Friday, December 31, 2010

Various sites

Swales Moor this morning:
It was good that the fog had eventually lifted up there. No sign of the Twite today though and not one single gull passing over, but there was no wind! I wonder if the big gulls passed over the last few days flying higher than the fog in clear skies (?)
1 Skylark
3 Reed Buntings
2 Meadow Pipits
8 Grey Partridge
c60 Carrion Crows and 30 Jackdaws
2 Rooks passing over

Mixenden Res'r
230 gulls and I checked every one! (190 Black-headed and 40 Common)

Withens Head
1 Little Owl (how it survived these last 5 weeks up there is amazing)
70+ Geese - but far distant heading west over beyond Stoodley Pike at 12.50 were probably Pink-feet.

31st December

Final tally for the year 130 species in Calderdale, no doubt DJS has more? Thanks already to Dave Tattersley and Pete Atkins for already sending me thier records for 2010. I will be looking to get the 2009 report out as soon as possible in the new year. If everbody can get thier records in by the end of January that would be great.


Stunning male mandarin with his female this morning from the footbridge over the Calder in Mytholmroyd - I believe they are long stayers but never seen him before. Also a couple of very pale grey/white Muscovies

Canal Walk

Took a walk late afternoon yesterday from High Royd to Moderna.
11 Woodpidgeon
2 Treecreeper
1 Heron
c50 LTT's in three seperate flocks
1 Coal Tit plus Blue & Great Tits

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Other reports today

A pair of Brambling in a private garden at Heath Royd (SJ)

1 Brambling heard calling several times in the top of a tree in Shroggs Park this morning

6 Waxwings reported yesterday afternoon along Wheatley Road - these may be part of the group of 7 at Ovenden Avenue which were there till mid afternoon yesterday. None reported today from this location

NCD also had 46 Pink-footed Geese heading NE over Roils Head around 2.50pm

Swales Moor

Very misty again today.
1 colour ringed male Twite still there this morning (white above green above pale blue on left and BTO ring on right plus possibly another colour ring on right (?)
3 Reed Buntings -all males
1 Pied Wagtail
8 Grey Partridge
3 adult Herring Gulls >W

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Swales Moor

This morning;
1 colour ringed Twite still present feeding on seed heads
1 Reed Bunting
1 Meadow Pipit
8 Grey Partridge
2 Great Black-backed Gulls and 2 Herring Gulls >W

Lee Mount

7 Waxwings between 8.30 and 9.30 in trees at the top of Ovenden Avenue, behind the old Grand View pub. They could still be around with several berrying shrubs nearby and a large Cotoneaster full of berries outside Lee Mount School !

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mixenden Res'r

I checked the res'r in the mist this afternoon in case the recent Ogden or Mount Tabor 1st winter Mediterranean Gull was present. The res' is frozen over except for a small area of free water by the inflow. There were c150 gulls present and coming to bathe but no Med Gull.
125 B H Gulls
25 Common Gulls
1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

It was a 'long shot' this morning going up there in the event of any gull movement but the mist put paid to that.
1 colour ringed Twite was a surprise, feeding on seed heads and 9 Grey Partridge were nearby.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lots of birds in Shaw Wood

Walked through Shaw Wood this afternoon and the place was alive with birds enjoying the balmy zero degrees heat.
c. 20 Long Tailed Tits with Coal, Blue and Great Tits
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
Little Owl

Other news today

2 Brambling at Heath Mount today feeding on bird feeders, in Silver Birch and on apples on the ground (SJ)

Mount Tabor

Photo's of the 1st winter Mediterranean Gull on Friday 24th December (with an adult Black-headed Gull on the left)

27th December

Plenty of Common Gulls today at Mount Tabor but no sign of the Med Gull. 2 Herring Gulls flew west late PM.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

EGP.....Boxing day

A big move of Gulls west today saw 250 + Herring Gulls and 18 GBBGulls west between 11.00 and 12,also around 11 Bullfinch,30 + 10 LTTits,1 song thrush,50 Field fare 60+ Redwing,2 Mistle thrush,1 Teal,10 Moorhen,4 coot,1 Goldeneye,5 tufted duck,4 cormorant,5 Lapwing and 3 goosander


The Fieldfare was back in the garden today scoffing the apples we'd thrown out.

 Of more interest (to me anyway) was a Rook on the wall of the field at the back of our house. We haven't seen a Rook up here for years. Things must be getting desperate.

26th December

6 Herring Gulls and 1 Lesser BB Gull flew west at Mount Tabor this PM, no sign of Med Gull.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

25th December

c80 Herring Gulls flew west at Mount Tabor at 1.45PM. No sign of the Med Gull. 3 Collared Doves singing between Woodlesford and Broadley.

Friday, December 24, 2010

More Waxwings

20 at Lowfield Business Park Elland this afternoon at 14:30hrs, still plenty of berries around which is obviously the attraction.

Mount Tabor

Thanks to Nick for hanging on to that Med Gull at Mt Tabor!
I eventually caught up with it this afternoon, suitably armed with kitchen waste and bread. It appeared around 1.45 pm and was still there around 3 pm when I left with Martynbirder.
What a fantastic looking bird and a great find Nick.

2 Lapwings also went over >W - they must be struggling in this weather unless they get off to the coast.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

23rd December

Med Gull still present at Mount Tabor 2.00PM. Talking to Mike Denton last night about this bird and I mentioned its odd tail pattern, he reckons that its lost its two outer left hand tail feathers and replaced them with second winter feathers ie. when a first winter bird looses a tail feather it doesnt replace it with another first winter feather but grows feathers in the next stage of the birds plumage early.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

22nd December Mount Tabor

c40 Common Gulls today at Mount Tabor and the 1st winter Med Gull still present 2.10PM. 1 Kestrel over Ovenden Wood was the first Ive seen in a while.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

21st December

The Med Gull showed very well this PM at Mount Tabor. Anyone with a half decent camera should get some stunning shots of this bird. Also 6 Herring Gulls west.

Big Freeze 21 December

The River Calder was almost completely frozen over this morning around Elland Gravel Pits and the Bradley Hall Farm area.

There were just a few areas of ice-free water, mainly around the weirs where a few waterbirds were congregated. A pair of Mandarin Duck were near The Old Cornmill near Brighouse, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 female Goosander, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant and a female Sparrowhawk were the only birds of note about, beautiful scenery but desperate times for any birds around here at the moment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Brighouse Garden

The garden was alive with birds on return from lunch.

18 Waxwings
19 Redwings
15 Blackbirds
2 Mistle Thrush
1 Song Thrush
3 Jays
3 Greenfinch
3 Chaffinch +Blue/Great and Coal Tits
3 Curlew flew over at 1515>E
Not been around for nearly a week so garden birding has been very productive but it has been _minus 13c in my shed for the photos.

Suburban Goosanders

Goosanders in Mytholmroyd
Did anybody else see the three red-head goosanders in the Calder under Caldene Avenue bridge in Mytholmroyd? They were there at midday yesterday (Sunday 19th December). One seemed to be looking for fish - repeatedly put its head under water and then raised its body, flapped its wings and shook its head, as if the water was too cold for comfort - which I'm sure it was. There was a dipper in the water, too. There were also three goosanders at Fallingroyd about a week ago, but that party included a male. Is it usual for goosanders to be in the Calder in built-up areas, or is it because of the hard winter?


I transfered this from the Wildlife Blog

20th December

The Mediterranean Gull as reappeared at Mount Tabor this PM after dissapearing for 3 days.

I like Birds...

The garden feeding station has been very busy this week as the cold snap is hitting the Birds very hard keep putting scraps out  and keep the feeders topped up.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

at Stocks Lane, Warley 3pm today.

Also a Roe Deer there, and a pair of Kestrels in Willowfield

Alan, Alan ! An early Xmas smile

EGP Yesterday (18 December)

On the way down I saw 2 Waxwings at the junction of Briggate & Bridge End Road in Brighouse at 14:10hrs so I got out of the car for a closer look with the intention of photographing a Waxwing with snow on the branches.

10 Redwing were also around, one of which managed to narrowly escape by millimetres from the outstretched talons of a Sparrowhawk, which was exhilarating to observe just as I was about to photograph a Waxwing!

Photograph below taken last Thursday (16/12) at dusk of the 10 Greylag Geese which Steve E mentioned were present on 12/12 at Ringstone. 7 Grey Partridge were also around nearby.

Had a really good wander around EGP yesterday from mid-afternoon until dusk and the following were present:

1 (f) Wigeon which has been present since 3/12 at least
4 Teal
7 (6m & 1f) Pochard
29 Tufted Duck
2 (1m & 1 juvenile) Goldeneye
23 (12m & 11f) Goosander
5 Little Grebe
6 Great Crested Grebe
22 Cormorant in roost at 15:50hrs, 4 of which are in the photo below

2 Grey Heron
30+ Moorhen
23 Coot
26 Lapwing
1 Green Woodpecker
10+ Redwing
45+ Magpie in roost at 16:00hrs
5 Lesser Redpoll
8+ Bullfinch

And finally 1 hungry Fox photographed from distance At EGP at 15:15hrs on the south of the river & railway line.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cromwell Bottom Car Park

Just popped into the Cromwell Car Park to see if there were any Redpoll and got a cracking visit from a Nuthatch.  There were also 104 Canada Geese in the field by the Skiing Lake plus all the normal Tits


At lunchtime today - there was a lovely flock of about 15 Siskins feeding on trees behind Sainsbury's Petrol station in Halifax - had a great view from the office kitchen!!  

Hollas Bridge & Ringstone

Hollas Bridge, Copley 1pm today

Thought i'd do a spot of birdwatching as a pretext for spying on the very dubious road building going on down there.

Robin, blackbird, wren
Goosander, f

26 Mallard

3 Teal


Blackheaded gull
20 Collared Dove
Tawny Owl in flight, mobbed by 2 Carrion Crow
Kestrel, f

Same site at dusk on Tuesday had Grey Heron & Kingfisher

Sowerby Bridge town centre, 2pm today

Grey Wagtail
2 Cormorant (I've never seen them here before)

Ringstone Edge, 2.30pm Sunday 12th Dec

Goosander, pair
Mallard, pair
Grey Heron
Pied Wagtail, feeding on the ice
5 Common Gull
100 BHGull
Herring & LBBG, large movement west along M62
2 Carrion Crow
10 Greylag
4 Redwing
Kestrel, m

Sorry not in hide log, I had lost my key.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

16th December

First winter Mediterranean Gull still present at Mount Tabor today 1.45PM.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mount Tabor Med

The Mount Tabor Med Gull present for its 10th Day. Its only missed twice, on both occasions Mike Henshaw arrived but but the Med Gull didnt (Third time lucky Mike). Again it showed well between 2 - 3PM. Its still having trouble standing properly but this didnt stop it squbbling with the black heads for scraps.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Neighbour saw Redpolls on the feeder on Saturday. Feeding on thistle seed.
Sorry for late posting

Elland GP Saturday

A bit late on this, keep forgetting my login. Common Redpoll on Saturday at EGP. Also 4 curlew in the fields across the road.

Jay House Lane area seems to have a roost of thrushes somewhere, about 15:00 numbers build up from a dozen to into the hundreds in a short space of time.

On the subject of supermarket binoculars, Lidl have 30x60's on sale this thursday at £15. A bit big for nieces and nephews but worth a look.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12th Dec Herring Gulls

94 Herring Gulls past over Mount Tabor in 1 hour going west this PM, one of them came down and fed alongside the Med Gull. Also 5 Great Black Backs flew west. The Med gull still has 2 legs but one of them appears injured, it as difficulty standing and often flails its wings about to keep its balance. It looks like we definatly have two first winter birds, this one at Mount Tabor and another at Ogden.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Woodchat Shrike

This is a pic of the Woodchat Shrike found in Calderdale a couple of years ago.Oscar the finder is coming to stay at his aunts again this x-mas ..let hope he finds another crippler...


Had a Brambling and a Fieldfare in the apple tree this morning. The Fieldfare was expending more energy on chasing away the 8 Blackbirds that were also feeding on the apples than it was getting from eating the apples.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

ogden med not there

went this PM to try and find the mediteranean gull at ogden, but it failed to show. It was quite late and birds were leaving to roost so it may have gone with them. I will go and have a look tomorrow to be sure!

Shibden - Saturday 11/12/10

7 moorhens in the park along with 70 blackheaded gulls.

Large flocks of redwing and fieldfare on the hillside between the park and Southowram. The best spot to watch from is from the footpath up Pump Lane, which runs from Shibden Hall Croft up to Barrowclough/Dark lane. They are pretty flighty but I settled in at the side of the track and within half an hour they had moved back into the hawthorns above the track.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Budget bins search

Often around this time of year, Lidl, Aldi or others often do a half decent pair of standard 8x40 bins (e.g. Bressler) for c. £10-£14 that make a brilliant present for nephews, nieces etc starting out in birdwatching. Not seen any offers out there yet, but if anyone spots anything could they post it on here for others to benefit from? Thanks

Is it just me...

...or is the new BTO logo a bit childish?

I went onto the BTO web site today and was a little taken aback by the new image and thought I'd gone to the Blue Peter site by mistake. I'm all for change but for a serious, scientific organisation like the BTO this seems a backward step.

Bring back the Gannet logo.

Lost Leg ?

I may be wrong but the Med Gull appears to have lost a leg, it was having great difficulty standing up and when it did I could only see one leg. Its definatly the same bird thats been here all week, was the Ogden bird having trouble standing this morning ? There were also far less gulls about today, I only saw 3 Commons where as yesterday there were 40. If people visit the site over the weekend its about 2 and a half miles up Pellon Lane from Halifax. At the sign for Mount Tabor on the left hand side of the road theres a gap in the wall which gives access to the site. The bird is usually present between 2 - 3 PM.

Fame but not fortune - photos needed

Hello All,

My planning colleagues are putting together a consultation leaflet relating to Local Development Framework (the successor to the UDP) and the South Pennines SPA/SAC area.

They are looking for a few high quality pics of appropriate upland birds (eg twite, golden plover, seo, curlew) and heathland/blanket bog habitat.

No money in it but photographer will be credited.

Please let me have any photos by Monday 4pm.



Scammonden 09/12/10

Paid a visit late on yesterday afternoon to see if any gulls were roosting as they did for a period of time last winter whist Blackmoorfoot was frozen, which it currently is once again.

Around 2000 small gulls were in the roost at 16:20hrs, 1600 Black-headed Gull & 400 Common Gull present, no Lesser Black-backed or any of the larger gulls at all and I couldn't find Nick's Med Gull either!

It is interesting that the Blackmoorfoot gull roost in early December hosts between 5000 & 6000 gulls yet only 2000 gulls like the look of Scammonden which is completely ice free incidently.I wonder where the other 4000 or so go?

Not many other birds to report although 5 Mute Swan (3 adults and 2 juveniles) was a bit of a shock up there, it just shows how desperate things are when lowland waters freeze over for some waterbirds. I have a feeling that this is the largest number of Mute Swan I personally have seen in the Calderdale area..

3 Wigeon (2 males and 1 female) were near the southern inlet, one of the males frequently whistling which I think is always a great sound to hear.

To complete the picture 2 Great Crested Grebe and 1 Cormorant were also on the water.

Earlier on I nipped down to Elland Gravel Pits which sadly has only a very small area of open water left and not surprisingly no sign of the Scaup which is a real shame as I for one would have been really interested to observe any plumage changes unfold.

Someone posted last Sunday on Birdguides (after my post on here, which didn't surprise me as it seemed to happen quite a bit last winter with my Great Northern Diver posts in particular) that the bird was a 1st winter male, but I personally do not think from photographs or views obtained that the sex or age of this bird for that matter could have been confirmed with any degree of certainty at this stage.

Anyhow almost forgot to mention after that, I flushed a Woodcock down there!

Thursday, December 09, 2010


As I have walked up to Sainsbury's past Wickes over the last few weeks - I have looked for the waxings. Today my waiting ended - about 25 in total in the trees near the yellow rowans!

9th December Mount Tabor

Met up with Andy and Bruce at 2.00PM and found the first winter Med Gull in the field next to the road. The gull lady arrived and feeding to place, the bird didnt stick around too long today disappearing after 10 minutes or so. I searched the fields for the next hour with no luck but did have two Crossbills fly west calling around 3PM.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

100,000 hits, and going strong(?)

As the Calderdale blog hit-counter rolls towards the 100,000th visitor, can I firstly thank every single person who has contributed a sighting, a photo, a comment, a question or simply just joined our blog and felt inspired enough to get out there into Calderdale and birdwatch. I have said it before, but the blog is literally NOTHING other than your own postings. The only content is your own content. It thrives when people are actively posting, and would die very quickly if people stopped.
Keep it coming!
Thanks again, and long may it continue to be the central source of sightings, photos and discussion for Calderdale birders.

Med Gull id

Appologies for more pics of the Med Gull but thought the Ogden birders might want to take note of this birds tail pattern. The two outer most tail feathers on the left side are pure white were as all the rest show a broad dark bar at the tip. Did the Ogden bird show this feature, if so its probably the same bird, if not then weve two kicking around. As for today at Mount Tabor the bird showed extreamly well again, at one point being just a few feet above tall Andys head. Also a snipe over and 6 unidentified very dark ducks flying towards Soil Hill at 2.55PM.

Ive added another pic of tail pattern ..double click for better view

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mediterranean Gull

Returned to Mount Tabor armed with Bins, Camera and bread and found the first winter Med Gull in with the commons and black-heads. The bird showed extreamly well at times down to just 8ft. Feeding time tomorrow 2 - 3 PM weather permitting, more pics to follow on heavybirder.

Hipperholme garden and tame woodcock

Interesting post just now from my colleague Chris Sutcliffe...

This cold snap that we are having is certainly bringing the birds into and around the garden, and costing a pretty packet in feeding them. But it is not without its benefits, This week i have had the sparrowhawk visit, two male bullfinch, all 5 varieties of titmouse (that should get through the flter) a couple of mistle thrushes and the heron on the side of the stream as well.

However the most unusual visitor was just a couple of minutes ago, coming back from the shop with my milk there was a woodcock waddling down the road. I managed to stop and reverse the car to within 5 ft of it (they are pretty big birds). I was not sure if it was injured or not but once I had parked up and walked back towards it, the bird walked off for a little way and then took off and flew up the road.

Brighouse Garden

04/12/2010. The freezing conditions turned up 1 male Blackcap, 1 Linnet(a first), Redwing,G/S/Woodpecker,7 Chaffinch,3Jays 2 Mistle Thrush and numerous Blue/Great/ Long tailed and Coal Tits and 9 Blackbirds.

Monday, December 06, 2010


At last a good gull at Mount Tabor, its been a long long time coming but this PM I finally found a first winter Mediterranean Gull in with the Common and Black Headed Gulls at High Road Well Moor. Unfortunatly I forgot to take my kitchen scraps with me so the pictures are not as good as I would have liked. My camera settings were also wrong but I did manage a few fairly decent shots. More to follow on heavybirder.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Rastrick Waxwings 03/12/10

Everyone is probably getting fed up of Waxwing photos and not the best light last Friday afternoon but I'll just post a few shots as every other regular contributor seems to have done!

For the record 100+ were feeding on rowan berries near the junction of Thornhill Road and Branston Gardens at 14:30hrs on 3 December

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