Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Booth Wood Res'r

2 Cormorants there this morning on the old stone walls on the far side by the edge of the res'r. They seem to have been quite regular there this last two months. Also c12 Fielfares in the big hedge near the quarry feeding on hawthorn berries.

soil hill

all sorts of birds up there this evening 6 grey partridges were around whilst about 20 golden plover were on the scrapes and in the air. 5 feildfares showed up and hung around even though they didnt land

Cromwell Bottom this morning

The feeding station on Tag Loop is now getting plenty of activity, but unfortunately not from Yellowhammers yet :-(( I topped the feeders up again this morning and spotted Blue, Great & Coal Tit around the feeders. Green Woodpecker disturbed from below the feeders as I approached (I thought they only fed on inverts ?). The open feeding area had a flock of finches which took off long before I got close enough to see which species they were. The most regular bird in the open area near the large stone is a Crow. It is waiting every morning in a small tree when I get to the feeding area, as soon as I scatter the food and move away it nips down for breakfast on a small pile of nuts and sunflower seeds I leave on the stone for it. I also take a bag of cheap carrots with my every few days and pile these under the trees near the feeders. Roe Deer like the carrot "feeding station" as the carrots are always gone the next day and I often see them moving away as I and the dog approach in the mornings. I aim to move the carrot feeding station around as I don't want the deer to become too used me and the dog as not everyone keeps mutts under control around wildlife and we do get the odd "Great White Hunter" on site now and then unfortunately.

I spotted a weird "flying ball" going over the river to Brookfoot loop and when I got the bins out it turned out to be a Jay minus tail ! It seemed to fly OK but I don't give much chance for it performing acrobatics until the tail grows back ! I also spotted a Little Owl flying across the top of Tag Loop, only my second sighting of one at CB. Not much else around this morning apart from Kingfisher, Dipper, Little Grebe and Heron on the river section.


Last week a dead water rail was found on the moor at Lumbutts, not far from the road. It hadn't a mark on it - except it was dead! The guy who found it works with my son but couldn't identify it and took it to someone who could.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fly Flatts feeding station

For the benefit of Bill . This is the feeding station area from the reservoir banking. See comment on
your Fly Flatts report. BS
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Fly Flats 10.30-12.15

A beautiful morning for a walk though not very much about - but just to prove (to myself) that I can make a (first) post -
6 Black-headed gulls
1 Kestrel
3 Stonechat
5 Red Grouse
1 Crow
I didn't spot any Twite - though I did meet a Bradford birder looking for them.
Question - I believe there is a Twite feeding station there. Where do I look for it?
Bill Halling

Ogden Water

2 Crossbills there this morning 08.45 in the plantation on the west side of the res'r and flew towards the traditional area in the pines near the 'Giants Tooth'. Also several Siskin over the plantations and some Redpoll heard as well. Also 3f Bullfinch, 2 Gt Spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Sparrowhawks over.

Back Lane - 18 Fielfares and 2 Redwings >W, 140 Starlings >W (in small groups), 30 Chaffinch >W over the moor. 1 adult Lesser-black Backed Gull >NE and 2 Kestrels and Red Grouse heard on Ovenden Moor.

Monday, October 29, 2007

BTO Bird Atlas 2007-11

Those of you who attended the last CBCG meeting will know all about the new BTO atlas project which starts in November, for those that don't take a look at
There are several local observers already signed up for this latest BTO initiative, its a brilliant way to make your everyday birding count.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Posting sightings

This weekend, like most others, the Calderdale Blog has had well over 300 visits. Please keep posting any sightings you have, then the visitors have something to look at! This time of year is not the best in Calderdale, but please keep the information coming, even if it's fairly run of the mill stuff. The site relies wholly on people posting sightings and information.
Many thanks.

Soil Hill

28/10/2007 1500hrs
8 Golden Plover on scrapes
14 Blogging Mipits
2 Skylark
Full 3kg bag of seed I put down last light
yesterday has completely gone, possibly
washed away this a.m.
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Fly Flatts/ Cold Edge Dams

28/10/2007 0700-0900hrs
Early fog and drizzle. W>5 then Torrential rain.
Fly Flatts :-
1m Goldeneye
2 Stonechat
22 Lapwings >E
29 Golden Plover >W

Cold Edge :-
14 BH Gulls
3 Mallard
1 Moorhen
1 Stonechat
2 Redwing in trees
Will try get dried out now. BS

Saturday, October 27, 2007


27/10/2007 1600hrs W>5 Fog rolling in, drizzle.
2 Chaffinch, a site tick for me up there, could be grounded movers
18 Golden Plover on scrapes. BS

Walshaw Dean, twinned with Royston Vasey.

Walshaw Dean

80 then 30 fieldfare over Widdop Road
2-3 redwing over plantation
Siskin calling from plantation
1 Kestrel
5 stonechat
1 mallard on Lower Walshaw
2f 1m teal on Lower Walshaw
1 tufted duck on Lower Walshaw
2 red grouse
1 pheasant
1 reed bunting
Loads of shoreline on the res's but nothing there today

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

24th October

Back to reality after yesterdays trip to Flamborough.

Roils Head
Either 3 different Woodcocks flying into West End Golf Course or the same bird being repeatedly flushed. 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Stonechats and a Kestrel.
High Road Well Moor
35 Lapwings the first of the autumn here/

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


320 Lapwings there this afternoon along with 28 Golden Plover. Also 4 Teal, 1 Wigeon, and 1 Great Crested Grebe. 65+ Jackdaws at Barkisland.


Very quiet there this week - usual spp this morning plus a Grey Wagtail, 1 Wigeon and a Lesser-black backed Gull over.

High Royd

Does anyone have any info on the water levels at High Royd? Following on from a post some time ago by Matt expressing his concern over the apparent drying out of the settling beds I have made several attempts to find out what is happening from Yorkshire Water. Despite being promised a reply I have not received any useful info. I am considering making further attempts to contact them but before doing so thought I'd better check out the latest situation.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fly Flats

It was pretty cold there this afternoon, must be getting soft in my old age! - 5 Twite (1 with pink ring on left leg) at the feeding station. 2 Ravens at a distance over the moor, 2 Kestrels, 1 Stonechat, 6+ Red Grouse and a solitary Meadow Pipit.

Withens Gap - 6 Canadas and 8 Greylag Geese over Cold Edge but no sign of the Barnacle Goose today.


Golden eye

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Soil Hill

21/10/2007 1600hrs.
Very quiet.
2 Carrion Crow, 2 Magpie, 4 Starling on seed.
2 Snipe flushed ,one near seed,one on top scrapes

Fly Flatts

A hazy sunrise at Fly Flatts
21/10/2007 0730-1000hrs Hazy sunshine with low mist . Blue skies above. S>1
A poor morning with an early rush of birds, probably overnighters from Paul Clough
then not a bird of any description in the area after 0845.

PF GOOSE...........................................2 >E
GREENFINCH...................................16 >W
CHAFFINCH.....................................178 >W
BRAMBLING.......................................4 >W
SISKIN................................................7 >W
ALBA WAG........................................21 >S
WOODPIG..........................................84 >S & SW
GREAT TIT........................................1 >S low over water

Other :-
3 Greylag
1 Stonechat
12 BH Gulls on water
Nothing on seed. BS
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Friday, October 19, 2007

Luddenden Dean/Wainstalls

Luddenden Dean - this afternoon - 180 or more Fieldfares in the dean - mostly feeding on holly and rowan berries. Also a few (c20) Redwing, a similar number of Blackbirds and also c25 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Song Thrush and 2 Bullfinches.

40+ Greenfinch on the area on the east of the dean near the bottom lodge (where all the rabbits are) feeding on blackberries. Also 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers in immaculate plumage and 6 Siskin over.

Castle Carr Road - 4 Grey Partridge, 2 Kestrels, 1 Stonechat, 1 Reed Bunting and 60 + Jackdaws.

19th October

Heath Hill Road
5 Grey Partridge, 1 Green Woodpecker, 15 Fieldfare,2 Redwing, 3 Mistle Thrush.

Roils Head
Stonechat, Kestrel, several Long-tailed Tits and Blackbirds present.

Moor End Gardens
7 Long-tailed Tits and 3 Goldcrests.

A walk on the wildside

I did my usual walk down the canal towpath this morning and despite the gloomy weather found plenty to enjoy.

Just above Rawson's pool on the canal I heard the unmistakable sound of Nuthatch. I have only ever seen these once before in this area of Calderdale. I watched one bird creeping down an oak tree just above the "neck" before Rawson's pool. I heard at least two birds calling for definite but I think there were more. My observations were disturbed by Jay alarm calls, thinking it was me or the dog they had spotted I ignored them. A movement at the corner of my eye distracted my attention from the Nuthatch and there was the reason for the alarm calls, a Fox was making its way along the landing area at Rawson's pool. By the time I looked back the Nuthatch had disappeared and although I could still hear them I couldn't pick them out in the gloom (7.30 am). I moved on down the towpath and heard both Green and Great Woodpecker calling but couldn't pick them out. Looking over the field just below Knowles pipeworks "dump" I picked out two Roe deer making their way to some heavy scrub, presumable to rest up after a nights feeding.

When I got to cross the iron bridge between North bank loop and tag loop at Cromwell Bottom I paused on the bridge to see what was about on the river. I picked up a Heron, five female Goosanders fishing "Pelican" fashion. They were swimming upstream through the shallows in a line abreast, presumably to drive any small fish into a small pool at the top of the shallows. Each Goosander paddled along with its head underwater with just the occasional lift of the head to check its bearings. Once they reached the pool they all dived to feed, so I left them to it and walked up to the feeding station on Tag to scatter some more seed. I then walked back around the disabled path on tag back towards the river. When I got to the large pond I heard a crow mobbing call behind me, looking back I watched a Crow chasing a Little Owl into some scrub before breaking off its attack, my first ever Little Owl at CB all thanks to a Crow !

I made my way back up the river bank to the bridge and was rewarded with good views of Dipper and Kingfisher along the river. I then saw and heard a Green woodpecker which landed in a large Ash just by the bridge and gave me some clear views before it flew off onto Tag.

Walking back up home I was well pleased that in an hours walk within two hundred yards of one of the busiest roads in Calderdale and in an area lined by various working businesses I had seen birds and wildlife that most people in Calderdale don't even know exists on their own doorstep. I for one think its bloody marvellous that even such large animals as Roe deer and foxes can exist in even small areas we manage to save from being built on, bulldozed and abused all in the name of profit. Who was the richer man today ? The man who owns the factory and sees nothing or me with not much cash but a love of nature, I know what I would chose every time.....and no its not the cash for the cynics amongst you :-))

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ogden/Fly Flats

Ogden - am - Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 36 Fieldfares >W at 08.30.
Back Lane - 4 Snipe and 1 Reed Bunting.

Fly Flats - pm - 10 Twite (1 with a pink ring on left leg) and another (same colour ring) feeding in the wind-farm car park with c36 Meadow Pipits.
1 Wheatear still , around the rocks near the track to the Twite feeding area. 2 Ravens high over High Brown Knoll, 12 + Red Grouse and 2 Kestrels.
Also 1 f Goldeneye on the top res'r above Castle Carr Estate.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ryburn/Baitings/Booth Wood

Checked all three site this morning - nothing much doing - c15 Siskin at Ryburn and 2 f Goosanders at Baitings.

More PFG

After having 500 pink footed geese over Shipley on Sunday 14th Oct and more on Monday, a skein of 100-200 heading SE over Ovenden at 9.15am this morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cold Edge/Fly Flats

Dead Tawny Owl at Withens Gap this afternoon. Not sure if it had beeen shot - lots of damage around the chest and neck. Maybe it had flown into a telegraph wire or a fence line?
Cold Edge - 6 Red Grouse, 30 Mallard,1 Kestrel, 1 Reed Bunting, 30 Meadow Pipits, 22 Canada Geese along with the Barnacle Goose in the fields. 23 Fieldfares >S towards Luddenden Dean
Fly Flats -1 Raven on a fence post with a Stonechat 2m away on the fence wire - what a combination - shame I couldn't get a photo but it was raining heavy at the time!
20 Twite and 12 Goldfinches at the feeding station. 2 Red Grouse on the moor and 1 Kestrel over. 6 Stonechats together down the track to the sailing club, occasional mipits and 2 additional Stonechats near the wind farm car park.


One Wheatear this morning along the walls on Syke Lane.

Usual flocks of tits/Goldcrests around the res'r plus 12 Siskin over.

Monday, October 15, 2007

15th October

Fly Flats
Visited with DJS this pm. 14 Twite and 12 Goldfinch at the seed, 2 Kestrels and 1 Red Grouse. 4 Stonechats on the walls + another one at Withens Hotel and another picked up dead in the road.
Cold Edge Dams
1 Barnacle Goose in with several Greylags and Canadas.

Roils Head
2 Stonechats, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Kestrel.

Ogden Water

Walk round today at 4.00pm. Black headed gulls,common gulls,mallard and a pair of wigeon on the water. Small flock of blue tits,great tits and long tailed tits in the bushes on the edge near Skirden Clough

Feeding Station Visitors

I set up the beginnings of my first feeding station at Cromwell Bottom on Thursday last week. I intend to set up three areas in total on various parts of the reserve as I get the time. When I walked up to the top of Tag Loop this morning to top up the feeders and scatter some more seed on the track this morning, I was surprised to spot two Roe deer feeding under the feeders. I assume they were looking for spilt sunflower seed and some pinhead oats I had scattered under the feeders for ground feeding birds and small mammals. As they crashed off they obviously awoke a sleeping fox who shot out of the undergrowth and disappeared off over pontoon bridge onto Brookfoot Loop. The feeders are obviously getting some attention from birds as well as they were nearly empty after being filled on Friday morning. All of the seed and oats from the track had gone, hopefully to finches but as I spotted two crows scavenging around the path I assume they all also feeding on the sunflower seeds.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Soil Hill

Met Andy C. at Soil Hill this tea time, he was just leaving as I arrived and you were right Andy ,there were no birds up there other that 5 Grey Partridge. Last nights Skylarks must have left today.Anyway, we are re-starting feeding in the SE corner over the rest of autumn and winter with a hope of attracting buntings, twite or anything else will do. Last time I used a mix of wild bird seed and nyger to cut down the expense so if anyone going up there fancies taking a pocket full of seed to throw down it will be greately appreciated. The seed is being put down in the SE corner by the single white boulder then when the Snow Bunts come they will sit on the boulder for their photos taken !. BS

Fly Flatts

14/10/2007 0715-1045hrs Early mist and drizzle clearing, slight rain. Calm

Meadow Pipit.................................72 >S
Chaffinch.......................................31 >S
Brambling.....................................2 >S
Siskin............................................11 >W
Alba Wag......................................4 >S
Jay................................................5 >W
Woodpig........................................7 >S
Wigeon.........................................7 >E after nearly landing
PF Goose...................................700+ >E
2 Raven >E
1 Wheatear
2 Blackbirds
1 Ring Ouzel
1pr Goldeneye
18 Twite and 48 Goldfinch on seed.
1 Stonechat
2 Wrens.
The geese came over low and in 2 skeins , these were also seen by DCB at Oxenhope
and MD at Denholme. DCB and MD also had another 2 skeins.
You should have heard the language from the 3 sites when these were coming over,
it was like something off Darrells blog. BS
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ring ouzel!!!!!!!

i just think i saw 2 of them on the pilons above my house. they were big thrushes but couldnt get those bins out in time to have a good look. they flew like thrushes and had a call like a laser gun, which i know is an element in a ring ouzels call. do you think it could be????

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ogden and Mixenden Res'rs

Checked both sites early this afternoon but not a lot about - loads of mud at Mixenden but just BH Gulls(c60) and Common Gulls (c20).
Usual sps.. at Ogden plus Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
2 Stonechats down by the golf course and Green Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail at Mixenden.


Scrapes looking good on the Summit
13/10/2007 1600-1745hrs S>5 Heavy drizzle and low cloud.

6 Grey Partridge
2 RL Partridge
8 Skylark
2 Snipe
4 Mipits
1 Kestrel
1pr Mallard
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For some reason, that I can't understand, there are one or two people who's access to the blog is problematic, as well as not being able to post directly, any comments they make end up "held back" until they can be cleared by a moderator. I keep forgetting this and then when I remember to check for waiting comments occasionally find several on hold, apologies to those affected by this. There are currently two moderators to this blog, perhaps we need a third!

Can I remind any Grapevine members that the deadline for the next fiver has now passed, if you want to remain on the list and haven't already paid please pass your fiver through to me or Dave Sutcliffe ASAP.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hardcastle Crags etc.

Thick mist on the tops all afternoon in Crimsworth/Walshaw and Shackleton. Just 2 Nuthatch in the crags car park along with 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Jays and 1 Sparrowhawk at 3 pm just when the mist started to lift.
Apart from the usual tit flocks/Goldcrests and Treecreeper the only other birds of note was a Little Owl in Crimsworth Dean and a Tawny Owl singing mid afternoon in a small clump of trees at Shackleton Knoll - it must have thought it was night it was so dismal!!!! and 1 Meadow Pipit!

Ogden Water

Thick mist this morning - just a Grey Heron, 1 Redpoll, 1 Grey Wagtail and Siskin heard overhead along with lots of Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits in the plantation.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cold Edge

47 Canada Geese, 8 Greylag Geese and Kestrel, Moorhen and 14 Mallard and that was it this afternoon.


2 Redpoll and 2 Siskin today along with a number of mixed tit flocks, Goldcrests and Treecreeper.

2 Stonechats on the walls just past the plantation on Back Lane - also Kestrel and Sparrowhawk on Soil Hill.


I bagged all three species of woodpecker on my walk down the canal towpath and Cromwell Bottom this morning. First was Lesser seen in its usual haunts (usual as in 2 or 3 times a year!)on the dead trees at "Rawsons Pool" on the canal towpath below Knowles Pipeworks. Great was seen and heard calling near Freemans Bridge on the Water Ski lake side of the canal bank. Green was heard calling on Tag Loop at Cromwell Bottom. This walk is an excellent walk if you want to watch Roe deer as they move around this area regularly, its not unusual to see them swim across the canal one way or the other. Has anyone any tips for finding Lesser spotted ? I have only ever seen them by chance in the Rawsons Pool area mentioned above as I walk the area most days and always check the dead trees in this area in the hope of spotting one. The only time I have ever seen them regularly was when I had feeders up in the garden and they regularly came to feed on lard and peanuts. I no longer feed in the garden as my neighbour now has three very active bird hunting cats and I didn't want to set up a feeding station for them rather than the birds !

The Goosanders have all disappeared from the Calder near Cromwell Bottom at the moment and the two Cormorants that appeared a few weeks back on the Ski Lake have also gone elsewhere at the moment.

Buzzard update

Les Midgleys son had four Buzzards in the sky flying together over Bradley Hall Farm at the weekend. They always appear from the direction of Armitage estate. Is this group likely to be a family group from this year ?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Booth Wood Res'r

1 Great Crested Grebe still there from last week, also 2 Cormorants preening, then both flew off >W at 10.30. This is the third week running Cormorants have been there - I wonder if they go over to Hollingworth Lake to fish during the day then come back to Booth Wood to rest and preen? Have you seen them over Green Withens Darrell?

10th October

Roils Head
1 Chiffchaff, 3 Redpolls, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Kestrels and a couple of Common Gulls.


I know it's not in Calderdale but near enough to be interesting: 1 mandarin has built up to 5 mandarins on the top Cliviger fishing ponds. Yesterday.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Area between Soil Hill and Ogden this afternoon 12.30 - possible Hobby through - just didn't get enough on it! Medium sized falcon just looked dark all over couldn't get any plumage detail at all as it headed into the light. Long pointed wings/medium tail - size between Peregrine and Kestrel. It just shot through at speed, no deviation heading >SE towards Swales Moor/Ploughcroft. Another one that got away - so frustrating!

Green and Gt Spotted Woodpeckers and Treecreeper/tits and Goldcrests in Ogden plantation.
Also 3 Chiff-chaffs (1 on the west side of the res'r giving short bursts of song and 2 still in the willows down near the stream below the golf club-house) and 2 Siskin.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ogden Water

Arctic Tern (juvenile) this afternoon seen at 14.20. Flew around all the time, harrassed by B H and Common Gulls but still managed to catch several small fish. Flew off at 14.45 towards Mixenden Res'r. Checked this site with Nick Dawtrey soon after 15.00 but nothing doing.

Sparrowhawk and 2 Gt-spotted Woodpckers at Ogden + Goldcrests. Also 1 Gt-spotted Woodpecker at Mixenden plantation.

Cold Edge Dams

Reed Bunting eyeing up a Mipit on the island, from Sunday. BS
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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Castle Carr Road

Just 2 Stonechats this afternoon and a fem Goosander overhead towards Cold Edge and that was it!

Fly Flatt/ Cold Edge Dams

A very still Fly Flatts
07/10/2007 0715-1015hrs Very still with hazy sunshine
MEADOW PIPIT......................................268 >S
ALBA WAG..............................................18 >S
SISKIN......................................................9 >S
JAY..........................................................2 >W
CHAFFINCH.............................................42 >S
REED BUNT...............................................12 >W
FIELDFARE...............................................2 >E
WOODPIG.................................................72 >SE
GT SPOT WD PECK.......................................1 >W
MISTLE THRUSH.........................................3 >W

Fly Flatts had 6 Blogging Stonechat
Cold Edge had 4 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat and 4 Reed Bunts
+ all usual sp.
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Saturday, October 06, 2007


Les Midgeley told that his son Richard fishes the length of canal that runs between the Calder at Birds Royds and Cooper Bridge (not sure of the name of the short canal length). Twice in the last 3 weeks he has seen two Buzzards flying over the area together above the land near the Old Corn mill (now a nightclub I believe). What do you guys call this area and has anyone else reported these ?

Yellowhammer feeding station

A feeding station has been set up at Bradley Hall Farm targetting Yellowhammer (2 there today), many thanks to Sean Johnston who has agreed to keep it topped up. Whilst in the area we also dropped off a 25kg bag of feeder seed for the lady who lives at Jay House Lane and on whose land our few remaining Tree Sparrows occur. All records of both species are gratefully received.


3 f Teal on the res'r this am and Sparrowhawk female over twice. Also 2 Siskin over and 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers together near the cottage - 2 flew off >W and went high over the golf course.

2 Chiff-chaffs in the willows by the stream near the golf club-house in among a tit flock and a Grey Heron nearby along with 1 Stonechat on the edge of the golf course and 2 Linnets at Stodfold.

Also a few Redwings about today including some in Shroggs Park feeding on Whitebeam and Mountain Ash berries.


06/10/2007 1600-1700hrs
2 Wheatear
16 Goldfinch
1 cock Pheasant
1 Kestrel
2 Skylark
12 Linnet
4 Swallows >S
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Friday, October 05, 2007

Blake Dean/Gorple/Widdop/Walshaw

Redpoll digiscoped at Walshaw plantation this afternoon, 8+ there along with 20+ Siskin and feeding with c25 Goldfinches.
Lower Walshaw Res'r - 2 Teal, 1 Grey Heron. 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels and several Red Grouse on the moor. 2 Stonechats and 1 Pied Wagtail on the res'r wall.
Blake Dean - 1 Wheatear on the track up to lower Gorple.
Gorple - 20 + Greenfinch, 12 Chaffinch and c6 Reed Buntings around the plantation by the res'r keepers lodge - nothing on either lower or upper res'r. 1 Common Buzzard and 3 Kestrels over Widdop, nothing on Widdop res'r except Goldcrests and Coal Tits in the plantation as in Gorple plantations. Just a few Meadow Pipits around today.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

4th October

Roils Head
6 Stonechats today at the dirt track near Norton Tower, also several Long-tailed Tits including 1 with no tail, not much else.

Various sites

Ogden - Back Lane - still 6 Swallows there this morning.
Ogden res'r area - 1 Kestrel, 3 Sparrowhawks (2f and 1m) Gt spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrests, Treecreeper, Blue/Great/Coal/L T Tits and 2 Grey Wagtails.

Ryburn - checked again the Firecrest site for 2 hrs without success. Ad Peregrine overhead also Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, 2 Tufted Duck, 4 tit sp, Goldcrests and 6 Siskin over and Gt Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Bullfinch.

Baitings Res'r - 4 Wigeon and 36 Canada Geese

Fly Flats - 2 Stonechat , 2 Red Grouse and 1 Kestrel

Withens Gap - 2 Stonechats

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Booth Wood Res'r

10.30 this morning - 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Cormorants (juvs), 84 Canada Geese, 1 Kestrel and 1 Peregrine over. Not a bad 1/4 hr!

Lee Mount

28 Redwings and 1 Siskin over >SW this morning 08.00.

Blog postings/comments

Can I please remind everyone that whilst healthy debate and discussion about birding and environmental subjects is encouraged and welcomed on here resorting to insults or comments that could be regarded as offensive certainly isn't. The Blog is often the first point of contact for birders in our area looking to share their interest and records with others and we are anxious that they are not put off becoming involved by what they may read on here. Equally as this blog is "open" it may also be accessed by organisations, potential funders etc to get a feel for what we are about. There have been several major steps forward locally in the creation of habitat, initiatives targeting specific species (eg Twite), nest box projects etc none of which would have been possible without outside funding. It is imperative that the blog gives the right impression of our group. I'm certainly not suggesting that people are prevented from airing their views (quite the contrary, this is welcomed) but please try and keep it civil!

I would be interested to know what other people think.

Small Mammals

I would like to make a plea through this forum for help in combating losses of small mammals, particularly shews. A growing problem we have in Calderdale (and I assume elsewhere) is the throwing away of empty drinks cans, particularly beer cans in the countryside. I crush and gather between 30/40 empty beer, cider and coke cans weekly on my morning walk down the canal towpath and Cromwell Bottom. I usually flatten these and then take a bin bag down one morning and gather them up for recycling. I first became of a wildlife problem associated with these cans a couple of years back. I heard a "scrabbling" noise coming from the undergrowth and it seemed to be coming from a beer can. Sure enough when I took the can home and cut off the top I discovered two dead shrews and one dying shrew inside the can. The worst case I have found so far contained the dead & rotting remains of at least 6 small mammals.

The empty tins are an absolute magnet for small mammals due to the sweet beer smell coming form them and if they get inside its almost impossible for them to get enough purchase on the slippy can surface to get back out again. Shrews will die very quickly if they are trapped without food, in as little as 2/3 hours and so are almost certainly goners as soon as they manage to get into a can. Could I ask members of this forum to spread the message that if they see these empty cans to check nothing is trapped inside. If you cannot take them home with you, could you at least crush the cans so no animals can get inside them. Just a ward of warning here: crush the can using your heel as they sometimes contain used hypodermic needles which could pierce thin soled shoes or boots.

I have to admit that any empty beer bottles I find (not many of these) I simply sink them in the canal as I cannot carry them home with me. I also have found dead mammals in these chucked away beer bottles as well.


I walk around Cromwell Bottom LNR every weekday morning and obviously with such a regular patch I get to watch many birds and other wildlife on a daily basis throughout the year. Just outside the reserve on the river Calder there is a weir between the old North bank loop and Tag loop. Most days throughout the year I watch a heron fishing here. Its interesting to watch its behaviour and choice of fishing spot change due to river level, vegetation growth and fish movement. In summer the heron tends to be near the far bank fishing in a slow backwater shallow which catches the sun and thus presumably draws in the small fish to the warmer water. In winter they tend to move about more actively fishing as opposed to waiting for the fish to come to them. At the moment the heron(s) are standing in ambush by one of the two main channels that flow downstream from the weir lip. I suspect the reason for this is that its now close season for fishermen for trout as they are spawning. To do so trout will invariable move upstream to find their traditional gravel beds to spawn. The trout are now moving up these two channels whilst waiting for enough water to flow over the weir lip for them to leap it (a spectactular sight to watch over the next few weeks). The herons have obviously cottoned on to this new source of food and have shifted their fishing spots to take advantage of this short lived chance of decent sized meal.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

2nd October

Visited with DJS insearch of yesterdays reported Firecrest but no sign. Lots of Long-tailed, Coal, Blue and Great Tits, also a few Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff. Others-Grey Heron, 2 Tufted Duck, Kingfisher, GSWoodpecker, Songthrush, 10 Redwing, Siskin, Bullfinch.

1 Goosander.

Roils Head
2 possibly 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, GSWoodpecker, Stonechat, Skylark, LTTits, Blue and Great Tits.


1 Cormorant circling over the res'r this morning but did not land.

Back Lane - 1 Brambling, 6 Siskin, 30+ Greenfinch and 15 Chaffinch over the plantation.

Lee Mount

1 Siskin over >NW this morning

Monday, October 01, 2007

FIRECREST reported

I have just recieved a report of a Firecrest at Ryburn from a reliable observer. The bird was with a Long-tailed Tit flock which also had a few Goldcrests and Coal Tits at 6.30PM.Park in the small car park, do not cross the dam wall but enter the wood behind the back of the boat house on the northern shore of the res. Follow this path through the wood until you come to some Gorse bushes on your right, the bird was in Hawthornes just a little futher along. It was seen twice in the company of Goldcrests and LT Tits. The flock is highly mobile and may take some finding (they may cross to the other side of the reservoir)so be prepared for a long search.

Dead Tawny, mystery solved

I had thought that the dead tawny owl I found last week with the "hollowed" out head had been the victim of a collision with an overhead power line as I found its body near to such a power line. Talking with a couple of local women this afternoon down the canal, they mentioned that last week they had seen an owl attacked in a tree by a mink. Seemingly the owl was roosting in a dead tree when it was attacked by the mink which had climbed the tree and attacked it. The owl was dragged towards the canal towpath by the mink grabbing its throat, they intervened and drove off the mink but sadly it was too late for the owl which died or was dead by the time they reached it. I think the mink (or rats) must have returned after they left and started to eat the owl from the head, which is when I found it. I have never heard of mink attacking birds in trees before and would never have thought one would tackle a Tawny Owl ? I feel even happier now that the 27 Mink I have trapped and shot so far in the vicinity this year has removed yet another threat to our declining bird population. I shall continue with my mink culling program through the winter. All we need now are some humane traps to get rid of the huge grey squirrel population which also must be creating havoc with woodland nesting birds locally.


The Red-breasted Mergansers went over the weekend. Nothing doing on the res'r this morning other than c90 Mallard (types) and a Grey Wagtail.

Lots of tits (4 species) in the plantation along with Goldcrests and a Treecreeper but no sign of the Dipper yet, that has frequented the top ponds over the last year or two during autumn/winter.

1 Brambling >NW over Back Lane along with 6 Siskin and c60 Meadow Pipits. Also Great Spotted Woodpecker there and f Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel.

Castle Carr Road

Avery pale looking Whinchat yesterday (30th September) together with 5 Stonechats just past Bridge Terrace. Also 3 Stock Doves and Little Owl along the road and 6 Fieldfares below the 'top lodge' but no Twite. c50 Chaffinches going to roost towards Castle Carr and 3 Ketrels over the moor.