Friday, May 31, 2013

Fly Flatts

We went up there to check on the possibility of any Twite and to  put Nyger seed down in the usual locations. Not a sign of any Twite - this is bad news! As far as I know there has only been a couple of sightings (from BS) this year with a maximum of two birds. Definately not looking good which is great shame after all the support from the RSPB, volunteers and landowners etc over the last few years.
2 Redshank
2 Oystercatchers
2 Lapwings
Curlew heard
No Common Sandpipers today - which is unusual
Pair of Kestrels
Red Grouse with chicks
usual Canadas some with chicks
1 L B B Gull over and one dead adult on the side of the res'r
3 Swifts
2 Swallows
1 Pied Wagtail and a few mipits feeding young
And along the top road 2 seperate Wheatears on the wall tops

Lee Mount

1 Common Buzzard over today at 12.40 as we sat out having a sandwich! Alerted as is often the case
by a corvid alarm, the buzzard was high and circled on the thermals before heading off in a northerly direction towards Soil Hill.
Not a lot else over today other than 3 L B B Gulls >N and a few Swifts and 2 Swallows


I tried Park Wood crematorium early on in the hope off Lesser Whitethroat which has been recorded there in the last couple of years at least, unfortunately nothing doing other than Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiff-chaff. it was worth a try all the same.

I also checked out Cromwell Bottom - Brookfoot end and was fortunate enough to find a few warblers including Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Willow Warblers and Chiff-chaff.
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
2 Tufted Duck
1 G C grebe
2 Little Grebe
Several Reed Buntings as well as other usual species

Well done to all the gang doing such valuable conservation work down there as well as this is not an area I usually watch!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Withens Clough via Langfield this morning

Walked over to Withens Clough again this morning to try and catch up with the Whinchat and saw it OK between the keeper's house and the new house.

Also there and on the route:
Stonechat - male below Langfield Edge
Linnet - 1 at Withens Clough; 2 below Langfield Edge
Reed Bunting - 4 at Langfield; 3 at Withens Clough
Willow Warbler - 3 at Withens Clough; 1 in small plantation by reservoir; 2 at Lee Dam
Swallow - 2 over reservoir
Skylark - 3 singing
Mipit - reasonable numbers all along the route
Curlew - 1 singing over towards Buck Stones
Mallards and Canada Geese on the reservoir and at Lee Dam

Didn't see anything on the shore line today other than Mipits.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Withens Clough Res'r

We sat to scan from the car for a while hoping for the rain to ease this afternoon - which it did thankfully - for a while!!
1 male Stonechat, but despite an intensive search we could not locate the Whinchat seen there recently
6+ Linnets
6+ Goldfinch
2 singing Willow Warblers
1 Hobby - a first summer bird, attempting to take Swallows around their nest site at the res'r keepers cottage soon after the rain stopped. It headed off and circled the res'r before heading towards the plantation but continued west over the moors towards Lancashire!
1 Kestrel
4 Common Sandpipers
2 Reed Buntings
c20 Swallows
1 Swift
1 L B B Gull
Plenty Meadow Pipits feeding young

Photos in the Rain

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mixenden Res'r and Hunter Hill

This morning - in the drizzle again!
Mixenden Res'r
c20 Swifts along the embankment and around the pine trees by Clough Lane
c20 Swallows
2 House Martins
2 Willow Warblers in the plantation but otherwise it was 'dead'

Hunter Hill
I thought I might pick up an od Grasshopper Warbler in the juncus but nothing doing
1 female Wheatear near the quarry and another near Stodfold
an od Swift passing over
1 Kestrel carrying a small vole type
Not much else other than a few mipits feeding young but plenty Jackdaws and Carrion Crows

Monday, May 27, 2013

Location withheld due to sensitive nature

An evening walk in the drizzle results in sightings of Cuckoo, Buzzard and female Redstart.

mytholmroyd sunday

a woodcock over the house on saturday morning with a oystercatcher on sunday morning.
midday we took a walk up daisy bank heading towards hebden highlights were redpoll and stonechat. a raptor sp was over old town but unfortunatley too far to get anything on it

Mytholmroyd today

Peregrine over  at 12.05pm.
5  ravens over c3.45pm.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Garden warblers

Having not been up in couple of weeks, I went to check and see if the garden warblers were here yet. And I was amazed to count 8 separately distinguishable individuals in one relatively small area of the Pennine way / eastern side of Jumble Hole. They were almost certainly 4 pairs, with 4 singing males seemingly accompanied by 4 'chacking' birds close by.
No whitethroat as yet, but I haven't ventured far in truth.


Cuckoo heard calling this afternoon at the back edge of Norland Moor

Tree Sparrows

Today while feeding the tree sparrows I tried to fix wire cages round the feeders to deter the corvids. Unfortunately it was not highly successful; the corvids were detered but so were the sparrows! I tried 2 sizes of netting thinking the first was too small,despite the holes being larger than the cages in my garden(provided by the RSPB)I waited about an hour and though there were lots of tree sparrows(some begging for food) none of them ventured onto the feeders. I shall go up again in a day or so and see what has happened. If anyone is around perhaps you could report back to me. I do not think they will go hungry as they seem to be happy eating off the floor on the spilt seed.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cross Border Ramblings

My walk today started on the outskirts of Littleborough taking me up to Whiteholme then down to Withens Clough and onto Mytholmroyd. The early part of my walk produced Green Woodpecker calling from a telegraph pole, Grasshopper warbler reeling near the Animal sanctuary and then a Fox amongst a rocky out crop, closer investigation once I reached the rocks revealed the remains of a Coot.

As I headed up hill towards Whiteholme i paused to look up a gully where a Reed Bunting was calling, turning to see a large raptor hovering, as it soared off heading west it revealed itself as a Common Buzzard. Arrival at Whiteholme produced 3 Ringed Plover on the near shore close to the overflow and a Common Sandpiper. Continuing on round a Pied wag was gathering food whilst in the top left hand corner another Common Sand and another Ringed Plover patrolled the shore whilst 2 female Mallard attended to 11 ducklings between them.

The next stretch onto Withens Clough produced a single adult Redshank in the drainage channel and nothing more other than 2 Mipits.

Withens Clough  returned a Raven, single Common Sand and a flyover of a Spitfire and Hurricane (very unexpected and spectacular to hear and see these iconic planes in flight). Near the new building a Whinchat called giving away its position on wires to the rear of the house, briefly before flying to the trees in front of the building and out of sight.

The rest of the walk was unfortunately uneventful.

NE let us and Buzzards down!

Important stuff from Steve Downing, hard to believe this should be allowed to happen in this country! Despite assurances that they would consult widely with interested parties before doing anything NE have closed down the consultation [needed the money for ash die-back] where Steve represented Calderdale / NERF. So Buzzardgate out of the way they have done it anyway. The story can be found at Martin Harper's blog on the RSPB website is worth reading and there is a piece on Raptor Persecution Scotland. There are 18 documents acquired by the RSPB under FOI and I haven't had time to read them all yet. The documents are available on Harper's blog. Marco Mcginty sums up the anomalies in the licence applications at the end of the comments section on RPS.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

Fly Flatts
NE gusting with hail !
2 Redshank
2 Common Sandpipers
3 L B B Gulls trying to take Canada Goose chicks ( and there are many)
4 Greylag Geese with chicks
2 Curlew
2 Lapwing
Just a few mipits

Withens Head
2 Wheatear
1 very short billed Curlew ((not a Whimbrel)
1 Redshank

2 Interesting Birds from Orford Ness


All from David Crawshaw - any takers? Lower 2 are of the same bird

Raggalds Flood

Not a place to go and stand this morning - difficult enough from the car with the gusting wind and drizzle. Still rewarding!
1 Ringed Plover
2 Redshank
1 Oystercatcher
5 Lapwings

Mixenden Res'r

Rough sea there this morning!!! Along with a cold temperature of 6c, NE F5 gusting 6 and drizzle making conditions difficult - especially for the hirundines trying to survive.
c60 Swallows and 12+ House Martins feeding over the water in the shelter of the plantation, Swallows were even venturing deep into the woodland pines in search of food.
No Swifts
1 Willow Warbler trying to sing and a single Treecreeper in the plantation along with 2 Great Tits
30+ Jackdaws nearby and 1 Pied Wagtail

Dawn Chorus Walk - Hardcastle Crags - Sunday 26th May

Dawn Chorus Walk

Get up early on Sunday 26th May for an unmissable natural spectacle at Hardcastle Crags. Let our local bird expert lead you on a guided tour through the beautiful dawn chorus, as our feathered friends wake from their slumber and join together for an outstanding orchestral performance. After a four mile walk, enjoy a hot drink and light breakfast in the cafe at Gibson Mill.

Booking essential on 01422 844518. £5 fee includes breakfast. Meet at Midgehole Car Park at 4.30am. For more info go to:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Another Mystery Yorkshire Bird for you All


A brief visit this afternoon - lots of shoreline showing perfect for waders but not much doing
1 f Goosander
6 Lapwings
2 Reed Bunting
1 Common Sandpiper
6+ Swallows
7 Mallard
2 Meadow Pipits

Photo comp...

Taken today in Yorkshire....??


Cuckoo heard calling at 6am this morning over on Ripponden Bank area. It is three years since I heard one anywhere near the Ryburn Valley.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hardcastle Crags

A reasonably good result today from the crags whilst walking to and beyond Gibson Mill and beyond from the Midgehole car park.
2 singing Wood Warblers - 1 at 200 m or so, as previously reported, along the main track before the mill and another one 100 m or so past the mill and singing in the woodland behind the wood stock pile. Great to hear these two singing and watching them feeding in the mid canopy area.
Not a sign of Pied Flycatcher unfortunately but a pair of Spotted Flycatchers was good to see, again along the main track.
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
2 Green Woodpeckers
4+ Nuthatch
1 Cuckoo heard
20+ Siskin including 2+ singing males in the tops of pine trees
30+ Swifts
20+ Swallows
Several Willow Warblers mainly beyond Gibson Mill and 1 male Blackcap singing was the only other warbler
A pair of Grey Wagtails feeding young
1 Dipper
...and some splendid song from c6 Song Thrushes in the valley drowning everything else out!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Luddenden Dean

Pretty quiet in the dean this afternoon but was rewarded with a male Redstart briefly in the upper dean though it was not singing but moving around in the hawthorn scrub.  Also 1 Cuckoo calling and a few Swifts moving through and a female Wheatear on the big rocks near the 'cati'.

Hardcastle Crags, 19th May 2013

Wood warbler singing its head off (both song types) this afternoon, to the left of the main track to Gibson Mill, about 1/4 mile before.  Also a pair of grey wagtails catching beakfuls of mayflies near the mill.  The woods looked especially lovely today and why they aren't brimming with wood warblers (and pied flycatchers) is a mystery to me.  The habitat looks very similar to the Bolton Abbey woods.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Other news today

Hardcastle Crags - Wood Warbler still singing near Gibson Mill from PS - wonder if there are any more about?
2 reports of Marsh Harriers moving through today - one cream crown at an undisclosed site (MH) this morning and this afternoon the same or another over Northowram was a nice garden tick for Andy. !

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier from Thursday first summer male in the upper valley.

Other news (yesterday)

Will try and remember it all. !!
1 Sanderling at Green Withens (SL and TM)

1 Ringed Plover at Raggalds Flood (KM) along with a Yellow Wagtail in the evening ( BS)

Wood Warbler along the track to Gibson Mill at Hardcastle Crags (DF) in the afternoon

Red Kite over Northowram (AC) and another or the same in the upper valley (MH)
Not a bad day for starters following on from a Marsh Harrier the day before in the upper valley  )DF)  which went straight through.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Langfield and Gaddings

I walked up to Langfield and Gaddings Dam this morning while the weather was reasonably warm. Not a great deal about as Spring is still lagging behind the calendar. The leaves on the trees are still not fully out, our blossom tree isn't fully in blossom yet and the daffodils are just about in full flower in the back garden. Hoping for the same haul of birds I saw this time last year was a little optimistic then, and it turned out that way too.

Linnet - 5
Reed Bunting - 3 singing males
Mipit - a fair number about but not really on a par with other years
Skylark - just 2 singing at Gaddings
Little Ringed Plover - 1 on the shore at Gaddings
Red Grouse - 1 calling

No Groppers yet (maybe the juncus being flattened by the snow is detering them?). Never mind there's still time for the year to catch up.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Raggalds Flood and Mixenden Res'r

2 Shelduck there this afternoon looking very settled but no waders. (AC and NK et al)

60+ Swifts on Mixenden Res'r this afternoon along with c 20 House Martins

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fly Flatts

This evening with NCD turned out good with 8 waders sp. ..
1 Ringed Plover
1 Dunlin
6 Redshank
6 Common Sandpipers
Golden Plover
1 Oystercatcher
6 Curlew north late on
1 Snipe
Also 1 Red-legged Partridge
1 Kestrel
Lots of Canada's plus a few Mallard
One or two Swifts over
c7 L B B Gulls >w

Withens Head
2 Wheatear
1 Curlew

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bird Pathology - "The Bird on the Bench"

There will be a talk at Halifax Scientific Society tomorrow at 7.15. All are welcome.

Dr John Mather of the YNU (Yorkshire Naturalists Union) is visiting from Knaresborough to give a talk with slides he calls "The Bird on the Bench". He's an enertaining speaker; I heard him at the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) conference last autumn in Leeds.

John has been a long term ringer, specialising in Starlings, and studying their ectoparasites.

He also wrote "The Birds of Yorkshire", and preserves birds as drawer specimens for plumage studies.
I passed on to him the male Common Scoter that Andy Cockroft found which he has offered to bring back in its preserved form, as well as a Waxwing.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Green Withens

Spent a good hour or so this afternoon watching a Hobby, grounded by the rain - as was everything else!

Birds on the res: Dunlin, Common Sand, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover (photo from earlier in the week).

Jumble Hole bits

A buzzard has been around this weekend. The woodcock is still roding on still evenings. The blackcaps have been here for some weeks, but still no garden warbler or whitethroat. Nuthatch, great spotted and green woodpecker have been very evident.

Whiteholme/Withens Clough

Whiteholme this morning
Redshanks 2, Common Sandpiper 2 Ringed Plover 1

Withens Clough this aft
Ringed Plover 1, Little ringed Plover 2,Dunlin 2,Common Sandpiper 2 Stonechat male/female,Whinchat 1.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ringstone Res'r

I called early evening but the strong wind made it tricky!
1 G C Grebe
2 B H Gulls
c70 Swallows
4+ Sand Martins
No waders

Dr. John Mather

A reminder that on Tues May 14th Dr. John Mather will give a talk entitled "The Bird on the Bench." at the Halifax Scientific Society at 7:15 pm in the Hx Central Library. All welcome.

Some recent pics from round and about.

One of 3 Wheatear on lower slopes possibly driven off by the recent fires?

Nice to see this Common Toad on the moors close to one of the sites of the recent fires.

Do these things ever have a bad breeding season?

Shrew sp. at Elland recently, I've no idea of the species but think the colours make it look like one of the Wombles lol

Ringed Plover showing signs of nesting though no nest site has been chosen yet!

Only wish I could have shaken the rain off as easily.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Cragg Vale, Withens Clough

Nipped up in the rain this aft', in the folorn hope of finding a whinchat (I didn't and haven't up here for a few years now), however, I did have a female merlin over, heading towards Stoodley Pike and a bonny male stonechat on the wires. 
I was staggered to see the extent of the damage done by recent swaling events on the moors.  All Byron Edge is burnt to a crisp, as is Soyland Moor, to Great Manshed Hill and as far north as Mount Pleasant Cottages.  A large portion of the northern slopes of Rishworth Moor is black too.  I shudder to think of the damage to upland species this must have caused.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Common Tern

Arrived at Elland Gravel Pits at 14.40hrs to find a Common Tern hawking for insects over the ski-lake, however it very soon departed high to the west shortly after at 14:50hrs. I am afraid that my photos are not of the same quality as Fran 44's Arctic Tern amazing efforts but they are arguably better than nothing at all I suppose.


 It is a real shame that the access and viewpoints of this body of water are so limited nowadays.


A very quick dash around the 'reserve' north of the river revealed a few other notable sightings, namely 27 adult & 14 juvenile Canada Goose (2 broods), 8 adult & 3 juvenile Mallard (something amiss here), 1 Common Swift, 4 Sand Martin, 1 singing Sedge Warbler & 3 singing Common Whitethroat.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


This afternoon we checked the plantations etc in the hope of locating Tree Pipit - but not a 'sniff' unfortunately!
We did have a bonus though in the form of c20 Lesser Redpolls with a few Siskin and closely followed by 2 Crossbills high up in the Scots Pines. They flew off nearby and we were treated to a male Crossbill right in the top of a Silver Birch and drinking from a nearby pool.
Several Willow Warblers also present and 2 Goldcrests and that was about it with nothing unusual on the water other than a solitary L B B Gull.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Other news today

Cuckoo's reported today from Ogden (BH), Walshaw Dean (MH), Blackshaw Head (MB) and 1 in Luddenden Dean yesterday (DJS)

Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler on Soil Hill north slope just out of our recording area I think (NK)

Dunlin and Yellow Wagtail briefly on Raggalds Flood above Bradshaw late morning (NK) - again not sure if this is in our recording area but of interest all the same.

Tree Pipit singing in the small plantation near Lower Gorple reservoir keepers cottage. Also a few migrant waders being reported from upland reservoirs now the levels are dropping - long may we have some shoreline for a few more waders!

Lee Mount

Out in the garden today!
This is the first day we have seen Swifts over - with a maximum of 5 at any one time we had around 20+ throughout the day. Always good to see them return. Lets hope there will be plenty around this summer as we don't wish to see any further decline as in recent years! Also a few Swallows moving through today and 1 Willow Warbler mid afternoon.

Also a big surprise this afternoon - 2 Ravens were heard cronking away and heading up and across Wheatley Valley >N around 15.30. Only the second record of these fantastic birds from this location.

Lee Mount

Garden feeder birds
 A pair of Blackcaps on the fat-ball feeder
 Female Blackcap
I thought these shots might be of interest!
Blackcaps - this pair have been here on and off for over a week now on the fat-balls, less so today with it being much warmer but maybe the cool weather and lack of insects until today led them to supplement their diet (?) We have never had them before on the feeders though we have occasionally had wintering Blackcaps feeding on apples on the lawn.
We also find it interesting that Dunnocks regular come to the feeders. In former years we only saw Dunnocks on the ground so maybe they have been changing their habits over the years.(?)

Sunday, May 05, 2013


Two oystercatchers heading up the valley at 9.30 pm last night.
Raven over at 10.00am heading towards Midgley.
Three curlews in the fields above the crag at 10.45 am this morning.
Two gs woodpeckers Hathershelf wood 12.05pm.

Speckled wood, small tortoiseshell and  peacock butterflies also.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Soil Hill

From yesterday early morning, a Whimbrel over Soil Hill from Bruce.
Interesting  from Birdguides -  a count of 971 from 6 sites in Lancashire yesterday. We might expect more records from our area but they are few and far between for Calderdale, unfortunately !

Friday, May 03, 2013

Neighbouring birds

Saw on the Bradford blog that at Strid Woods yesterday there was 11 pied flycatcher and 5 redstart. Interestingly, they had no singing wood warbler, so we are not alone.
The Crags or Colden Clough might be worth a look this weekend?

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Lee Mount

A Garden Warbler singing this morning at 7.0 am - competing with a Blackcap and chasing each other round. I tried to get a photo but too flighty!

A pair of Blackcaps still on the garden feeder but guess there may be a few more insects about for them in the next few days, hopefully.

Not had a Swift over here yet ( I know there are some about at Cromwell Bottom) - hopefully today!