Thursday, March 22, 2018

Massive Raptor over Claremount

  Large Raptor was soaring over Claremount in the low light,
  believe me it was big especially the wingspan a lot bigger than
  a Buzzard and made crows look very small, my first thought was
  Marsh Harrier and then Osprey the way it was soaring, I was
  shocked to see it just above my back garden and low too, but
  with the low light all I got was a silhouette, by the time I got my
  camera it was flying  towards the Shroggs Park area and I only
  got a rear end shot of it and my camera settings were all wrong
  for the light and no time to change them and with shaking with
  excitement and then frustration, I hope somebody else on here
  seen it or can help with ID. The pics are very distant shots.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cold Edge

Had a couple of hours or so up there this morning with Alan T. We managed 37 species, with plenty of birds around to keep us interested. Not much sign of birds moving other than a single Skylark >N

Around the site
c140 Canada Geese, 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Greylag Geese and the Pink-footed Goose still with the domestics. No Goldeneye but a pair of Tufted Duck on the lower dam with a few Mallard
A good mix of the usual waders - Curlews, Lapwings, 2 Oystercatchers, 1 Redshank, 1 Snipe heard 'chipping' and the faint call of a Golden Plover on the moor.
2 Little Owls together but not a sign of any Kestrels
2 distant Common Buzzards
2 Moorhen
1 male Stonechat

Far too many Magpies becoming much more evident on higher ground in recent years. They must pose an increasing threat to breeding ground nesting birds unfortunately. 7 of them together at Withens Head this morning.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Mainly the golf course this afternoon - no golf though !!!
Didn't find much but 2 buzzard sightings were welcome (could have been the same bird) firstly over Hunter Hill towards Cold Edge then probably the same bird over the plantation heading towards Thornton Moor
Also 2 Ravens distant. Plenty of Carrion Crows about as I suspect there will be some dead sheep on the moor after this recent cold blast and snow from the east
1 Sparrowhawk through the plantation at Ogden Res'r, 1 Curlew heard calling and 1 Lapwing over >E with 3 more Lapwings on Syke Lane fields
Pair of Goosander on Ogden and on Mixenden c25 Canada's and a Cormorant.
 Lower end of the golf course looking >WNW towards 'The Withens'
 Top end of golf course looking >SE towards Halifax
An interesting snowdrift along Rocks Lane

Sunday, March 18, 2018

This just came in my Facebook feed.... taken in Pye Nest

Taken by Charlotte Atkinson ..... works for RSPCA.... video and more stills on FB

Friday, March 16, 2018

Jumble Hole

This is a box for dippers or grey wagtails, placed in a long-since dry culvert in Jumble Hole. Steve D and I previously placed on under the bridge, but (outside the breeding season) it washed away in a flash flood. This one is above the flood height.

And not that I'm counting, but it's 25 days until the date that last year the male pied flycatcher arrived back. As he appeared to go missing in the middle of the breeding season last year, it will be interesting to see what happens this year.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Other news today

13 Whooper Swans on Cold Edge dams at some point mid afternoon but they didn't stay. (MH)

3 Whooper Swans on Lower Gorple late afternoon (M E)

4 Greylag Geese over Green Withens today (TW) and another 8 >SE over Wainstalls mid morning.

Luddenden - we came a cross a small flock of Redpoll in an area of birch woodland. Trying to get a decent photo was more than difficult in the gloom of the woodland and restless birds. This was the best I could do. They are certainly a scarce bird in Calderdale nowadays, especially this year. They are occasional on garden feeders and most often found either in birch or alder trees in winter.
Lesser Redpoll

Undisclosed site

Pale Common Buzzard - a real beauty.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


A call from DF this afternoon after picking out a grey wader with the Golden Plover flock sounded interesting. A later call from Dave and Nick confirmed the bird to be a Knot and it was still with the Golden Plover flock. Another great find of a scarce inland visitor for our area and certainly not recorded here annually.

I went up there later on with AT. No problem finding the Golden Plover flock (maybe 180 ish) in the north-west field along with a good number of Lapwings and a few Starlings. Scoping through we could not locate the bird.
This was made more difficult as a Sparrowhawk passed through and the birds would not settle for long before they were 'spooked' again and again. We were just about to give up at 16:35 when 2 Oystercatchers came in from the Scammonden direction, along with a smaller wader. They flew right passed us and it was the Knot. All three tried to settle but the lack of any decent shore-line put them off. They did a few circuits then went high, back towards  Scammonden.
What a great bird, thanks to DF's vigilance in finding it in the first place. Thank's Dave.

A fantastic end to the afternoon with a few half-decent shots. We worked hard for that one Alan !
Then on the way back we rounded off the afternoon with  Barn Owl..

Mixenden Reservoir and Withens Head/Fly Flatts

Out and about for an hour or so late morning.
4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls looked immaculate
4 Cormorant
5 Mallard
46 Canada Geese
+ usual species but no sign of the Goldeneye

Good to meet up with AC at the Withens Head watch-point at the same time as AT was doing the rounds at Cold Edge. All of us trying hard for Wheatear ! (without success - yet)!

Signs of movement today up there with several Skylark sightings and a few mipits on the move as well as few alba wagtails. Plenty waders about/on the move etc with 20+ Curlew, Golden Plover, Lapwings, Oystercatcher and 3 Redshank at Fly Flatts (AC) - also a Snipe heard 'chipping' on the moor.
2 Ravens also passed through as did 2 adult Common Gulls >N over Fly Flatts


Dropped in on Eastwood Sewage works as I was passing, vaguely hoping for an early sand martin as they are popping up all over the country. Nothing doing on that front, but a singing chiffchaff was more than a consolation. A pair of goosander were on the canal.

Also got a reliable report of a red kite over Craggies restaurant at the top of Cragg Vale yesterday. No photos, but the observer is a birdwatcher and observed through binoculars.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Out and about !

Very wet day but chanced an hour or so out, turned out to be a good move.
Mixenden Reservoir
Pouring down - just a female Goldeneye there, a Cormorant and a few Black-headed and Common Gulls

Cold Edge
Still pouring so scanned from the car !
2 Barnacle Geese still there in the fields with the Canada flock and the lone Pink-footed Goose still with the domestics.

Fly Flatts - fogged off and heavy rain when I got there but there looked to be some breaks in the fog and it eventually cleared but still raining pretty hard.
1 Redshank at the north-east end along with a few Lapwing and Curlew, a few paired up Canada's and a solitary Mallard and plenty Red Grouse.
I was just heading home when BS turned up so I got a couple of shots off on the way - I said I would get my own back one day !
 Fly Flatts (Warley Moor Reservoir) > NW
 Looking >SW
 Lone birder (BS)
with 'Big Bertha' at the ready !
On the way past Mount Tabor a small raptor flew across the road chasing after what looked like a flock of Goldfinch. It disappeared over Woodlesford as I stopped, then fortunately it returned hunting at speed low across the fields - female Merlin. Always a special bird.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Widdop Reservoir.

Walked along the North shore then up, over the road, and along the escarpment.

The garden of the reservoir house alive with passerines; Tit species, Greenfinches (c.10), Mistle Thrush, Reed Buntings 4, Robin, Starling singing, Male Chaffinches.
Many Canada Geese but no Greylags till we were climbing the valley side when six came flying fast past us, up to the gap in the horizon and over into Lancashire. Later two Greylags chasing around below us in flight. Looked like a male and female.

On the escarpment a Buzzard and its food source - rabbits running for the rocks. Then a sound like a Golden Plover but with a warble to it several times. Later the familiar Golden Plover sound - the single whistle. On looking up the sound on it turns out to be the song of the Golden Plover, which I've not heard so well before, if ever.

Two Curlews silently overhead and of course many Red Grouse. Bizarrely, what appears to be part of a grouse wing hanging from a wire near the car park.

Frogspawn - my first! - in a rut in the path by the reservoir, but no toads yet  where they breed in the collection channel. Toads have been moving at lower levels and the Toad Patrols have been out one night so far (Saturday 10th March) in Todmorden and Sowerby.

Ice breaking up on Widdop Reservoir

No bird photos today but got this obliging Treecreeper by the river near Luddendenfoot park last weekend.