Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lee Mount

Between 30 and 40 Swifts have been going through the last three days at about 7.30/8.30 am. Who can tell if they are the same ones or not!!! But we might as well enjoy them for the next week or so as they will soon be on their way - what great birds.

Juvenile Peregrine came over this morning from Pellon direction and went off towards Ploughcroft after circling on thermals.


c25 or so Twite this afternoon feeding on seed heads, probably a post breeding flock by now as I heve checked this area throughout the summer without a sign of any Twite there.

They were in the last field on the left before the top lodge at the far end of Castle Carr Road, also c6 Linnet in among the flock. Lets hope the farmer does not cut the field down just yet as the birds are feeding on the standing seed heads of Sorrell and Plantain etc!

30th July

Roils Head
Redpoll still singing, 3 Willow Warblers and a Song Thrush.

Evening out with Sean J looking for Owls.
1 Little Owl and a distant view of what may have been a leo hunting from posts in near darkness. Woodcock heard, 3 Oystercatchers, 3 Tufted Duck, 4 Kestrels 2 Curlews and a few LBBGs moving through.

Having trouble posting again

Monday, July 30, 2007

green withens 1615-1820

wheatear 1
lbb gull 1
common gull 1
black headed gull 1
twite 2

also found this old photo of elland gravel pits,taken around 1912.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

ringstone tonight

still 2 maybe 3 sedge warblers at ringstone tonight from 1915-1930


Called in at the hide tonight to check it out after all the poor weather, everything OK, a little damp in one spot but in general its handled the weather really well, disappointed to see only two people (myself and Nigel) have been there in the last two months or so. Spirits were lifted by a Whimbrel on the north shore that flew west calling loudly. Decided to walk along the north shore area to check out the pools which are looking really good at the moment with lots of water (no surprise there I suppose!), struggling through the wet vegetation was rewarded with two Sedge Warblers flushed from the juncus. Must try to get up there more often, really pleaseant sitting in the hide in the evening light.

Swallows, Ravens & Buzzards

Having just returned from my holiday in North Wales (crap weather but some good tweeters), I wonder if anyone can answer the following couple of questions ?

Just by the rear of the cottage we stayed in was a field in which the local farmer grazed his cattle. The field was quite poor having been overgrazed and it being on damp poorly drained soil did not help either. Right next to the fence that divided the field from the garden of the cottage were some patches of Rush (Juncus sp). I noticed that the local Swallows had developed a method of feeding directly from these patches of Juncus. They would fly into the wind and hover over the Juncus until they spotted (or perhaps scared) an insect into moving and then they would fly down and pick the insect off the plant. We watched them many times doing this in bad weather when no insects were flying. The second feeding habit we noticed was that as soon as the cows were let back into the field after being milked the Swallows would appear and fly low down between the grazing cattle picking up any insects that the cattle had disturbed. I have stayed in this cottage twice before and have never noticed either method feeding before, this year had appalling weather and I assume the Swallows found this the only way of obtaining food at times in bad weather ? Are both these methods usually seen in feeding Swallows in the UK ?

Second question: Having become very interested in Ravens after spending many hours watching them on the Llyen peninsular this summer I wish to purchase a book about them. I know various titles are out there but does anyone have a recommended title they would suggest I buy ?

Third question: having watched lots of Buzzards and Ravens this summer in close proximity, why do Ravens not chase or harass Buzzards flying near their patch ? Most other corvids seem to chase any bird of prey they see but Ravens & Buzzards seem to co-exist quite happily.

Fly Flatts

29/07/2007 0715-1015hrs Blue skies, sunny, icy cold NNW>5
Vis Mig :-
House Martin............. 84 >W
Sand Martin............... 5 >W
Swift.......................... 17 >W
Skylark...................... 4 >W
4 Wheatear on deck

Other :-
6 Linnet
1 Kestrel
+ usual sp.
Searched all area round feeding station including
track across moors at N end and track down to
Dean Head res with no Twite. BS
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Saturday, July 28, 2007


22 twite in the area of the feeding station at Midgley this morning but interestingly none were interested in the niger preferring to feed in the adjacent field, difficult to work out what they were feeding on but probably some species of grass?

Received a phone call today from a lady off Sourhall Road near Todmorden who has found over a dozen twite in a quarry near where she lives, will try and check this out tommorrow, had a look at the general area last week and found a couple of birds feeding at the roadside.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Windsurfers at Ringstone

Tim Walker has received reports of windsurfers on Ringstone, if anyone sees this happening can you please take as many details as possible, we need to pass info of tresspass such as this onto YW.


Just had 25 Twite at the Midgley feeding station tonight and a Buzzard over Crimsworth Dean during the week (AB)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lee Mount

3 young Grey Wagtails on the roof of my garden hut at 3.30 pm during heavy rain - then on roofs of nearby houses. Nice one!

Fly Flatts/Cold Ege

Merlin (F) through there this afternoon near the wind farm just before it started to rain. Also 1 Twite at the feeding station and 200+ Canada Geese.

120 or so Starlings at Withens gap and a SEO over the moor. 1 m Tufted Duck and 9 Gleylag Geese at Cold Edge along with 1 Curlew and c12 Linnets.

A pair of Lapwings still acting as if they have well grown young along Castle Carr Road.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Long-eared Owl - young one sitting it out in the pouring rain and hunger calling at 5.45 pm last weekend at a local site.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Out tonight looking for LEOs at a traditional site - without success. Unfortunately there were signs of 'keeper' activity and this may be the reason why they are not there!?

A juv Spotted Flycatcher was at the edge of the plantation. Also nearby a pair of Stonechats with at least one fledged young. A Badger also seen nearby was a bonus.

S E Owl

Nick Dawtrey asked me to post these photos from last night.

OWLING 23rd July

Went out looking for new leo sites last night with Sean J but sadley didn't find any. We did however have superb views of a shortie that perched at the side of the road within feet of the car and I managed to get a few shots of it with my digital camera (photos to follow hopefully) Also 3 Little Owls, 2 Tawny Owls, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel.

Monday, July 23, 2007

green withens

not bad this evening with the following seen

raven 2
grey heron 1
peregrine 1

though no common sandpipers or skylarks

Thorne Moor Thursday

A group of local birders are planning an evening trip to Thorne Moor this coming Thursday leaving Halifax at 7pm, anyone who fancies coming along please E mail for further details to midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Common Scoter at Ogden

  • Received today

Dear Nick

We have not been able to blog for some time following the change.However I have this morning seen a flock of between 30-40 black ducks land on the above in a very compact flock.Through the wardens scope they have bright yellow patches on their bills.They also had paler flight wing when they were landing.I am thinking common scoter?


Peter Drake

Ogden Water

Female Redstart (or possibly immature - as seen at 100 mtrs in heavy rain) at Ogden plantation yesterday afternoon. In and out of the plantation and onto stone walls.

Fly Flatts

Scud just clearing the Sacrifice Stones.
22/07/2007 0730-0930hrs. Fog patches, heavy rain, then drizzle,W>4.
71 Swallows >W
5 Swift >W
4 Skylark>W
220 Canadas
Lots of blogging Mipits
Lots of feeding Swallows, Withens Gap
Still no Twite, seed probably been getting washed away?
All Common Sand appear to have gone. BS
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Friday, July 20, 2007


One over Halifax town centre, this morning 20th July.


Grapevine funds due asap to Nick Carter or me please - except BS, JB, AH, TW who are paid up in front.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Up and running again from Friday now my phone has been repaired. a.m alerts to me and p m to Nick Carter as before. Thanks for holding the fort Nick

18th July

Checked one of the newer leo sites last night and found one adult hunting from posts and at least 3 young hunger calling. We now have a minimum of 14 young birds ready to fledge.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

17th July

1 Sand Martin north west at Mount Tabor PM

Myself and Sean J checked out a few LEO sites last night. A single juv was hunger calling at one site but at another the young seem to have dispersed well outside the nesting wood as they had at another site the night before.Any other sites will probably have to be checked in the next couple of weeks before the young move out??. We also were rewarded with a family party of 3 Merlins at one of the leo sites, displaying Woodcock and 2 Tawny Owls + oystercatcher heard.

Ringed Plover/Little Ringed Plover survey returns

Thanks to everyone who volunteered to take part in this years BTO RP/LRP survey, can I remind you that the completed survey forms are now due in. Please let me have your forms so I can pass them on to Mike Denton (Regional Rep).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

House martins at Todmorden Sports Centre

There are a lot of house martins nesting at the Sports Centre, next to Centre Vale Park. Anybody in that neck of the woods want to count them before they depart?



Monday, July 16, 2007

3rd time lucky

well on my 3rd try for long eared owl i hit lucky.
this bird was sat here when i got out of the car and the young bird was calling constantly.

this was last of the calderdale breeding birds for my year list,a long time coming but worth it.
well done to nick d and everyone for the big effort they have put in this summer in locating these very secretive birds.

its no secret im going for andys year list record,so at 139 with 6 to to equal and 5 months left and green withens has not yet peaked,i hope for a good autumn.


Watch out for those moving Swifts. Several tonight over Queensbury >S down the Calder valley
Had just over 200 movers on the last 3 Sundays at Fly Flatts and just got a report via
DCBs vis mig group from Spurn Point Sat 14th July... 3113 Swift >S. BS

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Leo survey 14th July

Myself and Steve Cummings confirmed our sixth pair of Long-eared Owls breeding last night. Adult flew in with prey at 9pm and then again at 10.05pm. At least 2 young were hunger calling.Whilst doing this survey we have also noted many Woodcocks displaying, last night we had 3 birds together with perhaps another 2 present.A Short-eared Owl was also recorded - they seem to have been thin on the ground, have they been affected by the lovely weather we have had lately ??
There are still many new sites to cover for leos, any help would be gratefully recieved.

Fly Flatts

Fly Flatts Watchpoint looking W.
15/07/2007 0745-1015hrs Dead calm then SE>3. cloudy,specks of rain.
230 Canadas inc well grown young
4 Common Sand
2 Tufted
3 LBB Gull
1 Snipe
1f Sparrowhawk getting heavily mobbed with Mipits and Swallows.
14 House Martins >SW movers, very high and direct.
48 Swift >SW... moving birds,fast and low over the moor.
3 Skylark >W very high.
+ usual sp.
Again no Twite
No sight or sound of Curlew. Is anyone else still getting Curlew.?
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

LEO sightings

Undisclosed site - 6pm to 8pm

2 juveniles heard and seen. 1 adult seen hunting and feeding them. I managed to get a rather poor shot of one juvenile (and that took about an hour).

Then the adult appeared and decided to go hunting.

It came back with food and went off hunting again. The second time it flew in I was ready for it.


green withens

twite 2
common sandpiper 4
stonechat 1 female

bradley hall farm

yellowhammer 3
linnet 4
goldfinch 5
sparrowhawk 1

Friday, July 13, 2007


Apologies in advance - my phone is down and in for repair. Please send any text alerts direct to Nick Carter until I get sorted. I will let you know when I am up and running again. Thanks - Dave

13th July leo update

Hope this works???

Thought I would take this chance to update people on the Long-eared Owl survey. To date we have proven 5 pairs breeding, all having calling young.Another site produced an adult flying in and out of a wood with prey indicating breeding and a single bird was heard calling at a seventh site. Any help over the comming few weeks would be gratefully recieved.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Withens Clough

This afternoon - in the drizzle.

Song thrush singing and 3 house martins by the Hinchcliffe Arms.
3 swallows, 5 goldfinch, female and juvenile stonechat by the car park.
2 carrion crow, 10 meadow pipits, 4 reed bunting and a rare skulking warbler that, after 10 minutes of trying to get a good view, sang exactly like a wren!
23 canada geese and 4 black headed gulls.
2 pied wagtails, 5 blackbirds and about a dozen wood pigeons.


More pictures from Nick Dawtrey


11 today down the track from Withens Gap to Cold Edge around Highcote Barn area. The birds were feeding on the edge of the moor and also on the walls around the hedge. They were flighty and not staying put for long.

Feeding station at Fly Flatts also checked for Twite but nothing doing there - lots of Niger seed and topped it up. 2 Oystercatchers also at Fly Flats and c60 Meadow Pipits down the track from the road to the sailing club with lots of young birds in among.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Undisclosed site - 7:45pm to 9:00pm

I took the opportunity to go looking for LEOs this evening, a species I've not seen before. I was just walking along the path when I caught sight of an owl hunting in the distance but too far away for a positive identification. I walked on to the spot where I'd seen it and could hear a young owl calling. I was just scanning the trees and moors when I saw the adult heading back up the path. I managed to get the above photos as it passed by.

It went on and perched on a post for a short time before dropping into the grass. It caught something and headed into the trees to the nest site.

I also managed to see a couple of juvenile stonechats, 6 curlews and 11 mistle thrush flying over.

Long-eared Owl hunger call

I've put a not very good but audible (turn up the volume) recording of LEO juvvy hunger call on my blog - click on the play arrow on Movie (short) - http://whitbybirding.blogspot.com/ - this may be helpful to those unfamiliar with this crepuscular gate-creaker.


elland gp

mute swan 1
house martin 4


whinchat 2 juvs (which were my first for the year!!!)


redshank 1
golden plover 1


cormorant 1

green withens

swift 2
lesser black backed gull 1 adult
swift 2

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

green withens 1530-1745

not a lot

common sandpiper 5

that was about it the res is full to the brim so unless yorkshire water pull the plug its going to be pretty poor for waders.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Having paid another visit to one of our LEO sites on Sunday 8/7/07 and meeting ND and companion who had seen an adult taking food into the "second" plantation - the same one ND, DS and myself saw one on the 29/6/07, I heard young (having listened again to LEO young on disc) calling from the "first" plantation and shortly after an adult flying along the road and into the same place (ND + companion had just left). Is it possible there are two pairs, was Davids young big enough to fly there? Can LEO males be polygamous?


Malta Raptor Camp

Plans for the Calderdale birders trip to help at this years Malta Raptor Camp are now well under way, a total of at least 7 local birders will be joining the camp from 13th to 20th September. Although it may be possible to join the trip at a later date anyone who would like to join us is asked to contact me ASAP at midgleybirder@yahoo.co.uk

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fly Flatts

Plenty juv Mipits about
08/07/2007 0745-1000hrs cold WSW>4. damp and murky
114 Canadas
5 Common Sandpiper
9 Golden Plover
1pr Tufted
1 Singing Skylark
2 Kestrels
1 Curlew... Have they gone ?
2 Sand Martin >S
32 Swift >SW
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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lee Mount

Garden Warbler in a garden adjacent to Shroggs Park this lunch time. Alarm calling and good views in a Lilac bush. Possible migrant, or the nearest breeding birds are in Wheatley Valley on the former tip site!


2 more LEOs from Nick Dawtrey

Twite at Midgley

Spent the bulk of today in the Midgley / Luddenden valley area with Ann Blackburn trying to find twite and work out what they are feeding on. Numbers were lower than midweek with at least 5 seen, the only plant we were able to confirm as a food source was Heath Rush. Conditions were not ideal with strong winds and rain showers but we felt there were young birds amongst the five which is good news, at least they have bred somewhere!


couple of hawfinch knocking about near robin hood pub up crag vale at about 2pm. do we get many round here normally?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Heron possibly killed by mink

A mate of mine, Martin Greaves, took his son along the canal bank at Luddenden Foot to see if they could see any activity at the heronry. This was last Tuesday, 3rd July.
The nests all seemed empty, but meeting a man who they guessed was a regular walker, and enquiring about the herons, they were told this.
The stranger had recently seen two herons fly along the canal away from him, towards Brearley. Expecting to see them again, all he saw was an object moving on the canal.
When he got up to it, it was a freshly dead or nearly dead, juvenile heron, being towed across the water by a mink. The assumption was that the mink had just killed the heron.
I wonder if any other mammals e.g. otters, stoats, cats, foxes, prey on them.
(squirrels ?) :-)

Cooper Bridge

Sean Gray has had an unconfirmed report of possible 2 Golden Oriole in the area behind the Three Nuns pub near Cooper Bridge/Mirefield. Apparantly they were seen from a track that leads towards the hall /Clifton area from near the pub - but it was about three weeks ago! Anyone able to check the site out just in case? Any further info from Sean.

Nick Dawtrey is still unable to post on the Blog and has asked me to post this. 2005 Halifax Birdwatchers Club Reports are now available from the Piece Hall Tourist Information Centre in Halifax. Also at the Woodlesford newsagents - Moor End Road near Mount Tabor. £5 I think.

Ogden Water

2 Siskin over the woodland this afternoon and a Gt Spotted Woodpecker. Also a Tawny Owl roosting in a pine tree. Grey Heron on the Res'r and lots of Swifts and Swallows over the moorland.


Breeding confirmed at the undisclosed site where the recent photo's were taken. At least one young bird calling here on 3rd July at 8.15 pm till 8.30 pm and seen on a branch along with at least one other bird flying in and out of the trees but not giving enough to confirm adult or juvenile? Also a probable adult seen nearby hunting over fields at 10.30 pm ish but the light had gone too far to confirm 100% identity. It flew off in the direction of the nest site.

Fly Flatts

3rd July. 2 Tufted Duck still there a.m. and lots of Swifts feeding over the res'r and surrounding moorland 100+ ???

Crimsworth Dean

3rd July after a very wet start from the Crags car park around the dean as far as Grain Water Bridge and back!

Woodland area - Nuthatch and Sparrowhawk and 1 pr Willow Warblers feeding young. Also 1 pr of Spotted Flycatchers feeding young near (but not in nestboxes 44, 45, 46). Also Great -spotted Woodpecker and several Treecreepers and Goldcrests singing.

Moorland areas, everything seemed to come out after the rain, including f Merlin chasing Meadow Pipits, Short-eared Owl, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 prs Kestrel, Curlews, Lapwings and 2 Golden Plover, 2 Stock Doves, Little Owl and 4 L B B Gs.

Unfortunately not a sign of any Twite - which is what I was really after!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

halifax harbour grenada.just outside the area!

sorry,but i could not resist this.taken today at a place called 'halifax harbour' so at least it has something to do with the blog.

green withens tropical

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Cheques for Conservation Group

When the Calderdale Bird Conservation Group began its existence it was as the Conservation Committee of the Bird Club, although it is now free standing would anyone with cheques to pay to the Group (eg for Ringstone key renewal, hint, hint) please make them payable to "Halifax Birdwatchers Conservation Committee" it would appear the account name has not been updated.

Monday, July 02, 2007

More Twite

Returned to the Midgley feeding station tonight to top up the seed, Twite have now increased to 12. They are also feeding in the meadows between Thorney Lane and the moor itself with all the birds in one flock, difficult to tell what they were feeding on as they dropped into the long grass and dissappeared from view. No evidence of any heading back onto the moor so maybe these are birds that have finished breeding or are young birds. Tim Walker also reports 20 twite at Derby Delph today, there may have been more but "rain stopped play" as he put it.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Nick Dawtrey is still unable to access the BLOG and has asked me to pass on to everyone that the LEO survey is going well with birds so far this summer!!? at 5 sites. Breeding is proven at 3 and strongly suspected at one.

Any help to locate more in the next few weeks would be appreciated. All records are important and will be forwarded to the Hawk and Owl Trust who have asked for records this summer as part of a national survey. This is a record year so far for Calderdale with lots of potential sites still to check.

Blackshaw Head

2 adult partridge in a field off badger lane. Neighbours have seen them with 'several' young. Also, bumped into Charles Flynn in Jumble Hole yesterday, and a friend of his reports a willow/marsh tit there a few weeks ago. No further details at present, but they might yet come.


1630-1715hrs Heavy showers
Just a quick visit to see if the weather
had brought anything in.
4 Golden Plover
1 Snipe
Several Lapwing by top scrapes
4 Skylarks
+usual sp. BS


Thought I'd take advantage of a break in the rain to check the Midgley feeding station, highly delighted to find 5 possibly 6 twite in the area of the feeding station and Height Farm. this was unexpected as up to press I haven't been able to locate any breeding birds on the moor. Spoken with Brian Leecy today who reckons he has a maximum of 8 pairs at Langfield this year.

Fly Flatts

01/07/2007 0815-1015hrs Mild S>4 Heavy showers
6 Common Sand +3 flying juvs
1m Stonechat
1pr Reed Bunt + 1 juv
1pr Tufted
1 Golden Plover
8 Lapwings
121 Swift >S in front of rain..
+ usual sp. BS
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Hardcastle Crags

Had a quick walk through the woods in yesterday's rain. Not much about but I did see a juvenile dipper being fed by an adult.