Sunday, June 25, 2017

Luddenden Dean

Had a good scout around the upper end of the dean this afternoon in the hope of Redstart, but nothing doing on that score. 
2 Blackcaps, a few Willow Warblers , a Common Buzzard distant and not a lot else. No sign of the Cuckoo, though many of the satellite tracked adults are already well on their way back to Africa. 

Friday, June 23, 2017


Undisclosed site - with juveniles now flying around.


Mixenden and Fly Flatts

Common Scoter drake on Mixenden Reservoir this morning along with 6 Canada Geese, a L B B Gull and a few Swifts, Swallows and House Martins in the rain
Common Scoter - distant shot was the best I could do !
Probably a first summer male as there is only a small bulge at the base of the bill and the wing panel still shows brownish rather than black feathers.
Fogged off at Fly Flatts along with rain, wind and the Fire Brigade on exercises but the Swifts were still there undeterred.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

Female Common Scoter on the water this morning though it was tricky to find in the waves from the strong wind and mist drifting through added to the fact that it was diving for quite a lot of the time and seemed to stay under for quite a while at a time.
Still there mid afternoon (BS)

Also from this morning 2 Barnacle Geese still with the Canada flock which now, with the juveniles, amounts to well over 200 birds plus a few Greylag Geese.
I couldn't get a decent count of the waders in the conditions but they included Common Sandpipers, Dunlin, Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing and Curlew.
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull present with 50+  Swifts feeding at a frenzy over the water - fantastic to watch at the speed they were moving !

Monday, June 19, 2017

Red Kite over Claremount & Boothtown

       Red Kite seen over Claremount coming from over town
       toward Shibden valley harrassed by a single crow all the
       way, great to see one over this way even though it was
       very high up, this was about 1.30 in the afternoon.


Long-eared Owls

Staying with the owl theme, here's a few shots and a short video from a pair of LEO's and one of the Owlets, I've been following since the end of March, unfortunately outside our recording area. The pair have 3 Owlets branching, all seem to be doing well.
 Last couple of weeks I've visited 4 breeding sites, all have young hunger calling.
3 sites within a few miles of our recording area and one being in South-west Calderdale, making at least 2 breeding pairs in our area, great news!
Year before last, I was visiting a Calderdale site where a pair were still feeding Owlets up to the end of August, fingers crossed there's still more to come.
All shots and video were taken from the roadside, they've been an absolute pleasure to watch hunting and its been superb to see the Owlets so close. 


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Short-eared Owl

A fledgling 'Shortie' at one of our local moorland sites this week. A little different from Barn Owl chicks but a very nice find all the same.

Barn Owl chicks !

No not in Calderdale unfortunately (we don't get sights like this locally) wish we did..!
Thought blog watchers might be interested in this. It sounds like a good year for them down there with 2 other broods of 5 and 5 near this one.

Friday Mytholmroyd

Yesterday evening a hobby flew over the garden heading towards the water works
Also 2 oystercatchers and nuthatch seen from the garden as well

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Yesterdays Scoters

Yesterdays Scoters at Lower Walshaw.

Canal & River

Saw something I'd not seen before yesterday. A Mallard duckling catching & playing with a fish.
Kingfisher then did a flypast on the river close to Hollas Bridge, Copley.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Common Scoters

A pair of Common Scoters Tonight on Lower Walshaw Reservoir.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Re: post below

This is a female redstart, taken recently by a friend at Bolton Abbey. I think it looks a lot like the bird below?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

ID please

Been sent this picture of a bird in hebden bridge in 2014, but I just can't figure out what it is. Any ideas?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Colour ringed Great Tit

Had a Great Tit with a BTO ring over a red plastic ring on its right leg at Roils Head today, is anybody colour ringing Great Tits in Calderdale or as it come from further afield ?????????????

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Fly Flatts etc.

Rough weather up there this morning, raining sideways, though one hardy birder was doing the rounds while I viewed with the scope from the car !
Nothing new in but with the usual waders, Canadas, Greylags and L B B Gulls.
2 Jackdaws flew past - don't often see them up there
2 Reed Buntings
1 Goldfinch

Withens Head
2 Redshank
2 Pied Wagtails

6 Golden Plover in the usual fields

Monday, June 05, 2017

Lee Mount

A few Blue Tits about with juveniles along with juv Coal Tits but only one juv Great Tit seen on the feeders so far. Great spotted Woodpeckers still taking food away for youngsters somewhere.
 Juvenile Blue Tit
Adult Blue Tit looking a bit worn out and quite small alongside a male House Sparrow

Recent bits from Jumble Hole

A tawny owl in a regular area of the woods. It has at least one newly fledged chick

Goldfinches are nesting in the ivy on the side of the house. Same place as last year.

A blackcap singing in the garden

Having been nearly completely absent for weeks, the whitethroat is constantly singing in the same place as the last 2 years

Hardcastle Crags

A nice report received today from a visit yesterday (ZB)

Singing Wood warbler half way from car park to Gibson mill
2x Great spotted woodpecker nests
2x Chiffchaffs singing
4 x Blackcaps singing
Treecreeper singing
2x families of Grey wagtails
Numerous dipper sightings
1x female Goosander
Family of jackdaws
Family of Nuthatches
Goldcrest carrying food
Robin carrying food
Green woodpecker heard
Cuckoo heard

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Lee Mount

Not a lot to report  today but we have a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers visiting the fat-filled coconuts - male below showing the red on the nape.
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Just 6 Swifts, 2 Swallows and 2 House Martins about late afternoon as well as a few L B B Gulls over high.


came across my first SEO of the summer whilst out for a drive,seems to be a lot less about than last year??

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Withens Clough and reservoir circuit

A very hot day with clear sky and hardly any wind.
Unfortunately any waders were disturbed, with dogs and pedestrians along the shoreline rather than the pathways. One pair of Oystercatchers were constantly on the move along with Common Sandpipers etc.
2 Curlew over on the moor
1 Green Woodpecker in the clough along with Linnets and Goldfinch, a single Skylark, 1 Blackcap and 4+ Willow Warblers.
A big plus was a group of around 20 House Martins collecting mud for their nests from drying up muddy pools
No sign of the recent Cuckoo.

Copley Sand Martin

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cold Edge

Well done to BS this afternoon with an Osprey over Fly Flats around 15:50. We were just heading Down Cold Edge Road at the time but despite the uproar from the local waders and Lesser Black-backed Gulls it evaded us - we suspect just below the ridge. What a bird to miss but well done BS. Worth checking Brian's blog tonight for some pictures etc and his usual exemplary report. . (West Yorkshire Birding).

We were doing the BBS Breeding Bird Survey for the BTO at the time and managed a good show of regular birds for that area including Lapwing chicks, 8 Oystercatchers, Snipe, Curlew, Stonechat, Reed Buntings and Linnets along with other usual spp..

Monday, May 29, 2017

Yesterdays Sanderlings

A nice find yesterday were 5 Sanderling at Whiteholme and another 2 at Lower Gorple.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tonight's LEO'S

      2 Long Eared Owl seen at a location I won't divulge
      but people on grapevine will know where it is.
      They were beauty's.

Very unexpected tick

At dusk tonight, right in front of my house in Jumble Hole, I watched a barn owl quarter an ungrazed field for 5 minutes. It then dropped into the grass for a couple of minutes, then took off, probably to be never seen again. Something I never thought I'd see anywhere near Jumble Hole.


Five Sanderlings at Whiteholme and two at Lower Gorple this afternoon. NCD,DF

Vintage binoculars

I'm opening a bar in Hebden Bridge called 'Nightjar', and need some antique or vintage binoculars for the wall. I don't mean 30 year old ones - more like 70+. If anyone has anything they don't need, I can bribe you with pints.....

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hobby today

Adult Hobby zipped past my house early this afternoon, going East ahead of the flash thunderstorm. Nigel

This week

Wednesday- Little Egret was seen going >W near Baitings Reservoir (Blue Ball) heading over Blackstone Edge or beyond !! Pete G

Cuckoo's have been reported singing from numerous locations this week including Ogden, Fly Flats, Withens Clough, Walshaw Dean, Cragg Vale, Scout at Mytholmroyd etc.

Marsh Harrier over Norland last Saturday (20th). SB et al.

A decent selection of waders including up to 8 Dunlin at Fly Flats, all encouraged to stay awhile with a decent muddy shoreline showing. BS

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tawny Owl

A nice shot looking inside a Tawny Owl nest-box thanks to SD.

Cragg Vale

Woodcock 'Roding' in display flight last night - nearly dark.

2 Cuckoo's singing and 3 Tawny Owls heard

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Grasshopper Warbler

Heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in Baitings Gate Pasture (above Baitings Reservoir) on the climb up to Manshead End.

Also saw Linnet, Red Poll, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Meadowpipit, Curlew and Lapwing in Great Manshead Hill area.

Oystercatcher and Mistle Thrush between Ryburn and Baitings reservoirs. 


Three swifts over Triangle cricket club yesterday. Also Buzzard (being moved on by a crow).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Common Scoter

Female Common Scoter still at Blackstone Edge this evening.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


One Knot at Light Hazzles Res this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Recent sightings - Jumble Hole area

Garden Warbler

Female siskin

Male siskin

3 of the 4 ravens
Garden warbler daily in the garden, with another 4 males singing within a short walking distance.
Whitethroat are less apparent than in past years, with just 2 singing at present.
A tawny owl is always around the same area in the woods, with a blackbird harassing it constantly to move on.
A redpoll was briefly on the nyjer seed on the 11th May, with 3+ siskins present still daily.
A single woodcock is roding here at dusk.
4 ravens were between here and Hebden Bridge - which isn't the first time in spring.
Green and great spotted woodpecker.are both very regular, but no nests located.
A pair of moorhen are around on the Calder at Callis Bridge - the first time I've seen them this far up the valley.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


First young starlings of the year over the garden this morning.

Surveys - Calderdale Birds Conservation Group

At the last Conservation Group Meeting there were concerns raised about the plight of local House Martin colonies - a massive crash since we did our last in depth survey in Calderdale in 2011. They are also in serious decline nationally.
Similarly, Swifts are also in decline, and again  not just in Calderdale though Swallows so far seem to be holding their own (?)
House Sparrows, too are struggling in some areas.
The group decided it would be good to log records of nesting colonies in 2017 as we already do annually with Rookeries and Heronries.

Information could well be useful in the future especially if we can protect the birds from development proposals (through the Planning Process) or provide alternative nesting solutions ?

Therefore please could all readers of the blog provide information anytime this summer on the presence of nesting birds i.e.
House Sparrows, House Martins, Swifts.

Location and brief description of the site and the number (or estimated) of nests or number of suspected nesting birds. All information would be greatly appreciated.

Information can be sent to me or via the blog email

Hardcastle Crags

We had a walk, chancing the drizzle, yesterday afternoon and managed to find one of the recent Wood Warblers still singing in woodland between Midgehole car park and Gibson Mill. Also a single Spotted Flycatcher and a few Blackcaps singing.
A good show of Song Thrushes - they like that area
Green Woodpwecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding young in a nest hole
A few Swifts and Swallows

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fly Flats etc

Pouring rain and a strong westerly late morning - most birds in hiding
1 Redshank
1 Snipe
4 Herring Gulls
2 L B B Gulls

Withens Head
1 Wheatear

Nolstar fields
11 Golden Plover

Mixenden Reservoir
Pair of Tufted Duck
c60 Swallows
20+ House Martins
1 Blackcap

Friday, May 12, 2017

Other news today

2 Common Terns still this morning on the ski-lake at Cromwell Bottom (DF)
Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Garden Warblers along with Goosander all nearby. (NK)

2 Wood Warblers in full song in the area around Hardcastle Crags (PG and NG)

Cuckoo again singing above Ogden towards Thornton/Ovenden Moor this morning (via BS) and another Cuckoo reported from Withens Clough, Cragg Vale yesterday AH (SB)
Another Cuckoo from Jumble Hole (MB)

Wheatley Valley

I spent an hour or so checking out the former landfill site alongside Shroggs Road, between there and Brackenbed. 2 dominant habitats - wet grassland and young woodland maturing quickly.
5 species of warbler well in evidence with singing males 5+  Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3+ Willow Warbler, 4 Whitethroat and 1 Garden Warbler.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane on the top late morning
1 singing Whitethroat
1 Willow Warbler
3+ Wheatears
9 Linnets
4 House Martins at the top of Lee Lane
A few Swallows >N
Distant Common Buzzard

Cromwell Bottom

Early morning wander in the sun produced lots of small birds,all posing for photos too.

still trying to learn my smaller birds,is this a sedge warbler??

Area around the read beds seems to be a good spot.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ogden area

We went on the top above the Reservoir this afternoon on the off chance of finding Emperor Moth on the moor but drew a blank there !
A Cuckoo was singing on and off at the top end of Ogden - above the clough leading towards Thornton Moor though we didn't see it.
1 Kestrel
Not much else other than a few Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Red Grouse, Swallows and a Skylark.
Very nice to feel the warmth of the sun today after all those chilling north easterlies recently.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Name that victim

Sparrowhawk kill at Jumble Hole. Name the victim...... (answer later)