Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Other news today

The Whooper Swans from yesterday on Mixenden Reservoir were still there this morning (MM) but they had gone at some time during the day before mid - afternoon though 21 Canada Geese there and 2 f Goldeneye still.

34 Curlew was a good number over Ogden this afternoon (AT)

Also at Ogden late afternoon, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk, both hunting the clough below the reservoir.  Lower down the valley at  Lower Brockholes was 1 Little Owl near the golf course.

Female Blackcap still coming to the garden feeder in Lee Mount. It seems to come early on then must head off somewhere else for the rest of the day (?)
Also around 25 Redwings this morning in Shroggs Park - they seem to like the tree areas around the Park Lodge in Lee Mount Road possibly roosting in the thick holly bushes there.

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane. No sign of the Snow Bunting even for a first light visit from AH. Several other observers checked the site up till 12 noon and still no sign despite an extensive search on the top and the surrounding area. Looks like it's moved on (?)
Also reported up there this morning.
1 Stonechat
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Skylark
1 Linnet
Fieldfare early on
1 Kestrel
1 Common Buzzard
1 Pied Wagtail flyover >SW
60+ Common Gulls
Usual corvids

Monday, February 27, 2017

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane - Snow Bunting still in the top field late morning. Shows really well once found as it scuttles around among the clumps of grass, constantly feeding.
Also 2 Linnets around the quarry edge
1 Skylark
3 Meadow Pipits

Took these at about 1 'oclock today (AC)

And how about this photo of a summer plumaged male Snow Bunting. No - this was not seen in Calderdale.! It's a photo from David Crawshaw and was taken off the coast of Alaska in the Pribilofs close to the Russian border in 2015. It does demonstrate how much different birds can look in male/female plumages at different times of the year. Many thanks David.
Snow Bunting male - Alaska

Lee Mount

Female Blackcap still around and seen on the garden feeder first thing this morning and also later seen feeding in a Mahonia shrub looked to be picking small insects off the flowers.

Whooper Swans

13 flew over Ovenden low down at around 09:25 this morning and arrived on Mixenden Reservoir shortly after - found there at 10:15 (NK). I guess they may stay around today until the weather clears up !
UPDATE (via BS) - they all left Mixenden Reservoir around 5 pm

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mute Swan update.....

Update from Judy on the Mute Swan found by Robin as reported earlier in the week
376 Y - "She has been at it again. We went down this morning with a view to checking the sailing/skiing lake where all the swans had been in case they were causing or having problems with the fast boats. Before we got there though we came across a cygnet on Elland Road. Luckily the traffic had stopped and we were able to chase her off the road and catch her. No prizes for guessing the ring number. She is now back on the canal between Aireys Pond and Brighouse, for how long is anybody’s guess."
Well done Judy and co.

If anyone does come across any further issues with the swans then please keep the blog updated or email the blog address. Thanks

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane - Snow Bunting re-found by BS on the top field again this afternoon and showing well down to around 10 meters in the rough grass. Also there this afternoon MW, DF, NCD with weather deterioration by around 4 pm though the bird was still feeding among the tussocks when we left.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Upland tree planting

Does anyone know if there are considerations for ground nesting moorland birds (curlew, dunlin, twite, lapwing, golden plover etc etc) in these plans? Also, if there are 'wetlands' being established, the sooner the input from the bird/wildlife groups to help steer the design, the better.

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane - on the top, the Snow Bunting was still there in the rough field on the west side of the track till at least 09:45. Looking good though as we left it went down in the vegetation at the top of the west slope near the small puddles.
Also at various times this morning were Dave B, AT, VJ, NK, Larry. Dave P just arriving as we left.
1 Skylark
1 Curlew high >W
1 Kestrel
Lots of Common Gulls loafing along the ridge with corvids
1 Blackbird
1 Redwing
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Stock Doves

Friday, February 24, 2017

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane this afternoon strolling around on the top looking for - well whatever might turn up.
Started off with distant Common Buzzards, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk - not a bad start.....
1 Snipe flushed off the top
3 Skylarks
1 Meadow Pipit
c20 Herring Gulls >NW
2 Great Black-backed Gulls >NW
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull >NW
c40 Common Gulls loafing along the ridge
2 Stock Doves
usual corvids.
About to stroll back - "what's that skulking about in the tufts of grass" ? Ah Snow Bunting - "what a beauty." Put the word out and BS came after half-hour or so after a dash from Fly Flats. Well done Bri great to see you up there. Hope you've recovered ?
Nice to bump into JL as well on the way up as I came down.
The bird was still there at 16:30

Also check Brian's blog - 'West Yorkshire Birding' - always an interesting, informative and amusing read !

Snow Bunting

Cromwell Bottom

We suspect the Mute Swan found in the field on Thursday is now back on the lake there.
6 Mute Swans there this afternoon along with 1 Whooper Swan (AW, DF, AT)
One of the Mute Swans has a red ring 377Y (AT) + a metal ring which we assume is the BTO ring.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mute Swans

We had a report last week of a dead Mute Swan at Cromwell Bottom, possibly the victim of a Mink attack (?)

Today we had another report (RD) of another Mute Swan, near the same site, looking as if it might be injured - perhaps sick/exhausted or maybe even after a collision with overhead obstacles ? - we don't know. The bird was able to walk but did not fly when approached.
It also has an identification ring so we are hoping we can identify the bird.
Someone is checking the site in the morning so lets hope it recovers.

UPDATE Thursday 11:30
No sign of the tired/injured swan this morning so let's hope it's ok. From the ring number, 376Y, it has been confirmed by Judy Hogg that the bird is 2016 male bird from Shibden Park.
Please report any further sightings of this or any other ringed bird if you are able to get the ring number.

Also the dead Mute Swan seen on the canal bank last week by Mike H et al also had a ring number 366Y was a 2015 female cygnet, also from Shibden Park.

National Nest Box Week


As part of our contribution to our local area 10 new boxes were installed in the Luddenden Valley this morning with AT (after seeking permission from the landowner last year) - thank you.
Nearly all H & S adhered to !!
We just hope for some good results this summer as most of the previous boxes are well past there sell-by date.

Not a lot of time for birding this morning though a great looking Green Woodpecker was fantastic to see close to. Also a few Brambling along with Nuthatch, Bullfinch and Common Buzzard over near Jerusalem Farm area.
Thanks to CBCG for funding 4 of the nest-boxes and the other 6 funded through grapevine funds so far received along with 10 more boxes already on order  to be used in other areas of the valley.
Thanks for all the support.


After all these years I've finally seen a buzzard in Calderdale. Watched huge bird flying towards our house over Walsden rec from the direction of Bacup Road and thought it was a heron.  Really big wings.    It veered off over the garden centre towards the canal where it was joined by a smaller buzzard which must have been already in that area and they were mobbed by a jackdaw.  By now I was looking out of the front of the house and lost track as they flew off towards Lanebottom. 

And this really was my first sighting - I've lived here for 50 yrs! and began to think these were the figment of someone's imagination. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Several calls this morning around 11:15 with Pink-footed Geese on the move WNWseen  over Brighouse,then Northowram and Beacon Hill. Think possibly one flock (?) This one below came over Lee Mount at 11:20 and a count of 111. Thanks for the calls (MH, DF, AC, PG)

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Mytholmroyd, Scout Bottom area am

2 great  spotted woodpeckers drumming.

1 m sparrowhawk.

Crow Hill area

11 lapwing
15 fieldfare
c200 starling
1 m kestrel
5 mipits
2 pied wagtail
2 goldcrest

Plus usual species

PM Cragg Vale

1 gs woodpecker

Jumble Hole nestboxes

Thanks to the bird group for providing the extra nestboxes for Jumble Hole, targeting pied flycatchers and redstart. All these 9 have gone further up the valley this time, well off the beaten track. I have tried some variety, as it's all something of a test and learn strategy. I have varied tree species, height, distance from the valley bottom, grouping in 2's and 3's, etc. Time will tell. Roll on May! I can't wait to see if any get used by target birds.


A colleague in Mytholmroyd's cat brought this unfortunate woodcock in last week.

Cold Edge

This afternoon
2 Barnacle Geese in the area one of which is colour ringed (AR)
c80 Canada Geese
c15 Greylag Geese but mobile some flying towards Fly Flats
1 Little Grebe
Drake Goldeneye on the top main dam
Masses of Starlings and Fieldfares in one field this aft. Will get a guestimate count from photos later.

Just trying these 'doctored' photos to try demonstrate how many birds there were in 2 large flocks which included c300 Fieldfares and most of the rest were in excess of 1,700 Starlings.
Click on the photo's to enlarge

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Goldie Silhouette

Best I could do from the aforementioned Plover bonanza.

Quite a day !

Started of with reports of 25 Pink-footed Geese moving >N over Shibden Valley at 11:25 (JL). Another skein of 100+ about the same time over Lee Mount >NW from Steve C. Above - correction - from JL's photo's c85 birds were probably the same lot over Shibden and Lee Mount.

Then a Peregrine over Boothtown also late morning (Dave B)

Male Hen Harrier heading down the Calder Valley >E at 11;55 from Mike H and Steve M at Cromwell Bottom causing commotion with at least 12 Grey Herons put up from nearby trees as it flew over showing great plumage detail.
Also from Mike at Cromwell Bottom - a dead Mute Swan possibly a victim of a mink  ? with one Mute Swan still there.

Female Blackcap on our Lee Mount garden feeder just across lunchtime looked to be taking suet nibbles from the feeder.

Still a few Brambling reports coming in from other areas including a few regularly at a garden feeder in Norland along with several Lesser Redpoll, Chaffinch and Godlfinches. (AT)


7 Crossbills at Walshaw Dean plantation including at least 1 juvenile today, also Jack Snipe over wood, 2 Brambling, 2 Siskin, loads of Lapwing at Gorple with 2 Curlew, 4 Oysters 30 Goldies etc.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fly Flats etc

This afternoon - an interesting hour or so viewing from along the top road at Fly Flats.
1 Stonechat
1 Red-legged Partridge
1 Woodpigeon on a wall (unusual on the ground for this site) looked unwell (?)
Even more unusual - a single Magpie heading towards Slade
2 Carrion Crows
13 Lapwing
17 Canada Geese
1 Golden Plover
1 Oystercatcher
5 Mallard
No Kestrels
Plenty Red Grouse on the moor

Cold Edge Dams
1 f Goldeneye

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Oystercatcher on dam wall at Ringstone this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Siskins today at Jumble Hole, on and near the window feeders. 2f, 1m. Apologies for the dirty window!!! I'll try for more photos this week.


5 Whooper Swans there this morning around 09:30 (CS) though they left >N shortly afterwards at around 10:10 (DW).
Still plenty time for some more Whoopers moving through (the big push north in 2015 through Calderdale was 22nd March) !

Monday, February 13, 2017

More Brambling

Just got report via BS of c20 Brambling in trees by the car park at Ogden 1615 hrs today along with a few Goldfinch. Guess they are coming in to roost there, perhaps in the thick cover and protection of the Rhododendrons (?) Thanks to Larry Darigan for the report to Brian.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


11 Bramblings reported today in a garden between Luddenden foot and Mytholmroyd (LM)
Good to hear there are still a few about.

There is a Brambling in a Queensbury garden which was ringed in Brussels + a Blackbird in the same garden ringed in Finland (DS). I understand both these birds have been identified from photographs of the ringed birds and details obtained from reading the numbers on the rings on the computer. Not easy, even from photo's, but it's always worth looking out for birds with a ring (or rings) on them.
Photo's below of the ringed birds with thanks to Denise.
 Brussels Brambling

Finnish Blackbird

Goosander on a stone

This Goosander was sitting out the bad weather with the resident hybrid Mallards on the canal at Todmorden.

Someone seems to have created a promising new pond (mini-lake really) beside the canal just upstream of Woodhouse Rd. A couple of Mallards and a Moorhen were there this morning.

A big colourful fox trotted across the landscape mid-morning, dive-bombed by Jackdaws. I suggested Todmorden could have a new town crest designed, with two foxes, rampant, to support Keeptheban. Tod apparently means fox in place-names.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Moor End and Mount Tabor

Had a scout around the local fields this morning.
Still around 50 Meadow Pipits at Moor End on the reclaimed landfill along with 2 Skylarks - mostly in the area of the manure pile. Also c35 Starlings, 11 Rooks, 2 Mistle Thrush.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Jumble Hole

3 buzzards were together over Erringden again this lunchtime, sparring and soaring.
Siskins are still visiting the feeders.

And lastly, this male bullfinch was on the Pennine Way looking dazed. No obvious signs of injury or disease, but I just reached down and picked it up. I put it in a box with food and water, and it didn't move at all. After a couple of hours, it made it clear it no longer wanted to be in the box, so I took it outside, opened the lid, and it flew straight off.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

BTO news


Time to be thinking about nest boxes !!

Out and about (a mipit afternoon)

Called in at a few spots this afternoon - freezing cold easterly wind conditions with light snow flurries.
Mixenden Reservoir - 1 f Goldeneye, 14 Canadas and a few Black-headed and Common Gulls with 1 adult L B B Gull.

Moor End - at least 60 Meadow Pipits on the re-claimed landfill site. They eventually crossed over the road towards fields around Mount Tabor. I checked through carefully hoping maybe for something interesting with them !

Cold Edge Road - flock of 28 Meadow Pipits together in a field just up from Nolstar

Withens Head -wind farm car park - 1 male Stonechat

Fly Flats - 2 adult breeding plumage Cormorants >NE, 1 Raven and a few Red Grouse

Swales Moor

Late morning
Just 3 Skylark on the top along with 7 Stock Doves and a distant Sparrowhawk mobbed by corvids.
6 Greeenfinch together at the top of Ploughcroft opposite the ski-slope with 11 Mistle Thrushes moving down towards Shibden Valley


Couple in with the Chaffinch flock in my garden at Highroad Well today. Including one stunning male

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Soil Hill

At least 17 Skylark on the top late morning including a group of 14 on seed near the mast + at least another 3 on mounds. 1 m Reed Bunt and a Grey Heron disturbed on the track pools and that was it.
Trying to snow up there. !

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Jumble Hole

A female and a male siskin are now very regular visitors to the feeders, mostly the nyjer seed.

Elsewhere, a pair of goosander were on the canal in Mytholmroyd, and a singing dipper back on its usual spot on Elphin Brook.

Hebden Bridge - Hardcastle Crags

Starting from Hebden Bridge (café stop)! we walked along Hebden Water towards Midgehole and and a short way along the stream towards Gibson Mill returning to the café again !
Not a lot to report with no activity at all at the Heronry though at least 3 Dippers was encouraging.
1 Goldcrest +  a few Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Nuthatch and Great-spotted Woodpecker etc with both Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush singing.
2 Kestrels at lower end of Crimsworth Dean

Dipper at Midgehole

Todays news

A single Jack Snipe today from Soil Hill (DB) and also 2 were flushed on Erringden Moor (above Broadhead Clough, Cragg Vale) this afternoon from PG.

8 small waders together were also reported from Cromwell Bottom lagoon at 11:15 (HF) this morning. Wonder if anyone else got to grips with them for firm identification though they were not thought to be Snipe ? From the description, possibly Dunlin ?? Though records of winter Dunlin are very scarce for Calderdale waders including Ringed Plover yesterday at Lighthazzles (PG) and Curlew and Oystercatchers (BS) have started appearing in and around our area from last Sunday !

Monday, February 06, 2017


Up to 4 Brambling also reported in a garden over the last week between Luddenden Foot and Mytholmroyd  with Chaffinches. (LM)
A good bird to look out this winter in gardens or in beech woodland.

Several Brambling also being reported recently from woodland area around The Bridge Inn, Ripponden. (PG)

Bramblings at Coach Road

The small group of half a dozen Bramblings seem to be in the same patch of dead leaves on the track, most days. Having a good root around, and tricky to photograph !
A Treecreeper gave excellent views nearby, and there were also Nuthatches, Song Thrushes, Redwings, a GSW, a Green Woodpecker and Goldcrests about.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Goosanders on the canal at Elland

Best picture I've got so far of this increasingly common and confiding sawbill. We found five females with two males last Sunday at Lee Dam, Todmorden being very vocal at dusk.  Nigel Griffiths also had seven on Withens Clough Reservoir last week.

They now breed in various places along the Calder, though I've never noticed a nest myself. (Two broods reported at Cromwell Bottom Local Nature reserve last year.)

Pink-footed Geese

Several skeins reported late morning all >W or >NW
248 from photo count over Lee Mount + another group over Ploughcroft a few minutes later.
2 large skeins reported over Sowerby and c250 over Ringstone at 11:30 with another lot over Wells Head and 60 over Littleborough at 11:40 - maybe some duplication though probably also some flocks missed ?
Maybe still some to follow on!

A number of skeins moving mainly to the south of both Hunter Hill (above Mixenden Reservoir) and Soil Hill (BS) and Northowram (AC) this afternoon. Mostly at a distance very high and heading >NW over the M62 though one or two skeins much nearer. See Brian's Blog (West Yorkshire Birding) for detailed summary.
I've not had time yet, to analyse totals from the incoming texts and the photo's I took.

Also from Hunter Hill area.
1 Little Owl
70 Lapwings >N
2 Golden Plover in the field at Nolstar
14 Canadas and a f Goldeneye on Mixenden reservoir
24 Canadas and 2 Greylag Geese on Cold Edge
1 adult Cormorant also on Cold Edge dams

Ogden Garden

Two bramblings on the cotoneaster bush this morning.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Salterhebble area

There was a flock of 15 Waxwings in the tree canopy between Brookwater Close and Bottoms in Salterhebble. From WG 15.30 hrs this afternoon. (Many thanks Will.)

Friday, February 03, 2017

Hyperlink to Heavy Birder

Heavy Birder

Click on the link above and it takes you to Nick's blog.  Don't know how to get it listed on the links though.

Heavy Birder Blog

After nearly 4 years absent I have decided to revive my Heavy Birder Blog. Don't know how to add a link but if anyone can do it then cheers. Try connecting to heavybirder.blogspot .co.uk or is it .com I can never remember.

Hardcastle Crags and Shackleton Knoll

A great day to be out for a good walk after such poor weather recently.
I tried to post a video (unsuccessfully so far) of a Red Grouse male on Shackleton Knoll from early this afternoon. By the footpath strutting and shouting it's stuff right at our feet. All as if we were threatening it's territory, weird and wonderful. Roamed around us within touching distance until some other walkers came by and we moved on.

Red Grouse

Not a lot else - though plenty of small birds (mainly tits, Treecreepers and Goldcrests) in patches in the crags with 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming and Green Woodpecker heard 'yaffling'.
Dipper fly-by at Gibson Mill.
19 Golden Plover and c35 Lapwings all >S

Upland area

I've been out this morning looking for Mountain Hares on a local moor.

Pleased to say I managed to get my very first sighting of these hares. Shame it's going through the colour change, but still lovely to see.

A big thanks to Chris for posting his sighting the other week

Also 1 Grouse
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Skylark
And flushed what I thought could possibly have been a  Snipe?? but couldn't be sure

Thursday, February 02, 2017


Early afternoon
No sign of the 4 White-fronted Geese this afternoon and the Canada flock down to 148 after recent highs nearly reaching c200 birds.
Plenty of birds in the very wet and muddy north field, mainly Black-headed Gulls with a few Common Gulls, Starlings and corvids + c180 Lapwings and just a few Golden Plover in with them.
1 drake and 2 f Goosander on the reservoir.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Ringstone Res'r

4 White-fronted Geese still present today along with a drake Pochard (AT)

Jumble Hole

Lots of finch activity on the feeders suddenly this week.
The highlight is the occasional appearance on nyjer seed of a male siskin. They''ve been close all winter, even within 10 yards, but that's the first on the feeders for some time.
Also had a female bullfinch, and multiple gold and greenfinches.

The long tailed tits are fairly ever present. Great spotted woodpecker less apparent than in previous years, and nutchatch hardly shown up at all. A goldcrest was in the garden, showing down to 6 feet. Lastly, a rarity round here appeared today - a house sparrow.