Sunday, January 31, 2021

Green Withens

very cold up here this morning, with the moor covered in frost carrion crow 5 twite 16 mallard 3 pink footed goose 40+ west high herring gull 3 wood pigeon 6 peregrine 2 dipper 1 nice to meet phil d and partner very enjoyable chat

Friday, January 29, 2021

Wheatley Valley

Usual route around the valley for a couple of hours this morning including the landfill site and around Ovenden Wood where the brewery used to be.

Birds in song included 3 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, several Robins, Great Tit and a Nuthatch.
Finches still in short supply apart from 2 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch and 6 Bullfinch
4 noisy Jays, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker and a mass of corvids in one very wet field included 120 Jackdaws.

In the garden during the afternoon turned up a Peregrine high overhead towards Halifax and a Sparrowhawk in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Cold Edge

 A couple of hours around the dams area this afternoon. Weather a bit dull but milder than recently and no rain.

The area was a bit quiet but I enjoyed it all the same.
Highlight was a flock of 22 Golden Plover overhead towards the wind-farm.
I had a good search for Little Owl and Stonechat but if they were there they evaded me
3 Moorhen
8 Greylag Geese in with 37 Canadas
1 Kestrel
6 Fieldfare
2 Redwings
8 Bullfinch together feeding in the heather then later in the small plantation by the lower dam.
Plus usual species including plenty of vocals from Red Grouse on the edge of the moor
21 Collared Doves - pre roost gathering near 'The Delvers' (though this is quite a small number compared with some counts in the autumn from (BS)

Monday, January 25, 2021


Everyone is invited to take part this coming weekend.
Take part 29th-31st January. 

Enjoy an hour with nature and discover the wildlife on your doorstep. It will probably be mentioned this week on Winter Watch as well - thinks it's Tues till Friday 8pm BBC2.

Further details at

Wheatley Valley

It's certainly been a quite challenging winter period with the 'lockdown' and the wet/cold/snowy and icy weather. Certainly tough for wildlife too with short daylight hours for feeding and foraging coupled with long dark cold nights for roosting. 

Despite this we have had quite a few reports over Calderdale of active Barn Owls during the daytime along with a few Little Owl and a couple of Short-eared Owls.

I've not ventured much further than the local patch, within walking distance - Wheatley Valley. Quite built up in some areas but there is the former landfill site along Shroggs Road, presently a very wet and boggy grassland and a slightly drier woodland. Some walks took us towards and beyond the former Webster's Brewery at Ovenden Wood and the Hebble Brook area. Shame about such a lot of discarded rubbish in places !

Best bird for me in this New Year was a Woodcock, flushed from grassland but it was away at pace - as they do. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and  a few Nuthatches as well but hardly any finches other than Goldfinch and Bullfinch both of which do not appear to be in short supply. A reasonable number of Blue/Great/Coal and  a few Long-tailed Tits in the landfill woodland and the valley areas as well as garden feeders.

A Grey Heron in the stream at the bottom of Brackenbed this morning was a bit of a surprise. Also a Mistle Thrush singing and a single Raven high overhead 'croncking'. Not many thrush species about around here other than Blackbirds. I was watching a Redwing this morning - it only just evaded capture by a Magpie at the last gasp ! 3 Fieldfare were also in Shroggs Park last week along with a few more Redwings. 

Just one skein of Pink-footed Geese recently with 65 >W (BS) on Saturday. Also a Water Rail today (GS) - an elusive bird at the best of times and certainly a scarce bird nowadays in Calderdale. 

22 very noisy Herring Gulls were flying around North Bridge for 10 mins or so at first light this morning. I'm not sure - but I did wonder if they had roosted on the roof of the Leisure Centre ! Always something to enjoy (and often puzzle about) when you're out and about. I just try not to miss whatever happens  !!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

 During lockdown last week I decided to have a go at videoing some birds in the back garden. Never having done that before it was quite an experience. I used my bridge camera through the glass of the window upstairs. This Song Thrush was the first one I'd ever seen in my garden. 

Sorry about the advert in the bottom right corner. I have no association with Power Director except to have tried their free video editor.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Shibden Valley

 Male Green woodpecker feeding in a frosty field

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir and plantation

Made the exercise effort to get up there this morning after too many days of  poor weather. A proper 'welly' job with lots of slushy snow on the melt and the plantation was running with top water off Hunter Hill. 

Strange conditions on the reservoir. All the gulls (200+) looked to be standing on the water ! It must have been 90% disguised ice cover which held the overnight rain on top of it with just a small area of open water in the north eastern corner.

No small birds but after a bit of effort, didn't do too bad on the whole.
150+ B H Gulls
60+ Common Gulls
1 adult L B B Gull
12 Herring Gulls (mixed ages)
21, mainly adult, Herring Gulls went over >NE in one group
6 Mallard were the only wildfowl
50+ Starlings
8 House Sparrows
1 Green Woodpecker 'yaffling'  from the back of the plantation
1 Woodcock flushed from an area of brambles on the edge of the plantation - when they go they go !!!

This was the best I could do with a mobile phone !

Friday, January 15, 2021

Mount Tabor

 Very average shots but an enjoyable walk produced:-

Kestrel that had behaved like a Sparrowhawk before perching.

Little Owl behaving like a Little Owl.

Mistle Thrush still defending berries in garden.


The Calder Valley will a late afternoon temperature inversion (only usually seen in mornings).

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Shibden Park

 Little Grebe with fish

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Cunnery Wood and Beacon Hill

Spent quite a good bit of time on exercise this morning. A glorious sunny morning still with a 'bite' in the wind and in places very tricky with solid ice underfoot.

Cunnery Wood
1 Goldcrest with Blue, Great, Coal and L-t Tits, Wren, Dunnock, Robin.
20+ Redwing, 1 Song Thrush and 10+ Blackbirds - all scratching about in the leaf litter.

Beacon Hill
Green Woodpecker heard down the west facing woodland
1 Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel around the summit with 7 Herring Gulls and an adult Great Black-backed Gull >E


Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Cold Edge

 26 species this morning in a couple of hours up there with still plenty snow and ice. 
1 Kestrel
3 Moorhen
57 Canada Geese and 25 Mallard were the only wildfowl
3 Greenfinch (always a bonus bird these days) in with 15 Goldfinch
1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull
14 Herring Gull s >E (11,1,2)
Along with some of usual expected species.
A pair of Collared Doves in copulation (similar report of Collared Doves from AvH in Todmorden this morning) though I think the weather was warmer than Cold Edge !
No bird shots but just a few views

Lower - Leadbeater Dam partially frozen
Upper - Haigh Cote Dam totally frozen over

Mount Tabor Regulars

Nothing out of the ordinary but a couple of recent pics.


Monday, January 04, 2021

Ogden and the golf course

We chanced the footpaths from Rocks Lane up to the reservoir - a bit dodgy but across the golf course was better underfoot. Not a lot to report. A small 'tit' flock included a Treecreeper, 'wall creeping' searching for food in the mosses. 
A nice Kingfisher on the railings down by the pump house and a few Goldfinch feeding in a hawthorn bush. Not a lot else.
Enjoyed some Christmas Cake when we got home !!

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane and on the top still freezing conditions up there this morning with a cold north easterly.
Hardly anything moving other than 1 adult Great Black-backed Gull >NW along with 2 adult Herring Gulls

1 Meadow Pipit
50+ Carrion Crows on the top

Shrubbery opposite the ski-slope - 1 Fieldfare, 1 Mistle Thrush,
2 Greenfinch, 5 Chaffinch, 10+ Goldfinch, 6 Blackbirds, c20 House Sparrows plus usual species.

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Sunday, January 03, 2021

Dean Clough

It was difficult to escape the 'bottle ice' on the footpaths today so instead of heading to a higher elevation, as I usually do,  I chose to go down Old Lane, passing the base of 'The Corona' chimney - datestone 1857 - height around 297ft (90.5meters). What  a feat to build a structure like that !!! Didn't take the camera -too risky on those footpaths. Occasionally see a Peregrine on the top of the chimney but not today. 

The plan was - to check the stream that comes down from Ogden/Wheatley and  Holmfield where it then emerges from a culvert under the Dean Clough complex. I was not disappointed As soon as I got there I flushed a Grey Wagtail and heard a Dipper singing. I couldn't see the Dipper for a while though as I looked over the wall it was on a low twig just beneath me. I left it there after several minutes, still singing.

Amazing that we can find Dippers even in mid-winter so close to our town center and also find them on exposed upland reservoirs such as Green Withens at nearly 1,200 ft (c360m). 
Not a lot else other than a Jay and Kestrel over Shroggs Road on my return

Two skeins of Pink-footed Geese c300 and c60 reported >W >NW late morning. (GWH, AC, VJ)

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Swales Moor

Ringby Lane - bottle ice this morning but I made it up - and down ! 

Best was 14 Lapwings heading high >SE leaving 3 still on the north field
15 Woodpigeons followed the Lapwings >SE
1 Grey Heron heading towards Oats Royd
1 Meadow Pipit
1 Pied Wagtail
10 Stock Dove
1 Kestrel
70 Carrion Crows, 20 Jackdaws, 20+ Magpies on the top with a few Common and Black-headed Gulls loafing around.


The shrubbery at the bottom of Ringby Lane, opposite the ski-slope is always good for a few finch sp. etc and included - 3 Redwings, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Blackbird, 10+ Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, 20+ Goldfinch, 20+ House Sparrow, 2 Wrens, Robin and Dunnock.

Friday, January 01, 2021

1st January - Garden Watch

23 species in and around the garden this morning was not a bad start to 2021. 
I do include flyovers of course (Carrion Crows, Magpies, B H Gulls, Common Gulls and a Herring Gull)
Top of the list in the garden was 8 Bullfinch together at one point (5 males - they are beauties). 
Coal Tits the most numerous bird (probably 10+ but they come and go so fast) along with Blue and Great Tits but no Long-tailed Tits today. Goldfinches come and go but dominate the feeders when they are here.
Also 2 Redwings, Nuthatch, Jay, c8 Blackbirds, 4 Collared Doves and 12 House Sparrows.

This afternoon we had a walk around Lane Head and the lower end of the golf course. A flock of c25 Goldfinch got spooked by a Sparrowhawk. 1 Cormorant distant on Mixenden reservoir and Barn Owl also distant. Bird of the day was a Reed Bunting sheltering in some bushes at Lower Brockholes.

Happy New Year to everyone - staying safe - with good birding and nature watching for 2021.


Goosander: male moulting out of juvenile plumage