Friday, August 31, 2012

Walshaw Plantation

Should I go and see the marsh harrier at walshaw dean or go and find something else I thought when Id finished work today.Well I opted for the harrier,as I approached the plantation at walshaw I picked up the Harrier distantly above the moor,Ill get a better look when I reach the top res i said to myself.

  A falsh of a red tail in the first bit of wood started things off. 2 redstarts a male and a female type,calling Go;ldcrests and cole tits could be herd.As I got to the end of the plantation another 2 female type redstarts were seen ,then Spotted flys every where at least 6 were seen flitting about the trees catching prey.Next a female type Whitethroat came to my pishing calls and then 3 whinchats were seen on the fence below,all the time swallows were overhead with Pied wags and Mipit calls filling the sky .A tree Pipit was herd calling above and the redstarts were now catching flies in full view,flashing there red tails and landing on the ground momentarily.2 Chiff Chaffs could not be turned into anything else.I looked at my watch id been there 1 and a half hours no time for the top res today.Other birds seen were 6 Kestrel, 21 linnets,4 goldfinch , 1 raven and a few grouse.

Juv Hobby

Had a superb juvenile Hobby this afternoon from Tower Hill near Norton Tower. The bird came down Heath Hill Road at speed and stooped on a group of swallows in the lower Luddenden Valley before moving on at speed towards Warley Village.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2nd Marsh Harrier

Out at a different site with SC this evening and we were treated to another cream crown Marsh Harrier over the moors. Also Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrels and 2 Whinchats.

Cold Edge Marsh Harrier

A trip up to Cold Edge Dams proved profitable with my 5th ever local Marsh Harrier, it was quatering the moor just to the west of Cold Edge Dams at 13.15PM. Unfortunatly due to camera problems I couldnt get a photo. A cream crown probably a female due to size against corvids.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lee Mount

Not much opportunity today to get out and just had an hour in the garden this afternoon - 1 Gt Sp Woodpecker, 3 Sparrowhawk sightings and 16 House Martins >SE

And again this evening between 7 and 8 pm
8 House Martins >SE
4 Grey Wagtails together >E
1 Kestrel

Fantastic looking Moon out there tonight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Red swallow

A nice pic here of variation of Swallow colour.The pic of the red swallow is exactly the same as the one I saw earlier this year at Crow Hill.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Shibden Valley

Lee Lane area late afternoon in the drizzle produced a lot of House Martins (100+) feeding in the shelter of the valley - they were all over the place in big groups with just a few Swallows with them.
c60 Swallows were on the tops on Pepper Hill feeding low around 2 fields of cattle - plenty of insects about for them.
Not much else about other than c45 Starlings and 62 Jackdaws in one field.

Swales Moor

Went along Ringby Lane late morning but it was heavy drizzle so nothing on the move.
c20 blogging Swallows
20 Meadow Pipits
2 Skylarks
1 juv Pied Wagtail
Just remembered 1 Green Woodpecker heard nearby
A few Goldfinch and 1 Linnet on the thistles
Usual corvids and just 1 Common Gull

First lap bunt over sheffield

Some great sound recordings on this link for vis miggers.....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lee Mount

Not much chance to get out and about today though a call from BS of a Buzzard over Ringby Top just after 5 pm had us dashing out to see if we could pick it up from the house but unfortunately we couldn't find it as part of the ridge is just out of our view. Thanks for the call Bri and for the Whimbrel over just before 6 pm, unfortunately these headed off in Pellon direction rather than Lee Mount so we missed them as well but gather Nick picked the birds up heading over from his Mount Tabor watchpoint.
Good to see some signs of movement today so lets hope it continues over the Bank Holiday !!

A Treecreeper at the back of the house today was good to hear along with a Gt Sp Woodpecker as well - no Swifts !

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I came off at Jct 22 tonight and saw a small falcon sitting on a telegraph pole as I passed down the A672 near Derby Delph - I drove down and turned round as I thought there was a possibility of a Hobby sitting it out in the pouring rain - but it was just a sogging wet kestrel looking very sorry for itself. I felt sorry for it too!
I thought 'all that heavy rain, maybe some terns at Ringstone' so I headed up the back route from Booth Wood to find the road blocked by the police at the top - perhaps a landslide - as a digger was there and looked to be clearing up after a flood (?) - so I gave Ringstone up as a bad job!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lee Mount

Just one Swift through this morning and a few Swallows and House Martins and this afternoon, a Jay, Gt spotted Woodpecker and a group of at least 17 Long-tailed Tits


Just a brief note apologies it's not bird related but I know many of you are music fans and you are all generous. I've organised the above named event to raise money for the Calder Valley Flood Victims we have 6 bands playing on the 1st Sept at Mytholmroyd Community Centre tickets are £9, for more details visit or if you'd like to join us simply get in touch. Thanks.


Back Lane area and Foreside Bottom Lane this morning thinking there might be some movement through the Coll. c200 Swallows and a scattering of House Martins through but no Swifts. Just 2 Meadow Pipits as well >W
Grounded migrants included 1 Whinchat with 6 Wheatears by Allotment Farm
Also nearby 1 Little Owl
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
c160 Goldfinch feeding on thistle heads
1 Sparrowhawk over
4 Spotted Flycatchers together on the edge of Ogden plantation along with 2 Willow Warblers
And when the sun came out there were hundreds of Green Viened White butterflies over a large area in juncus and willow herb areas down Foreside Bottom Lane

Cold edge dams

350 swallows n/w
20 House martin n/w
5 Curlew
5 Juv stonechat
1 Common sand
1 whitethroat
1 grasshopper warbler
1 wheatear
3  juv Little Grebe
57  mipits s/w

Thursday, August 23, 2012

late Swallows & very early Pinkfeet ?

Bradley Hall Farm area - young Swallows were food calling from a new nest at the usual canal bridge, with adults bringing food in regularly. Maybe the previous nests were abandoned and this is a very late brood in a completely new nest ?
There were also 40+ House Martins over and a single Sand Martin over the river in Brighouse.
Surprisingly, no Yellowhammers seemed to be around at B H Farm
25+ House Martins were over Lightcliffe this evening.
And a reliable report from a Bailiffe Bridge resident of a skein of over 100 high flying geese calling loudly going West towards Halifax around mid-day yesterday. Any other sightings of Pinkfeet around ??

Out of Area

There is a report on Birdguides today, of a Hoopoe at Blackmoorfoot Res Huddersfield yesterday at 15:00. Always a chance it has come our way.

Cold edge dams

5 juv Stonechats, 7 wheatear , 25 blogging mipits, 30 goldfinch , 2 Curlew, 50+  swallows , 6 swifts ,1 LBBGull,10 BHGull and 4 linnets.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lee Mount

4 Swifts over today >SE - all singletons, with the latest at 8 pm
2 Sparrowhawk sightings as well today

Ploughcroft and Pepper Hill

We had a wander round the top this afternoon but struggled to find much in the blustery wind other than a good number of blogging hirundines and 1 Sparrowhawk over.

22nd August

A brief walk over Roils Head today produced 1 Whinchat but not much else.


This morning - Little Grebe still there with 3 chicks and 6 Great Crested Grebes there as well (SL TM)

Jay House Lane

From Steve and Tony - Whinchat and Whitethroat there this morning in the area near the manure pile.

Mixenden and Stodfold

An interesting hour and a half this morning in the valley leading up to Ogden with a good number of hirundines (c40 each Swallows and House Martins) along with 3 Swifts feeding in the sheltered valley below Hunter Hill
1 female Redstart and 2 phyloscs in the big hedge below Mixenden Reservoir along Hays Lane
c60 Linnet with a few Goldfinch in with them
c20 Pied Wagtails in the usual field
1 Meadow Pipit
1 juv Stonechat male near the golf course along with 2 Whitethroats
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Kestrels

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

High Royd

Nick D and myself went to High Royd late evening to check if there was a Swallow roost at the sewage plant but there was nothing doing as far as a roost is concerned.
30+ Swallows through and a similar number of House Martins were feeding briefly over the woodland along with a small number of Swifts. Everything seemed to head off down river towards Sowerby Bridge.
3 or 4 Grey Herons about as well and the usual large group of Carrion Crows on the filter beds.
Viewing the site is a real struggle through the dense vegetation of trees shrubs and Himalayan Balsam though there is still bags of potential there both for resident birds and migrants and other wildlife.

Lunch with a Blackcap

A female Blackcap was a pleasing sight as I ate my lunch in Gordon Riggs car park today.

21st August Roils Head

At least 1 Redstart possibly 2 in the northern shelter belt today, also 2 Willow Warblers in same area. The Linnet flock at the Norton Tower end must be in access of 100 birds now, also a few Gold and Greenfinches mixed in. Lots of Swallows about today, does any body know if there is a roost anywhere in Calderdale, I checked Elland GP last week and there was nothing. Perhaps they have moved back to High Royd, worth checking out.

Wheatley Valley

I spent an hour on the old landfill adjacent to Shroggs Road this morning but little signs of any overnight movement.
2 Willow Warblers
1 Swift >SE
Juvenile Greenfinches being fed by parents
2 Bullfinch
1 Peacock butterfly

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lee Mount

This afternoon
Around 10+ House Martins and 2 Swallows >SE
1 and 1 Swifts >NW

1 Comma Butterfly - first we have seen this year
Also several Green Viened Whites, Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Speckled Woods


This afternoon 1 Common Buzzard and 2 Swifts over near Upper Edge (Steve L)

Dippers at Callis Bridge, Little Owls at Tod

While I was waiting for a puncture to be repaired at the local garage I walked round to Callis Bridge to watch the weir and river for a while and was treated to 3 Dippers preening and feeding. Two flew off after about 10 mins but the 3rd stayed all the time I watched. It went the width of the weir where the water runs over and flipped over each leaf that had been trapped there, grabbing food after moving a couple of them.

A Grey Wagtail flew in and stayed for a few minutes.

Early yesterday morning there were 3 Little Owls (2 adults and 1 juv) calling at Mankinholes and 2 at Lee Dam (both adults). At one point I could see 4 individuals through the bins. Nothing else around though apart from a Willow Warbler.


A shot of the bill showing serated edge  ,also on around the res today ,1 female/first winter Common redstart,loads of grounded meadow pipits,swallows,Linnets,Grey heron,24 BHGulls 3 LBBGulls drifted north.A good flock of tree sparrows 40+ and 70 = Goldfinch at jay house lane.

Swales Moor

Still a few Swifts about this afternoon with 9+ feeding over the NW ridge around 2pm
Also a number of B H Gulls and L B B Gulls >SW about the same time just as the sun came through and the day started brightening up a bit!

Adult Male Common Scoter found dead.

                                                Found this today on the shoreline at batings,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Take a look at this if you get chance!
Areas of Tanzania under threat from big game hunters and the threat of eviction of the Maasai from their traditional lands.
Petition to sign!


Just dropped Nick off and headed down Pellon Lane at Sandbeds a single Swift came across the road low from the direction of the breeding site. Most of the Swifts have moved on now but this one may still have young in the nest which would be most unusual at this date.

Baitings Res'r

Male Black Redstart present till at least mid-day but it was not found in the afternoon  as I looked with Nick there for a couple of hours but only found a Whitethroat around the barn.

5 Buzzards

There were five Buzzards over my house in Holmfield at 11:30 today. Only seen one before and then five come together!

Spotted flycatcher

Spotted fly' is still in the overgrown orchard below the house, almost a week after first finding it, which would strongly indicate it is not a mirgant. Further investigation necessary!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Baitings Reservoir

I called in for a 'quick scan' on the way home this evening on the off chance Andy's Black Redstart was still there on the old barn along Blue Ball Road. Being short of time I scanned from the main road and it was a real surprise to see this adult male feeding on the sunny side of the building giving good views though at a distant. Not a good place to stop with the car so no chance of digi-scoping.
If anyone goes up there then I would advise park in Baitings car park by the dam wall just off the main road and walk along the road to view the barn from the sunny side. The alternative is drive on Blue Ball Road to view the barn.
That was a great find the other day Andy.

Lee Mount

Swifts still about and passing through with 5 over feeding briefly high over Shroggs Park then moving on >SE around 1pm (KS)

Lee Mount

From Friday 17th - one Swift over >SE late morning.
This morning several Swallows >S early on but high moving straight through.

Also called at Ringstone , just 1 Cormorant there and 2 at Booth Wood Res'r plus a Grey Heron and 180 Canada's and 2 Kestrels over.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lee Mount

Just had an hour in the back garden tonight with just one Swift over >NW at 8 pm, worth sitting out with a pot of tea for!

Migrants on the Move

A real morning to be out and about started with masses of meadow pipits on the move s/w low to the ground  totalling 150 + and 70 + Swallows moving low as well s/w.6 wheatear and a juv yellow wagtail  at the Cragg Vale End of flints moor,29 Linnet,2 Pied wags ,1 snipe ,10 Golfinch and one kestrel here also.
  Then the bird of the year for me so far an adult male Black redstart on the disused barn near the old Blue Ball at Batings.I last found a black red in Calderdale on the 13th march 1993.Unfortunatly it had gone by the time Steve and Tony turned up and was not seen again despite a good search ot the area.1 Swift and a couple of House martins over the dam.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

I gave it a try tonight at Fly Flatts thinking there was a possibility of something having come down in todays downpours but there was not much doing other than Wheatears - 15+ on Stoney Edge and another 6 along the top road but I didn't find any Whinchats
6 Red Grouse on the embankment wall
2 Kestrels

Withens Head
5 Wheatears
1 Little Owl
c20 Swallows

Lee Mount

An hour or so in the garden late morning with an eye on the sky for any movement in the blustery SE wind did produce 7 Swifts, 1 Swallow and 1 House Martin all heading SE along with single Common and L B B Gulls.

1 Swift over this afternoon just before the rain started

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spotted flycatcher

Another new great garden tick today. I was sat out with the kids this evening when I heard a familiar call from an orchard one field below me (at Jumble Hole). I got the bins out, and a spotted flycatcher was calling from the top of a dead eucaliptus tree, and occassionally flying out for a quick hunt and returning. I though for a moment there might have been two, but couldn't be sure.

Other news

From Ringstone today (Steve L and Tony M)
2 Whinchat in the big hedge opposite the farm in the fields just below the res'r
1 Whitethroat around the shoreline area scrub earlier today

And at Scammonden nearby a pair of Little Grebes with 2 small chicks seen  riding on mum's back and the male fetching small fish for them. This must be really late for breeding Little Grebe in our area even though according to BWP they can have up to three broods this may be a first brood this year with the weather fluctuations (?)

Lee Mount
Just one Swift over this morning and a Nuthatch on the garden feeder this evening (black sunflower seed) and another Nuthatch reported from a garden in Cragg Lane, Wheatley as well today.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fly Flatts

A reasonable bit of shoreline appearing but not a sign of any waders up there this afternoon.
1 Whinchat with c18 Wheaters on Stoney Edge and along the southern shoreline.
2 Golden Plover on the moor but not a sign of any Twite at the feeding station unfortunately, though more Niger seed put down in anticipation!
2 shooters on the moor is bad news in my view!

Withens Head
1 Curlew
3 Wheatear
1 Little Owl

 Some shoreline appearing
 Wheatear (digiscoped)
Golden Plover (digiscoped)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Booth Wood Res'r

I was coming down the A672 this evening soon after 7 pm when a large raptor came over the moor from Rishworth Moor. It was fortunate there was somewhere to pull in right by Derby Delph quarry and I got the bins on it quickly. It was obviously buzzard size but with a different profile and longer tail and looked very dark brown. It headed across the reservoir and over the M62 where I got the scope on it. I was thinking Marsh Harrier but still wasn't sure until it turned to hunt over a large area of juncus and the cream crown was clearly visible. Soon after it went down in the long vegetation and it didn't reappear. I guess it had probably gone in to roost though it will probably be just moving through and will be on its way by morning. Only my second Marsh Harrier for Calderdale so I came home well pleased!
Also nearby were c30 Twite and a Kestrel.

Earlier in the day there were 3 Cormorants on Ringstone and 11 on Booth Wood.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lee Mount

Around 30 Swifts overhead early evening went very high in a tight bunch so I guess they had found a swarm of insects similar to around 60 B H Gulls and a few Common Gulls had done late afternoon over the park. Steve L also had a good number of gulls over Elland early afternoon in the same manner and they were probably feeding on flying ants which seem to have come out in numbers in the last day or two.

Also tonight a Peregrine overhead looked to be heading towards Dean Clough chimey or one of the tall town centre buildings to roost (?)

10th August

First Redstart of the autumn at Roils Head this afternoon, also c20 Willow Warblers present.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Cold Edge and Withens Head

A lovely day for a Butterfly Survey which I did today as it's been difficult to find a decent day and it was a matter of taking the best opportunity I could get! Not many to count, just 4 species. There were just a small number of Small Tortoishells, Meadow Browns and G V Whites and 2 Gatekeepers.

Birds were difficult to find with just a few mipits, Linnets, Swallows and Swifts and one female Reed Bunting on a fatball near Spring dam. 1 juvenile Curlew still in the fields and 1 Kestrel. 3 Wheatearswere on the walls opposite the wind farm car park

It was good to meet up with Jeff on a Whinchat hunt but unfortunately they were not showing if they were there - plenty time for migrants yet Jeff !
Birders, please feel free to attend, or pass on to anyone (families or individuals) who might be interested.
Dark Green Fritillary - Calderdale's rarest butterfly?
(reported from Withens Clough.)


An illustrated talk on raising butterflies from eggs and caterpillars.  An evening for young families.

An easy low-cost activity at home in the summer holidays!

Have fun and help wildlife in Calderdale.

Tuesday 14th August, Halifax Central Library

7.15pm- 8.30pm

Free entry - donations accepted – HALIFAX SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY Summer Children’s Talk. (Also a children’s walk in Hardcastle Crags with Bruce Hoyle on  August 18th – see the Calderdale Wildside Walks Booklet, or our blog at Calderdale-wildlife.blogspot)

Lee Mount

Waders on the move last night!
I went out to the bins last night just after 11 pm and heard a wader calling in flight, I could only put it down to Green Sandpiper but waders passing over when there is no chance of seeing them and away from 'normal habitat' - I have an element of doubt in my identification! It called 3 times at short intervals.
I stayed outside till near midnight thinking of the possibility of other sounds of movement when another wader passed over but only a single one note call so I am still pondering that one!
Later on, near midnight I did get a positive id with a Curlew over calling.
All 3 wader sounded to be heading in the same direction - SW
I will be out later tonight but conditions might not be the same as last night was calm and still with stars showing a perfect night and ideal conditions for moving birds!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Various sites

Mixenden/Ogden this morning was hard work in the drizzle but a male Stonechat with 3 fledged juvs still in attendance but still no sign of the female. Also in the same area 2 Whitethroats and a male Reed Bunting still singing. Not a lot else other than a few Swifts SW, 2 House Martins and lots of Swallows. Several Pied Wagtails, 1 Meadow Pipit and 30 B H Gulls and 1 L B B G in the fields at Stodfold.

Earlier this morning 30+ Swifts around for over an hour over Lee Mount/Shroggs Park chasing round and screaming.

Swales Moor this afternoon - nothing about other than 35 Swallows, 1 House Martin and 3 Swifts all heading  west. 1 Common Gull and 6 L B BGulls loitering and a single Meadow Pipit. Usual corvids and c 4 Kestrels about.

Langfield and Gaddings

All quiet this morning through Langfield and up to Gaddings apart from 3 Twite and 2 Stonechats.

There is a bit more shoreline visible at Gaddings so hopefully a few passage waders will drop in over the next few weeks.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


Gull at Ringstone this morning .Lesser Black Backed but what stage?

Friday, August 03, 2012

Movement through the Valley

Whilst working at Duke St today noticed that for large periods of the day there was a steady stream of Swifts moving up the valley coming from Hebden end and heading towards Todmorden, smaller numbers of swallows were also moving through.

At approx 1pm 4 Curlew joined the exodus but they turned towards Stoodley Pike as they got level with Duke Street.

Other birds of note in the area a single Sparrowhawk (observed without bins) probably a male judging the size, circled briefly before heading at speed towards Jumble Hole.

Garden Jays

A great reward for a day spent indoors doing DIY today was the sight of 6 Jays in the back garden -5 juvs all wanting to be fed by a single adult. Numbers have built up from one, then 2 last week, to 5 yesterday and a record number tonight. Double figures perhaps, next week ??

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Other news

9 Cormorants there yesterday at one stage and 7 G C Grebes at Scammonden as well (SL TM)

Hunter Hill

A steady trickle of Swifts >SW (c80) coming from Ogden coll and down the valley towards Mount Tabor in 2 hrs mid afternoon
2 Grey Partridge with a chick just able to fly
2 Kestrels
Local Swallows and mipits
c40 B H Gulls at Stodfold
11 L B B Gulls >SW
Whinchat and Reed Bunting nearby
I also ended up rescuing a lamb with it's head stuck in a mesh fence and it just wanted to go forward! Once I got hold of it by the scruff of the neck it stopped kicking and I eased the small horns through and gave a tug on its head and out it came. It just walked off without a backwards glance.

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

Fly Flatts
I went up to top the Nyger seed up at the feeding station but will be worth continuing in another year or two if the downward trend continues? - no Twite again today though BS had 4 last weekend
1 Wheatear
1 Kestrel
c20 Swifts >SW
Just the usual Canada's and Greylags but no waders - though the water level is down 6" from the overflow !

Withens Head
4 juv Wheatears

Jay House Lane

With thanks to Andy K this morning for the message about the number of gulls in the area as it turned out to be a very productive morning with around 500+ B H Gulls, c30 Common Gulls and 6 L B B Gulls though it was a struggle to find anything different with them. They were well spread out in different fields when I arrived  so had a bit of a wander round to check them out.
30 + Tree Sparrows was encouraging plus c15 House Sparrows with most of the activity around the manure pile.
Unexpected was a Lesser Whitethroat skulking around in the shrubbery and also in the pile of dead branches nearby
Also present
1 Whitethroat
3 Willow Warblers
c10 alba wagtails
c150 Swifts and 200+ Swallows SW
Also a good number of Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.
Always a chance of something special in this area