Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
7 cormorants on the ski jump
8 little grebe
2m2f tufted duck
1 grey heron
1 herring gull
large number of coots
100s of common and blackheaded gull
10 or so teal on the reedbed lake
4 approx bullfinch
big flocks of long tailed tits - including a no tailed tit that didn't seem to have a problem keeping up with the flock
1 dipper on the river
1 great spotted woodpecker on the feeder just north of the car park
large numbers of great and blue tits on the feeders in the car park plus 3 robins and 1 greenfinch
nothing on the feeders on tag
Not that much around in the woods up to Gibsons mill, though we did have good close views of a Dipper perched on a fallen tree across Hebden water. The bird was singing a very strange little trilling song, we have never heard a Dipper sing before, just the "clicking" noise they make as they fly up and down stream. In a group of conifers we watched a large party (30 or so birds) of Great, and Blue Tits with at least half the group made up of Goldcrests. I have never seen so many Goldcrests together before. It was too dark to make out if any Firecrests were amongst them. Just before Gibson Mill we heard and then spotted 6 Jackdaws in a dead tree near the track. We watched as two of the birds did a very strange tail wagging dance. The both lowered their heads and raised their tails whilst standing side by side and did a weird tail waving display, they kept the rest of their bodies still and just waved the tail up and down rapidly ! It really was most peculiar to watch and lasted a good couple of minutes.I have never seen jackdaws do this before, is it a pairing dance or sorting out pecking order ?
We walked back from the top end of the crags and added Long Tailed, Tit, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Wren and Robin to our morning list. The car park was packed when we got back around 11am as all the late comers arived in full Berghaus/Northface gear, boots and gaiters for the very strenous walk along the track to the Gibson Mill cafe :-)) We used to laugh at this when we did a lot of hill walking in the dales. We would get up and get up the dales for 6am and then have our 12/15 mile walk on the tops and see no one. As soon as you get back down towards Bolton Abbey thousands of "walkers" in all the latest designer gear and gaiters would be stolling up and down the river for an hour before heading for the nearest cafe/pub to claim they had been out walking.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
If you love birds and birds are an important part of your experience then read on. This website and author’s forum are dedicated to an exciting and important new book project . The following pages explain the project. We give details on how anyone interested in birds around the world can contribute directly to it. We also describe some of the stories and issues on which the author Mark Cocker would welcome contributions of all kinds.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Around 15 years ago I fed birds regularly in my garden with the usual seed, nuts and fats. At that time I noted many species of birds who visited the garden to feed on a regular basis. We had large numbers of Great, Blue and Coal tits, with a few Long Tailed tits and Goldcrests occasionally using the food. It was not unusual to have four or five Blackbirds and Song Thrushes at anytime feeding. We also had Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Starling. Both Lesser & Greater peckers were on the feeders daily. There are probably species I have missed out of the list but the general idea is that there were a broad range of birds at the feeders most of every day in winter.
Since I started feeding in the garden again a couple of weeks back I have noticed a massive drop on numbers and species compared to 15 years ago. The only regular feeders in any numbers are Great, Blue & Coal tits. Nuthatch appear daily and I did have two sightings of Lesser Pecker as reported on the blog. But I have only had the odd finch visitor (Chaffinch & Greenfinch), no other finches have been seen. I do get Robin and Blackbird, but no thrushes.
The point of all this is an apparent species crash in Park Wood in the last 15 years or so of woodland songbirds. I don't regularly walk the wood anymore as you can be run down by off road motorbikes or mountain bikes at any time of day or night. Its also a haunt of idiots with air rifles who like to think they are great white hunters cos the bagged a couple of Squirrels. Now I realise that all the things mentioned above have probably contributed to some degree in a decline of birds in the wood. It could also be some sort of change due to a lack of understory growth in the wood making nesting sites scarce. But I suspect that one major factor in the huge surge in numbers of Grey Squirrels which are now numbered in their hundreds in the woods despite the attentions of the aforementioned great white hunters. Now I didn't want to get into the murky waters of controlling the numbers of squirrels in the wood, but surely if the picture in Park Wood is mirrored nationally we have had a truly catastrophic drop in song birds of woodlands nationally ?
Not being a regular birder and thus not being abreast of the latest reports on song bird decline in woodlands (I have seen a read reports of farmland bird decline) is this species diversity decline a common feature in Calderdale woodlands ? I would assume (and again only being a learner am happy to be shot down if wrong) that hole nesting birds such as tits, peckers and nuthatches are less prone to nest robbing by Squirrels than other birds and this is the reason they have not declined ?
I should also day that the national decline in bird numbers and diversity is reflected in the world of moths. I have taken part in many discussions as to why our moth populations have declined so dramatically in the last 30/40 years. This decline is also possible a reason why some birds have declined also due to the massive lost biomass of food potentially available to birds from moths.
I know I have rambled on a bit here but as no one is posting much on sightings at the moment it is a quiet time to slip in my beginners questions
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Still no sign the Dartford Warbler on Norland Moor yet I'm afraid :-)) Not much around on the moor this morning apart from the usual suspects. Two Reed Buntings down the lower end in heather near the small pylon were the only new species for us this morning.
A very merry Christmas to one and all
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sue and I had a quick walk down the towpath and Cromwell Bottom this morning early doors to top up the feeders at the feeding station. Not much around this morning but we did bag another Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the way back home.
The bird was in a large dead tree around 30 yards below Park Nook Lock on the Canal. We had decent views of it (female) through the bins for 5 mins or so before it flew off over the road towards Park Wood, hopefully to reappear on my feeders later today....watch this space !
Ps Good party last night, thanks to everyone for making it a very pleasant and succesful fund raiser.
Once again a heartfelt thanks to everyone who came along and best wishes for Xmas and 2008!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
the scrapes were frozen hard
but that not stop the birds
they jus kept on comin
twas rainin snipe
and raini jacks too
snow and lapland buntings
were sat all around
purple sands were on the scrapes
and plovers on the tops
and there amongst them
oh my word could it be.......
an oriental praticole
ok now the real story. soil hill is cold and barren and there wasn't a single bird in sight (unless you count crows) all that stuff was a joke.
sorry for getting your hopes up :-)
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Another thought I had on this is about the Twite feeding stations. Could we perhaps approach local companies to sponsor these ? Most roundabouts in Calderdale are now sponsored by some local company or other perhaps some would be willing to sponsor the twite feeding as well in return for a little publicity. Does anyone have an idea of costs of running one feeding station annually ?
We could perhaps get together two orders a year between us, say Autumn and mid Winter and get the stuff delivered to one address where people could call round and pick up their share and pay for it. We don't need any money up front as we are simply invoiced for the amount.
The discount is for everyone and orders do not need to go through one person (though this might be sensible for large group orders). You simply need to quote the account details ( for obvious reasons I am not posting this on a public forum). There is nothing to stop say two or three people combining to place their own order if the amount spent is over £125. Having used CJ Widlbird Foods in the past week to supply gear for Marshals Feeding Station (more on this later) and my own gear I can safely say the system works...so far !
Just for anyone who is thinking of buying feeders at the moment. Most of the metal better quality feeders the company sell are on offer at the moment at much reduced prices ( I paid £4.99 each rather than £14.99). Their website is at http://www.birdfood.co.uk/index.php?area_id=1&nav_id=3 just look in special offers for the feeders etc.
I have posted this to A/ remind people of the large discount we can obtain by using our buying power as a group and B/ to try and see if we can sort out some system of ordering at regular times so that people can budget for buying in bulk say once or twice a year. Please add comments to this post as to how and when you wish to use the discount. And please feel free to ask about anything if its not clear in my posting (it is still early in the morning and the caffeine has not kicked in yet!). I do have contacts within the company as I have been negotiating about quotes for feeding stations for local companies in Calderdale. I also have my own personal trade account as a book seller with their book publishing arm so I can ask directly about any other queries people may have.
Finally just to make it clear, I have no personal financial stake in this other than the group discount like everyone else in the group.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Looking forward to seeing as many local birders as possible on Sunday, current attendance looks to be in the region of 25 to 30 so it should be quite an event.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I will let Nick Carter know if and when the lesser pecker starts to appear in the garden again now the fence is done. Happy for anyone wanting to pop round to see them (or it) as long as I have a phone call first (I might be busy with a customer). In the meantime, Les Midgley tells me that the feeding station set up in the Anglers car park behind Cromwell House by his mates has a Lesser Spotted visitor from time to time recently on the nut feeders.
The birds are back in large numbers in the garden again this morning despite the new fence, no lesser peckers but Nuthatch are feeding every few minutes at the moment.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Ogden (Back Lane) 2 Ravens over from Thornton Moor area went high over the res'r plantation towards Cold Edge.
Soil Hill - drew a total blank today - but it's one of those places where if you get something it can be a very good bird!
Fly Flats - Red Grouse on the moor and 1 Jack Snipe flushed in the roadside ditch leading down towards the sailing club from the top road. It went down into the grass/juncus on the hillside c40 mtrs away but not relocated. Not another bird other than 1 female Goldeneye on the res'r.
Monday, December 17, 2007
This morning has been magical as there have been up to four Nuthatch at a time on the table taking peanuts and I have also had a single lesser pecker twice (or at least I have seen one twice) feeding on the lard blocks. Not bad going for a 15 x 12 foot garden ! I was bragging to Nick Carter yesterday that I would get lesser pecker at the table as I got them regularly before when I used to feed the birds in the garden 10 years or so ago,but I never expected them to appear again so quickly and Nuthatch is a garden first.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I would like to make an addition to the draw next Sunday and Paul Talbot's cracking prize.
I'll be contributing a bottle of home made sloe, or damson gin, or something similar, made from Calder Valley fruits, and a bottle of port; the latter is made by a chap in Portugal. All said beverages are ideal for the hipflask of a birder facing the challenging conditions of winter.
See you next Sunday.
Heading back to the car had 3 Yellowhammers in the usual hedgerow, also a Kestrel near the railway line.
Then headed back towards Halifax and met up with Sean headed upto Fly Flatts in the hope of getting the Jack Snipe seen earlier by BS. Sean got frost bite and we both got 5 Red Grouse and a pair of Stonechats but no sign of any snipe at all.
In search of warmer climes we opted for Roils Head where we saw NickD and the Mealy Redpolls.
Met up with Sean and Andy. 3 Reed Bubtings, not on the seed. 12 Redpolls, we believe that at least 3 of these birds were Mealy Redpolls, they appeared to be paler than the lessers with nice pink breast, braces down the mantle and almost unstreaked undertail coverts.
Can not find out if this lack of streaking on the undertail coverts is typical of mealy. Rare Birds shows a drawing of arctic and redpolls undertail coverts on page 383 but does not mention mealy.
Any thoughts out there?
I have never personally used any of the optics mentioned but have bought Lidl microscopes in the past and they are superb and very, very cheap.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Other birds in the dean included a female Sparrowhawk, Little Owl and Kestrel with a Raven high over Midgley Moor. Lots of Blackbirds about 30+ along with 6 Mistle thrush, 22 Fieldfares and 30+ Redwings feeding on holly berries.
Just 1 Reed Bunting along Castle Carr Road and a Siskin over and 4 Stock Doves.
Has everyone let Tim know if they are going and what type of pie they would like?
I'm hoping to see lots of people there although the less that turn up the greater my chances of winning one of Pauls fantastic book prizes.
Tim you can count me in for 2 people but just the 1 pork pie please.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Armed with 2 bags of seed, I went to put it down where the Reed Buntings had been feeding the day before, sadly no buntings today. I did however have a nice Mealy Redpoll with 2 lessers feeding in Alders just off the track. The Mealy showed a beautiful pink flush to the breast, 2 pale braces on the mantle and the undertail coverts were unstreaked except for one thin hairline streak in the centre.The lesser's undertail coverts showed 6 or 7 streaks.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Fly Flats - 1 Black-headed Gull! and a Raven at a distance and red Grouse on the moor. No Twite.
Ogden Res'r - 1 Kingfisher reported early afternoon. 8 long-tailed Tits and Sparrowhawk. 1 Reed Bunting near the golf course.
Also reported this afternoon, 40 Pink-feet over Cold Edge going >W and a Goldeneye there.
The "evening get together" at the Bridge inn on the 23rd December will have two prizes on offer donated by Pennine Books. I will be donating two copies of "Merlins of the South East Yorkshire Dales" by Peter Wright. How these will be used I shall leave up to the organisers of the event as any funds raised on the evening are going to support the optics for Malta appeal I believe.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The ALE do a remarkable job with very limited resources and their work is made all the more difficult by the lack of financial support from the Maltese Govt. One of the consequences of the lack of funding is that they are not provided with optics; a point I made at the time during the press conference and since to the Maltese Govt. via Birdlife Malta. Unfortunately things are unlikely to change in the near future.
The aim of the Conservation Group is to try and rectify this shortfall by generating sufficient funding to purchase optics for use by the ALE before spring 2008. We have undertaken several fund raising events so far and others are in the pipeline. Along with raising direct funding, i.e. cash, we are collecting unused optics which we will donate, sell to raise more cash or trade in when we buy the optics early next year.
Once purchased, the optics will be presented to Birdlife Malta who will in turn loan them to the ALE for the duration of the spring and autumn migration periods. It is then hoped that the ALE will be more efficient in their efforts to prevent and detect crimes against the birds, something I know is very close to your heart.
I would be grateful if you would consider making a donation to the project either by the way of a cheque or unused optics, please?
Please send optics or make cheques payable to ‘Calderdale Bird Conservation Group’ and forward to the Treasurer:
9 Hedge Top Lane
A Reed Bunting is a good record at Roils Head so 6 birds feeding in the scrubby area below the playing fields was most unusual. One of these birds appeared to be smaller than the rest and spent all its time sculking in long grass with just the top of its head visible. I was drawn to this because it had a most outstanding pale central crown stripe. (I started to think of Little Bunting) and my pulse started racing as I thought I saw rusty looking cheeks, but this was very brief and my immagination could have got the better of me. The birds were then flushed by a Dog walker and not seen again. On returning home I checked my field guides and noted that a strong cental crown stripe is a good bet for Little Bunting, unfortunatly I saw no other detail. It will probably turn out to be just a Reed Bunting but the area is well worth checking tomorrow.
Also present 9 Redpoll, 20 Golden Plover at High Road Well Moor and 68 Pink feet flew west at Mount Tabor.
Birds seen at the feeders and stone so far have been:
Great Spotted Woodpecker
and this morning a male Pheasant was rooting around under the feeders until it spotted the dog and ran and then flew off onto Northbank Loop.
I also scatter carrots in the area from time to time for the Roe Deer but they only put in an appearance very early in the morning. Whilst I was topping up the feeders and adding some more the Blue Tits carried on feeding right next to me. As soon as I moved off huge numbers of tits moved onto the feeders immediately, it looked like a scene from the Hitchcock film the birds ! I tend not to hang around long as I have the dog with me and I want the birds to be able to feed quickly and feel confident on the feeders. I suspect it wont be long before a Sparrowhawk notices the activity and I find feathers under the feeders occasionally.
No Yellowhammer yet :-((
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Report from Nigel Kerwin of probable ringtail Hen Harrier
which took off from the top of Soil Hill and dropped down low
down the hillside towards Denholme Velvets but not giving
him chance of a possible i.d. see ( Queensburybirder).
Also f. Stonechat and Woodcock present.
Ogden (pm) - 1 Raven high over the golf course >NW. 250 Black-headed Gulls and 45 Common Gulls on the res'r. Usual tit flock around the res'r - no sign of the Dipper this winter as yet!
Ogden (Back Lane) Fox, 12 Siskin, m Sparrowhawk and 30 Chaffinch.
Fly Flats - Peregrine went over high and locked onto some Woodpigeons going >S. It singled out one and as it approached the Woodpigeon plummeted down (mistake!!) The Peregrine hit it in a steep dive and I watched as it killed and ate the bird on the rocks near the overflow to the res'r.
Also 2 Ravens over Nab Hill, 1 Kestrel, 13 Black-headed Gulls and a f Goldeneye on the res'r. Quite a few Red Grouse on the moor.
A pair of Stonechats by the wind-farm car park and Reed Bunting at Withens Gap.
I then went up Tag loop to top up the feeders and got some nice views of a small flock (7 birds)of Goldfinch feeding on the pinhead oats and nyger seed scattered on the path by the top viewing stone. The feeders were well down again, I think I will have to add some more feeders to them to save topping them up daily in bad weather.
Walked down Brookfoot loop to meet Les and spotted a big old dog Fox slinking off into the wet willow scrub, several Jays, Magpies and Blackbirds were giving him a hard time from a safe distance. Only one Cormorant on the ski ramp this morning but a large number of Canada geese have now returned to the ski/angling lake, Les & I counted about 40+ this morning. Usual Tufted duck, Coot, GC Grebe and B/H gulls around.
As Les and I walked back over Tag Loop we had good views of Green woodpecker but it was impossible to get the scope on it. Nothing much on the river this morning which is still flowing fast, a few mallard and one pair of Goosander. No Heron this morning which is very unusual.
Left Les with the crumblie club and set off back home around 9am. The deer had gone but I got good views of a Tree Creeper in almost the same spot I saw a pair of them before. Nice to see this through the scope for a good 5 mins before it moved off. I was watching some Bullfinch in the bramble scrub below Knowles pipe dump when I am sure I heard a Chiff-Chaf calling a couple of times for that area, is this likely ? I have never heard them here in winter before, though it is a good spot in Spring. I do know that some have been reported in the press in other areas but do we get overwintering Chiff-Chaf in Calderdale ? I am quite prepared to be shot down as mistaken with this one but it certainly sounded like Chiff-Chaf Nothing much else seen on the last leg home, Wren, Chaffinch and some small mixed tit flocks.
Monday, December 10, 2007
3 Grey Partridge, 1 Stonechat, 1 Kestrel.
High Road Well Moor
5 Golden Plovers, 4 Pied Wagtails and good numbers of Common and Black-headed Gulls. The gulls always seem to leave at about 3.15PM and move in a south westerly direction. Has anyone checked Baitings at dusk because this time last year there was a large roost of mainly BHGs and Commons with the odd Lesser in with them. The Herring Gulls I had the other day were also moving in a westerly direction late on and may have come down in our area.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Ive been back through old reports from BOG and HX and the latest I can
find is BOG.. Lindley Wood 30/11/1990.
Todays bird at Fly was an adult in very pale grey winter plumage.
It was heading towards Blackstone,Whiteholme area,I was hoping it would end up at the " With ". BS
Rapids at Fly Flatts
09/12/2007 Early rain then overcast, slight >S
DECEMBER GREENSHANK, what next ?
The bird was on the cobbles near the overflow at 0905hrs which I unfortunately
didnt see till I was close which flushed it. It did a circuit of the res then off low over Dean head and >SW
down the Calder Valley.
2 Greylag flyovers >N
1 Herring Gull >S
4 Red Grouse
Saturday, December 08, 2007
16 jackdaw, 2 blackbirds, 4 crows, 53 mallard, 4 BH gull, 1 moorhen
10 siskin, 1 gs woodpecker, 1 pied wagtail, 1 grey wagtail, 2 wren, 7 long tailed tits.
1 muscovy duck
Wood - 9:00 to 10:30 overcast then rain
1 siskin, 1 singing mistle thrush plus 12 west, 2 rook, 4 magpie, 1 blue tit, 4 blackbirds, 1 robin
1 woodcock flushed twice (probably the same one), 1 male sparrowhawk
3 common gull
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Is anyone else recording nests for the BTO?
I just sent my poor set of 16 cards off. (Poor in number, not quality.) It included my first robin pair that has actually taken up the offer of an open-fronted box. They tend to nest anywhere in the garden except there. I usually record 20+ per season, but the promising spring just fizzled out as far as breeding was concerned as I'm sure you all know. It would be easy to get more if only one visit was enough, but the data is far more valuable if backed up with another visit or two, to check changes and survival rates.
I just send cards because a few years ago the difficulties of sending the records electronically spoiled the pleasure of the recording. Does anyone know wether the system has been simplified?
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Ogden - 80 Black-headed Gulls and 35 Common Gulls, and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker. 1 Kestrel over the golf course and 4 Meadow Pipits on the track up to the Withens.
Fly Flats - 1 f Goldeneye, 1 Reed Bunting and several Red Grouse calling over the moor. No Twite at the feeding station although plenty niger seed down and topped up.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Also 8 Blackbirds feeding on the Sorbus tree berries opposite the RSPCA/below Halifax bus station this afternoon- could be a spot for Waxwing - but they will need to be quick!
2 G C Grebes, several Tufted Duck (couldn't see well to do a proper count), 2 Pochard, 1 Cormorant, 1 drake Goldeneye, 13 Goosander and a Lesser-black-backed Gull in with the Common and B H Gulls.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Heavy rain and gusty Westerly (4-5) for most of day
Cormorant 1 imm
Ringstone Edge R. 13.05 - 14.20
Devoid of waterfowl
feeding in West and North fields
L B B Gull 1 ad
Herring Gull 1 first W + 4 ads flew w
Common Gull 360+
B h Gull 220+
Golden Plover 55
Various Halifax Scientific Society Publications covering Calderdale Nature & Birds. Some are specific area (Hardcastle Crags), some are just bird reports and some are general calderdale reports, there are around 20 of these. Any one who wants collect some or all of these is welcome to them free.I also have a pair of compact 8 x 25 Minolta bins in case, also free to a good home. The stuff is free to anyone who wants it but you might care to send Nick Carter a small donation for the Bird Conservation Group.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Cunnery Wood 9:15-10:15
2 mistle thrush
female sparrowhawk - flew past me hunting about 7 metres away. For a laugh here is a photo of a tree with a bird in the way.
Flock of long tailed, great and blue tits.
Pump Lane/Dark Lane 10:30 - 11:00
Sunny Vale 11:00 - 12:00
Water level a lot higher than last week so the mud that the water rails was on has gone.
20 mallard - 1 looked to be a hybrid
1 little grebe that actually caught a fish so there must be something in the murk
4 magpies, 1 crow and 2 jay
great and blue tits.
1 grey wagtail
W2-3 sunny with 30% cloud. Water level rising fast
Goosander Male & fem
Com Gull 220+
B h Gull 140+
Meadow Pipit 2
Elland G. P. 10.50 - 16.30
G C Grebe 3
Litle Grebe 11 Ski Lake 1 River
G Heron 1
Pochard male & fem
Tufted Duck 26
Goldeneye 2 males+ 1ad fem + 2 first W fem
Sparrowhawk 1 male
G B B Gull 1 ad flew W
Herring Gull 4 first W flew West
Common Gull 200
B h Gull 800+
No gull roosted on the Ski Lake
G S Woodpecker 1male
Meadow P 2
Grey Wag 1
Chiffchaff 1 in brambles on aproach to pool
Redpoll 6 in flight
Sue and I took the dog up Norland for its usual Saturday morning walk around 8am. Not too much around this morning but we did have wonderful views of a small flock of Bullfinch in the small Birch trees at the top end of Moor. A flock of seven, 3male & 4 female. This is the first time in 15 years of walking Norland regularly we have ever seen Bullfinch on the moor. Large flocks of B/H gulls in most of fields around the Norland area this morning, too many to count but they must have run into the low thousands added together.
Bird field guide; thanks to all who replied, and a VERY BIG THANK YOU to Dean Stables from Barnsley Birders who very generously mailed me a pristine HB copy of the highly recommended Collins guide free. And yes everyone who recomended it, it is indeed superb.
Scope; thanks to all who offered suggestions for scopes as well. Money is a bit tight at the moment as Sue is re-training as a secondary school teacher with the subsequent large loss of salary involved. I did not feel I could justify spending large amounts from a limited income this year so have delayed in purchasing any of the scopes suggested but will do so when finances permit. In the meantime I had a dig around in the accumulated rubbish in the garage and managed to unearth my old Greencat spotting scope which is now around 20 years old. It still works fine and though its not as good as the ones suggested its better than none at all. I have now bought a tripod for this so if anyone spots me out and about with a tatty old scope please refrain from sniggering at my antiquated equipment :-))
Seasons greeting to all
Friday, November 30, 2007
8.30 onwards everyone is welcome old and new.Lets put some faces to our blogg names.Merry X - mas
I'll look forward to seeing a week's worth of reports when I get from Luxor on 10th.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
4 mistle thrush.
Robins, 3 dunnock, 1 bullfinch, 3 chaffinch.
Usual great and blue tits but didn't notice any long-tailed.
Little owl roosting in a hawthorn bush - distant views.
Blackbirds, wood pigeons, crows and magpies (not counted but approx 10 of each).
Then on the walk back down the lane, I saw what I thought was a pigeon approaching through the trees. It was only when it drew level that I could see it was a woodcock. So I fumbled the camera and missed the shot! A tick for me though.
One thing that is very noticeable is the lack of hawthorn berries. I've a photo from this time last year showing the hedges full of berries. This year there are hardly any. Rowans seem in short supply too and most of the blackbirds/thrushes were on the holly.
Having lived in Yorkshire for more than half my life now you will understand that the cheaper the better.
Having risen from my death bed today in a manner of which Lazarus himself would have been proud I spotted a female Reed Bunting on top of bush in a neighbours garden, also present from the kitchen window 3 Greenfinch, 2 Magpies, Robin, 2 Collard doves, 2 Blue tits and several corvids passing over fields in front of the house.
2 f Goldeneye on Cold Edge but nothing doing at all at Fly Flats other than a Kestrel.
As it was so nice this morning I set off early at around 7.15 to meet up with Les at 8.30. Not much to see until I got to Cromwell Bottom as it was still darkish. Two pairs of Goosander, several Mallard and a Kingfisher passing through on the river near the metal foot bridge from North bank to Tag loop. Put some food down for the Chaffinches that seem to congregate near the large Ash tree just over the bridge. When I got up to the feeders there were the usual gang of Magpies scrounging underneath and again a Great Spotted feeding on the Lard feeder. After topping off the feeders I moved away down to Brookfoot loop and disturbed a Green Woodpecker feeding on the floor. I have no idea what they feed on whilst on the ground on Tag loop but I have never seen them other than feeding on the floor, but one would think nothing much in the invertebrate line would be around at the moment ? As as was very early to meet Les I decided to walk around the river on Brookfoot loop as I have not been round here for a few weeks. Nothing much on the river at first until I got past the railway viaduct when I picked up a pair of Little Grebe and then single Little Grebe further down. Moving on down through the heavily overgrown brambles further downstream I spotted four Bullfinch feeding on the old withered berries (two male & two female). As I got down to where the emergency overflow pipe at the bottom of the lagoon flows into the river (or would if the lagoon flooded) the dog disappeared to investigate the river bank at this spot and flushed out a Water Rail, only my second ever sighting here, last one was at least 15 years ago in the same spot and also flushed out by a previous Springer Spaniel I had.
When I met Les near the Avocet factory I told him about the rail and he mentioned that there is quite often one in residence here in winter most years. Not much seen on our walk around the disabled path at Tag loop apart from both Les and I were sure we heard the mew of a Buzzard coming from Strangstry Wood on the opposite hillside but nothing appeared. We did find Heron on the river is his usual spot but no Wagtails or Dippers this morning. Leaving Les on the canal bridge with the crumblie club, I set off back up the towpath home about 9am. Nothing much seen until I got up near the Knowles Pipeworks dump where I spotted a Fox curled up in the sunshine in the usual spot near some Hawthorns. Just up from Rawsons Pool I spotted a tit flock and stooped to watch them for 10 mins. The flock was mainly Long tailed, with a good number of Blues (no Great tit again) , two Coal tits and two Goldcrests. I finally managed another Nuthatch much nearer to Park Nook Lock than I have seen them before, one spotted coming down the trunk of what I think is large old Ash tree. I had good views of this in the sunshine and really appreciated the subtle shades of grey and "pink" which stood out well in the bright sunshine.
I am at last starting to get my eye in again with birds as my main interest for many years as been entomology and one tends to walk around looking downwards below head height as this is where most insect are to be found. I am now (until spring at least) starting to walk around looking up into trees and thus spotting more birds again. All great fun and something to fill in the time when the insects are not around.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
To register simply click on the help button and follow the instructions that show. It should take only a day or two for you registration to be accepted.
No confusion was intended and I hope that you will all accept that, like yourselves, we are a small group of volunteers operating with very limited resources and trying to promote interest in birdwatching in our local area.
Met up with Les for our usual Tuesday walk. Set off around 7.30 am and although I could hear plenty of birds around on the woods either side of the towpath I could see bugger all due to it being so gloomy this morning. Got a nice view of three Roe Deer feeding near the Pylon in the field just past Knowles pipe dump. One buck and two does browsing away only feet from the busy Elland road. Lots of happy little commuters in their metal boxes hurtling into work oblivious of the deer nearby, never mind they can watch Titmarsh later and see some on telly instead.
Went up onto Tag Loop before I met Les to top up the feeders. A few tits present on the nuts feeders, a Great Spotted feeding on the lard feeder and 3 Magpies scrounging underneath looking for spilled seed and nuts. A walk round with Les with not much showing really and what was showing was hard to pick out due to the poor lighting. A few Cormorants on the Ski lake ramp, usual B/H gulls, one GC Grebe and several tufted duck was all we spotted on the lake. A small flock of finches was feeding in the alders but we were not sure what they were as all we could see was dark silhouettes ! We did spot a Kestrel moving over Tag meadow, not often seen these days on Tag due to the fact that the meadow is now lank and overgrown rather than mowed each Autumn as it should be. Kingfisher and Heron on the river between North Bank and Tag Loop with the usual assortment of Mallard and one pair of Goosander.
I left Les on the canal bridge with his crumblie mates and set off back up the towpath. I then had a nice sighting of Tree Creeper in a large Sycamore directly opposite the abandoned wood huts in the field near the flats (is this where you spotted it Darrell ?) I had very good clear views of the bird as it worked its way up the trunk and branches. Whilst watching this bird I spotted another creeper also working its way up. They were obviously together as they moved from tree to tree together up the bank. As I followed them up I spotted Green Woodpecker calling and the flying over towards Cromwell Bottom.
As I moved up following the creepers I had a large mixed tit flock appear around me and move between the trees on either bank of the canal. Mainly Long tailed and Blue but I also spotted one Goldcrest amongst them. Is it my imagination or are Great Tits not around in such large numbers this year ? Despite hoping my luck was in this morning I didn't manage either Lesser Spotted or Nuthatch near Rawson's Pool :-((
Monday, November 26, 2007
Ski-lake - 3 Cormorant, 26 Tufted Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 3 G C Grebe, 2 L Grebe, 12 Goosander.
Also 2 Pochard (can't believe these are firsts for me in Calderdale this year!)
100+ Common Gulls in the fields and c240 B H Gulls on the lake.
Great and blue tit flocks - 5 or 6
On the lake: 6 teal (2M 4F), 8 moorhen, 26 mallard, 2 grey heron, 2 water rail excellent views but no camera!
Tawny owl flushed from the trees at the side of the lake.
2 BH Gull, 1 common gull, jay, 1 siskin.
10 robins in total.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
high cloud cover W2-3
Goosander 1 male
Golden Plover 135 am only
Com Gull 330
B h Gull 120
Stonechat 1 fem
Scammonden Valley 10.20 - 13.00 & 13.030 - 15.00
G C Grebe 1 Scam Dam
Goldeneye 1 male 1 first w fem Dam
From 11.15 to 12.15 190 large gulls flew South West thro the valley
G B B Gull 4 ads
L B B Gull 1 ad 1 1st Winter
Glaucous Gull 1 adult with 4 Herring Gulls
Herring Gull 184
Common Gull 200 on Dam and feeding in fields
B h Gull 75
Short-eared Owl 4 birds hunting the valley above Dean Head Res. 1 asio owl flew low thro trees adjacent to car park after dark.
G S Woodpecker 1
Sonechat 1 male 1 fem
Reed Bunt 2
G S Woodpecker 1
G B B Gull 4 ad
Fly Flatts :-
1 Reed Bunting
4 Red Grouse
Checked the top road Dave , no sign of Snow Bunt,
just the Kestrel that flushed them.
Soil Hill :-
2 Meadow Pipit
4 Golden Plover
5 Grey Partridge
No sign of Snow Bunt.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
W4-5 low cloud and rain - from the car
Goldeneye 1 male + 1 w fem
Goosander male + fem
Golden Plover 250+
Com Snipe 9 flew into field to the East of Res
Com Gull 175
B h Gull 320+
Elland G P 14.05 - 16.50 (dark)
Brighter light showers
G C Grebe 2 Ski L. 1 Fish L
Little Grebe 9 Ski L. 2 River
Cormorant 2 imms
Teal 2 male Pool
Tufted Duck 26 Ski Lake
Pochard male + fem
Goldeneye 2 fist w male + 1 first w fem
Peregrine 1 high over valley at dusk
Herring Gull 1 ad flew W to roost
L B B Gull 1 ad
Common Gull 100 Feding in fields + 400 flew thro to roost
B h Gull 2500 most moving thro valley to roost but 400+ remained on ski lake after dark
Reed Bunting 2
After a few weeks of nothing but a couple of Stonechats, I finaly got a good bird in the form of a male Brambling on the border with West End Golf Course. I dont recall seeing this species here in the past so it looks like a patch tick for me. The Lapwing flock at High Road Well Moor is now 100+.
Ps I still need photos for the 2006 bird report.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Ovenden Moor - 1 Snipe flushed on the moor near Nab Hill and checked around the quarries but no sign of any Snow Buntings! Also 1 Raven over and 2 Peregrines over went to sit on the 'long fence'.
Fly Flats - 1 Red-legged Patridge on the moor took flight and was hit by a falconers young Peregrine. It survived the hit near the small bridge/path leading to sailing club - looking dazed on the bridge. I later found it dead in the 'cut'.
1 Stonechat near the Withens.
Also forgot from yesterday at Soil Hill, 2 Stonechats on the fence surrounding the mast.
Nothing unusual around this morning for me and Les. Usual suspects around in some numbers this morning and we did have very clear close views of a Great Crested Grebe on the shallows near the pontoon bridge between Tag & Brookfoot Loop but nothing out the ordinary.
I had a great view of a male Sparrowhawk on my way back up the canal towpath. I spotted two birds belting through the woods between the river and canal and realised the lead bird was a male sparrowhawk with a dead bird (thrush sized but impossible to tell which species) clutched in its claws with a Magpie in hot pursuit obviously trying to get it to drop the bird. Neither bird made a sound. I went off to investigate to see if I could find the hawk and victim but no joy in the thick scrub. I did scare off the Magpie so I assume the hawk was nearby but the undergrowth was too think to see anything. Why is it that Hawk plucking posts are always out in the open according to the books but usually in thick scrub when you actually get to look for them !
Nick see us for the entry fee on Sunday or Monday
Come on everyone lets get involved and see some teams.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Soil Hill - 1 Snow Bunting still present in the same area as last few days.
Fly Flats - 3 Snow Buntings flushed by a Kestrel at 1 pm along the top road. They flew off >N towards the quarries at Nab Hill (far end of the top road on the right where the 'Pit Stop' project is proposed!).
Also 1 Redpoll fly-over by the track to the boat-house and a Stoat there.
On the res'r 1 f Goldeneye and 1 f Tufted Duck. A few Red Grouse vocal over the moor but no Twite at the feeding station.
Cold Edge Dams - 2 f Goldeneye
Usual walk with Les Midgley produced two decent sightings this morning. First large flock of Siskins of the winter were spotted in the Alders on the far canal bank on the deep water length opposite the top end of the ski lake. We counted around 50 birds in the flock. We also had the first big skein of geese passing over, around 200-250 of what Les thinks were Pink Feet. They were in 3 big "V" formations all together heading east which Les suggests is an unusual direction at this time of year.
Usual suspects for the time of year around showing well this morning despite the early gloom. Goosander number are now starting to build up with many more males now arriving. Cormorant's still in lowish numbers of under 10 most days. Still large numbers of Tufted on ski lake along with up to 5 Great Crested Grebes most days. Bullfinch now showing well and its unusual not to spot at least two or three groups of 4-6 birds. Large (20-30) flocks of mixed tits around most days, mainly long tailed, great and blue with the odd coal tit now and then. Peckers noticeable by their absence the last 10 days or so with only the odd sighting or calling bird heard. Jays seem to be around in much larger numbers this year ? I think that Jackdaws are now roosting in the quarry behind Butterly Bricks as I hear and see a few each morning when I nip up and top the feeders up on Tag Loop, not a bird I associate with CB.
Finally I found this interesting link to the collective nouns for groups of birds:
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
"A History of Ornithology" by Peter Bircham. List price of of the book is £45 and as always with NN titles it will rise over the years as the book becomes more collectable. Both books are still sealed in their wrapper.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
So in search of a warmer climate we headed down to Avocet Wood in search of LSW, dipped again, only a flock of long tailed tits with a single goldcrest were to be seen.
Undeterred by weather and so far a lack of birds we headed across the road onto EGP, where we had several flocks to LTT with Blue and Great tits amongst, only the odd goldcrest accompanied them. Min of 3 Goosander 2 males and a female, as most sightings were in flight, 3 GC Grebes on water ski lake and anglers lake, Common Gull, several Coots and Mallard also on lake.
Total of 3 Bullfinch seen 2 females and a Male, One female at Avocet end the others down the other end nr the car park.
c30 Redpolls feeding in trees nr the Water Ski end car park, also 2 GSW there along with usual tits and chaffinches.
A single Grey Heron and Redwing the only real birds of note other than the above.
Sure I've prob forgotten something so check comments for Sean's corrections.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
A call from Nigel Kerwin saying he had located a single f Snow Bunt on soil hill
just gave me time before dark to get up there and get some seed down and see
the bird. I met Nigel and he took me straight to the spot where the bird was and as we
stood there talking the bird was feeding less than 3ft away, at one point we could have touched it.
Bad news was my camera jammed up just when I could have got some crippling views. BS
Several flocks of long tailed tit throughout the area.
3 comorant on the ski jump and several tufted duck on the lake - is there a better place to check out the lake than from the road?
3 goosander (1m 2f) on the river between Brookfoot and the metal bridge.
6 teal, 4 bh gull, 1 coot and 1 mute swan on the reed fringed lake between the river and canal.
Goosander caught up with again at the weir:
10 goldfinch on the top (tag loop?)
Great spotted woodpecker on the canal towards Elland
4 nuthatch between the bridge and the first lock past Knowles pipeworks
Mixed tit flocks (LTT, Great, Blue and Coal)
Headed back towards Brookfoot - up to 10 goosander flying from the lake around the site and back.
6 heron, 2 jay and a kestrel hunting from a pylon.
The feeders at the car park had great, blue and coal tits, chaffinch, greenfinch and a magpie.
I've put up a collection of Calderdale Birds for 2007 at my photo site if anyone is interested (sorry Nick, nothing for 2006).
Friday, November 16, 2007
The 2005 REPORT is still available at Woodlesford News Agents Pellon.
Not much around this morning but views we had of various Bullfinch groups we spotted made up for the lack of much else. Feeders are now getting a lot more activity as the birds have got used to them.
Quick check of Widdop Res produced 2 Ravens and a Peregrine (unhappy at the Ravens) swooping around and calling whilst the Ravens voiced their displeasure at the disturbance. Also a lone Meadow Pipit.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Fly Flats this afternoon - cold and sunny and good views over the moor. No Twite at the feeding area but I put some niger seed down just in case. Are you still putting some down Brian?
1 Peregrine, 1 Raven and 2 Carrion Crows over the moor along with lots of Red Grouse being very vocal.
Res'r - 1 f Goldeneye, 1 sickly looking Lapwing!, 1 Fieldfare feeding at the top of the overflow channel, 2 Kestrels and 18 B H Gulls.
Thanks to (Yorkshire Water, I presume) for fixing three new bridge walk-ways over the bog at the far end of the res'r on the path that leads up to the road. The old railway sleepers were getting very fragile and crossing them was getting a bit iffy! Many thanks.