Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Whiteholme Res'r and Withens Clough Res'r

I gave Whiteholme a try this morning after PG reported the Morecambe Bay look-alike yesterday !!
Shame there were no ducks or waders..............
Pretty misty most of the time as well
5 Wheatears,
2 Twite (near the catchwater inflow)
50+ Meadow Pipits
A few Red Grouse
1 Kestrel
And most unusual for up there - a single Magpie and a Grey Squirrel on the shorelines big boulders.

Whiteholme Reservoir
Withens Clough
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Peregrine flyover towards Cragg Vale

Yesterdays news

From Mike H - a Hobby - looks like a juvenile - over Brighouse - another nice one from Mike together with 2 early Redwings and a Goldcrest in and around his garden yesterday morning 29th September

And from Pete G yesterday
Whiteholme Res'r - 18 Teal - (loads of mud showing up there so it's well worth checking) !

Ringstone - 9 Wigeon, 14 Teal and c250 Lapwings with a few Golden Plover (6+) starting to arrive up there

Baitings - lots of Goldcrests

Withens Clough - 2 Wigeon

We walked from Luddenden Foot to Hebden Bridge and back, as early mist persuaded us to take 'the low road' though the gloom soon lifted. Not much about - not a Swallow anywhere !
1 Cormorant
1 distant Common Buzzard
2 Ravens >E over Luddenden Foot
2 Sparrowhawks
1 Moorhen on the Calder
4+ Grey Wagtails
1 Grey Heron juv - we got to withing 4 meters of it on the canal towpath - very tame !
And that was about it....with very few small birds about

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eclipse of the Moon

Eclipse at 03:46 this morning
Unfortunately there was no sign of any 'pinkies' flying across it... !

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lee Mount and Ringstone

The first 'pinkies' of the season - many thanks to a call from Oxenhope via BS I mananged to get one flock of 42 high and totally silent yesterday morning at 08:25 >SE.
Masses of them have been heading into the UK from Iceland this last few days !

I checked Ringstone later on in the morning but could only find a Common Buzzard nearby and a Cormorant on the res'r though there were lots of B H Gulls I couldn't track down the Med Gull from earlier in the week - though it could still be around (?)
Also 80+ Lapwings
c30 House Martins and c12 Swallows briefly feeding over the res'r though they soon moved on.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fly Flatts etc

Just about completely dead at Fly late morning - the strong >W was no help at all though an Arctic Skua went west over the Oxenhope watchpoint earlier on -  thanks to HC and BS for passing the message on. It probably went through our area ! A nice bird to find inland as was a Redwing for BS over Queensbury this morning (see BS's blog - West Yorkshire Birding). Well done Bri.
Fly Flatts
2 Wheatear
6+ Kestrels
4 L B B Gulls
1 B H Gull

Withens Head (lots of activity with preparations for the upgrading of the wind-farm)
2 Wheatear

Ploughcroft - late afternoon 1 Common Buzzard soon legged it with the corvids giving it what for !

Lee Mount - 2 House Martins

Thursday, September 24, 2015


1 Mediterranean Gull - 2nd winter bird with B H Gulls on the res'r at 18:20 last night headed off towards Scammonden at 18:25. A good chance it could be around today as there are a lot of B H Gulls maybe 200+ feeding in the nearby wet fields behind the embankment.
1 Cormorant

Fly Flatts

Yesterday late morning in a strong wind W F5 and some fine drizzle
1 S E Owl sheltering from the wind in a gully preening was nice to see - at a distance through the scope !
1 Wheatear
6+ Kestrels
c50 Meadow Pipits fairly high in small groups >NW despite the windy conditions
3 L B B Gulls
1 B H Gull
2 Canadas

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Swales Moor - Ringby Lane

Good to meet BS up there late afternoon viewing 360 degrees from the top is easier with two of us.

There were up to 196 Goldfinch on the top - thanks to BS's magic camera and Bradshaw John doing the count later from the photo's !!! There could be even more up there. See West Yorkshire Birding blog for some great photo's as they were moving around from patch to patch of thistles.

Corvids mobbed a Kestrel and a L B B Gulls had a go at a Sparrowhawk .
1 Buzzard sp. went unidentified far across the valley toward Hunter Hill but unfortunately going in the opposite direction from our watchpoint before heading >SW
15 passerines flew over >S looking like Siskins but we couldn't be 100% sure of i d.

On the way down a female Stonechat turned up on the fence line but Bri had left for home in the opposite direction so missed out.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walshaw Dean - 11am

360+ meadow pipits
Dozens of goldcrests in the plantation, but mostly heard and seen glimpses of, so a meaningful count was impossible
14 red grouse
1 cormorant flew over
3 kestrel
3 swallows
1 raven near the carpark

Lee Mount

This morning at 08:00 a small flock of Redpoll were heard passing over >SW but I couldn't see them so didn't get a count.


I only had time to check the lower end of Ringby Lane yesterday morning
1 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Chiff-chaff in the bushes at the bottom behind the house, along with 30+ Chaffinch's, 2 Bullfinch's and a small tit flock
18 Mistle Thrush >E
2 Jay >W
1 Sparrowhawk
c150 Goldfinch on thistles just up the lane on the hillside facing Holmfield
30+ Meadow Pipits around the site
c150 Swallows and c40 House Martins feeding high over Shibden valley were drifting >E

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jumble Hole

A single whitethroat was in the garden yesterday. Not sure if it was a lingering resident or a migrant.
A buzzard flew over at lunch today, with 60+ house martins accompanying (but not harassing) it.

Fly Flatts and Hunter Hill

From yesterday - I just arrived at Fly Flatts when I got a call from BS and DB about an Osprey heading over from the north towards Ogden around 11:00 so I shot down to Hunter Hill to see if I could pick it out from there. Sadly not - as I later found out that it had headed off east towards the north side of Soil Hill.
Thanks for the call lads. See BS blog for a report and NK's (Birdbrain) blog for some nice photo's of the bird over Coal Lane Ogden.

Hunter Hill 11:00 till 12:00 caught up with some movement
2 Cormorants >S
95 Meadow Pipits, 130 Swallows and 25 House Martins >W

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane for vis mig this morning for nearly 2 hrs but it was nearly impossible to count genuine 'movers'. There were so many birds around the site feeding and moving about all over the place it was impossible to tell which direction they were going in or more likely they were just feeding - with 130+ Swallows, 12 Skylarks, 200+ Meadow Pipits, 90+ Goldfinch and 80+ Linnets.
The highlight was a late Swift >W at 09:05
3 Sparrowhawks (1 >SW and 2 >NE)
2 Common Buzzards >SW
1 L B B Gull >NE
8 House Martin >NE
2 Chaffinch >NE
12 Siskin >SW

Northern England Raptor Conference

Once again the Calderdale Bird Conservation Group are proud to be hosting the annual NERF conference to be held at Rishworth School on Saturday 21st November, details below

The annual NERF Raptor Conference is being hosted by Calderdale in 2015 at the prestigious venue, Rishworth School.

The conference committee has drawn together an exciting and varied program that will address a wide range of issues that are of interest to Raptor Workers.

There is ample on-site parking. Registration, coffee and exhibitions will be available for delegates from 0930 and the conference will open at 10.00. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. In response to feedback from previous conferences years there will be increased opportunities to catch up with friends and benefit from those irresistible bargains available from the specialist retailers who cater for the birding community.

The NERF Conference is the primary training aid for birders interested in Birds of Prey in the North of England. This year’s conference will be opened by Superintendent Chris Hankinson, Chair of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime [PAW], Raptor Persecution Working Group.

Dave Leech, BTO, - an unmissable presentation will bring us up to date with the new mandatory procedures for using IPMR and making licence applications / compulsory returns.

Hen Harriers continue to dominate the concerns of Raptor Workers. Stephen Murphy, NE, and David Hunt, RSPB will give us full accounts of the highs and lows of the 2015 season.

After lunch Paul Irving, NERF Chair, will bring us up to speed with NERF’s activities over the last 12 months.

Raptor Workers are well that the severe reduction in Police resources is having a negative impact on their ability to respond to raptor persecution and the situation is likely to get worse in the foreseeable future. Raptor Workers invariably discover these offences and provide expert witness statements. With that in mind a member of the PAW Forensic Working Group will guide us through the techniques that we can use to strengthen Police investigations.

The Cumbrian Osprey Project is probably the most important Bird of Prey assisted breeding program ever undertaken in the North of England. Nathan Fox, Forestry Commission, will talk us through the trials and tribulations of the scheme over the last 5 years.

Delegate Fees
£10.00 for delegates aged 14 – 18 years and £22.00 for adults. Once again demand for places at this year’s conference is expected to be high. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Booking forms are available from

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fly Flatts etc

This morning - with a change in the wind direction from >E to >NW and overnight heavy rain turned the far end into a bit if a bog !
1 Whinchat still there along with 5 Wheatear
c100 Meadow Pipits around the site
7+ Kestrel
1 Common Buzzard
1 Cormorant >SW
6 Swallows >NE
2 House Martins about
20+ Red Grouse

Withens Head Farm
In the shelter from the wind were 40+ Swallows and at least 8 House Martins around the farm buildings

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fly Flatts

Late morning at the northern end - drizzle and mist moving over with still an easterly wind.
1 Common Snipe was the only wader
1 Whinchat
5+ Wheatear
60+ Meadow Pipit
11 House Martins >NE
6 Swallows >NE
3 L B B Gulls and 2 B H Gulls
11 Carrion Crows
2 Canada's

Mount Tabor - 250+ Starlings was a good count nowadays !

Saturday, September 12, 2015


2 ring necked parakeets were a surprise over Jumble Hole this morning. First I've seen outside of London.

Later at Blake Dean:
- 45 swallows
- 2 grey heron
- 22 meadow pipits
- 4 kestrels, including one that caught a meadow pipit
- 5 grey partridge

Fly Flatts

I went soft this morning 11:00 till 12:30 - stayed in the car during heavy showers and short lived clear spells !
Despite the weather Meadow Pipits were on the move fairly high with 157 >S , 3 Swallows and 1 Pied Wagtail in the same direction.
1 Kestrel caught a vole
3 Wheatears on the walls at the northern end
1 Raven >N
6 Carrion Crows blogging
30+ Red Grouse were probably disturbed by shooters over the back of Nab Hill
Rained off !

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fly Flatts

This morning - all the duck gone from yesterday !
1 Dunlin turning from breeding to winter plumage
2 Lapwings >S
1 Snipe
2 B H Gulls
2 ad and 3 juvenile L B B Gulls
5 Wheatears
50+ Swallows and 2 Sand Martins>S
c50 Meadow Pipits - some blogging and others high over the moor >S
10+ Kestrels
Distant Common Buzzard

Ringstone Ruffs.............

3 Ruff  , 1 a male and 2 females by size .Only saw them in flight low over the water and then high s/e , they must have been on the shoreline but I hadn't even had time to put the scope up before I saw them . 150 + lapwing and one Common Sandpiper also .The shoreline is looking excellent and well worth keeping an eye on if your passing that way...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fly Flats

You never know what Fly will do - sometimes just nothing then occasionally it pays off. Like this morning - the first half-decent showing of Meadow Pipits this autumn with 100 + blogging on the western side of  The Nab and along the road in the shelter of the easterly wind with no signs of  them moving on - though 40+ Swallows went >S. 
23 Teal was a good count for this site (with another 12 nearby at Cold Edge dams)
5 Wigeon
Adult Peregrine sitting on the shoreline when I arrived
10+ Kestrels on the moor
2 Wheatear
1 adult and 1 juv L B B Gull

Also nearby - 4 Shelduck at Ogden this morning (AT)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Eastwood Sewage Works

A quick look this evening (6pm). From one vantage point:

- a massive  and minimum 16 grey wagtails (11 juv's)
- 66 pied wagtails...
- ...dropping to 65 when a male sparrowhawk shot through and grabbed a young one right in front of me, then say on a post and half ate it
- 50+ house martins

There would almost certainly have been more grey wagtails on the site, as the 16 were seen all in one area.

Mixenden Res'r etc

Mixenden Res'r late morning
1 Cormorant
One or two Siskins calling but not seen, in the plantation

Hunter Hill
1 Common Buzzard >S
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Jays

Cold Edge - very quiet
1 Red Grouse
1 Reed Bunting
3 Meadow Pipits - still no sign of the masses !
2 Linnet
A few Swallows still feeding young at Moorlands Farm

Ogden (golf course)
2 Cormorant flyovers >W
c20 Goldfinch
1 male Whinchat on the bracken hillside
1 male Stonechat with the Whinchat

Soil Hill Mystery Falcon

Mystery Falcon Soil Hill a brief summary. I am sticking my neck out here, but I think the Soil Hill falcon is probably a Lanner Falcon of unknown origin. Its clearly a big bird with long wings and medium length tail. There are 5 races of Lanner across south east Europe and Africa and Ive only ever seen one, in Lesbos in 2001 and if I remember that caused some confusion at the time. This species is highly variable but certain features point to lanner, A if Im not mistaken this bird has blue legs and feet which points to a juvenile large falcon, either Lanner, Saker or Gyr, juvenile Peregrines have yellow feet so this should rule it out. B this bird has a very pale ventral area, a feature shown by Lanner Falcon (confer Colins field guide, and Dick Forsman) C Greater underwing coverts are heavily spotted, another feature shown by Lanner and D note dark under wing coverts which form an indistinct line across the under wing between the coverts and flight feathers. There’s also a statement in Forsman noting translucent tail, which this bird also shows. This bird is however not a typical looking Lanner but I think the combination of these features points to this species. It’s a pity there’s no upper wing shots. If I am wrong then hopefully I will learn from my mistake. Would like to hear what others think, ps sorry for the rubbish arrows on the photo.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


We had a trip up there yesterday afternoon after a call from NK about a 'fall' of migrants at the top end of the plantation near the 'Giant's Tooth'. We found a similar number of birds still there and busily feeding on the numerous insects showing in the very warm sunshine.
12+ Spotted Flycatchers
3+ Redstarts (1 male and 2 females seen)
Several Willow Warblers and Chiff-chaffs
1 Goldcrest
c20 Chaffinch
It also coincided with more migrants at Scammonden with a great find by JB in among them as described below.

Monday, September 07, 2015


A great find today by John Beaumont was a Wryneck at Scammonden it showed well for an hour and then disappeared when flushed by a passing car. Also in the area were Spotted Flycatcher 15 - 20 , Redstart 4 , Willow Warbler 4 , Tree Pipit 3 , Blackcap 8 + , Siskin 15 , Buzzard 2 , Sparrowhawk 1 ,Whinchat  2 ,Chiffchaff 15 -  20 , 40 Lapwing  and a Stoat..

Withens Clough Sand martins

Saturday 5th September around 5pm numerous Sand martins flying back and forth along the hillside path that runs eastwards from the southern end of the dam.  Likely somewhere between 50 and a 100 seen. Not seen any in that area before so assume they're migrating ?

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Swalesmoor Sparrowhawk

         Female Sparrowhawk in tree at Swalesmoor one later flew
         through my garden looking for finches but camera was on
         wrong settings so only got a blur. missed the Osprey at
         Fly Flatts gutted.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

   Where have all the birds gone, very quiet today,
   It didn't help with shooters out at Ovenden Moor
   & Pauls Clough, no sign of Cuckoo or Redstart.
   Soil Hill-: 2 Kestrel, 8 Meadow Pipit, 10 Goldfinch,
                     8 Ducks ( Mallard ? ) in bottom pond.
                     3 Pied Wagtail nr dead sheep.
                     Huggings of Starlings
    Withens-: 1 Pheasant, 2 Common Gull, 6 Linnet, 1 Little Owl.
    Fly Flatts-: 10+ Meadow Pipit, 10+ Wheatear, 2 Mallard, 1 Kestrel.

                                          Looks like wounded wing


Green Withens

On a walk from Rocking Stones Moss, taking in a circuit of Green Withens, the black redstart showed very well, at around 12:45 pm.  Also, a wheatear by the drain and a few meadow pipits.

Regards, Chris J - B

Meadow pipits..???

Is it me or are there very few Meadow Pipits on the move this year,??? At this time of year I would expect to see and hear them all the time , but I have had only a handful so far this autumn,>??

Friday, September 04, 2015

Fly Flatts etc

Yesterday - a Red Kite drifting north at 15:25 was nice. Always a special bird wherever you see one !
3 House Martins >N trailing the kite
20+ Swallows also >N
5 Wheatear
A few Red Grouse about showing on the moor

This morning it was pretty dead in that northerly wind although a few Swallows were coming across the water and heading >E towards the wind farm - which now looks to be being demolished to make way for 'the big ones' !
2 Wheatears
2 Kestrels
12 Meadow Pipits >W

Hunter Hill watchpoint today - not a lot doing other than
c30 Swallows and at least 2 House Martins in the shelter of the hill
2 Meadow Pipits
1 Wheatear

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Cuckoo Still There

               Cuckoo still at Taylor Lane also a Merlin, no Redstart seen though
               and Soil Hill was very quiet although I had a rush of blood thinking
               I'd seen a Twite but it was just my imagination running wild.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Soil Hill Mystery

        Soil Hill today 2 what I thought were Buzzards were soaring high up
        but closer inspection of the pic revealed  a whitish head so I suspected
        that one was a juvenile, one was deffo a common Buzzard but the other
        is now unknown, it was nice to bump into Graham Haigh while at Taylor
        Lane where we encountered a Weasel but nothing else, I took a look up there
        a bit later on and a juv Cuckoo turned up.

        Then up to Roper Lane after a call from Dave Sutcliffe where he'd scoped
        a Redstart which was good and a lifer for me, was quiet at first but then had
        half hour of decent stuff, Sparrowhawk & Kestrel fight, hovering Kestrels
        and Ravens flying through, Linnets also bobbing about.

        2 Buzzards ?,

4 Raven, 2 Sparrowhawk, 8 Kestrels, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Redstart,
        2 flocks of Linnet and 2 flocks of Siskin.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Taylor Lane

              Had a wander up to Taylor Lane to see if the Cuckoo's
              were still there and was quite a fruitful day, two other birders
              were there when I arrived, Denise was one of them and
               she was very clued up on birds and had eyes like a hawk,she'd just
              seen 3 Whinchat up Old Guy Road but all I'd seen were Starlings and
              she got to see Siskins in a flock of Gold and Greenfinch while I was
              further up the road looking for Cuckoo's and I'm sure there were two
              of them and I also seen a flock of Linnets flying from wall to wall and
              a group of Goldie's on the thistles, 3 Kestrel were seen while driving along
              Roper lane and about 10 Common Gull and plenty of Swallows.
              Garden had Gold and Greenfinch, Great & BlueTits and a first for me in the
              garden were 2 Coal Tits, also 1Wren, 1 Dunnock, 3 Collared Doves, 2 Wood
              Pigeons, 5 Starlings and a Raven flew overhead high up, 1 Swift in back field.


Green Withens Reservoir

Juvenile Black Redstart still showing on and off this morning (PG, NK, DP et al - though I think GS missed out)
It can be very elusive so patience is needed ! - it was around the outfall area again today.

Mixenden and Stodfold area

We headed down into the valley to check Stodfold and Mixenden Res'r and met Pete S on his way up having had a Wigeon on Mixenden, earlier.

The Wigeon had gone when we got there but the pines at the Stodfold end of the reservoir were alive with small birds looking like they had 'just dropped in'. There was a mix of phyllosc's mainly Willow Warblers and a Chiff-chaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 2+ Blackcap, Goldcrest, Blue /Great / Coal and Long-tailed Tits, 3+ Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Treecreepers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 or more Nuthatch and one largish very dark brown warbler which got away from us, unfortunately. There was so much happening in a small area it was unbelievable though they disappeared as quickly as they came. Some heading down the 'big hedge' and others through the tops of the pines into the main plantation.

Elsewhere there were a few Siskin down the lower end of the golf course on thistles then we just got back to the car as the thunder-storm broke.

Bradshaw and The Raggalds

First thing - I wasn't the only one after a September Cuckoo ! - but nowhere to be found at that time but Dave B re-located one this afternoon.

Nearby I checked down the Bradshaw hillside from Roper Lane and along with Graham H and the help of  scope we located 2 male Common Redstarts on a stone wall and a female just further down a gully. Also a Common Buzzard flypast didn't hang around being mobbed by corvids.