Monday, June 29, 2020

Ogden Reservoir

We braved it this afternoon, still raining and blowing. looks set to continue a while yet.
1 Redshank
1 Great Crested Grebe
3 Cormorant
1 Oystercatcher flyover
1 Grey Heron
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Pied Wagtail
Usual Mallard plus a few half grown chicks
Small flock including Blue, Great and L T Tits along with 2 Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff types
Nice to have a waterside, in the rain, chat with JJL who managed a Dipper after we left.

Whiteholme Reservoir

Spent an hour at Whiteholme this morning in truly awful conditions. Dunlin number now up to four, otherwise single Ringed Plover and about five Common Sandpipers.
Also tried to have a scope of Fly Flatts on my way back but the wind and rain made it all but impossible. However a HOBBY did fly across the road and then down towards the reservoir.

Mixenden Reservoir

Local reservoirs are always worth checking, especially during inclement weather winter and summer !
Not  a lot doing there this morning
8 Canada Geese
2 Sand Martins
6+ House Martins
12+ Swallows
3 Swift (interesting that many thousands of Swifts have been reported heading down the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast the last couple of days) looking for some better weather I guess !
1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and 1 sub adult Herring Gull, both heading >W.
Green Woodpecker calling in the plantation with what sounded like one or two juveniles as well
1 Jay and a Whitethroat and 1 Willow Warbler - both singing in the rain !

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Shibden Park

Tufted duck 1 pair
Coot with one of 2nd brood
Also a Treecreeper here - only the third Calderdale location where I've seen one this year

Friday, June 26, 2020

Shibden Park

2 'Polish' Mute swan cygnets (out of 7) - little brown in the plumage and pale bill and legs.
The gene responsible for melanin production is on the Z sex chromosome. A male bird's sex chromosomes are ZZ, while a female is ZW. (Contrast a mammal, where the FEMALE is XX and the male is XY).
A Polish swan does not have a normal melanin-producing gene - only deficient one(s).
These 2 birds are extremely likely to be females, since with only one Z chromosome they only 'need' one faulty gene.
A Polish male would have to inherit a faulty gene from each parent, and since the abnormality is not common, the chance of this happening is small.
Neither parent of these birds looks Polish, so one of the the male's two Z chromosomes must carry the Polish gene. Which he has given to his Polish daughters, while their mother supplied the W that made them female.

Soil Hill & Whiteholme

Spent the last couple of days rising early for my Soil Hill visit in the hope of experiencing some of the crazy finch migration currently on the East Coast. Sadly not to be, with just a single Siskin on both mornings.
This Great-spotted Woodpecker was nice though, a dispersing juvenile from Ogden I guess. My 92nd species on the Hill this year.
-Great-spotted Woodpecker
After seeing records of an unuseasonal range of wader species across inland north sites today, I also headed to up to Whiteholme during this mornings rainstorm. Sadly not to be. Present were a single Ringed Plover, single Redshank and 2 Dunlin. There was also a single Wheatear.
These three monstrosities were still there. I don't know enough about domestic ducks to put a name to them unfortunately.
-Duck sp.
Also a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and a Black-tailed Skimmer at Whiteholme. Unsure of the latters status in Calderdale.

Juvenile Siskin

Thursday, June 25, 2020


'British' Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo carbo.
The rear edge of the yellow gular patch slopes forward below the gape.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cold Edge

Barnacle goose 2
Also more orchids - Southern Marsh and Common Spotted, (not birds I know, but still nice to see)

Sand Martins

Three birds at Elland Bridge last week presumably part of the colony there.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Mount Tabor

House sparrow 3 juveniles.
They were tame, staying put when two people walked close to them. Afterwards, the oldest (see below) did leave the other two.
The two I think are younger have mid-brown crowns, rather than the grey-brown of an adult female; and their underparts and rump are light brown with slight streaking.
The third bird has a greyer crown; and its underparts are greyer, but they are still brownish-grey with darker flank streaking - not the uniform grey of adult birds.
(Comments welcome. None of my bird books give good descriptions or pictures of juvenile H sparrows).

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Cold Edge

2 Lapwing with 2 chicks.
Also Southern Marsh Orchid - has rows of dots on the lip. (Northern Marsh - not found in Calderdale - is deep magenta and has crimson loops on the lip).

Blackbird nest

We've had a pair of Blackbirds nesting in the Mahonia bush, from building to feeding young the last eight days. We couldn't see the nest as it was so well hidden. A Grey Squirrel was showing interest in the site yesterday and I saw it off a couple of times. This morning it's not looking good. The adults are there but they're not fetching food in, just sitting in the nearby tree 'clucking'. Three Grey Squirrels in the trees at the back are the are the chief suspects. Grrrrr !!!
Plenty of food was coming in for the chicks last few days

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Ring Necked Parakeet

On feeder at Highroad Well. Looked a bit unwell as sat for about 30 mins even though there was seed on floor. Have  photos but can't figure out how to post them!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


5 male Common scoters.
Also 345 Swifts SW

Working Well

    The LEO parents are working hard and catching plenty.


Tuesday, June 09, 2020


Juvenile Dipper from the Luddenden Valley yesterday afternoon still being fed by the adults. A good show of juvenile Grey Wagtails as well with their adults
Also earlier in the day an adult  Dipper just upstream from North Bridge. Grey Wagtails there too.

Monday, June 08, 2020


I counted 230 swifts here this morning, mostly moving NE. Some flew quite close, at around head height, which was an experience.
Waders: 2 Common sandpiper, 4 Ringed plover, 4 Dunlin.
2 Greylags flew in from the south.
(And at Blackstone Edge I found wild Columbine and Northern Marsh Orchid).

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Rishworth garden feeders this week..

Had a nice male Bullfinch this afternoon - Not a common bird for the garden feeders here. This week a few Siskin calls about and the best bird -  a Garden Warbler. A few Blackcap paying occasional visits to the garden but seem to be staying in the Snowberry bushes at the bus stop ! Chiff Chaff hasn't stopped singing since late March and the Song Thrush chattering on since Feb ! Blackbird attacked a Jay earlier today - must have got a bit close to a nest for comfort as it didn't manage to get anything. Long-Tailed Tits are still showing up to run down the fatball feeder, they go off to feed their young on insects come July. Blue, Great, Coal Tit fledglings coming to the feeders also Gold + Greenfinch fledglings and lots and lots of Chaffinch amongst the listed finch species.

Patience is a virtue

    Patience is a virtue after 3 hours of nothing
    the wind died down and the birdlife came
    alive here's a couple of pics from yesterday on
    my trek around Calderdale.


Friday, June 05, 2020

Ogden - golf course

Didn't find a lot there this afternoon but an independent juvenile Stonechat, with the adult male still around on the fence line.

Whiteholme Reservoir

Went up this afternoon to try and relocate the Ruff that was seen earlier. Sadly no joy but did stumble across this superb Little Stint. I sat along the shoreline and the bird passed within 2ft of me, without showing any concern. Nice to meet PS and DF up there, hope everyone that went up was able to see it.
Also had at least 5 Dunlin, LRP and 3 Common Sandpiper. Steady Swift passage as well in rather blustery conditions.
-Little Stint


I'm 75 this month, and was thinking of switching completely to plants - which have the decency to stay put while one tries to identify them! But Nick's pep talk sent me here this afternoon. Where DB showed me this. Thanks Nick. And thanks Daniel.

Whiteholme Reservoir

A single Ruff reported there earlier today (BL) seems to have moved on by this afternoon
Little Stint, 3 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover there this afternoon may have moved on ? (Dan Br and M Br).

Reed Warbler

This was the best I could do this morning  !
Reed Warbler

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Oats Royd

I went down there this morning in the hope of Yellowhammer but there was no show. Several Willow Warblers, Common Whitethroats, Bullfinch, Linnets and Long-tailed Tits plus a few other local species. A pair of pipits gave me the runaround constantly landing in the tops of hawthorn. The hope of Tree Pipit was soon dispelled  though it was still nice to find a pair of Meadow Pipits feeding young.

I was just about to head back up the hill when a falcon appeared from the direction of Bradshaw. A Hobby, catching and eating insects as it flew above and beyond me. I was unable to determine adult or immature as it was always in silhouette and I couldn't get colour though I did manage a few distant shots once the camera locked on ! It flew off in the direction of Shibden Head.
An adult was also seen earlier in the day over Northowram (AC).
Great birds to see though they usually just whiz past !

As I left, around 30 Swifts appeared over AmblerThorn. These seem still to be in low numbers locally this year though SB reported up to 30 over Sowerby Bridge yesterday late afternoon.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

  Just had a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the bird table,
  was only there 30 seconds surprised it didn't try the nut
  feeder though, it came from the pepper hill trees, I also
  had one last xmas day too and they don't hang around
  for long, jittery little things but great to see, must have
  preferred sunflower seeds that are on the table.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Shibden Park

Mute Swan: 2 of the 7 cygnets look 'Polish', (see article in June Birdwatch magazine).

Monday, June 01, 2020

Singing all day !

We have a pair of Blackbirds with a nest in a Mahonia. Female built it last week, it's completely hidden. I didn't see the male contribute at all ! I guess she's sitting now. 
The male has been singing continuously all through the day from first light until nearly 9 pm. Occasionally moving his singing perch in the nearby oak trees or the roof ariel, he must have a sore throat by now !!! what a beautiful song though. More song tomorrow starting soon after 4 am  I guess.