Saturday, September 30, 2023

Yellow-legged Gull

 Posting for Nick who sent these photos of a Yellow-legged Gull, of which there were four, at Fly Flatts earlier this week

Soil Hill

Shocking start to the morning with a thin fog that just would not clear. I could hear birds moving above the cloud base, especially Siskin, be was limited in what I could pick up. For the first 90 minutes after sunrise the fog came and went, but once it finally lifted around 08:30, a torrent of Meadow Pipits flooded past. Was nice to be joined by Chris King for an excellent few hours on the Hill, watching from 07:00 until 12:00. My final total of 58 species is a record for me at this site. 

  • Despite the fog Meadow Pipits moved from first light, with around 300 passing through before it cleared. After the fog lifted the movement increased rapidly before dropping off around 11:00. The final count for the morning was 1944.
  • Finches were passing through in good numbers as well, with particularly good counts of 46 Lesser Redpoll and 69 Chaffinch
  • Hirundine movement was more limited, with 99 Swallows and 12 House Martins 
  • Three skeins of Pink-footed Geese passed through totaling 109 birds; 09:37 c.30 SE over Baildon, 11:14 71 SE directly over the Soil Hill North Slope & 11:27 8 SE over Keelham. 
  • The rarest mover of the morning was a Cream-crowned Marsh Harrier which slowly moved south, passing over Thornton Moor Reservoir and disappearing over the Hill there. Since I never saw it enter Calderdale airspace, can I technically have it for my yearlist? Haha.
  • Two Mute Swans that flew NW over Keelham before dropping towards Doe Park Reservoir, spotted by CK, were a patch tick for me. Number 123!
Also a bit more lively in the bushes compared to the last few days, which presumably helped by the drop in the wind. Although generally just common birds, still three Chiffchaff in the North Slope area, and a party of six Long-tailed Tits roaming around are something of a Hill rarity. 

-Long-tailed Tit
-Marsh Harrier persued by corvids
-Mute Swans

 In total managed 58 species this morning, the full list here;

Trektellen count here;

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Blackstone Edge

Stonechat 1f,  Common Sandpiper 1,  Wheatear 1,  Jackdaw 5 west

Byron Edge:  Raven 2 south

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Blackstone Edge

Wheatear 1,  Stonechat 1m 1f,  Goldfinch 5,  Reed Bunting 4

Soil Hill

 Dull start to the morning but had brightened up by 08:30. Birds generally much higher than the previous day, especially first thing. More birds also passing to the west, directly down the Ogden valley. Still an impressive number of birds moving between 07:00 - 10:15

  • The passage of Meadow Pipits was fairly steady but consistent throughout the morning, only really slowing down after 09:00. A total of 1448 went south, which is my second-best count here.
  • Finches passed in small numbers as well, with no notable counts also 18 Lesser Redpoll is good and 2 Crossbill is only my second record of the year
  • Hirundine movement was almost negligible, with only one flock of 35 House Martins going through, otherwise just a handful of individuals. 
  • Two skeins of Pink-footed Geese passed SE, one to the north of the Calderdale area and the other probably going over Ovenden. 
  • The highlight of the morning was a smashing Merlin that blasted through south, heading off down the Ogden valley.


In total managed 55 species this morning, the full list here;

Yesterday was also a brilliant day, with less Meadow Pipits but more finches passing in good numbers. A much clearer day but with thick cloud passing over at times.

  • Meadow Pipits made up the bulk of the birds, with 1219 going south
  • Some really nice finch totals scattered in with the Pipits, including 121 Goldfinch, 68 Chaffinch and, for this site at least, a very nice 13 Greenfinch
Other birds around included the first Teal of the autumn on the NK Pond, and the family of Grey Partridge (1 adult 5 juveniles) on the middle manure pile on Taylor Lane, in the early morning gloom before sunrise. 

-Grey Partridge

In total managed 53 species this morning, the full list here;

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Monday, September 25, 2023


This is part of the poem by Simon Armitage that is carved on a rock beside the Pennine Way,  400m south of Lighthazzles Reservoir

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Soil Hill

 After a few days of poor weather, this morning south-westerlies looked very promising for some good VizMig, and so it transpired. I stayed on site from first light until around 10:30 and had my personal first serious Meadow Pipit morning here. It could have possibly been even better, but a low cloud bank rolled in around 07:30 and didn't clear properly until around 08:00. Although I could still see some birds, there were undoubtedly many more that I missed because of this. 

  • The bulk of the Meadow Pipit movement occurred between 06:45 - 07:30, at one point going through at about 500 birds every twenty minutes. Once the fog cleared the passage of birds had slowed down significantly. 
  • Good finch totals also. The count of 26 Lesser Redpoll is my highest for this site, and 29 Siskin is also not a bad result. 
  • Hirundines only really got going once the fog lifted, and not in any serious numbers. 19 Swallows and 6 House Martin south is as good as it got. 
  • Two skeins totaling 158 Pink-footed Geese passed SE, but both well to the north of the Calderdale area, more likely passing over Harden Moor or possibly even further north. 
Didn't get so much time to check for grounded migrants during the early hours, but noticeably a few birds around
  • First Song Thrush of the autumn, before it headed south.
  • Still one adult Whitethroat lingering, as well as at least six Chiffchaff, including four together. 

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Pink-footed Geese

The first observed autumnal move over Calderdale on 12th September with 27 over Ogden and 11 over Whiteholme - all in an >E / NE  direction.

13th September - 192 reported today from five skeins observed, with some duplication, from Norland, Cromwell Bottom, Ogden, Fly Flats, Blackstone Edge and Cold Edge. Again in an >E / NE direction with 60, 20, 23, 8, 50, 31.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Shibden Park

3cy Lesser Black-backed Gull.  It has the bright white head and almost adult bill (just a few dark smudges) of a 3rd winter bird. But most of the '2nd summer' brown wing coverts have not yet moulted.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Cold Edge etc

Not been able to find much these last few days but a very nice Spotted Flycatcher at the top end of Cold Edge today, late morning. We have had a good number of reports of these the last couple of weeks as they continue there travels to Southern Africa. It's a long way to go for a small bird....and then hopefully return next year !

With this recent spell hot weather there has been numerous reports of Common Lizards in Calderdale. We always struggle to find them, even though we know where to look ! This the first one we've found this year. Very obliging individual that did not scuttle away and seemed happy to pose for a photo.

Beacon Hill

Little Owl adult

Green Woodpecker adult

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Soil Hill

 After a few days of easterlies and fog, was hoping for a bit of VizMig this morning, and was rewarded with a three-figure Swallow count and a few other goodies in a five-hour session on this Hill this morning. A total species count of 57 is my best-ever total for a visit to this site, in the company of Chris King.

  • The highlight of the morning was an Osprey that drifted slowly south around 10:30. Sadly it then veered back NE and eventually started soaring distantly over Harden Moor, before heading east into Bradford. Frustratingly, it never managed to cross the border into Halifax
  • Steady trickle of hirundines this morning, with 109 Swallows heading south, with also small groups of House Martin and Sand Martin mixed in. 
  • Lots of wagtail movement, with 18 Pied Wagtails on the Bottom Cattle Fields, with two more heading south. Also 5 Grey Wagtail moving south, the first of these species for the autumn, and a single Yellow Wagtail early morning. The Yellow Wag flew south in a group of wagtails calling, but frustratingly when I checked photos, I photographed the wrong bird...
  • Slight finch movement, with 30 Siskin going south in three flocks, and 4 Lesser Redpoll; a single and a group of 3
  • Single Tree Pipit going south calling
Also a few grounded migrants this morning
  • A single Spotted Flycatcher busy feeding in the North Slope Tree-Line
  • Other migrants; 3 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff & 2 Whitethroat.

-Spotted Flycatcher

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

Friday, September 01, 2023

Soil Hill

 Morning fog meant an afternoon visit up the Hill was on the cards today, and it paid off nicely with a few nice bits.

  • The highlight was just my third Soil Hill Hobby which flew NW over Bradshaw after upsetting the local Swallows.
  • Migrant numbers were still decent, with two Whinchat, two Wheatear, three Whitethroat, two Willow Warbler and a single Chiffchaff


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

Beacon Hill

1 Spotted Flycatcher

8 of 154 Linnets

Also, 80 Goldfinches and a Grey Partridge