Sunday, October 30, 2022

Soil Hill

  After the last few days of easterlies, rain and fog, the switch back to southerlies produced an excellent burst of VizMig. It petered out after just a few hours, but between 07:00 - 09:00 there were quite a few birds moving, especially Woodpigeons. 

  • In the first hour after sunrise 07:00 - 08:00, 5,069 Woodpigeons went south, all down the Ogden valley or directly over the Hill. There were a few hundred additional birds in the next hour, but the overall reduction in the volume of birds was obviously very noticable. In addition there were 19 Stock Doves that went south, including two separate flocks of seven.

  •  There was a noticeable increase in Starlings. They started moving later in the morning, with tight compact flocks moving through making it difficult to count them. I suspect the total of 827 that I managed is quite an undercount. 

  • Still a few finches moving, with 10 Brambling going south, almost certainly an undercount as well. A flock of 11 Lesser Redpoll blogging at the bottom of the North Slope was a nice addition to the day list.
In addition there were a few other birds of interest around. Two Teal flushed from the bottom of the North Slope and two Raven were blogging during the morning. 

In total managed 45 species this morning, the full list here;


Sunday, October 23, 2022

Soil Hill

 Had a quick visit this afternoon once the fog and rain finally cleared, and was able to find a few nice bits.

  • A very confiding Jack Snipe was the highlight of the walk, relying on its camouflage as they tend to do.
  • Three Teal were on the NK Pond
  • There was a flock of nine Long-tailed Tits on Ned Hill Track, which is my 101st species for the Hill this year.
In total managed 37 species this afternoon, the full list here;

-Jack Snipe

Shibden Valley

Perched Nuthatch

Soil Hill

 Slightly late update from yesterday's excellent morning session up the Hill. I was optimistic that the switch to southwesterly after the easterly arrival would induce some lively VizMig and so it transpired. My watch lasted from 07:30 - 10:30 although movement dropped off significantly after 10:00 with just a few additions afterwards. 

  • The most abundant species was Fieldfare with 3308 going south during the morning, mostly in large flocks as opposed to a constant stream. The largest flock was in excess of 250 birds. There were also large numbers of Redwing moving with 934 heading south, largely in their own flocks but sometimes also mixed with the Fieldfares.

  • A small group of eight Whooper Swans flew southeast high and over to the east as viewed from the Hill, at 08:45.

  • There were a few flocks of Woodpigeon that flew south, with 449 going south.

  • Although not masses of finches moving, there was a nice variety with 8 Brambling being the highlight. Brambling is the 100th species I have recorded on Soil Hill in 2022.

In addition to the migrating birds there were a few other bits to enjoy this morning;
  • A check of the various pool yielded a single Jack Snipe.

  • Halfway down the North Slope a Tawny Owl was roosting on one of the fence posts, my second day-roosting individual on the Hill this year.

  • There were nine Teal, which is my highest count of the autumn so far. Eight of these were on the NK Pond, with another in the Bottom Ditch.
In total managed 48 species this morning, the full list here;

-Whooper Swan
-Jack Snipe
-Tawny Owl

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Cromwell Bottom

30 Wigeon this morning on the ski-lake. Several of the drakes looking really good. I couldn't find a lot else in the pouring rain other than 11 Cormorants and 7 Goosander. 
Its a shame that viewing the lake is so restricted !

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Hunter Hill - watch-point

I didn't get going as early as Oxenhope, Soil Hill, Crow Hill and Queensbury. !! Though it seemed pretty odds on that a change in the wind direction to an easterly would offer an opportunity for thrushes to cross the north sea. !

My watch was a bit late at 10:00 to 11:40 but the thrushes were going strong on a wide front. 

HC commented about it being overwhelming at times for a single observer and many birds will have been missed in the frenzy ! Totally agree. 

Mostly all >SW
Redwing 6,500
Fieldfare 450
Woodpigeon 630
Mistle Thrush 8
Meadow Pipit 6

Snipe 1 >E
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >N

Later in the afternoon a check at Ogden produced one large flock of c300 mixed Redwings and Fieldfares - again  heading >SW.  Then several flocks of Redwings came in from >NE and hesitantly looked to go to roost in the plantation adjacent the golf course. Who can blame them if they came across the North Sea during the night. A quite amazing day.

Soil Hill

 Absolutely phenomenal morning on Soil Hill, with thrush migration starting from first light and continuing until early afternoon. I counted from 07:30 - 12:30, although birds were still trickling through after this time.

  • The bulk of the birds moving were Redwing, with 12679 until I left. The movement was more consistent for the first couple of hours after sunrise, although bursts of movement continued during the morning. There were also flocks of Fieldfare moving between Redwing flocks, I counted 1035 of these.

  • My first Whooper Swans of the autumn came south, flying over Ogden before continuing down the valley. There were also three skeins of Pink-footed Geese that flew northwest.

  • Just as I was wrapping up, a Red Kite flew north, my first here this year.

  • There was also decent Woodpigeon movement, with 812 going south, slightly less than the 1291 that went past yesterday.
Also five Teal (3 drakes) on the NK pond still

In total managed 47 species this morning, the full list here;

-Whooper Swans
-Red Kite

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Cold Edge

This morning - expecting some Vis-mig but the only real move was of 11 Fieldfares >W  mid-morning.

Elsewhere - 1 Green Woodpecker feeding on the moor seemed a little out of normal habitat, 1 Little Grebe, 9 Stonechats in three groups (5, 3, 1), 4 Reed Buntings with the chats. 20 Greylag Geese at one stage with 90+ Canadas but they all moved off elsewhere leaving just 10 Greylags.

Overall a decent mix of 37 species.

Also good to hear from NG that the two Black Redstarts were still showing today at Withens Clough.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Shibden Park

Mute Swan: adult female (unringed) with 2-3CY male (yellow 1Y18 on left leg).

1CY Grey Heron (upper mandible still dark). 

1 Little Grebe

Ringstone 17th October 2022.
25 Pink Footed Geese landed in the field behind the hide this morning for a well earned rest after battling the very strong westerly wind.


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Soil Hill

   Steady morning in blustery conditions on Soil Hill. Hopefully the wind will drop next week and the birding will be a little easier. 

  • One Jack Snipe flushed this morning, sadly not as showy as last week's individual. 

  • A count of seven Teal on the NK Pond is my personal best count for this site.
Some light VizMig this morning, but noticeably slower than earlier in the week presumably due to the strong winds. 
  • Small burst of thrushes at around 09:00 with 81 Redwing heading south and my first Fieldfare of the autumn.

  • The most abundant species on the move this morning was Woodpigeon with 107 flying south.

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


Thursday, October 13, 2022

Withens Clough

 We had chance of a trip up there this afternoon hoping, maybe, that the recent Black Redstarts could be still about. No trouble in finding them, both together feeding from the roof of the old stone barn. Always distant for photos but they were busy catching insects in the warm sunny conditions. Then elusive at times but returning to the roof after a while.
First sighting was 1st September.

Two Sparrowhawks and 2 Kestrels, distant Buzzard, pair of Tufted Duck on the water and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull were about the best of not much else.

Ogden/Ovenden Moor

 Tried some VisMig this morning from Ogden's 'Giants Tooth'. 
A pretty good vantage point but with totally clear skies most things were going over too high for identification. Those that were lower down were heading over towards the wind-farm >NW including 1 Bullfinch and 27 Meadow Pipits. Also distant and high at 10:05 a flock of Pink-footed Geese (c50) beyond Soil Hill towards Thornton Moor where they thought about dropping in but continued over maybe towards Walshaw Dean.
2 Raven and a Green Woodpecker were about there somewhere - heard only !
4 Stonechats together on the moor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022


The 2020 - 2021 Halifax bird report is now available at The GO LOCAL STORE (Woodlesford News) Pellon - Mount Tabor, price £7.00. Many thanks to Dave S for all his help.

Monday, October 10, 2022

 Dunlin in winter plumage at Ringstone today.

Soil Hill

 After a weekend at Spurn I made a short trip up to Soil Hill yesterday evening for the last couple of hours of light. 

  • Outstanding to find this Jack Snipe, typically relying on its camouflage and not flinching at all even when I was close. First time I have seen one on the deck here, normally I just flushed them.
This morning produced little in the way of VizMig in strong winds. 
  • A burst of 93 Woodpigeon was the highest count of any species this morning

  • Passerine totals were limited to 84 Meadow Pipit, 4 alba Wagtails, 4 Chaffinch, 3 Bullfinch, 1 Linnet, 17 Goldfinch & 6 Siskin, all south between 07:30 - 09:00. Hopefully more to come in the next few days as the wind drops. 

  • Two Teal on the NK Pond (one drake)

In total managed 39 species this morning, the full list here;

-Jack Snipe

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Shibden Park

This is the only Mute Swan here today. I think it is an adult female.

Also 1 Little Grebe and a Dipper.


Thursday, October 06, 2022

Soil Hill

 Strong winds kept birding generally quiet this morning, but still a few nice bits and surprises.

  • A skein of 61 Pink-footed Geese flew over heading east at 08:39. They were quick in the wind so I only managed a few photos as they powered through. A quick check of the photos showed the front three birds clearly had dark throats contrasting with their white bellies, making them Barnacle Geese. The fact they are migrating with Pinks presumably makes them the real deal, and not part of any local feral population. 

  • A single Swallow was blogging before it headed off northwards.

  • Yesterday two Teal were on the Ned Hill Pond. 

In total managed 41 species this morning, the full list here;

-Barnacle Geese with Pink-footed Geese

I also did a check of Whiteholme Reservoir hoping for Rock Pipit but sadly nothing doing. 16 Golden Plover was just about it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022


 Ringstone this morning.

Golden Plover C80

Lapwing C100

Snipe 8

Ruff 1 on the shoreline at the side of the road.


Monday, October 03, 2022

Withens Clough

 Reservoir area, plantation and top end of the clough this afternoon.

Went in search of the Black Redstarts again and managed a fleeting view of one on the old barn soon after I got there. Tried hard to re-find it but nothing showed so went to check the shoreline and then the small plantation. Returned to the res'r embankment for another check but no show until I headed down the track towards the car park. Both Black Redstarts were together on the fence line lower down the concrete overflow channel, then they disappeared again and I failed to re-find them. Still very pleased they are still there - first seen on 1st September but a deterioration in the weather might move them on soon ?

1 Wheatear
5 Tufted Duck (drakes)
14 Lapwings
3 L B-backed Gulls
Goldcrests, Coal Tit and a Treecreepr in the plantation

Sunday, October 02, 2022

 Little Stint at Ringstone this morning.

It is possible to clearly see the white "braces" on this juvenile and the less prominent white stripe along the side. The Black Headed Gull gives a size comparison. Apparently the Little Stint is smaller than a House Sparrow. 

Soil Hill





PF Goose




Mistle Thrush








Grey Wagtail








alba wagtail sp.




Stock Dove




Meadow Pipit




















Sand Martin










Lesser Redpoll




House Martin
































Very enjoyable morning VizMig on Soil Hill today 07:00 - 10:30:

-Nice late passage of Hirundines today, with a surprise Sand Martin flying south with the Swallows. Certainly my latest ever here.

-Just a single skein of 63 Pink-footed Geese which flew east to the north of the Hill at 08:42, but sadly no more followed it. 

In total managed 48 species this morning, the full list here;