Monday, August 31, 2015

Red Kite

One over hunger hill at 2:00

Green Withens

                                      Green Withens this morning.

4 Wheatear
1 juv Black Redstart
1 Common Sandpiper
1 juv Ringed plover


Still at least one juvenile Cuckoo at Taylor Lane mid-afternoon but a brief view only. Think it/they just hide in the dip of the hill among the nettle patches !

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Soil Hill

-I had one Cuckoo briefly on Taylor Lane but it flew down into a ditch, so there is at least one still knocking about
-Was pretty thrilled when I stumbled across 2 Siskin feeding on thistles on the western side of the hill, but when they got up and flew further down the track, to join a flock of around 20 birds. That was a big surprise. A nice way to get a patch tick. More birds were calling elsewhere and a few more flying over, so I reckon around 25 birds in total.
-Basically, Soil Hill was crawling with Siskin...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Green Withens

Black Redstart juvenile still at Green Withens again by the outflow. I got within 20yds as it sunbathed on the dam wall when the camera died on me ! I also saw the bird eating the same sort of  prey as the Bradshaw Cuckoos - dark hairy caterpillars - and swallowing them whole after a tussle!
Looks like they are mainly eating Peacock butterfly larvae (thanks to AC and CD fro the help in i d)

Also 1 Common Sandpiper and a juvenile Ringed Plover viewed on the shoreline with the scope from the outflow area.
Several L B B Gulls through >W
1 adult Yellow-legged Gull type went through over the res'r >W but unfortunately it didn't drop in and I couldn't be 100% sure of i d - so will have to let that one go.
1 Meadow Pipit

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fly Flatts

An hour at the top end this afternoon didn't produce a lot in the strong  >S/Westerly
3 Wheatears
3 B H gulls
1 L B B Gull
10+ Kestrels
Very little shoreline left now, after the recent rainfall

 Looking west towards High Brown Knoll
Looking SW towards Luddenden Dean


Still 2 cuckoos together on wires at lower end of Taylor Lane this morning 100 yds above cobbles. Nk et al.
Both juveniles still there together at 12:00.
Hope you got some decent photos Geoff !?
Also good to had a chat with Nigel on his way up Ned Hill with reportedly not a lot doing at Ogden.
Below - 2 record shots of one of the Cuckoos from this morning

I'm still trying to identify the caterpillars from some shots I took yesterday. Has anyone any idea what they might be ?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mytholmroyd - Dipper

Lovely smart looking dipper in the Calder under the bridge to New Road at Mytholmroyd at mid-day.

Lee Mount

1 Swift >S at 16:00 on garden sky watch - with a cool drink !

Green Withens

I followed in Rogers footsteps this morning after he reported the juv Black Redstart still present at the outflow. It took a bit of finding in the strong gusty wind but it was feeding alongside Meadow Pipits at the lower end of the outfall. Fortunately I had the scope with me but it was too far away for any photos.
1 Common Sandpiper on the reservoir
1 L B B Gull
A few Swallows through >SW
1 Dipper in the inflowing culvert was very wary
1 Common Buzzard >SW

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lee Mount

1 Swift over >SW at 18:00 and 1 Sparrowhawk over earlier in the afternoon

Luddenden Dean (upper) and Castle Carr Road

Late afternoon /early evening walk around the dean found it pretty quiet for passerines in the strong SW wind though it was pretty warm.
1 Green Woodpecker
c150 Swallows and c20 House Martins high over Midgley Moor
5+ Kestrels
1 Common Buzzard to the south
4 Stock Doves near 'the catty'
3 Jays
12+ Goldfinch
2 Little Owls in the dean with another family group of 5 close together near Castle Carr Road
Nice to meet Andrew enjoying the view and thanks for making yourself known as a fellow birdwatcher and follower of the blog!

Red Kite

Talking to a colleague who lives in Sowerby who was telling me that there was a Red Kite in the field behind his house this weekend.  Says it was there for a bit part of the day on Saturday but did not reappear on Sunday

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lee Mount/Swales Moor/Pepper Hill, Claremount

Lee Mount - 1 Swift over >SE late morning and a Sparrowhawk

Swales Moor - an hour on the top along Ringby Lane this afternoon
1 Wheatear
1 Skylark
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Green Woodpecker
and a young Fox being mobbed by the local Carrion Crows

Pepper Hill (above Claremount)
1 Spotted Flycatcher in the scrub gully just 100m on the south side of Black Boy Farm along Hag Lane
c100 Goldfinch feeding on thistles
A few blogging Swallows
c40 Starlings on the top
Dead Hedgehog - I only seem to find dead ones nowadays and they are infrequent

Stoodley Pike

On a circular walk to the Pike, from Mankinholes, with the kids, pretty quiet on the tops, save for a lone kestrel, a few meadow pipits, lots of swallows and a couple of house martins heading south.  The highlight was a juv' peregrine that flew past the Pike and across the valley, in the direction of Great Rock.

Regards, Chris

Green Sandpiper

Me and DF had another Green Sand at Middle Walshaw Dean last night, lets hope for more waders in the coming weeks.

Green Withens

Juvenile Black Redstart on the walls near the outlet at far end of reservoir. There at 12:35 today thanks for the call from KeithM

Monday, August 24, 2015

Soil Hill

The Juv Cuckoo was still along Taylor Lane this afternoon, feeding along the road just where the Cobbles end as you would see it coming up as from Bradshaw Lane.
-Also 2 Buzzards soaring over the hill before drifting South but gaining height
-Small movement of Swallows, but high up. Around 30-40 birds moving
-17 Mistle Thrush present

Green Withens

I can't believe this is the first time I have been up to the reservoir having been birding Calderdale since 1970 !!
Looks a great site surrounded by extensive moorland in all directions. It was good to see a local reservoir showing a lot of shoreline. Probably the reason for the Spotted Redshank dropping in and staying over the weekend. It had gone this morning and no sign of yesterday's Black Redstart or Common Redstart unfortunately.
1 juv Curlew on the shoreline - no other waders.
1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Kestrel, 3 Mallard, 6 Goldfinch.
40+ Swallows and 12 Meadow Pipits >SW
15 L B B Gulls >E
1 Common Buzzard over the M62
I'll be going again.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Soil Hill

A few quick notes from today:

On the Northern Side of the hill's summit I was trudging through the grass when I flushed a small dark passerine. After subsequent flushes to reveal more features, It showed enough for me to be confident that it was a Grasshopper Warbler. It moved along the Northern Edge of the Summit, until I eventually lost it in the scrub at the top of the slope on the north side.

From the pool also on the north side, the one with a steep mud pile behind it I flushed a female Teal, which was a surprise. It flew round the summit a few times before I lost it. It must have landed in one of the fields to graze, as I managed to flush it from there a little later. I should have been sharper to try and avoid disturbing it

That point was driven home when I flushed a snipe from one of the top scrapes. It seemed pretty driven and flew on south. Its possible though that it may have landed in the field with the stone circle but I could not see

There were also good numbers of Swallows building up around the fields on the North Side. They might have dropped with this afternoons storm on the horizon. Somewhere between 50-100 birds were down there.

At least one Spotted Flycatcher was still down the track to the left of the Koi Shop, but I only saw it briefly.

Lee Mount

Migrants obviously on the move today with 2 juvenile Blackcaps first thing feeding on Honeysuckle berries in the garden. Some unidentified phylloscs about at the same time though they were elusive in the trees - probably willow warblers or maybe Chiff-chaffs with them.
Mid-afternoon with that strong ESE very warm wind we had 40+ Swifts heading west in a tight feeding  frenzy high up. Unusual to get so many this late in August but guess the weather conditions played a part. We enjoyed the sight as they drifted off high. They might be the last we see before next year but there might hopefully be a few singletons through in the next week or so.

Sunday Late AM/Early PM

Near Booth Wood reservoir 
1 buzzard and 1 peregrine over

Green Withens
2 kestrel
1 redstart
1 wheatear
1 black redstart
1 spotted redshank
2 common gulls
10 swallows


I was just walking home through Todmorden and a Dipper flew out of the Calder channel at the Stansfield Road bridge and turned away at rooftop height towards Burnley Road. The river was swollen after a heavy shower, and I guess it realised it was not going to find a perch on the next stretch of bank, so flew off to look elsewhere. From the brief view, I didn't see any obvious white on the breast, but I can't be 100% sure it was a juvenile. I have seen adults fairly regularly here and on Walsden Water near Morrisons store this summer, but no certain juveniles.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cromwell Bottom Open day

Very well done to all the volunteers from Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group on the occasion of their open day today. I dropped in there this afternoon to a warm welcome along with a good cuppa and some Lemon Drizzle !!!.
Lots of hard work and organisation went into the event with plenty of activities and information for the visitors. It was good to meet up with some 'old' friends and meet new ones.
Well done everyone for your hard work on the day and for all your practical work and organisation which has gone in to developing this wonderful reserve for nature - keep up the good work.

Soil Hill

Just a quick trip up to Soil Hill this early evening to see what was about. After one Spotted Flycatcher on 17th, I was pretty thrilled to see 2 today. They are down the track to the left of the Koi Farm up on Soil Hill and were showing very well, fly-catching right above me. 
On the way down I got a pleasant surprise in the form of a Juvenile Cuckoo perched up on one of the walls along Taylor Lane, opposite New Fold Farm. I managed to rattle off a few photos but it must have flown off whilst I was texting it out, as it was not there when I looked again. Despite checking all the walls I was unable to pick it up again.
Just a quick note from the 17th when in addition to the Spotted Flycatcher there were also 2 Twite, which flew over Taylor Lane. I had only stopped at that point as my attention was held up by two Weasel kits which had start play fighting in the road in front of me.

Spotted Redshank

                       One Spotted Redshank at Green Withens today.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hunter Hill

A nice surprise was a pair of Redstarts this afternoon with at least one juvenile.
Poor photo's I know - record shots only as they were very flighty and kept hiding away for long periods.

Also nearby was a juvenile Green Woodpecker, a couple of Meadow Pipits and 2 Willow Warblers
The big hedge at Mixenden Res'r is often good at this time of year for migrant warblers but I could only find 3 Willow Warblers in there.
4 Kestrels nearby
30+ Swallows and 20+ House Martins over Stodfold (+35 Canadas)! but not a sign of any Swifts today.


In rather gloomy and drizzly conditions, had a potter around the Widdop area.  It was very quiet, save for several kestrels, a lone meadow pipit and a few goldfinches over. 
For any botanists, I also saw Grass of Parnassus growing near Coldwell Reservoir, on the Lancs side.

Regards, Chris

North America !

Geoff Smith picked this book up in a charity shop. It looks new. Should anyone want to borrow it Geoff is prepared to loan it out to local birder if anyone is perhaps visiting North America !!
Geof can't put it on the blog so it's a post for him.


3 Swifts over Brighouse at 16:00 and 7 over at 17:30 yesterday (20th) all >S - MH
Just 1 over Lee Mount as well yeaterday

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fly Flatts

Late morning visit after the rain
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Snipe
30+ Wheatears
Barnacle Goose still with 4 Canadas
12+ Kestrels
30+ Swallows and 2 House Martins >SW

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Walshaw Dean

A blood pressure check might be in order before reading this....

Nice Visitor

          Quiet in the garden today with the damp weather but had
          a visitor who had all the birds panicking even the corvids,
          a female Sparrowhawk on the hunt for one of my finches.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Hardly any Swifts about this week with just 2 over Lee Mount on Monday and another 2 this morning.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fly Flats

Quick drive up to Fly Flatts this afternoon.  Not much doing but then we never actually got out of the car
Couple of Wheatears
Flock of about 20 Linnets over Withens Gap Farm
A lovely red car on its side in the ditch by the entrance to Warley Wood Reservoir

Claremount Buzzards back again

       Two Buzzards soaring over Claremount then moving on towards
       Shibden, large raptor flying from over the city centre towards Ogden
       but too distant to confirm what bird it was but deffo not a Buzzard,
       3 Swift and Swallows also seen over Claremount.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Other news today

Another nice garden tick for Mike H this afternoon with a Spotted Flycatcher in his Brighouse garden briefly before he could grab his camera as it was soon chased of by House Sparrows.
Nice one Mike

There must be some more grounded migrants in this rain today !

Ogden etc

After easterlies yesterday and heavy overnight rain continuing I chanced Ogden first thing in the hope of something brought in by the weather !
Nothing doing other than a light fall of up to c20 Willow Warblers but couldn't find anything with them.
2 G C Grebes
1 Herring Gull
6 L B B Gulls
2 Common  Gulls
20 B H Gulls

Mixenden Res'r - nothing

Fly Flatts - not much - still pouring down
Barnacle Goose still with 20 Canadas
1 L B B Gull
1 Wheatear

Maybe something to find when the weather picks up (?)

Little Egret

Some more photo's from Mike Henshaw

Little Egret

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Swales Moor

Late afternoon on the top along Ringby Lane
1 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
13 Mistle Thrush
2 Stck Dove
c35 Linnet
10+ Goldfinch
2 Swifts
c30 Swallows
15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
3 very distant Common Buzzards
Weather systems coming in tomorrow might fetch something in overnight after easterlies today ?!

Fly Flatts

Late morning visit around the northern end. Still no sign of any waders.
1 juvenile Whinchat with at least 6 Wheatears on wall and fences on the track down on the left.
Lots of Kestrels on the moor
Female Merlin through >SW
No Swifts but 30+ Swallows through > S
16 Canada's but no sign of the Barnacle Goose
6 B H Gulls and 6 L B B Gulls
Well done Geoff for a 'marshy' through earlier this morning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Birding Frontiers - the second challenge book

Apologies for this not being specifically Calderdale related but the second of Martin Garner's ID books (Winter) is coming out on pre publication offer tomorrow, see
If anyone is interested in a copy I can collect for you and deliver when we are next in Halifax and save the postage. Please e mail if you want a copy.


They are well on the move now with plenty of them around until late last week and the weekend but they have thinned out over the last few days now the breeding pairs have moved off. All on their way back to Africa !
4 over Brighouse yesterday and 3 today (MH)
3 over Lee Mount this morning >SW and 1 over Pepper Hill this afternoon

There will still be a few about and 'movers' from further north will be coming through in the next week or two and we occasionally get a September record.

Soil Hill

I'd kinda written off there being much happening on the hill when half way round there had failed to be many birds at all. That quickly changed when 2 calling Tree Pipits went over going south. One landed but then got up again almost immediately, and I was unable to get any kind of record shot.
Other recent sightings up there:
11.08: Wheatear: 1 adult and 1 juv, Mistle Thrush 9
10.08: Lapwing: 26, Pheasant 8, Skylark 10, Wheatear 1 juv
07.08: Kestrel: 3, Wheatear 1 Juv, Common Buzzard: 1 NW
06.08: Mistle Thrush 11, Greenfinch 5

Little Egret etc

Little Egret (juvenile) at Cromwell Bottom - photo from Mike Henshaw taken on Saturday 8th August. This bird or another juvenile was seen towards Sowerby Bridge earlier today (Steve B)

Also from Mike - a Hobby over Brighouse >S at 16:10 this afternoon at the same time as a very large raptor heading in the same direction could have been an Osprey but just too distant and brief for a firm identification - bad luck Mike.! Another that got away!

2 Tree Pipits flyovers also reported this afternoon over Soil hill from Daniel B around 16:45

I tried Pepper Hill this afternoon above Claremount but just found a Kestrel and not much else bird-wise - well other than a Hummingbird Hawkmoth which is always a special moth and that was after an Elephant Hawkmoth in the moth trap this morning. See the Moth Blog (Link to the right of this posting) for some record shots.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fly Flatts

This morning - not a wader anywhere though still plenty shoreline
12+ Kestrels
1 fem/juv Merlin hunting over the embankment had a go at a B H Gull but then moved quickly on >SW
3 Raven >SW
4 Wheatear
1 Red-legged Partridge
1 Barnacle Goose with 4 Canadas (think the other 300+ Canadas have gone somewhere to moult)
20+ Red Grouse
2 B H Gulls and 2 L B B Gulls >SW
No Twite of course and no Swifts today, just 2 Swallows through >N

Fly Flatts - Demise of the Twite

For a long number of years several of us have supported a feeding station for the Twite at Fly Flatts near the 'Round House'. Over the years we have put down Niger seed to supplement their natural food around their breeding habitat along with the RSPB and others who have been running the Twite Recovery Project in conjunction with local farmers and landowners.

Despite these co-ordinated efforts, during the last 2 years we have not had any Twite up there and it looks as if they have certainly gone from this area as a breeding bird and passage migrants don't seem to be dropping in either. Reasons seem unclear.

There has been a slow decline over the last 20 years or so, though up until 2010 we have records over the summer months and migrants March and into October with up to 30+ birds. Since then....
In 2011 max of 19
In 2012 up to 4
5 on 5th July 2013 were the last
Since then - not one record as far as I know though Brian Sumner and myself have continued the feeding programme.

We have decided with reluctance to curtail further attempts at supplementary feeding for the summer stayers and at tempting migrants down in March and October. We will still continue to monitor the site and surrounding area. It will be a real bonus if they return !

Thank you for everyone who has helped with this project. Please let me or Brian know if anyone has any further records for up there or to our Recorder Nick Dawtrey.
Thankfully we still have at least one area of Calderdale where Twite are recorded on a regular basis.
The last feed !!!

The last recorded Twite at Fly Flatts 12th July 2013

Monday, August 10, 2015


Got great close up views of a juvenile Kestrel catching beetles at Walshaw Dean yesterday. Even trying to take insects off a vertical wall.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Leos and Shorties

Top young Leos, M Mail, middle Adult Leo and bottom juvenile Shortie, NCD. Leos First of all thanks to all bird club members who helped with the Leo survey this year. The preliminary results are the best on record, at least as far as I can remember. We found 13 territorial pairs, 11 of these successfully raised a minimum of at least 34 young, probably many more. One pair is thought to have failed due to natural causes and another the outcome is unknown. One other site held at least one adult in the early spring but breeding was not thought to have taken place. Two new sites were found this year and both were successful. Not all areas were covered due to man power and a large wood on our western border was not checked so other pairs may have bred un-noticed. Two males were singing at one site from 15.00PM in the afternoon in early April indicating that it was likely to be an outstanding year, which it has proved to be. Shorties It soon became obvious early in the year with all the voles running around that shorties should have a good breeding season, they didn’t disappoint. We found 11 nesting pairs, two of which raised second broods. Its difficult to asses the number of young raised, at least 20 but its probably double this number. 1 pair fledged 6 young another pair fledged 4 and then had a second brood of two. There were some casualties as well with an adult male and a fledged juvenile knocked down and killed at one site leaving the female to raise a second brood of two herself, how this ended is unknown. Its likely that other pairs bred un-noticed, as not all moorland areas were checked. Once again thanks to all who helped out and thanks for all the voles ! Ps at the time of writing a pair of Shortie’s are still feeding young and young leo’s are still hunger calling at one site, so there may yet be time to find more.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Jumble Hole

18 swift flew over > E today.

The whitethroat are still around, but much quieter, generally restricting any noise to alarm calls. The green woodpecker is still tending its single young bird.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Little Egret

Thanks to a call from Mike Sharp, DJS and me took a lucky guess as to where the egret might be, and found it strait away on the river close to Ganny Lock at Elland Gravel Pits. Unfortunatly after 5 minutes it flew down stream towards Brighouse out of sight.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Barn Owl site witheld

Went with Roy to check out a potential Barn Owl site and found the above sat on a wall. Digi scoped shots however shows the bird with a blue ring on its leg, as far as I know not a BTO ring so probably of captive origin. However the bird showed no sign of wear on its tail and flight feathers a feature captive birds sometimes show. Because of the possibility of breeding the site is withheld. If no one has objections I will post results of the Leo and Shortie survey soon, no sites will be given, all comments welcome.

Parakeet-Sowerby Bridge

Very colourful morning in the garden at Bolton Brow.Bullfinch,Goldfinch,Greenfinch,Jay and this Ring Necked Parakeet.Heard parrot like squarwking for a few days now and got a glimse of this bird on the feeders this morning.Hopefully it will return so i can get a better photo.