Monday, March 31, 2008


Mid afternoon;
1 f Goldeneye
6 Canada geese
3 Greylag geese
1 Barnacle Goose
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
2 Grey Wagtails

Fly Flats

4 Twite there this afternoon. 3 of them had a pink ring on left leg. One of these also had a green ring on the right leg. 1 unringed bird.

1 Oystercatcher
2 Redshank
60 Canada Geese
4 Greylag Geese
2 Wheatears at far end of res'r near top road
Several Curlew, Golden Plover and Lapwings
1 f Reed Bunting
Lots of Skylarks singing and Meadow Pipits
2 Kestrel
1 Raven

Twite returning

Following a local landowners report of two Twite up here in Midgley this weekend I was delighted to find 8 at the feeding station this evening. Also had a text from Brian to say he has birds back at Langfield.

Ringstone am

1 male Shelduck on N shore
1 Great Crested Grebe
4 Lapwing
1 male Wheatear
c60 Fieldfare in W field

1 female Goldeneye, 4 Goosander & 2 Curlew earlier at Deanhead

Towpath & CB 31/3/08

First walk at CB for around two weeks this morning. At least 5 individual Chif-Chaf in the scrub at either side of the canal towpath down to Crowther Bridge. Both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker calling here. Nothing near or on the Herons nest on the way down or back.Took the "path of desolation" down to the lagoon on Brookfoot Loop to have a look over the lagoon and ski lake. Nothing much visible on the ski lake but one pair of Reed Buntings on the lagoon and two Chif-Chafs in the scrub at the side of the lagoon.I crossed over via the bund path between the two lagoons and walked back up the "road of destruction and valley of strimmings" towards Tag Loop. No birds at all here apart from two Robins and a Kingfisher on the river. This is the only place on the walk I did not record Chif-Chaff. I also note that one of only 3 colonies I have recorded of a moth called Leucoptera spartifoliella which occurs on Broom has been removed and presumably shredded. The other colony at Lowfields has also been destroyed during construction work, at least the last colony I know of should be safe as its in a listed graveyard !

Crossed over to Tag Loop and immediately picked up Chif-Chaff again. Walked round the river path to Tag Cut and had good views of a male Greater Pecker drumming on Oak. Picked up more calling Chif-Chaf of the way towards the river, I also had Blue & Great Tits and a pair of Bullfinch here. Left tag via the kissing gate and spotted a Water Rail on the opposite bank of the river. Just a couple of pairs of Mallard above and below the weir. No Dippers yet which is very strange as they are usually around here now most years. Various tits and a few Chaffinch and Greenfinch in Tag hedge.

Three Roe deer out feeding in the usual place on the way back, the two regular does and the one antlered buck. I also spotted a Fox curled up sunning itself, also in its usual spot. A pair (I assume) of Treecreepers were investigating the loose bark of the tree they have nested in the past, so hopefully they will again. A nice, almost spring like walk in the sunshine and once you get past the horrible building site areas there is plenty to see in an hours gentle ramble round. There must have been a large influx of Chif-Chaf since I last visted the site as I counted at least 12 individuals this morning either seen or singing.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Castle Carr Road

This afternoon (no Wheatears today)
1 Sparrowhawk over
1 Peregrine over Mount Tabor headed towards Mixenden
18 Golden Plover
c40 lapwing
4 Curlew
1 Grey Heron
8 Skylark
c40 Meadow Pipits
1 Green Woodpecker heard in Luddenden Dean
30+ Woodpigeon and 2 Stock Doves

Golden Pheasant nr. Wakefield

I was down Cromwell Bottom briefly early on and no Chiff-chaffs at the Brookfoot end, but in the afternoon there was one at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The best view ever, though, of a male Golden Pheasant, free among the trees. I've seen one before, in Norfolk many years ago, and I know they're often escapees, but these views were amazing with its gold and scarlet in the sunlight. It even demonstrated how it's call is different from the common pheasant- a high pitched short single scream.

Soil Hill

30/03/2008 1500-1600hrs Wind dropped to W>3 bright sunshine.
2 Grey Heron
4 Lapwing
8 Skylark
6 Mipits
1 Kestrel
18 Fieldfare
1 Dishfish and Dad
+ usual sp.

soil hill

not blowing a gale but man its windy
hundreds of mipits on passage
6 lapwings in the air
one was being chased by a kestrel
skylarks flying about a mile (no exageration) into the sky
and no brian i didnt get yuor wheatears


Managed a quick walk round this afternoon in glorious sunshine but a srong wind was keeping most things down,nice to hear at least 5 Chiffchaff singing away and a few parties of long -tailed tit.Bullfinch,goosander,Little grebe,Sparrowhawk and the odd reed Bunt.

Norland 29/3/08

Blowing a gale on Norland again on Saturday (which why we tried the crags on Sunday!) but lots of birds around now displaying. At least four Reed Bunting males, lots of Pippits doing parachute displays setting up territory, We also counted at least 8 Skylarks up and singing at anyone time. We also had our second Wheatear of the year on the way back to the car.

Hardcastle Crags 30/3/08

A nice walk through the Crags this morning as far as Gibson Mill and back to the car park. It was actually spring like in the crags this morning with plenty of Lesser Celandine and Dogs Mercury in flower in the warm sunshine. We had at least 3 Nuthatches, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Pecker, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, flock of Goldcrest and Long Tailed tits in the conifers, several Blackbirds and one Song Thrush, lots of Chaffinch. No Dippers this morning as the river was in spate. We also had our first Toad of the year, unfortunately squashed flat on the track :-((

Anyone know yet why the trees have been felled aroubd Gibson Mill ?

Fly Flatts

Stormy Waters

Fly Flatts 30/03/2008 0800-0945hrs Near gale force W>7, cloudy

2 Wheatear
1pr Stonechat
4 Greylag
Good move of Mipits - 100+ >N 50+ Bloggers
+ usual sp.
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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Jumble Hole, Hebden Bridge

1 woodcock roding tonight

Also noticed on the Bradford blog tonight they had a rough-legged buzzzard NNE over Oxenhope late morning, that could well have passed through our area.

Lee Mount

1 Siskin on garden feeder today feeding on niger seed.

Elland G P

Checked the lakes late on this afternoon in pouring rain.
Thought perhaps Sand Martins but none found.
1 f Goldeneye
16 Coot
1 pair Tufted Duck
2 Little Grebes


possible raven heard calling near the far end
grebe still there but far out
common gulls by the duck feeding area
barnacle goose still there


Ogden - 8 till 10.30 am
1 Kingfisher
1 Great Crested Grebe
8 Canada Geese
1 Barnacle Goose
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
1 pr Sparrowhawks
1 Kestrel
1 Moorhen

Back Lane
3 Ravens over from Soil Hill towards the wind farm
c15 Skylarks
c50 Meadow Pipits passing through

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crimsworth Dean

Checked the usual site for Wheatear and Ring Ouzel at the head of the dean this afternoon without success.
30+ Curlew and 40+ Lapwing
2 pr of Kestrel
1 Peregrine after Jackdaws
c30 Meadow Pipits and 12 Pied Wagtails moving through >NW

Fly Flats/Cold Edge

Fly Flats - good to meet up with Gordon again fresh from his Red Kite at Elland - very happy about that.
1 Oystercatcher - the one without a foot on it's left leg
1 Greylag Goose
c40 Canada Geese
2 Kestrel
Several Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Curlew

1 Raven going >N and 2 Redshank later on in the afternoon

Cold Edge
1 Oystercatcher
20 Greylag Geese
1 Barnacle Goose (probably the Ogden bird as it was not at Ogden this morning)
c20 Canada Geese

Halifax Town Centre Blackbirds

Info for Steve Blacksmith - (nest record scheme)
Feb 22nd - newly built nest in underfloor car park -Woolshops (female with nest material)
Located on a steel girder under the roof space at approx 12ft high
Feb 27th - female sitting tight, male nearby
Mar 7th - female still on nest, male nearby
Mar 10th pair feeding young in nest
Mar 19th (probably fledged this morning) with 2 young sitting up on edge of nest and later on girder adjacent to the nest with another on floor of car park being fed by female


We were fortunate to see an Osprey on migration over Etherow Country Park in Manchester yesterday afternoon going north.
When we got home this prompted Jen to find a very interesting web site about Osprey migration - well worth a look at Its a site for the Highland Foundation for Wildlife which includes satellite tracking of Ospreys and Honey Buzzards etc and provides a wealth of information about individual movements of birds to and from West Africa.

Iv'e been out looking for migrating Ospreys this morning - just a Curlew over Lee Mount going >NW! Keep on the look -out in next 2/3 weeks!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Twite survey

As many will know there is the intention to carry out a local twite survey this summer, the survey is being co ordinated by Amy Crowther (RSPB) on behalf of the South Pennines Twite Group. The survey will require three visits to a given site as follows: 1 between 1-26 May, second between 27 May – 15 June and a third between 16 June – 19 July, the third visit is to check for second broods. Surveyors will focus on areas of suitable habitat and record behaviour (e.g. male song flight, birds carrying nest material) to confirm breeding sites. There are several local sites requiring coverage and some are already taken but volunteers are still required for the following areas

Site 16: Rishworth Moor:
Site 21: Turvin Clough:
Site 23: Lumbutts:
Site 24: Gorpley Reservoir:
Site 33: Stansfield Moor:
Site 34: Widdop Reservoir:

If anyone is interested please contact me for further details.

By the way, sales of the 2006 report are going well and as there were only a limited number printed please get in touch with either me or Nick Dawtrey ASAP to ensure you get a copy.

Luddenden Dean/Wainstalls

Jerusalem Farm area;
2 Green Woodpeckers singing
2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers (1 drumming)
1 Dipper
1 male Sparrowhawk
2 Kestrels
2 Meadow Pipits
70+ Jackdaws
c50 Rooks

Castle Carr Road;
1 Wheatear
6 Curlew
c30 Lapwings
2 Stock Doves
6 ad Common Gulls (in stunning plumage)

Ringstone Edge Res

Pink f Goose 1
Grey L Goose 1
Mallard 3
Lapwing 40+
Golden Plover 580+ fantastic spectacle in flight. Feeding in North field the flew to East fields
Common Gull 8 adults
Kestrel 1
Fieldfare 60
Blackbird 6 (3, 2 and a single) all males with dull, not yellow bills. Feeding edge of fields I suspect were returning continental birds.
Starling 200


barnacle goose still there
grebe has returned in full summer headress
also a silluet of a diving duck (goldeneye?!?!)

Monday, March 24, 2008


Todays Red Kite as seen from by the canal opposite Copley Data Centre at 12:20 today, on viewing the photo realised it was a tagged bird from the release programme in Northumberland (Pink left wing) the right wing indicates the year which if Lime Green was 1998 if Green was 2006.

So what do we think you choose. I think it is a Green rather than Lime Green I would expect the Lime green to be much brighter.

Either way a great sight, my first for Calderdale and I was completely unaware that Gordon had seen it earlier at Elland. It's also very rare that I spend anytime outside of work even at lunch time. If only I hadn't put my camera away because it was much much lower when I first saw it thinking it was probably a Grey Heron before getting my bins out of the boot of the car and then jumping around like a mad thing.

White Holme 23/3

There were 6 Whooper Swans on White Home Res'r yesterday (23/3) found by a Rochdale birder (Steve Atkins) . No sign of them today but 7 Twite at the feeding station. Think there's been a bit of a lack of communication in the past across the Pennines so I'll try to post any stuff that us Mancs find up at the Blackstone Edge reservoirs.

ogden and fly flatts

got the text this morning for BS about the whooper swans. my dad had just got up and haddnt even had his breakfast but we still got there. we didnt see brian but we saw his freind and the swans.

at ogden we saw the barnacle goose, long tailed tit, goldcrest, pair of goldeneye and a tree creeper

Todmorden Easter Monday

Longfield Pond was at once grey and then blue, as the clounds moved across the sky - the water was ringed by green then the zebra stripe of grass and snow - only a pair of mallards swan over the dam. No other bird stirred apart from a distant crow - then wheeling into the sky a female sparrowhawk, circling to raise height (in a non-existent thermal), then drifted back and forth over the grass.
Tomorrow is Lady Day - the medieval new year's day and the start of my birding year - Leighton Moss here I come!

Fly Flatts

24/03/2008 0800-0930hrs Cold N>4 Bright.

7 Whoopers
1 Wheatear
1pr Stonechat
44 Canadas
1 Greylag

No Twite. Got some seed down.
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A Question From Norland

Not much moving on Norland this morning. But I do have a question. The field I thought I saw Pippits ( I now think I misidentified them and they were Skylarks) feeding in yesterday had a flock of around 20/30 Skylarks feeding in it today. My questions are, do Skylarks migrate to the UK in Spring as well as being resident ? Also Norland is obviously far too small for a flock of Skylarks this size (I assume 20/30 birds translates to 10/15 pairs) so why do they all meet up in this one small field, when other fields have also had muck spread on them in recent weeks ?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jumble Hole, Hebden Bridge

1 nuthatch
2 green woodpecker
1 greater spotted woodpecker
3 bullfinch
9 goldfinch
10-12 long tailed tits on the feeders
1 male pheasant


this isnt really about birds but-the conservation club for UK butterflys have launched a brownfeilds campagin. this means that if you see any of the following speices of pre-devloped land e.g. soil hill then that site can be made into a national area of conservation. the spieces to look for are...

green hairstreak-i saw one on ogden moor (unfotunaltly not a brownfeild(pre-developed)site)

grizzled skipper-but i dont think theres any of these in calderdale

mother shipton

six spot burnet

happy searching :))

A Snowy Ogden

23/03/2008 0730-0930hrs Slight NE>3 Thawing
Very quiet.
1pr Goosander
1f Goldeneye
1 Green,1Gt Spotted Wdpecker
1 Curlew over
+ usual sp.
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Norland 23/3/08

Rather bleak on Norland Moor at 7.30 am this morning with not much evidence of any bird life until we had completed half the circuit of the moor. A single Mallard male flying overhead and one Crow was the sum total. At the top end of the moor near the summit marker we came across the first of a few tracks left by Pheasants as they tracked around the moor trying find some food under the 6 inch snow cover. As we set off back down the moor we had a single Sky Lark take off and start singing which cheered up the somewhat dreary winter scene. At the field on the left of the moor we spotted a flock of Pippits trying to find food amongst the snow, this field had been spread with manure during the week so I assume they were trying to find seeds in this. Stonechats were in their usual spot as were a pair of Reed Buntings. A rather depressing winter walk when we had hoped, after spotting the Wheatear the other day,we might have more signs of spring by now :-((

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Crow Hill, Blackwood Common area and onward

Snow, sunshine, sleet, hail, strong winds. 10.30-13.30.Character building conditions.

3 jack snipe.
2 r grouse.
2 curlew below Crow Hill.
13 lapwing in a flock in air below Crow Hill.
8 lapwing on Crow Hill.
1m stonechat.
3 meadow pipits.
Waterstalls Road area
13 lapwing flock in air-prob same as previously seen. 10 on ground
1 skylark singing when the sun was out.
3 curlew.
Blackwood Common
14 meadow pipits.
2 skylarks.
Plus usual species-corvids, tits, finches etc.
Walk home. 2 ravens. 2 foriegn travellers.1 gs woodpecker's nest and 1 gs woodpecker.1m and 1f roe deer.
Distinct absence of homo sapiens. IKEA was probably busy.

22nd March

High Road Well Moor Mount Tabor
Huge flock of 80+ Skylarks feeding on muck spread fields this PM.
1 Fieldfare and 1 Common Gull east at Heath Hill Road.

Bird Report update.
The 2006 Halifax Birdwatcher's Club report is selling well at Woodlesford News Agents Pellon / Mount Tabor. There are only a limited number available so to make sure you get a copy, pop into the shop or contact Nick Carter who is dealing with mailing them.

Sand Martins 22/3/08

Just had (11.30am) around 20+ Sand Martins pass over the back garden here at Park Road heading roughly SE..ish

Friday, March 21, 2008

Shroggs Park

c20 Redwings there this morning and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker


Pair of Goosander there today about 12.15 and 1 female Goldeneye along with 2 Canada Geese and the feral type Barnacle Goose. 1 Grey Heron and 1 Curlew over >W.

Pair of Dippers at Stodfold below the golf course.

Soil Hill

21/03/2008 pm Cold N>6 gusting 7. Hail showers

3 Wheatear
2 Skylark

Sunny Vale 21/03/08

On the lake:
2 canada geese
1 little grebe
4 coot
6 mallard
1 moorhen

6 treecreeper
4 chaffinch
4 song thrush
2 mistle thrush
2 jay
great, blue and long-tailed tit flocks
goldfinch about too

Norland Moor 21/3/08

An early morning walk on Norland Moor this morning produced the first Wheatear of the year for Sue and I. We also had the usual mippits as well as Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Sky Larks and a pair of Partridge which I assume were red-legs but were moving too fast in the wind to confirm.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Halifax Peregrines

Both male and female peregrines were out together in the rain this afternoon patrolling the area between Beacon Hill and the town centre. Seen on 4 or 5 occasions over about an hour (there's a limit to how much time I can spend staring out of the office window!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Halifax Town Centre

Pair of Blackbirds with 3 young just out of the nest this morning in Woolshops underground car park. One young bird was having a torrid time, with the female in close attendance, as cars came into the car park. the other two fledglings were on a steel girder adjacent to the nest and being fed by the male.

Yesterday Cold Edge Dams

It was cold at Cold Edge, and sunny also.

2 oystercatcher.
3 redshank.
c25 lapwing in flock in flight.
16 lapwing on ground/close to ground.
10 curlew.
2 snipe.
2 goosander in square dam-1m,1f.
2 grey heron.
6 redwing.

Plus usual species-greylag, moorhen etc..
Plenty of spawn.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ogden/Fly Flats

Tuesday - Ogden 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Barnacle Goose

Golf Course - 1 Red-legged Partridge

Fly Flats - 1 Oystercatcher (hobbling about) as yesterday
1 Redshank >NW
3 Teal
c20 Red Grouse
6 Golden Plover
60 Canada and 1 Greylag goose
2 Curlew
2 Lapwing
2 Kestrel

Withens Gap (looking down to Cold Edge)
1 female Merlin through >N
1 Grey Heron
c60 Fieldfare
c50 Starling
35 Canada and 16 Greylag
1 Moorhen
40+ Lapwing
2 Redshank
2 Oystercatchers
1 Kestrel
12 Red Grouse

Todmorden - Tuesday 18th

The Goldeneye pair that appear to have settled (for the time being) on the pond above Longfield were joined today by two lovely drake Goosander. The twenty or so Canada Geese in the field seemed to wander accross the grass in couples. Pied Wagtails and Mippits flew over the water. Goldfinch are back on the feeders in garden. Spring is coming.

Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 Local Twite Survey

As many will know there is the intention to carry out a local twite survey this summer, the survey is being co ordinated by Amy Crowther (RSPB) on behalf of the South Pennines Twite Group. The survey will require three visits to a given site as follows: 1 between 1-26 May, second between 27 May – 15 June and a third between 16 June – 19 July, the third visit is to check for second broods. Surveyors will focus on areas of suitable habitat and record behaviour (e.g. male song flight, birds carrying nest material) to confirm breeding sites. There are several local sites requiring coverage and I know a couple of people have already come forward, anyone else who would like to take part is invited to a Survey Workshop to be held in Mytholmroyd on 28th April. Further details including an agenda etc are available from me.

Bird report reminder

Just a reminder that the 2006 Calderdale Bird report is now available from me for £5 or £5-60 including postage, I have picked up copies from Nick this evening so anyone who wants one can e mail me on

Local film maker gets honourable mention

As most readers of this Blog will know several local birders attended the Malta Raptor Camp last September, what they may not know is that local birder and cameraman Steve Cummings filmed our participation and the event in general. One of the products of his efforts was a short film detailing the events surrounding the treatment of a shot Honey Buzzard at a local vets (unfortunately with a sad outcome). The film graphically illustrates the severity of the situation in Malta and was entered into the 31st International Wildlife Film Festival held in America where it won an "Honorable Mention for Portrayal of a Critical Issue". Congratulations go to Steve for whom this is not his first success, his film about the re introduction of the Waldrapp (Bald Ibis) to Austria won an award at the 19th International Nature Film Festival Naturale in Germany in 2005

Fly Flats/Castle Carr

Fly Flats this morning;

2 Redshank, 4 Curlew, 2 Lapwings

1 pr Goosander

2 Red-legged Partridge

1 Oystercatcher (hobbling about by the sailing hut - no feet on left leg!

c60 Canada Geese, 5 Greylag Geese

A few Meadow Pipts moving through

1 Skylark

6 Red Grouse

4 Carrion Crows

2 Mallard, No Twite yet!

Castle Carr (Dean Head Res'r);

6 Whooper Swans (seen from Fly Flats res'r embankment)

1 Kestrel

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

I have had a conversation this morning with a local resident who watched lesser spotted last week. He's explained where he watched them and its in the spot I thought might be worth searching this year for pecker and Nuthatch nest holes. The guy watched the birds for a good 20 mins around the same area checking out trees and feeding. I will go and check out the area this week when I get chance and pass details onto Nick Carter rather than post anything on the blog.

Twopath and CB 17/3/08

The towpath and CB walk had the good the bad and the ugly contained within it this morning. And it was nothing to do with the fact I watched a Clint Eastwood DVD last night !

The good, was the fact that I watched the Herons changing over at the nest this morning, absolutely fascinating to watch the display between the two birds as they changed over. As one bird came flying in the sitting bird became very excited, with lots of calls and head shaking. As soon as the other bird touched down both birds started to rub bills (almost like a butcher putting an edge on a knife) and then spent some time preening each other neck feathers. I made a discrete exit at this point in case they became even more intimate :-))

The bad sadly occurred as I walked along the edge of Tag Meadow towards the river. I thought I heard voices and shots and sure enough as I got to be able to see the river I spotted two baby Rambo's in full camouflage gear shooting over the river above the weir. From a safe distance I politely asked them to stop shooting as it was private land and a nature reserve. They seemingly were not too keen on this idea and one pointed his gun at me a took a pot shot. As I was at least 50 yards away this came nowhere near me but I did hear it whistle over above me. As I lay on the floor I pulled out my mobile and to my horror discovered the battery was flat. Fortunately the Rambo's were not aware of this fact as disappeared rapidly into Strangstry wood (threatening me with death and destruction the next time we met), when they saw me stand up and hold the phone to ear as though calling the police. I made my way down to the river bank after a safe interval to let them get well away up into the woods. I did not find any dead birds but the river was completely devoid of any birds at all, so I assume they had been there sometime potting at ducks.

The ugly part occurred when I reached the disabled ramp that is being built at the end of the iron bridge over the river. Someone has obviously decided that it would be amusing to walk up and down the wet concrete on the ramp. This has left an area of deep footprints in the ramp near the base. A classic example of mindless vandalism at its worst. A sorry, but only too common tale of an urban wildlife site, wonderful wildlife and scenery, ruined only by the sad people who see no beauty only the reflected ugliness that's inside themselves :-((

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Soil Hill pm, visit

16/03/2008 cold NE>5 snow flurries

4 Skylark
2 Curlew holding territory
+ usual sp.

No news of reported Queensbury Firecrest. ?

Elland Gravel Pits

Just had three Sand Martins flying around Avocet area at Brookfoot. Spring is on its way.

Mike Sharpe

Ogden/Soil Hill

16/03/2008 Cold E>4 E>6 on SH. early a.m.
1 pr Teal
1 Gt Crested Grebe
10 Canadas
1 Greylag
1 Barnacle
2 Goldcrest
12 Goldfinch
2 Jays
+ usual SP.

48 Fieldfare
200+ Starling
11 Skylark
3 Golden Plover
5 Lapwing
No sign of Wheatear yet.
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Callis Bridge, Hebden Bridge

I was looking out of my bedroom window at 8:20 this morning, and a huge white bird was flying east up the valley from Todmorden towards Hebden Bridge. I did the frantic search for the bins', and it turned out to be a 1st winter whooper swan. Not a bad patch tick!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Access Paths at Cromwell Bottom - Good on the whole, just one query.

My response to a statement from Hugh Firman (Chief Conservation Officer) on the Calderdale Wildlife Network which some birders may not get. My opinion, not that of Halifax Scientific Society as a whole.

"Hi Hugh,
Was the Environment Agency consulted? Does Calderdale know about the spillpway into Brookfoot Loop?
Because in course of making the path, soil has been deposited at the side, raising the spillway height. Now the river will not spill over until it is even higher than January's flood, so now Brighouse's cellars are more certain of being flooded. (It should actually have been lowered, not raised, as Brighouse was flooded this January.)
It can easily be rectified before the path material is put in - less easily after.

The good work is that a lot more light will get in, many annual and perennial flowers will bloom on the disturbed soil, these will attract lots of insects, thus more birds and birdsong. Excellent. A lot more trees need removing in my opinion, especially many of the invading oaks and hollies.
Personally, I am against tanalised timber. They can say what they like, all those chemicals (cyanide is involved I believe) have got to go somewhere when the wood eventually rots, not to mention the appalling pollution at the treatment plants.
Some edible wild plants grow at Cromwell Bottom, e.g. Bistort, the dock-pudding plant.
Congratulations, generally, though."
Steve Blacksmith, Bird Recorder for
Halifax Scientific Society

Whiteholme yesterday/today

1 Glaucous Gull 3rd winter
1 Kittiwake
from rochdale birder Alan nuttal yesterday
90 percent sure of rock pipit in same place as last year on rocks at blackstone edge ,dark legs grey outer TF in thick fog had it for about 20 30 seconds. could not re locate . 30+ Twite at whiteholme 11 caught, with 5 new birds and a mixture form all 3 sites and ages.


Just a reminder the 2006 Halifax Bird Report is out. You can obtain a copy from Woodesford News Agents at Pellon / Mount Tabor or order a copy from Nick Carter when he arrives back from Spain on Sunday.

Roils Head yesterday
5 Stonechats, 3 Reed Buntings and 3 Skylarks.

Towpath & CB 15/3/08

Went out early doors down the towpath and CB this morning, at around 6.15am this morning. I reckon that I can say there for sure there are three Great Spotted Woodpecker territories near where I live as I regularly hear males drumming simultaneously most mornings. One drums in Park wood behind my garden, one drums in the trees between Park rd and the Canal near to Rawson's Pool and one bird is regularly drumming in Strangstry Wood as you walk down the access path on Tag Loop towards the pond. I also had Green Woodpecker this morning on two occasions but I am not sure if this represents one or two birds.

Usual suspects at CB, with Blue, Great, Coal and Long-Tailed Tit spotted. The Robins now seem to have definite territories as well and are well spaced out on the entire route round. Dipper and Kingfisher spotted in the rapids below the weir near North Bank Loop. Making my way back I stopped to check out the Herons nest, one bird sitting on the nest but two further birds were nearby in another tree which hopefully means another pair is attempting to nest.

Birds on the way back up the canal were
Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, various tits, Tree Creeper (pair), Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Wood Pigeons, Male Sparrowhawk, Magpie, Crow and most surprisingly two separate pairs of Mallards perched in trees about 20 feet up on wide branches ! I have never ever seen a Mallard in a tree before and I can only surmise that some ground predator was around and both pairs were calling constantly to each other as they were separated by around 50 feet at least.

I also had two other firsts for the year in my first Queen Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and a Badger spotted making its way back to an known established sett, not giving location of this for obvious reasons. I only spotted the badger as I was waiting around for the dog to come back from chasing Squirrels up trees. Aged 15 the dog is highly unlikely to get within 20 feet of any self-respecting Squirrel, but it at least gets the pleasure of giving them a fright as it ambles in pursuit :-)) The other noticeable fact about this morning was the sheer noise volume of the "dawn chorus", the birds really are getting into Spring in a big way now, and very pleasant it is too. The two doe Roe deer were feeding out in the open this morning so I had good close views of them through the bins today.

Nice as it is on the towpath and CB (well parts of it anyway), I cannot wait to get to North Wales and see new species on a daily basis. I can see now why you birders spend time in other areas with a larger species variety . Its nice to record your own patch but its also nice to have a bit of variety now and then.

grey partridges

2 at the stream below my house. no proper id because they flew away too fast and i couldnt catch them. good record considering the area

Friday, March 14, 2008


Just got back from a quick walk to empty the dog and spotted a Woodcock flying well into dusk above the woodland between the canal and Calder just down from Park Nook Lock. I had been watching a group of Pipistrell Bats hunting around the canal when I spotted what I at first thought was a large bat. It slowly dawned on me that it was a Woodcock "Roding" over the wood, I have only ever seen this at Hardcastle Crags. Interestingly enough the bird was over the small patch of woodland I spotted one earlier this year. One benefit of the lights over Lowfields is that its possible to see bats and other night flyers well past dusk in this area. Have Woodcock ever been reported breeding in the Elland area ?

Cromwell Bottom; A response from the Countryside Service

Tim asked me to post the following......

We do appreciate how shocking this work looks but there is a rationale to our approach.

Cromwell Bottom is one of our prime sites for Biodiversity and these works are part of an ongoing programme for the long term improvement of the site for both Wildlife and all People.

There has been little management on the site over recent years, this means a lot of works are being carried out in a short time scale which can appear drastic especially as we are further constrained by weather and breeding periods.


Path linking Canal with lagoon 1
A )We have consulted with potential users and done previous work on site from which we have learnt lessons that indicate a 2 metre width is appropriate. For someone passing a wheelchair user this width means there is no need to step off the path.
If a wheelchair user wishes to stop, probably with a helper there is room for others to pass.
People in wheelchairs also like to talk to their carers and family side by side.
A degree of vegetation is bound to colonise the edges of the path, which tends to soften the surface and make it difficult to push a wheelchair.
Blind visitors will generally be accompanied and therefore will walk side by side
To achieve this, we appreciate that the Orchid patch and other areas of the site have been disturbed but based on the history of this site it will recover and bring benefits, because people will naturally follow the path.

B) To reduce level of maintenance on the path
C) Provide access for management purposes in the future.

Riverside track
A) Reduce the cover of bramble to increase the biodiversity of the area. The bulk of this work was carried out in September/Oct 07 and January 08.
B) Remove top soil to provide 4 metre wide access route for Environment Agency vehicles in 08/09 to improve Lagoon 2. (This area, if not cleared of scrub will progress to woodland and we will lose valuable open water, which is the most significant feature of this site.
C) To provide access for vehicles to maintain the habitats on the site
D) Re establish grassland.
E) To Provide access for people with disabilities

As part of the funding, a ramp is being constructed off the footbridge and a level footpath from the canal to connect with the path that was constructed on Tag Loop.

Vegetation removal was carried in late January and early February and no nesting birds were disturbed.
The amount of vegetation removed is minimal compared to the remaining similar habitat.

The work is in accordance with the aims and objectives of the management plan, which was agreed following extensive consultation.

Site management is agreed by the Cromwell Bottom Liaison Group, which includes a representative of Calderdale Bird Conservation Group. This group met in July 07 but C.B.C.G. were unable to attend. Consequently a planned site visit was postponed to September 07 at which the proposed works were discussed. We will call a meeting of the liaison group in May to discuss past and future management

The work has been discussed with and received approval from Natural England, The Environment Agency and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

We value the constructive relationship with Calderdale Bird Conservation Group and appreciate Nick Carter raising the issues. It was unfortunate that Nick and Tim were unable to speak before the matter was flagged up on the Blog.

Tim Edge would be happy to speak to anyone, who would like more detailed information. His number is 07712 867612.

Erringden / Stoodley Pike area. 12:00 - 1:30pm

- 480 fieldfare below Lower Rough Head Farm
- 12 redwing with them
- 100+ starlings
- 4 pairs of curlew
- 4 pairs of stonechat
- 1 pair of reed bunting
- 4 singing skylarks
- 28 meadow pipits
- 1 little owl

Notable lack of lapwing and snipe. Should only be a week or so before the wheatear start to appear.

The Birds of the Huddersfield Area

I have copies in stock of the above book published by the Huddersfield Birdwatchers Club. Cost is £12 if collected or £14 mailed. A superbly printed, laid out and well bound book and worth at least twice the cover price. The book runs to some 420 pages and illustrated throughout with B&W drawings and dot maps. I am selling the book on behalf of the club and all proceeds will go directly back to them.

The Huddersfield area extends from the high moorland and cloughs of the Dark Peak District in the west, through Huddersfield Town itself, to the rivers, canals, villages and farmlands around Horbury and Bretton Park in the east, from the Rivers Ryburn and Calder in the north to the moorland and reservoirs of Winscar and Langsett in the south. It contains a wide variety of habitats and this is reflected in the great diversity of birds to be found, including nationally important breeding populations of some of Britain's most endangered species. Paul and Betty Bray's authoritative work, wonderfully illustrated by Stuart Brocklehurst and Michael Pinder, provides a fascinating insight into the history and current status of Huddersfield’ s birds, from when records began right up to modern times. The tremendous changes that have taken place over time are reviewed in depth, species by species.
The book includes:
A foreword by John R. Mather MBOU, author of Where to watch
bird in Yorkshire and North Humberside* An account of the influence of the area's geology, climate and habitats on its birds*Sources of information about Huddersfield’s birds *The changes in breeding and non-breeding populations over the years.*Details of all 261 species and 10 races ever recorded in the area and their history*Breeding distribution maps*Breeding distribution maps*Analyses of breeding birds by both habitat and abundance.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Halifax 2006 Bird Report Out Now

At last the bird report for 2006 is out. There are only a limmited number available so to get your copy either visit Woodlesford News Agents at Pellon / Mount Tabor where they will be on sale from tomorrow afternoon for 5 pounds or send cheques for 5 pound 60 pence to Nick Carter at 72 Towngate Midgley Halifax HX2 6UJ, please make payable to The Halifax Birdwatchers' Club. The report contains a full classified list plus 8 pages of colour photos including scarce birds such as Red-throated Diver, Purple Sand, Shorelark etc. There's also a full list of every thing thats ever turned up in Calderdale + 3 Goshawk descriptions and a few other artcicles of local interest.
Sorry for the delay with this publication but better late than never.

Calderdale Conservationists at Work

Photos work from the bottom upwards.

First shot shows the start of the path that runs around the front of the lagoon as you enter from the canal towpath downstream from Crowther Bridge.

2/ shows the path running towards the lagoon right through an area containing Northern Marsh Orchids and Common Spotted Orchids.

3/ Shows the view looking downstream behind what was the wooden platform people used to watch over the Ski Lake and Lagoon. Paths on this side are around 2 metres wide with spoil from the paths dumped on either side over strimmed vegetation. This path finally emerges near Freeman's Bridge.

4/Shows the path at the other side of the lagoon that runs alongside the Calder looking downstream.

5/ Shows the same path looking back upstream.

6/ Shows a view back downstream looking towards what was scrub before it was strimmed and chopped flat. The path that has been dug in these photos is some 3 to 4 metres wide and the scrub on either side is strimmed flat right up to the river bank and the bund wall on the lagoon.

7/ Shows how the path at the back of the lagoon looked before it was destroyed.
I think several questions need answering about this work.
A/Why were local active conservationsts not consulted
B/What the hell is the plan for the site in the end
C/Why is the work now taking place in a very important breeding area for resident and migrant birds and at a key time of the year when birds are pairing up and nesting
Sorry to take up so much space on the blog but I thought others might wish to see why Nick, John and myself are so incensed by this wanton destruction of prime scrub habitat.

Cromwell Bottom

Thanks to Paul Talbot for his response to my previous posting.
For anyone not familiar with the Elland Gravel Pits ( Cromwell Bottom ) the area being destroyed by so called conservation workers, is the habitat surrounding the shallow pools. From a Calderdale perspective it has previously held the territories of important bird species:- Garden Warbler (possibly 50% of all the territories in Calderdale), Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Bullfinch and severely other common species.
When I last visited ten days ago I was sickened and appalled at the mindless unsympathetic destruction to this locally important habitat.
The work being undertaking is to create a path in places two metres wide around the pools, presumably for disabled access. A mechanical digger has been used to cut through the substrate and large areas of bramble up to fifteen metres wide in places, has been cleared.
I recently visited Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve where paths presumably allowing full disabled access to the hides on the reserve. These paths are perhaps a little over one metre wide and appear to have been created with the minimum amount of destruction to the surrounding habitat.
The other important issue is the timing of this work. It is now mid march and many of the resident birds are by now holding breeding territory and the return of spring migrants is imminent. Additionally amphibians commuting to and fro from the pools are active.
I intend to call for a meeting of the Conservation Committee as soon as possible and propose that the committee withdraws all cooperation with Calderdale Countryside Unit on all matters, in protest to the lack of prior consultation, damage caused by and the timing of the above work.
I suggest anyone who feels passionate about conserving local habitat go down and see the destruction for yourself.
What is the point of designating a site a local nature reserve if management work there damages the nature there and decreases the bio diversity ?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cromwell Bottom Vandalism

Now that Nick C. is away for a week does anyone have an update on what is happening currently regarding the appalling vandalism and destruction ongoing at Cromwell Bottom. Is this over the top habitat damaging path creation work still continueing now ?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


No sign of the Great Crested Grebe today! It's been there by my records since 15th January until last seen on 8th March. (I only have one record the previous year on 20/02/07)

Pair of Goldeneye still there today.
4 Canada Geese
1 Sparrowhawk
4 Song Thrushes singing
1 Goldcrest
20+ Goldfinch

"The Birds of the Huddersfield Area"

I've just received my copy of this Huddersfield Birdwatchers' book (£12), published recently I think. At 419 pages, looks a good read.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Halifax Town Centre

1 pair if Blackbirds in a car park this morning are now feeding young!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Moor End, Long Edge Moor, Crow Hill, Sand Bed, Waterstalls Road, Collon Bob, Aaron Hill and Blackwood Common

Moor End
1 male stonechat. 3 lapwing. 1 skylark. Plus corvids in large nos.
Long Edge Moor
1 curlew.2 kestrel-1m,1f being mobbed by corvids.
Crow Hill
10 lapwing on or close to the ground. c30 lapwing moving east. 2 curlew. 5 meadow pipits. 2 skylarks.
Sand Bed and Waterstalls Rd
3 lapwing. Corvids. 1 skylark.
Blackwood Common
8 meadow pipits.2 stonechats.1 m&1f. 1 skylark.

Plus usual species.
Frogspawn also!

Some sunshine at last.


one flew over my house at 1 o'clock this aternoon singing its little heart out

Luddenden Foot - Sunday am

3 of the nests at the heronry had sitting birds on. Kingfisher on the river and 18 canada geese on the grass bank between the canal and the road.


Coal Tit
09/03/2008 early a.m. SW>3 Heavy showers
2 Treecreepers
1 Kingfisher
Sev Coal Tits
1 Gt Crested Grebe
+ usual sp.
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Saturday, March 08, 2008


Visit 5 till 6 pm Saturday evening - a good hour birding.

1 Great Crested Grebe
3 Goldeneye (2 females)
c230 Fieldfares coming in to roost
17 Curlew over at 17.40 >W
6 Stock Dove

c60 Goldfinch by the Causway Foot pub singing together in tops of Sycamores (wonder if they roost in the nearby shrubberies at the back of the pub as they are often there at dusk). Also a few Greenfinch with them.

its over

hi guys
i'm back
just thought id say that there was a few redwings on manor heath last sunday
and a dipper and grey heron at jerusulem farm on the saturday

Friday, March 07, 2008

Luddenden Dean

We went around the dean from Jerusalem farm this afternoon.
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
2 Treecreepers
c4 Bullfinch
1 pr of Kestrel
4 Mistle Thrushes (no Redwings or Fieldfares)
Lots of Blue, Great and a few L T Tits
Lots of corvids feeding on the eastern side of the dean

Hundreds of frogs in the pond at Wade Wood below Jowler

Halifax Town Centre

Female Blackbird still at the nest site in a car park this afternoon and the male nearby. Can't see into the nest - suspect they still have eggs as she has been brooding for just over a week at least now.

Herons at CB

Sue and I spotted a pair of Herons adding sticks to the nest near Cromwell Bottom this morning. We have been watching the nest closely for the last couple of weeks for signs of the birds returning,so I suspect this morning was the first time back at the nest site for the birds since last year.Les Midgley, Sue and I have been watching this nest since 2006 when we think the nest failed due to the birds being first year breeders.I am certain that at least two chicks were fledged last year. Hopefully the birds will nest again sucessfully again this year and the heronry will grow in yearsto come.

South Pennines Twite survey

As part of the Twite recovery project there will be a consolidated effort to survey Twite sites for breeding birds this summer, I have been contacted by Amy Crowther who is co-ordinating the work with a list of sites she would like covering, anyone interested in taking part please get in touch via the address. It is planned to hold a survey volunteers workshop in April to assist people with methodology etc.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

5th March Cold Edge PM

On arrival I was ambushed by two black porky snozzlers who insisted in escorting me around the dams like two lost puppies that had found their new master. They eventually left me to the birds but tried to ambush me latter on from the north.
2 Stonechats, 11 Greylag Geese, 1 Red Grouse, 2 Goosanders, 15 Lapwings a few BHGs and a sneaky weasel.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sunset @ 6pm

Nice to be out birding in the evening tonight. 160 GP in the fields at Ringstone, a pair of Curlew in the North field and 8 Mipits together on roadside wire (plus Great crested and Goosander).

Monday, March 03, 2008

Halifax Peregrines

I think at least one of our urban peregrines has returned. I'm pretty sure I saw one coming in to roost a couple of weeks back and today I saw one soaring over the town centre before it dove down out of sight.

Ogden Water

Great Crested Grebe still there and a pair of Goldeneye showing well near the feeding area and 2 Canada Geese.
2 juvenile Herring Gulls >NW over the res'r and a Lesser black-backed Gull >N over Soil Hill.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Luddenden Dean

Very windy today and birds hard to find!
1 Kestrel
1 Dipper (Wade Wood - new pond below Jowler)
1 Herring Gull over >W
c70 Fieldfare towards Castle Carr
Lots of corvids in the dean