Thursday, November 29, 2012

Booth Wood Res'r

Male Stonechat showing well this morning just past Booth Wood Res'r along the A672 near the bridge in the dip! Not sure what the bridge is called?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lee, Longfield and Gaddings Dams, Common Scoter

A reasonable day at last so went out for a walk around the dams.
Mankinholes – a Little Owl  and a Kestrel on the ruined barn
Lee Dam
Goosander    1
Teal – 7
Moorhen  – 3
Dipper – 1
Jay – 1
Little Owl - 2
Longfield Dam
Lapwing – 15
Mistle Thrush – 1
Meadow Pipit – 1
Pied Wagtail – 2
Gaddings Dam
Goldeneye – 7 all females….and another bird that I took for a Great Crested Grebe at first, based on colouration and white cheeks. It was over the far side of the dam but I’d seen GCGs there in the past so even though it was a poor view, it was most likely another one. I texted Dave S to let him know. A few minutes passed and I looked again, got a better view and I wasn’t so sure so I waited to see if the birds would come any closer but they didn’t. I walked round the dam, out of sight, hoping to come up behind them and get a closer view but when I popped my head up they had gone over to the other side.This was repeated a few times! I took a few photos to try and get a better impression but they were inconclusive for me, although I was sure it wasn’t GCG now, so I rang Andy H for help.
Andy had a great idea to zoom in on one of the photos on my camera and take a snap of the screen with my phone, then send the photo to him. Meanwhile I told Dave S that the GCG id was being reviewed and I sent the same photo to him. It was poor quality to say the least but almost simultaneously both Andy and Dave came back with female Common Scoter. My first Common Scoter in Calderdale and my first female Scoter thanks to Andy and Dave.
I was able to get a few better photos a little later.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

National Trust High Peak Vision Consultation

Please see the following in relation to the High Peak

The National Trust is currently consulting on plans for it ambitious new 25 vision covering its High Peak Estate within the Peak district National Park.
The High Peak estate has the potential to be a sustainably managed landscape, home to a diverse range of species and habitats and a place that all of society can enjoy. The High Peak, like many upland areas across the UK has its challenges. It is currently at the mercy of its current land tenure and has been ravaged by the effects of bad burning practice and the effects of overgrazing. This area, notably the Derwent Valley is also one of the worst parts of the UK for illegal persecution of birds of prey – this is simply unacceptable on National Trust land in one of the UK’s most prestigious national parks.

If fully deployed, the Trusts vision for this upland landscape could be revolutionary in how it manages this large upland landscape. In summary, some of its main aims include:
·         Removal of inappropriate burning practices from deep peat blanket bog – current burning practices cause damage to bog vegetation, risking carbon loss and exacerbate run off and water storage. Current burning creates heather dominated monocultures that benefit few species, by removing burning and deep heather from bog and associated hydrological restoration it should create wet diverse bogs that are home to iconic species like golden plover and dunlin.
·         An ambitious program of moorland and bog hydrological restoration techniques to restore hydrology and restore damaged peat soils.
·         Sustainably managed grazing that looks at preventing damage to delicate upland dwarf shrub mosaics. The use of different grazing animals such as cattle in appropriate locations that will facilitate the recovery of upland vegetation.
·         An ambitions woodland vision that creates a network of upland woodland and scrub habitats that create future homes for some of our important upland woodland species. These plans will also improve moorland edge habitats for species for key species such as whinchat and tree pipit and allow these upland habitats adapt to the challenges of climate change.
·         Create a landscape that is home to all nature including iconic species such as birds of prey. The Trusts High Peak estate should support key populations of species such as hen harrier, merlin and goshawk that are currently prevented colonising by illegal persecution. Future land management tenants will be partners in the National Trusts vision and birds of prey will be key indicators of success of tenancies. Robust action will be taken against future tenants who don’t share the Trusts desire to see birds of prey on the estate.

The National Trust will no doubt be under a great deal of pressure over their new vision from interested single-issue groups who do not like the thought of these much needed changes. Previous public consultations appear to have been overtaken by vocal minority groups, much of this can be seen from the results of the Trusts previous consultations available on the High Peak moors website that contain worrying statements like “more shooting and burning”, “less access and anti-shooting”, “less vermin” and “continued moorland management to favour red grouse production”.

The National Trust is now carrying out its final public consultation on the contents of its vision and is keen to hear views from a large proportion of individuals, organisations and interest groups. The current consultation ends on the 30th November and I would urge you all to go and look at the draft vision and comment on it, either by answering the small number of questions or just to say if you agree with its direction of travel. This is a key opportunity for you to engage your friends, colleagues and members in supporting the National Trust in the deployment of its vision which should aim to make its High Peak estate better for biodiversity and priority species such as birds of prey. Without your support, the Trusts vision may stall in this currently difficult political climate.

In order to view and comment on the vision, please visit the High Peak Moors website:
Please circulate the consultation details to your friends, contacts and members and encourage them to comment by the 30th November.

Although this does not specifically relate to our area I feel it worth circulating, whatever goes ahead in the Peak District could form the blue print for other upland areas including our own.  I have commented on behalf of CBCG and comments have also been submitted on behalf of the Raptor sub Group, if anyone else wishes to comment the questionnaire is brief and easy to complete.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ringstone Res'r

I had a short time up there this afternoon - pouring rain sideways!
1 female Teal
5 Herring Gulls (4 adults and 1 first winter) dropped in for 10 minutes, bathed, then headed off high west into the worst of the weather - what hardy birds!
23 B H Gulls
14 Common Gulls


There was a large flock of Fieldfares and Starlings feeding in the fields East of Mankinholes this morning. They were quite mobile and the fields are rough with large patches of juncus but I estimate there were over 90 Fieldfares there. Didn't see any Redwing at all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Great Grey Shrike

Received an e mail today via Brian Armitage from Huddersfield birders from a lady saying she had found a dead bird by her doorstep along with a headless Blue Tit, she subsequently identified the unknown bird as a Great Grey Shrike and wanted to let people know, she lives in the Southowram area overlooking Cromwell Bottom.  I have asked for any photos or indeed the body itself to be able to confirm the identification and arranged for an invite to post to this blog to go to her.  Watch this space!

Birds of Prey
The RSPB currently has an appeal on to save the Hen harrier from extinction in England. Only one breeding pair in 2012 despite enough habitat to support around 300 pairs.

RSPB quote - "Scandalously, this situation is due to calculated, deliberate persecution by humans. RSPB teams of investigators have uncovered evidence of birds being illegally shot, poisoned and trapped, in an attempt to maximise grouse numbers for shooting"

Please support the appeal if you can - further information on the web site.

Some Excellent Waxwings .......

Goosander Sowerby Bridge

Real shame the Panasonic FZ38 doesn't perform better in low light, still a good little camera to carry around, Goosanders are in my opinion one of the hardest common birds to photograph as they are always alert and very wary so got lucky with this one as I left work today, pity the light wasn't better.

Oxenhope Moor

15 Nov 10.30am

8 golden plover, 1 woodcock - just over border in Bradford MDC but flew into Calderdale! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Waxwings Sainsbury's Brighouse


Some on a small roundabout near Sainsbury's in Brighouse early this morning according to Birdguides.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cromwell Bottom

A quick look at the  new bridge today and very useful it was,also the new feeding station was very busy with people and birds.It certainly has a good feel to the place at the moment and well done the the new friends for all there hard work.
 A large flock of Siskin 100 + was very mobile and seen all along the canal,a few Redpolls as well, Bullfinch, Goldeneye,10 Cormorants,Jays seemed to be everywhere,3 Grey wags,GCGrebe and a few Goosander.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

last few days catch up

Tuesday 13th


jay 2
grey wagtail  3
goosander 1 f
coal tit 1
kingfisher 1
moorhen 1

Slate Delfs Hill

merlin 1 f

Wednesday 14th


a nice movement of redwings west through the calder valley from 22:30 - 0000

Thursday 15th 

Norland Moor

Pink Footed Goose apx 3 skiens totalling apx 250 what got me was they came from the direction of Elland and headed NW, the direction of the geese along with the mild weather and flowering plants gave the moor a spring like feel.

grey partridge 1
meadow pipit 1
starling small groups moving west

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Any gull fanatics.

Found this yesterday and briefly today in Foxhill park Queensbury along with Common gulls.
Still in summer plumage with characteristics of Common but much smaller, BHG size, with very slender neck and thin bill. Poor photos as through the mist. Mew has been suggested, any thoughts.

     Subspecies or just oddball ?

                                  Common for comparison

End of Autumn Sale & repairs

Ok everyone Autumn is at an end and winter is upon us for 2 things to make you aware of:

First is I'm selling my scope, it's a Kowa TSN-823 Prominar, comes with an 20-60 zoom lens and Skua stay on case. Offers over £450

There is also a 32x wide angle lens for it available separately for £80 or just £50 if purchased with the scope.

It really is an excellent scope and it's been a tough decision having to let it go but needs must.

The Second thing is nestboxes, looking for a team to head out and fix the remaining plates to the front of nestboxes in the Luddenden Valley, probably involve chasing off some squirrels - looking at doing this 1st/2nd December. Please note this will only take one day so whichever date proves most popular will be the chosen date.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pine Groses
You never know/////////////////


Had the first Brambling of the Autumn in the garden this morning.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Mixenden Res'r

1 Goosander this morning
1 L B B Gull
50 B H Gulls
25 Common Gulls
c50 Jackdaws

A big bonus was 3 Woodcock sightings in the plantation in the space of 15 minutes. 2 flushed as I walked through and 1 flew in from the res'r area giving fantastic views flying around me - at speed! Not sure if they were all different birds or just the same one!! Enjoyed it all the same, and a first in Calderdale this year for me just when I thought I was going to dip!

Other news today

A good one from Andy C with 5 Waxwings through Northowram south early on this morning.

24 Pink-footed Geese west through Luddenden from Martyn around 11.50

60+ Waxwings being reported in Huddersfield(Queens Road/Merry Road) as well today via Andy K.

No reports of Waxwings yet in Calderdale as far as we know other than the 26 reported by Dave B at the Oxenhope watchpoint on Wednesday 7th flying over Thornton Moor towards the coll at Ogden.

Swales Moor

This morning, not much sign if vis mig first thing
53 Starlings NW
2 alba Wagtail SW
2 L B B Gulls SW
20 Common Gulls NW
That was it apart from the usual corvids hanging around

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

around mytholmroyd this morning

kingfisher 1 on the canal
goosander 1 pair
common gull 1 ad on floods
b h gull 65 on floods
sparrowhawk 1
long tailed tit 8
coal tit 2
grey wagtail 1
grey heron 1
pied wagtail 2

also went to whiteholme this afternoon which resulted in nothing! not even a carrion crow

A few dams around Tod

A Grey Heron and a Grey Wagtail on the River Calder at Callis Bridge.

New Mill Dam
Goosander - 4 females

Longfield Dam
Black-headed Gull - 24
Canada Goose - 26
Mallard - 11

Lee Dam
Teal - 2 pairs
Goosander - 2 males
Tufted Duck - 1 pair
Moorhen - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 7
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Little Owl - 2 at Mankinholes

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sowerby Bridge

Pair of Goosander on the canal  just down from the bottom of Tuel lane towards the Moorings at 14:30 today.

Mixenden Res'r

1 pair of Goldeneye on there this afternoon
5 Goosander
c40 B H Gulls
15 Common Gulls
1 L B B Gull

Also this morning 1 Brambling calling in a roadside tree at Lee Mount flew off SW


6 goosander flew flew east at 07:10

Monday, November 05, 2012

sowerby bridge to mytholmroyd

a very nice morning,walked the canal from sowerby bridge to mytholmroyd

nuthatch 2 around high royd
jay 1
sparrowhawk 1
grey heron 1
siskin 6
redpoll 1
goldfinch 13
bullfinch 2

Mixenden Res'r and Stodfold

This afternoon
1 female Goosander on the res'r along with 2 L B B G's, c40 B H and c25 Common Gulls
1 adult Herring Gull SW
2 Kestrel
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Pied Wagtail (flyovers)
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Jay
No thrushes around other than the occasional Mistle Thrush and Blackbird

Swales Moor

Poor do up there at the moment since all the weedy areas have been cultivated and sown down with Rye grass - a disaster. No Skylarks or mipits and not looking good for Snow Buntings either!.
Small amount of movement through over the top mid to late morning - all SW.
23 Fieldfare
2 Mistle Thrush
3 Goldfinch
1 Blackbird
1 Sparrowhawk
63 Woodpigeons
1 B H Gull
5 Common Gull
usual corvids with up to 60 Carrion Crows
Grey Partridge heard calling nearby

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Cold Edge

Just over an hour out this afternoon with Nick D around the dams and up to the Withens.
1 drake Goldeneye and a Grey Heron on the dams
1 male Stonechat near Moorlands Farm
One or two Reed Buntings about
1 Kestrel
12 Lapwings east
A few B H and Common Gulls about
1 Moorhen
Red Grouse on the moor