Tuesday, March 30, 2021


 One of two Ringed plovers here today

Sunday, March 21, 2021

 The majority of the whooper swans on Ogden Water left between 7.00am and 7.30 am this morning in a number of different groups flying north. A very impressive sight and noisy.

Saturday, March 20, 2021


 146 Whooper swans

Juvenile with 3 adults

2 birds with some rusty iron staining on head and neck. This probably comes from them feeding last summer in water in Iceland that is rich in iron salts.

Whooper Swans

A decent sized move of Whooper Swans over Calderdale this morning with reports of flyovers from Soil Hill, Jay House Lane, Northowram, Wheatley Valley, Lee Mount, Bradshaw, Ogden and Mixenden.
DF, AC, JJL, BS, DJS, SiB. PJWS, SC et al

To be on the safe side and trying to avoid duplication we reckon on the final counts from those that dropped in - with 28 at Mixenden Reservoir and c140 at Ogden Water all around 10.30 and earlier on 20 at Lower Gorple at 09:30.

Lee Mount flyover - 17 Whooper Swans
Ogden and Mixenden birds confirmed - still there at 15:30.
Just hope the birds don't decide to head off in the direction of the wind farm in the mist that was down there late afternoon. !

Thursday, March 18, 2021


 Ringed plover 1. The head and breast bands are jet black, so it's a male.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir

Arrived at the site just before 10 am - looked over the gate and there in the middle of the water - Avocet - it can't be -yes it is - what a surprise. Looked unusual in the middle of the water rather than the shoreline.  Unfortunately it wasn't left alone for long being harassed by Common Gulls and later by Herring Gulls. Still there when I left at 11:30. Also seen by AC, PB, BS JJL DP et al. A new bird for me in Calderdale and for AC too. Blog playing up today so try update later. 

Photos welcome....Computer updated last night and everything seems to have changed and got more complicated ....grrrrrr ! (Sorted Hx Computers) 

Photos of the Avocet yesterday (16th March) from PB - thanks Paul.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir

Mid afternoon in the pouring rain - sheltering under a pine tree. Juvenile Iceland Gull turned up again soon after I arrived. looked like the same bird as earlier in the week and roughly around the same time. Today arrived 2:45. Stayed to bathe with around 30 Black-headed Gulls then left in a southerly direction at 3:20 towards between Pellon /Mount Tabor.

Only had the bridge camera - these are the best I could do in conditions and distance.

Also present....
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Goldcrest 
6 Long-tailed Tits
No sign of the pair of Goldeneye that were there yesterday

Saturday, March 13, 2021

High Royd

Not a lot to report for the last few days - but it's not for the lack of trying !

I did High Royd on 3 days scoping the filter beds - hoping perhaps for an early Sand Martin. It's usually a very good spot for them with the emerging insects if the weather is a bit milder. Later on it's a good spot for House Martins and Swallows into April and then Swifts into late April and May.

Plenty of activity on and around the filter beds with a good count of 80+ Pied Wagtails with a careful search for White Wagtails but no luck there. Up to 4 Grey Wagtails and Carrion Crows galore with 100+. 
1 Meadow Pipit, up to 4 Reed Buntings and a few Mallard on and off.

Nearby the site were Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreepers, Goldcrest and Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Jays and Jackdaws etc. Canada Geese and Cormorant flyovers and Goosander on the canal.

Also a suspicion of a Green Sandpiper that got flushed by workers from the filter beds. I'm still not 100% sure as it was such a brief view though did get a white rump towards the river and nothing else. I'll have to let that go. 

Also this week, further reports of  Iceland Gulls still about just out of our area, as well as a few Chiffchaffs locally and the Firecrest still at Cromwell Bottom. Let's see what this next week can turn up as the daylight lengthens. Might need some decent dry weather as well though !

Monday, March 08, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir

First winter Iceland Gull there for less than an hour this afternoon. 

I'd been scanning there for just short of an hour this afternoon and just about to leave when a 'white winged gull' arrived to bathe with other gulls. Some distance away - thought Iceland Gull but it looked quite big so better to check it's not a Glaucous Gull. No scope, so a quick dash to get it just as BS arrived (that was quick Bri !!) Scope did the trick to confirm identity and BS got some pictures - see his blog later today. Commiserations to JJL and AC - arrived just after it left at around 14:30. 

A new bird for the Mixenden list and certainly looking forward to seeing the pic's Bri (West Yorkshire Birding).

Leucistic female mallard?


This duck has been around for a few weeks I think it's a mallard, it seems to have a male mallard friend constantly at her(?) side. Any ideas?

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Black-necked Grebe

 Cracking find today by DF on Ringstone, well done Dave

Was fortunate to get a few photos of it with a fish, think Steve B said they looked like Stickleback.

It's still fighting back in this one

On a mission.....

And in some very welcome sunshine later in the afternoon

Black-necked Grebe

                        Black-necked Grebe at Ringstone today.

Ringstone Reservor

 A Black-necked Grebe found this morning (DF). Another great find Dave. The bird was quite mobile around various parts of the reservoir early on till it latched on to following a drake Tufted Duck around. A few 'birders' turned up and we saw it catching small fish and at one stage in flight low over the water. Thankfully it stayed rather than heading off elsewhere and giving chance for others to see this little stunner. 

As far as I can recall the last record in Calderdale was of one on Fly Flatts in 1979 and previously one on Scammonden in Aug 1977 (to confirm this latter record)
Hopefully someone will put some photos on later rather than my 'record shots' !!

Extract from D I Crawshaw's Ornithological Report for Halifax Scientific Society 1978-79
"Black-necked Grebe  
"Fly Flats - 1 from 21st - 23rd August 1979 (N.O et al)"
"Fly Flats - 1 on 8th September 1979 (N.C. et al)"
"These were considered to be different individuals"

Also today
We also received a report of 5 Whooper Swans over Skircoat, towards Sowerby Bridge  around 08:45 ish. One skein of Pink-footed Geese also reported from 2 locations - Soil Hill 10:30 (JJL) and probably the same ones, c180 over Gorple/Walshaw (SiB).

Friday, March 05, 2021

Crimsworth Dean

We had around 4hrs in the upper dean today just about the length of Haworth Old Road to the top, overlooking the Worth Valley, and return. After early sunshine it became overcast, pretty cold with and east wind that did ease as the day progressed. Still a great day to be out for a good walk.

c60 Pink-footed Geese were going high >W over Pecket Well at 10:45 - maybe the same lot from Dave B over Brighouse area at around 10:25.

Plenty of Curlew 30+, Lapwings 200+ and Golden Plover 60+. The latter high over the moor we didn't find any 'on the deck' - no sign of any Oystercatchers or Redshank up there, yet.
1 Meadow Pipit - the regular incoming birds must be holding back in this cold spell
3 Buzzards , mostly distant
2 Kestrels
3 Song Thrush together on  a wall was unusual and I double checked they wern't Redwings
2 Greenfinch
Plenty Red Grouse and vocal
32 species in total

There were also signs to say Lumb Falls is closed - apparently too much anti-social behaviour and litter etc - the footpath is still open though.
Also sad to see so much burning on the moors beyond Keighley with six big fires towards Wharfedale. Thankfully we didn't see any in the Walshaw area but there was also burning in the north peak. 

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Lots of Buzzard Activity, Cromwell

         Went down to the Avocet area this morning, the area below the Brookfoot lock,

         well that's what I call it anyway and above the lock I call Cromwell Bottom.

        Avocet had 4 Goldcrest, Treecreeper, 3 Buzzards, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail.

        Cromwell had 2 Goosander, 4 Jay,  Redpolls , 4 Buzzards, Green Woodpecker and

        Chiffchaff heard but not seen, Coot, Moorhen, Kingfisher and the regular birds.


Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Castle Carr Road

Pretty cold, down to 1c, misty all the way on there late afternoon.
50+ Lapwings dropped in along with 5 Curlew and 6 Golden Plover - they moved on very quickly
40+ Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 60+ Starlings in one field but they were gone when I returned an hour later.
1 Little Owl
2 Stock Dove

Pepper Hill, Green Woodpecker

      Chuffed to get 2 Dipper at Cromwell yesterday and the Green Woodpecker on

     Pepper Hill, heard it calling for days and seen the odd flypast but finally found it

    stood in a tree

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Swales Moor - Ringby Lane

Pretty thick and very cold fog with an easterly this morning. Vis down to 30 m. I tried again for Snow Bunting 'thinking'....... "if one came down on the top yesterday or overnight then with the fog it will still be there". Nothing doing on the top except 2 Wrens (what were they doing up there)? Only saw 6 Carrion Crows (usually 60+).

Bottom of Ringby Lane , opposite the ski-slope, a decent number of birds around the feeders including 6 Greenfinch and that was as good as it got.

Green Woodpecker

My wife reported a Wheatear off Castle Carr Road this morning.

The best I got at tea-time was a Green Woodpecker, Sentry Edge, Mount Tabor.

Mixenden Reservoir

Call from NK resulted in 14 Whooper Swans arriving yesterday afternoon around 1pm in the gloom. They stayed on the reservoir till around 2:30pm then off they went as the mist lifted slightly. Great to see these wild swans as they begin their journey back to Iceland and the arctic for the breeding season.

Whooper Swans

Also at Mixenden, a  flythrough single Oystercatcher and a Buzzard. Also heard, a Green Woodpecker in the distant.

Earlier on at Cromwell Bottom I managed to find that elusive Firecrest - a real bonus bird for me. Some great habitat down there thanks of course to several agencies including Calderdale Council and Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group. 

Monday, March 01, 2021

 Ogden Water 28 february

Eleven Whooper Swans on water at 8.00 am

Yesterdays Jaunt

 A few pics from yesterday, Wainstalls had just the 2 Curlew, further afield had

2 Barn Owl, Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Red Legged Partridge, 8 Curlew,
3 Mistle Thrush, Kestrel and 4 Roe Deer.