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