Friday, June 29, 2018


Just had a quick look on my way back from the tip.

Lee Dam.
No waterfowl seen on main dam, did not check upper due to work being done on footpath.
Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chaffinch most notable singing.

Longfield Dam.
3M 1F Tufted Duck on dam.
1 adult Canada Goose just visible on far bank, may have been others present, the banks are very overgrown these days.
3F Mallard.
Nothing visible on fields opposite apart from a couple of Woodpigeon, again very overgrown compared with past years.

Also, I normally park opposite the Shepherds Rest and walk to Longfield Dam, but there were over a dozen cars there and along the road. I believe at weekends it has become a major issue, with large numbers parking to walk up to the "beach" at Gaddings Dam. What effect all this might be having on the wildlife is up for debate, I suppose.

Finally, in Todmorden I saw the first of no doubt many juvenile Jackdaws today. I haven't seen any obvious juvenile Grey Wagtail again, although regular adult sightings, and as far as I've seen there have not been any Mallard chicks on the Calder in the town centre this year.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ovenden Moor

A male Stonechat mid-day today just in front of the Withens and a few minutes later a Raven went >W making plenty of noise.

Earlier there was a Redshank at Cold Edge, still a few Curlew about and 2 Lapwings.
Around 20 young Swallows were down at a farm near Wainstalls and the adults were even chasing 2 Jackdaws off with no hesitation.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hebden Bridge centre

A female goosander with 3 young was on the river behind the Shoulder of Mutton in the centre of Hebden today. There's also a mink often seen down there, so there might well have been more earlier in the week.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane
Pretty quiet for birds up there this afternoon in the hot sunshine - better for butterflies !
2 Skylarks on the top
2 Stock Doves
A pair of Whitethroat - and at this site they always seem to have a Dunnock in attendance for some unknown reason !
A few Linnets
Lesser Black-backed Gulls loafing around and then heading off >NW
Just a few Swifts, Swallows and House Martins about in the area and some nice views from on the top.

Sand Martins

I came across a very accesible small colony yesterday - is it okay to publish details?

EDIT: It's immediately upstream of Elland Bridge by the side of the towpath. There were six adults present two of which were seen entering nest holes in a derelict mill.
There were two adults present there in April.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Mixenden Reservoir.....

I thought a check might be worthwhile with still the possibility of Common Scoters passing through, but not today.
The summering female Goldeneye is still there along with 19 Canada Geese and 20+ Mallard including various sized ducklings.
c20 House Martins
2 Pied Wagtails
1 B H Gull
1 L B B Gull
1 Sparrowhawk
A few Willow Warblers still singing and calling in the pine woodland but not a lot else in there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ryburn - Wood Duck

Found in the Ryburn Valley earlier today from AT and PG.
North American species commonly kept in wildfowl collections - perhaps escapes from a local site ?

Fly Flatts

We just got home from Cragg Vale to get a text from BS - 4  drake Common Scoters on Fly Flatts reservoir. Another coastal bird, though we normally expect a few of this species passing through in mid-summer. Probably non breeding birds, or males after breeding at more northerly sites.
Thanks Bri.

Also from the top road with the scope several Dunlin were found on the shoreline, a Redshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, Curlew and Lapwing with a good show of Swifts feeding high and low over the water.
12 Herring Gulls went >W and 4+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls went loafing >NW over the moor
2+ Kestrels
1 Barnacle Goose found with the big flock of Canada Geese

Withens Clough Reservoir

It's always a nice walk up there even if you don't see a lot...though we always live in anticipation and we were not disappointed this morning.

Early signs of movement when 3 Black-headed Gulls dropped in for a short while and moved off >W. Then as we walked around the far side we noticed another small gull on the water. The water was choppy and the bird distant but we suspected a Kittiwake. It sat about on the water for a long time and it didn't give a lot away. Eventually it stretched it's wings and yes it was what we expected.

The only confusion was the possibility of it being and adult Common Gull in full summer plumage, even they are rare here in mid-summer.. Shortly after, it took off, as if to head high and >W but it went back down on the water and was still there at 12:45. Maybe a tired bird possibly blown inland after the recent strong winds. It's certainly not one to expect in June when it would normally be at coastal breeding sites.
Record shot only below was the best I could do..(click to enlarge!)
Adult Kittiwake

Also nearby, up the hill from the car park we checked a reliable spot for singing Grasshopper Warbler. Jen heard it for quite a while but try as I might my hearing would not lock on to it !!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Around Stainland and the Blackburn Valley.

Meadowpipit, swallows, skylark and linnet on Stainland Moor.

3 individual grey wagtail along the Black Brook.

50-100 Housemartin just down from Sonoco.

GSW, Nuthatch and grey heron in vicinity of Bowers Mill pond.

No longer Housemartin nests in Bower Mill buildings windows, must've been removed. Don't know when.

2x common whitethroat and 1 chiffchaff in fields along Branch Road.

GSW Fall Spring Wood.

Plenty of Willow Warblers.

Cold Edge area

First Stonechat for some time - a juvenile on Castle Carr Road this afternoon. Also still a good few Curlew about with large chicks and Skylarks still singing on the moor up there.

Cold Edge dams
Another Stonechat - a male - by the small lower plantation and Willow Warblers well in evidence there.
2 Common Sandpipers
3 male Tufted Duck on the top dam
c20 Linnets with juveniles in the hay meadows that have just been cut

Interesting read

Friday, June 15, 2018

River Calder, Todmorden

A juvenile Grey Wagtail and an adult were in the Calder by the Wellington Road culvert yesterday lunchtime.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Fly Flatts and Mixenden

Fly Flatts
Blowing a westerly gale this morning with light drizzle. I was thinking maybe Common Scoter time as they often turn up on local reservoirs during the summer.

It was tricky finding any waders in the conditions as it was difficult standing up never mind holding the bins or scope still. A couple of distant Redshank, some Curlew and Lapwing but the smaller waders were out of site.

c300 Canada Geese with plenty of growing chicks still in the long grass.

6 Herring Gulls. 2 Black-headed Gulls and around 25 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were all struggling >W

40+ Swifts though were scything through the air cutting through it like nothing to it !
One wader that was well stuck and not doing very well at all this morning !
Withens Head
A little more shelter there, though even the waders were close behind the walls with 1 Oystercatcher, 4 Curlew and a Lapwing along with a small group of fledged Starlings
Mixenden Reservoir
Maybe 40+ House Martins feeding over the sheltered part of the reservoir but no other hirundines with them.
2 Canada Geese
Female Goldeneye still there

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Great crested grebes with chicks, Ringstone

Lovely to see the Great crested grebes have successfully hatched two young , both feeding and doing well

Edit - called today and they have 3 chicks, must have missed one the other day

A couple of  heavy cropped photos courtesy of Mrs Lynn D

Also, from out and about the last few evenings from various undisclosed sites, a Barn Owl that took me completely by surprise, it was that close I couldn't get its wings in shot and in my excitement I forgot  I could shorten the focal length :)

And what has to be one of my favourite birds, a Long-eared owlet, lovely to see and hear calling for food.

For anyone interested in the technical side, this was another shot taken at the extremes, 1/320th, f6.3   ISO 22,800 handheld. I've done some noise reduction in pp'ing and it's 'cleaned up' not too bad.

Thanks for the comments on the Spotted flycatcher, just noticed I never replied back, was a cracking bird to see.

Gropper =+ gs woodpecker

A grasshopper warbler was reeling between Mankinholes and Stoodley Pike yesterday.

And at Jumble Hole, my neighbours have a dark brown/almost black great spotted woodpecker visiting their feeders. I've seen it, and it's definitely a gsw, but I've never seen one with that colouration. I'll try get a photo. Very odd.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Mixenden reservoir

Late morning
The summering female Goldeneye is still there

Also 20+ Black-headed Gulls, including some of this years juveniles,which were later joined by 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls enjoying the feast of insects over towards the west banking. They were also joined with a few Swifts, Swallows and House Martins
Willow Warbler fledglings and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were in the woodland

Friday, June 08, 2018

Hardcastle Crags

We had a while mid-day, checking out the Wood Warbler spot up the hill by the wood pile - but drew a blank. That's 4 goes we have tried and failed for them and we are probably running out of time now this year. We live in hope !

On the plus side we did locate 2 Spotted Flycatchers - they are getting scarcer and scarcer now for us in Calderdale as they are in many parts of the country - but they are apparently doing much better in Scotland.

Oops - nearly forgot. On the way to the crags we had a Cuckoo fly over as we went through the other side of Mount Tabor.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Help needed with Leo survey

Its that time of year when we try and survey our Long-eared Owl population. With it being a vole year we could expect to find good numbers breeding. If anyone would like to help just give me a call. Also could someone who has the no how please change the advert on the top right of this blog and put the new report in its place. Also thanks to all the people who have texted me on the report, I would like to reply to them all but I fear I would run out of credit so thanks to you all.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

On the moors

                                         3 Curlew chicks  today   ( click for better image)

Calderdale - Lower Valley area

Some recent shots from JM
 Mistle Thrush nests

 Fledged Mistle Thrush's

 Lapwing chicks

Broadhead Clough, Cragg Vale

With Alan T, we went looking for Woodcock last night - and we were not disappointed with 3 birds roding together (maybe an adult with young birds (??) plus possibly one other individual. They didn't show till around 9:30 pm so we had quite a wait for them to appear.

On the way back down in then dark we had surprise to come across a colony of Ghost Moths 'dancing' over the grasses in one of the fields.

The natural world is full of nice surprises.

These were the best shots I could get of a Woodcock in the fading light though I'm sure Alan got some better ones ?

Monday, June 04, 2018

Withens Clough Reservoir

Pretty quiet today, just a few birds about but all took some finding
Common Whitethroat singing near the car park was a new one up there for me.
1 Grey Wagtail
No migrant waders
2 Common Sandpipers
2 Curlew
1 Lapwing
A few Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits
10+ House Martins an  a few Swallows

Walshaw Dean

Spotted flycatcher showed well yesterday evening, another first for me.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Martins' nests 2nd june

A whole terraced street with House Martin nests at Portsmouth, nr. Todmorden. Lennox Rd. near the level crossing and the former Roebuck Inn. About ten nests and about 30 birds flying around, many building, others clinging onto the walls under the eaves, chattering.

Along the Pennine Way from Blackstone Edge

2x Common sandpiper by Light Hazzles Reservoir.
Ringed Plover on Warland Reservoir dam wall.
M Stonechat near Bird Nest Hill above Withens Clough.
2x Raven around Langfield Common near Mankinholes.
M+F Tufted Duck on White Holme Reservoir.
6 common sandpiper also on White Holme Reservoir.
Reed Bunting on White Holme Moss.

Castle Carr Area - Saturday

A Cukoo still calling and several pairs of Golden Plover along with plenty of Lapwing and drumming Snipe.  Didn't want to get too close to the goldies so just got a distant shot.  Plenty of Swallows over the moors and 2 Swifts.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Mixenden Reservoir

Fogged of at higher levels all morning so took the chance to check this site. A bit of a surprise to still find a female Goldeneye there this morning , but no sign of the male.

At last, a decent show of hirundines with lots of House Martins, maybe 60+ along with 50+ Swallows and 40+ Swifts. All feeding over the water and woodland edge but no sign of any Sand Martins as I guess they will all be on the nest sites by now.

Pair of Mistle Thrush with juveniles in the nest but couldn't see how many.
Pair of Linnets also at a nest site and Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers singing nearby at Stodfold.
Plenty of young Lapwing,Curlew and Redshanks on the moors this week.
                                                         Redshank chick

Friday, June 01, 2018

Withens Clough (Cragg Vale)

A nice surprise to find  a couple of migrant waders on the reservoir this morning.
A Sanderling (they breed in the high Arctic) and a Ringed Plover. Tricky getting any decent shots through the juncus but it's best, for the birds sake, to avoid the reservoir shore.
 Ringed Plover

On the down side there was not a 'sniff' of any 'chats'. This used to be  a good area for Stonechats and Whinchats but no longer !