Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dave Sutcliffe, Man of the Moment.

     Mixenden Great Northern Diver,        Photos BS

Well done to DJS for finding the Calderdale bird of the year which may even get onto our 2015 annual list. This is just another marker for Dave for the enthusiasm and time he puts in getting out in the field covering a wide range of habitats despite  heavy family commitments.
As well as turning up the birds he does a marvellous job of running the grapvine enabling birders to have a chance of seeing birds that would normally be missed. So a big thank you for all you do for local birding Dave, as well as your lovely assistant Jen, the brains behind the team, your efforts don,t go unnoticed . Keep up the good work in 2015.

I hope Dave is going to be presented with the Golden Bollocks for such an amazing find.

Today's news

G N Diver still showing well this morning (djs) and still this afternoon (NK et al)

Lesser Redpoll on feeder in garden at Highroad Well this morning (VJ)

Swales Moor - a mid afternoon check just in case of a Snow Bunting but nothing doing other than 2 Meadow Pipits.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Other news today

c200 Pink-footed Geese >N over Pellon around 13:00 (DJP) followed by a report from JB of an exceptionally large movement of 700+ (in 2 flocks) over Ringstone >W at around 14:30.
Mute Swans - first winter birds still  on Cromwell Bottom ski-lake (SL)
Diver still at Mixenden Res'r this afternoon as well.

Blake Dean and Walshaw Dean

I went up there this morning looking for Brambling as Blake Dean is often a good spot for them in the beech woodland in winter. I had a good search round but I didn't even turn up a Chaffinch and just found 2 Goldcrests and a single Lapwing over high >W.

I decided to walk up towards Walshaw Dean and met up by chance with Nick and Dave and we headed up to top Walshaw passing the three reservoirs - 2 Mallard !

A few Kestrels about and c12 Goldfinch and a Grey Wagtail near the top but not a lot else other than Red Grouse on the moor and a Reed Bunting.

 Red Grouse
 Lower Walshaw Dean
Walshaw Dean - top reservoir
We returned to check Lower Gorple - 1 Reed Bunting, c12 Meadow Pipits and 2 Mallard.
A great afternoon to be out walking with friends.

Mount Tabor

Tried to find the elusive Pipit but to no avail.  No small birds about just Lapwings, Corvids and Common and BH Gulls.
Took a zoomed in shot of one of the one pair of the local Little Owls.  Also put on the snowy view this pair have.

Mixenden Res'r

G N Diver still present this morning at 09:15.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cold Edge and Withens Head

Both small ponds at Cold Edge were almost frozen but the larger dams were still open water.
Just 1 female Goldeneye
c25 Mallard
1 Great Black-backed Gull  >N
1 Kestrel
30+ Red Grouse
A pair of Little Owls together near the former Moorcock pub looked a bit cold sitting on a wall !

Withens Head turned up a surprise with a pair of Stonechats feeding among the sheep hay just by the mast 50m past the former Withens pub. I wondered "what are they doing up here at 1,400 ft in the snow"? as they do seem to suffer in prolonged  freezing weather. Also a Robin and a Dunnock with them !!!
 Withens Head
 2 Stonechats (looking into the sun !)
Ogden and Soil Hill from Withens Head (Cold Edge Road)

Mixenden Res'r

Mixenden Res'r - perfect conditions this morning with an overnight frost, clear blue sky and calm conditions.
The G N Diver was showing well around 11:00 (been there for 2 weeks now) and to my amazement it called 6 times - a 5 to 6 note call which I find hard to describe other than rapidly repeated 'wow wow wow wow wow' with the sound seemingly travelling far across the res'r.
Collins Bird Guide describes the call as an anxiety/contact call "ho-yeyeyeyeya"
Also a 1st winter Moorhen there - a rarity for Mixenden !
1 Little Grebe
120+ B H Gulls
40+ Common Gulls
1 adult L B B Gull
22 Herring Gulls all >W did not drop in to the res'r to join the other gulls
1 Grey Wagtail
It was good to meet Steve B up there as well - I gather NK was on his way !
Mixenden Res'r from the embankment

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mixenden - Ogden Circular in the Snow

The Halifax Scientific Society's December Ramble (usually planned at short notice) went to see Dave's Great Northern Diver today.

Great views in the bright light! It took to diving later in the afternoon, but we didn't see it surface with anything in its beak. My pictures are poor compared with those already posted.

Below is our bird list. (there was nothing on the res other than the diver and the gulls.)

Some of my easily-photographed, beautiful snow scenes now on the Calderdale-wildlife blog.

Great Northern Diver
Common Gulls
Black-headed Gulls
Woodpigeons (few)
Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies
Snipe (7 together)
Meadow Pipits (13 together)
Lapwings (20)
Pied Wagtail

Mixenden Res'r

Great Northern Diver still present and showing well this morning 10:50
1 Little Grebe and 18 Canada Geese on the res'r but that was it other than a Green Woodpecker heard in the planatation.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Iceland Gull

First Winter Iceland Gull at Ringstone Edge this PM, found by JB, photos by DF. Well Done guys another great record for the year.

Mixenden Res'r

Making the effort this morning was very worthwhile with the G N Diver still showing well at 09:00 along with a locally scarce bird for Calderdale - a single Shelduck. Also a pair of Goldeneye and a Little Grebe as well as a large female Sparrowhawk through.

Also news from BS at Ogden 3 drake Goldeneye there.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas

We wish you all, contributors and visitors to the blog a very peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.
Local birding has been exceptional this year and there is still a few days left for something special !
There has been some very special birds this past year and our local recorder Nick Dawtrey will be putting together all the records with a view to producing another report covering 2013 and 2014. This is a mammoth task for Nick so if you can let him have your records for 2014 as soon as possible he would really appreciate that so he can collate the information during the winter evenings.
Nick has all the Grapevine information and I have picked most of the info posted on the blog but please pass any further records especially breeding records, rarities or scarce Calderdale birds to Nick.
In addition any really good photos of local birds for him to consider including in the report.

Enjoy the rest of Christmas with anticipation  and hope for what the New Year will bring.

25th December

21 Herring Gulls west at Pellon and 1 west at Mount Tabor.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Swales Moor

A blustery walk to the top this afternoon didn't turn up much - just a single Skylark on the top and 4 Grey Partridge.

Mixenden Res'r

G N Diver still showing well this morning 09:30 - and from NK it was still there this afternoon along with the Oystercatcher.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cross Stones, Tod'

A rather confiding solitary grey partridge was feeding in the open in heavy rain and gales, near Higher Ashes this aft'.


Mixenden Res'r

G N Diver still there at 11:30. Like Daniel 's experience yesterday it took me 10 mins or more to find it! It seems on occasions to get right next to the banking and 'dissappear' - then when it comes into the middle it's unmissable!
Also, an Oystercatcher again. This time on the school playing field at the southern end of the Res'r.  
A good number of B H Gulls and just a few Common Gulls on the water.
5 Herring Gulls >W

Goldcrest - 1st for a while.

A single Goldcrest fed among some dwarf pines in the garden today at 15.45.  (Skircoat/Copley.)

Others visiting currently:
c.20 House Sparrows - my new lodgers. I never used to get them. A female prospects a box with nest material now and then.

4 Blackbirds, inc one male recognisable by a white wing spot.He's been coming since autumn.
2 Robins including one with a useless foot. It has to flutter to balance when hopping around.
2 Collared Doves
1 Woodpigeon
1 brief visit by a Nuthatch
1    "       "           Great Spotted Woodpecker
Coal and Blue Tits in equal quantity, but fewer Great Tits

I can summon up a company of Jackdaws any time I want by throwing out scraps further from the house. Some are distinctive, inc one once with a double-sized overgrown lower mandible. It fed with its head on the side.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mixenden Reservoir

The Great Northern Diver was still present this morning, though it kept out of sight for long periods, but showed well when it was visable. Also nice to see Dave on site.
Species List:
Mixenden Reservoir: Black-Headed Gull, Grey Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Great Northern Diver, Canada Goose, Long-Tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Starling, Little Grebe

Mixenden Res'r etc..

It was good to meet Daniel doing the rounds again  - this time at Mixenden Res'r. Great Northern Diver still showing well at times and a Little Grebe.
Lots of B H Gulls turned up late morning to bathe and some bigger gulls were moving through in small groups but generally not stopping all heading >W towards Mt Tabor. 5 adult Great Black-backed Gulls, 44 Herring Gulls + a few more immatures had to go unidentified.

Beacon Hill
Around 12:00 there were 2 large groups of big gulls heading through>W total around 40 birds including several adult Gt B Backs and the others mainly Herring Gulls.

Swales Moor
I gave it a go early afternoon to see if the movement of large gulls was continuing from earlier - but nothing doing. The wind had strengthened considerably by 14:00 to a point it was hard to stand up never mind hold the binoculars still !
Just 1 Redwing on the top and 2 Meadow Pipits

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mixenden Res'r

Great Northern Diver still present this morning at 09:00. Several others checked the site today and it was still there at dusk.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blackstone Edge

Four golden plover and a single red grouse just on the Yorkshire side of the moor late this morning.

Chris J-B.

Mixenden Res'r etc..

Mixenden Res'r
G N Diver still there at 09:00 and a drake Goosander. The 6 Whoopers from yesterday have gone and no sign of the Oystercatcher this morning.

Swales Moor
Just a single Skylark this morning

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mount Tabor

The site of the recent Richard's Pipit has been checked by a number of birders this week without success - though we will keep trying !
3 Skylarks still there this morning, 1 Meadow Pipit and a single Fieldfare in the manure pile.

Mixenden Res'r etc...

Mixenden Res'r
Great Northern Diver still there first thing this morning and again mid afternoon.
Also 6 Whooper Swans turned up today and found by Muxy and Pete around noon - thanks for passing the info on via Nick D and BS respectively.
We got down there for 13:00 and Jen picked out an Oystercatcher on the embankment. We don't often get Oyc's in winter in Calderdale so that was a good find !
GND and Whoopers still there at 14:30 (AC)

The Barnacle Goose is still there with 11 Canadas and a Greylag Goose
1 Meadow Pipit
c25 Fielfares and 1 Redwing in a thorn bush eating berries near the golf course
1 Kestrel

1 Kestrel
c70 Mallard
We checked carefully through the Black-headed and Common Gulls ! (never know what might turn up with them in these westerly gales)!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mixenden Res'r etc

Great Northern Diver still there first light and later at 11:40. Also a drake Goldeneye there.

 Fly Flatts - nothing

Little Grebe reported from (JL) but I dipped. ! Not surprising in the awful conditions late morning with driving rain and gale force winds. I couldn't find anything other than a few Chaff's and the usual B H and Common Gulls and Mallard.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jumble Hole bits

An unseen skein of pink footed geese just passed over now (11pm) in the dark and fog, heading west from what I could tell.
The bushes above Underbank are pretty full of redwing at the moment. I counted over 200 today when a male sparrowhawk flushed them from the hawthorns and holly. A green woodpecker gave good views when it was flushed.
Lastly, a flock of 18 Siskin have been visiting the garden, but haven't ventured onto the feeders as yet. Maybe will when the weather turns colder.

Mixenden Res'r

Great Northern Diver still there this morning and showing well at 08:30. Still there at 15:40.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


7 Teal this afternoon and a Kingfisher on the pipes above the pond in the bottom below the embankment.
1 Reed Bunting by the former Res'r keepers cottage where there is now a feeder in the back garden, which is good news for the birds. 1 Jay there plus lots of Blue and Great Tits around.
Rubbish photo (I know) but the Kingfisher is just right of the white pipe!

At Stodfold towards Mixenden Res'r the Barnacle Goose is still there with 5 Canada's and 2 Greylag Geese. 1 Grey Wagtail flyover and c60 Redwings were heading high >W over Upper Brockholes

Mixenden Res'r

Great Northern Diver still there and showing well at 08:15 this morning and still there at dusk.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Withens Clough and Cromwell Bottom

From Nigel G - with lots of birds there around mid-day today
4 Goldeneye (2 drakes)
5 Goosander (3males)
2 Stonechat along the northern shore near the farm
1 Dipper at the eastern end of the res'r - and later on another Dipper in Hebden Dale near Salem field
Thanks for the email Nigel

And from Steve L - 2 1st winter Mute Swans at Cromwell Bottom this morning along with 8 Tufted Duck

Great Northern Diver

Managed to get a few half decent shots of the Great Northern Diver found today at Mixenden Reservoir by DJS, well done Dave and thanks for the lift.

Mixenden Res'r

Terrible conditions when I got there pouring with rain and blowing a gale, I nearly gave it a miss.  Glad I didn't ! At the far end of the res'r - a Diver - but with glasses covered in rain as well as the binoculars I couldn't get a firm identification other than it wasn't a Red Throated. Then as it came nearer and the rain eased Bingo - a Great Northern Diver showing the classic peaked head and large bill etc.
This is the best photo I could do in the conditions but I know NK got some belters as he arrived and hopefully Nick got some good shots later in then afternoon. The bird was still there at 15:15. It was good to meet John who recently found the Black Redstart at Bradshaw and DF turned up hoping for a B T Diver ! Check out Nigel's blog for some great shots - queensburybirder.blogspot.
Also a Little Grebe on the res'r and another still at Ogden (NK)

The GND was still there this afternoon when we left at 15:30
2 Sparrowhawks nearby and 1 Kestrel

Mount Tabor and Fly Flatts

Checked the Richard's Pipit 'spot' at mount Tabor this morning along with Martyn H and Steve L but without success.
16 Lapwings
1 Reed Bunting
2 Grey Partridge
1 Fieldfare
Quite a few B H and Common Gulls around the fileds as well as Starlings
11 Herring Gulls and 1 juv L B B Gull >W
Several groups of mixed Fieldfare and Redwing were also heading >W probably numbering 200+ birds.

Fly Flatts
55 Mallard resting on the shoreline was a good count for this site
1 Kestrel
1 Carrion Crow

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Richard's Pipit refound

Dave Franz refound the Richard's Pipit yesterday at Mount Tabor but despite an extensive search today by 6 loonies in awful conditions the bird could not be found. Its still probably in the area first being seen on 29th October at Tower Hill then seen breifly in poor conditions a week or so back. I will be checking the area every day this week so lets hope it shows up again. (pics taken yesterday in poor light DF).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Anyone reported a missing bird

This escaped bird was spotted this morning in Halifax hanging around the bus station by Tracy Collier. Anyone had a report of one missing.?

Kestrel - Ploughcroft

Just dropping the kids off at swimming and luckily had my camera to hand as this Kestrel hovered by the car.  Thankfully not the rarest of birds but in my mind one of the finest.

Wheatley Valley

Shroggs Road/ Brackenbed former landfill site for 2 hrs this morning. Not a lot of birds about after that heavy overnight frost but enough to keep me interested!.
10+ Bullfinch (they like this site)
1 Goldcrest
2 Great Spotted Woodpecker
c10 L T Tits
10+ Great Tit
10+ Blue Tit
2 Greenfich
10+ Chaffinch
c12 Goldfinch
2 Blackbirds but no other thrushes
20+ Magpies
2 Wren
8+ Dunnock
2 Woodpigeon
2 Carrion Crow

Friday, December 12, 2014

Jayhouse Lane

Jayhouse Lane this dinner time
Large flock of Fieldfare & Redwing 2000+
Golden Plover 400+
Lapwing 150+
Startling 1000+

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Swales Moor

Weather conditions not great this afternoon with the strong gusting F5 to 6 NWesterly and heavy showers with hail at times. I gave it a try for an hour but difficult holding the binoculars still on the top !
1 Skylark
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Common Snipe
 2 Goldfinch
and that was it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Not much news these last few days but there will be something good about with this current weather pattern ! It's just a matter of finding !!
Just 5 Whooper Swans  sheltering near the south shore at Lower Gorple Res'r today  (SD) 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Ryburn Res'r

  NW towards Manshead End
ESE towards Ringstone Edge
I called in for a quick look along the dam wall at Ryburn Res'r on the way back from Lancashire this afternoon. I managed to find 2 drake Mandarin Ducks in shelter with at least 1 female in among the overhanging branches. Around 30 Mallard there as well but not much else except 3 L T Tits around the car parking area.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Withers Clough

A quiet morning 

Reed bunting 2f
Chaffinch 76
Meadow pipit 3
Raven 1
Bh gull 23
Common gull 6

Friday, December 05, 2014

Tawny Owl Predated

Out and about with DF last weekend at our usual spot, we came across the remains of a dead Tawny Owl. It had obviously been predated by a larger more powerful raptor(my guess Accipiter Gentillis)although can't rule out Buzzard, Peregrine or escape Eagle Owl. Not sure but I think falcons leave distintive notches on the sternum. At first we were unsure what species of owl it was, but when Dave opened its eyes we were in no doubt. Word of warning, one should not touch or pick up dead raptors with the bare hands, as some of the poisens used can be deadly.

Swales Moor and Soil Hill

With the possibility of Snow Bunting in mind during the northerly winds this week I gave both site a try this morning. Very little about and certainly no buntings. Just a solitary Skylark on Swales and 2 Kestrels.
Soil Hill was even quieter with just a Grey Heron and a Moorhen on the north slope pond but nothing at all on the summit!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Other news today

Hebden Bridge. 2 drake Goosander on the River Calder and a Mute Swan on the canal. PeteS

Cold Edge and Fly Flatts

Earlier today at Cold Edge it wasn't easy to find anything.
A pair of Little Owls
17 Canada Geese
1 Tufted Duck
1 Grey Heron
2 Measow Pipits
c35 Fieldfare
2 Kestrels

Fly Flatts
1 Kestrel
Red Grouse

Withens Head
In the fields opposite the wind farm car park 3 Stonechats together were the best birds today. These 3, well probably the same 3, have been doing the rounds since about October and also been seen around The Withens and at Cold Edge.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Ogden etc

Whooper Swans

This is the best  I could get in the bright sunlight at Ogden this morning of 4 Whooper Swans - 2 adults and 2 juveniles after another 4 had left before we got there. Good to see NK again doing the rounds!
Also there were 7 Goosander (2 drakes) - they left  >N around 10:00 - looking fabulous in flight. We didnt find much else in or around the res'r and plantation.

At Ringstone Res'r from Steve L this morning 6 adult Whoopers were there around 10:30 though they had gone when I passed later around 16:00.

From yesterday 1 drake Goldeneye was still at Withens Clough Res'r mid-day from Nigel G and another drake at Mixenden Res'r today from PeteS.

Ogden Water

Eight whooper swans on the water at first light this morning

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Swales Moor

This morning - I thought maybe a bunting now the weather is colder with a brisk northerly and clear skies. Nothing doing up there just a single Skylark and a dozen mipits on the top.
A Kestrel and a few Chaffinch at the top of Ploughcroft and 3 Stock Doves.
5 Herring Gulls >W

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lee Mount

A Mistle Thrush singing full belt across mid-day today in St George's Church graveyard. Also c20 Redwings there feeding in Holly bushes and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers nearby.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mixenden Res'r and Ogden

I ventured out again this morning in the drizzle and fog not expecting a lot but was rewarded at Mixenden Res'r with a drake Common Scoter.
Drake Common Scoter
Also present 1 Little Grebe
Nearby 22 Canada Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose and a Greylag Goose
c70 Jackdaws
1 Grey Wagtail
c160 B H Gulls, 12 Common Gulls and a juv L B B Gull on the res'r
Ogden - the fog was even worse though I did manage to find a Little Grebe which looked to be catching plenty of small fish.
c20 Chaffinch
2 Bullfinch
8+ Coal Tits
c60 B H Gulls and 6 Common Gulls
AND a male Mistle Thrush singing alreday !

Friday, November 28, 2014

Swales Moor

I did venture out this afternoon in the fog and gloom, hope it clears up soon !!
Just 2 Meadow Pipits on the top along with a single Fieldfare and that was it as the fog closed in.

No other news today other than 5 Tree Sparrows at Northowram from AC and that is good news.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Withens Clough etc

A report from Nigel G of a male and female Goldeneye at Withens Clough yesterday midday. Possibly a second male there too. Also 2 Tufted duck ( one male one female). 

And from Mike St.  this morning a Merlin through Colnebridge just in our area flew right over his head!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Not much reported so far today but a female Goldeneye is, as far as I know, only the second for Calderdale this back end again at Ringstone this morning from Steve L.

From Mike St at Clifton this p.m. Juv Mute Swan, a male Tufty, a Goldcrest, and a Kingfisher on the river. Always good to find a Mute Swan in our area these days !

Lumbutts, Tuesday

A quick look at what used to be my regular patch, taking advantage of the sunny weather.

Lee Dam

A Kingfisher on the top dam was a very pleasant surprise. I think this is the first one I have seen here, even though it always seemed a promising habitat.

Otherwise, it was rather quiet: one Moorhen on the lower dam, a flock of Canada Geese in the field to the east and a few Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Long-tailed Tits heard.

Longfield Dam

Rather sad to see this is now wired (although at least Lee Dam isn't), and totally devoid of wildfowl on this occasion.

Over the road, at least eight Lapwing feeding, along with at least one Rook and Starling - there may have been more of these hidden in the dip of the pasture, I suspect. There was also a flock of about thirty Black-headed Gulls further west in a field at the point the road bends right, and about twenty Canada Geese grazing near the riding stables.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


From (PG) Baitings Res'r today - 2 Kingfishers at this site was a very good find at this moorland location. They are usually lower down the valley

A pair of Wigeon at Ringstone today from (SL) and a buzzard sp. nearby mid morning (MH)

The Chaffinch flock at Ogden included a Lesser Redpoll today but no sign of yesterdays Bramblings (NK) though they could still be around.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lee Mount etc

This morning - I amazed myself with an estimate of 150 Pink-footed Geese over >SE at 08:20. I got a photo on the phone and just had a count up.... 148 !
On past guestimates I usually over estimate but was more than pleased to get close today. It's not easy to count pinkies when they are on the move and changing position as they go. Lapwings are even more difficult !!!

I had a look out at some local sites with Alan T early afternoon. We checked Derby Delph for Twite but nothing doing there, though some were still about last week. 10 Herring Gulls (2 adults) >W returned >E a few minutes later !.We then checked below the res'r embankment at Booth Wood and found a Kestrel and a few Bullfinch but not a lot else. We were very surprised by a drone overhead, with camera lenses showing, for several minutes wondering if it was watching 'birders' for suspicious activities (as if) but we decided it was probably YW checking the dam wall. !
Nothing doing at Ringstone other than a number of B H Gulls and a few Common Gulls.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tree Sparrows

There have been between 5 and 8 Tree Sparrows in Northowram this weekend visiting my garden and the area/gardens  around the two Cricket Pitches...It was an area in the past that was a regular breeding site ( at least 12 years ago) , so lets keep our fingers crossed that they hang around till the spring..

Mute swan

Mute swan is still on the canal at Hebden Bridge, but has moved from Stubbings down to Hebble End, down near the Alternative Technology Centre.

Pink Feet - Luddendedn Dean

I estimate around 90 went SW over Ludd Dean at 14.30ish.  They were flying in very neat formation.  I'm sure a few others got them and might show my number estimate up as I had no bins!

Rough Leg ?

DFs distant shot of a Buzzard species at Ringstone Edge yesterday. Looks good for RL Buzzard, any thoughts?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Swales Moor, Soil Hill and Ogden

A couple of hours out this morning to check the local sights
Swales Moor - 9 Linnet, 1 Skylark and 3 Meadow Pipits on the top but no sign of the recent Twite.

Soil Hill - pretty dead, just 3 Grey Partridge and a Pied Wagtail

Ogden - a stunning drake Wigeon on the reservoir along with c60 B H Gulls and c30 Common Gulls with 3 adult Herring Gulls pondering through >SW and 2 Raven >E very high.
Drake Wigeon
This is the best I could get across the reservoir!

Just one other report today so far with a drake Goosander on Ringstone Reservoir (AT). There don't seem to be many about yet and there is a distinct lack of Goldeneye reported (we have only had one autumn record and that was a female type at Ringstone on 5th  November). They usually arrive in mid to late October and stay in small numbers on the local reservoirs throughout the winter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fly Flatts and Soil Hill etc

Fly Flatts
It was hard to find anything up there though 46 Mallard on the res'r is a decent count for this site.
2 Kestrels, 4 B H Gulls and some Red Grouse and that was it, not even a corvid!

Soil Hill
I guess NK will have checked earlier but I gave it a try mid afternoon, always in the hope of a 'gem' !
3 Grey Partridge along the Ned Hill track and just a single Skylark on the top
50+ Common Gulls were together feeding in a field towards Ogden

Also a report from Steve L this morning of 2 drake Mandarin on Bowers Mill pond near Barkisland

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


From Mike Stead yesterday, unable to post on the blog - recent sightings
I came across a cracking male Stonechat at Old Lindley (just in area) today, perched on a stone wall; it's not one of my usual areas, so that was a pleasing find.
At Kirklees Hall there are still one or two Yellowhammers about , and a  Buzzard nearby. 
38 Lapwings flew over as well, yesterday.
At Clifton Lagoon, Redwings and Blackbirds seem to have arrived in force - the bushes and trees are full of them.
And 'our' Pied Wagtail (one of two) that visited the garden all last winter popped up on the bird table last week !

Swales Moor and Oats Royd, Bradshaw

Late morning I got a report from Pete S about a distant flock of P f Geese >W seen from Shibden at 09:55

Swales Moor - just 2 Skylarks on the top and not much else in the fog

Oats Royd - I thought it might be worth checking just in case the Black Redstart from last week was still about. Looks like it's gone and just found a male Stonechat on the walls on the east side of the track near the bottom.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Out and about

Last couple of days I've visited several sites
From yesterday
Swales Moor - the solitary Twite was still there but it soon flushes ! Also 2 Skylarks, 20 mipits and 10 Linnets with c130 Fieldfare in the fields near Ploughcroft.
Soil Hill - 3 Grey Partridge, 2 Common Snipe, and 2 Reed Buntings
Mixenden Res'r - 4 Goosander
Ogden  - Back Lane - 8 Grey Partridge

Cold Edge - 2 Stonechats, 4 Reed Buntings, 1 Cormorant, 1 Tufted Duck
Fly Flatts - 35 Mallard
Swales Moor - 2 Skylark, c20 Meadow Pipits
Pepper Hill/ Claremount - 3 Grey Partridge, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel and 1 Jay

Fly Flatts this morning


A report today from Pete Gr about a Shelduck at Warland this morning.
Nice one Pete hope you didnt get caught up there in that torrential downpour this morning !

Amazing re-encounter with a bird by a ringer - copied from email from BTO Demography Unit


Ringer migration confirmed by a Blackcap

Back in September, we posted about the large numbers of Blackcaps that were moving through the central and western parts of the country. We were contacted recently with a fantastic story of a chance re-encounter between a member of the Brewood Ringing Group and one of these migrants.

Colin McShane writes:

Over the last 8 years I have been leading an Autumn ringing trip to the Parque Ambientale, in Vilamoura, Portugal with support from Vitor Encarnacao who heads up the Portuguese Ringing Scheme. Our trips have been successful on several levels and many British ringers have joined us over the years to expand their experience.

We have also controlled a number of birds from northern Europe, including Reed Warblers from Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, and Bluethroats from France. On 06 October 2014 during this year’s trip, I extracted a male Blackcap from one of our standard mist nets and was very pleased, although not too surprised, to find that it was carrying a BTO ring. Back at the processing station, Dave Clifton (who has been an ever-present fixture on these trips) was doing his stint as the scribe. Having announced to the group what I had extracted, I began to process the bird - first reading out the ring number several times for accuracy.

Dave went quiet. He quickly got onto the phone to his wife, who checked in his ringing book back home. Hey Presto!! The bird was indeed one (of only two Blackcaps ringed at the site) he had ringed at Duckley Plantation, on the north shore of Blithfield Reservoir, Staffordshire on 11th September 2014 - only a few weeks before we had left for Portugal!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Whooper swans - Todmorden

Seven whooper swans seen approx. 2.30pm this afternoon (Saturday) on the pond off Lumbutts Road.
Think 3 were juveniles.  The lady at the cattery had seen them some hours earlier circling the pond before landing.

Huge number of cars parked (fell race) at the side of Lumbutts road didn't seem to faze them

Testing, testing

I'm just testing to see that I'm posting correctly. 

I posted a sighting of 7 whooper swans on the pond off Lumbutts Road over a week ago but it hasn't made it's way to the reports page.

Can this note be shown on the thread page otherwise I need some tuition I'm afraid


Canal, Charlestown

No sign of the mute swan for a couple of days, but a kingfisher at Callis was a nice surprise.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Swales Moor

Poor day today with constant rain this morning and not brightening up much so got a few jobs done at home !!!
I ventured up Swales late on for a bit of fresh air and it was a bonus to see a nice sunset.
1 Little Owl calling
4 Grey Partridge on the top
1 Kestrel
c80 Lapwings flying over the fields at Shelf Moor in the distance
Lots of corvids going to roost >E and a few Pied Wagtails heading over the top towards Halifax  - I guess to roost in the town centre.

Jumble Hole

A common buzzard flew low south over Jumble Hole at 3:15pm, and turned towards Hebden Bridge. It was moving pretty swiftly, as a corvid was giving it some stick.
Just 3 redpoll today, and 2 goldcrests. Green and GS woodpecker still very apparent at the moment, with the GS just started to re-visit the feeders after a summer break.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Swan, Hebden Bridge

A mute swan was reported by Paul Knights, having been told by a neighbour of his. It's on the canal by the Stubbing Wharf pub. It has a metal ring on its right leg (BTO?), and was still there this evening. Not a common bird in Calderdale! And it has been said before, probably statistically not our most 'common' swan either!

Other recent bits - a raven was over the house today, calling. Small flocks of 10-25 siskin are bouncing around Jumble Hole in recent days, feeding briefly but usually moving on quickly. 11 redpoll were at Callis Wood (opposite Jumble Hole) last Friday.

Bradshaw/Oats Royd and Swales Moor

Thanks to the help of NK this morning I was able to see the Black Redsart without any difficulty once I found the track down to Oats Royd from Bradshaw. A great bird thanks to John finding it yesterday. It was a bit too distant for photos but was showing well on the stone walls.
Also 3 Ravens over >NW
c50 Goldfinch nearby

1 Twite still present on the top
1 Skylark
c20 Meadow Pipits
And on the way down c20 Linnets


A very good find near Bradshaw yesterday by John, with a Black Redstart on the walls on the track leading to Oats Royd. Some nice pictures on Bradshaw Birder blog. Hopefully it may stay around for a day or two?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Swales Moor

The single Twite was still there this morning but really elusive creeping about in the weeds
Not much else there other than c 20 Meadow Pipits and 2 Kestrels along with the usual glut of corvids.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fly Flatts and Cold Edge

 Fly Flatts
28 Mallard
10 Teal
Red Grouse
2 Kestrels

Cold Edge
12 Canada Geese
30 Mallard
1 Tufted Duck
1 drake Wigeon
2 Kestrels
and a nice flyover with a Green Woodpecker

Swales Moor

No sign of the Twite today though dogs charging about on the top didn't help!
35 Fieldfare >NW with c20 Starlings
4 Reed Bunting on the top and c 40 mipits
2 Kestrels
2 Jays

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Swales Moor and Soil Hill

The single Twite was still there this morning but can be very tricky to find skulking among the weeds on its own on the top.
1 Fieldfare also on the top along with a female Stonechat near the quarry and c30 Meadow Pipits, 4 Reed Buntings and 7 Linnets.
I ventured up Soil Hill but the rain and mist had set in so I didn't manage a proper check and in the conditions soon gave it up. c 20 mipits that was all.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Fly Flatts

After a call from Martyn H across lunchtime of 2 Whooper Swans on the res'r I called up later but they had gone. Not surprised either in those conditions with wind and driving rain !! I also checked Cold Edge Dams and Mixenden Res'r to see if they had moved on there but nothing doing.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Swales Moor

I had an hour up there this afternoon.
Hardly anything moving (late in the day I know) other than 5 Woodpigeons,  28 Fieldfares and 1 Redwing >NW and a Great Spotted Woodpecker >NE

c6 Meadow Pipits about but a bonus bird was a Twite on the top (unringed). I guess its a female/juvenile with no sign of any pink on the rump.
I thought afterwards - I go with Nyger seed for the Twite to Fly Flatts without success then find one this afternoon at Swales. Better start taking some Nyger seed up there !

Fly Flatts

This morning. How unusual to get a southerly wind that was so cold and blowing F4 to 5. At least it was dry with good visibility but nothing moving and birds were hard to find.
26 Mallard
1 Carrion Crow
1 Kestrel
2 B H Gulls
Plenty Red Grouse

I went round to check the Twite feeding station and put niger seed down probably for a final time? !! By the look of things they have gone from there. Not one Twite record there this year for me.  If anyone has please let me know.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Fly Flatts and Ringstone

Fly Flatts (still plenty shoreline)
1 winter plumage Dunlin on the shore
16 Mallard
1 Kestrel

Ringstone (no shoreline at all)
1 female type Goldeneye
6 mallard
1 Little Grebe

I also checked Buckstones area mid afternoon which is just out of our area but nothing doing !

Swales Moor

Movers >W between 08:20 and 10:00
493 Fieldfare
1,340 Woodpigeons
1 Redwing

Local birds on the top
6 Reed Buntings
15 Meadow Pipits
1 Jay
2 Pied Wagtail

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Rough-legged Buzzards

Nice article and pictures here about Rough-legged Buzzard at Grindale (4 mile west of Bridlington)

Swales Moor

A very decent move of Woodpigeons this morning during a 2 hr watch with a count of 4,279 >W
Other movers >W or >SW
c180 Pink-footed Geese
226 Fieldfare
35 Redwing
2 Song Thrush
2 Mistle Thrush
23 Starling
Plus a few others including >N or >NE
1 Jay, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Ravens

Other birds on the top besides the corvids-
16 Meadow Pipits
1 Grey Wagtail
6 Reed Buntings

Jumble Hole

A short dog walk this afternoon produced over 25 different species. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but the highlight was a mixed feeding flock in birch trees that included c.30 redpoll, 2 siskin, 4 bullfinch, treecreeper and nuthatch. Small numbers of redwing were feeding up on berries.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Rough legged buzzard sighting, Hardcastle Crags 2nd Nov'.

I've just noticed on Birdguides that a RLB was reported at the Crags yesterday and was wondering if anyone had any more details.? After enjoying the RLB spectacle on Saddleworth Moor at weekend, I've become quite fixated with this species!

Regards, Chris

Swales Moor and Soil Hill

1 male Stonechat on the top
2 Meadow Pipits
4 Red-legged Partridge

Soil Hill
After a report from NK of a Snow Bunting on the mounds this morning I gave it a try, but without success unfortunately. There is much more vegetation on the top after this last summer and not a lot of bare ground, making it more difficult to find anything.
c18 Meadow Pipits
1 Common Snipe
1 adult Herring Gull >W

Mixenden Stodfold yesterday - 2 Barnacle Geese there now, along with 5 Canadas

Also a report from PG of 10 Brambling in Withens Clough this morning

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Before and after

Picked up a pellet last week, almost certainly that of a Long-eared Owl, it contained the remains of 2 Field Voles.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Richard's Pipit a first for Halifax

Richards Pipit at Tower Hill - High Road Well Moor, near Mount Tabor. Above Photos by DF.Hope JB will post any he got.