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....

Monday, 16 October 2017

Migrant Moth and Sun

Not seen a Vestal since 25th September  2006 here in Northowram . had 5 Juniper Carpet which is also a record for here...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


Pink Footed geese on the move today with 600 over Northowram during the day , 28 Swallows , 2 Teal and  700 + Meadow Pipits..........

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Baird's Sandpiper

                                           Baird's Sandpiper (pic Dave Franz)
                                               Haworth's Minor
                                                  Pink Footed Geese (67 )
Well , well , well what a brilliant week , Wednesday night I got in late and looked at my phone small wader at Whiteholme , ??  and then another message  possible Baird's Sandpiper ?? after looking at some photos , I could not tell what it was but it had some very long primarys and if NCD and DFranz  think its a Bairds it probably is...
 Arrived at Whiteholme  at 7.50 and was surprised to see no cars. The long walk to the reservoir produced 3/4 Wheatear , 30 meadow pipits , 3 Pied Wagtail and a skien of 32 Pink Footed Geese. arriving at the res not a single birder looking. After an hour not a single wader had been  seen , Alan Nuttal turned up and we both gave the area a good scoping , but nothing , we then headed for the old twite feeding station to see if was in that corner....nothing. With now nearly 2 hours looking it was looking like the bird had moved on . Another scope of the mud banks , and in the far northern corner a small dot was picked up, I pointed it out to Alan ,,,he immediatley said we are going to have to walk all the way back round.
  Finally we made it to the back corner and there it was a stunning Baird's Sandpiper in all its glory with brilliant autumn sunshine picking out the birds beautiful plumage. It called twice 'prrrrt ' very similar to Dunlin  ,  white flanks , straight black bill, black legs with a slight greenish tinge in the sunlight, long primary projection , dark rump , scaly above with a slightly buffish   breast and head with the pale indistinct pale area between the eye and bill. Hope everyone gets to see it and well done to NCD and DFranz for there hard work in finding it ...Also it was great to meet up with Allan Nuttal we had a real morning re finding it and going through all the id features... (just to make sure)  That makes 3 American waders in land locked Halifax over the years ....
  With a busy week I did not make it back to see it again and by all accounts it gave most people the run around  . Saturday was a real vis - mig morning  with House Martins (1200 +) and Swallows 900 + pouring south west all morning ,  at one point about 250 House Matins and 150 Swallows were feeding low to the ground in the local fields, a great feeling stood in the middle of that was good to get  one of these days , as when vis - mig is good its brilliant .Looking back best day counts are as follows
House Martin           1240.... 16 Sept
Swallow                    956.......16 Sept
Whooper Swan          239.......22 March
Pink Footed Goose   1554.......2 .Nov
Meadow Pipit           1784.......30..Sept
Redwing                   5447.......15 Oct
Fieldfare                  1975........16  Oct
Swift                         491..........20 May
Woodpigeon          50,434........10th Nov
Alba Wagtail                 87.......28th Sept
A poor week for moths with Brown Spot Pinion being the only moth of note, it has been the best year for Red Admiral I can remember with them being seen all over Calderdale . Haworths Minor  Fly Flatts   19.09.17

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Last of the Hairstreaks

Caught up with Brown Hairstreak at Chambers farm wood today (UK species 54) , 1 as above and 2 flying areound.
So that is all the British Hairsreaks seen , Purple , Green , Black  and  White Letter .....: ))
Also in the area
Brimstone Butterfly x 30
Brown Argus x 2
Red Admiral x 50 +
Purple Hairstreak x 20
Small Tortoiseshell x 3
Peacock x 5
Migrant Hawker x 50 +
Small White x 20
Comma x 3
Large White x 2

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Shibden Head circular walk

Just getting ready in the back garden to go for a walk to Shibden and a wader call was herd , then again very close just over the house, I did not see it but Julia did.  I was sure it was a Grey Plover on call alone ,  listening to calls on tinterweb could not put it down to anything else.
   Then off to Shibden Head via Shelf trailer park , 40 + Lapwings and 20 Linnet  in the field and up to 20 Gulls  on the way to Shibden Head , 10 LBBGulls , 2 Common and 8 BHgulls , might be worth keeping an eye on this. The sky was full of House Martins all over Shibden Valley at least 70 +  , a flock of Blue and Long tailed tits held 2 Willow Warblers,.Bare head tunnel had 2 Herald moths but no Tissue moths which was the target.
12 Mistle Thrush ,  Jay , Great Spotted  and Green Woodpeckers and 1 male Kestrel......

Monday, 21 August 2017

Devon Carpet

Great to catch up with Devon Carpet at the Craggs on Sat 19th 2017 (photo D Sut)