Saturday, June 30, 2007


Nick D's photos from last night.

green withens 1130-1300

well my last visit for the next week and half,very little in the constant rain,though a group of 5 twite on the eastern dam wall for a few minutes before heading southward.also a family party of quad bikers mother,father and 2 children, i can imagine the scene at breakfast,'come kids lets head out on the moors and destroy the habitat,disturb the wildlife,oh and everyone else's enjoyment','sounds good mum and dad'!!!

i will not miss the place!


Another site for Long-eared Owls located last night with Nick D and Bruce. One adult hunting from 20.45 and seen on and off until 22.45. No hunger calls located for any confirmed breeding. Some cracking views and photo's taken to follow later with a bit of luck.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Vapourer Moth Caterpillar

Very quick post, found a vapourer moth caterpillar in our kitchen last night, dont know if it has any significance but I thought I would post it purely because it was the strangest caterpillar I have ever seen! Definately a stange one to find in your kitchen! Borrowing someone elses photo for anyone who wants a look (we did get some but Lorna had left the tripod on location at a job she has been working on so tricky to focus macro lens close up - not an award winning shot! - this one is much better).


Old pellets needed

We have an educational event about owls in October. Any number of pellets from all species (including eagle!) would be much appreciated. Kids love messing around with pellets!

Thanks in anticipation


Where have all the twite gone?!

Most of you will know that volunteers are monitoring Calderdale's known twite colonies. As some have posted, results are extremely disappointing with most colonies having less or even no birds. This means that any supplementary twite records are potentially valuable. There is a real risk of twite becoming locally extinct if we don't do anything.

To kick things off a friend of mine saw a single twite on telegraph wires just above Rishworth quarry on Sunday 24 June.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

News from the Verges

Andy Cockroft has asked me to post this.....

After a very busy few month it was good to out in Calderdale.As we all know Twites require access to a succession of seed sources throughout the breeding season. At first they feed upon seeds of annual meadow-grass and purple moor-grass(abundant in Calderdale). Moorland, quarry bottoms and reservoir edges provide important feeding sites. Later they switch to the seeds of dandelions(also abundant) as they become available, then to those of sorrels. Second broods of young are fed largely on the seeds of these sorrels, which are abundant in hay meadows and roadside verges. Access to a rich supply of these 1-2 km from the nest is crucial for the successful rearing of young. This is why if we save them from being cut until late September it will hopefully help the second brood. (which some believe is the reason why there is such a dramatic decline)The mowing of roadside verges before flowers set seed removes yet another source of food for the young to feed on..I think in the case of Twite every little bit of help we can give them the better.(I had a juv Stonechat in frount of the house yesterday,they are now very well established throughtout Calderdale,in 1991 there was only 1 record in the bird report.?)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Owl success

Nick D and myself checked another site for Long eared Owls tonight and again had success with 3 (possibly 4) calling young. With other sites still to check and at least one to recheck we could be heading for a record year!

Hols in Wales

I am off to North Wales (Llyen peninsular) at the weekend on my hols. Whilst I am familiar with the specialist entomology and botany I will find in the area I am not too familiar with the tweeters. I have seen and expect to see Raven, Buzzard, Peregrine and Chough on my walks but are there are other specialities of the area or likely to be in the area at this time of year I should look out for ? We walked round the end of the peninsular last year near to Bardsey Island and counted at least 200 Choughs in a stubble field feeding their newly fledged young, a truly spectacular sight.

green withens 1530-1800

my first visit since last monday, very windy and birdless.the 1 mile walk to res produced just meadow pipit and skylark.the res held 9 canada geese(most have gone to booth wood res)1 mallard and a drake teal.on the wader front 5 common sandpipers and 2 curlews.a juv stonechat in the clough below the east dam.
an unknown number of swifts went east very high up.
very quiet,not even a pied wagtail!!!

on sunday i fly out to grenada,so i expect lots will turn up!
at 137 the record is in sight!

Verge Survey Update

Hugh Firman, Andy Cockroft and myself did a very quick survey yesterday of some of the upland verges I mentioned in a previous posting to this forum. The consensus was that we need to flag up all suitable verges within around 2 k of any known Twite breeding sites for further surveys to see if Sorrel is present. We managed to flag up a considerable area yesterday simply by driving round the sites and noting down which verges had a good amount of Sorrel and seeding grasses. The hope is that we can arrange through liaison with highways and grass cutting at Calderdale Council to have these verges left as late as possible in the annual cutting regime. It should be possible if we can get some standardised maps printed out for people to look over a few verges whilst out and about and simply mark up ones they think would be suitable for the cutting plan. I think its most important to concentrate on the MINOR road verges as its much more difficult to slow up cuts on main roads due to the safety implications about overgrown verges on these roads. We must have hundreds of miles of mini-nature reserves and corridors in Calderdale just on the minor road verges ! It should be easy enough for anyone out and about birding around the area to note down suitable verges without going out on a special trip to do so, as between us we must cover most of Calderdale weekly.

I think yesterdays survey proved yet again how badly we need a website that combines all aspects of nature recording in Calderdale. By entomologists linking up with birders and botanists we can combine to create an overall picture of what is happening and more importantly what needs to happen in Calderdale to preserve and enhance its flora and fauna. For far too long in Calderdale each group have gone their own way and we have ended up reacting to threats and declines in the local wildlife piecemeal instead of combining and being proactive in their defence. I think the Bird Conservation Committee have been a marvelous inspiration in leading from the front over the last few years, they have certainly inspired me. I personally learnt a great deal yesterday from Andy in particular about Twite and upland birds in general. I now know what they sound like (RSPB website) their Jizz, where one is most likely to see them, etc, etc, it was so interesting I completely forgot to look out for Chimney Sweeper moth sites as we drove round. For once the usual process could work the other way round and a moffer turns birder :-))

I am sure both Andy and Hugh will want to add to these comments,those stated above are my own personal comments not Andy & Hugh's.

A final competition given the dismal summer so far, which local birder posted this comment on this forum not too long ago ? I will let the winner decide what should be done with him :-))

Am I allowed to say this? WE NEED SOME RAIN!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Tonight Nick D, Nick C and myself checked 2 LEO sites with success at 1 meaning that we now have confirmed breeding at 3 sites in Calderdale. The successful site tonight had been checked previously this year without success so please don't give up on sites you may have checked without success.
One suggested tactic is to change the times you visit.
The site tonight produced great views of a fledged young bird and also possibly another calling.
Also had good views of 2 roding Woodcock.
Other birds seen tonight incl, M/F Stonechat, grey wagtail, little owl,3 Ring Ouzel, Kestrel, Common Sandpiper and Curlew.
Also had a Tawny Owl calling close to home.
After leaving the 2 Nicks I went onto check another sight which I felt might hold LEO unfortunately nothing but I shall try again. Did have a Hare entertain me by running in front of my car.
Oh one other tip if you are out looking for LEO - DON'T forget some GOOD midge repellant.

Wheatley Valley

Former landfill site, down Brackenbed Lane on the right. The area is full of young trees with lots of thorn and Rowan etc. 2 Whitethroats are now singing there along with Chiff-chaff, Willow Warblers Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler.

Also in the valley (including Shroggs Park) a lot of young Great Tits about but not many young Blue Tits seen (although several did fledge 2 weeks ago from a garden in Wheatley Road) - perhaps they are being more secretive than the Great Tits?

This male Stonechat was on Castle Carr Road at Wainstalls on Sunday along with a female and one fledged young.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Callis Bridge

Party of 22 lesser black-backed gulls moving slowly east along the valley during torrential rain this afternoon.

Luddenden Dean/Wainstalls

Yesterday afternoon a walk along Castle Carr Road produced Little Owl, Brown Hare and a pair of Stonechats with at least one fledged young. Curlews and Lapwings are still around on the breeding territories suggesting they have young around but none seen!

Luddenden Dean - drew a blank at the Redstart and Pied Flycatcher sites. No activity in the Pied Fly nest site suggests the young have fledged since my last visit. Still lots of suitable woodland in the same general area so they could still be about for a second brood???

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Upland Verges

I having been having discussions with various depts at Calderdale Council after finding some very good upland road verges supporting large populations of the Chimney Sweeper Moth(Odezia atrata). This is a species that 30 years was "common and abundant in meadows & pastures" all around the old parish of Halifax. The species is now in severe decline in Calderdale due to the degradation of many of the old meadows and many more still now being built upon or "improved" by farmers. Sue and I have found many of these road verges support large numbers of insect species which are not found in any numbers at lower levels. I am now doing a very brief survey of these verges with Hugh Firman (conservation officer) on Tuesday morning 26th June. Whilst we are doing the survey Hugh wants to check for possible Twite sightings in these areas and to investigate to see if these verges can also be managed to help upland birds as well as their invertebrate population. The aim of the survey is to do an initial quick survey so that we can liaise with the Highways dept to ensure verges are cut at the least damaging time for wildlife. We hope to carry out more extensive surveys as and when time permits and to this end would welcome suggestions of upland road verges to check out.

Sue and I have been cycling the uplands most weekends since March this year and have built up an idea of which verges would benefit from a "management" plan to ensure cutting is carried out sensitively in the areas we have covered. Our favorite route is up to Ringstone from West Vale, down the road at the side of Ringstone to Booth Wood Res, up the main road and take the side road near the pub that leads to via Pike End to Baitings Res, from Baitings we turn up the road past the old Blue Ball Pub and round to the far side of Manshead, eventually leading to Huberton and then back down to Sowerby Bridge. I would be grateful of suggestions of upland verges to survey away from the area described.

Judging by the large numbers of invertebrates of many families we have found on the verges they are probably a very good food source for many upland birds. If we can take a holistic approach to the management of these verges it might prove a useful plan we can export to other areas of the country with similar verges so that they are not managed for just one species/family of wildlife. I have checked with both Buglife and Butterfly Conservation and NO AREA in the country (to their knowledge) actually has any sort of managment plan for verge cutting, so this is something we could take a lead in.

Soil Hill

24/06/2007 1500-1600hrs Ponds and scrapes looking good for wader passage.
8 Skylark
Sev Linnet
2 Pied Wagtail
100s of feeding Swift
4 Woodpigs
2 Lapwing
+ usual sp
No Twite in usual area BS
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Nick D and Steve C located a second site (undisclosed) for probable breeding Long-eared Owls last night. Adult seen hunting over moorland 9 pm ish and after several attempts catching a vole type prey. Then flew off carrying it directly into a wood.

Any assistance in checking out possible sites in the next week or two would be appreciated!

Fly Flatts

Nowhere to paddle for this Common Sandpiper
1 Juv Reed Bunting survived the rains.
FLY FLATTS 24/06/2007 0730-0900hrs warm SW>3 heavy early showers then sunshine.
1pr Reed Bunt with 1 young
3pr Common Sand, no sign of chicks and nest sites under water.
Sev Linnet
+ usual sp.
Good search for Twite in area and surrounding moor found none.

1pr Common Sand
1pr Tufted
1 Snipe
1 cracking male Whinchat
+ usual sp.

Sev Linnet
No Twite. BS
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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Calderdale Volunteer Regiment Needs YOU!!!


Glad to see a good response to the raptor camp in Malta, if you've been thinking about it but not yet decided, I am sure that this will be a very worth while and emotional trip (some good and no doubt given the subject matter some bad). But none the less this is a great opportunity to make a huge practical difference on a Internationally important conservation issue without laying out a massive amount of money.

So sign up today THOSE RAPTORS NEED YOU.


Had a ride up yesterday to check on the Tree Sparrows and happy not only to see lots of activity around the gardens and manure pile but also further down the lane back towards brighouse and on the opposite side of the road, distant views in far field.

Also in the area, Little Owl, Curlew, Grey and Pied Wagtail, 4 Linnets, Goldfinch, House Martin, Swallow and Swift. Also several Skylark singing, not bad for a quick stop at the side of a road.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pennine Books

Many thanks to Paul Talbot who runs the excellent book selling website Pennine Books ( for a recent very generous donation towards the work of the Calderdale Bird Conservation Group. Paul has also offered to make a contribution to the Group for every book sold to local birders via the website, please go to Pennine Books first!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Nick Dawtrey located a Long Eared Owl hunting tonight between 8 pm and 9.30 pm at an undisclosed site. Confirmed breeding also with 2 young hunger calling.

Local birders please check out as many sites as possible in the next week or two as this appears to be the best time of year for locating them.

green withens 1650-1815

well chuffed this evening with this adult hobby flying south west at 1655 (not 1645 as on the text) it flew low over the moor near where i park my car and headed for the radio mast at windy hill,then circled over the m62 then i lost sight of it as phoned nick d.
also a common tern at elland yesterday evening.

Malta Raptor Camp

Received from Andre Raine (Birdlife malta)

We are going to be running a raptor camp this year in Malta (September 8-23). The aim of this camp is going to be to try to put a stop to the widespread illegal killing of birds of prey and other protected species during the autumn migration. We will be doing this through a combination of surveillance, co-ordination with police forces and simply through the presence of birdwatchers in hunting hotspots. At the same time we will also be monitoring bird migration through Malta with an emphasis on raptors but also other birds including herons, bee-eaters, orioles, thrushes, doves etc. Key raptor species at this time of year include Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier Honey Buzzard, Common & Lesser Kestrel, Osprey, Hobby, Red-footed Falcon, Eleanora's Falcon as well as rarities such as Short-toed Eagles and Pallid Harrier.

Detailed information on the camp and details of how to sign up are available on the web at :

Cheers for the help.....and maybe we'll see some of you out here this autumn!


I know of a couple of local birders who are interested in getting a trip together, any one else fancy it?


Sunday, June 17, 2007

A big bird

Thanks for use of plane Darrell, this is in a field opp
the Raggalds.
FLY FLATTS. 17/06/2007 0800-0930hrs Thick fog, heavy drizzle, and only 4 days to the longest day.
3pr Common Sandpipers all with at least 1 young
1 Redshank
2 Golden Plover
+ usual sp.
No Twite BS
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Magpie "anting"

I was interested to see a Magpie "anting" itself under it's wings at Shibden today. It's a long time since I saw this, and I think I've only seen Blackbird do it. When the bird had flown off, I went over and it had been stood over a nest of small red ants which were swarming out in a break in the the relentless rain. Birds use the ants as an insecticide to get rid of their skin parasites, I seem to memory, but I can't find anything about it in any of my books.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Has been recieved via email from the Colden Valley of 2 Golden Orioles in a tree, the report was recieved via a 3rd party and the birds were described as blackbird sized and bright yellow in colour.

I have been given the address which is on Edge Lane (for those interested in following up with a belated search of the area).

The 3rd party appears to be a keen birder and describes the source as reliable.

Following the Hoopoe report earlier this year have we again missed out on a truely fantastic visitor?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Heron update

I think its now very likely that the Herons nesting near Cromwell Bottom have fledged two young. I spotted an adult Heron in a tree on Tag Loop this morning and two chicks calling and begging for food from it. All three birds took off as I approached along the river bank at around 8am this morning. I suppose the Herons could be from elsewhere but I think its more likely that they are from the nest adjacent to Cromwell Bottom I have been watching all spring.

As an aside to this; are any notable species breeding on the fenced off section at Cromwell Bottom (known as North Bank Loop) ? Travellers have got into the site and are camped on the old landfill site until Calderdale can remove them.

Quick stride out this morning

Was intending to goto Jerusalem Farm but go there at 07:50 to discover that they don't open the gates till 08:30 so headed to Hardcastle Crags and a short walk up Crimsworth Dean.

All the usual suspects incl a GSW, Mistle Thrush, lots of Blue and Great tits with young, also a pair of Robins with a fledgling but the highlight was without question a singing Garden Warbler, my first for the year (not been out much lately).

Heading upto Dunsop Bridge later and if the White tailed Plover shows again at Leighton Moss then I'll be shooting up there also.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


little owl, 1 oystercatcher,12+ lapwings,6 mallards,1 grey partridge, 2 medow pipits

i was only here for about 45 mins

more photos at

Dried up Soil Hill

10/06/2007 1430-1530hrs hot and sunny
5 Woodpigs
2pr Lapwing +1 chick
1m Stonechat
1 Curlew
4 Skylark
+ usual sp. BS
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Fly Flatts

Breeding Success for Grey Wagtail
10/06/2007 0730-0945 hrs slight >E , misty, damp.
An active wader morning.
9 Common Sand + 2 juv
3 Redshank
1 Snipe
11 Lapwing
1 Dunlin
1pr Grey Wag + 1 juv...pictured
1pr Pied Wag + 1 juv
1pr Mallard with 11 chicks
1pr Stonechat + 1 juv
1LBB Gull
+ usual sp. BS
Posted by Picasa


Sue and I stopped on the path by Ringstone yesterday to eat our lunch whilst out cycling. We were not sure if anyone was in the hide at the time, around 12 o'clock ? What we did notice that in a field near the hide a guy was flying a model aeroplane and he flew this over the reservoir and shore line on numerous occasions whilst we sat eating lunch. I am not sure if this can be stopped or not legally, but it might be a good idea for someone to suggest to him that flying a noisy petrol driven model plane over a nature conservation area is not a good idea, especially in the breeding season.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I was well pleased this morning to hear a Nuthatch in Shroggs Park around 9 am. It was in the oak trees around the Wheatley end of the park.

This record is significant to me as I remembered one I had many years ago in the park in the same spot - could I remember when!!!!!!

Amazingly I found the notes from my old log book 6th August 1979 which read as follows - Shroggs Park - one Nuthatch 6th Aug 79 heard and seen as I was walking to work in the park at 7.30 am. Also seen by the then Park Superintendent Frank Healey 2 days later. My notes also say this bird in 79 was the third ever record for the Halifax area!

It's pleasing to think that Nuthatch is at least one bird which is a little commoner now around Halifax than it used to be in the 70's.

8th June no more LEOs

Checked out two more Long-eared Owl sites last night with Steve, but sadly no luck at either site. We did have Short-eared and Tawny Owl plus at least one roding Woodcock, 8 Oystercatchers and a pair of Ring Ouzels carrying food to a nest.

Eagle Owls

Ok, I know it's outside our area, but thought it may be of interest.

Eagle Owls have reared 3 chicks at Dusop Bridge, Bowland. Rumour has it that they layed eggs last year as well, but that they were prevented from hatching. There was also a report that they had predated a Hen Harrier. The adults are not ringed (as far as I know) which presumably (?) discounts a N. Yorks origin. I understand that another adult bird has been knocking about in Leeds, although I haven't checked this out yet.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Breeding LEOs

Last night myself and Roy visited a known Long-eared Owl site and I am pleased to say that at least 2 young birds were hunger calling whils't an adult hunted close by. There are plenty other traditional LEO sites in Calderdale which need checking and June and July are the best months to here the young, so come on lets get Owling.

Breeding LEOs

Last night myself and Roy visited a known Long-eared Owl site, and I am pleased to inform everyone that at least 2 young were heard hunger calling whils't an adult hunted the surrounding land. There are plenty other traditional LEO sites in Calderdale that need checking and June and July are the best months to listen for young birds, so come on every one get Owling.

Breeding LEOs

Last night myself and Roy visited a known Long-eared Owl site, and I am pleased to inform everyone that at least 2 young were heard hunger calling whils't an adult hunted the surrounding land. There are plenty other traditional LEO sites in Calderdale that need checking and June and July are the best months to listen for young birds, so come on every one get Owling.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Haymeadow germinates!

Just over a month after the seeds were sown in the Midgley area we saw signs of life in some areas tonight. There's considerable room for improvement but its going in the right direction.

PS Who's the p*****r not paying attention in the background?

Grey Wagtail Nest

I have watched several pairs of Grey wagtails near a lock on the Calder & Hebble canal at Elland over the years and could never figure out where they nested. All was finally revealed this morning as I watched two adults periodically return to a nest under a large fern growing out of the lock with beaks full of food. I was astonished to find a nest within 6 feet of a frequently used lock gate. I wonder how many boaters pass this nest in a season and have no idea that a bird is nesting literally under their noses ! Does anyone take such records of nests locally ? I obviously don't want to put the exact location on a public forum.

Herons at Cromwell Bottom: Update

I can now confirm that at least one young Heron is fully fledged at the nest at CB. When I walked down the canal today I spotted an adult heron take off from the nest area and almost immediately afterwards a young bird took off after it begging for food.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

dont let the looks fool you,this is a killer!

i was very kindly invited to attend the ringing of 3 peregrine chicks,this was the loudest of the 3,a very feisty male.a fantastic evening,many thanks to all that made this happen.the work these people do for free is a very worthwhile job,all concerned should be very proud of themselves.

once again thankyou

High Royd / sub-Saharan Africa

A very brief visit to High Royd today, inbetween visits to the Builders Merchant. The pools are now completely dry. No sign of sedge warbler. No wildfowl visable at all.

- 4 herons
- 2 reed bunting

Higher Underbank / Jumble Hole

Quite busy for a 25 minute June evening stroll:

- Female redstart off the pennine way. I've heard no males this spring, but could it be they are breeding under my nose whilst I'm off looking elsewhere?! A patch tick for me.
- 3 blackcap
- 2 garden warbler
- 2 willow warbler
- 2 chiffchaff
- green and great spotted woodpecker
- pr. of bullfinch nest building / repairing
Newly fledged coal tits, robins and jackdaws.
Plus all usuals.

Pied Flys

Both adults were busy feeding young in the nest at Luddenden Dean last night.
Unlike others I seem to have no way of posting pictures on the blog. The only opptions given on my screen are Dashboard, Help and sign out.

Underneath this Posting Create, Settings, Edit Post and View Blog there is nothing to do with photos that I can see.

Herons at Cromwell Bottom

Les Midgley and I have been watching a pair of Herons near CB all spring. The pair first nested two years ago with no breeding success, the same also happened last year. We have kept the news about the nest down to a "need to know" basis as we suspected that people viewing the nest daily in the last two years could have contributed to the nest failing. Nick Carter and Andy Cockroft as well as Hugh Firman the conservation officer were informed and given regular bulletins.

I am now able to report that at least two and possible three young are just about full fledged in the nest. Its very difficult to be exact as the nest is completely hidden in the foliage and impossible to view. We had thought that the nest had failed again as we had seen no Herons near the nest for weeks. Around two weeks ago I heard a weird noise coming from the vicinity of the nest and spotted at least one adult heron and what looked like heron beaks thrust up begging for food. On checking on the Internet I found that young Herons remain quiet in the nest and only make the weird noise (by clacking together their beaks) when the parents return with food. I heard the same noise and spotted adult Herons near the nest area on several occasions since. Les spotted at least one adult and possibly 2 or 3 young birds on Sunday morning. When I went down CB this morning I spotted both adults leaving the nest area and saw at least two young Herons that look just about full fledged to my inexperienced eye. Hopefully we now have the start of a new heronry in Calderdale.

Not exactly earth shattering news I know, but its nice to see that a previously scarce species (I never saw Herons at all in the 1960's & 70's when I first started noting down local wildlife) is gaining ground in Calderdale despite the habitat degradation and loss that continues in the area. I don't know what proper birders think ,but I think it would make interesting reading if other posted of their views on local bird population trends or simply a description of a day on their "patch" which does not always need a long list of species seen or rarities to make it interesting to others. Posts need not always be of astounding new discoveries to foster interest, discussion and further observations from others who share those interests.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Gorple and Widdop (Sunday 3rd)

Had my annual trek up to Higher Gorple and over the top to Widdop - I think I'll try and do it on a weekday next time, as the number of mountain bikes on the bridleway back down to Widdop is getting beyond a joke.

Gorple Lower
3M, 1F Tufted Duck.
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
2 Oystercatchers.
2 Lapwings, possibly more on far bank.
1 Common Sandpiper.
118 adult Canada Geese (minimum), and 10+ chicks.
2 Greylag Geese with 3 chicks.
Ring Ouzel heard, not located.

Plantation below Upper Res.
Usual Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, chaffinch, etc.
Also what sounded like Blackcap, but not sure, plus another unidentified song. Must have another look up here.

Upper Reservoir
40+ Canada Geese, no chicks seen.
Red Grouse heard.

Widdop Res
30 Canada Geese, no chicks seen.
1 Common Sandpiper.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fly Flatts

03/06/2007 0815-1000hrs Hazy Sunshine, slight >S , warm
1pr Mallard +11 young
1 Twite by top gate
5 Common Sandpiper
1 Redshank
+ usual sp. BS. GD.
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Hardcastle Crags nestbox survey

Despite a poor response from local birders (only two people in addition to myself turning up) a full survey of all 48 boxes in the Crags was completed succesfully. Of the 48 boxes 22 were occupied although unfortunately not by target species with 14 containing Great Tits and the remainder Blue Tits, an additional 2 boxes had been occupied but presumably the young had fledged or the attempt failed. Apart from one box the rest were in good repair despite earlier fears. Only one Redstart was seen, a male singing beyond the Mill and no Pied Flycatchers, Spotted Flycatchers were reasonably well represented though with 5 seen.

Many thanks to Matt Bell and Ian Scott for their efforts

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Still can not post pictures

Having just got back on to the blog, I find I still can not post pictures. No matter what I try it just does not work, anyone got any ideas.

Luddenden Dean PM

Visited the Pied Fly site with DJP and were not dissapointed. Both adults in and out of the nest hole showing very well.Also Cuckoo further up the valley but no sign of the Redstart at Scarr Wood or the Wood Warbler at Wade Wood. (photos to follow, fingers crossed).

Wainstalls to Castle Carr Upper Lodge


Birded along the road this afternoon. Again very warm. Two pairs of Stonechat were seen as well as a Little Owl. A Golden Plover was strutting its stuff on the horizon and a Cuckoo called from the direction of Jerusalem Farm. At least six Linnets seen. About five pairs of Lapwings in the sheep pasture. Great competition here amogst many Skylarks. Yesterday's possible Painted Lady was probably a Wall as one was seen closely today. Other butterflies included singles of Small Heath and Small Copper, a couple of Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock. A single Hare was seen on the sheep pasture. A Kestrel made a brief appearance.

C Shields

Friday, June 01, 2007

Ogden golf course

Courtesy of John Crawshaw

Singing whinchat.

Blake Dean

Received from Colin Shields today

A trip up to Blake Dean on what turned out to be a very hot afternoon (23C) in valley bottom at Mytholmroyd via the Shoulder of Mutton at Mytholmroyd yielded a few birds. At Blake Dean a Tree Pipit sang vigorously on the far side of the road bridge on a power line over the moor. Two separate Spot Flys were along the concrete road and a Blackcap was heard.There seem to be Goldfinches in the plantation below Walshaw Dean Lower at Sutcliff Rough as well as the usual Chaffinches and Goldcrest. Sparrowhawk flew over here. Grey Wagtails were carrying food at the gate to Gorple Lower and a Dipper flew upstream. A Common Sandpiper was near the road at Widdop and a single Wheatear on the embankment. Two more Grey Wagtails. A Grey Heron caught a fish which much have been about eight inches long from the narrow stream below the embankment. A Little Owl was on a wall to the west of the Packhorse. Two Small Tortoishell, a Peacock, Orange Tips and a possible Painted Lady were theb'flies. Pretty good for a shortish walk.


Luddenden Dean

E mail received from Colin Shields yesterday with the excellent news that Pied Flycatchers are breeding in the valley, one male and two females seen, two of the birds were ringed! Wood Warbler also heard in full song. Many thanks to Denise Shields for the photos.

Hardcastle Crags

Last call for people to help survey the nestboxes we put up in early spring. There will, of course, be ample opportunity to birdwatch whilst doing so. Saturday am, for a couple of hours (how long depends on how many help out).

So far, we have a total crowd of 2.