Thursday, March 31, 2016

Out of area

Osprey recorded at Cant Clough reservoir today, which is due north of Todmorden, and not more than a mile or so out of our recording area.


Jumble Hole -
1 chiffchaff
21 fieldfare
Green woodpecker
GS woodpecker

Eastwood Sewage Works -
2 chiffchaff
5 grey wagtails

Dean Head

3 male Wheatears,  at last :)
20+ Meadow Pipits
1 Stonechat
Pair of Reed bunting
3 Goosander still there
2 Goldcrest in the Spruce Trees

Took a couple of photos, both heavy crops, Wheatear and MP.
Looking at the MP back home on the monitor, I was surprised by the reddy brown coloured chest, is that down to it being last years young? Cheers

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Yesterday (30th)there were 3 Sand Martins over the Calder between Colnebridge and Bradley Hall Farm; but no activity around last year's nest site as yet. Also 2 Chiffchaffs there and a Buzzard high over Kirklees Hall. No sign of any Yellowhammers around B H Farm.

Crimsworth Dean and Withens Head

At last some Wheatears have arrived!
Early afternoon a single male Wheatear just near Grain Water bridge in Crimsworth Dean. Loads of Curlew and Lapwing plus 2 oystercatchers.

3 Wheatears (2 males and a female) at Withens Head in fields opposite the wind farm ex car park ! Also a Stonechat there on the broken wall near the farm.

Soil Hill

Finally got a Wheatear this year with a superb male at Soil Hill, down by the ponds at the bottom.
Other birds of note: 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Siskin, Also Redshank calling but couldn't get eyes on it for the life of me!

Couple of other things from previous visits
29.03: 8 Golden Plover South
25.03: 10 Fieldfare in fields around the top

Wheatear was my 50th point for Patchwork Challenge this year, and with Siskin and Mistle Thrush afterwards its now looking rosy on 52 points from 48 species!


1 male Wheatear at Cromwell Bottom 29/3/16. (Allan Wolfenden)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Out and about

Went round a number of sites this morning checking on some Rookeries and Heronries.
I also tied in  looking for Wheatears (where are they)!!!? Not a sign of any at Mankinholes and Longfield, Crimsworth Dean, Fly Flats or Ovenden Moor etc. with the usual traditional early spots checked.

Plenty of Meadow Pipits about - all over the place along with a few alba wagtails - I guess they are 'movers' brought down in the heavy showers and snow on the tops earlier on today. Also good numbers of Curlew about on the moors and in-bye. 2 Oystercatchers at the head of Crimsworth Dean along with 3 Kestrels, a distant Common Buzzard and 2 Redwing.

Monday, March 28, 2016

High Royd etc

The strong blustery wind put me off doing the tops so went down High Royd, Luddenden Foot and Brearley in the hope of - maybe Sand Martin passing through but no joy on that score.
High Royd with the usual restricted viewing !
1 Teal
1 Coot
1 Moorhen
1 Grey Heron
1 Reed Bunting
1 Chiff-chaff singing along the canal
Nothing at all on the filter beds as loads of construction work in progress.

1 Kingfisher along the River Calder between Luddenden Foot and Brearley and 15 or more Redwings in the fields near Brearley.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dean Head / Ryburn Dam

A walk along Dean Head top yesterday 25/03/16
1 Kestrel
8 Meadow Pipit, one very obligingly posed for a photo :)
A pair of Reed Bunting
3 Stonechat
Pair of Goosanders had been joined by another male
12 + Pairs of Canada's 
Another local first for us, although not a bird, a Common Lizard. I can't take credit for spotting it though, that was down to my wife :)
It was basking in the sun and scuttled off to hide in the grass but it kept its beady eye on us!

Ryburn Dam to Baitings
Numerous Blue, Great & Coal Tits
2 Thrushes, probably song
2 Wren
1 Goldcrest, no idea where the rest have gone!
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Treecreepers
And a very quick glimpse of the Green Woodpecker 
No Dippers this time which was unusual, the last few visits they've always been in the same spot


1 goshawk flew south over the house good long views of it circling then hunting along the ridge 2 kestrels green woodpecker

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fly Flats

Things getting desperate up there today... Nothing doing other than - what's a domestic hen/cockerel doing up there!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Coach Road, Hove Edge

We had a careful look along Coach Road this afternoon but didn't find a lot.
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Nuthatch
A few L T Tits etc
1 Sparrowhawk
c50 Starlings
2 Jays

Soil Hill - my 80th species

Clocked my 80th species for Soil Hill this afternoon when a nice Redshank dropped in for about 5 mins.
Also of note this afternoon, 3 Oystercatcher which came South, then banked round and headed off East. Also a solitary Grey Partridge on the top of the hill.
Other usual species were also present. The 4 additional patch year-ticks today puts me on a nice 47 points from 43 species for Patchwork Challenge 2016. Its ticking over nicely. 

Dean Head

A walk along the top of Dean Head wasn't very productive yesterday

8 Meadow Pipit
1 Wren
1 Stonechat
Pair of Goosander still on but couldn't spot anything else
No Wheatear up there yet either

Highlight of the day (different location) was seeing my first Calderdale Barn Owl, not one but two, very pleased :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Out and About

Few things out and about today. The highlight was watching a Peregrine and Long-eared Owl lock talons briefly around 6ft away from me...
-Golden Plover
-Red Kite
-Long-eared Owl
Couple of other things, 2 Little Owls and 2 Teal on Soil Hill.

Fly Flats

Not a lot new up there this morning other than a female Teal. Meadow Pipits moving high >N on on a broad front so they were impossible to count. 6 single alba wagtails also >N.
13 Carrion Crows hassling the sheep giving birth.
2 Golden Plover heard but distant.
1 male Stonechat at top end of res'r
No Wheatears and no Twite.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cold Edge rtc

A steady move of Meadow Pipits >N this morning with 240 counted in 2 hrs at Cold Edge late morning though they were on the move on a broad front so I will have missed a lot.
Still not a 'sniff' of  Wheatear !
1 Grey Heron
2 Little Grebe
2 Oystercatchers
1 Redshank
30+ Lapwings
6+  Curlew
1 Snipe
1 pair Tufted Duck
1 male Stonechat near Haigh Cote
3 Reed Bunting
1 Skylark
c280 Starlings
c80 Canada's, 1 Barnacle Goose and 3 Greylag Geese

Withens Head
1 Little Owl

Fly Flats
3 Herring Gulls and one Common Gull >N but nothing else new.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sowerby Crow Hill

Crow Hill area am

Sunny and still conditions. A bit quiet.
Hoped to see golden plover.  No luck.

5 skylarks seen
Lots of meadow pipits
8 curlews seen... plenty of distant calls
15 lapwing
1 m reed bunting
1 snipe
1 pied wagtail

Plus usual corvids, titmice, finches & thrushes.

1 large lagomorph

It's sad to see the decline of this habitat, with the drainage of the meadows, the intensive use of fertilisers etc and the creation of large fields.


A walk from Mays shop, past Egypt Farm to Lower Gorple this afternoon
- red kite flew over Edge Lane, gaining lots of height and heading SW over Blackshaw Head
- a peregrine spooked the curlew whilst passing through
- 14 curlew
- 2 oystercatcher
- common buzzard
- a flock of just under 100 lapwing flew over Lower Gorple, then split into smaller groups
- 11 skylark
- 9 meadow pipits
- 2 kestrel
- 7 red grouse
- 6 mistle thrush
- 2 Siskin over

Mount Tabor Curlews

Drew the curtains this morning and 2 Curlew were feeding in the field behind the house.  They stayed for about half an hour before heading NW hopefully to their territory on the nearby moors.  I know not the rarest of birds but the relatively regular feeding of the Curlew in these fields are great to have on the doorstep.  I have photos for my records but even by my standards are too embarrassing to blog.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Castle Carr Road

From Wainstalls to the Top Lodge late morning.
c35 Fieldfare
Flock of 45 + Meadow Pipits moving up the dean
Male Sparrowhawk
c120 Starlings
2 Stock Doves
1 Pied Wagtail
2 Kestrel
15 Lapwings
2 Curlew
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker flyover
Still no Wheatear

Fly Flats

Barnacle Goose still up there this morning 'sticking' close to a Canada!
Nothing else new from earlier this week.


Flock of geese over the house at Highroad Well about 6.30 this morning.  No idea what they were as I was in bed and mostly asleep.  But they were very noisy

Friday, March 18, 2016

Soil Hill

First time back on Soil Hill since early January. I was kind of hoping for a nice return welcome but that did not look likely whilst walking up seeing only Magpie and Carrion Crow
Onto the top and I added Robin, Grey Heron and Curlew to my Patchwork Challenge Score-sheet. Not a bad return.
Then walking the top, I flushed JACK SNIPE. It took a fraction of a second to interpret the bright gold stripes on the bird I booted, but quick look through the bins confirmed a short bill and it did not call when flushed. It moved off pretty sharpish so I only managed distant shots, and I'm a bit gutted the stripes have not come out in the poor light. 

Jack Snipe is my first two point species for PWC this year. I was pretty thrilled with that, and thats an understatement.
Also added Stock Dove and Meadow Pipit to PWC scoresheet as well
Not a bad return to the old patch at all

Species List:
Soil Hill: Magpie, Carrion Crow, Robin, Grey Heron, Curlew, Jack Snipe, Skylark, Stock Dove, Meadow Pipit, Mallard, Blackbird,

Swales, Ogden and Mixenden area

That bitterly cold easterly persists along with mist and very fine drizzle so conditions were not good today.
Swales Moor - 4 Meadow Pipits and 2 Skylarks
Mixenden - just a few  B H Gulls and a Common Gull
Ogden - one drake Goldeneye, 5 L B B Gull's, Green Woodpecker heard, Grey Wagtail flyover >NE and a male Sparrowhawk
Stodfold (between Ogden golf course  and Mixenden Res'r) c50 Redwings looking in great plumage but they were distant and not very approachable so just a distant shot, cropped below.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Just stopped at Ringstone and I'm 90% sure there are 11 Whooper Swans on

Got a few distant shots, if some one could verify, thanks

Ploughcroft area

Along Hag Lane and looking down into the Shibden Valley in lovely warm sunshine up there this afternoon.
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker 'drumming'
1 Skylark
Pair of Little Owls
Distant Common Buzzard being harassed by a corvid.
Still 5 Mute Swans on Shibden Park lake _ from a distance !

Fly Flats etc

Met AT late morning and went around the site + extra seed at the Twite area though no Twite there - Yet !!
Still not a sign of any Wheatears just the usual Canada's and a few Curlew and Lapwing about.

Heading back to Withens Head there were around 200 Starlings around the farm.

Mt Tabor - 7 Golden Plover flew over the road and went high >W

Also a report via BS late morning of 10+ Whoopers at Ringstone from G and A.
Also via BS - Out of area but 42 whoopers over keighley up aire valley north. IG.
Around 2 pm another BS call from Ogden. 15 whoopers very high Nw.
It's good news for us that you have plenty contacts up there ! Well done Bri & co.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monday at Lumbutts

Delay in posting due to signing in under wrong account name, it would seem.

Lee Dam
1m 1f Goosander on top dam, flew off N as I was leaving c1045.
1m 1f Tufted Duck
2f Goldeneye
Also 3 pairs Canada Geese and a few Mallard.
Usual woodland stuff, Robin, Dunnock and Chaffinch singing most obviously.

Longfield Dam
Very quiet, 4 Canada Geese and about 8 Mallard. No waders seen or heard around dam or on fields opposite. A few Pied Wagtails and Carrion Crows was about it.

Fly Flats

I gave the site a go first thing before the mist came in from the east with a vengeance! Freezing cold wind as well.
Nothing new from yesterday but I did manage to rescue this ewe stuck on its back and about to give birth. It seemed ok once I rolled it over.

3 Snipe displaying and 'drumming' at Withens Head

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fly Flats

Freezing cold with that easterly blowing hard this morning. Went to check for any overnight Whoopers but drew a blank !
2 Redshank
2 Oystercatchers
8 Curlew
4 Lapwings
3 Greylag and loads of Canada's
3 Rooks
12 Carrion Crows giving the Lapwings a lot of hassle !
Seed put down at the Twite feeding station in the hope of drawing some in this spring thanks to BS's initiative.
No sign of any Wheatears yet.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Salterhebble Whoopers

Just got a report from WG of c18 Whoopers >W over Salterhebble at 07:05 this morning - thanks Will.
Maybe some more in the next few days - hopefully.

Also from Nigel G
A group of 10 swans fly over the B6138 at 09.50 this morning, heading from east to west were also probably Whoopers.

Lee Mount

Flock of Whoopers heard at 20:10 but we were unable to see them so no idea on numbers but they were very vocal and sounded ! to be heading >W or NW maybe towards Ogden or Fly Flats direction. I guess if the night is clear with a quarter moon then they will probably keep going unless they  hit some fog and come down at Ogden, Mixenden or Fly (?) - if anyone is passing to check any of those sites in the morning ?

Upland walk

An afternoon upland walk in the north of our recording area was very productive - I almost didn't feel like I was in Calderdale! The highlights were
- red kite, briefly sparring with a common buzzard, then slowly heading north
- barn owl
- 3 kestrel 
- 1 chipping snipe
- 2 oystercatcher
- 8+ curlew
- 14 lapwing
- 3 meadow pipit
- 1 siskin

Castle Carr Road

Had an hour or so this afternoon along the road and the 'catty' hillside checking the usual sites up there for an early Wheatear. No luck today on that score. !
2 Little Owls
7+ Lapwing
8 Curlew
1 Meadow Pipit

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Recent news

9 Whooper Swans over Soil Hill on Friday 11th very high >NNE around 11:30 from JL

and today from JB 2 Whoopers at Ringstone Res'r were still there soon after mid-day

W had a morning up Crimsworth Dean yesterday from the crags car park up to the head of the dean at Grain Water Bridge and return. A few interesting 'bits and pieces' about mainly at the top end of the dean and near the Oxenhope Road.
22 Fieldfare >NE
35+ Curlew
60+ Lapwing
1 Redshank
c120 Starling
1 Grey Heron
1 Green Woodpecker
Tawny Owl singing in the lower dean
1 Kestrel
Curlew flock

Earlier in the day there were 70+ Canadas at Fly Flats and of more interest -  the Curlew were in full song !
1 Snipe 'chipping' at Withens Head
1 f Goldeneye at Mixenden Res'r and 5 sub-adult Herring Gulls >W

Friday, March 11, 2016

Dean Head Res

A lovely day, felt quite spring like :)
Male Goldeneye  swimming and diving along the N/W bank
Approx. 2 dozen Curlew in  field just below the Nonts
2 Oystercatchers flew over heading south
And a pair of Kestrels were hunting


Popped back to Dean Head for last light this evening

Male Goldeneye still present, it had been joined by....
A pair of Goosanders
A pair of Tufted Ducks
Also about 10 pairs of Canadian Geese

Managed to get some heavily cropped, grainy record shots ..... here's one of the Goldeneye

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ryburn Dam

Had another wander along Ryburn this afternoon..
Plenty of BT,GT & CT
Just the 1 Dipper today
2 Wren
1 Cormorant
And was quite surprised to see a pair of Mandarin Duck at the tail end of the North side

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Tomorrow !!

Write off today with persistent rain and low cloud - but it might be worth a check of local reservoir sites tomorrow as there has been a number of reports of a few Kittiwakes inland today across the country.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Luddenden Dean

We spent mid morning in the upper dean starting from Jerusalem Farm.
Pretty quiet on then whole with mist on the tops and persistent light drizzle but the coffee etc and Hot X bun was nice !.
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker calling by J Farm
1 Green Woodpecker near the Lower Lodge and probably a different bird singing lower down the dean
c30 Fieldfares in the fields near Saltonstall
c20 Redwings and 2 Mistle Thrush near Spa Wood and a Goldcrest in bushes along the track
2 Siskins on the feeders by 'The Lowe' along with Nuthatch and a good number of Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Chaff's, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

Soil Hill and Ogden

Grim this morning up there!
Not much doing as the mist came in
3 Skylarks on the top
2 Stock Doves
2 Curlew over >NE

Soil Hill - on the top this morning

Ogden (brief visit)
9 Siskin by The Lodge flew across to the main plantation
1 Kestrel
110 Mallard
1 adult L B B Gull

Monday, March 07, 2016

Ryburn Dam

Managed a few shots this afternoon of one of Dave's Dippers, I say one, there was at least two there today, possibly three! :)

Also, at last, got a couple of record shots of a Goldcrest. There were at least 12 flitting about in the trees, at the bottom of the dam wall up at Baitings

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane - yesterday afternoon and this morning still 15 Skylarks on the top field but muck spreading today might move them on.

Not a lot else other than 4+ loafing L B B Gulls and c25 Common Gulls and a distant common Buzzard and a Kestrel.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Some better news!!

From 38degrees petition site below
"I am very pleased to announce that the government has agreed to continue funding the National Wildlife Crime Unit for a further four years. We will be writing to DEFRA with details of our campaign and to enquire as to what happens at 2020 and beyond as we believe that the NWCU should never be under threat of closure.
Thank-you to everyone who signed the petition, your support is greatly appreciated."
Pete Warwick

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Sunny Vale & Murky Hartshead

At Sunny Vale - 2 Buzzards overhead, Treecreeper, Green Woodpecker and GS Woodpecker in the wood. A Little Grebe, 6 Moorhen and 2 Coot on the lake; no sign of any Teal. At Hartshead/Kirklees Hall - 2 Buzzards overhead,Grey Partridge, Pheasant, 3 Mistle Thrush and a male Yellowhammer - the first of the year here. At Clifton Lagoon - 2 Herons, 8 Mallard and 5 Coot.

Swales Moor

Along Ringby Lane this afternoon. In the field opposite the big metal fence/gate there were 13 Linnets and 13 Skylarks - in with the multitude of corvids !
Several immaculate looking Lesser Black-backed Gulls loafing around the site along with 8 Common Gulls and 11 Stock Doves together
11 Herring Gulls in one group >NW
1 Sparrowhawk in the distant, in display mode over towards Shelf Moor

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Glaucous Gull at Cant Clough Res. 29.2.16

Cant Clough is just over the watershed from Upper Gorple.

The bird comes in about 4pm and roosts alone on an otherwise deserted reservoir.
It's been there a while, and is quite confiding.

It's quite a small individual, smaller than the average Lesser Black-backed, I estimate.

With thanks to Ian C. for the tip-off.