Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bradley Hall

Yesterday afternoon
Just 1 f Yellowhammer
Common Buzzard over
Early returners with c30 B H Gulls heading up river
A few Swallows and Swifts about and a surprise was a flock of c40 House Martins feeding in a tight flock on emerging insects from the canal then they drifted off >N
1 Whitethroat and one or two Blackcap, Willow Warblers and 2 Chiff-Chaff singing

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tony Gough

On a sad note,
Veteran B.O.G. (Bradford Ornithological Group) birder Tony Gough sadly passed away last night never recovering from the stroke he suffered a few days ago. Tony would be known to a few Calderdale birders who valued both his friendship and his expertise on the birding front. We offer our condolences to Tony's family and friends at this sad time.
See Brian Sumner's blog for today - the link to West Yorkshire Birding for a tribute from Brian.

Mixenden, Fly Flatts, Luddenden Dean

Mixenden Res'r
Pair of Tufted Duck
1 G C Grebe
60+ Swallows and c10 House Martins feeding over the res'r

Fly Flatts
This morning heavy squally showers and sunny spells. Still no shoreline for waders !
Much as yesterday with usual sp....present
11 Herring Gulls >NW
c30 Swifts >N
3 Tufted Duck
1 Barnacle Goose with c100 Canadas - with lots of chicks appearing now!

Cold Edge Road
11 Golden Plover in the usual fields

Luddenden Dean
Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding young in a hole in a dead beech tree were being watched closely by a pair of Jays !
A few warblers with Chiff-chaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap all singing
Redstart nearby
Wren and Willow Warbler nest building and Blue and Great Tits feeding young in nest boxes

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fly Flatts etc

Fly Flatts - early afternoon - the wind was blowing hard from the west making it difficult holding binoculars steady but a few birds to be found mostly from a distance!
A continuous trickle of 50+ Swifts >N along with 1 House Martin
1 Swallow >S
1 Dunlin
2 Oystercatchers
4 Common Sandpipers
6+ Lapwing
4+ Curlew
1 Snipe
2 Redshank
11 sub adult Herring Gulls came in for a short time and headed of >NW
2 Tufted Duck
Canada chicks are now emerging from the moor
4+ Kestrel
Plenty Red Grouse
1 Wheatear
No Twite
2 very distant Common Buzzards
A few Meadow Pipits feeding young

Withens Head
1 Curlew with a small chick
1 Snipe

Ringstone late evening - some shoreline appearing !! and a small wader eluded identification in the glare of the evening sun
2 Oystercatchers
1 Grey Heron
1 G C Grebe
A few Swallows over the water with at least 2 Sand Martins

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Brearley Wood

Cuckoo heard calling today

Jumble Hole

Yesterday evening:
Cuckoo at the top of the Clough
Garden warbler, blackcap and green woodpecker all in the garden
3 more blackcap in the woods
No woodcock as yet?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

East of Brighouse

Sand Martins are exploring nest sites by the canal at Colnebridge,
and at least five were over the Calder nearby.
A Mute Swan was on the river as well.
Kirklees Hall area held at least five calling Yellowhammers, a Little Owl,
a Kestrel, three Lapwings in the fields and nesting Great Tits.
On Clifton Lagoon a pair of Coot were feeding three juvs, and a Kingfisher
was on the river.
Two Buzzards were around (being mobbed by Swifts), one with very worn feathers and one in
'pristine' condition.

Elland Park Wood

I had a good look (and listen) there yesterday afternoon. There is a spot where Lesser Whitethroat was recorded a year or two ago and found by Ady in the area near the Crematorium. Perfect conditions yesterday but unfortunately no sign of the target bird!
1 Garden Warbler
3 male Blackcap singing
2 Chiff - chaff
A few Willow Warblers
Great SpottedWoodpecker
Usual tit sp. With Blue and Great Tits feeding young in nests
150+ Jackdaws in the woodland suspect a post breeding flock with juveniles

Cockchafer beetle

Don't know how important this is - but certainly interesting. A cockchafer beetle was found in our office this morning near to an open door. A first for me! It was put out in the garden. The website I looked at for ID says they're not common in the north of the UK.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Jumble Hole

This scene would seem to suggest one of the Jumble Hole Clough grey wagtails has succumbed. Possibly the work of a mink?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Arctic Terns

One of 4 Arctic Terns flew west at Walshaw Dean tonight amongst other goodies.

Cold Edge

This afternoon not a lot different from yesterday except the Barnacle Goose was back with the Canada flock but no sign of the Pink-footed Goose.
Male Stonechat just above the top dam
Some more Lapwing chicks just near 'The Withens'
12 Golden Plover still in the fields opposite Nolstar Kennels

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cold Edge

Late morning
1 male Stonechat
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Redshank
1 Oystercatcher
1 pair Lapwings with 4 well grown juvs is encouraging
1 Little Owl
Pair of Tufted Duck
3 Little Grebe
1 Moorhen with a juvenile
A few Linnets and Reed Buntings
Plenty Kestrels around and a distant Buzzard
7 Greylags and still one with pink collar but too distant to get details
Usual sp.....

And from yesterday on Soil Hill in the mist! a Sedge Warbler skulking in the juncas. A rare bird for Calderdale in recent years

Friday, May 22, 2015

Steve Lovoric

Several of us attended Steve's funeral this morning representing the local birders. A sad day for us to lose such a knowledgeable and experienced birding colleague but as the minister said - a celebration of Steve's life - with his family and so many friends showing their respects in the numbers that attended.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Short Eared Owl

Short eared owl seen hunting on the moor to the left of the B1638 halfway between Cragg Vale and Blackstone Edge at 8.15 am yesterday morning

Other news

A Red Kite yesterday morning over Norland Moor drifting >E was a good find for S and AT, well done.
Still no sign of the Crossbills from earlier this week at Ogden though an occasional sighting of Spotted Flycatchers being reported. A Common Buzzard over near Soil Hill this morning (NK)

Jumble Hole area

A pair of whitethroat are nest building nearby. Close to that, I saw the first garden warbler of the year yesterday.
The nest boxes I put up in the Clough are as yet empty, though tits have been seen investigating two. Disappointingly, no sign at all of pied flycatcher or redstart. A day flying tawny owl is regularly being seen when checking the boxes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Shibden Park

The house martins from the Godley Gardens colony arrived back this morning. I also saw a dipper in the stream by the car park - it's been a few years since I last saw one in the park.

The coots have 3 half grown young. This is the third successful year for breeding in the park.

The pair of mute swans are still in residence.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fly Flatts

I tried again in the stormy conditions this morning (a blustery westerly with heavy rain and hail showers with some thunder and bright sunshine in among !)  09:00 until 10:30
6 small waders (not Dunlin) >N defied identification came through so fast over the water and straight across Oxenhop Moor. Shame there's no shoreline to draw them in to rest and feed
c40 L B B Gulls and 9 Herring Gulls >NW
2 B H Gulls >SE
1 Swallow >S
2 Swifts  >NW
2 Kestrels
3 Wheatears
A Blackbird singing on a post on the top road - get down in the valley !!!
6 Greylags including the white individual sitting it out on the moor
No Twite but other usual species present.
19 Golden Plover still opposite Nolstar down Cold Edge Road

Monday, May 18, 2015

Other news today

9 Crossbills at Ogden from PS - found up in the pines around the Giants Tooth area but they headed off over the trees in a westerly direction so they may have dropped in or moved through?
I saw Pete later and went to check but couldn't find them - there are hardly any cones on the dominant  species Scots Pines - very few Spruce or Larch in the woodland other than Spruce with lots of cones in Back Lane plantation.

Fly Flatts etc

Started off with 2 hours at Fly Flatts in the wind and rain sitting in the car scanning. It paid off with an immature Kittiwake at 10:05 dropped in during a heavy downpour and bathed before heading off >NW at 10:15 as the squall passed.
4 Kestrels
1 Wheatear
Usual waders
c20 L B B Gulls and 12 Herring Gulls also > NW
It was good to see Gordon up there too and catch up with a few things !

Cold Edge Road
19 Golden Plover opposite Nolstar

Cold Edge
Pink-footed Goose still with the Canada flock and 6 Greylags one of which had an orange neck collar but too distant to get any details!

c200 hirundines mostly Swallows with just a few Sand Martins and House Martins and a few Swifts over the res'r

Writing Prize 2015

Halifax Scientific Society is offering a new field guide of your choice as a prize in a competition for a piece of constructive writing about local Wildlife and the Natural environment.

See their blog on

Walk yesterday: Not a lot to be seen or heard in the cold wind, but we did see
a Brown Hare on the Midgley Moor/ Luddenden Dean edge,

a Little Owl enter a hole in a stone wall no doubt where its nest was (picked up pellets outside the hole - this pair feeds on small mammals)

and while watching a Sparrowhawk on a post at Old Town witnessed it streak past us into a paddock; the small birds scattering in panic.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ogden/Mixenden and Ringstone

Golf course area and Stodfold this afternoon taking in Mixenden Res'r but just a few Swallows and Swifts there.  Elsewhere the wind was keeping everything down out of site.
1 Whinchat
1 Curlew
A few mipits
1 Skylark
Pair of Linnets

2 GC Grebe
c10 Sand Martins with c40 Swallows

Withens Clough II

On a cool, windy, circular walk, from The Hinchcliffe Arms, taking in Withens Clough Res', Turley Holes Edge and Higher House Moor, it was disappointingly quiet (noisy guns below Higher House didn't help), but here is what turned up:

couple of chiffchaffs,
several willow warblers,
couple of blackcaps,
green woodpecker,
stonechat pair,
single curlew,
lots of meadow pipits,
lots of swallows and......
a few house martins.

Regards, C. Jepson-Brown

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Withens Clough

On the way back from Oldham early afternoon I had thought of heading up to Whiteholme and Lighthazzles to check for waders but passing Blackstone Edge the westerly wind on the tops put me off so I chanced Cragg Vale to try get out of it. I checked the clough from The Hinchcliffe to the reservoir embankment and the hillsides but not the res'r area.
1 Cuckoo in good song singing most of the time
1 Stonechat
1 Skylark
A few Meadow Pipits
2 Grey Wagtail
A small colony of 4/5 pairs of nesting House Martins was nice to see after the number of nesting colonies in recent years has plummeted.
No sign of Tree Pipits

Cromwell Bottom

We had a short while down there in the afternoon checking for warblers but there was not much song from them at the time we were there.
3 Reed Warblers
1 probable Garden Warbler
2+ Blackcap
1 Whitethroat
2 Chiff-chaff
A few Willow Warblers


Yesterday it was good to meet up with NK and have a scout around for Tree Pipit - without success unfortunately. 3 Spotted Flycatchers between us was nice. A few Willow Warblers, 2 Chiff-chaff and 2 Blackcap. Also nice to meet up with JL doing the rounds as well and we just had a Sparrowhawk over.
From NK a singing Whinchat nearby later on.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hardcastle Crags

A quick scout around from 5:30-7:30pm. From lower car park to the mill & back, then a brief look up Crimsworth.

As other observers have noted, so far this year things are looking pretty grim. No sign at all of pied flycatcher, redstart, wood warbler or lesser spotted woodpecker. All of these would have been pretty easy to find (to a greater or lesser extent)
 10 years ago. A very rapid decline.

The only positive was a pair of spotted flycatcher halfway up the track behind the bench. Other sightings included a pair of treecreeper, 3 nuthatch,  a pair of sparrowhawks, and several song thrush.

Dipper Update

In the warm sunshine of today, I saw a single dipper, fishing in the brook, and flying straight up to the supposed nest hole and and yes - there it was a screaming of little birds - it is now a bona fide nest site with hatched birds.   Almost instantly as it entered the hole, dipper flew out  - was it the same ? not sure I only ever saw one in the brook at a time  so it could be a single parent !

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Soyland 13th May 2015

A pal of mine (reliable!) saw a male redstart 'near The Beehive', yesterday.

Regards, Chris

Tour around Local Spots

                 Had a tour around today to have a look, 20 Golden Plover up Top
                 Withens and a Kestrel carrying prey and 2 Oystercatchers up Fly Flatts,
                 Buzzard or was it the Marsh Harrier again had same clipping on the wing
                 as the pic taken earlier on, Kingfisher on river and Sedge Warbler all down
                 at Cromwell Bottom and 2 Swift first I've seen down there this spring.
                 1 windswept Little Owl on my travels.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Steve Loveric

Following on from the sad news posted on Monday we now have details of the funeral arrangements. Steve's funeral is on Friday 22nd May at Elland Park Wood Crematorium at 9.45. I think a few of us will be going judging from the response to the loss of a well respected friend and birding colleague.

Lee Mount

In the garden - I love these sorts of days - hot sunshine, rising thermals and a slight breeze creating an afternoon for looking skywards for black dots against the white fleecy clouds.
Sometimes find nothing up there but today was special with 2 Common Buzzards over very high at 12:50, a large Peregrine soaring round high at 13:30 drifted off >SE then a Red Kite >N towards Swales Moor/Ploughcroft at 14:25 followed by a Kestrel a few minutes later. A female Sparrowhawk went over later in the afternoon making it a 'five fa' first for garden watch !!
Distant photos taken to see if they are good enough to post on the blog later.
Long live the deckchair!!!!

Fly Flatts

A lovely clear day and warm sunshine up there this morning - made the most of it as it's not often like that up there!!
Usual waders but nothing new
Pink-footed Goose with Canada's must have moved up from Cold Edge
2 L B B Gulls
4 Kestrel
Lots of mipits, 1 Pied Wagtail and a Skylark
4 Wheatears
6 Swallows >N
Still no Twite despite lots of nyger seed down at the feeding station

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier seen over the last few days, undisclosed site.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Steve Loveric

It is really sad to report the news I received last night from Steve's wife Julie. Steve died suddenly yesterday.
Steve was a local birdwatcher who regularly frequented Ringstone, Scammonden and the former Elland Gravel Pits as well as many other Calderdale sites and further afield. He has been a regular reporter over the last few years to the local birders grapevine and his contributions will be greatly missed along with his friendship good humour and expertise. A big man often seen in his small white van checking out the local sites. We will greatly miss you Steve.
On behalf of local birders we offer our deepest sympathy to Julie and their family at this sad time.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mytholmroyd AM

Scout Bottom
8 swifts
Lots of willow warblers & chiffchaffs.

Over Burlees & Redacre Woods
6 swifts
Red kite flew from Redacre towards and then over Burlees Woods in the direction of c Chiserley.

Soil Hill

1 hr + this afternoon but it was too windy from SW to expect too much
As usual, a good number of mipits and Skylarks
2 Linnet
1 f Wheatear
3 Swallows
9 L B B Gulls and 1 Black- headed Gull >NW
6 Lapwings and 13 Stock Doves on the north slope
1 m Kestrel
It's a shame to see the Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler spots being in filled with spoil
Looks like more and more wind turbines in that area so just hope they don't put any more on the birding site!!!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Cold Edge

Rare trip to my old stomping ground of Cold Edge Dams. Barnacle Goose and Pinkie still in with the Canadas. Grasshopper Warbler reeling from heather.5 tufties and 1 Common Sand on the dam. Male Stonechat above top dam. 7 Golden Plovers at Cold Edge Road.

Dipper Update

I had given up hope of the nesting dippers, because I had not seen one for over a week or so,  but yesterday lunch time, as I was watching a pair of grey wagtails flycatching from rocks in the stream, I thought saw one fly past.

I moved up to the stream, to where I could overlook the old pipe I had seen it fly into with the nesting material, and yes, it was there, but it saw me and took evasive action, flying down the stream, but was soon back, this time overflying the supposed nest site up to where the brook fall down the weir at the mouth of the tunnel.  It paused and looked around.

I had moved into more cover, and it could no longer see me, so it flew back down the brook, closer  - it fed briefly, flew to a rock nearest the hole in wall and then flew up into the pipe,  instead of going in it looked around up and down stream, towards me, and then confident no risk was visible,  it turned and ran into the pipe.  I left.  

The place where I watched it where many work colleagues come and sit and eat the lunch on fine days,  hopefully it wont be too disturbed by them.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Hardcastle Crags

We did both sides of the valley from the crags Midgehole car park to Blake Dean and back. A perfect day with rain forecast early afternoon. The woodland was fairly quiet with the highlight being a pair of Redstart but after finding them they became elusive but the male was heard singing from a distance at times.
1 very nice Tawny Owl at roost in a tall pine but given away by a scolding Jay
1 pair of Blackcap
A few Willow Warblers
2 pairs Goldcrest
1 pair Treecreeper
Green and Gt spotted Woodpeckers heard
Plenty Nuthatch
1 Dipper
2 Grey Wagtails
Plenty Song Thrush's singing
Other usual sp....but no Swifts, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher or Tree Pipit yet, though traditional sites were checked.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Common Sandpiper

Fly Flatts this afternoon

Summer ?

Yes - the regular swallows are back -  say one the other day and 6 today,  and the canada geese nesting on the canal near the old Walkleys clogs have hatched  several goslings.  So I would say Summer is here!

Fly Flatts

A pleasant afternoon up there after earlier wind and rain rain eased and cleared.
1 Turnstone on the mud at the top end flushed and towered high and away >W
c10 Common Sandpiers
2 Oystercatchers
6+ Lapwing
c10 Curlew
2 Redshank
Dunlin heard but not seen
c 8 Wheatear
No Twite though more Niger seed put down.
1 Herring Gull and 17 and 12 L B B Gulls through >W

Gutted by the news from Bowland today - Three grey male Hen Harriers 'disappeared' in last 3 weeks. Two of the nests were abandoned.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


Milner Royd AM
1 oystercatcher over
2 chiffchaffs singing

Near Bedlam Hill
Buzzard by A6033

Wheatley Valley

Dull and miserable in the drizzle and low cloud this morning but some warblers were singing -
1 Whitethroat
1 Garden Warbler
3 Blackcap
2 Chiff-chaff
3 Willow Warblers
4 Song Thrush

Out and about

Daisy Bank to Stoodley Pike

2 skylark
Lots of mipits
1 common frog
1 curlew

Near Withens Clough reservoir

1 grasshopper warbler reeling.
2 willow warbler singing in the clough
1 swallow
1 orange tip butterfly
1 green veined white

Withens Clough to Cragg Vale

3 swallows
1 house martin
2 chiffchaff
3 willow warbler1 green woodpecker
Plus usual species

1 orange tip butterfly
2 green veined whites
1 small tortoiseshell

Cragg Vale to Mytholmroyd

1 kestrel
4 willow warbler
3 chiffchaff
Plus usual species

3 orange tip butterflies
4 green veined whites
2 peacock butterflies
3 small tortoiseshell

Monday, May 04, 2015


A quick call there this evening just before dusk
4 G C Grebe
1 drake Goosander
2 Little Grebe
A few Swallows
19 Canada's

Lee Mount

Garden watch between 10 am and 1 pm with birds mainly drifting >NW
4 Swifts
1 House Martin
2 Sparrowhawks
2 Common Buzzards
2 Goosander >SE
Just 1 Kestrel this afternoon after the cloud came in

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Ploughcroft and Pepper Hill

This afternoon along Hag Lane and around the hilltop to the top of Claremount and back to Ploughcroft
1 Swift > N at 15:25 - we should start getting a few more this week!
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Green Woodpecker
2 Kestrels
Willow Warbler and Blackcap
Peregrine soaring high over Claremount was a surprise
c12 Swallows
2 Linnet
3 Black-headed Gulls and an adult Common Gull >N
c20 L B B Gulls >NW
A very distant large raptor over the lower end of Shibden Valley near Brookfoot. I had to let this one go as it was just too distant.


A trip to church, and a swift flew at car hieght down our road,  on a wet cold 3rd of may. An amazing close view!

Halifax and District

Showing a family member round the area yesterday. On a visit to Dean Clough a pair of dippers were seen in the Hebble beck within 50 yards of the front door of the Viaduct cafe. Later driving on the Cold Edge road to visit the windmills a wheatear was standing on the wall and a common sandpiper was at the bottom of a fence looking for food.

Saturday, May 02, 2015


A quick look as I passed this evening but not much there in the fading light
1 G C Grebe
1 drake Goosander
19 Canada's
A few Lapwings

Grey heron hunting

got up this morning to a grey heron hunting in field at back of our house, by the time i got set up this was the third mole/rodent? it caught.

Cold Edge and Withens Head etc

Hec!!  it was cold up there this morning, overcast with a strong easterly and temperature down to 3c but I managed to do the Breeding Bird Survey for the BTO. Definitely not a day for standing still !!
Birds not bad today either
1 Little Grebe
1 Barnacle Goose
1 Pink-footed Goose still there with a few Canadas
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Oystercatcher
1 Redshank
Several Curlew and Lapwing
c8 Snipe both 'chipping' and 'drumming'
1 male Stonechat by the top small pond
4 Willow Warblers
Several Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and a few Skylarks
3 Wheatear
1 Kestrel
c35 Swallows on the lower Cold Edge Dam

Cold Ege Road
5 Golden Plover flyovers >E and another 12 in  a field just above Nolstar Kennels

Mixenden Reservoir
c75 Swallows and 2+ Sand Martins but no House Martins with them  and certainly no Swifts there yet. (Plenty at Minsmere yesterday I hear)
Pair of Great Crested Grebe

Friday, May 01, 2015

Walshaw Dean

Out with Nick D tonight at Walshaw Dean.
One ringed male Redstart and one Whimbrel.

Fly Flatts

Just a single Dunlin on the mud this morning and 4 small waders >N across the moor were probably also Dunlin but I couldn't be 100% sure of their i d.
Other than that nothing else new in from yesterday.
Still waiting for Swifts !
9 Golden Plover in the fields down Cold Edge Road opposite Nolstar Kennels.

hen harrier photos

my earlier photos were rubbish as they were taken off the back of the camera still love seeing harriers in calderdale