Monday, October 30, 2017

Calder Valley

Yesterday pm.

3 cormorants. They have been around for at least three weeks.
Buzzard, peregrine and two raven over.
Male sparrowhawk.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fly Flatts Glory

  Nice surprise seeing 2 Twite up at Fly Flatts and also nice
  to see BS's Ring Ouzel what a beautiful bird it is, also 4 Redstart
  seen up there, It was nice to bump into DF who was skywatching
  but there wasn't much showing at all.

Friday, October 27, 2017


186 pink feet (re-counted from a photo - a few  more than I estimated earlier) flew west over Mytholmroyd  11:30.

3 buzzards around Jumble Hole, at least one of which is a juvenile. A few siskins around this week too.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Swales Moor and Hunter Hill

A good move of Woodpigeons (937), Redwings (348), and  a few Starlings (240), Chaffinch (22), Fieldfare (1)  this morning between 08:15 and 09:30 mainly all >W and >SW plus a few other species in much lower numbers.

This afternoon I had a check on Hunter Hill (between Wainstalls and Mixenden) but couldn't find much other than a Little Owl on Balkram Edge and a Cormorant on the reservoir.

BS fared much better with 2 Ring Ouzels at Fly Flatts thereby continuing his 'purple patch'. A scarce migrant especially on autumn passage as they head back to North Africa for our winter. Well done Bri and thanks for the lift back down from The Withens. See West Yorkshire Birding blog for further details.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


We are still getting one or two reports of late-ish Wheatears - very nice to still have some returning summer migrants on their way to wintering grounds in Africa.
One today as reported earlier at Withens Head
Another at Fly Flatts today (BS)

These two photos below are of the same individual from JM and were also seen by DF at Jay House Lane, Clifton.

Fly Flatts and Withens Head

Fly Flatts. Very windy. !
Just 4 R L Partridge, a Kestrel and 5 Canada's.

Withens Head, opposite wind farm car park.
1 Wheatear, 3+ Stonechat, Kestrel and Little Owl along with a Raven >N.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fly Flatts

Strong westerly wind up there this afternoon but at least it was clear of fog. Hard to find any birds.
2 Kestrels and that was it.

Withens Head
4 Stonechats on the walls by the farm and a single Buzzard over >SW
1 Kestrel

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fly Flatts ... Swales Moor

Fly Flatts
Fog just would not lift at all for me this afternoon though BS got a 'window' later in the afternoon before the grime came in again.
I just managed 4 fly-by Partridge spp. and a solitary Redwing as they flew right in front of the car.
BS did manage 4 Wigeon later on - see his report on West Yorkshire Birding along with a mass of birds for HC at the Oxenhope watch point earlier today.

1 Stonechat and 15 Goldfinch

I headed off to Swales Moor - usually clear when Fly Flatts is in the mist
On the top of Ringby Lane there were plenty of birds about...
1 Song Thrush
4 Stonechats together
60+ Meadow Pipits
1 Skylark
11 alba Wagtails >S
15+ Goldfinch
c20 Linnets
80+ corvids on the freshly manured fields - and did it stink !!
Plenty of gulls along the ridge with 1 Great Black-back, c20 Lesser Black-backed, 40+ Common Gulls, 5 Herring Gulls and 40+ Black-headed - all drifting >NW as the daylight started to fade.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Luddenden Dean

Had a couple of hours in the dean late morning - before the torrential rain came in !
Redwings all over the place after an overnight arrival - difficult to get any decent counts but probably 300+. They were getting blown all over the place but they were very alert and flighty, some heading up the dean and others down, perhaps wanting to settle but when they are in migration mood they do not seem to want to stay especially when the raptors were are also well in evidence.
400+ Woodpigeons though they went straight through >SW
2 Fieldfares
6+ Mistle Thrush
3 Sparrowhawks
4 Kestrels
1 Merlin - female fly-through came off Castle Carr Road, down into the dean strafing the fields then the tree tops then low over the moor >W
1 Little Owl
1 Dipper in the stream by the bridge just before the 'catti' pub
1 Nuthatch and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker both near the Lower Lodge

Very few small birds about in the blustery wind other than a few Chaffinch over >SW
1 Reed Bunting in juncus along Castle Carr Road

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fly Flatts etc...

Fly Flatts - in the drifting thick fog and light drizzle. waiting for the fog to clear while I was there so went to try lower down
1 Wheatear on the top road - getting quite late for them now ! though BS found 2 more later on, well done Bri.
1 Raven - heard only
1 Barnacle Goose making a lot of noise had obviously lost it's mate in the fog  but, I hear, found it later on per BS
Withens Head
6 Magpies - they are getting more regular here at higher elevation so it's not boding well for breeding waders next summer !

Mixenden Reservoir
1 Cormorant
1 each L B B Gull and Herring Gull

1 Reed Bunting in the juncus near the reservoir cottage
1 Goldcrest in the pines at the back of the lodge
2 Fieldfare
1 Redwing

Earlier today on Swales Moor
7 Skylarks together in the top field
21 Redwing and 2 Fieldfare >W

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Natural World

Just seen that the Natural World tonight is showing a programme at 9PM on BBC 2 about Goshawks, one of my favourite birds, hope its good.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Other news today

Can't beat the report from BS... ! what will tomorrow bring (???)

5 Whooper Swans over Northowram >E at around 15:00 this afternoon (AC)

c80 Pink-footed Geese >W over Barkisland this morning at c 09:35 (TW)
c160 more 'pinks' >W over Skircoat at 11 :05 (WG)

Fly Flatts Great Egret

                         Another stonker for Calderdale
                            1500 hrs Fly Flatts >NE
                           It came up the Calder Valley from the SW

Report on West Yorkshire Birding

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fly Flatts Caspian Gull.

Just had contact with DJS about some pics of yesterdays 1st winter Caspian gull at Fly Flatts .
Photos not the best as bird came through fast in near gale force SW >7 gusting 8 so no time to tripod up. Photos hand held at 600mm.

                                     Hooked bill

                                         Bullet hole eye.

                               Milky white underwing

Thanks to all concerned.

Another first for Calderdale.. !

See BS's blog for yesterday, 16th October- West Yorkshire Birding - there is a link on this page.

Top birder Bri, for finding and photographing a Caspian Gull at Fly Flatts yesterday afternoon. Probably a first winter bird. A great reward for a lot of hard work day after day on the local patch and in all conditions. These are tricky birds to identify at all ages though there have been a growing number of reports in the UK in recent years but none identified in Calderdale, until this one !

Like  a true birder - BS was careful about not jumping to conclusions on the birds identity but checked it out with others after KM suggested Caspian and then supported by comments from other experienced birders.
Well done Bri. Think you deserve a reward !!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir

Had a walk around the site late morning trying for late warblers in the shrubbery areas around the western edge. Nothing much doing at all until a call from BS lifted the gloom "pinks over Queensbury >SW"
A few minutes later they came overhead, heard first then seen high over  - 44 of them towards Wainstalls. Thanks Bri

A distinct lack of small birds around the site.
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Sparrowhawk
1 L B B Gull
A few Common and Black-headed Gulls
40+ Jackdaws

Friday, October 13, 2017

Brighouse to Lee Mount

Early warning at 09:39 this morning from DF - Pink-footed Geese over Brighouse >W.
11 minutes later they were over Lee Mount 51 of them - a great sight - thanks Dave !

Interesting that last week when the 'pinks' were on the move in the blustery wind it was taking them over 15 minutes minutes to get here. Conditions were more favourable for them moving today.
Pink-footed Geese
Another 'shout' from DF at 12:37 - with another c60 >W over Jay House Lane, Clifton but they missed me this time so wonder if they came up Shibden Valley or Queensbury maybe (??)

Also from home today, 3 Redwings passed over >W just after dawn and later a Sparrowhawk as well as the usual pair of Great-spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Nuthatches on the garden feeders.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fly Flats etc.

I did the rounds this morning thinking the poor weather might produce something, though sideways rain at Fly Flats would deter most birds - nothing there other than a lost looking brown cow down by the former Twite feeding area !

Mixenden Reservoir was similar other than 2 L B B Gulls and 3 alba Wagtails >W
The highlight .... ...was 1 Pink-footed Goose still in the fields with 20 Canadas at Cold Edge.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Other news today

Ringstone Reservoir this afternoon from JB
4 Shelduck
5 Wigeon
5 Teal

Shibden Head

A stroll up the valley this afternoon didn't produce a lot but the weather was pleasant, warm and dry.
1 Green Woodpecker calling
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Common Buzzards (distant)
2+ Sparrowhawks
2 Kestrels
1 Grey Wagtail
6+ Jays
Usual small birds including 2 Goldcrests
1 Song Thrush
6+ Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush

North of England Raptor Forum

The annual NERF Conference for 2017 is being hosted by Northumbria Ringing Group at City Campus East, Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne.

 There is an exciting and varied programme for you to enjoy. We’ll be covering a wide range of topics guaranteed to be of interest to raptor enthusiasts, fieldworkers and those with an interest in the uplands. 

 The conference takes place on Saturday 18th November 2017. Refreshments and lunch are included in the ticket price and in a first for the conference this year you will receive a FREE complimentary copy of the newly published NERF Annual Review 2016.

 If you would like further details please email   for  a programme of the days events, your delegate booking form and a handy map to help get you there.

 To ensure your place at the conference please BOOK EARLY! Payments either by BACS or cheque. Please follow the instructions on the booking form.

Other enquiries: email or visit for more information.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Stodfold area (between Mixenden and Ogden)

Not a lot found this afternoon
4 Mistle Thrush
Adult female Sparrowhawk
2 Jays
72 Canada Geese on Mixenden Reservoir
6 Stock Doves
No sign of any Stonechats at the lower end of the golf course.

48 Pink-footed Geese over Lee Mount at 15:30 as we pulled the car up outside home. Count verified by BS who got them going over near Fly Flats a few minutes later. Thanks Bri

Todays other news

A nice photo of a Tree Sparrow today from JM at a site near Jay House Lane
Tree Sparrow (click photo to enlarge)
Several reports from yesterday and today of Redwings arriving in Calderdale from the continent along with just a few Fieldfare. Sightings from Mixenden plantation, Northowram, Claremount, Walshaw Dean and Gorple areas. We can expect a good influx within the next week or two - always dependent on weather conditions !
A Swallow today over Northowram (AC) and another Stonechat at Wainstalls (Dave B)

From yesterday a single Whooper Swan at Ringstone (GS and AT) and an unknown number of Whooper Swans over Fly Flatts - heard in the fog, but unseen ! (BS)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Swales Moor

In interesting afternoon along Ringby top in the sunshine !
Nice to meet John and Sue up there as well, shame you left when you did with a Peregrine, a Raven and a Stonechat not long after you left. !

At least 4 Great Black-backed Gulls including one that landed on a roof-top next to a Lesser Black- backed Gull showing the difference in leg colour and size, which is not always easy to appreciate. Several Herring Gulls also moved through > W
1 Kestrel
1 Common Buzzard
1 Sparrowhawk
2 Pied Wagtails
Not many small birds about other than a few 'mipits' and Goldfinches though, as usual, plenty of corvids.
 This adult Gt B B Gull towered over the L B B Gull and the Carrion Crows
Peregrine with a very full crop (looking directly into the light)

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Pink-footed Geese - update

What a day for those of us who had the opportunity and the good fortune to continue with the bonanza of 'pinks' still moving >W and >NW over Calderdale from this morning.

The birds were obviously struggling against the gusting westerly winds and skeins were getting split up and struggling to catch up with the leaders. It's amazing the in-built urge to keep moving even when conditions are far from perfect. In one instance this afternoon a flock of 40 came down to rest on Warley Moor between Slade (opposite the wind-farm) and the Rocking Stone. Despite other flocks passing overhead they were not interested in moving on !

With thanks to AC, DF, MS, VJ et al for the frequent updates from Northowram, Jay House Lane - Clifton, Highroad Well and Warley Moor/Fly Flatts.
The total for the day (thanks partly to photographic counts) and discounting duplications comes to 1,726 though with such a big movement of birds it's likely that other skeins were missed. Some may well still be going over during the night and maybe into tomorrow. (?)

Pink-footed Geese

'Pinks' on the move late morning over Calderdale starting with 35 over Lee Mount at 10:38 closely followed by 38 over Northowram - then it continued.....In blustery conditions some of the skeins were all over the place but persisted W> or >NW till over lunchtime.

 Counts over Lee Mount, mainly looking towards Swales Moor, were 35, 16, 25, 31, 12, 50 and 25 (counts checked from photos) - totalling 194 and maybe more to come this afternoon.
Other reports came in from AC at Northowram and from DF at Jay House Lane, Clifton so there may be some duplication, possibly up to another 200 to 300??

Also moving this morning over Lee Mount, mainly (>W)  were c45 Meadow Pipits, 20+ unidentified finches, 8 Swallows (>SE), c60 Starlings, 1 adult Great Black-backed Gull, 3 Sparrowhawks and 2 Common Buzzards. A good morning to be outside !

Monday, October 02, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir

5 Goosander (all red-heads) there late afternoon.
1 Goldcrest

Lee Mount

Out doing a few jobs this morning then on arriving back home soon after 10 am got out the car to hear a Raven "Cronkin" high above me. Soaring about and display tumbling for a few minutes over the ridge above Shroggs Park so I shot in for the camera, wrong lens on !! Then the bird was away towards town centre direction. What a bird, fantastic and only the second record for this location in over 40 years !!