Sunday, August 28, 2022

Cromwell Bottom

I uploaded some of my photos of the Cromwell Bottom Tit to social media and a researcher named Richard Broughton ( who wrote his PhD thesis on the identification and separation of Marsh and Willow Tit, responded identifying the bird as a juvenile Willow Tit. 

Given the dramatic decline of Willow Tit nationally, I guess it’s good they can still make the occasional appearance in our area. Not ideal when an individual of the species pair remains as silent as possible. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Castle Carr Road

This afternoon - pretty hot and muggy with a few birds of interest, including a large flock of hirundines. They came off the moor as a  feeding flock and headed straight down the dean. Estimates only, impossible to count, suspect around 130 Swallows, 30 House Martins and 1 Swift

Also a big flock of c 180 Goldfinch and a few Linnets feeding on the seed heads of  a large patch of creeping thistle just below Upper Green Edge Farm.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Blackstone Edge Reservoir

Wood Sandpiper showing well today up until across lunchtime (SB, AvH, PW, DJS, JS, AT)et al? but no sign mid afternoon (GS).
Also Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail and 2 Wheatears present along with a Lesser Black-backed Gull flyover and a Merlin briefly for GS.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Hunter Hill and Cold Edge

A couple of outings today turned out quite well after heavy drizzle to start the day. 

4 Spotted Flycatchers together sticking with a Common Redstart nearby Ogden golf course. Also pleased to get a decent show of Swallows (80+) and House Martins (40+) in the valley as well as  a Blackcap and juvenile Willow Warblers.

Cold Edge didn't disappoint either this afternoon though it was so hot and humid - certainly not living up to it's name today !!
A single Greenshank was roosting on the lower dam with 2 Little Grebes on the small reed-fringed pond and a Whinchat with 8 Stonechats nearby. A flock of maybe up to 100 Goldfinches were feasting on a big bank of creeping thistles.
At Moorlands Farm we checked the traditional Black Redstart spot, drew a blank on that score but a Spotted Flycatcher in the shrubbery and overhead wires was a treat.

Blackstone Edge Reservoir

 Brilliant find by JJL this afternoon of Wood Sandpiper on Blackstone Edge. Showed well at times, and was still present when we left at 18:30

-Wood Sandpiper

Beacon Hill



Soil Hill

 An overcast and then foggy morning on Soil Hill today. Absolutely brilliant birding, however, with a few species of note.

  • A YELLOW WAGTAIL flew west towards Ogden at c.07:35, seen from the bottom of the North Slope. Managed a couple of appalling record shots. Sadly LNK was elsewhere recording a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, which was a shame as she would have got a brilliant audio recording. 
  • A juvenile Sedge Warbler and male Blackcap were present, plus a reeling Grasshopper Warbler.
  • The Spotted Flycatcher which was in the garden of Rabbit Dell off Taylor Lane yesterday afternoon was still present this morning.
  • No less than four Tree Pipit flew south during the morning.
  • Still 10 Grey Partridge distributed in the fields along Taylor Lane and Perseverance Road.
In total managed 47 species, the full list here;

-Yellow Wagtail
-Sedge Warbler

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Swifts ....... etc.

One Swift  >W over Lee Mount for me this morning was a treat and another this morning from Northowram (AC). Hope for one or two more if we're lucky but they are well on their way back to Africa now. 

Marsh Tit still showing well at Cromwell Bottom again today - such a great find. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Cuckoo Oxenhope Moor

Saw a juvenile Cuckoo this morning on the Calderdale side of Long Dike, which runs westwards from the northern end of Fly Flatts.

Cromwell Bottom

  After a morning on Soil Hill, LNK and I headed down to Cromwell Bottom to check for the Marsh Tit that had been reported on Facebook the previous day. We spent an hour at the feeding station and the bird made three visits, using the feeders and often showing well. Nice to see JM, DF and DJS there as well.

  The bird did not call at all during the time we spent watching it, although others may have heard it after we left. However, the consensus by those present was that the small bib and pale spot on the base of the bill rule out Willow Tit, even without the voice confirmation. 

-Marsh Tit

Complete species list:

Friday, August 19, 2022

Soil Hill

Very pleasant morning birding around Soil Hill before the wind picked up. A few different bits of note. 
  • At the bottom of the North Slope a group of 3 Whinchat were moving around together.
  • 2 seperate Tree Pipit flew south calling, one over Ned Hill Track and another over Taylor Lane.
  • One Sedge Warbler and a juvenile Grasshopper Warbler still present, as well as a male Blackcap. 
In total managed 45 species today, the full list below


Complete species list:

Monday, August 15, 2022

Soil Hill

Outstanding day on the Hill this morning, possibly the best of the Autumn so far:
  • A GREEN SANDPIPER flew south over the North Slope. First picked it up on call before it flew into view. Then continued flying south. Difficult to photograph but fortunately LNK was able to get a brilliant recording of the bird, which is uploaded here.
  • Three Spotted Flycatchers; 1 top of the North Slope, 1 Ned Hill Track & 1 Koi Farm Copse
  • One Tree Pipit flew south. Audio recording here;
  • One Grasshopper Warbler seen and heard 'tacking' 
  • 15 Willow Warbler counted in total, as well as 14 Whitethroat. A female/immture Blackcap was also present
In total managed 44 species this morning, the full list below

-Green Sandpiper recording
-Green Sandpiper
-Spotted Flycatcher

 Complete species list:

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Soil Hill

Been a very lively week for migrants on Soil Hill, and today was no different: 
  • Two Tree Pipit flew south, both calling loudly. LNK was able to get fantastic recordings of both individuals; here is a recording of the first individual which flew right overhead
  • One Sedge Warbler was still present, although there have been two in recent days. Photo below from the 11th, thanks to JJL for use of his spare camera
  • 13 Willow Warblers were counted around the area today
  • Two separate Great Spotted Woodpecker flew north 
  • Three Swifts were flying high over Ogden, won't be long now
Also a Snipe flew over the Summit and appeared to be dropping as if to land on the Bottom Cattle Fields, my first of the Autumn.
In total managed 44 species this morning, the full list below

-Tree Pipit recording
-Sedge Warbler

Complete species list:

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Soil Hill

Exciting morning on Soil Hill with my 117th species for the patch; Lesser Whitethroat. One showed very well in the Koi Farm Copse just off Taylor Lane, but frustratingly I still don't have a camera so can only provide extremely poor record shots. It became more elusive as the morning drew on, traveling into the garden along Taylor Lane as well.

In addition, there was also a Spotted Flycatcher in the same area which showed well for a few seconds but did not reappear during the hour and a half we spent searching for the Lesser Whitethroat. Also 11 Willow Warblers in total, 2 Blackcap, c.8 Common Whitethroat, 1 Tree Pipit flew south calling (Audio recorded) & 10 Grey Partridge still on the summit.

-Lesser Whitethroat
-Spotted Flycatcher

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Soil Hill

 A very pleasant morning on Soil Hill today with my first Short-eared Owl here in just under two years hunting the fields along Ned Hill Track. Still no camera, so have to make do with photos through the binoculars.

 A pleasantly lively morning with 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Wheatear, 1 Blackcap, 17 Willow Warbler, 1 Jay and 3 Swift all present, as well as the family party of 10 Grey Partridge encountered for the fourth day straight. 

In total 45 species were recorded in just over 3 hours.

-Short-eared Owl

Complete species list:

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Hunter Hill and Ogden

This was the best I could get of one of the two Redstarts this morning though my pics of the Spotted Fly are not good so I'll stick with Pete's ! 

Redstarts were NK's find yesterday so it was nice to see they were still there this morning, as was Nigel.

Not a lot else at the site other than a Kestrel fly-through, distant Common Buzzard, 2 Jays and a juv Willow Warbler.

Also checked Slaughter Gap earlier for signs of any migrants. 5 Wheatears at the top near the quarry and a flock of c30 Linnets with c 30 Swallows. mostly juveniles, and c20 House Martins. One adult Common Gull over Mixenden Reservoir but nothing much else there.


Spotted Flycatcher, and the male of a pair of Redstarts. All found by DJS. I think the Redstart is 1st winter, because it has no white on the forehead.


Thursday, August 04, 2022


Juvenile Meadow Pipit

Juvenile Grey Wagtail.

I have yet to find a modern bird guide that gives full descriptions of juvenile Passerines, with pictures. None of my three has a pic of a juvenile Grey Wagtail, and descriptions are brief and sometimes questionable.

The remains of the gape flange and the pink bill (black in adult) age this bird as juvenile. None of my guides mentions the upperparts, which here are paler grey than on adults, and brownish grey on the crown. Kightley et al says these juvs have "more uniform peachy-buff underparts and buff-yellow vent", while Hume et al (Britain's Birds) say "pink-buff beneath with whiter flank; yellow vent". Svensson et al (Collins Bird Guide) does not mention juvs. This bird has a yellow (not buff-yellow) vent (and rump), but I can see nothing peachy or pink: the flanks are white, and the breast looks faintly yellowish white.

I wonder what the pre-war Witherby et al volume says?

Wednesday, August 03, 2022


 Tufted Duck: female with 3 young

Monday, August 01, 2022

Withens Head

I went late afternoon to check the site of the recent Back Redstart but failed to find it either at Withens Head or Cold Edge though I suspect it could still be about.
3 Wheatears was the best I could do - but I enjoyed a good show of butterflies until the sunshine disappeared. !!
Swallows still feeding young in the local farms. Lets hope they can recover their numbers.


1 of 3 juvenile Pheasants. The white and orange close to the eye, and the Us and Vs on the back, show that it is not a Partridge.