Wednesday, February 28, 2007

gordons Annual Species Competition 2007

BIRDING CALDERDALE 2007 (Not for your average twitcher)
Annual species competition, I know there are more people this year so lets try and make it a record year for the Competition.

I wasn’t going to bother this year but good birds kept turning up so I decided to go for it on about the 16th. I missed Willow Tit, Gadwall and Whooper Swan, but soon caught up with Shore Lark (Swales Moor), Green Sandpiper (Cooper Bridge), Water Rail (High Royd), Woodcock and Merlin at Northowram.
Brambling, Jack Snipe, Stonechat, Golden Plover and Grey Partridge at Ringstone on the 20th.The month ended with Peregrine and Raven at Whiteholm and 3 Tawny Owl at Northowram.

FEBRUARY: 93 A great start to the month with Snow Bunting and Twite at Soil Hill and a Barnacle Goose at Boothwood Reservoir. On the 5th 20 Linnet at soil hill and a Nuthatch showed well at Shibden.A real red letter day at Bradley Hall on the 6th with Willow Tit, Buzzard and 2 Yellowhammer.2 Shelduck at Ringstone on the 17th was the begining of a quiet spell broken on the 24th with the first calling Curlew over the house .The 26th saw 2 Oystercatcher at Booth wood and a male and female Lesser spotted Woodpecker at Cromwell Bottom a red letter day indeed and a good month.

Records for 2006

Could I please have all records of birds seen in Calderdale in 2006 as soon as possible, for inclusion in the next annual report.There are also a few outstanding descriptions awaited noteably, Arctic Tern, Hobby and White Stork.

The 2005 bird report is at the printers at the moment and will hopefully be out some time next week, WATCH THIS SPACE.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Woodcock at Elland Gravel Pits

Flushed a Woodcock at 14:20 today whilst walking along the footpath/mudbath between the River Calder and the first sunken pit as you walk in a westerly direction from Brookfoot Lock. I cannot claim full responsibility for this as I think a very loud shotgun blast from the direction of the fishing lake a few minutes earlier probably had more to do with it, although a Cleckheaton birder also flushed a Woodcock (possibly same bird?) 45 minutes later from the same place.

Other birds along the river were:
1 Little Grebe
1 Cormorant (juvenile)
2 Goosander
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Dipper (first time here for me this year)

Unfortunately no sign of LSW although the weather conditions probably didn't help!

PS Had loads of trouble trying to post tonight (had to switch to new account), but still taken me over an hour to post and like Nick I think it has been more luck than good judgement. I am not confident I will be able to post without problems next time, we shall see!

Monday, February 26, 2007

26th February Swales Moor

DJS reports that the Shorelark is still present.

Global blog probs

It seems there has been a problem at the 'masterblog' for a few days, so that might be the reason for at least some of the problems in posting.
This notice was on the blog help home page:

Blogger Status
Monday, February 26, 2007

Some users have been unable to publish via Mail-to-Blogger for the last few days. This is due to one particular faulty machine, and we're working on addressing the problem right now

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

A male and female LSW showed very well for 30mins this afternoon.Calling and occasional drumming.Nice record shot from Sean (nice one).Looks like a breeding pair if anyone wants info please call.

Elland GP

Are there any up to date maps of the Elland GP area other than OS ones ?

Is the site actively managed and, if so by whom?

(p.s. heard LSW drumming again in woods on the other side of the river this am)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

24th February

Elland GP
3 Goosander, 5 GC Grebes, 3 Tufted Duck, 6 Coot, 1 LbbGull, 4 Redpoll, 2 Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker , 3 Stock Doves.
4+ Brambling.
Ringstone Edge
3 Goosanders, 2 Teal, 1 Golden Plover.
2 Oystercatchers, 1 Pink-footed Goose.

3 or 4 Yellowhammers are still being reported at Bradley Hall Farm, but no news of the Willow Tit now for some weeks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Binocular crisis!

Towards the end of our trip away my Leica bins developed a fault, they are now away for repair resulting in me being without bins, does anyone have a spare pair I could borrow until my own return please?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Towpath Birds

Morning all

My usual morning canal towpath walk from Park Nook Lock below Elland to Red Beck near Ganny Lock produced lots of interest this morning. Pride of place goes to the female Sparrowhawk who took a male Blackbird no more then 15 feet away from me near Redbeck. I spotted 2 male blackies scrapping away on the floor amongst bramble, one male obviously spotted the Sparrowhawk and took off, the other male was too late and as he lifted up she hit him full tilt. I had no idea she was there until she hit the second bird. She flew over the river, looped back over the canal and perched for a few seconds in a tree near Red Beck with an obviously dead blackie in her claw and then took of again presumable to her plucking post.

Some other birds seen were; Tree Creeper, Kingfisher taking fish fry, Green Woodpecker, cracking views of of this through the bins on a tree trunk, a male I think, Great Spotted heard calling but not seen, nice flock of around 6 Bulfinches. Not bad for a 90 minute walk and just think how much more a proper birder would have seen that I no doubt missed. Entomology is more my scene, but I do like to dabble at birding now and then and great fun it is too !


Herons at Ludden Foot

Hi all

Whilst my wife Sue and I were cycling back from upper Calderdale on Sunday via the sustrans route we spotted two herons nest building. The nest is above LuddenFoot in some trees by the river. We spoke to some people walking past and they told us several pairs of Herons nested in the same area last year and successfully raised chicks. Is this Heronry known about and recorded ? We are cycling back up the path today and I will check on the area to see if more nests are in evidence and get a GR on the GPS.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Castle Carr Road

2 hours or so this afternoon along the road and around upper Luddenden Dean. Not a lot doing however a Golden Plover was singing on the moor and also 60 or so Lapwings are back there. 1f Stonechat also seen along the road and 12 Fieldfares. No sign of Twite yet in the usual spots along the road and just one Kestrel.

Lots of Chaffinch and a few Greenfinch and Bullfinch heading up the dean to roost in Castle Carr from 3 pm onwards. Also 6 Stock Dove over Saltonstall and good numbers of Gt, Blue, and L T Tit flocks with a few Coal tits, Goldcrests along with a Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker in the dean near the lower lodge.

18th February Walshaw Dean

1 Oystercatcher, 1 Kestrel, 3 Red Grouse, 4 Lapwing, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 300+ Fieldfare, 6 Mistle Thrush, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Ravens, 2 Coal Tits singing, 1 Goldcrest singing and 3 Reed Buntings.

DJP reports a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker drumming in the wood above Free Masons Wood opposite Elland GP this am.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A suggestion

Having just returned from a four month period away I have been very heartened to discover several new names on the list of contributors to this Blog, I have also seen a couple of new faces out in the field. It looks to me as if birding in Calderdale is going through a bit of a resurgence what with the success of the Conservation Group, Ringstone etc. etc. Those of us who have been birding for some time will remember the excellent social evenings we used to have at The Barge and Barrel at Elland Bridge once a month, a few beers, lots of laughs and nothing taken too seriously (I don't think!). How about getting something like this going again? the serious stuff is very important but lets not forget birding is also a hobby and having a few beers together once a month should help bring people back together as well as introduce the new people to the rest of the group. Perhaps the Barge and Barrel is no longer central enough maybe somewhere like The Works in Sowerby Bridge? Its only a suggestion but let me know what you think.

Technical problems

From time to time, some people have been experiencing technical issues with them posting to the blog. The extent of my IT knowledge is limited, though I help when and where I can.
However, many issues can be resolved yourselves by going to and either looking at the FAQ's, or running a search.
Again, I will always help where I can, but don't just wait for me! I work away alot and don't always have consistent web access.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Hopefully I might have solved the posting problem although I'm not sure how I've managed it!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

15th February PM

Its still there. The Shore Lark at Swales Moor, proved very difficult to photograph once again at this vey windy site. It is still with a flock of c12 Skylarks but proved rather flighty. Almost all my photos were blurred or of the bird seen from behind, hope Nick C did better than me.
Bradley Hall Farm 5th visit, no sign of Willow Tit.1 Cormorant over and 2 Goosander on river.
Elland GP Skiing Lake, 2 GCGrebes, 8 Goosander, 23 Tufted duck, 5 Goldeneye, 1 Pochard, 7 Moorhen, 6 Coot, 1 Grey Heron Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Colin Duke reports a chiffchaff at Elland Gravel Pits, lunchtime yesterday. Newt corner, lagoon 1.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Garden Activity Increase's

The number of Goldfinches visiting the garden has increased rapidly over the last few days going from 2 to 10. My father has also reported 2 Bullfinches recently. Going the other way however appear to be Collard doves which peaked at 20 and are now down to 3 regular visitors. Has anyone else noticed any changes recently?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

11th February

Jay House Lane, 5 Tree Sparrows, 2 Stock Dove, the Hybrid Carrion X Hooded Crow, a flock of 50+ Lapwing.

Bradley Hall Farm, fourth time of trying for Willow Tit, no sign. Did have a Yellowhammer flying in to roost at 4.30pm, 3 Goosander, 2 Cormorants over, Sparrowhawk, 3 Bullfinch, Long tailed Tit flock, 2 Goldcrests, c80 Redwings, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Stock Dove. Also a Woodcock reported here PM.

Elland GP, 14 Goosander, 29 Tufted Duck, 5 Goldeneye, 1 GCGrebe, 1 Grey Heron, 8 Moorhen and at least 6 Coot.

The Shorelark is still present at Swales Moor.

lesser Spotted Woodpecker

A Lesser pecker seen last week at Jay House lane area.See Bradley Hall yesterday comments for directions.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

10th February PM

High Royd Sewage Farm
Good views of a Water Rail but no sign of the Mute Swans. 7 Teal + a few Moorhens and Coot.
1 Cormorant
Ringstone Edge
2 Goosanders
Elland GP
31 Goosanders, 22 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 2 Goldeneye, 1 GCGrebe, 1 Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot and 2 Siskin on garden feeder at car park.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

8 Feb

There's a few flocks of waxwings begining to pop up here and there round the country (in Leeds for example) so it might be worth keeping an eye on the usual sites like Pellon Lane etc...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Elland Gravel Pits

Been down a few times this year but as yet have not seen a dipper. Nothing particularly exciting to report but nice views of Grey Wagtail and male Goldeneye

Bradley Hall,yesterday

It was my 4th trip to BH looking for Willow Tit and after an hour it was looking like id never see it.Then out of nowhere there it was feeing on a old silver birch.Had great views for 10 minutes or so other birds present were 6 Bullfinch,40+ redwing ,Goldcrest,4 little Grebe ,2 goosander,1 Grey wag.On the way back a Buzzard drifted over from kirklees Hall and 2 Yellowhammer were by the bridge.Excellent morning

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Historical: pinkfooted goose in Shibden Park

Seeing Sean Gray's pictures of the pinkfooted goose at Boothwood has reminded me that there was one in Shibden Park from around 14th October to the end of November last year. It arrived with 15 canada geese and by the time it decided to move on was pretty tame. I took this photo on the 18/11/06, when it let me get to about 2m away before it hissed at me and I backed off a bit.

Identification help requested

I was just practicing shooting birds in flight on Sunday and picked on a lone gull. I didn't think anything of it until I was processing my other photos and it struck me as looking a bit odd. I'm not an expert on gulls so wondered if anyone else could give a definitive ID from the photos. I've put it down as a common gull but I'm a bit thrown by what appears to be a dark ring on the bill and the collar.

6th February Cold Edge PM

A brief visit this pm produced 8 Greylag Geese, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Snipe, 1 Kestrel, 1 Grey Wagtail and c 100 Fieldfare moving south. Yesterday 2 Ravens over Fly Flats.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Barnacle Goose at Booth Wood 4th Feb

  Posted by Picasa

4th February PM

The Snow Bunting showed realy well at Soil Hill, but there was no sign of the Shore Lark at Swales Moor, probably due to all the quad bikes.
2 Kingfishers and 4 Cormorants were at Ryburn, 6 Goosander, 1 Teal, 6 Golden Plovers at Ringstone Edge, and a Barnacle Goose was in the field at Booth Wood with an odd looking Pink-footed Goose. Posted by Picasa

Snow Bunting still at Soil Hill

Single bird present between 08:30 and 09:00. Flushed Common Snipe whilst searching for Snow Bunting. About 6 Skylark also around.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

3rd February Roils Head PM

1 Reed Bunting and 5 Skylarks present.A flock of c160 Pink feet came over going west. One was notably trailing the others and losing height rapidly. It landed c300 yards in front of me just out of sight. I went to check it out, but just as I was closing in a total prat on a motor bike tried to run it over. It took off and flew past me, I noticed that the bill spot looked orange not pink and that there was very little grey in the wings, the bird looked totally lost circling twice before flying off to the south. It may have been a trick of the light but the bill spot looked orange.Its immpossible to claim Bean Goose on such a brief flight view but it may be worth keeping an eye out in the future.

Can I please have all records for 2006 as soon as possible so I can make a start on the new report. The 2005 report is still in the proof reading stage but will hopefully be at the printers soon.

Friday, February 02, 2007

2nd February, Saturn 9pm

For those who might be interrested, I took this picture of Saturn through my birding scope at 9.00PM this evening.It is easy to find at the moment being directly underneath the moon at 9PM. Posted by Picasa

2nd February

Signs of global warming ??? Small Tortoiseshell at Norton Tower this PM.
Yesterday Stonechat and Reed Bunting at Roils Head, Little Owl Heath Hill Road and 60+ Common Gulls at High Road Well Moor.

Pink-footed Geese

More heard passing over Lee Mount last night at 11.45 pm!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pink-footed Geese

Several skiens through today including 60 at Whiteholme first thing and c300 over Tesco at King Cross just before 12 noon per SG.

Also c150 going west over Lee Mount at 12 noon and a further 41 heading in the same direction at 1 pm.