Sunday, 21 January 2018

Pink footed geese

The first part of January is the usually the best time to see pink footed geese here , heading east or west , but for some reason this year i have only seen 1 so far.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Friday, 19 January 2018

Rarer than rare

Today between the endless snow showers , I went to Shibden Park and bumped into a very rare sight (for me) last time I saw it was in Spain in  September 2002 not a Black -shouldered Kite or Spanish Imperial Eagle..... no it was............. . Pete Grrrrrba one of Halifax's longest and oldest birdwatchers wandering around on a 10 mile hike..Good to see you Pete and I hope to see you again soon....LOL
A Kingfisher sat on one of the boats , 5 Mute Swan and 6 Siskin was about it....

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Ogden and an interesting (adult YL ) Gull .??

Ogden in the snow blizzard at 12.30 produced little of note except a calling Tawny Owl , 40 Mallard and about 5 Cole Tits...Then mid afternoon between the snow storms gulls were on the move west right into the grey clouds full of snow. About 50 BH Gulls , then 10 Commons a couple of first winter type Herring Gulls and then more BH and Commons .Then an adult gull was right in front of me about 25/30 feet above me. Very clean and  pure white head deffo not a Argentatus  /  Herring Gull did not appear massive at all or look like a normal adult Herring Gull . Its feet looked bright yellow and its bill also stood out as being bright yellow with large red blotch and if it would have been July or  August I would have had no problem with adult YLGull but January ??  It all honesty it looked spot on for adult YLGull .Why do I never have the camera when it matters....

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Shibden Park and Cold Edge

Another day of gloom , not much about but 5 Mute Swans , Coot , Moorhen , GS Woodpecker  and Bullfinch , Siskin , Treecreeper at Shibden . 30 Fieldfare,  4 Teal , 2 Goldeneye , 2 Tufted Duck and  a few Red Grouse at Cold edge. 11 Blackbirds , 1 Song Thrush , 2 Mistle thrush , 10 Redwing and 4 Fieldfare in the field this morning and a GBBgull east , 30 Herring Gull north .  Makes a poor 64 for the start of the year.

Monday, 8 January 2018

More moors

Headed up to the moors again today. A real afternoon 3 kestrel , 2 Buzzards , 8 Greylags , 3 Herring Gulls , 1 Dipper and at least 5/6  Hen Harrier  today and my 7 individual for the winter and even a possibilty of and 8th bird .  4 female Hen Harriers and 1 male seen together today and 1 other possible ringtail . Added to this an adult female with satellite tag and a first winter male seen on previous occasions . Two ringtails seen flying in from the north were both fully winged with one a bit larger , these were classed as a 2cy and 3cy . The adult female which looks like it has been shot at a couple of times was very active today (probably not shot on these moors?). The adult male was also very mobile . The east wind was about  3/4 at dusk.
In the gloom at dusk on the moors its very difficult to asses the true number of birds present but this is a possible account of birds seen so far. ?? ( with lots of help from NCD)
1= Adult Male
(photo AC)
2= first winter male
3 = Adult female ( shot at in both wings  very tatty)
(photo NCD , DF) 
4 = Satellite tagged adult female
5 = fully winged ringtail (poss 3cy)
6 = fully  winged ringtail (slightly smaller 2cy)
7 = Ringtail  with primary missing on left wing
                                                  (photo Phil D)
8 = Ringtail with  secondries missing on both wings.
(photo Phil D)
9 = Large adult Female fully winged .? (often seen with male)
                                                                 (photo DF)

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Whitby...Desert Wheatear

Also in the area Golden plover , Lapwing , Red throated Diver , Eider , Reed Bunting , Fulmar , ...

Friday, 5 January 2018

Calderdale Bird List

I have updated my Calderdale species list which now stands at 202...There is a link on the right hand side of the blogg .\this will be updated with more information soon.  Common Lesser whatever Redpoll and   lesser Mealey thingy  have now been lumped back together so I revert back to calling them A  Redpoll ...and the pale sub sp  Mealey .............. (203 with Redpolls now being split back into 2 ????)

Tuesday, 2 January 2018


The first venture out round the cricket pitches started with 3 Starlings and 2 Mistle Thrush. Soon followed by Herring, Black Headed and Common Gulls, House Sparrow , 7 Blackbirds, Carrion Crow , Magpie , Jay ,Rook , Jackdaw Woodpigeon and Stock Dove. A quick visit to Brighouse added  Nuthatch , Robin , Dunnock , Blue , Cole , Great and Long tailed Tits, Golfinch , Chaffinch , Meadow Pipit , Mallard and Grey Heron.30 lapwing at Self Moor..
 On the 2nd the first raptor of the year was a male Hen Harrier soon followed by a female and then 4 Buzzards, Red Grouse and Pheasant.....Not bad for 2 days of rain, gales and mist.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Lad Law

                                                        Druids Slaughter Stone (Lad Law)
The Pinnacle (Dove Stones)
A hike up lad law for the last day of the year.. A flock of 47 Red Grouse was impressive and the area was alive with Grouse with a low estimate of 150 birds , (on dead bird found which was a raptor kill either HH or PE) ,  2 Raven , 1 Buzzard and a unidentified wader which i flushed from some juncuss. Must have been a Golden Plover but call was all wrong.?? The weather turned on the way back and little was seen in the driving rain.

Monday, 18 December 2017

I dream of Moor and Misty Hill.............

I  felt i need some fresh  air today so back up the moors , In Northowram the sky was blue and clear all the way to the Peak district . The moor by total contrast  was grey , the mist hung to the tops of the hills and the horizon was lost in the swirling  mist. A lot of Red Grouse could be herd calling and a small flock of 8 flew low to the north . 3 Kestrels were looking for food and a distant Carrion Crow  was all I could muster. The moors were golden but the mist kept on rolling in and made viewing difficult. A Dipper feeding along the dam wall and a Buzzard flew low flushing a few grouse. Then a Ringtail Harrier was seen briefly. A lone birder was stood looking into the mist (Phil D) he had just seen the male Hen Harrier and had a couple of record shots on his camera were pretty clear . I did not see the male but was worth it just to know it was still there and had not 'gone missing' like many Harriers do. Looking forward to my next visit.

Sunday, 10 December 2017


A quiet week with , 1 flock of 25 Pinks , 1 Goosander , 1 Cormorant , 10 Herring Gull all heading west , a few Fox sightings around the village . A Peregrine was in the Town centre...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Shibden Valley

7 heralds in Bare Head tunnel.

Looking north to Queensbury and Black Dyke Mills

Bare Head Tunnel

Looking south to Beacon Hill and the Peak district in the distance. 
Little of note with a cool n/w wind , the odd Song thrush , 20 Common Gulls , 1 Cormorant over west, 55 Lapwings over to Shelf moor.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Herring Gulls

A big move of Herring gulls north today with 412 between 10 and 12. I had to go out till 3 but they were still on the move until 4 with another 135 noted. A few GBBGulls and LBBGulls mixed in but no wingers .A strong flock of  140 continental Starlings moved west.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Moors

Oooooo it was cold up there today with  a lazy northern wind blowing right at us...beautiful golden moors in the sunlight . 4 Hen Harriers on the Yorkshire moors 2 fem , 1 young male and a distant ringtail. 1 Kestrel , Mallards , a flock of Red Grouse (20+)  , 15 Starlings , 1 BH Gull , Chaffinch , Blackbird and a few corvids.....

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Green Shieldbug

Found this rubbish pic on my phone from 30th October this year. Turns out to be a new species for me locally to add to , Birch , Hawthorn , Forest (Red legged ) and Hairy Shieldbugs.. Well pleased as it was in the garden...


 With the largest invasion of Hawfinch into the UK in living memory going on in late October and early November. I was lucky enough to catch up with 2. There had been reports from Oxenhope 3+ , Low Moor 4 , Paul Clough 1 , Bury 25  ,  Winter Hill 83 , a flock of 60 + at Castle Howard near York  and 2 from the Todmorden area .With the main influx down south where they have had flocks of over 100 . The last record in Calderdale was of some feathers in a Peregrine larder in 1990 and the last known sighting at Hardcastle Craggs sometime in 1978....????

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Rare roost in England

On Wednesday 1st November I headed for an undisclosed site on the Yorkshire  moors with NCD we watched a Hen Harrier roost .from 15.30 till dusk.5 Whooper Swans flew from the west and landed on the nearby reservoir,  We watched at least 5 birds over the moors , an adult Male , 1 juv male and  3 female types , an adult Merlin came in at one point and bombed the male . Such a shame that people want to harm these birds in England.
                                            (.Great photo from D. Franz )

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Cyprus late October 2017

A week in Cyprus near  Coral Bay Phaphos no car just a bit of headland to walk round most mornings and afternoons.Its 15 years since I last went ,,,,,,,
Day 1 , the headland was busy with the sound of Sardinian Warblers (7 pairs still in and around territories) 5 - 7 Crested larks singing , 10 Stonechats , 5  White Wagtails , a migrant Sedge Warbler and 4/5 Chiffchaffs. 300/400  Spanish Sparrows , a Sparrowhawk kept spooking the Sparrows and 50 Hooded Crows patrolled the headland.  A Hermit , 5 Bath White , 3 Painted lady , 20 African Grass Blue , Long tailed Blue and Clouded Yellows were pretty common. A few Crimson Speckled were blowing about in the wind. A few hours sea watching produced 4 Yellow legged Gulls.

Long tailed Blues
                                                           Clouded Yellow
Crested lark 20 + most days

                                           Spanish Sparrows ...700 + most nights going to roost

Day 2 was very similar to day 1 with hot sunshine from day break . An influx of Stonechats , White Wagtail , a male Black Redstart and 1 male Whinchat . 2 Common Sandpipers and 3 Kingfisher were on the rocks. The bird of the day was an adult Bonelli's Eagle which drifted north along the coast line before heading back inland. A small flock of 15 Swallows flew straight out to sea. No new butterflies and the sea watch was again YLGulls only  .

Day 3 ...Plenty new Chiffs and the odd Willow Warbler on the headland  but still very quiet .The sea watch produced Yelkuon  5 and Barolo 3 Shearwaters a few YL Gulls  . A cracking Pygmy Skipper and a few Humming bird Hawkmoths .

Day 4 ..Heavy rain  dropped in a load more Chiffchaffs , 3 Wheatear ,and White Wagtails but the bird of the day was a cracking Slender billed Gull close into the shore line drifting south. One adult Caspian Gull  landed briefly on the headland.

Day 5.. 3 Kentish Plover , 1 Dunlin , 1 Reed Warbler ,1 Fan-tailed Warbler , 4 Wheatear were all new in and a beautiful Swallowtail , 5 Bath White , 1 Hermit ,18 Long tailed Blue , 15 African grass Blue , 5 Clouded Yellow 1 Painted Lady and the odd Large White.

Day 6 ..The wind had changed overnight and was from the s/e , 2 Black Redstarts , 1 male Whinchat , 6 Wheatear and about 18 White Wagtails , 8 Chiffchaffs and 2 Willow Warblers were all flitting about the puddles left by overnight rain , a couple of Yellow Wags and a stonking Red - throated Pipit  all came in to view , a raptor / falcon shot through but was too quick to id it . Everything was in the air hundreds of Spanish Sparrows  swirling around with wagtails and finches everywhere eventually everything settled down and the White Wagtail flock now about 30 + had moved closer to the sea. A few more Yellow Wags were picked out and 2 Tawny Pipits  flew in and started to preen in the puddles. A Common Redstart , 20 + Crested Larks  , Chiffs and a couple of Wheatear were feeding in a small area when a fem/ juv type  Montys flew south soon followed by 2 Elenora's Falcon chasing the passerines. Another falcon (poss red foot) and Harrier sp were out at sea but too far out  to id  an 2cy Audouin's Gull was easy to see as it drifted south. Another Mothys flew south and 2 Rose coloured Starling followed just behind them...A couple of male Sardinian Warblers were rattling away on top of a bit of scrub and another Black Redstart was feeding amongst the rocks....that was a great few hours......
 By the afternoon the sun was hot and butterfly's were out in force and 4 Cyprus Grayling were seen for the first time......A Sparrowhawk and Peregrine were seen along the headland and a Barn Owl was seen at dusk....