Saturday, April 30, 2016

Cold Edge area

Did the Breeding Bird Survey this morning in that area with a good mix of the usual species plus a few movers including 6 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Linnets and a single House Martin all  heading >N
2 Golden Plover at Withens Head and just 1 opposite Nolstar - but no sign of yesterdays Dunlin.

A few Swallows at Cold Edge and a single Wheatear with a few Willow Warblers about singing.
Pair of Kestrels bonding and a Little Owl in the usual spot.
Barnacle Goose still at Cold Edge latched on to a Canada !!

Pair of Ketrels - male at the top - showing the differences in the under tail pattern between male and female !

Ryburn to Baitings Reservoir

Had an hour walking from Ryburn up to Baitings and back yesterday afternoon, pleasant when the sun was out but didn't feel like spring!

12+ Swallows
1 Cormorant
3 Canada Geese 
4 Wrens
6 Willow Warbler
Chiffchaff calling but couldn't see it!
2 Song Thrush nest building
2 Treecreeper
4 Goldfinch
1 Dipper, I'm presuming a different one to the other pair we see as this one was up stream close to Baitings??
2 Curlew flew over calling
And another surprise was a Common Sandpiper, moving up stream between the two dams

A couple of resent photos from the last weeks. The Short-eared Owls were just outside our area, one in the warm setting sun of the week before, the other a week later in snow!
The Common Sandpiper was one of a pair that were at Ringstone and  Curlew over Dean Head  cheers

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fly Flats etc

Another wild afternoon with sideways hail from >NW
3 Common Gulls (1adult) came in with a Black-headed Gull for shelter but couldn't find any so they sat it out in the middle !
No sign of any Herring Gulls this afternoon, just 3 ad L B B Gulls and 2 each Redshank, oystercatcher and Common Sandpipers.

Withens Head - 3 Golden Plover

Nolstar - 5 Golden Plover and a single Dunlin with them in the snow was unexpected.
Also  2 Skylarks

 Distant Dunlin
Golden Plover

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fly Flats etc

Fly Flats - this afternoon was very poor weather again... cold 2c and persistent wintry hail/snow showers sideways from >SW and some mist drifting through.
2 Dunlin by the boat house was the best I could do along with 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Oystercatchers nearby
2 immature Herring Gulls
1 immature L B B Gull and 2 adults

Cold Edge
c20 Swallows - though what they were finding to eat in those conditions, goodness knows !

No sign of the Golden plover today - well I couldn't find them !

Golden Plover

On the tops above Hubberton this morning. 21 Golden Plover, plenty of Wheatear, Curlew and Skylark.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fly Flats etc

Fly Flats
Rough conditions again with heavy hail storms from the north. No new arrivals or passage birds.
3 L B B Gulls
2 Herring Gulls

Withens Head
1 Snipe
1 female Wheatear
1 Little Owl
Curlew and Lapwings

Cold Edge Road
21 Golden Plover in fields near Nolstar along with 2 Skylarks

First Breeding Record of 2016?

Nothing too exciting I'm afraid: recently-hatched Mallard chicks on the Calder in Todmorden town centre this morning.

Ringstone etc

Ringstone this morning with AT
1 Ringed Plover and 1 Common Sandpiper both disappeared around 12:30
9 Golden Plover and a few Lapwings
2 Moorhen and a few Swallows
1 Herring Gull >NW
Thanks for the woodpecker plates Roger
Sorry Dave T - the Ringed Plover turned up just after you left - but it didn't stay long.

4 Wheatear, a pair of Goldeneye and a Grasshopper warbler singing at Withens Clough. (NG)
2 Oystercatchers at Green Withens (ND)

Temporary lodging

As you may know, the RSPB are doing a substantial twite survey project in the Pennines this spring and summer. One of the Conservation Scientists, Nick Wilkinson (who some of you may know from previous survey work) is coming down w/c 2 May through to the end of August.

He is going to be staying in a house of mine in Mytholmroyd, but the building firm have not fully completed the flood restoration works yet!

Could anyone take a lodger for the first two weeks of May? I think his needs are very basic!

Please respond to me, and I'll get back to Nick.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Other news today

Several Wheatears up the track to the top of Soil Hill (AT)

A single Shelduck at Ringstone Reservoir late morning (RR) - with just a little shoreline showing !

Fly Flats and Withens Head

Cold 5c >NNW F5 with sleet showers and some bright spells curtailed most things late morning.
5 Sub-adult Herring Gulls along with 6 adult and 1 immature L B B Gulls loafing about maybe looking for Canada eggs and chicks !
4 Common Sandpipers
1 Redshank
2 Curlew
c10 Lapwings
usual Canada's and  a few Mallard but little else of note - even the Meadow Pipits were keeping down out of the wind and sleet

Withens Head
13 Golden Plover in the top field along with 2 Lapwings and a Curlew
No Golden Plover at the Nolstar fields lower down

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Just a quick stop off tonight on my way home when the light was fading..
1 Little Owl
1 drake Goosander
Pair of Oystercatchers
Golden Plover heard but not seen
Pair of Greylag Geese

A little bit of shoreline showing ....

Brighouse area

2 nice early Swifts over Brighouse yesterday afternoon from Mike H

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cold Edge and Withens Head

Cold Edge
1 Little Grebe
12+ Swallows
1 Willow Warbler
1 Sand Martin
1 Little Owl
2 Wheatear
plus usual species

Withens Head
9 Golden Plover - included 2 individuals as below looking like the northern form males just coming into full summer plumage.

 Golden Plover
Meadow Pipit

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Lower Gorple

A short walk from the car park to Lower Gorple dam this evening, c.7pm. I highly recommend it! Loads of great birds to see in such a short distance, and sights that people from outside of the Pennines would be very jealous of.

- 7 male wheatear
- 36 golden plover
- 12 (?) snipe, chipping and drumming right over our heads
- 2 common sandpiper
- 2 redshank
- 1 male stonechat
- 3 greylag geese
- 1 short eared owl
- 7 curlew
- 19 lapwing
- 20+ meadow pipit

Jumble Hole

After none displaying last spring at all, I finally had a woodcock roding this evening. Not sure why they had a blank 2015, but pleased to see it.

Also, a blackcap was singing earlier.

Lee Mount and Luddenden Dean

Lee Mount this morning
2 Sparrowhawks
1 Common Buzzard
2 Greylag Geese flyovers was a bit of a surprise - never had these over the house before !

We went down into the dean this afternoon in the hope of a possible early Cuckoo but nothing doing. Last year DP had one there on 20th April so there is s chance anytime now.
No early migrants other than Willow Warblers - 10+ and vocal also just 2 Swallows.
Great - spotted Woodpecker
1 Tree creeper
1 Nuthatch
1 Grey Heron

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Coach Road 'Peckers

There was a grand total of 6 G S 'Peckers at Coach Road today, along with the usual woodland species, including 3 Song Thrushes, Chiffchaffs and Nuthatches. It seems more than likely that the increasing number of Great Spots have helped to drive out the Lesser Spots from their traditional site, as there have been no sightings for over a year now.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fly Flats and Withens Head

I went to check for Twite again at Fly Flats after yesterday's brief encounter - but nothing doing. Drizzle was not helping so didn't find much.
A single Common Sandpiper still there with the usual waders
6 Wheatear along the embankment

Withens Head
1 Wheatear
1 Little Owl

Ogden Garden

Five redpoll on the garden feeders yesterday afternoon and again this morning. Sun flower hearts seem to be the attraction

Fly Flats

Yesterday 14th April
An interesting morning..
More Nyger seed put down at the feeding station but nothing doing - then surpise, surprise!! 12 Twite were feeding on the embankment at the northern end but they spooked and went off high >NE towards 'The Nab before I could get a photo of them. Still, it's encouraging that we got some up there at last !
5+ Wheatear
1 Common Sandpiper + usual waders
1 Swallow >N
Barnacle Goose back there with the Canadas
2 B H Gulls went >S and 2 adult LB B Gulls were loafing - probably after Canada eggs (?). Gulls looking splendid in full summer plumage.
1 distant Raven
Also the other day (11th)  - a Weasel with a big Frog carrying it along the embankment -  substantial meal for a weasel !!
Male Wheatear

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Longfield and Lee Dams


About a dozen Canada Geese seemed to be the only waterfowl about.
3 Lapwing on the fields over Lumbutts Road were the only obvious waders: they were well back from the road so there may have been others.
On the plus side, there was a Wheatear (possibly two) and a norhtbound Swallow flew over the dam. Several Meadow Pipits were singing over the fields to the south, and odd snatches of Skylark could be heard from Langfield Common.
A good number of Pied Wagtails were about, and half a dozen of them suddenly flew up to pursue a low-flying raptor that was heading north and about to cross the Calder Valley. Not my strong suit, identifying raptors disappearing into the distance, but I suspected female Merlin - smallish, brown falcon with no obvious tail band.

Lee Dam

2 pairs of Canada Geese.
1 Moorhen.
2 Willow Warblers singing, amongst other woodland stuff, including Coal Tit.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Just passing Ringstone at last light, stopped and it looks like the 11 Whooper swans, I'm guessing the same 11 as last time??,  were back on

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ringstone Edge

A barnacle goose flew in late this morning, with a lone Canada goose.  Also a willow warbler singing nearby.

Regards, Chris Jepson - Brown

Fly Flats

I had over an hour at the top end this morning thinking there could be some movement of hirundines from the south, across the reservoir and into the coll towards Oxenhope. Nothing doing on that score, just a trickle of Meadow Pipits heading >NE.
At 11:30 I picked out 2 waders from the south and thought at first maybe Bar-tailed Godwits from the pattern and speed of flight. Then I got the calls (pi,pi,pi,pi,pi,pi,pi) and 'not barwits' these and not Curlew flying at that speed of wingbeat - Whimbrel. After a circuit and unfortunately not landing, they went straight over the top end of the reservoir calling and I managed a couple of record shots with the best one below.

I was surprised by the length of the bill (on the photo) on Whimbrel in flight though they may look longer when in flight, with head up, from when they are standing and feeding (?). The primary pattern on Whimbrel is quite different compared with this Curlew taken a few minutes later, though it's not always obvious in 'the field'. Also the male Curlew has a shorter bill than female so it's not always easy.
Not a lot else in the strong >NE wind - just 1 Wheatear and the usual other species.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Colden and Jumble Hole

Edge Lane, Colden

A nice spread of  'common' upland species, with 28+ curlew, 40+ lapwing, 10 skylark, 25+ meadow pipits, 2 red grouse, snipe chipping, and a common buzzard

Jumble Hole

Later in the afternoon, a common buzzard flew north, and 2 house martins finally arrived. Still no swallows as yet. 3 willow warblers and 2 chiffchiff

Common Scoter female at Ringstone last Sunday 3rd April, and White? Wagtail today

with thanks to AT for texting the alert to DJS

this was following a male Pied Wagtail - 
could it be a female White ?
Mankinholes today.

Saturday, April 09, 2016


A very interesting article in this link. 

Out and about

This morning from AT - 7 Teal at  Ringstone who also found a pair of Shoveler there on Thursday

I caught up with a few rookery counts and tied in a check at Ryburn Dam and Baitings
3 adult breeding plumage Cormorants but little else and no Mandarins about.
Just Canadas at Baitings.
High Royd - poor do there with lots of construction work and surprisingly not a sign of any hirundines over the filter beds.
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker excavating a nest hole and 2 Nuthatches nearby

Friday, April 08, 2016

Fly Flats, Withens Head

Fly Flats
A quite morning first thing though things improved as the morning progressed.
No migrant waders - usual suspects including 4 Redshank
No hirundines passing through which surprised me !
No Twite at the feeding station though more seed put down  - just in hope !
2 Wheatears and a few Meadow pipits
Nice vocal flock of 103 Golden Plover (count from photo's) must have got spooked on Ovenden Moor but returned to the moor.
Plenty Canada's as usual, 1 Barnacle Goose and 8 Greylag Geese
1 drake Tufted Duck
1 Red Kite over very high >W was a nice surprise
 Barnacle Goose

 Distant Red Kite
c103 Golden Plover

Withens Head and top end of Cold Edge
No sign of the Ring Ouzels from earlier this week
1 Wheatear
1 Little Owl
1 Pied Wagtail
2 Ravens high >SW
2 Kestrels

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Mytholmroyd AM

Scout Bottom
6 chiff chaff
1 willow warbler
2 nuthatch on feeders
Plus usual species

Redacre Treatment Works & Woods
10 swallows & 2 house martins over the treatment works
3 grey wagtail
1 treecreeper
3 chiffchaff
1 nuthactch
Plus usual species

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Norland Moor

Another Ring Ouzel - male seen  towards the north eastern end of Norland Moor on Monday afternoon 4th April and a male Wheatear nearby (John M). Both have probably moved on by now (?)

Mega forX -Halifax birder Sean Gray

Well done to x - Halifax birder Sean Gray for finding the isle of mans first Dark eyed Junco...His link to some fantasic pictures are here  (as always )

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

White Wagtail (?)

This was in the fields around 50 m away up the road from Wainstalls towards Cold Edge today and I'm almost sure it's an alba wag probably a female  (?)

Mixenden Stodfold

1 Swallow over Rocks Road quarry this afternoon heading towards Mixenden Res'r
Not a lot else found in the strong blustery wind though there was some shelter in the valley
2 Little Owls
4 Curlew
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Grey Heron
50+ Meadow Pipits were in the fields but they  moved on quickly
1 Kestrel
Grey Wagtail

Cold Edge

It was very cold up there this morning - nothing new there then!!!
Reward was 2 male Ring Ouzels above the top dam in fields between Moorlands Farm and Withens Head Farm. I got some distant shots and will see if they are good enough for posting later on.
No sign of any Wheatears.
1 probable White Wagtail near the former Moorcock pub and now a farm.
2 Grey Heron
Pair Goosander
2 f Goldeneye
2 Tufted Duck
Lots of Meadow Pipits
2 Reed Bunting
Usual Curlew, Lapwing and 3 Snipe "drumming"
Gulls are well gone now
Barnacle Goose back with c 70 Canadas and 2 Greylag Geese
1 Little Owl calling
1 Moorhen
 Meadow Pipit
 Ring Ouzels
 Snipe display
 Snipe display
Snipe display

Monday, April 04, 2016

Mytholmroyd AM

Scout Bottom area
5 chiffchaffs
1 nuthatch
1 g s woodpecker
1 grey heron
Plus usual species

Elphin Brook
1 grey wagtail
1 dipper
1 sparrowhawk f on the bank. It flew off to a tree by the Calder & then in the direction of Daisy Hill. First time I've seen a sparrowhawk on Elphin Brook.

Redacre treatment works & wood
3 chiffchaffs.
1 kestrel
2 nuthatch
1 grey wagtail
Plus usual species


Osprey headed north at 14. 22 today low over Northowram also seen over Queensbury..

Yesterday (and today)

Well done to A T yesterday for 6 Swallows over Ringstone and a female  Common Scoter. Also via BS from  HC - a Swallow at Fly Flats
Another report of a local Barn Owl is fantastic news from SN via BS - see Brians blog.
Castle Carr Road - no sign of any Wheatears after the few we had last week - I guess there will be a second wave soon though they are very scarce breeders nowadays yet we get plenty Spring and returning Autumn migrants.

From Matt - a nice early Willow Warbler at Jumble Hole (just past Hebden Bridge)
and from NR at Mytholmroyd - Scout area - 5 Chiff-chaffs singing this morning
Cream crown Marsh Harrier >W over Copley this afternoon. Ian S
Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk over Beacon Hill and a Kestrel carrying prey near the town centre all late morning.
Drake Common Scoter on the Ski-lake at Cromwell Bottom this morning could still be there ? From AT and GWH et al.
Swallow over Northowram this evening from AC

Ogden Garden

A brambling on the cherry tree in the garden for short time yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Out and about

With the weather as it was yesterday I decided to catch up on a few Rookery counts in the outlying areas but didn't find much else of interest in the drizzle ! Rooks very busy at the nest sites with 2 small new colonies found and most of the others so far about a par on last year. Full details when all the sites  have been covered so thanks for all the help with still further results to come in in the next few weeks.
1 adult Black-headed Gull on Baitings Res'r along with a pair of Tufted Duck
2 Common Buzzards
Plenty of Meadow Pipits about on the upland