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

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Purely for comparrison

Honey buzzard shots taken in Southern Spain from a similarly distant perspective.

Raptor - possible Honey Buzzard

I'd  just been watching a Common Buzzard being mobbed by crows, then this appeared from high over some trees in a Calderdale side-valley. It reminded me of the Honey Buzzards I see occasionally in Hampshire. (Last time 2 years ago.) So I'm going for that before I refer to the books. Didn't have time to clean the lens !

Steve Blacksmith, Halifax Scientific Society (Natural History Section.)