Thursday, April 30, 2020

Swales Moor

I checked the length of Ringby Lane first thing, got to make the effort sometime ! I was hoping maybe for Yellow Wagtail but conditions were not good with weedkiller having been sprayed on the fields, no manure pile nowadays and no ponds - thought there might have been some puddles after the rain yesterday and overnight.

Very little moving - 1 House Martin and 1 Swallow >N was all I picked out
2 Skylarks on the top along with 2 Whitethroat, 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipits, 4 Linnet and 2 Lapwings. As usual, corvids in abundance.
A few Lesser black-backed Gulls and a Herring Gull moving to and fro along the ridge and not a lot else.

At home later - 3 Goosander flew over >W and a Grey Heron >SE
Still waiting for a Swift !

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Soil Hill Black-tailed Godwits

Photo of this morning eleven Black-tailed Godwits flying north distantly over Ovenden Moor as viewed from Soil Hill. Also male Cuckoo on Ned Hill Track and two Wheatears, one at the bottom of the North Slope and another along the North Slope fence line at the top.

Green withens

Up at 0530 safer up here than the supermarket I reckon, the hoped for sunrise was poor just cold and gloomy good job wheatears have white tails, look brilliant in the dawn. For me wheatear says migration

Wheatear 3
Swallow 1 east
Teal 2
Tufted duck 2
Red grouse 2
Raven 2
Curlew 4
Common sandpiper 4
Pheasant 1 male on the east dam banking

Monday, April 27, 2020

Green withens

Another interesting visit

Marsh harrier flew north at 0830 tatty looking
Buzzard west mobbed by crows
Red grouse 2
Tufted duck male female
Teal 2 males
Stonechat 1 female
Wheatear 6
Curlew 4
Common sandpiper 8
Dunlin 6
Little ringed plover 1

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Soil Hill - updates from the week

Another steady week on the hill. Fewer standout birds but still some good species. Migrant totals during the week peaked as such:
Willow Warbler: 8 21st
Whitethroat: 4 24th
Barn Swallow: 6 23rd 
Snipe are also still present daily with a maximum count of 4 on the 20th

20th April
2 Greylag Geese flew over Ovenden Moor
1 Buzzard N
3 Wheatear bottom of North Slope

22nd April
2 Oystercatcher
1 Stonechat male on Ned Hill Track
2 Wheatear bottom of North Slope

23rd April
6 Greylag Geese in fields around Bradshaw
9 Golden Plover; One flew north calling. Ten minutes later a flock of 8 flew north but then U-turned back onto the Hill. A search of the summit produced 2 birds
1 Sand Martin flew N
1 Goldcrest singing from Taylor Lane

24th April
1 Buzzard flew N
1 Grasshopper Warbler showed incredibly well
3 Fieldfare flew north
1 Wheatear bottom of the North Slope
1 YELLOWHAMMER; Standout bird of the week. One flew N along the North Slope Treeline calling frequently. Would suspect probably an immature male; very yellow bird but lacking a bright head. Sadly continued north without stopping

25th April
1 Stonechat male bottom of North Slope
1 Wheatear very confiding male bottom of N slope
2 Fieldfare flew E 

26th April
4 Wheatear bottom of North Slope
2 Sand Martin blogging
2 Stonechat bottom of North Slope

Green withens. 0630/900

Firstly kept safe but there was no one to keep safe from!!

Fieldfare 1 at the back of the depot in the clough total surprise
Wheatear 6 along the drain 2 male 4 female
Willow warbler 1 singing in bushes by the slip road along with a blackbird

Some nice shoreline has appeared

Dunlin 5
Little ringed plover 2
Oystercatcher 1
Curlew 8
Snipe 1
Common sandpiper 8
Golden plover 1

The res also had lots of Canada geese plus 2 greylags and 8 mallard

Also 1 twite  a male stonechat and 3 reed buntings

5 lbb gulls went west

1 deer was unexpected and very tame we just looked at each other keeping out social distance
Back up tomorrow

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Soil Hill - updates from the week

Latest update from Soil Hill after a very productive week.

13th April
1st Grasshopper Warbler of the year. Bird flushed at the top of the north slope treeline
18 Curlew in the bottom field
1 Whitethroat
-Grasshopper Warbler

14th April
Highlight of the week, and possibly the spring so far, was a cracking Whimbrel on the bottom fields with the Curlew.
A Jay flew over the hill
7 Willow Warbler
1 Whitethroat
-Willow Warbler

15th April
Scattering of migrants present 
At least one Ring Ouzel, possibly two. Bird seen was an absolute corker of a male. Another bird was heard but could have been the same bird moved up through the scrub. Impression in the field was that it was a different bird.
Pair of Stonechat 
2 Wheatear (1 male)
8 Willow Warbler, 7 singing
1 Whitethroat singing
1 Barn Swallow blogging
-Male Ring Ouzel

16th April
Female Ring Ouzel in the fields off Taylor Lane. Same location as the bird on the 12th, so probably same bird that has been remaining elusive.
1 Grasshopper Warbler reeling
1 male Stonechat 
At least 4 Snipe in the bottom fields 
Peregrine flew through
-Taylor Lane Ring Ouzel

17th April
1 Grasshopper Warbler reeling from different location

18th April
Male Ring Ouzel dropped out of the sky and landed breifly on a wall before heading south. Female bird seen again in fields off Taylor Lane.
1 Goldcrest in plantation across from main entrance track
1 Buzzard flew north
-Ring Ouzel

19th April
1 Wheatear by the NK pond
Marsh Harrier very distantly over towards Ovenden Moor. Lost the bird, cannot say which way it went. 
2 Swallows blogging
2 Whitethroat singing

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Early Bird !

Cuckoo singing in Luddenden Dean this morning. (PB and AR)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Lee Mount

Local female Sparrowhawk passing through.

These Starlings are looking fantastic at the moment though they do ravage the garden feeders. They also wait in the tree until I fill their bath !!! then they have no inhibitions.

Shroggs landfill etc...

I've been trying to get half a decent shot of the Willow Warbler that's been singing all week down there. Eventually managed a couple but it was 'playing hard to get' !
 Willow Warbler

A few singing  Chiffchaff and Blackcaps down there along with an occasional Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker 'drumming' and up to 4 Jays with a Green Woodpecker heard in the distance up the Wheatley Valley.

Several reports this week of Common Sandpipers, House Martins and Swallows and there are still some Ring Ouzels and Wheatear about in upland areas.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was one of the highlights so far this week at an undisclosed location (AT) though there have been some other highlights too............

Lockdown Surprises

  Lockdown garden watch  has produced 3 surprises
  the last couple of days but sadly no pics, today had
  a cracking Yellowhammer singing in a neighbours
  garden but flew off as I was about to focus, a Ring
  Ouzel in the back field a first for around here and a
  black bird with a bright red beak a wee bit larger than
  a Blackbird, lots of Greenfinch around at the moment
  and a distant flock of what looked like Golden Plover.

Rishworth Skywatch

Been looking up often today from the feeders and doing 'Gardenwatch' a Buzzard Mewing over SE 13:48. 1 Oystercatcher NNW Calling 15:17. Were the only bits of interest apart from the local rookery throwing sticks left right and centre for the past week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Ring ouzel

Had two together then a possible 3rd around 15 minutes later, Dean Head valley area

Thanks to Lynn for getting a few photos

Sunday, April 12, 2020


Hoopoe feeding for several hours in a private garden in Heptonstall today. Photo borrowed from post seen on local facebook group

Image may contain: bird, grass and outdoor

Rishworth - Swallows.

The first two Swallows were here at the farm they like

Soil Hill - updates from the week

Latest bits and pieces from the Hill

7th April
1st Wheatear of the year in the fields around the top
35 Fieldfare flew north
1 Barn Swallow was blogging around

8th April
A pair of Bullfinch was in the line of trees leading down to the NK pond

10th April
A Jay flew through, landing breifly 
1st Willow Warbler back
3 Wheatears in the field by the NK pond
1 Barn Swallow blogging

11th April
Recorded 48 species, which is my highest total for a single visit to the site
Female Ring Ouzel in the trees on the north slope, was flushed and lost. Another bird flew over high later in the morning
A CC Marsh Harrier circled over from Ogden direction, before circling north
up to 3 Willow Warbler and1st Whitethroat back
a Nuthatch was on the summit. I think it looked as confused as I was
6 Wheatears; 4 by the NK pond (2 male) and another 2 in the fields at the top
1 Barn Swallow blogging
A male Goosander flew off Ogden
-Female Ring Ouzel
-One of two male Wheatears
-Nuthatch looking very confused
-Marsh Harrier, seems to have aquired some damage to its wing

12th April
Female Ring Ouzel in the fields off Taylor Lane
Single male Wheatear still present
Up to 7 Willow Warblers, plus Whitethroat still present and singing
-Female Ring Ouzel on Taylor Lane

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Rishworth - First migrants!

The House Martins are back at their traditional breeding site here.

Blood shed in Ogden Garden

We have been watching a crow on the bird bath in the garden. Initially we thought it was having a drink but then it was apparent it was eating some sort of meat. We went out to investigate but it flew away with remnants of what it was eating leaving only a pool of blood. It returned  a short time later and was repeating its behaviour. We went out again and this time it flew away leaving its meal behind. Its part eaten meal was a frog. Frogs do not live in our bird bath! Has anybody witnessed this sort of behaviour before?

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Lee Mount - 8th April

Garden watch !
Pair of Nuthatch coming regularly to the garden feeder
Also Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing in the park on and off during the day.
Tawny Owls calling and singing most nights after 23:00
Red Kite over mid afternoon (from Steve C) but I couldn't pick it out due to surrounding houses !
I did have a Buzzard and 2 Sparrowhawks together earlier but generally the sky was very quiet apart from 1 Herring Gull and several Lesser Black-backed Gulls loitering. They had probably been feeding in freshly manured fields over towards Ploughcroft.
Peregrine flyover towards Halifax early evening.
Not a bad day in all that hot sunshine !

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Cold Edge

The Mandarin found by PB on Sunday is still here.
Also, a pair of Goosander, and 2 singing Willow warblers

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Lee Mount - watch-point !

Garden watch most of the day.
1 Buzzard very high over >N
Female Sparrowhawk seen overhead twice
Blackcap male singing in the park most of this afternoon. Also a Chiffchaff
1 Swallow over - brief view over the trees in the park - always nice to see them back from Africa for our summer.
2 Nuthatch coming to the garden feeder.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Other news today - brief summary....

Summer plumage Water Pipit located at Green Withens Reservoir this afternoon (PG)

A few reports last couple of days of Swallows and a couple of House Martins. (AC MBr BS MM NCD et al.....

Willow Warbler in Jumble Hole (MB)
Mandarin drake on Cold Edge dams yesterday (PB)

Ring Ouzels - one each Crimsworth Dean(HBB)  and Rishworth Lodge area (PG)

An encouraging number of Greenfinch reported in the last week or two. They have been getting really scarce in the last few years so we hope they are on the up again though Chaffinch's are now the ones that are in rapid decline. The BTO are gathering data to try and work out what's happening with them.

Ospreys - see post and comments below from Soil Hill

Soil Hill

A long awaited patch tick today. Osprey flew slowly north at 12.25. Nothing else of note in windy conditions

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Soil Hill - updates from the week

Just a few bits from a daily walk around Soil Hill during the past week.

30 March
Still 9 Fieldfare in the fields around the top, feeding with Starlings

31 March
At least 4 Buzzards drifted north, also 2 Sparrowhawks circling

02 April
5 five flocks of Common Scoter flew E over the Soil Hill/Bradshaw area between 21.15 and 21.45

03 April
3 Buzzards drifted west towards Fly Flatts
Still 6 Fieldfares in the fields
1 Snipe drumming
2 more flocks of Common Scoter flew E, one at 21.32 and another at 21.49

04 April
Steady morning of VisMig, all north between 08.00 and 09.00; Woodpigeon 18, Fieldfare 52, Meadow Pipit 92, Linnet 2
3 Oystercatchers blogging around

05 April
1 Swallow flew through N 8.16, my first of the year. Another was blogging over Bradshaw around 11.45
2 Snipe drumming
2 Redwing flew west with 14 Fieldfare
Also rather sadly found one of the sites Little Owls dead on the side of the road.

Ogden Garden

A buzzard flying over this morning from Mixenden direction over the windmills in the direction of Oxenhope

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Recent news !

Despite the 'islolation' plenty of local birders seem to be doing their local patches. It seems to be paying off with no shortage of news this last few days. I''l try summarize some of the highlights.

Male Ring Ouzel today in the fields opposite Withens Head (formerly the wind-farm car park) (AR)

2 Ospreys - one over Jumble Hole yesterday (MB) and another today over Ringstone (JB). Also at Ringstone the overwintering Common Sandpiper seems to be still around though the summer migrants will also be arriving soon.

Lots of singing Chiffchaffs being reported from a wide range of locations and a Swallow over Barkisland today (GC). 2 Siskin from a garden feeder in Brighouse (RB)

White Wagtail at Norton Tower around the manure pile this afternoon (NCD).

Several reports of Green Woodpeckers singing from a number of locations and Great Spotted Woodpeckers 'drumming'.

If you have a garden then it could be well worth watching from in these next few weeks as some more of our summer migrants arrive.

Ogden Garden

Ten waxwings on the same tree this morning at 7.45am. Then flew to the same tree with berries in an adjoining garden which suggests may be same flock from earlier in week.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Common Scoters - 2nd April

Well done Mat Br for picking up flight calls of more Common Scoter flocks tonight heading probably >NE over Mytholmroyd around 21:30. Good work too from Dan B also picking them out over Bradshaw shortly afterwards  with several flocks heading over. Fantastic work you two.

I was out till 23:30 but didn't pick anything definite up over Lee Mount but the moon and the stars look great !

Another small Scoter flock heard over Mytholmroyd at 23:37 (MBr).

I wonder if the birds have been wintering along the west coast and around Ireland and been waiting for the recent prolonged easterly winds to drop and change direction before heading over to our east coast and beyond (? - just a thought.) I can't recall reports of scoters passing over Calderdale in this way previously - though I suspect they do. We do get occasional small flocks on local reservoirs.

Hopefully we might get some more flyovers after dark. Keep listening !!!

A big number overnight at Spurn as well.

Today’s news.

At least 2 flocks of Common Scoters reported flying over Mytholmroyd yesterday evening (MBr) and possibly a single bird on Cromwell Bottom ski-lake yesterday late afternoon. (Jeff M).
Might be some more about on local reservoirs but with the 'lock down' - who knows.

Local walk for me this morning in the Wheatley Valley. Nice to hear a Green Woodpecker singing away near Wood Lane. Also 3 Chiffchaff singing and a pair of Grey Wagtails by the stream near the viaduct at the bottom of Boy Lane. Also evidence of Dippers down there but I didn't seen one.

Male Brambling reported still at the feeders in a Norland garden (AT).

Nothing to update on yesterday's Waxwings at Ogden so looks like they've moved on.

Stay safe everyone.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Beak of the day at Cromwell Bottom

Photo below from Mike H - this poor Blue Tit has been coming for a while to the feeders down there. It's amazing it's survived from at least last summer and through the winter so it must be able to feed ok !
Thanks Mike
Blue Tit

Ogden Garden

Twelve waxwings in garden this afternoon. Now in adjacent garden eating few remaining berries