Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Green Withens

Green Sandpiper on Green Withens culvert (Blackwood Edge section) from KM on 26th August - thanks Keith

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Yesterday, early afternoon, a large raptor flew north over Centre Vale Park, Todmorden heading purposefully towards Blackshaw Head / Colden. I had no optics with me, but possible kite.

A buzzard was soaring above the woods at the edge of the park shortly after, giving a good comparison. A flock of around 30 house martins were feeding.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

27th August

Another Redstart at Roils Head this PM with 3 Willow Warblers still present. Last night 19 male Common Scoters flew over Walshaw Dean with 6 Stonechats also there.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cromwell Bottom etc

A Spotted Flycatcher  today around the cabins at Cromwell Bottom - nice record from Mike H

Also reported from Whiteholme Reservoir earlier today from Rochdale birders via Andy H - 1 Whimbrel, 2 Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover.

Lee Mount

1 Swift over this morning
2 Sparrowhawk's together this afternoon
A few Swallows through today high >SE
c8 House Martins late afternoon
1 Stock Dove flythrough - don't often see those over Lee Mount though there are plenty nearby !
2 Nuthatches back on the garden feeder

Ogden area

I tried yeserday afternoon at the lower end of the golf course and the wooded gully called Slaughter Gap on Hunter Hill in search of migrants - none at all.
Just 1 Willow Warbler scolding from its usual nest site area
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
1 Little Owl
2 Meadow Pipits
c40 Swallows

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wagtail Mecca

An impressive flock of over 100 Pied Wagtails were going to roost on top of the Mecca Bingo (old Odeon cinema) in Halifax last night. Perhaps they were responding to the caller ?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Garden

Today we had two casualties, one flying into our door and the other into a window.  Both recovered naturally and flew off.

Roils Head migrants

Arrived at Roils Head today to find the place buzzing with migrants. The Northern tree shelter belt held at least 9 Spotted Fly catchers, 4 Redstarts, 5 Willow Warblers and a couple of Goldcrests. Also had 3 Cormorants fly west. 70 Linnets, 30 Goldfinch and a Willow Warbler at Tower Hill.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lee Mount

Not a lot doing over the garden these last few weeks other than occasional Swifts.
1 adult Peregrine circling over this afternoon after a Sparrowhawk earlier
3 House Martins, c20 Swallows over all > SE this afternoon.
1 juv Willow Warbler in the garden first thing this morning.

Withens Clough

Earlier today from Pete G - 2 Whinchat and 1 Common Whitethroat by Withens Clough Reservoir , off Cragg Vale.

On the following day at the same location from PG - 3 Whinchat, 4 Stonechat and a Spotted Flycatcher.

Our Garden

Two buzzards circling at high level while we were having lunch outside.  They disappeared in north easterly direction towards Midgley area.  Grey heron flew over 15 minutes later.

Monday, August 22, 2016


At last my first 2 Redstarts of August in poor conditions today at Roils Head, not much else but a couple of Willow Warblers.

Friday, August 19, 2016

More Buzzard pics.

Our Garden

Buzzard watched yesterday while we were having lunch in garden.  Saw it on and off all afternoon and it was still there when we were having tea.  Last we saw was it sitting in a tree at about 18.00 and it stayed there for at least an hour.  The fields have been cut over the past few days which attracts certain birds.
House sparrows have gone from being a rare visitor to our garden to a thriving group of about 12.  Has anyone else noticed them in places where they are not normally seen?  

Ogden Golf Course

A common buzzard soaring over the course yesterday morning before drifting away in the direction of the Luddenden Valley

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Broadhead Clough, Sunderland Pasture and Stoodley Pike

Broadhead Clough was dead ! Apart from 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Siskin flyover and a Jay. 25+ Speckled Wood butterflies in the clough.

Not much better on the tops for birds but the weather was great, hot and sunny throughout.
1 Lesser Redpoll in Sunderland Pasture and a single Wheatear nearby. Small mixed flock of c25 Meadow Pipits and c30 Linnets.
A few Swallows
1 Weasel
4 Common Hawkers buzzing around the plantation.
Not a raptor anywhere - seems like Kestrels have taken a plunge !

First Siskin

My first Siskin of the autumn in the garden today at Skircoat. Did anybody note breeding this year, or probable breeding?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Red kite

A red kite flew past Jumble Hole this afternoon, from Todmorden towards Hebden Bridge. A flock of 45+ swifts were feeding over Erringden yesterday.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Withens Clough

Spotted Flycatcher near the reservoir earlier today from PG

Ogden golf course area and Swales Moor

Ogden golf course from late yesterday afternoon (Saturday 13th) - male Redstart still showing in the hedge near the bottom of the golf course and looking very much in molt and being quiet and secretive just showing once then hiding away. Looks like the same bird as the one there on 18th July.
Also on Hunter Hill yesterday - a Green Woodpecker headed off towards Mixenden plantation.

This afternoon on Ringby Lane - not a lot doing
1 Kestrel
10+ Linnet and c20 Pied Wagtails in 'the wagtail' field but no sign of the Yellow Wagtails now. Possibly one White Wagtail in the field today but they are tricky with so many juvenile 'pieds' about and adults in stages of moult. !
2 House Martins above Lee Lane
9 Starlings
2 Stock Doves
2 juvenile Little Owls nearby
 One of 2 juvenile Little Owls just a bit distant
Juvenile Pied Wagtail

Lee Mount
8 Swifts over this morning

Saturday, August 13, 2016

13th august

Adult Whitethroat with at least 2 fledged young at Roils Head this pm, also 2 common Buzzards south at nearby High Road Well Moor. Still a few Swifts kicking around.

Lee Mount

A group of around 30 Swifts went through together this morning, feeding high above the park as they went >SE at around 08:45.
Also a female Blackcap eating honeysuckle berries later in the day

Friday, August 12, 2016

12th August

Swift still entering the eaves of a house at Rye Lane, Pellon,1 Willow Warbler at Roils Head then bingo, at last, my first Hobby of the year flew right over my head at Moor End Road and headed east towards Roils Head. Its been a poor year for Hobby in Calderdale with just 4 reports so far.

Lee Mount

Just 3 Swifts over >SW today and 1 House Martin

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Swales Moor

On the top at Ringby lane late morning - pretty cool in the strong westerly wind though it did stay dry. The farmer was ploughing the field so all the good chickweed areas will be gone later today - these were the best areas for the wagtails ! With turning the soil over the site will probably stay good for the birds for a few weeks yet.
I went to check 'the wagtail' field with maybe up to 50 Pied Wagtails, predominantly juvenile birds so it is possible maybe unidentified alba's in amongst them. Not a sign of any 'flava's (Yellow Wagtails).
c10 Linnet and 6 or more Goldfinch in the field along with 10+ Meadow Pipits as well as a lot of corvids and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls following the plough.
10 Stock Dove
9 Starlings
1 Swift high >S
1 Red Admiral sheltering behind a wall

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lee Mount

Still some Swifts about early evening just prior to the drizzle, with around 16 feeding over the trees above Shroggs Park.

Protests in Hebden this weekend

Early start Nick ;)

Hebden Bridge people will gather in St Georges Square at 9am on 12th and 13th August to protest the not-so-glorious 12th August, traditionally the start of the grouse shooting season.
It is widely accepted that mismanagement of the Walshaw Moor blanket bogs for intensive grouse rearing has contributed to three severe floods in Hebden Bridge over the last four years, and downstream in the Calder Valley.
Some households and businesses have still not recovered from the terrible Boxing Day flood last year, when the town centre was under up to five feet of filthy water.
Protesters are calling for Richard Bannister, the owner of Walshaw Moor Estate, to urgently take ecological conservation and restoration measures that will significantly reduce peak flow in Hebden Water.
Although as an EU Natura 2000 site Walshaw Moor has the highest possible level of environmental protection, the landowner’s agreement with Natural England permits so-called “cool burning of heather, as well as extensive track building and draining within 50 metres of the many grouse shooting butts gouged out of the peat.
Supported by £2.5m of taxpayer subsidies via Environmental Stewardship payments for “restoring” the moors,  the owner of Walshaw Moor, Richard Bannister leaves vast swathes of precious peatland scarred with vehicle tracks  and drained and burnt dry – although the permitted “cool burning’ is supposed not to damage the sphagnum moss that grows on moorland peat and is vital for the survival of the blanket bog.
This is all so that unnaturally large populations of red grouse can be nurtured as live targets for ‘guns’.
Leeds University research, led by Dr Lee Brown and published in 2014, confirms Ban the Burn campaigners’ criticisms of the Walshaw Moor Estate burning.
In all areas that the Leeds University researchers looked at over a period of five years, permitted cool burning destroyed the sphagnum moss and left bare peat.
It also lowered the water table so the peat dried out, oxidised and became a source of net carbon loss – rather than a net carbon uptake through taking CO2 out of the atmosphere and sinking it into the peat. This worsens climate change.
Dr Joseph Holden’s 2015 update to this research confirmed that the destruction of the sphagnum by permitted burning on blanket bog also increases the amount and speed of water runoff during the worst 20% of storms, so worsening the risk of flooding in areas below the moors.
In response to a complaint from local residents’ group Ban the Burn, the European Commission has started a legal process against the UK government for:
  • the failure to carry out appropriate assessments on the Walshaw Moor  Estate in the South Pennines Natura 2000 site, and other Natura 2000 sites, as required under the EU Habitats Directive in relation to a number of management agreements
  • allowing burning of blanket bogs within the Natura 2000 sites
  • the failure to avoid deterioration of blanket bog habitats within those sites in England
The UK government had two months to respond to the EU Commission letter, which was sent on 29th April 2016. This is the first step in a legal process. But with the UK vote to leave the EU, Yorkshire and Humberside MEP Linda McAvan has said it is unclear whether the European Commission is following up the process.
Hebden Bridge residents are determined to keep up the pressure to protect and restore the rare and valuable blanket bog and in doing so, to reduce the flood risk to the town and the downstream Calder Valley.
Link to Mark Avery's site

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Ogden and Hunter Hill

I came across this very obliging Brown Hare this afternoon along Hunter Hill. I think I was just lucky as I looked over a wall and managed to get the camera on it before it realised I was there !

Below - this Whinchat was down on the fence at the lower end of the golf course. I thought at first it was an adult male but from the photo's, the plumage, despite the bold eye-stripe, looks more like a juvenile or maybe it's the adult male in moult. A scarce bird in Calderdale nowadays though I expect there will be some autumn migrants coming through in the next few weeks from more northern areas.

Not a lot else about other than a few Swallows >W
7 Swifts >NW - they have really thinned out in the last few days with many now on their way back to Africa.
Meadow Pipits - a pair still feeding young
2 Willow Warblers
c30 Linnets feeding on thistles near Stodfold
Lots of Woodpigeons on the billberies !

Sunday, August 07, 2016

One from the note book

Ringstone  September 1996 ...for those who do not remember 1 Curlew Sandpiper  , 11  Little Stints , 3 Ruff , 2 Wood Sandpipers  , Yellow legged Gull and plenty of common waders ..20 years since the last Wood Sand.......

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Withens Head and Ovenden Moor

This morning doing a Butterfly Survey but tied in a bit of birding as well - of course.
1 Curlew high >W
3 Willow Warblers and 3 Wheatear in and around Moorlands Farm buildings and garden
40+ Swallows
4 House Martin >W
30+ Swifts >W
1 Reed Bunting
Pair of Blackbirds still feeding young
1 Little Owl but no other raptors
40+ Linnet and 30+ Goldfinch in the fields by the former Withens Pub

 2 of 3 Wheatears at Moorlands Farm

Friday, August 05, 2016

Soil Hill and Lost Lens Hood

        Went up Soil Hill after dinner but nothing to much to see,
        8 Meadow Pipits, 6 Wood Pigeon and lots of Crows,  I then
        lost my lens cap and adaptor so if any one finds it please give
        it to Dave Sutcliffe, Taylor lane had House Martins and House
        Sparrows at the bottom of the road. Pics are from Taylor Lane and
        Claremount Hill last week.


Swales Moor

Ringby Lane late morning. I went looking for the Yellow Wagtail but I couldn't find it. Just a few Pied/alba Wagtails today so it  looks like most of them have moved on overnight maybe (?)

A really nice surprise was and adult Hobby at around 12:35. All the corvids went up and I caught this smart falcon passing me low down about 30 meters away. Immaculate plumage detail but I had just put the camera lens-cap on so just viewed it in the bin's going at speed it went straight past me and shot down the hillside >W and I lost it somewhere over the top end of Boothtown. Always a great bird to see though we have had very few confirmed reports this year.

Just a few Linnets, Goldfinch and Swallows about + 1 House Martin, loads of corvids, a few L B B Gulls and a 'trickle' of passing Swifts - mostly very high >W

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Swales Moor area

Ringby Lane late morning - 1 Yellow Wagtail juvenile still in 'the wagtail' field along with 30+ Pied Wagtails, mainly juveniles, plus c20 Meadow Pipits and a Skylark.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Driven Grouse Shooting

A bit more on the campaign against driven grouse shooting.


Ploughcroft and Pepper Hill

I headed up towards Ringby to check on the wagtail field but heavy plant was using Ringby Lane so I changed course and went on Hag Lane instead. Good move as it happened in the shelter of the west side of Shibden Valley as the westerly wind was very strong and gusting.
Loads of House Martins were feeding in the shelter of the valley either side of Lee Lane. Maybe 70+ with just a few Swallows. Not had so many House Martins locally for ages though they are really scarce breeding birds in Calderdale nowadays. I guess these were maybe migrants including juveniles and non breeders (?)
30+ Swifts were heading very high >W along with a few L B B Gulls
1 Peregrine high over Claremount spooked the corvids in the fields at Pepper Hill, above Claremount.
Not a lot else other than a few Linnet and Goldfinch with a pair of Meadow Pipits still feeding young.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Swales Moor

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail - at least one still present today late afternoon with around 30 Pied/alba wagtails


Redstart still in shelter belt at Roils Head with several Willow Warblers. Chiffchaff yesterday.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Baitings Reservoir

From Pete G this morning - a Sedge Warbler. A scarce bird nowadays in Calderdale.