Friday, April 30, 2010


2 Garden Warblers singing.
1 Sedge Warbler
3 Whitethroat
Mallard with 9 ducklings
1 G/C/Grebe
5 Goosander(3F 2m)
Pair Tufted

30/04/2010 PM visit
Ski Lake
25 Swift
100+ Swallows
30 House Martins
8 Sand Martins
2 Blackcaps nestbuilding
3 Song Thrush nestbuilding

Drumming Snipe

Hi all,
recent news reports suggest the way that snipe make a drumming noise. Quote ...

"A team of UK researchers found the birds' tail feathers "flapped like a flag" in the wind, something that had not been seen before.

When attempting to attract a potential mate, the males perform a dive to create the drumming noise.

The findings appear in the Journal of Experimental Biology."

And these "researchers" actually get paid for this!! Or am I a bigot? (there's that word again)


In the c.100 yard 'warbler alley' (!) behind my house on Higher Underbank, Jumble Hole today had

1 Whitethroat
3 willow warbler
2 chiff chaff
2 blackcap

Garden warbler should be in any day now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Todays reports

Cuckoo heard calling today from Widdop Road area (AH)

moth or butterfly

this was in my house today i was just wondering what it was, if someone knows ?

Skylark numbers in SD9627

I completed my BBS early visit yesterday at Blackshaw Head. Among other birds, I saw just a single Skylark which sort of worried me. This prompted me to look back, aided by the BTO website which holds data for all previous years for this square, to see how numbers have moved since 1994 when I undertook my first survey. Having seen the numbers I'd forgotten that in 2008 I only saw 2 Skylarks up there!

The chart here shows Skylark numbers each year and there is a definite downward trend (I still have to add the number from the late visit this year). This is a single 1km square, one observer, twice a year so it isn't statistically significant, but it tells me that I'm seeing fewer Skylarks now than I used to. There have been several small changes to the landscape, such as stable blocks being built and the Pennine Bridleway being improved, but nothing major. My early visit is always done at the end of April so no variation there. The largest step down coincides with the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.

I'm not sure what this proves, if anything, but I just thought I'd share my concern.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Video of one of the Rishworth Mandarins is here...
I'm sure they must be breeding somewhere locally. Various pairs and individuals keep popping up on the canal system and on the odd reservoir.

Saddleworth to Blackstone Edge - Border country

Went on a search for Dotterel at the Saddleworth Moor site, failed miserably. Went up to the triangulation point and beyond then turned round and walked up to Blackstone Edge. Very little birdwise (mipit, skylark and a swallow) but did see a couple of chunky, fairly well coloured wheatears.

Cragg Vale, Withens Clough and Stoodley Pike

Quieter than one would expect at this time of year, but a tree pipit up Withens Clough (higher up than in recent Springs) and two twite over. My ongoing quest for an emperor moth took a peculiar twist today, when I found a single forewing of one on Cragg Road, adjacent to Sunderland Pasture. I also saw my first ever green tiger beetle on the lane up Withens Clough.

Regards, Chris

Tuesday Evening

Apologies for the quality of the photo’s taken yesterday evening using a real Heath Robinson system to capture.

Had suspicions that a Peregrine was around for a while and got a brief view just over 2 weeks ago. Found him with his kill at about 6.30pm yesterday evening, spent a good half hour watching even though he was disturbed twice. No evidence of being ringed but never got a good view of the right leg.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deanhead Area

Common Buzzard again in the area, also saw this bird or another a few days ago at Ringstone.

Male Stonechat seen briefly which is heartening after the severe winter weather.

Main feature of the visit though was the number of Northern Wheatear seen between Ringstone and Deanhead with at least 20 individuals counted (sorry Jeff!). The new fencing on the moors has provided these cracking birds with an abundance of posts to perch on so it was much easier than previous years to actually see them simply by scanning all the posts and walls.

There were at least 2 likely Greenlanders ('leucorhoa' race) present amongst them.

Red Kite

Seen near Blackstone Edge today by Nick Wilkinson RSPB Twite recovery project field worker (welcome back Nick!)

Is it a bird?..........nope!

By way of a little light relief from all of this bird's a video of some Common (or should that be Notsocommon) Toads. Alive and well and living in Todmorden. Enjoy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Elland GP 26th April

Evening at EGP, highlights were 4 Swift, House and Sand Martins, 6 Blackcaps singing, 4 Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, 3 Goosander, 3 Cormrants, 1 Tufted Duck and a Roe Deer.

26th April Cold Edge

PM, 2 Greylags, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Tufties, 1 Red Grouse, 1 Kestrel, 2 Common Sands, 4 Curlews, 1 Lapwing, 2 Linntets, 3 Wheatears and 4 Twite feeding on the track at Withens Gap.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nectar sipping Blue and Great Tits

I've just seen this afternoon what I watched last year, at first hardly believing it; Blue and Great Tits sipping nectar from plum tree blossom.

I've seen bullfinches pecking into buds on winter plum twigs, a habit for which fruit growers can apply for a license to shoot them in certain parts of the country.

I've not heard of nectar sipping by any northern bird, only tropical species. Has anyone else seen it or read of it?

Steve Blacksmith

PS first bats for me over tree tops in Bankhouse Wood tonight.

Gorple Fire Damage

Important moorland habitat destroyd by fire. This destruction will effect such species as Curlew, Lapwing, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Short-eared Owl and possibly Long-eared Owl and other woodland species. Part of the woodland as been completly destroyd while other areas remain untouched. Remarkably Woodpigeons were displaying over the burnt wood whilst it was still smouldering.

Moors Devastated by Fire

Yesterday ND and myself came across extensive scenes of devastation up on the moors. Vast swathes of grass and heather moorland, and a conifer plantation have been devastated by fire. The following information is from West Yorkshire Fire Depts website.

23/04/2010 12:31 - Shuttleworth Moor, Widdop Road, Heptonstall
Moorland fire, make pumps 10. 2 square miles involved with 800m fire front. 20 beaters and 4 hose reels in use.
Appliances from Todmorden, Mytholmroyd, and surrounding area in attendance along with 2 Wildfire units and a number of specialist officers.

ND will upload some pictures in due course, and I am currently editing some video material.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Whiteholme and Turley Holes and Higher House Moor

On a walk looking for emperor moths (alas didn't find any, how frequent are they up here? It's the first time I've looked) birdwise was noted: three shelduck on Whiteholme Res', plus at least five common sandpipers here and six wheatears also. A sand martin flew over Whiteholme as did a raven.
Is it me or does their seem to be less meadow pipits on the tops this spring and none today were displaying.

Regards, Chris

Site faithfull Little Owl

On a Halifax Scientific Society Ramble today one was on a wall at Rishworth, SE 03811846, in the same place as exactly a year ago (one day difference.) With thanks to Bruce for bringing the GPS device.

Total bird spp this year 27 as opposed to 23 in 2009.

Ripponden river bank to Turner Clough, up to Heys Lane (where owl was) then back along the contour and down to Ripponden.

Today's birds:

Migrant songbirds. Willow Warbler 2, Chiff-chaff 2, Blackcap 1.

Woodland. Blue, Great, Coal (building nest) and Long-tailed Tits. Jay, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Robin.

Waterside. Dipper, Heron (3 nests, at least 2 occupied), Mallard, Mandarin, Grey Wagtail.

Field and Hedgerow. Little Owl, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Pheasant.

The notable plant in this area is native daffodil, flowering well in its usual wood, but far more garden varieties seen planted out in the wild by people!

Butterflies seen were Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Green Veined White, Orange Tip.

Saturday 24/04/10

Male redstart.
Sorry for the poor picture. I had only had time for one before it disappeared. I waited around for an hour but it didn't appear again (email me if you want location details). While waiting I saw a redwing. I'd expected them to have left by now.

At the same site - 4 willow warblers.

Chaffinch, wren, great tit, coal tit and a party of 4 treecreepers.

Also seen:
dipper, grey heron, herring gull, sparrowhawk, canada and greylag geese, 2 common sandpiper, numerous curlew and lapwing.

April photos

Here are a few photos taken in April, Short-eared Owl, Raven, Mandarin at Rishworth and Rusty the Common Buzzard doing a bit of spring cleaning.

soil hill this morning

a quite morning at soil hill.
plenty of the commoner birds but most special was that fect that I managed to get the skylark Photo i had been seeking

plus some mipits also there
and a reed bunting pair down by the pools

plus a lapwing , kestrel, and 4 goldfinches


Photo of LEO taken on 22nd April.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Testing Testing

22nd April, Cold Edge Dams, 3 Dunlin, 4 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Oystercatchers, 1 Curlew, 1 Goldeneye, 2 teal, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Red Grouse, 7 Wheatears.
(looks good for waders this spring)

Later out with SC, 2 Long-eared Owls and a male Sparrowhawk at an undisclosed site.

23rd April, Checked another LEO site but no luck.

Hope Im now back on line with no more problems (Fingers Crossed).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

LEOs Are Back

First pair of Long-eared Owls for the year are back on sight.
Elsewhere 9 goldies, presumed to have just arrived.

Harris Hawk

Harris Hawk on the lamp-post between Brighouse and M62 tonight. Stuck it on Falconry forum but if you know anyone who's lost one...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Luddendenfoot Herons

Latest info from the Luddendenfoot Heronry.
5 nests have hatched young, one of which has at least two chicks in.

If you have wondered how such long-legged birds manage to mate, all is revealed in the clip below. I will make more video available in due course.

Also, for fans of large lagomorphs, the following was the closest I got to boxing mad March Hares....

and a Great Crested Grebe by the Barge and Barrel is here.....

Sadly, I never caught up with the displaying pair on the ski lake. This bird may, however, have been one of them.


Nick Dawtrey has commented that he feels there are too many sightings of common species being sent out on the grapevine and he would like only less common species to be texted out, do other grapevine members agree? Would it be better if we drew up a list of which species we text out? Are people interested in first migrants etc?

Fly Flatts and Cold Edge dams

Needed a long walk on the moors in the sunshine ; saw quite a variety of birds but disappointed by the lack of curlew and lapwing. Has anyone else found this around Calderdale?
However saw
1 male golden eye
1 golden plover
3 tufted ducks 2m,1f
Numerous grey lag and canada geese and mallard, ofcourse
2 curlew only
2 lapwings
Many skylarks and mipits
3 male wheatears luring me down the path presumably far away from their breeding area
4 twite at the feeding station(3 had bright pink rings above pale ones on the left leg; the 4th one had no rings I could see. some of the others may have metal rings on the right leg. perhaps someone could tell me where they were ringed. I hadn't appreciated just how difficult it is to see their legs)
4 willow warblers
2 oystercatchers
Several pheasants
1 swallow
1 mistle thrush

Catch Up on recent wanderings.

All sites withheld to protect breeding birds (If you wish to know the areas covered feel free to email me.)

Sunday 18th Midday till approx 17:30 :-

3 Little Owls
4 Swallows
4 Curlew
5 Wheatear (4 Males 1 Female)
7 Lapwing
2 Red Grouse
2 Mistle Thrush
1 Redpoll
3 Teal (2 Males 1 Female)
2 Common Sandpiper
9 Oystercatcher
1 Greylag Goose
2 Goosander - both female
3 Ring Ouzel (1 Male 2 Female)
11 Golden Plover
1 Kestrel
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

Common birds with no counts incl:- Mipit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird.

Tuesday 20th April 13:30 - 16:45

2 Grey Wagtail
1 Chiffchaff (seen - numerous calling)
2 Willow Warbler
3 Nuthatch
1 Blackcap - male
1 Dipper
2 Kestrel
19 Swallows
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
3 Curlew
1 Common Buzzard
2 Stock Doves
1 Siskin
1 Jay
2 Sparrowhawks (male & female)
1 Tawny Owl (calling)

again common birds with no counts incl:- Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Woodpigeon.

Same day 17:30 till 19:00 Callis Bridge sewage farm

100+ Swallows
20+ House Martins
1 Sand Martin
20+ Pied Wagtails
1 Probable White Wagtail
12+ Meadow Pipits

this place is definately worth a regular check for Red Rumped Swallow and when Swifts come in then eyes open for Hobby.

Swift and Common Sandpiper at EGP

Swift feeding over Ski Lake and Sandpiper feeding on the lake bank


2 Swifts over lake and 1 Sandpiper on Riverside feeding and 15min later 1 on the Ski ramp might be same bird. 2 Mute Swans.
Swallows,Sand Martins and House Martins over the lake and numerous W/Warblers,Chiffchaffs,Blackcaps and Reed Buntings all over the area.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pennine Way from Callis to Stoodley Pike this morning

4 Curlews up on Edge End Moor battling against the strong wind
Skylark singing on Edge End Moor
18 Wheatears on the fence by Lodge Hill - here are most of them
5 Reed Buntings on the telephone wire just above the Wheatears
a few Mipits around, but not many
4 Skylarks together just before Stoodley Pike

7 Swallows feeding at Lee Dam
Later this afternoon we had about 40 Mipits on the field wall behind the house, about 1/2 mile from Mankinholes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Upper Luddenden Dean - Mon Eve

Lots of M.Pipits, 3 x Wheatear and 2 Little Owls at what I think is a breeding site.

I saw lots of off road roading at Fly Flatts yesterday which may interfere with the ground nesters up there.

Springwatch Malta

As local birders have raised a considerable amount of money in support of Birdlife Malta's campaign to stop illegal hunting on the island I thought the following recent press release might be of interest.

During the first week of Spring Watch, BirdLife Malta volunteers have suffered several violent attacks while carrying out their duties recording bird migration and reporting illegal hunting and trapping incidents to the police.The following attacks have taken place:

1. Sunday 11th April - a team was harassed and verbally abused at Nadur Tower.
2. Monday 12th April – after filming an illegal hunter, the team at Mtarfa was threatened by men with sticks.
3. Wednesday 13th April – a team discovered hate messages, swastikas and threats at the Mtahleb watch point.
4. Friday 15th April – a team discovers hate messages, swastikas and threats at the Dingli watch point.
5. Saturday 17th April - stones were thrown at team members in Has-Saptan
6. Saturday 17th April – a team at Mtahleb was verbally abused and the team leader given a death threat.
7. Saturday 17th April – windscreen of a team’s vehicle parked in front of the Manikata village church, 20 mt away from a children’s playground, shattered by a shot from a shotgun.
8. Sunday 18th April – 2 team members thrown to the ground and beaten in Dingli after witnessing illegal hunting in the area.

One of our local birders, Steve D, is currently on the island helping with the camp and hunting surveillance work.

For more information:

Fall of Wheatears

Small fall of Wheatears with at least 7 at High Road Well Moor, Mount Tabor. NCD

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Summer Time

Hi All - just a few notes - Chiff Chaffs at Cromwell Botton, House Martins at Sandbed, Swallows by  Hollows farm on Lumbutts Road  - all in the last ten days - Is this really summer ?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Heads Up For Redstarts

They're back in the country already so let's see if we can locate at least one breeding pair this year. Let's make a concerted effort to locate a few of these birds. They've gotta be out there.....somewhere.

a very dry soil hill

dust blowing all around that dry place this afternoon
3 skylarks-very close
1 mipit close plus four overhead
2 lapwings
1 heron
1 reed bunting
overall quite an exciting afternoon

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gorple, Walshaw and Lighthazzles

2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Redshank and 4 Curlew at Gorple Lower res this morning.

7 Goosanders, 2 male Reed Buntings, 6 Lapwings, a Skylark and 2 Curlews at Walshaw Dean Lower.

A male Wheatear, a Curlew, 2 Skylarks and 4 Twite at Lighthazzles.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Mallard with 14 ducklings on River Calder this morning, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Dipper.2 pair Grey Wagtails, 1 pair Pied Wagtails also Chiffchaff nestbuilding at EGP.
Jay House has 44 Fieldfares and 5 Redwings.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Widdop and Walshaw Dean Moors

A walk from The Ridge, up Walshaw Dean to Alcomden Stones and back, yielded plenty of curlews, lapwings, a couple of snipe, three oystercatchers, several calling golden plovers, a linnet, a reed bunting and a tufted duck on the Middle res'. There were also at least one (though probably two) pairs ring ouzels in another part of calderdale.

Regards, Chris

Monday, April 12, 2010


Woodcock roding up and down behind my house from 8:30 tonight.
I was surprised to see them starting so early - I always associate it with a hot summer night!
Also, 5 chiffchaffs, 3 goldcrests and 7 willow warblers yesterday in the scrub up the Pennine Way on Underbank.


10 Twite at the feeding station at Lighthazzles today. Watched them feeding on niger seed then when they went for a bath I left them to it after dropping off some more food. Only a few were ringed, most were unringed.

Peregrine and Buzzard Brighouse.

Saw it about 1130 this morning go up to about 300ft then go into a steep dive into Wakefield Rd Industrial estate but did not see it come up.Notice slight notch on right wing. 1935 sat at home and Buzzard has just sailed by heading Clifton way.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunny Day

The weather today has been a long time coming, love being up on the moors in weather like this. Went up to Warley Reservoir to catch up on the Scoter, fortunately the boaters had driven it into the edges so close views wee possible - a belter.

Followed that with a visit to the overflow, nine twite turned up. Do they come down when seed is being put out? I stood there for 20mins or so and was joined by three groups (3,2,4), they sat around at close quarters singing and displaying. When I left they took off as though there was no point in hanging round if there was no food on offer.

Headed down into the vally and found a single pinkfoot with the Canada's at Mytholmroyd, just checked my records and there was a single bird there on 18th April last year.

Great afternoon


Chiffchaff singing near the viaduct this morning, no Willow Warblers heard.


Its only taken 37 years of looking ,but today a Red Kite flew over the house about 50 foot up,an adult with red tail and all i carnt say how happy I am.Also today in another part of Calderdale i watched a male Merlin hunting mipits,Buzzards,Sparrowhawk,Kestrel and Ravens.What a day.............

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fly Flatts

1 Drake Common Scoter was swimming around the middle of the lake this afternoon.
Elsewhere, Short-eared Owls are back. Had several voles running back and forth across the tarmac at Walshaw, and several Redpolls in the plantation here.

Gorpley Clough and Gorpley Res

1 GSW drumming, a Jay and a Treecreeper in Gorpley Clough this morning and 2 Dippers on the stream.

25 Goosander (just 5 males), 2 Mallards, 7 Canada Geese on the res.

A Curlew, 3 Skylarks, a Reed Bunting and many Mipits on the hills.

Oats Royd and fields

A walk down to Oats Royd NR produced 21 species,
these included:
Willow Warbler at least 6 singing
Chiffchaff 3
and a female Stonechat.
No Blackcaps yet.
I had hoped for Whitethroat as
they bred last year there, probably too early!
There must have been a sudden fall of Willow Warblers, I had none
the other day and now many singing.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Lumbutts Clough

3 Willow Warblers, 2 Green Woodpeckers and a Treecreeper this morning.
4 Teal still at Lee Dam along with the resident Moorhen.

I still haven't had a Chiff Chaff up here yet, which is weird as they usually arrive well before the Willow Warblers.

Elland GP today

A posting for Geoff Smith

Chiffchaff 12
Willow Warbler 1
Blackcap 6
Treecreeper 1
Wren at least 25.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Anyone well up on song thrush races?

This one has got spots almost like a mistle thrush. I've never seen one so with such strong markings. It was in a Todmorden garden 3 days over last weekend.


Just to let observers know there will be a small amount of habitat management work taking place on the newly scraped area on Saturday morning. The work is to be undertaken by contractors and has the approval of YW. Thanks to JB for organising this.


Evening walk around Soyland area produced several colonies of House Sparrows including two at locations not noted on last years survey.

Swallow near junction of Hob Lane/Lane Head. Watched for around 5 minutes as it appeared to be feeding just above trees on Lane Head.

2 Lapwings, one possibly sitting.
2 Sky Larks
Numerous mipits and corvids

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


First that I have seen on the mill pond behind my house, although I was talking to somebody walking their dog and they said it had been here for a few days

Police & Wildlife Crime

Referring to the earlier posting on the 30th March 2010 concerning a central log of reports made to the Police in respect of Wildlife/Habitat crime.

Following positive feed back, could I ask that any future reports made to the Police are also recorded with me.

I will need the log number and date of the report along with brief details of the content of the report made to the Police.

Email address:

Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


A few Chiffchaffs calling, a pair of Goldcrests gathering nest material, Herons mating (been sitting for about a fortnight already), 1 Jay, 1 pair of Grey Wagtails, usual suspects around.
Elsewhere, no sign of G C Grebe but imm. Mute Swan still at Barge & Barrel.


One circling the River Calder just east of Brighouse at 10:00hrs this morning before drifting NE over Clifton.

Earlier 1 House Martin at EGP, also 25 Swallow and 15 Sand Martin around there.

Over the Easter weekend I found 3 LRP in Calderdale, no sign of any today though I'm not complaining!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Dean Head / Scammonden

Had a walk round between the two reservoirs this evening, very blustery so little to show.

4 curlew
8 Goosander, 1M, 7F
2 Goldeneye, M&F
2 mallard
3 chaffinch
2 Mipit
Lots of Carrion Crow

Oddly there's loads of frogspawn along the path by the dam wall at Dean head as if it's been blown over the wall by the high wind. Was also puzzled by the gate that has appeared in the fence at the eastern end of the dam wall. There's no public footpath that it serves and allowing access would risk disturbance of ground nesting species in the head of the valley.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Into the Stoat Zone

The first foray into the Stoat Zone above Dean Head/Scammonden brought forth......a Weasel. ND and myself were just about to leave after seeing not a lot when Ian Lomas and Tina turned up and convinced us to give it a second go. After some persuasive calling, the little fella popped his head above the parapet and came to see what all the noise was. Sorted!
And on the bird front.....Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Raven, Skylark, 2 x Lapwing, a flock of c. 35 Golden Plover, a few Curlew, Goldeneye and plenty of Mippits.


Saw my first swallow of the summer this morning near the Border Rose, Walsden

Friday, April 02, 2010

A Long Good Friday

Due to the threatening weather, I decided on a late start this morning. After a shopping trip for some seed and feeders, I headed to Jay House Lane, intending only to put up the feeders before heading to Scammonden to look for Stoats.
As the weather was looking pretty grim, I stayed at JHL to get some better shots of the Sparrows rather than risk a drenching at Scammonden. They were a bit more obliging today, but still managed to disappear for long periods of time.
The monotony was broken by a passing Buzzard and a solitary Lapwing intermingled with chats with the locals. According to the locals that I chatted with, the fields up there should be full of Lapwings, a comment that I have heard about other areas recently. Anyone else noticing an absence of Lapwings say, round Castle Carr or Widdop areas? Locals also commented on the absence of Yellowhammers in the area although I have no historical records of 'hammers from this site.
The highlight of my time spent here though was undoubtedly the appearance of two large lagomorphs. Whooppee! I was able to get some distant shots of the pair scampering about on the far side of a field before they disappeared. Sadly, they weren't boxing..they need a bit of warm sunshine, allegedly, before they'll box. A short while later and I was filming one of them at a frame-filling close quarters just by the hedge. Sorted!
When rain stopped play, I moved on but stopped by Avocet Works on my way back to look for Mandarin. No joy there, but the LTTs were still hard at it, and a male Goosander and a passing dipper made the stop worthwhile.
Mext, a quick leapfrog down to Cromwell Bottoms provided several singing Chiffchaffs, some displaying Dunnocks and the opportunity to film a Heron pretending to be a Kingfisher.
Whilst filming the Heron in the rain, a passing cyclist told me of a "bird with horns" on the canal up by Elland Bridge. Five minute later and I was filming a stunning Great Crested Grebe just a canal-width away. Sadly there was only one Grebe here. I half expected it to be displaying to a mate. Stunning bird nonetheless. So maybe tomorrow, I'll try for the Stoats.

Tree Sparrows Update

Some mixed scrub and a hedge comprising Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Field Maple, Willow and Buckthorn was planted at Jay House Lane yesterday as part of the on-going Tree Sparrow project. Thanks to all the planters for putting up with me pushing my camera in your faces.
The Sparrows, however, were feeling somewhat camera shy and seemed to disappear for long periods of time. I couldn't work out whether they were off foraging away from the site, or were simply getting there heads down in a quiet little corner somewhere.
When they did show up, I didn't observe any obvious courtship activity or any birds carrying nesting material, so I guess it's too early for them at the moment.

Ringstone Edge

Friday 16.30 - 18.00

450 Golden Plover
4 Lapwing
2 Oystercatcher
35 Canada Goose
Mallard, m
4f + m Goosander
12 Carrion Crow
Common Gull
3 BHGull
Pied Wagtail
27 Meadow Pipit
Reed Bunting, m
Blackbird, m

Norland Moor, 1900, below Ladstone - 70 M Pipit & a pheasant

Strait Hey to Swillington to Rochdale Canal

2 Jays at Strait Hey
Curlew singing and a Reed Bunting at Swillington
3 Skylarks singing over Erringden
2 Pied Wagtails at the farm house by Pennine Way
plenty of Mipits on the hills
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and 2 Treecreepers at Callis Wood
31 Pied Wagtails, 1 Grey Wagtail, 30+ Jackdaws and 2 Mipits at Eastwood Sewage Works
Dipper on River Calder

I haven't seen a Kestrel at Strait Hey since late last year, nor have I seen them yet over at Withins Clough this year. Probably just me missing them (I hope). Anyone else noticing fewer Kestrels around?

4 Teal, a Grey Heron and a Moorhen at Lee Dam

Accurate Reporting

We have been following the thread about the "shot heron" was it one or two. You may find it interesting to look at the blog for Lancaster & District Birdwatching Society Sightings re Wenning / Lune Rivers. What was originally reported as a young otter which had been shot turned out to be a mink which had been attacked by a dog. Accurate information is vital.

Midgley Twite

Seven at the feeding station this morning.

Ringstone wind turbine

The resubmitted planning application (ref 09/01765/FUL) for a 15kw turbine on a 15m mast in the field adjacent to Ringstone Edge will be considered by Calderdale's Planning Committee on 13 April at the Town Hall, the application will not be considered until after 6pm. The CBCG have objected to this application on the grounds that there is considered to be a risk to birds (predominantly Gulls) leaving the site at dusk en route to roost sites.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

On Air Rifles

The law makes no distinction between air rifles and more powerful guns for which you need a licence – they are all classed as firearms. This means that any offence can carry a very heavy penalty.

In a public place the rifle should be in a gun cover and always unloaded.

Going on to private land, or water without permission is trespassing, and if you are carrying an air rifle it becomes armed trespass. Whether the gun is loaded or not is irrelevant – armed trespass is a serious criminal offence carrying heavy penalties.
It is an offence to fire an air rifle pellet beyond the land where you have permission to shoot, unless the occupier of the neighbouring land has also given permission.
It is also against the law to fire an air rifle within 50 feet of the centre of a highway if this results in someone being injured, interrupted or endangered. These offences could be committed when someone is shooting in their garden close to a road and the pellets ricochet onto the highway.
As long as the shooter is complying with firearms law, they can shoot certain pest bird species. These are covered by open general licences which means they can shoot the birds listed, provided they have the landowner’s permission and provided they are doing it for one of the reasons allowed by the licence.
These reasons are to protect crops, to protect game and wildlife and/or to protect public health or safety
Birds that are covered by the open general licences - crows, rooks, jackdaws, magpies, jays, woodpigeon, collared doves and feral pigeons.
Mammal pests can be shot at any time provided you have the landowner’s permission. Air rifles are deemed suitable (by BACS) for brown rats, grey squirrels, stoats, mink and rabbits.

Source - BACS

Pink Footed Goose

One in fields between Mroyd & Brearley 4pm, feeding with Canadas

Ring Ouzels

A couple of shots from earlier today, male already collecting nesting material. Also;
15 Curlew
1 Oystercatcher
1 Mistle Thrush

Increasing numbers of meadow pipit on the moors. Elsewhere found a pair of Stonechat near the car park at a local Reservoir and a couple of curlew at Warley Reservoir

Elland GP

I think it is widely known that Elland GP is owned by Calderdale Council and is one of our most important local nature reserves. Equally it is widely known that the management of the site has, at times, come in for criticism from both birders and entomologists amongst others. I believe there has been criticism of both the Council and CBCG in some quarters recently which I think is a little unfair bearing in mind Andy Cockroft's sterling efforts to work with the Council on behalf of CBCG. I raised concerns over the future of the site at last night's BAP workshop and reassurance was given by Hugh Firman that the Council is keen to involve local naturalists in formulating management plans etc for the site. With this in mind Hugh has appealed for anyone who wishes to be involved to set up a group with which the Council can liase. Anyone prepared to give it a try? It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticise, now is the chance to get involved.

Buzzard EGP

Wild down there this morning and Buzzard over at 0930 last seen over Rastrick also of note Kingfisher at last years nest site, pair Goosanders+2 males, 4 Swallows, 6 Sand Martins, 7 Chiffchaff all singing. Nuthatches in and out of nest site. Best photo I could get of Buzzard and Sparrowhawk was in the garden for 66mins this afternoon

50,000 and going strong!

In advance of our 50,000th hit to this blog, can I just once again say many thanks to those who contribute. It has proved a useful additional for the group, and now receives around 200 hits a day, so is clearly popular! The blog has been a good tool for attracting new birders, and raising the profile of and interest in local birding and patch watching.

I’ve said it before, but the content on here is entirely reliant on you posting sightings, thoughts, photos, observations, questions etc. Without that, it is nothing.

If you are a regular reader, but not a regular poster to the blog, I would encourage you to join in! It’s very easy to post, and if you do not have a log in, get in touch and we will provide you with one. If you have been inspired to set your own patch blog up, great, but please keep posting on here. If we’re not careful there’ll be 30 separate blogs to look at just to see what’s about in Calderdale!

Lots of birds are on the move at the moment, and as ‘random’ findings in recent years have shown us, anything could turn up in Calderdale (woodchat shrike, montagu’s harrier, and just out of area: bluethroat c.2 years ago – Thornton Moor, maybe 1-2 miles out of area, richards pipit c.5 years ago - Mereclough, again maybe 1-2 miles out, and most randomly of all the frigatebird last Autumn in Huddersfield, maybe 4-5 miles out of our area!) who knows what next?

So happy birding, and thanks for making the blog what it is.

Discharge of Fire Arms

In answer to a question on a previous posting.

It is illegal to discharge a fire arm within fifty feet of the centre of a highway. Legislation - section 161(2)(b) of the Highway Act 1980.

The question I asked included paths & bridleways, I presume they are included in the definition of a Highway.

Hope this helps.