Thursday, December 31, 2015


After the devastation in Mytholmroyd, I automatically stopped on the bridge on way to work yesterday morning, looking towards Brierley. There, in its usual place, was a dipper! On the same stones as I see it most mornings! Where on earth had it been sheltering from the floods, I wonder? Looking further downstream were 2 pairs of mallards & a pair of goosander. I see 2 dipper regularly but on a couple of occasions a some months ago there were 3 - one very vocal juvenile.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

East of Brighouse

Usually it's pretty quiet at Clifton Lagoon - apart from the noise from the M62 !
But today there was a cracking male Goldeneye, a male Goosander, 14 Mallards and 2 Coot.
On the river was a female Goosander, 12 Mallards, 3 Cormorants and a Kingfisher.
Not a bad finish to the year.

Fly Flats and Mixenden etc

Nothing other than a solitary Kestrel at Fly Flats late afternoon - couldn't stand up, but surprisingly the 3 peaks were all visible despite the weather conditions with a strong blustery wind and intermittent heavy showers.

Nothing at Mixenden Res'r either, other than a c50 B H Gulls

Cold Edge - c60 Mallard, c80 B H Gulls and 1 Lapwing flyover

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Apologies all this is not about birds but an appeal for anyone who is in the Elland/Cromwell Bottom area to keep an eye out for Robin who is currently missing.  He was in his home on a barge moored in Elland but has been missing for the past few days so may have got spooked during the recent floods and ran away.

If anyone does come across him please post on the blog or let the grapevine know.  Owner is desperately missing her beloved pet. image on Twitter

Woodcock at Baitings

Thanks to Jan G for these photos of a dead Woodcock found at Baitings on 27th December.
It looks like the bird had either been hit by a car or flown into the railings on the bridge. A very sad end to a beautiful (and not often seen) bird.

Shibden Head

I couldn't find many birds up there this morning - just a few small tit flocks about with Bullfinch and Chaffinch, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel and 1 Sparrowhawk - though plenty of corvids especially when I got back and up to Swales Moor/Ringby Lane.
No reports yet of any Pink-footed Geese on the move today though it did look the sort of day for them !

Also at Swales Moor this morning - just up Ringby Lane - 7 Linnets on the weedy banking at the top of the lane.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Out and about

We walked on Castle Carr Road late morning but didn't find a lot other than a flyover of 22 'pinkies' >W over  Wainstalls at 11:55 - dead quiet, not a sound from them  !

I checked Fly Flatts briefly this afternoon - just a female Goldeneye.

Luddenden Dean - I went down to see if the Chaffinch roost flight was doing anything as it's usually quite good in winter but only managed 25 heading up to Castle Carr with 1 Brambling with them. In cold weather this roost can go on for over an hour before sunset with  a lot of birds heading up the valley in small groups.

Mount Tabor

Nothing spectacular but interesting walk produced Sparrowhawk (M), Little Owl, Green Woodpecker, Lapwings x 12, c 50 Gulls (BHG and Common) and corvids including 7 Rooks.  Also 1 x Roe Deer.
1 of the BHG nearly had full summer plumage.  There are midges in the garden and yesterday I had 11 Meadow Pipits which is unseasonal for up here.
(p.s. I know the pics aren't great!)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pinks on the move again

40ish going W over Tabor at 09.45.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Mixenden and Fly Flats

This afternoon - at long last something on Mixenden Res'r with 3 female type Goldeneye and a f Goosander.

Fly Flats
I didn't get out of the car !
Wild with heavy blustery showers though there was a great sky.
Just a few Red Grouse, a distant Buzzard and 1 adult Herring Gull >W.
I heard via a passing bush telegraph cyclist that Dishfish was doing Soil Hill this afternoon. I bet that was pleasant - wonder if you got blown away Daniel ?!! Well done.

Have a great Christmas everyone.

Pinkies - Mount tabor

About 40 Pinkies in nice formation WSW over Mount Tabor at 15.30.  Small flock of Lapwing still around, c 20 BHG and 12 Rooks.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jumble Hole

Been a bit quiet round here recently. A raven flew over cronking at lunchtime. The GS woodpecker has arrived back at the feeders for the first time this winter (but the nuthatches have come and gone again).
A tawny owl can be seen in the woods now and again.
And it looks highly likely that 2015 will be my first year in 13 years at Jumble Hole that I haven't encountered woodcock. That seems to reflect a local trend - is this a national problem?

Saturday, December 19, 2015


One was feeding in the Calder in Todmorden town centre this morning. It flew off upstream, but how it dealt with the culverted section at Wellington Road I don't know.

Short-eared Owls

I've been watching the Short-eared Owls for a few months, mostly from a distance. I was very fortunate the other week when one flew quite close then landed in the grass around 40yrds away.
An hour later I was watching a Kestrel hunting, it swooped down and perched on a fence post no more than 20yrds away.
I managed to get a few photos and thought I'd share a couple, thanks

Friday, December 18, 2015

Waystone Edge and Buckstones Moss

Several red grouse, two ravens, an unseasonal skylark and best bird, a woodcock.  I also flushed a beautiful white mountain hare.  This is the northernmost Pennine one I've even seen, several miles north of the Saddleworth Moor population.

Merry Christmas, Chris

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lee Mount

After a re-count from photographs in poor light it came to 54 Pink-feet over at 16:15 - they changed direction from >W to >N then eventually >WNW so it wasn't easy to tell which direction they were heading - Ogden or Wainstalls though as they went out of sight it was probably the latter.

This follows on from another skein heard over Ripponden last night (TW) at around 19:25.
These are probably movements of birds already in the country commuting perhaps between The Humber/Linconshire/Norfolk and Lancashire/Cumbria (?)

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane
I just had an hour or so on the top late morning - masses of corvids in the top fields (200+) - mainly Carrion Crows and Jackdaws with a few Rooks and Magpies mixed in and 40 + Common Gulls
3 Linnets feeding on the embankment
2 Pied Wagtails
1 Stock Dove
and a first for me along Ringby lane - a Goldcrest
2 Sparrowhawks high  >W
2 Meadow Pipits >W

There are a few shrubs at the lower end of Ringby Lane at the back of the cottage opposite the ski-slope and these were full of small birds mainly Blue and Great Tits, c30 Chaffinch, 11 Greenfinch, c10 House Sparrows and Bullfinch heard. I was on the lookout for Tree Sparrow as well as in former years I used to get them occasionally in Lee Lane! I wonder if your Northowram ones will turn up this winter Andy ?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ogden and Soil Hill

Mid afternoon - and still drizzling !
1 Kingfisher along with a Dipper in the pump house area below the embankment. I guess with the stream in full flow down the valley and the choppy water on the reservoir that the two of them found a relatively sheltered spot to feed. The Kingfisher finding several small fish down there even though the water was pretty murky.
1 Cormorant and c60 Mallard on the reservoir but not much else other than a few Robins around the edge and a single Goldcrest found in the shrubs. Other than that just a few Black-headed and Common Gulls moving through.

Distant Kingfisher
Soil Hill
I tramped round the top for an hour - glad I had the wellies on !
Just 6 Goldfinch and 1 Meadow Pipit was all I could find.
I am surprised by  the shortage of Snipe and Jack Snipe on the top, as in previous years it has been quite good for both species though 'Jacks' are less common of the two. Perhaps some really cold weather might fetch them in !?

Mixenden and Mount Tabor

Mixenden Res'r
Just one drake Goosander there this morning + c80 B H Gulls and c25 Common Gulls

Mount Tabor
I checked around the fields this morning where Nick's Woodlark and Richards Pipit turned up last year around the big manure heap. Also where he had a female Yellowhammer a few days ago.
Conditions were pretty atrocious with driving drizzle but did find 1 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Fieldfare and a Wren - all in the manure heap area but the birds soon hide away in the surrounding vegetation and are difficult to get to grips with.
12 Lapwings and c40 Starlings nearby along with corvids and some B H Gull moving through >W

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fogged off - again !

Nothing doing today in this murky stuff so I headed up to Coley Garden Centre for and hour - no need to take the camera of course but inside one of the greenhouses a small bird was flitting about - a female Siskin. I got my hand within 6"of it and it moved off before I could get hold of it. Unfortunately it flew into the roof space - looking tired !
I opened the door and asked the staff to leave it open if possible to allow it to escape - I certainly hope it gets away. Lovely bird but certainly not at home in a greenhouse.
There are plenty of Alders surrounding the nursery so it could soon be feeding if it gets out !

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cold Edge

This morning in a cold westerly F5 to F6 with intermittent wintry showers between dry spells.
A interesting visit and despite the conditions there were just a few birds about. The highlight was a female Merlin which shot across the top dam heading for 2 Stonechats which had been feeding from the fence line across the juncus field just above the top small pond. It chased one of them for 5 or more strikes with the outcome unknown as they were lost from sight below the top small pond with the Merlin still in pursuit.
Another pale looking Stonechat was by Moorlands Farm (just down the track from Withens Gap)
2 Kestrels
1 f Goldeneye on the lower dam
c20 Mallard
47 Fieldfare
1 Redwing
1 Mistle Thrush
c40 Starlings
2 Red Grouse
Usual corvids and small gulls


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mixenden, Soil Hill, Fly Flats etc

Nothing on Mixenden this morning and I couldn't find anything at all on Soil Hill other than a perishing cold wind !

Fly Flats (sorry I missed you Alan)
32 Mallard
2 Kestrels
1 Red Grouse
11 Carrion Crows
1 Common Gull >N

When I got home I found this female Bullfinch by the feeder looking as if it was feeling the cold !! - (photo taken through the window)

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Mixenden Res'r and Soil Hill

Nothing at all on Mixenden mid afternoon other than c60 B H Gulls.

Soil Hill fared marginally better but the wind up there was up to it's normal speed !!
1 Skylark
2 Goldfinch
2 Pheasant's
I just got back to the car and rounded the afternoon off nicely with 2 small flocks of 'pinkies' high over Bradshaw heading towards Ogden/Fly Flats around 15:15 - they were getting blown about but made good headway all the same.
From photo's the first group was 19 strong and the second group 16

Pink-footed Geese

Taylor Lane - Bradshaw
c35 Fieldfare
c25 Starlings

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Cromwell Bottom

From Pete G today - 4 'cracking' drake Goldeneye on the ski-lake late morning and a good mixed flock of Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and Goldfinch - all feeding in alders and on the ground near the car park/bird feeing area.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Swales Moor

I tried Ringby Lane on the top this afternoon but there was very little about other than the usual corvids. The sky was brilliant to the west!
2 Meadow Pipits
2 Stock Doves
1  Pied Wagtail dropped in briefly

Pied Wagtail

Whiteholme Res'r etc.

c90 Pink-footed Geese >W this morning (PG) soon after 11:00

Also it's time to look out for G N Divers with 2 near Manchester yesterday at Audenshaw Res'r. Last year the long staying Mixenden bird turned up on 14 December so local reservoirs are well worth a check. !

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Recent News

Not much to report !!
BUT 3 Waxwings in the Woodhouse area near Brighouse/Rastrick on Thursday afternoon 3rd December is special enough ! (AC) Nice one Andy.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Roils Head tick

Sometime last week I came across some bird droppings in the heather at Roils Head, look just like Red Grouse I thought but not possible, so they must be Grey Partridge as there's been six birds present nearby at Tower Hill for a couple of months. Today however whilst walking over the same patch, what fly's out from cover but a Red Grouse, a very surprising bird for this site and as it happens a Roils Head tick.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Waxwings - maybe ??

Just a few reports today mostly along east and north east coast areas. Keep a watch and a listen out for them in the next few days near shrubs and trees with berries !! Let's hope we get a few this winter.

Bird photo of the week

Just got this from Nigel - ref the Birdguides web site for last week..

Not bad for ex Calderdale Birder !!
Just seen photo of the week on BirdGuides. Sean Gray won with a Sabine,s gull on the I of man . Dp

Mixenden and Soil Hill

Just 3 Goosander on Mixenden Res'r this morning along with c100 B H Gulls, c40 Common Gulls and 2 adult Lesser B B Gulls and a single adult flyover Herring Gull >SW.

I gave Soil Hill a check but climate conditions up there were pretty dire ! I stayed about an hour - and found absolutely nothing.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Mixenden and Fly Flats

First time out for a while and I was just fortunate to get an hour that was dry after all that wet stuff over recent weeks....when will we get some dry days ?

Mixenden Res'r was pretty dead with just 4 Mallard and, most unusual, not a single gull there this afternoon

Fly Flats was pretty dead as well especially with a continuous stream of heavy lorries trundling between the quarry and the wind farm along the top road. The dry spell turned up trumps just as I was about to leave with SEO,  1 Kestrel and  23 Mallard with 3 sub-adult Herring Gulls >SW