Saturday, March 23, 2019

Plenty of activity in the Hartshead area this morning. Two male Yellowhammers calling and another distant. Very mobile moving in and out of the recording area.
Tree Sparrows, Great Spotted Woodpecker and plenty of Skylarks as well as a soaring Buzzard plus the usual species.

Cold Edge

Checked a couple of traditional Ring Ouzel and Wheatear spots this morning but nothing doing.
6 Tufted Duck
6 Goosander
1 Little Grebe
1 Redshank
2 Snipe 'chipping'
1 Stonechat
1 Raven over >N
No raptors and no Linnets back yet but a definite influx of Meadow Pipits now on territory snd displaying
2 Skylarks
c80 Starlings
4 Pied Wagtails
Usual Lapwings and Curlew
1 Weasel briefly
Nice to have a brief chat with BS on his way home from his morning stint at Fly Flatts.

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Scammonden area

A very good find in the rain with a Male Ring Ouzel late afternoon yesterday near Moselden (a 'lifer' for PD). Unfortunately it has not been relocated this morning. (PD LD). A  male Wheatear there today.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Mixenden and Hunter Hill

1 Cormorant and a Redshank on the Reservoir this morning. Also 4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls but not a sign of any duck species.

Elsewhere, between the Reservoir and the golf course.
Pair of Stonechat
1 Reed Bunting
1 Redwing
c200 Starlings
A few Curlew and Lapwing flyovers
1 Kestrel
Meadow Pipits on the move mostly high and >W
1 Skylark
1 Sparrowhawk

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Crimsworth Dean

A walk around the upper Dean this afternoon for Jen to find a 'stonking ' male Wheatear. What a beauty, shame I didn't have the means of taking a decent photo.
I gather BS also found a pair of Wheatear at Fly Flatts as well this afternoon. The move is on !
I still think it's amazing that after, or during migration these birds arrive in such fantastic condition.

Plenty of Curlew, Lapwings, Jackdaws, Starlings and a flyover flock of c60 Golden Plover.
1 Fieldfare
2 pairs Mistle Thrush
2+ Kestrels
1 Raven >N

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my first local chiffchaff this morning at salterhebble singing around 7am plus gs woodpecker and nuthatch

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Soil Hill

Late afternoon for a couple of hours on the top. Quite a stiff westerly wind up there !
6+ Skylarks
c12 Meadow Pipits
1 Kestrel
c8 Curlew - very vocal
15+ Lapwings
1 Herring Gull >SW
38 Common Gulls >N

Barn Owls

I'm not going to give a location but we have a pair of nesting Barn Owls near me. This is fantastic. Been watching them regularly for the last few days and they look to be doing really well. The person who tipped me off said it was the first time he'd seen barn owls in our area and he's in his sixties.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fly Flatts

This afternoon viewing from along the top road while BS watched from his usual watch-point. Hoping not to miss much between us !
2 Redshank
2 Oystercatchers
2 Kestrels
A good mix of Lapwings and Golden Plovers, (BS got a decent count of 105) with the Curlew back in evidence after seeming to move away from the high ground during the really atrocious weather up there last week
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls looked to be on patrol ready for any early Canada Geese nest raids.
A few Canada geese and Mallard on the edge of the reservoir mostly under the banking so didn't get an accurate count
A few Red Grouse in evidence
1 Short-eared Owl and distant Buzzard

Wainstalls and Castle Carr Road

A mix of sunshine and wintry showers this morning but plenty of interest.
10+ Skylarks back on the moorland fringes with some birds in song when the sun came out.
Pair of Stonechats
20+ Meadow Pipits
Curlews and Lapwings well in evidence and a single flyover Golden Plover heard.
1 Kestrel
Green Woodpecker heard in the dean
No sign of any Wheatears yet - but anytime soon with a bit of luck !
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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Hunter Hill and Stodfold

This afternoon. It was good to get out after that torrential rain all day yesterday. A nice mix of birds around the site which included the lower end of the golf course
11 Curlew
18 Fieldfare
60+ Redwings
80+ Starlings
1 Little Owl
1 Kestrel
1 Reed Bunting
Plus other usual species
7 Pied Wagtails in a freshly manured field - and carefully checked for White Wag's
Herring Gulls were moving west all the time I was there. Not in groups but mostly singles on a broad front so no accurate count. Interesting that we do well for moving Herring Gulls over our area as BS also notes at Fly Flatts on a regular basis.

Lee Mount

A walk around Shroggs Park first thing this morning and it's stopped raining, for a while. !!
Green Woodpecker 'yaffleing'
Great Spotted Woodpecker 'drumming'
Nuthatch 'singing'
3 Brambling near the park lodge
Blue, Great and 2 Long-tailed Tits
Blackbirds, Song Thrush and 2 Mistle Thrushes singing.
Plus other usual species

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Fly Flatts

No let-up with the weather up there this week The gales, rain and gusting wind continue with a vengeance !
Difficult to find anything around the reservoir other than a few Mallard and Canada's.
I eventually found some waders, all sheltering on the flat moor including an unknown number of Lapwings, Golden Plover and at least 2 Redshank.
Apart from that 5 Meadow Pipits were getting blown about alongside the top road.
1 Curlew at Withens Head.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mixenden and Fly Flatts

Those gale force winds continue especially so at Fly Flatts. A bit of shelter for the birds from the plantation at Mixenden usually pays off.

Pair of Goldeneye
2 pairs Tufted Duck
5 Goosander
1 Cormorant
12 Mallard
4 Canada Geese
20 B H Gulls but only 2 Common Gulls.

Fly Flatts
A few Lapwings and Canada's but I couldn't find any Golden Plover or Curlews, probably hunkered down on the moor somewhere !
1 distant Peregrine
9 Herring Gulls >w
2 Jackdaws (unusual at this site) >N

Also from JJL this morning, a Chiffchaff singing along the canal side between Elland and Brighouse. Nice one John.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

SEO Cock Hill

Monday 8.50 pm.

Just for information.

Short eared owl near Cock Hill. It flew across the A6033 in front of my car.

Mixenden and Fly Flatts

Westerly gales throughput with spells of heavy rain.
1 f Goldeneye
3 Goosander
1 Cormorant
1 Sparrowhawk

Fly Flatts
1 distant Common Buzzard
1 Oystercatcher
3 Herring Gulls >W
c24 Lapwings on the West Bank
4 Stock Doves
1 Red Grouse

Withens Head
1 Redshank with 8 Lapwings

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Puzzling pipit, possible Icelandic Meadow??

Me and DF took these pictures of an odd looking pipit at Walshaw Dean yesterday. It was very orangey buff coloured underneath but appeared to have pink legs and a dark bill which didn't seem to fit any species. I recall seeing a similar bird some 6 years ago at Castle Carr Road Wainstalls also in March and I came to the conclusion it must be the Icelandic Meadow Pipit. Any thoughts welcome.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Grey Herons.

Spent some time earlier this week watching Herons collecting different kinds of nesting material. Quite enlightening! 

Rooks also were doing the same.


Thursday, March 07, 2019

Mixenden Reservoir

3 Goldeneye including one drake
3 Tufted Duck
Drake Goosander
1 Cormorant
8 Mallard

Monday, March 04, 2019

Pepper Hill

An hour or so around the hilltop this morning. A very blustery wind but it stayed dry.
3 Skylarks were the best. Pleased there are some back there.
1 Green Woodpecker heard
2 Buzzards distant
2 Sparrowhawks over Shibden
6 Herring Gulls >W
Pair of Goosander high >SW - they don't half fly at speed, aided no doubt by that streamlined appearance in flight.

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Saturday, March 02, 2019

Scammonden and Ringstone

Scammonden mid-morning
Flock of 45+ Curlew along with 30+ Lapwings and c160 Starlings in the Nont Sarahs fields

2 Oystercatcher
1 immature drake Goldeneye
1 Great Crested Grebe
1 Curlew >SE
c180 Lapwing
c160 Starling
2 Buzzards over >SE
1 Kestrel

Grey Heron from Luddenden Foot yesterday

Black-bellied Dipper

Don't know if its know about but I've seen on twitter that theres a probable Black-bellied Dipper, the continental race of our regular dipper, at Cromwell Bottom. I've seen the photos and it certainly looks the part. It's a pretty awesome bird, I'm back in Halifax on Thursday and certainly fancy a look if its confirmed. I don't know if this has already been checked out but I hadn't seen anything on the blog so thought I'd put it up in case.
Hope all is good with everyone in Calderdale

Link to the original tweet:

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Cold Edge

Cooler with a >NW breeze and overcast this afternoon but dry conditions.
3 Barnacle Geese - all un-ringed
190+ Canada Geese
2 Greylag Geese
1 Little Grebe
11 Tufted Duck
1 Redshank
10+ Curlew
6+ Lapwings 
2 Kestrels
Devoid of passerines and only one Meadow Pipit - hopefully they will arrive before too long !

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean

We started off with a look across Mixenden Reservoir at the 8 Whooper Swans that probably dropped in this morning and reported thanks to DW and BS. They stayed till at least late afternoon so they could still be there in the morning. Suspect they will be off tonight as it is a clear night for them to move. Let's see.

A good walk around this afternoon and very dry underfoot - we seemed to cover a lot of ground. Fantastic weather, not a bit like we expect in February !
Loads of Curlew and Lapwings in the upland areas with at least 80 Curlew and  maybe 150+ Lapwings. Great to see, though I guess most of them will be moving further north in the coming weeks with a few staying to breed in our area.
4 Pied Wagtails in immaculate condition at Walshaw and carefully checked.
A few Kestrels about and Sparrowhawks in the crags
Plenty Nuthatches calling but the woodlands were pretty quiet apart from 2 Tawny Owls singing briefly, as they do in the day sometimes.

Mixenden Whoopers

  8 Whooper swans on the reservoir,
  plenty of Treecreepers in the woods
  Little Owl and Skylark at Castle Carr
  but otherwise quiet.
  Thank You BS for the info.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Jay house Lane area

Some nice shots below from JM
 Collared Dove
 Great Spotted Woodpecker

Brambling in my Garden

    Brambling in my garden this morning, its been here
    for 3 days now so well chuffed, its the first time Ive
    seen one in my garden for 8 years.
    Claremount Hill had 2 Kestrel, Green Woodpecker
    and a couple of Skylark.
    Garden had 8 Gold & 2 Greenfinch,  6 LTT's one without a tail,
    2 Blue Tit, 2 Blackbird, 2 Dunnock


Monday, February 25, 2019

More Whoopers today !

Following on from Charlie's post - the following Whooper Swans were reported from several observers on our upland reservoirs today
7 at  Green Withens
25 at Lower Gorple
9 at Whiteholme

Also from Ringstone reservoir today
2 Shoveler
1 Wigeon
Also our first returning Redshank from there this morning

Whooper Swans

I saw a fantastic, low-flying flock of c15 heading north over the house at Skircoat Green this morning at 10.00am. They were calling loudly in the clear blue sky. This is my 74th garden tick hot on the heels of No.73 - a Nuthatch in the garden in early January.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Lower Brockholes

Near lower end of Ogden golf course a lovely morning to be outside in the sunshine. Is it really still February !
1 Curlew
10+ Fieldfare
10+ Redwing
4 Mistle Thrush
3 Song Thrushes singing
1 Blackbird
2 Reed Buntings
2 Moorhens

Friday, February 22, 2019

Pepper Hill

The area on the hill-top between the ski-slope and Claremount.
The highlight was 8 Small Tortoiseshell butterfly's. Good to see them in the surprisingly (for up there) very warm conditions.
We were hoping for Skylark but nothing doing.
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Kestrel
1 Common Buzzard

Withens-Ogden new trees

I am sure you all know but 100's probably 1000's of saplings have been planted between the Withens and the gate in the track towards the golf course. I assume this will be good for bird species.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Midgehole and Crimsworth Dean

A lovely day but birds elusive. It was very busy there today with cars crammed into the car parks. Lots of families enjoying the fresh air. Wonder if there was something on for the youngsters. ? They all seemed to be enjoying whatever they were doing.
2 Buzzards
1 Kestrel
1 Green Woodpecker - very vocal
2+ Nuthatches also very vocal
1 Treecreeper
1 Dipper
2 Grey Heron

In Halifax - Peregrine on Dean Clough big chimney at 8 am.

Pepper Hill

    Pepper Hill today-
    2 Raven flying towards Swalesmoor
    2 Kestrel flying and hunting together over the hill
    7 LTT's, 4 Greenfinch, 2 Blue Tit, 2 Stock Dove,
    2 Bullfinch, 1 Great Tit, 12 Goldfinch, 2 Dunnock,
    4 Blackbird and huggings of corvids and Gulls.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Withens Clough

We had an hour or so around the reservoir this morning in the blustery wind, but it stayed fine.
1 male Stonechat in the gully below the car park
3 Canada Geese (no Goldeneye)
8 Reed Buntings making good use of the res'r cottage feeders
1 Red Grouse
4 Carrion Crows
2 Magpies
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Chaffinch
That was it !!

You dirty Rat

Have you ever seen anything like this before, a rat on a bird feeder at Woodlesford Pellon today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cold Edge and Ovenden Moor

We did a winter bird survey for the BTO this morning in that area. Not a lot, but it was nice to be out in the very fresh air up there !
7 Stonechats together in the area around Spring Dam was a bit special. 4 adult males looking immaculate with at least 3 females. Several Reed Buntings with them and Chaffinch's, Goldfinch's and 2 Meadow Pipits.
No sign of the recent Barnacle Goose though there were c120 Canada's and 10 Greylags.
2 Little Owls.
Plenty of vocal Red Grouse on the moor.
Nice to meet GS on his rounds, unfortunately having 'dipped' on the recent Barnacle Goose at Fly Flatts.

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Monday, February 18, 2019


Hello folks, I saw this cat above Widdop yesterday am. Can anybody identify it please?

Saltonstall and Castle Carr Road

Yesterday and this afternoon.
Best we could find was c70 Fieldfare in the field just past Bridge Terrace on Castle Carr Road. All looking immaculate but very wary. A few Redwings with them yesterday.
Pair of Little Owls in the usual spot
70 Lapwings in the moor yesterday but we failed to find them today
1 Buzzard
3 Kestrels
A few vocal Red Grouse
8 Herring Gulls > W

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Nice Stonechat at Ringstone this morning.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

'Pinks' and Whoopers !

Up to 150 Pink-footed Geese over Cromwell Bottom at around 10:40 this morning (DH). Also two skeins of 78 and 64 over Walshaw Dean area today (AC)

22 Whooper Swans on the reservoir at Lower Gorple this afternoon (DF) - maybe the same birds that were reported flying over Hardcastle Crags yesterday with an estimate then of 20+ (?)

Curlews, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and Skylarks being reported as starting to appear on our uplands. Let's hope the weather doesn't start to go downhill as they begin to prepare for the breeding season or perhaps even further migration into more norther areas.

11 Cormorants on Mixenden Reservoir at one point today from Craig via BS
Also from BS this afternoon at Fly Flatts with flocks of Lapwings on the move and a total of 232 - all >W or >NW.

Swales Moor

On the top along Ringby Lane this afternoon. A bit of a struggle to find much as the fields are pretty dead, other than corvids and Common Gulls and the latter won't be around much longer as they will soon start disappearing, heading off to their breeding grounds further north as we get into March. Most of the birds (60+) up there at the moment are nearly all juveniles !
2 Common Buzzard
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
2 Meadow Pipits
Best of all - 7 Grey Partridge on the top - these are increasingly scarce birds in Calderdale compared with times gone by !
Sparrowhawk harassed by corvids

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Today’s news.

7 Whooper Swans>W over Norton Tower around 9:30 this morning. A very nice garden flyover 'tick' for PG whilst out in the garden.
We will hopefully be getting a few more flyovers in the next few weeks as wintering birds start their return migration towards Iceland.

With thanks to grapevine funding we were able to install 10 new boxes in a local woodland this morning all purchased via RR to support National Trust funds. With thanks to AT and SD for their practical support.
We disturbed a Woodcock, probably the same bird twice, but it was off like a shot.!! Also Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker heard, they seem to very vocal presently. Also a small Goldfinch flock feeding in and under a Silver Birch.

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Pepper Hill

Along Hag Lane at the back of Ploughcroft ski-slope for an hour or so this afternoon.
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Black-backed Gull >W
41 Herring Gulls >W
1 Buzzard
2 Kestrels
2 Mistle Thrush
c40 Magpies going to roost

From a distance I could just about pick out 2 Mute Swans on Shibden Park lake.

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Friday, February 08, 2019

Mixenden Reservoir

Mid morning visit in the rain and gale force winds. Anything can turn up in these conditions.
4 Goldeneye (pair moved off >N)
1 f Goosander
2 adult Cormorant
2 Mallard
3 Herring Gulls and plenty Black- headed and Common Gulls stopping to bathe and moving through.

Other bad news...
From yesterday from a BBC news report - thousands of Guillemots washed up dead or dying in the coast of Holland may well affect our own breeding populations. Suspected poisons and plastics in the North Sea (???) with lots of investigations going on into the cause of deaths. Not heard anything since.

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Thursday, February 07, 2019

Lee Mount

Flock of Pink-footed Geese heard, unknown number, over >W in the dark at 19:40 - is the best I could do today !

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Mixenden Reservoir

Mid morning
6 Goldeneye feeding close together in the south east corner (including 2 drakes)
1 female Goosander
1 Moorhen
7 Mallard
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Herring Gulls
c40 Black-headed Gulls and 15 Common Gulls on the banking

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Wainstalls and Castle Carr Road

This afternoon, not  a lot about in the conditions, including snow flurries.
Little Owl sitting out on the top of a wall is always nice to see. Apart from that a few Red Grouse, Carrion Crows, c20 Common Gulls and 1 Black-headed Gull.
1 Kestrel

It was nice to find 3 Reed Buntings at the end of Castle Carr Road, in the bushes by the Top Lodge. This used to be  really good spot for  a small winter flock but they are just about hanging on there this last two winters.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Swales Moor etc

Nothing doing along the hilltop on Ringby Lane this morning. A beautiful bright, sunny and frosty day with fantastic 360degrees views.
Still lots of corvids, mainly Carrion Crows and a few Magpies and Jackdaws along with c20 Common Gulls and 3 Stock Doves.

Earlier 2 Raven >E over Lee Mount was a treat to see, and hear. They were probably the same birds as BS saw over Ogden earlier.
I also checked Wade Street in Halifax but there was no sign of yesterday's Waxwings with the favoured rowan tree taken over by 2 Mistle Thrush.

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Friday, February 01, 2019


Thanks again to JM for some very nice shots of Redwings.

Click on the photo's to enlarge.


A flock of 30 were in the trees at the bottom of the bus station in Halifax this afternoon between at least 15:15 and 16:00. Very few berries left in the single rowan so I was surprised they were still there.

1 Waxwing from Lane Head area, Brighouse mid morning but it sounds like the berries are getting sparse there too. (AC).

10 Bramblings also reported by Sarah today in the area of Stansfield Close, Hanson Lane.

Photo's of Waxwings below from JM.
Worth taking note of the second photo showing the under-wing and what I think must be the wax tips showing as extension like streamers from the secondaries. Never noticed that before but I guess they may only show up like that on a photo (?)

Very nice photo's John.
What fantastic birds they are. No wonder everyone want's to see them !

Monday, January 28, 2019

This afternoon !

This Barn Owl took me by surprise. Just wish I could have got the second shot in better focus.

Also at the same location
1 Crossbill - a green female type in the top of a spruce, then later, what was probably the same bird flew overhead and away >W. Quite an afternoon !

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Ogden area

Made an effort to have an hour or so out early afternoon.
Started off with c120 Pink-footed Geese high over The Moorlands >W at 13:20 (c100 also reported from Whiteholme (CJB) shortly afterwards would be  a different flock given the direction of the Ogden birds.
Also earlier today c80 >W over Brighouse around 12:10 (Mike H)
Also from BS - 4 >W over Ringby at 13:40

Kingfisher in the ponds at the lower end of the dam wall at Ogden
Stonechat at the lower end of the golf course
6 Siskin by Lower Brockholes

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Short-eared owl

Right place, right time and a bit of lady luck, got me this shot of a very obliging Shortie

1 of 3 out hunting the snow covered moors this afternoon

A beautiful bird, it was quite a special moment to be so close :)

atb, Phil


Sainsbury's Halifax and lower end of bus station - c25 Waxwings this morning around 11:15 (from PG) but when I finished the shop they had disappeared with a Sparrowhawk circling over Wickes. Plenty of Blackbirds and a few Redwings around Sainsbury's car park and a Grey Wagtail flyover. Good to meet Pete down there and have a chat.

Lane Head area of Brighouse and especially the west end of Piggot Street - still up to 50 Waxwings there this morning (Birdguides) (DF)

Adult Peregrine, probably a male, arrived to sit on the collar of the big chimney at Dean Clough late morning.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Lane Head, Brighouse

Waxwings turned up trumps this morning around the Lane Head area giving  a treat to a number of observers. Flighty at times but when they turn up they are a very special sight.
Photo's below all from JM showing around 54 birds - thanks John.

Monday, January 21, 2019


often hear parakeets here in sowerby bridge,maybe see one flying over towards sowerby every 2 months or so. finally found a pair today that were perched and managed to get some photos. made an other wise dull trip to lidl very rewarding!

Blood Moon

Best I could do with the full eclipse at 05:30

Also a Tawny Owl calling !

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Lunar Eclipse

Anyone up early in the morning ?? If it's a clear ski ...full eclipse of super moon. Starts at 03:34. Totality from UK 04:41 till 05:43.

Would be nice to get a skein of 'pinks' flying across it. !!
UPDATE ON TIMES - I think my books times are an hour out (?) it's still early !!

Maximum: Mon, 21 Jan 2019, 05:12 1.20 Magnitude
Ends: Mon, 21 Jan 2019, 07:48
Duration: 5 hours, 12 minutes

Friday, January 18, 2019

Pink-footed Geese - a big move !

A big movement of 'pinkies' over Calderdale today mostly between 09:00 and 11:00
At least 12 skeins totalling around 2,028 birds heading mainly >NW. Well done to a good army of observers out today.
See full report on West Yorkshire Birding blog from BS - link on right of this page

Ogden Garden

Two bramblings on the cotoneaster bush briefly this morning. Perhaps they had moved up from Lee mount

Lee Mount

Garden watch - 2 Brambling still around on the feeder today alongside 2 Nuthatches and the usual 'tit' species. Can't get them on camera other than through the window, but they will do for me.
 Male Brambling


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Halifax (Sainsbury's)

11 Waxwings reported this morning at around 09:50 in the top of the tall trees by the staff car park - thanks for the report Sean - we thought they had gone !!

c60 Pink-footed Geese >W over Jay House Lane, Clifton around 12:10 (DF)

Monday, January 14, 2019


Three nice shots of Redwings from Paul  B today as he was searching around 'The Range' in Pellon Lane after a report of 3/4 Waxwings near the traffic lights from Dave B early afternoon. No Waxwings but a good few Redwings feeding in Pyrecantha bushes.
Click on photo's to enlarge

I also checked the site and found more Redwings in the Cotoneaster bushes at the back of the Methodist Church opposite the Police HQ (not a place to hang around looking in the bushes).
I did find more Redwings and 6+ Bramblings there, could have been more, though they were feeding in the cotoneasters which are still loaded with green leaves making viewing a bit tricky !
No reports of any Waxwings today at Sainsbury's despite plenty of 'watchers'.