Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rookery Survey 2009

Many thanks to those who have already offered to take part.
Several areas are now allocated but we need more help with the following areas from the 1964 survey which was undertaken by Halifax Scientific Society. (1964 nests in brackets)

Sowerby Bridge to Triangle (49)
Millbank (7)
Denton Bridge area (357)
Rishworth (88)

Hawksclough (16)
Hebden Bridge - Albert Street (10)
Mytholm Church (27)

Luddenden Foot to Boulderclough (49)

Exley Bank (17)
Exley - Chevinedge (4)

Elland - Elsinore Avenue (2)
Greetland (31)
Holywell Green (44)

Rastrick - Delf Hill/Crowtrees Lane (25)
Rastrick - Field Lane/Tofts Grove (130)

Other areas may have colonies but there is no reference in the 1964 survey so the following also need to be checked. Nil counts are just as important;
Copley, Stainland, Barkisland, Shibden Park and the valley up from Stump Cross, Sowerby/Beechwood, Cragg Vale, Hebden Bridge to Midgeholme, Hardcastle Crags, Crimsworth Dean, Colden Valley etc.

The 1964 survey did not include areas up the Calder Valley beyond Hebden Bridge. As this is part of Calderdale it would also be good to cover;
Hebden Bridge to Todmorden, Todmorden to Cornholme/Portsmouth (Burnley Road), Todmorden to Walsden, Todmorden - Harley Wood/Woodlands Avenue etc. etc.

Birds are starting to be active at colonies now so it's a good time in March to start having a look and take initial count and then count again before the leaves come on in April/May.
Q 1 - is there a colony present?

Q 2 - Estimated number of 'Apparantley Ocuupied Nests' (this is the criteria suggested by the BTO)

Q 3 - Precise location (grid reference if possible but not essential as I hope to be able to forward all the information to the BTO Atlas survey at the end of the season)

Please email or text or post a message on the blog as soon as possible if you can commit to an area and thereafter forward all the information to me. The more volunteers take part, the better.
Many thanks on behalf of Calderdale Bird Conservation Group.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Song thrush

Very encouraging news on the Song Thrush,I have had 3 singing locally this week including this one on the back lawn.Anybody else noticed an increase this year.??
Ringstone yesterday held 133 Lapwing,5 Snipe,1 Goldeneye.2 Gooseander,1 Oystercatcher,10 Goldfinch and 4 Stock Dove

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rishworth school/CBCG raptor evening rescheduled date

Following the unfortunate postponement of the above event earlier this month due to the bad weather it will now take place on Friday 6th March. The evening event is part of Rishworth and Heathfield schools' continuing support of the CBCGs efforts to protect raptors locally. The event will be the culmination of a full days fund raising effort by the schools and will include a presentation on raptors by Steve Downing, musical entertainment provided by both the school and a barber shop quartet, a quiz, finger buffet, auction and bar. Tickets are priced at £2.50 for adults with children free and can be obtained from myself or Tim Walker. In addition to the attractions listed there will also be a raffle so if anyone wishes to donate prizes these will be gratefully received, the main prize will be a framed photo of a Short-eared owl generously provided by Sean Gray. As many will know the Schools and their PTA's have already funded the production of the raptor calendar which continues to sell well, those local birders who have still not got theirs can obtain them from me or from the Bridge Inn at Ripponden.


1 Great crested Grebe in full breeding plumage
1 female Goldeneye
120 Mallard
1 Greylag Goose >S
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
35+ Chaffinch and 1 Bullfinch
c80 Goldfinch by the 'Causway Foot' singing in the sycamores and probably a pre-roost flock

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brighouse to Hartshead

3 Grey Wagtails at Bradley Hall
3 Mistle Thrushes
6 -at least-Song Thrushes singing
Magpie nest building at Cooper Bridge
Goldfinches and Goldcrests near Hartshead
Pheasant calling near Kirklees Hall
Yellowhammer - a cracking male, in hedgerow near Hartshead - about a mile out of our area !

Digital Photography Starter kit

Anyone looking to set themselves on the road to digital SLR photography then I may have the kit for you. I'm selling a Nikon D80 12mega pixel DSLR with lens (can't remember exact spec on this but i think it's 28-135mm) 3 SD memory cards (1x1gb jessops card & 2x4gb SanDisk Extreme III), 2 Batteries, Battery Charger, USB lead, all boxed and in good working order.
I plan to put it all on ebay in the next week but thought I'd see if anyone wanted it in the group first. Prepared to sell for £300, extra memory cards and batt alone are worth £100+
If your interested either leave a message or contact me on my email or text me on 07500059036.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Longfield Dam 10am

The male goldeneye was the only waterfowl on or near the pond. On the south of the road in the wet field - 38+ meadow pipits and one skylark.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday AM.Elland GP.

3 Reed Buntings(M) in layered hedge,6 Chaffinch,+ blue,great and long tails, 4 Grey Herons and one pair building nest near Lafarge Concrete Plant otherwise quiet.

Sunday - Todmorden

Nice clean male Goldeneye on Longfield Pond. Also about 20 Canada and a few Mallard - some males being very protective of their females.

By the way - I was away on the east cost last week and saw some ducks on the sea at Filey that stumped me - Good sized duck but not an Eider shape - Dark all over - except for a white chest - remined me of one those mallard/domestic crosses but 100 yard offshore was an unlikely habitat - any ideas ?


Two Skylarks over this morning

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Red Kite Elland GP

Text came through on the grapevine to say Darrel had a Red Kite at Elland GP at lunchtime today.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crimsworth Dean

Little Owl at Crimsworth Dean this afternoon. 2 Siskin over, 1 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 25 Lapwings over the moor.

Fly Flats

A Curlew flew over Warley Moor reservoir c.2.40, flying south eastwards. Otherwise very little - 2 Canada Geese, a pair of Mallard and a Kestrel.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

17 Goldfinches looking at the niger seed I've started spreading on the lawn since the hard frosts, but only a couple brave enough to come down from the big trees to join the greenfinches and chaffinches, so far...

Saw today's pink-footed goose passage from Northowrham (9.30ish) and more at Skircoat (lunchtime). This year is exceptional.

A tawny owl calling repeatedly and visible in silhoette at Marldon Rd., Northowrham at 18.02.

Fly Flats

Thick mist there this afternoon but rewarded with c60 Pink-footed Geese on the res'r (obviously come down in the fog and reluctant to move on until it cleared). We first heard them flying in, calling at the far end of the res'r then we saw them briefly on the water, through the mist near the boat- house end. Still there at 16.00.
Nothing else there other than several Red Grouse calling on the moor.

Swales Moor/Ringby

c342 Pink-footed Geese west over the top at 12.33 today followed by another c70 over Pellon direction heading west 5 mins later, the latter thanks to Andy Cockrofts message! cheers Andy.

1 Skylark on the top along with 1 adult L B B Gull, 13 Common Gulls and later 1 juv Gt B B Gull >N

Sean Gray photo of the week

Congratulations to Sean Gray for winning this weeks Birdguides picture of the week (again), superb photo of Sparrowhawk with prey, as seen on this Blog!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A green woodpecker 'yaffling' away in the middle of the afternoon up Ramsden Wood Road - but not at the very top where they used to be, and where the new development now is. Sounded to be in the trees near what was the tripe works. So close to the back of our house I thought I should be able to see it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gorple and Walshaw Dean etc

Lower Gorple -1 Redwing, 1 Bullfinch

Upper Gorple - 1 Skylark

Widdop - 1 Kestrel, 2 Lapwings over

Walshaw - 2 Siskin over, 1 Common Buzzard >W, 1 Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrels

Blake Dean - 1 Treecreeper with small tit flock

Lots of Red Grouse calling on the moors and Canada Geese settling in on the res'rs and getting noisy. Mistle Thrushes singing

R.Calder, Milner Royd, Sowerby Bridge


3m, 2f Goosander

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Calder and Hebble Confluence

Went down to the Calder and Hebble confluence today.

On the river were 3 prs Goosander, paired up,
1 pr Mallard
Little Grebe
with a Heron nearby not a bad selection of water-birds.
Song Thrush singing

(Tree Sparrows used to nest - one pair - in the stonework of the railway viaduct, but no sign today.)
The bright red fungus, Scarlet Elf-cap, Sarcocypha austriaca, a colony near the beehives, was showing well.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

High Royd S/B

20 Teal
2 Moorhen
2 Grey Heron
12 Woodpidgeon
Corvids feeding on filter beds
Lots of mxd Tits
All seen from the canal side

2 Roedeer as well

Willow Hall Dam

1 GSW (F)
4 Mallard
Lots of mxd Tits

Fly Flats

Res'r completely frozen over this morning

Pink-footed Geese

Big movement of over 1,000 birds reported this morning over our area - all heading west

c70 Sowerby Bridge 9.35
c200 Elland G P 10.05
200+ Fly Flats 10.30 (over towards Oxenhope area)
c100 Northowram 10.35
125 Northowram 10.38
180 Northowram 10.40
c40 Fly Flats 10.40 (over towards Oxenhope area)
c70 over Midgley Moor from Fly Flats 11.00
64 from Soil Hill direction and over the Withens (from Fly Flats) 11.10

Gratrix Lane/Sowerby Bridge

Mill pond - no sign of the Ruddy Ducks today
1 Kingfisher and 1 drake Goosander there

2 Dippers, 6 Goosander, 1 Cormorant and 3 Grey Herons on the river to Sterne Mill and 1 m Sparrowhawk over.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Luddenden Dean

This afternoon;
1 m Sparrowhawk
1 Green and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Redpoll over
2 Stock Doves

Gratrix Dam,S/B

2 Ruddy Duck
3 Canada Geese


A dipper seen in the Calder this morning from the bridge near the church. Its sound alerted me. It was really making a racket.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Swales Moor/Ringby/ Holmfield

Nothing doing on the top today other than 2 Stock Doves

2 Snipe flushed by dogs in the old army camp at Holmfield and 1 Grey Heron there

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Beacon Hill & Shibden

Walked home from Halifax over Beacon Hill, mainly to get sunset photos over the town centre. Flushed what I think was a partridge (judging on the size, shape and way it flew) from Barrowclough Lane.
1 little owl at the top of Pump Lane.
6 wrens
4 robins singing
Then, in Shibden Park, I saw something I hadn't seen before - one of the local moorhens roosting in the trees. It flew off to another tree as I walked by, then back again as I progressed past the lake. I'd always assumed they roosted on the lake with the ducks.


whilst walking home today i noticed 3 waders fly out of the grass opposite the bradshaw tavern. as you may know it is rather boggy and horrible on that side of the road. i only saw them fly away and they flew much like waders

suggestions please
thank you

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Swales Moor/Ringby

7 Sparrowhawk sightings in an hour and a half this afternoon on the ridge - min of 4 individuals in perfect conditions for raptors. 1 Kestrel and 1 Little owl near the ski-slope.

Waxwings at Sowerby Bridge

About 20 were feeding for an hour this afternoon on the canal bank opposite the Moorings pub.
Could be back tomorrow as some fruit left. (Said to be rosehips.) From C.Priestley, a boat dweller there.

Monday, February 09, 2009


3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers today at the lodge feeders. Bullfinch's there too along with a good number of tits and Chaff's. No Redwings or Fieldfares now, they seem to have moved off the high ground and Goldcrests have gone! 148 Mallard and 8 Canada Geese still there.

Moorland between Halifax G C and Cold Edge Rd

A short eared owl was quartering this moorland pm today. At one stage it dropped to the ground but no binoculars so could not see what if anything was caught.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Jay House Lane Sun AM

Fairly quiet. 4 Tree Sparrows, 6 Chaffinch, 4 Greenfinch, 9 Lapwings and feeding on manure heap were 1 Wren, 3 Meadow Pipits, 1 Grey Wagtail and 1 male and 1 female Stonechats.

Coach Road pm

A short walk up Coach Road revealed 2 Nuthatches on the same tree - females or juvs, I think, and a male GS Woodpecker ,and then another Nuthatch - a male calling loudly in the trees about 100 metres further up the track.
2 Mistle Thrush nearby, where about 40 Redwings were seen the day before.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Brookfoot to Lockkeepers House

Short walk this morning canal dead apart from 1 Grey Wagtail.River and fields produced 2 Dipper, 3 Goosander, 48 Canada Geese, 1 Nuthatch, 1Grey Heron, 6 Mallard, 3 Robins all singing, 1 Kestrel(male), 1 Sparrowhawk(female), Heron in photo looked fed-up.

Cromwell bottom

Had to get out such a lovely day!
Walked along canal from Brookfoot; not a dicky bird to see; but soon I started to pick them out.
Eventually finished up with about 25 species
On the ski lake:-
4 little grebes
c300 gulls BH, herring, common
10 tufted ducks
3f. gooseanders+ 1 male
c20 coot
6 canada
c30 mallards
2 herons
a possible pochard? sighting difficult not ID!
On the river
1 dipper
1 grey wagtail (rest must have been at Callis mills)
The usual corvids, robins, blackbirds, blue and great tits (the latter singing )
3 bullfinches
Stopped at lay-by on main road and whilst counting 20 lapwings feeding in the fields a male stone chat flew into view and 2 mistle thrushes.

Callis Bridge sewage works - 1:00pm

Lots of birds feeding on the filter beds
- 35+ pied wagtails
- 32 meadow pipits
- 4 grey wagtails
Also, 1 grey heron, 3 jays over, 1 gs woodpecker heard in Callis Wood.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Due to the overwhelming evidence that this maybe a bad time to clear the boxes Sundays work party is cancelled.

The next work party will therefore be Sunday 8th March, can people please register their interest and availability asap in order that we can pick a project to suit the numbers.

Sundays job would have been very difficult regardless of the weather due to a poor uptake, I'd encourage anyone to get in touch as these regular work parties could have a real impact on the amount of work the group can do throughout the year.

Many thanks to those who were prepared to turn out on Sunday, hope you can all make it on the 8th.

Many thanks


Little Owl

Little Owl at Hippins Bridge, at the very top of Jumble Hole Clough, just below Staups Moor.

Haven't seen one anywhere in what feels like ages.


Mostly frozen over but still some open water
2 Goldeneye
144 Mallard
8 Canada Geese
1 Bullfinch, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Chaffs and Greenfinches on the lodge feeder
Woodlands very quiet

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Re: nestbox cleaning out

In the latest copy of Bird Table, the magazine for contributors to the BTO/RSPB Garden Birdwatch Scheme, Mike Toms writes that Wrens, Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits all sometimes roost communally in nest boxes. (I'm doing this from memory, as I've lost the mag., which someone passed on to me.)

Might it be detremental to possible cosy roosting to clean them out at this point, considering the weather? Cleaning them I agree with to make them more likely to be used for breeding in spring, but maybe we should wait a few weeks.

(I'm not wussing out by the way, there's no place I love more than Hardcastle Crags in the snow!)

If we do go ahead, I can bring a 14ft. ladder, camera, bags and labels.

Birds Bins and Bullets

There is now a trailer available on You Tube for Steve Cummings' documentary on the work of Birdlife Malta and volunteers who have taken part in recent Raptor Camp and Springwatch camps on the island. Several local birders have been involved in this work and fund raising events were held to provide optics for the local Police force to help with their surveillance work.

Steve has now set up his own website where copies of the full documentary are available plus some of his other work including the Waldrapp Project, see

Raptor event postponed

Tomorrow evenings planned raptor awareness and fund raising event at Rishworth school has now been postponed until either 6th or 13th March due to the adverse weather, apologies for the late notification but the school has just informed us.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sundays Work Party

At the last committee meeting it was decided that this coming Sunday the monthly working party head into Hardcastle Crags to clear out the nest boxes. Unfortunately due to prior arrangement I'm unable to attend however if those of you who are prepared to help out with this very important work would like to leave your names in the comments section I'm sure we can get a good turn out.

You will also be in need of Ladders, cordless screw drivers/drills(with screw bits), manual screw drivers (in case your batteries run out), claw hammers for any that are rusted in. It was also suggested that the contents of each box be bagged and labelled in an effort to try and work out what has used each box, of course that means sealable plastic bags and sticky labels and pens.

Can I also suggest rubber gloves to avoid flea bites and a digital camera for photo's of you all and anything unusual that may turn up.

If you can each leave your name and pledge to bring an item of kit, further more could I suggest a 9.30 start meeting at the top car park, (if your taking a car let me know and I'll email Drew from the NT to arrange leaving them FOC).

Tim/Nick/Matt does one of you have a copy of the map showing the location of the boxes? If so could you kindly email a copy to anyone and everyone who leaves there name saying that they will be there.

For those who think I'm copping out I'll be leading a group up Stoodley Pike on a 12mile hike.

I look forward to seeing a nice list of volunteers, if you have difficulty leaving your name etc on here email me at and I'll make sure everyone else knows you'll be there.

Cheers Andrew.


Halifax - Out of the window at work (by the Hebble Brook below Sainsbury's) - a flock of siskin about 25 - flying through the snow !


CBCG/Rishworth school Bird of Prey evening
As part of Rishworth and Heathfield schools' continuing support of the CBCGs efforts to protect raptors locally they are hosting a Raptor Evening at Rishworth school on Friday 6th February beginning at 7-30pm. The event will be the culmination of a full days fund raising effort by the schools and will include a presentation on raptors by Steve Downing, musical entertainment provided by both the school and a barber shop quartet, a quiz, finger buffet and bar. Tickets are priced at £2.50 for adults with children free and can be obtained from myself. In addition to the attractions listed there will also be a raffle so if anyone wishes to donate prizes these will be gratefully received, the main prize will be a framed photo of a Short-eared owl generously provided by Sean Gray.As many will know the Schools and their PTA's have already funded the production of the raptor calendar which is selling well, those local birders who have still not got theirs can obtain them from me or from the Bridge Inn at Ripponden.

Brighouse Garden

Been in my garden since 1400 can someone give me a positive id 3 photos enclosed more if required many thanks

Halifax Town Centre/Wheatley valley

1 Grey Wagtail over Broad Street car park this morning
1 Kestrel over Dean Clough

c20 Fieldfares and 6 Redwings >S over Shroggs Road and 1 Sparrowhawk over
50+ Goldfinch and 20+ Greenfinch on garden feeders at Jackroyd

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Swales Moor/Ringby

2 Skylarks and 1 Meadow Pipit on the top this afternoon

Copley Woods Sunday a.m.

A similar area to Muxy, but up in the woods. These are called Spring Wood on the map, with no spring, and Long Wood, confusingly with a spring at the western end.

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Nuthatch, getting regular here.
Cormorant, full adult, flying east down the river
There is always a pair or two of Carrion Crows, living within the wood.

Hollys are colonising, as they are under many of our oak woods. Or maybe they are recolonising?
More worrying are alien Cherry Laurels. Foxes swallow the laurel fruit in gardens and then crap in the woods, depositing the stones. I counted 24 medium to big bushes.

I had a fox in my garden Saturday night. It ate a female pheasant and left the wings left and right, in their proper positions, but upside down.
I think pheasants are released by a guy down Dudwell Lane, as they have been in the garden several times. A Red-legged Partridge on one occasion got flushed out, which looked odd in a tarmac, suburban environment.

River Calder - Copley to S Bridge Sun p.m.

Not much about:-

1 x Heron
1 x Moorhen
c10 x LT Tits
1 x Robin

Plus Chaffinch, Corvids, Mallard, BHGs, Great and Blue Tits.


I was having a problem at home with squirrels and jackdaws emptying my feeders within minutes of me putting them out. Of course, it's great to see jackdaws doing do well, but 120 can clear your birds table and feeders in a blink.

So, I bought 2 hanging baskets from Wilkinsons (99p each!) and used thick garden wire to wire them together, and it works a treat!

Callis Sewage works - 12:00

38 pied wagtails
3 grey wagtails
6 meadow pipits
1 robin
100+ BH gulls
c40 jackdaws
14 long tailed tits