Wednesday, August 16, 2017


1m Kestrel
1f Kestrel
20 Swallows
9 Goldfinch
C50 Jackdaw

Swales Moor - Ringby Lane

It was good to meet up with JL doing the rounds late morning checking the 'wagtail' field. Quite a few Pied Wagtails including several juveniles but nothing out of the ordinary in among them.
1 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk being given a hard time by the corvids
1 Herring Gull >W
20+ L B B Gulls loafing around the summit.
A few Linnets and Goldfinch
1 Swift >W
30 + Swallows feeding high
1 Small Copper butterfly and 2 Small Tortoiseshells along Ringby Lane.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Quail 29th July Howarth Old Road

How about this for a record, Quail photographed on Howarth Old Road, Crimsworth Dean on 29th July by Nick Tonge. The bird flew in front of him before taking cover in the grass verge where he managed these pictures. Ive never seen one only heard a bird at Flamborough many years ago.

Cold Edge area

We intended doing a butterfly survey this afternoon but despite the lovely sunshine the wind curtailed butterfly activity. We only managed 3 Green-veined Whites and a Small Tortoiseshell.
1 male Stonechat
2 juvenile Curlew
1 juvenile Peregrine had a go at a Pipit - but missed it !
5 Wheatears at Withens Head
Moorhen with 5 juveniles well grown but still seeking food from the parent near the lower end of Cold Edge.
1 adult Common Gull and a few B H Gulls
Plenty of Swallows , Linnets and Goldfinches around with juveniles.
A great afternoon to be out for a walk - the extensive views from up there on Cold Edge Road/Withens Road are fantastic.

Update - via BS from HC -  2 Whinchats around the conifers near Cold Edge dams this evening.

Roils Head

Tree Pipit and 20+ Willow Warblers at Roils Head today, Red-legged Partridge close by at Highroad Well Moor.

Roils Head

Whinchat at Roils Head yesterday. I have been told that this site which was under treat from developers has now been saved, which is great news.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Recent news - (and a few thoughts) !

Have checked Swales Moor - Ringby Lane a few times recently without a lot of success though yesterday afternoon was a little better with a Kestrel, Up to 3 Sparrowhawks and 2 Buzzard fly - through >S. Linnets and Goldfinch's all have  juveniles with them up there so it looks as if these 2 species have fared better than some of our summer migrants.
Wheatears appearing now in plenty around the upland reservoirs.
A Whinchat reported today from Roils Head (NCD) and Willow Warblers are also appearing.
A few Spotted Flycatchers are returning but little sign of Redstarts yet though some can be expected in the next few weeks.

It's a good time to check the garden shrubberies. Watch out for the small birds flitting about as these groups could include Willow Warblers as well as Whitethroats and Blackcaps etc - especially first thing in a morning or after overnight rain or mid-day downpours !

Adult Cuckoo's are mostly well on their way back to Africa now - some are even in the process of crossing the Sahara (per BTO and RSPB information on satellite tracked birds). It is time to look out for juvenile Cuckoos on moorland or in moorland cloughs.

An Osprey was seen yesterday near to Oxenhope - ( see BS's West Yorkshire Birding blog -for  an interesting and comprehensive report.)

There are till quite a few Swifts about (over Lee Mount at least) but they won't be around for long now - signs of autumn....... It's still a good time for Swallows and House Martins in the next six weeks or so as they gather to feed in suitable locations and as many pairs continue the breeding process.

A few Common Gulls are also appearing from their breeding grounds along with Black-headed Gulls.
It's a great time of year to expect the unexpected  !

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sunny Vale

The pair of Little Grebes are now feeding four young out on the lake.
An adult Kingfisher was with another bird which was finding it hard to perch, and dive - probably a juv
trying to adjust to it's new surroundings.
Two juv Herons flying around the lake; an earlier brood of Mallard ducklings were recently polished off by an adult Heron. They make such easy targets unfortunately !

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Swales Moor and Fly Flats

Checked the wagtail field this morning hoping for new arrivals after the overnight rain. Nothing new in other than a pair of Reed Buntings and a few more Meadow Pipits.
Biggest surprise was a male House Sparrow with the wagtails !

Headed off to Fly Flats and it was good to meet up with HC and chat for a while as we scanned the extensive landscape.
Quite a few Wheatears on the stone walls along with a few Meadow Pipits. Plenty of Swallows feeding low over the eastern side of the Reservoir.
No Swifts while I was there.
A female/juvenile Merlin went low across the water and down towards the dean.
2 Barnacle Geese still there.
1 male Reed Bunting at Withens Head was unexpected.


My daughter in law saw 3 Kingfishers from her window overlooking the river at Hollas Bridge yesterday evening.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Crested Tit reported in a brighouse garden

This is going around social media at the moment..herd singing in a garden at Rastrick....

Swales Moor

Checked the 'cow field' along Ringby Lane again this morning. There were definitely more Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits than yesterday so hope to keep a check just in case any Yellow Wagtails are tempted in !
I see from the BTO Bird Track site that the end of August/start of September is the peak time of the whole year for Y wag reporting, so plenty of time yet.

Not a lot else up there today other than a few Linnets and Goldfinches.

Twite recovery project

RSPB/Hudds birders are requesting some labour.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Swales Moor

Swales Moor Road and Ringby Lane this morning. This followed a tip-off from BS's contacts of what looks like the start of a build up of Wagtails in the cow fields where the Yellow Wagtails turned up last year.
There were around 15+ Pied Wag's there this morning. More 'munching' from the cows should help viewing once the vegetation gets cropped much closer.
2 Kestrels
c40 L B B Gulls in the cow field along with the usual corvids.
1 Skylark
10+ Meadow Pipits
Lots of Swallows over the field and a dribble of Swifts >SW
Green Woodpecker flyover >N
1 juv Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders at the bottom of Ringby Lane opposite the ski-slope.
A young Fox came to say hello !

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Castle Carr Road, Wainstalls

This afternoon before the rain came in, though it could be seen approaching from over the hills to the west.

14 Mistle Thrush together in one field - I don't think there are as many breeding birds about as in  previous years though late summer is a good time to see small groups foraging in the upland pastures.

2 Kestrels - these have been scarce or even absent this summer from several upland areas of north Halifax so it was good to see some returning birds. Perhaps the vole population is recovering (?)
2 Little Owls
8 Meadow Pipits
A few Goldfinch feeding on the numerous thistle heads and a few Swallows and Swifts moving >SW

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Swalesmoor etc

Had a walk up Ringby Lane late morning
1 Kestrel
1 Little Owl
40+ Linnets including lots of juveniles just out of the nest and the same number of Goldfinches now feeding on thistle heads
Meadow Pipit still feeding young
20+ Swifts moving through
c10 Swallows
2 House Martins
2 Stock Dove
c60 Carrion  Crows and 20+ L B B Gulls loafing  around on the ridge

A call from PG confirmed Allan N (Lanc's birder) had 5 Arctic Terns at Whiteholme Reservoir yesterday - staying on the small peat island for  a while till the weather eased before they moved off >W.
Also today - 2 Ringed Plover there (PG)

Friday, August 04, 2017

Fly Flatts (yesterday) and Stodfold area today

Fly Flats  yesterday drew a blank mainly - as did AT ! Really bad weather up there and we couldn't find anything !

Stodfold area this afternoon (between Mixenden and Ogden) - a decent afternoon for butterfly's but not many birds about other than a good show of House Martins and Swallows feeding in the shelter of Hunter Hill with at least 50 of each species.
1 Linnet
A few Goldfinch
1 Green Woodpecker heard
2 juvenile Stonechats at the lower end of Ogden golf course
1 Kestrel

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Other news this week..

From BS - at Fly Flatts on 1st August
6 Curlew, 4 Dunlin and 9 Herring Gulls >SW

Also from Brian on 1st August, a very good record from Ogden - Little Egret left >E soon after he arrived - good timing ! See West Yorkshire Birding blog for photo's and report.

From Monday 31st July another very good record, from JB - a Sanderling at Ringstone Reservoir found across lunchtime.

Fly Flats and Withens Head

I couldn't find much at Fly other than 60+ Canadas and, still there, the pair of Barnacle Geese.
1 Lesser Black- backed Gull flythrough >N
1 Kestrel

Withens Head
3 Wheatear on the stone walls near the farm buildings. Also one Pied Wagtail and 3 Swallows.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Peregrine Attack

     Peregrine Falcon  flew above the garden yesterday catching
     a Starling that was flying away from my feeders, wow fast or
     what? then flew off towards Claremount Church it was great
     to witness as is the Sparrowhawk that flies through daily.
     A Tawny Owl as also been active around my garden and back
     fields with plenty of screeching, it just missed my head one night,
     that'll teach me to stop making Owl calls it was beautiful to see
     in flight though. The feeders have had Bullfinch, Greenfinch,
     Goldfinch and Chaffinch turning up regular along with a couple
     Linnet which I find quite unusual to have them on my feeders.


Sunday, July 30, 2017


Boothwood this morning.

Five Drake Common Scoter
One adult and two juvenile Little Owls

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sunny Vale & Red Beck Valley

A Tawny Owl calling near the lake mid-afternoon was a surprise, but one was heard here a few months ago, at the same time of day.
Little Grebes are nesting in the middle of the lake - no sign of young yet.
An adult and a juv Heron were about.
Kingfisher - as usual.
Juv Coots & Moorhens on the lake.
A small bat was flying through the trees too, possibly a Pipistrelle.

Cold Edge and Ovenden Moor

We did the rounds on the WCBS - Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey this afternoon - definitely a Ringlet afternoon.
Little Grebe on the lower pond
1 Stonechat near the top pond
Lots of Linnets and Goldfinches in the thistle areas and plenty Meadow Pipits and Swallows about including juveniles.
2 Kestrels over Ovenden Moor and the odd Curlew still.
8 Greylag Geese with c70 Canada's in the fields near the dams.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fly Flats etc

I spent a good half-hour or more with Gordon D up there this morning. Good to catch up a bit !
Not a lot doing from our viewpoint
1 Black-headed Gull
2 L B B Gulls
Swallows feeding low over the fields and  a smattering of Swifts
2 juvenile Grey Partridge were nice to see feeding on seed heads in the rough grass
Plenty of Meadow Pipits about

Elsewhere a Black Redstart was at Lower Gorple today just below the reservoir embankment. A very nice find for Pete G.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Swales Moor etc.

Spent an hour or more up there this afternoon hard to find anything out of the ordinary ( Carrion Crows and L B B Gulls )
Possible Yellow Legged Gull adult flew >W on its own. Everything looked right on the plumage but just unable to clinch it with leg colour looking into the light.
A few Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Swallows, House Martins and Swifts >W.

I had a call from Steve C in lower Ovenden while I was up there, following a Ring-necked Parakeet flyover. Probably heading >NW towards Mixenden (?)

Earlier today from DF with a juvenile Redstart at Willow Valley golf course Clifton this a.m.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Last Seabird Summer ?

A really interesting and informative TV programme on BBC4 tonight at 8pm as per the heading above. If anyone gets chance to watch it on 'catch up' or a repeat then do so as it highlighted comparisons, past and present, between some of our British seabird colonies and Icelandic ones. Well worth a watch !

Hartshead circular

Good to see 14/15 Tree Sparrows at the same spot as last year, near the church. And just about a mile from the Jay House Lane site.
Also 2 calling Yellowhammers, 4 Mistle Thrushes, juv Pied Wagtail, a Pheasant, 30+ Swallows and 100+ Woodpigeons.
A couple of Buzzards not too far away as well.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fly Flats

A late morning check produced a good number of Wheatears on the walls and fences from along the top road (around 15 +) but no Stonechats or Whinchats.
2 Barnacle Geese were on the water with the Canada flock but not a lot else in the drizzly and windy conditions other than a solitary Red-legged Partridge and a few Swifts and Swallows >SW

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Brambling in July in Hebden Bridge

I've posted a photo sent to me on Calderdale-wildlife.blogspot

Return to Crow Hill and Flints

Had a walk up there yesterday after a two month break.
Apart from Mipits & Corvids the sum of birds was 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Curlew & c30 Swallows.
Lots of Ringlet butterflies as well as Meadow Browns & Whites.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Soil Hill

Had a scout around 'The Hill' at dusk on a really nice and settled evening.
Enjoyed the peace up there compared with the usual gusting windchill !
200+ Swallows feeding on the north slope were really good to watch, sometimes feeding low down over the vegetation then all heading high as they obviously spotted clouds of insects.
Grey Partridge heard calling as well as an Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew flyovers.
A few Meadow Pipits
40+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls >N
1 Kestrel
 Curlew -
by the short length of the bill they look like 2 juveniles heading over 
Pen-y ghent

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cromwell Bottom

I did manage eventually late afternoon to catch up with the Little Egret. It came into the lagoon briefly but it didn't stay long and headed off towards Brighouse. On my leaving it was flying fairly high over the pylons >W heading up river.
Not much else other than 2 Moorhen, a Grey Heron, 3 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff still singing as well as a few House Martins and Swifts >W.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Ogden and Mixenden area

Between Mixenden and Ogden reservoirs late morning.
Lots of House Martins and Swallows about in that area but unfortunately this young Swallow, recently out of the nest, looked like a roadside casualty outside Mount Zion chapel. It's a  tough life for all our birds but especially hazardous for young ones !

1 juvenile Green Woodpecker
1 Little Owl
A few Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Linnets and Goldfinch's about.
We ended up collecting a few bilberries - but don't tell BS. He's been waiting around 5 years for a pie we promised him !

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Crimsworth Dean

We had a go at the upper reaches of the valley today, always on the look out for the possibility of the recent Red- footed Falcon seen nearby at Walshaw Dean over last weekend. No sign of it but a few Kestrels about is encouraging after a poor year for them so far.
Distant Common Buzzard
1 juvenile Wheatear was a nice surprise - probably a bird on the return from a more northern area.
Still a few Curlew about and a nice flock of around 120 Lapwings
A few Swallows, Goldfinch, Linnet and Blackbirds about as well as a single Mistle Thrush but not a lot else.
A nice show of Butterfly's including plenty Ringlets and Meadow Browns as well as 3 Red Admirals.

Cromwell Bottom

                 Little Egret on the reedbed lagoon this afternoon.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Red - footed Falcon

Male Red-footed Falcon reported today at Walshaw Dean mid afternoon. Me and DF zipped up there and spent 3 hours 30 minutes but no show. Its a big area so well worth checking again in next few days.

Thursday, July 06, 2017


Checked out a LEO site last night and had 3 well grown young hunger calling with adult bringing in food. Then moved on to a reported Barny site and found the bird strait away. There's still probably a few weeks left for finding Leos before the young disperse.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Look out for Med Gulls

The post breeding movements of Black-headed Gulls has started with a few seen this week around Calderdale  . The next few weeks is a good time to find Med Gulls in with these groups of Black heads especially in recently cropped fields.........

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ogden, Fly Flatts, Mixenden Reservoirs

Did the rounds this morning with the weather conditions as they were - very wet but always a chance of something turning up !

Fly Flatts - fogged off.

Mixenden Res'r - 5 Canada's and that was it.

Ogden fared better with an adult Yellow-legged Gull arriving at 11:05 to fly round and bathe, giving good views but leaving towards Thornton Moor area around 11:15
5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
5 Black-headed Gulls
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Green Woodpecker around the res'r lodge
2 Blackcaps, 3 Willow Warblers and a Song Thrush still singing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fly Flatts etc

Heavy rain as I called late morning with usual waders present and feeding in the wet fields as well as the Res'r edge which will quickly disappear if the forecast for more rain this week is to continue.
Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Curlew, Dunlin, Snipe, Oystercatchers all present but no accurate counts in the conditions !
1 Swallow
2 Swifts
c350 Canadas and still the 2 Barnacle Geese
1 Reed Bunting and a few Meadow Pipits

Withens Head
Pair of Swallows feeding 2 juvs just out of the nest

10 Golden Plover and 22 Lapwings in the usual field

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.