Thursday, October 19, 2017

Natural World

Just seen that the Natural World tonight is showing a programme at 9PM on BBC 2 about Goshawks, one of my favourite birds, hope its good.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Other news today

Can't beat the report from BS... ! what will tomorrow bring (???)

5 Whooper Swans over Northowram >E at around 15:00 this afternoon (AC)

c80 Pink-footed Geese >W over Barkisland this morning at c 09:35 (TW)
c160 more 'pinks' >W over Skircoat at 11 :05 (WG)

Fly Flatts Great Egret

                         Another stonker for Calderdale
                            1500 hrs Fly Flatts >NE
                           It came up the Calder Valley from the SW

Report on West Yorkshire Birding

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fly Flatts Caspian Gull.

Just had contact with DJS about some pics of yesterdays 1st winter Caspian gull at Fly Flatts .
Photos not the best as bird came through fast in near gale force SW >7 gusting 8 so no time to tripod up. Photos hand held at 600mm.

                                     Hooked bill

                                         Bullet hole eye.

                               Milky white underwing

Thanks to all concerned.

Another first for Calderdale.. !

See BS's blog for yesterday, 16th October- West Yorkshire Birding - there is a link on this page.

Top birder Bri, for finding and photographing a Caspian Gull at Fly Flatts yesterday afternoon. Probably a first winter bird. A great reward for a lot of hard work day after day on the local patch and in all conditions. These are tricky birds to identify at all ages though there have been a growing number of reports in the UK in recent years but none identified in Calderdale, until this one !

Like  a true birder - BS was careful about not jumping to conclusions on the birds identity but checked it out with others after KM suggested Caspian and then supported by comments from other experienced birders.
Well done Bri. Think you deserve a reward !!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir

Had a walk around the site late morning trying for late warblers in the shrubbery areas around the western edge. Nothing much doing at all until a call from BS lifted the gloom "pinks over Queensbury >SW"
A few minutes later they came overhead, heard first then seen high over  - 44 of them towards Wainstalls. Thanks Bri

A distinct lack of small birds around the site.
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Sparrowhawk
1 L B B Gull
A few Common and Black-headed Gulls
40+ Jackdaws

Friday, October 13, 2017

Brighouse to Lee Mount

Early warning at 09:39 this morning from DF - Pink-footed Geese over Brighouse >W.
11 minutes later they were over Lee Mount 51 of them - a great sight - thanks Dave !

Interesting that last week when the 'pinks' were on the move in the blustery wind it was taking them over 15 minutes minutes to get here. Conditions were more favourable for them moving today.
Pink-footed Geese
Another 'shout' from DF at 12:37 - with another c60 >W over Jay House Lane, Clifton but they missed me this time so wonder if they came up Shibden Valley or Queensbury maybe (??)

Also from home today, 3 Redwings passed over >W just after dawn and later a Sparrowhawk as well as the usual pair of Great-spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Nuthatches on the garden feeders.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fly Flats etc.

I did the rounds this morning thinking the poor weather might produce something, though sideways rain at Fly Flats would deter most birds - nothing there other than a lost looking brown cow down by the former Twite feeding area !

Mixenden Reservoir was similar other than 2 L B B Gulls and 3 alba Wagtails >W
The highlight .... ...was 1 Pink-footed Goose still in the fields with 20 Canadas at Cold Edge.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Other news today

Ringstone Reservoir this afternoon from JB
4 Shelduck
5 Wigeon
5 Teal

Shibden Head

A stroll up the valley this afternoon didn't produce a lot but the weather was pleasant, warm and dry.
1 Green Woodpecker calling
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Common Buzzards (distant)
2+ Sparrowhawks
2 Kestrels
1 Grey Wagtail
6+ Jays
Usual small birds including 2 Goldcrests
1 Song Thrush
6+ Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush

North of England Raptor Forum

The annual NERF Conference for 2017 is being hosted by Northumbria Ringing Group at City Campus East, Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne.

 There is an exciting and varied programme for you to enjoy. We’ll be covering a wide range of topics guaranteed to be of interest to raptor enthusiasts, fieldworkers and those with an interest in the uplands. 

 The conference takes place on Saturday 18th November 2017. Refreshments and lunch are included in the ticket price and in a first for the conference this year you will receive a FREE complimentary copy of the newly published NERF Annual Review 2016.

 If you would like further details please email   for  a programme of the days events, your delegate booking form and a handy map to help get you there.

 To ensure your place at the conference please BOOK EARLY! Payments either by BACS or cheque. Please follow the instructions on the booking form.

Other enquiries: email or visit for more information.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Stodfold area (between Mixenden and Ogden)

Not a lot found this afternoon
4 Mistle Thrush
Adult female Sparrowhawk
2 Jays
72 Canada Geese on Mixenden Reservoir
6 Stock Doves
No sign of any Stonechats at the lower end of the golf course.

48 Pink-footed Geese over Lee Mount at 15:30 as we pulled the car up outside home. Count verified by BS who got them going over near Fly Flats a few minutes later. Thanks Bri

Todays other news

A nice photo of a Tree Sparrow today from JM at a site near Jay House Lane
Tree Sparrow (click photo to enlarge)
Several reports from yesterday and today of Redwings arriving in Calderdale from the continent along with just a few Fieldfare. Sightings from Mixenden plantation, Northowram, Claremount, Walshaw Dean and Gorple areas. We can expect a good influx within the next week or two - always dependent on weather conditions !
A Swallow today over Northowram (AC) and another Stonechat at Wainstalls (Dave B)

From yesterday a single Whooper Swan at Ringstone (GS and AT) and an unknown number of Whooper Swans over Fly Flatts - heard in the fog, but unseen ! (BS)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Swales Moor

In interesting afternoon along Ringby top in the sunshine !
Nice to meet John and Sue up there as well, shame you left when you did with a Peregrine, a Raven and a Stonechat not long after you left. !

At least 4 Great Black-backed Gulls including one that landed on a roof-top next to a Lesser Black- backed Gull showing the difference in leg colour and size, which is not always easy to appreciate. Several Herring Gulls also moved through > W
1 Kestrel
1 Common Buzzard
1 Sparrowhawk
2 Pied Wagtails
Not many small birds about other than a few 'mipits' and Goldfinches though, as usual, plenty of corvids.
 This adult Gt B B Gull towered over the L B B Gull and the Carrion Crows
Peregrine with a very full crop (looking directly into the light)

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Pink-footed Geese - update

What a day for those of us who had the opportunity and the good fortune to continue with the bonanza of 'pinks' still moving >W and >NW over Calderdale from this morning.

The birds were obviously struggling against the gusting westerly winds and skeins were getting split up and struggling to catch up with the leaders. It's amazing the in-built urge to keep moving even when conditions are far from perfect. In one instance this afternoon a flock of 40 came down to rest on Warley Moor between Slade (opposite the wind-farm) and the Rocking Stone. Despite other flocks passing overhead they were not interested in moving on !

With thanks to AC, DF, MS, VJ et al for the frequent updates from Northowram, Jay House Lane - Clifton, Highroad Well and Warley Moor/Fly Flatts.
The total for the day (thanks partly to photographic counts) and discounting duplications comes to 1,726 though with such a big movement of birds it's likely that other skeins were missed. Some may well still be going over during the night and maybe into tomorrow. (?)

Pink-footed Geese

'Pinks' on the move late morning over Calderdale starting with 35 over Lee Mount at 10:38 closely followed by 38 over Northowram - then it continued.....In blustery conditions some of the skeins were all over the place but persisted W> or >NW till over lunchtime.

 Counts over Lee Mount, mainly looking towards Swales Moor, were 35, 16, 25, 31, 12, 50 and 25 (counts checked from photos) - totalling 194 and maybe more to come this afternoon.
Other reports came in from AC at Northowram and from DF at Jay House Lane, Clifton so there may be some duplication, possibly up to another 200 to 300??

Also moving this morning over Lee Mount, mainly (>W)  were c45 Meadow Pipits, 20+ unidentified finches, 8 Swallows (>SE), c60 Starlings, 1 adult Great Black-backed Gull, 3 Sparrowhawks and 2 Common Buzzards. A good morning to be outside !

Monday, October 02, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir

5 Goosander (all red-heads) there late afternoon.
1 Goldcrest

Lee Mount

Out doing a few jobs this morning then on arriving back home soon after 10 am got out the car to hear a Raven "Cronkin" high above me. Soaring about and display tumbling for a few minutes over the ridge above Shroggs Park so I shot in for the camera, wrong lens on !! Then the bird was away towards town centre direction. What a bird, fantastic and only the second record for this location in over 40 years !!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Stonechat bonanza !

This species seems to have had a very good breeding season and birds are now either dispersing from local sites or arriving in Calderdale from other areas and being seen by several observers.
A bird mainly seen on the moorland fringes, especially where there is some rough ground including heather, billberry and brambles etc - and fence posts to perch as lookout post for prey.
14 together on a fence line yesterday at Walshaw Dean (NCD DF)
6 at Ogden - Lower Brockholes earlier this week (PJWS) and still 6 there today.
11  at Fly Flatts last weekend (BS) and 6+ there yesterday
6 at Cold Edge today (PJWS)
1 at Jay House Lane, Clifton today (JM)
5 at Fly Flatts today (BS)
Plus other numerous sightings over the last few weeks.
Stonechat - typical habitat (click photo to enlarge)

Stonechat (male below and female above at Cold Edge April 2017)

Rose-ringed Parakeets

Nice shot below from RS of three individuals at Friendly - Sowerby Bridge. They have been reported for some time from that area though expansion into the rest of Calderdale is quite slow - for now !
They are also sometimes known as Rose-ringed Parakeets as well as Green Parakeets. (Psittacula krameri). An introduced species from South Asia and sub-saharan Africa, they are now feral in several European countries. Thanks for the photo Richard.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pink-footed Geese

A report of around 50 'pinkies' >SE over Skircoat on 28th September at 08:20 (WG)

Fly Flats and Withens Head

Fly Flats
2 Wheatear and 6 Stonechats on the walls alongside the top road and 2 Wrens !
Female Merlin after a load of 'mipits' across by the wind-farm towards Thornton Moor
1 Raven >N
1 Kestrel
2 distant Common Buzzards
Red-legged Partridge (heard)
Red Grouse

Withens Head
1 Wheatear
1 Kestrel

Ogden and Mixenden Reservoirs

First thing in the rain - and still hoping for some terns !
Passerine Alley (path to east side of reservoir)
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Chiffchaff
5+ Goldcrests with a  small tit flock
1 Bullfinch
10+ Blackbirds
1 Song Thrush
2 Jays

100+ Meadow Pipits high >W after the rain stopped

1 female Wigeon
1 Cormorant
1 Kestrel
Male Sparrowhawk put up c60 Chaffinch on the far side weedy shoreline

1 Chiffchaff

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ovenden Moor

1 Wheatear on the top near the wind farm this afternoon and a solitary Raven - not much else - other than 22 Red Admirals moving >W

Hollas Bridge/Milner Royd

Buzzard above Hollas Lane at 2pm today
Kingfisher and 2 female Goosander on the river behind the Allotments
On the subject of Buzzards there are 2 or 3 over the land identified for housing in the local plan at Woodhouse Lane/Shepherds Thorn Lane, Brighouse almost every day now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Various today

This morning - brief visit
Mixenden reservoir - nothing doing !
Fly Flats - c100 Meadow Pipits
Withens Head - 4 Starlings

Afternoon at Cold Edge
2 Stonechat
2 Little Grebe (adult and a juv being fed)
1 Merlin flythrough
64 Canada Geese
2 Kestrel
Distant Buzzard
1 Moorhen
3 Teal flew straight through >W
No Swallows

Monday, September 25, 2017

'Bits and pieces for today !

A nice Pochard turned up at Mixenden Reservoir - a very scarce bird in Calderdale in recent years. Thanks to NK.

14 Wigeon at Fly Flats late afternoon along with 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Canada Geese and Red Grouse very vocal on the moor. Pochard still at Mixenden late afternoon along with 1 Swallow >SW.

Also a nice bonus when I called at B & Q this morning - an adult Peregrine perched high on the big Dean Clough chimney.

Ring-necked Parakeet (up to 2 birds daily) around Sainsbury's on Rochdale Road at Willow Field From Matt E.

Kingfisher at Ogden along with 5 Siskin earlier in the day (NK and PJWS and from BS later in the day)
From HC (via BS) - 4 Redwings over the Oxenhope watch-point earlier today - nice and early arriving from more northern climes for our winter.!!! More to follow in the next month or so.

From yesterday (Mike H) - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Cromwell Bottom - they too are a very scarce bird in Calderdale. Nice one Mike.
Also from AT yesterday - 9 Wigeon at Ringstone Reservoir
Also from yesterday (Matt B) - House Martins still feeding young, just fledged at a site in Sowerby Bridge.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


The YNU have accepted Dave Franz's two Rough-legged Buzzards in 2014, one at Walshaw Dean and the other at Ringstone Edge so well done Dave. Also Ive sent in a description of the Baird's Sandpiper and the YNU has passed it on to BBRC. If accepted and I can not see why it would not then it will be the 9th record for Yorkshire and a Calderdale first.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Stodfold area

Had an hour up there this morning (between Mixenden Reservoir and Ogden) also nice to meet up with NK and have a chat as we walked round.
2 Grey Partridge
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Swallows >NW
30+ Goldfinch
c12 Linnets
2 Sparrowhawks
2 Kestrels
2 Jays
1 Pied Wagtail
+ a few other local species
Still a good show of Red Admirals (15+) up there along with 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Speckled Woods and a single Small Copper

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fly Flats and Withens Head

Had an hour up there late morning but the drizzle was pretty intense so didn't find much at all.
1 Wheatear at Withens Head opposite the former wind farm car park was disturbed by  a Grey Squirrel running the wall tops.
A good number of Meadow Pipits around the fields near the former Withens Pub area.

21st Sept

Last few days, Roils Head had 2 Stonechats and a nice Wheatear, yesterday the Wigeon was still at Ringstone Edge.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pink-footed Geese....

Great sprinting from the Oxenhope (HC) and Queensbury (BS) relay team this morning with a call of 'pinkies'on their way around 08:45 . Looked like Concorde resurrected !!!
I make it 75 from a quick count I just got out in time to hear them right over the house - brill teamwork, thanks.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Jumble Hole

A few bits whilst out in the garden

- 2 buzzards around all day
- 2 chiffchaff in the garden
- green and great spotted woodpecker over
- nuthatch
- herring gull over, calling
- sparrowhawk being mobbed by swallows and house martins

Friday, September 15, 2017

Yesterdays Bairds Sand

DF took these last night but didn't think they were any good ! still there the best Ive seen so on they go.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Baird's Sandpiper re-located

Back up to Whiteholme this PM where DF relocated the Baird's Sand after it had gone missing for 3 hours, sadly most of the twitchers had gone home. The bird showed much better today and was so obviously a Baird's Sand viewed in good light. Managed a few half decent phone scoped shots. DF and AH will have much better ones so come on guys get them posted.

Baird's Sandpiper update.

Arrived at Whiteholme this morning at 7.50 and was surprised to see no cars. The long walk to the reservoir produced 3/4 Wheatear , 30 meadow pipits , 3 Pied Wagtail and a skien of 32 Pink Footed Geese. arriving at the res not a single birder looking. After an hour not a single wader had been  seen , Alan Nuttal turned up and we both gave the area a good scoping , but nothing , we then headed for the old twite feeding station to see if was in that corner....nothing. With now nearly 2 hours looking it was looking like the bird had moved on . Another scope of the mud banks , and in the far northern corner a small dot was picked up, I pointed it out to Alan ,,,he immediatley said we are going to have to walk all the way back round.
  Finally we made it to the back corner and there it was a stunning Baird's Sandpiper in all its glory with brilliant autumn sunshine picking out the birds beautiful plumage. It called twice 'prrrrt ' very similar to Dunlin  ,  white flanks , straight black bill, black legs with a slight greenish tinge in the sunlight, long primary projection , dark rump , scaly above with a slightly buffish   breast and head with the pale indistinct pale area between the eye and bill. Hope everyone gets to see it and well done to NCD and DFranz for there hard work in finding it ...Cheers all..hope there are some good pics from Allan

Baird's Sandpiper ??????

Its well past mid night and Ive had a few too many drinks but is this a Baird's Sandpiper. Me and DF found it at Whiteholme tonight in fading light. Im being very cautious, me and MH had one rejected in 1990 by BBRC. Sorry about poor quality of video shots. The primarie projections look very long a good sign for Bairds and White Rumped, only it didn't have a white rump. If people go tomorrow please don't flush it but try for some photos.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


7 Pintails were a nice find at Ringstone Edge tonight, also drake Wigeon there.