Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Withens Clough

3 shelduck still there this evening
50+ canada geese
A dozen or so meadow pipits
2 grouse heard
2 raven
Very little else

31st August

2 hours spent this afternoon at a local watch point produced 2 Common Buzzards in different locations, 6 sightings of Sparrowhawk (at least 2 birds), 14 sightings of Kestrel (at least 5 birds, 2 of which were juvs) and a Merlin which stooped at high speed onto a group od small passerines. Surprisingly this is the first Merlin Ive seen from this watch point.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cold Edge

1 female Merlin across Cold Edge Road this afternoon flew down towards Hunter Hill.
Most unusual were 2 separate Great Spotted Woodpeckers - both came down from Fly Flats direction over the moor - 1 landed on a telegraph pole near Moorlands Farm and the other landed on a telegraph pole by the former Withens Pub then flew down towards Ogden.

Buzzard - Woodlesford

Buzzard low over Woodlesford towards Roils Head on Sunday tea time . Another raptor was soraing much higher and seemed to be keping an eye on the Buzzard - probable Sparrowhawk.

Kingfisher regular at the Ford on Clifton Beck on my commute in a morning - didn't get the Yellow Wags. Also Kingfisher on the beck next to the Shears car park. I was only on Golden Best so definitely not hallucinating!

Bank Holiday

Had a trundle round a few sites this afternoon;

Soil Hill; loads of mipit and a good number of linnet. A probable Hobby dashed through maintaining awkward viewing angles as it sped off to Bradford.

Withens Clough; one grey wagtail, a blackbird and a dunnock. Plenty of mipit.

Whiteholme; two wheatear and six twite.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gull ID !

These are the gull photos from David Crawshaw all taken within a half-hour period in April this year at Orfordness, Suffolk. See what you think!

Whiteholme res

I had a call at lunchtime today from Alan Nuttall (birder from Littleborough/Hollingworth Lake area) who said there was a Knot and a Sanderling in winter plumage at Whiteholme res. He also said it was very windy up there.

I went up later (about 15:30) but the birds weren't to be seen. A couple of Ringed Plovers and 2 Wheatears showing up well on the black mud shoreline in the afternoon sun made the walk around the res worthwhile though.

Huge flock of Goldfinches

There was flock of at least 200 goldfinches near Pex Tenements (near Cross Stones) at Todmorden yesterday. The fields here are full of thistle, black knapweed, yelow rattle etc which were attracting them.
Kestrel and Peregrine seen. Only other notable bird was Nuthatch.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Redstarts at Roils Head

No sign of the Redstarts at Roils Head this morning. The wet and windy weather may have kept them down but my gut feeling is that they left last night. A couple of Willow Warblers, a Swallow, about 10 B.H.Gulls and the usual Jackdaws were no consolation but a few Red Admirals and loads of Small Coppers and Speckled Woods feeding on heather were a welcome film opportunity.
Loads of Rowans in full fruit at the mo....could do with a thrush invasion.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I got great but all too brief views of a hobby this afternoon as it flew purposefully from Jumble Hole Clough east towards Heptenstall. The local swallows gave it a noisy escort through, which is what first alerted me to it. A great garden tick!


12 young Curlews, 1 Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper this morning.

I got a little excited when I saw the Curlew's short bills from a distance and thought they were Whimbrels.

Cold Edge

Whitethroat at Moorlands Farm - Cold Edge

Whinchat at Cold Edge

1 Whinchat and 2 Reed Buntings by the top dam along with c30 Meadow Pipits but no waders on the shoreline
1 Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warblers in the garden area at Moorlands Farm
8 Wheatears scattered about and lots of juvenile Swallows
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Raven over high >W

Hunter Hill (watchpoint)

Vis Mig at the Hunter Hill watchpoint produced 231 moving birds of 11 species in 3 hrs from dawn;
26 B H Gull
61 L B B Gulls
3 Woodpigeons
7 Swifts
44 Swallows
28 House Martins
54 Meadow Pipits
3 alba Wagtail
1 Great Tit
1 Carrion Crow
3 Linnet

Other birds around the watchpoint; 1 Grey Heron, 2 Mallard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels, 6 Stock Doves, 1 Green Woodpecker, 44 Meadow Pipits in the quarry, 2 Jay, 5 Wheatears, 2 Blackbirds, 6 Magpies, 32 Jackdaws, 22 Carrion Crows

Roils Head+

This is a Sparrowhawk taken today with the camera set up wrong, does it bare any resemblance to the lower picture of Brians taken yesterday(I may now be leaning towards juvenile female gos). According to Forsman juvenile gos is a different shape to adults being longer in the tail and with more bulging secondaries.
2 Redstarts were my first of the autumn at this site this year, unfortunatly my camera was set up all wrong and the photos are terrible. 3 Willow Warblers were also present. On to Heath Hill Road for 1 hour spent viewing across the valley. 2 Buzzards at different locations, 3 Kestrels and at least 3 Sparrowhawks, one of which persued a swallow in the style of a merlin. A wheatear was also present here as were 30+ Goldfinch. 40 linnets at High Road Well Moor.


We recently had our gas fires checked - the first time for about 4 years.
The picture shows the three bags of Jackdaw-injected debris from the flue. (Sorry, can't get picture to upload, but you can all imagine three bin-bags full of large twigs, I'm sure) This was merely what the engineer could reach from the hearth - a proper sweep later removed the same amount again, including two nests, I'm told. It is a remarkable effort when you consider we have no trees within a hundred yards.
It is funny that while I've occasionally seen Jackdaws investigate the chimney opening, I have never been aware of any nesting activity (noise, food-carrying, droppings, etc).
Less funny was the effect it had on our fire's ventilation, and we are well aware of the potentially serious consequences. Anybody else in this end of the valley, it's well worth checking out, as according to the gas engineer Todmorden is full of such cases.
Despite their worst efforts, I still think they are the most charismatic of urban birds, but I will be installing a mesh over the flue before next season!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Savi's Warbler

Mystery warbler i would say is a Savi Warbler to dark for Reed Warbler and looks a bit bulkier in the hand

Raptor mystery

Brian Sumner photographed this bird passing south west over Queensbury this PM. He says the bird was very high up and was Buzzard sized or bigger. Ive looked at it several times and still can not make my mind up, the top picture resembles a rather long tailed Goshawk and the bottom one show similarities to Honey Buzzard. I would guess at it being one of these two species although Marsh Harrier may be another possibe candidate, any other suggetions ?.

Yellow Wagtails

There were 2 on newly ploughed fields off Jay House Lane, Clifton this afternoon at 3.45.
A H came along and found there were 3.

The farmer is "improving" the grass by sowing rye grass probably in the fields, thus making it worse for wildlife, though we get this fleeting chance to see things attracted in. One of the recently improved fields is a mixture of rye grass and clover, which should be slightly better for insects. There were about 30 swallows feeding over these fields 2 weeks ago, when they were full of buttercups.

Others on the ploughed and tilled fields:
1 whinchat
4 wheatear
dozens pied wag
c.500 starling
47 lapwing
77 B.H.Gull
4 L.B.B "
1 1st-summer Herring Gull
4 stock dove
7 woodpigeons

In the bushes there were
c.25 Tree Sparrows in 1 flock
10 House Sparrow in seperate flock up lane to"1-5 The Clough"
This lane gave best views of wagtails.
Reed Warbler near fishing pond.
5 Goldfinches (much reduced recently)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cold Edge

This afternoon we went to monitor butterflies in the 2km square above Cold Edge. We wern' t expecting much as the afternoon was quite overcast at first. We were surprised to find 50 or more butterflies on a patch of nettles/thistles and other weeds etc. They were on a small area of rough land just 50 mtrs up the road from the former Withens Pub opposite the communications mast just behind the wall.

They were mostly Small Tortoiseshells along with Peacocks, Red Admirals, Small and Green-viened Whites, Meadow Browns and at least 1 Comma and 1 Small Copper nearby. Well worth a visit if you can pick a nice warm afternoon!

The downside to the afternoon (for a Wheatear anyway) was near Cold Edge. As we were watching a Sparrowhawk take a long fast glide and chase low over the field it 'hit' a Wheatear on the ground. The Wheatear momentarily escaped but the hawk took it in an instance at the second attempt. 2 Kestrels chased in to take the prey but the Sparrowhawk saw them off and took the Wheatear into the trees to devour. 'Nature red in tooth and claw'.

Cold Edge and Fly Flats

Wheatear at Fly Flatts

Morning visits
Vis Mig at Cold Edge/Hunter Hill for 2 hrs early morning but very little movement evident here other than 24 Meadow Pipits >S and 5 Cormorants >S very high around 7.30.

Plenty of birds in and around the watchpoint including 3 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Little Owl, 9 Wheatears, 35 Meadow Pipits, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Kestrel and 1 Sparrowhawk.

Fly Flats
9 Wheatears
1 Whinchat
1 Willow Warbler - reluctant to leave the shelter of the 2 small willows by the small bridge!
1 Red Grouse
4 Kestrel
No Twite

Withens Clough and Lee Dam

Walked over to Withens Clough this morning but nothing on the shore line, just 14 Canada Geese on the water and 9 Swallows. A Jay was in the small plantation.

Lots of Goldfinches about feeding on thistle seeds.

Lee Dam was better with 4 female Goosanders, 2 Little Grebes, 4 Mallards, a Moorhen and a Grey Heron at Healey Dam.

2 Wheatears at Widdop res as we drove past.

25th August

Roils Head
1 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff singing and a Willow Warbler. 40+Goldfinch at Heath Hill Road.

Buzzard & Siskins

Buzzard this morning circling over Boothwood & heading slowly east. One Comorant still at Ringstone along with 45 Canada Geese.

My neighbour informs me we have had 2 Siskin on the thistle seed feeder today.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Identify !

These 2 were sent to me by David Crawshaw from earlier this year at Orfordness, Suffolk. Have a go at identifying them. The wader should not be too tricky but the warbler might be ! Go on, have a go.
Thanks David, I will put your tricky gulls on later.

Various sites

Awful conditions today so I had a ride round to some local spots!

Ringstone - Cormorant still there along with 1 Great Crested Grebe. c60 Linnets, 1 Grey Heron and 5 L BB Gulls >W

Ryburn - 30 Mallard, 1 Moorhen, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Jays

Baitings - 1 Grey Heron, 2 Grey Wagtails

Blackstone Edge - thick mist and pouring down - nothing except 1 Wheatear along Turvin Road

Withens Clough - 1 Stonechat, 2 Whinchat around the demolition site above the car park, c40 Meadow Pipits, 2 Wheatear

Crimsworth Dean - 1 Raven over

Fly Flats - 10 Canada Geese, 1 Kestrel

Withens Head - 1 Whinchat on the walls around the farm, 1 Wheatear, 50 Meadow Pipits

22nd August

Yesterday out with SC. Whiteholme, 9 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 3 Twite, 2 Wheatears, 1 Raven, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk and lots of midges later on. A Buzzard was hunting near Baitings earlier on.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hunter Hill area

Late afternoon;
1 Swift >SW
c80 Swallows in the valley below Ogden golf course/Stodfold area
5 Wheatears
2 Green Woodpeckers
1 Jay
1 Common Buzzard over Ovenden Moor
8 Goosander on Mixenden Res'r

Stoodley Pike this morning

About 80 Swallows on the wires and fence along London Road below Stoodley Pike this morning.
2 Skylarks between Stoodley Pike and Withens Gate and a Kestrel over the slopes below.
Very few Mipits on the hills around here now, they have moved down to the fields.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lee Mount

Above - Blackcap, one of 3 still feeding in garden on Honeysuckle berries.

2 Swifts over mid-day and 3 this evening with c20 House Martins over Shroggs Park.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lee Mount

1 Swift and c25 House Martins over Shroggs Park around 6 pm- just before a heavy downpour

Cold Edge

We gave it a try there this afternoon and managed to dodge the downpours!
3 Lapwings (including 1 fledged juv)
2 Little Owls
c20 Swallows and a few Mipits
1 Common Gull and 25 B H gulls
2 House Martins >S over the moor

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roils Head PM

A Whinchat was new this PM near the dirt track at Norton Tower end. 3 Willow Warblers and 2 Coal Tits in conifers. Sparrowhawk and Kestrel at Heath Hill Road, 20+ Linnets and 4 Stock Doves at High Road Well Moor.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whiteholme this evening

A brief visit with SC produced 6 Ringed Plovers, 6 Dunlin and a Shortie.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Migrants on the move yesterday

Yesterdays migrants reported in Calderdale included 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts, 2 Whitethroats, 1 Sedge Warbler, 30+ Willow Warblers, 1 Tree Pipit and a Whinchat. There were 6 Swifts at Elland GP but surpisingly no Swallow roost ? have they moved to another site ? last year on 18th August there were an estimated 5000 roosting.


Nick Wilkinson, RSPB Research Biologist reports flock of c50 Twite above Baitings Res & c25 at Derby Delph Today.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Red Kite Reported

Kevin Lewis has reported a Red Kite flying down the valley at Jerusalem Farm at 5.50PM today. The bird was flying quiet low at first before being moved on by mobbing Carrion Crows.

A Garden Surprise

Doing the regular morning House Sparrow check in the old Cherry Tree at the end of the garden (up to 30 last week), it was a great surprise to see an adult Willow Warbler amongst them - it didn't hang about for long, but certainly added to the sunny atmosphere developing this a.m.

Recent photos

Linnet today at Roils Head.
1 of c30 Stock Doves at High Road Well Moor a few days back.

This Hare was the only thing of note at Walshaw Dean last week.


group of around 25 -30 near crow hill

Roils Head

This afternoon found a Whitethroat in amongst 6 Willow Warblers. 80+ Linnets still at High Road Well Moor and a couple of Stock Doves still present.

Quick Walk Round

Yesterday morning from home up Edge Hey lane and down to Lower Gorple and back along Widdop Rd produced literally thousands of Mipits, 2 Little Owls (1 on Edge Hey lane, the other near the Pack Horse Inn), 2 Spotted Flys near the house just past the Pack Horse and the Buzzard close to Clough Car Park. No Waders despite Lower Gorple being as low as I have ever seen it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fine photos below Nick

. . . unfortunately my news is without picture.
Coming down Jagger Green Lane after coming off at exit 23 from the M62 there was a big crowd of swallows going to roost or gathering on some wires. Then I noticed some of them were house martins. I stopped the car right under them and they were all house martins - about 200 of them, many flying around, some even perching on young trees. (about 7.15 p.m.)

Ringed Plover

Digi Scope image.
At last a wader at Fly Flats this evening, a juv Ringed Plover. 4 Goosander at Cold Edge + a very dark juv Black-headed Gull.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Surprise patch tick

I was amazed to see a kingfisher perched on a wall near the (very modest) stream at the bottom of Jumble Hole this lunchtime. It's years since I've seen one even on the river or canal, but never expected one in Jumble Hole. Clough.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What was I thinking

Got a real soaking this afternoon up Roils Head, but all in a good cause, my first migrant of the autumn appeared in the shape of a Spotted Flycatcher. Also present 3 Willow Warblers and at High Road Well Moor a flock of c80 Linnets still present.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tree Sparrows

These are said to be doing well at Jay House Lane (Clifton.) A resident said he had watched four successive broods being fed by adults. Some nests are under his troughings. (It was a surprise to me too, but they are definitely tree sparrows - there are apparently no house sparrows breeding in the area.)

There was a flock of at least 14 tree sparrows in a hedge a few fields away this lunchtime, but there was also a big female sparrowhawk about :-(

There was also a big a hatch of butterflies, 9 species, details on the other blog.

Whiteholme - this evening

6 ringed plover, including at least one juv'
5 dunlin
3+ common sandpiper
1 curlew
6+ wheatear, probably many more
2 raven clashed briefly with a peregrine

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ogden - Back Lane

Mid afternoon;
1 ad Curlew with a fledged juv
35 L B B Gulls in the fields
2 Stock Doves
Lots of Swallows but no Swifts!

North Halifax;
Plenty of Swifts about locally last week up until Sunday
This week 3 on Monday, none yesterday, 1 today - looks like the local birds are on their way now!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

West Yorkshire Ecology

WYE have been in touch with me again about supplying them with information about certain species of birds, for the purpose of protecting habitats in our area. Although I keep the records for the birdwatchers club I think its not for me to decide but for all people who subbmit their sightings to the club to make a decision on weather to pass them on or not. The species they want information on are Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Golden Plover, Common Sand, Dunlin, Twite, Snipe, Curlew, Wheatear, Whinchat, Redshank, Ring Ouzel and Lapwing.
They need the information within the next few weeks so I would appreciate any comments on this subject asap please.

Cheers Nick D

Fly Flats and Cold Edge

Fly Flats late morning
1 Common Sandpiper
16 Red Grouse together
4 Kestrels
3 Wheatears
STILL No Twite
5 Swallows and 1 Sand Martin >S

Withens Head - 2 Wheatears
Cold Edge - no waders

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Cold Edge

1 Whinchat mid afternoon near the small top pond behind the cottages and that was about it other than 4 Kestrels, 1 LBBG and 1 BH Gull - no waders!
Plenty of Green Viened White butterflies.


Not much by way of birds during a short walk  - but I did find a young common lizard.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

White Holme

Grey Plover this evening - male in stonking summer plumage - flushed by a Peregrine at 19:00. Also 2 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Oystercatcher and 2 Wheatear

15 Shelduck on Blackstone Edge resr - 3 adults and 12 juvs

Greenshanks on the move.

5th August, one flew west at Elland Gravel Pits and another was reported at Whiteholme the same evening, also 3 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover at Whiteholme.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Fly Flats and Cold Edge

Fly Flats - mid day
46 Canada Geese
1 Kestrel
8 Wheatears together by the boat club
No waders and no Twite

Withens Head
3 Wheatears
6 Linnet

Cold Edge
No waders other than the Lapwing in a field with 1 large chick nearly fledged
1 Moorhem

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Ringstone Edge Res.

This morning, windy and showery.
Cormorant - 3
Moorhen - 1 imm.
BHGull - 19
Whinchat - 1 male. Stayed around for less than a minute before flying off towards the large farm buildings.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Cold Edge

This afternoon;
1 Cormorant >NW
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Little Ringed Plover
1 Oystercatcher
1 Curlew
1 Lapwing with at least 1 large chick

Baitings Res'r/Booth Wood Res'r

Baitings Res'r
c12 Lesser Redpoll in the plantation
5 Grey Heron
Lots of mud but no waders!

Hutch Bridge - plantation near Parrock Nook
80+ Linnets

Booth Wood Res'r
1 Wheatear

Colour ringed Peregrine

Last Sunday Geoff Smith saw a colour ringed Peregrine at Ringstone Edge, the ring/s were on the birds right leg and described as thin yellow over broad orange (or red) over thin yellow. These details have been passed to the BTO who say this isn't a wild British ringed birds as all theirs have engraved colour rings. I guess its possible this is a captive bred bird but might also be of continental origin? Keep an eye out for it locally!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Sunday AM

Walk to Gaddings (2 BH Gulls, 3 Common Sandpipers, juv Reed Bunting and a juv Wheatear) then over Langfield Common to the Pennine Way (a few Mipits around but not nearly as many as last week), down Withens Clough (a Raven flew over and landed on Holder Stones) to the reservoir (24 Canada Geese and a BH Gull). Not the busiest of mornings for sightings, but plenty of fresh air and good weather made up for that.

Sunday PM

Walk over to Gorple and back, unfortunately no sign of the Redstart or any spotted fly in the same area this year. Did have a nice female Sparrowhawk fly through though, on way to res from Colden a single Little Owl. Lower Gorple very disappointing with only a single common sand, 3 oystercatcher and a LBB Gull (though 3 more flew in as a walked away) highlight on the res being the sight of a female tufted with 3 newly hatched young and further up a probably 2nd female with approx 5/6 young. Brightening up my otherwise slightly unproductive walk were a family of Stonechats at least 4 though possibly 5 and with no sign of a male, great to see; my first in Calderdale this year! A couple I bumped into reported 5 kestrels up Walshaw hunting close together so another promising sighting of a bird we believe is struggling, I saw only a single bird down by the river which is where the Stonechat's were along with a grey wag.
Further back along the road 2 juv Wheatears mean't I was more than happy by the time I got home.

Whiteholme res

Common Scoter female present at mid-day; also 4 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin (from Birdguides)

Ogden - Back Lane

1 Curlew
21 Meadow Pipits together >SW
1 Common Gull
2 Sparrowhawks
2 Gt Spotted Woodpeckers
c100 Woodpigeons feeding in newly mown fields
Lots of Swallows

Withens Head/Withens Gap

2 Little Owls
3 Wheatears
c40 Linnets
1 Lapwing with 1 large chick
Several Willow Warblers

Lee Mount

An obvious influx of overnight warblers with 3 Blackcaps (juvenile above) today feeding on Honeysuckle berries (Lonicera periclymenum) along with c6 Willow Warblers.
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Jay and 1 male Sparrowhawk also today

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Heron Info Wanted

Does anybody out there know of a regular spot for seeing feeding Herons? I have seen the odd one here and there, on ponds, on the river or on the canal, but I have yet to see a group in any one place.