Monday, 18 March 2019

At last a break in the weather

Made it to the tops today , had a juv/female Merlin  shoot across the road at Cock Hill about 10.15. Loads of Lapwing , Curlew , Skylarks , Oystercatcher , Siskin , Nuthatch , Reed Buntings , Meadow Pipits , Song Thrush , SEO , Buzzards and the first displaying Snipe.............good to be out..

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Hard going in the Ringstone

Ringstone edge was busy but the wind was a real hindrance , 6 Teal , 1 Goldeneye , 1 Great Crested Grebe , 3 Mallard ,  260 Golden Plover , 2 Oystercatcher  , 27 Curlew feeding just to the east in field full of juncuss, 1 Cormorant , 1 Buzzard , 200 + Lapwing and 200 + Starling a few Common and Black Headed Gulls.. A distant Raven was  about it......9 Twite at DD...........

Monday, 4 March 2019

Barnacle Geese

Had a drive round today , 3 Barnacle Geese , 1 Curlew and a couple of Greylags. No Chiffchaff  at Cromwell and up at Jay house lane Tree Sparrow , Red legged Partridge and displaying Sparrowhawk.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Lower Gorple

25 Whooper Swan , 1 Ringed Plover , singing Skylarks , 300 + Lapwing , 80 Golden Plover , 2 Snipe , 30 Oystercatcher , one flock of 70 Curlew flew in from the east (impressive) , Buzzards , Kestrel , BH Gulls , Stonechat , Brambling , Siskin , Crossbills , Fieldfare , Redwing , Song Thrush , Mistle Thrush and a good move of Herring Gulls west....

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Out on the tops

A great day to be out with 2 lots of pinks west (78 +64), Skylarks and Lapwings heading back to the hills/breeding grounds , Lots of  Buzzards, Kestrels  and  a male  Sparrowhawk  displaying , 1 Hen Harrier ., first Curlew and Thunderbird 2..... 

Friday, 8 February 2019

Hard Going in the wind and freezing Cold..

Feb has been tough so far , freezing (-5) and then high winds and rain....still SEO , Barn Owl , the odd Hen Harrier , Crossbills , Oystercatcher , Lapwing , Fieldfare , Grey Partridge , Raven , 2 Peregrines , Goldfinch and Greenfinch...The mild night on the 6th had a few moths about....

Saturday, 26 January 2019


Watched 2 Buzzards for most of the morning in display mode , fantastic playing in the wind and occasionally joined by a female Sparrowhawk..The first Meadow Pipit returning and the gulls were aprox 100 Common , 20 BH , 3 LBBGull (1 adult and 2 first winters) 2 Herring , 1 adult and 1 first winter. Rooks , GS and Green  Woodpecker  and a few Stock Doves...............

Tuesday, 22 January 2019


Around 60 at Lane Head today....................

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Back on the hills 18TH AND 21ST

A cold and snowy visit to Walshaw Dean , 3 Barn Owls  , 3 Short -eared Owl , 2 Hen Harriers , 6 Stock Dove , Fieldfare , Redwing , 28 Pink - footed Goose , Buzzards , Kestrel , Meadow Pipit , Pied Wagtail , + usual...
Raven ( photo NCD)from last week

A walk through Blake Dean saw my first Nuthatch in this area along with 8 + Cole Tit , Robin and Blackbird. Walshaw Plantation held a decent sized flock of 20 + Crossbills and a Barn Owl hunting out in the day at 12.10..A noisy Raven was mobbing a Buzzard and 2 Carion Crows were mobbing a Hen harrier above middle Walshaw. A beautiful male Stonechat was my bird of the day and as I was watching it feeding along a dry stone wall a flock of 85 +  Pink- footed Geese headed high west. Mallards and Greylag Goose on the reservoir and a flock of 200 + Fieldfare were feeding on the ground.The odd Meadow Pipit are now being seen...........
Acleris logiana 

Only the second  local record of this species..

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Early jan

                                                  'Pied Jackdaw'
                                           Pheasant display at the top of Larch...
                                                               Woodpigeon at home..
Barn Owls , SEOwls , HH , Waxwings , Crossbill , Mealy Redpoll , Sparrowhawk , Raven , Teal , Tawny Owl , Little Owl..The bird of the month so far was a Dark Backed LBBGull a definate 'intermedius type' not dark enough for Baltic but dark enough to rule out our usual LBB's..
Great to see 4 Buzzards up in the air over the house this week and a couple of Sparrowhawks....

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2019..1st and 2nd

Dawn at Lower Gorple ,first birds herd were Red Grouse and  first birds seen were Mallards about 50 + , 3 Red Grouse , 2 Mistle Thrush , 2 Kestrel , 1 Meadow Pipit , 4  Barn Owl , 2 Carrion Crow , 10 Lapwing , 1 Oystercatcher , 3 Chaffinch , 1 Blue Tit , 7 Greenfinch , 5 Pheasant , 2 female Hen Harrier and the highlight of the morning 7 Ravens cronking away high over Lower Gorple towards Widdop and  7 Crossbills in Walshaw plantation , at least 8 SEO around , 1 Little Owl ........A steady 50 species to start the year......

Sunday, 30 December 2018

2018 the most fantastic year.........

No rares , no year list , no big  twitches and no organised moth nights (by me) but what a fantastic year .
Simple local birding and lots of it with 10 species of local raptor , the best year ever for Owls you could see all 5 British owls in a day in August no problem   the most fantastic year for butterfly's in my lifetime with 23 species seen by me in  Calderdale and 18 species seen within a mile radius of my house . A few beautiful local rare moths......Red Carpet , Grey -shoulder knot and Pale Prominent....and endless sunshine..................
Happy new year and lets hope 2019 is half as good.......
Red Carpet (so good)
  Finally after predicting this 10 years ago it turned up at hedge top lane , a first for Calderdale...

Monday, 24 December 2018

Lower Gorple

Dawn at lower gorple with a stunning sunrise and full moon still out.....3 Barn Owl , 2 Common Buzzards , 7 Kestrel , 1 first winter  male Sparrowhawk , 7 herring Gull , 10 Mallard , 1 Grey Wagtail , 1 Meadow pipit , 1 Jay , 1 Greylag Goose , 2 Canada Geese , 50 + Red Grouse being very vocal and territorial , 4 Carion Crow , 1 Redwing , 1 Oystercatcher , 2 Redwing , 4 Starling and 11 Pheasants...

Monday, 17 December 2018

Walshaw........17th and 19th

Got to Widdop gate at 12.00 , there were 3 Buzzards  a Peregrine and 2 Kestrel  above New laith pasture playing in the bright sunshine , 12.15 an adult male  Goshawk ( best view for a long time up there black mask , fine barring and bulky as hell , broad arm and short hand)  came out of the craggs Fieldfare and Redwings everywhere . it headed straight for the Buzzards above New laith pasture it was in with them briefly before diving into new laith and was not seen again it was only just smaller  than the Buzzards . At 12 .30 the juv HH also joined the Buzzards and had a bit of a tussle with one before heading off towards Walshaw Plantation. 
    Arriving at Walshaw plantation at 13.30 the HH was scrapping with a SEO it then drifted back towards New laith the 3 Buzzards were still in the air. A pair of Raven were in full display mode above Walshaw plantation , they drifted off towards Widdop. Another 2 SEO were seen behind the plantation.
   At 15 50 Mirlander was seen to go to roost at Lower Gorple , I did not see it come in , it was just there and went straight into roost...Other birds in the area , 7 Golden Plover , 9 LBBgull , 1 BH gull (rare at this time of year), 10 House SpaRROW AND 1  Stock Dove , 2 Barn Owl , 1 Little Owl , 1 Cormorant ,4 Stock Dove , and another 3 SEOwls.....Much the same on the 19th 


Monday, 10 December 2018

Blake Dean , Walshaw plantation and Gorple area

Hen Harrier (2 juv females) , 8 Short -eared Owl , 1 Little Owl , 3 Barn Owl ,5 Raven (very vocal today ) , 1  Merlin having a tussle with HH , 72 Mallard, 8 Golden Plover , 1 Oystercatcher ,1 Mistle Thrush , 4 Buzzard , 9 Kestrel , 7 Starling 20 + Pheasant , 6 Herring Gull , 2 Common Gull, Robin , Dunnock , Chaffinch , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Woodpigeon , RL partridge , Magpie , Jackdaw , Carrion Crow , Blackbird , Fieldfare , Redwing , Lapwing , Blue Tit ,Collared Dove , 4 Crossbill (1 male and 3 female|) and 1 Canada Goose..nice winter birding..........The highlight was a SEOwl catching a vole ,  it took the vole in its talons out of the tall grass , in a spilt second a HH was on it talons pointing forward , the SEO dropped the vole , as it fell the HH took it in mid air and flew off with it to eat it on the ground, the Owl was stooping at the Harrier on the ground relentlessly..,,
 Also another annoying Goshawk sighting as well today with an accipiter seen stooping towards the main plantation , about 20 seconds later , there were flocks of Fieldfare , Redwing ,Woodpigeon ,Finches and Pheasants heading in all directions all low to the ground and chaotic alarm calls ringing through the air......Sparrowhawks , Buzzards etc dont have this effect on other birds...............??

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....