Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Withens Clough and reservoir circuit

A very hot day with clear sky and hardly any wind.
Unfortunately any waders were disturbed, with dogs and pedestrians along the shoreline rather than the pathways. One pair of Oystercatchers were constantly on the move along with Common Sandpipers etc.
2 Curlew over on the moor
1 Green Woodpecker in the clough along with Linnets and Goldfinch, a single Skylark, 1 Blackcap and 4+ Willow Warblers.
A big plus was a group of around 20 House Martins collecting mud for their nests from drying up muddy pools
No sign of the recent Cuckoo.

Copley Sand Martin

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cold Edge

Well done to BS this afternoon with an Osprey over Fly Flats around 15:50. We were just heading Down Cold Edge Road at the time but despite the uproar from the local waders and Lesser Black-backed Gulls it evaded us - we suspect just below the ridge. What a bird to miss but well done BS. Worth checking Brian's blog tonight for some pictures etc and his usual exemplary report. . (West Yorkshire Birding).

We were doing the BBS Breeding Bird Survey for the BTO at the time and managed a good show of regular birds for that area including Lapwing chicks, 8 Oystercatchers, Snipe, Curlew, Stonechat, Reed Buntings and Linnets along with other usual spp..

Monday, May 29, 2017

Yesterdays Sanderlings

A nice find yesterday were 5 Sanderling at Whiteholme and another 2 at Lower Gorple.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tonight's LEO'S

      2 Long Eared Owl seen at a location I won't divulge
      but people on grapevine will know where it is.
      They were beauty's.

Very unexpected tick

At dusk tonight, right in front of my house in Jumble Hole, I watched a barn owl quarter an ungrazed field for 5 minutes. It then dropped into the grass for a couple of minutes, then took off, probably to be never seen again. Something I never thought I'd see anywhere near Jumble Hole.


Five Sanderlings at Whiteholme and two at Lower Gorple this afternoon. NCD,DF

Vintage binoculars

I'm opening a bar in Hebden Bridge called 'Nightjar', and need some antique or vintage binoculars for the wall. I don't mean 30 year old ones - more like 70+. If anyone has anything they don't need, I can bribe you with pints.....

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hobby today

Adult Hobby zipped past my house early this afternoon, going East ahead of the flash thunderstorm. Nigel

This week

Wednesday- Little Egret was seen going >W near Baitings Reservoir (Blue Ball) heading over Blackstone Edge or beyond !! Pete G

Cuckoo's have been reported singing from numerous locations this week including Ogden, Fly Flats, Withens Clough, Walshaw Dean, Cragg Vale, Scout at Mytholmroyd etc.

Marsh Harrier over Norland last Saturday (20th). SB et al.

A decent selection of waders including up to 8 Dunlin at Fly Flats, all encouraged to stay awhile with a decent muddy shoreline showing. BS

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tawny Owl

A nice shot looking inside a Tawny Owl nest-box thanks to SD.

Cragg Vale

Woodcock 'Roding' in display flight last night - nearly dark.

2 Cuckoo's singing and 3 Tawny Owls heard

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Broadhead Clough

Wood warbler this morning singing

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Grasshopper Warbler

Heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in Baitings Gate Pasture (above Baitings Reservoir) on the climb up to Manshead End.

Also saw Linnet, Red Poll, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Meadowpipit, Curlew and Lapwing in Great Manshead Hill area.

Oystercatcher and Mistle Thrush between Ryburn and Baitings reservoirs. 


Three swifts over Triangle cricket club yesterday. Also Buzzard (being moved on by a crow).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Common Scoter

Female Common Scoter still at Blackstone Edge this evening.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


One Knot at Light Hazzles Res this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Recent sightings - Jumble Hole area

Garden Warbler

Female siskin

Male siskin

3 of the 4 ravens
Garden warbler daily in the garden, with another 4 males singing within a short walking distance.
Whitethroat are less apparent than in past years, with just 2 singing at present.
A tawny owl is always around the same area in the woods, with a blackbird harassing it constantly to move on.
A redpoll was briefly on the nyjer seed on the 11th May, with 3+ siskins present still daily.
A single woodcock is roding here at dusk.
4 ravens were between here and Hebden Bridge - which isn't the first time in spring.
Green and great spotted woodpecker.are both very regular, but no nests located.
A pair of moorhen are around on the Calder at Callis Bridge - the first time I've seen them this far up the valley.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


First young starlings of the year over the garden this morning.

Surveys - Calderdale Birds Conservation Group

At the last Conservation Group Meeting there were concerns raised about the plight of local House Martin colonies - a massive crash since we did our last in depth survey in Calderdale in 2011. They are also in serious decline nationally.
Similarly, Swifts are also in decline, and again  not just in Calderdale though Swallows so far seem to be holding their own (?)
House Sparrows, too are struggling in some areas.
The group decided it would be good to log records of nesting colonies in 2017 as we already do annually with Rookeries and Heronries.

Information could well be useful in the future especially if we can protect the birds from development proposals (through the Planning Process) or provide alternative nesting solutions ?

Therefore please could all readers of the blog provide information anytime this summer on the presence of nesting birds i.e.
House Sparrows, House Martins, Swifts.

Location and brief description of the site and the number (or estimated) of nests or number of suspected nesting birds. All information would be greatly appreciated.

Information can be sent to me or via the blog email

Hardcastle Crags

We had a walk, chancing the drizzle, yesterday afternoon and managed to find one of the recent Wood Warblers still singing in woodland between Midgehole car park and Gibson Mill. Also a single Spotted Flycatcher and a few Blackcaps singing.
A good show of Song Thrushes - they like that area
Green Woodpwecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding young in a nest hole
A few Swifts and Swallows

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fly Flats etc

Pouring rain and a strong westerly late morning - most birds in hiding
1 Redshank
1 Snipe
4 Herring Gulls
2 L B B Gulls

Withens Head
1 Wheatear

Nolstar fields
11 Golden Plover

Mixenden Reservoir
Pair of Tufted Duck
c60 Swallows
20+ House Martins
1 Blackcap

Friday, May 12, 2017

Other news today

2 Common Terns still this morning on the ski-lake at Cromwell Bottom (DF)
Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Garden Warblers along with Goosander all nearby. (NK)

2 Wood Warblers in full song in the area around Hardcastle Crags (PG and NG)

Cuckoo again singing above Ogden towards Thornton/Ovenden Moor this morning (via BS) and another Cuckoo reported from Withens Clough, Cragg Vale yesterday AH (SB)
Another Cuckoo from Jumble Hole (MB)

Wheatley Valley

I spent an hour or so checking out the former landfill site alongside Shroggs Road, between there and Brackenbed. 2 dominant habitats - wet grassland and young woodland maturing quickly.
5 species of warbler well in evidence with singing males 5+  Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3+ Willow Warbler, 4 Whitethroat and 1 Garden Warbler.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane on the top late morning
1 singing Whitethroat
1 Willow Warbler
3+ Wheatears
9 Linnets
4 House Martins at the top of Lee Lane
A few Swallows >N
Distant Common Buzzard

Cromwell Bottom

Early morning wander in the sun produced lots of small birds,all posing for photos too.

still trying to learn my smaller birds,is this a sedge warbler??

Area around the read beds seems to be a good spot.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ogden area

We went on the top above the Reservoir this afternoon on the off chance of finding Emperor Moth on the moor but drew a blank there !
A Cuckoo was singing on and off at the top end of Ogden - above the clough leading towards Thornton Moor though we didn't see it.
1 Kestrel
Not much else other than a few Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Red Grouse, Swallows and a Skylark.
Very nice to feel the warmth of the sun today after all those chilling north easterlies recently.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Name that victim

Sparrowhawk kill at Jumble Hole. Name the victim...... (answer later)

Luddenden Dean

A lovely afternoon in the sunshine from Jerusalem Farm and we checked the hillsides around Ferney Lee. Not a lot doing though the Cuckoo is still in good voice further up the dean.
1 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warblers and a few Swallows and that was about it.

Fly Flatts

Spent most of the morning there along with Alan T for part of the time. 2 Barnacle Geese still there this morning. Plenty Canada Geese with chicks and 2 pairs of Greylag Geese with 3 and another with 4 chicks.
Barnacle Geese (front one ringed)

Water level just down a little giving some shoreline thereby attracting 8 wader including 2 Dunlin.
9 Herring Gulls headed off >E with 2 more later on included one adult
Several L B B Gulls loafing over the moor
1 Pied Wagtail
2 Swallows >N
5 Wheatears
1 Common Buzzard >E
1 Kestrel
1 Reed Bunting
Very few Meadow Pipits about today !
Some Nyger seed put down at the former Twite feeding area. Just on the off chance we are fortunate to get some back this summer !!

Monday, May 08, 2017


Another good wader for me and Dave this evening, a superb Turnstone at Whiteholme in amongst the many other waders present.

Mixenden Reservoir etc.

Late morning a good move of Herring Gulls, mostly sub-adults, >NE and 40+ other large gulls very high in the same direction were probably a mix of L B B Gulls and Herring Gulls
1 Redshank
c40 Swallows 6+ House Martins and c10 Sand Martins feeding over the res'r with a few Swifts drifting through >SW


Two high over Todmorden centre on Sunday evening.

I also was fairly sure I heard one whilst in Sowerby Bridge on Saturday afternoon but did not get a visual confirmation.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

6th May

11 species of wader recorded today in Calderdale. 1 Knot still at Lower Gorple, 4 Dunlin at Lighthazzles including this possible alpina bird on the left.

ID required

I was sent these 2 photos of birds at Walshaw Dean the other day. I know they are very distant but can anyone ID them? Oystercatcher? Thanks

Friday, May 05, 2017


More photos of the Knots at Lower Gorple.


Me and DF did some reservoirs today looking for waders. We found 10 species altogether the best of which were 2 summer plumaged Knots at Lower Gorple. More pics to follow from DF.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


Had a lot of luck recently,including finding a pair of little owls a few hundred metres from my doorstep.Only seem to be showing at dusk,hopefully they will start being more active during the day and i can post a better quality pic.Buzzard and kestrel over Norland

Roils Head Whinchat

A nice find today was this Whinchat in the heather area of Roils Head.

Mixenden Reservoir etc

Late morning visit, with the thought of Black Tern, maybe, though I think we need some downpours to fetch anything down in this strong and blustery north easterly which seems set to continue throughout today and tomorrow !
1 Oystercatcher
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Redshank
2 Canada Geese

Elsewhere today
Still 2 Common Terns at Cromwell Bottom ski-lake ( DF) and a Little Egret also reported from the same location (DT)

2 Swifts reported this morning over Ogden and yesterday's 2 Mute Swans have moved on. (all via BS). Also - no sign of the Dotterel at Cold Edge Road, just a few Golden Plover still.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Today's surprises !

Looks like the Dotterel have moved on with no sign of them today. What a treat for all those who turned up to see these rare and fascinating birds in Calderdale and at such an accessible location. They are usually in far away mountain top places !
There is still time for other Dotterel to be found in the next week or two, hopefully for those observers who 'dipped' on the Cold Edge Road birds. Hill top searches recommended !

2 Mute Swans turned up today at Ogden - a rare bird for this location (NK)

Also from Cromwell Bottom a Whooper Swan turned up with 3 Mute Swans (DF). Also from there still, are 2 Common Terns, there for their 3rd day running. (DF and AT)

For one fortunate local birder (MH) an Osprey went east over Fly Flats / Ovenden Moor around 13:00 hrs today.

At another undisclosed woodland location in Calderdale a pair of Pied Flycatchers seem to be settling in to stay for a while.

Watch out for Swifts - due to arrive anytime now. Two already for (BS) over Fly Flats and Bradshaw yesterday.

And from (AT) a rare find with a pair of Treecreepers taking food regularly into a nest box.

Garden warbler, Jumble Hole - 3 present and singing

Dotterel Twitch Again

     Dotterel showing well at 13.30 yesterday, they seem to rest for an hour and then
     have a mad half hour of feeding and running about, also up there were
     20 Golden Plover, 3 Oystercatcher, 5 Wheatear, 2 Curlew, 10 Lapwing
     and plenty of visitors coming & going. Met some nice people John M,
     Bob from Brighouse and a lovely couple Mick & Kath S also from
     Brighouse and the birds put on a good show for everyone and were
     eating well too which was good to see.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Starling Puzzle

Walking past the rear of the station buildings at Todmorden this evening, I became aware of an adult Starling stood on the wooden gutter. There was calling from the presumed nest site behind it, a cyclical chirping a bit like a Goldcrest singing. I have heard this many times and assumed it was nestlings, but this seemed so early in May I began to wonder if it was a call from an adult sitting on the nest?

Funnily enough, the Starling nest a few doors up the street delivered exactly the same calls. Is my memory adrift, or have we just had an early breeding season this year?

Swales Moor - Ringby Lane

I had an hour up there late afternoon in the stiff >NE wind prompted by a call from BS after he latched on to 2 Swifts this afternoon (1 over Fly Flats and another over Bradshaw). No Swifts for me though they should be arriving in numbers very soon. Something definitely to look forward to.

1 male Whinchat was a nice surprise sheltering on a fence on the west side of the hill top
2 Meadow Pipits
2 Wheatears
3 Skylarks
3 Linnets
c20 Swallows >N
4 Stock Doves
1 Bullfinch >NE was a surprise as well
1 Kestrel
Usual corvids and a single Herring Gull with a few L B B Gulls over

Cold Edge Road etc

3 Dotterel still showing well on and off in the same field as yesterday. Best spot to see them is just 50 m or so down the Calderdale Way footpath, heading east. View the field to the left with no need to enter the field which is private land with sheep lambing.
The birds can be hard to locate at times when they are at rest but patience pays off - well, unless they decide to go !
Also around 20 Golden Plover in the area as well as the occasional Lapwing and Curlew.
Also a Common Buzzard over late morning, a few Swallows and a Sand Martin over >NE
Several Wheatears around the area as well.
Several Lesser Black-backed Gulls patrolling the moor
1 immature Great Black-backed Gull >E

At Cromwell Bottom ski lake the 2 Common Terns from yesterday are still there (late morning) DF.

Mixenden Reservoir - 2 male Goosander >N
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Redshank
5 Oystercatchers
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Goldcrest
c40 Swallows, 2 House Martins and c10 Sand Martins first thing this morning.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Dotterel Day

      A good crowd visited the Dotterel site today, and they were showing well too
      which made it a nice visit, also at the same site were Golden Plover, Wheatear,
      Lapwing and a flypast by 2 Curlew and what looked like a Redstart but unconfirmed
     and no pic so no tick. Was nice to bump into DW & PD.

Dotterels at Cold Edge Road

Nice to see a good size crowd of birders today at the Dotterel twitch at Cold Edge Road. These video snaps were the best I could manage in windy conditions. Also as well as the 3 Dotterel were 22 Golden Plovers, 2 Wheatears and 2 Oycs.