Friday, March 31, 2023

Cromwell Bottom

This morning in the mist and drizzle.
c40 Sand Martins and c12 Swallows over the eastern end of the ski-lake and around the riverside Avocet buildings. Generally feeding high up rather than low down over the water. This was around 10;30 though most of them had disappeared for me by 11:30. Perhaps they had moved on as the mist lifted or they were somewhere else around the site depending on the rising insects !

Always nice to get Swallows in March as we seem to do nowadays.

10 Teal on the lagoon and lots of Chiffchaff singing.

 we are holding a meeting with the intention of forming a calderdale birdwatchers club on thursday april 20th starting at 7-30,in the new cabin at cromwell bottom nature reserve.this meeting is open to anyone with an interest in birdwatching,and we would welcome ideas going forward. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023


 The first Greylag Goose I've seen here this year

Also there are 4 pairs of Canada Geese here, and 7 pairs of Canadas at Blackstone Edge

Monday, March 27, 2023

Soil Hill

 An excellent morning on Soil Hill, in very pleasant birding conditions. Good to see the swan migration continuing into today as well. 

  • In total from my vantage point on the Hill I had five flocks of Whooper Swans. Thanks to everyone who put out messages, I only missed BSs flock over Stoodley Pike. All counts I got from photos, but for most I was quite distant so could have got it wrong. In total, from my counts, I got 321 Whoopers, a phenomenal count, albeit two flocks did not enter Calderdale!


Got up from roost on Ogden, initially heading south before turning back north



Got up from Mixenden, just after the Ogden birds & headed north



PGs flock went north up the Calder Valley as it appeared from where I was, my count is from photos but happy to be corrected



A distant flock went north up the Aire Valley. Very distant, so if anyone closer got a better count that would be great.



The final flock also went up the Aire Valley. Again distant, so if anyone closer got a better count that would be great.


  • Still seven Teal on the NK Pond, with four drakes

  • Small group of three Goldcrest in the Entrance Copse

In total managed 43 species this morning, the full list here;
-Whooper Swans

Sunday, March 26, 2023


 My third Oystercatcher here this year

Mixenden Reservoir

After a morning on Soil Hill, I had just got home to ACs message about incoming Whooper Swans. I failed to pick them up flying over Soil Hill, once I had driven back up, but from the vantage point, could see some Swans on Mixenden Reservoir, so headed down.

  • From the photos I took of the flock, I click-counted 112 Whooper Swans on the reservoir itself, with an additional flock of 56 that continue north and dropped onto Ogden. These are presumably all the birds that AC had north over Shibden. A brilliant spectacle! 

  • A single drake Common Scoter was also on the reservoir when I arrived 

  • A Red Kite flew south high up at 12:30. Sounds like there has been a few Kite sightings around Halifax today
In total I managed 25 species in an hour at the reservoir, the full list here;

Also on Soil Hill during the morning, a single Jack Snipe, 7 Teal and 2 Wheatear

-Whooper Swans
-Red Kite
-Common Scoter

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Blackstone Edge

 Another male Goldeneye

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Soil Hill

 A blustery but clear walk this morning, producing a few good species despite the strong winds

  • Highlight was an Osprey that flew north over Taylor Lane at roughly 07:40. Frustratingly I made a real mess of my attempts to photograph it, and it all too quickly dropped below the hill. Remarkably this is the second individual this week, after one flew north over Taylor Lane on the 20th. On that occasion, I also made a pig's ear of the photos! 
  • One Jack Snipe was flushed on the check of the wetter areas of the site. 

  • There were seven Teal on the NK Pond this morning

  • Two Stonechat were on the walls at the bottom of the North Slope. No Wheatear today, although a male had been present on Taylor Lane for the two days prior.

  • A single Redwing was at the bottom of the North Slope, and five Fieldfare were feeding on Taylor Lane.
In total managed 42 species this morning, the full list here;


Tuesday, March 21, 2023


 2 Male Wheatears. One, first summer, has brownish wings

A third Wheatear flew SE along Byron Edge drain

Blackstone Edge

 Goldeneye pair

Brent Geese

19th March, 3 Pale Bellied Brent Geese at Fly Flats found by BS is only the second Calderdale record. Also had a first summer Red Kite over twice.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Blackstone Edge

 Another male Goldeneye today


 Singing male Reed Bunting

Friday, March 17, 2023

Soil Hill

 A very enjoyable walk this morning, with a good variety of species. Was hoping for an early Wheatear but it did not arrive.

  • Highlight was a Woodcock flushed at the bottom of the North Slope. Also, a single Jack Snipe flushed from a different area.
  • There was a single Long-tailed Tit in the garden of Rabbit Dell along Taylor Lane, not a species I have encountered often on Soil Hill. 
  • A pair of Raven flew south before returning back north. 
  • A single Teal was flushed from the bottom ditch, and two Goosanders flew NW.

  • Three Stonechat were at the bottom of the North Slope; 2 females and a male
  • A single Lesser Redpoll flew north over Taylor Lane
In total managed 48 species this morning, with Starling being the only notable omission! the full list here;

-Jack Snipe
-Long-tailed Tit

Shibden Park


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Blackstone Edge

 This is the first Pied Wagtail I have seen up here this year


 Singing Dunnock in Winding Road

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Cold Edge Road

Yesterday afternoon I checked some of the fields near Nolstar. Occasionally manage to find small flocks of Skylarks there in March. Probably migrants or birds returning to our local uplands. Big surprise to find a nice flock of 35 though there could have been more hiding in the field undulations. Awful conditions in the wind and snow flurries but they were feeding away. I've no idea what they were finding to eat !

Lapwings and Starlings were also in the same field - all spooked as a male Sparrowhawk flew through. The Skylarks just hunkered down and thankfully, were not detected.

22 Golden Plover also together in one spot on the edge of the moor with vocal Curlews, and more Starlings and Lapwings.

Blackstone Edge

 Male Goldeneye

Also, my first Skylark of the year was at Byron Edge



1 of 2 male Red Grouse

This is a nice patch of 2 different Cladonia lichens. I think the one with red (spore filled) fruiting bodies is C. floerkeana, while the one with cup shaped fruiting bodies is C. fimbriata.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Byron Edge

There is a single early flowering Coltsfoot by Byron Edge drain: altitude 385m (1263 ft)


Sunday, March 12, 2023

Hebden Bridge

 Pair of Dippers

This shot shows feather tracts and eyelid quite nicely

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Jay House  11-03-2023

The two Curlews (M & F) arrived last week. I think these are the same pair which have been returning for the past six years. As far as I'm aware they have never bred successfully.


Tuesday, March 07, 2023

 Cromwell Bottom Reserve 7-03-2023

The very elusive Water Rail finally appeared briefly this morning until a barking dog came charging by and scared the living daylights out of the poor bird.

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Friday, March 03, 2023

Shibden Valley

Pair of Stock Doves

Also, on New Bank, my first flowering Blackthorn of the year.
The earliest widespread tree blossoms in spring in Calderdale are Blackthorn (white) and Cherry Plum (commonly pale pink).