Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Gull Roost?

With regard to Steve's post on 23rd December concerning gull roosts I have some new information to add to the discussion. I went up to Scammonden primarily to see if both divers were still present and the good news if you haven't caught up with them yet they are still around and diving frequently. I've attached another couple of photos but promise not to bore you with anymore unless a third one turns up!

Interestingly a solitary Moorhen was also present on the water which is the first time I've seen this species here, perhaps a Ringstone bird?

Anyhow back to the main event, both Black-headed and Common Gull started arriving from the north and north-east around 15:15hrs onwards and at dusk there were a total of 2,500 gulls present comprising 2,200 Black-headed Gull and 300 Common Gull.

At 16:00hrs 27 Herring Gull flew in from the west and circled the gull roost for about 2 minutes before continuing in an easterly direction along the M62 corridor.

There was no gull roost on 23rd December so perhaps the cold snap has resulted in the gulls roosting here as Scammonden is still ice-free?

Male Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and hunting SEO were also seen in the area, not a bad end to 2009!

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Female Reed Bunting in the snow (3 present)
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Lapwings >SW at 09.45
5 Great Back-backed Gulls >W at 10.30

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bargain Book

If anyones interested WH Smiths have got 80% off RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe making it £6 instead of £30.

'A Life With Loons'

Radio 4 last night at 11.30 pm for half -hour had a really interesting programme;
'A Life With - Loons'. In North America - a scientific approach on breeding/ringing/longevity/plumage/calls/feeding/migration etc. It's well worth catching up with if it's repeated - or on the computer i player !!?

TONIGHT - Radio 4 - 11.30 pm - 'A Life With - Ospreys'

Mixenden and Ogden Res'rs

Drake Tufted Duck at Mixenden Res'r this afternoon along with c100 Black Headed Gulls and 35 Common Gulls at the daytime roost.
1 female Sparrowhawk chasing a thrush sp..

1 Kingfisher - sitting on a branch by the outflow below the embankment
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker on the lodge feeder
2 male Sparrowhawks - hunting at the same time either side of the plantation
No wildfowl other than the usual - time for a rarity with this easterly blast!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scammonden & EGP

2 juvenile Great Northern Diver at opposite ends of the water this afternoon, one at the southern end and the one in the photo preferring the NE area near the tower.

1 Woodcock flushed on my walkabout plus 25 Fieldfare in a field near main car.

1st winter male Scaup still at EGP plus:

2 male Pochard
54 Tufted Duck
2 Goldeneye
7 Goosander at least
3 Little Grebe
6 Great Crested Grebe
6 Cormorant
5 Moorhen
28 Coot
3 Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 over E plus 2 on the ice (see photos)

First one of an Adult winter fuscus graellsii

Second one showing certain features I personally have not seen before, plumage almost identical to the first one, perhaps more extensive head-markings, but with an obvious lack of colour in the bill and fleshy coloured legs which presumably could indicate a 3rd winter fuscus graellsii?

Any comments from more experienced observers welcome!

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor) and Ogden

This morning - like the Arctic up there!
1 Meadow Pipit
15 Common Gulls and the usual corvids

Passing Gulls >W
1 L B B G
2 Gt B B Gulls
9 Herring Gulls

Ploughcroft - in the fields
3 Redwing
23 Fieldfare
28 Starling

Ogden (pm)
145 Mallard and that was about it on the res'r other than a small number of B H and Common Gulls passing through towards Thornton Moor
c50 Rooks and c12 Jackdaws >NE late afternoon

GND update

Text came through on grapevine yesterday there are now two GNDs at Scammonden (JB)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Luddenden Dean

We checked out the dean this afternoon either side of the valley upstream from Jerusalem Farm
1 m Sparrowhawk inches off taking a Blackbird which dived into a holly bush!
c4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Dipper near the lower lodge
200+ Woodpigeons
c25 Fieldfare
c20 Redwings

Walshaw Dean 11:30

The best bird was a dunlin, initially out on the ice in the middle of top Walshaw. At one point, it slipped into the water, and 'swam' about a bit, and I thought for a moment we might have a phalarope, as it was still at distance at this point! However, it then flew nearer the dam wall and gave good views before flying off down across middle Walshaw.

Other birds seen:
2+ goldcrest
1 goldeneye on middle Walshaw
Little Owl nr The Ridge
3 kestrel
2 reed bunting
2 mallard lower Walshaw

High Royd - yesterday

Posting on behalf of Andy Huyton:

- Water rail gave good views


2 hours round the res produced 2 GBBGull and 1 Herring Gull east,1 Carrion Crow and 1 male Peregrine also 1 male peregrine on wainhouse tower.

Xmas disaster at Fly Flatts

They're not just bad news for birds!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Just a reminder to those who have still not paid, the grapevine is due and credit will run out at the end of the month.

scammonden this afternoon

a quiet and slushy walk around the harbour side of the resovoir. sadly i could not find the diver which i was gutted about but thats the way things are. however all was not in vain. we got smashing views of a jay in flight. i dont go to scammonden often (3 times in 15 years) so i can not really say plus the usual species because i dont actually know what they are. plenty of b.h.gulls plus a song thrush and woodpigeons and canada geese and lots of mallards.

as we left we saw a kestrel attacking a crow. in the end the crow got so annoyed that it had to land to avoid harrasment.

Scaup at EGP

1st winter male Scaup still present early this morning, another dodgy digiscoped image attached, hopefully someone else with better equipment and warmer hands might produce something of superior quality.

No sign of the Gadwall or Chestnut Teal but plenty of other birds to wet the appetite inluded:

1 male Pochard
52 Tufted Duck
2 Goldeneye (1 male & 1 juvenile)
7 Goosander at least
3 Little Grebe
6 Great Crested Grebe
4 Cormorant at least
3 Moorhen
25 Coot
1 LBB Gull
1 Kingfisher at least

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Roils Head

Posting for Nick Dawtery
4 Great Black-backed Gulls and 10 Herring Gulls over >W this afternoon

Collared Doves have started singing in the last few days!

Boxing Day Goodies at EGP

Male Scaup on the water this morning was a lovely surprise

A pair of Gadwall were resting on the ice

And an escaped male Chestnut Teal which is native to Australia was probably the biggest surprise of all, although this is the third time I have seen a male of this species somewhere along the Calder Valley in the last couple of years, this however is my first sighting of one in the Halifax BW area

Other species counted were:

58 Canada Goose
1 male Pochard
51 Tufted Duck
2 Goldeneye (1 male & 1 juvenile)
1 female Goosander
2 Little Grebe
6 Great Crested Grebe
1 Cormorant
8 Lapwing


A flock of about 200 Fieldfares flew over the house yesterday afternoon at about 15:00 in the direction of Withins Clough.

This morning a single bird was feeding on the apples in the garden.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Still lots of wintering thrushes being reported in town centre areas today on the berrying shrubs/trees - mainly Fieldfares and Redwings along with a few Blackbirds and Mistle Thrushes.


Well done to NK for this quite amazing find at Ogden this morning - winter plumage Dunlin feeding around the duck feeding area until around 12.20 when it flew across to the other side of the embankment towards the res'r outfall. It could still be there. We have very few winter records of this species although they are recorded annually usually between April and September.
Drake Goldeneye also present and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker seen earlier in the day (NK)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Going to roost.

About 240 Jackdaws flying fast over Salterhebble Hill towards West Vale at 15.45 today.

I am curious where the Black Headed Gulls roost. Copley Water Treatment Works regularly attracts about 200 each winter. They start arriving about 09.30, in dribs and drabs. At about 15.30 they move off, more suddenly than they arrive. They seem to fly up the Calder a short way, then turn left over North Dean Woods, continuing in this direction (south).

Ringstone Edge Res. and Scammonden are in that direction. Can anyone say if there is a B.H.Gull roost on either of these? And if so, what time they arrive in the afternoon. I know, I should get off my backside and go and look for myself, but maybe someone knows already.

At Copley, it's hard to scan all the feeding gulls, but it seems breeding was good this spring. In one group of 20 there were four juveniles. In another count of 60 there were 9 juvs. (Dec. 09 counts.)

The Common Gulls are fascinating on Saville Park. Sometimes they try to bring worms up to the surface by running on the spot. Not at the moment, though - it's a land of giant snowmen.

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

1 Little Owl opposite the ski-slope
1 Reed Bunting on the top
1 Wren on the top (why do they hang around in such an inhospitable place at 1,100 ft instead of in the shelter of the valley)!
2 Mistle Thrush
144 Carrion Crows
No sign of Skylarks or Mipits - think they have moved away for the time being!

Ring-necked Parakeet again at Staups Lane in the Shibden Valley this morning from PJWS

Height Wood, Burnt Acres Wood to Eastwood

Height Wood
2 Jays; 6 Long Tailed Tits; Mistle Thrush
Burnt Acres Wood
11 Long Tailed Tits accompanied by 2 very vocal Nuthatches
Eastwood Water Treatment Works
2 Grey Herons overhead (one took off from River Calder as I approached); 41 BH Gulls over the settling beds; 4 Meadow Pipits; 15 Pied Wagtails; 1 Grey Wagtail

There could have been more mipits and pied wagtails than reported as they were very active and quite close to the nearest concrete edge of the settling beds so the view was restricted.

Pochard at EGP

Surprised how much the ice had melted in the last 24 hours as the lake was 90% ice yesterday morning but by early this afternoon it only covered about 30% of the area, consequently many more waterbirds around today.

43 Canada Goose

1 male Pochard

43 Tufted Duck
2 Goldeneye (1 male & 1 juvenile)
6 Great Crested Grebe
2 Cormorant
3 Moorhen
28 Coot
16 Lapwing
c350 Black-headed Gull
70 Common Gull

Juvenile Great Northern Diver still present at Scammonden this afternoon, I watched it for over half an hour and during that period it uttered it's haunting call at least 6 times, absolutely magical!

ogden yesterday and today

a cnada goose trying to nick my mums glove

a christmas robin

the nuthatch. it was so still at first it could have been plasctic

3 teal-feel free to contaradict my i.d.

included just becuase it looks nice

went to ogden yesterday (and today) in the freezing cold. the most exciting find was the 3 teals on the middle of the resovoir which included 1 male and 2 females. i do have a photo which is the only evidence i have. plenty of ducks, robins, blackbirds and the first nuthatch i had ever seen at ogden plus there were two. also there was a kestrel. (all photos from yesterday)

today we went again. all the teals ahd gone but there was a sparrowhawk and a kestrel and plent of the usual stuff. also a goldcrest but no nuhatches


1000am this morning flying towards Elland chased by 4 crows,also 5 Teal, 3 Goldeneye, 18 Tufted and 4 Great Crested Grebe.

Raglan Street (off Pellon Lane)

11 am still lots of thrushes about on the sorbus berries (also on Chatham Street and Sainsbury's car park)
100+ Fieldfares
100+ Redwings
30 + each Bl;ackbirds and Mistle Thrushes
4 Lapwings over >SE

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Halifax Town Centre

Lower Pellon Lane area/Chatham Street/Lister Lane/Crossley Gardens this morning.
Bad weather - thrushes all over the place!
100+ Fieldfares
100+ Redwings
50+ Blackbirds
50+ Mistle Thrush
c30 Starlings
Mainly feeding in shrubberies and on sorbus sp. berries - no Waxwings!

Monday, December 21, 2009

oh deer

4 roe deer and a woodcock at close quarters at brierley

Coach Road, Brighouse area - pm

c 60 Pinkfeet over, flying N/NW towards Halifax at 2.40
up to 3 Nuthatches searching for food, one in particular on the stone wall, trying to extract things out of the gaps between the stones: behaving just like a Blue/Great Tit.
Jays feeding on the ground at the bottom of the wall.
Treecreeper on the same tree two days running
4 Bullfinches near well stocked feeders in a local garden.
Kestrel being mobbed and seen off by Magpie.
12 Magpies together in the field.
2 GS Woodpeckers.

Lower Gorple

Posting for Andy Huyton for yeterday - walking down from Lower Gorple towards the car park came upon a flock of 20+ Reed Buntings but in the blizzard conditions and wet binoculars was unable to check them for any different buntings!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


1 female Teal there this morning

yesterday - 1 drake Goldeneye and 1 Dipper

Last minute Xmas present?

Looking for a late Christmas present? The CBCG have 4 Bushnell day sacks for sale. A fantastic bargain at just £7.50 each' To reserve yours contact Nick C on

Easy birding - Bramblings and Redpolls

2 Redpolls (Lesser) and a Brambling on the garden feeders this morning; maximum of 9 Blackbirds in the garden at one time.

The Little Grebe is still at Lee Dam and 16 Fieldfares flew over Lumbutts towards Todmorden. Still haven't seen a Goldeneye on Gaddings or Longfield yet.

GND Update

Still present at Scammonden along with a male Goosander, Kestrel and a Peregrine to liven things up a bit on a bitterly cold but beautiful morning.

By the way this isn't a 'Spot the Birdy' picture!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Is anyone aware of any winter Jackdaw roosts in Calderdale ?

Or if you are not aware of a roost site you may have seen Jackdaws/other corvids heading in a regular direction mid/late afternoons. If you have, please note the area you have seen them and the direction they are heading and approximate numbers would be a great help.
Please let me know if you have any information
Many thanks

Lapland Bunting

No reports of a sighting today - although several birders have been to look!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lee Dam

Just one Goosander at Lee Dam this afternoon, but also a Little Grebe and 2 Teal, along with the resident Moorhen and a few Mallards.

Lapland Bunting from NCD

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halifax - Burdock Way

Burdock Way roundabout and the dual carriageway leading up towards King Cross - 30 or so Redwings this morning feeding on the sorbus (mountain ash) tree berries along with c12 Blackbirds and 6 Woodpigeons. No sign of any Waxwings yet but strong E/NE due later this week - watch out!


If you can, watch out for Countryfile, BBC1 on Thursday 17th at 8pm. You may spot something about Ogden!
From Anthony Greenwood - Ogden web-site

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Please see my comments on the previous posting if you are going up to Swales to look for the Lap Bunt tomorrow. There are Reed Buntings there as well!

Also please take care as this is an old landfill site. I don't know if it's private land but there are two small wooden stiles onto the land.

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Lapland Bunting - it is there, honest!
Click on image to enlarge.

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

I went up there this afternoon - weather not good but the top was just clear of mist but the light was not good.I located a group of c10 Skylarks and as they flushed I noticed within the group a slightly smaller bird with them, but not a Meadow Pipit and no white wing flashes to suggest Snow Bunting.

The flock flew around and landed down near the manure pile so I approached with caution - about 2 pm. After some time checking the birds, I relocated the the slightly smaller bird and noticed two pale stripes down it's streaked brown back and rump and a distinct facial pattern, pale bill and dark spots across the breastband. It was creeping around in the grass and furrows so I only got fleeting glimpses, but had a gut feeling for Lapland Bunting!

I called BS, AC and NCD and put it out on the Grapevine - for some assistance!

In the meantime the bird flew around the hill top and heard it's call - 'tue' or 'chu' and I listened for the rattle but could not hear it against the sound of machinery nearby.

NK arrived and later PJWS and we subsequently had excellent views of the bird in the tractor tyre furrows, in the short weedy grass and also on top of the manure pile. At around 3.40 it landed nearby, away from the Skylarks and crept around among the short vegetation to within 8 meters or so when we were able to see much more plumage detail of the bird which by this time we had confirmed it's identity as a Lapland Bunting having heard it's full flight call, seen the red/brown wing panel between narrow white bars, pale crown stripe, reddish/brown face pattern and dark eye, dark spotting down the flanks and pale belly/u tail. One outer tail feather on the left was showing creamy brown.

Nigel and myself did take some photo's but not had a close look at them yet - but the light was not good for shots of a small bird in the grass but will put on the blog if they are any good!
All in all not a bad afternoon. A first for me in Calderdale.
Full description to follow in due course to NCD

Bertie does Breakfast

Hi all
Just an update on our regular Buzzard, "Bertie" at the feeding station this morning here in North Wales. Shots show the buzzard sitting in a tree around 10/15 feet away from my office awaiting me to set out his food this morning at around 8am. He then choses to carry off yet another slice of wholemeal bread to his regular feeding perch under some trees after being mobbed by crows. Notice the dead crow just in front of him being ignored in preference to bread. Thirty minutes or so later he came back again and started plucking another dead crow even nearer to my office before flying off with it to his feeding perch, obviously he likes to make sarnies :-)

We have a huge mixed flock of Golden Plover and Lapwings feeding in the fields on the coast near the caravan at the moment. They must number over 1000 birds with around two thirds of the flock Lapwings and the rest Golden Plover, a stunning sight as they move over the fields feeding and calling. They suddenly appeared in the fields when we had a series of light frosts over the weekend.

Patchworker strikes again!

Well done to Dave Sutcliffe who this afternoon located a Lapland Bunting with Skylarks on his patch at Swalesmoor

Monday, December 14, 2009


This afternoon;
1 Cormorant headed off >NE at 1 pm
2 Raven >NW at 1.10 pm
1 Dipper catching small fish in the top pond
1 Barnacle Goose still there with a Canada Goose
1 L B B Gull - probably scandinavian race
180 B H gulls and 40+ Common Gull
1 Goldcrest
36 Rooks >N probably going to roost

Work in progress 2.

I have added a link to a list of Moths and butterflies recorded in Calderdale.It needs a bit of work as yet but should be sorted in soon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lee Mount

Thanks to a very 'eagle' eyed daughter for spotting 6 Whooper Swans overhead and heading SE towards Halifax at 1.10 pm today. They came from direction of Mixenden/Ogden.

Wigeon & a rare bird on Ringstone!

5 Wigeon and the odd sight of a migrant Moorhen following them around on the water early this morning. I checked the old Ringstone Blog and noted that one was seen on 18/03/06 and it is certainly a new species for me at this site.

Earlier 3 adult male and 1 juvenile Goldeneye at EGP plus 35 Tufted Duck as a supplement to Mike's posting yesterday here.

Juvenile Great Northern Diver still present at Scammonden but seems to be favouring the area nearest the M62 for the past few days. The water level has risen significantly during the past week and I personally haven't seen it at the southern end since then.

The Diver seemed unsettled this morning and at one point took off from the middle of the reservoir and flew North before 'crash landing' on the water partially submerging itself in the process close to the wall that runs parallel to the M62.

Elsewhere 4 Golden Plover and 5 Common Snipe but the Moorhen was the highlight for me this morning!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


0900/1100. 6 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, 6 Cormorant, 28 Tufted, 36 Canada Geese, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Teal, c75 Black Headed Gulls, 1 Green Woodpecker and 1 Great Spotted. Also posting shot of Blackcap in my garden on 04/12 and a couple more for some colour on the blog.

Recent reports

Today, 12th Dec from NCD at Roils Head - 70 P F Geese >W just shortly after 2 pm.

11th Dec from PJWS - 1 juv Mute Swan on the canal at Elland opposite Plains Lane and recently behind the Barge and Barrell pub. This could be (?) the juvenile seen at Mixenden Res'r on 27th Nov. We have very few records of this species in Calderdale in recent years!
1 Mistle Thrush singing in Sainsbury's car park early afternoon

10th Dec - 1 drake Goldeneye at Fly Flats along with 12 Canada Geese. Several Red Grouse and 1 Kestrel also present (DJS)
1 Song Thrush in full song at the top of City Lane , Wheatley this morning

9th Dec - 62 P F Geese >W over Roils Head just after 3 pm from NCD

5th Dec - c50 P F Geese passing over Halifax Town Centre >W at around 10.45 am

Friday, December 11, 2009

Buzzard Feeding

As a few of you will know Sue and I moved to North Wales in 2008 and for the first time in our lives we are living in an area where Buzzards are common as they are not persecuted. I have posted on the blog about the "buzzard feeding station" I have set up around 20 yards from my office window in the caravan. I place locally shot carrion crows, magpies and any not too smelly road kill I find. I put something out at least daily now as the locals are using the quieter months for farming to bump off all the crows and magpies on their land. Ravens,Jays, Rooks , Jackdaws and raptors are left alone but crows and magpies are killed on sight due to them attacking free range poultry chicks and weak or sickly lambs (lambing occurs 12 months of the year here).

The other day I spotted "Bertie" one of the regular buzzards appearing to feed on some stale bread I chucked near the feeding station but thought I must be mistaken. Last night I threw some bread out again before going to bed (badgers eat it) and when I got up this morning spotted Bertie on the ground near two dead carrion crows. To my surprise he ignored the crows and started feeding on the bread ! I was certain it was the bread but this was confirmed when he spotted me and took off to his regular feeding spot under some trees at the other side of the field as he had a slice of granary bread clutched in one foot ! Now obviously Bertie could be a one off who likes a slice of granary for breakfast ( I might try him on toast later ) but I would never in a million years expected a buzzard to eat bread and even less likely to ignore dead meat and choose bread instead.

You photographers would LOVE it here as there is something happening all year round. I take point and snap photos and shot some videos on the camera but someone who knows what they are doing would get some stunning video and stills. The bird feeding station around 6-8 feet from my window and we get hundreds of birds on it daily in winter. A Sparrowhawk makes a couple of passes a day trying to grab something and earlier in October we had a Merlin that hung around the field and kept on trying to ambush one of the smaller birds. On several occasions in October it dived into the brambles behind the feeding station trying for a small bird which was hiding and I got superb views of it from no more than 8 feet away.

Seasons Greetings to all in Calderdale from Sue and Paul

Thursday, December 10, 2009

High Royd S F

The site is really difficult to observe even now that the leaves have fallen. Plenty of water in the lagoons but some lagoons are rapidly filling up with willow scrub
c15 Teal
c12 Mallard
2 Nuthatch
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
c40 Carrion Crows on the filter beds along with 6 Pied Wagtails

Cold Edge/Hunter Hill

Vis mig - thought I would give it a try, even though the main migration has now passed!
Counting period: 9:00-10:15
Weather: Clear skies. Wind W/NW F4. Temp 5 degrees c

Sparrowhawk 2 >S
Blackbird 2 >N
Woodpigeon 2 >N
Fieldfare 48 >SW
Meadow Pipit 1 >SW
Chaffinch 1 >SW

Totals: 56 individuals, 6 species, 1:15
Comments: A single flock of 48 Fieldfare went over high at 09:15 >SW and I thought there might be some follow up movement - but I was mistaken!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


The recent flurry of activity has seen the grapevine fund plummet so contributions are again due please. Many people now pay for several lots at once so are currently in credit, those who are due are BHo, DB, MB, MS, NCD, BNO, SG, SB, SC, WB, AZ, JC, PJWS & Roy

If you would like to join (or drop out) please contact either Nick C or Dave S.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


3 Crossbills flew over the pines near the 'giant's tooth' at 3pm (2 red males and 1 green fem/juv), they dropped into the top of some pines but we were unable to relocate them.
1 Barnacle Goose and 1 Canada Goose
1 Kestrel
20 Starling >W

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

This morning;
12 Skylark
2 Reed Bunting
23 Meadow Pipits
3 Pied Wagtail
Male and female Sparrowhawks
1 Kestrel
90+ Carrion Crows
12 Magpies

Scammonden GND

Still by the boathouse section at 1400 today,also 93 Canada Geese,29 Redwings and a mixed flock of Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch about 70 strong.

Monday, December 07, 2009

GND at Scammonden

Still there at 09:45 this morning at the southern end of the dam swimming away from me towards the shore opposite the Sailing Club. I moved around to that shore but couldn't pick it up again.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

More extreme weather in the Atlantic

The recent rarities for inland (GND and Frigate Bird in Huddersfield) came just after there had been "Violent Storm" force 11 winds in the Western Approaches.

Brace yourselves. The next low coming in is going to cause hurricane force 12 winds in Rockall, Bailey and further out on the high seas. That is as high as the scale goes, apart from tropical cyclones in the far east where it goes up to force 17.

Look up "High Seas Forecast", also "Beaufort Scale" in Wikepedia for a seabird's eye view of what really bad weather at sea looks like.

Scammonden - Sunday

GND Pretty mobile but mainly at the south end. It headed further north when people started throwing tennis balls in for their dogs to fetch but came back later when the sailing club launched their boats!

Pair of stonechats kept me company while waiting.

c100 canada geese came in.
2 kestrel
1 jay
c10 goldfinch
1 or 2 goldcrest

GND - Sunday

Still there at 13:30 at the end away from the M62. Couple of guys there with big lenses so we may be treated to more shots later!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Great Northern Diver

I arrived at 10:15 to see two birders walking up to the road. The diver was in the middle if the dam. as I got to the small bay (just south of the floating harbour) it flew towards me and landed about 100 yds off and steadily came within 20 yds. My last view was at 10:45 and it was heading for the very southern narrow part of the dam. By far my best view ever of any diver. Little grebe present. Goldeneye on Ringstone.

Great Northern Diver Update

Juvenile still present first thing this morning on Scammonden. Male Goldeneye still there but giving the diver a wide berth.

The diver can be quite elusive at times as it is diving frequently often staying underwater for around 50 seconds and occasionally reappearing some distance away from where it originally dived.

Blackstone Edge, Whiteholme, Lighthazzles

Checked the upland reservoirs yesterday while it was dry and calm but nothing to report, just one Mallard and two BH Gulls. Nothing on Gaddings either.

10 Lapwings and 1 Tufted Duck at Longfield though, with 9 Goosanders (8 female and 1 drake); a Grey Heron and 7 Mallards on Lee Dam.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Shibden Valley

From PJWS this afternoon - Ring-necked Parakeet again, seen from Staups Lane. It was flying over the fields west of Staups Lane heading in the direction towards Horley Green (the best vantage point is where the tarmac changes to cobbles). It's been seen here on several occasions recently.

Pink feet

A skein of c.160 pink feet passed high NW over Jumble Hole at around 4:15 this afternoon. Not worth putting on grapevine, as not least of all they'd have been past Burnley before I finished writing the text!

Great Northern Diver

Still present for the third day at least, looking really settled and feeding well this morning.

A male Goldeneye was also on the water and it was interesting to observe the divers intolerance to it whenever the Goldeneye happened to be within about 10 metres of it.

The Diver did what it does best and dived, presumably swimming underwater in the direction of the Goldeneye, causing it to quickly take to the air, wings whirring as it flew to another area of the water.

I have attached a couple more photographs of this cracking bird, the first one in unusual winter light but clearly showing the pale edges on the mantle, scapulars, rump and flanks which would not be the case if it were an adult.

The second photo hopefully shows a true reflection on how massive the bill of this species looks in the field, no wonder it is able to swallow small fish when diving underwater. Lets hope it hangs around long enough for everyone to catch up with it.

Other birds of note were:
2 Kestrel
2 Little Grebe
2 Cormorant
2 Great Spotted Woodpecker

Earlier 4 adult Herring Gull flew SW up the valley and over towards Deanhead.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gadwall Record Numbers?

Went out early afternoon (before Sean's posting) to check Ringstone, Deanhead, Scammonden and a couple of other sites out of the area. Zilch on Ringstone and Deanhead but I think I struck the jackpot at Scammonden again!

I didn't expect the juvenile Great Northern Diver to still be there as it didn't appear to be feeding yesterday but when I located it today near to the inlet about 15:15hrs it regularly dived until I left at dusk so presumably it's catching some fish. Cormorant seem to be attracted to the water in small numbers these days so hopefully it might hang around for the weekend.

Just after 15:35hrs I picked up a flock of 10 ducks circling the water having arrived I believe from a westerly direction, the square white wing-patch on the secondaries being immediately obvious, they continued to circle a few times before landing on the south-east bank which was a bit unfortunate as I was nowhere near them.

By the time I got reasonably near them it was 15:45hrs so the light was fading fast, the first record shot was taken with me stood in the water and I think it is just possible to make out 10 ducks, one being on the far right, the second one shows 8 but they were obviously aware of my presence by this time and had taken to the water. When I left in the gathering gloom all 10 were bobbing about in the middle of the water in front of the Sailing Club.

2 Little Grebe and 2 Cormorant were also present and 1 male Goosander also appeared about 15:50hrs but soon flew off to the south. I'm now off for a lie down after all the excitement of the last few days!

Peregrine falcon

A male peregrine was seen around the piece hall in Halifax town centre yesterday.8 Redwing,6 Herring Gull high east and 4 Goldfinch near the square chapple.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Brighouse Garden

11.30am Female Blackcap feeding at Stratton Rd.

Not quite our area but.............

Bradley Wood Scout Activity Centre, Brighouse

2 Nuthatch & a Treecreeper there lunchtime today

Scammonden and Ringstone Res'rs

Well done to Dave Tattersley for locating the juvenile Great Northern Diver this morning at Scammonden. I visited the site this afternoon with Nick D, the bird was still present at 3 pm and gave some fairly close views on the eastern side of the res'r.
1 Green Woodpecker also present
4 Shelduck still there late afternoon
2 drake Goosander
c60 Lapwings
2 adult L B B Gulls present with Common and B H Gulls

Unprecedented Infux?

The excitement continues with yet another juvenile Great Northern Diver this morning at Scammonden, having seen 2 late yesterday at Blackmoorfoot.

Aside from the GN Diver situation there must have been a influx of ducks over the last couple of days as there were 6 Teal at Ringstone plus a Goldeneye at Deanhead yesterday and just south of the area on a partially frozen area of water not much bigger than some garden ponds I had 9 Wigeon, 2 Teal and another 2 Goldeneye.

Today on the same area of water there were 12 Teal, 3 Wigeon and the same 2 Goldeneye plus the Goldeneye on Deanhead which was still around. Blackmoorfoot also had 4 Wigeon and 2 Goldeneye yesterday and then 4 unseasonable Shelduck turn up at Ringstone, it just goes to show that moorland reservoirs aren't always birdless!

Anyhow back to Scammonden, I located the GN Diver at 10:55hrs and managed to get a few digiscoped efforts before it swam steadily towards the M62 and completely out of my photographic range. I observed it for about 40 minutes and in all that time it only dived twice and sadly didn't appear to catch anything on either occasion.

Other birds noted:

78 Canada Goose
1 Greylag Goose
1 male Sparrowhawk
2 Little Grebe
2 Cormorant

Great northern Diver

Dave Tattersley reports a juvenile on Scammonden today, Sean G checked later and comments its favouring the motorway end and a scope is needed!

There seems to be quite an influx of GNDs at the moment, I hear there were two together on Blackmoorfoot (Huddersfield)

House Sparrows

Anybody had any experience of House Sparrows lining empty nestboxes for winter roosts? A contact of mine in the north east put up a terrace of boxes in September and has just noticed some of the holes with grass poking out, on checking them she found them lined with grass and a few droppings. She is sure they haven't been used for late breeding (September would be very late?) so assumes they must have been lined as a warm roost?

Lee Dam & Longfield Dam

Just a quick wander around my old haunts this morning, nothing terribly exciting I'm afraid.

Lee Dam.

4 M and 7 F Goosander.
1 Little Grebe seen very briefly.
1 Moorhen.
1 Mistle Thrush.
1 M Kestrel just W of Lumbutts.

Longfield Dam.

8 Lapwing.
5 Black-headed Gull.
30+ Canada Geese
30+ Mallard, mostly in field to S of road.