Sunday, June 29, 2014


Two Whinchats and two Stonechats at Withens Clough today.

4 Little Ringed Plover
2 Ringed Plover

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Report 2011 - 2012

The 2011 and 12 Halifax Bird Report is now available from Woodlesford News Agent, Pellon, Mount Tabor, price £6.50. It is the largest report I have done to date and what with moving home and other unforeseen problems it’s a wonder it ever got done at all. I would like to thank all observers who submitted records and photos without whom the report would not be possible. I would most like to thank Dave Sutcliffe for his much needed help and support and Steve Cummings and Dave Franz for transportation over the years. There are only 75 copies available so if you would like to reserve one just get in touch with me or Dave S. Its hoped that other outlets will be made available soon so watch this space. 2013 is well under way and may be merged with 2014 if that’s what people want ( I would like some feed back on this, cheers). Not sure how much postage would be, but would think £8 would cover it, any cheque should be made out to The Calderdale Bird Conservation Group. All proceeds go to publishing future reports.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bird Report 2011/2012

After a lot of ups and downs and unavoidable delays the bumper double report, put together by our Recorder - Nick Dawtrey for 2011 and 2012 has been received from the printers.

Very good value at £6.50 per copy from Woodlesford Newsagents at the top end of Moor End Road, Pellon from today.

Other outlets will be notified on the blog as soon as these are sorted. Also postage will need to be added as necessary (in which case any cheques will need to be made out to Calderdale Birds Conservation Group). Watch this space!
Well done Nick.

Hen Harrier Skydancer project - bid for lottery funding

Will you help us save the hen harrier?

Despite it being one of our most threatened birds of prey, most people have never even heard of a hen harrier. We now have the chance to change that by helping these birds to gain national media attention.

However to do this, we need YOUR help.

All it takes is a few moments of your time to vote for Skydancer, a very special project that has reached the final in this year’s National Lottery Awards in the Best Education project category. If we win the award, the project will be given national exposure at a BBC-televised award ceremony in September.

The competition is fierce, so every vote counts. Please make sure to vote using your own personal email address, and encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to do the same.

Hen harrier conservation
A four-year RSPB project named after the male’s stunning aerobatic courtship display, Skydancer aims to raise awareness and promote the conservation of hen harriers across the North of England. There should be at least 300 pairs of hen harriers breeding in the English uplands but this year, there are only three confirmed nests in the whole country. We’re so concerned about them that all of these nests are under 24/7 surveillance and protection.

Illegal killing
The problem is that many of the moorland areas where hen harriers like to nest are managed intensively for driven grouse shooting. As big birds of prey, hen harriers occasionally eat red grouse, leading some moorland shoot managers to illegally kill or disturb the harriers to protect their stock. Unless this stops, hen harriers will never recover. There are hen harriers elsewhere in the UK, and they are doing well in Wales and parts of Northern and Western Scotland where management is less intensive. However, in Southern and Eastern Scotland they face similar issues and are showing the same worrying decline. Hen harriers travel widely, so anything that affects them in one part of the UK is likely to affect them all.

Inspiring people
As hen harriers tend to spend their time on remote moors, few people are aware of them or their plight. Consequently, a key part of Skydancer is to educate and inspire people about these magnificent birds. Since the project began in late 2011, the team have been working hard, delivering hen harrier talks to more than 2,000 people across Northern England and running assemblies, workshops, and field trips with more than 1,500 school pupils. They have even run workshops with over 100 game-keeping and countryside management students and held over 800 conversations at county shows and game fairs.

The project recently launched the Hen Harrier Hero Awards, designed to encourage children, families and schools across the UK to find out more about the birds and spread the word. Last year, Skydancer also put on its own show, The Hen Harrier Carnival Event, at The Alnwick Garden attended by over 3,500 people.

This is a worthwhile project, making a valuable contribution to saving nature. Public voting for the National Lottery Awards opens today and runs until 23 July. Please remember to use your own personal email address when you vote."

For more information about the Skydancer project, visit

If the vote for 'Skydancer' link doesn't work try:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fly Flatts

I went this afternoon again to see if there were any additional waders about  !
The L R Plover from yesterday has gone and there were just the usual regulars. Common Sandpipers including juveniles seemed to be very active, flying about a lot across the res'r.
1 Red Legged Partridge
A few Red Grouse  on the moor
2 L B B Gulls  and the ususal Canadas but I couldn't find the Barnacle Goose today
1 Kestrel by the Wind-Farm

And from Nick D this afternoon at Roils Head - an early returning juvenile Redstart in the shelter belt.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fly Flatts

This afternoon - with a threat of rain though it did not come to much !
230+ Canada Geese + lots of chicks
1 Barnacle Goose still with the Canadas
2 Redshank
4 Golden Plover
2 Lapwings
2 Curlew
1 Little Ringed Plover
2 Dunlin
3 Common Sandpipers (including 1 fledged juvenile)
1 B H Gull looking immaculate and eating someones left-over sandwich!
Several L B B Gulls - flyovers
1 male Stonechat
Several mipits still feeding young
No raptors other than a Liitle Owl out hunting along Cold Edge Road

(shoreline appearing at Fly Flatts - looking promising if it doesn't rain !!)

Dunlin - the same bird in different light conditions


I headed up there late morning to see if I could locate the Wood Warbler found by PS on Sunday.
I not only found the warbler, but Pete as well, and we watched the bird feeding and preening in the canopy of a small stand of beech and singing there, almost continuously for half hour or more.
Wood Warbler - this is the best I could do ! (click to enlarge)
It later moved off to a nearby area of woodland though not singing quite as much.
No female found!
Not a lot of time to look for anything else though a Blackcap and a Chiff-chaff were also singing nearby. 2 Red Admiral's.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Soil Hill and Ogden

Soil Hill yesterday afternoon. Good to meet BS up there but we didn't find a lot. !
No sign of the Sedge Warblers this afternoon though PS had one earlier.
Quite a few Whitethroat about including juveniles

Juvenile Whitethroat

Several Reed Buntings and Linnets
A juvenile Common Snipe on the top could just about fly but it soon hid away in the vegetation.

Ogden - recent news.
A Wood Warbler singing yesterday and today in the plantation is only the 3rd reported in Calderdale this year. (PS et al) Also a Tree Pipit today and Spotted Flycatcher (NK and PS respectively)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wheatley Valley

We tried the former landfill site this afternoon in the hot sunshine - thinking 'Butterfly's'!
A few each of Speckled Woods, Small Heaths and G V Whites.
Loads of Skippers - not very good on these but think they were all 'Small...' and 20+ Meadow Brown's.
1 Whitethroat skulking in the brambles
1 Willow Warbler singing
1 Chiff-chaff also singing
Not much else but plenty juv Magpies about making a racket

Dean Clough chimney undergoing repairs - how about this elevation for a spot of 'Vis Mig' !!!!
The Corona Chimney has a datestone of 1857 at its base, though this may represent the foundation date rather than its completion. 297 ft high (90.5 mtrs). About the same height as Bempton Cliffs!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mankinholes, Lumbutts, Langfield and Gaddings Dam

Time for a local walk this morning and I've been missing the local patch, so I spent a few hours wandering around and catching up on what's about.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 at Mankinholes
Linnet - 4 (2 juvs)
Little Owl -1
Song Thrush - 1
Lesser Black backed Gull - 1 over Lumbutts
Willow Warbler - 2 at Lee Dam
Blackcap - 1
Reed Bunting - 3 at Langfield
Stonechat - 2
Kestrel - 1
Ringed Plover - 2 at Gaddings Dam
Dunlin - 1
Swift - 5
Mallard ducklings - 6, downy but no sign of adults

Lots of Mipits, Skylarks and Swallows.
Song Thrush
Ringed Plover and Dunlin
Dunlin at Gaddings Dam
Dunlin in flight

Lee Mount

A Red Kite over today about 13:45, very, very high , though this time I did have the camera handy for some record (not brilliant)! shots. Fortunately I was alerted by a Carrion Crow alarming which drew my attention to it. It headed over towards Boothtown / Swales Moor area. Always a special bird.

Cold Edge

This morning
1 Little Grebe
3 Snipe 'chippin'
1 Oystercatcher
3 pairs Curlew
Several Lapwings including some large chicks just flying
Common Sandpipers (one just taking off below)
 c40 Canada Geese
1 Greylag Goose
2 Tufted Duck
2 L B B Gulls
2 B H Gulls
Several Meadow Pipits, Skyklarks and Linnets in the area as well as Swallows, including just fledged juveniles - and a few Swifts moving through high
No Kestrels !

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Garden birds

My 'relaxed approach' to a tidy garden seems to be paying dividends this year. Over the weekend, there was dunnock, great tit and wren feeding newly hatched young. And blackbird, robin and blue tit feeding newly fledged chicks. On top of that, chiffchaff, garden warbler, goldcrest and whitethroat all singing from the garden at some stage. Let's hear it for the lazy approach.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Early afternoon with DF - some decent shoreline appearing !!
1 Common Sandpiper
2 Little Ringed Plover
c40 Lapwing
1 G C Grebe
2 House Martins
A few Swallows and some distant Swifts
Pied Wagtails, Linnets, Starlings and a Reed Bunting
Willow Warbler singing
1 L B B Gull
1 Kestrel

Booth Wood Res'r

This morning
1 Cormorant
1 Oystercatcher
4+ Curlew
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Kestrel
4 Sand Martins
A few Swallows and Pied Wagtails
1 Willow Warbler still singing

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cold Edge

Earlier today doing the Breeding Breeding Survey for the BTO. It was a bit quiet with an interesting mix and a good number of Skylark, Meadow Pipts and a few Reed Buntings.
Curlews, Lapwings, Common Sandpiper, Snipe and an Oystercatcher
1 Little Grebe
1 adult Cormorant
1 Moorhen
+ a mix of other usual sp....

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Barn owl, Cross Stones, Todmorden

My aunt saw a barn owl near Higher Ashes, Cross Stones yesterday evening.

Regards, Chris

Monday, June 09, 2014

Fly Flatts

Mid afternoon along with NCD - the weather brightened up after a lot of earlier rain  and thunder late morning and early afternoon.
1 Barnacle Goose was a nice surprise on the res'r alongside the flock of 180+ Canada Geese
1 Common Sandpiper
6+ Curlew
2 Snipe
4 Lapwings
1 Sand Martin through towards Thornton moor
A steady stream of Swifts >N  along the ridge towards High Brown Knoll
1 L B B Gull >W
3 B H Gulls >NW
A pair of Stonechats with juveniles nearby

Barnacle Goose (digiscoped from a distance)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Crow Hill Circular

Crow Hill Circular late am early pm

Pretty quiet

5 lapwing
c50 starlings
1 pied wagtail
2 swifts
8 swallows
30+ meadow pipits
2 skylarks
2 linnets
plus usual titmice, finches and corvids

Large, small and green veined white butterflies
2 meadow brown
1 small tortoiseshell


Mytholmroyd Garden

One juvenile great spotted woodpecker on feeders this am and one adult female.

I haven't had  many woodpecker sightings in the area since the recent cold winters. There have been a lot of  gs woodpecker calls this spring though and a lot of activity from adults presumably with young.

Fly Flatts and Withens Head, Cold Edge

After most of the day of heavy rain yesterday I ventured out for an hour or so late afternoon as the rain stopped and the sky cleared.
Cold Edge
1 female Goosander
1 Oystercatcher

Fly Flatts
An adult Hobby passed over at 17:30 heading towards Thornton Moor. That was a nice surprise!
180+ Canada Geese + chicks all over the place.
6 Curlew
2 Lapwings
2 Redshank
1 Red Grouse
2 L B B Gulls over
Plenty Meadow Pipits feeding young
2 Skylark
1 Oystercatcher

Friday, June 06, 2014

Ogden and the Golf Course

I lovely sunny warm morning but not a lot happening with no sign of the recent singing Tree Pipit, though still plenty of Meadow Pipits feeding young.
The highlight was this adult Tawny Owl being scolded by Willlow Warblers - it was obviously ready to raid their nest but it soon moved on!

Very little found on the golf course other than Meadow Pipits (one pair still nest building) along with a few Willow Warblers and occasional passing Swifts.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Fly Flatts......

This afternoon it was really windy up there. Tricky conditions to find anything !
2 Lapwings
2 Curlew
130 + Canada's + loads of chicks
2 Linnets
A few Meadow Pipits
1 Red Grouse
2 Swifts >NW
14 L B B Gulls >W

Mixenden Res'r was a little more interesting, a different climate down there out of the wind and in the shelter of the plantation. A good few Hirundines (c30 House Martins and a similar number of Swallows) and 50+ Swifts charging about.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Recents !

After some difficulty posting on the blog recently I just managed to upload this photo of a Hobby over Brighouse on Tuesday 3rd June at 10.38 taken by Mike Henshaw. Very well done Mike for having the camera handy to bag such a great bird for Calderdale. Lets hope we get a few more ! (double click the image for a better view)

Also this last week or so
2 Wood Warblers singing -Hardcastle Crags
1 Pied Flycatcher - undisclosed location
Just a few Spotted Flycartchers being reported
Tree Pipit - just one singing individual at Ogden
Several Cuckoo's still being reported throughout Calderdale
Green Sandpiper flushed in some pools near Mount Tabor yesterday (NCD) - a rarity for Calderdale in recent years.