Saturday, April 30, 2011

White Wagtail

Male White Wagtail at Ringstone this evening.

Greenshank and Garganey

Heads up for these two species. Had 3 of each on he t'other side of hills yesterday....Haydn's pool (Marbury #1) and Newman Flash. Keep your eyes on the wet never know what might drop in........

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mixenden Res'r

2 House Martins were there this morning feeding over the res'r along with 6+ Swallows but no sign of any Swifts yet over north Halifax - any day now!

Cold Edge

I did my BBS (Breeding Bird Survey) for the BTO this morningand results are still to evaluate. Despite the strong E NE wind there were plenty of mipits/Skylarks/Swallows and Linnets about plus a smattering of Wheatears and Reed Buntings and the usual wader sp.

A Whimbrel went over NE at 10.40 calling several times. Unfortunately it did not drop in but went straight over.

5 Golden Plover were about in the fields opposite Nolstar Kennels along Cold Edge Road - they have been there on and off the last few days but no northern forms have been seen there yet.

Raptor id

Brian's image from last week above. Click on image to enlarge. Compare with one below I took at Blacktoft on 15th April.

I dont like to get beat by raptors but every now and then you just have to let them go. However from first seeing Brians picture I believed it to be a Marsh Harrier. Just going through some throw away pics from Blacktoft and I couldnt help thinking how similar this one looked to Brian's. Others have suggested different species and MC says its probably un-identifiable, I may be wrong but I still think its a Marsh Harrier, any other oppinions welcome.

Fly Flatts

Had very windy walk up to the northern end.
Birds were:
Goldfinch 2, a bit out their comfort zone.
Dave. Got your text within 5 mins but did not see the Whimbrel.
Mallard ( 4 chicks)
C sand
Oyks 2
Wheatear at least 3
Twite 1 (too windy re presence of ring)
Grey lag
Golden Plover 2
Pied Wag
Met Brian S. there he had in addition:
Reed Bunting, Dunlin and Redshank.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

EGP/ Swift

Swift over Ski Lake 27 April exacly the same date as last year.

8 Whitethroat,2 Reed Warblers ,1 Garden Warbler,2 Reed Buntings,4 Little Grebe,1 Gt/Crested Grebe,Pair Tufted Duck, 1 Mandarin (photo)and 3 Chiffchaff nest-building.


So we know where the birds roosted now - courtesy of Todmorden News!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

High Brown Knoll

Golden Plover at High Brown Knoll

This afternoon I went up there thinking (and hoping)! there might be a chance of Dotterel - but nothing doing other than 2 Skylark, a few Meadow Pipits, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Wheatears, 2 Red Grouse and 2 Curlew.

Fly Flatts and Elland GP

Yesterday and today;
2 Oystercatchers
6+ Common Sandpipers
1 Dunlin
2 Redshank
10+ Wheatear
1 drake Teal
Mallard with 10 small chicks
6 Twite
1 Sparrowhawk

Elland GP first thing yesterday morning
2 (possibly 3) Reed Warblers
3 Reed Buntings
1 Garden Warbler
8 - 10 Whitethroat
c10 Blackcap
c20 Willow Warblers
6 Chiff-chaffs
c50 Swallows and c30 Sand Martins

Rishworth Moor

Long distance shot of SEO taken late afternoon on Monday 25th May, it was in the area for around 15 minutes flying high and making short display dives. Click on image for slightly better view.

Other notables in Ripponden area over the weekend. 23rd May - Two Buzzards circling plus Peregrine over. 24th May – Buzzard moving down Ryburn Valley toward Sowerby Bridge, this was around 12.30 appx, note from an earlier post that Corsa had a Buzzard below Ringstone during the afternoon. Sedge Warbler at Wine Tavern Lane (above Hubberton), went back on the Monday 25th but only got Linnet, Willow Warbler, Sky Lark, Kestrel and Swallows.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bird Song Refresher

Every spring I find myself having to dig out the CDs and remind myself how to identify all those new arrivals by their calls, so last year I started on a series of video clips to help folk having similar problems remembering what each song sounds like.
I even included a couple of common species that complete novices and non-birders get mixed up with, a rarity and some field ID markers.
I still have quite a lot more to do...the three skulkers being particularly tricky (Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper Warblers)...and some (e.g. Great Tit) have such a huge repertoire to cover. Even some of the commoner species have eluded me......too high in the canopy.....too much background noise.......hidden behind a twig.......nice view but not singing...or I've simply just not got round to it yet.. are the first of the bunch...

Garden Warbler -

Blackcap =-

Whitethroat -

Robin and Blackbird -

Chiffchaff -

Iberian Chiffchaff -

Monday, April 25, 2011

Castle Carr Road/Luddenden Dean

Castle Carr Road
I'm not sure but several fields near the far end of Castle Carr Road look as if these are the ones that have been re-seeded with local wildflower mix to help our local Twite - either way they were very productive this afternoon with 4 Twite there (including 2 colour ringed birds which were seen at Fly Flatts last week) and 20+ Linnet.

Also along the road;
4 Lapwings
2 Wheatear
1 Little Owl
2 Swallows
1 Skylark
c20 Meadow Pipits

Luddenden Dean
We went in the hope of Cuckoo and perhaps Redstart but without success!
c30 Meadow Pipits feeding in one field
2 Wheatear
Nuthatch, Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker
Lots of Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcap and 1 Chiff-chaff
Male Sparrowhawk and 3 Kestrels

Jumble Hole / Underbank

A total of 6 garden warblers (4 singing on or near the pennine way between Jumble Hole and Winters, and a pair collecting nest material in Jumble Hole). Despite this, still proving typically tricky to photograph - this is the best I could manage. Also:

- 12 + willow warbler

- 6 chiffchaff

- 1 blackcap

- 2 green and 1 gs woodpecker

- raven high overhead

- stoat

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

Weasel in the wall

Late morning
2 Wheatears
c12 swallows in 2's and 3's >N
8 Skylark
4 Meadow Pipits
1 Kestrel
1 Whitethroat
c15 Linnets
2 Stock Dove
1 Weasel

Dogs in Reed Beds

Calderdale MBC are currently looking at bringing in dog control orders. It might be a good idea if local birders contact the Environmental Health Dept & suggest local wildlife areas need to be considered in the plans.

In the meantime how about suggesting an action day with Robin at CB involving Officers from CMBC & Philip Sanderson (Police Wildlife Officer) along with local birders?

It might be that a little bit of education to offending dog owners does the trick.

Wheatley Valley

I checked the Shroggs Road landfill this morning for warblers.
Nothing doing at last years Wood Warbler spot!
1 Whitethroat
3 Chiff-chaff
6 Blackcap
10+ Willow Warblers
No Garden Warblers there yet

Grasshopper Warbler reported singing at Soil Hill this morning (NK)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ospreys on the move

Two ospreys came through the area this evening seen from Soil Hill. Full report on West Yorkshire Birding.
Also 8 sp.wader at Fly Flatts a.m.

Fly Flats, Sunday

In a quick visit to Fly Flats we had one wheatear (female), several grouse, mipits, skylarks, snipe, 1 lapwing, 2 common sand, several waders far side but not checked. Curlew and the usual mallard and Canadas.
2 Shelduck at Ringstone & common Buzzard mobbed by crow in the vally below dam wall this afternoon.

Around and about Scammonden this morning

Lots of Meadowpipit, Skylark & Linnet
2 Grey Partridge
Curlew & Lapwing
1 Kestrel
Lots of Willow Warbler
2 Whitethroat
2 Wheatear
1 Whinchat
3 Reed Bunting
Canada Geese and 1 Pink-footed goose on upper reservoir.

Also, rather worryingly, saw a ginger tom cat running a mock on the moors trying to catch Skylark and Meadowpipit. Wondered if anyone knew of any authority or body that could be notified about this?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Dog's Life

A late start today had me heading off to Elland to try to film Sedge Warbler. Never an easy bird to see, let alone film, but the reward would be worth it.
After an hour or so with no visual sign, a passing Labrador decided to jump into the water in front of the reeds, so I had a polite word with the owner who explained that "....he only goes in that bit" but, nevertheless, understood my point of view.
We chatted a while about the sensitive nature of the site, the rare birds that inhabit the reeds, about the Roe Deer he had seen, and I explained that he had not seen a pair of Golden Eagles flying over the area but that they were in fact Buzzards.
After he left, I spent a couple of hours waiting for the "herimbutnoseeim" bird to pose for the camera......with no success.
Three Carrion Crows distracted me by having a fight on the path behind.
A pair of Mallard were feeding in the reeds just in front of me. Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Wrens were singing away. Coot, Little Grebe and Tufted Duck were enjoying the calm and seclusion of the lagoon.
Then...........all of a sudden.............Crash, Splash, Crash, Splash......something moving noisily and clumsily throught the reed bed.......Crash! Splash! Crash!......A Roe Deer or a Fox perhaps? Crash Splash Crash......A flutter of wings.....Mallards were airborn. A Blackbird bolted for cover. Alarm calls went up.....Crash! Splash................the reeds parted as a brown and white Springer Spaniel ploughed through the reed bed.......first left, then towards the centre, back to the left, then right...zig-zagging through the reeds sending birds all over the place. I called to it several times trying to draw it towards me but it was having too much fun trying to catch whatever it flushed. The dog clearly was not responding and there was no sign of any owner. Was it a poachers dog, deliberately put into the water to catch vulnerable wildfowl? It had a collar and name tag, so perhaps not. Finally it bolted and I set off in pursuit, tripod and camera over the shoulder, intent on catching the owner.
I came across some other dog walkers round the corner. "I suppose you were expecting a couple of birds to be posing on a branch for you" asked one. "No! I'm looking for the irresponsible owner of a Spaniel that's just been causing havoc in the reed bed" I replied. "Did you see where it went". "Over the bridge" was the reply.
I shot off but the perpetrators were long gone.
Returning to the lagoon, I took stock of the situation.......After a while the noseeum bird started singing from further across to the left. No sooner had it done so when........Crash! Splash! Crash!.....this time zig-zagging through the rest of the reed bed along the side of the birch lined path that connects the river bank to the canal......Crash! Splash!....all the way across to where I stood.....not an inch of reed bed was left undisturbed......How many Reed Bunting nests will have been trashed by this wayward hound?......I tried calling the beast in but it cocked a deaf 'n and totally blanked me. Still no sign of any owner. The dog bolted.............I followed.............heading towards the lock gates.....passed an angler on the path....four dogs in sight.......through the stile........4 dogs and grey-haired couple were already half-way down the tow-path, backlit by the low sun...........Was that the dog? looks like it.............ignoring its masters voice and legging it down to the next bridge. Need to make sure I've got the right hound. I quicken my pace and catch up with the couple as the besodden culprit returns to re-join the pack. "Is this your dog?" I enquire breathlessly.
...."Ay, it is"...
.."Do you know its just been wreaking havoc in the reed beds where we've got sensitive breeding birds?"
"Ohhhhh You lot are a self-righteous bunch..........Don't bloody lecture me..."
"'scuse me, but I will lecture you...Do you know it's a criminal offence to knowingly disturb breeding birds......
"Don't lecture me or I'll push you in the canal......2
"Are you threatening me?"
"Threatening you?.....Yes!........"
"Well I'll take that as an admission of guilt then"
"I've been coming here for 40 years....."
"It's still an offence and you should keep your dog on a lead if you can't control it."
"This is the only place I can let it off the lead......What will it take to shut you up?"
"Make sure it doesn't happen again......."
The exchange was heated with much ommitted but you get the gist of this guy's attitude v/v "My dog can go where it wants and I don't give a toss about rare breeding birds"
There are hundreds of, largely responsible, dog owners using this area but the damage that can be caused by one irresponsible idiot is irreparable. This is supposed to be a nature reserve but we are failing to educate the idiots that walk amongst us and the reed bed area is one area that needs to be kept dog free.
Is it any wonder that species like Reed Warbler, Water Rail and Sedge Warbler are virtually non-existent in Calderdale?
Perhaps some sign-age which mentions offences and penalties, or some dog-proof fencing may help.
If this level of disturbance is the norm you may as well give up, fill the lagoon with concrete, turn it into a car park and shove an ice cream van on it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grey Partridges in two places and Widdop Resr migrants

Found this pair at Slack Bottom on Sunday 17th, then the road kill at West Vale/Holywell Green on Weds 20th. They are smaller than I had imagined. (See 50p.)

An increasing species, bouncing back? I believe they aren't easy to raise and release for shooting. (Red legged are easier.)

At Widdop Resr, while reccying alone on 17th for a guided walk, there were 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Common Sandpiper. Today 22nd, on the Wildside Walk, we found 5 Sandpipers and 6-7 Warblers.

Residents were Canada Geese, Mallard, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Wren, Grey and Pied Wagtails, Red Grouse, Pheasant, Curlew.

Three not Canadas flying away, (Greylag I'm 90 percent sure) along with 5 Lapwings and a pair of Wheatears at Clough Foot.

NO skylarks on either visit.

Toadspawn, Bilberry Bumble Bees, Green Hairstreak Butterflies. Pics of first two over on the Calderdale Wildlife Blog.

Soil Hill, Whitethroat

Our first years Whitethroat singing at Soil hill this morning, 4 very flighty and noisy Twite, 1 pair linnet on the bush they bred in last year, 1 Wheatear, lots of mipits, only two Skylarks heard, western side only checked.

One last word on the Bee eaters

Another opinion..........from Darrel (allways worth a read)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jumble Hole

Things are getting very spring like on the 'always fruitful' 200 yards of the pennine way just east of Jumble Hole Clough. This morning I confirmed my first 2 garden warblers of the year (though I suspected I caught a snippet of their call from the garden two days ago), 2 blackcap, 3 chiffchaff and 4 willow warbler. No sign of whitethroat yet.

Holmfield Little Owl

Little owl seen once again after 2 years absence.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

High Royd SF - 6:00pm

A quick visit in passing. I have never seen less water in the old settling beds, and rather mysteriously I have never seen more water in the swampy scrubby area to the west of the area (near the house - see photo). Has the water been diverted there? It's not as though the water can have come from rain! Was hoping for a sedge warbler, but no luck. Birds seen include:
- 2 nuthatch
- 5 coot
- 2 moorhen
- 2 pairs of teal
- 1 juv and 1 adult heron
- a pair of blackcap
- hundreds of carrion crows, two of which were partly leucistic
- chiffchaff and willow warbler heard


Raven seen and heard cronking loudly over Heptenstall at 10:00am this morning.

Wood Warbler

Pied Fly and Wood Warbler

Wood Warbler still present at Crimsworth Dean this PM, also found a female Pied Flycatcher 500 yards up the track from Gibson Mill on the righthand side in the glade with the silly poetry signs.

Crimsworth Dean

With thanks to Nick D for locating this Wood Warbler in Crimsworth Dean yesterday. We re-located it this morning near yesterdays spot - singing on and off but with quiet spells in between. A tricky one to digi-scope but just about managed to get a couple of half decent shots of it in the canopy.

Wood Warblers over recent years have become very thin on the ground, similar to Redstarts. Both were much more common around Calderdale in the summer months up to around 10 years ago, lets hope the decline starts to reverse very soon.

Plenty of Willow Warblers in the dean along with 1 Chiff-chaff and 2 Treecreepers, Nuthatch and 1 Sparrowhawk over.

Lots of butterflies around today in the lovely weather.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rishworth Walk

A walk on Saturday produced the very reliable Little Owl (3rd year running).
2 Heron nests, one with a least one young + usual warblers.


Heard a Cuckoo this afternoon calling for 5 minutes from trees in Hall Wood, Todmorden. This is the first cuckoo I have heard in quite a number of years in Todmorden and the first ever in Hall Wood.

Philip (via Calderdale Wildlife)

Cold Edge

Wheatears seemed to be everywhere today including 25+ around this site.
Just a few Swallows, lots of mipits, several Linnet and 1 Skylark.

Usual waders present together with 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Dunlin.

Ringby Lane (Swales Moor)

Thanks to Steve C I managed to get up there this morning to see the Whinchat - a stunning individual together with c10 Wheatear on the stone walls.

Wood Warbler

Out with SC this PM. I walked up Crimsworth Dean and heard a Wood Warbler singing about 200 yards before the turning area on the left hand side of the track. Tried hard to see it but it failed to show, still nice and early, hope there's more to come.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fly Flats

2 very poor images of the Red Kite over Warley Moor, near Slade.

1 Red Kite over this afternoon at 16.05 spotted by an eagle-eyed Jen. It came low over the moor to the south mobbed by corvids, Curlew and Lapwing then headed off towards The Withens before gaining height and coming back over the res'r embankment - very high at this stage and headed off towards Oxenhope. (Not looked at the photo's yet to see if they are any good) 1 pair Goldeneye. 1 pair Tufted Duck. Waders were 4 Dunlin, 8 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper - all on the far shore, lots of mud but it would be a struggle without a scope! c4 Wheatears, 10 Twite at the feeding station and a few mipits around. Another surprise was a Dunnock singing just down the track from the feeding station! It was good to meet up with Nigel as we were on the way down to Fly and he was heading off to Cold Edge. Unfortunately Nigel was on the way home on the bus when I rang him about the Red Kite hoping it was going in his direction!

Ringby Top and Beyond

After dropping off the car with BS in Queensbury for a quick repair job, I walked back towards Halifax and decided to have a kick around Ringby Top. I ended up walking up to the ski slope, then down towards Ousel Hall and down into the valley towards Shibden Head, finally heading up hill towards Black Dyke Mills and back to Queensbury.

A pair of Swallows greeted me at the Calderdale boundary with 2 more later in the Shibden valley.
Several Skylarks were singing on the top with around 6 Wheatears in the sheep pastures.
Mippits aplenty and the obligatory Carrion Crows, Magpies and Jackdaws with a couple of Linnets passing overhead.
Goldfinches were everywhere along this route and Greenfinches were plentiful around the ski slope.
Green Woodpecker was heard in the valley, as was Great Spotted Woodpecker. The valley had a few Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers singing and I had my first Blackcap for the year. The usual Wrens, Dunnocks, Robins, Blackbirds, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Blue Tits and Great Tits were present, and a Sparrow-hawk and a Jay added to the list.
Peacocks, Small tortoishells and Orange Tips were on the wing but no sign of any Green Hairstreaks where the Billberry was the dominant vegetation.
Coming out of the valley and into suburbia, House Sparrow and Starling let me know that I was leaving some nice habitat behind me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More mundane birds...

After the excitement of the last few days I thought I'd bring everyone back down to earth.

Langfield this morning yielded my first Stonechat of the year (a wonderful male, singing his heart out, but no female came near). Also 2 Twite, a male Reed Bunting, a male Kestrel, a Curlew over towards Gaddings and the usual Mipits and Skylarks.

At Lee Dam there were 3 pairs of Tufted Duck.

Other news

From yesterday a pair of Ring Ouzel migrants were seen at Clifton - Jay House Lane around 9.30 am and headed off in the direction of Bailiff Bridge (M He). Grasshopper Warbler near Scammonden and a Gadwall at Ringstone this morning (J We)

Cold Edge

Very quiet up there this afternoon on a lovely day. Several Linnet about. c10 Wheatears and that was about it!

White Stork over Halifax 12.22pm

A shopping trip this p.m. turned out to be a bonus whilst waiting at the lights in town to turn right up Pellon Lane.
A large bird  soared behind the block of flats which I thought was a Heron but when it re appeared it was seen to be a White Stork. It was very high and soaring round in circles without beating its wings. As the lights changed I had to drive on whilst Lynda alerted the cavalry via the grapevine.
When we got to Asda and was speaking to DJS on the phone I could still see the bird over town in the same position. After 5 minutes in Asda the frustration got too much and I came back out into the car park to see the bird right overhead still soaring, I boast that my camera goes everywhere with me but that doesnt include Asda, it will in future.
After more phone calls the bird lost high somewhat and flew directly over Asda >N parallel to Pellon Lane.
I was sure NCD would pick it up as it was heading maybe to the west of him but it was the size of a barn door so should be easy to see but somehow it slipped through the net of the waiting crew , unless of course it went down somewhere.
The problem with a White Stork is, is it a genuine or a free flyer from Harewood, we,ll never know
Who said shoppings boring

Hooded Crow video

With thanks to Janet for this, sorry I don't know your surname!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Dipper on Elphin Brook at Mytholmroyd. Later located its nest, where it is feeding young.

Hooded Crow

Hooded Crow at Cottonstones 6th April. First record since 1975. The bird may still be present so its worth a look. Looks like its in the same area as the Woodchat Shrike was a few years ago.

Castle Lane this morning

A male Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and a female Sparrowhawk at Castle Lane, Todmorden this morning.

Friday, April 15, 2011


21 Waxwings flew north at Mount Tabor at 7PM this evening.

Ravens Ringed

Two Raven chicks were ringed yesterday at a Calderdale site, work carried out by Steve Downing, Tim Walker and James Leonard (RSPB).

Bradley Hall Farm and Elland GP

Bradley Hall Farm this morning; 1 Yellowhammer. 1 Tree Sparrow. 1 Sparrowhawk. 1 Wheatear in the field by the farm with 2 Pied Wag's,1 Grey Wag and 2 Swallows. Blackcap, Willow Warblers and Chiff-chaffs also around. Elland GP; No sign of Whitethroat or Garden Warbler etc there yet - just Chiff's, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. 2 House Martins went through west and 2 Swallows over the ski-lake but no Sand Martins this morning. Good to see Mike H down there doing the rounds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crags nest boxes

Jeff Cox and I spent this afternoon checking and doing basic emergency repairs to the nestboxes at the Crags in the hopeful anticipation of the return soon of pied flycatcher and redstart. Many of the problems with the boxes were due to grey squirrel damage. The repairs are only temporary, and will only last this season, but are better than nothing. We also spoke to Drew Marsh from the National Trust there who agreed to be available to make up c.50 new pine boxes, as the 'old' beech ones have basically had it now, and all need replacing. Birds encountered whilst working include goldcrest, nutchatch, treecreeper, and green & gs woodpecker (h). With thanks to Jeff for his help

Fly Flats

11 Twite at the feeding station this morning plus several colour ringed birds. Photo's taken but not been through them yet for further details of ring combinations. 6 Wheatears


Does anybody know anything about the entry today on Bird Guides website reporting four European Bee-eaters in Todmorden last Monday evening?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

12th April

Kevin Lewis reports an Osprey over Dean Head Castle Carr at 12.15PM today. See todays Halifax Evening Courier for details on POISON MANIAC, believed to be targeting Peregrines.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Lots of singing Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers and Blackcap. A pair of Tufted are on the reedbed lagoon and this morning a Common Sandpiper flew upstream.and photo of 4 Goosanders,hopefully this years breeding birds.

Colour Ringed Twite

I have received information from Nick Wilkinson (RSPB) David Sowter and Sean Grey on these individuals seen locally this year. Click on the photo's to enlarge! The above male was at Swales Moor from at least 28th Nov 2010 until at least 2nd March 2011 and seen on and off with the Linnet flock. It was ringed/colour ringed at Heysham, Lanc's in 2010.
The above male has been at Fly Flats since 28th March this year and is paired, having been seen feeding an unringed female. Ring number is T938238 and it was ringed at Cant Clough (just over the border towards Burnley) on 25th October 2010.
The above female was seen at Fly flats last week 8th April. I have not been able to see the colour of the ring above the green on the right leg but its BTO ring ends in 8. This makes it one of two birds. It is either a sibling of the bird below OR a Lumbutts bird ringed on 8th June 2010. I will be trying to relocate this bird to get the ring colour above the green on the right leg so we can get a positive id.
The above male has been at Fly Flats since 8th April. It was ringed (X647902) at Fly Flats on 2nd June 2010. I saw this bird at Fly Flats on 18th October 2010 and it was seen at Leverton, Linc's on 14th Feb 2011 before returning to Fly Flats last week.

Many thanks to Nick, Dave and Sean for the information as above.

If anyone locates any colour ringed Twite please let me know. I find the best idea is to get some digital photos of the legs and take a closer look when I get them back onto the computer. With a bit of luck some numbers can also be seen as well on the metal ring and even though it might not be possible to get all six digits even one or two might help to identify the bird.

Cold Edge and Fly Flats

Out with NCD this afternoon but Cold Edge was disappointing in the strong NW wind. Curlew and Lapwing present nearby plus 2 Oystercatchers, 1 Snipe and 2 B H Gulls. No sign of the Little Grebe but it was there earlier (NK). 2 Wheatears and a few mipits around. Fly Flats was worth the visit with a male Ring Ouzel feeding out of the wind in the drainage channel leading down towards the boat-house and a Raven over heading N. No Twite at the feeding station but 3 (maybe 4) Wheatears there. We were unable to find any waders on the extensive mud edge as the NW wind was so strong. Plenty Canadas though! 1 Redpoll was calling from a pine tree near Dean Head.

Holmfield and Mixenden

I had a ride round for a short time early afternoon during the rain, checking on local rookeries - big surprise was 20 nests near Laurel Bank Close in Holmfield in 2009 - none there today! Mixenden Res'r early afternoon - c30 Swallows there but nothing else.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gorple this afternoon

A walk to Gorple reservoirs this afternoon with Andy H was quite productive. Can't be exact with counts as we walked to the Upper res and back and some birds may have been seen more than once:
Tufted Duck - 2 (male and female)
Goosander - 9 (all female)
Greylag Goose - 3
Curlew - at least 7, very likely many more
Lapwing - c.20
Redshank - 3
Oystercatcher - at least 5
Golden Plover - 10
Grey Partridge - 2
Willow Warbler
Wheatear - at least 7 (1 female, 6 male)
Pied Wagtail - 6
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush - 2
LBB Gull flying NW
BH Gull - 2
Skylark and lots of Mipits and Red Grouse

Lee Mount

Decided to sit out in the garden this afternoon with the family together with bins and scope - instead of going out for a walk! Glad I did as they were all watching the skies with a bit of encouragement -as the day looked so good for high moving birds on the thermals. We were not disappointed! First a Raven went over very high NE towards Swales/Queensbury - this was a first for the garden from 1974! Also 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine and 1 unidentified raptor/large gull - hard to tell it was so high and couldn't find it in the scope - always one that gets away. They were all going NE - oh and 2 balloons!

Shibden Valley 10/04/11

Usual walk through the park and around the valley threw up some unusual species.

1 mute swan and 1 coot on the lake. These are the first I've seen here. I also had 3 greylag geese last week in with the canadas. There are also 2 groups of mallard chicks - 20 or so in total. Chiffchaff, green woodpecker and GS woodpecker all calling.

Usual kestrel hunting.

2 skylarks singing on Beacon Hill. 2 willow warblers singing on Dark Lane along with several chiffchaff. Blackcap singing in the valley bottom.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Fly Flats

10 Twite at the feeding station this afternoon with just 2 colour ringed birds. 8+ Sand Martins went through N. 20+ Wheatears. No Common Sandpipers yet.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Swifts/Swallows/House Martins

CBCG are undertaking a Calderdale wide survey in 2011 to locate breeding sites of individuals or colonies of Swifts, Swallows, House Martins - and with luck a few Sand Martins! We are anticipating a press release in the near future asking members of the public to report sightings/locations of nesting birds and we may need help from local birders to check some of the reports. In the meantime can you keep it in mind to make a note of any records and during the summer to check out sites you already know of from previous years. We will need a site location and numbers of nesting birds. Rather than publicise nest sites on the blog we are setting up a system to log the information which we can then analyse later. Details to follow. This survey will provide a good basis of information for Calderdale and something we can build on in future years. Hopefully this will lead on to help us find ways of protecting and encouraging these special summer visitors.

Cold Edge and Mixenden

Cold Edge Very quiet bird wise this morning in the strong SW wind. c6 Swallows around the farms and 4 Sand Martins went through heading NW. Just 2 Oystercatchers there and lapwing and Curlew. 1 Common Buzzard this afternoon at 2.05pm just to the north of Mixenden Res'r came over Lane Head Lane drifting off high towards Soil Hill/Bradshaw. A very distinct individual with a large wedge of 2 or 3 inner primaries and 2/3 outer secondaries missing, all on the right wing. Green Woodpecker also present nearby.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

RSPB Twite Recovery Project

Due to Natural England cut backs there will be no RSPB fieldworker in the area this summer although the vital habitat work, land owner liaison etc will continue. Following on from a presentation by Charlotte Weightman (Project Habitat Intervention Officer) at last night's CBCG meeting she has asked if we could send out a request for experienced birders who might be prepared to carry out some voluntary fieldwork on twite this summer. The following has been received from Charlotte

Colony monitoring work

If you or someone you know has excellent bird ID skills and is willing to adopt a colony and monitor it by carrying out three survey visits during the breeding season, please get in touch with Jenny Oldroyd : Training will be given, but we do want to start with people who already have a very high level of skill in this area. Expenses will be paid.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Mixenden Res'r/Cold Edge/Ringstone

Couldn't find much at all today in the very strong SW wind. Could hardly stand up at Ringstone this afternoon! Mixenden 1 drake Goldeneye. Cold Edge - usual waders on the moor. Ringstone 1 G C Grebe 1 Cormorant 10 Lapwings. Nearly forgot - found another site for Little Owl - will send details on to you Jeff in due course.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Little Owl Sightings in Calderdale - a reminder

In January I posted a plea for help asking people to send in sightings of Little Owls in 2011 ( )

Reports from different people have dropped off recently as you can see from the stats by month for the year to date:
Jan - 8 sightings from 7 different people
Feb - 4 sightings from 3 different people
Mar - 12 sightings from 3 different people

Can I please ask again that any Little Owl sightings are reported through the whole of this year so we can compile a representative picture of how they are doing in Calderdale.



An Osprey heading north towards Thornton Moor this afternoon in the strong westerly wind and rain was a real treat! We were just up by the 'Giant's tooth' when it came over from the res'r area and away at speed over the moor. It's like the weather conditions were not a problem for this strong flyer and guess it will be over the border country come evening at the rate it was flying. 1 drake Tufted Duck on the res'r along with 1 female Goldeneye and Great-spotted Woodpecker nearby.


Two grey wagtails feeding on the shingle in the Calder from the bridge onto New Road

Huddersfield Bird Report 2009

With apologies for this advertising. The Birds in Huddersfield 2009 report is now available priced £6 or £7.50 with p&p.

Details can be found on the HBC web site at



CBCG meeting on

Just to confirm that tommorow's CBCG meeting will go ahead as planned, non members welcome. For full details see earlier posts.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Battling Buzzards

At the local Buzzard territory this evening the resident dark male was having a right ding dong with another Buzzard which from size I guess was another male. It definitely wasn't the resident female. A crow was also joining in and it made quite a spectacle. It was lower down the valley than I have seen them before. I lost them and was not sure of the outcome. Also at least 1 Kestrel with a successful hunt and a Sparrowhawk with a fly past within 10ft!


Deanhead-m.Peregrine on fence post,pr.Goldeneye on res. 1.Wheatear. Ringstone-2 Curlew-2 Oystercatcher -2 L.R.P's-3 Wheatear on res.wall nearest hide.

3rd Osprey through on 2nd April ?

Brian Sumner took this snap shot of a bird as he got out of his car last night at 7.30PM at Queensbury. He was first unsure as to the id because the bird appeared to have brown under parts ? Ive suggested that its an Osprey on wing shape and short tail and can only think that the brown under parts may be due to oil contamination ? I may be wrong on both counts, any thoughts.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

2nd Osprey through

Brian Sumner reports an Osprey north somewhere over Rishworth Moor flying towards Stoodley Pike at around 7.10PM.

More Waxwings

Waxwings were present in Luddenden village all day today with up to 22 present, there was forty in a tree outside my house yesterday when I was at work!!!!

Willow Warblers early

It's not the first this year, but just had one in the garden singing and feeding in the trees. A garden first (23 year list!) and my earliest ever in Calderdale. (My previous earliest 4th April.)

Osprey over Brighouse

Kevin Lewis has reported an Osprey flying west over Brighouse between 1.15- 1.30PM heading towards Elland Gravel Pits.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Elland GP

The recent southerly winds produced some early returners this afternoon including 20+ House Martins, 20+ Sand Martins with c6 Swallows with them. All were mainly feeding high over the ski-lake in the strong westerly wind. c 8 Chiff-chaffs singing in the area and 1 Blackcap singing along the canal. 6 Lesser Redpoll also seen but possibly more present on the planted landfill area. Also Green Woodpecker heard nearby. 2 Cormorants, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Grey Herons, 2 Goosander, 1 L B B Gull >E 1 Comma and 3+ Peacock butterflies as well. Good to watch the hirundines and hear some warblers after a long cold winter and to meet up with Mike, Ian and Geoff was a bonus.

Cold Edge

Late morning but driving wet drizzle up there! 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Oystercatchers, Snipe 'chipping', 2 Redshank, Curlew and Lapwings nearby. 1 Raven >N. 2 Little Owls nearby. Skylarks not singing and mipits very quiet too. No Wheatears today.

Mixenden Res'r

1 Sand Martin through this morning about 9 am >SW 1 drake Goldeneye 1 female Goosander Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker also present. No gulls at this site now - all gone north and east I guess!

Moorwatch - result?

Just passed the site of the fly tipping I reported on the Moorwatch website yesterday and noted it has gone, like to think that was as a result of the website.

Grey wagtail - North Bridge Leisure Centre!

Hello all, Surprised to first hear then see a grey wagtail in such an urban setting. However, Hebble Brook is nearby. Also report from w/e of 19/20 March of two red kites near Hugh Brown Knoll (Between Crimsworth Dean and Luddenden Dean).