Sunday, December 31, 2017

Haifax Bird List

Link to the Halifax Bird List
Halifax Bird List

Friday, December 29, 2017


Always the best headline for getting people's attention. But it's also true.....

12 months ago at the start of 2017, we didn't know we'd add great white egret and confirmed baird's sandpiper to the Calderdale list (did I miss any?). As we approach 2018, who fancies guessing what the next new addition will be?

If it's a bird we've never had before (even historically) the person who guesses correctly will get a 9 pint mini keg of beer from Slightly Foxed.

So who fancies an inland red-breasted flycatcher? A very lost dartford warbler (they have made Castleford this year) or a red rumped swallow? Rose coloured starling? Pom' skua? All still up for grabs, or anything else you think we're well overdue.

 I'll start things rolling with a left field shout of white tailed eagle.

Lee Mount

Garden watch today on and off during the snowy conditions !!
2 Nuthatch
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker - loves the fat-filled half coconuts
Blue, Great and Coal Tits
1 Wood Pigeon
c12 House Sparrows (on careful watch in case a Tree Sparrow drops in )!
2+ Chaffinch
2+ Magpies
5+ Blackbirds
Several Redwing flyovers over the park trees
1 Kestrel - a rarity for Lee Mount in recent years
A few Black-headed and Common Gull flyovers
Local male Blackbird - taken through the window

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Swales Moor

Yesterday and this afternoon
100+ Common Gulls in freshly manured fields both days with 3 B H Gulls this afternoon with them. A trickle of Herring Gulls were going through very high >W today with 2 adult Great Black-backed Gulls.

Small birds were almost absent yesterday afternoon apart from 2 Redwings >SE though this afternoon (much colder) fared better.
The former manure stack field produced c20 Meadow Pipits, 7 Pied Wagtails, 1 Goldfinch and 2 Starlings. They are such wary birds up there they are really difficult to get to grips with and move off at the first sign of approach. Definately no buntings with them though !
Looking West from Ringby Top at around 15:20

Mixenden and Stodfold

Mixenden Res'r
1 f Goldeneye
4 Mallard
1 Cormorant
1 Kestrel
1 Grey Wagtail
2 Jays
A good mix of B G Gulls and Common Gulls and 2 Herring Gulls

Stodfold area towards the lower end of the Golf Course
Pair of Stonechats
1 Redwing
1 Green Woodpecker
27 Canada Geese
1 Kestrel
1 Mistle Thrush
Jackdaw at Stodfold

John Dale

Very sad to hear via social media that John Dale (Huddersfield Birdwatchers Club)  passed away just before Xmas, older Calderdale birders will remember John for his invaluable work both at a local level and also via the YNU. Details of the funeral are yet to be announced.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Wainstalls and Castle Carr Road

An hour or so along the top this afternoon. Very dull and overcast with a brisk >SW. A few birds about, more than I'd expected.
A pair of Stonechats braving it out looking for food in the shelter of the stone walls.
2 Mistle Thrush
c60 Fieldfares, c30 Redwings and c30 Starlings in one flock pre dusk.
1 Little Owl
1 Wren scrabbling about in the gorze bushes.
2 Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Common Buzzard - a very pale bird - rounded off the afternoon nicely !

Enjoy Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mixenden, Stodfold, Ogden golf course and Ogden

Quite an afternoon.......
Headed down towards Stodfold from Whitegate and scanned over towards Mixenden reservoir from a distance - pair of Goldeneye diving and a Cormorant on the buoy, 2 Mallard types and also 18/19 other large duck sp. unidentified.When I got to Mixenden Resr they were gone !!!

I headed off up towards the golf course (Green Woodpecker calling) when a call from BS alerted me to Pink-footed Geese heading down the valley from Ogden. Moments later they were over me (good timing Bri) - 43 of them towards Mixi res'r, they veered off towards Mount Tabor (where Nick D also got them a few minutes later)
 Pink-footed Geese (43)
Stodfold > towards Ogden
Another call from BS - 16 Wigeon, pair of Shoveler and a Teal had arrived at Ogden - looks like they moved there from mixi but they didn't head further in the misty gloom at higher level. So off I went over the golf course at a pace. Got to the top of the hill, catching my breath ..... Red Kite over head moving >N at 14:55 over the eastern ridge of the course. Hurried phone call to BS as the kite turned >NE over the plantation. He got it disappearing in the  gloom putting everything up on the res'r, including the Wigeon and Shoveler and they had gone when I got down there, spooked by the kite probably.
What an afternoon - I love it !!
See BS's West Yorkshire Birding blog for Brian's report and photo's of the duck on Ogden

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir etc

Drake Goldeneye on there late morning to join the female. Also 1 Cormorant, a few of the usual small Gulls, 1 ad LBB Gull and 2 ad Herring Gulls >W

Also from BS at Ogden this afternoon. Pair of Teal and a Little Grebe.

And from AT earlier today 5 Mandarin Ducks 3m 2f on River Ryburn near Ripponden.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Jayhouse Lane

15 Tree Sparrows by the feeders today

Nesting Instinct

I have a pair of Collared Doves at Barkisland with new nest, no eggs yet. This mild spell might induce them. It's in a big evergreen shrub; their usual site. (Update - 2 eggs at 11.30am on 23rd Dec. two is their usual clutch size, in common with most dove species; I  have seen three, but this could have been a case of  egg "dumping" by another female.)

Starlings aren't common in my garden, but a chattering coming from round the side of the house prompted me to look and there was one just coming out of the box, and his/her mate up on the troughing. This box was first used by them last summer. I'm not aware of them nesting unseasonably, but they're obviously booking their spot for later.

Not nesting but feeding, I had a Goldcrest in a large Norway Spruce in Hanson Lane yesterday, one that was probably a Christmas tree many years ago. The bird seemed out of context, among the terraced streets.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Soil Hill

Gave it a try up there late afternoon - still hoping for Snow Bunting (or Jack Snipe)!
It took me ages to find anything at all other than a passing Kestrel.
Fog banks to the west and sunshine to the east over Bradford
 Soil Hill looking towards the top end of Ogden plantation and Ovenden wind-farm
Looking east - Soil Hill towards Bradford - what a difference !
I managed to find, at a distance, c100 Starlings and c100 Lapwings down on the north slope fields as well as a good number of Common Gulls and a few Black-headed Gulls on the move and one adult Herring Gull >W.
In the fields on the way down, alongside Ned Hill, 3 Redwings were feeding in a field along with 13 Fieldfare and 2 Raven went over calling >N. Not a bad finish to the afternoon as the light faded.

Mixenden Reservoir

Just a quick check there today with the mist drifting in from the west
2 Cormorants -  both doing some successful fishing !
1 female Goldenenye
15 Herring Gulls (mostly adults) >W
c70 B H Gulls
c40 Common Gulls - though these latter two species were coming and going all the time
Small tit flock including Blue, Great, Coal and L T Tits as well as at least 1 Goldcrest and a Wren
Distant Cormorant with a good sized fish - down in one !

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Jumble Hole

A single buzzard has been around again this week, after an absence of about a month. A stunning male sparrowhawk was perched in a tree in full view. And a kestrel is a regular in front of the house this winter.

I made a start cleaning out nest boxes yesterday, and the one that had the failed pied flycatcher nest in looked to have been disturbed. The eggs were still there a few weeks ago, but all that is left now are a few bits of shell. Presumably a mouse had got in and got a free meal.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Twite - equipment theft...

Have just received this from Nick Carter - thanks Nick.

See below this link - Jamie Dunning has being doing a lot of Twite work in our area as well as further afield. If anyone can support him after this unfortunate incident I'm sure he will be very grateful.

With grateful thanks to those who have supported Jamie. His target has now been surpassed (however we reckon he will still be 'short of a few bob' to replace all the expensive equipment he lost.)

Swales Moor

Ringby top this afternoon - still well frozen over up there and very cold on the ridge.
The Meadow Pipit flock is still there, feeding in the field opposite the long metal fence with at least 28 birds there but I couldn't find anything different with them.
2 alba wagtails
1 Kestrel
1 Fieldfare
6 Herring Gulls >N
A few Common Gulls loafing along the ridge and the usual corvids in abundance
A large dark looking dog Fox crossed the path in front of me but it was gone as I lifted the camera !
 Ringby top fields on 9th Dec looking towards Soil Hill (L) and Queensbury (R)
Ringby top this afternoon looking east towards (I think) Drax (L) and Ferrybridge (R) power stations

Friday, December 15, 2017

Lee Dam

Just 1F Goldeneye on main dam at 1530, very quiet in the wooded areas too. Top dam frozen.

Mixenden Res’r

3 Cormorants and 1 female Goldeneye this morning.
1 L B B Gull looked like an intermedius and 2 adult Herring Gulls with the N H and Common Gulls
1 Meadow Pipit was unexpected.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Mixenden and Ogden Res'rs

A wet, cold and miserable afternoon with black ice underfoot though the fresh air was exhilarating !!
2 Cormorants
1 female Goldeneye

2 Goldcrest dropped into the nearby bush as I chatted with JL
1 Kestrel - must be struggling for food out hunting, hovering on the hillside in the pouring rain.
Not much else other than the usual Mallard and a few B H Gulls and Common Gulls moving through.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


                Peregrine with a fresh kill this morning in Brighouse.


Rain with pretty treacherous ice underfoot this morning - we did the 'round'
1 very smart looking adult great Black-backed Gull on the ice at the top end with Common Gulls and B H Gulls
2 adult Herring Gulls out in the middle
Not much else other than c120 Mallard at the feeding area.
Nothing down the sluice at the lower end of reservoir as YW workmen were down there checking the plant - so no Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail or Dipper today !.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pink-footed Geese

Just on dark got a call from AC at Northowram - c100 noisy 'pinks' heading my way (just about due >W)....heard them but unseen as the light had gone. Thanks for the call !

Cold Edge

The site surpassed it's name this afternoon. Freezing cold but it was nice to be out though not a great selection of birds with no sign of any geese in the fields - they've 'legged it' !
1 Fieldfare scoffing berries on a garden Cotoneaster.
1 f Stonechat near the top small pond - a struggle to find food in this weather.
c20 Goldfinch feeding on the alder tree seeds
20 Mallard on the ice - both large dams totally frozen over
Red Grouse on the moor were pretty vocal
3 Wrens in the small plantations - they will struggle up there if this cold spell continues
A few corvids including 5 Rooks chasing about around the former rookery - hope they settle to recolonize that site this year. Also 2 Ravens heading over >E
 Track heading past the top dam (Haigh Cote) out of site up the banking on the left
Sunshine in the haze late afternoon reflecting on the iced over lower dam Leadbeater Dam
Also in the tree and shrub areas around Wainstalls Village
Several Blackbirds, 18 Collared Doves, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Goldcrest and 7 adult Herring Gulls >W
Unfortunately there was nothing doing near 'The Delvers' which has traditionally been a reasonably good winter site for Brambling - though there don't appear to be any feeders around there now !

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lee Mount etc

 c70 Pink-footed Geese over > W at 12:05 today and from BS first thing this morning at Ogden - 5 Shelduck flyovers >NE around 08:40 - a nice winter record.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Swales Moor etc....

After an abortive attempt to get up there yesterday in the freezing conditions I decided to park in Boothtown this morning and walk up there rather than get stuck up Ploughcroft again (as I did yesterday ! )
Enjoyed the walk on to the top of Ringby Lane to check the top fields (seeing as it is Snow Bunting weather). Nothing doing on that score.
2 Meadow Pipits
2 Common Snipe - though how they were feeding on the frozen ground must have been a struggle !
Not much else up there other than 1 adult L B B Gull and the glut of Carrion Crows. The usual Common Gulls had deserted as had everything else.

Earlier today a flock of Pink-footed Geese went over Lee Mount before it was light - heard not seen !
24 'pinks' at c10:40 over Jay House Lane, Clifton from DF could have been the same lot as went over Beacon Hill shortly after from AC at around 10:55.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Mixenden Reservoir and Mount Tabor

First time out for a couple of weeks and I was prompted by looking at the blog 15th December 2014 - the day when the Great Northern Diver turned up at this site and stayed until last seen on 2nd February 2015. Right time of year for another one - wishful thinking !
1 f Goldeneye
1 Mallard
1 2nd winter Herring Gull >W
c40 B H Gulls, 15+ Common Gulls and 1 ad L B B Gull on the water
1 male Kestrel flew through the plantation - otherwise all quiet in there.

Mount Tabor Fields alongside Moor End Road
1 Meadow Pipit
c110 Starlings
40+ B H Gulls
20+ Common Gulls
+ a few corvids

Sunday, December 03, 2017


A female Goosander was in the R Calder just downstream from the market. Not often seen in the town centre in my experience, but the water level was slightly high without being in flood.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Jayhouse Lane

                Red Kite again at the top of Jayhouse Lane yesterday.