Wednesday, September 30, 2020

My First Wild Hoopoe.

   I know this is out of the area but not too far away, so I 

   thought I'd post this little beauty my first wild Hoopoe

   I was well chuffed after deciding to make the effort to

  and try see it, if not allowed on this site I apologise.



First thing in search of yesterdays  15 Crossbills. They took a bit of finding, up near the 'Giant's Tooth' area though I kept hearing their calls.  They eventually showed but I only got them in flight. At one point they landed in the heather briefly and then returned to the plantation. This happened several times and I suspect they kept getting 'spooked' by a Sparrowhawk. I left them around 10:20 after 14 headed off over Ovenden Moor as the rain started and I lost them from sight. Not sure if they returned or not (?) JJL followed me up but think he missed out.

On the way up I came across a good number of birds in the clough immediately to the east. Including c30 Redwings, Goldcrests, Treecreepers, Great Spotted Woodpecker along with Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits but no sign of any Great Tits ! 2 Ravens along with other corvids and a Sparrowhawk.

Not many moving birds - 4 House Martins >S,  5 Mistle Thrush >E, 1 Buzzard >N

1 Great Crested Grebe on the reservoir.

Giant's Tooth just had some dental treatment adjacent to Ovenden Moor

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Ovenden 'pinkies' etc....

Pink-footed Geese - 30 moved through high >NE around 09:15. I could hear them but picking them out was a struggle at first in the bright blue sky and morning sunshine. Earlier a small flock of 8 Redwings >W at 07:30.

This afternoon 7 Common Buzzards together over Ovenden drifting >N (Steve C). Maybe a couple of family groups making good use of the afternoon thermals. Also one or two Swallows still trickling through. Ringstone had 14 Golden Plover and 12 Snipe late morning (AT) and 15 Crossbills from Ogden plantation (CS).

Castle Carr Road area was pretty quiet this afternoon. 1 Little Owl, 2 Kestrels and not a lot else. Not a Stonechat in sight !!!!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Soil Hill

This afternoon - how warm was that ! After such a cold day yesterday and a cold start today the warmth took me by surprise. It was nice though. It's not often like that up there.

Ned Hill Road
No sign of the recent Black Redstart though there was a Wheatear in the same area and 8 Swallows for a short while over the farm buildings. 2 Rooks with around 20 Jackdaws by the old farm machinery in the field off Taylor Lane and around 40 Meadow Pipits. Green Woodpecker heard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, c18 Linnets and 8 Goldfinch flyovers.

The mast area had a pair of Stonechats along the wall.

North slope - quieter - 2 female type Tufted Duck and a Moorhen on the NK pond, 3 Wren, 1 Robin a Pheasant an a few Mipits. The best bird up there was a lone Coal Tit heading towards the summit.

Earlier in the day no sign of Redwings moving over Swales except for just one heading >SE

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Redwings arriving !

Redwings have been reported in Yorkshire just in small numbers this last week - until today.

Report from first thing this morning of flocks heading >NW over Oxenhope, probably arrivals overnight from across the North Sea. I went out to check the sky over Swales Moor and Ovenden. Sure enough flocks were still in the move and I managed 430+ between 9:00 and 9:30 - all >NW.

Signs of changing seasons with the arrival of winter visitors this week including Redwings and Pink-footed Geese with, hopefully, Whooper Swans, Fieldfare and Bramblings to look out for in the coming weeks.

Still a few Swallows and House Martins about with the changing of the seasons.

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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Bird Report, Fox and Goose

The Halifax Bird Report for 2019 is now available at the Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge open 3 - 9pm except Monday and tuesday.Only £6.00, we do need all the help we can get this year so if you have not already got one please do.

Mixenden Res'r and Hunter Hill

 Mixenden Reservoir 
6 Goosander (all female types) 5 left to the north leaving one on the water - though it could fly.
2 Cormorant
1 House Martin

Hunter Hill
Nothing moving at all...unless it was really high (?)
1 Green Woodpecker
60+ Meadow Pipits
6 Stonechat
c55 Linnet
24 Canada Geese > towards Stodfold fields

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Fly Flatts and later on Ogden

Thick fog didn't look all that good through Wainstalls and Cold Edge for a trip to Fly Flatts this morning but it was a surprise to have a clear view of the reservoir as I arrived and the rain stopped, leaving reasonably good clear conditions for VisMig from the north end. Cold feet in wellingtons was the only drawback after 2 hrs standing about !! but I did enjoy it.

Full details on Trektellen. 
Birds moving >SW - 363 Meadow Pipits, 4 Rooks, 4 Swallow and a 'tit' species was probably a Coal Tit. Others moving >NE - 1 Snipe, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Also around the north end - 4 Mallard on the res'r, 4 Stonechat with a Wren in attendance, 4 Wheatear, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Kestrel and a Reed Bunting etc.
More Stonechats later for BS - see West Yorkshire Birding - link on this page.

Ogden - Carr's Beck at bottom of the golf course this afternoon - a Green Woodpecker was alarming and we saw a Sparrowhawk after it. Thankfully the 'woody' escaped at the last 'ditch' and the hawk headed off in another direction. Quite a few Jays about and Mistle Thrushes too.

Other news - the Black Redstart is still at the site at the top of Taylor Lane, 

Gull I.D. Please

 This gull was on its own up at Lower Gorple the other evening. Phone scoped in poor light on the far bank so not great quality.

I've got it down as a 2nd year Lesser black-backed but could be wrong. Looking in me books, I also had  a little niggling doubt it could be a Caspian gull, can anyone confirm ID please, cheers, Phil


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ploughcroft area

 Along Hag Lane this afternoon towards Pepper Hill and  Claremount 

Another Stonechat - they seem to be all over the place this autumn. They appear to have had an exceptionally good breeding season with lots of family groups reported throughout summer and into autumn still.

Not a lot else up there other than a nice flock of c150 Starlings, 3 Linnet, 1 Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrels. Around 40 Rooks in one field must have found some interesting grubs to feed on. Don't usually see that many up here. 

Swales Moor ...

Hardly anything visibly moving this morning though birds could well have been high and out of sound and sight.
1 Jay > NE
1 Snipe > E
1 alba wagtail >W
Plenty Meadow Pipits about but no sign of any Swallows. 2 Kestrel and a Sparrow Hawk
3 Stonechats on the top along Ringby Lane
1 Chiffchaff

Black Redstart above Bradshaw, along Ned Hill proved elusive at times and sightings were brief - but it is still there.

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Black Redstart

  Black Redstart still at the top of Taylor Lane

  but at a distance for photography but great for 

  binoculars, lovely bird but fast and elusive and

  not easy to photograph not helped by the blowing

  wind, seems to be a young un, nice to bump into

  DjS, AT and GR up there.


Monday, September 21, 2020

Black Redstart

Update from the previous post. It's still there around the farm at the top of Taylor Lane, Bradshaw.

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Bradshaw - Black Redstart

Black Redstart yesterday afternoon seen at the top end of Taylor Lane mid afternoon (AvH from a Halifax Scientific Society walk). A really good find - perfect timing this time of year and after easterly winds last week.

Seen later in the day (CK and JJL) but so far not re-found this morning (NK). Quite a bit of decent habitat up there around the Soil Hill and Ned Hill farms and stone walls so there's still a possibility it's still there - somewhere....

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Mixenden Res'r and Hunter Hill watch-point

Nothing at all on the reservoir this morning and I failed to find hardly anything moving at all from Hunter Hill watchpoint in the cold >NE wind and clear sky.

Most interesting event - I was watching a Common Buzzard reasonably close by for quite a while till it dived speed with legs down - it had definitely seen something. It dropped out of site but came up again a minute later with a full grown Weasel dangling from it's talons. Looks like it got it head first. It carried it off out of site. I've never witnessed one take a Weasel before though I think BS had one a year or two back at Fly Flatts - this time, of course. with a photo (am I correct Bri?)

Otherwise it was down to a green Woodpecker,  Kestrel, c grounded Meadow Pipits,  Stock Dove, 2 Feral Pigeons and a Starling.

Elsewhere a Shoveler at Ringstone Edge reservoir (AT),

Friday, September 18, 2020

Soil Hill - north slope this morning.

Following in DJB's footmarks from this summer I set up the scope for a couple of hours in the hope of some migrants. Not a lot doing but enjoyable just the same. Brisk >NE wind, cool but bright and dry (apart from underfoot !)

6 Skylarks came in from distance to land on the hill
2 Buzzards headed high >E while 2 others were to the north of the watch-point
2 Snipe >E
c30 Swallows >SW
Lots of Meadow Pipits high >SW with lots of others on the top
c50 Goldfinch >E
2 Kestrel
Plenty of gulls in distant fields but a bit too distant for scrutiny.

Cold Edge yesterday (17th)

30 Pink-footed Geese high over Midgley Moor >SE at 08:45 was a decent start. Around the same time was a slightly larger flock over Fly Flatts heading >SE (see West Yorkshire Birding)

Otherwise - 2 Little Grebe, 11 Moorhen, 1 Buzzard, 3 Stonechats, 2 Teal, 3 Snipe, 2 Raven, 3 Red Grouse, 2 Chiffchaff and lots of Meadow Pipits blogging and >W on a broad front along with a few Swallows.

39 species in total was not a bad return for up there but the best was a flock of 25 Greenfinch near Moorlands Farm in the small copse and then on the overhead wires. Scarce birds for us nowadays but a welcome sight indeed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Mixenden and Hunter Hill

This morning. Little sign of anything much moving though conditions at high level were poor with mist hanging on. Hunter Hill - 40 +Swallows and c10 Hs Martins high >Sw
1 Green Woodpecker, c20 Linnets, a few Meadow Pipits, 1 Kestrel and 3 Jays

Mixenden Reservoir
One each - Teal, Cormorant, Mallard and Grey Wagtail.

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Luddenden Dean

This afternoon with mist still clutching the tops.

Fairly quiet in the Dean.
One group of 5 Stonechats and a Whinchat along Catherine House Lane and a Green Woodpecker calling nearby.

Chiffchchaff in Wade Wood.

Elsewhere - 2 Nuthatch, 3 Buzzards distant, 8 Bullfinch, 2 Kestrel, 12+ Swallows plus not much else.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Swales Moor

First thing - very warm and no breeze and very little movement overhead, unless birds were very high, other than a few Meadow Pipits and 3 alba wagtails.

The rest were grounded along Ringby Lane - the best were...
2 Stonechats
4 Skylark
3 Chiffchaff
1 Green Woodpecker

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Wainstalls area

Castle Carr Road this afternoon

Family group of 5 Stonechats with a single Whinchat
2 Buzzards distant
1 Little Owl
A few Swallows

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Out of area Franklin's Gull

Franklin's Gull at Redcar Tarn Keighley today, well worth the trip, only the second in Yorkshire for 29 years I think.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Ploughcroft and Pepper Hill

Yesterday afternoon
A single Swift high over Shibden Valley was a big plus for September.

Still plenty of Swallows and House Martins in the valley. It's a good place in autumn especially with insects to feed on where there's shelter from a westerly wind.

1 Whinchat feeding from a fence line perch over a freshly cut hayfield was a bit unexpected but really nice birds to come across.

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Ogden / Ovenden Moor

Yesterday morning a very quiet walk over the moor apart from Red Grouse starting to make plenty of territorial noise and a family group of 5 Stonechats! 2 Kestrels near the wind-farm. Plenty of Meadow Pipits >W on a broad front and a few Swallows and a brief view of a Sparrowhawk.

Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch and 2 Great Crested Grebes on the water and a Common Buzzard flyover >E

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Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Pepper Hill Kestrel Family

    Enjoyed watching a family of Kestrels hunting

    Pepper Hill every couple of hours today, they never

    gave up even after being pestered by Crows & 

    Magpies, there were 3 hunting together to be exact.



Pule Hill


Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Around and about - 7th September

 I checked the Wryneck site yesterday - no sightings as far as we know since Sunday morning, first thing. Green Woodpecker nearby. 2 Raven fly-overs >SW along with a few Meadow Pipits and Swallows.

Garden birds -female Blackcap briefly along with a Chiffchaff at the same time. Plenty of Coal Tits along with Blue, Great and 2 Long-tailed Tits.

Fly Flats and Withens Head - late afternoon - conditions not good at the reservoir with a strong westerly and heavy drizzle - I only found one Mallard ! Withens Head was slightly more sheltered -  1 Kestrel and 2 Wheatears by the farm with 2 Swallows still in and out of the farm building probably feeding young.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

This Mornings Birds

  Birds seen while looking for Wryneck at Wainstalls, shame I didn't get a pic

 of the bird but I did get to see it early doors and hear it calling a couple of times.



 Spotted two this morning, seems early?

Saturday, September 05, 2020


 After yesterdays great find by Ashley, and thankfully reporting the bird with a great description I was thinking we might have missed the bird after looking in the wrong location yesterday evening.

I tried the right location late afternoon and came up with a beauty.

Wryneck - Jynx torquilla

It was a struggle to find the bird after a few fleeting glimpses of it, enough for identification, thankfully. The wind was pretty blustery so it was probably hiding away in shelter most of the time. Disappointment for BS and PB but at the last gasp JJL spotted it hiding in the shelter at the back of a wall and then on  top of a post as we headed for home. Then it was off and we left it to it's own devices hoping that the Sparrowhawk, a second or two later, didn't spot it.

What a bird for Calderdale. !

Hopefully others will be fortunate enough to see it before it heads south on it's migration back to Africa.

'Bits ad pieces'

 Some items from this last few days

A nice Hobby was photographed by Mike H over Brighouse on 1st September. Well done Mike. A scarce bird in Calderdale. This summer visitor usually 'whizzes' past so well done to get the photo Mike. Checked with Nick, its a first summer bird (one of last years fledglings).

Also this week a few encouraging reports of Whinchat's returning from their breeding areas. Unfortunatley they are a scarce breeding bird in Calderdale nowadays. Also a good show of returning Wheatears in the upland areas - Fly Flatts, Warley Moor, Ogden area, Cold Edge, Gorple and Walshaw.

Swifts have just about gone now though September ones could be seen as they travel from more northerly sites. Just a few reports of ones or two's this week but maybe a chance for more.

Yesterday late afternoon a Wryneck was reported from the Wainstalls area. Several have been seen on the east coast this last week and from some inland sites. We have very few records for Calderdale over the years so it would be a bit special to re-find this one though it may well have moved on with a clear sky opportunity overnight. (?)

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Fly Flats

This morning - bright  clear conditions with a brisk westerly. It was nice to get back up there (with permit and hi-vis jacket) now the works have been completed and the water levels rising.

A decent show of birds but no real movement. 20+ Wheatears on the mud and stone walls, 2 Whinchat, 6+ Stonechat, 3 Raven >NE, 1 Red-legged Partridge,  Red Grouse calling on the moor, 80+ Meadow Pipits (blogging), 1 Pied Wagtail, a few Swallows >SW, 3 Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk that whizzed past me from behind, so close it made me jump ! Waters edge - 7 L B-b Gulls with an adult Herring Gull. Shortly afterwards, the rain came in.

Pied Wagtail

Whinchat - looks like  a juvenile