Monday, 3 December 2018

Cold Edge and Gorple

                                                               ( Pic NCD ,,,thanks)
An adult male Red Crested Pochard at Cold edge dams was a surprise today  and a real beauty in beautiful  adult plumage. If it turns out to be be ok (not a dodgy duck)that will be 204 species in Calderdale......
1. Fully winged
2. Diving and  Feeding
3. Time of year
4.  No visable rings or bands
Cold edge dams
Its a fancy looking duck (escape?)
  On to lower Gorple sometimes the light is just perfect and this was one of those magical evenings ...10 SEO (yes 10 in December) , 4 Barn Owl , 2 Hen Harrier , Mallards , Carrion Crow , 1 LBBGull , Oystercatcher , Greylag Goose and a Woodcock running across the road in the car headlights on the way home ....Merry X- mas everyone...................

Monday, 19 November 2018


The first  blast of winter blew from the east with occasional rain. Great to be out , 2 Woodcock , 2 HH(playing in the high winds) , 3 Buzzards , 1 Barn Owl ,1 Short eared Owl , 1 very smart male Crossbill and 6 Grey Partridge....Thanks for the pics NCD................also this week in the area , House Sparrow , Treecreeper , Greenfinch and Goldeneye,,taking my winter species list for the area to 70....

Friday, 16 November 2018

10th - 17th

Sanderling , Ruff and  Goldeneye at Ringstone , 2 Hens one with Sat tag , 20 Crossbills , 3 Barn Owl at Walshaw. 2 Raven flew north calling loudly  , 2 Grey Wagtails  and a stonking male Blackcap at home was a red letter day this year. At least 2 poss 3 calling Tawny Owl in Chelsea Valley.
     A good show of HH on sat morning along with , Starlings 150 north , 5 Golden Plover , 1 Goosander and 5 Kestrel.............

Friday, 9 November 2018

November so far..

Still plenty about with the highlight a Hen Harrier in the gloom in the Walshaw area, Dipper ,  Snipe , Barn Owls , Short - eared Owls , Little Owl and still large flocks of Fieldfare about.
 Ringstone was alive with birds yesterday with a fantastic flock of Golden Plover and Lapwing (300 +)  on the shoreline , hiding in with masses were a Ruff and 2 Snipe. 2 Raven at Derby Delph and the local Buzzards have been very vocal this week...........................

A good year for Scarce Umber so far and plenty of Winter moths about too.............

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

East Coast....beauties

                                                     Barred Warbler (nice primary tips )
                                                                  Coues's Artic Redpoll

                        Coues's  Artic Redpoll (pure white sugar lump rump)
                                                                Little Auk (this was found on the road  at Hunmanby Gap  and later released back to the sea after a short stay on Nick Carters pond...)

   A busy couple of day on the coast saw an early 5.00 o'clock start arriving at Hunmanby gap at 7.00 , first bird to be seen a Great Northern Diver close inshore......A good move of Eider and Common Scoter  north and lots of Kittiwake and Gannets (in various plumage). Then onto Bempton where 2 Barred Warblers were showing very well and a flushed Woodcock and 2 Whooper Swan over north were a bonus. The Barred Warbler in the  ' Dell ' was a real shower warming its self in the sun and eating the last of the blackberries. A Chiffchaff , Fieldfare ,Redwing ,  Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers added to the colour of the day. Then on to South Landeing where there were lots of Rock Pipits 30 + minimum. Ringed Plover ,Curlew , Redshanks , Dunlin and a Barwit. Just off shore was a flock of Common Scoter (30+) and once I got my eye in 3 Little Auk were picked out, then heading north about 15 more in total.
 Another look at the sea from Hunmanby saw 9 Red throated Diver and 6 Little Auks.The a mad rush back to Bempton to see a Cours's Artic Redpoll it was stunning....and a different Barred Warbler
   Up at dawn and back to sea watch at Hunmanby with Keith Clarkson many Gannets  , Kittiwakes , Widgeon , Eider , Snipe and 2 more Little Auks. On my way back up the road the there were a couple of cars stopped in the road there in the middle of the road was a Little Auk , I picked it up and took it to a pond where i was staying. I took a photo and sent it to Nick and Sandra who were staying in the lighthouse on North Ron....( well I had to)...., They were gripped.!! The auk seemed in good health and was swimming around and preening. I went in for a coffee and decided what to do. After a few phone calls  etc I went back to the pond and it had gone..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I eventually found it , the Auk had found a small crevice under a pile of logs ,  it had gone about 2 feet away from the waters edge.
 This gave me an idea , I took the Auk to the sea and found a crevice about 7 feet up,  when  the sea was at high tide the Auk would be able to drop into the water and away .?? ( I hope this was the outcome) .. A great couple of days........a large flock of pinks was herd as I packed the car up in the dark..............

Sunday, 28 October 2018


Just made it for the last hour before sunset...........
Golden Plover... sat on mud x 21
Fieldfare ...north x 8 + 55
Redwing x 2 north
Raven x 1
Buzzard x 2
Mallard x 30
GBBGull x 1 east
LBBGull , Herring Gull , Common and BHgull x 60  mixed flock came in and landed on mud.

What a great year for Owls

I have never seen a year like it in Calderdale , I have seen all 5 owls on a regular basis..Thanks for the pic Brian Leesey...

Lower Gorple at first light 27th October

I got to Gorple/Widdop gate at 6.45 still 30 mins before sunrise, it was bitterly cold and the moon was so bright it was like daylight. A cockerel was calling from one of the farms in the valley . I walked along the path breaking the ice in the puddles as i went. A very vocal  Tawny Owl was calling as i got to the res and a snow shower covered me from top to toe...As dawn broke to the east I picked out 4 Barn Owl and a Shortie hunting , 3 Buzzards , 4 Kestrels and small groups of Woodpigs were heading s/w. On the res a hardy group of 3 Teal and 20 + noisy Canada geese .........A tussle between a raptor and a Barn Owl was the highlight of the morning.....................

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Gale force walk

Had a walk from Widdop gate to Lower Gorple it was gusting gale force 7 up there...Even in that wind I managed 4 LBBGulls , 2 Herring Gulls , 1 Common Gull , 70 Fieldfare , 1 Reed Bunting , 10 Mallard and 3 Kestrel................150 Pinks east around lunch time over Northowram

Monday, 22 October 2018


Masses of Woodpigeons moving south over the weekend and a few groups of Fieldfare , very  small numbers of Redwing . 2 Snipe flushed from the fields , 3 Linnets , 35 Goldfinch , 25 Meadow Pipits and 2 very vocal Buzzards. Still 12 Small Coppers today the 22nd October 2018 , It would not surprise me if these were the only Small Copper records ever in Calderdale in October.(in fact I am sure they are)


30 Crossbills today at Walshaw Dean , the upside down male was a beaut it even has a wing bar (thanks NCD for photo) , 30 Siskin , 3 Raven , 2 Snipe , Buzzards and kestrels + a couple of distant raptors.


9 Whooper Swan flew into Lower Gorple this evening calling all the time ,landed and then flew off , 3 Barn Owls about and a male Teal....

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Walshaw Dean .etc

Siskin x 45
Crossbill x 32 (inc 7 red males)
LTTit x 4
Cole Tit x 2
Grey Partridge x 6
Dipper x 1
Little Owl x 1
SEO x 7
Barn Owl x 3
Sparrowhawk x 1
Buzzards x 2
Fieldfare x 400 +
Kestrel x 10 +
Hen Harrier ( seen by NCD only)
Raven x 1
Wren x 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 2
PH , RG , Magpie , C.crow Canada Goose......Over 40 species this week

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Tonights PFGeese

Walshaw Dean

Busy on the hills today and yesterday  , ---
Mallard x 54
Fieldfare x 750 aprox
Redwing x 4
SEOwl x 6
BOwl x 3
Hen Harrier x 1 young male (had a bit of a tussle with a Barn Owl at one point )
Pink footed Geese 93 + 85 +67 (250 aprox s/w)
Buzzard x 6
Kestrel x 10
Merlin x 1
Golden Plover x 6
Lapwing x 4
Oystercatcher x 1
Goosander x 4
Wheatear x 1
Cole Tit x 2
Red Grouse 70 + 40
Raven x 2 (displaying , and at one point one bird landed on the ground picked up a large piece of Juncuss and followed the female over the hill and landed on the high rocks , lots of calling and display flights.
Chaffinch x 6
Blue Tit x 1
Mistle Thrush x 5
Reed Bunting x 2
Carrion Crow , Jay and Jackdaw
Stock Dove , Woodpigeon and Collard Dove

Monday, 15 October 2018

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Walshaw Dean x 2

10th October
Walshaw Dean Plantation + walk up to Gorple
Siskin , Goldfinch , Chaffinch , Brambling (1) , Cole tit , Great Tit , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Mistle Thrush , Buzzard , Blackbird , Starling , (Pheasant, Red Grouse )  , Woodpigeon , Collard Dove , Meadow Pipit , Marsh Harrier , Hen Harrier , Oystercatcher , Mallard , Short -eared Owl , Fieldfare ,,LBB Gull , BH Gull , Carion Crow , Jay ,  Dipper (at last light) , Kestrel , ...Not bad for a few hours on the hills .

7th October
A walk round all 3 Walshaw reservoirs today...(9 -12)
Mistle Thrush x 30 +
Redwing  x 3
Fieldfare x 19
Blackbird x 3
Crossbill x 20+
Reed Bunting x 20 +
Meadow Pipit x 200 +
Merlin  x 1
Kestrel x 10 +
Sparrowhawk x 1
Raven x 2
Peregrine x 1
Mallard x 18
Partridge x 17 (looked like grey but could have been red legged ?are they releasing them up there??)
Dipper x 1 ( top res)
Wheatear x 1

Northowram vis mig (7-8)
Goosander x 3 s/w
Snipe x 1 s/w
Pink footed Goose x 3  east
Redwing x 4 s/w

Thursday, 4 October 2018

More Pinks

Difficult to see but there are 219 pink footed geese in this pic..............thanks for message Dave...
been an excellent start to the winter geese count with 577 so far............

Monday, 1 October 2018

October 1st

Barn Owl x 4 , SEO x 1 , Hen Harrier x 1 , 16 Crossbill, 100 Siskin , 2 Redpoll , 1 Great Spot , Buzzards , Kestrel  and a Sparrowhawk ............

Northowram..4 Buzzards , 2 Sparrowhawk , 10 House martin , 33 Small Copper , 9 Red Admiral , 1 Comma , 1 Small Tortoiseshell , 2 Linnet and 10 Meadow Pipit

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

More Pinks , Coppers and lady's

26th Sept

42 and 96 west today at around 9 o'cock thanks Mike and Dave............2 Snipe also
100 west sat 29th...


70 West and 35 Meadow Pipit on cricket pitch

Butterflies 27th Sept

Small Copper x 30
Red Admiral x 3
Small White x 3


Small Copper x 30
Red Admiral x 11
Painted lady x 1

25TH SEPT 2018

                                                     Carrion Crow and Sparrowhawk

                                                          Red Admiral

Another busy day Sparrowhawk and Carrion Crow having a tussle and the Buzzards were terrorising the local jackdaws . 16 Small Coppers , 1 Large White , 1 Comma and 3 Red Admiral at home and then off to Hebden where there were 10 + Red Admiral , 10 + Comma , 3 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Speckled Wood.
 On to the hills ,Raven ,  8 + Buzzards , 10 + Kestrels , 1 Sparrowhawk , 1 sat tagged Hen Harrier , 6 Barn Owl , 1 Tawny Owl and at least 5 SEOwls. A Song thrush on the path back down lokk like it was a migrant.??

Monday, 24 September 2018


Started with good walk round the local fields,,,12 Small Copper , 3 Speckled Wood , 4 Red Admiral and 3 Small Whites. A juv Stonechat was a good find and the local Buzzards and Sparrowhawk were pretty active in the sun.
   Up to Fly flatts in the evening watched 3 Barn Owl , 2 Buzards and a couple of Snipe .

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Beautiful day today..

Pink footed geese             32 and 43 west and 3 east
Canada goose                      2 west
House martin                      23 south
Swallow                             4 south


Red Admiral x 10
Small Copper x 7
Small White x 4
Small Tortoiseshell x 1
Silver Y x 3

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Marsh Harrier on the hills

Another great morning to be out watched Marsh Harrier for about 55 minutes
Marsh Harrier x 1 juv cream crown
Hen Harrier x 1 ringtail
Kestrel x 5
Buzzard x 1
SEO x 2
LEO x 1
Curlew x 5 s/w
House Martin x 3 s/w
Swallow x 2 s/w
Pink footed Geese x 42
Meadow Pipit x 458 s/w
Mistle Thrush x 2
Snipe x 3 s/w

Friday, 21 September 2018

the ups and Downs

Had a look round today in the storm hoping for a scarce gull or summat ...

1 Little Grebe
1 tufted Duck
30 Mallard
4 LBBGull
2 Common Gull
20 BHGull

Cromwell Bottom

2 BH Gull

Jay House lane

50 + BH Gull
300+ Starlings

304 Canada Goose
1 Moorhen
2 Tufted Duck
179 Lapwing
7 Golden Plover
1 House Martin
20 Meadow Pipit
BH Gull 3

I was just about to pack in and go home as the rain was horizontal , when I picked up 2 Terns in the middle of the downpour...They looked all white ?? and quite large ? had to switch to the scope quickly but I had the zoom eyepiece in  and did not pick them up until they were flying low across the big field ...just got them black bills and black heads...2 Sandwich  Terns ,then they were gone off towards Batings lost in the gloom...............

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Fly flatts Mipit bonanza

A beautiful morning to be out..........
9.00 - 12.00
Vis mig
Meadow Pipit        550 + s/w
Swallow                     9  s/w
Pied Wagtail               5 s/w
Snipe                          1 s/w
Starling                      3 s/w
Skylark                       1 s/w

Kestrel x 4
Sparrowhawk x 1 female
Peregrine x 1 juv
Buzzard x 1
RL Partridge x 6
Teal x 1
Little Owl x 1

Red Admiral x 4
Small Tortoiseshell x 1
White sp x 1

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

One of those nights.....


 Every now and then when you are least expecting a good night , it turns out to be one of the best . With a strong wind ( Storm Helene) gusting 5/6 occasional 7 SW blowing over the dam wall we had to retreat to side of the old Barn with restricted views of the area. A couple of Buzzards and a few Kestrel on the way up was a bonus in the high winds.  Two Raven and a Buzzard were having a scarp over a piece of old rabbit on the far shoreline and a  small raptor chasing Meadow Pipits looked like a Merlin initially  but turned out to be a Sparrowhawk as it landed on one of the fence  posts ,  it carried on over the moor and then low over the reservoir .  As soon as it disappeared a female Merlin appeared over the hill chasing Meadow Pipits it stooped and then up into a hover ?? (is it a Kes) then again a stoop and up into a hover it repeated this another 2 times before heading off over the hill top. A hovering Merlin.!!
 We then picked up the adult male Hen Harrier behind the wood , it was hunting along the far edge , it then rose over the trees low over the reservoir and into the roosting area , it was turning left and right the sun catching it occasionally highlighting the grey and black against the golden / orange moor.
It went for a Meadow Pipit,  its yellow legs hanging below trying to grasp its prey but it missed , it turned and tried again but missed again ,it flew low south twisting and turning in the high wind.  Immediately as it disappeared a large female with sat tag highlighted in the sun was in the roosting area it landed on a fence post and gave some distant views, long enough for Nick to get some distant photos.It flew after a bit of preening and went straight into roost . ...breath...
  A Short - eared Owl and Barn Owl were both seen hunting and 2 Oystercatcher were kicking around the dam wall . The Male  Hen Harrier was seen again behind the wood hunting from right to left then back again. After  a  while the male gained height and was joined by a ringtail , this was soon identified as the larger juv female which has been around for a few weeks now , still fully winged , pale coverts and large white rump make it easy to identify. The male escorted the young female into the roosting area and for the next 20 minutes they danced around the moor close together occasionally landing on the ground together and 2 or 3 times we thought they were going into roost but kept on bouncing out and continuing flying around together.  They eventually  went into roost at 19.20.
 At 19.25 the Merlin returned and started hovering again as we got back to the car it just started to rain !!

Pied Wagtails

1 on the 16th a small very dark individual with very dark grey flanks and dark  grey face.
6 on the 18th including 4 with bright yellow face and 2 adult Pied.
1 on the 19th another dark individual probable juv female .
2 on the 23rd Adult summer male and adult winter male