Friday, December 29, 2023

Soil Hill

  Been a steady December on the Hill, largely a consequence of the horrendous weather we have been enduring, but today I enjoyed probably the best views I've ever had of the local Grey Partridges. They were feeding near the Taylor Lane turnoff from Perseverance Road, a group of six. Presumably, the same family group that has been around since the summer, indicating another successful breeding season at this site.

  Other birds of interest; a flock of 99 Pink-footed Geese headed slowly west. They were picked up elsewhere, and they were distant already when I got photos, so my count is probably out by one or two birds.

-Grey Partridge

In total managed 28 species this morning, the full list here;

Tuesday, December 26, 2023



Adult female Goosander:  the bill is bright pink, and there is no white line between eye and bill

Hebden Bridge

Goosander pair

Monday, December 18, 2023

Beacon Hill

Some of 196 Common Gulls here

Sunday, December 17, 2023


Several more Waxwings reported again this last week including up to 9 at Silverwood Avenue, Pellon. Also up to 18 in the Lane Head area of Brighouse in the last few days.

It's definitely worth checking any sites where there are berries especially on rowan trees.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Winding Road Halifax

6 Waxwings here this morning

Friday, December 15, 2023

10 birds on the Calderdale list that shouldn't be,,,,

 Short toed snake Eagle

Red Footed Falcon

Black - headed Bunting

Woodchat Shrike


Great Shearwater

Wilson's Phalarope

Desert Wheatear

White's Thrush

Baird's Sandpiper

(Northern Long tailed Tit )

Merry Christmas..........

Thursday, December 14, 2023


Nick D found 5 Waxwings in a yellow berried rowan at Silverwood Avenue, Pellon on 13th. Still there on 13th, yesterday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Winding Road Halifax

Thank you Dave S for telling me about these 2 Waxwings, a juvenile and an adult female. 

The juvenile has no white tips on the inner webs of the primaries, so there is just a yellow line down the outer edge of the folded primaries. 

The adult female has thin white edges to the inner webs of the primary tips (these are broader in the male), and the lower edge of the black bib is diffuse (it is sharp in male).

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Colour ring

On 30 November in Shibden Park I saw an adult Black-headed Gull with a blue ring on its left leg. I read the number, and dutifully sent it to the BTO. They have now replied: an all time mega control. The bird was ringed on 27 November 2023 - in Shibden Park!

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Hen Harrier Roost survey weekend of 14th to 17th December

 Hen Harrier roost watch next weekend , weather is looking good for a change so fingers crossed for a good weekend

Short toed Eagle , Walshaw Dean 29th April 2022

 There was a report of Short toed Eagle in the Scoping report for the proposed Windfarm at Walshaw Dean and  to be honest i thought it was a mis - identification either Osprey or other pale large raptor. After a few conversations it sort of tied in with the one seen in Sutherland , Scotland in late May 2022. I found the details of the observer and he sent me these pictures !!!!!! no doubt at all as to the identification ..So many thanks to Phil Bell the finder of this Mega on our local patch. He could not put the news out at the time but has been very helpful since the release of the scoping report.....Just shows anything can turn up......................................

Saturday, December 02, 2023


  Made a short visit to Ogden after doing the rounds on Soil Hill this morning, in the hope of finally getting Kingfisher for the yearlist, which did the decent thing and was below the dam wall fishing. While birding there, a flock of 9 Waxwings flew over heading north. Initially picked up calling, my camera settings were completely wrong and I only managed a blurred record shot, but at least the birds are identifiable. Otherwise a female Teal on the reservoir.


Given how poor my photo from this morning was, here are a few photos of the Waxwings on Skircoat Green yesterday. Thanks to DJS for checking all the hotspots and finally turning some of these beauties up in Halifax.


For Soil Hill this morning, was fairly steady in the cold conditions, but two Golden Plover flew south. 

In total managed 24 species at Ogden this morning, the full list here;

Friday, December 01, 2023

Skircoat Green

In the last few weeks there has been many reports of Waxwings from around the country, particularly Scotland and the north east as well as other parts of West Yorkshire, Lancashire and elsewhere. With the report of 4 in Norland, (from AT) last week and those in Todmorden yesterday and again today then there must have been a good chance locally.

On checking some traditional sites for Waxwings I eventually came across 15 in the tops of trees in the St Albans area. Always a nice surprise. Plenty of Blackbirds along with a few Redwings and Mistle Thrushes and Greenfinch were also enjoying the feast of berries. Spectacle also enjoyed this afternoon from residents as well as local birders (SM, DJB, AC).

Maybe, hopefully, they will stay around that location a few more days until the berries are gone. There is always a chance of these, or others turning up elsewhere in Calderdale where there are berries, particularly Rowans. Sometimes even in small gardens.

Apologies no photos to post as I only had the phone camera but maybe someone else will get some shots to post at some stage.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Waxwings, Todmorden

 My wife has just reported seeing 10-12 Waxwings on Wellington Road in Todmorden, flying to trees in St Joseph's RC church grounds.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Soil Hill

  A very pleasant morning to be out on the Hill today. Walking down the North Slope I heard what I thought was the call of a Snow Bunting, but it sounded far and I only heard it once, so after a short wait I decided that I must have imagined it, or the bird must have flown over unseen.

  Fortunately, a couple of meters further down and this superb male Snow Bunting flushed off the path in front of me, before landing again a few meters ahead. It spent the next 10 - 15 minutes feeding here, sometimes at quite close proximity to me, before it flushed and flew south, appearing to drop onto the summit.

  Sadly the bird could not be relocated to the summit after over an hour of searching, including myself, DJS, JJL and DP. It may be it continued on its way south, or that it went into another area where access is more limited, such as the quarry. Hopefully, it will reappear.

Either way, a brilliant bird to liven up the cold morning. 

Snow Bunting is my 100th species on Soil Hill this year!  

-Snow Bunting

In total managed 32 species this morning, the full list here;

Monday, November 27, 2023

Soil Hill

  Had a short visit to the Hill at lunchtime, between the snow showers. Did not expect anything exciting to happen but was pleasantly proven wrong with two Little Egret that flew south at 12:05, before dropping into the trees around the Ogden Golf Club car park. Per BS via the Grapevine, they later relocated to Ogden.

  This is just the second time I have seen this species from Soil Hill, after a single flew south over Bradshaw on the 20th July 2020. It is also the 99th species I have seen on Soil Hill in 2023, which is remarkable given how much time I have had to spend away.

-Little Egret

In total managed 28 species this lunchtime, the full list here;

Trektellen count here;

Shibden Valley

1 of 3 Stock Doves

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Shibden Park

Mute Swan 2. I think this is a pair. The knob at the base of the bill is a little larger on the male, (and it should get bigger in the breeding season). The female has less orange on the bill, and the neck is slimmer.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Great Northern Diver

 One on Ringstone Edge Reservoir Friday 17th November, still present at 11.30 am, Saturday 18th



Friday, November 10, 2023

Cold Edge

Little Grebe

Female Stonechat


Thursday, November 09, 2023

Cold Edge

Adult Black-headed gull.  2cy Common gull.  The darker grey of the Common gull shows well in the dull light.


Tuesday, November 07, 2023


30+ Crossbills in the plantation feeding on spruce tree cones on Saturday were still there this afternoon. 

I failed to track down NK's Brambling also seen in that area earlier today.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023


Mistle Thrush


Cold Edge

Barnacle Goose

Great Crested Grebe

Also, a Water Vole

Friday, October 27, 2023

Cold Edge

2 of 9 Greylag Geese


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Around and about

Fly Flatts. Drake Common Scoter yesterday afternoon on the reservoir - distant from the top road  but decent views with the scope. Still there today (BS).

Swales Moor - Ringby Lane this morning. Small but noisy skein of 32 Pink-footed Geese went through high heading >E at 09:45. Always great to see - and hear. Another skein reported >E over Moselden about the same time (LD).
Little else moving over Swales other than a few Woodpigeons, 1 adult Herring Gull and 5 Skylarks (2 and 3) heading >NW were about the best.
Otherwise 4 Stonechats,on the top along with c17 Meadow Pipits,1 Goldcrest and a Jay. Two Buzzards distant and a dozen or so Redwings feeding in hawthorn bushes.

Castle Carr Road - pretty quiet on there this pm apart from an adult Green Woodpecker heading over the moor. Also 2 Stonechats. 1 Meadow Pipit, 3 Red Grouse, 2 Mistle Thrush and a pair of Kestrels.

Cold Edge

14 of 40 Goldfinches

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Cold Edge

Tufted Duck 1,  Reed Bunting 1

Tuesday, October 10, 2023


Late Wheatear,  Pinkfooted Goose 39 SW,  Herring Gull 1 SW

Blackstone Edge

Stonechat 1,  Magpie 2 (!),  Common Gull 5 SW

4 October:  Lapland Bunting - called after being flushed

Monday, October 09, 2023

Redwings blitz....

Following reports yesterday from the east coast of Redwings coming in off the North Sea it wasn't unexpected that they came through Calderdale this morning. Hit and miss at many sites due to the fog banks rolling through but where it was clear they came through in masses. Eighteen thousand were noted over Northowram by mid-morning (AC). Others, to name a few, were reported in smaller numbers from Ripponden, Rishworth, Jay House Lane, Lee Mount, Cromwell Bottom, Hipperholme, Walshaw, Shibden, Illingworth and Copley......

We also had big numbers reported from from Oxenhope / Haworth area heading in our direction - thanks to the updates (HC).

I've not had chance to check if they are still moving over tonight - being able to hear their calls is an advantage. !! Maybe more in the morning ?

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Soil Hill

 Tough morning with strong winds and rain meaning very little in the way of moving birds. I even took an hour away from the Hill to Ogden to wait for the weather to pass. However, there were a few standouts worth reporting.

  • Highlight was a nice cream-crowned Marsh Harrier that flew SE over Ovenden Moor/Ogden, gaining height, before soaring over the Soil Hill North Slope and then headed SSE towards Queensbury.
  • My second Merlin in as many days blasted past south. Yesterdays bird did linger a little longer as it persued migrating Meadow Pipits.
  • The only notable finches of the morning were a flock of five Crossbill that came south very low down directly over the Hill, but in the early morning gloom. 
-Marsh Harrier

In total managed 42 species this morning, the full list here;

Yesterday was a phenomenal morning, with a steady movement of birds passing south from first light until around 10:30 when it began to slow down. 

  • The main species moving was Meadow Pipit, with a autumn high count of 2383 flying south. These were accompanied by Pied Wagtails, which produced a personal site record of 46
  • The last few bursts of Hirundines went through in small flocks, with 22 House Martin and 84 Swallows on their way back to Africa. 
  • Decent finch totals in among the flocks of Meadow Pipits; 40 Lesser Redpoll, 54 Siskin and 6 Crossbill being the most notable counts. 

In total managed 57 species this morning, the full list here;

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Hebden Bridge canal

Cormorant, p. c. sinensis. This bird is quite slender. The rear edge of the yellow gular patch drops almost vertically from the gape: the angle between it and the mouth line is about 80 degrees. In p. c. carbo this angle is more acute (range 38-72 degrees). In sinensis the range is 65-110 degrees.