Monday, December 28, 2020

Beacon Hill

We don't often go up to the beacon but it was a good afternoon to do so. Perfect timing...with two big skeins of Pink-footed Geese 3 minutes apart over the top heading >W. I got a couple of shots on the phone but the first skein is blurred though it was a larger size compared with the lot below with c215 individuals. 
Pink-footed Geese

2 Grey Herons also went over the top (probably local birds) and a mix of corvids in the fields above Cunnery Wood

Sunday, December 27, 2020

 Sunday December 27th.

A walk along Thornhills Lane and Jay House produced the common birds expected but a couple of good size flocks of House Sparrows is always nice to see. They have bred well this year. Tree Sparrows are still present. Plenty of Blackbirds but no evidence of Continental visitors. Resident Alba Wagtails, Mistle Thrushes and mixed flocks of Jackdaws and Rooks were also evident. Plenty of Common Gulls (54 in one flock yesterday) and Blackheaded Gulls sometimes not mixed together. 23+ Redwings highly mobile and feeding on Hawthorn berries.. What would we do without these lovely winter visitors? No Fieldfare today but there were earlier in the week.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Cold Edge and Ovenden Moor

Cold Edge living up to its name again this morning. 1c with a biting cold northerly wind and icy underfoot in places, but it was bright and clear.
1 Stonechat, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Moorhen, 1 Kestrel, 37 Canada's and 8 Greylag Geese, 12 Mallard and not much else other than a few Common and Black-headed Gulls.

Wind Farm area 4 Fieldfare, 2 Raven, c30 Starlings, 2 Carrion Crows and several Red Grouse. 14 Herring Gull >NE.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Green Withens Res'r (and Pink-footed Geese)

 Went to check for the recent Water Pipit again. AT had the same idea so we checked the usual expected locations up there without a show. A lot of activity around the boat house looked like a team checking the premises and having a tidy up so no birds around there.

We came away with - not much... 1 Red Grouse, 2 Carrion Crows, c6 Mallard and a Dipper but it was a pleasant morning to be out in the fresh air.

Two flocks of Pink-footed Geese reported >>W today with c50 over Wainstalls around 15:45 (AR) and 154 over Lower Gorple mid afternoon (AC NCD). It's always handy to get a photo (if possible) of any 'pinkie' flocks as was the case with the 154 - a count off the photo later gives a reasonably accurate count. Hopefully more flocks in the next few days to round off a very good autumn for the Pink-footed Geese over Calderdale. Thanks for all the reports.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

EGP Skiing lake

 I've just seen Dave's comment at the beginning of this month on the difficulty of viewing the skiing lake.

Some of the lake is viewable from the road a little way east of the lay-by. But I'd say that the best coverage is from a point reached by walking down between the terrace of houses that is side-on to the road, and the Casa restaurant.

The photo of Goosander and Cormorant that I put on the blog on 10/11/2019 was taken from this viewpoint.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Cold Edge

Good to see Pete S up there this morning having done the rounds as I started off . Think we ended up more or less having the same birds !

Mistle Thrush in full song was really good to hear. Firstly on the overhead wires and later in the top of a Larch. It continued singing despite the breeze and drizzle.
2 Bullfinch in the small plantation
27 Canada Geese
4 Moorhen
1 Fieldfare
c70 Starlings
1 Sparrowhawk - female strafed through low over the vegetation obviously in hunting mode
No sign of the recent drake Goldeneye or the Stonechat and not  a lot else other than usual species.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Green Withens

I tried again for the recent Water Pipit but no show after trying a good stretch of both inflows and down to the bottom end of the outfall. A nice morning to be out with plenty sunshine and an occasional light shower.

Best of the morning was a female Pintail with 6 Mallard on the left side of the Res'r just from the boathouse. Not sure if the photos are any good as they were a bit distant.
2 Dippers
1 Stonechat
1 Twite (colour ringed but I couldn't get the full combination)
1 Carrion Crow

Not many birds but just a bit of quality !

Pintail with Mallard(best of a bad lot)!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Lee Mount

78 Pink-footed Geese >W at 09:00 this morning

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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Water Pipit

 Water Pipit still at Green Withens this morning.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Mixenden and Ogden - in the mist !

 Mixenden Reservoir
2 skeins Pink-footed Geese heading >W in the mist at 11:00 and 11:05 - I could only hear them 
1 female Goldeneye - yellow band on the tip of the bill suggests an adult (I think)
2 L B B Gulls
2 Herring Gulls
c200 mixed Black-headed and Common Gulls

Ogden - Giant's Tooth area - didn't have time to do the reservoir circuit
2 Green Woodpeckers together feeding on the edge of the heather moor
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker flyover >S
3 Red Grouse

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

more ‘pinkies’ etc

Soil Hill 
Late morning 18 Pink-footed-Geese >W at 12:05 high over the mast towards the wind-farm.
Lots of Common Gulls in the surrounding fields
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Kestrel
15 Fieldfare

100 + pinks >W over Ovenden 12:00 (JS)
60 pinks >W over Northowram 13:05 (AC)

Swales Moor
37 Lapwings in fields along Ringby Lane this afternoon and not a lot else other than corvids and Common Gulls.
4 Meadow Pipits

Monday, December 07, 2020

Green Withens

Tried again for the recent Water Pipit including another trip down the side of the outfall - but failed to locate it ! That's how it goes sometimes.
Female Merlin came overhead, so that made up for it. It didn't seem to be in hunting mode and went straight over towards Lancashire going higher all the time.
3 Reed Buntings by the outfall pump house but no sign of any Twite this morning
2 Red Grouse
1 Carrion Crow
That was it until 62 Pink-footed Geese came over heading >W high and fast at 11:45. A text followed a few minutes later from M St with c150 over Brighouse heading up the Calder Valley at around 11:50

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Soil Hill & other sites; Updates from the week

Soil Hill
-A Common Buzzard flew over during the late afternoon of the 2nd 
-1 male Stonechat on the 4th
-Raven have been present on and off throughout the week
-Common Snipe numbers peaked at 4 on the 5th, Jack Snipe numbers peaked at 2 on the same date
-1 Siskin flew over East on the 6th
-Various skeins of Pink-footed Geese have passed over during the week; 





















-Jack Snipe
-Pink-footed Geese

Lower Gorple 01.12.2020
-1 Adult Great Black-backed Gull flew over
-Single drake Teal

Elland Gravel Pits 02.12.2020
-Various Siskin and Lesser Redpoll flying around calling
-1 Raven flew over
-3 Whooper Swans were on the Ski Lake. At around 10:20 another flock of 5 birds arrived, circled the lake three times and then flew off towards Brighouse. The 3 birds on the lake then took off a few minutes later and flew towards Elland

-Whooper Swans

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Cold Edge

 Mid to late morning. Still a good covering of snow on the ground but it was fine and clear visibility.

1 drake Goldeneye on the top dam with around 20 Mallard on the lower dam
9 Canada Geese
1 Grey Heron
1 Moorhen
1 Kestrel
3 Stonechats
3 House Sparrows (not very common up here)
3 Bullfinch feeding on the heather by the plantation
Unidentified Pipit, I couldn't get any close enough views and it left high >S - but it wasn't a Meadow P - I have to let it it go but it's bugging me !!!

Plus some of the usual species including a call from NK -  "Pink-footed Geese over towards Cold Edge" just as they flew over. Maybe 70 they were high and fast >W at 11:20 as were another flock from AC maybe 80+ but these were more distant over the Luddenden /Calder Valley - again >W at 12:00. Only had the phone camera with me and not quick enough to get a shot for an accurate count.

Mixenden Reservoir

 Mid morning - nothing new. 2 Goldeneye including one adult drake, 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 2 immature Herring Gulls in among a few of the usual Common and Black-headed Gulls.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Mixenden reservoir

In the prolonged snow showers this morning. Thankfully the roads were ok.
1 Cormorant
1 Goldeneye
2 L B b Gulls
4 Herring Gulls
c40 mixed Common and B H Gulls
5 Bullfinch

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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Mixenden and Cold Edge this morning

 Forecast not good but when I got out it was better than I expected - stayed fairly dry most of the time.

Mixenden reservoir
1 Goldeneye looked like the immature drake
1 female Teal hiding under the overhanging trees
c120 mixed gulls, mostly Common's followed by Black-headed and among them 2 adult Lesser Back-backed and 6 Herring Gulls
50+ Starlings nearby but no sign of the parakeets.

Cold Edge - very quiet
1 adult drake Goldeneye 
Pair of Stonechats - (recent family groups seem to have dispersed by now)?
7 Moorhen
10+ Blackbirds
10 Fieldfare
2 Redwings
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Goldcrest
Plus a few of the usual species

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Green Withens

 Another try at finding the Water Pipit for a couple of hours this morning but no show. I even walked down to the bottom of the outflow twice to see if it was hiding away. Cold, with very icy paths on the way up though the sun was shining. Even the phone died with the cold !

Helicopter still working moving stone off the track to fill the eroded gullies on the moor so pretty noisy at times.

2 Dippers (one in the inflow and another at the lower end of the outflow)
3 Twite first thing increased to 17 when I left around 11am (3 colour ringed birds one each red, green and white - all on R and BTO rings on L - I couldn't see any other colour rings above the first colour ring)
2 Red Grouse
1 Kestrel
2 Carrion Crows
4 Mallard

Monday, November 30, 2020

Fly Flatts - mid afternoon

 A howling gale up there and driving rain most of the time but there were two clear, dry spells for around 5 minutes each before the driving rain came in again. I felt sorry for the sheep !!!

An hour and a half up there ... 2 species.
1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull sitting it out on the embankment with 2 adults and an immature fly-overs >W

3 immature Common Gulls (not all that common up here and had to check them out with the scope) were charging from one end of the embankment to the other continuously. They couldn't have been enjoying it in those conditions (or could they) ! Another 12 adult Common Gulls on the top dam at Cold Edge as well.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Soil Hill (and other sites); updates from the week

 A much quieter week than last week

Soil Hill
1 Lesser Redpoll flew over on the 25th
Snipe on and off during the week, peaking at 5 on the 28th
71 Pink-footed Geese flew south distantly on the 27th and 53 flew north on the 28th
A female Goosander flew over on the 27th 
Single Ravens flew over on the 27th and 29th

-Grey Wagtail
-Pink-footed Geese

Walshaw Dean 26.11.2020
38 Pink-footed Geese flew NW over. Also seen by AC & DJS who it was good to see up there

Lower Gorple Reservoir 26.11.2020
10 Teal roosting along the edge of the reservoir

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Lee Mount

 A good start this morning with a call from AC at 08:55 - 'pinks' heading over Northowram coming this way.

Camera out and true to form heading my way in a >W direction. Skein was also seen over Athol Green (TM).
Camera confirmed 140 (give or take one or two). Another skein reported over Wibsey a few minutes later heading towards Queensbury (from RH)
c140 Pink-footed Geese

Green Withens - 27th November

In search of the recent Water Pipit for two and a half hours but I couldn't find it.... - maybe it's gone or perhaps disturbed by the helicopter flights across the reservoir as stone was being dropped in the eroded gullies high on the moor at regular intervals. So very little to report.
4 Mallard
1 Dipper
2 Carrion Crows 
Red Grouse calling

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Crimsworth Dean - fogged off !

Beautiful sunshine over Ogden and Denholme mid morning and then we went over the A6033 from Oxenhope towards Hebden Bridge in the hope the road was open - thankfully it was, after a long closure for road improvements. Unfortunately Pecket Well and the whole of Crimsworth Dean was thick in fog. What next ??

Blake Dean in the hope of finding some brightness - how fortunate was that ! A good walk up to Walshaw Dean and later on to Gorple. Birds were not jumping out at us but we found a few.

Blake Dean - checked the woodland for Brambling and Chaffinch without success but we did find Goldcrests, Coal, Blue and Great Tits and a Grey Heron in the stream. Higher up 2 Treecreepers together were working the moss low down on an old sycamore. A good chat up there with DJB was a nice surprise by the plantation where we spotted a rather distant flock of Fieldfares.

We managed a very pale Barn Owl a little further along and then below Lower Gorple a noisy skein of Pink-footed Geese went over high >W at 2pm. Unusual in that they were just in single file - follow my leader over the upland fog-banks !

Mixenden Res’r

This morning with fog in places on the tops but sunshine here !
3 f Goldeneye
6 Canada Geese
2 Moorhen
1 Grey Wagtail
c90 Common Gulls
c45 B H Gulls
2 Herring Gulls
1 Ring- necked Parakeet opposite the school.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Swales Moor

 Length of Ringby Lane this afternoon

1 Meadow Pipit.....and little else other than the usual corvids and Common Gulls - till I got to the far end fields. Bonus birds with 56 Lapwings, c50 Starlings and a distant Common Buzzard.

Lapwings with a few Starlings

Soil Hill beyond Bradshaw

Common Gulls

Fly Flatts

An hour or so up there late morning but little to report.
2 Stonechat along the top road
2 Kestrel
3 Canada Geese
Red Grouse on the moor very vocal
2 Carrion Crows

1 drake Goldeneye on the top dam at Cold Edge

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Mixenden Reservoir etc

 Had a walk between Mixenden and Ogden this afternoon via Hunter Hill

2 female type Goldeneye on the reservoir plus a good number of smaller gulls and 6 Herring Gulls loafing on the edge. No scope with me to check on the Herring Gulls after a suspicion of  a Yellow-legged Gull there yesterday (NK).

Green Woodpecker on Hunter Hill and a Grey Heron flyover but not  a lot else though we still seem to be coming across plenty of Coal Tits wherever there is shrubbery or woodland.

Earlier in the day a solitary Buzzard >E over Lee Mount and a Sparrowhawk soaring over Shroggs Park.

Sky looked on fire this morning and again this afternoon in the sunset over Wainstalls with Mixenden Reservoir just about showing. Viewed from Lane Head Lane

Monday, November 23, 2020

Swales Moor

 This morning along the length of Ringby Lane - it was perishing along the western ridge !!
46 Lapwing got flushed off the field at the northern end - unusual to see them up here.
2 Raven
2 Stonechats
6 Meadow Pipits
50+ Common Gulls and 1 Black-headed Gull
21 Herring Gulls >SW drifting high over the ridge
2 Stock Dove
15 House Sparrows in the shrubbery down by the cottage at the top of Ploughcroft along with 15+ Goldfinch
Adult Common Gulls


Raven and Carrion Crow
Meadow Pipit

Earlier in Sainsbury's car park
12 Blackbirds feasting on the berries along with 3 Mistle Thrush, Robin, Wren, Blue and Great Tits and Carrion Crows all got flushed by a Sparrowhawk

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Soil Hill (& other sites); updates from the week

Soil Hill
-SNOW BUNTING; 2nd of the week on the summit this morning (22nd). Initially heard which gave me chance to get my camera ready. Strangely the bird then flushed from long grass on top rather than a flyover as I anticipated. It then spent maybe two minutes flying in loops around the top calling frequently before flying south strongly. I followed it until it was a distant dot, which is why it was weird when it (or possibly a different bird) flew past me only around a minute later heading strongly north. Again I followed it and it gave the impression it was loosing altitude but it was extremely distant and I eventually lost it against the backdrop of the distant hills. A search of the habitat on the North Slope produced nothing. So possibly two birds, but unsure. 
-1 Jack Snipe on the 21st
-2 Raven blogging on the 22nd
-52 Fieldfare on the 22nd, best count of the week (44 in a single flock)
-54 Pink-footed Geese flew east

Full checklist from the 22nd:

-Snow Bunting

Green Withens 19.11.2020

-WATER PIPIT by the boathouse but quite elusive. After the initial sighting, photographed below, only seen once breifly on adjacent wall despite searching
-17 Twite
-56 Pink-footed Geese flew West
-1 Raven

-Water Pipit
-Pink-footed Goose

Whiteholme Reservoir 19.11.2020
-2 Raven
-Not a single bird on the water

Ringstone Edge 19.11.2020
-1 Whooper Swan on the water

-Whooper Swan

Lower Gorple 19.11.2020
-10 Whooper Swan flew SE

-Whooper Swan

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Grey Wagtail - TEST

 Testing a very short video from the phone taken yesterday from the car as I pulled up ta home.

It might work ????

Friday, November 20, 2020

Ogden (yesterday 19th Nov)

 Lovely afternoon in the sunshine - not many birds about but it was enjoyable.

Looking towards Soil Hill over this area of moor grass in the foreground (Molinia - I think).
I found 11 Reed Buntings here and it seems a good wintering area for them.

According to some of the maps this rough old very stony road is called Withens New Road. Looked more like a stream yesterday. It was so peaceful so it's great that it's not accessible other than pedestrian, otherwise it would be full of vehicles !

Newly planted area looking down towards the golf course. It's now full of young trees planted in the last couple of years above. This could become a good area for wildlife in the next few years and hopefully improve the diversity - until the trees get too big and the understory will be blanked out.
Green Woodpecker, 2 Stonechats, 6 Blackbirds, 2 Redwings around this spot.

On the way back down a flock of 40 Fieldfares came into the plantation to roost.

Mt Tabor Sparrowhawk

Working from home on a dreary November day at 1100Ft and spotted this cracking little male sparrowhawk that has been doing the rounds of the local gardens.  I know not a prize winning pic through a damp window with a 200mm zoom lens.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Swales Moor - 18th November


A couple of hours on the top at Ringby Lane this morning. Weather not too bad when I got there but the gloom set in as the WSW wind started to blow bringing cloud and drizzle.
Ringby Lane >SE with Beacon Hill in the middle and Emley Moor mast just about visible at the left

Pair of Kestrels to start with but it went downhill from there with just 3 Meadow Pipits and the usual 'glut' of corvids on the top. 40+ Common Gulls also around the top with 6 Herring Gulls and 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull >SW. 
Then in the distance - a flock of Pink-footed Geese heading in my directions at around 10:30 - 62 (if I can count !) heading >NW but finding difficulty in keeping to any sort of formation in the blustery cross-wind.

Just got home and call from SC 11:35 - "pinks over Ovenden". I just got out of the car and there they were, another skein a bit distant having the same struggle in the wind. Managed some poor shots but this skein was 60 individuals (thanks Steve).

Monday, November 16, 2020

Soil Hill

A Snow Bunting was a nice surprise this morning. It flew from the shorter section of grass on the NW side of the Soil Hill Summit. The bird was flushed at a distance of around 10 meters, frustratingly not being seen on the deck prior to this. Upon taking flight, the bird began to fly straight up, emitting a soft whistling call a handful of times. When it reached somewhere between 10 – 15 meters in altitude it then flew strongly east, and began to utter the more familiar rattle like call, which I always consider very similar to Turnstone. It only did this call once, making rapid progress in an easterly direction. It did appear, once on the east side of the summit, that it was dropping in altitude but the bird disappeared behind the ‘Mounds’ and I could not confirm if it landed or not. Extensive searching by myself, NK and JJL produced no further sign. I managed, in my panic, to grab a handful of shots but almost all were useless except one which nicely shows the extent of the white in the wing. Just a bit disapointing that it did not sit on the deck a bit longer, or that it didn't linger in the area.

-Snow Bunting

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Soil Hill; updates from the week

Soil Hill
-Tawny Owl roosted on the Hill earlier in the week but no sign since
-3 Jack Snipe flushed on the 8th but no sign since
-Woodcocks seen on the 9th and today on the 15th
-1 Redpoll flew over Taylor Lane on the 10th 
-7 Dunlin flew south on the 11th 
-Small numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares during the week, including a nice 'Icelandic' Redwing on Taylor Lane
-c.15 Long-tailed Tit were in the North Slope Treeline for two days earlier in the week, which is a personal patch tick
-Tawny Owl
-Long-tailed Tit

Ogden 12.11.2020
-Drake Mandarin found by CS still present mid-morning

Mixenden 14.11.2020
-2 Goldeneye
-3 Ring-necked Parakeets flew over. Have read about these on BS blog, not sure if migrants from a nearby population, or just local escaped birds?