Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Luddenden Dean

1 Green Woodpecker
6 Long-tailed tits
1 Little Owl
2 Ravens over high >SW
13 Mistle Thrushes heading up to roost in Castle Carr + 2 Redwings
1 Pheasant had a close encounter with a fox and escaped just in time!

Dancing Gull Update

Hi all
A few weeks back I posted a question about some strange looking Gull behaviour and asked what it was doing. A rain dance for worms was the answer and Andy C very kindly sent me this link today from the Bradford Birders site...well worth a view

Monday, December 29, 2008

Roils Head

Posting for Nick Dawtrey
4 Crossbills this afternoon (2m 2f) in pines at the NW end of West End golf course - grid ref SE 060 259. The track leads from the top of Paddock Lane towards Rye Lane. They were about half way along the track where it meets another track heading off at right angles towards the playing fields.
3 Stonechats also nearby, and from yesterday 4 Reed Buntings

High Royd, Sowerby Bridge


40-45 Teal
2 Moorhen
2 Coot
3 Mallard
30 BHG
Grey Heron
Kestrel (f)
Magpies, Jay, C.Crows, Wood Pigeons.

Shroggs Park

A female Sparrowhawk took a male Blackbird from right in front of me this morning!
c12 Long-tailed Tits also around in the park

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday 28th - Todmorden

Out for brief walk up by Great Rock - Fields full of Fieldfare and two grouse low over the moor spooked by the crows !

Nothing on Longfield pond though.

Swales Moor

3 Skylarks and 8 Meadow Pipits on the top this afternoon
c70 Fieldfares and c35 Redwings near the ski-slope

Saturday, December 27, 2008


coal tit
not much to see this morning
1 greater spotted woodpecker
usual black headed gulls and mallards
bird table birds:
2 coal tits
2 robins
1 great tit


Called in at Ringstone this morning to replace the log sheets, very little around but did see

Canada Goose 56
Black headed Gull c300
Common Gull c50
Golden Plover 10
Starling 10
Lapwing 4
Carrion Crow 22

Willow Hall Dams

Took a short walk here yesterday.

1 magnificent Kingfisher
4 Mallard (2M 2F)
Plus the usual Tits, Corvids etc

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas

Thanks to one and all for your help and encouragement to couple of amateur (very !) birders so far in 2008. We have been so encouraged and enthused by your help that our Xmas day is going to be spent out walking and birding amongst live birds rather than contemplating how we are going to eat a large dead bird sitting on a plate :-))

A very happy and enjoyable Christmas and happy and healthy 2009 to all from Paul & Sue in North Wales.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Best wishes to all local birders for Xmas and 2009 and thanks to everyone who has supported the work of the CBCG during the year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


6 Great Black-backed Gulls over >SW at 3pm
1 Tawny Owl singing in Skirden Clough late afternoon + Red Grouse calling nearby
2 Goldcrests

Elland Gravel Pits 23/12/08

37 Tufted Duck plus one duck that was associating itself with them in the main but it appeared to be slightly smaller with whitish/light coloured markings on the flanks. It also had a thin white band near the tip of its bill. It was always distant as most birds invariably are here but I think it could well be worth someone more experienced checking this individual out if they are in the vicinity bearing in mind Andy C's comments on 26/11/08.

In addition also present were:

1 female Shelduck was present which is uncommon here.
1 Goldeneye
1 Goosander
4 Little Grebe
3 Great Crested Grebe
4 Cormorant
15 Coot
120 Black-headed Gull
10 Common Gull
20 Siskin

Monday, December 22, 2008

High Royd Ponds, Sowerby Bridge


20-25 Teal
1 Little Grebe
2 Grey Heron

Waxwings now in Sowerby Br

30 today just above the Church at the bottom of Tuel Lane. Opp the locks and Lidl car park.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ringstone hide log

I have called at the hide today and taken the log sheets for this year (to date) to enter the records onto the BOG recorder for Nick, I will get the remainder early in the new year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Soil Hill 14:00-15:00

25 Lapwings (over > SE)
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Mipit
2 or 3 Herons (May have seen 1 twice)
1 Short Eared Owl - First for my mate I was with

Wear wellies!

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Pied" Thrush

Received from Martyn Hayes today

Hi Nick,

This may be of intrest to you. I had a male Blackbird in the garden this morning that was "Pied" ie at least 75 percent white, it was patchy with one white tertial and then one black one etc and the body plumage was say two white feathers for every black one, most of the primaries were white although it's head was black. A really interesting bird, I don't know where it's come from as I know all the local Blackbirds (9), including one with a white feather above it's left eye, you get to recognise them when you see them nearly everyday, so presumably this pied bird has turned up during the cold spell. I remember the Pied Thrushes in Sri Lanka, perhaps I should put it on Birdline as a "Pied Thrush".............I've seen the comments about the white crow at Mixenden but did you know there was actually five in the early nineties, I had a photo somewhere of them all in one tree.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

20 Sites Covered

Great news in that Jane Uttley has kindly forwarded on her records from Ogden on Sunday meaning a superb total of 20 Sites were covered.

Jane saw:-

65 Mallard
c130 BH Gulls
6 Robins
2 Goldcrests
7 Carrion Crows
4 Blue tits
2 Magpies
3 Blackbirds
3 Coal Tits
3 Dunnocks

My thanks to Jane and once more to everyone else who took part.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008



My son has reported that redpolls are again on the track between Oldroyd & Kilnhurst. He saw a small flock yesterday

Winter Wildfowl Survey Results

Tim Walker covered:-

Ringstone Reservoir - 24 Mallard (with more coming to roost from all directions after dark - 16:30)
- 26 Goosander (majority coming in at dusk W/NW)

Booth Wood - 2 pairs Mallard

He also covered the following sites with negative results

Green Withens, Spa Clough, Booth Dean Upper & Lower.

Matt Bell covered:-

Longfield Dam - negative results on Wildfowl but did hold 70 BH Gulls & 8 Lapwing.

Steve Ellement (apologies if that is not your surname Steve, just assuming due to your email address that it is) covered:-

The Canal from Hebden Bridge to Copley -

285 Mallard
19 Greylag Geese (feral)
7 Canada Geese
6 Muscovy Duck

The Calder from Copley to Sowerby Bridge - 2 Goosander

Rose Grove (alias High Royd ie:- Old sewage works) - 6 Teal (m)

Other species seen by Steve:- Kingfisher (x3 all Sowerby Bridge), Treecreeper, GSW, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Blue tit, Great tit, LT tit, Collard Dove, Wood pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Magpie, Jackdaw, Starling, BH Gull, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch.

Andy Cockcroft covered:-

Brighouse Canal - 86 Mallard

Sunny Vale - 10 Mallard
- 2 Goosander

Ringstone - 5 Teal

I covered:-

Middle Walshaw res - a pair of Mallard

Upper Gorple - Goldeneye (m)

negative results from

Lower & Upper Walshaw, Widdop Res & Lower Gorple

Other species seen by myself:-

Along Widdop Rd - 1 GSW, 1 Mistle Thrush, c30 Goldfinch, 3 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing, 1 Green Woodpecker (heard), 1 Wren, 9 Pheasant.

At Blake Dean - 1 Grey Heron, 3 Goldcrest.

At Walshaw incl res and plantation - 24 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 1 Kestrel (m), 1 Red Grouse (though plenty more heard), 19 Pheasant, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Dunnock.

At Widdop Res
- 1 Kestrel (f) very tatty tail missing several feathers.

At Gorple - 5 Red Grouse, 3 Stonechat (pair at Upper Gorple, Single Juv/Female on Dam wall at Lower Gorple), 5 Redpoll, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Kestrel (f) full set of tail feathers.

Huge thanks guys, a fantastic effort to have covered 19 sites a real shame we didn't get Ogden or Elland covered off, just think of the area that could have been covered with a few more people joining in. We could have had almost a complete picture of the numbers of Wildfowl wintering in Calderdale prior to Xmas.

Some good news since Sunday is that Steve revisted High Royd and the number of Teal present had risen to 17. As Nick Carter pointed out nowhere near the numbers of years gone by, but certainly not as worrying as only the 6 seen on Sunday.

As for the 11th Jan 2009 we are going to go with Andy Cockcrofts idea of a survey of Sowerby Bridge and Copley, centring on the area of planned development. The records pulled in from this days birding will be vital in shaping bird life/conservation in this area for years to come and I therefore ask that as many people as possible join in. 2 Key birds to wet your appetites will be Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Water Rail.

We still need a volunteer to help organise this, any offers??

Raptor calendars

Still time to get the raptor calendar, they make ideal Xmas presents, cover 18 months and include superb photography. All profits go directly to raptor conservation in Calderdale, each calendar costs £10 (+£1.50 P & P if required) and can be obtained from Nick Carter or Tim Walker or by posting a request on this post, one of us will contact you.

Sean's Ringing totals

We are fortunate in having Sean Gray as a fully licensed ringer in our area. Sean has been carrying out his ringing work at several locations locally as well as further afield as part of the Dale Ringers Group and has published his local ringing totals for December 2007 to December 2008 at the following link. These figures do not include twite ringing which was carried out as part of the North West Twite Project using their rings.


Thanks are due to Sean not only for his ringing work but also for his generosity in allowing his photographs to be used in CBCG work and HBWC reports etc. as well as initiating and running several nest box projects locally. To see his superb photography go to www.grayimages.co.uk

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Roils Head area

Posting for Nick Dawtrey;

1 Waxwing this afternoon in rowans at the top of Rye Lane, Pellon by Rushton Hill Close. In the same spot as where 2 reported on 27th November.

57 Lapwings in nearby fields (between Roils Head and Mount Tabor) along with 32 Common Gulls

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Wildfowl Survey Records

Just a quick plea for any of you that joined in on Sunday to send your records to me by Wednesday then I can post all the results on the blog.

Many thanks to Tim and Steve for their records already gratefully received.

The NEXT date for your diaries will be Sunday 11th January 2009 !! I unfortunately won't be able to join you on this day as I'm in training with a team from work for a crack at the 3 peaks in June so I'm looking for someone to take the lead on the next project and also open to ideas.

Thanks again to those who took time to take part this weekend, I look forward to seeing the results.

And to those I won't see before hand A VERY MERRY XMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Luddenden Cemetery

1 M Bullfinch this afternoon


Spotted 2 Stonechat while driving through this morning. 1 posing nicely at the tip of a willow herb stem.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Still time to Join In.

Tomorrow's Winter Wildfowl Survey and with some important sites still to be covered, incl:- High Royd in Sowerby Bridge which in the past has been an excellant site for teal and Elland Gravel Pits.

We really do need these sites covering so I'd be extremely grateful if someone could take an hour out of their day to cover them.

Sites which are being covered are :- Ogden,Green Withens, Boothwood, Sunny Vale, Both Gorple's and all 3 Walshaw res.

We are NOT meeting at the Barge and Barrell at the end of the day instead if people can just email me their records I'll post all the results on the blog and email them to Nick D for entry in the report.

Thanks to those who have already made a pledge and to those of you who join us, I look forward to getting your records.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bird Report

Posting for Nick Dawtrey
The text for the 2007 report is almost complete however Nick would like to include some photos of local birds taken in 2007. Please forward any you have for posssible inclusion, on a disk to Nick as soon as possible.

2008 Records - Please can you forward all this years records to Nick before the end of January as he is considering including 2007/2008 together in one report (with a summerised version of 2008) This will help to 'catch up' with records in one report. If you use the BOG system this is the most helpful as if you send a disk then Nick can collate the records much more easily than hard copy paper records. If you don't have the BOG system then please still send your paper records in !

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Savile Park/King Cross

3 Waxwings reported by Andy C today at King Cross. In trees on the grass area at the bottom of Warley Road. Same spot as they were seen recently.

Also nearby 2 Nuthatches off Albert Promenade overlooking Scarr Wood, also Great Spotted Woodpecker there.


Just a reminder to those that have not yet paid their grapevine contribution that it is now overdue, if you no longer wish to be part of the grapevine please let either me or Dave know ASAP, thanks

Night Vision ?

Hi all
I have a couple of Tawny owls feeding on the mice and voles attracted to the spilt seed around my feeding station in the garden. I have toyed with the idea for years of buying a night vision scope or bins and feel it would now be worthwhile for bat/badger/owl watching here in Edern. There seem to be dozens of models and makes on offer, so my question is does anyone use these or have a recommendation ? Obviously I don't want to pay silly money but I don't want poor quality either so I am prepared to pay a decent amount.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Local Twite in Norfolk

Just received an e mail from Nick Wilkinson (RSPB Twite researcher) to let us know that a twite ringed this year as a pulli at Fly Flatts has been sighted recently at Happisburgh in Norfolk.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

All abit last minute but.........

At the last meeting I suggested we have work groups once a month, on the back of that it was felt it would be a good idea and that the second Sunday in each month be the day.

I hope that despite the last minute reminder and organisation enough of you are still interested and further more have put the day aside in your diaries.

To kick things off I thought we could do a Winter Wildfowl Survey as for this to be a success we need as much of Calderdale's open water covering as is humanly possible I suggest that everyone pledge to cover an area and that to keep it on a group theme we then meet up at the end of the day to collate our records.

If you can email me your contact details I shall endevour to co-ordinate everyone so that as much area is covered as possible.

Although this is a wildfowl survey please do record other species but concentrate on the wildfowl and numbers.

I will also ask that people pledge to do an area close to home rather than everyone wanting to cover Ogden and Elland.

I also going to suggest that we finish each working party with a pint somewhere and suggest we kick off by meeting at the old haunt of the Barge and Barrell at Elland (maybe even we could all do the last hour of the day at Elland Gravel Pits.)

I will send an email round as well but I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible and seeing you all on Sunday.

I will start by pledging to cover Upper & Lower Gorple along with all 3 Walshaws, Hardcastle Crags Mill pond and Nutclough Wood (given enough time) Anyone want to join me for the full day (or part of it) and a long walk.

My email address is andrewhuyton@hotmail.com


I also did my tetrad to-day (it's amazing what the sunshine brings out) It covers a very good area ; some built-up areas ,Boothtown,Lee Mount but also some lovely open country; Swalesmoor and the other side of the ski slope and the top of Shibden Valley.
Found 22 species including a tawny owl sunning it self near the ski slope,a pair of kestrels, hopefully in their breeding area, approx. 22 field fares, 12 redwings, 7 mistle thrushes,30/40 starlings,a jay as well as umpteen magpies and a lot of other smaller birds. An enjoyable morning out.

BTO Atlas Survey

Tetrad today around Wainstalls, Withens, Cold Edge and Hunter Hill above Mixenden.
Just 22 Sp...
2 Stonechats (different locations)
1 Reed Bunting
1 Meadow Pipit
77 Jackdaws
17 Rooks

Buzzard Feeding Station

Just a couple of rather crappy shots of two Buzzards that appeared at my feeding station behind the caravan today to clear up two duck carcases put out for them. The tree in the photos is around 12 feet from my office window in the caravan. Its a real privalage to be able to watch such magnificent birds mere feet from my window. Added...I thought I had better just make this clear, the photos are from outside my home in Edern in North Wales not Calderdale

Monday, December 08, 2008

Barn Owl

A Barn Owl flew right infront of my Land Rover on my way to Marsden this evening (7.15pm), just inside our recording area at Vicar's Lot, Marsden Gate, Outlane. No mistaking this one, saw it face-on. Quite a surprise at 1110ft!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pink-footed Geese

90 over Shelf >w at 12.15 from Brian Sumner

64 over Northowram (AC) at 2.30 this afternoon passed over Swales Moor at 2.38 (DJS) then over Queensbury area at 2.40 (BS) heading toward Ogden - well done guys!

2 Skylarks and 2 Meadow Pipits also at Swales Moor
1 Little Owl up Ploughcroft and 5 Fieldfares

Strange Gull Behaviour

Hi all
A question about some bird behaviour I have never seen before and cannot find in any of my books. Sue and I had a walk along the coast today here in N Wales as the weather was so beautiful it made tweeter watching a real pleasure as one could sit and observe for long periods without getting chilled (in fact we got sun burnt faces). As we made our way across Nefyn Golf course (a superb spot for wildlife of all kinds) we watched a Herring Gull behaving in a most peculiar fashion. The bird appeared to be dancing or drumming its feet very fast on the grass in one small area and then pausing and looking at the ground. Occasionally it would peck up something and eat it. The bird continued with this drum and pause for the 15 mins or so we sat watching it from close range (around 30 feet). I could only assume its drumming on the ground was either disturbing or attracting invertebrates to the surface which it then ate. Now one possibility we thought of was that the drumming made a sound like heavy rain and attracted worms or something to the surface ? I have never seen another gull or any other bird do this so wonder is this a recognised behaviour amongst gulls or any birds for that matter ?

The gull stayed in a flat area (tee off for one of the holes) and never moved more than a small area of say one metre square the whole time we watched it and the drumming of its feet lasted for say around 60 seconds at a time and then the bird paused and waited whilst looking at the ground. We watched the bird for 15 mins or so and it was still in the same place drumming as we left to head home. Any help with an explanation most gratefully received.

Cold Edge - Lunchtime

Not surprisingly very quiet with bottom lake 80% frozen. Just some miserable looking Mallard, Crows, 1 Kestrel and 1 unidentified little brown bird. Then a skein of 40ish Geese flew over that I assumed were Canada but my books don't show geese underneath in flight well. Looking at the photos the legs don't look black. Could someone confirm the type of Geese?


Halifax town center friday at 5.00
i was in town yesterday and remebered about the wagtail roost but looking up could see none. i walked under the tree 5 mins later and something fell on my head. i looked up and there they were sat in the top of a tree.it was amazingthe most amazing wildlife spectacle this yearwell worth itthere must have been about 300 in one tree

Ogden saturday morn
1 treecreeper
3 goldcrests
1 wren really close
1 woodpecker heard

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Shibden Park

Saturday 8-10 am

Lake still mostly frozen with the ducks and geese limited to a small section by the visitor centre.
50+ mallard
7 canada geese
4 moorhen
2 pied wagtail
20+ black headed gull
Flock of approx 6 goldcrest at the side of the path.

1 GS woodpecker
Party of LT tit
2 treecreeper
1 nuthatch

One of the gulls

Crows, jackdaws, rooks and magpies

Rare Garden Visitor

Got up this morning and the first thing I clamp my eyes on as I stare out the kitchen window turns out, having quickly grabbed some bins, is a Redpoll. This is quickly joined by 2 others one of which stood out as being paler with a distinct white (rather than the buff on the other 2) wing bar. streaking on the flanks also seemed more defined.

Whether this was a Meally or not would take a better birder than I to tell you but nether the less Redpoll in the garden is a rare site.

Last weekend (Sunday lunch) a Kingfisher was on the canal Hebden side of Mytholmroyd just past Burnley Rd School by the bridge.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Halifax Town Centre

Wade Street (by Wickes)
1 pair of Bullfinch there the last few days eating the yellow rowan berries looked fantastic
1 Grey Wagtail over

No sign, or reports of Waxwings in the last day or so locally since 1st December when c20 were reported on Bird-Guides at Wade Street - their favourite berries on the rowans have been scoffed!

Hardcastle Crags

At least one Nuthatch near the crags car park today
1 Grey Heron
1 Common Buzzard
c6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Treecreepers
2 Siskin over
Good numbers of Blue , Great and Coal Tits and Chaffinch especially down the track to the river from the Midgeholme car park
16 Redwings in Crimsworth Dean
Only 2 Goldcrests today

12 Meadow Pipits (Shackleton Knoll)
2 Kestrels

Coach Road, Brighouse area - pm

3 Goldcrest
7 Goldfinch
2 Mallard
2 Treecreepers
10 Magpies
Grey Wagtail
6 Blue Tits - at least
2 Great Tits
Redwing - just the one
5 Blackbirds
Nuthatch on the 3rd - regular sightings of 1/2 birds through winter months

Longfield Dam area - Todmordern. 2:30pm

Longfield - 8 lapwing seemed unseasonal?
10 canadas
12 black headed gull
20+ starling
9 mallard
No tufties at all
Lumbutts Clough Dam (below Longfield towards Castle Hill)
2 male goosander

Also, a nuthatch yesterday at Knott Wood (Turret Royd), Hebden Bridge.


noon. two male goosanders on river near sowerby bridge moorings

Twite Recovery Project Officer appointed

Received from Roy Taylor (RSPB)

I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Kerry Gawthorpe as the England Twite Recovery Project Officer. Kerry was outstanding in interview and has a superb knowledge of upland farming (having been involved in farming all her life) and how to communicate effectively and enthusiastically with the land owning community.

Kerry will start on 7th January and will no doubt be meeting with many of you over the coming months.

With Kerry's appointment, we can at last say that the Recovery Project is now truly underway and build upon the excellent survey and monitoring work of the past summer and turn our attention to delivering direct habitat intervention around the remaining twite colonies.

I am sure you will all join me in wishing Kerry (and the partnership which epitomises this Recovery Project), every success in the challenge of reversing the fortunes of this this plucky little finch!



Thursday, December 04, 2008


Fivers are now due please to Nick Carter or me (or via Nick Dawtrey) - that is everyone except AC GD SG and SJ who are all in front!

PLEASE let us know sooner rather than later if you do not wish to continue.
Many thanks - Dave

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Normal Behaviour?

I've just watched a Magpie present a twig to another. The receiver didn't take it. Is this normal out of the nesting season?

Rural waxwings

A near neighbour of mine has just told me they had 2 waxwings in their large garden at Winters, nr. Blackshaw Head, Hebden Bridge on the weekend of 15th November. Their brother was visiting from Sheffield, who is a very keen birdwatcher, and identified them. They watched them for some time feeding on a rowan, and gave a very accurate description. They haven't been seen since, which is a real shame, as I'd love to see waxwings in the 'countryside', as I've only ever seen then on an industrial estate / retail park!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sparrow hybrid?

I was just browsing through some old photos I took during the 90s and came across this one (originally from a film camera) of two sparrows on my garage roof in suburban Skircoat Green. The right hand bird appears to have the cheeks and white collar of a Tree Sparrow but the grey crown and location would suggest House?? According to an old copy of "Bird Identification " by Harris, Tucker and Vinicombe hybrids are rare, so I was wondering if anyone else has come across one locally.


Monday, December 01, 2008


Monday 13:00 20-25 birds in Birch and Alder - On Wade street between Sainsbury's and Wickes. The odd one was also seen on Friday. Lower down Wade street - where the yellow berried prunus are, it has been good to watch a pair of Mistle thrush defend "their" trees against all comers, mostly blackbirds but also a small group of bullfinches.

Lesser s woodpecker

10.30 just below norland moor. great views as it searched for food in low trees. no other birds of note