Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir

A very good hour there this morning with plenty to hold the interest. I left a bit reluctantly wondering 
what might turn up next given the weather conditions. !
1 Swift was a nice surprise for half hour feeding over the Res'r though it left high >W as a snow-storm arrived.
20+ Swallows
1 House Martin
2 Sand Martins 
1 Herring Gull
3 Moorhen
3 Great Crested Grebes
4 Canada Geese
6 Chaffinch, 3 Linnet, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff. 

Also in the snow-storm -5 Black- headed Gulls >N and 2 Common Sandpipers dropped in but I don't think
they stayed long. 

See BS's blog - West Yorkshire Birding - for an update from his afternoon visit to Mixenden.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir ......

Started off at Mixenden and I was surprised to find 3 Great Crested Grebe - making lots of noise too but no direct interaction though they were following one another around. Also Moorhen and one drake Tufted Duck on the water.
Fire has devastated the little corner by the gate that was so good for passerines. Even so Willow Warblers and a Blackcap were still singing nearby.

Withens Head - 2 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtails and a single Swallow

Ovenden Moor - further evidence of fire - this time at the far distant Marsden Moor. Fireworks apparently, according to Look North's news tonight - thank goodness it's rained tonight to assist the firefighters.

Cold Edge Road
I could only find one Golden Plover this morning - maybe the recent flock has now moved further north. There were 4 Wheatears in the field and something spooked them. A bit of  a surprise to see them fly up into the nearest, tallest tree by Nolstar kennels. At one point they were joined by a Chaffinch but missed getting that on the shot
3 Wheatear in the tree with another one joining them in flight

Luddenden Dean - great vocals from a Cuckoo this afternoon. 

Ringstone Edge

 Male Whitethroat

Saturday, April 24, 2021


 Whinchat at Upper Walshaw last night.NCD.DF

Thursday, April 22, 2021


Surprise on Thornhills Lane earlier this week. The early bird catches the worm!

The Little Owls have been calling loudly around dusk in the past months. I wonder if they are the offspring of the breeding pair on Jay House Lane.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Wainstalls area

 I didn't find much about today in the usual places up there - but it was a very pleasant afternoon to be out in the sunshine and enjoying the views.

This Red Grouse was particularly obliging - never have the right lens with me though -

A single Ring Ouzel was seen earlier (PL) though I failed to re-locate it.
4 Wheatears in different locations along with a few Lapwings, Curlew, Skylark, Linnets and Meadow Pipits. 
Swallows are obviously hanging back until the weather warms up a bit but sounds like it might get colder later on this week ! We'll see.

Tonights Sparrowhawk on Soil Hill

        Was great to see this beauty hanging about until it snatched a Wren I was 

        photographing from right under my nose, its wings actually hit my head,

        I know its nature but I did feel sorry for the Wren.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Ogden and over Ovenden Moor

Another good day to be out and about. It was bright but still and calm - where were the birds !!! ?
It was pretty dead. 
An occasional Curlew, 1 Mistle Thrush, a few Meadow Pipits and a single Chiffchaff singing - and that was about it.
1 Great Crested Grebe and a Moorhen on Ogden reservoir.

Wainstalls Today


Soil Hill Ring Ouzel


Ringstone Edge

 Oystercatcher with 2 Common sandpiper

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Ringstone Edge

 Great crested grebe

Soil Hill (am) and Castle Carr Road (pm)

Soil Hill
Checked the hill with the scope over Ogden plantation just in case JJL's Osprey from the previous evening had dropped in to roost in the plantation. No show there, it must have moved on.
2 Ring Ouzels (male and a female) on and around the hill but very elusive at times  (AC, MH, DSB). Plenty of Meadow Pipits, a few Linnets and Skylarks about. 1 Moorhen on the NK pond, 2 Curlew and a few Lapwings though farmer activity on the north fields has probably curtailed things for a while !

Later it he day we had a check along Castle Carr Road but despite a good search we couldn't relocate the Rng Ouzels that had been present the last few days -  could still be thereabouts (?).
5 Wheatears still present

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


 1 pair of Ringed plover. Male displaying, and reflected in water.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Around and about

 From AT this morning - at least one male Ring Ouzel present just off Castle Carr Road  - also 5 Wheatears nearby.

I did  Swales Moor late morning - 1 adult Peregrine soaring really high and I lost it in 'the blue'. 
4 Skylarks, 20+ Meadow Pipits, 9 Stock Doves, 2 Linnet, 1 Buzzard and not a lot else.

Over Lee Mount a Raven went over >NW and a Blackcap singing.
Withens Head - 2 Golden Plover in the field by the wind-farm car park with 2 Lapwings and a single Wheatear on the wall by the farm.
Fly Flats - A single Ringed Plover in flight and 2 Barnacle Geese with a Canada
Nolstar Fields - 93 Golden Plover - looking amazing hunkered down. Numbers seem to fluctuate as some come and go.

Bradshaw Bonanza

 Great Morning out at Bradshaw today with John L and 

 later on Andy C.  4 Ring Ouzel, Red Legged Partridge,  

 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Linnet, 1 Merlin, 2 Heron, Pheasant

 and Little Owl, just a shame they were all distant but still

 remarkable seeing 4 Ouzels together very cagey and flighty 

though. also a Mistle Thrush chased off by the Ouzels.

Summer Migrants

 Used the bridge camera and at high zoom so got the 'painting effect' but the migrants Dave described were still around this lunchtime.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Luddenden Dean

 A really good walk around there today in perfect conditions, cool, bright and dry - perfect !
38 species in total so that's not bad especially as it included a male Ring Ouzel with  a Blackbird not far from Catherine House Farm. Later on MB found 3 Ring Ouzels there with some Fieldfare and other thrushes though the 'rouzels' flew across to the other side of the valley where PB met them !! Maybe stay around a day or two - hopefully.
1 Green Woodpecker, Nuthatches and Great-spotted Woodpecker
1 Swallow, several Chiffchaffs and Greenfinch
A piece of caramel shortbread half way round with a cup of coffee fit the bill to a tee......

Lighthazzles reservoir

 Male Goldeneye

Wheatley Valley

Shroggs Road reclaimed landfill yesterday morning turned up 2 Jays, 1 singing Willow Warbler and 2 singing Chiffchaff. Three Long-tailed Tits were nest building and nearby on the slopes of Shroggs Park a pair of Chiffchaff were busy nest building and a male Blackcap singing. Two more Long-tailed Tits dashed into a very dense and prickly Berberis wilsoniae just escaping the clutches of a male Sparrowhawk.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Crimsworth Dean - 7th April

 A nice surprise late afternoon with a male Ring Ouzel in the fields above Grain Water Bridge alongside Thurrish Road (the continuation of Haworth Old Road). Mind you it was the target species for the day, a traditional site in spring for migrants. Nearly missed out, as we scanned the fields for well over half an hour and just about to give it up when one appeared. Distant but distinctive black bird showing it's white bib and pale panel on the wings. Distant photos only. No sign of any Wheatears up there but there are a few about in our local area.

Elsewhere in the dean a goup of 34 Curlew was feeding in a freshly manured field and nearby a flock of around 40 Meadow Pipits were doing the same. Probably all birds that are moving through the area rather than locals ? 

1 Common Gull, 2 Kestrels, Sparrowhawk, Lapwings, Greylag Goose flyover along with the more usual species including 4 Greenfinch.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021


 4 Tufted duck (+ 2 Mallard)

1 of 4 juvenile Carrion crows

Corn Market Halifax

 She's back!

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Ringstone Edge etc

A good find yesterday (JB) with 3 Jack Snipe also showing earlier this morning but disappeared into reeds after a short while.
1 Common Snipe, 7 Teal, c350 Golden Plover, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 G C Grebes, 1 Little Grebe.
Not a bad start to the day !

Luddenden - early afternoon. A bit of shelter down there from the freezing cold wind but snow flurries continued in between bright sunshine.
1 Dipper, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Moorhen, 1 Chiffchaff along with singing Nuthatches and a Green Woodpecker. 
Surprise find was a flock of 60+ Meadow Pipits together in a freshly manured part of a field along Dean House Lane towards Booth.

A Kittiwake flyover for AC prompted me to check Mixenden reservoir late afternoon in case it had been forced down there in the snow flurries. No luck there but no matter.
1 B h Gull, 2 Grey Wagtails, Pair Tufted Duck and a Ring-necked Parakeet flew overhead as I went down Mixenden Road.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir and Hunter Hill

It was really nice and quiet up there this morning - bitterly cold though that's ok, but it certainly kept any birds low down in the various sheltered gullies on the east facing hill.

1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Linnet, 60+ Meadow Pipits, 3 male Wheatears. Only 4 Lapwings were seen but 9 Curlew were together in the fields by Stodfold obviously preferring the shelter down from the moor.

Reservoir - 4 Canada Geese, a Moorhen and a fly-by male Sparrowhawk with a single loan Black-headed Gull on the water. (Never know what might turn up there so it's always worth a check).

Some good summer visitor reports in the last week or so with a few Wheatears, Swallows, Sand Martins and a House Martin as well as 2 reports of  Willow Warblers along with Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. This cold spell might delay some of the other summer visitors. There are also still just a few winter visitors hanging on, with Fieldfares still about and a couple of Bramblings reported.

I recently down-loaded some photos and came across this one from Jay House Lane on 27th Mch. I was aiming at the 2 Mallard and at the time missed this other bird which looks to be having a go at them. How did I miss that !!! Looks a bit owl like ?

Saturday, April 03, 2021

 I was encouraging (I was trying to be encouraging to) birders to cover more of the Upper Calder woodland cloughs for summer migrant songbirds. Jonathan S. had reported the first Common Redstarts at Hardcastle Crags.  Matthew B went up Broadhead Clough and got this year's first reported Willow Warbler. Adrian Z said he had Redstarts in Broadhead Clough on  numerous occasions, and I've had Wood Warbler there.

It seems that most birders go to to Hardcastle Crags, where there are known to be Common Redstarts,  2 species of Flycatcher, and Wood Warbler. Tree Pipits used to be present at the top end around Blake Dean.

Here is a list (not exhaustive) of woodlands in the Upper Calder Valley which seem to be little watched.

Withens Clough  - WoodWa (Nick C)

Colden Clough inc. Eaves Wood - WoodWa, CRedstart (SB)

Brearley Wood  - WoodWa (SB)

Stoodley Glen  - WoodWa (SB)

Crow Nest Wood, Hebden Bridge  - WoodWa (SB)

Jumble Hole Clough  - WoodWa, PFly (Matt B)

Pudsey Clough, Cornholme - S.Fly, also Ring Ouzel higher up (SB)

Todmorden Edge Woods (behind the park) - S.Fly (SB)

Crimsworth Dean P.Fly (AVH et al)

The above records are over a period of  years. Below are some others which look perfectly suitable for migrants.

Rawtenstall Wood - Hebden Bridge

Horsehold Scout - Hebden Bridge

Burnt Acre Wood

Callis Wood

Lumbutts Clough - Todmorden

Shaw Wood - Todmorden

Gorpley Clough - up Bacup Road

Wittonstall Clough - Cornholme

Ramsden Clough near Gordon Rigg's

Kilnhurst Wood - Todmorden

Cat Hole Clough  - Lydgate

Dean Hey Wood  - Cragg Vale

Let's start a thread on "Summer woodland migrant - new sites" 

With apologies if I've missed anybody's records out.


Friday, April 02, 2021


It's interesting to see the difference between the bills of the male and female Tufted duck at this time of year.

Do folks agree that this is a 2nd calendar year Lesser black-backed gull, with the 3rd cy Herring gull? 

Vinicombe ('Helm guide to bird id') focuses on tertials and greater coverts:  Tertials - little patterning and almost solidly dark in LBBG, and notched in HG;   Greater coverts - "dark based" in LBBG, and "chequered" in HG.

These differences can be difficult to pick up. Some HG tertials have little notching. And it is often hard to see the bases of LBBG's greater coverts.


Thursday, April 01, 2021


 Little ringed plover 2

Also 1 Ringed plover