Saturday, March 31, 2018

Whooper Swans

                         88 Whoopers at Withens Clough today.

Around and about!

A few short trips out in between other things today. I tried Fly Flatts early on not expecting BS's Sandwich Tern from yesterday to be still there - and it wasn't ! Though the fog kept rolling in so I went down to Withens Head
c35 Fieldfares, 100+ Starlings and 4 Redshank but still no Wheatear.

I headed down to check the muddy field below Nolstar - highlight of the day there with a count of 28 Skylarks alongside a few mipits, Pied Wagtails, 5 Redshank, 2 Oystercatchers, 5 Golden Plover, c8 Lapwings and a Curlew.
Then to Wainstalls Lane where a nice flock of 35+Meadow Pipits were present, though flighty in one field.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Another mega for BS !

See West Yorkshire Birding blog for another report of a fantastic bird for Calderdale from BS - along with photos.

At Fly Flatts late afternoon - a Sandwich Tern

Very well done Bri - what next !!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thursday AM


First chiffchaff of the spring for me.
Green woodpecker
GS woodpecker 2
Nuthatch 2
Grey wagtail 3
Grey heron

Cromwell Bottom

Female Common Scoter on the ski-lake today (AT and AC). Always nice to find a 'sea duck' inland.


6 consecutive days out looking around Deanhead/Moselden and still no Wheatear!


A pair of Little owls out in the sun, Clough Moor, Norland

A flock of around 200 Fieldfare and Redwing in trees by Allrounders
Pair of Pied wagtails

Deanhead/Moselden not a lot about today, the wind was bitter

5 Curlew
6 Lapwing
2 kestrel
3 Skylark
11 MP

Whoopers had left Ringstone this morning but called yesterday evening and  got a few photos.

And a Skylark from Sunday morning

RSPB requesting objections to planning permission on Walshaw

There's a link at the bottom to the planning departments at Calderdale and Pendle

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Todays news

5 Whooper Swans still there on Ringstone Edge reservoir this morning (AT)

From Ogden Reservoir (CS) 4 Curlew 'bubbling away' over the reservoir. A Woodcock on the reservoir circuit path and a Goosander on the res'r.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Recent news !

It's been hectic so thought it was time to catch up on some of the recent news. Not easy when you get behind. With apologies for anything missed !

We are still awaiting the first Wheatear report for our area - soon hopefully !

27th March - 5 Whooper Swans on Ringstone reservoir this morning (AT)

26th March - male Common Scoter on Whiteholme Reservoir (PJWS)
                     2 Crossbill - Sunderland pasture plantation (near Stoodley Pike) (PGr)
                     2 Woodcock - Shelf Hall park along with a Chiffchaff and a 'drumming' Great Spotted    Woodpecker (CS)

25th March - 2 Ospreys heading north with 1 over Northowram in the morning (AC) and the other over Ovenden Moor late afternoon  (BS)
                     2 Chiffchaffs Cromwell Bottom (DF)
                     1 Kittiwake at Ringstone (AT)

24th March - 30 Redwings - Bradley Hall Farm (M St)
                    - 7 Tree Sparrows near Jay House Lane, Clifton (JM)

23rd March - Kittiwake over Fly Flatts >NE (BS)

22nd March - Kittiwake found dead at Fly Flatts (BS)
                    - Woodcock at the top end of Crimsworth Dean

Also 3 or more sightings of Barn Owls at undisclosed sights in the last two weeks or so and one report of a Long-eared Owl (PD). A few Short-eared Owls appearing at a couple of locations as well recently after a very poor year for them last year.

Check BS's West Yorkshire Birding blog for photo's of one of the Ospreys and Kittiwakes

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Massive Raptor over Claremount

  Large Raptor was soaring over Claremount in the low light,
  believe me it was big especially the wingspan a lot bigger than
  a Buzzard and made crows look very small, my first thought was
  Marsh Harrier and then Osprey the way it was soaring, I was
  shocked to see it just above my back garden and low too, but
  with the low light all I got was a silhouette, by the time I got my
  camera it was flying  towards the Shroggs Park area and I only
  got a rear end shot of it and my camera settings were all wrong
  for the light and no time to change them and with shaking with
  excitement and then frustration, I hope somebody else on here
  seen it or can help with ID. The pics are very distant shots.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cold Edge

Had a couple of hours or so up there this morning with Alan T. We managed 37 species, with plenty of birds around to keep us interested. Not much sign of birds moving other than a single Skylark >N

Around the site
c140 Canada Geese, 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Greylag Geese and the Pink-footed Goose still with the domestics. No Goldeneye but a pair of Tufted Duck on the lower dam with a few Mallard
A good mix of the usual waders - Curlews, Lapwings, 2 Oystercatchers, 1 Redshank, 1 Snipe heard 'chipping' and the faint call of a Golden Plover on the moor.
2 Little Owls together but not a sign of any Kestrels
2 distant Common Buzzards
2 Moorhen
1 male Stonechat

Far too many Magpies becoming much more evident on higher ground in recent years. They must pose an increasing threat to breeding ground nesting birds unfortunately. 7 of them together at Withens Head this morning.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Mainly the golf course this afternoon - no golf though !!!
Didn't find much but 2 buzzard sightings were welcome (could have been the same bird) firstly over Hunter Hill towards Cold Edge then probably the same bird over the plantation heading towards Thornton Moor
Also 2 Ravens distant. Plenty of Carrion Crows about as I suspect there will be some dead sheep on the moor after this recent cold blast and snow from the east
1 Sparrowhawk through the plantation at Ogden Res'r, 1 Curlew heard calling and 1 Lapwing over >E with 3 more Lapwings on Syke Lane fields
Pair of Goosander on Ogden and on Mixenden c25 Canada's and a Cormorant.
 Lower end of the golf course looking >WNW towards 'The Withens'
 Top end of golf course looking >SE towards Halifax
An interesting snowdrift along Rocks Lane

Sunday, March 18, 2018

This just came in my Facebook feed.... taken in Pye Nest

Taken by Charlotte Atkinson ..... works for RSPCA.... video and more stills on FB

Friday, March 16, 2018

Jumble Hole

This is a box for dippers or grey wagtails, placed in a long-since dry culvert in Jumble Hole. Steve D and I previously placed on under the bridge, but (outside the breeding season) it washed away in a flash flood. This one is above the flood height.

And not that I'm counting, but it's 25 days until the date that last year the male pied flycatcher arrived back. As he appeared to go missing in the middle of the breeding season last year, it will be interesting to see what happens this year.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Other news today

13 Whooper Swans on Cold Edge dams at some point mid afternoon but they didn't stay. (MH)

3 Whooper Swans on Lower Gorple late afternoon (M E)

4 Greylag Geese over Green Withens today (TW) and another 8 >SE over Wainstalls mid morning.

Luddenden - we came a cross a small flock of Redpoll in an area of birch woodland. Trying to get a decent photo was more than difficult in the gloom of the woodland and restless birds. This was the best I could do. They are certainly a scarce bird in Calderdale nowadays, especially this year. They are occasional on garden feeders and most often found either in birch or alder trees in winter.
Lesser Redpoll

Undisclosed site

Pale Common Buzzard - a real beauty.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


A call from DF this afternoon after picking out a grey wader with the Golden Plover flock sounded interesting. A later call from Dave and Nick confirmed the bird to be a Knot and it was still with the Golden Plover flock. Another great find of a scarce inland visitor for our area and certainly not recorded here annually.

I went up there later on with AT. No problem finding the Golden Plover flock (maybe 180 ish) in the north-west field along with a good number of Lapwings and a few Starlings. Scoping through we could not locate the bird.
This was made more difficult as a Sparrowhawk passed through and the birds would not settle for long before they were 'spooked' again and again. We were just about to give up at 16:35 when 2 Oystercatchers came in from the Scammonden direction, along with a smaller wader. They flew right passed us and it was the Knot. All three tried to settle but the lack of any decent shore-line put them off. They did a few circuits then went high, back towards  Scammonden.
What a great bird, thanks to DF's vigilance in finding it in the first place. Thank's Dave.

A fantastic end to the afternoon with a few half-decent shots. We worked hard for that one Alan !
Then on the way back we rounded off the afternoon with  Barn Owl..

Mixenden Reservoir and Withens Head/Fly Flatts

Out and about for an hour or so late morning.
4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls looked immaculate
4 Cormorant
5 Mallard
46 Canada Geese
+ usual species but no sign of the Goldeneye

Good to meet up with AC at the Withens Head watch-point at the same time as AT was doing the rounds at Cold Edge. All of us trying hard for Wheatear ! (without success - yet)!

Signs of movement today up there with several Skylark sightings and a few mipits on the move as well as few alba wagtails. Plenty waders about/on the move etc with 20+ Curlew, Golden Plover, Lapwings, Oystercatcher and 3 Redshank at Fly Flatts (AC) - also a Snipe heard 'chipping' on the moor.
2 Ravens also passed through as did 2 adult Common Gulls >N over Fly Flatts


Dropped in on Eastwood Sewage works as I was passing, vaguely hoping for an early sand martin as they are popping up all over the country. Nothing doing on that front, but a singing chiffchaff was more than a consolation. A pair of goosander were on the canal.

Also got a reliable report of a red kite over Craggies restaurant at the top of Cragg Vale yesterday. No photos, but the observer is a birdwatcher and observed through binoculars.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Out and about !

Very wet day but chanced an hour or so out, turned out to be a good move.
Mixenden Reservoir
Pouring down - just a female Goldeneye there, a Cormorant and a few Black-headed and Common Gulls

Cold Edge
Still pouring so scanned from the car !
2 Barnacle Geese still there in the fields with the Canada flock and the lone Pink-footed Goose still with the domestics.

Fly Flatts - fogged off and heavy rain when I got there but there looked to be some breaks in the fog and it eventually cleared but still raining pretty hard.
1 Redshank at the north-east end along with a few Lapwing and Curlew, a few paired up Canada's and a solitary Mallard and plenty Red Grouse.
I was just heading home when BS turned up so I got a couple of shots off on the way - I said I would get my own back one day !
 Fly Flatts (Warley Moor Reservoir) > NW
 Looking >SW
 Lone birder (BS)
with 'Big Bertha' at the ready !
On the way past Mount Tabor a small raptor flew across the road chasing after what looked like a flock of Goldfinch. It disappeared over Woodlesford as I stopped, then fortunately it returned hunting at speed low across the fields - female Merlin. Always a special bird.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Widdop Reservoir.

Walked along the North shore then up, over the road, and along the escarpment.

The garden of the reservoir house alive with passerines; Tit species, Greenfinches (c.10), Mistle Thrush, Reed Buntings 4, Robin, Starling singing, Male Chaffinches.
Many Canada Geese but no Greylags till we were climbing the valley side when six came flying fast past us, up to the gap in the horizon and over into Lancashire. Later two Greylags chasing around below us in flight. Looked like a male and female.

On the escarpment a Buzzard and its food source - rabbits running for the rocks. Then a sound like a Golden Plover but with a warble to it several times. Later the familiar Golden Plover sound - the single whistle. On looking up the sound on it turns out to be the song of the Golden Plover, which I've not heard so well before, if ever.

Two Curlews silently overhead and of course many Red Grouse. Bizarrely, what appears to be part of a grouse wing hanging from a wire near the car park.

Frogspawn - my first! - in a rut in the path by the reservoir, but no toads yet  where they breed in the collection channel. Toads have been moving at lower levels and the Toad Patrols have been out one night so far (Saturday 10th March) in Todmorden and Sowerby.

Ice breaking up on Widdop Reservoir

No bird photos today but got this obliging Treecreeper by the river near Luddendenfoot park last weekend. 

Friday, March 09, 2018


From this morning - a single Whooper Swan on the reservoir (AT and PG)

Cold Edge

2 Barnacle Geese with c120 Canada Geese and  2 Greylag's this afternoon and the single Pink-footed Goose is still in with the domestic wildfowl
The ponds were still frozen over with just a little clear water on the top dam (above)
1 Moorhen
2 Raven >SW
2 Little Owl
c140 Starlings but no sign of any winter thrushes
Lots of Red Grouse vocal on the moor
A few waders including an Oystercatcher, c20 Lapwing, 4+ Curlew and 11 Golden Plover flyovers >Hunter Hill
Enjoyed a little sunshine as well - for a change !

Thursday, March 08, 2018


Over the garden this morning, must have been moved off erringden moor

12 skylark
4 snipe 

Monday, March 05, 2018

Swales Moor (Ringby Lane)

Certainly a 'welly' job this afternoon up there - what a mess, with piled up snow and the track into a stream of muddy water and slush.
The top field opposite the metal fence produced the best birds with 5 Skylark, 15 Meadow Pipits and
1 Pied Wagtail in there.
1 Sparrowhawk showed 3 times putting the birds up but nothing unusual among them.
1 adult lesser Black-backed Gull was loafing around as well as c35 Common Gulls and a few corvids - mainly Jackdaws (60+) but strangely hardly any Carrion Crows (most unusual) !
6 Herring Gulls went straight over >W
19 Redwings passed over high >E
1 Fox

Mixenden Reservoir

No sign of the weekend's Dunlin today even though there was a little more shoreline showing than yesterday. Best I could find there was a Pair of Goosander, a few Back-headed and Common Gulls and one adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
5  Herring Gulls went straight through >W
1 Grey Wagtail.

One Dunlin was however found at Ringstone Reservoir this morning (PG)

Ring Necked Parakeets (again)

Three over Dixie Woods, Sowerby Bridge yesterday to go with a couple last week. I hadn't seen any for some time in our area but two sightings in two visits now.

Ogden Garden

Awoke this morning to find three roe deer in the garden.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Jumble Hole

2 woodcock and oddly two snipe have all been flushed separately over the last few days here, largely due to the bad weather. The first was a snipe sat in the middle of the snow covered lane as I drove up. I had to stop the car, and it eventually flew off. Another snipe was flushed from a leafy stream at the side of the road two days later.
The dogs flushed a woodcock off the Pennine Way the following day (showing how significantly larger they are), and one flew across the garden last night.

The same thing happened in 2009 during a particularly cold spell, when a woodcock was sat in the hen run!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Goose on a Golf Course

Birds turn up in odd places in bad conditions, this farm yard white Greylag type was on the 5th tee of West End Golf Course this afternoon. Also had a Cormorant fly north at Roils Head, only 2nd or 3rd time Ive seen one here.

Mixenden Reservoir

3 Dunlin still there this morning though mobile at times when walkers/dogs pass by ! Two were first seen at the north end this morning then later when I left at 12:30 they were on the stones at the south landing/slipway.

38 Mallard
2 Cormorants
1 Goldeneye (female)

Ryburn and Calder

2 Ring necked Parakeets over the Calder in Sowerby Bridge this week. Yesterday I flushed 3 Snipe whilst walking the dog near the Ryburn at Triangle.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Mixenden Reservoir

Freezing conditions and a strong easterly wind this afternoon. Thought I'd give it a try as some of the best birds turn up in bad weather. I wasn't disappointed !

3 Dunlin by the inlet at the north end was a real surprise. They were, at first, right on the edge of the water under a ledge of snow and I could easily have missed them. They are very scarce in Calderdale in winter though over the years we have had one or two records, usually in bad weather. I can recall a find by NK at Ogden on Christmas Eve a few years ago 24th December 2009. That was a very confiding bird right down by the duck feeding area.

Nice to see Dunlin in grey-ish winter plumage with a clean white belly as when seen in summer they are much browner upper plumage with black belly patches.

I only had the bridge camera today and didn't get too close so as not to disturb them feeding on the snow line and waters edge. I left them at around 15:30 though BS hot-footed it there shortly afterwards - but they had gone. Problem at this site is that regular disturbance soon displaces the birds. Bad luck Bri.

Also on the reservoir
A good count of 44 Mallard sheltering under the embankment
4 Cormorant
21 Canada Geese
1 female Goldeneye
1 Moorhen
c60 Black-headed Gulls
c10 Common Gulls
Nothing found in the plantation - everything blown away !!