Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Birds of Turkey book

Before I spend what seems a small fortune on one online, does anyone have a Birds of Turkey book I could borrow at the end of this month?


Pink Footed Goose at Ogden today

The Pink Footed goose found at Ogden this morning by NK was still present this evening happily feeding with Canadas.
Posted by Picasa


Thanks to NK for finding a Pink-footed Goose at Ogden today at least till early afternoon - this is a very late bird. We had 2 in 2009 that were in the Cold Edge area with Canada's from 7th March until 11th May.

Withens Clough

1male Stonechat singing opposite the car park this morning but no sign of a female
Only wader was 1 Common Sandpiper despite extensive shoreline
2 Wheatears and several Linnet and Reed Buntings
2 Grey Partridge
6 Redpoll flyovers towards the conifer plantation
No access to the car park so nearest place to park is near the pub at the bottom

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jumble Hole

No sign of the tree pipit yesterday afternoon, though the breeze was very strong. Green woodpecker almost daily in the garden. Nuthatch appear to be breeding in the woods now.

2 singing and very showy whitethroat along the train tracks at the bottom of Jumble Hole were my first this year round here.

Fly Flatts

Fly Flatts p.m. visit

2 Oystercatchers
15 Ringed Plover
5 Dunlin
2 Common Sandpipers
4 Redshank
1 Golden Plover + 4 young
4 Twite
128+ Swifts >W
No sign of this mornings Sanderling but all birds resting and hard to pick out.
Posted by Picasa


How tricky it is to get images of Swifts in the camera frame? This afternoon at Cold Edge they were all over the place but these photo's are the best I could do with a compact digital!

Cold Edge

Loads of Swifts over the dams and the west facing ridge this afternoon - 100+
2 House Martin nests located in Wainstalls
1 Snipe
2 Oystercatchers
6 Curlew
Lots of pipits and Linnets
Lapwings nearby with chicks

Sunday, May 29, 2011


A long day down the Craggs filming Great Spots feeding young at nest, blue tits feeding young in a tree hole......(time after time after time......no stopping these parents).......winged male hairy wood ants.....still haven't found a Green Woodpecker nest this year. Heard two calling. No sign or sound of any Redstarts, Wood Warblers or Pied Flycatchers along the stretch from the lower car park, passed the Mill and up to the turning circle in the pines.
Willow Warblers were abundant, but Chaffinches all over, 1 Chiffchaff singing near the car park, 3 Blackcaps, 1 Garden Warbler, another pair of Great Spots, Nuthatches all over the place with 1 pair breeding near the mill, Robins singing all over, Song Thrush emulating Curlew, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Wren, loads of Jackdaws nesting, plenty of Swifts and Swallows, Mallard, Curlew pecking Carrion Crows tail, Cuckoo calling on the tops, Coal Tits, Treecreepers, Blue and Great Tits using several nest boxes, and a Roe buck chasing a Doe (twice)

Young Goosanders

First good look around for over 2 weeks and found a brood of 11 young Goosanders at least 2 weeks old and a regular walker also said he saw a brood of 6 early this week,and as yet no cofirmation. Also found a Little Grebe with 3 young only 1 or 2 days old on reedbed lagoon.Plenty Warblers singing but still no Kingfishers between Brighouse and Cromwell House.


2 Sand Martins over the res'r this morning plus 12 House Martins, 15 Swallows and c 20 Swifts.

I also checked some areas nearby for nesting House Martins and found a small nesting colony.

If anyone comes across any nesting colonies of Swifts, Swallows or House Martins please let me know or send details to info@calderdalebirds.co.uk

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blake Dean

Spent a few hours at the Dean hoping to see Redstart but not a glimmer of one......Had no joy Wednesday evening either, so it looks like this one got fed up singing its heart out and moved elsewhere.
One problem we have with birds such as these, and I include Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher alongside Redstart in the list, is that we never know what happens to them. When any of these species turn up, everybody rushes out to see them within a few days of them being reported. But what happens after that? Do they stick around? Do they move on? Do they find a mate? Do they get predated? Do they build/find a nest? Do they get any young off?
It would be useful to know if we are having any breeding successes with these species.......but please don't post the info on the blog! Pass the information on to Nick Dawtry or Dave Sutcliffe instead.
Other stuff down the Dean - Spotted fly, Nuthatch, Kestrel, Curlew, Lapwing. loadsa Starlings, loadsa Willow Warblers, Great Spottted Pecker, Mallard, Carrion Crow, loadsa Chaffinch, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Great Tit, Robin, loadsa Swallows, Swifts, Coal Tit

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fly Flatts

We walked around the site this afternoon and were fortunate to catch a Common Tern coming through low over the res'r then went high as it reached the far end at 13.55 heading north.
14 Ringed Plover still present and c10 Dunlin as well as the usual waders.
4 Twite at the feeding station
c40 Swifts were feeding low over the res'r most of the time we were there


2 Tree Pipits singing in different areas this morning - 1 at the top end of woodland and another from NK below the res'r.
1 Cuckoo
8+ Spotted Flycatchers
1 Tawny Owl
c10 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiff-chaff and 2 Blackcap
c40 mixed Swallows and House Martins along Back Lane and a few blogging Swifts moving through.
1 Grey Wagtail

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hardcastle Crags

Spotted Flycatcher in Hardcastle Crags earlier today.

Fly Flatts

This afternoon with NCD
16 Ringed Plover
14 Dunlin
c4 Common Sandpipers
5 Redshank
1 Curlew
2 Wheatear with another 2 below the Withens along Cold Edge Road

H Crags and Blake Dean

1 male Redstart singing (they are so thin on the ground in our area nowadays)
2 Spotted Flycatchers
1 Cuckoo
1 Tawny Owl
1 Dipper

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mixenden Res'r

I checked the site earlier today thinking something might have been blown in after the strong winds and heavy rain yesterday.
No terns but plenty hirundines with 30+ House Martins, 1 Sand Martin, 20+ Swallows and 30+ Swifts.

Yesterdays Sanderling at Fly Flats

Digi scoped images of the Sanderling at Fly yesterday.

Fly Flatts

The Sanderling seems to have gone this morning.
14 Ringed Plover

Fly Flatts

The Sanderling seems to have gone this morning.
14 Ringed Plover
15 Dunlin
3 Oystercatchers
Plus usual Redshank and Common Sandpipers
1 Wheatear
5 Twite
1 Kestrel

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fly Flatts

This afternoon with NCD - we were fortunate that the rain and hail stopped but the blustery wind was hard work!
1 winter Sanderling as above
14 Ringed Plover
17 Dunlin
4 Common Sandpiper
6 Redshank
1 Snipe
3 L B B Gulls
1 Wheatear
2 Grey Partridge

Bird flying at window

For a week now a colleague has been telling me about a bird with a white front that has been flying at her patio windows every day. I explained why it was probably doing what it was but we couldn't identify it. She has now managed to take a photograph and the bird is a DIPPER. A river does flow underneath her decking - the house is off Crag Road in Mytholmroyd - but I would never have guessed that dippers flew at windows in this way. (Another colleague has googled it and come up with a Norwegian dipper but this local one will be our version, won't it??)
Is it just me who has led a sheltered life or is it common for dippers to do this. It's not just once a day, but it can be there for quite a long time, banging on the window.

I'll pass on to her any info you may have

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ringed Plover

Had a trip out this afternoon, found a pair of Ringed Plover with one chick. David knows the location if anyone wants to check them out.

Followed this with a trip to Fly Flatts, only one sanderling, a number of dunlin and plenty of Ringed Plover. Difficult to assess numbers due to the wind and the terrain - lots of birds sheltering in the rocks. Nice to meet you up there Brian.

Cold Edge

I didn't expect too much this afternoon in that strong blustery wind!
1 Wheatear
1 Little Grebe
1 Curlew
Several Swifts moving through otherwise just a few Linnet and Meadow Pipits and 1 Skylark.

Well done to BS on his way up to Fly Flatts again to check the waders.

Fly Flatts

0615-0930hrs  Torrential rain turning to showers  Gale force WSW>7 dropping slightly.

14 Ringed Plover
19 Dunlin
5 Sanderling
6 Redshank
7 Common Sandpiper
8 Pied Wagtail
Most of birds in SE corner until bike race meeting started then area cleared.
Full report and pics, West Yorkshire Birding.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fly Flats 21st May

Todays totals, 3 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 4 Redshank, 3 Common Sands, 16 Ringed Plover a few Curlew, 1 Red Grouse drinking from the reservoir, 20+ Swifts and 2 Swallows.

Dunlin Fly Flats

Had a trip up this morning, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Sanderling still up there. This Dunlin stood out from the rest on account of it's small size and colouring. Not too good on splitting waders into subspecies and collins doesn't cover arctica but there's been a few reported about the country so thought it a possible candidate. It's the right hand bird in the second picture, stayed distant so couldn't do much better. Staying near the tyre by the boathouse.

Friday, May 20, 2011

20th May Fly Flats

Todays birds, 15 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderlings, 6 Common Sandpipers, 1 Oystercatcher, 6 Redshank, 9 Dunlin, 4 Curlew and a Snipe near the top gate. Horrendous conditions this PM thanks to AC for the lift home.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Knot and Sanderling

Digi scoped images of Sanderlings
at Fly Flats today.

Digi Scoped picture of Knot at Fly Flats today.

Fly Flats

Todays birds, 1 Knot, 7 Sanderling, 13+ Dunlin, 10+ Ringed Plovers, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 6+ Redshank, 3 Oystercatchers, 5+Common Sandpipers, Curlews, 2 Wheatears, 1 LBBG, 2 Red Grouse. Nothing much at Cold Edge. Is anybody looking at Whiteholme because its usually a lot better than Fly Flats and Fly has so far been excellent this spring. Photos to follow later.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ringed/Little Ringed Plovers

Above - 4 Ringed Plover plus a Dunlin showing it's rear end behind the Canada 'deposit'!

Below - Ringed Plover at the back and Little Ringed Plover at the front showing some of the differences to look for in these species.


Back Lane area;
c200 adult Starlings feeding on grubs/larvae then heading off back to feed young at Illingworth/Mixenden ? Jackdaws and Magpies also having a feast but we could not identify the food source as we couldn't find any! Not sure if they were caterpillars or grubs in the ground? Mostly feeding in turf in the juncus areas.
5 Curlew
1 Wheatear

1 Cuckoo also heard calling towards the back of Ogden plantation mid afternoon.

Fly Flats

Most of the Dunlin from yesterday had gone overnight leaving 5 there this morning.

14 Ringed Plover were around the rocks near the boat house and 1 Little Ringed Plover was with them. (I got some shots of the 2 species together but not had chance to sort through them yet) Will post these later if they are any good! Other usual waders present were 4 Redshank and 4 Common Sandpipers with others nearby including Curlew, Lapwing, Golden Plover.

1 White Wagtail was present on the mud at the far end of the res'r and on the far bank. This was a superb male showing a large black bib, the black on the back of the head was cleanly cut behind the neck to the very pale grey on the back.

Also present
2 Red-legged Partridge near the top road
1 Wheatear
1 Kestrel
1 Swift >N
1 Swallow >N and 6 >S
Red Grouse
No Twite
Far too many Canadas!

Roils Head

Blackcap singing at Roils Head this PM, also Whitethroat still singing here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wind Turbines & Birds

Just came across this video by accident. This may or may not be an isolated case of how dangerous wind turbines can be to birds in fine weather. I used to think that they only posed a threat when shrouded by cloud or mist. Makes you think.


Fly Flats 17th May

Fly Flats PM. 29 Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plover, 6 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpipers, 2 Lapwing, 2 Snipe and a few Curlew. Worth checking this site on a daily basis for the rest of May.

Fly Flatts

3 Ringed Plover and 1 Little Ringed Plover on the stoney areas near the boat house this morning. Also present;
7 Dunlin
4 Redshank
4 Common Sandpipers
2 Oystercatchers
1 Wheatears
c12 Swallows
11 LBB Gulls
Too many Canadas!
2 Rooks over

Monday, May 16, 2011

Survey 2011

Swifts/Swallows/House Martins
CBCG with the help of Calderdale Countryside Service are undertaking a Calderdale wide survey this year to locate breeding sites of individuals or colonies of Swifts, Swallows, House Martins - and with luck a few Sand Martins!

We are anticipating a press release in the near future asking members of the public to report sightings/locations of nesting birds and we may need help from local birders to check some of the reports.

In the meantime can make a note of any records and during the summer to check out sites you already know of from previous years. We will need a site location/postcode or grid reference and estimated numbers of nesting pairs.

Rather than publicise nest sites on the blog please email or text Jane Uttley or myself as you locate them - or email info@calderdalebirds.co.uk

This survey will provide a good basis of information for Calderdale and something we can build on in future years. Hopefully this will lead on to help us find ways of protecting and encouraging these special summer visitors.
Many thanks

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fly Flatts

1 of 4 Dunlin

2 of 6 Ringed Plover

Fly Flatts 0730-1000hrs. Gale force NW heavy showers.

6 Ringed Plover
4 Dunlin
7 Redshank
5 Common Sandpiper
2 Oystercatchers
5 Golden Plover
1 GBB gull...................>W
1 Gropper reeling, near boathouse.
+ usual sp.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Swift One

Spent the afternoon down Elland filming Swifts........or at least trying to........which reminded me that Calderdale Bird Conservation Group are collating information on Swift Breeding colonies.
We need your records.....and now is a good time to go out looking for nest sites in the evening.
In Manchester, I lived in the middle of a colony and the birds would fly round the houses almost at head height just before the sun went down. They would get lower and lower and the noise would get louder and louder until, one by one, they disappeared into their nest holes.
These were old red brick Victorian merchants buildings, and the birds would find missing bricks or small crevices behind fascia boards, or would use ledges behind the soffits on the gable ends. Quite a spectacle on a warm summers evening.
I had at least 100 Swifts over the ski lake this afternoon. They're going to be nesting somewhere nearby.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Missing Blogs

Several blog sites have been affected by technical problems, the nature of which is summed up in the message below from Blogger.Com

"During scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. ..... We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11th, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring."

How the other half live ( bird)!

Just returned from three days with friends and former Calderdale birders Rita and David Crawshaw now living in Suffolk.
Imagine -no hills to climb,warm sunny weather, fantastic habitat thanks to the work of RSPB and National Trust producing 115 species in such a short time!
Highlights were golden oriole, Dartford Warbler, wood lark, common crane, grey plover, wood sandpiper,little and Temminck's stint, spoonbill cetti's warbler and nightingale not to mention the common stuff like greenshank and bearded tit as well as the view of three bitterns flying over a huge reed bed for several minutes together with marsh harriers and hobbies with a red kite and buzzard thrown in!
Oh well it's back to slogging up and down the old patch this next week- haven't seen a red grouse for a while!
It's good to have friends in the right( if not high) places!

Hobby over Elland.

Being used to watching the Swifts blogging around from my bedroom window, this afternoon I saw a distinctly larger more steady flying one heading towards Elland. The contrasting head pattern was clearly seen against the dark rain clouds – my second Hobby in the last 2 or 3 years from my bedroom window in Skircoat – amazing stuff.

When I saw the first one I was sure at the time what is was but since then my mind has been playing tricks and convinced me I was wrong but this sighting today has made me more sure than ever.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Church yard warblers

Went to Pellon Churchyard today to look for a reported Redstart but no luck. Did however have good views of Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and a brief Blackcap. Lots of Swifts screaming around at Sand Beds Lane.

Grasshopper Warbler Video

Here's some video of one of the Cold Edge Grasshopper Warblers. On the day I filmed this, I had to wait 7 hours for it to pop its head above the parapet......and that was my second visit. This has been the best view of Grasshopper Warbler that I've ever had as it was reeling in really good lighting conditions. Every other view I've had has always been in poor light around dusk and at long range. This guy was only about 4 - 5 metres away. Enjoy.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

11th May

Whinchat and 1 Grasshopper Warbler reeling at Cold Edge this evening, 2 Dunlin 4 Redshank at Fly Flats.

High Royd

A brief visit at 9:30am
Sedge warbler singing, though at times difficult to hear above all the chiffchaffs. Heard from the canal side, and appeared to be mobile around the site, although there could possibly have been two.
Other birds included coot, blackcap, goldcrest and mallard with 4 young

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ghost bird?

Nothing scary about this image though - a Feral Pigeon bird strike on the bedroom window left an almost perfect imprint:

Blake Dean and Gorple

I had a few hours in Blake Dean and the Gorple area with highlights being

Spotted Flycatcher (my earliest ever) in Blake Dean with another (or the same) in nearby Gorple Clough later on. Tree Pipit in Blake Dean and good numbers of Lapwing in the area with three pairs with chicks and two on nests, they seem to be doing well.

Ring Ouzel nest found with young approx 1 week old with a female carrying food in another location.

Pair of Little Ringed Plover on Gorple with a Sanderling there, also 5 Tufted Duck and two pairs of Greylag Goose with young (1 & 5) , 5 Oystercathers in the area plus all the usual species

no Whinchat or Cuckoos around yet though

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Luddenden Dean

Cuckoo in the dean this afternoon - but at a distance, singing near the graveyard in the upper dean.

View looking up the dean towards Castle Carr

I went down to check - hopefully for Redstart this afternoon without success unfortunately. Just a few Willow Warblers, 1 Chiff-chaff and 1 Blackcap. 4 Swifts and 2 House Martins >S and several blogging Swallows. The highlight being a Cuckoo (present for over a week now) and singing in the valley most of the afternoon.

3 small Lapwing chicks in nearby fields along with 1 Wheatear

Tree pipit

Tree pipit at the top of Jumble Hole Clough, not far below Hippins Bridge / Staups Moor.

Fly Flatts

Saturday 7th evening visit
9 Redshank
11 Common Sandpipers
4 Oystercatchers
1 Sanderling
4 Dunlin
3 Curlew
1Golden Plover
3 Turnstone which tried to land but were put up by Oystercatchers so continued on >N

Sunday 8th  0700-0930hrs
Much quieter with several waders moved on.
9 Common Sandpipers
2 Dunlin
5 Redshank
1 Golden Plover
2 Snipe
2 Wheatear
1 Sand Martin >S
+ usual sp.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Hardcastle Crags

I had a trip to Hardcastle Crags this morning. Crimsworth Dean had plenty of willow warblers but no sign of the wood warbler.

Cuckoo calling in the main valley but not seen.
Only 1 grey wagtail by the mill but no dippers at all even at the usual spots.

Headed up the railway trail to a spot that had redstart, spotted flycatcher and wood warbler last year and had really close views of a wood warbler.

By this time the heavy rain had started. 2 grey heron and 2 family groups of mallard chicks on the way back to the car park.


The sound and then sight of a couple of swifts over the house (near Gordon Riggs) just now - great, they're back!!

Friday, May 06, 2011

High Royd/Sowerby Bridge

BTO Atlas survey this morning in a tetrad covering the above area, 34 species in totals.

Nothing out of the ordinary in the 2 hr survey but there were 4 Garden Warblers, 1 Whitethroat, 7 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warblers and 5 Chiff-chaffs, all singing.
1 Nuthatch, 2 Grey Wagtails and 8 Swifts including a probable new small colony located.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Todmorden Dipper

One in the Calder by the bus station this afternoon.

An Afternoon at Fly.... 05-05-2011

Dunlin, one of six present

Bar tailed Godwit present all afternoon (montage)

Bar tailed Godwit ditto (montage)

Rook.... very rare up here!


Sanderling with Redshank comparison

Sanderling (montage)

A brilliant afternoon with good birds and good company. A barwit was noted in full summer plumage at the Oxenhope end shortly after I arrived.... I was contemplating ringing DS when I noted three obvious birders at the Wainstalls end... Nick, Dave and Jen. After we had been watching the barwit for a while, Nick scanned on a bit and the next bird on was a Sanderling! and then a Rook came over..... almost as rare as either of these waders up here. During the first part of the afternoon Dunlin were prominent and fantastic to hear and see them display..... Common Sands and lots of Redshank.... will be visiting again soon as its just too good to miss up here!


Goosander with young

Goosander on the Calder this morning with 1 newly fledged chick(DJS) has location.Very early compared to 2009 first seen 09/06/09 ,2010 seen 15/05/2010,a good start for Goosanders.Pair of Buzzards 02/03 and 04 May in same location again DJS has details.Looking bad for Kingfishers ,only 2 single birds seen this year between Brighouse and Cromwell Tip.Up to 15 Swifts ,8 Sand Martins ,6 Swallows ,3 Garden Warblers ,2 Reed Warblers.

Fly Flats and Cold Edge

Grasshopper Warbler singing at Cold Edge this afternoon, as usual for this species playing more hide than seek!

Sanderling at Fly Flatts

Bar-tailed Godwit in full summer plumage at Fly Flatts

Well done to Nick for getting a good photo of the barwit this afternoon - what a bird that was. It was good to see DCB up there too and look forward to seeing some of Dave's photo's later.

As well as the waders, a real surprise was a solitary Rook passing over - a very rare sight at this location.

Around the windfarm there was still plenty of activity around the moor after the devastating fire and lots of work was being done to deter further outbreaks. Lets hope no further damage occurs as looking at the damage this will now take years to recover the wonderful heather moor.