Thursday, December 30, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir and Soil Hill

Reservoir checked several times today till last light. No sign of the recent Smew - just a female type Goldeneye there all day and that was it.

One flyover Lapwing at Mixenden mid-day. Elsewhere - at least 3 skeins of Pink-footed Geese between 12:50 and 2:40 reported today heading west - 109, 200 and 150.

Snow Bunting found and photographed on Soil Hill on 1st January - a great find JJL.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir

The site turned up another 'belter' late afternoon yesterday (28th Dec) from BS with a red-head Smew. It's been a long time since this species was recorded in Calderdale, maybe even as far back as 1999 though I will have to check the records since then
Pictures from BS on his West Yorkshire Birding blog along with a drake Common Scoter there at the same time for good measure. Well done Bri. 
What an end to the year - unless you find something else in the next couple of days.

Several of us checked the site in the fog this morning but it had gone. Just 4 Goldeneye present along with a Goosander and a Cormorant. Still, it's worth checking other waters in Calderdale in case it's moved to another nearby reservoir.

Extract on Smew - post 1950 - from 'The Birds Of Halifax' compiled by our Recorder N C Dawtrey.

Double checked the reports since 1999 - no further records until this one yesterday at Mixenden. Almost 23 years to the day - if I can count !!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Cromwell Bottom

Took an hour or so down there late morning in view of 'the clag' up on the hills especially when I checked Mixenden reservoir earlier. Perhaps just short of 400 gulls at Mixenden but nothing out of the ordinary amongst them other than a smart looking drake Goosander.

The river and the ski-lake were the most productive but the latter is difficult to scan successfully and it's easy to miss anything out of the ordinary.

River - 5 Little Grebe and 10 Goosander

Ski-lake - 2 Whooper Swans arrived soon after 12:00 (maybe the same two reported at Ringstone Reservoir earlier. They left there at 11:37 (GS, RR)
2+ Teal
3+ Tufted Duck
Pair of Goldeneye

Thanks for the attached photos of the Whoopers taken later on by M St.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Beacon Hill

1 male Siskin

 Also (in Long Lane) 2 Tree Sparrows

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir

Second winter Iceland Gull turned up there mid morning around 11:00 and stayed at least till 11:50 when I left the site. Not checked my photos as yet but it was a fair way off  for the range of the Panasonic Lumix bridge camera. The bird seemed to have left the site early afternoon. NK and BS et al. Hopefully it will turn up again in the coming days (?)

This is the best I could do (on the shoreline just left f the Cormorant) looks darker zoomed in ! 
Thought at first second winter but not sure now after looking at the photos ?

It was probably attracted in by the number of gulls that use the reservoir to rest, preen and bathe. Around 120+ B H gulls, 150+Common Gulls, 10+ Herring Gulls and one L B B Gull (the latter looked very dark like intermedius). Impossible to get an accurate count of gulls as they were coming and going all the time.
Also present Grey Heron (flyover), Cormorant and Sparrowhawk

Monday, December 13, 2021

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Report 2019

I have had a few people wanting the 2019 report so I have dropped 10 copies off at Woodlesford News, GO LOCAL shop at Pellon- Mount tabor price £6. I am still working on the next one which will hopefully be out sometime next year.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Bird Reports

Nick still has around 20 copies of the 2019 Bird Reports as yet unsold so please let him know if you would like to purchase one. It will help cover the costs of publication

The next report will be Nick's 30th consecutive one and is likely to be a combined one for 2020 and  2021 so publication will be in 2022. Any outstanding records for this year then please send them in by this year end. Thank you.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Monday, November 22, 2021


 Domesticated Mallard: Khaki Campbell breed. This bird has "defects" - white at base of bill and on neck, and white primaries.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Brighouse / Cromwell Bottom

 A couple of shots from Mike Henshaw from Monday 15th Nov. Thanks Mike.

150 Pink-footed Geese (click on photo to enlarge)

25 (of 26) Stock Doves - a good count there !

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Walsden Winter Swans

 A rare drop in at walsden, ramsden wood fishing pond two whooper swans 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Tree Sparrows.............!!

 Prompted by last weeks finding of  a Tree Sparrow at a garden feeder at Slack (SiB). I thought it worth checking on any other reported sightings of Tree Sparrows in the last ten years. Specifically at locations that are away from the eastern end of Calderdale where we have a small number throughout the year.

Away from the east of Calderdale these are the records from the Halifax Birdwatchers Club Reports from 2010. - -
2010 - Lee Mount -3 turned up on my garden feeder - 14 and 15th Nov with 1 remaining on 16th Nov.
2011 - Lee Mount - 1 on garden feeder from 15th to 21st March
2012 - -
2013 - Cromwell Bottom - 3 on 22nd January
2014 - Northowram (garden feeders?) 3 on 23rd Nov, 5 on 28th Nov, 3 on 7th Dec and 2 on 27th Dec
2015 - Northowram 2 on 3rd January
2016 - Shelf  3 on 26th and 4 on 28th February. 1 at Walshaw Dean on 9th Oct.
2017 - -
2018 - -
2019 - -
2020 - - (still to check)
2021 - 1 on garden feeder at Slack
A  scarce bird always one worth watching out for - especially on garden feeders during the late autumn and winter period. Photos are a great help to identification if anyone suspects getting any on their garden feeders. 

Brown crown - white cheek with a black spot are some of the more noticeable identification pointers.

Photo courtesy of John M

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Recent reports

Just a bit of an update from recent weeks of reports across Calderdale. I might not recall everything (!!) but maybe  just a flavour of the autumn birds now the summer visitors are gone other than the occasional Chiffchaff or Blackcap.

October started off pretty well at Fly Flatts (BS then DJS)). On 9th October 44 Wigeon with 2 Pintail, 1 Teal on the water and 2 Black Redstarts nearby as well as Red Kite flyover heading >S.

The main Redwing arrival seemed to occur from around the middle to the end of October with Fieldfares shortly afterwards at the end of October and into November. Some big flocks, several hundred strong have been in the Walshaw / Blake Dean area as well as Luddenden Dean and Crimsworth Dean. A decent count of Bramblings (40+) were also in the Gorple area mid October and 30+ in Luddenden Dean by 23rd plus a few other single birds at Lightcliffe, Hardcastle Crags and Slack Top. Always a nice bird to look out for in winter, beech woodland and possibly garden feeders.

Wintering flocks of Redpolls and Siskins have been found in alders/birch and spruce at Ogden and other sites. A flock of c20 Redpoll were feeding in birch trees yesterday at Ewood Lane, Todmorden (RS).

The pick of the month so far seems to be 2 Great White Egret - a single flyover over Ringstone on 9th October(PD, DF, JM, AT) and another, heading west over Baitings Reservoir on 5th November (PGr). Also been a couple of sightings of Little Egret at Ringstone Reservoir recently.

Movement across our area of the Pennines of Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans was observed in late September and October though this main influx seems to have settled down now. Even so, 2 skeins of 'pinkies' have been reported today. Maybe of commuting flocks between Norfolk/ Linc's/ the Humber and Ribble/Southport/Merseyside/ Lanc's and Cumbria. Selecting the favoured feeding areas ?

Other notable sightings include a few scattered Woodcock
A Yellow-legged Gull on Cromwell Bottom ski-lake on 4th Nov (JJL)
A Tree Sparrow with the House Sparrow flock yesterday at Slack Top was a really good find on a garden feeder (SiB)
3 male and 2 female Mandarin Ducks on the Ryburn earlier today (AT)

With thanks to all for the ongoing reports. Please add anything obvious I might have missed !

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Friday, November 05, 2021

Shibden Park

 Mute Swan and 1 of 8 Coots

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Bank Top

Mistle Thrush

Common Gull

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Blackstone Edge

 Is this a Siberian Stonechat?   NO - thanks Brian S - Sibe would have a full white throat. And if rump were visible it would be unstreaked orange in Sibe.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Blackstone Edge

 17 Twite


 A late Wheatear

This week the track alongside the SE and NE banks of the reservoir was smoothed and resurfaced. It's much better for walking now.


                        Little Egret at Ringstone this Morning.PD,DF


 14 'Golden' Plovers here. Looking at photos after leaving, I am puzzled by the bird with grey wing coverts and a prominent supercilium. I don't think it has the structure of a rare plover, but am not sure whether it is just a different-looking Golden, or possibly a Grey? I'd be grateful for any comments.

Whooper Swans

61 Whoopers on the move over this morning >E and >SE 11, 36, 5, 9, viewed over Northowran, Wainstalls, Swales Moor and Ringstone plus others over Fly Flatts.

Also 48 Pink-footed Geese >W over Northowram and a Little Egret on the shoreline at Ringstone mid-morning. 
Not a bad start to the day for several local birders !
Another 23 Whoopers  >E late afternoon (AC)

Monday, October 11, 2021

Blackstone Edge

 Female Reed Bunting

Also 12 Redwing west

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Swales Moor

Earlier this week there were three Skylarks up there. This one sat up and posed for a moment - they don't often do that.

Saturday 9th October 2021

In dull weather in the late morning at Ringstone a Great White Egret flew West over the reservoir. 

Friday, October 08, 2021

Stonechat Day

 Local Walk today along Hag Lane and Ringby Lane.

 Stonechat were in abundance with 8 being seen, 2 

Meadow Pipits, 6 Linnet, 2 Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel 

being pestered by Crows, Buzzards making lots of noise

but only one seen, House Sparrows, Starlings, Wrens, and

regular stuff seen.

Thursday, October 07, 2021


Still 1 Wheatear here, (and 1 at Blackstone Edge).

Photo taken with Panasonic Lumix FZ82 bridge camera, with 60x optical zoom.

Monday, October 04, 2021

Blackstone Edge

 Wheatear 5

Also 3 at Whiteholme

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Pink-footed Geese

A reasonably good movement over Calderdale between 16:40 and 19:30. Thanks for all the reports - taking out possible duplication there were in the region of 780 after a recount (around 11 skeins) birds mostly heading in  a westerly direction in a blustery westerly wind.

Around 130 in this shot , closely followed by c60 others though I couldn't get them all together in one shot.
Part of a bigger movement today with reports of 80 birds over the Aire Valley (HF), 2,000+ over the Highlands (MJB) and hundreds and hundreds heading south over the Humber towards The Wash this afternoon. (PB)

Maybe more overnight - and hopefully - more tomorrow - from first light maybe.??? 

Photo counts, direction of flight, location and times are valuable.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lee Mount

First skein of the autumn for me this morning at 07:55 - Pink-footed Geese  - heard only as they were not visible through the trees in the park and the low cloud. Sounded like a small flock maybe 20+ heading in an easterly direction by the sound of it.
Hopefully some more soon. !

Monday, September 20, 2021

Ovenden Moor area

Top end of Cold Edge and along the edge of the wind-farm moor this morning.
No migrants other than 2 Wheatears,.
Otherwise 2 Stonechats, one Raven flyover very high >SW, very distant Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and  a few Reed Buntings. 
Around 90 Meadow Pipits were in the fields around the Withens Head area and there was a constant trickle of Meadow Pipits over the moor >NW but I didn't get into counting them . 
Not  a lot else - but I enjoyed it all the same. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Cromwell Visit

 Trip down to Cromwell to have a nosey but it was 

 very quiet, Heron, Cormorant and the regular birds,

 place is very overgrown and the lagoon is non-existent 

which is a shame, its a pity the council don't clear it of

the reeds because it could be a fantastic lake for wildlife.

Squirrels were decimating the feeders and the bugs were 

biting lumps out of me, ended up with swollen hand and arm.