Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cold Edge/Fly Flatts/Crimsworth Dean

Out and about with Nick D this pm - A quick look at Cold Edge for the 'pinkie' - it's still there with Greylags and Canadas and 2 Redshank nearby, 10 Lapwings and some Curlew

Fly Flatts - just a raging blizzard white-out so we didn't linger!

Crimsworth Dean - we tried Grainwater Bridge area - its been traditionally good there for early returning migrant Wheatears and occasional Ring Ouzel but today was not the day. We headed down to the lower end of the dean above the crags Midgehole car park to a watchpoint. What a day >NW gale force winds with clear blue sky one minute then a blizzard the next - recurring.!!
We didn't find a lot there other than lots of corvids, a single Buzzard, a pair of Sparrowhawks and 3+ Kestrels, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Grey Herons over. Very few small birds about, hiding away no doubt, with a few Chaff's heading up the dean to roost late on and a pair of Mistle Thrush.
What will the day bring tomorrow? Maybe more wet and windy weather but it might bring something in - lets hope so !!

One from out east

Hi all and apologies for this not being Calderdale related but if anyone is interested later this week there is a one off Springwatch special filmed in and around the Bempton, Flamborough and Filey areas, our new home. I've not been directly involved but know most of those that have and apparently its going to be well worth a watch :). Good Friday evening BBC2 2100hrs and also repeated on Easter Sunday evening.
Best wishes to everyone back in Calderdale and don't forget there's always a warm welcome for any old friends over here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane late afternoon but the drizzle was starting and the wind was blowing stronger (and it's not a good forecast for the rest of the week) - always hopeful that something will turn up though.
1 Snipe flushed from the pools
4 Skylarks on the top
1 Stock Dove
3 L B B Gulls >N
2 Greenfinch >N was a bit unusual
Still 100+ Carrion Crows on the top along with a few Jackdaws

Songbird Nesting started

My first was a Blackbird with 2 eggs (I had seen the female sitting earlier) on 19th March at Saville Park.

Today a newly built but as yet unused Blackbird's nest at Barkisland.

In the same garden I watched a Dunnock back to it's nest with material in its beak. It soon came out and when I looked the nest was complete and may have the first egg tomorrow. I won't go to it tomorrow, but in two days it is likely to have forgotten my visit today, if it saw me. Then when the clutch is started it is unlikely to desert as long as I don't visit every day. I will only visit once to check first egg date, secondly for total clutch size, a third time to check on whether nestlings have hatched, and then well after fledging time to check on success and for any addled eggs/ repeat clutch.

The turquoise colour of Dunnocks' eggs is marvelous, and recording details of common birds nests is valuable in Integrated Population Monitoring.

Nest records with only two visits are also valuable, as long as some change takes place between the visits, and the adults' behaviour noted.

Details at www.bto.org.uk/volunteer surveys

Fly Flatts etc

This morning at Fly Flatts
5 Herring Gulls sub adults, one caught a frog/toad and between them they toyed with it for ages but didn't see them eat it!
2 adult L B B Gulls
Usual waders etc.
1 Kestrel

Cold Edge
Pink Footed Goose still in one field with 3 Greylags. Plenty Canada's elsewhere.
A few mipits about but the westerly wind was still very strong so difficult finding small birds
2 Redshank and 2 Oystercatchers + Curlews and Lapwings
No sign of any Wheatears. Need a change in the weather!

Mixenden - just 3 Tufted Duck and a Kestrel.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cold Edge etc...

A late afternoon check of a few local sites didn't produce a lot in the continuing gale and wet conditions.
Cold Edge - the Pink-footed Goose was still there keeping close to 2 Greylags in with the Canada flock.
A few Lapwings and Curlew in the wet fields and 2 Oystercatchers.
Nearby 2 pairs of Little Owls in the usual spots hunkering down in the conditions

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mixenden, Cold Edge and Fly Flatts

I thought better of doing the hoovering again this afternoon.!! Terrible weather conditions today but always a chance of something blown in - but it was much as usual.
Mixenden - 1 G C Grebe, 3 Goldeneye, 1 ad L B B Gull
Fly Flatts - more chance of an Orca!
Cold Edge - 3 Redshank, 2 Oystercatchers, 6 Curlew, 1 f Goldeneye, 3 Tufted Duck, 6 Greylags and 76 Canada Geese, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Meadow Pipit

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fly Flatts etc...

3 hrs at Fly Flatts this morning in better conditions than Tuesday !
Usual waders present
1 Grey Heron after frogs and maybe toads !
1 f Goldeneye
2 Reed Buntings
2 Kestrels
1 Skylark
Several territorial Meadow Pipits  singing and a few movers >NE over Nab Hill (c60)
Distant Raven >NE
Not a sign of any Wheatear or Twite at the feeding station - just a Short-tailed Vole eating the Niger seed next to a Common Toad !
4 L B B Gulls passing over - adult birds looking immaculate
1 B H Gull

Cold Edge
2 Little Grebe
1 adult Common Gull

Mixenden Res'r - 3 Goldeneye (1 drake), drake Tufted Duck and Great Crested Grebe present.

4 Sparrowhawks seen in display flight today - at Ogden, Stodfold, Mixenden and Shibden

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ogden etc.

I did a quick round just to check anything wind born on the local reservoirs. The westerly wind was pretty strong and I viewed from the car at Fly Flatts and Withens Head but even then it was tricky.
Ogden - 1 G C Grebe
Mixenden - 3 Goldeneye(1 drake) and a drake Tufted Duck
Fly Flatts - nothing!
Withens Head - 2 Golden Plover, 6 Lapwings and 4 Curlew
It was nice to see Gordon up there and shelter from the wind at Nolstar behind his camper. Not a sign of any Wheatears just a few winter thrushes on the sheltered side of Hunter Hill but they kept down out of site, don't blame them in those conditions!
Cold Edge - 1 Redshank and Canada's!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday sightings

Chiffchaff still calling at Jumble Hole. A buzzard was soaring over Erringden. A male sparrowhawk was sat in the garden. Just one herring gull went east today - 9:30am as usual.

Another chiffchaff was singing by Hebden Bridge train station.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fly Flatts

A very threatening sky this morning but clear and bright until this lot came in a 40 minute snow storm !

Beyond Brighouse

Colnebridge this morning - no sight of Sand Martins as yet.
2 Mute Swans, tagged 119 & 120 on the Calder.
A pair of Goosanders were joined by 2 more females.
Chiffchaff by the river.

Bradley Hall Farm area - one Yellowhammer calling.
Kestrel hunting overhead.
A Treecreeper near the river.
Another male Goosander on the river.

Today's news

Blackcap and Chiff-chaff singing at Northowram first thing this morning (AC)

Another Red Kite over Cromwell Bottom around 11:10 this morning (PG)

We did Fly Flatts and got caught in a right blizzard for half hour near the Twite feeding area - no Twite!
1 Wheatear
Several Meadow Pipits in territory and a few other movers >NW
A few Skylarks and 1 Pied Wagtail flyover
1 Sparrowhawk >E
Usual waders plus a Snipe and 1 Golden Plover but no Redshank
Usual Canadas, 4 Greylag Geese and plenty Red Grouse

Withens Clough - an immaculate drake Common Scoter this afternoon with a female Goldeneye (PG) and some late information from Sunday's Whooper Swan bonanza  - 2 more there during the day.

Swales Moor this afternoon - 4 Skylarks and 2 Meadow Pipits on the top and that was about it.

Mixenden Res'r - 6 Tufted Duck (4 drakes) and the summer plumage Great Crested Grebe still there

Monday, March 23, 2015


At dusk tonight we went back to where we'd seen one on Friday and were treated to half an hour of 2 owls hunting low.  One kept then flying high and descending with wings clapping before starting to hunt again.   A Kes also hunting until almost fully dark.

Recent bits

Chiffchaff today at Jumble Hole.

Yesterday I tool at walk to Stoodley Pike, partly to look out for moving flocks of whoopers or migrating wheatear. Failed on both fronts. 3 skylarks, 2 curlew and 3 meadow pipits was about it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


A Waxwing reported in Elland - one in a tree opposite the Golden Dragon chinese restaurant today (reported on BirdGuides)

A True Birder !

Who is this checking his wallet - you are supposed to be counting Whoopers !!!
Oh it's BS - a true birder - a very happy birder today and no fog !
Also rans at Mixenden this afternoon.....
1 drake Goldeneye
1 summer plumage Great Crested Grebe
Pair of Tufted Duck
1 Sparrowhawk >E
1 adult Common Gull
And from HC via BS - c30 Dunlin fly-throughs this morning at Fly Flatts

Garden today

From KS - in the garden this afternoon while we were out looking at Whoopers !

Mixenden Swans

Went over to Mixenden after church to check out the Whooper Swans, and all were still there and showing really well being very vocal too. At some points they came very close to the near bank where I was set up so managed to get some fantastic views of them.
-Whooper Swans
Then went for a walk around the moorland areas to refresh myself with all the local sites. Stumbled across some really nice moorland birds, including Snipe, 2 Redshank, 2 Golden Plover, Little Owl and a solitary Fieldfare at Cold Edge.
-Little Owl
Species List:
Mixenden Reservoir: Whooper Swan, Canada Goose, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Kestrel, Robin,
Moorland Sites: Little Grebe, Redshank, Fieldfare, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Mallard, Canada Goose, Graylag Goose, Red Grouse, Little Owl, Grey Wagtail, Common Snipe, Herring Gull, Golden Plover, 

More Whoopers

       A few more pics of the Whoopers.

Mixenden Res'r.......

A great afternoon enjoying the Whoopers. They all left >N at 16:20 from PG. I bet that was a great sight Pete. Good to see a few local birders there this afternoon as well.
A recount from BS made it 244 - that must be a record for Calderdale.

I have just tried to collate all today's reports from the times and directions sparked off by Andy C and Dave F - thanks. Looks like 437 altogether ! And some may well have been missed??!
244 at Mixenden (53+6+185) AC. BS. DB. DJS. JS. PG. NO. SB. PS. TT and DB et al
36 Cromwell Bottom 10:40 then over Mytholmroyd 11:00 (MH. SJ. DJP)
70 NW over Ringstone 09:15 (DF)
7 at Ringstone on the Res'r am (DF and AT)
80 NW over Ogden at 09:20 (BH)
Apologies if I missed anyone! Thanks to everyone for the reports and updates. A lot of interest as well from people in Mixenden who weren't put off by the nearby quad bikes in the plantation!!!
See the link to West Yorkshire Birding blog for Brian's photo's.

A Whooper of a Day

                Soil Hill quiet apart from pipits & skylarks 2 grouse
                and a Raptor flying off.
                Went to a certain spot in search of a Little Owl but no joy.
                Better luck up at Fly Flatts area as a Buzzard was circling
                then hovering nr lake, 5 Greylags and plenty of Canada's,
                1 Kestrel, 6 Curlew 20+ Meadow Pipits and 2 Wheatear.
                Garden 10 Goldfinch, 8 Chaffinch, 4 Greenfinch,
                2 Dunnock, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Blackbirds, 6 Starlings,
                1 Blue Tit and 60+ Whooper Swans flying over and
                1 Kestrel hovering in field.

Whooper bonanza!

See Brian's blog link ( West Yorkshire Birding) for an amazing spectacle at Mixenden Res'r this morning with 239 Whoopers there. This follows calls from Andy at Northowram alerting us to the big movement of them through Calderdale. Several other calls with 7 on the Res'r at Ringstone and flyovers reported from Ogden, Ringstone, Calder Valley etc....
Difficult at this stage to say how many in total without analising the data from everyone. I guess maybe up to 500 birds in total through Calderdale today... Unprecedented!

Whooper Swans

.      60+ Whooper Swans just flown over Claremount
       towards Flyflatts in two flocks you could hear
       them for miles.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Todays news is Red !

A Red Throated Diver at Fly Flatts this morning circling round looking to land but it decided against it and moved off >SW - well done H. C. from B.O.G. (Bradford Birders) and thanks for the text Bri. This prompted a search of some of our local reservoirs including Ringstone, Baitings, Booth Wood, Ryburn, Warland etc,  Mixenden and Fly Flatts and Ogden later in the day but we drew a blank unfortunately !

Not much else to report today as the reservoirs visited didn't turn up much either and the best I could do was a Moorhen at Baitings and another one at Ryburn - exciting stuff !! and 4 Tufted Duck and a drake Goldeneye on Mixenden. 3 Redshank from Fly Flatts later in the day (SB)

The other good news today was a Red Kite heading down towards the Calder Valley early afternoon (MH)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Other news today

Cromwell Bottom - An adult Kittiwake on the ski-lake this morning at 08:30 from Pete G but it had gone between 09:15 and 10:00 unfotunately (SL and PG)

2 Wigeon at Ringstone this am (SL)

Male Blackcap singing at Northowram this morning from AC

Fly Flatts

Eclipse of the sun this morning 09:23 and 09:47 on Warley Moor. I think I was just fortunate to get it through thin cloud taking away the brightness and glare.
2 Oystercatchers
6 Lapwings
2 Redshank
c10 Curlew
1 Snipe
12 Golden Plover >NE
1 Stock Dove
2 Skylark, 1 Pied Wagtail and a few mipits but no Twite at the feeding station with more Niger seed put down
2 Common Gulls >SW
Several adult L B B Gulls
Usual - c50 canadas and 2 Greylag Geese
A Common Buzzard heading >NE over Cold Edge

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tour of my Area's

                  Cromwell Bottom today lots of Finch & Tit family,
                  quite a few Chiff Chaffs about and the ones i didn't
                  see could clearly heard, 3 Jays GSW seen and others
                  heard drumming, 1 Dipper, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Nuthatch,
                  3 Herons and huggings of Canada's.
                  Soil Hill and Swalesmoor quiet with just a couple of
                  Skylarks and Meadow Pipit's but big flocks of Bull,
                  Chaff and Goldfinches at bottom of Ringby Lane,
                  Oh and a Kestrel at Soil Hill.
                  Garden lots of Green, Chaff and Goldfinch.

Sunny Vale

Green Woodpecker calling, and Song Thrush nearby.
On the lake -
3 Little Grebes -in aggressive mode !
2 Teal
2 Mallard
7 Moorhen
4 Coot
2 Grey Wagtails
7 Canada Geese
Tawny Owl calling loudly near the lakeside was a nice surprise
Coach Road - Lesser'Pecker was drumming regularly from trees on the golf course.


3 peregrines over the house at midday 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nuthatches building. Chiff-chaff singing

Pair of nuthatches building near Cromwell Bottom (EGP) - over canal at site of new timber houses.
They're in an old sycamore they've used before I think.

Chiff-chaff singing along there this morning.

Quite a few moorhens about generally down there. Council contractors have been destroying mink I believe, but a big one swam past me in the river - thought it was an otter for a moment!


Back Lane area this morning - we couldn't find a lot but we spotted NK on the skyline then met him shortly afterwards near Foreside then we headed off for a bacon buttie at Nicholson's Tea Rooms  !!
2 Reed Bunting
c20 Skylarks first thing but no sign of them on our return
c20 Meadow Pipits
c15 Curlew together
2 Lapwings
1 Grey Heron
1 adult Cormorant flyover
1 Kestrel
No Wheatear
oh... nearly forgot - c70 Fieldfare heading >NW (back across the North Sea anytime now I guess)


Seen high over Jumble Hole this morning, soaring on thermals.

Today's news

Drake Gadwall today with Mallard at Dean Head above Scammonden. 2 Stonechat there yesterday. SL.
2  Ringed Plover at Whiteholme Res'r this morning PG

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fly Flatts and Withens Head etc

Fly Flatts this morning. I went to put Niger seed down at the feeding station for any returning Twite. I wish I was more optimistic about them returning for the summer but with BS we are giving it a go again this year.
2 Redshank arrived from Oxenhope direction
2 Oystercatchers
1 Snipe 'chippin'
2 Lapwings
6+ Curlew
50+ CanadaGeese
2 Greylag Geese
2 Meadow Pipits
1 Skylark
1 Common Gull >SW

Withens Head
1 female Wheatear was on the walls at the back of the former Withens pub as I drove past but it was off down the fields before I could get a photo
1 Pied Wagtail
200+ Starlings
1 Snipe 'chippin'
2 Curlew

Coach Road, Hove Edge - we had a look there this afternoon - just 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Nuthatch, 2 Jays, a Song Thrush singing and a Mistle Thrush giving anxiety calls as the Jays passed by.


The 4 Whooper Swans at Ogden earlier had gone by late afternoon. (BS)
Chiff- chaff  at Cromwell Bottom (PG)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shibden Park

The 3 mute swans are still on the lake, and have been resident for at least 5 months now.

The grey wagtails are looking at nesting on the lane again (photographed through the window so not the best quality). Hopefully the female won't be obsessed with attacking her reflection in the car windows this year.

Ogden Water

Four whooper swans on the water at 2.00pm


One Dipper seen in Walsden Water by the side of Morrisons store, Todmorden.

Herring gulls

East bound herring gulls are almost daily at the moment. 29 Saturday morning, 11 yesterday, 22 this morning. And oddly, they're always 9:15-9:30am, so I would reckon that's some equation of leaving the Lancashire coast at daybreak and flying east at x miles an hour, arriving in Calderdale at 9:30.

They go down the valley towards Hebden, and look to go over towards Fly Flatts.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cold Edge

Late afternoon - hec that was a biting cold easterly up there !
2 pr Tufted Duck
1f Goldeneye
c70 Canada's, 8 Greylags but no sign of the 'pinkie' today
c12 Curlew
c25 Lapwing
6 Oystercatchers
2 Meadow Pipits
c230 Starlings
Red Grouse
No Wheatears

I also did Castle Carr Road looking for Wheatear but again drew a blank.
2 pr Little Owls
c50 Fieldfare with c25 Starlings


A short visit this evening 

Kestrel 1
Red grouse 4
Pied wagtail 2
Mistle thrush 3 

Cloudy Soil Hill & Fly Flatts

                   Went up to Soil Hill to try find the Snow Bunting
                   again but no sign of it, but other birds there were,
                   20+ Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, 2 Curlew, 6 Lapwing,
                   1 Pheasant, 1 what looked like a Golden Plover and
                   one unknown with the light being so bad.
                                    Left there to go to Ogden Water but decided
                  to drive up to Fly Flatts instead where it was cold and
                  windy, 2 Golden Plover flyovers, 4 Curlew, 20+ Canada's
                  also a flock of what looked like 20+ Redwing opposite Travellers
                  Rest but not certain as was driving and 1 Red Grouse.
                                  Garden- 10 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 4 Chaffinch,
                  2 Blue Tits, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Dunnock, 2 Blackbird and best
                  bit of the day a Short-Eared Owl in back field looking a me then
                  flew off over Shibden before i could get my camera.

                                            Unknown ?

Red Kite

Yesterday's Red Kite from Mike Henshaw. Nice one Mike, keep them coming!


Goldcrest singing in my garden last weekend.  It was flitting about in an evergreen singing away to itself. Not a song Im familar with so took me a while to locate and ID the bird which luckily didnt seem to mind me dancing about underneath it like a crazy person

Bramblings are still about with 12 seen in the garden today

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Other news today

Mixenden Res'r - just 3 Great Crested Grebes this morning (PS)
Jay House Lane near Clifton - Wheatear still present from yesterday (DF)
Ringstone Edge - up to 400 Golden Plover in the nearby fields yesterday (SL)
Lesser pecker Hove Edge this morning (DF SL)
Red Kite over Brighouse heading towards Kirklees at 8:30 (MH)
It's all happening today!!!

Fly Flatts

BS taking in the comforts of Fly Flatts !! and watching the Whoopers at 07:30.
Can't beat it Bri, glad you found a soft spot.

Fly Flatts

I decided an early start was on the cards as there was a possibility Nick's 42 Whooper Swans found at Cold Edge yesterday might be present at Fly Flatts this morning. They duly obliged with all 42 present including 6 juveniles, all  looking very relaxed, preening and resting on the banking at the far end. I walked down the track part way but decided against disturbing them so hence the distant photo's.
A few Canadas were present with 2 Oystercatchers and Curlews were calling on the moor and 2 Golden Plover flyovers. 10  medium sized waders were seen arriving from SW and at first I wasn't sure what they were, then they came around the reservoir looking for a place to drop in. 10 Bar-tailed Godwits - that was a surprise. They were not impressed with the high water level and no muddy edge and circled round a couple of times before heading off east towards the wind farm at 06:45.
The Whoopers left >NW at 07:47 a great sight flying over the moor.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Other news today

From Dave F - the first report of a Wheatear this year for Calderdale on Jay House Lane, Clifton around mid-day. Well done Dave.


42 Whooper Swans at Cold Edge Dams today was a nice surprise. Unfortunately they flew off towards Fly Flats soon after these pics were taken. Found out later from a local that they were present the previous day.

Whooper Swan flyover

              Low flyover of 3 Whooper Swans over Claremount going
              towards Northowram, could've been on there way to
              Oakenshaw where they've been congregating in Caldene
              fields, 12 Linnet and 4 Meadow Pipit up Swalesmoor and
              1 hovering Kestrel over ski slope, garden had 10 Goldfinch,
              4 Greenfinch,2 Dunnock, 2 Blackbirds and 1 Blue Tit.