Thursday, June 30, 2011

Swifts/Swallows/Martins survey

Click on the picture to make it readable

With thanks to Evie Bell from West Yorkshire Ecology for producing the above map of these species recorded so far this year. These are not records of breeding.
Other maps are to follow and thanks to Jeff for finding a way of uploading these to the blog.

Thank you to all the records submitted so far but PLEASE SEND IN ALL RECORDS OF BREEDING (or feeding areas)OF THESE BIRDS so we can get a comprehensive picture throughout Calderdale. (even if its just a single pair)
Many thanks

Yellow Legged Gull, Fly Flatts

1900-2015 hrs
North shore
1 3rd year YL Gull with near full grey mantle apart from a band of brown mottling, legs pale yellow.
1 Herring hybrid type, very pale mantle, Herring gull head but bright yellow legs.
90+ LBBs
All flushed with dog walkers leaving over nab towards TMR.
Also 8 Redshank present and plenty Swifts.

Langfield and Gaddings Dam

Walked up to Langfield and Gaddings for the first time in a couple of months this morning. A juvenile Stonechat was the first find on the way up together with a couple of Reed Buntings. At Langfield Edge - 2 Twite, one of which had rings on its left leg (pink over white) but couldn't make out any other colours before they flew off towards Jail Hole. I'll email Charlotte anyway. A male Kestrel was hunting over the top of the hill and was being harried by 3 Mipits.

Mipits and Skylarks everywhere which was great to hear on a sunny but blustery morning.

At Gaddings, 8 Swifts were feeding low over the water together with a few Swallows. A single Dunlin and a Ringed Plover seemed to keeping close company in that where ever the plover went the Dunlin followed shortly afterwards.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fly Flatts

Posting for Nick D (Roy and Andy)
This evening there were c300 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the res'r with what was almost certainly 2 Yellow-legged Gulls. If anyone is going in that direction late afternoons or early evening in the next few days please have a careful check as it is likely they may come in to roost here again.
Also loads of Swifts feeding late on over the res'r.

Swifts/Swallows/House Martins

Fly Flatts

3 Dunlin there this afternoon but no Twite at the feeding station and that was about it other than the usual suspects.
Redshank on one of the moors with chicks nearby and 2 Oystercatchers at Withens Head Farm. Swallows are nesting up here at 1,300ft.

Cold Edge

An interesting morning with Jeff, Hugh and Valerie as we looked at the sites bird life and had several very interesting discussion with local people about the wind turbine proposal nearby!
1 red-head Goosander on the lower dam along with a drake Tufted Duck and Common Sandpipers.
2 Oystercatchers came in and several Curlew still around.
Reed Bunting present and Meadow Pipts still feeding young. A few Swallows about and Swifts moving through.
1 Snipe still drumming

Roils Head

From Nick D - juvenile Redstart there this afternoon in the trees along the track from the bus turning circle at the top of Rye Lane towards the playing fields changing rooms.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Swift/Swallow/Martins survey

Thanks to local birders and all the members of the public who have passed on records of nesting birds during this last week. We now have 170 records in the data base.

We have some big gaps from areas that need visiting so please send your records in as you find them. They can be sent to me direct on the above email or to Calderdale Countryside Service Tel 01422 393233 or email

Thank you

I will be posting the up to date information later this week.

Fly Flatts

This evening a report from BOG (Bradford Ornithological Group) about 2 Ruff late afternoon. A good record for Calderdale as this species is not found very often locally.


The swifts have been happy these last couple of days , screaming around the house and at work today.  It must be for joy they do scream, celebrating the warmth!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean

Some shots (digiscoped)of a juvenile Swallow recently out of the nest at Walshaw this morning

Lots of juv Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits today along with 3 singing Goldcrests and several Treecreepers near the car park and a family group of Nuthatches in Crimsworth Dean.
3 pairs of Spotted Flycatchers but no Pied!
1 Kestrel was the only raptor
Plenty Swallows including fledged young at several farms near Walshaw and along Shackleton
2 Redpoll and 2 Siskin at Walshaw and 1 Redpoll at Shackleton
Siskin also over Crimsworth Dean

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fly Flats

Only 2 Twite at the feeding station today. As above, I think this is a juvenile at the site today
1 Kestrel
2 Red-legged Partridge
Usual waders but no Dunlin and no migrants
c20 Swifts and 2 Swallows
1 Reed Bunting
260 adult Canada Geese + loads of chicks

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nest Boxes Pay off

Juvenile Redstart.

Adult Male Redstart, sorry for poor quality, digi scoped against bad light.

In 2008 the bird club put up boxes in order to attract this species to a particular valley. We can now confirm that this year a pair has used one and successfully raised at least 2 young. Whilst in this area this PM a Hobby flew over much to our delight.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Breeding Redstarts

At last after a blank year we finaly have breeding Redstarts, thanks to Kevin Lewis. He found an adult male at an undisclosed site this afternoon and kindley passed the info on to me. Dave and Nick C then relocated the male and Jane Utley confirmed a female on site also. Arrived with Steve C at 19.15PM and searched for over an hour, then as the light was failing we found the male and at least 2 fledged young which were feeding themselves. A return in the next few days may confirm at least 4 young present as Steve C saw 4 birds together in poor light but could not be certain they were all Redstarts (lots of Robins about also). We have kept the sight details off the blog in case the pair have a second brood. Once again thanks to Kevin, yet another good find by him, cheers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Great views this morning of dipper feeding a large, very vocal juvenile just under the bridge over the Calder near Morrisons. Because they were under the bridge the sound was magnified and echoing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

No Wood Warbler

Made a brief early evening visit, last night, to check on Jeff & Andy's Wood Warbler. Not a sight nor sound. It may still be around and keeping its head down, but I strongly suspect that it has moved on.
The weather conspired to prevent me checking Ian Scotts site but I hope to re-visit this and perhaps the Crimsworth site permitting.
The literature suggests that the males continue to sing whilst breeding, so there's hope yet. It would be a shame if all three sightings turn out to be of a single (or several) un-paired males.
Had a pair of Blackcaps carrying food to nest and one or more Spotted Flycatchers nearby......oh yeah....and lots of midges!

House Martins

We have received a report of lots of House Martins on Portsmouth reservoir just past the Roebuck pub along Burnley Road. Can anyone check this site out and to see if there is a nesting colony nearby?
Thanks. Dave

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swifts/Swallows/Martins survey

Thank you to those who have passed on records of nesting birds during this last week. We now have over 100 records in the data base - and the rest of the summer to go.

We have some big gaps from areas that need visiting so please send your records in as you find them. They can be sent to jane or me direct on the above email or to Calderdale Countryside Service Tel 01422 393233 or email

Obvious gaps where we have had very few or no records are
Hebden Bridge
Halifax (town centre)
Todmorden etc....

House Martins are the ones we are struggling to find - in very short supply!

Thank you - Dave

Cold Edge and Fly Flats

Cold Edge
Male Whinchat there this morning.
2 male Tufted Duck on the lower dam
1 Common Sandpiper
2 B H Gulls and 11 L B B Gulls >SW
Several Reed Buntings and lots of juv Linnets (looks like they are having a good breeding season so far)

Fly Flats (from yesterday)
11 L B B gulls there late morning but by mid afternoon there were 62 and still arriving. Mostly adults

Local Wildlife Sites Designation

The CBCG has discussed the new Local Wildlife Sites system at a couple of meetings and via emails and has made recommendations re the criteria to be used to designate important local sites. Following on from this the criteria have now been finalised and there is the opportunity for sites to be put forward.
The guidelines and criteria can be found at

At first glance these can appear quite daunting. A suggestion is that the best way forward is for people to suggest sites they consider to be of great bird interest and worthy of conservation, these can then be assessed using the criteria. Please note, there is no point suggesting sites that are already LNR, SSSI or SPA as these will automatically qualify.

One way that a site can be judged is by scoring species present using the values given in the guidelines, if the total comes to more than 15 (or >=12 if the community value can be argued) the site will be designated. An example of a site not yet designated is Ringstone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tree Sparrows

There were half a dozen Tree Sparrows around a stone barn at Woolrow Farm, near Bailiffe Bridge, yesterday.
This is approx one mile from the site at Jay House Lane, so it's hard to say whether these birds have wandered from that site, or are a new colony: one to watch !
Access is difficult by car as farm is at the end of a narrow track;Birkhouse Road is 'parkable'. then follow the rough track up the hill to the farm.

Fly Flatts

Red Kite over the wind farm at 11.40. Our attention was drawn to it by 2 Curlews alarming and flying up towards it. It was quite high and drifted off north over Nab Hill and lost in the distance still going away from us. No sign of any wing tags on this bird but a couple of inner pramaries missing on the left wing.
Usual waders present including just 2 Dunlin but no sign of Ringed Plovers now.
4 Twite at the feeding station and 2 male Wheatears chasing each other down the track towards Dean Head.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Swifts/Swallows/Martins survey

Thanks to local birders and all the members of the public who have passed on records of nesting birds during this last week. We now have 70 records in the data base.

We have some big gaps from areas that need visiting so please send your records in as you find them. They can be sent to me direct or the above email or to Calderdale Countryside Service Tel 01422 393233 or email

Thank you

Martins and More

Headed up Rishworth way yesterday, hoping to find some Dippers with fledged young. As luck would have it, the nest site used last year appeared un-used, with no birds on territory. On the plus side, I managed to film a pair of Grey Wagtails feeding their two fledged youngsters, and a noisy family of Wrens.
En route to this location, I stumbled upon what may be our largest House Martin colony off Halifax Road opposite Ripponden Infants and Junior School. Most of the houses in Upper Brig Royd/Halifax Rd appear to have nests, some having 3 or 4, although not all are active. Threatening weather prevented me from doing an accurate survey but there are at least 20 active nests, and this is probably an under-estimation. Any chance of somebody doing a count in case I don't get chance to re-visit the site?

No sign of Andy and Jeffs Wood Warbler today but then again, no sign of anything else in the torrential rain.....Worth a repeat visit methinks.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Found another 2 Kingfishers near Ganny Lock and 1 on Reedbed Lagoon. All Goosander young are doing well as are the Little Grebes.Reed Warblers are very busy in the reedbed.Chiffchaff photo taken in garden 09/06 and Sparrowhawk today at 1200 and he was back 2 hours later.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


After such a lean spell with this species since last winter we have had Nick D's record at Roils Head in the last few days and tonight we have had reports in the lower Calder Valley from 4 separate locations - including one sighting of 4 together. Hopefully things are looking good for some recovery prospects.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Undislclosed site

1 pair of Stonechats, 2 pairs of Whinchats and c5 pairs of Reed Buntings in one area this afternoon along with 2 pairs of Grey Partridge and a Lapwing with 2 chicks. Worth risking the weather forecast!

Barn Owl nest boxes

Many thanks to Chris from Calderdale Countryside Service for storing the nest boxes on a temporary basis whilst we got organised. Thanks too to Niall for giving me a lift with them. These boxes must be 'top of the range' thanks to JohnB and we will need to think carefully about locations before the autumn otherwise Nick D will have a nesting pair in his front room and Tim a pair among the beer barrels!

Fly Flatts

Not a lot of time to spend there this morning but it was well worthwhile with a Hobby coming through from the direction of the wind farm and aross the reservoir at 10:50. It took a pass at c30 Swifts which were feeding low over the southern end but did not take one. It passed over my head near the Twite feeding area showing wonderful plumage detail of an adult and it's characteristic outline. It then shot off down towards Luddenden Dean and left me amazed at seeing such a fantastic bird on the local patch!
5 Twite at the feeding station including one colour ringed bird
1 Ringed Plover
8 Dunlin plus other usual waders
4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were present and another one flew over carrying what looked like a small wader.
Juvenile Pied Wagtails were also present near the boat house.

It was good to see NK doing his slog round. Dedication, especially as I left, the black clouds came rolling over with Nigel miles away from any shelter! I gather you got a right soaking so hope you have now dried out. Well done.

Copley/Sowerby Development approved by Council

As anticipated, the planning application to develop the valley around Sowerby/Copley was approved at last night's meeting:

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Swifts/Swallows/House Martins

Have a look at the article in Calderdale Call if you get one through your letterbox and please send your records in of this seasons breeding records. Many thanks.

Lee Mount and Ogden

Postings from yesterday.

6 Crossbills went over Lee Mount at 10.15 yesterday morning heading towards Pellon. Several reports on BirdGuides also recently, so plantations at Ogden/Mixenden/Walshaw etc could be worth checking out!

Cuckoo still calling at Ogden Clough yesterday morning but we could only find 1 Spotted Flycatcher in the plantation and no sign of the 2 singing Tree Pipits which have been there recently.

Kingfisher Mount Tabor !!!!!!

Walking across High Road Well Moor Mount Tabor this PM I got a big surprise as a Kingfisher flew strait past me flying south west. It landed in a small bush but was chased off by a Carrion Crow before I could get a photo. What it was doing up there at this time of year is a mystery to me ( but fortunatly a local tick).


Many thanks to Ian Brady of Rossendale Ornithologists Club for this recent report;
Ian was sound recording last Saturday morning (4-6-11) and a Black Tern flew north over Gorple Reservoir at 05:30. Other birds included Cuckoo calling and Siskin.

As far as I know this is the first report of a Black Tern over Calderdale this year!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Fly Flatts

Birds of the day, Redshank and Dunlin

18 Redshank
16 Dunlin
11 Common Sandpiper
2 Golden Plover
3 Oystercatchers
200+ a.m. 100+ p.m. Swifts >NE
25 LBBs >N
1 Juv Pied Wagtail
215 Canada Geese + c50 young.
Only 1 Ringed Plover this morning and none this evening.
+ usual sp.
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Saving the Best till Last

A local wander with Jeff today produced lots of swifts, curlew, mipits, swallows and willow warblers followed by lots of young great tits, blue tits, and a few coal tits. Surprise find of a group of 5 newly fledged Treecreepers and a Nuthatch nest site with adults removing faecal sacs but still the best was yet to come, as we neared the end of our walk Jeff's bionic hearing locked on to the unmistakeable sound of a singing Wood Warbler.


Adult Hobby between puzzle hall inn & Highroyd came in over canal from burnley road accross vally & back again at 1:05 pm.

Friday, June 03, 2011

A gentle Stroll to White Holme

In brilliant sunshine and strong winds - but a nice Ringed Plover, couple of Dunlin, Oystercatcher - Skylark and mippits by the dozen!  And just now a buzzard just over the house!  A first for me in Todmorden!

Common Sandpiper

Took this picture in bad light of a Common Sandpiper at Middle Walshaw dean  with a yellow ring on its right leg??

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Sowerby Bridge/Copley Development

Posted on behalf of Nick Carter:

The planning application for infrastructure works for the Sowerby Bridge/Copley development will be considered by the Planning Committee of Calderdale Council on 7th June 2011 in the Town Hall Halifax.  The application will not be considered before 6pm.  Anyone wanting to view the application can do so at the Planning website by entering the application no. 11/0200/FUL see
(By the way I see from yesterday's Halifax Courier that the Planning Commitee "are minded" to allow the development. Jeff)

Great Spotted Woodpeckers

Seems to be a good year for 'peckers. Have 3 GSW nests within a short distance of home, one of which emptied last week and the other two have young which look to be near fledging:

Fly Flatts

8 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover there this afternoon plus other usual waders.
1 Wheatear
4 Black-headed and 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
No Twite but grass cutting work on the embankment might have dispersed them elsewhere.
Not windy up there today - most unusual !!!

Eagle Seen

Sadley not seen in Calderdale though, taken last month on Skye. Hope Nick D managed to keep his coffee in his cup with the heading!

Reason for post is id on the Diver below, I think Red Throated winter plummage, comments welcome. Picture taken 10th May on Eriskay, it should enlarge on opening.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Just taken down a fence so I've got loads of good wood. It used to be packing crates and theres quite a number of wide planks so suitable for a wide variety of species. Anyone want some boxes for their local patch? Can do open fronts, closed fronts, bat boxes seems a shame for them to go to waste and I might be able to get the construction students at school to make them and (hopefully) put them up.