Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cold Edge/Hunter Hill

I couldn't find any sign of last Fridays/yesterdays Cuckoo at Nolstar but didn't get chance to check Cold Edge where it flew off to yesterday afternoon.

Very little moving at the watchpoint this morning probably due to the strong North Westerly and low cloud. 44 Meadow Pipits >SW and 7 Siskin >N. In the absence of any real movement I checked the gully at Slaughter Gap -this turned out to be a little more rewarding
1 Redstart (though elusive)
1 Spotted Flycatcher
c10 phyllosc's
15 Blue Tits
4 Coal Tits
8 Great Tits
c40 Swallows and 6 House Martins
c15 Wheatears were also around the site with some of these sheltering in the quarry area

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cold Edge Cuckoo

Went to Cold Edge Road with SC to have a look for Daves juv Cuckoo and found it on the walls across the road from Nolstar Kennals. Bad light and driving rain made it very difficult to digi scope but I had a go any way ( more to follow on heavybirder blog). After tea a brief visit to Roils Head produced the best looking Tree Pipit I think Ive ever seen, unfortunatly it was off before I got the camera out.

Cold Edge

Poor conditions up there this afternoon and not easy to find anything
1 juvenile Whinchat at the back of the ski club hut and that was about it other than a few pipits and Swallows.
The juvenile Cuckoo was still in the fields along Cold Edge Road. Good to see BS SC and NCD up there. I gather the Cuckoo headed down towards Cold Edge around 4pm.

Hunter Hill

I tried at the watchpoint for a while but the strong NW wind made it difficult so I tried the gully again to check for migrants. 1 Spotted Flycatcher still there from yesterday along with a Willow Warbler but no sign of the Redstart from yesterday.

Heading back to the car the juv Cuckoo alighted on a wall next to me but quickly moved further away to sit on the wall top opposite Nolstar Kennels on Cold Edge Road. This looks like the same one from last week. Nearby a female Merlin was chasing pipits and there were 200+ Swallows around and around the area north of Mixenden Res'r and c40 House Martins.

Fly Flatts Grey Plover

At 0845 this morning in strong WSW>6 winds a single calling Grey Plover flew low over the water at Fly Flatts from the direction of the NE corner and over the banking at the NW corner keeping low over the moor >SW in the direction of Dean Head or down the Calder valley. I don,t know if the bird had been on the shoreline or just a fly over as scoping had been difficult in the conditions.
1 out of the 12 Wheatear present was a brightly coloured large bruiser of a bird of the Greenland sp.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hunter Hill

I tried the watchpoint this afternoon but it was hard work in the strong NW wind and just managed 6 red head Goosander heading north. I decided to try the sheltered gully at Slaughter Gap and turned up a female type Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher both sheltering and feeding in the spindely thorn bushes so that was a bonus.
There should be lots of migrant warblers etc coming through in the next few weeks - hopefully we will be able to find a few as Nick did yesterday as well at Roils Head.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Roils Head Redstarts

2 Redstarts at Roils Head this PM, first real migrants of the autumn at this site.

Soil Hill

A visit to Soil hill this morning produced just a few birds.
3 kestrel
1 Stock dove
3 Skylark, 1 singing
a few mipits. Jackdaw, Crow

The top is becoming quite green now, lots of growth,
worth following its progress.
The down side is its becoming even more hazardous
to walk over as the bricks and wire are hidden.
I expected a pond or two, none seen on top, just
water in the ruts and on the path. Lots of swallow
activity at Cock Hill Gate Farm (SE071304). Have you got this site

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ogden - Back Lane

Plenty of small birds about in the coll - late morning:
100+ Linnet around New Moss Farm
60+ Meadow Pipits
2 Skylarks
1 Chiff-chaff
1 Red-legged Partridge
c60 Woodpigeons and 6 Stock Doves
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
25 L B B Gulls, 20 Common Gulls and 15 B H Gulls in the fields
2 Swifts came up from over Ogden reservoir and headed NE
c40 Swallows and 2 Sand Martins >SW
6 Kestrels (mostly over towards Soil Hill) and 1 male Sparrowhawk
Didn't get chance to check around the res'r today.

Vis Mig - Hunter Hill

Above - juvenile Cuckoo - and on some of my photos still showing signs of a gape but it was feeding on its own and no sign of the hosts!

I tried - 8 till 10 this morning in the drizzle!!
As expected there was very little in the way of movers, mainly heading SW
5 Mallard
6 B H Gull
2 Common Gull
1 L B B gull
31 Swallows
3 Goldfinch
1 Linnet
With 5 Meadow Pipits and 1 Jackdaw heading North

Nearby was a bit more interesting with a juvenile Cuckoo on a wall looking very bedraggled in the rain but still managing to find a few large caterpillars among the thistles and nettles.
3 Kestrels
1 Grey Partridge
90 Meadow Pipits around the quarry
13 alba Wagtails nearby and 2 Wheatears

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fly Flats this morning

Went to Fly Flats with Andy H this morning to see if the Greenshank was still about - it was. Also at least 7 Wheatear (all female), 2 Kestrel, a few Red Grouse and about 20 Mipits around the house opposite the old Withens pub.

Then we wandered around Roils Head but not much there apart from a few Willow Warblers and a pair of Bullfinch.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lee Mount

After Vis Mig, I got home to find a Nuthatch on the garden feeder - been trying to get a photo for the rest of the afternoon!

Vis Mig - Hunter Hill

This morning at Hunter Hill watchpoint (7am till 11am)
An interesting morning although not a lot of movers other than hirundines
Cormorant 1 >S
Sparrowhawk 1 >S
Common Buzzard 1 >S at 10am very high
Lapwing 2 >S
L B B Gull 2 >S and 12 >N
Woodpigeon 1 >N
Swift 1 >S
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >S
Swallow 144 >S (84 and 60) +200 in the valley
Meadow Pipit 22 >N
flava Wagtail 1 >N towards Ogden golf course at 10.25 - I went down towards the golf course to see if it had come down but there were a lot of golfers so guess it moved straight through?
alba Wagtail 3 >S
Starling 4 >S
Goldfinch 2 >S and 6 >N

Also present:
35 House Martins
5 Wheatear
2 Green Woodpecker
5 Skylark
1 Peregrine (juv)
2 Sparrowhawks
6 Kestrel
plus other usual sp.

Monday, August 22, 2011

22nd August Fly Flats

Fly Flats this PM with DJS. Greenshank still present also a superb Red Kite which drifted slowly east at 15.25PM.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

21st August Fly Flats

Evening visit, 1 Greenshank was nearly taken by juv Peregrine, 3 juv Curlews with short bills, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Buzzard, 2 Kestrels, 2 LBBGs, 6 Grouse and a Little Owl at Cold Edge Road.

Hunter Hill (watchpoint)

Had nearly 2 hrs with Nick D around the watchpoint this afternoon to see if there were any movers.
1 Peregrine to the SE
1 Swift to SE
1 Curlew >W
2 Linnet >SW
A few mipits and a Pied Wagtail over with plenty of distant hirundines feeding over the valley.
Birds nearby included 4 Grey Partridge, c5 Wheatears, c6 Kestrels, 3 Sparrowhawk sightings, LBB Gulls over towards Ogden coll etc. and about 100 mixed flock of B H Gulls and Common Gulls over towards Illingworth in a new mown field.

Lee Mount

Swifts still moving through with 13 around 8am passing through and feeding over Shroggs Park along with around a dozen Swallows and 2 House Martins.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Recent bits from Jumble Hole area

- A large raptor was being mobbed by corvids west over Erringden at 4:00pm today. Most likely a buzzard, but couldn't get much on it.
- Finally, for what I believe is the first time, I had a nuthatch in the garden this morning. They've been close, but never in the garden.
- Green woodpeckers are seen or heard daily over the house, but didn't nest in the usual dead tree in Jumble Hole
- A tawny owl is a reliable sighting at dusk on a particular tree off the lane
- 3 juv grey wagtails were on Eastwood sewage works earlier in the week, with 2 juv peregrines hunting over Erringden

Lee Mount

Just 1Swift over this morning at 7.45.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lee Mount

3 Swifts through high over Shroggs Park at 9 am - last few days they seem to be coming through early on.

Elsewhere today
Red Kite at 12.50 heading high towards the upper Calder Valley area

Hunter Hill/Fly Flatts

Hunter Hill
c60 Meadow Pipits around the quarry site this morning
Moving birds >SW included 5 House Martins, 2 Linnets, 2 Goldfinch

Fly Flats
No waders, though there is still some shoreline mainly at the far end
Several Kestrels around the moors
c6 Wheatears

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Went up to Whiteholme yesterday afternoon with Andy but there is very, very little shore line exposed as the reservoir is full. Nothing about - literally nothing - not even a Mipit or Wheatear. Posted to save people a potential wasted trip over the next few days, or until the water level drops a bit.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lee Mount

3 Swifts over mid- morning
Also this afternoon over 30 House Sparrows on the garden feeders etc. This is the highest count here for years. Looks like they have had a good breeding season with lots of juvs in the group. Anyone else noticed a good House Sparrow year in your area?

Swales Moor

This afternoon I went up to see if I could find any Linnets - to see if I could match the 100+ flock at Soil Hill - not a chance! Fell a long way short with just 6.
8 Skylark
2 Meadow Pipts
2 Kestrels
1 House Martin and 2 Swallows moving SW
1 LBB Gull over
1 Little Owl at Ploughcroft

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lee Mount

Swifts seem to have moved off their breeding sites now and there has not been many about this last week. 20+ over Shroggs Park about 8 am yesterday morning and c35 this morning around the same time were a welcome sight. Both mornings they were feeding over the park and screaming but seemed to drift off SW after about half hour.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fly Flatts

Distant shot of Common Scoter found by DJS today
Posted by Picasa

Fly Flatts

This afternoon in the fog and rain did not disappoint!
1 drake Common Scoter was a surprise near the sw corner and later moved towards the top end of the res'r
2 Common Sandpipers
1 Curlew over in the mist
5 Swallows going south
5 Wheatears
2 LBB Gulls including the one with the smashed right wing - I can't see it surviving much longer
No Twite again

Cold Edge Road down from The Withens to Nolstar Kennels
10+ Wheatear
40+ Meadow Pipits
6 Linnet
2 Kestrels
3 Curlew over going sw

Mixenden Res'r
4 Goosander (looked like the same birds seen at Ogden the other day)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I thought about checking Ogden, Mixenden and Cold Edge/Fly Flats this afternoon thinking the bad weather might have brought something in. I only got as far as Ogden in the pouring rain!
4 Goosander (2 females and 2 juveniles)
13 L B B Gulls
18 Common Gulls
58 B H Gulls
1 Grey Heron
c30 Swallows

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Ovenden Moor

Above - signs of regenerating heather billberry and grasses on the burnt areas

Above - Ovenden Moor with the area devastated by fire earlier this year and an area that was saved from the fire

Fly Flats

Above - Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with wing damage
This afternoon
1 Dunlin
1 Oystercatcher
1 Common Sandpiper
1 juv Peregrine
4 Kestrels
4 Wheatears
No Twite
19 LBB Gulls including one adult with a badly broken wing. This looks like it's flown into a fence or been attacked by a predator. It's days are numbered, unfortunately!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Swifts/Swallows/Martins survey

Records seem to have dried up in the last 2 weeks so please let me know if you find any more Swallow and House Martin nest sites. They can nest until the end of September (even feeding young into early October)!

Local Swifts seem to be on their way now as breeding has probably just about finished in our area except for a few stragglers. There will of course be birds moving through in the next few weeks.

Mixenden and Ogden Res'rs

We checked the sites out this afternoon but it was very quiet in the strong northerly wind and mipits ect were keeping low.
Lots of Swallows (c30) collecting mud in the horse field near Stodfold
1 Grey Wagtail
Nothing on Mixenden Res'r - no gulls using it yet as a day time roost.

1 Little Owl at a new site - (will send the details on Jeff)
1 Skylark
1 Whitethroat in scrub by the golf course

Ogden Res'r
13 L B B Gulls but no sign of the Yellow-legged Gull
8 Common Gulls
60 B H Gulls
1 Treecreeper
1 female Blackcap still feeding young
1 Chiff-chaff

Huddersfield Birdwatchers' Club lecture list

Next season's list of lectures at Huddersfield Birdwatchers' Club has just been posted on our web site at http://www.huddersfieldbirdwatchersclub.co.uk/#/meetings/4536174316

I'm sure that you will find something of interest here if you want to come along. Entry is free to all with a contribution from non-members being welcomed.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

RE Report of Black Stork..Sketches

Many thanks.for these fantastic sketches...Andy (double click to enlarge)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Avian Pox

Interesting article on Birdguides, see

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Report of Black Stork

There's been a report of a Black Stork circling over the Mixenden area for 3 or 4 minutes at 11.08AM on Monday the 1st August. It was being mobbed by gulls and eventually headed north in the direction of Ogden. I have only just spoken to the person involved who had tried to contact me 3 times but my land line as been out of order again for the last 3 days. Going by what was described to me over the phone it sounds very good, notes and sketches were taken and will be passed on to the club asap. Unfortunatly there are no photos as the camera battery was not charged. Do we no if there were any reports of Black Stork in the country around the 1st August.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

NERF Conference 2011

Northern England Raptor Forum Conference
Sunday 20th November 2011 (0930-1630 hrs)
Gala Theatre, Durham City, DH1 1WA

The annual NERF Conference for 2011 is being hosted jointly by the Durham Upland Bird Study Group and the Durham Bird Club at the prestigious Gala Theatre, Durham City.

Registration, coffee and exhibits will be available for delegates from 0845 hrs and the conference will open at 0930 hrs. Lunch and afternoon refreshments are included in the ticket price. Please note that the event is being staged on a Sunday.

As usual, there is an exciting and varied programme for you to enjoy. We’ll be covering a wide range of topics guaranteed to be of interest to upland raptor fieldworkers. Delegates will be able to put questions to the speakers at the end of each session. The lunch break provides an opportunity to share experiences amongst friends and colleagues. Paul Irving, NERF Chairman, will also bring us up to date with recent developments within the Forum.

Topics and speakers for the 2011 Conference are:-

• The implications of climate change for the uplands
Prof Brian Huntley, Durham University
• UK Raptors and the work of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel
Mark Holling, Secretary of RBBP
• The National Hen Harrier Winter Roost Survey
Anne Cotton, BTO Scotland
• Eagle research and conservation around the world
Dr Ruth Tingay, Wildlife International Network
• The challenges of monitoring Short-eared Owls
John Calladine, BTO Scotland
• “Skydancer”, a new start for Hen Harriers in Cumbria and Northumberland
To be advised, RSPB, North of England
• Raptors and the value of the Nest Record Scheme
David Leech, BTO Tring

Delegate Fees

Delegate fees are £21.00 for adults and £10.00 for those aged 14 – 18 years. Once again, demand for places is expected to be high so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Invitation to Birders to Halifax Scientific Society's next meeting.

AUGUST 9th at the Central Library
7.00 for 7.15pm

Hugh Warwick, author of "A Prickly Affair" is visiting us from Oxford to give his presentation "My Life with Hedgehogs". He is a zoologist and a national expert on the species. He was actually born in Halifax but his parents moved away when he was about 10 (days old!)

Entry is free (voluntary collection.)


Posted from Chrome

Linnets Wanted

I have a pressing need to film some Linnets for a project that I'm working on.
Unfortunately, the site I had in mind for setting up my hide is currently somewhat devoid of Linnets. I have just spent a fruitless day under canvas at another site where the only 3 birds present decided to forage in the fields rather than come down to the lovely Nyger seed that I had spread in front of the camera for them.
I'm looking for a location where there are more than just a couple of birds, where the birds are regularly coming to a particular location, and where it's possible to get up close and personal - hence the hide. They are generally too flighty to get close up to without any some use of cover.
Any sugestions would be appreciated - even outside Calderdale.......but not a hotel complex in Fuertaventura (even if they do perch on your lens there, they are a different sub-species).

Monday, August 01, 2011

Mobile devices

As many people are now at least occassionally viewing the blog on mobile phones, I have made a change to our blog that recognises when it is being viewed that way, and shows a 'mobile device friendly' version of the blog, rather than the straight desktop version.

If anyone has any comments, or prefers it how it was, just make a comment below.

Walk from Jumble Hole to Stoodley Pike & back

The highlight was a flock of 90+ siskins exploding as one out of the birch and alder just above Callis Wood on the Pennine Way. Lots of them appeared to be juv's. There were probably many more, as other birds were calling from the trees, unseen.

Other sightings include:

- 2 raven right over the pike
- 5 wheatear and 5 mistle thrush on the wall below Lower Rough Head farm
- Nutchatch heard in the valley below that
- whitethroat in scrub on the railway tracks

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

Fly Flatts
1 Common Sandpiper this afternoon but not much else.
No Twite

Withens Head
7 Lapwings NW
1 Curlew
4 Wheatears
Not even many pipits about today - all very quiet!

Raptor id

Sitting in a friend's Calderdale garden yesterday afternoon (so no bins!!) I heard alarm calls above me then saw a number of hirundines mobbing a raptor so I grabbed my camera. It had gained height very quickly so the photos are more silhouettes than anything I'm afraid, and cropped to make them larger. Goshawk, Sparrowhawk....any ideas please?