Monday, February 29, 2016

Green Withens Reservoir

Troops out in force this morning for Tim's Snow Bunting ! (AT RR DJS GS et al)
It was showing well both at the boat house end and at the far end  just past the outflow.

 Snow Bunting
1 Dipper
1 Skylark
1 Pied Wagtail
Also 93 Pink-footed Geese went >W at 10:30
Pink-footed Geese

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Todays news

Several observers went out checking Soil Hill and other 'tops' today in search of Snow Bunting but just the one as below.

Kingfisher yesterday still at Ogden (OH) - see BS's West Yorkshire Birding blog

4/5 Tree Sparrows seen today at the new site near Shelf (JU)

and from yesterday - all >NW
220 Pink-footed Geese over Scammonden at 10:15 (JB) and another 70 reported from CK via BS over Roper Lane, Queensbury about 10:00

Snow Bunting

Adult male showing well today at Green Withens
by the out flow and pump house. Might be around for a day or two if we're lucky!

Out and about

AM Today Walshaw area

6 oystercatchers
5 lapwing
1 kestrel
2 ravens
6  carrion crows
2 red grouse seen
Golden plovers heard but not seen
Usual canada geese

Early Saturday am Mythomlroyd

Elphin Brook
1 dipper
1 grey wagtail
1 heron
1 kingfisher

Scout Bottom
1 heron
1 gs woodpecker drumming - the first I've heard here this year
nuthatch calling

Ogden Water

Ten whooper swans on the water at 8.00 am

Friday, February 26, 2016

Garden Sparrowhawk

          Sparrowhawk in my garden this morning

Hunter Hill and Cold Edge

Hunter Hill
1 Green Woodpecker singing at the back of Mixenden plantation

Cold Edge
c35 Lapwing
1 Curlew
84 Golden Plover on Warley Moor (Sleepy Lowe area) - I would have missed them if they hadn't been disturbed by the farmer rounding up his sheep !
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Reed Bunting
110 Canada geese
3 Greylag Geese
1 f Goosander
1 m Tufted Duck
c200 Starlings below Withens Gap
3 Stock Dove
1 Kestrel
 Lapwings on the move
84 Golden Plover distant over the moor

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mixenden Res'r and Stodfold

This afternoon on Mixenden just 1 female Goldeneye and a few small gulls.

Stodfold (the area between Mixenden and Ogden)
1 Reed Bunting
c30 Redwing
1 Green Woodpecker
2 Moorhen
1 Little Owl calling but not seen

Swales Moor

Along Ringby Lane on the top for an hour or so late morning
Pink-footed Geese - 2 flocks very high each of 100+. One lot distant over Calder Valley about 11:05 then the other skein at 11:35 directly overhead both >WNW. Maybe some more later today(?).
Will have an accurate count later from photo's ! = 135 and 110.
5 Skylarks
9 Stock Doves
1 Common Buzzard high >S
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
120+ corvids
1 Fox

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Recent photo's

 Nuthatch  - Lee Mount
Skylarks on Soil Hill

 Starling at Ogden
Also some SEO's taken recently 

and a Fox !

Catch up !!

Hard work with this lovely weather and little time to update on the computer.!
Monday - Ogden area
Pair of Lapwing already displaying
2 Curlew
3 Snipe
1 Green Woodpecker
5 Skylarks
Distant Common Buzzard towards Denholme

Also from PG yesterday
2 Ringed Plover and 2 Stonechat at Whiteholme

From GWH - Willow /Marsh Tit reported from near the cabins/bird feeding area at Cromwell Bottom. If anyone can get some decent photo's of the bird if it re-appears that could be a big help to identification as both species are very rare in Calderdale.
Also 6 Goldeneye on the ski-lake

Yesterday with NCD and AT at Fly Flats
2 Oystercatchers
2 Curlew
c45 Lapwings
1 Barnacle Goose looks to have moved up there from Cold Edge with Canadas
Short-eared Owl
Plenty Red Grouse

41 Pink-footed Geese over Jumble Hole >N around 1 pm from Mat B.

Ringstone/ Ryburn Dam

Yesterday morning at Ringstone
 Lapwing, maybe 50/60
A pair of Tufted Ducks
1 cormorant
Large flock of Gulls, they all looked like BH  :)
The first Curlew of the year for me flying round calling but didn't land and flew off low SW over the dam wall.

Ryburn today
Coal,Great & Blue Tits around the carpark but not much on the walk round
6 Long Tailed Tits

Monday, February 22, 2016

Little Beauty

            Went in search of a rarity to these parts but had no joy,
            it was nice to meet Muxy & his wife who was on the
            same search until we were rained, frozen & peed off
            but did spot a little beauty in a Little Owl, I then went
            up to Soil Hill for half-hour but very quiet, a few Crows,
            Maggies & Gulls and 1 Skylark also a Chiff Chaff still
            singing away down Back Lane.
            Peregrine Falcon also seen flying from Boothtown
            towards Shibden this morning.


Cromwell Bottom

Ski- lake yesterday from JB..
22 Cormorants, 7 Goldeneye and a 2nd W Herring Gull

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mount Tabor etc

I had a careful look at the fields at Moor End this afternoon as the weather wasn't fit for much else ! This is the reclaimed landfill site next to Moor End Road. It's a pretty wet site but it has potential so it's well worth a check if anyone is passing.
13 Skylarks together near the manure piles towards the back of the field
c140 Black-headed Gulls
1 Common Gull
1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull looking immaculate
c45 Jackdaws
7 Rooks
13 Carrion Crows
c90 Starlings
Moor End Road field with Soil hill behind (middle left)

Moor End Road field with Swales Moor behind
I also had a quick look at Cold Edge, the Barnacle Goose still there with the Canadas and again lots of Black-headed Gulls (c150) feeding with the geese in the wet fields.
No sign of the Oystercatcher, just a Tufted Duck on the lower pond with 15 Mallard
15 Pheasants (only 1 male!) by the Moorcock Farm
 Barnacle Goose
Castle Carr Road  - 1 Little Owl

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Barn Owls in Calderdale

Barn Owl - this is a rare bird in Calderdale.
We have records of a pair breeding regularly near Elland in the late ..60's/early ..70's and successfully raising youngsters. Then there was a big gap until a pair were found breeding in the eastern area of Calderdale in 2007 and were still present at the site in 2008 though there was no confirmation of successful breeding.

Since then, records have been at best sparse, until the last 6 months or so! In this time we have records from at least 7 sites (with one confirmed breeding pair raising 2 youngsters both of which unfortunately died at or soon after the fledging stage from unknown causes).

One site has recently been fitted with a nest box to encourage further opportunities for breeding and we are grateful to those who installed the nestbox with the generous co-operation of the farmer.

For the safety and security of the birds we do not disclose, on the blog, the locations sightings. If anyone has any further information on Barn Owls in Calderdale then we would be very interested. Either contact myself or our Bird Recorder, Nick Dawtrey, or email


Barn Owl at undisclosed site

Ringstone etc..

Quick call at Ringstone early afternoon en route - terrible conditions with a westerly gale and driving rain. Plenty birds in the wet fields but  tricky to see through wet bin's.
1 Cormorant
2 Oystercatchers
c 60 Lapwings
c100 Starlings
Mix of corvids and small gulls

Similar conditions at Cold Edge with the Barnacle Goose still there amongst the Canadas and Greylags.
Fly Flatts - worsening weather so gave it up as a bad job - 1 Red Grouse.

Garden Visitor

Finally got some pics of our regular visitor despite the poor light.  He was accommodating after a successful hunt.
Skylark in display song and flight just beyond the garden fence over the field yesterday.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cold Edge

This site is appropriately named !! -  especially this morning, though it stayed dry most of the time.
I can't believe I found my first Pied Wagtail of the year up there today !
1 Barnacle Goose with 49 Canada Geese and 10 Greylag Geese
1 Oystercatcher
14 Lapwing
13 Fieldfare
4 Mistle Thrush
c130 Starlings
2 Meadow Pipits
1 Skylark >W
No duck other than 5 Mallard
1 Kestrel
1 Pheasant,
2 Red Grouse
1 Stock Dove
c100 Black-headed Gulls and a few Common Gulls
Plenty corvids

 Barnacle Goose with 2 Canadas
 Greylag Geese
 Mistle Thrush
Oystercatcher with Black-headed Gulls

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bird Behaviour

       Thought I'd ask a question on bird behaviour , I was at Adel Dam
        last week and observed 2 Jay's diving into the lake like they were Kingfishers
        it was funny to watch but I've never seen it before, they'd stand on a branch and
        just dive in they did it lots of times too, I know that they can mimic birds but
        this was just uncanny, has anybody else seen odd bird behaviour or anything like this.

Scammonden area

Spent most of the day around Scammonden (freezing!).  Pretty quiet in terms of variety, though a few red grouse on the tops and the warbling song of an unseen golden plover was heard overhead.  Best bird was a rather showy short - eared owl.

Soil Hill & Fly Flatts

        Morning stroll up to  Soil Hill while it was sunny but
        the wind was bitter and then it even snowed believe it
        or not, any way it was quiet but busier than last time I
        went and then took a drive up to dark & bleak Fly Flats.

       Soil Hill-:

       14 Skylark
       2 Pheasant
       2 Stock Dove
       3 Crows
       2 Goldfinch.

       Fly Flats-:

       2 Kestrel
       8 Canada's
       2 Greylag.


A pair of goosander were on Elphin Brook in Mytholmroyd today - somewhere I've never seen them before. Photo taken on a phone

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mixenden Reservoir

A big disappointment this morning when I saw the state of the 'big hedge' !

Maybe YW had their reasons for such drastic action rather than phasing the work. This was a massive old hawthorn hedge, in length probably over 100 meters, with Blackthorn, Holly, Bramble, Lonicera and other species. Hopefully it will grow quickly again.
This was a really important staging post for small birds with many migrants stopping off on their travels in spring and autumn as well as winter thrushes and breeding birds with a wealth of other species.
I'm still trying to find some photo's before it was ravaged like this - the birds lose out again !! (for a while).

On the reservoir
1 f Goldeneye
5 Mallard
c70 Black-headed Gulls
30+ Common Gulls
2 adult L B B Gulls

and Frogs active in the plantation ponds.

Mount Tabor

Drive round for an hour this morning to check the former landfill fields at Moor End - well worth checking this site from the roadside - it has potential !
I found another 12  Skylarks flying around together at the back of the field near the manure heap following on from 13 Skylarks on Swales Moor, Ringby Lane yesterday. They must be on the move.
Just a few Black-headed and Common Gulls there, as well as a number of Carrion Crows and Jackdaws.
 Adult Common Gull taking a rest !

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Swales Moor

Earlier today there were 13 Skylarks on the top all feeding together but flighty, though they came back to the same spot in the field by the big metal gates along Ringby Lane.
Encouraging that they are up in numbers from the previous day.
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Kestrel and a few gulls and corvids and that was about it other than a Sparrowhawk high >W

13 Skylarks

Monday, February 15, 2016

Soil Hill & Wainstalls

       Soil Hill today 9.30 to 10.30 sun was shining but the
       wind was ice cold, went up in hope of a Snow Bunting
       but drew a blank.

        2 Skylark
        3 Crow
        2 Gulls.

        Wainstalls produced one male Stonechat and that was it.
         Garden- 8 Goldfinch

Swales Moor and Soil Hill

Swales Moor
No sign of yesterday's Linnets
5 Skylark
3 Meadow Pipits
1 Reed Bunting

Soil Hill
Just 1 Skylark and nothing else though there is definitely Snow Bunt possibility in this cold spell!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Swales Moor

An hour up there late afternoon was probably a bit too late in the day but with clear skies interspersed with hail showers there was always a chance of some geese-  but not today !
12 Linnets on the top was a nice surprise though they were flighty but I did try to check to see if any Twite were with them but drew a blank on that score.
2 Skylark
2 Meadow Pipits
8 Stock Doves
3 Herring Gulls >NW
3 L B B Gulls loafing about with Common Gulls and scores of corvids on the top

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mount Tabor - Golden Plover

Only time to do any birding from the house today but I was thrilled to see 4 Golden Plover flying round the field this morning.  I lost them in the murk before they came down.  Also 1 x Grey Heron stopped by.  Feeding too, 40 x Starling and 17 x BHG (all carefully checked).  5 x Lapwing have also been around.


Early one morning over the past week I was watching out of my bedroom window and could see at least 15 Blackbirds in and around my garden eating the seed I had scattered on the floor.  I do tend to get a lot this time of the year but think that 15 must be the record

Still on Blackbirds, I work in HX town centre and coming out for lunch recently there was a Blackbird perched in a tree behind the Bowling Alley belting out the most beautiful song.  I stopped to listen to him for a few minutes while everyone else carried on around me totally oblivious.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Pinkies Flyover

          Lots of noise over Claremount this morning as 50
          Pink Footed Geese flew over possibly going to Fly
          Flatts Res shame it was so cloudy.

          Cromwell Bottom-:
          6 Jay
          1 GSW
          8 LTT. lots of the regular tit family
          1 female Reed Bunting
          1 Wren
          2 Grey Heron
          1 Goldcrest
          Blackbirds and Robins and Corvids
          1 Song Thrush.

           12 Goldfinch
           2 Collared Dove
           2 Chaffinch
           1 Blue Tit.