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....

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Walshaw Dean .etc

Siskin x 45
Crossbill x 32 (inc 7 red males)
LTTit x 4
Cole Tit x 2
Grey Partridge x 6
Dipper x 1
Little Owl x 1
SEO x 7
Barn Owl x 3
Sparrowhawk x 1
Buzzards x 2
Fieldfare x 400 +
Kestrel x 10 +
Hen Harrier ( seen by NCD only)
Raven x 1
Wren x 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 2
PH , RG , Magpie , C.crow Canada Goose......Over 40 species this week

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Tonights PFGeese

Walshaw Dean

Busy on the hills today and yesterday  , ---
Mallard x 54
Fieldfare x 750 aprox
Redwing x 4
SEOwl x 6
BOwl x 3
Hen Harrier x 1 young male (had a bit of a tussle with a Barn Owl at one point )
Pink footed Geese 93 + 85 +67 (250 aprox s/w)
Buzzard x 6
Kestrel x 10
Merlin x 1
Golden Plover x 6
Lapwing x 4
Oystercatcher x 1
Goosander x 4
Wheatear x 1
Cole Tit x 2
Red Grouse 70 + 40
Raven x 2 (displaying , and at one point one bird landed on the ground picked up a large piece of Juncuss and followed the female over the hill and landed on the high rocks , lots of calling and display flights.
Chaffinch x 6
Blue Tit x 1
Mistle Thrush x 5
Reed Bunting x 2
Carrion Crow , Jay and Jackdaw
Stock Dove , Woodpigeon and Collard Dove

Monday, 15 October 2018

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Walshaw Dean x 2

10th October
Walshaw Dean Plantation + walk up to Gorple
Siskin , Goldfinch , Chaffinch , Brambling (1) , Cole tit , Great Tit , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Mistle Thrush , Buzzard , Blackbird , Starling , (Pheasant, Red Grouse )  , Woodpigeon , Collard Dove , Meadow Pipit , Marsh Harrier , Hen Harrier , Oystercatcher , Mallard , Short -eared Owl , Fieldfare ,,LBB Gull , BH Gull , Carion Crow , Jay ,  Dipper (at last light) , Kestrel , ...Not bad for a few hours on the hills .

7th October
A walk round all 3 Walshaw reservoirs today...(9 -12)
Mistle Thrush x 30 +
Redwing  x 3
Fieldfare x 19
Blackbird x 3
Crossbill x 20+
Reed Bunting x 20 +
Meadow Pipit x 200 +
Merlin  x 1
Kestrel x 10 +
Sparrowhawk x 1
Raven x 2
Peregrine x 1
Mallard x 18
Partridge x 17 (looked like grey but could have been red legged ?are they releasing them up there??)
Dipper x 1 ( top res)
Wheatear x 1

Northowram vis mig (7-8)
Goosander x 3 s/w
Snipe x 1 s/w
Pink footed Goose x 3  east
Redwing x 4 s/w

Thursday, 4 October 2018

More Pinks

Difficult to see but there are 219 pink footed geese in this pic..............thanks for message Dave...
been an excellent start to the winter geese count with 577 so far............

Monday, 1 October 2018

October 1st

Barn Owl x 4 , SEO x 1 , Hen Harrier x 1 , 16 Crossbill, 100 Siskin , 2 Redpoll , 1 Great Spot , Buzzards , Kestrel  and a Sparrowhawk ............

Northowram..4 Buzzards , 2 Sparrowhawk , 10 House martin , 33 Small Copper , 9 Red Admiral , 1 Comma , 1 Small Tortoiseshell , 2 Linnet and 10 Meadow Pipit

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

More Pinks , Coppers and lady's

26th Sept

42 and 96 west today at around 9 o'cock thanks Mike and Dave............2 Snipe also
100 west sat 29th...


70 West and 35 Meadow Pipit on cricket pitch

Butterflies 27th Sept

Small Copper x 30
Red Admiral x 3
Small White x 3


Small Copper x 30
Red Admiral x 11
Painted lady x 1

25TH SEPT 2018

                                                     Carrion Crow and Sparrowhawk

                                                          Red Admiral

Another busy day Sparrowhawk and Carrion Crow having a tussle and the Buzzards were terrorising the local jackdaws . 16 Small Coppers , 1 Large White , 1 Comma and 3 Red Admiral at home and then off to Hebden where there were 10 + Red Admiral , 10 + Comma , 3 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Speckled Wood.
 On to the hills ,Raven ,  8 + Buzzards , 10 + Kestrels , 1 Sparrowhawk , 1 sat tagged Hen Harrier , 6 Barn Owl , 1 Tawny Owl and at least 5 SEOwls. A Song thrush on the path back down lokk like it was a migrant.??

Monday, 24 September 2018


Started with good walk round the local fields,,,12 Small Copper , 3 Speckled Wood , 4 Red Admiral and 3 Small Whites. A juv Stonechat was a good find and the local Buzzards and Sparrowhawk were pretty active in the sun.
   Up to Fly flatts in the evening watched 3 Barn Owl , 2 Buzards and a couple of Snipe .

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Beautiful day today..

Pink footed geese             32 and 43 west and 3 east
Canada goose                      2 west
House martin                      23 south
Swallow                             4 south


Red Admiral x 10
Small Copper x 7
Small White x 4
Small Tortoiseshell x 1
Silver Y x 3

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Marsh Harrier on the hills

Another great morning to be out watched Marsh Harrier for about 55 minutes
Marsh Harrier x 1 juv cream crown
Hen Harrier x 1 ringtail
Kestrel x 5
Buzzard x 1
SEO x 2
LEO x 1
Curlew x 5 s/w
House Martin x 3 s/w
Swallow x 2 s/w
Pink footed Geese x 42
Meadow Pipit x 458 s/w
Mistle Thrush x 2
Snipe x 3 s/w

Friday, 21 September 2018

the ups and Downs

Had a look round today in the storm hoping for a scarce gull or summat ...

1 Little Grebe
1 tufted Duck
30 Mallard
4 LBBGull
2 Common Gull
20 BHGull

Cromwell Bottom

2 BH Gull

Jay House lane

50 + BH Gull
300+ Starlings

304 Canada Goose
1 Moorhen
2 Tufted Duck
179 Lapwing
7 Golden Plover
1 House Martin
20 Meadow Pipit
BH Gull 3

I was just about to pack in and go home as the rain was horizontal , when I picked up 2 Terns in the middle of the downpour...They looked all white ?? and quite large ? had to switch to the scope quickly but I had the zoom eyepiece in  and did not pick them up until they were flying low across the big field ...just got them black bills and black heads...2 Sandwich  Terns ,then they were gone off towards Batings lost in the gloom...............

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Fly flatts Mipit bonanza

A beautiful morning to be out..........
9.00 - 12.00
Vis mig
Meadow Pipit        550 + s/w
Swallow                     9  s/w
Pied Wagtail               5 s/w
Snipe                          1 s/w
Starling                      3 s/w
Skylark                       1 s/w

Kestrel x 4
Sparrowhawk x 1 female
Peregrine x 1 juv
Buzzard x 1
RL Partridge x 6
Teal x 1
Little Owl x 1

Red Admiral x 4
Small Tortoiseshell x 1
White sp x 1