Saturday, January 30, 2016

Castle Carr Road and the upper dean

Hard work in that driving snow this afternoon both along the road and in the dean.
1 Little Owl
1 Kestrel
The feeders near the lower lodge were 'buzzing' near dusk. 50+ small birds challenging each other at the feeders including Chaff's, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Great-spotted Woodpecker - but no sign of any Brambling !
Castle Carr Road this afternoon looking back towards Wainstalls

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jay House Lane to Wellholme Park

The Curlew was in the field at J H Lane, not far from the flock of at least 20 Tree Sparrows. Over 250 B H Gulls were nearby along with two L B Backs. Near Wellholme Park were 25 Stock Doves, a Treecreeper by the car park, and a couple of Mistle Thrushes nearby on the rugby field. But no sign of the Green Sand. today.

Last call for records

Could any observers who have not yet submitted records for last year please get them to me within the next two weeks. Send to Halifax Birdwatchers Club, 11 Mile Cross Road, Halifax HX1 4HN

Mixenden.... and Soil Hill

Started off ok this morning with clear sky and sunshine until noon. 1 Sparrowhawk over the house, 2 Nuthatch still coming to the feeders and 11 Long-tailed Tits this afternoon.
I got out this afternoon but the weather deteriorated rapidly with a F4 to 6 westerly on the top and heavy drizzle. Cold Edge was not good though I just managed 51 Jackdaws
Mixenden Res'r - 3 Teal, 5 Mallard, 1 f Goldeneye along with the usual Black-headed and Common Gulls.
The white Carrion Crow was again at Lane Head Lane near Ogden - though the wall was in the way for a decent shot of it !

Soil Hill (I didn't stay long)!! - 1 Skylark along the track past the mast.

Also a report from RR of a male Brambling on his feeders at Greetland this afternoon - that's a nice bird for the garden Roger.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Various sites

Mixenden Reservoir - pair of Goosander, 70+ B H Gulls, 35+ Common Gulls, 1 adult L B B Gull.
The plantation turned up nothing at all though I went in looking fro Woodcock. It's a bog in there but some of the habitat has lots of potential - when the quads and off-roaders aren't in there !!!

Shibden Valley - Sunny Vale was productive on the lake but hardly any passerines anywhere. It's a welly job there too !
2 Little Grebe
2 Coot
c10 Moorhen
1 Grey Heron
10+ Mallard

Leucistic Blackbird?

Before Christmas I saw this leucistic bird probing the grass on the University of Bradford campus. By its behaviour I took it to be a Blackbird. Today was the first time that I have seen it since then, perched in a tree with a thrush. This footage was shot handheld through a mucky window in poor lighting conditions. The two birds took flight shortly after I shot this. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ringstone and Booth Wood Reservoirs

Not a lot at Ringstone or it had been blown away in the gale force winds this morning - Black-headed and Common Gulls and around 24 Lapwings and c35 Starlings was about all I could find so I headed off to Booth Wood but couldn't find anything at all there - but the overflow was quite impressive !

Sunday, January 24, 2016

First records for Halifax since 1899

Cleaning out the house, I came across this I did 14 years ago, it never made the bird report so I thought people might find it of interest. I have added the latest from 2002,those marked with an * indicate just one record to date. Firsts for Halifax 1899 - 2015 Year Species 1899 Spotted Sandpiper 1900 Lesser Black-backed Gull 1902 White’s Thrush * 1903 Brambling 1907 Red-breasted Merganser Curlew Sandpiper Short-eared Owl 1908 Scaup 1909 Long-eared Owl Green Sandpiper 1910 Marsh Tit ? 1911 Sanderling Turnstone 1912 Shag 1914 Bewick’s Swan Long-tailed Skua* 1922 Bittern 1927 Hoopoe 1929 Canada Goose 1932 Little Owl 1934 Ruff 1935 Wood Sandpiper Willow Tit 1936 Eider Sandwich Tern 1937 Bar-tailed Godwit Red-necked Phalarope Common Gull 1938 Stonechat 1939 Temminck’s Stint 1940 Black-tailed Godwit Spotted Redshank 1941 Whooper Swan 1943 Black-necked Grebe Velvet Scoter Snow Bunting 1944 Greylag Goose 1947 Ferruginous Duck* 1948 Black Guillimot* Lapland Bunting 1949 Cormorant Desert Wheatear* 1950 Avocet Nuthatch 1951 Reed Warbler 1955 Woodlark 1955 Gadwall 1956 Fulmar 1958 Puffin 1960 Mealy Redpoll 1963 Red-throated Diver 1964 Stone Curlew* Collared Dove Rock Pipit 1967 Little Ringed Plover Glaucous Gull 1971 Shore Lark 1975 Water Pipit 1976 Mediterranean Gull 1977 Goshawk Iceland Gull Buff-breasted Sandpiper 1978 Wilson’s Phalarope* Great Skua Snow Goose* 1983 Ruddy Duck 1984 Bluethroat* 1988 Bean Goose Firecrest 1993 White-fronted Goose 1994 Yellow-legged Gull 1995 Ring-necked Duck* Mandarin 1998 Black -headed Bunting* 2002 Common Crane* 2004 White Stork* 2005 Yellow-browed Warbler 2008 Woodchat Shrike* 2009 Montagu’s Harrier Spoonbill* 2012 Ring-necked Parakeet 2011 Bee-eater* 2014 Richard’s Pipit* I have also noted an error in the last report, 2014 was not the year with the most species recorded, it was in fact 2008 when 166 species were recorded. Ps Please could I have any records for 2015 within the next two weeks so I can make a start on the next report. Cheers Nick D.

Tabor Partridges

I was pleased to find 5 Grey Partridge in the fields at Tabor, record shot below.  Thanks BS for the Pinkie alert, I reckon about 70 came over from Queensbury direction, another poor shot below.  Between 12 and 30 Lapwing still around and Reed Bunting and Sparrowhawk (M + F) been visiting the garden amongst others.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Booth Wood and Baitings Reservoirs

I checked both sites early afternoon but nothing doing on the waters. Interesting movement of large gulls with 24 Herring Gulls and 1 Great Black-backed Gull all together >W over Booth Wood and another 7 Herring Gulls >W over  Baitings.
Also checked Ryburn Dam - 1 adult Cormorant and a Dipper and not much else there.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kirklees Hall

The flock of Siskins numbered 30+ today, and there were 15 Redwings nearby.
The juv Mute Swan was still on Clifton Lagoon with 14 Mallard and a couple of Coots. 2 Cormorants were on the river.
A pair of Bullfinches were nearby, and a Kestrel overhead plus another one at Colnebridge.
Rain stopped play at 3.00pm !

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Out today with DJS, first real bird was a Barn Owl hunting at 2.30pm, closely followed by 2 Shorties. 4 Kestrels, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Raven + 7 Stock Doves was about it. Digi scoped shots of Kesterl today and Shortie on Saturday.


Had a short walk from Deanhead Church to Deanhead resi this morning that turned out to be very productive

Buzzard flying  SW
2 Kestrels
10 Long-tailed Tits
2 Stonechats
And a first for me up there, a Green Woodpecker!

Had my camera but just a few record shots, here's one of the Stonechats

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Mixenden Res'r  - this morning just 2 f Goldeneye and a f Goosander flyover. 5 Herring Gulls >W and 2 ad L B B Gull's on the res'r with B  H and Common Gulls.
Also 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, and a Nuthatch in the plantation.

Fly Flats -
2 Tufted Duck, c25 Mallard
Pair of Stonechat on the fence line near the reservoir
1 Kestrel
1 Herring Gull flyover >W
Plenty Red Grouse including this confiding individual below

Red Grouse - male
Jerusalem Farm - this afternoon
At the pond just below Jowler
2 Grey Heron
1 Dipper
1 Sparrowhawk
Luddenden Dean (upper)
1 Lesser Redpoll on the feeders at 'The Lowe'
6 Redwings eating holly berries
1 Fieldfare
2 Jays
1 Kestrel but no other raptors
There were very few passerines about other than a few Chaff's - plenty corvids !

Sunday, January 17, 2016

This looks very interesting.......

Looks like there are plenty of areas around the Pennines where this would be a good idea for encouraging wildlife and retain water in the hills !
Well done the RSPB
There is also a good link on BirdGuides about this project.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pepper Hill

Not a lot up there this afternoon though it was a pleasant walk along Hag Lane at the back of the ski-slope and around the fields above Claremount.
c60 Redwings and 5 Fieldfare in one field along with a few corvids and Common Gulls
Looking down from the top towards Shibden Park there looked to be 5 Mute Swans - 2 adults with juveniles on the park lake.

Mixenden Res'r and Cold Edge etc

Nothing on Mixenden Res'r  this morning other than a few  Black-headed and Common Gulls along with 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Moor End Road - the reclaimed landfill site between Gibb Lane and Green Royd turned up a surprise in the lightly snow covered short turf with 50+ Meadow Pipits. I started counting, got to 47 then they all lifted and landed in the field just out of site on the down slope away from me.

Cold Edge - 1 female Stonechat on the rubble pile near the top small pond which was more or less icebound. It was nice ice to chat with Dick who had also picked out the Stonechat in the same place.
1 Kestrel
1 adult L B B Gull >E
22 Mallard on the lower dam along with 2 Canada's but no sign of any Goldeneye
15 Meadow Pipits feeding in the juncus near Haigh Cote then later in the Stonechat gully.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Mixenden Reservoir - Herring Gull type ?

Any thoughts on this large Herring Gull type at Mixenden this morning.?
I took these this morning with a view to having a look at the shots this evening....

At times it looked nearly goose like, a large bird compared with the nearby B H Gulls and larger than a L B B Gull that was close by though couldn't get them both together for closer comparison. - maybe just a Herring Gull but the head was so clean and white with a dark eye with no speckling on the head or neck, long legs (colour flesh like from a distance) and long neck though only marginal primary projection. Bill was quite long, yellow with what looked like the red spot on the lower bill.
I had a thought of Caspian Gull but it's a good while since I saw one - just wondered if anyone has any thoughts ????

Soil Hill etc

First thing in a very cold blast up there W F6 - thinking Snow Bunting (what else)!! a light covering of snow and keen frost with distant views of some Dales peaks.
Just 1 Skylark and a solitary Red Grouse and that was it.
 Ingleborough from Soil Hill

Lower down at Stodfold, below Ogden golf course, a pair of Dippers were in the stream.
1 Reed Bunting, 10 Fieldfare and c55 Starlings in the nearby fields and a Little Owl near the golf course.

Mixenden Res'r - 1 Goosander and a female Goldeneye

Landfill Tax Under threat?

I'm not sure how many people are aware of "landfill tax" but this scheme has benefited many conservation projects since its inception. Basically waste operators have to pay a levy each time they add to landfill but can offset this levy against tax if they "fund" environmental projects within certain distances of a landfill site. Sadly there has now been a proposal to amend the scheme which could see it collapse through an ill-advised 'tweak'. The implications for funding of the projects of many organisations (including for example CBCG) are very serious. A "Save the LCF" scheme was started just last Friday, by the Wildlife Trusts, for further details and how to raise any concerns you may have please visit

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sunny Vale

No muddy areas to be seen by the lake (now private), so no Green Sandpipers about.

But 3 Little Grebes was a nice surprise.
And 3 Teal, 8 Mallard, 7 Moorhen, 2 Coots,
plus a Kingfisher and a Nuthatch calling

Cold Edge

We didn't find a lot at Cold Edge this morning with intermittent snow showers keeping most things down.
A nice pair of Stonechats were the highlight
2 Kestrels
Still no sign of any winter thrushes up there other than a few Blackbirds
A group of 5 Herring Gulls with a Great Black-backed Gull went over >W
A few Red Grouse calling on the moor.
 Male Stonechat above with the female below

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Soil Hill

Two visits this morning. One with two gloves then another to retrieve one I lost on the first visit. !
Not a bird first time round then at 11:15 a Common Buzzard over high >S and a solitary Skylark on the flat area near the mast and that was it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Coach road, Hove Edge and Jay House Lane

Coach Road - foggy on the tops so I went where there was a chance of seeing something !
3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers - with 2 males drumming and a Carrion Crow mimicking the drumming !! that was odd.
Not a lot else there other than Blue, Great, Coal and L T Tits and 1 Goldcrest, 10 Goldfinch, 4 Redwings and a Jay.

Thornhills Beck Lane - Green Sandpiper still showing well till it took off at 11:15 heading towards some nearby fields where I lost it.

Jay House Lane
55 Golden Plover came in high from the east and landed in nearby fields but just out  of sight
At least 25 Tree Sparrows
1 Little Owl
6 Stock Doves
100+ B H Gulls and 40+ Common Gulls and an adult L B B Gull flyover >NW
 Tree Sparrow
Golden Plover - arriving

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Luddenden Dean

Took a walk in the upper dean today from Wainstalls, down to the 'catty' and on to the Lower Lodge then back up the fields and along Castle Carr Road. A walk for the exercise more than anything. A dull overcast day with thick cloud and damp conditions, but it didn't rain !.
Not a lot to report  though a solitary Raven high flyover >E was nice to hear and see.
c4 Kestrels over Midgley Moor
1 Treecreeper in Hayes Wood
1 Little Owl near Bridge Terrace, Wainstalls
A few Chaff's, Blue and Great Tits going to roost towards Castle Carr
c50 Jackdaws near Saltonstall
No winter thrushes in the dean was unusual for this time of year !
Other than that a shoot was going on over Castle Carr - probably Pheasants and maybe Woodpigeons - so just hope they left anything else alone.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Fly Flats etc

Terrible conditions at Fly Flats late morning snow/hail/rain >W F5 to F  6- just 1 Kestrel and c40 Mallard on the res'r.

Less windy at Nolstar down Withens Road where 35 Pink-footed Geese were high heading >W up the Calder Valley around 12:00
Also 2 Kestrels there.

Mixenden Reservoir - just 1 female Goldeneye

Other news...
From JL at Ogden - Kingfisher still in the culvert
c200 Lapwings at Raggalds Flood from Dave B

Birdwatch Magazine Feb

Dear All,

Happy New Year to everyone first of all and I trust you've had a good Christmas too.

Before Christmas I nominated our good friend Nick Carter as Local Hero of the Year in the Birders' Choice Awards for his tireless volunteer work over the years be that back here in West Yorks or over in his adopted homeland of East Yorks. From group Chairman of Calderdale Bird Conservation Group for many years to BTO breeding surveys, Auk plot surveys, Species Protection work and habitat improvement be it with a pen, his bins or a shovel Nick has always been willing to do what he can to help Birds and other wildlife.

I'm delighted to say that my nomination has been accepted and next month in Birdwatch magazine they are planning on running an article on all the nominees.

Can I ask that you either buy a copy or look online,  there maybe an article on Birdguides as well to see when voting will commence and take the time to vote for Nick as I'm sure you'll agree his efforts over many many many years (he is old now! lol) deserve the recognition.

Please pass this on as I'm sure there are many others out there that I have missed that would be keen to support Nick.

Happy Birding 


Thursday, January 07, 2016

High Royd

Still raining !! but I thought I would give this site near Sowerby Bridge a go for an hour or so this morning with the thought of Water Rail in mind ! No such luck on that score but the habitat looks perfect - it's just a big problem seeing anything through the trees (even worse in summer)!
4 Grey Heron
15+ Teal
30+ Mallard
c20 B H Gull
Not a sign of any Moorhen or Coot which traditionally used to use this site when the sludge lagoons wer kept clear of vegetation
1 male Sparrowhawk looking wet through and miserable in the top of  a tree
1 Treecreeper and a few Blue and Great Tits
30+ Carrion Crows on the filter beds
40+ Jackdaws in the woodland
 Filter beds
  Overgrown Sludge Lagoons
 Rochdale Canal >E
Rochdale Canal >W

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Fly Flats

Slight improvement from this morning with a hint (just a hint)! of sunshine before the mist came in. I did a bit better for birds including a few calls from some Golden Plover +   >NW unseen in the mist.
Nothing on the water
1 Kestrel
30 + Red Grouse
1 Mistle Thrush >SW
7 Greylag Geese together from the south split up over the reservoir with 4 >NW and 3 >N over my head towards Oxenhope
2 distant Ravens making a lot of noise high >NE
2 Carrion Crows
Fly Flats looking SW
3 Greylag Geese

Swales, Soul Hill and Mixenden

Gave all three sites a go this morning even though the current weather pattern persists with mist and drizzle.
Swales - 5 Goldfinch on the top and a Blackbird. Hardly any corvids which was unusual.
Swales Moor - along Ringby Lane on the top >N

Soil Hill - 2 Carrion Crow flyovers and nothing else for 1 hr + on the top. Not even any gull fly throughs!
Mixenden - 3 f Goldeneye still there.
Wonder if this afternoon will improve (?)

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Year list winner

For the second year running Dave Franz has won the year listing challenge, with a score of 138.DJS came second with 137 and yours truly third with 136. Looks like they are both off to a good start for 2016 with Green Sandpiper already. Its that time of year again when I am asking for bird records, if you could get them in by the end of January that would be a great help.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Jay House Lane area

I called to see if I could pick up DF's Green Sandpiper late morning at the pond near the viaduct in Thornhills Beck Lane. Mike and Pete were also of the same mind. Yes, it was there showing well once we locked on to it ! Feeding well then times of rest when it was easy to lose it as it stood still on then mud. Nice bird - thank's Dave. Misty and drizzle was not good for photographs though I just got a couple of record shots.
Also nearby - a Jay, Grey Wagtail and a couple of Redwings and a Song Thrush singing as I made my way up to Jay House Lane.
Productive hour up there with 45 Rooks, c600 Starlings ,c30 Meadow Pipits mixed in with 12+ Reed Buntings in the field opposite the cottages. Around 23 Tree Sparrows was good as they seem to be holding their own up there, thankfully.
Also c70 Black-headed Gulls and 35+ Common Gulls in the nearby fields.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Mixenden Res'r and Ogden

Had a couple of hours out this morning doing the rounds at Mixenden and Ogden in the drizzle !!
3 f Goldeneye
55 Jackdaws
70 Black-headed Gulls
25 Common Gulls
2 adult L B B Gulls
Woodland very quiet

A Kingfisher and a Dipper again in pump house ponds below the embankment - 2 nice birds to start they year !
A few Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls and 1 adult L B B Gull on the reservoir but not much else other than the usual Mallard

New Years Day at CBNR

       Cromwell Bottom New Years Day was a treat after the battering
       it took from the floods, plenty of birdlife about which I wasn't
       expecting and nicely surprised by it-:

       6 Jay
       8 LTT
       2 Treecreepers
       1 Cormorant
       4 Goosander
       1 GSW
       4 Nuthatch
       1 Siskin
       plenty of Great, Blue, Coal Tits, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Robin about.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Green Sandpiper

A good start to the new year with a Green Sandpiper on the pond at Jayhouse lane.

Soil Hill

Happy new year birders
Entered Soil Hill into Patchwork Challenge this year for the first time just to see how it goes. I'm fairly confident last place will be mine. Given that four species seems to have been the maximum number I've seen since per trip since I've been back for Christmas I did not have high hopes for today, but there was a few more species around.
The highlight was a nice flock of around 40 Golden Plover which flew south over the hill, a species I have not seen up there for a few years now. Also nice to see 4 Roe Deer up there.
-Golden Plover
Species List
Soil Hill: Common Gull, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Golden Plover, Jackdaw, Black-headed Gull, Canada Goose, Skylark, Goldfinch, Starling

Also of note from other visits are a Common Snipe on the 20th, 40 Fieldfare on the 27th and a Stock Dove yesterday

First Birds Of The Year

What were your first birds of the year?

First seen was a jackdaw.
Many visits from a  nuthatch to a bird feeder.
Also bullfinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, chaffinch,blue tit, great tit & longtailed tit, great sp woodpecker, dunnock & robin.
Cormorant flying up the valley at 9.30AM.
Raven over.

New Year Pinkies

Happy New Year! Just got up and 3 skeins of Pinkies moving W and SW was a good start to the year.  Really vocal which the kids liked.  Managed to get a couple of record shots through bleary eyes. The second photo is where 2 skeins merged into 1  and so about 2/3 rds of the total.  I will count later.