Sunday, October 28, 2018


Made my first trip to Ringstone yesterday to see the Goldeneye (3 were present). While I was there I got talking to a chap who asked me to ID this lovely but sadly deceased Goosander by the side of the road - a pylon casualty.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

More Crossbills

Still at least 30 Crossbills in the plantation at Walshaw Dean today. Managed to phone scope a Juv/female on maximum fire power, scope on 60x with a little bit of digital zoom on the camera phone. The birds can be very flighty so a lot of patience may be needed.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Lumbutts Area

A very quiet morning up at Lee and Longfield Dams.

At the former, a Moorhen in the field to the W was proabably the "highlight", along with a fly-through Kestrel. The only wildfowl was a presumed F Mallard briefly glimpsed under the branches of an overhanging tree and not relocated. Of the woodland stuff, a Jay was heard and eventually seen. Plenty of berries about, but only Blackbirds taking advantage this morning.

One interesting development is that the path up to the gate on the upper dam has been surfaced, presumably to allow access to the "Incredible Farm" gate just beyond. I'm not sure what exactly is being farmed here, there doesn't appear to be anything on Incredible Edible's website.

Up at Longfield was no better, in fact worse, producing only a handful of Carrion Crows on the fields over the road. However, I did drive past here last Monday and there were two Lapwings present, so there is hope!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Swales moor

Ringby Lane this afternoon for an hour didn't produce all that much
c75 Common Gulls and one B H Gull feeding on freshly manured fields
1 Skylark
c10 Meadow Pipits
Distant Common Buzzard
c20 Goldfinch
3 Greenfinch near the ski-slope
6 Herring Gulls >W
a few L B B Gulls 'blogging'
usual corvids

Ringstone to Scammonden

Report from JM this afternoon + some nice photos
 Crossbills - 2 males feeding on spruce seen here in Common Ash near Scammonden
Fieldfares below

Fieldfares feeding on rowan berries
23 Golden Plover with B H Gulls
1 G C Grebe
2 Herring Gulls >W
14 Chaffinch
12 Goldfinch
20+ Redwing
50+ Fieldfare

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Today !

Started with a call first thing from HC/BS that 2 Whooper Swans had been seen over Oxenhope heading in our direction. A check later failed to find them on the local reservoirs so they may have headed straight over . (?)

From AC - c150 Pink-footed Geese headed east over Northowram at around 12:30 (high and fast)!

Fly Flatts - 36 Mallard on the reservoir were spooked by something unseen, maybe a fox, they flew off in the direction of Dean Head/Castle Carr. Also with them a small wader was probably a Dunlin.
On the way up there, 2 Raven were feeding on rabbit road casualty.

Also from JM a nice photo of part of a group of Red-legged Partridge's at Ringstone a couple of days ago.
Red-legged Partridge

Monday, October 22, 2018

Crossbills and Whoopers

Managed to phone scope the Crossbills again today at Walshaw Dean, 30+ in the plantation, then got 9 Whooper Swans at Lower Gorple.

Ringstone Edge reservoir etc

This morning AT found 18 Whooper Swans that arrived there overnight and still there mid afternoon. Photos below at Ringstone from JM
 Greylag Goose
3 of the eighteen Whooper Swans
Also 2 reports of Pink-footed Geese passing over Calderdale this morning.
Large skein over Hebden Bridge >SE at 09:20 (NG)
c100 over Copley >SE at 09:48 (SB)

Walshaw this morning

  Walshaw Moor today were 3 Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 5 Siskin and
  15 Crossbill flew into the middle of the plantation but wouldn't
  come out to be photographed and 8 Partridge and 2 Pheasant, I
  was hoping to see some Fieldfare but no joy, and 5 Goldfinch.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane late afternoon
2 Ravens and 1 Common Buzzard >N
Pair of Reed Buntings
6+ Meadow Pipits
1 Pied Wagtail
Common Gulls re-appearing for the winter ! with c60
c15 Herring Gulls >W
Not much else other than a lot of corvids

Bradley Hall farm area

Had to go to Dewsbury yesterday so made a slight detour to the traditional Yellow-hammer site. No Yellow-hammers (the former cereal fields where they used to feed are gone to grass now) but I had an interesting hour all the same.
 Common Buzzards
  Cormorant  - such long wings at this angle !
Redwing (always something in the way !)

Saturday, October 20, 2018


38 Crossbills in the main plantation today.

Whiteholme Reservoir

2 Whooper Swans flew east at 15:45 hrs.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Ringstone Reservoir

Wigeon today from JM

Fly Flatts

This morning - on the way up there c45 Pink-footed Geese >W at 09:35 over Mount Tabor
A nice surprise find at the northern end of the reservoir - a single Twite - such a rare bird up there in recent years after many years when it was reasonably common. It was with 2 Reed Buntings initially but I couldn't relocate it on my return an hour or so later.
Also there on the mud
2 Golden Plover
4 Lapwings
1 Dunlin
2 Wigeon
30 Mallard
4 Teal
Only 1 Kestrel there this morning - unusual though wonder if the voles are scarcer now (?)


Not a lot of sky movement this morning (unless they were very high) other than a few birds all >W.
 2 Skylark, 15 Woodpigeon, c60 Fieldfare, 12 Starlings and 4 Jackdaws.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pink-footed Geese

 A few more 'pinks' reported today - do keep them coming !
120 >NE over Brighouse at 10:05 (DF)
150 >W over Ringstone at 10:52 (PD)
80 >W over Shelf at 11:40 (WG)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pink-footed Geese etc

A big move over Calderdale this morning between at least 08:15 and 10:30 with skeins heading generally >SE and co-ordinated reports giving a total of at least 1,720 birds. Skeins were particularly evident over Mytholmroyd/ Hebden Bridge with others further to the east in Calderdale.

Massive movements of thousands of 'winter thrushes' with an influx of Fieldfares and Redwings as well as Woodpigeons over Oxenhope and Calderdale and many other sites in northern Britain.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pink-footed Geese

Between 17:00 and 18:15, 5 skeins noted passing through our area - all >SE
3 skeins totalling 250 over Walshaw / Gorple area
2 Skeins over Lee Mount with 200 birds
No duplication here given the distance apart and the direction of the flocks

Also over Lee Mount at dusk 4 Goosanders went >NW

Monday, October 15, 2018

Cold Edge and Fly Flatts

Late afternoon visit to check potential Black Redstart spots at Cold Edge and Withens Head. Nothing doing on that score unfortunately
Cold Edge
75+ Canada Geese
3 Stonechats
1 Common Buzzard
1 Tufted Duck
25+ Mallard

Withens Head
1 Little Owl
1 Red-leeged Partridge calling
10+ Magpies (too many on the moorland fringes nowadays does not bode well for waders when it comes to the breeding season)

Fly Flatts
16 Golden Plover on the NE shoreline were difficult to find facing into the sun but a tip off from BS helped me to locate them - definitely a scope job.
Also a Ringed Plover from BS, see his West Yorkshire Birding blog - it had gone when I arrived, spooked by a Kestrel I gather !

Sunday, October 14, 2018


Rock Pipit at Ringstone today.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Swales / Mixenden / Fly Flatts

Never know what the gales might fetch in - but nothing much for me this morning. Unusual to get gales with a southerly wind.
Swales Moor - gusting wind and cement lorry up and down Ringby Lane so retreated.
Mixenden Reservoir - yesterday's duck had gone, though 2 nice Goosanders headed over >SW
Fly Flatts - car full of rain from the open window - 4 Mallard and another hasty retreat !
Over to you Bri !!!!

Oh and just remembered a flock of c80 Redwings >W over Lee Mount at 08:30.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Swales Moor etc

Ringby lane
Pretty quiet up there mid afternoon other than a single Snipe flushed in the top field, 2 Jays >E, c20 Goldfinch and 6 Greenfinch at the back of the house at the start of Ringby Lane opposite the ski-slope

Shibden Head
Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a few Redwings about

Mixenden Redservoir
4 Teal and 3 Wigeon found by PJWS were still there at 16:30 along with 26 Mallard

Various 10th October

From PJWS at Cold Edge - 3 skeins of Pink-footed Geese >W around 11:30 - 95, 100, 130.
Also 1 f Teal and 2 f Tufted Duck on the lower dam.

Earlier in the day some more 'pinks' with 225 first seen over Shibden at 09:00 (CS) and soon afterwards near Todmorden at 09:20 (PG). Also from (MH). c125 over Brighouse towards Ainley Top at 11:30.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Mixenden Reservoir .......

Very quiet there this afternoon with just a solitary Tufted Duck on the water and a flyover Great Spotted Woodpecker went into the plantation.
At the lower end of Ogden golf course a pair of Stonechats were feeding from the fence line in Carrs Beck. Also 5 Mistle Thrush there and a couple of Redwing flyovers.

Also a pair of Stonechats at Cold Edge this afternoon (PJWS)


Several reports of incoming birds today as well as a few over Lee Mount first thing. No particular direction here as some were >E and some >W but only in small groups.
50+ in holly bushes at top of Wood Lane, Luddenden Dean (PB)
Hundreds on the move >S first thing (AC)

Also of interest today - a Red-legged Partridge in a garden at Stratton Road, Brighouse (per MH), well out of it's comfort zone !

Sunday, October 07, 2018

King cross to beacon hill

Mallard 74 people’s park
Dipper 1 on the hebble below nestle’s
Skylark 3 beacon hill
Meadow pipit 54 beacon hill
Chiffchaff 1 singing beacon hill
Pied wagtail 3 springedge 4 beacon hill 8 town centre
Song thrush 1 Stoney Royd
Mistle thrush 2 southowran

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Ogden and Withens Head

Ogden - Back Lane. A hunch paid off as Crossbills have been seen recently at Walshaw and several others reported on vis-mig over Oxenhope. I was lucky, c20 flew over my head calling loudly from the reservoir plantation and landing in the tops of spruce trees, where there is a half-decent crop of cones. They stayed in view briefly before they disappeared deeper in the plantation, with several heading back towards the reservoir. I stayed for an hour but did not relocate them though I guess they will stay about for a short while. (?)
2 Redwings also flew over >SW.
12 Stock Doves
Plenty Kestrels in evidence as well but not a lot else other than a Common Buzzard over >E and a few 'mipits'.

Fly Flatts and Withens Head.
I gave up on Fly Flatts as the sun was so bright reflecting on the water. BS was there doing his rounds on the far side and did well with 2 Wheatears, 4 Stonechats and 3 Ringed Plover.

I managed a single Wheatear in a freshly manured field by the former Withens Pub so that rounded the afternoon off nicely.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Today's news !

Copley - c 40 Pink-footed Geese >W over Copley around 08:35 this morning (MM)

3 skeins totalling c100 'pinkies' over Ainley Top this morning around 08:30 could have included some of the ones above, over Copley (?) from WG who also had 4 Swallows this afternoon at farm at Exley.

Cold Edge - female Goldeneye today on the dams (PJWS)

Ringstone Reservoir - adult Whooper Swan in the field then a photo on the water mid morning. (JM. Update - bird still present Saturday morning.
Whooper Swan
Redwings and Fieldfares from Scandinavia should be with us in the next few days, or maybe even tonight so it's worth listening out for Redwings after dark !

Traffic management

A novel sighting this morning, a cormorant reviewing the traffic at Mytholmroyd from atop the lamppost. A bit aggressive to the crows but who isn’t at the time in the morning

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Swales Moor

Late morning and interesting hour or so with a strong westerly breeze with breaks of sunshine and a clear sky.
37 Pink-footed Geese >W, high over Halifax towards the Calder Valley around 11:15
The highlight for me was 6 Coal Tits coming through the gap in the hill by the ski-slope and heading off high >W
Also 2 Snipe high and >W as well as 5 Skylarks and a Sparrowhawk.
Around the site c50 Linnets and  a few  Goldfinch

Early Warning System !

A message from JM at 08:42 this morning with a large skein of Pink-footed Geese over Brighouse  >W was closely followed by a call from MH, then a few minutes later (AC) who also got a photo count of the skein - 219.

Not long afterwards a call from PG with 75 >SW over Shibden.

Hellifield Flashes needs your help

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane late morning. Not a lot doing as I thought maybe there would be some movement of 'pinkies' - but when I looked at the hills to the west they looked pretty grim with fog and drizzle so not a good omen. Brighter to the east and north but still not a lot seen in the gusting north westerly.
1 Green Woodpecker seen. It seems to be frequenting the area between the back of the ski-slope and the Boothtown side of Ringby top.
1 Stonechat on the top was a welcome sight
Not  a lot else other than a few Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Goldfinch and the usual corvids in abundance.

A good early autumn record from PJWS yesterday at Cold Edge dams with a group of 4 adult Whooper Swans. They left >S at around 17:50.
 Whooper Swans - Cold Edge

Also from yesterday c 50 Pink-footed Geese >SE through the Calder Valley at around 09:20 (AH)


16 Crossbills found in the plantation at Walshaw Dean yesterday along with over 100 Siskins. Wheatear at Tower Hill today.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Todmorden Raptor

Walking through the town centre on Sunday afternoon, I noticed a chap looking skywards and realised he was watching a large raptor circling quite low close by, much to the alarm of the local Feral Pigeons. With the naked eye I could only ID it as a Common Buzzard, which is not a bird I've encountered locally before, although I read that there are odd individuals about. After a short while, it moved off, gaining height, at which point I realised there was a second raptor circling much higher, which I thought was most likely a Sparrowhawk. Eventually the two got quite close to each other, and the difference in size was very apparent.