Saturday, October 31, 2020

Soil Hill etc

Spent a couple of hours up there yesterday. Quite mild(ish) ! At times the 3 peaks were visible, always an encouraging sight.
9 Red-legged Partridge
2 Snipe
10+ Meadow Pipits
1 Blackbird by the mast.

Lots of Common and B H Gulls and a few Herring Gulls moving to roost and down the north slope fields 54 Canada Geese, 1 Moorhen, 12+ Mallard and a single Lapwing.

Earlier in the day a good move of Pink- footed Geese reported both ways across the Pennines thanks to an early warning from Littleborough (AH) for those going eastbound.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Mixenden Reservoir

A good start to the day despite the dismal conditions, mist on the tops and heavy drizzle.
3 Goldeneye distant looked like 2 female types and a juv male (?)
1 Cormorant
1 L B B Gull (probably intermedius )
Usual small gulls

Call from AC - 'pinks' on the move - c80 > WNW over Northowram. I managed to pick them out, distant, probably heading over towards Mt Tabor. Maybe the same lot were also seen from Queensbury about the same time - around 09:35 (DM. NK).

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Monday, October 26, 2020

Mixenden Reservoir and plantation

 A couple of visits up there today.

Late morning a good mixed flock of passerines in the woodland above the top gate... 1 Treecreeper, 12+ Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 8+ Cola Tit, 4 Chaffinch, 2 Bullfinch,  10+ Blackbirds together, 1 Nuthatch, 3 Jays.
A good mix of gulls on the water - mainly Common Gulls (50+)  along with a few B H Gulls, 6 L B B Gulls and up to 10 Herring Gulls at one point. I was highly suspicious of a Yellow-legged Gull but didn't have the scope with me so I let it go. NK followed on later with a Goldeneye and also thought maybe Y L Gull.

After lunch I had another go to try and sort 'the gull'....if it was still there... BS beat me to it and got some photo's to confirm Yellow-legged Gull identity. Also the Goldeneye was still there with a Tufted Duck. A male Sparrowhawk flushed the gulls low over the water and it landed in the tree next to me - but the leaves obstructed the view for the camera.

Also chatting to BS and a chap walking his dog, he confirmed he gets up to 6 Ring-necked Parakeet on his garden feeders in Mixenden with photo's to confirm them.

Also Kingfisher on Ogden Reservoir yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Soil Hill

Suspect both Black Redstarts still present but not seen together as two sightings at different locations late morning around the two farms.

Also on the hill late morning - 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Snipe, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Little Owl.
16 Lapwings in the fields down the north slope along with a few smaller gulls and Starlings. 

Distant Little Owl

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Soil Hill

2 Black Redstarts still along Ned Hill Road (Soil Hill) late morning. Thought they had gone !

After a trip around Soil Hill earlier and chatting on the way to both DP and later on to NK I wasn't expecting much.
No sign of what we might have expected up there a few years ago ie. Skylark, Snipe etc - until I got round to the mast. A scan along the wall to the east revealed a lot of activity with Pied Wagtail, 2 Stonechat, several Meadow Pipits and 2 Reed Buntings - and the two Black Redstarts. Fresh manure in the nearby field and mild conditions probably encouraged insect activity and the birds were making the most of it.
Wheatear in the area earlier on today (per NK).

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Soil Hill

Just one Black Redstart seen mid morning (NK) but no sign this afternoon unless it/they were hiding away in the cold windy conditions up there !

Just a few thrushes in the fields along Ned Hill - mainly Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush. Also found a dead Wren by the roadside and a Kestrel wing under the overhead wires but no sign of the bird.

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Pink Footed Geese Migration

 Some pics I took of the 1000's of Pink Footed Geese

 that flew across Calderdale the other day

 it was a fantastic sight, even the neighbours were 

 impressed also lots of Redwing & Fieldfare flying over.



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Black Redstarts x 2

Quite a surprise to receive a text this morning from PB with 2 Black Redstarts at the top of Taylor Lane. One bird has now been here just over 4 weeks.

Photo's from today below from JM (first 2) and the other 3 from PB (click images to enlarge)

Also from HC - 22 Whooper Swans over Soil Hill mid morning so it's worth checking local reservoirs in the next couple of weeks - or watching (or listening at night) for more as they migrate over our area.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Lower Gorple ..first local Whooper Swans

 36 Whooper Swans flew over Lower Gorple this morning at 8.20 towards hebden Bridge..Raven , Crossbills and Barn Owl ...I am very pleased with these as I missed all the Pinks yesterday..!!!!

Rock Pipit

Apologies for getting this one wrong, what threw me was this picture of one of the birds that appears to show strong white tail sides covering the two outer tail feathers at the tip. I always thought this pointed to Water Pipit rather than Rock which is said to have greyer outer tail feathers. Still learning.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Calderdale - 'pinkie day'

Still a decent move over the valley this morning of Fieldfare (223) and Redwings (584) though most of the Redwings had changed direction from >W the last few days to >E today viewed over Swales Moor  5 Cormorants and 2 Ravens also went high >E first thing though most other species were just around the site including 30+ Meadow Pipits and 2 Stonechat.

A skein of Pink-footed Geese was reported heading >W at 10:00 (PG) over Baitings. Not long afterwards a massive move was being reported from various parts of Calderdale  - all heading >E in large skeins. The final counts within a period of less than an hour was well in excess of 3,000 birds. They breed on arctic tundra in Greenland and Icelend etc and probably arrived in the last few days maybe stopping in the west of the UK before moving on. A great spectacle to observe and hear as they move over Calderdale. 

Also today - the Black Redstart was still showing at the top of Taylor Lane late morning (JJL)


Wednesday's Water Pipits

Sorry for late post. Lower Gorple on Wednesday and me and AC found two Water Pipits feeding in the out flow and then on the waters edge along the dam wall. May still be there at the weekend with any luck.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Redwing Bonanza

  Had a skywatch from the garden after finishing work

  and what a bonanza it was 200+ Redwing passed over

  heading East, Fieldfare heading west, a Jay flypast 3 times,

  and the garden was prolific, 20+ Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch,

 Greenfinch, Wren, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Blue,Coal, Great and LT Tits,

 Starlings, Blackbirds, Dunnock, House Sparrows, Sparrowhawk flythru,

 a Buzzard high above, all I needed was the Waxwing to pop in.

Todays news - so far !

 Black Redstart still at the Soil Hill site at the top of Taylor Lane this morning. Wheatear there also nearby (JJL). Also 2 Crossbill flyovers at Ogden (NK)

14 Barnacle Geese yesterday at 9;30 ish at Ringstone but left soon after - (per DT)

2 Water Pipits yesterday at Lower Gorple (NCD AC) - unfortunately no sign of them this afternoon though we had a good check along with TL, SB and AvH, and later PD and LD. It was good to have a socially distant chat with everyone. 
We didn't find a lot in the inclement weather but still enjoyed the very fresh air and the amazing scenery.
2 Kestrels
c30 Mallard 
2 Pied Wagtails
1 Great-spotted Woodpecker
1 Dipper flew upstream at Clough Foot
A few Redwings and Fieldfares and a large flock of Starlings on the move as we arrived.

Redwings and Fieldfare flocks still moving over Claremount this morning(Dave B)

Also an early warning of 3 skeins of  Pink-footed Geese heading >E at around 11:20 over Hebden Bridge (SD) were picked out at a distance shortly afterwards from Queensbury and estimated at around 300 birds (BS).

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Swales Moor and Cold edge

 A decent move of Fieldfare, Redwings and Starlings over Swales Moor earlier on this morning. Also a Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Buzzard. Details on Trektellen rather than duplicate everything again.

More Fieldfare and Redwings over Cold Edge this afternoon as well as some of the usual species around the site.
2 Barnacle Geese
50+ Canada Geese
1 Little Grebe
10 Moorhen
1 Stonechat
1 Snipe
Several vocal Red Grouse

 Ogden Garden

Numerous flocks of Redwing and some Fieldfare flying over the Garden this morning between 7.30am and 9.00am in NE direction. Numbers difficult to estimate but certainly hundreds.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Lee Mount - 13th October

Didn't get out far today, sometimes have to catch up with other things ! 

Small flock of c35 Redwings over mid afternoon >W was about the best. 

Fieldfares and Starlings on the move now I hear so they will be good to look out for. First thing in a morning is often a good time to look out for them passing over.

Yesterday morning 12th October

 Rain and mist today on the tops with  a good strong breeze - not all that good for 'birding' but the Sainsbury's shop this morning produced a Grey Heron low over the store and a Jay flyover though I failed to find the Dipper in the stream at Dean Clough.

Got home to find 2 decent flocks of Redwings heading >W around 08:40- battling through the blustery conditions - estimate c130 and c60 (later in the day a flock of c25 >W over Pellon)

Fly Flatts late morning failed to produce a single bird (BS managed a Jack Snipe earlier - see West Yorkshire Birding). 5 Stonechats were braving it out on the walls at Withens Head. 

Yesterday afternoon - 12th October

 Quick trip up to Soil Hill thinking maybe the Black Redstart is still there - 'but it won't be showing' !!!! Wrong.... showing well at a distance in the rain and wind. It was a nice surprise. It's now into it's fourth week there having been found by AvH on 20th September on a Halifax Scientific Society walk.

These are the best shots I could get today. This bird hardly shows any red/orange on the tail when at rest but this top shot shows different !

Interesting that BS found another Black Redstart briefly, along with a Wheatear at Fly Flatts yesterday. Despite a search by BS and myself this morning we failed to re-find it. We both checked independently the usual spots, rocky areas, stone walls and upland farm buildings. It may well be miles away now but still worth a check up there if the weather improves in the next few days !!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Rishworth birds

 A few Buzzard knocking around lately, often harassed by crows.

C30 pink foot geese over heading ENE towards Ringstone 06:56. A later flock of 20 ENE 09:43

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Crimsworth Dean

From Pecket Well we walked along Haworth Old Road almost to the top of the moor overlooking Oxenhope. A great afternoon to be out but birds were at a premium.
2 / 3 Kestrels
1 Little Owl
4 Stonechat
1 Red Grouse
2 Mistle Thrush
Plenty Pheasants
A few Meadow Pipits and corvids
Distant Buzzards over the moor
Looking down the dean towards Stoodley Pike in the distant

Looking up the dean from near Pecket well

Lee Mount

Busy garden feeders today along with two visitors not on the feeders !
Grey Wagtail landed on the garden hut just after a shower of rain and shortly after that a Chiffchaff in among the Verbena

Also getting loads of Coal Tits and Goldfinch as well as 6 House Sparrows, 2 Chaffinch, Woodpigeons and Collared Doves along with Dunnocks and Robins. Not many Blue or Great Tits.

Across mid-day a call from Steve C - 300+ Pink-footed Geese went >SE over Ovenden towards and beyond the ski-slope at Ploughcroft /Swales Moor. I just missed them !


 One Red Admiral on Japanese Anenome.

Friday, October 09, 2020


This afternoon we took a walk up to 'The Tooth' and a nice surprise awaited as we got towards the top. We picked out a red male Crossbill perched in the very top of a Scots Pine and then found 3 more female/juveniles in the adjacent tree. We suspected there were more - well hidden in the pines. Not long after, in total, 18 flew over our heads towards Skirden Clough. 

Just the small camera with me but the photo of the red male is not good enough to post !

4 Stonechats on a fence on the edge of Ovenden Moor and a single Goosander high >SW - they are such streamlined birds in flight and move like a jet !

Not  a lot else other than a Grey Wagtail near the duck feeding area.

The bird of the day must be the Osprey over Mytholm Steeps / Colden Clough this afternoon (AM)

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Soil Hill

An hour to spare this afternoon so headed up local to Soil Hill. I came across JJL doing the rounds. Good move as he showed me a new path around the hill.

We didn't find a lot other than a few mipits, a Rook, Mistle Thrush and a few gulls until we scanned the top of Taylor Lane - Black Redstart again. Showing well but distant at first then closer on top of the stables. It's been around there at least around three weeks now though elusive at times.

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Mixenden Reservoir

Checked this morning after bad weather last couple of days - never know what might turn up but not much to report.
1 Green Woodpecker very vocal in the plantation
1+ Jay
2 female type Goosander
c60 Goldfinch
1 L B B Gull
c50 B H Gulls
6 Mallard
1 Moorhen
2 Mistle Thrush

Wednesday, October 07, 2020


 Scammonden - c73 pink-footed Geese >SE this morning around 09:50 (AT)

A good find of a scarce bird in our recording area yesterday with a Marsh Tit at Scammonden (JB)

Another 'pinkie' skein  yesterday afternoon with c100 >SW over Holmfield around 16:55 (MM)

Plenty of Jays being reported throughout Calderdale, pretty normal this time of year as they arrive to feast on the acorn crop etc. 10+ Jays on the reclaimed landfill site between Brackenbed and Shroggs Road this morning. It's also a good spot for Bullfinch with the number of Prunus species there. Also 6 Redwings and several Blackbirds feeding in the Rowans with c40 Redwings high >W.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Withens Clough, Soil Hill, Fly Flatts, Withens Head

Withens Clough - Wet, Wet and VERY WET after a couple of hours there this morning - not a good idea !
1 Canada Goose and 1 Carrion Crow - don't get much worse than this.

Soil Hill - no sign of the Black Redstart while I was there this afternoon though I guess it could still be around.

Fly Flatts - weather fronts coming in with a vengeance - nothing.

Withens Head - 5 Stonechats saved the day along with a Kestrel

Monday, October 05, 2020

Lee Mount and Wainstalls/Cold Edge

Lee Mount - 2 different Common Buzzards at different times mid morning both >SE. 
Also quite a surprise to see 2 small birds in the shrubs this morning (thinking Yellow-browed Warbler !!!) got the 'bin's in them quickly - turned out to be  2 Goldcrests together. Scarce birds here !

Fields at Wainstalls (Hunter Hill) produced a flock of c60 Meadow Pipits but not much else. Similar return from Cold Edge but we did find 7 Stonechats in total (groups of 4 and 3) and 2 Kestrels and 7 Moorhen.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Pepper Hill and Claremount

 Not  a lot about this afternoon - but two good birds sufficed

Peregrine high over Shibden valley late afternoon
1 Swallow over towards Beacon Hill
Oh - and a Sparrowhawk over - probably Dave's on previous post !


Drenched Sparrowhawk in Garden

 Had a visitor Saturday evening in the pouring rain.

 They visit at least 3 times a day but its usually a fly

 through, I think this one was waterlogged.


Saturday, October 03, 2020

Rain all day..... !

Nice find by DF this morning at Ringstone with 2 Greenshank on the shoreline. 

I chanced it this afternoon despite the rain and expected fog at that elevation. Just about clear and thanks to PD who was already onto them. They seemed fairly settled until the mass of gulls got 'spooked' and everything lifted though all the birds settled back down again with the Greenshank still there. Lapwings and a good few Snipe also on the shoreline but then the fog drifted in again.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Cold Edge am and Fly Flatts pm

Cold Edge this morning
The 12 Wigeon from yesterday had gone by this morning. Just one female Goosander and 8 Reed Buntings by the lower dam. Still 11 Moorhens around the site and 2 Kestrels.
5 Stonechats at Moorlands Farm near the Withens.

Late afternoon at Fly Flatts
22 Canada Geese and 1 Mallard.
A heavy shower brought an adult winter plumage Great Crested Grebe in along with 4 B H Gulls and 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. They were all still there when I left.

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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Other bits of news today

Wigeon this morning - 2 at Fly Flatts (BS), 12 at Ringstone (AT) - 14 there this evening (PD). Also masses of gulls at Ringstone today along with Golden Plover, Lapwings and Snipe.(AT JB PD et al)

Mandarin at Cromwell Bottom (Jeff M)

And from JJL - Black Redstart again at the Taylor Lane site - not sure if it's the same recent bird or a different one. Might get a chance to check tomorrow between us before the weather goes downhill !!

Swales Moor and Cold Edge

Swales Moor - Ringby Lane. It was difficult to find anything moving at all first thing - other than  a few birds >W = 1 Skylark, 18 Chaffinch (in ones and two's), 2 Starlings, 2 Woodpigeons and 3 Meadow Pipits.

Not  a lot else at all, usual lots of corvids and a large group of B H Gulls with  few Common Gulls in the fields at Ploughcroft.

Cold Edge this afternoon - pretty quiet too but 12 Wigeon on the lower dam was nice to see (for the year)!
11 Moorhens included 7 half grown juveniles
2 Kestrels (one with a vole)
2 Stonechat - with 3 more at The Withens and another 2 at Moorlands Farm.

Ringby & Hag Lane

   Took a trip up to Soil Hill but was desolate of birds

   just mud and water to be seen, so I then went to 

   Swalesmoor and Hag Lane, nothing on the tops 

   but at the bottom of Ringby lane there was plenty

  of activity with the smaller birds. 10 House Sparrows

  which are pretty rare these days, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Goldcrest,

  1 Willow Warbler/ Chiffchaff, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Blue Tit.

  Then a walk around Hag Lane produced, Wren, Robin

  and 3 Stonechat by the cow shed, 2 Kestrel and a Buzzard

  calling but not seen.