Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birdlife Malta Petition

Please check out the new video Birdlife Malta have posted on their website - its on the home page - then you wiill see why it is SO important that everyone signs the petiton against illegal hunting. Please add your name to the cause!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Upper Calder Valley Reservoirs and Dams

A good bright, dry and sunny (but chilly) day for a walk so...

Lee Dam
14 Goosanders - the most I've seen here. 6 male and 8 female.
Grey Heron
2 Mallards
2 Canada Geese
I bet none of these are here on Sunday when the postponed New Year Swim takes place!
Flock of about 60 Starlings with 9 Fieldfares keeping them company in the field above the Dam.
Gaddings Dam
Now 90% free of ice and a pair of Goldeneye there this morning, 1 male and 1 female
Warland Res
About 90% iced over and no birds visible
Light Hazzles Res
100% ice and no birds about
White Holme Res
80-90% ice and no birds to be seen
Blackstone Edge Res
Looked to be almost fully iced over still but didn't walk over to the NE corner to check - too cold.
Not even a Mipit to get excited about.
Higher Chelburn Res
4 Goosanders (1 male and 3 female) but outside our recording area.

47 mallards, a Grey Heron and 31 Canada Geese on the Rochdale Canal
Longfield Dam
2 Goldeneye, 1 male and 1 female. Probably the same pair I saw 5 hours earlier at Gaddings.
3 Lapwings
2 Mallards
16 Canada Geese in the field

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blake Dean/Walshaw Dean/Lower Gorple

10 Bullfinch together feeding in the tops of birch and oak at Blake Dean this afternoon
1 Treecreeper and 1 Coal Tit also present

Lower Gorple
1 adult Herring Gull >W
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker on the lodge feeders

Savile Park

Wainhouse Tower
1 adult male Peregrine near the top of the tower this morning

Scarr Bottom (from Albert Promenade)
1 Nuthatch
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

New Mill Dam, Tod

2M & 3F Gooseander

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2007/80 Bird Report

Nick Dawtrey has asked me to post that he has taken a further (very) small supply of reports to Woodlesford Newsagents at Pellon. There are very few copies of this report left so if anyone wants one please act fast. There may still be copies avaliable at the Tourist Info Centre at Todmorden

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Tawny Owl, male singing at Stodfold (just below the golf course) mid afternoon.
70 Rooks feeding in the fields near Cold Edge Road along with a few Jackdaws and Carrion Crows
Golf Course and Ogden res'r very quiet birdwise today with just 1 flyover Siskin

c300 mixed B H Gulls and Common Gulls at mid-afternoon roost at Mixenden Res'r

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor) and Ogden

WOW it was cold up there this afternoon!!
On the top at Ringby Lane (manure field)
4 Skylark
1 male Reed Bunting
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Pied wagtails
4 Herring Gull >S
usual corvids

7 Fieldfares
12 Greenfinch
1 Stock Dove

Ogden (res'r now about 40% open water)
1 Little Owl on the edge of Back Lane plantation
c40 Fieldfares and c20 Starlings on Syke Lane

Winter Thrushes

I've just uploaded a litle winter video piece that can be found here-
A few local winter landscapes, and fieldfares and redwings gorging the last of the cotoneaster berries. Enjoy.
If you check out the "favorites" section of my channel, there is some Fieldfare footage shot by Birding Rob that is absolutely stunning. It puts my stuff to shame.
Amazing what difference a £6000 lens makes. Me, jealous?? Too right!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


50 Pink Footed Geese reported this morning heading south at 11.30 am

Castle Carr Road

2 Moorhens were unexpected at this site this afternoon!
1 Kestrel
c50 Jackdaws
35 Rooks
18 Starlings

No Little Owls in the usual haunts - wonder if they are one of the casualties in this recent cold weather spell ? - anyone else had any?

Lesser Pecker

Came in tonight to find an answerphone message from Geoff Smith asking me to post a recent sighting of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on here. The bird has been seen twice over the weekend, on both occasions around a pylon behind the last house on Elland Park Road before you get to the wood. If anyone needs further details please contact me by e mail and I'll pass your request to Geoff.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Another Dipper sighting in Todmorden town centre today, feeding busily on the concrete channel of the Calder by Stansfield Road. My wife also disturbed a Grey Wagtail virtually on our front doorstep this afternoon. When I go on my occasional foreign trips with birders largely from the south of England, I'm sure they think I'm making up these urban sightings of these species!

Scammonden and Ringstone Res'rs

Had a quick check this morning.
Scammonden - from the dam wall end - nothing other than a few BH and Common Gulls on the water and 1 Goldcrest and 1 Coal Tit on the walk down to the embankment

Ringstone - 29 Lapwings on the ice and a few Black-headed and Common Gulls on the open water


lots of bird activity along canal today - of the courtship kind
gs woodpecker drumming, mistle thrush singing, blue tit wing quivering, jackdaw 'bat' flights

looks like theyre starting early....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Elland GP and Sunny Vale

Ski-lake and canal and river. Struggled to find much this morning in the heavy rain (fishing ponds still frozen over but the ski-lake mostly ice free)
5 Tufted Duck
1 G C Grebe
2 Little Grebe
c25 Goosander (river and ski-lake)
7 Cormorants on the pylon behind the Avocet building
1 Kingfisher
1 Dipper
1 male Sparrowhawk

Sunny Vale - open water
2 Goosander

Thursday, January 21, 2010


99.9% of the res'r still frozen over!
c20 Siskin - all feeding in the top of larch trees on the west side of the res'r
c4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Canada Goose, 1 Barnacle Goose and c60 Mallard on the ice
2 Goldcrest

Back Lane
c70 Fieldfares
1 female Sparrowhawk hunting at dusk
30+ Magpies and c12 Stock Doves roosting
c60 Rooks heading towards roost site, Bradford area
4 large gulls heading south over Soil Hill
c300 mixed B H Gulls and Common Gulls heading south at dusk (wonder if Thornton Moor is also frozen over)


11 Siskin this morning feeding in a large Silver Birch in Clarence Street near the bottom of Gibbet Street
Also 1 Lapwing over >W

ID comments please.

Down at EGP when at 1415 I glanced left to see a large bird of prey being harassed by a Crow above Park Wood/West Lane Southowram area. Managed to get this one shot before it dropped below my tree line,it could have dropped into the wood,any ideas as my first thought was Buzzard but it looked very heavy and thick set. Ski Lake had 1 Pochard, 6 Tufted, 12 Goosanmder(9M 3F) and 1 juv Gt Crested Grebe.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brighouse Garden/Brookfoot/EGP

Decided to spend the morning in my shack and suprised that the first to appear was a male Blackcap, the light was shocking so managed some poor shots,and it was still feeding at dusk. Ski Lake this afternoon held 4 Pochard(2M2F), 9Goosanders(6M3F), 4 Tufted, 1 Goldeneye(M), 1 Grey Heron. The pylon at the back of Avocet Works had 11 Cormorant.

EGP this morning

Visited Cromwell Bottom this morning for a site visit with Hugh Firman and Tim Edge to get up to speed so it wasn't a birding visit as such, however:
2 Cormorants over
On the river-
3 Teal (2m 1f) - why doesn't "Teals" sound right as a plural?
7 Mallards
Little Grebe
Grey Heron
8 Goosanders (5m 3f)

3 Coal Tits on the numerous feeders by the fisherman's car park

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gull fest

Unusual garden tick - Jumble Hole Clough

I went to let the hens out this morning, and flushed a woodcock from inside their run. Quite a surprise.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Round and about today

A long walk /pub crawl plus some gazing out the kitchen window resulted in the following,

1 Fieldfare - Garden, seems to have driven off all the Blackbirds
9 Bullfinch - 4 males 5 females on Slack Common, most I have ever seen together anywhere.
10 Reed Buntings - By the House at Withens Clough
3 Goosander - 1 male 2 females on the Canal near Eastwood
1 Kingfisher - same spot
1 Kestrel - hunting below Stoodley pike

Pubs in order Stubbing Wharf, Hinchcliffe Arms, Fox and Goose, Cross Inn (for those who were wondering).

Saturday, January 16, 2010


River very high but at the back of Avocet Works were 3 Pochard (M), 26 Tufted, 21 Coot, 18 Moorhen, 5 Teal, 14 Goosander(8M 6F),16 Mallard,17 Cormorant all on the pylon and 42 Canada Geese in the field opposite. The Ski Lake produced the staggering total of 1 Tufted(M)and 1 Grey Heron. Also in the last week my garden had 23 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 20 House Sparrows,22 Blackbirds, 2 Jays and 1 male Reed Bunting and the usual Blue,Great and Long tailed Tits, 2 Mistle Thrush and 2 Song Thrush most eating Lidl apples,so had to go and buy more this morning and they are still 79p per kilo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Comment moderation

Apologies to anyone who is not subscribed to this blog and has tried to post comments recently, as one of the moderators I should have been checking more frequently for these but have let this lapse a little, I recently checked and found four comments waiting to be checked and published. Currently there are two moderators, perhaps we need a third!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Garden

Had to stay in today so used the time productively and watched the birds on and below the feeders. Maximum numbers seen at any one time:
17 Lesser Redpolls (the most I've seen in the garden)
3 Bullfinches (all males)
15 Chaffinches and 2 Bramblings
The Bullfinches were never present when the Bramblings were here. Coincidence?
9 Greenfinches
8 Goldfinches
Fieldfare eating the apples
Reed Bunting (female)
2 Blue Tits
7 Blackbirds
The Blackbirds and the Bullfinches were the last birds to leave before darkness fell.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peregrine at EGP

At 1350 today a female Peregrine flew towards the Ski Lake from Rastrick side setting up all the Gulls. It did one circuit then headed off towards Cromwell Wood,and this tallies with Jimtoms sighting on Mon. 2 Mute Swans on river at Bridge End,Brighouse and further up river are 11 Tufted, 7 Goosander and 4 Little Grebe. I have seen the Water Rail on last Fri and Sat by the weir near Cromwell House.

Ringstone/Barkisland/West Vale

Ringstone still completly frozen over.
Conditions were such that I didn't give a second thought to having a look at Scammonden!

Barkisland - 1 Lapwing in a field just below the village

Clay House Park, West Vale.
2 Sparrowhawks over
1 Kestrel
1 Grey Heron
c30 Redwings
c12 Fieldfares
20+ Blackbirds

Lee Mount

c230 Pink-footed Geese over >north/west this morning at 10.25 towards Mixenden/Mount Tabor and making a lot of noise. I say c230 - pure guestimate as they were low and fast and gone by the time I got my camera out of my pocket - always a good way of counting later if photos are there to look at! Never mind, still a fantastic sight.

Monday, January 11, 2010

little owl

i caught up with the little owl whilst rolling a snowball this evening. it flew straight up and landed on the roof of my house (bradshaw) this bird has been around for years but i have only seen it twice ever. this time and 2 days ago whilst sledging. all my little owls have been this year. becuase it was dark icould not see it but the sky was slightly red and when it sttod there it sttod out really bold.


A large female peregrine fly over and towards Brighouse about 1pm this afternoon. A few more thrushes about than last week.


Last year from late spring onwards we had a few ill looking young greenfinches at the feeders here in North Wales.I found several dead around the garden from summer right through to autumn,probably around 10 or so birds in all. I just assumed these were weakling youngsters who came to the feeders as they could not manage out in the wild. But in late Autumn my mother who moved to Essex in late summer said she had several Greenfinches found dead in her garden has had my sister who lives a few miles away from her. This winter here on the Llyn Peninsula has been noticable in that Greenfinch (and Goldfinch) have been very scarce at the feeders whilst House Sparrows and Chaffinches are as common as ever. Has anyone else noticed either dead greenfinches or a scarcity of them since last summer in Calderdale ?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm Back online

I'm sure we are all feeding the birds something at the moment and it can be an expensive if very rewarding job. Well save some pounds as Co-op in Hebden bridge are doing bags of value apples for only £1 each, the bags contain approx 7/8 apples in each.

Already since putting them out (though had put apples out before today) had a Fieldfare giving it's seal of approval.

My walk down to Hebden produced

A Dipper on Hebden water near Hardcastle Crags car park
2 Nuthatches and all our local tit species feeding over the bridge towards the blue pig wmc.
Grey Heron flew over near Hebden bowling club.
At least 1 Kestrel
And some Goldcrests along with another Nuthatch and a GSW were all heard on the walk from Gibson Mill.

If I can work out how to get pictures from my phone onto the pc then I'll put some photo's of the garden birds on next time.

So far this year in the Garden

Upto 4 Reed Bunting
Pair Bullfinch
Upto 7 Fieldfare
Upto 9 Blackbirds
Pair Pheasant
Greenfinch (only 1!!)
House Sparrow
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
2 Collard Dove
Starling (Rare garden visitor to these parts)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (female)

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Walking on Cousin Lane at 11.35 - 46 Lapwings flew over high in V formation >W

Redwings (and a few Fieldfares) seem to be raiding all the few remaining berrying shrubs in the Wheatley area and several were feeding in large clumps of wall growing Ivy (Ramsden Street)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Mystery photo

Came across these tracks with DS in the valley. Any ideas.....stoat? weasel? I don't think they are Roe Deer, but other tracks in the area did look like deer.

Wheatley Valley

About 3 hrs today in the valley with Steve C

1 m Peregrine over >N towards Mixenden at 11.30
110 large gulls drifting through >SE at 11.25 (guestimate of 70 Herring, 30 GtBBG and 10 LBBG)
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
5 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (including 1 pair together near Ramsden Wood and 1 male drumming near Doctor Hill)
1 Pied Wagtail
4 Jays
1 Moorhen on Ramsden Wood Res'r
c70 Fieldfare and c15 Redwings in hawthorns on Wheatley Road

Thursday, January 07, 2010


For the last three days I've almost willed my on-time train to be late. From the Mytholmroyd Tod platform I can look down onto a tree that started off laden with berries. I pass the tree as I walk up to the platform but the birds are so skittish there's no chance of seeing them well. There's over a dozen fieldfare, half a dozen redwing, 5 blackbirds and a couple of mistle thrushes there daily. Took some photos but I can't get my system to save them when zoomed so the birds aren't really clear. They frequently fly off away from the station but soon return. I think by Monday all the berries will have been eaten so I must take my fill of the birds tomorrow. They also feed off a tree on the opp platform just behind the 'Mytholmroyd' sign near the shelter. Lovely sight and sounds!

Ogden and Mixenden Res'r

Both res'rs frozen over except one very small pool of open water at Ogden where there were c90 Mallard, 1 Canada and 1 Barnacle Goose
6 Goldcrests in the plantation - they must be struggling now in this weather!
1 Coal Tit singing!
3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 large female Sparrowhawk

Wheatley Valley

11 Snipe flew overhead this morning on the old landfill site and dropped into the Hebble culvert area 200 m downstream from the bottom of Brackenbed. They were a real surprise!
10 Great Black-backed Gulls also went over >E
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Jay
1 m Sparrowhawk

I also went on to check the sorbus trees on Raglan Street and Stansfield Close near the lower end of Pellon Lane - all the berries have been scoffed by thrushes so no chance of any Waxwings there now.

EGP this morning

Myself and Andy H visited this morning in the hope of seeing the Scaup, but no luck. The Ski Lake was about 98% frozen with only a small patch of open water over by the waterfall.

Posting for Andy - female GS Woodpecker drumming in his garden early this morning, and it was back again this afternoon.

Cormorant -3 overhead
Kestrel (and another at Elland Bridge)
Lapwing - 53 on the frozen lake
Little Grebe - 4
Coot - 5
Teal - 5
Grey Heron
Redwing - 11
Song Thrush - 2
Reed Bunting - 2
GS Woodpecker
Tufted Duck - 5
Moorhen - 3
Bullfinch (female)
About 30 Common Gulls, about 60 BH Gulls and 40-ish Canada Geese also present but obscurred views prevented accurate counts.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Rochdale Canal to Eastwood/Callis

Very crisp and picturesque this afternoon.
3 Redwings, 6 Fieldfare and 2 Mistle Thrushes feeding on berries at Callis Lock
1 Song Thrush
24 BH Gulls, 10 Jackdaws, 3 Pied Wagtails and 7 Meadow Pipits on the settling beds at Eastwood Sewage Works (could have been more mipits but I only saw them as they fluttered up to avoid the circulating arms then disappeared again). Andy Huyton sent me a text saying he'd seen "lots" there earlier, and also he saw a Meadow Pipit in the middle of Hebden Bridge.
23 Mallards and 1 drake Goosander on the River Calder

oh, and 1 Land Rover Discovery in the Rochdale Canal by Stoodley Bridge. Looks like a prime nesting spot for Canada Geese if it stays there until Spring.

Wheatley Valley

Ovenden Wood (Ramsden Wood Res'r) and the old brewery area
1 Snipe
1 Grey Wagtail
4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
12 Redpoll feeding in the alders by the new development
c20 Redwing
1 Great Black-backed Gull >NW
c200 Jackdaws heading >NE late afternoon to roost
c100 B H Gulls and c80 Common Gulls >SW late afternoon to roost

River Calder, Hollas Bridge

3pm today, very cold

6 Canada Geese
2m 2f Mallard
7m 8f Goosander

Also at 4pm, 100 LBB/Herring Gull circling over Norland

Monday, January 04, 2010

Halifax Birdwathchers Club - 2009 Report

Our recorder Nick Dawtery is asking for your records for 2009 as soon as possible please.

If you use the B.O.G. computer programme then please send your records on a disk direct to Nick. Alternatively written records will be gratefully accepted, although use of the B.O.G. computer programme make editing so much easier!

If you can send your records in soon then it will help Nick to formulate the report for 2009 without delay.

Putting together the report is a very time consuming task and a lot of care is taken to ensure the records are correct and presented in a readable and informative fashion.

Photographs have also become are an important feature of the report so if you have any shots of Calderdale birds taken in 2009 please could you also submit these to Nick as soon as you can for consideration.
Well done Nick for continuing this important task of recording our Calderdale birds in a report.

Report 2007/2008

There are still a few copies left of the 2 year combined report for 2007/2008 by Halifax Birdwatchers Club.
5 are at Todmorden Tourist Information Centre and 1 remains at Woodlesford Newsagents in Moor End Road, Halifax, the rest are with our recorder - Nick Dawtrey.
If you havn't got a copy then now is the time to do so by either contacting the outlets, post a message on the blog or contacting Nick direct.


This afternoon (about 30% open water, the rest is frozen)
1 drake Tufted Duck along with the usual Mallard, 1 Canada and 1 Barnacle Goose
1 Green Woodpecker down on the golf course
2 Sparrowhawks - both males together over the golf course and displaying as one headed off towards Mixenden plantation and the other back towards Ogden
16 Fieldfares and 1 Redwing over Syke Lane


15 Fieldfares and 1 Redwing over Halifax Town Hall this morning >W


Very little open water on the Ski Lake. This morning c250 B/H and Common gulls, 28 Tufted, 26 Coot, 38 Canadas, 3 Pochard and 1 Scaup. The Mute Swans departed towards Brighouse at 11 am. River produced 6 Teal, 4 Little Grebe and 16 Mallard.The pair of Nuthatches were inspecting last years nest site so it looks good.

Cromwell Wood

Had a little walk up Cromwell wood this afternoon , there being approx 90 Lapwing in the farm field , a couple of Redwing , Sparrowhawk and quite a few Wren active. Best of all were a pair of Tawny Owl. Would like to have got down onto the lakes but light was fading fast.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


DJSutcliffe was unlucky as at 1000 this morning the Ski Lake had 1 Scaup, 48 Tufted, 4 G/C/Grebe, 2 Pochard, 1 Goldeneye, c175 B/H/Gulls, 21 Common Gulls. River by Avocet Works had 14 Cormorant and 4 Teal. Flying around were 29 Lapwing. My garden at the moment is being bossed by 4 Fieldfare that see off all comers that go near the apples I put out. Also wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

Dipper 30.12.09

A bit late in posting, but my wife spotted a Dipper in the Calder by Todmorden Bus Stn on Wednesday 30th.
Happy New Year and Good Birding to you all.

Elland GP

This afternoon;
Ski Lake now frozen (mostly clear yesterday) so the G C G's, Scaup and Tufted Ducks have probably moved on, unless they are on the river, but think this is unlikely!
South loop on the river was the most productive area
6 Cormorant
1 Grey Heron
15+ Goosander
6 Teal
12+ Mallard
4 Little Grebe
Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and 1 m Sparrowhawk over

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Various sites

Above - Tree Sparrow at Clifton

2 juv Great Northern Divers still there at around 9 am - one in the middle of the lake and the other close by the M62 end till it flew off in a snow storm heading towards the south western end. I did not see it come down and wasn't sure if it flew off?

Elland GP;
Scaup still there with Tufted Ducks
2 Cormorant

Bradley Hall Farm;
1 Little Owl
1 drake Mandarin Duck on the river with 35 Mallard
20 Goosander
2 Little Grebe
1 Cormorant
1 L B B Gull >W
2 Siskin
2 Redpoll
1 Bullfinch
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

(Jay House Lane fields are looking really good and well worth keeping an eye on!)
12+ Tree Sparrows
335 Golden Plover
8 Lapwings
c120 Fieldfare
c20 Redwings
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010 + Question

Hi all
A quick question. I have a female Blackcap feeding at the feeding station this morning here in North Wales, is it unusual for Blackcaps to over-winter in the UK ?

A glorious sunny, still morning here on the Llyn Peninsula this morning so we went for a walk down the coast at 8.30 am. Not too much around on the sea shore but thousands of lapwing, plover and assorted waders feeding in the fields near the sea which were being thawed by the sun after a heavy frost overnight. Hope the weather is sunny back in Calderdale and you all get some good bird sightings on your afternoon walks.

A very happy, healthy and good birding year to all on the blog, from Sue and Paul