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.

Two fantastic days birding

Two fantastic finds at the same site, unbelievable good fortune. First I found Halifaxs second ever Woodlark at Tower Hill, Norton Tower yesterday afternoon (last one 1953)Then today I returned with DF but no sign of the Woodlark, instead we flushed a pipit. We both thought it to be a very large pipit and alarm bells began to ring in my head. I think its a Richards I said to Dave and we rang it in to BS to put out on the grapevine. After a while longer we relocated the bird and heard it calling, also Dave got some record shots. We both believed it to be a Richards Pipit and when JB arrived with his super scope we confirmed it. First Record for Calderdale, photos of the pipit to follow. WHATS NEXT IN STORE???

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Woodlark found this afternoon by the manure pile at Norton tower,Tower hill.NCD
SE 053 261 Photos to follow.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seen tonight

Between 3-5 long eared owls were watched tonight at an undisclosed location.

Also, on the way back up the lane at Jumble Hole, a large sika deer blocked the car! My camera phone was refusing to work, but I managed a shot just as it stepped to the side. Are there sika deer known to be around in the area?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pink-footed Geese

c100 'pinks' >WNW over Lee Mount yesterday at 13:10 and another lot >W over Brighouse about 16:25 (DF)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Other news today

7 Whooper Swans >SE over Ringstone this morning from Steve L

I 'dipped' on the Green Sandpiper early afternoon and just found a few Goldcrests and a Siskin in the alders at Cromwell Bottom. AW had some Pink-footed Geese over there late afternoon > towards Halifax.

Fly Flatts was hard work this afternoon - 5 Teal and  1 Tufted Duck and that was it other than Kestrels about with at least 5 there today.

Cromwell Bottom LNR

Record shots of the Green Sandpiper and Water Rail at Cromwell Bottom tonight.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Withens Clough

Very little about in very strong winds.
3 tufted duck
16 goldfinch
8 meadow pipit
Stoat by the car park 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ryburn Res

                Five Mandarin Ducks on the Res this morning.

18th October

Birding at Walshaw Dean when we recieved news of a Green Sandpiper at EGP, so we made a mad dash to Elland at the end of the day just in time to find the bird feeding on the lagoon. A bonus was a Water Rail found at the edge of the reeds at dusk. This puts DF on 145 for the year, not much hope for the rest of us now???

Rishworth and Ringstone

Other things to do today but called at Rishworth to see if the Twite were there first thing - 12  was not bad for me but 50 + were there near the res'r this afternoon (JD)

Ringstone - just 1 Little Grebe this afternoon. couldn't find anything else though someone was discharging a shotgun somewhere beyond the embankment.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fly Flatts

Late morning
The Common Scoter from yesterday had gone but the female Scaup is still there. It can be tricky to find in the middle of the res'r if the water is 'choppy' as it spends a lot of time feeding under water. At one time it joined 3 Tufted Duck on the east shore.
5 Teal
14 Lapwing soon moved off when a Peregrine went over high >SW
2 Kestrel
30 Starlings >W

The 4 Stonechats from yesterday had moved a little way down and were located on the fence line just below the former Withens pub.

Hunter Hill

Vis Mig from 07:45 till 10:45 made for and interesting morning with lots of birds moving through.
Highlights moving  >S and >W
841 Redwing
21 Blackbird
3 Mistle Thrush
88 Fieldfare
644 Woodpigeon
135 Starling
122 Chaffinch
22 Greenfinch
7 Goldfinch
2 Reed Bunting
5 Skylark
2 Sparrowhawk
6 Jay
+ a few others

1 f Merlin >N
1 Cormorant >N

Also around the watchpoint
1 Ring Ouzel
1 Barnacle Goose at Stodfold
19 Canada Geese
3 Kestrels
1 Green Woodpecker

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

This afternoon a few thrushes were still on the move with 25 and 85 Fieldfare and c20 Redwings >NW over in the direction of Castle Carr

Also on the res'r a drake Common Scoter and the Scaup which has reappeared after a few days absence. Both were diving and feeding out in the middle of the res'r and also close to the embankment. Its a scope job from the top road !
5 Teal
5 Red Admiral
1 Kestrel
2 B H Gulls

Withens Head
4 Stonechats together on the broken low wall by the farm opposite the wind-farm car park along with c40 Meadow Pipits but no sign of any Wheatears - though it is getting a bit late for them !
1 Snipe
1 Kestrel
1 male Sparrowhawk over >SW

Swales Moor

Redwings galore late morning with 1,220 between 11:00 and 12:40 and that was when the fog started to lift. Earlier on groups were heading >W over Lee Mount but I didn't stay out to do a count then!
Also through Swales with the Redwings (mainly through the gap by the ski-slope). 49 Blackbirds, 1 Song Thrush, 37 Fieldfare and 17 Mistle Thrush. A great morning seeing all these migrants heading through generally >WNW and getting higher as the fog lifted.
2 Raven and a Sparrowhawk also went >S
2 Red Admirals


Following huge numbers of redwing being reported over Oxenhope yesterday and today, there has been odd groups of 15-40 moving west over Jumble Hole on and off all day. At dusk, over 200 steadily filled up the hawthorns behind the Pennine Way.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BTO videos

There are some quite good videos on the BTO website worth having a look at if you are just starting or if you have been birding a long time. There are some especially good ones comparing tricky species. The most recent video is on Scoters.

Find the BTO home page then on the Kingfisher photo click on 'Learn about birds' this should take you to a selection of workshop videos.
Give it a try !

Mixenden and Ogden

This afternoon had enough being inside so ventured out in the drizzle and hill fog. Thought about heading up to Fly Flatts but that would have been a waste of time looking at the fog over Hunter Hill!

Mixenden Res'r
13 Redwing flyovers with nothing on the res'r - (Goldeneye any time ! )

2 Wigeon
1 Little Grebe
1 Great Crested Grebe
c50 Mallard
The usual mix of B H and Common Gulls gradually heading off towards Thornton Moor Res'r included c15 L B B Gulls

Plenty of small birds about (in DS's and BS's passerine alley)!! with 6 Goldfinch , c20 Chaffinch , 3 Blackbirds, 16+ Great Tits, 10+ Goldcrest, 12+ Coal Tits, 12+ Blue Tit, 8 Robins, 2 Wren, 2 Dunnock, 1 Nuthatch and a Treecreeper bathing in a small stream 5 meters away was nice but could I get a photo because of dead branch in the way !
1 Sparrowhawk over
5 Siskin flyovers
c35 Redwings  over the car park >NW

Ogden Garden

A flock of circa one hundred redwings landed in the garden this morning. Very diffficult to be precise as to numbers as they were very active.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sad news

Very sorry to have to report the death yesterday of Burnley birder Pete Grice (aka "The Guru") who finally succumbed to cancer after a long and typically very brave battle. Anyone who had the privilege of knowing him will feel this loss deeply, birding and life will never be the same again. RIP mate.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fly Flatts, Mixenden, Ogden

Fly Flatts
No sign of the Scaup from yesterday
5 Teal
1 Red-legged Partridge calling
1 B H Gull
3 Canada Geese

I got a message via BS from HC at Oxenhope of 5 Whoopers flying into Calderdale around 10.20 so went to check to see if they had dropped in anywhere. No luck.
Nothing doing though the Barnacle Goose is nearby still with 18 Canada's at Stodfold

3 flocks of Redwings skimming the plantation all>NW. 45, 12 and 25. More expected from the continent in the next day or two with these easterly winds.
1 Cormorant
1 G C Grebe
1 Little Grebe
1 Teal
1 Kestrel
1 Chiff-chaff with a small flock of  Blue, Great and Coal Tits but no sign of any Goldcrests

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Whooper Swans

1 at Ringstone on Sat 11th (AC) then left >E (AT) , 2 today at Ogden Res'r first thing (DF and BS)  but they had gone by afternoon.

2 at Cromwell Bottom at 09:40 were joined by 2 more on the ski-lake at 09:45 (SL)

More Scaup

These are better from DF.


Distant record shot of the Scaup found today at Fly Flats.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Warland to Mankinholes

A good morning for a walk so I set off from Warland and walked up to the reservoir. All was very quiet until I spotted 5 waders on the opposite shore of the res. No scope or long lens as they are too heavy for my old legs on a long-ish walk, so I had to rely on the bins but I'm sure they were Ruff. They took off and flew over the water and landed further down the shore, and shortly after they flew off towards Whiteholme res. I took a few photos but they aren't very clear even after cropping:

There were plenty of Red Grouse about and good numbers of Mipits too between Warland res and Withens Gate. There was even a Wren in the heather and a butterfly shot past, but I couldn't get an id.

Warland Drain and Stoodley Pike
Just off the Pennine Way near Withens Gate there were about 20 Mipits flying through and 2 Wheatear which was a nice surprise. A Raven was cronking over Langfield Common.

Down the Long Causeway to Lumbutts there were a few more Mipits but little else until I reached Lee Dam.
Lee Dam and Lumbutts chapel
The 2 female Goosander that have been there for a few days were still in residence, as were 2 Dipper near the outflow and a few Mallard. Best of all though was a Kingfisher which flew from the north corner to the south corner but then disappeared and I couldn't relocate it.

Over in Lumbutts churchyard a Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling from the top of a sycamore and a single Mistle Thrush flew out from another tree. The usual Little Owl was sitting on the wall at Mankinholes and 3 Pied Wagtails on the roadside wall at Cross Lane finished off the tally of birds for the morning.

Pink feet

A skein of pink footed geese came NW over the house late morning. I got a shot on the camera phone, and I make it 117 birds, give or take. Probably the same birds that passed over Cromwell bottom 10 minutes earlier, and Dave Sutcliffe had 35 over Lee Mount at 10.10am.

Fly Flatts etc

Thoroughly depressing seeing all the 'shooters' heading to the moor this afternoon so I didn't stay. It's strange how the general public aren't allowed to walk along the res'r embankment  to enjoy the birds, wildlife and scenery now - but if you have a gun and loads of dogs - preparing to blast birds out of the air then apparently its ok.
Its a good job a really smart looking Wheatear came along to lift the gloom!
Withens Head turned up a Stonechat as well so that was a bonus.
Also over Lee Mount earlier c35 pink-footed Geese >NW at 10:10
Ringstone Res'r also turned up Whooper Swan (AC) but it left >E early afternoon (AT)
Later in the day 7 Whooper Swans flew high over Lee Mount >NW at 17:40

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fly Flatts and Withens Road

This afternoon an interesting hour at Fly Flatts
263 Lapwing went over the res'r towards Thornton Moor - (a photo of the flock as it went over was the only way to get a count from the computer later -  a very useful tool)
1 Kestrel
1 Common Buzzard high  >SW
9 Teal
1 Red Grouse

Withens Road
No birds, just a rainbow!
 Withens Road looking towards Ogden
Hunter Hill towards Bradshaw

Thursday, October 09, 2014


300+ Fieldfares this afternoon in fields below Booth Wood Reservoir (TW). This is a nice early flock as these thrushes will be joined by Redwings in the next few weeks to winter in Britain from Iceland, Russia and the Scandinavian  countries.

Golden Plover Survey this weekend

Is anyone involved in this survey this weekend for Calderdale?

I am thinking mainly about Ringstone as someone may well be involved in the count already but if not it would be a shame to miss out as there may be a decent count ??

There may be other flocks around, maybe Jay House Lane or Greetland + others.??

If anyone is able to get counts then please follow the guidelines below and either send them direct to BirdTrack or forward the information to me - thanks, Dave

From The B T O website
On 11–12 October 2014 there will be a coordinated census of Eurasian Golden Plovers across Europe, repeating comparable surveys carried out in 2008 and 2003. The majority of Golden Plovers are concentrated in northwest Europe in October, making it the best time to assess the status of the population. In Britain and Ireland, counts of Golden Plover (and Lapwing) will be collated by BTO and BirdWatch Ireland, within the framework of an International Wader Study Group project.

Golden Plover numbers provided through Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS, UK) and Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS, Ireland) Core Counts will be the key sources of data, in combination with records provided through BirdTrack.

So if you are not a WeBS / I-WeBS counter – or are and find Golden Plovers away from your WeBS / I-WeBS site(s) – please use BirdTrack to log your counts of Golden Plover on 11–12 October.

Please try to be as accurate as possible with your counts, ideally to within the nearest 5 for flocks of up to 100, the nearest 20 for flocks up 500 and the nearest 50 for flocks of up to 1,000.

To add even more value to your counts, please use the 'Pinpoint' feature (accessed via the '+' button when adding casual records or species lists online) to give a 6-digit grid reference for each flock.

It will also be useful if you can describe the habitat the flock was using, via the 'Habitat' option, using one of the following 6 terms:


Freshwater marsh

East Calderdale

From Mike Stead who is unable to post on the blog for some reason. 
Wigeon (one) and Little Grebe with Mallard at Sunny Vale lake today.
66 Lapwing and six Mistle Thrush in fields at Hartshead yesterday.
Clifton Lagoon - fishing lake by M62 at Brighouse looks really promising: four Tufties, Moorhen, Coot, Heron, a dozen Mallard and a Kingfisher there this week.
Several other people are also having problems posting on the blog - any advice would be welcome ?

Fly Flatts, Mixenden Res'r and Ogden

A quick trip round this afternoon, the weather at Fly Flatts was atrocious!
4 Lapwing
9 Teal
1 Tufted Duck
1 Kestrel

Mixenden Res'r
Better weather but birds worse than Fly Flatts ! - just 1 B H Gull

1 Little Grebe
2 G C Grebes
1 Tufted Duck
1 Sparrowhawk
c60 B H Gulls
c30 Common Gulls
1 ad L B B Gull
2 Jays
Very few passerines about as the wind was quite strong with drizzle

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Jumble Hole

3 swallows were feeding low over the field in front of the house. Seemed pretty late for swallows, and I expect that's the last I'll see here this year!
12 magpies were sat in a row on a fence. Green woodpeckers are a daily sighting at the moment.

Fly Flatts

This afternoon with Nick D. No sign if yesterday's Knot unfortunately, in fact no waders!
13 Teal
2 Wheatear near the Twite feeding station but no Twite.
2 Stonechats together at the north end
2+ Kestrels
2 Meadow Pipits
Red Grouse, Pheasant, c 10 Carrion Crows

Monday, October 06, 2014

Firecrests ?

There was a report of 2 Firecrests at Ryburn Reservoir today, if anyone knows who saw them could you please get in touch, cheers

Fly Flatts

Late morning with a gale blowing and driving rain but the cloud base was higher so visibilty was not too bad.
12 Teal and 2 Tufted Duck found on the res'r then I spotted a medium sized wader. First impression was a Knot but I wasn't sure identification was correct so I headed down to the north shore. Sure enough it was a Knot and I managed to get off a few 'digi' shots in the rain



This morning - very wet with a SW F4 to 5 - poor conditions for birding but when its like that there's always a chance of something moving through or dropping in ! I couldn't find anything out of the ordinary though and any passerines were hiding away.
1 Cormorant
2 G C Grebes
1 Little Grebe was catching plenty of small fish
1 Tufted Duck
2 Common Gulls
5 B H Gulls
1 adult L B B Gull
2 Bullfinch
Ogden Res'r- plenty of shoreline

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Ringstone Edge

Between 10:00 and 11:00 am, seen were:

Several golden plover flying about, maximum group size of 14 (there was a smaller wader flying distantly with these for a short while which went down in some long grass, however snipe seemed the more likely candidate),
plenty of lapwings,
dipper in the drain below the lane,
grey wagtail,
a few bullfinches knocking about,
a few meadow pipits over and
someone saw a green woodpecker before I arrived.

Regards, Chris Jepson-Brown

Saturday, October 04, 2014


Just a shot taken earlier this week to remind Dave & Brian what a Twite looks like! Getting good numbers regularly at the Rishworth feeding station, with over 100 on Thursday not unusual. We've got a young lad, Jamie Dunning, and his trainer Dr.Steve Christmas ringing at the moment which will hopefully add some data to assist in the Twite Recovery Project. This project's rings are blue over silver BTO on the left leg, combination on right. Any sightings to myself or Jamie most welcome:  or or txt me.


Dotterel on the shoreline this morning at Ringstone.Flew off with Golden Plovers late morning and no sign by 18:00.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Fly Flatts

Late morning
3 Dunlin on the shoreline - that's a bit better!
2 Common Snipe
c70 Lapwings
12 Teal
3 Mallard
Several Red Grouse
c3 Kestrels
No Meadow Pipits or Wheatears

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Jumble Hole

1-2 blackcaps feeding today.
3 chiffchaffs calling and occasionally singing
A noisy raven flew over this afternoon
4 goosander (looked like 3f and 1m imm') were on the river at Callis around 4pm, together with a dipper and grey wagtail

Fly Flatts

A quick hour or so before tea ! When I got there, there were 3 large gulls on the shore but I was looking into the light so I legged it down the far end to try get a better view with the scope but they went before  could i d them - possibly a Gt B B Gull and 2 Herring Gull types - dash !!
It was worthwhile though, as I found 2 Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 12 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck and a Wheatear on the mud.
4+ Kestrels still around as well as plenty of Red Grouse.

Earlier in the day AC had 160 Lapwings on the mud though they moved off towards Thornton Moor along with an unidentified small wader. The mud is getting even more extensive with this dry spell of weather.

Swales Moor

Swales - Ringby Lane late morning
4 Swallows >S
1 Cormorant >N
4 Chaffinch >S
1 alba wagtail >S
1 Grey Heron >S
15 Red Admirals >W

4 Grey Partridge on the top
c5 Sparrowhawks (found them by scoping in different directions)
c5 Kestrels (including 3 together)
1 Little Owl
c20 Meadow Pipits
c20 Linnets
c10 Goldfinch
2 Jays
usual glut of corvids !

1st and 2nd Oct

1st October walk over Roils Head produced 3 Stonechats, 4 Wheatears and a few Goldcrests+ a fantastic sunset over the Luddenden Valley. 2 Stonechats still present today at Roils Head but not much else.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Today's news

From BH - c40 Pink-footed Geese over Holmfield  >E at 06:40

Negative news from JB at 07:40  - not a sign of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Ringstone. The site was also checked by several observers including AC, CK, KM, AT, NR and myself et al until around 11:00 but still nothing doing other than plenty of corvids and 350 Lapwings (earlier from JB) in the ploughed field, with a good number of  B H Gulls, alba wagtails, a few Starlings and a small number of Golden Plover that soon disappeared.
On the shoreline, a few B H and Common Gulls and several Snipe with 1 G C Grebe on the res'r.
7 Grey Partridge

Also another special bird today and a first as far as I know this year for Calderdale - a Sandwich Tern  >W over Todmorden at 10:40 from B L