Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cold Edge

Pair of Whinchat feeding at least one recently fledged young near Cold Edge this afternoon and a pair of Little Owls also feeding young.

Also lots of young Linnets and young Swallows about, which is encouraging.

Has anyone found any Stonechats locally? There were plenty about during the winter but they seem to have moved out - of north Halifax sites at least!

Monday, June 29, 2009


also curlew chick around

taken tonight at 8.30 definitely 2 young calling
watched for about 45 min and saw two lots of food go in


Whinchat breeding at two sites, one pair have at least two fledged young.

Nice evening for owls too.

Barry James

I appreciate this is probably not relevant to a lot of the current Calderdale birders but those who covered the Walshaw Dean area in the "old days" will be as saddened as I am to hear that Barry died earlier today. Barry was one of those priceless people who after spending even only a few minutes with you felt so cheered and positive (and that takes some doing on a dull day at Walshaw!), a great sense of humour and a real pleasure to have known. RIP Barry.

Warblers in my garden...

...as opposed to garden warblers

Still got blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler singing, and the willow warb's have just fledged their first brood (c.3?). Pic is of juv. willow warbler.
Also, 9 herring gulls passed slowly and noisily east yesterday afternoon.

And another (?) buzzard

Chris S reported a buzzard being mobbed by a couple of crows and a kestrel near Sunnyvale at midday today. headed off in Halifax direction.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

curlew chick

sorry about the poor photo, was a long way away

Undisclosed location

Big catch at tea time last night

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ogden Garden

We have a large number of young birds coming to the feeders including blue tits great tits greefinches goldfinches blackbirds and two young great spotted woodpeckers. The siskins have also now returned. An unexpected visitor yesterday was a redpoll tucking in to the sun flower hearts.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sand Martins breeding in Weep Holes

Hi Jeff,
Very interesting! It seems to be happening here in Bradford as well. This colony has been active at one of our reservoirs just over the hill, to your north for c15 years. Here is one of a series of snaps I took a few weeks ago.



Here is the nest hole with five chicks in! they look to be nearly falling out!... just a bit further away so not as clear.


Chiff-chaff singing today in Shroggs Rd. Halifax, opposite B & Q.
Great that we now have breeding Sand Martins in Calderdale, were they considered sensitive, Nick? They have been persuaded to nest in sand-filled oil drums with round holes cut in the sides, but where to put them out of the reach of louts?
A swallow was droll today preening on a wire. Nothing unusual about that, but this was straight above the rush-hour at the Stainland Rd./Saddleworth Rd. crossroad lights at West Vale. I guess it must have a winter territory around some congested part of Johannesburg!

Two pairs of House Martins nesting this year at Bowers Mill. Barkisland, where there has recently been only one per year. But Colin Duke says there used to be c.6, when he worked there.

This link highlights a raptor protection problem in the Pyrenees. (Lammergier) http://ariege.com/wildlife-report/2002/oct02.html

Sand Martins at Walshaw Dean

While walking around Walshaw Dean yesterday I saw Sand Martins entering and leaving the outlet pipes in a concrete wall - I assume they are nesting there. I hadn't seen this before so checked with Nick C and apparently they have been at the same place for several years now. However, it was new to me so I enjoyed a good close view for a while before moving on.
Also saw 84 Canada Geese (some with goslings); 8 Mallards, one female had 8 ducklings; 4 Oystercatchers; 9 lapwings; 11 Meadow Pipits; Willow Warbler (carrying food); Stonechat; 2 Reed Buntings; 7 Common Sandpipers; adult and 3 young Song Thrushes; Gray Wagtail and an adult Pied Wagtail with 2 young.

Another buzzard

Driving home at 5.15pm last night (Thursday) saw buzzard (presumably common - disappeared before I got my bins on it). 3 miles north of Heb Br on the Keighley Rd at SE004316 (marked Clattering Edge on OS South Pennines) heading east ie Midgley Moor direction. Sometimes I like commuting!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Elland GP 24/06/

Alerted by the noise I looked up to see thro a gap in the trees a Carrion Crow was mobbing a bird of prey. Managed to get one shot of what appears to be a Buzzard?.Last seen flying towards Hove Edge/Hipperholme direction at 0815. Also seen Whitethroat with 4 young, Blackcap 4 young, Reed Bunting 3 young, Robin 3 young, Coot 2 young, 4 Grey Heron, 2 Kingfisher, but no sign since Sunday of the Goosanders. Garden Warbler singing near Avocet Works.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ogden Garden

A juvenile green woodpecker visited this afternoon

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jumble Hole

3 garden warbler
3 blackcap
5 willow warbler
2 chiffchaff
green woodpecker
Report of a whitethroat singing between here and the Colden Valley

Chiffchiff still singing in the garden at 10:35pm!


i have noticed a pair of swifts flying up to a crack in the roof off my school. i am quite certain there is a nest up there but they arent going in so it is either that the chicks are quite well grown so that they dont need to go in or that they are scouting for future sites. i'll keep you informed anyway

Welsh Update

Hi all
Just a brief update on the feeding station here in North Wales. The feeding station is an absolute hive of activity from dawn till dusk and after now. There are now dozens of young Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Blue & Great Tit, and Great Spotted Woodpecker around the feeders all day. In the evening we have two young hedgehogs which come to feed on the dried cat food I scatter under the feeders for them. Then later at night the Tawny owls pay the occasional visit to the tree over the feeding station to prey on the voles and mice that feed there when darkness falls. The Buzzards are still arriving to be fed in the field behind the caravan. Some of the locals now know I am grateful for any mammal carcases such as road kill rabbit for the Buzzards and leave a message for me to pick them up from them. Just up the field from where I throw the carcases is a low bare tree which the Buzzards often sit and sunbath after feeding. One of the young Blackbirds has a particular fondness for sunbathing on the shed roof behind the feeders and spends hours spread out sunning itself most days we have sunshine. You can see a clip of the sun loving blackie on my blog at http://wildllyn.blogspot.com/ We also have a couple of feral cats that feed under the feeders on cat food most nights but as can be seen below they seem to pose no threat to the other evening feeders

The short video clip shows one of the hedgehogs (Snouty) feeding happily away alongside a feral cat that calls in for some of the dried cat food. The hogs and the cat totally ignore each other and usually feed side by side together. The hogs obviously feel safe from the cat and the cat has obviously learned that hedgehogs are not on the menu.

TO PLAY : Move cursor over the arrow button and click

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Breeding Whitethroat Oats Royd

We had a pair of whitethroat with three well grown young at Oats Royd NR today plus usual finches and warblers.


I was just walking back through Todmorden town centre when I overheard a father pointing out to his daughter something in the river behind the bus station. Sure enough, there was what I can only assume was a Mink, which swam over the stream and under the vegetation overhanging the concrete channel.
I know there was a mink farm up at Swalesmoor some years back (I can still remember the stench of the wagons used to transport the carcasses to the maggot farm at Sharneyford!) but I don't think I have ever been aware of escaped ones still in our area - perhaps I am missing something?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Undisclosed sites

A pair of Ring Ouzels seen today along with at least 2 juveniles at one site.

At another site 3 Ravens were seen eating the remains of a long dead sheep. One individual actually choked down part of the tail !

Elland GP more young

Little Grebe with 3 young on the lagoon this morning came out to feed for about 10 mins then back into the reeds(photo).The 5 Goosanders were on there own with no sign of mum(photo).Goldcrest adult with 1 fledgling. 2 Mute Swans on fishing lake and 1 on the ski lake. 2 Kingfishers on fishing lake(photo not scared)

Thursday, June 18, 2009


1 pair of Whitethroat with at least 2 fledged young just out of the nest near Lane Head Lane. This was a surprise to me as Whitethroats are usually in the lower valley areas. This pair were totally unexpected and a real bonus for the BTO atlas survey which I was undertaking at the time.

On a more general note on the BTO Atlas survey - Blackbirds have been the most abundant bird in 3 of the local tetrads (2km X 2km squares) surveyed. House Martins are well down in numbers and this is of national concern this year according to the BTO.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gorple Res 16 June 2009

A walk to Gorple Res last night was very noisy with curlews, oystercatchers and even a tufted duck telling me to go elsewhere.
Curlew - 4
Oystercatcher - 3
Tufted duck - 1 female and 2 males with 3 small ducklings
Canada Goose - 47
Mallard - 1 female with 6 small ducklings
Common Sandpiper - 2
Meadow Pipit - 2
Lapwing - 43 over Widdop Gate (took a photo and counted them later!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fly Flats and Cold Edge

3 Twite at the feeding station - 2 with colour rings on left tarsus (from top Pink Blue Yellow and Blue White Pink)
1 female Wheatear by the round-house
1 Dunlin singing
1 Oystercatcher
1 Snipe
4 Common Sandpipers

1 male Whinchat
1 Barnacle Goose -feral?
2 Little Owl
11 Linnet
7 Reed Buntings


just had a new bird in my garden

Gorpley Res. Sunday 14th June

Finally found a twite nest in my RSPB Twite Recovery Project squares.
Didn't see the nest-cup but a pair emerged from a typical nest site. They flew north towards Clough Foot area on Bacup road, possibly further, returning 25 minutes later.

The res. embankment had just been mown and there must have been a glut of caterpillars, as there was a very confiding little owl feeding continually. Also at least two pairs of wheatears feeding young ( one brood flying with them, ) plus grey wagtails, meadow pipits and a possible nuthatch from the nearby Gorpley Clough. Dippers nesting somewhere in the clough; I waded around the second waterfall by the tufa spring, but couldn't find it.

Others seen from Inchfield Pasture were a pair of stonechats, a pair of curlew, skylarks, kestrel and a peregrine passed over twice. One lapwing in Ramsden Clough. Heron and 30 Canada geese on the res. No little ringed plovers or sandpipers.

Seven small heath butterflies and 2 toads in different places.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Goosander chicks update

Nice to meet Jeff Cox at Elland GP and sorry to say we could not find them. It took until this weekend to re-locate them and also caught them this morning and all 5 young are growing fast but due to the overgrown river bank they are difficult to find so only managed one decent shot. All the usual are down at the pits including 1 Cuckcoo, 6 Bullfinch, Pair of Grey Wagtails feeding 4 young but on my walks only 2 broods of Coot from 14 pairs and 3 broods of Moorhen from 12 pairs and only 8 broods of Mallard from approx 50/60 pairs, has anyone else noticed a lack of young birds this year.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

hardcastle craggs

went there this morning with a tip-off from matt bell that i might see a pied flycatcher. it was a lovely walk and saw lots of things. when we got to the mill my mum stayed for a coffee and i carried on the point where Matt said i should look. i got there eventually and sood on the path waiting. then i moved into the bushes. i waited whilst watching the ants when a chaffinch came and sat on a nearby branch. just then a weird call rang out and less than 30 seconds later there it was-a stunning mal pied flycatcher, my first.

what a gem
also there was many grey wagtails
a brief view of a kingfisher
2 herons squwaking and flying low
robin, wren
no dippers unusually
all in all a good day-thanks Matt

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fly Flats

Twite - 1 pair by the feeding station
3 Oystercatchers
1 Redshank
c4 Common Sandpiers
Golden Plover/Lapwing/Curlew on the moor
2 male Reed Buntings
c4 Skylarks and c12 Meadow Pipits


Nothing very rare - just the lovely sight, this lunchtime, of Grey Wagtails feeding their fledglings in the Hebble brook. Where's your camera when you need it?

High Royd Sewage Works

A quick visit at 12:00. I have never seen it so dry.

- 1 Sedge warbler singing and seen in tops of scrub
- 2 blackcap singing
- juv. grey heron
- coot heard
- roe deer on canal towpath

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jumble Hole

A quick walk this morning up the scrubby part of Underbank aka warbler avenue!
- 2 garden warblers (who are still incredibly hard to photograph!)
- 2 male blackcap
- 2 chiffchaff
- 5 willow warbler
- newly fledged coal tits
- party of 32 long tailed tits
Looks like there will be no whitethroat here this summer.
Photos - elusive garden warbler and blackcap

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Male Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher and Quail reported there today.

Jacksaw brutality

I've just witnessed an odd spectacle in the centre of Todmorden. A fledged Jackdaw juvenile in one of the car parks was being attacked by 2 or 3 adults. I must admit to a soft spot for this most engaging of urban birds, and I stepped towards the scene and scared the adults away. The youngster, which could only just fly, moved off a few yards, and it seemed to be being watched over by one adult. We didn't have time to linger, and passing the scene a couple of hours later there was no sign of the youngster (dead or alive).
I have always thought of them as very sociable birds - has anyone seen this sort of behaviour elsewhere?

Newly fledged wheatears

Pair of wheatears feeding 2 newly fledged young this morning at West Scout (below Gaddings Dam). Watched them for a half hour or and the 2 young were still finding their feet (wings?) but managing to get about very well indeed. Took a few photos - sorry for the quality but I couldn't get any closer without disturbing them.

Short eared owl - undisclosed location

Was driving to a meeting this morning (9:20am), and this fine specimen was sat on a post. I happened to have my camera in the car fortunately.

Yellowhammers at Hartshead

Apart from the birds at Bradley Hall, there appear to be another two sites at Hartshead.
3 birds seen last week just below Hartshead village (back of Kirklees Estate), and
4 heard this morning around Church Farm, Hartshead (just across M62).
They all come just within our area !

Tree Sparrow Project

Last night the CBCG agreed to act as third party contributor to an application for SITA funding to carry out the Tree Sparrow Project at Jay House lane. The project will involve the creation of additional habitat aimed at significantly increasing the population of this species in the area. On the back of the work currently undertaken with nest boxes, supplementary feeding etc and the the considerable input and ringing work put in by Sean Gray this application will hopefully prove succesful and work can start on the project this winter. Watch this space!

3 Km wsw of Mill Bank

Area above Mill Bank (towards Great Manshead Hill) at Greave Road - late evening
1 Grasshopper Warbler in full song (SE 013 207) near the top of Blackshaw Clough near Greave Head
1 Snipe - drumming
3+ Little Owls calling
1 Tawny Owl

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cragg Vale

Woodland walk parallel to stream above Hinchliffe Arms, 6:30pm
3+ spotted flycatcher
A pair of treecreeper
Newly fledged greater spotted woodpecker
Numerous willow warbler
2 blackcap

Goosander chicks in Calderdale

Took this photo this morning at 0715 on the River Calder at Elland GP a beautiful sight with 5 young. Also on the river 4 Little Grebe, 3 Kingfishers, 2 Tufted Duck, 7 Grey Herons, 16 Canada Geese and 10 goslings and 2 Goosanders by the recycling tip. Reed Lagoon 1 Reed Warbler singing, 1 Reed Bunting and 2 Little Grebe. Ski Lake. c 60 Swifts, 16 Swallows, 6 House Martins, 2 Sand Martins. Fishing Lake. 2 Mute Swans, 1 Great Crested Grebe and a Coot with 9 young never seen a brood this big. Flying over 1 Fem Sparrowhawk, 1 Male Kestrel and 1 Gt Black Backed Gull and must have seen close to 80/90 Long Tailed Tits a good morning by my standards.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Undisclosed location

Been watching SEO on the moors over the last few weeks, there's not much else up there other than mipit, carrion crows and curlew. This one is a nosey bird!


was there yesterday morning in the pouring rain
a reed or sedge warbler calling by the first pool. hidden in the reeds so no positive identification available sorry
also 1 whitethroat
2 greater spotted woodpecker including 1 juvenile
1 green woodpecker
chiffchaff calling
unsual suspects

Saturday, June 06, 2009


50+ swifts and 250+ house martins feeding over Callis Sewage works during the drizzle
A pair of dipper feeding young at Elphin Brook, Mytholmroyd. Grey wagtail also present.
A pair of grey wagtails feeding young at Jumble Hole.
3 garden warbler, 4 blackcap, 6 willow warbler and 2 chiff chaff all on a 200 stretch of the Pennine Way at Jumble Hole

Friday, June 05, 2009

Seeds Project success

The above photo (by Ann Blackburn) is of a field in the Midgley area that now contains a rich hay meadow flora, in part, as a result of the work of the Calderdale Seeds Project. With around 20 hectares of land already in the project and several more coming on board the CSP is making a significant difference to the in bye land in the Luddenden Valley which will hopefully benefit Twite amongst a range of other wildlife. None of this would have been possible without the support of several people and organisations especially the Green Business Network, Ann Blackburn and the Calderdale Bird Conservation Group who are the lead partner. Thanks in particular must go to those landowners that have taken to the idea so enthusiastically.

Bird Report - 2007 and 2008

Combined Bird Report
Nick Dawtrey has almost completed the report for the previous 2 years - well done Nick.

However we have been unable to secure sponsorship this year to support the publication and printing of the report, and funds are limited!

If anyone has any ideas on how to keep costs down or secure some sponsorship then please contact Nick direct on Hx 364228
Thank you

Long-eared Owl Survey

As in the previous 2 years we are in the process of surveying breeding sites in Calderdale of this fascinating Owl.

If you are already checking local sites, or would like to be involved in these next few weeeks then please liaise directly with our Recorder - Nick Dawtrey (Hx 364228)

Please be aware that this is a very sensitive species and prone to desert nest sites if disturbed. There is no need to look for nests - observing from a distance of 100m or more is usually sufficient to establishing breeding success - especially as any young start hunger calling.

Strange Nest Site

Hi all
I pass this small playground near my home in North Wales most days and it never occurred to me that any self-respecting bird would chose the slot in the post in the middle of the image to nest. As I walked past this lunchtime I heard some young birds calling and on investigating the post spotted it had four almost full fledged Blue Tits in residence. How on earth they have survived the temperatures inside the post in the recent heatwave I do not know but the ones I could see looked healthy enough. The playground is in constant use by late afternoon as its right next door to a primary school and many of the parents take their kids into play after school and sit on the seats seen in the background. The parent have obviously got used to the constant disturbance and just go ahead and feed the young anyway. I stood some 15 feet away after I took the photo and both parents came back and went in the post and fed the young before flying out with a fecal pellet.

Nesting sites would not seem to be a problem here as the whole peninsular has large amounts of standing dead wood, but obviously sites around my immediate area are in demand if the parents chose to use this site. There are large numbers of Nuthatch and GS Woodpeckers on the Peninsular so I assume they get first pick of any nesting holes in timber. Within ten miles of my home I know of 6 GS Woodpecker nests which I have found simply by hearing the young birds calling from the nest holes as I cycled past

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hardcastle Crags - 6:00pm

Male pied flycatcher still in the same area, singing, and going in and out of a different box than yesterday (about 50 yds away).
Cuckoo calling
Siskin heard in same area as pied fly'
Tawny owl seen later on
Other birds seen and heard include kestrel, GS woodpecker, curlew, skylark, goldcrest, chiffchaff, willow warblers, & blackcap

Brighouse 'peckers

The lesser peckers appear to have raised at least two young - possibly more, but certainly a male and a female were seen poking out of the nest hole. No activity or food calling at the site since yesterday morning, though one adult and one young bird were (just) seen in a tree about 100 metres away.
Thanks to all who kept the many inquisitive locals happy with info about the birds without revealing too much in the early days of nesting - they all seemed really appreciative of our comments.

Sparrow Hawk V Great Spotted

Hi all
Not directly related to Calderdales birds but I found it fascinating to watch yesterday. I stopped at a mates house on the coast of the Llŷn Peninsular yesterday for a cold drink and a breather on long cycle tour. Richard has a large garden with plenty of bird feeders scattered about and he also has some free range hens which in theory are in a fenced enclosure but in reality they tend to roam at will around the garden of 4 acres or so. Whilst we stood watching a Great Spotted feeding on a nut feeder sitting on a table a female Sparrow Hawk made a near pass at the feeder obviously in the hopes that the pecker would take off and become more vulnerable. The pecker was having none of it and stuck close to the feeder but keeping a wary eye on the hawk who had circled back round and was perched on a telephone wire watching the pecker. This went on for a good five minutes with the pecker still clutching the feeder but nervously watching the hawk. The hawk decided to make another pass to try and dislodge the pecker but it simply moved round the other side of the feeder as the hawk swooped in. The hawk decided that it was wasting its time and flew off into the distance. The pecker waited a good few minutes and then commenced feeding on the nuts again.

With Richards garden being on the coast, scrub cover and trees are few are far between with not many hiding places should a hawk attack except for plantings in the garden and the hen house and run. The hen run is of wire and around 4 feet high but is not roofed over and and the hens are continually scratching around for seeds and food. This is not the first time Richard has seen an unsuccessful hawk attack in the garden and obviously the pecker knew as long as it did not take flight the hawk could not get at it safely. The local sparrows have also cottoned on to the food supply and sanctuary in the garden and hen run because as soon as one of them spots a hawk coming in they all drop like stones into the hen run. The boss of the hen run is a cockerel called Rocky and right vicious bugger he is as well, he chases and attacks absolutely anything (hes killed several rats) be it animal or human that comes near his hens, in fact Richards wife dare not go out into the garden if Rocky has got loose. The local birds have obviously cottoned on to the fact that no sane hawk is going anywhere near the hen run when Rocky is on patrol and so they drop into it for safety !

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hardcastle Crags

1 male Pied Flycatcher singing on territory today - but no sign of a female!
Not a sign of any Spotted Flycatchers/Wood Warbler/Redstart/Tree Pipit or Cuckoo - and we also checked Crimsworth Dean
1 Nuthatch and 2 Treecreepers
2 Siskin over near the crags car park and a f Sparrowhawk overhead with prey
c6 Blackcaps and c12 Willow Warblers singing
1 Little Owl in Crimsworth Dean

Red kite - Turvin Moor

Hello All,

Received the following from one of our volunteers (and ex Countryside Officer) Graham Ramsden

I was out with the volunteers today (ie Monday 1st June) on Turvin Moor near Warland Reservoir SE 965 207 when we saw a Red Kite quartering the moor for about five minutes. Very nice it was too.



Monday, June 01, 2009

Cold Edge

200 young starlings along Cold Edge Road
1 common sandpiper
1 golden plover
1 little owl near the wind farm car park
No wheatears
We were also practising our butterfly id skills(with great difficulty-David says it would be easier if they had a flight call - I'm not so sure -) we did find one green hair streak feeding on bilberry plant and one painted lady.

30 May Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

Location previously reported on.
Lesser spotted woodpecker family feeding.
Photos by JVS

Wood Warbler

Just returned from doing some more of my field surveys for the twite recovery project and am pleased to report a singing Wood Warbler at the bottom of Withens Clough just up stream from the Hinchliffe Arms in the conifers. Please do not disturb it might be the only one we have!

Woodcock Roding Video

If pigs could fly, they'd be called Woodcock. For those of you that don't get out birding at night I've uploaded some Woodcock video clips here:-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpliQXvgo58