Friday, September 30, 2011

Vis Mig - Hunter Hill

Sunrise over Queensbury this morning (digiscoped)

Cold Edge, Halifax (W Yorks, England) Hunter Hill warchpoint
Friday 30 September 2011
Counting period: 7:00 - 10:30
Weather: wind South1, cloud-cover 0/8, Very warm, little or no wind and not a cloud in the sky - unprecedented at this site!
Observers: David Sutcliffe, Martyn Hayes
All south or south west unless stated

Grey Heron 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull 31
Chaffinch 102
Greylag Goose 5 north
Woodpigeon 12 and 2 north
finch sp. 17
Mallard 1
Skylark 12
Greenfinch 14
Kestrel 1
Swallow 32
Goldfinch 33 and 3 north
Hobby 1
Meadow Pipit 366
Siskin 2
Lapwing 45
alba wagtail sp. 37
Linnet 5
Black-headed Gull 7
Jay 3
Crossbill 2
Common Gull 6
Starling 1

Totals: 742 individuals, 23 species, 3:30 hours

Present: Great Crested Grebe 1, Mallard 6, Goosander 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Kestrel 1, Partridge 2, Black-headed Gull 35, Common Gull 5, Woodpigeon 30, Little Owl 2, Meadow Pipit 60, Jay 5, Magpie 1, Jackdaw 23, Carrion Crow 15, Starling 12

Comments: Nothing moving at all until 07.30 then a continuous steady stream of movers mainly south and south west until around 10.00. The highlight was a Hobby powering south at 09.15 with 2 Crossbills about the same time. Alba wags were interesting with a group of 16 together at 07.35. A nice move of Chaffinch's and unusually 3 Jays high overhead from over the wind farm heading south east which we followed until out of site. Suspect we missed some Siskin groups high overhead. A Great Crested Grebe and 1 Goosander on Mixenden reservoir, just below the watchpoint, and Little Owls calling nearby early on, along with 2 Grey Partridge. 60 Meadow Pipits were feeding in the fields around the quarry area.

Jumble Hole - 8:00am

4 chiffchaff calling this morning.
2 bullfinch
2 nutchatch.

A raven flew over calling on Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Various sites (am)

Lee Mount - The day got off to a cracking start with 8 Crossbills over the back garden and away over Shroggs Park heading west at 7.30 and giving lots of noise.

Then just after 8 am I got a call from Andy to say 22 Pink-footed Geese had just gone over Northowram heading west - a few minutes later they were coming over to the west of Swales Moor heading over Ovenden. (Thanks Andy - I gather you got a Crossbill over as well)

Swales Moor mid to late morning did not disappoint either. As I got towards the top it was evident there were things still on the move with c20 Chaffinch, 12 Greenfinch and 8 Skylarks all heading over >S as well as a few Mipits. This looked a good time to get the scope out on the top with the weather looking and feeling so good. I stayed till after 12 and moving birds included
c150 Pink-footed Geese over towards Ogden and the wind farm, heading west at 10.20
3 Cormorant north at 10.30 towards Thornton Moor
5 House Martins south
3 Common Buzzards very high heading south and a Hobby (looked a juvenile) went straight over me at 11.45 again drifting south towards Beacon Hill and beyond.

In comparison Cold Edge was very quiet this afternoon but it was good to see 3 Peacock and 6 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies near the Withens. 2 Wheatears were at Withens Head and a Little Owl along Cold Edge Road.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hunter Hill

Vis Mig 7 till 9 this morning
All heading south or south west unless stated
408 Meadow Pipits
43 Swallows
84 Chaffinch
4 Siskin
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Common Gull
3 alba wagtails
2 Crossbill north
8 Starling
2 House Martin
4 Reed Bunting
3 Redpoll
1Merlin (female)

Also present were 1 Wheatear, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel and 23 Goosander on Mixenden Res'r

Monday, September 26, 2011

Various sites

Today's reports from TM and SL
1 Golden Plover with Lapwings at Ringstone late morning.

Lots of mipits moving through Scammonden and Dean Head as well as Wheatear and Stonechat there

A single Crosbill was over Rastrick earlier this morning from Jim W

Fly Flatts

Twite at Fly Flatts this afternoon

Wheatear at Fly Flatts this afternoon (the posture and brightness and size of this individual suggests a Greenland bird)
This afternoon
3 Twite
8 Wheatears
2 Raven
1 Sparrowhawk
14 B H Gull
3 Kestrel
Lots of pipits but no Swallows up there today

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cold Edge and Withens Head

Cold Edge (this afternoon)
4 Lapwings
4 Tufted Duck
25 B H Gulls
2 Common Gulls
2 Wheatears
Lots of blogging mipits
3 Swallows >S
2 Reed Buntings
4 Linnets
1 Little Owl

Withens Head (opposite the wind farm car oark)
4 Wheatears
1 Red Grouse
Lots of blogging mipits
1 Kestrel
18 Goldfinch
And in the distance - 1 Brian S on Soil Hill getting blown away - again!!

Optolyth TBG80

I don't know if this is frowned upon but i have an Optolyth TBG 80 with 20XWW eyepiece & stay on case for sale i am looking for £175 & thought i would let local birders have a shout before putting it on ebay.

Discovery Friday

Delayed report of Friday morning/early afternoon spent with Jeff Cox discovering new sites, whilst neither site is entirely new both were new to me. We started off at Green Withens and immediately noticed large numbers of Mipits moving through and flocks of upto 30 birds at a time were moving through all the time we were there. On the reservoir it's self a lone little grebe and shelduck further round 2 Wheatears were also present and 2 Ravens announced their prescence before dropping down on the shore line, which is extensive. After an enjoyable few hours we moved off down the road to Derby Delph quarry where we were treated to great views of Twite approx 50+ birds present spending most of their time on the quarry wall. We then moved down to Copley and decided to explore North Dean Wood and what a good decision that was with Nuthatch heard calling almost immediately, the path takes you up the edge of the wood with open fields on your right. These fields have established hawthorn and other bushes and it is here that we had the most joy, the highlight being a Spotted Flycatcher. Also present min 2 Chiffchaff, 2m 1f/juv Bullfinch, Great tit, Blue tit, Long tailed tit and min 2 Goldcrest, several Jays very noisy and active, large flocks of distant hirundines were being troubled by a sparrowhawk. As we left a large flock of c40 House Martins were feeding around the tree tops before moving on and a pause by the river produced a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher. We both agreed that this site is worthy of further visits in the near future.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


excellent views today of the Crossbills in Walshaw plantation with a feeding flock consisting of six males, nine females and two juveniles. I also managed a good count of the flock while they were flying, 37 birds. These birds have been present from at least early July when at least half of the birds I managed to see were juveniles, most of these will have moulted by now (Crossbills retain juvenile plumage for a long time, some even breed in this plumage) all the males were in body moult.

Interestingly one of the juveniles was fed twice by a female, this was not a recently fledged bird as it had a fully developed crossed bill takes 6-8 weeks to develop

also present 3 Siskin, 8 Goldfinch and 2 Redpoll also numerous Coal Tits and Goldcrests and a single Chiffchaff.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hunter Hill - Vis Mig

ideal conditions this morning, light South-westerly, 10/10 cloud, I was expecting a big movement of Pipits but it did not happen, the joys of vig-mis, at least it stayed dry

all moving SW

Meadow Pipit 459
Goldfinch 13 (4/3/6)
Greenfich 11 (3/4/4)
Song Thrush 1
Starling 3
Woodpigeon 8
Swallow 19 (4/6/5/3)
Snipe 2 west

not much else about except the usual corvids and BHG's

Dave can you put these on Tek please

Supermarket sweep

In the interest of fair competition we heard and saw a dipper fly over the car park at the newly refurbished Halifax Sainsbury's yesterday morning. I nearly missed it as I was scanning the ridge for ospreys but I think I have missed them this year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tesco's really do have everything

Well the Sowerby Bridge store does although I hope the Robin which couldn't find the bird food aisle wasn't for sale. It was however a plesant surprise and brought a smile to my face as I searched for the mundane essentials. Another bird putting on a show today was a Peregrine which was on the wing near Eastwood opposite Duke St at approx 14:00 today, it had a real go at something in a hillside field though I couldn't tell what.

Hunter Hill - Vis Mig

not great conditions today with a quite strong westerly wind,

all moving SW unless otherwise stated

Meadow Pipit 358
Pied Wagtail 2
Swallow 39
House Martin 1
Greenfinch 14 W
Goldfinch 71
Chaffinch 7
Stock Dove 2
Woodpigeon 5

also in the area 2 Wheatear, 2 Kestrel, Peregrine, 6 Pheasant plus the usual Corvids and BHG's

North Bridge

No Vis mig today but shopping paid a dividend as we came out if Sainsbury's a Dipper flew over towards Dean Clough which was a nice surprise.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Friends of Cromwell Bottom

This evenings meeting in Brighouse proved to be quite eventful with the formation of an interim committee of the Friends of Cromwell Bottom. It's early days but the next meeting in October will thrash out the details of the constitution.
I will post details later regarding proposed meetings, who to contact, how to get involved, etc, etc.
Many issues were raised at the meeting, and there is a central core of like-minded people who are prepared to have their say in the management of one of Calderdales most important wildlife habitats.
Anybody who has an interest in the flora and fauna of Cromwell Bottom, and its management, is encouraged to get involved.
More to follow.

Fly Flatts

This is one from the other day near 'Slade' just south of the reservoir

This afternoon the wind up there was making birding difficult but we went up to replenish the Niger seed for the Twite. There were 11 Twite there battling it out in the blustery conditions including just one colour ringed bird. Nothing else other than 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 Wheatear on Stoney Edge.

Lee Mount surprises

A male Great-spotted Woodpecker and at least 2 Nuthatches today on the garden feeders. Both were surprises. The Great Spot did not give me chance to focus before it was off but the Nuthatches were more obliging and kept coming back for the rest of the day.

House Martins

C60 House Martins feeding above Centre Vale Park,Todmorden at 3.30 today, some still feeding young.

Hunter Hill

Looking towards Queensbury this morning from Cold Edge Road Vis Mig from 7 am til 10.15 am. Better conditions than yesterday, just low cloud but no rain and a light SW wind. Moving birds south unless stated. 635 Meadow Pipits. 19 Swallows. 6 Chaffinch. 2 B H Gulls. 1 alba Wagtail. 9 Woodpigeons. 41 Goldfinch. 1 Sparrowhawk. 1 L B B Gull >NW. 2 Lesser Redpoll. 2 Grey Heron. 2 House Martins. Other birds nearby 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Red-legged Partridge, 2 Goosander on Mixenden Res'r, 2 Kestrels and usual corvids. No Wheatears today. Coming back through Mount Tabor a large flock of L T Tits (around 35 birds) were on the phone wires near the crossroads. Looked like they were ready to move across toward Roils Head but kept diving into the bushes maybe avoiding a predator. Not seen such a large flock before!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pepper Hill

This afternoon we walked around the hill between the ski-slope at Ploughcroft and Claremount - stunning views up there looking over Halifax and the Shibden Valley. 4 Little Owls within 100m of each other must be a family group soon to be dispersing I guess. Another Little Owl facing down into the Shibden Valley. 4 Wheatears in one field. 1 Green Woodpecker. c25 Goldfinch on thistle heads. 1 Sparrowhawk. c60 Starlings (keeping above the hawk)! 1 Kestrel. c15 House Martins and c40 Swallows in the Shibden Valley as well as a good showing of Jays. Also of interest were a few Meadow Pipits still moving SW through the gully at the top of Lee Lane and also through the gap between Claremount and Beacon Hill

Hunter Hill

Vis Miig from the watchpoint this morning with MH from 7am till 10.15 am produced very little movement other than a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits totalling 565 throughout the period. Many were coming through and dropping on to the moor till the drizzle eased then moving over SW 1 alba Wagtail >sw 1 Snipe >sw 1 Redpoll >sw 2 L B B Gulls >nw 5 Cormorants came in to Ogden early on then 2 went nw and the other 3 headed south Non movers included 1 Snipe, 1 Kestrel, 1 Great Tit and c25 Starlings

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ogden and Mixenden

Ogden Res'r this afternoon 2 L B B Gulls 12 Common Gulls c70 Black-headed Gulls 6 Swallows below the reservoir embankment A small tit flock moving around the top end of the res'r Nothing much across the golf course other than a few 'blogging' mipits Mixenden Res'r 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe 4 Swallows heading south 2 Pied Wagtails

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mixenden - Stonechat

Stonechat - 1 of 3 near Mixenden res'r earlier this week

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mytholmroyd to Sowerby Bridge

Not much doing really and in truth wouldn't have posted anything about this walk except for seeing a recently fledged Bullfinch being fed by an adult male approx 200yds before reaching high royd. There was also a nuthatch which was feeding on the towpath elsewhere on route a couple of chiffchaff called but that really was it. High royd it's self is completely over grown with willow and balsam a real loss of what was great habitat.

Gaddings Dam this morning

My first visit to Gaddings for 5 months this morning - and what a great day to be out. Lots of Mipits about with c. 20 at Langfield Edge, over 30 at Jail Hole and over 100 at Gaddings, feeding and bathing.

Jail Hole
Sparrowhawk - 3 soaring (photos to follow if they're any good)
Reed Bunting - 2
Flock of Goldfinches and Chaffinches - 40+ birds
Red Grouse - 2
Tufted Duck - drake
BH Gull
Swallow - 43 feeding over the dam

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fly Flatts

A late morning visit found mipits moving through on a broad front with the best concentrations at the NW corner where 430 headed NW over the moor between 10.45 and 12.15. They were still goung through when I left and I wished I had been able to get there much earlier (and stay much longer)! 15 Swallows and 2 Skylarks >SW 4 Wheatears on the deck but no Twite today 1 Raven headed high >W No waders today although there is still some mud

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cold Edge

This afternoon in the gusty wind was not ideal but there is always a chance of something in bad weather!
1 Goosander
2 Tufted Duck
1 Little Grebe
1 Grey Heron
No hirundines but lots of blogging pipits and a few Goldfinch on the thistle seed heads
No raptors today

Mixenden Res and Stodfold

I tried the Vis Mig watchpoint this morning but it was impossible in the strong blustery wind so I headed down into the valley where there were lots of birds trying to find shelter and food behind the small trees and in the gullies.
1 Whinchat
3 Stonechats
c100 Swallows, mainly young birds
c150 House Martins
c 300 Meadow Pipits
28 alba Wagtails
1 Sand Martin over the reservoir
1 Chiff-chaff with a brief burst of song in the shelter of Mixenden plantation

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hunter Hll

Not the easiest site when the wind is blowing hard.
Plenty of Wheatears about (c10) around the quarry along with 30+ mipits.
Nothing moving other than a few Swallows with plenty about with House Martins in the valley at Stodfold
3 Stonechats along a fence line at Stodfold - got some photos of them to check later
1 Grey Heron heading south over Queensbury and one windswept BS was trudging round Soil Hill !

A second annual Grey Plover for Fly Flatts

Two hours at Fly Flatts this a.m. produced a good vismig and several grounded migrants .
A Grey Plover was on the NE shoreline before moving to the west banking not to be relocated. Also in the same area was a Yellow Wagtail, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper.
Grounded migrants included :-
16 Wheatear
2 Grey Wagtail
1 Yellow Wagtail
5 Reed Buntings
2 Willow Warbler
1 Whinchat

Movers included :-
181 Mipits
1 Tree Pipit
11 Snipe
78 Swallow
21 House Martin
16 Sand Martin
7 Alba Wags.

9 Twite were at the feeding station

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Signs of movement today lots of swallows moving through but less than last few days 4 wheaters along back wall & 2 cormorants on res but it has now been filled & all shore line has gone.

Friday, September 09, 2011

9th September

Had a walk over Roils Head this PM, only birds of note were 4 Whinchats at the Norton Tower end on the dirt track area.

House Martins

Just dropped my car off at a garage at Lydgate, and noticed around a dozen House Martins feeding over Burnley Road, including one visiting a nest under the eaves of the Post Office.
Also a group of six feeding over Wellington Road area of Todmorden centre,

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Eastwood sewage works - 6:00pm

High concentration of swallows in the rain, with more than 200 present over the sewage works and woods. Less than a dozen house martins though. Also, 2 juv grey wagtails, 5 pied wagtails, and a dipper, chiffchaff, blackcap and green woodpecker at Jumble Hole.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Various sites

Fly Flats - 2 Carrion Crows and pouring with rain!
Withens Head - 1 Wheatear and 1 Little Owl
Cold Edge - 2 Tufted Duck
Mixenden/Stodfold - 100+ Swallows and c50 House Martins and 15+ Pied Wagtails
Ogden - 1 Little Grebe on the res'r plus the white Carrion Crow still at Per Lane

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Hunter Hill

This afternoon at the watchpoint
3 Cormorants SW at 15.15 were more or less the only movers other than a few pipits and Swallows. BS on Soil Hill was getting lots of Swallows through but they didn' come my way. I could scope them heading over towards Swales Moor but they were too far away to count for me. BS got a good count though and think he was enjoying some decent weather up there - for a change!
A pair of Sparrowhawks were about and 5 Wheatears but the grounded migrants from last week in Slaughter Gap had moved on and it was very quiet in the gully. I did manage to scope a Fox sunning itself on the hillside towards Illingworth.
In comparison, Nick was finding a few migrants at Roils Head and good to get some Redstarts there.

Roils Head today

2 Redstarts, 2 Whitethroats, 5 Willow Warblers, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Bullfinch, 3 Kestrels, loads of Swallows, 2 Siskins west, 1 Redpoll south, 50+Linnets at High Road Well Moor.

Cromwell Bottom Meeting September 21st

If anyone is interested in the future of Cromwell Bottom LNR then follow this link for further information.

Link to document:

Original Contact from Robin Dalton.

Also for your interest:-

Off road usage.
Signs are going up to warn off trials bikes/quads from trespassing onto the Reserve. Barrier enhancements are also planned for the metal ‘gate’ by the Calder.

North Loop.
Look out for an e-mail in the near future for an evening meet about the plans for North Loop, as the Council moves towards re-capping the land fill in 2012.

Work Parties.
Saturday practical work parties will be starting again over the autumn. I’ll send out a start date in a couple of weeks for anyone keen to get grubby!!

Audio trail.
An audio trail taking you around Cromwell Bottom can be downloaded from the Natural England website following this link (ctrl and click):

Many thanks for your interest and support.



Robin Dalton
Area Countryside Officer - Lower Valley
Safer, Cleaner, Greener

Mankinholes and Lumbutts

16 Mistle Thrushes in the fields behind our house this morning along with over 100 Starlings chattering away on the electricity wires.

By Mankinholes Methodist Chapel there were three separate flocks of Goldfinch, each of around 30 birds, so it seems to have been another good year for them, and the Little Owl was in the ruined building at Cross Lane.

At Lee Dam a single juvenile Little Grebe was still hanging around but there was no sign of the other 3 or of the adults. A juvenile and an adult Moorhen were also at Lee Dam.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Ogden this morning

flushed a roosting tawny owl by accident whilst walking in the woods near the giants tooth. Also spotted a couple of grey wagtails on the reservoir.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Lee Mount

1 Swift went over at 4pm heading south east was a late straggler but maybe still chance of others yet if the weather stays good!
Also around most of the afternoon were c30 House Martins and 2 Swallows. They like feeding over the trees on the west facing ridge of Shroggs Park

Cold Edge and Fly Flats

Above - 6 Twite bathing in Fly Flats this morning

From the watchpoint this morning:
Meadow Pipits were making a move with 84 heading SW in small groups.
Swallows were the only other significant mover with 86 heading south in the 2 hour period
1 Golden Plover also going south and that was about it.

Around the site was around 15 Wheatear and 1 Green Woodpecker

Fly Flats had a similar number of Wheatear and 6 Twite were at the feeding station. No waders today but lots of Swallows heading through south and 1 House Martin. A Common Buzzard headed south west around 10.30