Tuesday, 15 May 2018

More moors.............

                                                     Short eared Owl
                                                           Green Hairstreak
                                                              Red Grouse
Mountain Hare

Curlew 18th May...

Thursday, 10 May 2018


A few recent bits and bobbs , 1 Red Kite and a few Common Buzzards above the rocks at Widdop stones, Swifts and Swallows have been piling through the last couple of days and my first Linnets of the year on the 10th May..Whitethroat and Blackcap have been  herd singing around the village. White Pinion Spotted and Oak Nycteoline have been in the moth trap.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Recent bits

Had a Barnacle Goose and a Greylag Goose with a red neck collar the other day ( the red neck collar I think comes from Windermere ). Plenty Common Sandpipers on the upland reservoirs and the odd LRP. Plenty of gulls on the move with BHGull , Herring , LBBGull and the odd GBBGull heading west. Swallows also trickling through in small numbers and small groups of Chaffinch also heading west. The SEO population seems to be having a very good year with many birds been seen all over the uplands. 2 Common Terns At Cromwell Bottom with 6 Mute Swans here....Cuckoo and a Spotted Flycatcher on the 29th April and my first Greylag goslings of the year............

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Marsh Harrier and SEO..(honest)

Been a good year for raptors and Owls  so far with , Marsh Harrier , Hen Harrier , Osprey , Merlin , Peregrine , Kestrel , Sparrowhawk  lots of Buzzards..Barn , LEO , Little , Tawny and lots of SEO.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Osprey No 2

Also in the area Merlin , Peregrine , SEO ,Raven , Buzzard , Wheatear , Swallows and Sand Martin.

Thursday, 19 April 2018


Its was hot today ...red hot........popped to Jay house lane , Blackcap ,Chiffchaff ,Willow Warbler , Skylarks , Curlew and Swallows.10 Guinea fowl....

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Sun at last........

Headed for the high moors this morning , Chiffchaff singing , 5 Common Sandpipers , 1 LRP , 1 Sand Martin north , 4 Swallows north , Male and female Sparrowhawk display , 9 Buzzards (1 with pale rump below) , 1 Peregrine , 4 Kestrel ,1 SEO (display clapping) 8 Snipe , 2 Redshank , 1 Golden Plover , Lapwing , Curlew , Oystercatcher(lots of display  and calling) , 3 Jays (a bit odd up there) 1 Raven and 2 Goosander

Sunday, 8 April 2018

First Swallow

First Swallow today at Cooper Bridge flying down the river....
2011......1st April
2012.....21st April
2013....10th April
2014....12th April
2015....13th April
2016......4th April
2017.....21st April
2018.....7th April

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Friday, 6 April 2018

Grey Shoulder Knot

Caught this little beauty last night in the trap at Northowram , its not been recorded before in Calderdale and was a rare moth in Yorkshire till 2004 .It is now recorded as regular in many parts of Yorkshire. First Small Tortoiseshell in the garden on the 5th April..............

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Tatty HH

Good to catch up with Little Owl and Common Scoter over the weekend, but no migrants back yet....

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

High moors

Had a long walk today past the usual spot and up the track to the high moors.Started with a few Buzzards and Ringtail Hen Harrier hunting low down . The numbers of waders in the last week seems to have gone off the scale. I counted at least 15 displaying Snipe , 2 Redshank display and copulation  , 200 + Lapwing , 50 + Curlew , 3 Golden Plover  and  20 Oystercatcher .Lots of small parties of Meadow Pipits on the move with some of  these birds being  heavily spotted and very clean so these may have further to go yet ? but there were a few doing the parachute display flights.Skylarks , 2 Goosander , 2 Grey Partridge , 6 Mistle Thrush  a few Greylags and 100 + Canadas..A Merlin and a couple more sightings of distant  HH and a few snow showers made for another great day.........Not one SEO seen...

Sunday, 25 March 2018


Osprey low north this morning at 8.08 , only just got on to it in time  as it flew over Northowram and low into Shibden valley .

Friday, 23 March 2018


Me at Cromwell yesterday with me new mate....

March 22nd more Hens and Shorties

A flock of 11 Oystercatcher on the lower moors today along with plenty of Curlew and Lapwings displaying gave a slight indication of spring but the wind was still freezing .The crazy female Sparrowhawk was at it again flushing lapwings and Fieldfare. 4 Buzzards and 3 kestrels along the ridge.
Shorties were in view from the the moment I reached the dam wall , wing clapping , flight display and at 1 point 4 were in the air together .
  The first fully winged harrier came in at 16.30 flew around , landed on a post and picked at its tallons with its bill for a while and then took flight and  drifted back down the valley right over the res . The male  put on a good show coming in over the hill and then after a short bit of flying around showing the grey central tail feather fanned and the dark trailing edge to the secondries it went straight into roost and did not come out again (this may have been a different bird to the usual male as the dark trailing edge had white tips ?? .The tatty female came in next and was seen flying around for the next hour did a full circuit of the res and was joined by a fully wined ringtail. Loads of Curlew , Canadas , lapwing , Fieldfare and BH Gulls.As we passed dusk the harriers became difficult to id , but at least another 3 birds came into roost . What a fantastic winter it has been for Hen Harriers......

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Barn Owl

Had a Barn Owl fly over the road at Bradley Hall farm this evening , it went over the river and started hunting in the fields and along the hedges, great to see....On the Owl front I still have not seen Little Owl this year , but all the others (LEO , SEO , Tawny and Barn very odd).................

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Busy day 9 x 9 and a Knot

A busy day started with taking the dog round fly flats , 3 Redshank , lots of  displaying Curlew and Lapwing around the res  a Perry a 2 Raven over . Bumped into DS for a quick chat and had some 6 Goldies , 3 Skylark and a Stonechat over.( 86 )
   Then the phone call of a grey wader at Ringstone (DF) so a quick dash to see what it was , located it and it was a winter  Knot.. Then headed to the high moors with DF and NCD...and what a day it was..

Pic D Sut..thanks

Short eared Owl x 9 (display and wing clapping a fantastic day for this species , looks like the vole population has exploded)
Hen harrier  x 9  (male briefly  + 8 ringtails watched for long periods , with the breeding season just round the corner a lot of the ringtails now all look fully winged except No3 which is still very tatty  .? The sat tagged bird was the only one not seen , so thats 10 in the last 2 visits , quite amazing )
Redshank x 1
Lapwing 60 +
Golden Plover  35 +
Skylark x 2
Curlew x 30 +
Kestrel x 6
Buzzard x 2
Sparrowhawk x 1
Fieldfare  x 200 +
Starling x 300 +
Oystercatcher x 10
Grey Partridge x 2
Raven x 1
Teal x 1

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Crazy Sparwhk

Had a couple of hours  on the lower moors today  , Loads of Chaffinch heading n/w at least 70 , 14 Stock Doves , 7 Oystercatcher , 6 Kestrel , 4 Buzzards .  A couple of accipiters over the moor were interesting one drifted right with slow wing beats (poss Gos) but was lost to view before I could get a good look.
The other headed left  and was a crazy bird it went into the middle of a Lapwing field and started chasing them about ,  then up into the sky for a scrap with a Carrion Crow , twisting and turning it was a large female sparrowhawk but very brown with little contrast between its head , back and tail of note ( no white coverts could be seen and looked very square at the edges and short ). It then headed onto the moors and picked up a ring tail Harrier it would not let it go , bombing it repeatedly it went on and on  seemed like 5 minutes before it gave up. It then drifted  down the valley and started at the lapwings again. I turned my attention to the harrier  it was going slowly low over the moor flushing grouse left right and centre , then went for a rabbit but was too slow , watched it for another 10 minutes before it drifted out of view and off to the roost no doubt  , a fully winged ringtail with dark secondries and orange flush breast looked like (6).

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Shorties and Hens

Another interesting visit to the high moors , strated with a distant  Ringtail HHarrier flushing Grouse , 2  Kestrel and 30 Fieldfare. A male Goosander flew up the valley. A female Merlin (last seen by me on the 12th Nov 17 )  flushed 75 Lapwing and 2 Teal , it landed on a wall for about 5 minutes . Then we saw 6 different Hen Harriers (( 4 (sat tag) 2 , 7 and 3 fully winged ringtails (3 spots , 2 spots and 0 Spots) ,  with the male (1) and tatty tail(10) that makes 8 birds in the last two visits)) ,  into roost , sparring with 2 Short - Eared Owls , 3 Kestrel and  10 Curlew were also about the reservoir . A great evening with very good views of Harriers and Shorties for long periods , below are a couple of pics taken by Nick. Watched the SEOwl sat on a post switching its head from side to side beautiful.

Monday, 5 March 2018

A break at last.....

With a break in the weather and the chance to get out without being blown over , I made it round the local patch..I have been keeping a close eye on an area of  shallow water with a few bits of juncus since November hoping for jack/snipe and had nothing except a Song Thrush for my effort . So today when I flushed a Woodcock form this area , it was very pleasing....not had one for a  year or so  in Northowram. On the 7th the first Skylark of the year , Green Woodpecker and 3 Buzzards.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Crystal Clear ( for Harriers)

Headed up to the moors today , I looked at the local forecast and it said clear from 1600 - 1800. That will do. A Woodcock was flying around as I got out of the car and a couple of Grouse could be heard calling from the moor ,  it takes about 20/ 5 minutes to get to the viewing area and it was  -1  as I set off. Plenty of Mallards and Canadas on the water and a couple of noisy Oystercatchers , Cole ,Blue and Great Tits , 2 Siskin 1 Chaffinch  in the wood and a couple of rattling Mistle thrush. A pair of Collard Doves were displaying and 4 Stock Doves were on the dam wall.
   A Harrier at 4.32 looked at first like a small 1st winter male , with very pale greater coverts , dark secondries  and fully winged . It did a few circles and landed on a fence post , the light was perfect and the bird looked to have a nice orange chest. This bird stayed on the post for at least an hour, It was soon joined by another larger ringtail which did the same and landed on a post close by.
   A long wait till the next one turned up at 5..20 the ringtail with primary missing (  )  which went into roost then the one with the tatty tail (10)turbed up  as I got it in the scope a Short - eared Owl was picked up  just behind it , I watched these two for the next 10 minutes twisting and tuning in the sky, I could hear Tawny Owls calling close by. Lots of Curlew calls as they came into roost. The SEOwl and Harrier were still at it when 2 more ringtails joined in and soon after the male Hen Harrier ( )was in the middle of them, 3 ringtails , 1 male HH  and a SEO all together in the sky, the other two Harriers were still on the posts ,and had been joined by a very dark Buzzard. Another Raptor was seen on top of the hill which looked like another Harrier but I was not 100%.
My hands were blue and as i moved the tripod it picked up a large piece of frozen ice from where it had been for the last hour. 2 Ravens  cronking and another look at the 3 harriers in the sky and it was time to head for the car as the snow was starting to come down..... A great evening and  - 3 when I got back to the car...Crystal clear days like today is why we make the effort ............brilliant

Monday, 26 February 2018

The beast from the east

Yes it was a cold easterly today , 80 Fieldfare and 19 lapwing in the fields first thing, then a look round Pike end and Ringstone ,,,2 Buzzards , 2 Ravens , 2 Peregrines , 2 Goldfinch , 30 Goldies and the same  number of lapwing.......Fantastic that Buzzards , Raven and Peregrine are now a common sight in Calderdale.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Cold Edge Dams

A quick visit today , 5 Greylags , 100 Canadas , 2 Barnacle Geese , 2 Tufted Duck , 75 Lapwing , 2 Oystercatcher , 70 Starling , and 54 lapwing and 6 Golden Plover near Nolstar kennels. 4 Redpoll at home and 1 lapwing in the field.

A bunting sp seen very briefly on the ground in with the Starlings / Lapwing  and Golden Plover near Nolstar was interesting , running on the ground and then flipping over  the wall and not seen again . Worth a look if anyone is passing.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Fly Flatts

Fly Flatts today was busy with birds 2 Snipe , 1 Oystercatcher , 20 Lapwing , 60 + Canada Geese , 8 Mallards , 8 Whooper Swans , 1 Shelduck , 1 Fem Merlin and a Peregrine.

Monday, 19 February 2018

More HH

Lots of lapwing flocks today moving into the fields and in - bye and 100 + by the reservoir. A HH (3) at 3.35 being mobbed by lapwings down in the valley . Fieldfare , 4 Buzzards ,2  Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk .
At 5.00 with the mist clinging to the tops of the moors the Male HH (1 ) was picked up and was soon followed by the adult  female HH (9). The sat tagged female (4) was next to be seen , soon followed by the tatty tailed HH (10) .With the mist rolling down the hills  viewing became very difficult another two birds were picked out ,  one was (3) the other was a ringtail (? ).

                                                    Spot the Harrier.................

Sunday, 18 February 2018

February 17th

                                                         60 Pinks west
Not a bad morning with lots of bird song and Magpies building a nest. " Great Spotted Woodpecker , Blackbird, Dunnock  and Buzzard displaying, Greenfinch , Mistle Thrush ,Song Thrush , Robin , Great Tit in full song and 60 Pinks west.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Hen Harrier

With a very strong NW 5/6 gusting 7 , I was not hopeful of much today. 3 Buzzards , 2 Kestrels , 23 Fieldfare and a flock of 36 Red Grouse .  At 4.21 a fully winged female ( 5 or 6  ) with dark secondries flew low across the water up the wall and straight into the juncuss to roost. Another ringtail was seen but the sun was setting and made viewing very difficult in could have been first one bouncing out.?  Then the ringtail (7) with the primary missing flew across the water and up the wall it flew around for a few minutes before landing on the ground.Another female (8) with two secondries missing flew low across the water and up along the wall. The the male (1) flew from behind me , across the juncuss and landed on a fence  post and started to preen. Then the large adult  female (9) flew above the male and started circling around .At this point the male was up and started showing off twisting ,  turning and flying up and down just above the wall. The time was 5.20 and I had to get going but there was still enough light to see.So more birds could have come in to roost.?? Also Woodcock over the road on the way to Slack....
                                Fantastic photo from Nick D ..this is what it is like.......

13th February

3 Lapwings in the horse field , 26 in the fields next ton the cricket pitch and 42 south towards Southowram and 27 Golden Plover mixed in with them was a nice surprise ,.The Buzzards have been very active this week along with singing Mistle Thrush and a Song Thrush was a welcome sight as I have not seen it for a  few weeks.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Hen harrier

Up on the moors yesterday a bright and clear day , but cold to the bone. At least 7 Buzzards kicking around in the early stages of courtship. A Peregrine , 2 Kestrels ,Reed Bunting 2 Mistle Thrush , 20 Mallard and a few Carrion Crows.. At least 6 Hen Harriers into the roost but no male (1) tonight. The first bird seen was the adult female with sat tag(4) , soon followed by a juv female with very dark secondrys (5 ). Then a  ringtail hunting  on the distant hill. At 5.05 the birds started to move into roost with 2 fully winged ringtails (5 + 6) landing on the fence posts to preen , the ringtail with a tatty tail (10) was seen briefly flying over the hill . At 5.12 the female with a primary missing (7 ) came into roost and then then  smaller juv male (2). A Buzzard in the fading light caused a bit of confusion but proves how difficult it is to get an accurate number of harriers in these conditions .The numbers relate to previous post on the .8th .Jan. 2018

BBRC accept Pallid Harrier record...........

Great news the BBRC have accepted my 2cy Pallid Harrier record (5th may 2016 at Cornisholme) only the 3rd record for Lincolnshire and 87th for the UK.(30% of records from Shetland).Thanks Dave for pointing it out.