Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fly Flatts etc

Fly Flatts
Pours down every time I go up there. Same again this morning!
Nothing moving and nothing on the res'r other than the usual 400+ Canadas and 10 Greylags - not even a L B B Gull or B H Gull
1 Wheatear
1 Reed Bunting still singing
The highlight though was a load of Swifts (100+) feeding over the eastern side marsh and whizzing past the car so they were great to watch, not for much longer now as the main exodus will be in another 2 weeks !

Withens Head
6 Curlew
Lots of mipits

Sedge Warbler at Cromwell Bottom

Some great photos of this now scarce warbler in Calderdale....

Caspian's getting closer

3rd summer Caspian Gull at Fairburn yesterday. Gull watches in Calderdale should take a good look at any Yellow-legged Gulls reported, they are definatly getting closer.

Gaddings Dam and Langfield

Wandered up to Gaddings this morning while the rain was coming down (so there wouldn't be any sun-worshippers/tourists/been-there-got-the-tshirt types about) to see if there were any waders - just a single Ringed Plover and a Black-headed Gull.

Lots of Meadow Pipits zipping around at the moment, and 2 Skylarks. A pair of Reed Buntings just below Jail Hole, a Wheatear at Jail Hole, a male Kestrel at Langfield Edge and that was it basically.

Back home a couple of Ravens were over Stoodley Pike and the second brood of House Martins is almost ready to leave the two tone nest:
This nest was built after the existing nest fell down on 10 June and the eggs from the first brood were  smashed. They started rebuilding shortly afterwards using dark mud pellets from a nearby field as there hadn't been any rain to speak of, so their usual supply of clay mud pellets wasn't available. Rain fell while they were building so you can see the switch to the "normal" clay pellets from the Pennine Bridleway - and voila we have a two tone nest! Nest completed on 17 June.

Ringstone Yellow wagtail

Record shot of yellow wagtail in front of the hide, unfortunately unable to get pic of the Green sand.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


A late evening visit in the hope of Grasshopper Warbler turned up trumps with a single bird singing in the juncus near the lower end of the golf course.
Loads of Swifts feeding over the marshy areas and just a few Swallows
Grey Partridge also heard calling up the hillside
2 Kestrels
Also nearby a juv Tawny Owl hunger calling and an adult Tawny Owl on a telegraph pole at Whitegate

Ringstone north shore pools

Evening visit with AH tonight, great to see the pools created on the north shore have become established habitat and even better to have a Green Sandpiper and LRP on them :). Single Yellow Wagtail also nearby. Apologies for the picture quality they were taken on my phone.

Green Withens

2  Common Sandpipers
2 LRP's
still there this morning
2 Ravens displaying impressively overhead
also a Buzzard food-calling in Lightcliffe area recently.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Other news today

Elland GP from Steve and Tony
2  Scoter there on the ski lake this morning. 

1 Yellow Wagtail
1 Dunlin
1 L R Plover
Common Sands

Fly Flatts

Nearly 2 hrs in the car late afternoon while it poured continuously up there. I was waiting for a break to see if any terns etc were drifting through but got absolutely nothing - well, other than the resident 400+ Canada's and 2 Common Sands!

Withens Head was marginally better with 2 Wheatears ( juvs) opposite the wind farm car park along with 1 each Curlew and Lapwing

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Wind farm Data....................

A new study just published in the United States has estimated that around 573,000 birds were killed by wind turbines in 2012 (including 83,000 birds of prey), in increase of 30 per cent on a previous estimate by the US fish and Wildlife Service in 2009. Bats are even worse hit, says author K Shawn Smallwood, and probably top 888,000 killed per year.

Clearly this has serious implications for the renewable energy industry, which bases much of its investment and publicity on the safety and environmental sustainability of the machines. Smallwood also believes his figures are underestimated, owing to the incompleteness if reports of bird and bat deaths from different states, in particular Texas.

Added to this, wind farm legislation in the USA is being loosened, with permits to allow the killing of Bald and Golden Eagles, Whooping Crane, Piping Plover and California Condor by wind turbines all under review or being granted in some states. 

Despite being based in incomplete data, Smallwood suggests that there should be greater transparency in reporting the deaths of flying animals in the States as well as a cross-state standard method of measuring and comparing figures. Even so, the increase in deaths suggested by the more rigorous statistical methods are worrying indeed, and should provide justifiable concern for both conservationists and the renewable energy industry in Britain and Europe.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


a nice 2 hour walk around the area this evening

swallow 46
house martin 18
swift 16
dipper 3
grey wagtail 5
pied wagtail 3
great spotted woodpecker 1
jay 2
black headed gull 1
goldfinch 7
greenfinch 2
willow warbler 2 juvs

How to complain about the Harrier hating Councillor.

Follow this link for info on how to object!


For something shocking go to this link

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fly Flatts

Fly Flatts
Early afternoon
3 B H Gull including 1 juv
410 Canada Geese
10 Greylags
2 Common Sandpipers
2 Curlew still with juv/s
2 Golden Plover
90 Lapwings came in from high NE to rest in fields with Canadas then 32 of them left and went high >SW
30+ Red Grouse including large chicks eating seeds off grass stalks
1 Kestrel
10+ Swallows and similar number of Swifts >SW
20+ Meadow Pipits and still feeding young

Plenty Nyger seed down again at the feeding station - but not a sign of any Twite !

Withens Head
1 juv Wheatear feeding along the low wall near the farm along with a juv Stonechat
3 Curlew
1 Oystercatcher
8  Starlings
20+ Meadow Pipits

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


One juvenile LRP and one male Yellow Wagtail this aft.

Monday, July 22, 2013


1 adult feeding in Hebden Water in Hebden Bridge centre this evening, flew S towards R Calder.
Also 1 adult in Walsden Water at Gauxholme on Sunday 7th July that I neglected to post.

wood warbler mytholmroyd

a wood warbler singing this evening by the footpath alongside the railway track about 1/4 of mile east of the railway station

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Luddenden Dean

I checked the Redstart area this afternoon without success
1 Curlew still on Midgley Moor
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Nuthatch
1 Treecreeper
1 Little Owl
2 Kestrels
c50 Woodpigeons
6+ Stock Doves
1 Jay
6 Mistle Thrush
10+ Linnet
20+ Goldfinch
c4 Willow Warblers calling

Castle Carr Road
A nice resting flock of 90 Lapwings in one field
1 Curlew
c180 Starlings - mainly juveniles
c20 L B B Gulls, 1 B H Gull and 1 Common Gull  all >SW
1 Skylark
A few mipits still feeding young

Friday, July 19, 2013

Luddenden Dean

 Adult male Stonechat
Luddenden Dean (upper)

An interesting afternoon up there today with a Red Kite over really high >E at 3 pm (with apologies to the grapeviners - no signal up there!)
1 Stonechat
1 Reed Bunting
Pair of Blackcap
5+ Willow Warblers
Pair of Kestrels
A pair of Mistle Thrushes with 3 juvs
1 Green Woodpecker
Meadow Pipits still feeding young
2 Ravens high >NE
Several Swifts, Swallows and 2 House Martins

Ringstone Res'r

Late morning visit produced 2 Yellow Wagtails, probably the same 2 found by DF the other day. One very bright individual and a much duller bird with it. They were on the shoreline for a while but kept moving off into the fields nearby. Y wags a really good bird for Calderdale in recent years and it was good to see these two feeding rather than the usual flyovers.
2 Common Sandpipers
55 Lapwing
3 Cormorant
1 Kestrel
2 Pied Wagtail juvs
2 House Marin
2 Sand Martin
c30 Swallows
1 ad L B B Gull
4 B H Gulls
1 Willow Warbler feeding along the shoreline
A few Linnets and Meadow Pipits
1 Swift
2 Ringlets, a few Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and Small Whites

 2 Yellow Wagtails on both pictures above - one much brighter than the other - rubbish shots I know but there for the record !
Some decent shoreline appearing


Above Scout Rock, Mytholmroyd. Yesterday at 17.05 a buzzard being mobbed by two carrion crows. The buzzard had rather tatty feathers.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Two Yellow Wagtails on the shoreline at Ringstone this aft.

Cold Edge

This afternoon, it got warmer as the afternoon moved on.
Still a few waders about including 1 Snipe, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 1 Common Sandpiper and c 20 Lapwings.
Pair of Little Grebe + 2
5 Teal
1 Tufted Duck
c30 Mallard
1 Moorhen
1 Grey Heron
15 B H Gulls
3 L B B Gulls
c 20 Linnet
A few Meadow Pipits
c 8 Skylarks
c30 Swallows
c 50 Swifts very high >SW
c35 Starlings

More Ringlets today mainly around Cold Edge lower plantation but also a few elsewhere including 2 opposite the windfarm car park. A few Meadow Browns and lots of Small Heaths, 1 Tortoiseshell and around 10 whites mainly distant.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wheatley Valley

Without the car today so I had a couple of walks across the former landfill site opposite Shroggs Road and below Brackenbed. Hardly any birds about in the scorching heat but butterflies were pretty good with an equal share of Ringlets and Meadow Browns, a few Speckled Woods, 1 Tortoiseshell and hundreds of Small Skippers. Other Skippers might have been present as well but my skill in identification of the others is suspect !!
Most of the butterflies were in the large flat grass area and around the fringes

Surprise too were 2 House Martins over Lee Mount - a rarity up there this year and also c40 Swifts went high SE mid afternoon

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hunter Hill

I tried an hour up there this afternoon which unfortunately got cut short by a call from the police to say my car had been broken into on Cold Edge Road....smashed drivers window but nothing taken from the car. That was the down side to the afternoon the only plus was 2 Wheatears (adult female and a juv) at the top of Slaughter Gap

Saturday, July 13, 2013


A buzzard flew east along the valley below Jumble Hole at 2pm this afternoon, being mobbed by two kestrels. The buzzards wings looked extremely tatty - presumably in moult.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fly Flatts

Twite - 3 images

It was a nice surprise this morning to find 5 Twite at the feeding station after a number of visits this year drawing blanks. No male seen today but it looked like 3 juvs and 2 females (though they are not easy to tell apart from my experience)!!
2 juv Wheatears - one on the embankment and one on the walls near the top road - I guess these are not local birds as there has been no adults around for several weeks.
One pair of Curlews still about near the windfarm
10 Lapwings
1 Golden Plover
2 Redshank + 1 juv flying
4 Common Sandpipers + at least 2 juvs flying
1 Oystercatcher
c400 Canada Geese + juvs
4 Greylags + juvs
1 Kestrel
1 Skylark
20+ Meadow Pipits and still feeding young

Withens Head
2 Curlew
1 Oystercatcher
1 Snipe
c30 juv Starlings


An adult cuckoo flew straight through the middle of the Colden school sports day this afternoon. Plus heard from a parent there that they have heard and seen 2/3 whitethroat around the scrub surrounding Heptonstall.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Halifax Town Centre

A pair of Kestrels with at least 2 young ready to fledge. In Square Church spire about half way up in 2 stone portholes - view from Westgate near the Piece Hall gate.

Lee Mount

Not a bad morning in the garden this morning with 1 each of Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and a juv Green Woodpecker. All in Shroggs Park in the trees at the back.
Only a few local nesting Swifts around this year with a maximum count of 7. In recent years the daily totals have been around 30 !

Cold Edge

For a change - anything but cold this afternoon up there - 26 c !!
We thought , a perfect afternoon for butterflies - just one Tortoiseshell and 2 G V Whites.
4 B H Gulls
2 Raven over
2 Little Grebe
1 Moorhen
1 Kestrel
Several Reed Buntings, M Pipits, Linnet, Swallows and Goldfinch
c30 juv Starlings
1 fresh out of the nest Pied Wagtail
c40 Swifts very high >W
Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing and 1 Common Sandpiper

Monday, July 08, 2013

Garden whitethroat

I had a nice garden 'tick' this evening with a whitethroat. Presumably one of the pair nesting less than 100 yards away.

Yesterday, 2 little owls were right at the top of Crimsworth Dean, where the Haworth Old Road meets the stream. That must be right on the border of our area.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Albino Swallow

A couple of photos of a recently fledged Swallow from a nest in Stainland, thanks to Darren for the photos.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Tern Pic

Tern - Ringstone

I assume it is a Common but can someone confirm from these 'record' shots?

Peregrine close by sat on its perch near its website.  Seemed to be ignoring the walker who was only around 50 yards away.

Fly Flatts

This morning. Very windy W F5 to 6 and driving drizzle, not pleasant!
Birds not too bad though with waders including Curlew, Lapwing, oystercatcher, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Snipe and Golden Plover.
4 Teal
410 Canada's + juvs
4 Greylags + 9 chicks
1 Mallard
Not a raptor in sight though plenty Swifts feeding low over the water c60 plus a few others moving through and down into Luddenden Dean.
Plenty mipits and a few Skylarks.
3 B H Gulls >SW
1 L B B Gull >W

Twite feeding area again replenished with nyger seed but not a sign of any Twite - bad news!

Tree Sparrows

The Tree Sparrows  (TS) are doing better each year at the Clifton Tree Sparrow Recovery Project, our only known breeding site for the species in Calderdale. Several boxes (about 11) have TS nests. We've noticed this year that they are now using some of the boxes on the two large oaks, one of which is above the fishing-pond, and one on the near side of the pond when looking from the road; a new observation. The box on the big oak in the lane, furthest away from the cottages (box 1) has again been used by TS as usual.
One very low box only a few metres from the feeders in the hedgerow was used successfully by TS this year, though one juvenile died at the RF (Ready to Fledge) stage. Records will be sent in to the BTO. (British Trust for Ornithology.)

Other species using the boxes are Great Tits Parus major and Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus, (3 of each.) There are about 55 boxes, mostly numbered, though the numbers are not always visible. The highest boxes on one of the oaks are not numbered.

On 23rd June four boxes in a row on trees in the cottage garden had occupied TS nests. The young were at various stages from FS (feathers on wing short) to FL ( feathers long,) and brood sizes were two of 4, one of 3 and one of 5. They are very likely to have two or more broods in the season.

Tree Sparrows are in the eves at another group of cottages in the area, just over the fields, (Mike Stead), but the residents prefer not to have bird watchers peering up at their windows.

House Sparrows have been seen at the site, and it looks like they have bred there this year, as two fledglings were huddling together on the lawn on 23rd June. They are unlikely to use the boxes, as they prefer a bigger hole, but may be ousting TS from the holes under the eves.

We noticed that at least one Rook Corvus frugilegus  had learned to cling onto the feeders, so Jane Uttley deftly fixed plastic garden mesh round, which lets small birds in. Jane orders large sacks of golden or golden/white millet which, surprisingly to me, is grown in UK. Our initial grant for the project ran out some time ago, and Calderdale Bird Conservation Group are now paying for the seed. We have a rota to go and top-up.

This encouraging news about TS numbers has been heard from various parts of the country. Yorkshire Naturalists Union Bird Report for 2011 says there has been a 58% increase in England since 1995.

Other sites at which TS used to be seen were at Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve, and at North Dean Woods (breeding in the old quarry - the late Frank Murgatroyd ) and in the railway viaduct over the River Calder at Salterhebble ( 1 nest in the early 90s - SB.) So they might reappear here soon.

(Jane Uttley and Steve Blacksmith  - Calderdale Bird Conservation Group and Halifax Scientific Society.)

A female House Sparrow (right) at the fat feeder with Tree Sparrows
(Passer domesticus and Passer montanus.)
Male and female Tree Sparrows have no plumage difference.

Two recently fledged House Sparrows. (Juvenile Tree Sparrows have some of the head-markings of their parents.)

Tree Sparrows Passer montanus