Monday, March 31, 2014

Around Colden Clough

A very pleasant and quiet late morning stroll around Colden Clough.

A grey wagtail at Hebble Hole.

About 60 Fieldfare on the sheep fields above the woods and a very beautiful treecreeper above Lumb Bank.


The woodcock have started their spring roding at Jumble Hole this evening. Two displaying tonight.


Short eared owl seen yesterday by the weather station at Cock Hill. The first one up there for ages

Ogden Garden

A pair of lesser redpoll on the feeders this pm.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

30th March

Out and about, Red Kite over Hardcastle Crags, 2 Whooper Swans at Walshaw Dean and Long-eared Owl at undisclosed site put me on 98 for the year,DJS on 96 and DF now on 101.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mount Tabor, Wainstalls, and Cold Edge

Mount Tabor
At the top of Gibb Lane c20 Linnets feeding on an old allotment site

Early afternoon 4 Herring Gulls >E
6 L B B Gulls 'loafing'

Cold Edge
2 Oystercatchers
Pair of Tufted Duck


Withens Head

2 male Wheatears early afternoon on the piles of stones at Slade - for me they have taken some finding this last 2 weeks but eventually they turned up in one of there usual migrant spots.
Not much else about but I was more than happy to find the Wheatears !

Bradley and Clifton

An interesting morning checking the area on Calderdale's lower reaches of the River Calder behond Brighouse
1 Yellow-hammer is a real bonus for Calderdale in recent years
Several Stock Doves including nesting pairs
1 Grey Heron
1 Grey Wagtail
 River Calder (no I was not in a canoe!!)

Jay House Lane
20+ Tree Sparrows all looking really good
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Curlew

Tree Sparrows

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Other news today

2 male Brambling seen at Mill Bank and 3 Lesser Redpoll (Steve B)

From HC at Oxenhope just out of our area - a nice early Swallow through there this morning

Pair of Wheatear at Raggalds across mid-day (BS)

Luddenden Dean

Late morning/early afternoon around the dean - very pleasant out of the wind.
1 Green Woodpecker singing
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Kestrel
1 pair of Little Owls + another single bird higher up the dean
8 Stock Dove
Meadow Pipits moving through in small numbers along with a few Pied Wagtails
2 Sparrowhawks
1 Kestrel
c60 Fieldfare
20+ Starlings

Castle Carr Road
Another pair of Little Owls
Curlews and Lapwings
2 Grey Wagtail - flyovers
No Wheatears !
c40 unidentified geese very high >NW over Midgley Moor at 13.15 - don't think they were Canadas and they were just too far away for I D.

We went up to Raggalds Flood for Brians Wheatears that turned up across lunchtime but they were gone when we got there!!!

Osprey - Cromwell Bottom

An osprey was reported flying over Cromwell Bottom today at c.1pm. The link to photos on the Cromwell Bottom blog is here

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

High Royd

This morning in the drizzle
1 Little Grebe singing but not seen
2 Goosander
1 Coot
2 Moorhen
2 Teal
1 Grey Heron
c135 Carrion Crows on the filter beds
c10 Pied Wagtails
2 Grey Wagtails
3 Chiff-chaff
1 Reed Bunting
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
2 Nuthatch
1 Treecreeper

Bird Quiz

Identify this bird, link. To Quiz

Answer will be posted later

Monday, March 24, 2014

Walshaw Dean

Thanks to a call from KM we headed off up to Walshaw from Crimsworth dean to see if the 64 Whooper Swans he found earlier were still on the middle reservoir. Thankfully they were still there. Thanks Keith!

The water level was really low whereas the lower res'r was full to overflowing. Still, the middle res'r looks good for maybe some passage waders.
1 pair Tufted duck
2 Oystercatchers
and a few Pied Wagtails, mipits, Lapwing, Curlew and Snipe on the way up there.

On the way back we located a female Stonechat near Clough Foot car park and a flock of c40 Curlew, which are probably migrants rather than local breeders.


Near the old Walkley Clogs building Hebden Bridge AM

Two chiffchaffs singing by the river.

Also, two grey wagtails and one grey heron.

Crimsworth Dean

This afternoon with NCD
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
1 Nuthatch
3 Kestrels together (2 females and a male mating with at least one of the females)
1 Tawny Owl singing
Buzzard distant - fully feathered !
Lots of corvids
2 Stock Doves
c20 B H Gulls, 6+ Common Gulls, 1 Herring Gull and several L B B Gulls over

A lovely afternoon up there in the sunshine but with a cold SE wind.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Golden Plovers

Two Golden Plovers flying together over Flints Moor crossed Turvin Clough in the direction of Whiteholme Res area.
Also 1 Skylark
         1 Meadow Pipit
          1 Snipe
           2 Red Grouse all on Flints Moor.
Earlier in the day a Little Owl on the usual wall at below Ringstone Res for 6th year in a row in spring.

Ringstone etc

From yesterday 22nd - 6 Wheatear in fields opposite the Res'r keepers cottage at Ringstone in the morning (DF) with another at Northowram (AC)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Derby Bar, Rishworth, 22nd March 2014

Two twite at the aforementioned location this morning, in cold and windy conditions.  Whilst watching them I was wondering if any of this population have been ringed and subsequently picked up anywhere on their wintering grounds?

Regards, Chris

Friday, March 21, 2014

Local Valley Raptors

Just beat the showers with a late morning walk round a local valley.  Was hoping for Brambling in the woods or Wheatear on the moor edges.  Failed on both counts but did get Nuthatch, Treecreeper, GSW x 2 in the woods.  Then out in the open the female Kestrel was hunting.  3 Buzzards were up together when a Merlin came amongst them.  We were then treated to an aerial display of speed for a good couple of minutes. It skimmed along the moorland on the South facing side before finally crossing the valley towards the moor on the opposite side.  My favourite bird and it made my day.

Sand Martin

Had my first Sand Martin today heading low north west at 7.10, also 9 Meadow Pipit, 32 Redwing and 6 Fieldfare  north

Fly Flatts and Cold Edge

This morning in a very strong and gusting south westerly but the morning was bright sunshine with cloud increasing.
Fly Flatts
2 Redshank
2 Oystercatchers
At least 3 pairs Curlew
c60 Canada's and 3 Greylag Geese
1 Kestrel
2 Stock Doves
A few mipits but no Wheatear

Cold Edge
2 drake Tufted Duck
2 Oystercatchers
2 pairs Curlew
2 pairs Lapwing
c70 Canada's and 2 Greylag Geese
1 Reed Bunting and a few mipits
No Wheatear!

Castle Carr Road
2 pairs Little Owls
No Wheatear!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


See West Yorkshire Birding blog - ref BS with 2 Wheatears on Soil Hill yesterday and another today on Brighouse/Denholme Gate Road between Shelf and Queensbury.
The first locally was from TW - with one at Rishworth - think it was Monday 17th (?) must check!!


Heard my first Chiffchaff of the year this morning as I walked along the Rochdale Canal at Eastwood. First day of Spring and a Chiffy singing - great stuff.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Found at least 14 Bramblings feeding on beech mast down Shaw Wood Road today (that's one of the roads leading up to Mankinholes). As with the other flocks of Brambling reported they were flighty but I managed one or two photos.
Here's one of them and just for fun can you count how many Bramblings there are here?

I'll post the same pic later with the birds highlighted. Clue - there's more than half the number stated above.

Also around were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, both drumming and a Nuthatch singing.

Well done everyone for the guesses - Matt was correct with 8:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cold Edge area

Mid afternoon in the heavy rain - not good !
Fly Flatts - nothing except a few Canadas
Withens Head - nothing

Cold Edge
110 Canada Geese
3 Greylag Geese
1 Tufted Duck
c12 Mallard
2 Oystercatchers
2 Curlew
3 Meadow Pipits
c200 Starlings - was nice to see !

Castle Carr Road
1 pair of Little Owls


This is a photo of the other buzzard which has been shot showing damage to primary feathers including pellet holes in the primaries as well !

Monday, March 17, 2014

Common Buzzards

We have recieved these photos taken in the last few days at a local site showing what we can only surmise as gunshot damage. How fortunate was this bird to escape! This is a very distinct bird and in recent weeks was fully feathered.

Other news

A pair of Redshank back at Ringstone Res'r this morning and a Great Black-backed Gull there briefly. (SL)

200 or so Brambling still in and around the beech woodland in Crimsworth Dean yesterday. (NCD DF)

60+ Twite at Rishworth earlier today. Nearby our first reported Wheatear this year and a Stonechat (TW)

Mixenden and Stodfold

Not a lot about in the valley between Mixenden Res'r and Ogden golf course this afternoon but the weather was pleasant out of the cool westerley
2 Curlew
19 Canada's on Mixenden Res'r but nothing else!
A pair of Stock Dove nesting in an owl box
The totally white Carrion Crow is still at the top end of Lane Head Lane
Not much else!

Swales Moor

Late morning with a few large gulls moving west in one's and two's
11 Herring Gulls
8 L B B Gulls
5 Common Gulls
The highlight was 2 Ravens along the ridge tumbling and calling >N
2 Skylark singing
15 Meadow Pipits >NW
1 Kestrel >S
Usual glut of corvids on the top

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Erringden Moor

I also went out looking for early wheatear - without success. Just 2 curlew and a pair of sparrowhawk, and a pair of dippers on the river at Callis.

Castle Carr Road and Caty' area and Cold Edge

This afternoon still on a search for that early Wheatear without success in the dreadful windy and drizzly conditions. I think the WNW wind will need to ease before we start to pick them up.
1 Green Woodpecker singing
c65 Fieldfares went down towards Jerusalem Farm
c10 Stock Dove
2 Red Grouse
A pair of Little Owls on Castle Carr Road and another pair together at Balkram Edge near Wainstalls

Fogged off at Fly Flatts and Withens Head !

Cold Edge
160 Canada Geese
Pair of Tufted Duck
1 Little Grebe
12+ Lapwings
2 Curlew


For the last 5 years we have had a single Brambling in the back garden at some time during Jan/Feb/Mar but I was beginning to think we weren't going to see one this year - until this lunchtime when one appeared with 9 Chaffinch and joined the Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Redpolls on and under the feeders. Saw it (I assume just the one bird) twice more during the afternoon. Sort of makes up for the couple of times I've gone after the Luddenden Dean and Crimsworth Dean flocks and not seen them!

HX4 again

5 Lapwing flying SE above fields near Jagger Green

Along Blackbrook from Bradley Farm to Sonoco

4 Nuthatch
1 Treecreeper
2 Dipper
1 Kingfisher
1 Green Woodpecker calling
1 Chiffchaff calling
9 Teal on Bowers Mill Pond (5F 4M)

GSW and Jay in Beestons Wood
Kestrel in hovering above field above Beestons Wood

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bowers Mill Pond

6 Teal - 5M, 1F
2 Pied Wagtail

Further downstream on Black Brook

2 Grey Wagtail
1 Dipper

Friday, March 14, 2014


There were about 20 Redwing in the trees at Lumbutts church yard this afternoon.

Swales Moor

I tried along Ringby Lane this morning. Despite the hazy sunshine the wind was cold and strengthening from the west with little or no movement of birds though 3 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies was interesting.
5 Linnets
6 Meadow Pipits
1 Skylark singing
Little else other than the usual corvids

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today's news!

A pair of Gadwall on Ringstone this morning - a good record from Steve and Tony as we don't get many Gadwall in Calderdale. They were still there this afternoon. NCD and DF.

The drake Scaup is still on the ski-lake at Cromwell Bottom. Chiff chaff also singing there along the canal near the lagoon. NCD and DF

A report from Craig via BS of 2 Great Crested Grebes on Mixenden Res'r yesterday - maybe still there?

Also a report from Bradford Ornithological Group via AC of 7 Shoveler on Fly Flatts yesterday. That is another really good record for our area.
Doing well for duck sp... Recently!

Mount Tabor Garden

My 5yr old son informed me this morning there was an owl in the garden.  It turned out to be this robust looking Sparrowhawk.  She is constantly around.
The last few days have been good from the garden with a Kestrel and a Buzzard over the field behind. A Little Owl was also calling yesterday evening.
The Skylarks and Lapwings have also been displaying at the top of the field for several days now.

Mankinholes and Gaddings Dam this morning

It was a fine morning but the early morning mist was still rolling in and at times Stoodley Pike was obscurred by clouds.

Walking through Mankinholes the mist descended so visibility was very poor, although a Mistle Thrush singing from a tree top brightened things up.

Along towards Langfield there were Meadow Pipits singing and parachuting at last, and a Skylark could be heard from above Langfield Edge. Up to Gaddings Dam and 3 more Skylarks singing. At Gaddings it was clear for all of 2 minutes then the mist came in again and didn't look like clearing for a while so I set off along the dam wall rather than walking along the Western shore, not expecting to see much as there is very little shoreline. I put up 2 Ringed Plovers almost straight away and they flew off into the grey morning mist.

The lovely views from Gaddings are being changed by these things, just about visible through the murk:

Going down to Jail Hole to look for Wheatear, a Red Grouse took off into the mist - calling after me as it landed about 30 yards away.

Back through Lumbutts and Mankinholes the mist had gone and visibility was good. A Pied Wagtail flew over and a pair of Little Owls were in their usual place with a third also seen in its normal location at Cross Lane.

The final sighting for the walk was a pair of Stock Doves also at Cross Lane, we don't get many of them here so it was a good record.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Other news today

Chiff-chaff singing along the canal at Cromwell Bottom today. ( GS)

Raven flight path

It appears I'm working right underneath a Raven flight path with a pair yesterday around 3pm flying north towards Ogden and another pair (presumably the same pair) today flying east towards Ploughcroft around 1pm.

Burning Issue

See below for a link to an RSPB  article about the burning of  moorland. The lower part of the article, which has been updated recently, refers to the issues at Walshaw Moor and the RSPB's actions.


Chiffchaff and sand martin already being reported in the Bradford area.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crimsworth Dean

Almost a full day walking the dean today with an interesting mix of birds etc with 1 Roe Deer and 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.
30+ Brambling still in the beech woodland on the eastern side of the dean
2 Sparrowhawks
1 Kestrel
2 Common Buzzards
1 Grey Partridge
1 Gt spotted Woodpecker drumming
3 Nuthatch
c20 Curlew
c40 Lapwing
2 Oystercatchers
Song Thrushes in full song
2 pairs of Mistle Thrush
1 L B B Gull over >E
Lots of Jackdaws and Woodpigeons in the dean
2 pairs of Pied Wagtails
The usual tits were in the woodlands but hardly any finches other than the Brambling
11 Jays together was unusual making a right racket over something - I couldn't discover what unless it was a dispute over a female. !

I also checked Grain Water bridge area for early Ring Ouzel or Wheatear but nothing doing yet. Not a single mipit either!

Murder puzzle - answer

Yes, the unfortunate victim was a great spotted woodpecker. Well done Jeff

Murder puzzle

I came across this grizzly scene at Jumble Hole today. I have the answer, but any guesses at what species the victim was?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lee Mount

An interesting afternoon in the garden with the weather perfect for birds using thermals!
I got a call from BS to say 4 Buzzards were drifting over Queensbury >SW about 13.15 so out in the garden with bins and scope to see if I could pick them up, maybe over Swales, but I couldn't find them in the bright blue sky. I did pick out a couple of female Sparrowhawks really high circling then a real belter of a bird with a single Raven over, quite high >N giving its customary cronking call. Only the second record over the house. Thanks Bri for the prompt!

Wainstalls and Castle Carr Road

From yesterday
2 Little Owls in different areas
1 Green Woodpecker heard in Luddenden Dean
c10 Curlew
3 pairs Lapwing + others using over towards Cold Edge
38 Fieldfares at Cold Edge
A few mipits and Skylarks
c10 Stock Dove

1 Small Tortoiseshell butterfly for good measure.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Out and About

Spent the weekend on a wild frog hunt, trying to find locations that don't suffer from to much noise pollution in an attempt to get some clean sound recordings. I managed a few recordings but none were free of background noise.


Cromwell Bottom had the water boiling with frogs at Tag Cut with 13 clumps of spawn and some additional spawn in the wet woodland.
A pair of Little Grebes were calling on the lagoon
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming
Bullfinches on the feeders

No frog activity at Roils Head.

Today, there were a small number of frogs at Shibden,

Sunny Vale had;
No frogs
Nuthatches calling,
a Grey Heron,
3 Black-headed Gulls,
4 Moorhen and
2 Little Grebe.
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming

Rishworth Mill also had;
Nuthatches calling
and no frogs.

Bowers Mill;
had no frogs but
8 Teal,
3 Buzzards displaying,
Kestrel circling
a pair of Pied Wagtails displaying,
a Grey Wagtail
pair of Long Tailed Tits nest building
Great, Blue and Coal Tits also present but no sign of any other tit species
Usual Dunnocks, Robin, Wren, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush

Lots of Male frogs in a local garden, all busy croaking away, plus 4 clumps of spawn
Jay House Lane Yesterday Whilst feeding the tree sparrows I had a walk round the area. there are about 15 - 20 tree sparrows; the curlew are back and were calling. There seem to be quite a lot of rooks but not much sign of nest building yet. In the wood there was GSP drumming, chiff chaff singing,lots of blue and great tits, wren. robin 2 blackbirds Chaffinch singing, 3 red wings, gold finches, starlings ( but not the numbers seen recently) jackdaws and crows.


23 Whooper Swans went west over Erringden Moor yesterday around 9.30 (DP) - maybe a few more in the next day or so if we are lucky!
Other migrants to watch out for - Osprey - one or two reported in the country the last few days and a Norther Wheatear near Manchester as well, think that was yesterday!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Can anyone shed light on where the plastic bin AND food have gone from Jayhouse lane???? It's a bitter blow if we are feeding other people's birds. I do not mind if it is more tree sparrows but by and large the seed is not eaten by birds other than sparrows and the occasional chaffinch!! I am going to try giving food to the individual 'topper uppers' but it is not so convenient for them.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Ringstone Res'r etc

From Steve L this morning 3 Shelduck at Ringstone but not a lot else.
2 Stonechat between Scammonden Dam and Dean Head Res'r earlier in the week.

New local bird for me this year with 3 Lesser Redpoll in trees just by the entrance to Manor Heath Park from Manor Heath Road. A few Redwing also in the park there mid morning.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Early arrivals?

Might be worth getting out and about this weekend. Here are a sample of arrival dates in Calderdale for migrants over recent years:

Osprey - 28 March ('12)
Little ringed plover - 22 March ('00)
Sand martin - 16 March ('08)
Wheatear - 12 March ('07)
Ring ouzel - 17 March ('02)
Chiffchaff - 2 March ('09)

And with the mild weather of late and forecast for the next few days, something could easily turn up around the weekend?

Monday, March 03, 2014

Fly Flatts and Cold Edge area

Fly Flatts
1 Oystercatcher
4 Curlew
95 Lapwings resting on the edge of the res'r
70 Canada Geese
c20 Mallard
c20 Red Grouse

Ovenden Moor
28+ Carrion Crows around a sheep carcass
6+ Red Grouse

Cold Edge
2 Curlew
45 Canada Geese
4 Greylag Geese
40+ Wodpigeons
6+ Red Grouse

1 Little Owl

Castle Carr Road
1 Little Owl
30+ Lapwings
2 Curlew
1 Stock Dove
c30 Woodpigeons

Recent news

Eider  at the same location on the Rochdale canal this morning. (BL)

200+ Brambling still in Crimsworth Dean over the weekend (NCD DF)

Mistle Thrush on a nest near Burdock Way in Halifax seen yesterday also a single Siskin over Lee Mount yesterday ( DJS)

Curlews, lapwings and Oystercatchers all been  seen in increasing numbers over the weekend as well (MH NCD DF et al.. And 2 Ringed Plovers at Whiteholme Res'r on Saturday (PG) along with 2 Stonechat in Withens Clough.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

More Eider photos

          That's a Golden Balls Award I'll be passing it on.Great find Brian.

Eider at Walsden - Rochdale Canal

It was still between bridge 31 and 32  at 17.15 (AC). We saw it earlier but light not good hence blurry pics from my compact camera. Well done Brian Leecy for finding it ! Must be a candidate for the Golden Balls Award. I can't remember any earlier Calderdale records for this species.

Bridge 31 is the one at the Bacup Rd junction. The Mason's Arms is there - the turn off for Gorpley Clough. 32 is upstream - Littleborough direction.

We had been at Withens Clough Res. No sign of HH to be seen here but  two Goldeneye females on res left while we were there.

Eider at Walsden - 02/03/14

Thanks to Brian and the grapevine, I was able to catch up with the drake eider at Walsden. Here are a couple of photos taken in the rather poor light.

First kittiwake and now eider. What's the betting on puffin in People's Park?

Short walk around Stainland this morning

1 Buzzard
M+F Teal on Bowers Mill pond
3 Nuthatch
Green Woodpecker near Fall Spring Wood
GSW in woods near Scar Wood
GSW in wood near Golf course

Eider Duck

There's a report on Bird Guides today posted at 2.45pm - male eider on canal near Hollins Road/Rochdale Road junction.  Just been to look and there's no sign of it on the two lengths of canal there.  i.e. from Cross Keys down to next long length which goes under Hollins Bridge.  Maybe it was scared off by 4 noisy Canada geese setting up territory there.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Sightings from the kids

My son saw 2 buzzards near Cock Hill yesterday, and my 11 year old daughter saw 2 birds on the canal near Stubbing Wharf in Hebden, and couldn't ID them so took a photo on her phone. Turned out it was a pair of goosander.