Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Monday, April 22, 2024

Blackstone Edge

2 Common Sandpiper. Also 2 at Lighthazzles and 2 at Whiteholme.

2 (+ 1 unfocused) of 7 Wheatear. Also 4 at Whiteholme.
And my first Swallow - north

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Shibden Valley

Singing male Blackcap

Friday, April 05, 2024


In the fog, not far from Whiteholme, a Twite

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Ogden area.

We headed up from Syke Lane near Ogden Water, towards the wind farm and the edge of Thornton Moor this afternoon. It was quite hard work with very few birds about despite the favourable conditions - no rain !!

Managed a few Meadow Pipits, 4 Curlew, 1 Lapwing, 2 Red Grouse and not a lot else. Enjoyed the walk all the same. Returning to Syke Lane it all a happened within a few minutes. An Osprey came over from ESE Bradshaw direction at 16:00. Quite high but unmistakable. Staying at the same height it continued NW over Back Lane plantation and disappeared towards Thornton Moor. Then we located a distant Barn Owl and a Little Owl in a tree.  2 hours and not much then what a last few minutes before we got back to the car.....

Travelling gull

On 16 December 2023, in Shibden Park, I read the number of a white ring on the leg of a Black-headed Gull, and sent it to the BTO. The BTO told me it is a ring from Norway, and gave me an email address to write to.

I have had a reply from Morten Halberg of Birdlife Norway. He told me that the bird was ringed as an adult on 21 April 2021 in Stavangar on the southwest coast of Norway.

Morten also gave me a list of all the other dates and places this ring has been read. These show that the bird flew east, and then that it has been 'commuting' between Norway and the UK. The dates and places are:-

  April and June 2022: Oslo, Norway - 190 miles east of Stavangar

  December 2022: Shibden Park, UK

  April and May 2023: Oslo

  November + December 2023 and January (4th) 2024: Shibden Park

Saturday, March 30, 2024


Greylag pair - just arrived

Singing Skylarks: 1 here and 1 on Byron Edge. And 1 Wheatear on Byron Edge

Friday, March 29, 2024

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Request for HELP from the Stop the Calderdale Wind farm Campain..

 Would it be possible for you and your fellow birdwatchers in Calderdale Birds and other local ornithology groups to help with the Stop Calderdale Wind Farm campaign? As the ground-nesting birds are now back in residence on and around the Walshaw Moor Estate, it would be helpful to record as many bird sightings as possible in this location (including Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean) so that we have evidence of their numbers and diversity. Could you flag this up amongst your networks and encourage local birdwatchers to visit Walshaw Moor as often as possible over the coming months to record and photograph as many birds as possible.

As well as recording sightings on the Calderdale Birds blog, it would be helpful if sightings were recorded on the BTO's BirdTrack website, then they're more widely available.
I'd also be really grateful if people could send us photographs so that we can put them on the Tweet of the Day page of our website The way for people  to do this is to sign up to the mailing list on our website, then send photos as jpeg attachments to the confirmation email they will receive or by replying to our newsletters.
The more evidence we can collect and record over the coming months, the better, so it would be really great if you could spread the word.

If you are for the wind farm..please do not comment..there are plenty places to comment if you are in favour..I dont think this is the place to start a pointless argument for the for and against ..
Andy C 

Blackstone Edge

Another male Goldeneye. Orange leg just visible


1 Pied Wagtail - adult male:  jet black back, and sharply demarcated dark grey flank. Female Pied has a similar flank (with a dark grey back), while White Wagtail has a pale grey flank.

Blackstone Edge also had just 1 Pied Wagtail

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Byron Edge

1 of 4 Wheatear (3 male, 1 female)

Monday, March 25, 2024

Whoopers still coming through.

Thinking the recent move of Whooper Swans had just about dried up, more appeared today with 4 on Mixenden Res'r this afternoon (DJB and MM). Then another message with 26 on Ringstone Res'r late afternoon (TW).

I tried this afternoon and met with Mick, at Cromwell Bottom ski-lake and lagoon both of us in the hope of some hirundines. No sign of Saturdays Sand Martins and no Swallows as yet - though it is still very early ! Ski-lake getting harder to view with the emergence of leaves on the hawthorns but I did manage 6 Goldeneye, 1 Goosander and Little Grebes were on the lagoon with several Coot and Moorhens. 
Chiffchaff singing every 50 m or so from each other.
Dipper on the river.
At least the mornings rain had dried up by then but not a lot else other than 2 L B B Gulls, 2 ad Herring Gulls and 4 Black-headed Gulls.


 Male Wheatear. Probably 2cy because the back has a brownish tinge.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Early birds (very early)

Two House Martins over Ringstone res'r today (AT GS PD) - this must be the earliest ever record in Calderdale for this species.
In 2022 the earliest records were on 11th April. Not had time to check dates between 2000 and 2021 but previously - up to the end of 1999 - the earliest then was in 1975 on 7th April.
Hope that makes sense ..........

Saturday, March 23, 2024

A wild, wet, cold windy day...

Headed up to Castle Carr Road again this morning to see, what turned out to be a viscous hail storm approaching from the west. It hit hard, lasting a while before a brief break then the next one came in just about the same time as PB arrived to check if any Ring Ouzels had come in too. I think he drew a blank there. Even so at least 5 Wheatears were still showing well. even when hiding behind tufts of grass and sedge but still finding food, including some substantial caterpillars.
Then the next hail storm came in and I lost them from view.
Tried a few photos but they are not great so might not bother posting them !!

5 Sand Martins on Cromwell Bottom ski-lake from JB were not too unexpected but finding insects in flight today must have tested them. Several Chiffchaff around the same location and still 5 Goldeneye and 6 Tufted Duck on the lake.

At Brearley this afternoon there are still 2 Pink-footed Geese and a Barnacle Goose (none with leg  rings) with the flock of Canada Geese.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Around and about

Wheatears have been arriving the last day or two at a number of Calderdale locations, mostly upland areas. Sites include Widdop, Soil Hill, Bradshaw, Castle Carr Road, Cold Edge, Erringden,.....most of these will be using our area as a staging post prior to moving to more northern areas.

Chiffchaff being reported from a number of areas with song from several sites during the last week or two.

Ring Ouzels - 2 today from a site near Scammonden. (PD)

Pintail - a drake was on Fly Flats last Saturday but appears to have moved on  rather quickly (JJL)

Common Scoters have been moving over the country, usually at night, this last week as they head generally from west coast locations towards the north sea and beyond. It seems like some tired birds have dropped in at a number of West Yorkshire waters including 2 on Blackstone Edge reservoir (see PJWS previous post). Also a surprise, was a drake photographed on a doorstep in Todmorden - though no further information on this bird as yet. Hopefully it will have recovered and moved on.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Blackstone Edge

2 male Common Scoter


Roe deer stag at altitude 405 metres (1330 feet)

Also 1 Raven north

Saturday, March 09, 2024

A Whooper Swans week.

Since last Sunday 3rd March good numbers of Whooper Swans have been reported over Calderdale with earlier ones from 11th and 21st February. Most, heading in a westerly or north westerly direction as they start their migration back to Iceland - maybe stopping off along the west coasts of England and Scotland as well as in Ireland.

This seems to be a pattern in Calderdale, certainly over recent years towards the end of February and March. A fantastic sight and sound. Sometimes also heard at night. 
Many just fly straight over our area but occasionally rest up at local reservoirs especially when visibility maybe restricts their orientation. Warley Moor this morning was one such occasion with 90 resting up and a further 21 at Ogden res'r, all probably affected by the misty conditions.

Nearly 600 birds in the last week from 10+ flocks, with numbers between single figures and a maximum of 158 on the 8th. 

There is time for more, so worth keeping a watch - and a listen.


Oystercatcher. 2 pairs here

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Soil Hill and Hebble Brook

Soil Hill seemed out of character this morning as it was even warm on the top with no wind at all. 
Not a lot doing other than 40 Lapwings in fields to the north plus 8 flyovers high >E. Two Moorhen down there along with 4 Canada Geese with 2 Greylag Geese flyovers >E.
3 Skylarks singing on the top. 1 Meadow Pipit flushed
A pair of Little Owls nearby.

Hebble Brook below Ogden reservoir was worth a check this afternoon. Found a sheltered spot in some warm sunshine - so had a Chiffchaff - feeding continuously in and around an overgrown privet bush. I just managed a phone video as it flitted about but no song or call heard. Maybe an overwintering bird or perhaps an early migrant, who knows ?
Nothing much on the water at Ogden though a Green Woodpecker was calling nearby as well as a Greenfnch singing and plenty of small bird activity down towards the golf club house.


Another male Goldeneye

Monday, March 04, 2024

Sunday, March 03, 2024

Time for Whooper Swans !

A good start to March with 70 Whoopers over Barkisland around 08:20 this morning (TW) must have been a great sight, and sound. Hopefully some more flyovers or some to rest on local reservoirs in the next 2 / 3 weeks.

Garden visitors

 Two Nuthatch visiting the feeder over the winter and still here today - 3rd March. Seeming to feed exclusively on sunflower hearts.

Friday, March 01, 2024

Cold Edge

 A poor day today with lots of snow on the tops from this mornings weather. !

Hunter Hill - a check on the recent Skylark field drew a blank for the larks but 40 Lapwing nearby seemed very unsettled with lots of flying about then re-settling in the snow covered fields.

Cold Edge - 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Curlew, 100+ Canada Geese and pair Tufted Duck. All scoped from higher up on the moor.

Withens Head - 1 Red Grouse and a single Curlew

          A bleak outlook over the moor with mist rising from the valley beyond Rocking Stone Flat.

Cold Edge dams

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Soil Hill / Cold Edge

 Soil Hill (am). A decent show of 12 Skylarks including some song. Also 12 Meadow Pipits on the top.
1 Curlew >NE, 1 Kestrel, 40+ Common Gulls nearby as well as c40 Lapwings and c100 Starlings.

Cold Edge (pm) At least 110 Canada Geese and 25 Greylags.
2 Curlew were the only waders around the site and no duck other than a few Mallard.
2 Reed Buntings and a Grey Wagtail.
Pair of smart looking adult Herring Gulls were with some B H and Common Gulls feeding in a field

Cold Edge and Hunter Hill

Tried for more Skylarks this week, after last weeks birds on Cold Edge Road peaked at 48 (BS). They seem to have moved on now probably with a few local birds remaining. (?)

Yesterday in the drizzle 35 migrant Curlew were feeding in fields on the slopes of Hunter Hill but got spooked by a loose dog and the birds headed off noisily >NE. Not a lot else in the conditions but a Green Woodpecker seems to be about in that area.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Blackstone Edge


Also: Great Black-backed Gull 1 SW

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Cold Edge

Tufted Duck pair

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Out and about.....highlights !

A god day for Stonechats...............

Fly Flatts - scoping from the top road in among the showers
2 Stonechats, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew, 8 Oystercatchers, 3 Reed Bunting

Withens Head - watch-point
7 Skylark, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Stonechat, 62 Starling, 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls >W

Cold Edge
40+ Common Gulls

2 Barn Owls, 2 Stonechats, 3 Curlew >NE, 1 Sparrowhawk, 20 Stock Doves

Soil Hill
1 Barn Owl

Just outside Calderdale recording area, a cream crowned Marsh Harrier was a great record as it was observed and photographed heading >NW over Queensbury early afternoon (CS and DS)

Also from yesterday - 2 Whooper Swans were found on Cromwell Bottom ski-lake (MS) but they had moved on elsewhere by this morning.

Cold Edge

2 Oystercatcher

Some of 130 Fieldfare, with a few Starling


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Lee Mount - 20th February

75 Pink-footed Geese went over Lee Mount >NW around 11:40 - probably the same skein that JM reported over Clifton, Jay House Lame heading this way soon after 11:20

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Castle Carr Road

16 species. Fog had lifted this afternoon but a light drizzle. 1 Curlew flew over calling and 28 Lapwings were on the moor though couldn't find the usual Stonechats or the Little Owls !

Cold Edge

Covered in fog up there this morning but some brief clear(ish) spells just enough to make the walk worthwhile.
Walking up the lane, 120 Fieldfares and 110 Starlings were on the overhead wires so I managed a fairly accurate count before they all headed off towards Hunter Hill.
Otherwise, the best was an early returning Redshank that flew over calling, but unseen.
Around 55 Black-headed Gulls nearby, a pair of Goosander on the top dam with 10 Common Gulls.

Manged 29 species in total including a Stonechat, c50 Canada Geese and 4 Greylags, 1 Grey Heron and 2 Moorhens.. Despite the fog, singing birds included Stock Doves, Robins and Chaffinches

On the way home a Ring-necked Parakeet was in the top of the tall alder trees by the mini-roundabout at the top of Clough Lane. BS also had a drake Goldeneye on Mixenden Res'r this morning, it left as the fog lifted.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Cold Edge

1 Oystercatcher.

Also: 1 Curlew, 1 Lapwing

Fieldfare 43, Starling 350

1 Pheasant


4 Greylag Goose

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Ogden area

Nearly two hours this morning checking the fringes of the golf course in very low overcast cloud - but it stayed dry, so that was a bonus.

c40 Lapwings very mobile moving overhead then returning towards Back Lane area fields. 
Single Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers with both Song and Mistle Thrushes in good song along with very vocal Robins.

Plenty small birds along Union Lane, Rocks Lane and Lane Head included a good show of Blackbirds,  2 Redwings, tit species and a small flock of Chaffinch with 2 Greenfinch being a first for me this year and a single Siskin on  a garden feeder.
A pleasing morning, 31 species was not a bad haul though I didn't get time to do a reservoir circuit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Recent news

Not  a great deal to report of late but it's been good to receive messages of returning waders that seem to be coming back earlier each year, though many will be moving on further north and using Calderdale as a stopping off point in the meantime. Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, and Ringed Plover so far along with some wintering flocks of Golden Plover and the occasional Snipe.

The 1st winter drake Scaup was still around on the ski-lake at Cromwell Bottom yesterday along with several Goldeneye and Tufted Duck.

Song Thrushes have now stated singing in earnest along with Mistle Thrush, Robins and Great Tits.

3 Whooper Swans turned up on Baitings res'r on Sunday and last Thursday 5 Snow Buntings briefly on Rishworth Moor. Pink-footed Geese are still on the move over Calderdale with several skeins reported in the last week or so.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

 The Treesparrows on Jay House continue to thrive through feeding. These are our two oldest birds rung by Steve Downing in 2019. The Blue over BTO is the oldest being rung on 21st May. Photos taken today.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Mixenden Res'r etc......

Yesterday 10th Feb a nice find from NK with 5 Wigeon on the water included 4 males / 1 female type. We managed to get on there and see them at a distance. We also gather from BS that the Wigeon had gone this morning though 3 Oystercatchers were there first thing. 

Also yesterday afternoon just before the drizzle set in a Barn owl was about in that area with 2 Song Thrushes and a Mistle thrush singing near Stodfold. Earlier in the day, with plenty of snow still laying on the top there were 3 Skylarks on Soil Hill and 8 Meadow Pipits, but little else.

3 Whooper Swans reported from Baitings Res'r this morning (DF). They were still there at 11:45 (PGr) along with another single Oystercatcher flyover.

The recent first winter drake Scaup near Cromwell Bottom is still showing on the ski-lake this morning (JB).

Friday, February 09, 2024

Gordon Denison

Calderdale birdwatchers were deeply saddened today to hear the news that Gordon passed away peacefully at home yesterday. He reached a very good milestone in his life as he celebrated his 90th birthday in November 2023. 

This is the photo taken at his 90th seen here holding the 'Annual Species Champion' trophy, a double-headed eagle, which he initiated back in 2003. He used it as an incentive to local 'birders' to record as many species as possible in Calderdale in each calendar year. He also left some funds to continue the yearly updates !

A keen and knowledgeable birdwatcher for many years he was well placed to inspire us slightly younger 'birders' with such friendliness, good humour, generosity and lots of enthusiasm in shared interests. Thank you so much Gordon.

Many wonderful comments have been shared today. We will ensure these are passed on to Anne and his daughter Jayne and the family in a card and later in a tribute to Gordon which will be included in the 2023 Annual Report.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Cold Edge

2 Pink-footed Geese

Parts of a flock of 45 Greylag Geese, including 1 albino

2 of 3 Stonechats


1 of 2 Herring Gulls

Posting for Nick D - possible Caspian Gull ?

Photos taken in fields near Mount Tabor on Monday 5th Feb. 
Possible 1st winter Caspian Gull
Any thoughts welcome ........