitethroat and a Whinchat and a solitary Grey Partridge.
1 juv Wheatear was opposite the wind farm car park.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Soyland Area

Walk around Soyland area on Sunday produced Little Owl at Greave Head. Lapwings (25+) on the former Flints reservoir, there were quite a few juveniles in amongst. Mipits carrying food. Linnet and Pied Wagtail including juvenile Pied on cut grass. Plenty of Swifts/Swallows/House Martins and Gold Finch around.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fly Flatts/Withens Head

Fly Flatts
2 Curlew
1 L R Plover
4 Common Sandpipers
11 L B B Gulls
No Twite at the feeding station but lots of mipits around there along with 4 juv Wheatears
1 Willow Warbler in the 2 bushes by the concrete bridge

Withens Head
Little Owl
2 Wheatears
1 female Merlin nearby

Lee Mount

Out in the garden this morning when an Oystercatcher went over calling then a few moments later a Curlew was heard going over high but unable to see it. Then 2 Peregrines were soaring overhead for 5 mins or more. Looked like a juv and a female as the juv kept tracking the female - probably after food!

Link to South Pennines SPA Map

As requested, a new link has been added to a map of the South Pennines SPA around Calderdale. The map is interactive so you can zoom in and out of the area you wish to view. The link is in the list of Links on the right hand side of this blog (just below the Hit Counter). Let me know if you have any problems with it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hartshead & Bradley Hall

2 male Yellowhammers; 100+ Woodpigeons; Whitethroat taking food into hedgerow;
2 Little Owls - hardly any spotting or streaking on head and front - possibly juvs;
Buzzard being mobbed by Crows over woodland.
Bradley Hall area:
2 male and 1 female Yellowhammers; 6 Pheasants; 20+ Swallows and c10 House Martins;
1 Little Owl - much like the Hartshead birds - another juv ?

Monday, July 18, 2011


After many hours of watching I finally managed to locate this little beauty & two of its siblings last week. I suspect there are more in the undergrowth but will wait until they fledge unless Craig is able to ring them.

House Sparrows

 A real bumper breeding season for House Sparrows at Northowram this year with a massive 55 in the garden on sunday morning.Lesser Black - Backed Gulls and BH Gulls on the move east and west , a first summer Hobby today low over fields chasing Swallows was the highlight of very wet weekend.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fly Flatts/Withens Head

I had a quick look up at Fly this morning but very little doing.
4 adult L B B G's
2 Common Sandpipers
1 juv Skylark and lots of Mipits along the top road.

Withens Head
1 juv Wheatear
1 juv Curlew flying about with an adult
Lots of Mipits around here as well

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tree Sparrows update

There were still at least four birds at the barn at Woolrow, Brighouse yesterday. One appeared to be bringing a fecal sac out, and one was taking more nesting material in. A few House Sparrows with them as well.
Over 50 Swallows over the fields nearby, along with two hunting Kestrels nearby. at SE 152245, Dave.

A Little Taster....

In case you can't get out this weekend here's a little compilation to cheer you up....


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cold Edge and Ogden

Very quiet around Cold Edge today. Unfortunately the water level on the top dam is high so no chance of any waders although 1 Curlew was still about. The usual Little Owl was out hunting nearby.

Loads of Linnets around with lots of juvs so looks like it's been a good season for them so far.
Some juv Whinchats were about, as well as 4 juv Wheatears which were in the fields opposite the wind farm car park.
4 Crossbills went over us as we walked past the plantation down the side of the golf course, they landed nearby but we could not find them in the dense canopy.
A pair of Lapwings have large chick in a field near Hunter Hill quarry.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fly Flatts

This afternoon there were loads of mipits and 2 Linnets along the top road and 3 juv Wheatears at the far end, near Nab Hill.
3 LBBG's
1 L R Plover
c6 Common Sandpipers
300+ Canadas
2+ Juv Wheatears and 2 Twite at the feeding Station and 2 more Twite, by the gate to the boat house track on the top road, feeding on roadside verges
1 Kestrel

Sunday, July 10, 2011

House Martin

How about this for innovation! Click on the picture to enlarge it with a chick visible.

I came across this occupied House Martin nest this afternoon with adults feeding young! Looks like the previous nest fell off or perhaps someone opened the window? Some kind person has made a substitute box, wrapped it round with parcel tape and fixed it to the window. The House Martins have subsequently mud balled part of the entrance and carried on feeding young as if everything is normal. Well done (and thank you)for the intervention and to the birds adapting to their new surroundings to look after their chicks.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Hardcastle Crags

Nick D received a report of a female Redstart on Thursday 7th July just above the top car park area at Midgeholme.

Ringstone Res'r

Well done Jane U for picking up the flock of Common Scoters on Ringstone this evening. I took a detour on the way back from Manchester and at 8 pm they were very close to the road - 19 males and 2 females. No scope or camera with me so didn't get any photos. A great site, they pack together in a really tight flock just like the ones at Fly Flatts earlier on in the week.

WATCH OUT FOR LITTLE GULLS ON SUNDAY - massive movement on the Yorkshire coast today with lots looking as if they were heading overland.(Thanks to Trektellen and BirdGuides)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Fly Flats and Cold Edge

Hard work this afternoon in the pouring rain but thought I might pick something up moving through and coming down to Fly Flats in the downpours. c50 Swifts and 2 Swallows were moving through. No gulls - and could just find 4 Common Sandpipers and 1 Dunlin on the res'r as well as the Canadas and 1 Reed Bunting.

Withens Head had 2 juv Wheatears and c40 Meadow Pipits

Cold Edge (scoped from Cold Edge Road)
1 Tufted Duck on the lower dam and not much else about.


Images taken yesterday evening in Calderdale area. There were two birds up at one stage but too far away to get a reasonable shot.

Problem Pipit

Young Meadow Pipit taken today at Roils Head Norton Tower end, Compare length and shape of hind claw with bird below. Does this indicate that the bird below is a Tree Pipit ?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Little Grebes

I lied the other day when I said the Little Grebes have 3 chicks - they have 4!

Fly Flatts/Withens Head/Ogden

Juvenile Redshank at Ogden this afternoon

Quiet at Fly there this morning in comparison to recent visits!
3 Dunlin
4 Common Sandpipers
1 Curlew
1 Kestrel
2 juv Wheatears
340+ Canadas!

Withens Head
A large flock of Meadow Pipits gathering here with 40+ along the walls on Cold Edge Road along with 2 juv Wheatears

Ogden (pm)
1 juvenile Redshank
24 B H Gulls

Problem Pipit

Took these photos of a pipit the other day at Roils Head-Tower Hill area. I rarely take pics of Meadow Pipits but this bird looked odd having a strong bill obvious supercillium mantle streaking an obvious neckless on the coverts. It also appears to have a short hind claw. These features all fit Tree Pipit but is the streaking on the flanks too bold or is there variation between individuals (any thoughts are welcome). The bird also had a rather crouching gate when walking through the grass, thats when I discovered that there were 2 birds.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Warning

Posted on behalf of Nick Carter:

The lower photo shows some of our local raptor workers accessing a Peregrine nest to ring, DNA sample and make secure the chicks. The top photo illustrates that persecution is still not a thing of the past, the chicken carcass shown was placed near a Peregrine site and lab analysis showed it to have been laced with Bendiocarb, a highly toxic material. Whilst there is no proof Peregrines were the target the fact that poisoned carcasses were laid out close to a nest site does tend to suggest this. The Police have been made aware and I believe investigations are ongoing. This post serves to warn birders and others not to handle any carcasses found lying around, especially those near raptor sites, Bendiocarb is a highly toxic material and can be absorbed through the skin. God only knows what might have happened if a child had come across this bait.

I would like to thank our local raptor workers whose efforts are, of neccessity, rarely publicised and who work extremely hard to protect our raptors, thanks also to organisations such as Rishworth School who work equally hard to help support their work."

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ogden Garden

Amongst the usual visitors to the garden today have been a blackcap,a spotted flycatcher and a nuthatch. I can not recall seeing a nuthatch in Ogden before but I have seen them regularly in a friend's garden in the Luddenden valley.

Undisclosed site

Juvenile Peregrine at a distance this afternoon.


Just 1 Oystercatcher there late afternoon along with 6 LBB Gulls, c25 B H Gulls and 2 immaculate adult Common Gulls still in full breeding plumage looking really good.

Little Grebes

The nesting Little Grebes now have 3 chicks that hatched in the last couple of days. Email me for location if required.

Fly Flatts

I got a nice surprise this morning up here with this flock of 27 Common Scoters (1 female in the flock and the 26 males were stunning)although they were difficult to count with the choppy water and bobbing up and down in such a tight flock. Strange how these birds often turn up over the Pennines in mid-summer.

2 Yellow-legged Gulls were also present with 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls but they left >SE at 11.30 before I could get some photos. 1 adult and 1 sub-adult - looks like the same birds as Nick D and BS had in the last few days.

Other birds inluded usual sp. + Common Sandpipers, Dunlin, 6 Lapwings, but no Reshank!
8 Twite including one colour ringed bird at the feeding station and 2 juv Wheatears still around by the overflow.
The Great Crested Grebe had gone from yesterday.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Swifts/Swallows/Martins survey (Update maps)

Click on the maps to enlarge them.

These are the latest results from the survey so far. With thanks to Hugh Firman and the assistance of Calderdale Countryside Service for sending in records from the public and to Evie Bell of West Yorkshire Ecology for producing these maps.

Please keep the records coming in as there are lots of gaps to fill in yet and July is a perfect month to check out your local sites. We are grateful for everyones help. Many thanks - Dave

Fly Flatts

Along with Nick D we had the usual wader species there this afternoon but no new migrants.
An adult Great Crested Grebe was unusual for this site.
4 Twite including 1 singing male
2 juv Wheatears also around the Twite feeding station
7 Golden Plover went up off the moor when a Hercules transporter went over

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Fly Flatts

Posting for Nick D from an evening visit to the site where I joined him later on.
1 juv Ringed Plover present on the far end mud along with 1 LRP.
Other waders present on the extensive mud including Curlew, Redshanks, Common Sandpipers, Dunlin,.
Early signs of movement with a Commic Tern through at 7pm and 2 very early returning Greenshank which were still on mud at the far end after 9pm.
Several Twite nearby and a juv Wheatear
No gulls roosting tonight but several passes over heading NW.
Not a bad evenings birding Nick! Looking good for return waders. See what BS turns up in the morning!