Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Cuckoo's back in Africa...

You might find this of interest from the BTO (though none of these satellite tagged birds are Calderdale's !)
Most of the adults are well on there way back by now but we may be fortunate to find one or two of this years juveniles into September.

Our local Swifts will be following them in the next week or two. They usually disappear from Calderdale around the second week of August - though stragglers may still been seen locally even into September.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Shibden Valley

A different juvenile jay was eating the rasberries today. I wasn't quick enough to take a photo. The one I photo'd and put on the blog on 19 July had a lot of black on the front of the crown, but this one had no black on the crown: the whole centre of the crown was mid-brown, and the sides of the crown were whitish.

Whiteholme today: 1 ringed plover and 4 wheatears.

Monday, July 29, 2019


                                                    (photos John Marsh)
2 Green Sandpiper dropped in today along with 300 + Lapwing , 3 Cormorant , 2 teal .....


Ringed plover 2
Common sandpiper 1
Wheatear 2

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Common Scoter

 8 Common Scoter and  4 Great Crested Grebes at Baitings Reservoir this morning.

Thursday, July 25, 2019


A couple of nice shots of juvenile birds from John M today.
 Black-headed Gull

Common Whitethroat

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Withens etc.

No sign of the Black Redstart this morning though it was seen later on yesterday further up the lane when it flew back to the farm around 17:30 (DP)

We followed, not long after BS checked this morning and met up with PB at the site, but no show !

We later checked The Withens, mast area and Withens Head Farm ( opposite wind farm) and all the stone walls but didn't have time to check Slade and the long pile of stones between the Withens and Fly Flatts.

Lapwing still with chicks up there was nice to see but the Curlew seem to have moved off in good time this year.

Black Redstart.

                                                                                                          Photo B.S.
Yesterdays amazing find for DJS and AT.
No sign this morning but was very elusive yesterday. A Robin is feeding young up there and keeps giving it the chase around.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Bright Yellow Canary

Any body missing one?

Seen mid morning in Norland

Poor record shot taken with phone but quite a distinctive bird

Cold Edge

Thanks to Alan T for the lift so we could do Cold Edge from The Withens this morning. Glorious weather but not many birds showing so we concentrated on butterflies. How amazing was that, to see so many different species plus one or two day flying moths.

Swifts and Swallows and 5+ Tufted Duck on the lower dam, a few B H Gulls, usual Canada's, a few Goldfinch, a Kestrel and a distant Buzzard was the best we could muster - till we returned !

On passing Moorlands Farm we were suspicious about a small bird flitting about the ruined barns thinking maybe Black Redstart (?). Our thinking was soon confirmed. A Black Redstart, juvenile. It was continually harassed by a Robin and hopefully it will stay around for a few days.
AT got a few shots off to post later. BS also found the bird later on though it was proving to be quite elusive at times.

Black Redstarts are scarce breeding birds in Britain and this juvenile is probably a dispersing bird from the north or east coast or even continental origin though the latter seems les likely given the time of the year(?).

If anyone goes looking for the bird then please respect the residents privacy and do not enter the grounds/ buildings for obvious safety reasons. Best viewed from the nearby public footpath/track.

See West Yorkshire Birding link for some smart pictures of the bird taken later in the afternoon by BS.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sand martins

Found a very small nest site this afternoon . Around 6 nest holes in the river bank , up to 6 birds over the field busy feeding
Also in a different area a female merlin

Friday, July 19, 2019

Lee Mount

Our local pair of Blackbirds are busy feeding young again - first sighting of them carrying food this morning so hope they can raise the clutch to fledging stage this time after earlier failures.

Shibden Valley

A juvenile jay eating my rasberries! I've never before had a proper look at the crown of a young jay. My three general bird guides do not even mention how it differs from the adult crown.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lee Mount

Two juvenile Peregrines late morning. They drew my attention by the 'racket' they were making ! (described in English (if that's possible)a..... 'rehk' 'rehk' 'rehk' ,

Binoculars to the was carrying prey, maybe a pigeon sized bird with longish legs trailing underneath and guess that's why they were squabbling (?) I still can't be sure what the prey was, the prey looked dark which would normally put a wader as questionable then wondered about a Moorhen. I shall never know.
They both flew off still 'rehk'-ing in the direction of Dean Clough / Town Centre.


Around midday huge numbers of Swifts were flying SW in a force 4 westerly.
I counted 300 in about 15 minutes, and the passage continued at the same pace when I stopped counting Swifts to focus on what else might be moving.

I logged 47 House Martins SW in 40 minutes. No Sand Martins however.

Other than these, just one Wheatear at Blackstone Edge.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Ringstone ...Green Sandpiper

Popped up to Ringstone today.....Swifts , Swallows , Kestrel ,,Cormorant , 5 BH Gull , 6 LBBGull , 3 Tufted Duck , 3 GCGrebe , 300 + Lapwing ,2 Oystercatcher , Moorhen with chick , and I flushed a Green Sandpiper by the overflow , it flew along the dam wall and landed in front of the hide , it was still there when I left...

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier over Lower Gorple this morning.

Great White Egret

Some very nice pictures from John M of the egret this afternoon on the River Calder at Cromwell Bottom . It flew off towards Elland at 16:10.

Shibden Park

As I approached the lake at 0945 I saw a Great Egret flying above the water. It did a couple of circuits below tree height, then departed over the trees to the southwest.

 The white cygnet has pale legs, and a pale bill (contrast bill of the normal cygnet at top of first picture). But it has some brown in the plumage, so does this mean it's not a Polish Swan?   Note: Thanks Andy for the reference to the BB article on Polish Swans (  ); the photo with this article shows a bird with a similar amount of brown to ours, so ours looks good.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Lee Mount

I ended up on Sky-watch most of the day today but the sky was quiet with max of 6 local Swifts, 2 House Martins and a few passing L B B Gulls as well as the garden birds with Song Thrush singing again.
Best of the day was a juvenile Peregrine over >W around 14:30. It was low down and skimmed over the trees heading up the Wheatley Valley.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ringstone Edge

These are 5 out of a party of 8 Stock doves.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ringstone Edge

'Continental' cormorant, P carbo sinensis. The rear edge of the bare skin drops vertically from the gape. So the angle of the edge of the bare skin at the gape is obtuse - ie more than 90 degrees.

Common sandpiper.

Fly Flatts

Called up there late afternoon to scope from the top road for an hour.
Must have just missed BS !
2 Barnacle Geese with c 360 Canada Geese
2 Kestrel
4 Raven went over >N
1 Common Sandpiper
1 Lapwing
6 Black-headed Gulls, including one of this years juveniles
1 Herring Gull
15+ L B B Gulls
A few mipits and that was about it apart from 7 Greylag Geese near Nolstar

Mixenden Reservoir etc

Nothing much doing but a Whitethroat in the bushes was surprise there.. Only 6 House Martins there today.

Also called at Nick's early afternoon, we were just at the front door and a Peregrine went over calling and scattering the Feral pigeons.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Ringstone Edge

Little Owl. Taken with Panasonic Lumix TZ80 (viewfinder; 30x optical zoom).

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Mixenden Reservoir and Hunter Hill

Nothing much on the reservoir other than feeding House Martins.

On Hunter Hill - Green Woodpecker and a Little Owl were the best birds of the morning.
c120 Lapwings in the fields near Nolstar must now be a post breeding flock.

I checked Slaughter Gap but it's probably a bit early yet for migrants !

Lower down a Jackdaw flock was making a racket with lots of this years juveniles. Probably around 150 altogether.

Not a lot else other than a few Swallows and Swifts, 9 Linnets, some Goldfinch and Meadow Pipits, 2 Mistle Thrush, 5 Blackbirds and 30+ Starlings.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Shibden Park

Still a pair of Mute swans with 5 cygnets. The male still shows the result of what I've been told was a dog attack. And one of the cygnets is white, with a pale bill: leucistic?

Monday, July 01, 2019

Ringstone Edge

Great crested grebe 2
Tufted duck 3m
Kestrel 1f
Oystercatcher 3 south (pm)
Lapwing 95
Lesser black-backed gull 30
Rook 42