Friday, 17 January 2020

Caspian Redcar Tarn

Many thanks to Bri Sumner for information on this  bird and Gandalf the Grey for finding it...It was snowing when i got there and the wind was terrible so hopefully get back soon to get some more photos and maybe see the 1st winter ....


The Eagles back ....

142 was the winning score and not done it since 2003 (145 with Yellow legged Gull a sub species back then ) , it was great to see Yellowhammers and Tree Sparrows in the east , Owls and Raptors  on the hills and a good year for waders with low water levels in the spring......and Roller......

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Sat tagged Female Hen Harrier

I managed to get to the moors last week and was very fortunate to see a large female Hen Harrier , I watched it for about five minutes as it got closer and closer to where I was standing , it turned to its side and I could clearly see that it had a satellite tag on its back not always easy to see in the field , but this was easy to see it was joined by a young female for a short time and this was good to see the size difference between them...lots of gulls on the move and the water levels in the reservoirs seem to be falling fast..............

Thursday, 2 January 2020

New Years Day

First bird of the year was a Rook flying over the house calling soon followed by 5 Magpies , 2 Carrion Crow , 45 Jackdaw , 2 Collard Dove , 1 Jay ,,6 BH Gull , 2 Starling , 1 Blackbird , 3 Herring Gull and a couple of Chaffinch .....things can only get better.................

Monday, 30 December 2019

2019 a great year.....

Well that was a great year bird wise locally with Roller and Nightjar being the obvious highlights , but 2 great finds in Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipit , a massive dip with Great White Egret ( so close )

and the one that got away Montagu's Harrier will have to go down as Harrier sp( Im sure it was ,  but not just enough to rule rule out all other species)...My Calderdale year list ended up on 142 (not bad with no birding in December) , with Hobby over the cricket pitch at Northowram , Green Sandpipers and Whimbrels  at Ringstone , Lower Gorple being Lower Gorple.....Little Bustard , Baikal Teal and Thorne Moors ...White -letter HAirstreaks at Northowram , Acleris Logiana and Shoulder Stripe at EGP....

Happy New Year everyone

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Northowram rare

After 18 years living here this is only the second Pheasant I have seen and the last one was a female...
Herring Gull , LBBGull , lots of Redwing and Fieldfare kicking about. Jackdaw evening fly over to roost was at least 250 last night.

This was as good as it got at Gorple today................

Monday, 2 December 2019

Ogden etc

Had a walk  around past the wind turbines yesterday , 1 Raven , 1 Buzzard , 5 reed Bunts , 1 Male Stonechat , 5 Goldfinch and plenty calling Red grouse.
  Whiteholme drain today Reed Buntings , 1 Dipper , 2 Stonechat  , 1 Goldeneye on the res  and 3 Herring Gulls + 1 Common Gull  heading S/W

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Clear at last

After days of rain and fog , today it cleared,. A beautiful juv Merlin was scrapping with a Carrion Crow and a Common Buzzard was doing the same with a massive Raven. Grey Wagtail , 2 BH Gull ,1 Greylag Goose , Grey Heron and 3 Hen Harriers tonight...ooooo it was good to be out..
A bitterly cold early morning visit produced nothing of note except 2 Pied Wags , 50 Fieldfare , 1 male Gooseander and 8 Greylags.....

Up to 450 Winter Moths flying this week in Only House Wood Northowram.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Whiteholme Drain

A walk along Whithole Drain today looking for Snow Buntings , no luck but a pair of Stonechat , 7 BH Gulls and a Carrion Crow.....Wednesday ...1 Peregrine , 2 Stonechat , 2 Wren , 2 Carrion Crow and a Kestrel ...5 Mandarin Duck at Ryburn

Monday, 11 November 2019

Lower Gorple 1,2,3,

Had a walk upto Lower Gorple mid afternoon. A flock of 18 Brambling and a few Fieldfare . 5 Grey Partridge , , 2 Buzzards , 2 Kestrels ,  2 Pied Wagtail , 8 Whooper Swans s/w , at least 30 Greylag geese were interesting as its a few weeks since there have been any up there , 12 Goldfinch , 3 Herring Gulls and at least 3 Hens. There were at least 28 birders around the reservoir which is very encouraging.
12 .11.19
 Nice to see 2 Barn Owls hunting , 4 Buzzards , 25 Fieldfare , 5 Herring Gull  and a couple Kestrels
  An early morning visit produced , 2 hens hunting around the plantations , 10 meadow pipit , 4 kestrels , 1 Buzzard , 1 Reed Bunting , 2 BH Gulls , 24 Mallard , 15 Cole Tits  1 Wren , 2 Robin , 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker ,  14 herring Gulls south , 3 Goldcrest , 10 Chaffinch and a cracking juv Merlin hunting the Chaffinch which landed in the top of a tree for a few minutes.

Saturday, 9 November 2019


Classic Woodpigeon migration date today and weather was ok but with cloud to the west  and clear to the east most flocks were too far away to count.
It was a good start with 1772 in the first hour , a few small flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing mixed in.
75 Pink footed Geese flew west this afternoon and the odd group of Herring Gulls east....

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Red - breasted Merganser

Great find and photos by Phil D today at Ringstone...Bad weather = good birds

North Wind

The first really cold northern blast blew across the moors today , you could feel that snow was not far away and last night produced the first hard frost of the year . A small group of 5 Grey Partridge was good to see and the odd flock of Woodpigeon . 2 female Hen Harriers played in the wind for a couple of hours and were joined by a beautiful male for about 45 minutes, twisting and turning over the golden moor the back and white standing out in the last rays of the fading sun..2 Raven , 2 Carrion Crow and 3 Buzzards .......................winter in here..........

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Whoopers ...........

6 Whooper Swans dropped into lower Gorple this evening (3 adults and 3 Juvs) .2 Buzzards , 6 Common Gull , 2 BH Gull , 2 Hens and a distant Barn Owl...

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Moors for the future

Great to see the improvement since the last survey..You never know next time there may be a healthy population of Hen Harriers ..........................

Tuesday, 22 October 2019


beautiful light and little wind produced  3 takers tonight , all in around 5.30 -6.00 . A very distant view of a very large bird above the Pennine way had to be an adult female. Also in the area 1 Barn Owl hunting at 4.07 , 1 Little Grebe ,12 lapwing , 2 Common Gull , 2 BH Gull , Fieldfare and Redwings .
3 Hens (1 male , 1 first winter , Male and 1 Female .) 1 Merlin , 1 Raven , 2 Buzzards , 3 Kestrels , 10 Golden Plover , 2 BH Gulls and a few mixed flocks of FF and RWings.

Friday, 18 October 2019


247 Jackdaws over Northowram at dusk tonight heading towards Coley..

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Blake Dean to Lower Gorple

Still one male Ring Ouzel feeding at Widdop Gates and about 10 Mistle Thrush , 2 Fieldfare and a few Redwing. A flock of 50 Goldfinch and a couple of Ravens feeding on a dead sheep carcass and 3 Buzzards close by  .Very little else till we got to Lower Gorple where a Goosander was on the water , 2 Merlins and 2 Hens kicking about .

Friday, 11 October 2019

Nowt much

A Red Kite low over the motorway at Elland Road Leeds today and a couple of Common Buzzards have been seen between the junction at M62 and the M621 for the last few weeks..2 Buzzards at home in Northowram.....The odd small flock of Redwings at that is about it..............

Monday, 7 October 2019

Blake Dean to Walshaw Plantation

I have never seen anything like it , the valley below Widdop Gate and up to Walshaw Plantation  was full of Thrushes with at least 70 + Mistle Thrush , 4 Ring Ouzel (3 male and 1st winter female), 30 Redwing , 40 Fieldfare ,3 Blackbird and 1 Song Thrush(all 6 British Thrushes feeding in one Rowan tree) .........Also in the area , 2 Swallows ,4 Raven , 3 Stonechat , 1 Wheatear , 1 Merlin , 1 Hen , 1 Sparrowhawk , 20 Goldfinch , 1 Grey Heron , 1 Herring Gull , 2 Buzzards , 1 Barn Owl , 3 Kestrel ,Great Spotted Woodpecker , Wren , Robin , Chaffinch , Stock Dove , Woodpigeon ,1 Grey Wag and 4 Pied Wagtails...
                                                 Photo NCD...
                                                      Grey Wag at Lower Gorple
                                                                 Ink Caps

Lower Gorple  yesterday held , 2 Barn Owl ,  27 Widgeon , 6 Teal and a Merlin....

Saturday, 5 October 2019


When I got to Lower Gorple it was still dark but clear , the Rock Pipit flushed from under the bridge and by the time I got my binns on it a couple of minutes later  the fog had set in. ..I followed it along the dam wall it was feeding all the time and  was not bothered by my presence at all ..There were at least 5 Meadow pipits 7 Pied Wagtails , 5 Widgeon and 5 Greylags about as well . 2 Stonechats  and 2 Wrens  in the car park . A good sized flock of 120 + Redwings dropped into the trees at home....

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Rock Pipit at Lower Gorple

A Rock Pipit was found tonight by Me and NCD it was seen for about 10 minutes by to drain at the Keepers cottage side of the dam. It may still be present tomorrow morning..Just got up to Lower Gorple as the rain was stopping and stumbled across this little beauty. Also 2 Hens , 2 Buzzards , 3 Barn Owl and 5 Pink footed geese dropped in at dusk...
                                         Diagnostic grey centre to white outer tail feather

Still present on the 2nd October great photo by Dave Franz ..cheers

It was last seen on the 6th October , very rare for one to stay for so long inland..It was seen by many observers and some great photos were taken , this is my favourite take by Gary Waddington .

Monday, 30 September 2019


A pre dawn dash to the hills was well worth the effort.......
Pink - footed Geese 413 (105 +175 + 80 + 44 + 9) S/E
Meadow Pipit 245  S/W
Skylark 20 S/W
Black headed Gull 26 S/W
Starling 9 S/W
Hen Harrier 2 high S/W (1 stunning male and 1 ringtail)
Merlin juv female chasing meadow Pipits
Swallow 3 S/W
Jay 1 S/W
Lapwing 8 (6+2) S/W

1 x Goosander , 2 Grey Wagtail , 1  Pied Wagtail , Kestrel 8 , Buzzard 1, Mallard 40 + a few displaying when the sun came out . A very strange sighting of a Weasel on top of a fence post hissing at 2 Pheasants sat on a wall , the Pheasants did not seem bothered at all..!!

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Ducks on the move and last of the Butterflies

A real autumn feel today on the tops.A small group of 5 Widgeon and 3 Teal , 1 Ring Ouzel, 5/6 Buzzards , 5 Kestrels and Meadow Pipits zipping about. The highlight of the day was watching a Ringtail Hen Harrier catch a rodent of some sort , lightning fast.............
  Hollas Bridge 19th - 23rd
                                                        Common Blue
Black  Darter