Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Cold Edge

Stonechat 10, Reed Bunting 2

Monday, September 26, 2022

Great White Egret

 Great White Egret flew above Hardcastle Crags , over Blake Dean ,Walshaw Plantation ,onto Widdop and then into Lancs at about 4.15 this afternoon. Also around Washaw Plantation today attracted by masses of common finches and Meadow Pipits, 1 Hobby , 2 Merlin , 1 Red Kite , 1 Hen Harrier , 1 Marsh Harrier , 5 sightings of Barn Owl and  1 Little Owl , 3 Redwing and a Ring Ouel made for an excellent days birding......

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Soil Hill

Lively morning on the Hill. Although the number of passage passerines dropped from previous days, excellent numbers of Geese flew over.

  • Counted 662 Pink-footed Geese in 10 skeins from my vantage point on Soil Hill. From these flocks, only 222 passed into Calderdale, the rest passing well to the north. Full breakdown of flocks here;


Headed E over Keighley



Down the Ogden valley heading SE



Down the Ogden valley heading SE



Straight over the Hill heading SE



Straight over the Hill heading SE



Headed E over Keighley



Down the Ogden valley heading SE



Down the Luddenden valley heading SE



Headed SE over Keighley



Headed E over Keighley


  • Also first Jack Snipe of the autumn flushed from almost under my feet

  • 213 Meadow Pipit flew south, 1 Redpoll, 2 Siskin and 13 Swallows

  • Still 3 Teal on the NK Pond
In total managed 49 species this morning, the full list here;

-Pink-footed Geese

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Lee Mount and Withens Clough

Pink-footed Geese continue there September movement. This morning (08:55) a call from BS at Fly Flats 'pinks' coming your way ! True to form  (08:59) - high over the house 102 (from camera shot counts). Ta Bri.

Pink-footed Geese

Later in the day we went to check out Withens Clough to see if the two recent Black Redstarts were still there. We met a young teenager, with grandparents, eager to see the birds He was elated as  grandma found one on the rocks by the reservoir overflow. Then a few minutes later it was relocated on the roof of the old barn. He was thrilled to bits, especially after getting a decent photo (much better than mine)!! We were thrilled for him as well.
An hour later we found both birds on the barn roof but failed again to get a shot of the two together..
This is the best I could do.

Also 25 Pink-footed Geese went overhead towards Whiteholme direction mid afternoon.
6 Tufted Duck
7 Mallard
1 Snipe flew over >N
Family group of 6 Stonechats
22 Swallows went straight through, low over the water then across the moor >E.

Cold Edge, Leadbeater dam

This looks like a Ferruginous x Tufted hybrid. The overall impression is of a 'Scaup face' female Tufted. Unlike the Scaup 2 days ago, it has a 'bump' on the nape. The eye is yellow.

BUT there is a white triangle at its rear, as is seen on Ferruginous ducks. And it is hard to see any black on the bill: Ferruginous (like Scaup) has a grey bill with just the nail black, whereas Tufted has more extensive black at the tip.

Soil Hill

Absolutely fantastic morning on Soil Hill, with good VizMig again, plus a few nice surprises.

  • At 09:09 a flock of five waders flew west reasonably high but directly above me on the North Slope. They did not call at all. Photos revealed they were two BAR-TAILED GODWIT and three GREY PLOVER, although I couldn't see the distinctive 'black armpits' on the plovers when I first checked. These are both patch ticks for me! Absolutely brilliant stuff!

  • Four Golden Plover flew south before u-turning over the Hill and heading back north.

  • A walk around the wetter areas produced five Common Snipe. Four more flew north distantly and at the end of my watch, another five dropped in.

  • There were still at least three Teal on the NK Pond.

  • A Great-spotted Woodpecker flew east

  • Once again VizMig was good this morning. Between 07:00 - 08:00 I counted birds heading south whilst I checked the bushes, before between 08:00 - 09:30 I put my focus entriely into the VizMig; 
    • 344 Meadow Pipit went south, with many flying straight over the North Slope, but also many cutting down the Ogden valley.
    • 2 Lesser Redpoll flew south calling
    • Additionally all south; 1 Skylark, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, 3 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet, 11 Goldfinch & 1 Reed Bunting

In total managed 46 species this morning, the full list here;

-Bar-tailed Godwit & Grey Plover
-Golden Plover

Friday, September 23, 2022

Soil Hill

A very pleasant morning on the Hill today with a nice variety of species
  • Very pleasant VizMig between 08:00 – 09:45 with a few nice totals. All south unless stated otherwise;

    -237 Meadow Pipit

    -24 Swallow

    -9 House Martin (North)

    -1 Lesser Redpoll

    -7 Snipe (West) 

    -Additionally 10 Pied Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Chaffinch, 1 Linnet, 10 Goldfinch & 9 Skylark

  • Five Teal were still on the NK Pond, although often staying on the near side out of sight. 

  • Four Stonechat were on the walls at the bottom of the North Slope early morning, with two males showing very well at times. 

In total managed 46 species this morning, the full list here;


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Cold Edge, Haigh Cote dam

I think this is a young Scaup. It was difficult to photograph because it was a lot shyer than the 2 female Tufteds also present, and it was constantly diving (with a leap that exposed a white belly), surfacing only briefly.

The body and bill look broader than those of Tufted, and the body looks deeper. The bill lacks Tufted's distal black 'dipped in ink' appearance. It was quite windy, and I think the nape has a few feathers blown up by the wind, rather than a tuft: otherwise the bird has the rounded head of Scaup. There is some white at the side of the bill.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Lee Mount - 21st September

Plenty reports of Pink-footed Geese heading over Calderdale in the last few days.

Four skeins (75, 86, 225, 52 from photo counts) total 438 over  Lee Mount between 08:00 and 08:30  this morning.

Two further flocks late morning, same direction with 89 at 10:25 and 91 at 11:30. 
Makes 618 so far today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Hunter Hill area

An interesting afternoon especially with hirundines - they always seem to like the shelter of the hill in autumn. Plenty of insects about where the cattle are - the birds are impossible to count so estimates only.
c70 Swallows, c25 House Martins and a single Sand Martin with them. 
Earlier on c35 Swallows and 5 House Martins flew straight through >SW over Mixenden reservoir.

35 Mistle Thrush was a good count for Hunter Hill (though 45 were reported  in Colden Clough yesterday (SiB).
Also around the hill - Green Woodpecker, c80 Meadow Pipits, 5 Jays, 8 Linnets and c30 Goldfinches.
33 Pink-footed Geese went over and a few minutes later probably the same  33 were reported over Norland (LD)

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Shibden Park

Greylag Geese: albino and hybrid albino. The hybrid is likely to be the bird pictured when young in the blog post of 4/6/2022, when it appeared to be with a pure Canada sibling.

Now, both albinos have orange legs, but while the pure albino has an orange bill with a pink tip, the hybrid's bill is pink. And the hybrid has some dark markings on its back, and lacks the pure bird's orange orbital ring.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Soil Hill

 Very lively Pink-footed Goose passage over the last two days;

  • On the 16th had 328 Pinks fly SE in five skeins between 07:00 - 10:00. The largest flock (177) flew well to the North but all the others cut across the Hill itself.

  • This morning 359 flew SE in eight skeins, slightly less than my field estimation, between 07:00 - 09:30, by which point the passage seemed to stop. At one point three separate skeins could all be seen together. Most birds appeared to the NW over Thornton Moor Reservoir, before cutting across to the north of Soil Hill. Only one of the skeins seemed to cut across the Hill itself, as they all headed SE.

  • Other birding remained fairly steady, with just a couple of Chiffchaff remaining on the migrant front.

In total managed 38 species this morning, the full list here;

-Pink-footed Geese

Withens Clough - Black Redstarts

With many thanks to Paul B who sent some very nice shots of the two birds taken up there yesterday.
They have been there for at over two weeks now - first seen on 1st September (update - both still there at least till 19th September)

Black Redstarts

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Withens Clough

 Another visit to this site this afternoon to check to see if the two Black Redstarts were still there. Both showing well on the boulders at the top of the concrete overflow on the edge of the reservoir. Always moving around. They would not stay still for more than a moment or two and after a short while they disappeared and we failed to re-find them. Plenty good habitat for them in that area so suspect they were not far away. These are the best shots I could manage...........and pretty sure they are both juveniles.

Also around the site 1 Dunlin, 1 Raven distant, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Greylag Geese with Canadas, c20 Lapwings, 1 Wheatear and a good mix of  Pied/alba Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Swallows,  Goldfinch and Linnets with 1 juvenile Willow Warbler near the car park. 

Soil Hill

A few bits and pieces on Soil Hill from the last couple of days

  • A skein of 177 Pink-footed Geese flew SE this morning, distantly. My first of the autumn on the Hill.
  • Also on the wildfowl front this morning; seven Goosander flew south and three Teal were on the NK Pond.
  • Yesterday a cream-crown Marsh Harrier flew NW extremely high up at around 13:15 in the afternoon. Picked up whilst walking down Bradshaw Lane, but slowly cruised over Soil Hill itself.
  • A Whinchat was on Taylor Lane yesterday as well as Stonechat at the bottom of the North Slope. The day before four Stonechat had been present.
  • Quite a few Chiffchaff recently, with just two Willow Warbler hanging on yesterday, probably the last of the year for me. A single Whitethroat was still present this morning.
  • Reasonable VizMig over the last couple of days as well, with a few House Martin and Swallow heading south, as well as good numbers of Meadow Pipits (79 btw 08:00 – 09:00 this morning).

In total managed 50 species this morning, the full list here;

-Pink-footed Geese
-Marsh Harrier

Sunday, September 11, 2022

 Ringstone Saturday 10th September 2022

13 Wigeon in eclipse plumage found by DF in the morning. They certainly aren't as beautiful as when in full plumage but they were whistling which was nice. Then a 1st winter Lesser Blacked Back Gull (?) began to attack one

of the flock and chased it around putting the rest of the flock into the air. Fortunately it gave up and they all returned.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Withens Clough

We went to check out the recent Black Redstart spot this afternoon. Nothing doing in the concrete overflow where there were two on 2nd Sept so checked the west side of the old barn. What looked like the same individual that was there on 1st Sept showed briefly on the barn roof soon after we got there - then the breeze strengthened and we waited 40 minutes or so but it failed to show again.

Lots of alba wagtails about though failed to be sure of 'whites'. Green Woodpecker, Kestrel, Buzzard and lots of Swallows (many juveniles) but only 2 House Martins with them. Also 2 juv Stonechats. Around 40 Lapwings along the shoreline.

Ringstone Edge

 Teal 2

Sunday, September 04, 2022

Whiteholme Reservoir

 A morning of drizzle with SE winds took us to Whiteholme, which was pleasantly lively with a few birds around.

  • Two juvenile Ruff were present at the north end of the reservoir. Mobile but showed well throughout the morning
  • A nice feeding flock of four Ringed Plover & two Dunlin were present when we arrived. These two Dunlin were then supplemented by five more, bringing the total to seven.
  • Six Common Snipe were feeding together at the north end of the reservoir
  • On the damn wall were four Stonechat & at least 10 Wheatear
  • Six Teal were dotted around the reservoir
  • Two Sand Martin flew high to the east
In total managed 17 species, the full list here;

-Common Snipe

Ringstone Ruff

                Four Ruff at Ringstone this morning.JM,AT,GS,DF

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Ringstone Edge

 1 of 2 'intermedius' Lesser Black-backed Gulls: on R in upper photo, and L in lower. Also seen by DF.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Fly Flats and Withens Clough

Fly Flats this morning
3 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin far out on the mud with 2 Teal and a single Tufted Duck on the water. 
3 Swallows went >N, 2 Stonechats along the top road and plenty Meadow Pipits 'blogging'.
That was about it apart from a Wheatear near Slade and a pair of Swallows nearby still feeding young.

Withens Clough did not disappoint this afternoon starting off with a juvenile Black Redstart feeding with Pied Wagtails and a few Meadow Pipits in the sunshine on the west facing roof of the old barn.
3 Teal and 4 Tufted Duck on the water. 
3 Linnets with c 60 Goldfinch feeding on the multitude of marsh thistle heads. 4 Stonechats along the track and a cream crown Marsh Harrier flew through briefly, mobbed by a multitude of Swallows

Ringstone Edge

Common Scoter male

British Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo carbo