Sunday, 26 February 2017

Snow Bunting

Roils Head was buzzing with finches today, had 6 species in 5 minutes which is good for here including Redpolls, Brambling and Bullfinch. Was just about to go and look for a male Stonechat which I saw earlier in the week when DF rang and said he was going for the Snow Bunting that turned up last week. So off we went and was not disappointed, the bird showed well down to 20 yards but in very windy conditions, the above photos were the best I could do with just my Lumix (no scope today). No doubt Brian and Dave S who were already on site got some better shots.

Monday, 20 February 2017

19th and 20th Feb

Sunday out with DF on the moors again. Not much happening due to poor conditions, 1 Buzzard, 400 Lapwings, 10 Oystercatchers, 30 Goldies, 9 Curlew, 7 Teal, 400 Starlings, no harriers or Crossbills today. Monday slog around Roils Head, 1 Brambling, 2 Redpoll, 1 singing Goldcrest, loads of Redwings was about it.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

18th Feb

Out on the tops with DF this PM. At last confirmed breeding of Crossbills with a juvenile seen in the company of at least 6 adults at the usual spot, also 2 Brambling and 2 Siskins here with a fly over Jack Snipe as well. Nearby 400 Lapwings, 4 oycs, 30 Goldies, 2 Curlew, 2 Stock Doves, loads of Fieldfare and a female Hen Harrier.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

14th Feb

25 species in a 2hour local walk is not bad for mid February. 8 Gbbgs and 3 Herring Gulls, 2 Redpoll, 2 Brambling, female Stonechat,6 Golden Plovers etc. Practiced a few shots on BHG and Common Gulls getting ready for March when hopefully I might get a Halifax Gos.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Roils Head

Not much happening this week just a Stonechat mid week and 2 Bramblings today, also had a Nuthatch mid week which is a scarce bird for my local patch.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

5th February

Back with the Harriers with DF and Muxy. Adult female showed well mid afternoon. Also some 23 Crossbills flying around in plantation.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


February started with a twitch to Derbyshire with AC on 1st to try and see the Dusky Thrush that had been present for the last few months. After Andy’s sat nav took us on a site seeing expedition around the back streets of Sheffield we finally arrived 2 hours 20 minutes later. The bird had not been seen for 3 days so it was a bit of a risk and when we arrived the area where the bird had been seen feeding was closed for the day, so we had to walk round the back up a muddy lane. There were only 2 other birders there and they hadn’t seen it, so we scanned through all the Redwings and Song Thrushes that were feeding in a nearby field but no luck. Then after some 20 minutes I decided to try another area where the bird had apparently favoured a week ago and bingo first bird in my Scope a DUSKY THRUSH, tick, a lifer taking me on to 388 for Britain (should have passed 400 ages ago but not done much twitching the last 10 years). Sadly no photos too far away. Three days later another twitch this time with DF to see the Pine Bunting at Dunnington. I didn’t need Pine Bunting for Britain saw one in Northumberland with DJP in 1992 but it would be a Yorkshire tick so off we went. After waiting in a crowd of about 50 birders for half an hour DF realised he was going to need a scope which he had left in the boot of the car so off he went to get it and you can guess the rest, no sooner had he disappeared than the bunting decided to show. I couldn’t get on to it to start with then after a frustrating 30 seconds there it was in my scope, a second for me and a Yorkshire tick taking my Yorkshire tally up to 327. DF appeared around the corner with said scope but two late the bird had gone, we waited another 3 hours but no show so off we went. No photos too brief and too far away. Oh by the way Yorkshires second ever Pine Bunting at Flamborough Head in 1988 was found by one W E Oddie.
Somewhere in this hedge is the Pine Bunting.

January 2017

Bean Goose left hand bird Photos DF. January 2017 Most of January was spent watching our two Harriers, an adult female and a first winter male. Also good numbers of Bramblings and Crossbills with the later seen carrying nesting material and courtship feeding. My big dip locally was missing Calderdale’s 4th record of Bean Goose that DF found at Ringstone Edge on 20th, really thought I was in with a chance to get a Calderdale tick but not to be the bird flew off 10 minutes after I got the message. The only consolation was seeing the 4 White- fronted Geese at Ringstone a week later.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

There can be only one?????

There can be only one. Locally we spent most of 2016 putting together a mystery. Our female tagged Hen Harrier known as Highlander had gone off line in April, most thought the bird was probably dead, then in October an adult tagged female appeared at a traditional site. To cut a long story short after going over all the evidence it became clear that she was still with us (immortal after all). Other local highlights in 2016 were the high numbers of Barn Owls being reported until the vole crash. A nice adult Med Gull on my local patch, a Long-tailed Duck at Blackstone Edge, large numbers of Waxwings in the area, oh and we all dipped on a second Hoopoe in two years.

Pallid Harrier

Only had 7 trips outside Calderdale in 2016, by far the best was a trip to Wellwick Salt Marsh in December for the Pallid Harrier. Eventually got the bird late in the day has it came in to roost. Supporting cast 2 Hen Harriers, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Merlins, 3 Shorties, 3 Bean Geese, lots of Little Egrets etc. Photos of the Pallid by D Franz.

2015 in brief

Juv Female Goshawk in flight and Hen Harrier by D Franz. 2015 in brief Only had 5 trips outside Calderdale in 2015, highlights were 2 Iceland Gulls and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls at Anglers on 25th January, Lesser Scaup with Roy at Wintersett on 4th May and American Wigeon at Old Moor on 5th July which was a Yorkshire tick for me. Locally most of the year was taken up monitoring Long- eared and Short- eared Owls in the breeding season and watching Hen Harriers the rest of the year. The owls had the best year ever with 13 pairs of Leos and 12 pairs of Shorties breeding. Other goodies included Great Grey Shrike at Scammonden, Dotterels above Todmorden, Black Redstart at Walshaw Dean and a monster Gos at another location.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Part 3

A selection of goodies Halifax 2014. Kittiwake at Shibden, Eider at Walsden, Monty on the moors, Wryneck at Gorple(df), Buff Breasted Sandpiper at Ringstone (jb), Woodlark at Tower Hill, Richards Pipit at Tower Hill(df), and Great Northern Diver at Mixenden.

A brief history of time part 2

A brief History of time (catch up). Part 2 2014 Calderdale Listing. I started 2014 on 197 species for the Halifax area, this total built up over some 37 years birding in Calderdale. Little did I know at the beginning of the year just what was about to happen. The first good bird of the year was a Kittiwake which spent its time on Shibden Park boating lake, a good bird but not a new one for Halifax for me. The first new one for me came when Brian Leecy found a male Eider at Walsden in March 198. Next came a dip on a Hoopoe at Todmorden in April. My second new bird arrived in June when a superb female Montagu’s Harrier was found on the moors, it stayed all summer and I had six successful visits 199. Other summer highlights included Great Northern Diver, several Hobbies and Marsh Harriers and a Green Sandpiper at Tower Hill. The next new bird was a great surprise. Me and Dave Franz had just had 2 Marsh Harriers at Walshaw Dean and decided to go up to Lower Gorple for the last hour of daylight. Half way up the track a bird flushed from a ditch and landed on the track right in front of us, bloody hell it’s a Wryneck, species number 200 for me for Calderdale (thank god its not a Ring-necked Parakeet) that would be a naff tick. That was on 7th September, I didn’t have long to wait for the next Halifax tick when JB found Calderdale’s third Buff breasted Sandpiper at Ringstone Edge on 29th September 201. October passed without much event until the 28th when on a visit to Tower Hill on my local walk I found Calderdale’s 2nd ever Woodlark, the only other being recorded in 1953, 202. Things just don’t get better than this especially not in Halifax I thought!!!!! Next day DF took the afternoon off work and we went to look for the Woodlark. No sign but whilst pincer moving around the manure heap (sounds like a 70s metal band) we flushed two birds, one was a Meadow Pipit, the other was also a pipit but looked twice the size. After some debate we put out the news that we had flushed a probable Richard’s Pipit, JB arrived soon after with his swarro scope and we managed to pin the bird down and confirm a first for Calderdale RICHARD’S PIPIT 2003. The rest of the year produced a Black Redstart, a second Great Northern Diver and DF relocated the pipit nearby on 13th December but it didn’t hang around for others to see. So I started the year on 197 species and ended on 203 and DF smashed the Calderdale year list record.

A brief history of time

A brief History of time (catch up). Its been nearly 4 years since I last posted but now I think its time to catch up. Basically 2013 was one of the worst years of my life, lots of problems to sort out and having to move home so the blog got totally forgotten, which was a shame because 2014 turned out to be the best year on record for rare and scarce birds in Calderdale. Highlights for 2013 locally were Slavonian Grebe at Scammonden, Purple Sandpiper at Whiteholme, 2 Med Gulls at Mount Tabor, Water Pipit at Lower Gorple and Firecrest at Ogden. Outside Calderdale I had some 20 trips to other sites with the only new Yorkshire birds being a Green Winged Teal at North Cave and Two barred Crossbills at Broomhead, also dipped on Baikal Teal and Ivory Gull. 2014 Outside Calderdale only had 3 trips, highlights Kumliens Gull at Broomhead Reservoir and Yellow-rumped Warbler at Shincliffe Durham.