Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hebblefoot today

I learned its proper name (Hebblefoot) in an old article. Like Brookfoot and Luddendenfoot, it denotes the spot where a tributary stream joins the River Calder.

Others may know it as the Calder and Hebble junction, or the Salterhebble Canal Basin area.

Song Thrush
Meadow Pipit  2 , probably displaced by deep snow on the tops - unusual here. Feeding along the water's edge.
Mallard 2
Tree Sparrows used to nest in a hole in the masonry of the railway viaduct in the 1990s.

Very pretty all round in the snow.
Generally squalid without snow but often quite rich in birds.
A long time since the canal froze!

The naturalists of old left many records of water plants and water snails from this area.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Bankhouse and North Dean woods in the snow

Left the car at home and set off down Bankhouse Wood, crossed Wakefield Road at the bottom, got onto the canal bank to Copley, then across to North Dean Woods to do a circuit there.

Not much to watch on the Bankhouse side, but we've seen a Tawny Owl chick out down there a few times in the past and wondered if I could work out where they nest. One dead trunk of an oak fell over many years ago in which, at nesting time, you could see the adult's tail sticking out from the nest in the top of the trunk. So they must have another hole now, but it wasn't visible to me today.

I like snow because it brightens things up and I see things I normally wouldn't in winter.

Onto that stretch of canal bank by the Copley Water Treatment Works; smells almost as bad as in Summer!  Along here I saw my first ever Waxwings in the 1970s; about 60 of them feeding on hawthorn berries. That was before they got the Rowan berry habit as that tree hadn't yet been planted much around supermarket car parks.

At least 50 Black-headed Gulls feeding in the waste water and flying around. Several of them with full or nearly fully black heads. The flock gets up to about 250 as the winter wears on. Never any other species of gull with them that I can see. They wheel around in the sky seemingly most of the day, then about 3.30 pm they drift off over Greetland as if they are going to roost on Scammonden or Ringstone Edge Reservoirs. It would be nice to know where.

Over in North Dean Wood I got a Goldcrest in the churchyard and a couple of Dippers going up the Calder. Then there were numerous small dull birds flying straight up from under the Rhododendrons into the trees in the wood. Redwings! But none showing any red. Further on as I went through the beeches by the river I flushed two different flocks of at least 100 each, and finally one perched showing a bright red flank as well as the face stripes. They were feeding among the snowy leaf litter, presumably on invertebrates, not seeds. Then straight after this excitement (first big gathering of winter thrushes I'd found this winter) a Buzzard flushed from the tree tops over my head and started circling round and jinking to avoid an angry crow.

Searched the bottom ponds along there in the hope of a Woodcock, but nothing more than a count of  3 Robins, showing they are not just a garden bird.

Lovely walk in the snowy woods.

Mixenden and Stodfold

Very wintry conditions today with heavy snow showers and bright sunny intervals.
Mixenden Res'r
21 Canada's and 2 Greylags Geese
3 Cormorants
21 Mallard
Surprisingly no Goldeneye
2 Grey Wagtails and 1 Pied Wagtail
Usual Gulls and corvids

7 Curlew
2 Snipe
130 + Woodpigeons
1 Stonechat doing the rounds on the manure heaps.
 Grey Wagtail

'Pinkies' ? and garden birds

From Dave B -  3 skeins reported, probably 'pinkies', at 10:20 over Low Moor, Bradford heading our way. I tried from home but couldn't pick them up so guess they either headed over town, the Calder Valley or Queensbury direction. ? Wonder if anyone else managed to see them ?

On the plus side I had a Green Woodpecker flyover while I was out looking for the geese.
Took a few shots of birds in the garden this morning - through the window !
 Great Spotted Woodpecker
 Mistle Thrush (a scarce garden bird here)
 Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit

Goldcrest (a regular this winter on the fat-filled coconut)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Swales Moor

On the top along Ringby Lane this afternoon for and hour. Not a lot about in the freezing cold easterly wind other than the usual corvids, 2 Herring gulls and c35 Common Gulls near the ski-slope.
5 Skyark together on the top field were the best birds of the day
2 Meadow Pipits
1 Pied Wagtail

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ogden Water

Ten whooper swans on the water at 8.00 am this morning

Friday, February 23, 2018

Swales Moor - Ringby Lane

I am still living in the hope of a Snow Bunting - but again to no avail ! Perfect weather for them.
2 Grey Wagtails overhead >SE were good to see though unusual over this site
1 Snipe flushed on the top
Distant Buzzard
1 Red-legged Partridge again flushed on the top
c20 Meadow Pipits are still frequenting the field they have used all winter though they hide away in the grass and only seem to show when the Carrion Crows fly over them
1 Great Black-backed Gull >W
6 Herring Gulls
c35 Common Gulls in the fields at Ploughcroft below the ski slope with c50 Jackdaws and c100 Starlings
Usual Carrion Crows

Mixenden Res'r and Fly Flats

After yesterday's Whooper Swans at Fly Flats I thought it would be worth a quick check this morning to see if there were any more about. Nothing doing and the Flay Flats birds had gone. I don't blame them in the conditions up there this morning freezing mist but the water was just about scan-able !
Mixenden - One third was frozen over.
3 Cormorant
25 Mallard
Pair of Goldeneye
5 Canada Geese
70+ B H Gulls
11 Common Gulls

Fly Flats - not frozen but I think the wind was responsible for that !
c30 Canada Geese
1 Snipe flew down into the juncas

Withens Head
6 Golden Plover in the field flew off into the mist towards Nolstar where BS got some later in the day.
1 Stonechat around the farm building
20 Lapwings flying over towards Cold Edge Dams
Golden Plover - the best I could do !

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Crimsworth Dean

The upper end of the dean around the Grain Water Bridge area produced some nice birds this afternoon despite the freezing cold wind. Bright sunshine throughout.
13 Curlew
80+ Lapwing
c30 Golden Plover
c50 Fieldfare
2 Mistle Thrush (singing)
c200 Starlings
10+ Stock Doves
1 Little Owl
1 Skylark
At least 3 Kestrels
9 Goldfinch
1 Sparrowhawk near Pecket Well
Loads of Pheasants (40+) and even more Red Grouse on the moor

 Starlings + a few Fieldfare
Curlew flyovers

Fly Flatts

Fly Flatts today was busy with birds 2 Snipe , 1 Oystercatcher , 20 Lapwing , 60 + Canada Geese , 8 Mallards , 8 Whooper Swans  and 1 Shelduck

Cold Edge

Yesterday afternoon. Very quiet on the whole with very little movement of birds apart from 1 Great Black-backed Gull and 1 Herring Gull >W.
Around 25 Lapwings on the dams and some Golden Plover heard on the moor were the only waders
c60 Canada's and 2 Greylags Geese on the lower pond fields and the lone Pink-footed Goose still there in with some 'domestics'
1 Kestrel
8 Meadow Pipits
c150 Starlings
c80 Fieldfares

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bird ID Help

  Can anyone help with ID of this bird seen in the woods
  at Cromwell Bottom, it moved and acted like a Jay which
  I thought it was but the colours were all wrong, sorry for
  the poor pic but couldn't focus fast enough with all the twigs
  before it disappeared.
  Also a few pics of the Shibden Valley Buzzard.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Monday PM

Short eared owl seen from A6033 just inside Calderdale Monday evening.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Walshaw Dean area

Feeling a little spring-like bird wise up there today.

- 3 curlew
- 45+ lapwing
- 5 oystercatcher
- 2 raven at Walshaw, 4 together just south of Widdop
- 3 song thrush in full voice
- 3 mistle thrush
- siskin heard in the plantation
- fly through buzzard

Mount Tabor - Heath Hill

2 Curlew over this morning. Kestrel hunting the field and Sparrowhawk on the ground in the garden. 13 Golden Plover at 17.15 in the field at Heath Hill was good to see.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Late report

Forgot to post this - had a curlew over the house on February 6th.
Also 3 buzzards the same week.

A pair of goosander were on the river in Hebden Bridge, along with a dipper. And a cormorant was also diving on the river by the train station. Along with the recent local mammal sightings, this would indicate the river is increasingly healthy.

Only other thing to note is that although the bird feeders at home have been busy, I am yet to see a greenfinch - a bird that in previous years was seen daily.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fly Flats - High Brown Knoll - Pecket Well

A great day to be out walking - if well wrapped up. Very cold up there with light snow and ice underfoot. We thought it might be worth a look for Snow Bunting along the ridge of High Brown Knoll along the footpath call Limers Gate - but there was nothing up there other than loads of Red Grouse making plenty of noise and flying over the moor.
Fly Flats
1 Skylark
2 Carrion Crows
2 Mallard
4 Canada Geese
 Fly Flats from the top road looking >WSW towards High Brown Knoll in the middle distance
 Ferney Brinks - the moor looking >NNE towards Fly Flats and Nab Hill
Limers Gate on High Brown Knoll looking >W towards Gorple and Walshaw in the far distance (where we were hoping for Snow Bunting !)
On the other side down Crimsworth Dean birds were sparse other than a distant Buzzard, 1 Herring Gull >W and c25 Lapwings and corvids near Pecket Well

Luddenden Dean

From yesterday afternoon - a bright clear very cold day but went down into the dean for a bit of respite from the wind on the tops. I went towards the Lower Lodge to see if there were any Brambling coming in to the roost with Chaffinch's at Castle Carr. Plenty of Chaff's heading up the valley late on in small groups but no sign of any Brambling unfortunately. There just don't seem to be any about after a good show of them last winter. Perhaps the seed crop in Scandinavia is better for them this winter (?)
1 Green Woodpecker
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Nuthatch
1 Little Owl
3 Kestrels
1 Buzzard
1 Redwing
20+ Fieldfare
4 Mistle Thrush
3 Stock Doves
+ a few other expected species

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Mixenden Reservoir

First thing today
5 Cormorant
4 Goosander inc 2 males
3 Goldeneye inc 1 drake
8 Mallard
1 L B B Gull
1 Herring Gull
Usual smaller gulls.

Also from yesterday alongside the river and canal between Luddenden Foot and Mytholmroyd
2 Cormorant . In the sunshine showing the iridescent plumage which is often shown in 'black' plumaged birds like Rooks, Magpies, Lapwings etc..
Also along the river at least 4 Dippers, Peregrine over high, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4+ Nuthatch and just 2 Grey Herons and a Kestrel.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Anyone like a challenge ??

With thanks to David Crawshaw -  a photo taken in Ethiopia recently though it can be seen occasionally in the UK.
Identification challenge !
It certainly challenged me - but I got there eventually.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Lee Mount

I was pondering going on the tops today looking for Snow Bunting but changed my mind - went soft !!
I bet BS will be out this afternoon though.....

Instead I got on with completing some bird boxes in the garage. 14 'tit' type boxes + 2 Treecreeper boxes to add to 10 more 'tit' boxes from Roger R purchased from the National Trust using funds from the Grapevine contributions.
With Alan T we have permission from landowners and plan to put a good number of these up at sites in Cragg Vale, not just for 'tit' species but also to target Redstart and Pied Flycatcher as with both species we struggle to retain birds that move through in spring.

Also today
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming in the park at the back (Shroggs Park), Song Thrush singing, then as I was coming out of the garage for a sarnie I heard 'cronkin' from a passing Raven and just managed too see it pass over the back of the house in the snow. Not a bad day after all.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane this afternoon

Quiet sky with no wind and nothing moving other than 5 Herring Gulls >N.
In the fields, some recently ploughed, there were plenty birds taking advantage of the worms etc ..
160+ Common Gulls (mostly adults)
2 Black-headed Gulls
100+ Carrion Crows
140+ Jackdaws
c30 Magpies
A good show of Meadow Pipits with c35 alongside a single Pied Wagtail but not a sign of any Skylarks today.
3 Stock Dove
1 Wren
Distant Kestrel over Shibden Valley and a flock of 30+ Lapwings over towards Shelf Moor.

Nearly forgot.... - 5 Fieldfares in the 'mipit' field.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Calder Valley

Calder Valley am & early pm.

18 fieldfares
20 redwings-two locations
2 kingfishers
3 dippers
1 grey wagtail
6 goosander, 3f 3m
1 cormorant
1 gs woodpecker seen
1 gs woodpecker drumming
1 nuthatch
1 peregrine over
1 buzzard mobbed by corvids

3 roe deer
Report of a mustelid sighting received from a walker

Wainstalls and Castle Carr Road

Full length of the road and return this afternoon. Still very much wintry conditions up there.
1 Common Buzzard distant and at one stage harassed by 3 Ravens
1 Kestrel
2 Mistle Thrush
3 Meadow Pipits
A few Herring Gulls >W
2 Reed Buntings in the bushes by the top lodge at the far end of the road.
Plenty of vocal Red Grouse
No sign of any Little Owls this afternoon - but they will be there somewhere !!

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Mixenden Reservoir

Another check today in the hope of something turning up !
2 pairs of Goldeneye
12 Mallard
1 Cormorant
1 ad L B B Gull along with a good number of B H Gulls and a few Common Gulls

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Swales Moor

Along the top of the ridge at Ringby Lane mid/late afternoon
Top field (former manure heap field)
4 Skylarks
c20 Meadow Pipits
1 Pied Wagtail
2 Wrens in a bramble patch

North fields (recently ploughed)
200+ corvids with a good mix of Rooks, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws and a few Magpies, Common Gulls and 2 Black-headed Gulls

Moving birds  >W
1 ad Great Black-backed Gull
1 ad Lesser Black-backed Gull
3 Herring Gulls
7 Common Gulls
The highlight was 4 Golden Plover high >N (they don't half move at a fast pace)!

Ringstone Edge Reservoir...

Late morning in freezing cold conditions and a strong NW blast !
West field - 45 Golden Plover, c145 Lapwing, 100+ Starlings along with just a few corvids and small gulls and a single Kestrel.
Reservoir - 2 Snipe, 2 Mallard

On the way back I got a call from PG with c80 Pink-footed Geese >W over Beacon Hill. I picked them out a moment later high over the top of Salterhebble. Always nice to see over our area.


Yesterday PM
Cock Hill Area

1 short eared owl
1 buzzard
2 kestrels
4 red grouse
1 raven