Tuesday, September 30, 2014


How about these amazing photo's taken by John B earlier today. What can I say other than "brilliant birding" !

 Buff-breasted Sandpiper above 3 photo's
 Dotterel with 3 Golden Plover

Lee Mount

Just a record shot of a Common Buzzard over Lee Mount at 4 pm this afternoon heading towards Swales Moor where it got mobbed by around 30 Carrion Crows. It did not look happy with the attention !! and headed off with accompaniment towards Claremount.
1 Grey Wagtail flyover
1 Sparrowhawk
Hardly any local Swallows about now but c20 went through >SE at a pace late afternoon.

Fly Flatts etc

Not a lot of excitement away from Ringstone today but we did Ovenden Moor, Fly Flatts and Ogden.
Ovenden Moor
5 Snipe flyovers
3 Wheatear

Fly Flatts
c180 Lapwings on the shoreline was an unexpected count. No other waders though!
9 Teal
2 Tufted Duck

3 Stonechats together at the top of the golf course
The res'r held 2 Cormorant, 1 Little and 2 G C Grebe and a Tufted Duck.


Another amazing day up there with the Buff-breasted Sandpiper found again by JB in the ploughed field. I hear amazing views were had by a good number of observers turning up to see the 'rarity'!
Even more amazing was another wader with Golden Plovers which I gather turned out to be a Dotterel found by JB and AC and confirmed identification with the help of photos. Unfortunately it moved off west with the Golden Plovers.
Lets hope for further information/updates from anyone who got up there today.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Record shots of BB Sand

Best I could manage this PM of the Buff-breasted Sandpipier, lets hope some one got some better pics.

Oxenhope and Ovenden

2 reports recieved this morning. One from AH in Ovenden and probably the same skein from HC (via BS) at the Oxenhope watchpoint of c200 Pink-footed Geese heading more or less >SE towards Brighouse around 9:45 over Oxenhope then a few minutes later over Ovenden heading towards Ploughcroft ski-slope area - I missed them but thanks for the call and text.

Ringstone Res'r

A great find across lunch time today by JB - with a Buff-breasted Sandpiper (a North American breeding bird an annual but rare vagrant to Britain). It was found in the bare field to the west of the res'r along with a good company of Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Black-headed Gulls, a few Common Gulls and Starlings and the usual corvids.
Mid afternoon it moved to the shoreline viewable from the roadside.
At 16:45 it had moved back to where it was first found - in the bare field to west of res'r. To view the field use the track by the res'r keepers cottage but do not enter res'r grounds or farmers private lane.

Latest update 17:10 from NCD and DF - it flew off high towards Scammonden !

Lets hope for some photo's on the blog later . - What a great find JB.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane watchpoint this afternoon - the weather had cleared up nicely but the wind was strong gusting to W F5 so making things difficult fro the birds as well as me !
1 female Merlin heading >N 'jinking ' at mipits and Linnets on its way through
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
1 Wheatear
c30 Meadow Pipits
c30 Linnets
usual corvids

Hunter Hill

At teh watchpoint this morning starting with fine weather but deteriorating to drizzle, low cloud then heavy rain curtailed the watch - but little movement anyway!
33 Meadow pipits >SW
42 Woodpigeon >SW
1 Linnet >SW
6 Chaffinch >SW
1 Swallow >SW
2 B H Gull >SW
2 Cormorant >N
2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies

Also nearby at Stodfold area
5 Canada Geese
1 Barnacle Goose
1 Green Woodpecker
2 Jays
4 Kestrel
6 Swallows
9 Meadow Pipits

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Various sites

Fly Flatts
I tried in the rain and fog this afternoon but it was not a good idea with not a sign of the res'r!!
(but birds improved as the afternoon went on)
1 Kestrel
1 Meadow Pipit

Withens Head
1 Wheatear

c25 Linnets feeding by the roadside

Mixenden Res'r
1 L B B Gull on the water so I tried the plantation
1 male Blackcap
c10 Goldcrests were the most prominent bird in a tit flock

Mixenden - Stodfold
1 Barnacle Goose
40 Canada Geese
c20 Swallows

Ogden Res'r
1 Little Grebe
1 Cormorant
2 G C Grebes
1 f Tufted Duck
1 Sparrowhawk
34 Pink-footed Geese >N at 15:15 heading into the fog and totally silent, turned back soon after and were then seen heading >SW towards Mixenden at 15:25 making lots of noise this time
3 Jays
1 Skylark and 1 Meadow Pipit flyovers
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Swallows
c20 Goldcrests in passerine alley (near the pond on the west side of the res'r) with a few Blue, Great, Coal and L T Tits and 2 Chiff-chaffs with them rounded off a very interesting afternoon in the gloom.

 Fly Flatts !!!
Withens Head looking towards Cold Edge

Ogden Water


Pink-footed Geese over Calderdale yesterday several reports coinciding with a report from Lancashire of c15,000 leaving the roost at Martin Mere. Al reports came mid morning to mid afternoon.
100+ over towards Todmorden > SW (BL)
26 >W and c40 >N over Fly Flatts (NK)
100+ >W over Green Withens (TW)
c60 >W over Crimsworth Dean (JM)

Little consistency over direction of flight, it just looks like various groups timed their movements to different locations?
All reports of 'pinks' on the move would be welcomed. I guess there will be many more over Calderdale from now on until early spring!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Scope for sale

I have a well used Kowa TSN 821 with angled body and 32 x wide eye piece for sale £175.ono..

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cold Edge and Fly Flatts

A walk this morning with Alan, a school friend from many years back ! - just like old times but it was trainspotting then !
We walked from Wainstalls via Cold Edge to the far end of Fly Flatts and returned via The Withens and Nolstar, about 6 and half miles.

Cold Edge
2 Little Owls - one very dark birk
30+ Linnets and a few Goldfinch around the former Moorcock Inn
Plenty of Meadow Pipits with variable plumage - looking in really good condition
42 Canada Geese
1 male Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
1 Wheatear
3 Stonechats together (2 males and a female) probably the same 3 from Withens Head yesterday
3 Swallows >SW
2 B H Gulls and a few Mallard on  the lower dam
1 Blue Tit !

Fly Flatts - it was like another climate up there with drizzle coming in and a cold westerly blowing
4 Red Grouse
2 Kestrels

Withens Head
1 adult L B B Gull >SW
c4 Wheatear
c15 Starlings
3 Snipe flyovers towards Ovenden Moor
1 female Sparrowhawk went for a mipit then changed its mind heading for a Swallow but we think it missed out!

I  also got a text from BS about 'pinkies' this morning over Grassington, so maybe we will get some over Calderdale soon !

23rd Sept

Roils Head this pm. 2 Stonechats, 1 Wheatear, 1 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrests.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

Late afternoon. very little doing at Fly Flatts though the light was bad from the top road.
8 Tufted Duck
4 Kestrels
Red Grouse

Withens Head
3 Stonechats together on a wall near the farm
1 Wheatear
80+ Meadow Pipits went up when a military helicopter went over low

Swales Moor

Late morning (Ringby Lane)
Movers (11:15 to 12:30)
Raven 2 >SW very high
L B B Gull 3 >NE
Meadow Pipit 126 >NW
Swallow 34 >NW
Pied Wagtail 1 >W
Grey Wagtail 1 >W
Skylark 6 >W
1 Jay >NE

2 Ravens
Others nearby
1 Little Owl
1 Common Buzzard
1 Kestrel
40+ Linnet
30+ Goldfinch
c40 Carrion Crow
c20 Jackdaw
1 Rook

Butterflies on the top
1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small White, 1 Red Admiral, 3+ Speckled Woods

Roils Head

Usual walk produced 1 Stonechat, 2 Wheatears, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Skylark and a Kestrel, thats all.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

White Wagtail ?

Almost forgot, whilst checking through Pied Wags at Walshaw tonight me BL and DF had this bird, possible White Wagtail, any thoughts welcome.

200 at last

Brian Leecy handed over the Halifax Bird Watchers Club GB Award to me tonight for co finding the Wryneck two weeks ago and finaly reaching 200 species for Calderdale, lets hope I dont hold it for too long and that some one finds another good bird this autumn. Changing the subject I had a phone call tonight from the guy who wrights the Bird Watchers Year Book and he is desperate for a copy of the Birds of Halifax, if anyone has got a copy they no longer need could you please let me know, cheers.

Fly Flatts

This morning
1 juvenile Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin at the north end
8 Tufted Duck
1 Wheatear
2 Kestrel
2 Raven >W
9 Carrion Crows
and 2 rarities for this site !! a Rook >NE and 9 Jackdaws >SW
A few mipits and plenty Red Grouse evading the guns between Oxenhope Moor and Thornton Moor. !
 North West corner
2 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover

Ogden/ Mixenden

Yesterday morning -
1 Sparrowhawk
1 White Carrion Crow at Upper Brockholes still
4 House Martins probably still feeding young on Abbey park estate

28 Canada Geese
1 Barnacle Goose
c25 Pied Wagtails
c30 Meadow Pipits
10 Swallows
1 Kestrel

Lower Brockholes
c70 Swallows feeding on one fairway on the ground !! with c90 Meadow Pipits and several alba wagtails. I have only rarely seen Swallows feeding on the ground but not in such numbers. I guess there must have been a hatching or grounding of insects in the misty conditions. After about 10 minutes the Swallows reverted to their normal air born feeding.
2 Reed Buntings
20 Mistle Thrush

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fly Flats Fog

Thick fog at Fly Flats this evening but at last some waders. 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Odd looking Dunlin with two white stripes down its back, 8 Snipe and 3 Lapwing, also 1 Tuftie, 3 Wheatears, 1 lbbg, 1 BHG, 3 Meadow Pipits and a few Red Grouse.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fly Flatts

This afternoon and still the light Easterlies and mist persists ! Also the extent of shoreline increases with some small islands appearing now.
2 Kestrel
7 Tufted Duck
3 Mallard
1 Teal
2 Common Snipe on the mud
1 B H Gull
10+ Red Grouse
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker flyover - and that was it !

Roils Head Redstarts

2 more Redstarts found today in the shelter belt at Roils Head, that makes it 14 days so far this autumn that this species has been present at this site. Also 2 Chiffchaffs here and 12 Grey Partridge nearby at Tower Hill.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Roils Head

This has been one of the best autumns for Redstarts at Roils Head, but getting a photo as been almost immpossible, this is the best I could do today. Also in the Roils Head area 6 Chiffchaffs, 3 Wheatears, 10 Grey Partridge and a Great Spotted Pecker.

17th Sept

A brief late visit to Walshaw Dean last night, 1 Yellow Wagtail in with 40+ Pied Wagtails (138, DF 140).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fly Flatts

From the top road this afternoon
6 Tufted Duck
1 Teal
12 Mallard
38 Lapwings
4+ Kestrels
2 distant Ravens
2 Swallows >N
100 + Meadow Pipits appeared from the moor when the Air Ambulance went over !
Still no migrant waders!
2 Sm Whites, 1 Red Admiral,2 Sm T T'shell and a Brown Hawker

Swales Moor

Late start this morning while the hill fog cleared. The only movers were Swallows and House Martins with 246 and 24 respectively, all>SW
1 Wheatear
4 Skylark
c100 Meadow Pipits on the top but not going anywhere
The Linnet flock is now 140+ but they won't stay still long enough to check for Twite
c40 Goldfinch
Distant Common Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrels
4 Speckled Wood butterfly's and 2 Small Tortoiseshells

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cold Edge

This afternoon
3 Whinchats together
2 Stonechats nearby above the top small pond
1 Wheatear
1 Little Grebe
4 Tufted Duck
c80 Meadow Pipits
c40 Linnet
c30 Goldfinch
42 Canada Geese
Only 4 Swallows
1 Kestrel

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Walshaw Dean, 2pm Saturday.

A walk to Middle Walshaw this afternoon
2 whinchat with 1 stonechat & 1 reed bunting nr the ruin nr the house at Middle Walshaw
Female tufted duck
5 kestrels
A flock of 45+ red grouse, plus other singles here and there
Siskin calling in the plantation

Soil Hill

Meadow Pipit - 27 Summit, ~50 Marsh 
Carrion Crow - 5
Woodpigeon - 1
Wheatear - 1 Summit
Snipe - 2 Flushed Summit
Dunlin - 1 Flushed With Snipe
Skylark - 4 Summit, 13 Marsh
Goldfinch - 2
Pheasant - 1
Kestrel - 1
Magpie - 1
Pied Wagtail - 1 (North)
Common Gull - 1 (South)
Also of note was a Stoat that sat up not 2 meters from me near the marsh on the north side. 

On the way down from the hill I spotted a Barnacle Goose feeding in a flock of 10 Canada Geese across the road from the house. I assume it would be the same bird that has been at Fly Flatts grazing? Its not a bad garden tick! 
Barnacle Goose (Garden Tick!)

Black Headed Gull - 5
Common Gull - 1
Goldfinch ~50 (At least!)
Carrion Crow - 12
Feral Pigeon - 2 (South)
Meadow Pipit - 4
Swallow - 9 (South)
Skylark - 3
Magpie - 2

Herring Gull - 1 (Juv)
Black-Headed Gull - 1
Carrion Crow - 7
Meadow Pipit - 9
Skylark - 3
Mistle Thrush - 2

Also of note were 2 Small Copper, 2 Common Hawker (Both Male) and a Common Darter (Also Male)


2 ring necked parakeets over the garden this morning around 7:45 calling loudly heading towards erringden moor 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fly Flatts

This afternoon
4 Wigeon arrived mid afternoon with a single Teal. At one time they took off but returned then I saw a mammal type swimming across the Res'r, not much showing looked like a small log but it was moving too quickly so guessed it might be a Mink - but no, when it emerged onto the banking I was amazed to find it was a Stoat (black tail tip)!. I didn't even know they could swim but this individual swam right across the Res'r from one side to the other. Has anyone else seen Stoats or Weasels swimming?
2 more Teal
22 Lapwings
5+ Kestrels
No Wheatears today and just a few Mipits around and 1 Swallow >SW

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Withens clough & Whiteholme

Withens clough

Tufted duck 4 males
Pheasant 1
Red grouse 1
Pied wagtail 4
Meadow pipit 7
Sparrowhawk 1 male


Wigeon 16
Meadow pipit 4
Red grouse 1 

Fly Flatts

This afternoon
2 Teal
15 Lapwings but no other waders despite plenty of shoreline
c10 Kestrels
1 juv L B B Gull
11 B H Gulls
1 Wheatear
A few Meadow Pipts and Red Grouse on the moor
c 20 Canada Geese

Withens Head opposite the wind farm car park
1 Whinchat on the wall near the farm

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Soil Hill

After spending the last 2 months working at Spurn it was refreshing to head back up to the hill and get back to the local patch. The novelty value of the return quickly wore off as there still seem to not be many birds up there:
Carrion Crow - 2
Meadow Pipit - 20ish
Kestrel - 1
Swallow - 3
Black-Headed Gull - 2
Skylark - 4
Linnet - at least 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Goldfinch - 7
Wren - 1 (Patch Tick for me)
Starling - 1
Feral Pigeon - 1
Also of note were a single Common Darter, single Common Hawker and a couple of Small Coppers. On the way up there was also a Chiff-Chaff near one of the farms.

Cold Edge

This afternoon
A Linnet flock of c70 were feeding on the new bankings to the top dam. A lovely weedy area for them and we looked for Twite in the flock without success.
c40 Goldfinch feeding on the thistles heads
Lots of mipits about as well
5 Whinchat together feeding on the area just above the top small pond
1 Little Grebe on the lower small pond
40 Canada Geese
A few Swallows still feeding young
2 Kestrels
3 Tufted Duck
1 Chiff-chaff
G V Whites, Peacock and Red Admiral butterfly's seen

Monday, September 08, 2014

Out and about

Halifax - Pellon Lane
1 Sparrowhawk
2 jays high >NW over Argos !

Wheatley Valley (former landfill site off Shroggs Road)
1 Sparrowhawk
2 Willow Warblers
1 Chiff-chaff singing
10+ Bullfinch (they love this site just off Brackenbed Lane)
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
Several Jays - they are all over the place !

Lee Mount
2 Goldcrests
1 Sparrowhawk
2 Jays

Ploughcroft and Pepper Hill
1 male Redstart in thorn scrub just beyond Black Boy Farm
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Kestrel
Several Jays
Swallows still feeding young but generally not many Swallows about today

Sunday, September 07, 2014


Wryneck on the track to Lower Gorple tonight about 50 yards round the corner at the top of the first slope on the right hand bank.NCD.DF

Lesser Black-backed Gull

After the excitement of seeing 2 Lancaster bombers fly over the house and past Stoodley Pike, 5 minutes later a Lesser Black-backed appeared over the fields and came right over the garden.


Osprey over Clock face Quarry above Ringstone this morning heading towards Scammonden.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Withens clough

Had a hour up here in the rain ( well the dog needed walking)

Red grouse 1
Swallow 4
Meadow pipit 30+
Chaffinch 1
Magpie 1
Grey wagtail 2
Pied wagtail 1 

Oh well always tomorrow 

RFI - Ghost Moth Records

Apologies for being off-topic, but I know a fair few of you guys do a bit of mothing, so....

Hi guys, I am trying to collate any info regarding local (West Yorks.) Ghost Moth populations and would welcome any info regarding dates, locations and numbers. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

5th Sept Roils Head

At least 4 Redstarts in the northern shelter belt today, also 1 Spotted Flycatcher and at least 5 Chiffchaffs.


Hobby high over the garden, it appeared to come straight from erringden moor, quite high up at 10:40 heading towards ludd foot 

Nice garden tick 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Swales Moor and Lee Mount

Nothing moving this morning on the top as the mist was slow to clear. The only possible 'mover' was a hint if a 'flava' wagtail call, but it was only once and I could not see the bird so that will have to be let go!
Lots of birds around the site including 2 cracking Whinchats on the top with a Wheatear
80+ Linnet
60+ Goldfinch
50 + Meadow Pipits
Just a few Swallows
1 Kestrel
UPDATE - from the photo's I took this morning there were in fact 3 Whinchats - top picture confirms!

Soil Hill from Swales Moor taken earlier this week - 1st September

Nearly forgot - a Small Copper along Ringby Lane this morning

Lee Mount
Later in the morning and again early afternoon 70+ gulls, mainly Black-headed with a few Common Gulls were feeding on flying insects, possibly ants, over the ridge of Shroggs Park. UPDATE - They were still here at 15:30 and after with at least 120 gulls by now - fantastic to watch and Jackdaws joining in the feast.

An Oystercatcher over high, calling like mad, about 18:00 heading >S (not had many of these over the house previously!!)

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Fly Flatts

Late morning
Not a wader in sight though still plenty shoreline
No Twite !
16 B H Gulls feeding on insects
Lots of Wheatears around maybe 20+
Lots of mipits on the moor but no sign of any real 'movers'
6+ Kestrel
1 Golden Plover flyover heard but not seen

Also met Nick D at the Mount Tabor watchpoint but not a lot showing while I was there though Nick will find something.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Ogden Garden

Alot of birds in the garden yesterday afternoon probably attracted in part by a flock of flying ants. The highlights were 3 spotted flycatchers, 1 nuthatch and 2 juvenile great spotted wood peckers. A green woodpecker was heard calling but not seen.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Hobby - Jumble Hole

I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time this morning when a flock of noisy swallows alerted me to a raptor. They were in hot pursuit, and directed it right towards me. I quickly saw it was an adult hobby, and it passed right over me at roof top height, then away north over towards Blackshaw. 2 kestrels and 2 sparrowhawks have also been trying their chances with the swallow flock too. A chiffchaff has been calling all day, and a blackcap has been 'chacking' for the last few days.

2nd September

Walk over Roils Head today produced a 1 juvenile pole pecker, 70 Linnets attacked by a Sparrowhawk and 2 Whinchats at High Road Well Moor. No sight or sign last night of the Quail at Mytholmroyd.