Monday, May 31, 2021

Soil Hill & Whiteholme Reservoir; updates from the week

The warmer weather towards the end of the week brought some life to Soil Hill at last, with Hirundines and Swifts finally appearing in some numbers, with more fledglings appearing. For the most part the resident migrants seem to have arrived, with no noticable new territories appearing during the week. 

Willow Warbler: 5 on the 24th 
Whitethroat: 9 on the 24th 
Swift: c.10 on the 30th 
Sand Martin: 5 together over the NK Pond on the 30th

Soil Hill 29th May
-A family party of 11 Rook with recently fledglings flew over the Hill
-Single Robin fledgling at the bottom of the North Slope Tree-Line

Some drier weather will certainly benefit the shoreline at Whiteholme which this week attracted fewer waders but still had at least one new migrant arriving. 

Dunlin: 4 on the 28th
Ringed Plover: 5 on the 29th

Whiteholme 28th May
-A very dapper SANDERLING was the highlight of the week. It was present mid-morning and remained into the afternoon. Glad you caught up with it DJS

Whiteholme 29th May
12 Greylag were on the shoreline before flying off
3 Teal (2 drake)
A drake Mandarin flew over the reservoir and may have dropped onto Light-Hazzles
A single Siskin flew over heading west

-Sanderling (phonescoped)

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Swifts - Walsden

 At last - the Strines Street swifts have arrived!  Four of them in evidence today.  Screeching round our house too.  I always thought they screeched when in family parties with their young.  But these haven't yet had time to find their nesting place, let alone rear young.  Usually a small colony nesting on Beswick Street.  But these not arrived yet.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Whiteholme Reservoir etc.

A rare visit for us up there yesterday afternoon but it turned out well as we caught up with DJB's Sanderling - a very smart looking bird. Also 4 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper plus some of the usual species.

Lee Mount (Shroggs Park) and Wheatley last night. It's been very quiet the last month or two for Tawny Owls - there were at least 3 singing males heard last night around 11 pm. They seemed to be battling it out vocally and continued for well over half an hour - perhaps longer.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Soil Hill & Whiteholme Reservoir; updates from the week

Once again Soil Hill was fairly steady throughout the week with no noticable arrival of migrants and passage continuing to be poor. Overall the number of species recorded per visit remains high, between 35 - 40 daily. The first fledglings have started to appear as well, with juvenile Starlings beginning to amass in the fields.

Swift: 3+ on the 22nd, with ariel copulation observed
Willow Warbler: 5 on the 23rd 
Whitethroat: 8 on the 17th 

Soil Hill 17th May
-A singing Sedge Warbler was present during the morning. It was often elusive but reasonably vocal. An audio recording of the bird can be found on the daily checklist

A full checklist from this date can be found here;

Soil Hill 22nd May
-A single Siskin flew North

-Sedge Warbler

The shoreline at Whiteholme continues to be slowly eaten away, but there still remains ample to attract passage waders. Numbers throughout the week peaked as follows;

Dunlin: 7 on the 18th, with just 2 remaining on the 22nd
Ringed Plover: 5 on the 17th

Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Curlew & Common Sandpiper have also all featured at some point during the week

Whiteholme Reservoir 17th May
-A pair of SHELDUCK were on the far shoreline during the afternoon of the 17th. They seemed very settled, but had moved on by the following morning.


Whiteholme Reservoir 22nd May
-A single COMMON TERN was roosting on the 'island' in the middle of the reservoir early morning. It remained settled for at least half an hour in blustery conditions before being flushed by a low flying Crow. At that point it took flight, rapidly gained height and then flew SW towards Lancs, occasionally calling.
-A pair of Teal were also present in the ditch along Byron Edge

-Common Tern

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Lee Mount swans !

Five Swan sp flew over this morning at 07:27. they gave no call so not identified to species. 
All together >W towards Mixenden or maybe Ogden. 
Checked Mixenden - not there !

It's quite late for Whoopers so suspect Mute Swans. (?) 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Fly Flats.......

 This afternoon - though I only viewed from watch-points on the top road so BS probably had a few more species from his watch-point.
1 male Stonechat
1 Redshank
4 Curlew
2+ Oystercatchers
2 Barnacle Geese
Pair of Tufted Duck
Plenty of Canadas with chicks and at least one pair of Greylag Geese
2 Stock Doves flew over towards Castle Carr
2 distant Buzzards
+ usual species

4 juvenile Rooks were on Hunter Hill with both adults

Earlier, during  very heavy shower I checked out Mixenden Reservoir. Nothing doing there other than 3 Swallows came in with the rain then moved off when it cleared up.

Yesterday afternoon I checked out some of the woodland across the river at Copley - at one time a good spot for Wood Warbler (my target bird for the afternoon) but nothing doing other than a Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Grey Wagtail, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Sparrowhawk flyover.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Soil Hill & Whiteholme Reservoir; updates from the week

Soil Hill has been fairly steady this week with around 35 - 40 species daily but without much change in diversity. Migrant numbers continue to be steady, with numbers peaking as follows;

Willow Warbler: 4 on the 13th
Whitethroat: 9 on the 14th
Blackcap: A single female on the 11th 
Wheatear: 7 on the 11th 

Soil Hill 10th May
-A Sedge Warbler was in the North Slope Tree-Line but it was extremely elusive and silent. It initially perched up in the vegetation but then dropped and could not be relocated. By this time last year the male bird was already well established on it's territory, hopefully it is not too late.
-On the NK Pond was a pair of Tufted Duck. These were present during the early days of the week but not present subsequently
-A Lesser Redpoll flew over Taylor Lane. Siskins have also been present throughout the week, but all have been flyover birds. 

A full checklist from this date can be found here;

Soil Hill 11th May
-2 House Martin flew over heading west
-A single Grey Wagtail flew south towards Ogden

I also paid a morning visit to see Garden Warbler at Oats Royd on the 12th. Whilst typically elusive it was vocal throughout, with an audio recording here;

-Garden Warbler

The number of waders at Whiteholme dropped from the weekends peak counts, with much smaller numbers on the shoreline. Hopefully, the large ammount of exposed substrate will continue to attract birds during the rest of the spring. Wader numbers peaked as follows;

Dunlin: on the 13th
Ringed Plover: 8 on the 10th
Common Sandpiper: 6 on the 10th

Whiteholme Reservoir 10th May
-A single WHIMBREL arrived mid-afternoon and took up residence on the centre 'island' of the reservoir where it promptly fell asleep. Although it spent much of its time sleeping, it also spent some time bathing and preening. It was still there when I left. 


Whiteholme Reservoir 11th May
-A pair of Tufted Duck made an appearance on the reservoir
-A male WHITE WAGTAIL was in the NW corner of the reservoir.  

-White Wagtail

Whiteholme Reservoir 13th May
-Presumably Sundays PINK-FOOTED GOOSE flew over again early morning, calling frequently
-A pair of Teal sleeping on the 'island' in the middle of the reservoir
-A MARSH HARRIER flew north over Blackstone Edge, before returning back south. The bird was viewed directly into early morning sun so determining feature was difficult, but the dark wingtips in a few of the photos presumably make this a male of undetermined age. 

A full checklist from this date can be found here;

-Marsh Harrier

Whiteholme Reservoir 14th May
-A single Twite was feeding on the path on Blackstone Edge. It was colour ringed but the observation was too breif to obtain the full combination.

Whiteholme Reservoir 16th May
-A Cuckoo was on the barbed wire in the SW corner, before then moving on towards Lighthazzles.
-A Mute Swan flew south over the moors


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mount Tabor

 3 Wheatear (think new arrivals), good numbers of Swallow, 1 x Swift, Lapwings still battling corvids (Curlew given up and gone), and a flighty flock of c 8 Linnet plus usual sp.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Beacon Hill

 1 of 4 singing male Whitethroats.  Also, 1 Swift west.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Soil Hill & Whiteholme Reservoir; updates from the week

I arrived back in Halifax on Tuesday afternoon, although I did not record much of interest on that date. Soil Hill has been fairly quiet this week but still a few of the regular migrants are back already, with numbers peaking as follows; 

Willow Warbler: 5 on the 5th 
Whitethroat: 5 on the 6th
Wheatear: 3 on the 7th

Soil Hill 05th May
-2 Siskin flew over Taylor Lane

Soil Hill 06th May
-A single Swift flew north
-2 Sand Martin flew west

Soil Hill 07th May
-The highlight of the week was a Whinchat on the Cattle Fields at the bottom of the North Slope. Sadly an extremely distant bird.
-10 Siskin flew over north, a flock of 3 and a flock of 10

A full checklist from this date can be found here;


Soil Hill 09th May
-A drake Tufted Duck was on the NK pond. This is only the second time I have seen one here, after a flyby on the 09th April 2017!
-A single House Martin flew north

Over the weekend I also made a couple of trips to Whiteholme Reservoir. Due to the weather there was a fantastic assemblage of birds on both dates. 

Whiteholme Reservoir 08th May
Absolutely horrendous conditions, with horizontal sleet and hail restricting visibility. 

-There was a single SANDERLING on the shore of the reservoir, associating with a group of 19 Dunlin. An additional flock of 10 Dunlin was also down the shoreline, bringing the total up to 29.
-In addition I counted 4 Ringed Plover, but there could have been more.
-There were 2 Greylag Geese sat on the moors

A full checklist from this date can be found here;


Whiteholme Reservoir 09th May
The calm after the storm. Was good to bump into DF at Whiteholme early doors to enjoy some brilliant inland birding. 

-In total I click counted 72 Dunlin as I walked down the reservoir shore from North to South. These were mainly in three seperate flocks, each feeding at different points. 
-Joining one of the flocks were 2 SANDERLING. Looking at the moult patterns on the photos, both of these birds appear to be different to yesterdays individual.
-Excellent numbers also of Ringed Plover. I did not count them but estimate at least 15 individuals.
-At around 08.00 an ARCTIC TERN flew steadily south through the reservoir. It made hard work against the wind and initially appeared that it might linger before it carried on.
-Around 09.20 a single PINK-FOOTED GOOSE dropped onto the reservoir banking. It lingered here for around 10 minutes before it flew of south-west. 
-A single Swift flew south over Blackstone Edge
-At least 6 Wheatear were present, but mobile

A full checklist from this date can be found here;

-Arctic Tern
-Pink-footed Goose

Its nice to be back

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Castle Carr Road

We took a walk along there late morning following in the footsteps of PB who earlier on managed 1 Fieldfare and then 2 Cuckoos overhead. Missed out on a good photo there Paul !

It was still pretty cold but we managed to find c10 Wheatears (2 of which had the characteristics of Greenland birds). One Cuckoo was singing in the dean, the sound travelling a long way, so it seemed ! We didn't see it.
3 Greenfinch appeared out of habitat on the telegraph wires along the road though Linnets were in their natural summering habitat. 
1 Reed Bunting
4 Skylark
+ usual species

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Shibden Park

 2 of 5 young Coots

2 Greylags - 1 albino, 1 hybrid

After some internet trawling, I'd say that this is a Greylag goose x Canada goose hybrid. There's a full account of these at dated 23 Feb 2014. Features that point to this id are:- dark neck, white face and throat, grey cap, white eyering, and black nail on bill.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Mixenden Reservoir

Managed a couple of visits today. Conditions maybe favourable for some passing terns but that wasn't to be while I was there.
None this morning but 6 Swifts this afternoon arrived in a heavy shower but when I left there were just 2.
Max of 40+ Swallows, 30+ House Martins and a Sand Martin
Great Crested Grebe still there
c20 Linnets are feeding on the embankment dandelion seed along with  a few Goldfinch
1 Common Sandpiper there this afternoon

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Black Redstart

 Black Redstart in the garden at middle Walshaw res tonight.NCD,DF

Mixenden Reservoir and Hunter Hill area.........

 What a lovely morning to be out and about in good time. Cool but bright and dry

The reservoir was quiet - rough weather seems to turn up the birds.
1 Great Crested Grebe still - the other two have gone - but they might be back !
2 Sand Martins, 2 Swallows and 1 House Martin - maybe more soon but the weather needs to warm up for them.
Blackcap, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs in the plantation along with a noisy Nuthatch and the usual species.

Elsewhere - 1 Snipe, 1 Curlew, Jay, Nuthatch and a distant Buzzard drifting high >S. 
Thanks to NK's tip-off - I found the spot for the recently arrived Grasshopper Warbler. Elusive creatures with a distinctive reeling song if you have good hearing !!!. Surprise there for me... - and showing on and off after sitting still on the grass banking looking for it. Nearly gave up hope but even managed a few record shots eventually. 

Yesterday I even manged a few shots of some Fieldfares in Crimsworth Dean - 23 there along with 10+ Wheatear nearby. They will be heading over to northern Europe anytime now but it was nice to see them before they leave here for the northern summer. They probably think it's still winter here !

Wheatear - also on their way further north from their wintering areas in Africa