Saturday, September 30, 2017

Stonechat bonanza !

This species seems to have had a very good breeding season and birds are now either dispersing from local sites or arriving in Calderdale from other areas and being seen by several observers.
A bird mainly seen on the moorland fringes, especially where there is some rough ground including heather, billberry and brambles etc - and fence posts to perch as lookout post for prey.
14 together on a fence line yesterday at Walshaw Dean (NCD DF)
6 at Ogden - Lower Brockholes earlier this week (PJWS) and still 6 there today.
11  at Fly Flatts last weekend (BS) and 6+ there yesterday
6 at Cold Edge today (PJWS)
1 at Jay House Lane, Clifton today (JM)
5 at Fly Flatts today (BS)
Plus other numerous sightings over the last few weeks.
Stonechat - typical habitat (click photo to enlarge)

Stonechat (male below and female above at Cold Edge April 2017)

Rose-ringed Parakeets

Nice shot below from RS of three individuals at Friendly - Sowerby Bridge. They have been reported for some time from that area though expansion into the rest of Calderdale is quite slow - for now !
They are also sometimes known as Rose-ringed Parakeets as well as Green Parakeets. (Psittacula krameri). An introduced species from South Asia and sub-saharan Africa, they are now feral in several European countries. Thanks for the photo Richard.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pink-footed Geese

A report of around 50 'pinkies' >SE over Skircoat on 28th September at 08:20 (WG)

Fly Flats and Withens Head

Fly Flats
2 Wheatear and 6 Stonechats on the walls alongside the top road and 2 Wrens !
Female Merlin after a load of 'mipits' across by the wind-farm towards Thornton Moor
1 Raven >N
1 Kestrel
2 distant Common Buzzards
Red-legged Partridge (heard)
Red Grouse

Withens Head
1 Wheatear
1 Kestrel

Ogden and Mixenden Reservoirs

First thing in the rain - and still hoping for some terns !
Passerine Alley (path to east side of reservoir)
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Chiffchaff
5+ Goldcrests with a  small tit flock
1 Bullfinch
10+ Blackbirds
1 Song Thrush
2 Jays

100+ Meadow Pipits high >W after the rain stopped

1 female Wigeon
1 Cormorant
1 Kestrel
Male Sparrowhawk put up c60 Chaffinch on the far side weedy shoreline

1 Chiffchaff

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ovenden Moor

1 Wheatear on the top near the wind farm this afternoon and a solitary Raven - not much else - other than 22 Red Admirals moving >W

Hollas Bridge/Milner Royd

Buzzard above Hollas Lane at 2pm today
Kingfisher and 2 female Goosander on the river behind the Allotments
On the subject of Buzzards there are 2 or 3 over the land identified for housing in the local plan at Woodhouse Lane/Shepherds Thorn Lane, Brighouse almost every day now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Various today

This morning - brief visit
Mixenden reservoir - nothing doing !
Fly Flats - c100 Meadow Pipits
Withens Head - 4 Starlings

Afternoon at Cold Edge
2 Stonechat
2 Little Grebe (adult and a juv being fed)
1 Merlin flythrough
64 Canada Geese
2 Kestrel
Distant Buzzard
1 Moorhen
3 Teal flew straight through >W
No Swallows

Monday, September 25, 2017

'Bits and pieces for today !

A nice Pochard turned up at Mixenden Reservoir - a very scarce bird in Calderdale in recent years. Thanks to NK.

14 Wigeon at Fly Flats late afternoon along with 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Canada Geese and Red Grouse very vocal on the moor. Pochard still at Mixenden late afternoon along with 1 Swallow >SW.

Also a nice bonus when I called at B & Q this morning - an adult Peregrine perched high on the big Dean Clough chimney.

Ring-necked Parakeet (up to 2 birds daily) around Sainsbury's on Rochdale Road at Willow Field From Matt E.

Kingfisher at Ogden along with 5 Siskin earlier in the day (NK and PJWS and from BS later in the day)
From HC (via BS) - 4 Redwings over the Oxenhope watch-point earlier today - nice and early arriving from more northern climes for our winter.!!! More to follow in the next month or so.

From yesterday (Mike H) - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Cromwell Bottom - they too are a very scarce bird in Calderdale. Nice one Mike.
Also from AT yesterday - 9 Wigeon at Ringstone Reservoir
Also from yesterday (Matt B) - House Martins still feeding young, just fledged at a site in Sowerby Bridge.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


The YNU have accepted Dave Franz's two Rough-legged Buzzards in 2014, one at Walshaw Dean and the other at Ringstone Edge so well done Dave. Also Ive sent in a description of the Baird's Sandpiper and the YNU has passed it on to BBRC. If accepted and I can not see why it would not then it will be the 9th record for Yorkshire and a Calderdale first.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Stodfold area

Had an hour up there this morning (between Mixenden Reservoir and Ogden) also nice to meet up with NK and have a chat as we walked round.
2 Grey Partridge
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Swallows >NW
30+ Goldfinch
c12 Linnets
2 Sparrowhawks
2 Kestrels
2 Jays
1 Pied Wagtail
+ a few other local species
Still a good show of Red Admirals (15+) up there along with 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Speckled Woods and a single Small Copper

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fly Flats and Withens Head

Had an hour up there late morning but the drizzle was pretty intense so didn't find much at all.
1 Wheatear at Withens Head opposite the former wind farm car park was disturbed by  a Grey Squirrel running the wall tops.
A good number of Meadow Pipits around the fields near the former Withens Pub area.

21st Sept

Last few days, Roils Head had 2 Stonechats and a nice Wheatear, yesterday the Wigeon was still at Ringstone Edge.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pink-footed Geese....

Great sprinting from the Oxenhope (HC) and Queensbury (BS) relay team this morning with a call of 'pinkies'on their way around 08:45 . Looked like Concorde resurrected !!!
I make it 75 from a quick count I just got out in time to hear them right over the house - brill teamwork, thanks.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Jumble Hole

A few bits whilst out in the garden

- 2 buzzards around all day
- 2 chiffchaff in the garden
- green and great spotted woodpecker over
- nuthatch
- herring gull over, calling
- sparrowhawk being mobbed by swallows and house martins

Friday, September 15, 2017

Yesterdays Bairds Sand

DF took these last night but didn't think they were any good ! still there the best Ive seen so on they go.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Baird's Sandpiper re-located

Back up to Whiteholme this PM where DF relocated the Baird's Sand after it had gone missing for 3 hours, sadly most of the twitchers had gone home. The bird showed much better today and was so obviously a Baird's Sand viewed in good light. Managed a few half decent phone scoped shots. DF and AH will have much better ones so come on guys get them posted.

Baird's Sandpiper update.

Arrived at Whiteholme this morning at 7.50 and was surprised to see no cars. The long walk to the reservoir produced 3/4 Wheatear , 30 meadow pipits , 3 Pied Wagtail and a skien of 32 Pink Footed Geese. arriving at the res not a single birder looking. After an hour not a single wader had been  seen , Alan Nuttal turned up and we both gave the area a good scoping , but nothing , we then headed for the old twite feeding station to see if was in that corner....nothing. With now nearly 2 hours looking it was looking like the bird had moved on . Another scope of the mud banks , and in the far northern corner a small dot was picked up, I pointed it out to Alan ,,,he immediatley said we are going to have to walk all the way back round.
  Finally we made it to the back corner and there it was a stunning Baird's Sandpiper in all its glory with brilliant autumn sunshine picking out the birds beautiful plumage. It called twice 'prrrrt ' very similar to Dunlin  ,  white flanks , straight black bill, black legs with a slight greenish tinge in the sunlight, long primary projection , dark rump , scaly above with a slightly buffish   breast and head with the pale indistinct pale area between the eye and bill. Hope everyone gets to see it and well done to NCD and DFranz for there hard work in finding it ...Cheers all..hope there are some good pics from Allan

Baird's Sandpiper ??????

Its well past mid night and Ive had a few too many drinks but is this a Baird's Sandpiper. Me and DF found it at Whiteholme tonight in fading light. Im being very cautious, me and MH had one rejected in 1990 by BBRC. Sorry about poor quality of video shots. The primarie projections look very long a good sign for Bairds and White Rumped, only it didn't have a white rump. If people go tomorrow please don't flush it but try for some photos.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


7 Pintails were a nice find at Ringstone Edge tonight, also drake Wigeon there.

Friday, September 08, 2017


Checked the site again this morning following the heavy overnight downpours. Unusually quiet with just a solitary Goldcrest found and a female Goosander briefly and which soon headed off in the direction of Thornton Moor.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Beware of developments

The Local Development Plan for Calderdale could still have a serious impact on birding sites in our area.
The biggest housing site proposed is on the green fields between Jay House Lane and Wellholme Park, Brighouse (2000 houses).
The Woodhouse area of farmland next to Bradley Woods is also targeted.
As if our farmland and woodland species didn't have a tough enough time already !

Lots of other sites can be found either on the following website - plan   or in the local libraries.
Objections can be made online (after registering) or on proforma sheets in the library.
Some other areas that I spotted include -
Land near Ovenden Wood Road.
Hays Lane Mixenden.
School Lane Bradshaw (a big site).
Near West End Golf Club.
Saddleworth Road Greetland.
Exley Lane Elland.
Freeman's Wood Brighouse.
Shelf - lots of sites.
Westercroft Lane Northowram.
It's quite a tedious job working through the details, and objections have to be in by the end of the month.
Good Luck !

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Stodfold - between Mixenden reservoir and Ogden golf course.

Late morning
Singles of....
Whinchat, Stonechat, Green Woodpecker and Spotted Flycatcher about in that area today.
Plenty Meadow Pipits, Swallows and 30+ House Martins as well as 20+ Pied Wagtails and a single Grey Wagtail.
40+ Linnets with a few Goldfinch
1 Kestrel

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Ogden, Mixenden and Fly Flats

Did the rounds in the pouring rain looking for Terns with the possibility of them coming down on local reservoirs in the downpours. Ogden, Mixenden and Fly Flats. Nothing doing, just 5 Goosander on Mixenden.

A good number of BH Gulls at Ogden along with a few Common Gulls and 25+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls but nothing else of note.
Not a sign of any Wheatears at Fly Flats .... hiding away somewhere in the torrential rain !

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Green withens

Spent a couple of hours from dawn

A juv yellow wagtail was my 3rd for the site
2 wheatears on the eastern bank
Reed bunting 1
Wren 2
Kestrel a female hunting
5 red grouse
3 mallards
2 c crows
1 lbb gull flew west
1 snipe in the channel
1 chiffchaff


Masses of House Martins over the woodland above Bowers Mill down Branch Road this afternoon. How hard is it to count frantically feeding House Martins ! Maybe 200+ with very few Swallows in among them. A great spectacle. They seemed quite unperturbed by a passing Common Buzzard.

It also looks like the pond there is being de-silted, maybe flood alleviation measures, which in the long run will surely benefit the pond and wildlife rather than allow the silt to gradually destroy the aquatic life.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Pepper Hill

This morning around the hillside overlooking Claremount on one side and Shibden Valley on the other.
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers >SW
1 Green Woodpecker
2 Wheatears - unusual to see one of them perched on the top of a house roof opposite the ski slope.
Plenty of Swallows about and 30+ House Martins over Shibden Head.
2 Mistle Thrush >SW
2 Sparrowhawk
2 Kestrels
2 Common Buzzards distant

Friday, September 01, 2017

Ripponden to Ringstone

1  Sparrowhawk chasing Blue Tit
8 Willow Warbler
200+ Lapwing
1 Green Woodpecker
20 Goldfinch
21 Starlings
15 Pied Wagtail
4 Cormorant
Plenty of Swallows
Plus a good number of Butterflies - Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper

Ogden -golf course

I managed to find this pair of Redstarts near the lower end of the course this morning. Rather distant shots, they were being so elusive in and out of the hawthorn bushes and not giving chance to get anywhere near them. Female type at the top and the male lower photo.
The first local ones I have seen this year and a really scarce breeding bird for Calderdale nowadays though spring and autumn migrants, like these two, can be found locally as they  journey from and back to Africa for our winter.

Also nearby
1 Willow Warbler
A few Meadow Pipits
62 Canada Geese
c30 Linnets
12+ Goldfinch
30+ Swallows
6 House Martins
2 Mistle Thrush - already eating the rowan berries
1 Kestrel
1 Green Woodpecker on Hunter Hill