Tuesday, December 31, 2013

garden Birds taken on 31 dec

Happy New Year!

Wishing all Calderdale birders a happy and bird filled 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mixenden and Ogden Res'rs

Late afternoon - nothing on Mixenden other than Black-headed (c220) and Common Gulls (c40)
Also nearby c40 Jackdaws, 4 Stock Doves, c20 Woodpigeons. Also a nice flock of c120 Starlings

Ogden was abandoned in a hail storm and fading light but still more gulls - B H Gulls (c150) and Common Gulls (c20)
1 pair of Tufted Duck
1 Little Grebe

Jay House Lane and Ryburn Res.

On Saturday I topped up the feeders as usual at Jay House Lane.( Well done Jane for cleaning them.) There didn't seem to be many Tree Sparrows about. A big female Sparrowhawk attacked something on the feeders as I was looking back. It didn't get anything that time.

The House Sparrows were at the cottages again along with a few Tree Sparrows.

A large flock of Lapwings were kind of hanging high in the air above the fields. I wrote in my notebook "c.220 but photo might reveal exact number." When I printed a photo and sliced them off in groups with a pencil - I got 220 ! I've read that birdwatchers can get pretty accurate estimates of moving flocks, but surprised myself there.

 Lapwings against clouds - dirt inside my camera.

Ryburn Res.; one Cormorant up in the trees on the south side. A single Great Black-backed gull going towards Baitings Res, a Robin, 25 Lapwings, 5-6 mallards and at dusk a roost of 600 - 700 Corvids - Carrion Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws, in the trees to the south.

There's a lot of felling going on south-east of the dam; seems to be mostly the conifers and sycamores. It will be good for warblers, etc when the new trees start coming up, which I assume they will be planting.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wainstalls - Castle Carr Road

This afternoon
1 male Stonechat looked to be struggling in the cold blustery wind
3 Little Owls hiding out of the wind behind the stone walls
c 280 Fieldfare
c 60 Starlings
c 20 Goldfinch
1 Sparrowhawk following the Fieldfare flock around
Late afternoon 2 adult Great Black- backed Gulls came over >SW

Cock Hill

A common buzzard was giving good views over the moor at Cock Hill this lunchtime.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mixenden Res'r and Luddenden Dean

3 Goldeneye present including 1 male
3 Goosander, again 1 male
c180 B H Gulls all carefully checked !
12 Common Gulls
c40 Jackdaws
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
c200 Woodpigeons and at least 2 Stock Doves coming in to roost
1 Pheasant
Very few small birds about in the blustery wind other than a few Blue,  Great and Coal Tits in the plantation

2 Little Owls as well at Balkram Edge looking cosy together behind a wall. They are certainly welcome to sit it out at night trying to keep in some shelter.

I also checked the head of the dean late on to see if any Bramblings were coming in to roost but it was still a blustery wind down there so it was tricky trying to identify the finches as they came up and over!
500 + Woodpigeons coming in to roost
1 Sparrowhawk went over and headed up the valley towards Castle Carr
It was good to get some fresh air this afternoon!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Norland Moor

Despite the likelihood of hoards of people I decided to do a circuit of the moor.
A pleasant surprise was a female Reed Bunting on a wire near Clough Foot Bridge (Turbury Lane).
Best find was this Stonechat, associating with a herd of heifers.
In the fields at the bottom there were  200 - 300 winter thrushes, mostly Fieldfares, where they often gather.
A Green Woodpecker called and I saw it briefly as it flew down into the wood.

Male Stonechat at Norland today

Two Redwings and a Fieldfare at Norland today

There is a New Year Bird Count being run by the Halifax Scientific Society on 1st January. All birders and others welcome. Norland Moor is on the route weather permitting. See announcement on Calderdale-wildlife.blogspot  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Soil Hill

This afternoon - I tried the last hour of daylight in very poor conditions in the hope of tracking down yesterday's Snow Bunting found by BS. I didn't find the bunting, but guess it could still be there, though I met up with BS instead - which is always a good move.
c40 Lapwings went over the top as I arrived and moved off towards the north slope fields 'The Shay'
c40 Fieldfare also headed over towards Ogden at dusk as the snow came down
Soil Hill top looking towards the wind farm on Ovenden Moor (before the snow storm)!

Dave Sutcliffe and the grapevine

                                              Mr Grapevine himself.

With another year drawing to a close I feel, on behalf of all local birding grapeviners, I would like to say a big thank you to Dave and Jen Sutcliffe for running the grapevine smoothly and efficiently throughout 2013 allowing us to see birds and receive information that otherwise would have been missed.
Despite their hectic life looking after Daves Mum and their grand daughter which means travelling from one side of the country to the other , they still find time to get out there birding and always get the messages out as promptly as possible which we all know is no easy task. Messages that need a reply from me always come when I,m driving or out in the wilds with the dogs and no glasses to read them.
I spoke to Dave on a blizzard ridden Soil Hill this p.m. and he told me he is continuing the grapevine through 2014 so thanks again for a great service and your dedication to local birding.

In and around Stainland

21st of December - Flushed 1 Snipe on field above Fall Spring Woods - have done like wise a couple other times this autumn.

22nd of December
1 Male Bullfinch near Castle Carr Hall
Dipper on black brook, upstream of Firth House Meadows
2 Kestrel sat on telegraph wire down stream of Bowers Mill
1 Jay
Plenty Redwing and a few Field Fare about also.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Other news today

Well done BS for finding a long-awaited Snow Bunting (this year) on the top at Soil Hill this afternoon. See the link West Yorkshire Birding for details.
AND it's the second Snow Bunting reported this week in our recording area, with the one from KM near Blackstone Edge on 17th - lets hope for a few more!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Swales Moor etc

Tried again this morning but very little about other than the usual pack of corvids - mainly Jackdaws and Carrion Crows and c40 Common and 1 B H Gull
1 Fieldfare and 1 Pied Wagtail on the top
1 female Sparrowhawk went through >S
1 Kestrel at Ploughcroft
Again no sign of the Linnet flock today

Jack Snipe again on Soil Hill today but still no Snow Buntings! (per NK)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fishing Dipper

Over on the Cromwellbottom.blogspot blog someone's got a shot of a dipper with a little fish it has caught in the River Calder.
I've never heard of this, though I did watch a mallard doing it once between the cracks in a cobbled ford at Ripon.

Anybody confident of identifying the dipper's fish?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Other news today

A Snow Bunting today (KM) near Whiteholme Res'r/Turvin Road in a catchwater drain. Nice find Keith, thanks for the info - they have been tricky to find this winter so far!

Mixenden Res'r

Very quiet up there this afternoon
1 drake Goldeneye
1 drake Tufted Duck
4 Mallard
and that was about it!

Swales Moor

Along Ringby Lane and the top late morning
I just missed out on c200 Pink-feet heading west over the Wheatley Valley around 11.20 from Steve B as I was over the other side of the hill - dash!
1 Sparrowhawk high >SW
65 Woodpigeons >SW
9 Pied Wagtail >W
7 Chaffinch and 2 unidentified finch sp >SW

And on the top - no sign of the Linnet flock today
1 female Reed Bunting
2 Dunnock
38 Common Gulls
20 Jackdaw
c75 Carrion Crow
7 Magpie

Little Owls

A new garden tick this morning - 2 Little Owls calling from the top of the fir trees in the back garden.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nearby Diver at Mirfield

Good shots from Barry of the Mirfield great northern diver here:-

Friday, December 13, 2013

Swales Moor

A walk on Ringby Lane earlier today - but the weather was foul with a strong blustery SW F3 to F5 on the top and drizzle !
A mass of Jackdaws (c180) in the top field, recently manured, along with c100 Carrion Crows and c 35 Common Gulls
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Dunnock
Most interesting of all was the Linnet flock of around 32 birds. I followed them up and down the lane, as I suspected a solitary Twite was with them, but could not be certain in the poor conditions with rain on the bins and spec's. They would not stay put for long as they were really flighty in the conditions. Need to try again next week for 'the Twite' when the conditions are better - maybe!!

Wonderful conditions on the top today !!
Looking north towards Soil Hill on the left
 Looking south towards Beacon Hill and Southowram


Found a dead Woodcock in the public war memorial garden at Ripponden this morning.

News from yesterday

A Lapland Bunting was found yesterday by Jeff in the catchwater drain between Warland Res'r and Stoodley Pike. Almost in the same area as where he found one a year or two ago - must look up the date. A great find!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Luddenden Dean

There were a good number of the usual species in the upper dean this morning including :-
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
c80 Fieldfare
c50 Redwings
1 Mistle Thrush singing
1 Kestrel
1 Dipper in the stream near 'the catty'
200+ Woodpigeons in Castle Carr
3+ Jays
Blue, Great, Coal and L T Tits
1 Goldcrest
Chaff's Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Bullfinch

Surprise of the morning was a Peacock butterfly flying around and sunning itself on the banking near 'The Lowe'
 Hayes Wood
Castle Carr Road
1 Stonechat (female) with 6 Goldfinch nearby
1 Little Owl calling near 'The Heights' - far end of Castle Carr Road
2 Little Owls together near Wainstalls

Monday, December 09, 2013

More Background Information On The Lebanon Campaign


The Killing Fields Of Lebanon

Below is a link to a collection of very disturbing photos that I have harvested from the internet. The graphic content shows the extent of unregulated slaughter of wildlife in Lebanon. The impact this will have on populations and ecosystems in Europe and Africa is unimaginable. I have included contact details for the Embassy of Lebanon in London, plus a link to a web page carrying a list of Lebanese Embassies in other countries. Please look at the photographic evidence I have collected and make your protest to the Embassy of Lebanon. This is slaughter on an unprecedented scale and could very well see the extinction of many species if allowed to continue. In addition, please feel free to spread this information far and wide. Time is precious. Act now. Thanks. S.Cummings.



Jumble Hole

On a brief dog walk this morning, I got a new patch tick for Jumble Hole when I flushed a snipe off some wet ground. Never seen one up this way before. A raven was low over the valley again.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Ok, the photo isn't going to win any awards, but it was nice to actually see a tawny owl at Jumble Hole, rather than just hear them. Also flushed a woodcock. Great spotted woodpeckers and nuthatch now regular on the feeders, and fieldfare was chuckling in the garden yesterday.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Swales Moor and Mixenden Res"r

Nothing doing today at either location other the 100+ Carrion Crows at Swales and just a few gulls at mixi along with 1 Great spotted Woodpecker. That was it!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Halifax Scientific Society Xmas Social

Would friends of Halifax Scientific Society among the birders like to join us at our Xmas Social?
It's on  Tues 10th Dec at 7.15pm at the Central Library.

See Calderdale-wildlife blog for more details.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Lee Mount etc

Treecreeper and Goldcrest this morning just by the park (Shroggs Park) with a small 'tit' flock and a very early Song Thrush singing was really good to hear! Still not many Blackbirds about though.

And from Nick D late afternoon - around a dozen, probable Waxwings >SW over Roils Head/West End golf course in the fading light for the second day running. They were probably going to a roost?It will be well worth checking any berrying shrubs in the area to see if they can be located in a feeding area. It may not be a good winter for Waxwings in Britain as apparantly the berry crop in Scandinavia is as good as ours!!

Swales Moor and Mixenden Res'r

I tried again at Swales mid morning but the farmer was 'muck spreading' in the large top field - and it stunk!!! so it was just full of c100 Carrion Crows and c40 Common Gulls feeding on the morsals!!!
The only 'movers' were 1 and 12 Herring Gulls >W and 2 finch sp. high  >W
The Linnet flock was interesting with c40 but they would not stay still long enough to scope for a Twite!
1 Pied Wagtail on the top

Mixenden Res'r
4 Goosander (1 drake)
1 drake Goldeneye
2 L B B Gulls
c100 B H Gulls
c50 Common Gulls
2 Herring Gulls (adult and 1st winter) >W - after staying to bathe

Monday, December 02, 2013

Mixenden Res'r and Lee Mount

Mixenden Res'r - nothing doing there today other than 2 L B B Gull adults and a few B H and Common Gulls -canoes on the res'r and 2 Herring Gulls >W

Lee Mount
15 Fieldfare and 2 Redwings >W this morning and 1,1 and 2 Herring Gulls >W

Also from NK today - another Jack Snipe on Soil Hill this morning but no sign of any Snow Buntings - yet !

Swales Moor

A big bonus there today with a Lapland Bunting on the top at 12.20 - found with a Meadow Pipit feeding on the short grass area. They both took flight and the Lap bunt looked as if it was going to land again on the same spot but changed its mind and headed off  towards Queensbury at 12.25 gaining height I watched it out of site. Several very clear calls from it, both as it was flying round above me and when it was heading off.
Also today 20 Herring Gulls in small groups heading west
72 Lapwings >W and another 40 >NW as well as c200 over Shelf Moor seen flying around there at a distance - see Brian's blog for recent counts from the fields around Shelf Moor to Queensbury Road.
1 L B B Gull >W
1 Sparrowhawk >W

Friday, November 29, 2013


We get over 100 Starlings in garden at once from the 100's that are in the field behind the house.  We see Sparrowhawks almost delay as they have obviously taken an interest.  This one was taken from our bedroom window by my wife.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Halifax Birdwatchers Club map

Around the year 2000 one of our esteemed members produced a detailed map showing the HBWC recording area, highlighting key sites and including a list of the birds of Halifax from 1991 - 1999 (at the time 201spp).  As we will shortly be leaving Calderdale I think it only right that the map should stay here.  Initially I wish to offer it back to its "maker" Gordon Denison, does anyone have contact details for him please?  If Gordon doesn't want it then I can offer it to a Calderdale birder, please let me know if you are interested.  The map measures approx 80 x 60 cm and is framed in a thin metal poster frame.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Other news today

Common Scoter - female still today reported on BirdGuides at Blackstone Edge Reservoir viewed from the dam wall.

Lapwing flock with good numbers again today in fields between the Stone Chair roundabout near Shelf and Queensbury from Andy H. See Brian Sumners Blog for regular updates on the wintering flock at this site which has also had a good number of Snipe there in recent weeks along with Golden Plovers.
I'm still not sure if this is just inside, or just outside our recording area ?

Couple of recent sightings

Monday morning a juv male Goosander on the river Ryburn in the centre of Sowerby Bridge

today c70 Lapwing and 1 Golden Plover in fields at Jay House lane.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mixenden Res'r

Nothing exciting! - though maybe the gull flock could turn something up now that numbers are building at the day time roost.

1 drake Tufted Duck
220+ B H Gulls
c80 Common Gulls
2 ad L B B Gulls

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lee Mount and Mixenden Res'r etc.

38 Fieldfare and 2 Mistle Thrush >W first thing over Lee Mount

1 Teal (female)  at Mixenden Res'r along with 1 drake Goosander mid morning

1 Grey Wagtail in Sainsbury's car park this morning. Lots of berries on the shrubs and trees around the car park so hope something interesting turns up there soon !

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mixenden Res'r

After the overnight gales I thought there might be a chance something decent had been blown in but there was only a juvenile male Goldeneye there - still it's always worth a try !

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Swales Moor

This afternoon - nothing on the move other than 5 adult Herring Gulls >W (3,2,)
30 Common Gulls
1 Red-legged Partridge
5 Meadow Pipits
80+ Carrion Crows
20+ Jackdaws
10+ Magpies
21 Linnets together, seeking safety in the top of a bush. I managed to scope them but there was no sign of the recent Twite

1 Little Owl was chasing after Blue Tits, Great Tits and House Sparrows around the house at the top of Ploughcroft but they were too alert for it!

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

Plenty of Red Grouse on the moor and very vocal. Nothing on the res'r though a Peregrine at a distance was a welcome sight.

Mixenden Res'r

Common Scoter now gone - though it was there yesterday (NK) - still it did stay longer than expected! Just a drake Tufted Duck this morning and c60 B H Gulls and a few Common Gulls and that was it.

David Franz- Your prestigious award awaits you

Your Firecrest award is ready to take its place on your fireplace Dave.
See" West Yorkshire Birding" for details.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Castle Carr Road / Luddenden Dean

Earlier today
A pair of Stonechats on Castle Carr Road just 200m past Bridge Terrace and a Little Owl nearby.
Also further along near Top Lodge a pair of Little Owls together

In the dean 2 Bramblings were with Chaff's, Goldfinch and Greenfinch near The Lowe along with a Bullfinch
Also in the dean 100+ Fieldfare and just a few Redwings
No raptors, not even a Kestrel but plenty Woodpigeons

Ring-necked Parakeets?

Posted on behalf of Hugh Firman who received this message today:   “I live on Prospect Avenue, Pye Nest - for the last few days we have had, what I presume to be, ring necked parakeets in our garden.”
                                 Mandarins                                                                                                                                                  Are Are the Mandarins  at Ryburn&Rishworth the same birds? These  images where taken at Rishworth,but are they moving about?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Out and About

EGP Ski Lake
14 Tufted Ducks
1 female Goldeneye

Ryburn Res
4 Mandarin ( 2 Drakes)

Baitings Res
1 female Shelduck
1 Cormorant
1 Great Crested Grebe

Blackstone Edge Res
1 female Common Scoter

Whiteholme Res
 1 drake Common Scoter

Light Hazzles Res
Male and female Goldeneye  

Clear out

As we expect to be moving out of the area by Xmas it is time to start sorting stuff out prior to the move. As a result I think its time to thin the stocks of old reports, magazines etc. I have the following available if anyone wants all or any. They are free of charge to a good home but a small donation to the work of the Calderdale Bird Conservation Group would be appreciated.

Yorkshire Birding
Vols 14 to 18 inclusive (complete)
Vol 19 issues 1 to 3 only

Bradford Ornithological Group Reports

Huddersfield Birdwatchers Club reports

List of the Birds of Huddersfield up to 2008
Results from Bird Ringing in the Huddersfield area (1998 Denton)

Birds in Rochdale 1900-1977 P Hill

There will no doubt be more to follow so watch this space!

Anyone who is interested please contact midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mixenden Res'r

After a female Common Scoter there all week it was a bonus to hear it had been joined by a drake today - well done to those who got there today!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Swales Moor

I was really fortunate to find this single Twite in the Linnet flock late morning and even more lucky to get a digi-scop shot of it feeding with Linnet's on a weedy banking. It was unringed and looked like a female with only a plain brown rump.

 Above - Linnet with a Twite just below it right

I started with some vis mig as there was still a lttle movement when I arrived up there at 10.15 till 11.50.
Wind SW F2  7c and 4/8 cloud cover, mild and dry
1 ad L B B Gull >W
2 Herring Gulls >W
7 Great Black-backed Gulls >W - they looked fantastic!
1 squadron of 20 Starlings >NW
5 Chaffinch >W
65 Fieldfare (2 flocks) >SW
1,100 Woodpigeons (320 >SW and 780 >NE)

Also present
32 Common Gull
1 Little Owl
18 Magpie
23 Jackdaw
c60 Carrion Crows
1 female Twite in with 25 Linnets

Mixenden Res'r

Common Scoter still present this morning

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Withens Clough

A pair of Stonechat and 4 Mipits at Withens Clough this morning.

Mixenden Res'r

This morning 8.30
Juv/female Common Scoter still there
1 Tufted Duck
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker flyover
9 Redwings and 6 Starlings >NW

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ogden and Mixenden

We walked from Upper Brockholes to Ogden then across the golf course to Mixenden Res'r and back via Stodfold.
1 Cormorant
1 L B B Gull
1 Grey Wagtail

Mixenden Res'r
We think the Common Scoter was still there but it was across the far end diving. No scope with me and we were looking directly into the sun so not 100% sure of I D
1 drake Goosander
c130 Fieldfare went through >SW over Hunter Hill and the back of the plantation

1 Sparrowhawk
7 Meadow Pipits

Upper Brockholes
The totally white Carrion Crow is still showing near the top of Lane Head Lane

Swales Moor

Vis mig up there first thing today was a second choice, after Hunter Hill was totally fogged off.
Visibility was not good at Swales but it was an interesting 1hr 20mins especially with flocks of Woodpigeons coming through the gap just below the cloud base at Ploughcroft > SW - 1,148 in total with one flock up to 250 strong.
Other moving birds mostly >S or SW other than Starlings >NW
11 Redwing
53 Fieldfare
2 Linnet
17 Starlings
2 Chaffinch
18 Common Gulls
4 alba wagtails
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Skylark
1 Blackbird

Other birds around the site
c20 Goldfinch
c50 Linnets

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mixenden Res'r etc

Common Scoter still on Mixenden Res'r this morning but no Goldeneye first thing.

Fly Flatts
Red Grouse

Withens Head
2 Grey Partridge

Cold Edge
4 Goosander (2 drakes)

Hunter Hill
Starlings on the move NW with 765 between 9 and 10 am also 107 Fieldfare SW and 12 >E
1 Green Woodpecker nearby calling
1 Sparrowhawk

Monday, November 11, 2013


Quite a lot about today locally and Spurn and Filey had over 7,000 at each site today so we should get a big influx in the next day or two!!

Mixenden Res'r

An interesting afternoon continued. I thought the res'r might be worth a check - it paid off with a first for me at this site with a female/juv (I think it's a juvenile) Common Scoter, there till I left at 4.30 pm. It was feeding at the far end inlet near Hays Lane. Photo below was the best I could do in the fading light.
Also present, my first for this autumn, was a drake Goldeneye, a drake Tufted Duck, 11 Teal in the middle of the reservoir and 1 Grey Wagtail on the embankment.
Blackbirds were also coming in to roost  and a group of around 12 included one that looked more like a Great-spotted Woodpecker in plumage. I think it was just various white feathers in the wings, body and tail in the gloom, but it did look odd though definately a Blackbird.

Ogden Res'r

An interesting afternoon - again looking in and around the Firecrest spot along the edge of the reservoir on the western side. No Firecrest unfortunately (though I keep trying!!) but lots of Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits. Also around 1 Gt-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Treecreeper, a Wren, 2 Robins and 15+ Goldcrests and an amazing group of 8 Bullfinch together feeding in the tops of Silver Birch and later on rowan berries.
c40 Fieldfare also flew over the plantation >NE
c80 Common Gulls unusually outnumbered B H Gulls (c60) on the res'r

On the res'r
4 Wigeon
1 Little Grebe
c50 Mallard
2 f Goosander arrived from Soil Hill direction thanks to a call from NK and DP up on 'the hill' in the fog - worthwhile for them with a Jack Snipe on the top though.

In Ogden woodland I surprised a female Sparrowhawk on a kill - a Woodpigeon - headless and breast being eaten. It shot off, the prey was still warm, but it returned to the kill once I had moved away. it still amazes me that a Sparrowhawk takes birds as large as a Woodpigeon but guess they make a good meal!!!

Soil Hill

Yesterday, Sunday afternoon
1 Grey Wagtail over>E
c2 Fieldfare over calling but unseen
7 Meadow Pipits on the top
1 Kestrel
5 Herring Gulls >SW
52 Lapwing down on the North slope fields
1 Moorhen on the north slope pond
Masses of gulls heading up from Bradford area to roost at Thornton Moor Res'r
On the way down from Soil Hill were some fascinating clouds from Bradshaw looking west.

Saturday, November 09, 2013


There were 13 blackbirds in the shrubs adjacent to the terrace at work (The Hatchery) in Mytholmroyd yesterday morning.  We've never had more than 2 in the past.  Where would these have come from?  Some were eating from a tree with orange/yellow berries on.


Friday, November 08, 2013

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

6+ Red Grouse and 2 Carrion Crows at Fly this afternoon - I went up there in the hope of a returning Goldeneye but the res'r was dead - and full to the brim now!
We usually get returning Goldeneye in October !! - has anyone had any yet?

3 Starlings >NW at Withens Head
2 Carrion Crows

On my way home, 23 Lapwings came over Cold Edge Road >W but guess they were probably heading for Cold Edge dams.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


At least 189 Fieldfare in the field behind our house just below Stoodley Pike this afternoon. There were more than this but this is the count from the photos I managed. They came into the garden onto the rowan trees, fir trees and the apple tree for a while before they flew off to the South West.


A common buzzard has been up and down the Calder Valley in front of Jumble Hole over the past few days, usually accompanied by a flock of crows. The raven was over again earlier in the week.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Lee Mount

c 40 Fieldfares went west mid morning, straight through closely followed by a female Sparrowhawk


Did the rounds again this afternoon, part of the time with Nigel. We found quite a few Goldcrest in the Firecrest spot but not a lot else other than Blue and Great Tits, a few L T Tits and an occasional Coal Tit, Chaffinch and a Treecreeper.
Later on I found a decent LT Tit flock near Ogden Clough bridge, along with a few Goldcrests and 2 Bullfinch but by then the light was fading. A few Blackbirds about today as well.
Little Grebe still there.

Monday, November 04, 2013


I tried in vain all afternoon searching for the Firecrest ! Everything was so quiet around the res'r that I even tried some of the woodland areas searching for the 'tit' flock. I only found an od Chaffinch and a few Blue and Great Tits.
Then right on dusk, 16.15, I came across 'the flock' near the bridge at the lower end of Ogden Clough - Blue, Great, Coal and L T Tits, Robins, Dunnock, Wrens, 2 Treecreepers, Bullfinch and 15 + Goldcrests. The fading light made it almost impossible with the Goldcrests to find anything different as they were all feeding up in the Sycamores (still with leaves on) and  nearly all silhouetted - so finding a Firecrest was almost impossible.
The flock was also surprisingly quiet so calls were not much help either.

I guess that if the flock could be located in good light then there might be a reasonable chance of re-finding the Firecrest ?? I know several other local birders (NK, BH, PS et al) also checked the site am and pm without success but lets hope between us we can re-locate the bird in the next few days !

Good to meet up with Bruce and Emma and thanks for pointing out the very, very rare fungus - forgotten what it's called if you can remind me Bruce !

Sunday, November 03, 2013


No reports today of any sightings of yesterday's Firecrest - though I tried up there late afternoon and good to meet Bri and Denise there and gather Dave ('the finder') had searched earlier without success.
We were wondering if the bird has moved on after all that terrible weather last night but felt maybe there is a chance it could stay around for a while if the weather stays mild - though they are birds that tend to like a milder and warmer climate than in West Yorkshire!
Lets hope someone can turn it up again this week.

I also gather Dave also found a very late Wheatear on Soil Hill yesterday - another good record for our area.

Saturday, November 02, 2013


Firecrest at Ogden today showing on and off till about 3:30.
SE 06186 30728

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

EGP - an appropriate Pink-footed Flypast

The Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve celebrated its 10th anniversary as an official reserve last Saturday. Forever to be known as EGP (Elland Gravel Pits) to birders in texts!

A large fly-past of Pink-footed Geese over the two marquees (about 300 in one large group, then 500-600 in another 10 minutes later) lent a great atmosphere to the event. Couldn't have been arranged better. They were going East at approximately 10.30 - 10.45.

It was a great day, with all the members of the CB Wildlife Group and Robin Dalton from the Countryside Service working hard to bring local Nature to a wider audience. There were perfect home-baked edibles, drinks, sales tables and crafts to take part in, as well as guided walks around the reserve.

As good if not better than the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water. (If a little smaller.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Jumble Hole

Over the house:

Buzzard > west towards Todmorden
f. peregrine > south towards Stoodley Pike
Raven high over > North

+ loads of siskins flitting about.
Nuthatch is back as a regular on the feeders, but no sign of gs woodpecker on them yet

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ogden - Back Lane and Hunter Hill

Back Lane
1 male Crossbill flyover  mid afternoon, heard calling before I saw it - looking like it was coming into the plantation but then went straight through >E (to the north of Soil Hill)
2 Sparrowhawks
1 Kestrel
3 Siskin >S
1 Green Woodpecker

Hunter Hill
5 L B B Gulls  >SW
190 Fieldfares  >W

Swales Moor

Vis mig - later on due to thick fog on the tops!
Moving birds  10.30 to 12.15
136 Fieldfare >W
10 Redwing >N
56 Woodpigeon >W
20 unidentified finch sp.. high up >W
2 Common Gull >S
1 Sparrowhawk >W
9 Chaffinch >SW
13 Herring Gull (1,9,2,1) >W
14 Jackdaw >S
2 Meadow Pipit >W
1 Linnet >N
12 Starling >W
1 Grey Wagtail >SW

Other birds nearby
1 Green Woodpecker
30 jackdaw
40 Carrion Crow
c20 Linnet
c30 Goldfinch
4 Pied Wagtail

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


This beautiful male Sparrowhawk was in the garden today..

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

American Plover??

Last night in fading light and horrendous conditions at times I picked up on a very grey/buff looking plover amongst the goldies. Looking on the internet all images of american golden plover showed a super which this bird didn't appear to have but I only had my bins with me.

I rang Nick Dawtry who later asked me to check the picture of the shoveler from the previous day and sure enough there on the right hand side stood the bird I'd been looking at.

Thoughts as to its ID please.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fly Flatts and Cold Edge area

This afternoon
Fly Flatts
1 Red Grouse
2 B H Gulls
2 Kestrel

Withens Head

Cold Edge
1 Little Grebe on top small pond
35 Mallard
28 Canada Geese
1 Moorhen
1 Kestrel
4 Grey Partridge feeding in a field near Nolstar kennels was nice to see. I nearly always flush them and get a rear view only so it was nice to see them feeding undisturbed !

Saturday, October 19, 2013


A Wheatear on a wall just off Heath Hill Road this afternoon, I assume this is pretty late.

High Royd

Visited this site this morning with Howard. The lagoons and filter beds were so difficult to see through the tree cover and vegetation. Very little open water and the entire site is thick with vegetation including some phragmites and reed mace beds but the willows will soon take over the site by the look of it!
1 Swallow over the trees >W was a nice surprise
Lots of Jays
1 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Cormorant
1 Kingfisher calling but not seen along the canal
A few Grey and Pied Wagtails on the filter bed areas
A few moving Redwings, Fieldfares and Starlings
Several calls from Nuthatches
1 Grey Heron
Plus a few other local sp..


                        One Drake Shoveler at Ringstone today.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Three Swallows over Brighouse this aft > E .

Tree Sparrow update and health warning

There was a decent flock at the Clifton site this afternoon. About 30.

To those who are on the feeder-filling rota: there was a rat in the low feeder when I arrived. A local dog-walker said he had seen up to 3 rats in it.

I've hooked at as high as I could on another branch, but I bet they can still get to it. The vandals broke the spike off this feeder so we have to hang it on a tree.

I suggest buying some disinfectant wipes for your hands or wearing rubber gloves or both.
We don't want anybody getting the dreaded Weil's disease carried by rats.

I've emailed Jane to let everyone know, but this is just in case she's away at the moment.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Save our Country Side,,,


Ogden Garden

Between last Saturday and Tuesday there have been regular sightings of flocks of thrushes always flying NE in the direction of Soil Hill. The flocks were mainly Redwing with some Fieldfare. The flocks have varied in size between 10 and 200. There must have been several thousand over the period. Occasionally the odd flock landed on trees in the garden.

At lunchtime today a male sparrow hawk killed a goldfinch in one of our feeders. Whilst the bird seemed to be killed very quickly it took the sparrow hawk a little while to remove the bird. At one stage the sparrow hawk was hanging upside down and almost seemed to be taking a breather from its efforts. Eventually it flew off leaving a few feathers.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cold Edge

This afternoon
2 Little Grebe on the lower small pond still there from yesterday
2 Greylag Geese
8 Canada Geese
30+ Mallard on the dams
1 Moorhen
2 Stonechats together on a manure pile just further up from the top small pond
c40 Meadow Pipits at Withens Gap
No sign of any late Wheatears
We were just counting a Starling flock (c60) on the telephone wires when a female/juv Merlin came on to them at speed but they scattered at the last moment and just about escaped. The Merlin flew off towards Cold Edge Road and Hunter Hill - always a great bird to see.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Other news today

2 Gannets over Oxenhope this morning headed over the region of Soil Hill this morning - bad luck Nigel ! And a Richard's Pipit - that's a good one.

Up to 5 Jack Snipe on Soil Hill earlier today (NK)
Also a request via Nigel - We hear that the Ogden visitor centre binoculars have been "misplaced". Has anyone got a spare set of old binoculars they don't want and would like to kindly donate them ?

A Stonechat at Roils Head and 2 Little Grebes at Cold Edge this afternoon (NCD)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Walshaw Dean (upper)

2 Ring Ouzels still there this afternoon on rowans by the top res'r (from NCD and DF)

Mixenden Res't and Ogden golf course

Checked Mixenden Res'r just in case a tired gannet had dropped in !!! Just a G C Grebe there this afternoon and not much else.

Lower Brockholes and the golf course were slightly more productive with a Chiff-chaff still calling at at Lower Brockholes - and again feeding in a bush where there were loads of Elder berries along with 4 Great Tits and 2 Blue Tits. No sign of the recent Stonechats, though there were 30+ Meadow Pipits at the bottom end of the golf course. 5 Mistle Thrush were feeding in rowans near Stodfold with 9 Fieldfares and around 25 Redwings heading up the valley towards Ogden Res'r

Around 50 Fieldfares dropped in to feed on rowans at the top end of the golf course, also a Kestrel there.

A  Little Owl was in the nearby quarry and unusually 2 Tawny Owls were singing against each other from a small conifer belt as I returned past Stodfold.
c30 Goldfinch and a few Chaffinch
2 L B B Gulls >SE
1 Stock Dove
1 Goldcrest

Buzzard - Honey Buzzard debate

After all the comments on Steves buzzard species I emailed renowned raptor expert Dick Forsman and this is his reply. Hi Nick, It is indeed a juv Common Buzzard, as clearly shown by pale breast-band and light median underwing coverts contrasting against darker lesser. best regards, Dick

Whooper swans

At cattery this morning 10.20 off Lumbutts Road, Tod.   group of c12 whooper swans flew from right to left i.e. from Stoodley Pike area towards Burnley valley.  Turned as they were approx. over town centre and flew back and out of sight - over moor to left of Stoodley.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

News from today

No Gannets reported locally today !!!! though there were still a few lingering inland around the country after yesterday's unprecedented showing.

Despite the poor drizzly conditions a good Redwing movement today >NW from Andy with 1,784 over Northowram this morning and a similar number 2,120 over a Bradford Vis Mig site (MP) again >NW

I tried the Jay House Lane site late morning but could only find 6 Tree Sparrows though I guess others were hiding away from the wind and drizzle. Well done to those who are keeping the feeders topped up to help them through the winter.

I also called at Bradley Hall Farm area but despite a quite an extensive search I couldn't find any Yellow-hammers

Soil Hill produced the goods again with 3 Jack Snipe thanks to NK - wonder if they are looking forward to spending the winter up there!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Other news today

15 Gannets reported from Lower Gorple this afternoon around 14.20 an amazing record for our area (KM) followed up by a juvenile over Northowram around 4 pm (AC) - several others were reported over West Yorkshire as well this afternoon. Unprecedented, though the weather conditions were in favour of something like this with the gusting prolonged NE wind at this time of year. What will tomorrow bring  !?

Also this afternoon 7 unidentified Geese over Lee Mount >NW (one large and the others slightly smaller) - after a phone call NCD managed to see one of them over Pellon - a Canada so the others went unidentified.

Small groups of Whooper Swans have also been reported from  a few Yorkshire and Lancashire sites in the last day or so - maybe we will get some soon!

Hunter Hill

Vis Mig from 8.30 until 12 noon
An amazing morning in the NE F5 wind starting with mist and drizzle gradually easing towards 10.00 when it dried up but with the wind gusting still F5
Lots of moving birds - I never knew time could go so fast!
List of movers - >NW unless stated
Pink-footed Goose 8 >N
Anser sp 3
Canada Goose 7
Sparrowhawk 3 >N
Common Buzzard 1 >S at 11.45
Golden Plover 5
L B B Gull 2 >N
Herring Gull 6 >S
Great Black-backed Gull 9 >S
Woodpigeon 65 >S
Meadow Pipit 4
Fieldfare 249
Song Thrush 3
Redwing 3,116 (around 53 groups with the largest one around 260 birds) One group included a totally white bird that stuck out like a sore thumb and was visible even as the group went up the golf course area - (wonderful sight though)
Mistle Thrush 1
Jay 3 >S
Starling 28 >S
Chaffinch 18
Brambling 13 (2 groups - 9 and 4)
Goldfinch 2 >S

Also present nearby
1 G C Grebe on Mixenden Res'r
1 Kestrel
1 Jay
A few corvids and Black-headed and and Common Gulls in the nearby fields

What Pipit?

Hi all

Would you pass judgement on this pale pipit for us, Graham saw this bird early August at Ogden. Tree, Water, or Meadow? first thoughts - Water pipit.

Posted for Graham.

To enlarge picture click HERE  Then scroll down to second from last and click on picture.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In support of the ID of Honey Buzzard I found

I've masked the exact site name.

It says "flat wings  ....sometimes dipping ......more head, unusual wing angle than common buzzard also present".

Terrible grammar I know ! And wouldn't my notebook be back home when something different turns up !
I used the corner of my sketch-book.

I was using 8x42 hi-definition RSPB (Viking) bins. Due to bright sky I didn't get much detail, only a large pale under-primary patch.

It didn't have much of the jizz of the Common Buzzard I had just been watching moments before.

I have experience of Honey Buzzard from various places including Cornwall and Magdalen Down, near Winchester, when I watched two very close for as long as I wanted (2 years ago,) which were giving their unusual call, slightly gull-like I thought at the time.

Respect your opinions - either way.

Fly Flatts

Part of the res'r was relatively calm, sheltered from the Northerly wind on the east side - still no waders - though 1 Cormorant was a surprise up there roosting with 11 Canada's - nothing else.

1 Lapwing in a field on Cold Edge Road was persistently mobbing 2 Carrion Crows as if it still had young nearby- surely not at this time of year!

Hunter Hill watchpoint

Vis mig this morning for a while late morning - masses of Redwings on the move this morning over much of the country and i just about managed to pick up the tail end of it - more tomorrow maybe!
Moving birds at Hunter Hill
1 Common Buzzard 
5 Snipe          
32 Woodpigeon         
43 Meadow Pipit           
1 Grey Wagtail          
6 alba wagtail sp.           
2 Song Thrush
1 Mistle Thrush
3 Jay
180 Starling
12 Chaffinch
6 finch sp.

1 Little Owl nearby

Mixenden Res'r
With the tit flock were 15+ L T Tits and at least 2 Chiff-chaffs in the 'big hedge' - some of the time eating Elderberries
2 L B B Gulls and 12 B H Gulls on the res'r and nothing else