BIRDS OF THE HUDDERSFIELD AREA – a historical survey


(Due to the threat to the Tolson Museum at Ravensknowle posed by Kirklees Council’s austerity plans, especially following the report that one councilor commented ‘Who wants to look at a load of dead birds’, I have decided to publish this article, written primarily for my own interest, in the hope that it will highlight the importance of Tolson’s bird collection as well as encourage interest in the history of our local bird population.  For the context of the setting up of the bird room at the museum see my webpage on Seth Mosley and the Early Years of Tolson Museum.

The first list of birds of the Huddersfield area appeared in  Charles P. Hobkirk’s ‘Huddersfield – Its’ History and Natural History’ in 1859.  Almost a century later, in 1958, the booklet ‘Birds  Around Huddersfield’, compiled by E. J. C. Swabey and E. W. Aubrook  , was published jointly by Huddersfield Naturalist, Photographic and Antiquarian Society and the Tolson Memorial Museum.  Linking the two is ‘The Birds of the Huddersfield District’, written, illustrated and printed by Seth Lister Mosley in 1915.   Mosley incorporated information from Hobkirk and also from his own lifetime’s involvement with natural history and birds.  His father, James Reid Mosley, as Seth often and fondly recollected, was the best bird stuffer in the district and many rare specimens passed through his workshop on the way to the collections of local naturalists.  Mosley Senior also helped acquire some of those specimens at a time when naturalists had no qualms about shooting any unusual bird, however rare. And the more they shot, the rarer they became and therefore all the more collectable.  The main local bird collection was that of Alfred Beaumont of Honley.   It provided a unique record of locally acquired specimens which was acquired by Hobkirk and others as ‘the nucleus’ of a town museum and eventually provided exhibits for the Tolson Memorial Museum bird room arranged by SLM and his son in 1925. SLM also had his own collection which was initially displayed at his museum at Beaumont Park.

Due to his father’s occupation, Seth came into contact from a very early age with prominent local Naturalists.  He knew Peter Inchbald of Storthes Hall, who provided information for Hobkirk’s list.  This was supplemented by records provided by William. Eddison, of the famous local firm of auctioneers Eddison & Taylor, who was making observations at least from the 1840s. Some birds did not appear in Hobkirk’s record because as Seth cryptically admitted, ‘For reasons which I regret my father would have nothing to do with compiling the list for Hobkirk’s book’  [SLM 1915 July 3] [SLM 1915 p.87].  Another naturalist, bird watcher, and shooter was James Varley.  Seth published his biography along with extracts from his diary, listing sightings of birds in 1884.  Both were members of Huddersfield Naturalists’ Society  which was founded in 1847 and compiled extensive information on local flora and fauna which was often reported in the local newspapers.  The Huddersfield Examiner carried an occasional Natural History column in 1882 which included a series by SLM on ‘The Birds of the District.  A  regular natural history column was written by Seth in 1884-85, who, after intermittent contributions in the early 1900s, resumed his own weekly column now entitled ‘Nature around Huddersfield’ from 1914 until his death in February 1929.

These articles recorded many occurrences of local birds and a list recording 94 (if we leave out the Hairy Woodpecker), along with comments about their occurrence appeared in 1905.  It is not comprehensive, since no wildfowl or waders are included, and is un-attributed although the comments are undoubtedly Mosley’s.  Much of this material was used in his 1915  Birds of Huddersfield.   That book described 187 species, 81 more than had appeared in Hobkirk, and one more than recorded by Swabey & Aubrook .

In drawing up their list over 40 years later they used Mosley’s material selectively,  ‘While the great majority of these have been substantiated by recent observations, rarities mentioned by Mosley, where the record was a definite one, have been included from their historical interest’.   How they decided which is definite in the Mosley list is not clear and there are some notable omissions, which were verified at least to Mosley’s own satisfaction.  These include the Fulmar, Shag, Glossy Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Kite, Spotted Crake, Great Snipe, Richardson’s Skua, Roller and Purple Martin.

Although systematic surveys of specific localities were carried out by Mosley and other naturalists his list was founded on many casual observations and second hand reports.  At least three birds he included as local at one time or another are very dubious.  There is always a possibility that some collectors might have tried to enhance the importance of specimens by claiming they were local, perhaps even bagged by themselves, and thus muddying the historical record.  What are we to make of the bird which was donated to the Ravensknowle Museum in 1921, supposedly shot  on the willow covered island in the River Colne just below Kings Mill around 1870 ?  Mosley passed it on to Johnson Wilkinson, of the Yorkshire Naturalist Union and bird advisor to the Museum, for identification.  Stumped, he sent it to London where it was recognized as a South American bird of the Emberizoides family, which did not even have a common name.  Described as the size of a sparrow with a long tail, it frequented river banks in its natural habitat but there was no accounting for its occurrence in Huddersfield since, as Seth observed, it was not a migrant, nor a songster and unlikely to be an escaped cage bird. [SLM 1921 June 18,25]

Was the account of its’ origin a deliberate hoax, or garbled information which became ‘fact’? It is possible that two of our three suspect species, the Hairy Woodpecker and the Scops Owl, (both still in the Tolson Memorial Museum bird room as local species) and another dubious claim refuted by by Seth himself, the Nutcracker, entered the record this way.  Also the story of the Andalusian Hemipode illustrates how a mis-identification can gather a life of its own.   G T Porritt in his obituary of Alfred Beaumont points out how even a knowledgeable  collector could be deceived, since specimens bought ‘on good authority’, were ‘fraudulently imposed upon him’.  As well as the Hemipode this included a White’s Thrush, supposedly shot on Almondbury Bank.

Seth is also sometimes vague about dates often only giving an approximate chronology eg ‘…40 or 50 years ago…’ and on one occasion at least he was advised (by Johnson Wilkinson) to clarify that a Pallas Sandgrouse referred to was not sighted on a ramble to Grange Moor in 1924 but was shot there in 1888.  With these caveats we can still add with confidence the ten above ‘new’ species and a large number of additional sightings of other species, to those recorded by Swabey & Aubrook.  Birds recorded in the area since 1958 by HBC bring the total to 232, including such familiar new residents as the collared dove and more exotic rare visitors such as Sabines Gull.

Where the source of  an observation is known I have recorded the persons name since these are often experienced local naturalists, trusted by Mosley or the Society issuing the report, and added evidence of reliability.  They also show who was actively involved and possibly partly accounts for the distribution patters which emerge. The number of sightings over the years at,  for example, Almondbury Bank, reflect not the proportion of visiting birds over the years but rather the number of resident naturalists.

This list is based on Swabey & Aubrook’s  classification,  ‘using the B.O.U. Check-list of the Birds of Great Britain and Ireland (1952), based on the Wetmore arrangement beginning with divers and ending with Passerines’.  Where there has been a subsequent reclassification this has been used.  The species recorded by Swabey & Aubrook  are broken down into the following categories.  All the additional birds bar one, the Collared Dove, fall into the last.

RESIDENTS – breeding in the district which may be observed at all times in the year.                                                                                                                                     54      SUMMER RESIDENTS –  appearing in spring, breeding during the summer, and leaving for southern winter quarters in the autumn.                                                                         25
WINTER VISITORS – breeding outside the area and, in many cases, outside the British Isles which appear here during the winter months.                                                                 35
PASSAGE MIGRANTS –  breeding further north, or beyond the British Isles, visiting on their way to winter quarters.                                                                                                        26
IRREGULAR VISITORS – appearing occasionally either as accidental wanderers or as exceptional long distance travelers.                                                                                    44
SPASMODIC OR IRRUPTIONAL VISITORS – which from time to time invade the British Isles in large numbers, apparently traveling west or south from overcrowded breeding grounds.                                                                                                                                       2

The area covered coincides with that defined by Swabey & Aubrook, plus extensions added by SLM, who in later life took an increasing interest in the Bretton and Cawthorne localities. The East of our area therefore covers Grange Moor and the Bretton Hall and Cannon Hall estates, it is bounded on the South by the moorland of Holme Moss and Standedge, on the West by  Ringstone Edge while the Northern boundary is delineated by the River Calder.  This generally coincides with the area covered by Huddersfield Bird watchers Club. Some reference to places outside the district is made when it is mentioned in the sources and involves birds which attracted local interest and could have visited the area unnoticed, such as the White-tailed Eagle in Derbyshire in 1921.   Consequently there is a wide range of habitats, some of which have changed little since records began, others which have been reduced, or lost entirely.

With the founding of Huddersfield Birdwatchers’ Club in 1966 we begin to have annual reports based on systematic observation and detailed surveys.  A number of new species have therefore been added over this period and a clearer pattern of breeding populations has emerged.  Some species have increased or declined significantly in the last twenty to thirty years.  HBC records are alluded to only to show the overall trend of species previously recorded, or completely new occurrences, and are not meant in any way to be comprehensive

Although localized and dealing with a very small number of individual birds, this survey does give us some indicators as to what affects bird populations. In the introduction to his 1915 Birds of Huddersfield, Seth Mosley lamented.  ‘I regret that the book is a record of murder and plunder from beginning to end’  Sadly, this is all too apparent from our current list.  Persecution of some birds may have decreased, but there are still gamekeepers and farmers who think they have a licence to shoot, poison or trap anything that moves in the name of game preservation or protecting livestock.  Thankfully the taking of song-birds for caging or the gourmet’s table has ceased in this country at least, though many of our migrant birds still suffer a perilous passage across Europe.  Nest robbing has declined due to legislation and increased awareness fostered by schools and TV programmes.

The impact of technological change is exemplified by the number of fatalities caused by telegraph wires (as telephone wires continue to be called locally) and electricity wires.  The water-rail seems to have been particularly prone to this – a characteristic commented on by Witherby, so in this case at least we have a species where the local record reveals a national trend. The number of birds, of all species, which have died in this way nationally is incalculable. There are no reports of road-kill specimens but since the motor car was claiming human victims almost from its inception, and was already causing concern by the 1920s, no doubt many birds also succumbed this way even in the early days of motoring.

Pollution and loss of habitat are mentioned as the cause of decline of some species.  The streams and rivers were long used as open sewers by mills and dye-works and it is only in the last twenty years that some are beginning to revive.  In the same period many mill dams have been lost, some peevishly filled in by developers to prevent any conservation lobby.   Mosley mentions loss of woodland and undergrowth reducing some species and the ploughing of marginal land which was noted in the 1880s continued, particularly in the wars.   Conservation projects are now beginning to turn this problem round at least.

Two cases of birds taken by domestic cats are recorded and this emotive issue continues to divide nature lovers.  There is no doubt in the author’s mind that the increase of residential development and the number of cats introduced into the environment has a deleterious impact on bird populations.  Unlike the poor magpie and sparrow hawk, which are variously blamed for the depletion of song-birds, the domestic, cat, due to human support, has proliferated far beyond any natural carrying capacity of the environment. Other human introductions such as the mink and grey-squirrel have also taken their toll.

At a time when fears of climate change due to global warming have raised concerns about the impact of extreme weather, we have the example of the great storm of 1895 and the impact on sea-birds apparent from the death of several Little Auk in the area. The irruption of Pallas’s Sand Grouse has been attributed to drought/heavy snowfall on the steppes of central Asia and is a reminder that different species have different ways of responding to climate change, which can be potentially disastrous.


Since the first draft of this was written Huddersfield Birdwatchers Club published ‘The Birds of the Huddersfield Area’ by Paul & Betty Bray in 2008.  This is a useful addition especially for the years since the 1930s which are not fully covered by the above article.  The early references I have collected, not included in Mosley’s ‘Birds…’, were offered to HBC, but for some reason they declined to use them in their publication. Since this was posted the following reference to the survey has appeared on Huddersfield Birdwatchers Club Forum site, which may throw some light on HBC’s reluctance to use my research:

‘Reply #1 – Jul 22nd, 2016 at 6:32pm’

‘I had a look at this when we were considering a facsimile of mosley’s book .
Very interesting . But the local historian is one apart!’

 I’m not sure what the ‘But’ means, or the exclamation mark, however, I take the ‘one apart’ as a compliment !

HBC has since digitalised Mosley’s ‘Birds….’, which is available on their website – but without any reference to this survey which provides the only historical background to Mosley’s list. Meanwhile, I would be pleased to receive any criticisms of this page which help to improve it.



Abbreviations of Main References :

Clarke and Roebuck , Handbook of Yorkshire Vertebrata  1881.

[CPH] – C.P. Hobkirk, ‘Huddersfield – Its’ History and Natural History’  (1859.  ; 2nd Edition 1868)

[HEW + date] Huddersfield Weekly Examiner.

[JV 1884] – James Varley’s Diaries and biography published by SLM

[SLM 1915] –  Seth Lister Mosley, ‘Birds of the Huddersfield District’ (1915) This has now been digitalised by Huddersfield Birdwatchers’ Club :

[SLM + date] –  ‘Nature Around Huddersfield’ or earlier column in the Huddersfield Weekly Examiner.

[S&A] –  E. J. C. Swabey and E. W. Aubrook , ‘Birds  Around Huddersfield’ Huddersfield Naturalist, Photographic and Antiquarian Society and the Tolson Memorial Museum (1958). (T.D. Bisiker, A.L. Collins, R. Crossley, J.C.S. Ellis, G. Harrison, R. Jones, O. White, and G, Write, and Halifax naturalists observations in the Naturalist,  contributed to S&A’s list).

[1905] – Huddersfield Examiner  December 2 and 30, natural history column bird list compiled by SLM.

AB Collection – Alfred Beaumont Collection.

[HBC Atlas] – Huddersfield Birdwatchers’ Club ‘Atlas of the Breeding Birds of the Huddersfield Area 1987-1992’  (2000).

[HBC] – Huddersfield Birdwatchers’ Club Annual Report.

[BR – 1985] Blackmoorfoot Reservoir 1974-1985., Mike Denton HBC

Hollom, PAD –  ‘Popular Handbook of British Birds’ (1955)

Witherby ‘ Handbook of British Birds’

Nats Jour – Naturalists Journal, published Charles Mosley, Museum press,  Lockwood.

Nelson The Birds of Yorkshire.: being a historical account of the avi-fauna of the county’ ,  by  T. H. N elson. w.b.o.u. with the co-operation of  W. Eagle Clarke. F.R.S.E., F.L.S. and F. Boyes. in two volumes. 1907

YNR – Yorkshire Naturalists’ Recorder, journal of WRCNS.

(All photos are by the author, unless otherwise stated. People are welcome to copy these, or use any of the information, provided it is not for financial gain and an acknowledgement is made.)


Family GAVIIDAE – the Divers
Genus Gavia.

BLACK THROATED DIVER                                                                     ( Gavia arctica)
1915 –  Eddison’s claim ‘doubtful’.

1917  21 Jan – Slaithwaite, Thorpes Reservoir.  Shot – already in summer plumage. [SLM-1917 Feb 17; HNS Rept]

1922 – Marsden.   [SLM – 1922 Feb 4]

1954 – Brownhill Reservoir between 6 and 25 February . [S&A].

1958 – Irregular visitor [S&A].

1970 – 17 Jul Digley Reservoir. [HBC]

1977 – 5 Nov, Blackmoorfoot, single bird, first record for reservoir. [BR 1984]

1979 – February, Elland Gravel Pits  (Fifth record) [HBC]

1983 – seventh record. [HBC 2001]

2001 – 21-23 Jan R. Calder, Brookfoot, Elland. Eight record. [HBC]

 RED THROATED DIVER                                                                          (Gavia stellata)

1844 – Eddison.  One brought to JRM from Slaithwaite.

1899- Sept, Marsden, Wessenden, pair stay for week, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1978 – 16 Oct, Blackmoorfoot, second record on site.  [BR 1984]

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER                                                                    (Gavia immer)

1749. Diaries of Rev. Joseph Ismay of Mirfield, 29 Sept: ‘A great speckled loon, or diver, was shot here…the only one perhaps ever seen in this country.’ (By ‘country’ he may just mean the locality).

1900-1-winter Blackmoorfoot  Reservoir. Shot by F.Greenwood of Meltham.

1954- Brownhill Reservoir 23 February. This bird and the above black-throated diver were seen together between 23 and 25 February, when both left. . [S&A]

1958 Irregular visitor [S&A]

1979 – 23 Dec Ingbirchworth Reservoir (ninth record) [HBC]

1981 and 1983 October, Blackmoorfoot, third and fourth records for res. [BR 1984]

Family PODICIPITIDAE – the Grebes
Genus Podiceps 

GREAT CRESTED GREBE                                                                     (Podiceps cristatus)

Great Crested Grebe
 One in AB collection stuffed by JRM, provenance unrecorded. [SLM1915]

1899 – Ingbirchworth., shot, SkNS (HEW Oct 21)

1908 October 24 – Boshaw Reservoir  (Rev.Hind) [SLM-1915]

may be the same as the one reported shot on  Ramsden Reservoir  and stuffed for Mrs Haigh. In 1924 it was acquired for Ravensknowle. [SLM 1915]. [SLM 1924]

1914- Blackmoorfoot reservoir, pair seen by Mr Freer, brother in law of Mr Falconer of Wilberlee  [SLM – 6 Mar 1915]

1917 December – Honley. Shot. (Johnson Wilkinson)[SLM-1918 March 23]

1924 – Resident in south part of district [SLM – 1924 May 3; Sep 27]

1954 April 4 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, still in winter plumage . [S&A]

1956 November 17 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, flock of seven . [S&A].

1958 – Winter visitor, occasional. [S&A]

2001 – Six pairs breeding at about four sites.

 RED-NECKED GREBE                                                                             (Podiceps griseigna)

1844 – no evidence to support Eddison’s claim ‘many’ in area. [SLM 1915].

1979 – 18 Feb Elland Gravel Pits (sixth record)

SLAVONIAN GREBE                                                                                   (Podiceps auritus)

1859 -Eared Grebe.( Podiceps auratus) shot on Sheard’s Dam, Kirkheaton. [CPH]

1915 – rare visitor – father had one from Slaithwaite.

2000/2001 – rare visitor.  Blackmoorfoot one stayed17 days. [HBC]

 BLACK-NECKED GREBE                                                 ( Podiceps caspicus/nigricollis )
1945 December 9 – Snape Reservoir,  near Holmfirth. Four. . [S&A]

1949 April 16 – Blackmoorfoot  Reservoir.  [S&A]

1956 November 9 – Blackmoorfoot  Reservoir two.  [S&A]

1958 – Passage migrant and visitor, rare. [S&A]

 LITTLE GREBE                                                                               (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

1830s – Kings Mill dam.  Dabchick. [JV 1884].

1859 – A pair shot at King’s Mill, and one at Dalton. [CPH]

1897 –  Shelley Woodhouse Dam, caught, SkNS (HEW 18 Dec)

1901 – Marsden, Wessenden, breeds ‘one of the young birds being brough to me to preserve.’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902).

1906 – Lindley. Reported by J.Robertshaw to Naturalists Society [HEW 1906 Jun 23].

Sheard’s dam,   ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]
1909 – 29 Sept, Ramsden Res (Rev. H.N.Hind) [SLM 1915].

1915 – ‘Tom Pudding’. A few pairs left. [SLM-1915]

1916 – end of year, little Grebe (Podiceps fluviatalis) ‘…and almost extinct native of the district , while resting on the gound some distance from water was seized by a dog at Mapplin Lees, Marsh’.  William Falconer 27 Feb 1917 ‘The Naturalist 1 April 1917.

  1. Sheard’s Dam, Kirkheaton. Breeding took place in the district in 1950. Two on 1950- Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 23 October. Two. Also Gunthwaite. [S&A]

1969 – Sept, Blackmoorfoot, Bretton

2000 – Resident breeder – Ingbirchworth [HBC Atlas]

2001 – breeding at five sites

Family PROCELLARIIDAE – the Petrels
Genus Oceanodroma

LEACH’S PETREL                                                                         (Oceanodroma leucorrhoa )
1874- Halifax. Shot. Reported to 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society by James Varley  [HEW 9 Jan 1875].

c.1895 – Marsden.  stuffed by Gough for T.P.Crosland, Wessenden Lodge.

1915 – ‘Fork-tailed petrel’ [SLM 1915].

1952 October – Brighouse and Woodsome , following storms at sea when the birds have been driven inland. [S&A].

1958 – Irregular visitor [S&A]

STORM PETREL                                                                              (Hydrobates pelagicus)

1915 –  Eddison’s claim doubtful since SLM thnks all local occurrences ‘Fork-tailed petrel’ 1912 – 14 Oct Lindley Moor, A Kaye. (HNS Rept)

1979 – 14 Aug, Brighouse, picked up by canal. Died later. Ringed in Stockholm 1968. Third record. [HBC]

Genus Procellaria L.

MANX SHEARWATER                                                            ( Procellaria/Puffinus puffinus)

1859 – One caught at Newtown Mill Dam. [CPH]  In collection of Wm Briggs, shown at HNS exhibition.  HC 27 Sep 1862

1861-James Varley.  caught catching goldfish on mill dam. [SLM-1921 July 2]]

c.1878 – Dalton  [SLM 1915].

1892- Crosland Moor, caught exhausted and given to SLM  [SLM 1915] Exhibits it at: HNS meeting, ‘about which he made some very interesting remarks.’ HEW 1 Oct..

(HEW 12 Nov – Greetland, another Manx Shearwater caught near mill dam, being cured by James Peel of Turbary Farm, Greetland).

Genus Fulmarus

FULMAR                                                                                                       (Fulmaris glacialis)

Reported in Huddersfield by Eddison [SLM-1915]

1918 Nov 20 – (Squire Garside). [SLM – 1921 Oct 8]

Family SULIDAE – the Gannet
Genus Sula.

GANNET                                                                                                       ( Sula bassana)
1859 – One caught on Emley Moor [CPH]

1854- Slaithwaite. Caught alive. [SLM-1915]

1868- ‘Shortly after noon on Sunday a large handsome bird was observed flying over Longwood. After a few minutes it was seen to fall near the tower at Longwood Edge, where it was captured, in a totally exhausted condition, by Joseph Sykes.  On examination it proves to be a garnet [sic[, a denizen of Scotland. It measures two feet 8 inches from beak to tail, and six feet three inches across the wings when spread out. It has a yellow head, the colour being nearly white all down the back, and the tips of the wings are black. The bird was secured alive, and it is now at the Rose and Crown Inn, Longwood.  A similar bird was seen to pass over Longwood about half an hour after the other had fallen. (HC 15 Aug).  At that time a ‘fearful tempest’ was recorded in the Irish Sea off Liverpool leading to numerous shipwrecks.   (Is this the one recollected by SLM ?)

1909- near Holmebridge, stuffed for Mr Turner of Upperthong (Rev. Hind) [SLM-1915]

1912 February – dead at Kirkburton , A Kaye [HNS Rept]

  1. Caught alive after flying into telephone wires at Hall Ing, Honley. Reported to TMM by Franklin Hallas. According to Raymond Hallas, who told the present author he had been the one who actually caught it, they were advised on the best way of killing  without damaging the specimen.   [SLM-1922 Sept 9]]

1998 – 30 Dec.  Fixby, flying over. (twelth  record) [HBC]

Family PHALACROCORACIDAE – the Cormorants
Genus Phalacrocorax Briss.

CORMORANT                                                                               ( Phalacrocorax carbo)
1859 – One shot at Learoyd’s Mills, [CPH]
1870 – near Huddersfield [SLM-1915]

1910- Longwood Reservoir, autumn, male and female shot, stuffed for Alf Kaye, Lindley [ E Fisher HNS Rept. ;SLM-1915]

1916 – Woodsome flying over. Shot at by keeper, missed. [ SLM – 1916 May 6]

1917- Dec ? Boshaw reservoir, head, tail and wings shown to SLM of bird ‘some foolish man’ had shot and then buried [SLM 1918 Jan 5]

1954 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 14 November

1958 – Irregular visitor. [S&A]

1969 – Sept , Blackmoorfoot. [HBC]

1979 – Blackmoorfoot, Yateholme [HBC]

2001-  Increasing passage and winter visitor. 100 in December. Twenty localities.

 SHAG                                                                         (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)


Dead Shag photographed on Holy Island

c.1875- Folly Hall.  On mill chimney. Shot and stuffed by Robert Kaye. [SLM-1915]

1969 – 26-27 March ‘small mill dam off the Honley Brockholes road’ [HBC]

1979 –  9 Dec, Bretton. (fifth record).

Family ARDEIDAE – the Herons
Genus Ardea L.

HERON                                                                                                         (Ardea cinerea )

heron (2)

1854-Slaithwaite reservoir.  Occasional visitor.  ‘Those which come are mostly full grown birds in the autumn, unfortunately they are nearly always shot and very often by some thickhead who does not know what to do with the bird when he has shot it’ [SLM-1915].

1870 HE 15 Oct: HNS Wm Nettleton, Sewage question – fish, kingfishers and herons driven away.

1874-Storthes Hall-shot.   Reported to 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society by James Varley  [HEW 9 Jan 1875].

1879 – 1 Jan Dean valley, Hepworth.  (HEW 31 Oct)

1880-Bilberry reservoir.  1890-Harden Moss [SLM-1915 Oct 9]

1891 –one seen a few weeks ago shot near Ford, Mr Dearnley , SLM HEW 28 Nov.

1894-  Saville Wood Bottom, Storthes Hall, gentleman captures heron.  5’6in wing span, 4’1in long with 7 in beak.  ‘This is the first time for many years a bird of this description has been seen in the neighbourhood.’  (HEW3 Nov)

1904. Holmfirth Express 15 Oct:

HExp 041015

  1. Honley, pair on H Brook & Sons dam., ‘short time ago’. CVG 3 Jan.

1915 – Honley (Arthur Litlewood) [SLM – 1915 Oct 23]  Yateholme, Ramsden, Holmestyes res, fairly frequent visitors. [SLM 1915]

1920 – Lower Millshaw.  Overflying. [SLM – 1920 Mar 6].

1921 – Ingbirchworth. (Joe Allsop). [SLM – 1921 Mar 19].

Nov 10 -Beaumont Park, overflying (Mr Smedley, gardner). [SLM – 1921 Nov 26].

1931 – Pair flyingnear dams at Netherthong. ‘These are not very common birds about here and only come when we have sharp winds’. [C.G. HExp. 2 May]

1953 October  11- near Holmfirth. Shot.

1957 August 19 – Elland Gravel pit.

1958 – Irregular visitor. [S&A]

1969 – Sept. Four flying over Meltham

1975 – breeding at Bretton. By 1992, 315 young produced by colony. [HBC Atlas]

1979 – decrease in area.

1990s-2004 One or more pairs resident in Holme Valley.

2001 – reported from 35 sites and all types of habitat. Scammonden 7 nests. Breton Lake island 32 birds. [HBC]

Genus Egretta

GREAT WHITE EGRET                                                                            (Egretta alba)

1989   10 May, Bretton

2001   18 Nov, possible, Bretton. [HBC]

Genus Botaurus

BITTERN                                                                                          (Stellaris/Botaurus stellaris )
One shot at Armitage Bridge.  In AB collection, stuffed by Gough. [SLM-1915]

1908-Harden Clough, stuffed by Gough for Wright Hirst of Fox Royd Green [SLM 6 Nov].

Genus Ciconia

WHITE STORK                                                                                       (Ciconia ciconia)

1978 – one seen in area

1998 – 25-27 April. Bretton. Only third record this century. From Harewood ?

2001-  12 May Cawthorne. From Harewood ?

2004 April 24-Scammonden.  Pair nesting at Horbury or from Harewood ?

Genus Plegadis

GLOSSY IBIS                                                                                               (Plegadis falcinellus)

1911-September, Netherthong, Holmfirth area. [SLM-1915] seen by Rev. Hind and Bertie Shaw, both reliable witnesses. Rev.Hind, from Netherthong, identified it from a cased specimen at the  Museum and when SLM went out to look for it, he called on Shaw at Holmfirth, who, without prompting, described a black curlew-like bird he had seen on his wall.[SLM-1924 Jan 19]

(This Mediterranean bird is an irregular autumn visitor, usually to S. and E.coast of England, with 26 confirmed sightings between 1958 and 1985, and 17 in 1986 alone, including a group of five.  [British Birds Vol 80, No.11 Nov 1987].)

Family ANATIDAE – Swans, Geese and Ducks
Genus Anas L.

MALLARD                                                                                                (Anas platyrhynchus)
1830s – Kings Mill dam [JV 1884].

1859 – A pair shot at Slaithwaite, and one at King’s Mill. [CPH]

1902- Marsden, Wessenden, frequent visitor, bred twice, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1915 –Probably once resident.  Only stragglers. Bred at Whiteley [SLM-1915]   .

1958 – Resident, common.

1959- 47 released in area by Huddersfield and District Wildfowlers Association. Chairman T Clifford Williams of Honley says they are not for shooting. HED 18 Sep.

2001 – resident breeder , common winter visitor.  At Blackmoorfoot, out of 76 ducklings only eight reached flying stage. Previous year only 2 out of 64. [HBC]

TEAL                                                                                                             (Anas crecca)
1830s – Kings Mill dam [JV 1884].

1859 – Five on a dam in Squirrel “Wood, near Woodsome. [CPH]

1884   16 Nov – Fixby. Shot by keeper, Jos Firth. [SLM 1885 Jan 3]

1896 – SkNS (HEW Feb 15)

1903 – Saville Wood. Shot by keeper.  Flock of 5. [SLM-1923 Feb 10]]

1911 – Cooks Study, pair shot by keeper [SLM 1915].

1958 – Winter visitor, variable.

2001 – resident breeder, common passage and winter visitor. Increase over last year from 13 to 17 sites. Numbers lower than usual.

 GARGANEY                                                                                      (Anas querquedula)

1915 – rare visitor, mentioned by Eddison, ‘but it is included here under protest against statements which have every appearance of being surmises and not stated to be such.’ [SLM 1915].

2001 – rare summer migrant. 13 May, pair at Horbury Wyke.

 GADWALL                                                                                                        (Anas strepera)

1970 – 23 Apr. Blackmoorfoot, pair.

2001 – at six sites, only odd ones or a pair. [HBC]

 WIGEON                                                                                                 (Anas Penelope )

DSC_10381830s – Kings Mill dam [JV 1884].

1859 –   A pair shot at Dalton Lees. [CPH]

1915 – Also in former years,  Sheards Dam, Slaithwaite and Cook’s Study – shot by keeper [SLM-1915]

1958 – Winter visitor, variable.

2001 – common passage and winter visitor. Small numbers 12 locations.

 PINTAIL                                                                                                         (Anuas acuta)
1915 – n.d. one shot by keeper on Cupwith reservoir. [SLM 1915].

1958 – Winter visitor, rare. Reservoirs at Cupwith and Slaithwaite.

2001 – uncommon passage and winter visitor. Five sites.

 SHOVELER                                                                                                  ( Anas clypeata.)
1915 – very rare visitor. Eddison records it on moorland waters. [SLM 1915].

1927-  Bretton Lakes   [SLM 23 Apr].

1929 – Wilshaw. Four (Joe Allsop). [SLM – 1929 Jan 26].

1939 – Elland Sewage Works, 26 July.

1957 April 27- Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, two.  [S&A].

1958 – Irregular visitor.

2001 – uncommon passage and winter visitor. Less than 2000, six sites.

 EGYPTIAN GOOSE                                                                         (Alopochen aegyptiacus)

1895 – Slaithwaite. Shot (Possible escapee?)

 Genus Neta

RED-CRESTED POCHARD                                                                                 (Netta rufina)

1982 – Blackmoorfoot, 8 September, probable escape.

 Genus Aythya

SCAUP                                                                                                          ( Authya marila)
1830s – Kings Mill dam [JV 1884].

1915 – doubtful [SLM 1915].

1939 – Ringstone Edge Reservoir. Three drakes and two ducks.

1952 October Blackmoorfoot Reservoir.

1958 – Winter visitor, uncommon.

2001 – scarce passage and winter visitor. Only two males Blackmoorfoot, 2 males 20 July, single female, 4 Aug, male 4 Sep.

TUFTED DUCK                                                                                          (Aythya fuligula)
1858 – Clarke ‘Dalton, near Huddersfield, Dec., 1858 (Hobkirk’s Nat. Hist. of Hudd., 1859, p. 145)’.

1915 – rare visitor, recorded by Eddison but no further evidence. [SLM 1915]

1958 – Winter visitor, variable.

1969 – winters at Blackmoorfoot (maximum 5 Nov – 53), Bretton Park and Deerhill.

1974 – Blackmoorfoot, 1 Oct – 107.

1975 – Blackmoorfoot 11 Nov -32. (BR 1984)

1985 – Bretton, four pairs rear 24 young. Bilberry one pair, three young.

2001- breeding at four sites. [HBC]

POCHARD                                                                                                             (Aythya ferina)
1830s – Kings Mill dam [JV 1884].

1879 – 15 Oct, Kidroyd, one killed. [SLM 1915].

1914 – specimen in museum shot dome years ago at Ramsden reservoir. [SLM 5Sep]

1920 – Slaithwaite. Shot. [SLM – 1920 Mar 6].

1958 – Winter visitor, variable.

2001 – common passage and winter visitor

WHITE-EYED POCHARD                                                                                     (Aythya nyroca)
1859 – Ferruginous Duck.  (Anas ferruginea, Pen).  Shot at Dalton, December, [CPH]

1947January 1 – Ringstone Edge Reservoir. (G.R. Edwards).

1958 – Winter visitor, exceptional.

Genus Bucephala

GOLDEN EYE                                                                                       (Bucephala clangula )
1859 – Frequents inland waters; one shot at King’s Mill. [CPH]

1952 June 21 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. A female – very unusual since usually  winter visitor. [S&A]

2001 – regular but uncommon winter visitor, 15 waters.

Genus Clangula Leach

LONG-TAILED DUCK                                                            (Clangula Hyemalis)
1920- [SLM-1924 Aug 2].]

1939 January  20 – Ringstone Edge Reservoir

1956 November –  Blackmoorfoot Reservoir,.

1958 – Winter visitor, exceptional

1982 – 18 Oct, Blackmoorfoot, single female/immature. Third record for water.

Genus Melanitta Boie

COMMON SCOTER                                                                                  (Melanitta nigra)
1891 – Marsden.   [SLM 1915].

1915 – formerly at [SLM 1915]. Cook’s Study.

1917 – Slaithwaite. Thorpes Dam. Shot [ SLM – 1917 Feb 17] 1917 ‘The Naturalist 1 April 1917 ‘an occasional winter straggler into the district.’ Stuffed by Alfred Clarke of Lindley.

1950 – December 21 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir.  Two males.

1958 – Winter visitor, rare.

2001 – scarce to uncommon passage visitor. Only Blackmoorfoot, and Ringstone Edge. [HBC]

 VELVET SCOTER                                                                   (Melanitta perspicillata)

1915 –  doubtful, on Eddison’s list.

1975 – 19 July, Blackmoorfoot two males (fifth record for reservoir). (BR 1984)

Genus Mergus L.

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER                                               ( Mergus serrator)
1884 – flock of 30 at Kirkheaton [HEW 20 Dec].  2 December three shot. [SLM-1915]

1952 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 27 September  (1)

1953 – 3 October (2).

1958 – Winter visitor, rare. [S&A]

1969 – 25 Oct. Blackmoorfoot, pair.

2001-  scarce to uncommon passage and winter visitor. “9 Apr, male Brownhill Res; 9 Nov, male and female Blackmoorfoot and singles on four other days.

 GOOSANDER                                                                                  (Mergus merganser )


Female Goosander on River Holme



Male Goosander – Magdale Dam

(1884 – Kirkheaton.  But may be one of Mergansers reported above).

1953 November 8 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir (3). . [S&A]

1958 – Winter visitor, rare. [S&A]

1969 – January, Blackmoorfoot, one male nine females. Also seen at Digley.  An unusual number this year – only six recorded in previous ten years. [HBC]

1974-1984 Blackmoorfoot ‘a marked increase in records’ Only in 1978 and 1980 not seen.

2001-  regular passage and winter visitor., on R. Colne, Blackmoorfoot and other reservoirs, Bretton Lakes and ,26 Feb. Magdale Dam.

 SMEW                                                                                                            (Mergus albellus)

1959 – Blackmoorfoot,  first record in area.

1970 –  Blackmoorfoot, second occurrence, two sighted.

1974 – 8 Nov. Blackmoorfoot – 5.

2001 – 12 Feb, Ingbirchworth – 3. None recorded previous year [HBC].

RUDDY DUCK                                                                                      (Oxyura jamaicensis)

1977 – 15 May  first sighted in area at Blackmoorfoot. Female seen following year. (Species first escaped from Slimbridge in 1952).

2001 – irregular breeder and infrequent visitor – Scout Dyke, Ingbirchworth, Elland.

 Genus Tadorna

SHELDUCK                                                                                              (Tadorna tadorna )
’Sheldrake’ on Gunthwaite dam – four shot. [SLM-1915]

1940 –  August 18 – Ringstone Edge Reservoir, (2).

1956 –  November – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir,  (1).

1957 – January 4 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir (5). 1957 April 15 (3). [S&A]

1970 – notable increase this year, especially Blackmoorfoot and Ingbirchworth.

2001- uncommon passage visitor. Largest number six Blackmoorfoot, 13 Oct.

Genus Anser Briss.

GREY LAG-GOOSE                                                                         (Anser anser)
c.1900- Marsden, Wessenden,, seven alight in rough weather, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1915 –  doubtful, recorded from Marsden.

1951 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 18 December  (30).

1958 – Winter visitor, rare.

2001 – uncommon passage and feral visitor, recorded in small numbers from ten sites though probably some duplication.  Highest count 15 on 19 Dec at Bretton. [HBC]

 PINK-FOOTED GOOSE                                                                 (Anser  brachyrhunchus)
1958 – Winter visitor, uncommon.

2001 – Uncommon to common passage visitor. 3600 birds recorded mainly overflying to NW on 12 dates. [HBC]

 Genus Branta Scop.

BARNACLE GOOSE                                                                           (Branta, leucopis)


Barnacle Goose at Bretton Hall (2010)

LM 19 Dec 1835

1873 March 2 – ‘I saw two lots of Barnicle geese flying over Almondbury Bank at one lot of five and one of seven. They were flying north.’ . [JV-1884]

1891- Wessenden Reservoir.  Flock of 9. Several shot and stuffed by Gough.

1958 – Winter visitor, rare.

2001 – rare visitor and feral breeder. [HBC]


CANADA GOOSE                                                                 _______________(Branta Canadensis)
1903 –  Gunthwaite, Celandine (HEW 9 May)

1915 – ‘domesticated’, one shot at Shepley some years ago, formerly kept at Shepley Mill and Milnsbridge House, egg from latter pair in museum, donated by Rev. GD Armitage. HEW 19 Dec 1925. [SLM 1915].

1927-  Bretton Lakes   [SLM 23 Apr].

1938 – introduced birds, breed at Bretton.

1958 – Winter visitor. Frequently pass over the district. [S&A]

1959- 12 from Cumbria released in area by Huddersfield and District Wildfowlers Association. Chairman T Clifford Williams of Honley says they are not for shooting.  Association recently formed – 70 members.HED 8 Sep.

1979 – 12 Dec, Bretton park, maximum 202 (including 46 young reared)

2001 – Jan, Blackmoorfoot, max. – 54, Oct -67, Scout Dyke 154. [HBC]

2004 – August, 100 plus [AB]


Canada Geese on Steps Mill Dam

Genus Cygnus.

MUTE SWAN                                                                                               (Cygnus olor)
1907 – Cupwith Reservor, shot (Alfred Dean)  [HEW 4 Jan 1908]

1958 – Resident, not common. [S&A]

1958 – Bretton, [HBC Atlas]

1969-65, 1973-80, Bretton.  Middlemost’s Dam

1979 – Bretton, Burnlee and dam at Holmfirth

1987 – Wildspur Mill dam, breeding.

2001-  Resident, occasional breeder.  Mainly Calder.

WHOOPER SWAN                                                                                      (Cygnus Cygnus )
1955 January – Digley Reservoir . About 100

1958 – Winter visitor, increasing [S&A]

1970 – 20 Dec, Ringstone Edge, two birds.

1974 – Jan, Blackmoorfoot – 1

1975 – Jan, Blackmoorfoot – 7

2001-  20 March. Ringstone Edge, 30.  Largest flock recorded since 1994.

 BEWICK’S SWAN                                                                           (Cygnus bewicki)
1904-Wessenden Reservoir. Identified in 1917 ‘This is quite a new addition to the birds of the district.  [SLM-1917 Mar 17]

1921 – Lepton , in the Tolson Memorial Museum[S&A].

1949- January, Ringstone Edge, [S&A]

1958 – Irregular visitor. [S&A]

1970 – 11 Feb, Digley. single bird.  5 Dec, 2 adults and 3 juveniles.

2001-  3 Nov Blackmoorfoot, three adults.

Family FALCONIDAE – the falcons (Accipitridae and Falconidae)

Genus Aquila

GOLDEN EAGLE                                                                                        (Aquila chrysaetus)

1851-  Marsden, Shooters Nab, pair shot.  Used to nest here and at other side of Pennines at Ravenstones.  Bygone Marsden, Naturalist 122:3  1987

Genus Buteo

BUZZARD                                                                                                     (Buteo buteo)

1840s – Frequent [Eddison].

1859 – Buzzard. Kirklees ; Storthes Hall, one trapped in the wood some years ago: rare .[CPH]

1899- ‘A Rare Bird Shot Near Huddersfield – On Saturday last, Sept 29th [sic], as Mr Sam  Mellor, Nab, Golcar and Mr Arthur Cotton, Highfield , Slaithwaite, were out shooting at Westwood Edge, Golcar, Mellor shot a bird called the common buzzard, a very rare bird. Its wings measure four feet from tip to tip. It is now at John Gough and Son’s, taxidermists and naturalists, Almondbury Bank, near Huddersfield, for stuffing and setting up.’ (HEW 7 Oct)

1915 – ‘doubtful’ [SLM 1915]

1917 – wheeling round hill above Holmfirth, ’  (Mr Lockwood) [SLM 27 Oct].

1955 August 20  – Buckstones. [S&A]

1953 – October and December at Sheepridge and Fartown . ‘Probable’. [S&A]

1957 March 2 – Fixby. . [S&A]

1958 – Irregular visitor [S&A]

1979 – 11 Mar, Cawthorne.

ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD                                                                  (Buteo lagopus).
1915 –  Holmfirth moors ‘some years ago’ S.L. Mosley. Stuffed by Middlemost of Longwood.

SPARROW HAWK                                                                                            (Accipiter nisus)
1859 – Frequent. .[CPH]

1882-  fairly common, SLM HE 13 May.

1905 – formerly common, though only occasionally seen. Still breeds in district.

Skelmanthorpe.  Breeds every year (Fred Lawton)  [HEW Dec 9].

1915 – Resident, formerly common, seen occasionally, eg. Hade Edge, Wessenden        Head. [SLM-1915]

1916- 8 and 9 Jul, Lockwood, (Mr Hadfield) [SLM 22 Jul 1916].

1916-  Aug. one caught in Sorthes Hall Wood, [SLM 10 Mar 1917]

1917 – Pair bred in southern part of district (Mr Lockwood) [ SLM – Nov 3]

1919 – Honley. Killed by hen when trying to take chick. (E.Heaton) [SLM – 1919 May 3]

Number of birds seen in district and seem to be on the increase which is necessary to help keep down sparrows. [SLM – 1919 Sep 13].

1921 – Kirkheaton Mill. Killed by flying into glass pane.

1958 – Resident, uncommon [S&A]

1969 – only two sightings [HBC]

1970 – breeding in only one locality.

1979 – breeding in six localities and increase in sightings.

1980s – ‘phenomenal increase’  [BR 1984].  well distributed.

2000 – resident breeder.

GOSHAWK                                                                                            (Accipiter gentiles)

1966/67 – bred.  Falconer’s escapee ?

1974 – bred.

1977/78 –bred

1979 – birds shot.

2000 – sporadic breeder, Skelmanthorpe, Scammonden, Lindley Moor. [HBC Atlas]

Genus Milvus

RED KITE                                                                                                      (Milvus milvus)


‘Dogfight’ between Red Kite, Crow and Buzzard over Honley.

1859 – Seen at Almondbury, in 1853 (by Varley [SLM-1915])  has been observed, but very rarely, near Halifax, and one was seen near Huddersfield, by Waterton, some years ago.[CPH] 

Mr. Allis stated (1844) that it was of very rare occurrence near Halifax, that Mr. Charles Waterton had observed it near Huddersfield, and that Mr. W. Eddison had seen one specimen shot near Penistone…
M r. James Varley, of Almondbury near Huddersfield, informs me that he saw one on the wing near that place in the summer of 1 8 5 3.  (Trans.Y.N.U 1878. )

1905 – once reported now never seen.

2000 – 7 May, Thornhill, Harewood  reintroduction ?

2001 – 8 Aug, Dunford Rd, pair.

Genus Haliaetus.

WHITE-TAILED EAGLE                                                                                        (Haliaetus albicilla)
1921 Feb 3- Derbyshire. Immature one shot. [SLM-1921 Jul 30; Naturalist Feb 1921, ]

1949 May 13- Newsome (Mr Knowles watches it for ten minutes)and May 14 and 26, Netherton,   June seen circling over Skelmanthorpe, also Molly Wood and Wither Wood, other birds disappear,  Arthur Hirst, [HEW28 May,18 Jun]. [S&A]

1958 -Irregular visitor

Genus Pernis

HONEY-BUZZARD                                                                                     (Pernis apivorus)
1859 or 1860 – Storthes Hall district, stuffed by JRM. [SLM-1915]

1874 May 28 – Storthes Hall. Shot. HNS meeting HC 13 Jun.   Reported to the 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society,  by James Varley. [HEW 9 Jan 1875].

Irregular visitor.

1876 – Storthes Hall.  Shot by Mr Pemberton.  ‘Its crop contained one young bird and eggshells of the Missel Thrush.  It measures 32 inches from bill to tail and 4 feet 5 inches the expanse of the wings.’[JV 1884]  (‘All the birds of prey are rare in this district.  this is the second specimen of this species which has been obtained at the same place.  the first is in my collection.’) [HEW, Supplement.  1884 26 Jan] [1905].

1882-  two shot at Storthes Hall, one of them in SLM’s collection SLM HE 13 May.

1979 – Deffer Wood, only third record in district.

2000 – ‘unprecedented influx into the country’ – Blackmoorfoot; Harden; 23 Sep Holmebridge, mobbed by crows, 25 Sep, Holme, harried by Merlin, also Dalton and other places. [HBC]

Genus Circus

MARSH HARRIER                                                                                      (Circus aeruginosus)

2001- rare visitor.  27 Aug. Thornhill, over Calder to Horbury.

HEN-HARRIER                                                                                            (Circus cyaneus)
1905 – ‘Blue hawk’ shot on Meltham Moors probably this bird.  Where is specimen now? (see below).

1915 – reported from Penistone Moors, Hebden Bridge, just outside area. [SLM 1915]

1920- Rastrick , female now in the Tolson Memorial Museum. [S&A]

1958 – Irregular visitor. [S&A]

1969 – 14 Apr, Deffer Wood [HBC]

2001-  rare visitor. ‘a very welcome increase in records of this species’ – Deer Hill, Scammonden, Holme Moor, Wessenden.

MONTAGU’S HARRIER                                                                            (circus pyrargus)
1882 – Metham Moors , young male shot. Stuffed by Mellor.

1891 –,  above specimen added to BPM collection, ‘purchased from the man who stuffed it.’  SLM, HEW 28 Nov.

1950 July 11/12- Longley, female.

1958 – Irregular visitor.

Genus Pandion.

OSPREY                                                                                                       (Pandion haliaetus)
1880-Bilberry Reservoir

1881-  Killed by Seth Senior’s gamekeeper   SLM HE 13 May  1882.   Also reported by SLM in Young Naturalist June, 1881,  now in possession of James Varley. Seen it and wingspan 5 feet.

’One was shot near Deer Hill reservoir some years ago and stuffed by Gough for one of the Seniors of Shepley’ [SLM-1915]

1905 – Deer Hill specimen. Whereabouts not known. Required for Tech Museum.

1915 – a very rare visitor

1952 or 1953 – Riding Wood Reservoir, fishing

1958 – Irregular visitor. Bilberry Reservoir, Deerhill Reservoir [S&A]

1979 – Oct/Nov, Bretton, Digley, Brownhill. [HBC]

1985 – 5 Apr, Crowden Great  Clough. [HBC]

1991 – 23 Apr, Elland; 29 May, Blackmoorfoot, 16 Jun Langsett, 18 June, Yateholme.

1999 – good year for sightings. Six individuals in spring, earliest ever being 22 March, rest in April, including overflying Hinchliffe Mills [HBC]

Genus Falco.

HOBBY                                                                                                         (Falco subbuteo)
1859 – Kirklees, Castle  Hill; rare. A Summer visitant. [CPH]

1915 -One near Castle Hill about 1858. AB collection [SLM-1915]

1883 Kilner Bank. Stuffed by Calvert of Kirkheaton. [SLM-1915 Jul 3]

1905 – accidental occurrences.

1958 – Irregular visitor.

 PEREGRINE                                                                                                (Falco peregrinus)

1952- Elland.

1953 March 15 – Armitage Bridge, Brooke Woods, bell attached to a leg.

1956 – 1981, only ten sightings.

1987-1993, breeding at six sites.

 MERLIN                                                                                                         (Falco columbarius)
Has occurred at “Woodsome, Storthes, and Fixby ; rare.[CPH]

1875 – Slaithwaite Moor.  Shot by AB.

1882-  ‘rare’ SLM HE 13 May.

1898- Henry Morely, reports capture ‘a very rare bird in this neighbourhood.’SkNS, HEW 29 Jan.  Shows stuffed specimen !  HEW 9 Apr.

1899 – Ingbirchworth, shot, SkNS (HEW Oct 21)

1905 – occasionally seen ‘and of course shot wherever possible.’  Eddison and Taylor had cased pair with four young but not known if local.  Breeds Calderdale.

1914 – Ramsden plantation, ‘formerly frequent but now rare’. Pair nested c30 years ago on rocks.[SLM 27 Jun; 5 Sep].

1915 – Formerly resident, now never seen [SLM-1915]

1958 – Resident, moorlands, uncommon.

1969 – 25/29 Dec, in Farnley, Thurstonland area.

1979 – only one breeding pair, young stolen.

 KESTREL                                                                                                     (Falco tinnunculus)

1859 – Not uncommon in woods .[CPH]

1882-  used to breed at Woodsome and Storthes Hall. SLM HE 13 May.

1895 – shot by gamekeeper, a  ‘a most silly practice’ SLM  HEW Aug 17

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘I have ample proof that the kestrel breeds here, having had young birds brought to me which had been picked up on the moor, they having apparently come to grief against the wire fencing enclosing the catchwater drains of the reservoirs.’  Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1905 – formerly abundant but now comparatively rare owing to persecution by keepers and others.

1915 – Formerly resident now a rare visitor. Not seen for some years due to persecution by gamekeepers.  Dalton Bank and Fixby. [SLM-1915]

Woodhouse Hall, dead one found, George Thomson [SLM 1 Jan 1916]

1917 – Whiteley Wood.  Keepers still shooting this bird though it takes mainly mice.    [ SLM – May 26].

Pair bred in southern part of district (Joe Alsop) [ SLM – Nov 3]

1920   Storthes Hall Wood, 5 on gamekeepers ‘museum’, SLM says gamekeeper employed by WRCC, which is supposed to protect birds, and referring to the asylum in whose grounds it occurred  ‘The man employed was not the “fool” to shoot a kestrel, but it seems as if soemone is five times a fool and although an institution [Storthes Hall asylum]  is provided for such near at hand he is still at large’.  No more useful farm bird.

1926.  One seen overThurstonland Bank.  Nest regularly in Halstead Wood. ‘The destruction by gamekeepers and others of the Kestrel is much to be lamented as I think it does a great deal more good than harm.’  ‘FK’, Holmfirth Express. 28 Aug.

1958 – Resident, fairly common. [S&A]

2000 – around 70 breeding pairs.


Family TETRAONIDAE – the Grouse
Genus Lagopus.

RED GROUSE                                                                                              (Lagopus scoticus)



Red Grouse with white wing feathers. Bradshaw.

1853 despite heavy snow in May large quantity of game bagged on Holme Moss and Wessenden Head. HC 20 Aug

1854- Saddleworth Moor, grouse very numerous and strong.  HC 8 Jul 1854  Owners of  moor from Running Hill to Wickens Clough, Diggle use beaters. ‘Such ruthless work as driving at this early part of the season is a thing unheard of here before; but, with the aid of drivers we are informed that they managed to kill upwards of 50 brace dusring the day.  We are told that it is not an uncommon thing to have drivers in the month of November, when birds are exceedingly scarce, as well as willd.  Then, even, driving is considered little better than poaching, but for a prty, who call themselves gentlemen sportsmen, to engage a set of drivers on the second day of the season is althogether unsporstman-like and quite unprecendented in the annals of the sporting circle of grouse shooters in this district.’ Holme Clough and Wessenden Sat last 6 guns kill 66 ½ brace, Monday 84 ½ brace.’HC 19 Aug.

1858 – Holme, Clough and Wessenden Moors, plentiful supply of birds, property of R C Clarke of Noblethorpe. 7 gents bag 73 ½  brace. HC  21 Aug:

1859 – Peculiar to the British Islands ;  frequent. [CPH]

1860- Saddleworth moors and Standedge – heavy hail storms in June blamed for killing most of young grouse on  Mostly old ones bagged after 12th .

Marsden, Wessenden,  large numbers perished during ‘severe winter and inclement weather’.  Survivors weakly .  Some considered deferring shoot this year.(HC 18 Aug)

1862 – Grouse scarce, not recovered from disastrous season three years ago.  Birds also small probably due to cold summer.  Some moors barren of birds.  Heather backward in blooming.  HC 9 Aug.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

1865   Clowes and Wessenden Moors, birds numerous and strong.  Weather unfavourable for sportsmen but some very good bags.  Standedge Moors, birds driven into flocks and made ‘rather wild’ by strormy weather.  HC 19 Aug.

1866 – ‘in the neighbourhood of Holmfirth, where the grounds are rather more sheltered and where the herbage is much earlier than in the more extensive and open plains, there are rather more young birds…’ HC 11 Aug. [Elsewhere worst season than for some years due to heavy snow at incubation time].].

Clowes Moor, young birds scarce but old plentiful.  best bag on first day 50 brace., second 45, third 40.   Saddleworth Moors, birds ‘scarcer and smaller’ than for many years.  Grouse retail for 10-12s brace in London. HC 18 Aug.

1885-  Buckstone Moor, case of willful destruction of eggs, seven men from Brighouse Sunday School party charged.  James Kenyon , gamekeeper. trespass charge dismissed.

1901-  ‘It is confidently asserted that never since 1872 have the grouse prospects been so good on the Meltham Moors as they have been this year.  There is not a vestige of disease among the birds. They are very numerous, well matured and strong on the wing.  Mr William Hirst and party openend on the 12th and with very little effort secured 50 brace. following up with 35 ½  on the next day…’ HEW 17 Aug 1901

1915 – ‘Although I have little sympathy with killing creatures for the mere love of killing I have still less with those persons who prowl the moors to pilfer the eggs and young grouse and perhaps set the moors on fire by carelessly throwing down a lighted match. Such persons be reminded that there is a law to send anyone to prison for a month with hard labour and flogging who sets a moor on fire between February 22nd  and June 24th’ [SLM-1915] 

Wessenden Moor grouse colour variations [SLM-1915 Aug 14]  SLMs distribution map shows the grouse extending from moors on high ground as far as Outlane, Blackmoorfoot and Wilshaw.

1913- Broomhead Moor – 2,843 killed in one day by 9 guns. (HEW 9 Aug 1947).

1917 – Crosland Moor, grouse leave moors to forage around stock-yards. one found dead which had flown into wires. (D Kirk) [SLM 17 Feb 1917].

1933 –  ‘Grouse Shooting on Moors Around the Holme Valley’   ‘Since the war bags of grouse on the opening days have been slightly less than average. The absence during the war of many gamekeepers and also less fox hunting allowed the natural enemies of grouse to multiply. Several years too were very unfavourable. In spite of all the enemies that can deplete the grouse’s chance of rearing its young – weasels, stoats, carrion crows, foxes and poachers –  they are hardy enough to survive in decent numbers should the weather in nesting time be favourable.’  This year exceptionaly mild spring. Disease, never very prevalent in West Riding likely to be non-existent.[HExp 5 Aug]

1951 – Wessenden. ‘short of heather’, according to gamekeeper, Hilton Sykes. 11,000 acres – 30 brace a day, (a good moor – 100 brace a day). (HEW 11 Aug)

1958 – Resident, moorlands. [S&A]

1989 – population crash. Year before 180 brace shot on Dunford Moor alone.

2000 – decline continues[HBC Atlas]

 BLACK GROUSE                                                                                                   (Tetrao tetrix)

1859 – Not common [CPH].

1872-Sept, Butternab, female, G Briar at HNS, YNR.

1881 – Clarke ‘Resident, local, occurring chiefly near Sheffield, sparingly near Huddersfield..’,

1915 – Dunford Bridge breeding colony introduced by Mr Stanhope. [SLM-1915] Strays shot at Cook’s Study [SLM-1915 Aug 14].

Family PHASIANIDAE – the Pheasants
Genus Alectoris Kaup

RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE                                                                                (Alectoris rufa)
1860s-Heaton Lodge. Attempt to introduce it when JRM keeper for George Brook.

1895 – 30 Apr, Longwood, caught alive at Dale St and given to Johnson Wilkinson (Naturalist 5 Jul)   two caught at Longwood [sic] [SLM 1915]     LMINS ,  HEW 18 May 1895.

1899- 4 June, ‘Caccabis rufa’, ‘caught in a small field almost in the centre of Huddersfield, it has been turned out again today. I think these Partridges must be coming gradually further north…’  But plumage of the two occurring in Hudds area ‘dirtier’ than those of Norfolk.   Johnson Wilkinson,  Naturalist 1899.

1909-found dead near Hepworth. [SLM-1915 Aug 14]

1939 Elland 15 October.

1956 3 April – Believed to breed in the district at the present time. A bird was picked up in Westgate, Huddersfield ,  transferred to the Aviary in Ravensknowle Park. [S&A]

1958 – Resident, rare. [S&A]

1968/69 – Bradley [HBC]

1979 – resident breeder at Ingbirchworth, Merrydale, Deerhill.

2000 – scarce and elusive, some hybrid with Alectoris chukar, released for shooting[HBC Atlas]

Genus Perdix Briss.

PARTRIDGE                                                                                                (Perdix perdix)


1830. Very cold winter. Partridge found in cellar of Mr Carr, grocer, Market Place, Huddersfield.  Killed and eaten.( Leeds Intelligencer 28 Jan 1830)

1857 – Honley Wood, 10 eggs stolen from nest by boy. Charged under game act. HC 25 Jul.

1859 – Abundant in all the cultivated parts. [CPH]

1872.- Storthes Hall Moor, farmer  accused of shooting one without game license on land he occupied. Owned by Chas Horsfall Bills Esq.  Pendleton gamekeeper.HEW 16 Mar:

1876- Storthes Hall estate, gamekeeper charged with killing one on a Sunday. (HEW 1 Jan).

1884   Kirkheaton, on land over which Wm Blakeley has shooting rights, trespass in pursuit of game case (HEW 6 Sep)

1891 – Skelmanthorpe, pair, (HEW  18 Apr)

1915 –  formerly shot on Crosland Moor [SLM-1915]  Recently seen at Storthes Hall [SLM-1915 Aug 14]

1925 – covey in secret location (New Mill area ?) Nature Notes : F.Kaye 1925 HExp Aug 22.

1958 – Resident, uncommon. [S&A]

2000 – resident breeder. [HBC Atlas]

Genus Coturnix Bonn.

QUAIL                                                                                                         (coturnix coturnix.)
1844 – Eddison reports them shot in cornfields near Huddersfield. [SLM-1915]

c.1849-Lepton shot by JRM who had stuffed pair, eggs in Museum.  [SLM 30 Oct 1915].

1874   -Almondbury, seen by Varley.

c.1880 shot by Thewlis at Almondbury  [SLM-1922 Nov 25]

1919 – Gunthwaite. [SLM – 1920 Jun 5].

1921 – Nont Sarahs (I. Sutcliffe). [SLM – 1921 Aug 13]

1947- near Holme. A nest with twelve eggs accidentally destroyed by machine mower, 1,100 feet level.  Mr Ralph Chislett, recorder for WR, says non recorded before but earlier this summer heard one calling near his home at Meltham. (HEW 2 Aug)

1951 June 1 – Rawthorpe Green. Male killed by cat.

1958 – Summer resident, rare[S&A]

1969 – 12/13 Jun, 12/17 Jul  Crosland Moor.

1970 – invasion year.

1979 – Whitely Common, heard but not seen

1989 – invasion year. At eleven locations, bred, eg at Castleshaw

2000 – rare migrant breeder.

Genus Phasianus L.

PHEASANT                                                                                       (Phasianus colchicus)

1859 – Pheasant.  Introduced ; Grimescar, Woodsome,Whitley, &c. [CPH]

1915 -Bred at Whteley Hall and Storthes Hall.  ‘Few in district now’. White one shot while ago in Mollicar Wood. [SLM-1915 Aug 14]

1919 –  pair of birds stuffed c.60 years ago, without white rings, believes this type now extinct in area. [SLM 4 Oct].

1930- Scissett unnamed lady’s estate, ‘take refuge in gardens when shoots on. The Tramp’, HEW 21 Jun:

1958 – Resident, common where protected. [S&A]

2000 – resident breeder.

Family RALLIDAE – the rails
Genus Rallus L.

WATER-RAIL                                                                                              ( Rallus aquaticus)
1859 – Frequents marshes, streams, and the banks of rivers ; has occurred at Dalton. [CPH] 1850s pair shot on Fenay Beck by JRM in museum. [SLM 1915]

1884 – one blown in by gale [SLM Dec 20]

1897- Skelmanthorpe. Common this season SkNS, HEW 20 Nov.)

1899- Crosland Hall. [SLM-1915 Oct 9] According to minute book of Huddersfield Naturalist and Photographic Society G T Porritt exhibited the bird at the meeting of 25 November, having found it in the grounds of his house two days earlier. He ‘was unable to account for its presence there’.

1912 – 5 Apr Marsden , Alfred Dean. Shot on moors above Drop Clough, Charles Mosley, The Naturalist, March 1 1916.

1915 – rare visitor [SLM 1915]

1915  ‘In November last a Water Rail was brought to me , which had been picked up on the railway embankment that crosses the bottom of Deep Clough. Its skull was broken as though it had collided against something in its flight, possibly the telegraph wires.’ Charles Mosley, The Naturalist, March 1 1916.

1922 – Cawthorne. Killed by wires. (Douglas Charlesworth) [SLM – 1922 Oct 28]

1928 – Boshaw. Found with broken leg after flying into wires, which had not been up long. (Mr Ellis) [SLM – 1928 Dec 1]

1946 March 31 -Barkisland. Killed by telegraph wires.

1950 – near Huddersfield. Shot.

1958 – Winter visitor, rare. [S&A]

1969/1970  – Bretton, single bird. [HBC]

1979 – Bretton and Elland gravel Pits. [HBC]

Genus Porzana

BAILLON’S CRAKE                                                                                   ( Porzana pusilla)

1874 May 29 – Horne Dam, Kirkheaton.  Shot by Mr Challand.  Sold to JRM for 6d and given to SLM.  Part of Beaumont Park collection sold in 1890s. . [JV-1884]  [SLM-1915]

At the 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society James Varley reported a Baillons Crake shot on this date.  [HEW 9 Jan 1875]. Also Clarke ‘Kirkheaton, May 29, 1874 (Palmer, Zool, 1874, p. 4159)’ .

SPOTTED CRAKE                                                                                     (Porzana porzana)

1862-Fenay Bridge. Shot by JRM.  [SLM-1915]

1868 – Turnbridge dyeworks, caught by Jos Tindall, HNS, HE Oct 24:

c.1885 killed by wires at Waterloo.   n.d. Another from Deadwaters brought to Beaumont Park Museum [SLM-1915 Oct 9]

CORNCRAKE  (Gers Drake)                                                                        (Crex crex)
1853 – ‘Grass Drake’,  Lindley. Man wounded trying to shoot one (HC 6 Aug)

1859 – Land Rail. (Gallinula, crex) A regular summer visitant; appearing about the close of April, frequents cornfields and meadows. [CPH]

‘Thirty or forty years ago one could scarcely walk out a mile from the town on a summer evening without hearing one or more of these birds in the fields’. [SLM-1915]

1884 May – Honley and Dalton[SLM 17 May]. Abundant year, locally and nationally. [SLM 13 Dec]

1888 – ‘Has any naturalist noted the scarcity of land rails (corncrakes) this year ?’  JWH                           [HEW 1 Sep].

1890 – May 1, Kirkheaton, earlier than usual.

1895 –  8 May near Lindley, S Todd,  LMINS   (HEW 18 May)

1914 – Holmfirth (B.Shaw). [SLM HEW 12 Sep]

1915 – Shelley, Land rail.  [SLM – 1915 Jul 10] Machine mowers have destroyed a great many [SLM 1915]

1916 Apr 28 – near Thurstonland. [ SLM – 1916 May 6] Pair nesting in field near Fartown. (J.B.Farrand)[ SLM – 1916 Jul 29]

1920 – Honley (Mr Frobisher).  Slaithwaite (Mr Falconer). [SLM – 1920 May 22,Oct 30]

1921 Apr 26 – Shepley. (Mr Lodge)

1925 – New Mill area ‘so few of our immigrant birds return to their natural haunts this spring…’ Nature Notes : F.Kaye HExp May 30.

1927.  June ‘I cannot account for the absence of the corncrake from the New Mill district. It is several years since I heard it here. It is no doubt more difficult to rear the young since the mowing machine came into being, but that cannot explain the whole mystery. Perhaps moder methods of farming are liable for some of the mischief, especially the earlier and closer cutting of grass and the use of chemical manures which are inimical to the insect life on which the corncrake feeds. Whatever the reason, the absence of this most interesting bird is much to be lamented.’  F.K. HExp 25 June.

20 June. ‘Heard the welcome voice of the corncrake in a field near New Mill. It was only in my last notes that I was lamenting the absence of this most interesting bird and now it appears under my very nose as if to prove that my sadness was only a mockery and a sham.  I need hardly say that I was delighted to hear its welcome notes.’  F.K. HExp 2 July.

1930-  Dearne Valley, 13  May, Fenay Bridge, 14 May, heard  ‘now reduced to a rarity, but the reason for this is apparent.  The young chicks when hatched leave the nest and follow their parents, unfortunately when the meadows are mown they are unable to fly and whole broods are often cut to pieces by the mowing machine.’ ,  17 May HEW Nature Notes.

1933 – Upperthong. ‘…on a quiet summer evening, when you could here the distant croaking of corncrakes (we called them grass-drakes).’  Louis Battye ‘I had a Little Nut Tree’ (London 1959) p.105.

1930s. – Netherton Moor, still to be heard. (Oral tradition).

c.1947 – Shepley nesting appears to have last taken place in the area. (S&A)

1952 May – heard at Dalton, remained for several weeks.

1952 August 18 – . one killed by wires. (same as above ?)

1958 – Summer visitor, rare. [S&A]

Genus Gallinula Briss.

MOORHEN                                                                                        (Gallinula chloropus)

1859 – A common inhabitant of marshy places and. the banks of rivers. [CPH] (SLM has missed this reference in his book).
1900- Marsden, Wessenden, pair stay all summer, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1915- Honley, River Holme, occasionally breeds (Arthur Litlewood) [SLM – 1915 Oct 23]

Horne Dam, Kirkheaton (Miss Wilson) [SLM – 1915 Oct 30] Armitage Bridge. Reservoirs above Holmfirth [SLM 1915]

1917 – Lindley. Martin’s dam. [SLM – 1918 Jan 12].

1927- returning to district – [SLM 26 Nov].

1934 – on dams at Holmebridge. Told that they had been breeding further up the valley for a year or two.  [C.G. HExp 24 Feb ]

1958 – Resident, locally common.

1970s and 80s. – Decline, due to mink  and loss of mill dams?

1984 – Blackmoorfoot, not so common as formerly. Only bred three times 1974-84

1990s – population recovery

2000 – common resident breeder, population stable [HBC Atlas]

Genus Fulica L.

COOT                                                                                                                    (Fulica atra )
1830s – Kings Mill dam [JV 1884].

1851/2-Shepley Mill dam. Shot by JRM. [SLM-1915 Oct 16]

1884 – Netherton Moor.  Breeding at Gunthwaite. [SLM 1915]

1900- Marsden, Wessenden, pair stay all summer, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1915- formerly resident now rarely seen. [SLM 1915] Marsden.  Nesting on dam. (Cooper Firth) [SLM – 1915 Oct 30]

1920 – Bradford Road. Found in a wash-kitchen. (Mr Wm Robinson) [SLM -1920 Dec 4]

1922 – Thurstonland. Heights Farm. Found dead. Resident at Gunthwaite.

[SLM – 1922 Apr 29]

1931 – Bretton Park, breeding [HBC Atlas]

1952 April 2 – Brownhill Reservoir

1957 Dec  –1958 March  – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, several.

1958 – Visitor, rare. [S&A]  Numbers increasing [HBC Atlas]

1970s – Bretton, around 350, numbers reduced 1979 due to severe weather.

1977 – Blackmoorfoot, unusual number of 20. (BR 1984)

1979, 1981, 1982 – Blackmoorfoot, first breeding (BR 1984)

Family HAEMATOPODIDAE – the Plovers
Genus Haematopus L.

OYSTERCATCHER                                                                   (Haematopus ostralegus )
1866  J Tindall in the Naturalist (May 1866- May 1867) ‘Mr G P Brown, a perservering member of the Huddersfield Naturalists’ Society, succeeded in capturing a splendid specimen of this bird, in this neighbourhood, on Monday, 8th October, …’  CPH, in the second edition of his history and natural hustory of Huddersfield (1869 )-  also refers to one killed in 1866. [CPH] .

1866 – shot by James Varley at Kings Mill dam.  Eddison reports ‘rarely met with’, ones shot at Marsden and Slaithwaite Reservoir. [SLM-1915, Nelson]

1921 – Blackmoor Foot reservoir. Shot.  Sent to museum by Mr Warren. [SLM – 1921 May 28; Jun 4].
1943 April 15 April and August  25 – Elland,.

1958 – Passage migrant [S&A]

1969 – 14 May, Blackmoorfoot.

1970 –  17 Apr, Bilberry, 16 Jul, Blackmoorfoot [HBC]

(This bird can seen in the vicinity of Bilberry reservoir)

Genus Vanellus Briss.

LAPWING                                                                                             (Vanellus vanellus)

1859 – Fallows near Grange Hall ; Fixby. [CPH]

1876 Mar 18 – ‘A very large flock of pewits passed over Almondbury Bank in a northern direction.’ [JV-1884]

1877 Mar 10 – ‘A large flock of pewits passed over Jack Hill.’ [JV-1884]

1881 Mar 7 –  ‘A flock of green plovers passed in their northern migration.’ [JV-1884]

1884 – flock near Beaumont Park. Unusual so close to town. [[SLM Nov 22]

1915 – used to nest Crosland Moor, seen 1914 Hepworth, Farnley Hey [SLM 1915]

Woodhouse Hall, flock c100 (George Thomson) [SLM 1 Jan 1916]

1922 – ‘formerly bred commonly in this district’. Large flocks remembered. Recorded in local ‘plover’ place names.[SLM – 1922 Oct 21]

1958 – Resident, locally common.

1970 – 19 Aug, large flock c.5000 Blackmoorfoot  – South Crosland. [HBC]

1977 – Sept,  c.1000 [BR 1985]

1980 – reduction in numbers nesting since 1980  [BR 1985].

2000 – c. 800 pairs breeding, eg Ingbirchworth, declining population.

2004- August, Blackmoorfoot, c.150

Genus Charadrius L.

RINGED PLOVER                                                                                   (Charadrius hiaticula)

1911- Blackmoorfoot Fred Schofield, Meltham, SLM, note on Square Mile check list 1 Jul 1911.

1915 –  rare visitor, has been shot at Blackmoorfoot by Fred Schofield. .

1939- Ringstone Edge.

1940- Elland Sewage Works.

1957 August. – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir.

1958 – Passage Migrant.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER                                                                       (Charadrius dubius)

1938 status changed from rare vagrant to summer visitor and breeder.

1968/69 – first bred in area.

1991 – breeding at three sites. [HBC Atlas]
GREY PLOVER                                                                                         (Charadrius squatarola)
1940 September  14 – Ringstone Edge.

1915 – On moors (Arthur Littlewood). [SLM – 1915 Oct 23].

1958 – Passage migrant, rare

 GOLDEN PLOVER                                                             (Charadrius/Pluvialis apricarius)
1859 – Noticed at Almondbury and Fixby [CPH]

1875   – Meltham moor, once bred according to Morris, not now small flocks seen at dusk, J E Palmer, HNS Naturalist Vol I new series p.61)

1876 Mar 7- ‘Large flock of golden plovers passed over Almondbury Bank in a northern direction’. [JV-1884]

1884 – flock near Beaumont Park. Unusual so close to town. [[SLM Nov 22]

1897- Cumberworth, found dead on roadside.  SkNS  [HEW Nov 6]

1898 – Skelmanthorpe area, two shot, SkNS Henry Morley, [HEW 15 Jan]

1901 – June, pair brought for preservation, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902).

1905 – Wessenden Moor. Shot. [HEW Jan 6] Resident, uncommon, breeds fairly frequently. Winter flocks of golden plover have been observed on several occasions in the Kirkheaton district.

1915 – probably breeds Snailsden Pike, Buckstones etc. [SLM 1915]

1916 – Kikheaton Moor, Mr Fisher [SLM 12 Feb 1916]

1970 – small number breeding on moors. [HBC]

2000 – around 220 breeding pairs. [HBC Atlas]

DOTTEREL                                                                         (Charadrius/Eudromias morinellus)
1870s -Two in the Tolson Memorial Museum shot on Scholes Moor many years ago. [SLM 1915]

1876 Aug 18 – ‘A flock of ring dotterels passed over Almondbury bank at 9.30pm.  They were uttering their very plaintive call note.’ [JV-1884]

1914   May 13 ‘Mr Alfred Kaye reports a pair of Dotterel on their old resting ground at Lindley…the last record being for May21st 1906’   Naturalist January 1915

May 21 [sic]  – Lindley , two. [S&A]

1958 – Irregular visitor, rare. [S&A]

1979 – Ingbirchworth [HBC]

Genus Arenaria Briss

TURNSTONE                                                                                       (Arenaria interpres)

1937 May 5 – Ringstone Edge Reservoir.

1958 – Passage Migrant, rare. [S&A]

1970 – 25 Jul, Blackmoorfoot,

Family SCOLOPACIDAE – the Waders
Genus Capella Frenzel

SNIPE                                                                                               (Capella/ Gallinago gallinago)
1854. – Wessenden Moor, a few brace shot during grouse shooting. HC 19 Aug.

Common Snipe.   An inhabitant of low marshy meadows. [CPH]

1891 – Skelmanthorpe, pair, (HEW  18 Apr)

1896 – SkNS (HEW Feb 29)

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘fairly numerous during past two years.’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1905 – Wessenden Moor. Shot. [HEW Jan 6]

1906 – shot on moors ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]

1907 – 24 Jan, ‘Old Blackhouse’ Dalton, one shot, E Fisher, Naturalist  1907)

1913 – ‘ MOVEMENTS OF THE COMMON SNIPE – On the elevated table land known as the Crimea” (1100feet) Mr Bamforth in September shot an example of this bird which had a white metal ring round one of its legs bearing the inscription “Witherby, High Holborn, London” The bird had been ringed on the “East Cheshire Hills, 3 June. 1911 – WM FALCONER , Slaithwaite, 8th October. 1913.’  The Naturalist.

1914 – Issues Clough [SLM 11 Jul]

1915 – fairly common along moorland border. [SLM 1915]

1917 – Almondbury. Pair seen. [SLM 1917 Feb 17].

1924 – Flockton Moor. Killed by wires. (W.Peel) [SLM – 1924 Feb 9]

1930-  drumming reported from several parts of district, reported at Ravensknowle Natural History Class [HEW  14 June]

1958 – Resident, not common. [S&A]

1969 – ‘much disturbed by motorway workings’. [HBC]

1978 – Blackmoorfoot, since declined.

1979 – Blackmoorfoot, 26 Oct max. 50. Some probably still breeding.

2000 – 100 plus pairs. [HBC Atlas]

 GREAT SNIPE                                                                                 (Cappella/ Gallinago media)

1873 – December 21 -(Gallinago major)  Dalton Bottom. Shot.  ]  But at the 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society James Varley reported that a Great Snipe had been shot at Dalton on 28 March 1874. [HEW 9 Jan 1875]. The one in SLM’s collection was also from Dalton. [SLM-1915]

Genus Lymnocryptes Boie

JACK SNIPE                                                                                      ( Lymnocryptes minimus)
1844 – Slaithwaite, breeding according to Eddison.

1859 –  Has occurred at Fixby, &c. [CPH]  According to SLM, Almondbury, Whiteley Willows, Marsden, Dalton Bank. [SLM 1915]

1891 –  Ingbirchworth, SkNS (HEW 27 Jun).

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘fairly numerous during past two years.’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1906 – shot on moors ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]
1949 – Elland, and subsequent years. [S&A]

1958 – Winter visitor

Genus Scopolax L.

WOODCOCK                                                                                                 (Scolopax rusticola)

1844 –‘often numerous’ according to Eddison. JRM had one taken in Lepton Great Wood. [SLM 1915]

1859 – Occurs in Storthes Woods; Mollicar Wood, Fixby, &c. [CPH]
1876- Mollicar Wood,

1896- Skelmanthorpe, killed by cat, J Wainwright, SkNS (HEW 7 Nov)

1901-Kennerly Wood, rather rare but known to breed [SLM-1915]

1915 – 1917 – killed by wires. Crosland Moor ( D.Kirk  [ SLM – 1917 Jan 20]

1917 Dec 7 – Lindley. Caught in shed. [SLM – 1918 Jan 12].

1921 – Hopton Bank. Killed by telephone wires. [SLM – 1921 Nov 19]

1958 – Resident (rare), and winter visitor. [S&A]

2000 – Resident breeder, around 25 pairs, eg Yateholme.

Genus Numenius Briss.

CURLEW                                                                                                     (Numenius arquata)

curlew Holy I
1874 Sep 10 – ‘A flock of curlews passed over Almondbury bank at 1.30am’. [JV-1884]

1876 Sep 3 – ‘ I saw 35 curlews flying over Almondbury bank.  They flew due south.’

1882 Jul 27 – ‘Five curlews pass over at 3.30pm’ . [JV-1884]

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘cry..often heard.’  Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1917 – Netherton Moor [ SLM – 1917 Feb 17] 1915 –

1920 – Breeding on moors. (Mr Falconer) [SLM – 1920 Oct 30]

1926 Jan  – Killed by wires. In emaciated state.

1958 – Summer resident, moorlands, thinly distributed. [S&A]

2000 – migrant breeder, around 150 pairs. Declining.

 WHIMBREL                                                                                                  (Numenius phaeopus)
1859 – One shot at King’s Mill. [CPH]  SLM believes this to be one shot by Varley in 1835/6, but he could not distinguish one from Curlew. [SLM 1915]

1957 August  8 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir (R. Crossley). . [S&A]

1958 – Passage migrant, rare [S&A]

Genus Limosa Briss.

BLACK-TAILED GODWIT                                                                                          (Limosa limosa.)
1940 September 10  – Elland Sewage Works.  [S&A]

1958 –  Passage migrant, rare.

 BAR-TAILED GODWIT                                                                                 (Limosa lapponica)
1941September 10 – Elland Sewage Works.  [S&A]

1958 – Passage migrant, rare[S&A]

1969 – 3 May, Ingbirchworth, one in breeding plumage.

Genus Tringa L.

GREEN SANDPIPER                                                                                           (Tringa ocropus)
1860s – Dalton, in museum [SLM 1915]

1923 Naturalist, Oct ,

‘Green Sandpiper near Huddersfield – on the 22nd August, John M Spencer-Stanhope Esq, of Cannon Hall, sent to the Huddersfield Museuma Green Sandpiper in the flesh, with the intimation that “unfortunately it was shot in mistake for a Sniope” on the moors above Dunford Bridge on the date named.  It was in good plumage and Mr Stanhope further writes that “there werefour specimens of this bird observed on the High Moor near Holme Moss while shooting the week before, be a gentleman – a great lover of bird life.” There have only been two previous local records one being of a bird already in the Museum, which was secured at Dalton about sixty years ago – Charles Mosley.’

Elland Sewage Works, various dates . [S&A].

1958 – Passage migrant, regular odd birds

 WOOD SANDPIPER                                                                                           (Tringa glareola)
1939 June 5 – Ringstone Edge Reservoir . [S&A]

1954 – Elland . [S&A]

1958 – Passage migrant, rare.

 COMMON SANDPIPER                                                                               (Tringa hypoleucos)

1844 -Eddison described as ‘common’. Bred at King’s Mill and Dalton Lees. SLM can remember them on Colne. [SLM-1915]

1859 – Common Sandpiper. A regular summer visitant; making its appearance in the spring and departing in the autumn ; one shot at King’s Mill. [CPH]

1876    Marsden Moors,  JR Dore,  egg  exhibited at HNS,  HEW 17 Jun:

1876 – 3 pairs. [JV 1884]

1899-  Marsden, Wessenden, pair nest, but fail to hatch.

1900-1901 Ditto, successfully nest, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1906 – Lindley. Reported by J.Robertshaw to Naturalists Society [HEW 1906 Jun 23].

less common than in 1905.  Breeding near Marsden.  ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]

1919 – Bretton. [SLM – 1919 Jun 28].

1930 – Scammonden, bird feigning injury  lures ‘The Tramp’s’ dog Raq away  ‘The Lure of the Open Air’.  HEW 5 Jul:

1958 – Summer resident, breeding near the moorland reservoirs. [S&A]

1966-  May 21, Langsett, breeding, Mirfield NS, HED 17 Jan 1967.

1970 – breeding, Digley, Deerhill

2000 – around 50 pairs on upland streams and reservoirs. [HBC Atlas]

 REDSHANK                                                                                                      (Tringa totanus)
1860s – Slaithwaite reservoir, stuffed by JRM. [SLM 1915]

1922 – pair breeding in district. [SLM – 1922 Jun 24]

1958 – Passage migrant, fairly numerous.

1965 – bred on Ringstone Edge, in 1948.  Slaithwaite Moor , declining. [HBC Atlas]

 GREENSHANK                                                                                          (Tringa nebularia)
1916 – Bilberry Reservoir; Ringstone Edge Reservoir;  Elland; [S&A]

1957 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 8 August. [S&A]

1958 – Passage migrant. [S&A]

SPOTTED REDSHANK                                                                            (Tringa erythropus)

1969 – 27 Aug Blackmoorfoot, only third in 10 years. [HBC]

Genus Calidris

KNOT                                                                                                              (Calidris canutus)
1938 – Elland Sewage Works, 1 September.

1958 – Passage migrant, rare [S&A]

1969 – 27 Aug, Blackmoorfoot, first record for ten years.

PURPLE SANDPIPER                                                                            (Calidris maritime)
1954 – Elland Gravel Pit, 20 November (T. Keeler).

1958 – Passage migrant, very rare [S&A]

LITTLE STINT                                                                                                     (Calidris minuta)
1939- Fourteen were present at Elland Sewage Works, 12 to 17 September.

1958 – Passage migrant.

1970 – unusual number of records – last 1960 [HBC]

TEMMINCK’S STINT                                                                             (Calidris temminckii)

1915 – JRM had local one which passed to SLM’s museum.  Very  rare. One shot at Ingbirchworth reservoir nd. [SLM-1925 – Jan 7] [SLM 1915]

1939 – Irregular visitor. Ringstone Edge Reservoir, 1 June  (7), (G.R. Edwards) and Elland Sewage Works, 24 September.

 DUNLIN                                                                                                                 (Calidris alpina)
1859 – Occasionally on the Moors above Meltham [CPH]

1864 – 27 Apr, Moors above Meltham, pair ‘I was not previously aware that they bred in this locality.’ Alfred Beaumont, 4 May, in Naturalist.

1872- Standedge Reservoir. [SLM-1915]

c.1890 – Marsden Moor, in collection of Mr Middlemost donated to Museum. [SLM – 1920 Feb 14]

1902- Marsden, Wessenden, ‘often breeds’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1906 – breeding near Marsden ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]
1915 – a few breed. [SLM 1915]

1958 – Summer resident, moorlands. [S&A]

 CURLEW-SANDPIPER                                                                                    (Calidris testacea)
1837-Kings Mill dam. Shot by Varley [SLM 1915]

1859 – A rare visitant. One shot at Huddersfield in 1837 [CPH]

1943 –  Elland Sewage works (9) 19 August  (V.S. Crapnell) [S&A]

1958 – Passage migrant, occasional [S&A]

1969 – 4 Sep, Blackmoorfoot, only second record in 10 years. (This autumn there were more birds than usual on the Humber).  [HBC]

Genus Crocethia

SANDERLING                                                                                 (Crocethia/ Calidris alba)

1970 – Cupwith and Blackmoorfoot Reservoirs. Only three previously recorded. [HBC]

Genus Philomachus Merrem

RUFF                                                                                                 (Philomachus pugnax (L.)
1957 –  Sewage beds at Elland and Cooper Bridge; Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 18 August

1958 – Passage migrant, occasional.

1970 – ‘unusual number’ of recordings. Blackmoorfoot. [HBC]


Genus Phalaropus

GREY PHALAROPE                                                                              (Phalaropus fulicarius)

1840s? – Nelson in his British Brirds claims one near Denby, SLM, note on Square Mile check list 1 Jul 1911.

1969 – 28-29 November, Blackmoorfoot. First record.

 Family BURHINIDAE – the Stone Curlews
Genus Burhinus Illiger

STONE CURLEW                                                                                 ( Burhinus oedicnemus )
1852. stone curlew taken at Taylor Hill in an exhausted state, in collection of John Williamson, Paddock, at HNS 1862 Exhibition. Oedichenus crepitans. HC 27 Sep 1862

1865- Dungeon Wood. ‘Norfolk Plover’, Shot  by gamekeeper and stuffed for the Rev. Armitage, Milnsbridge. One of a pair.  Only second known occurrence in neughbourhood, J Williamson, Paddock, 10 July Naturalist , ‘Thicknee’ [SLM-1915]

nd.- Elland Edge.[S&A]

1958 – Irregular visitor .[S&A]

Family STERCORARIIDAE – Skuas                                         

ARCTIC SKUA                                                                                    (Stercorarius Parasiticus)

1859 – ‘Richardson’s Skua’  (Lestris Richardsoni, Swains) One shot at King’s Mill. [CPH}

1969 – 13 Sep, Blackmoorfoot, three. First record in area [sic]. Attacking gulls flying to north. [HBC]

Family LARIDAE – the Gulls
Genus Larus L.

GREATER BLACK-BACKED GULL                                                                 (Larus marinus )
1915 – very rare visitor, seen passing over. [SLM 1915].

1958 – Irregular visitor, occasional.

 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL                                                                       ( Larus fuscus)
1910 –  Wessenden, reported breeding on moors. (G.Crosland) [SLM 1915].

1958 – Passage migrant, spring to autumn.

HERRING GULL                                                                                               (Larus argentatus )
1915 – several brought to JRM to stuff, also Gough had some. One brought to SLM form Blackmoor.

1958 – Winter visitor, frequent, increasing.

 RING-BILLED GULL                                                                                 (Larus delawarensis)

1979 -2 Dec, Blackmoorfoot, first record for area.  Again 1982.

 COMMON GULL                                                                                                    ( Larus canus )
1898 – Skelmanthorpe area, oneshot, SkNS Henry Morley,  HEW 15 Jan

1902- Marsden, Wessenden, ‘often visit’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1915 –  very rare visitor, bird in museum stuffed by JRM.

1958 – Regular passage and winter visitor. Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, Elland.

 GLAUCOUS GULL                                                                                  (Larus hyperboreous )
1954 An immature bird was seen at Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 30 January (J.C.S. Ellis).

1958 – Winter visitor, rare.[S&A]

1970 – March [HBC].

ICELAND GULL                                                                                          (Larus glaucoides)

1970 – 22 Feb, Blackmoorfoot,  ‘great excitement’ caused by sighting from new hide. [HBC]

 MEDITERRANEAN GULL                                                         (Larus melanocephalus)

1975 – Blackmoorfoot, 4 Aug, first record for area. Again in 1977 then every year 1981-1984.

LITTLE GULL                                                                                              (Larus minutus)
1899 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘rare occurrence’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1915 –  report at Marsden very doubtful,can’t be admitted onto record yet. [SLM 1915].

1957 – Irregular visitor. , 22 August Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, two juveniles (R. Crossley) .[S&A]

1976 – Blackmoorfoot, 30 Aug, four immature birds.

1978 – Blackmoorfoot, 22 Apr, unprecedented flock of 12 adults.

 SABINES GULL                                                                                              (Larus sabini)

1980 – Blackmoorfoot, 29 Aug, first record for Huddersfield area.

1982 – Blackmoorfoot 1 Oct, immature one.

 BLACK-HEADED GULL                                                                               (Larus rudibundus)
1844 – reported by Eddison.

1859 – Blackheaded Gull. A common species, frequenting inland marshes and the banks of rivers ; Fixby. [CPH]

1899 – Sept, Marsden, Wessenden, pair rest on reservoir, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1906 – May. Colony on Longwood Reservoir, majority shot, ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]  Breeding gulls shot because eating songbird fledglings in gardens [SLM 1915]

1910 – Wessenden.

1911 – Cupwith [SLM 1915]

1915 – Thornhill, nesting.  (Geo Kendall, Skelmanthorpe) [SLM-17 Jul 1915].a recent immigrant encouraged by sewage farms. [SLM 1915]

1913-1919 – Blackmoss, about 150 pairs breeding until c.1938. [HBC Atlas]

1921 Black Moss, near Diggle, and Marsden Moors, etc.—I have found the utmost difficulty in dealing with this nesting station, or rather, as it is now, this series of nesting sites.

The gulls arrived and nested for the first time at Black Moss about the year 1895 or 1896. For several years they confined their attention, so far as nesting was concerned, to Black Moss. But for many years now (probably over a dozen) they have been so harried and persecuted, and later fired at

by the gamekeepers, that they have become very wild, and have nested in many places. Some of these sites are made use of each year and others are not. In 1920 the keepers gave the gulls such a hot reception on their return, that none nested on Black Moss that season. In 1913 Mr. Fred Taylor, of Rochdale, coimted no nests with eggs, and estimated the numbers at Black Moss for each year, from 1913 to 1919 inclusive, at about 150 pairs, and one of the gamekeepers estimated the number of pairs on and around the Marsden Moors (including Black Moss) as over 200 pairs in 1919.

In addition there were a few outlying nesting sites. Capt. A. W Boyd informs me that the ringed gull reported in British Birds (Vol. VIII., p. 214) as from Stanedge Moor gullery was really from Black Moss, as he was with the man when he picked it up. This bird was evidently nesting, and

had been ‘ ringed ‘ at Ravenglass four years and one month previously. A nestling, ‘ringed ‘ by Capt. Boyd near Diggle, on July 2nd, 1914, was reported in The Shooting Times from near Gloucester, in January, 1916.

Nesting status of the black -headed gull In yorkshire. H. B. BOOTH, F.Z.S., M.B.O.U.

The Naturalist May 1921

1958 – Resident in the district at all times of the year. Up to 800 have been observed roosting at one time on Blackmoorfoot Reservoir in the winter. The species breeds on the moors just inside the area. [S&A]

1983 – Decline noted.

1994 – Last breeding in area.  [HBC Atlas]

Genus Rissa

KITTIWAKE                                                                                                 (Rissa tridactyla)
1902- Marsden, Wessenden, ‘often visit us’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1902 – Drop Clough, Marsden, shot (WEL Wattam Naturalist Apr 1905)

1911 – Booth Hey, Slaithwaite, October.  Shot  [Alf Dean,[Naturalist 1911; HNS Rept 1910]

1915 –  JRM stuffed 2 or 3 all acquired in winter. Gough had one which fell down a chimney at Woodsome Mill ‘probably exhausted’.

1958 -irregular visitor.

Genus Childonias Raffin.

BLACK TERN                                                                                             (Childonias niger )
1844 – Eddisson, probably two shot at Colne Bridge at different times and stuffed by JRM. [SLM 1915].

1907- Sheard’s Dam, Kirkheaton, 7 May [SLM 1915]. 1909 donated by E Fisher to Technical College Museum.[HEW 12 Jun]

1924-Elland. Shot and brought to TMM [SLM-1924 June 14]

1938- Passage migrant, rare. One caught on; Elland Sewage Works, 24 August .[S&A]

1957 – Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 10 August .[S&A].

Genus Sterna L.

COMMON/ARCTIC TERN                                                                          (Sterna hirundo)

1859 – Common Tern. Two shot at Slaithwaite. [CPH]

1867 – on river ‘below the  town’ [SLM 1915].

1869 –  Netherton.  ‘Sea Swallow’ shot by Wm, Sykes, gamekeeper.   [Huddersfield Chronicle Jun 12]

1902 – shot Gawthorpe Green Mill dam by H.A.Crowther (S.Calvert, Kirkheaton) [HEW 13 Sep] Shot on dam and in possession of Harry Crowther according to E Fisher at meeting of HNPS 30 Aug 1902 (Min. Book)

1958 – Passage migrant, odd birds.[S&A]

1970 – late August, Blackmoorfoot,  ‘unprecedented numbers’.

 SANDWICH TERN                                                                                          (Sterna cantiaca) 

1859 – One shot at Copley. [CPH]

Family ALCIDAE – the Auks
Genus Alca L.

RAZORBILL                                                                                                               (Alca torda)
1906 May 2-Marsden. [SLM-1915]  (But cf below 1907 – same one?)

1907 August 2 – Marsden. [HEW 4 Jan 1908]

1910  November – Wessenden Valley, brought to  Alf Dean, [Naturalist 1911; HNS Rept for 1910]

1921 – Meltham Moor. (Alfred Dean) [SLM – 1921 Dec 24].

1958 – Irregular visitor.

Genus Plautus Gunn.

LITTLE AUK                                                                                                (Plautus alle )

1895 – January ‘The first of these was caught while trying to ‘paddle’ on the snow at Holmfirth in the second week of January and was kept alive for a few days in captivity. It was an immature bird.’ number of others at Ilkley, Great Horton, Chapel Allerton, H B Booth, Frizinghall, Naturalist 9 Feb.

February- exhausted ones found at Slaithwaite, Outlane, York St and Holmebridge [SLM-1915]

‘Thus it was noticed in the great frost of 1895 there were few Brent Geese and other wildfowl on the Essex coast.  But, on the other hand, many seabirds which ordinarily wintered in Spitzbergen seas, such as the Iceland and Ivory Gulls, the Little Auk, and the Northern or Brunnichs Guillemot, are recorded upon the East coast, showing how wide is the area affected by the exceptional cold.  Thus February, 1895, brought an unprecedented visitation of Little Auks…’

(John H. Salter ‘Bird Life Throughout the Year’ (London 1917).

The Huddersfield Examiner  on  Feb 2 1895 also reported severe weather on the East Coast with heavy snow blocking the railway line between Scarborough and Whitby and temperatures of 3 degrees F of frost.  The following week it described ‘The terrible nature of the storm now raging through the northern half of the world’. and on Feb 16 the ‘Unusual Visitation of Northern Seabirds’, especially Little Auks.

1921 – Slaithwaite. Flown into wires. (Tom Cock) [SLM – 1921 Nov 19]

1928 – Marsden:   ‘A plump and well nourished Little Auk was picked up dead in a field on the outskirts of Marsden on Nov.28th.  To every appearance the bird had flown against a wire.’ –Charles Mosley, the Museum, Huddersfield.’ The Naturalist, 1 Jan 1929

1935 December 2 – near Hague Reservoir, Buckstones Moor.  But also in HEW 23 March 1936 record of one killed on ‘Marsden Moors’, stuffed and in Mr J.E Quarmby’s shop.  Same one ?

1948 November 10  – High Flatts Irregular visitor.

1950   – Skelmanthorpe, level crossing, found by boys and taken to Arthur Hirst, local naturalist. Next day took it to dam at Shelley Woodhose. ‘It appeared quite at home…’ next day disappeared, ‘he presumed it had resumed its winter journey.’(HEW 18 Feb)

Genus Fratercula Briss.

PUFFIN                                                                                                         (Fratercula arctica)

1898- Skelmanthorpe . killed in the neighbourhood. Henry Morely, SKNS HEW 19 Nov

1899-    ‘A Rare Visitor – To the editor, Sir – To-day, my housekeeper drew my attention to a strange bird which was trying to get into my coal cellar. On examining it I saw it was a water bird of the diver tribe, and one foreign to these climes. Mr John Gough, the taxidermist, informs me that it is an Atlantic ocean sea puffin  and says that it is a very rare bird.  The bird is a young oone and cannot use its wings and how it has got into the nighbourhood is a mystery. It seems perfectly healthy and if it could be reared on the park waters I should be pleased to hand it to the proper authorities, but I am afraid it will not live long in its present confinement. –                                                                                                                         Yours truly,    Ernest G Coward, Northgate House, Almondbury, Oct 23rd 1899.’

WEL Wattam, Newsome,  requests further information from Dr Coward or Gough, pointing out that ‘Atlantic Ocean’ in name ‘rather superfluous.’  (HEW 4 Nov)

Ernest Coward replies that name given in mistake by his messenger, Gough simply said it was a sea puffin, which is now dead and being stuffed by him. ‘transportation into this district still remains a mystery.’ (HEW 11 Nov)

Almondbury. Exhausted. Given to Tech Museum [SLM-1919 May 3]

1908- Honley Moor. Exhausted.  [SLM-1924 Aug 2]]

1921  October 29 – Raikes Dike, Holme.   Alive.  Exhibited at a meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist, Photographic, and Antiquarian Society that day. [S&A].

Irregular visitor.

Family PTEROCLIDAE – the Sand Grouse
Genus Syrrhaptes Illiger

PALLAS’S SAND GROUSE                                                           (Syrrhaptus paradoxus)
1888- ‘a great flight’, hundreds arrive in Britain. All exterminated. Small flock at Tinker’s monument. Two shot by Mr Mellor [SLM-1915]  One shot at Grange Moor [SLM-1924 Aug 23, Sep 13].

On 16 June the Huddersfield Examiner reprinted an article from ‘The Zoologist’  by J.E.Harting, reporting that a large number of  this bird from ‘Tartary and Mongolia’ were on the move and that in  April they had arrived in Poland and Prussia.  On 15 May they were reported from Hampshire and on 18 May a flock of 20, plus about ten others had been reported from Holderness.  There were increasing sightings of them throughout that month including a flock of 30 at Spurn.  The writer made a vain plea for them to be allowed to nest in peace.  It is estimated that about 400 arrived in Yorkshire in 1888.  Most of them were shot.  The previous irruption had been in 1863 and the last was in 1908.  Believed to be due to drought in C.Asia.

From the diary of Fretchfield Frobisher friend of S L Mosley:  1921   July  19  Mosley called and had tea with us, went up to see Mrs. Mellor, late of Shepley, re sand grouse shot at Shepley and set up in case she has in her house.

1921   July  20 In the afternoon set off on motor cycle and called of Mr. S. L. Moseley and went to Skelmanthorpe and then to Shepley to see a Mr. George Mellor re a pair of Asiatic sand grouse he has which his brother shot in 1888.

‘ A person is so purely scientific that he will not have an imported skin in his collection ; but if he hears of a sand grouse having flown from Asia to Britain, he will give five pounds to the person who can slaughter it. An Act has been passed to protect this bird in Britain, such an Act is unjust ! It is the whim of a few, carried out at the expense of the many. If land grouse do come, and persons who make their living by killing and stuffing birds, find customers ready to give five pounds each for the birds, such persons have a perfect moral right to kill them, as much as another has to make his living by killing herrings, shrimps, or oxen, unless it can be shown that in his doing so the country suffers, and only under these circumstances should the law interfere. I should very much like to see the land grouse settle here and breed, and would do everything I could to induce them to do so ; but I have no right if I have the power, to force another person to conform to my thoughts, however much I would that he should do so.’

S L . Mosley Beaumont Park Museum, Huddersfield. Science Gossip 1889


Family COLUMBIDAE – the Doves
Genus Columba L.

STOCK DOVE                                                                                             (Columba oenas )
1891 – 23 May, Honley, in quarry (Mr Freer, Linthwaite) SLM thinks they may have been feral pigeons.  [SLM 23 Jun 1917]. Feer replies he is sure, but SLM sys he would not be confident in identifying one himself since they ‘have been erroneously reported many times, even by naturalists societies’.  Freer insists he is right.  [SLM 7 Jul , 21 Jul 1917]

1958 – Resident, uncommon.  [S&A]

2000 – Resident breeder, 200-300 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

WOOD-PIGEON/RING DOVE                                                                   (Columba palumbas)

1859 – Ring Dove. Common in wooded districts. [CPH]

1891 – 23 May, Healey House ‘ring dove’ (Mr Freer, Linthwaite) [SLM 23 Jun 1917

1892 – near Harden Clough , HNS, ‘ the ring dove, had not been previously observed at such a high altitude in the district.’ HEW 21 May

1915 – ‘Less common than formerly’. Museum one from Birks Wood.  Distribution map only shows them to north of Huddersfield, Kirkheaton area and to East of Holme Valley[SLM-1915]

1958 – Resident, common. [S&A]

2003-2004. Still winter locally in large flocks.

2019. Pair nested in Silver Birch in my garden.

Genus Streptopelia

TURTLE-DOVE                                                                                           ( Streptopelia turtur )
1915 – extending its range northwards.  Possibly in wooded parts of district.

1918 – Cawthorne, increasing in district (Mr Charlesworth) [SLM 11 May ]

1923 – Lower Hall, Lascelles Hall (Mr Swift) [SLM – 1923 Sep 22].

1930-  Dearne Valley, reported at Ravensknowle Natural History Class [HEW  14 June]

1958 -Summer resident, breeding in the district each year. [S&A].  (But according to Hollom summer visitor which does not breed in Pennine area)

2000 – breeder, declining, possibly 20 pairs.


1911 – Wessenden, G Crosland SLM, note on Square Mile check list 1 Jul 1911.

 COLLARED DOVE                                                                       (Streptopelia decaocto)

First bred in Britain in 1955. Not locally  recorded in 1950s.

1960s – range beginning to rapidly extend.

1963, recorded in Bretton park.

1969 – Edgerton, Kirkheaton etc.

1980s-become resident in area and more frequent.

2000 – possibly 3-400 breeding pairs . [HBC Atlas]

Family CUCULIDAE – the cuckoos
Genus Cuculus L.

CUCKOO                                                                                                       (Cuculus canorus)

LM 18 Feb1843

1854 – Honley, first cuckoo heard 4 May.  HC 13May:

1858 HC 15 May: ‘Marsden – a plea for the cuckoo.’, systematic attempt to destroy  it in Wessenden valley.  gamekeepers, with ‘hearts of flint’  set snares, believing cuckoo takes eggs of grouse.  ‘old woman’s tale’, but even if it took a few eggs better loss of few eggs than cuckoo be lost.

1859 -Visits us about the close of April ; frequent on the moors. [CPH]

  1. Honley, ‘messenger of spring’, dulcet tones, without which ,’ the chorus of the feathered songsters of the wood never sounds complete.’ HC 3 May.

1865- Honley, ‘The merry cuckoo, messanger of spring, has been sounding her dulcet notes in the Honley Woods throughout the week.  Without the cheering voice of this welcome harbinger of the season, the concert of the feathered choristers of the wood is never complete.’ HC 29 April

1869- Heard near residence of Mr Burman, Crosland Moor, 15 April, fortnight earlier than usual. (HC 17 Apr )

Scout Cuckoo ‘that sweet harbinger of spring and adorable companion of summer.’  ‘This correspondent still appears to be troubled with Scout cuckoo on the brain…Raptures in the foregoing mixed style about the Scout cuckoo should not come more than once a year.’ Ed. HE  3 Jul.

1870     HC  30 Apr:  Honley – During the week the cheering voice of this “messenger of spring” has been heard in the Haggwood, and her dulcet notes make the harmony of the wood complete. It is surprising to see how the cuckoo will skim along the hedges in search of birds nests, to rob them of their eggs.’

1871 – Honley, first one heard,Honley Moor 17 April despite dark, wet day.HEW 8 Apr:

1872   Grimscar Wood on 1 May ‘This is somewhat earlier than usual, especially considering the protracted wet and cold weather of the last few weeks.’(HC 4 May )

‘This “messenger of spring” has begun her work in the locality of Honley, though rather late…skimming about the woods…’ [cf 1870]  HC 18 May.

1876 6 May HC

1893 – Scout cuckoo, Marsden, usually arrives 25 April for Spring Fair, a day early.

1894   ‘Cid’  HC 30 Jun

1899 – 18 April, Butternab Wood, earliest recorded [SLM 1915]

1905 – common

1915 – common. Eggs most frequently laid in nest of Titlark. Has seen one example from Pied Wagtail nest (lighter coloured egg) and Dunnock.

1916 Apr 26– near Beaumont Park [ SLM – 1916 May 6]

1917 Apr 30 – Whiteley Wood. [ SLM – 1917 May 5]

1919 – egg in dunnock’s nest. Bluer than usual in other nests. Specimen of egg required for museum. [SLM – 1919 Jun 21] Another reported from Wooldale. [SLM –1919  Jul 18]

1927 – Hepworth, cuckoo raised in wagtail nest, OS  [SLM 3 Jul:]

1930 – Apr. 26.  Heard at Hollingreave.  [F.K. HExp 3 May]

1931 – Apr 19. Flying from Isle of Skye towards Dunford. [C.G. HExp 25 Apr]

1949- Honley Moor, in meadow pipit’s nest Fred Hodgson, 11 School St [HEW30 Jul].

1952 – Apr 14 at Paddock, April 17 Marsden – earlier than SLM recorded.(HEW 26 Apr)

1958 – Summer resident, common. [S&A]

1960’s decline. . [HBC Atlas]
1990s above Digley reservoir.

2004 Honley Old Wood

Family STRIGIDAE – the Owls
Genus Tyto

BARN OWL                                                                                                                (Tyto alba)

1859 – Common. .[CPH]  SLM disputes this, his father stuffed only one – from  barn at Woodsome Mill [SLM 1915]

1882-  ‘rare’ SLM HE 13 May.

1891 – Skelmanthorpe, pair.  (SkNHS) HEW 21 Mar.

1905 – formerly common, now rare. Pair nested in mill chimney in Brighouse.

1913- Highburton, (Mr Kilner Crosland) [SLM-24 Jul 1915].

1914- Shepley, caught in plumber’s workshop. SLM went to see it ‘and demand its release’ but it had died, and been sent to stuff. [SLM-29 May 1915].

1915 – Formerly resident now a very rare visitor . [SLM-1915]

1916 – Dry Clough Lane, Crosland Moor. Captured in barn ‘by a farmer who had never properly learned his business’. [ SLM – 1916 May 6]

1922 – Between Bradley and Brighouse. Shot by ‘a fool’. Shooters warned of prosecution  [SLM – 1922 Oct 7].

1930-  Woodsome Lane, three nearly fledged in hollow tree,  17 May HEW Nature Notes.

1958 – Resident, not common. [S&A]

1970 – at New Mill and Longwood.

2000 – ‘former resident breeder’.

Genus Bubo

EAGLE OWL                                                                                    (Bubo bubo/B. virginianus.)

1885 January 1 – Fixby. Male shot by Joseph Firth , recorded in ‘Naturalist’. [SLM-24 Jul 1915].

 ‘Eagle Owl near Huddersfield – on 1st January 1885, Mr Jospeh Firth while standing near a bushy place at Fixby saw a big brown bird flying rapidly from him, which he shot at but failed to stop.  After considerable search he found it sitting in a large tree close to the trunk, and a second shot secured it. It was a beautiful specimen of the Eagle Owl, in perfect plumage and showing no signs whatever of having been in captivity.  It is now in Mr Firth’s possession at the Shepherd’s Rest Inn, Cowcliffe, where it may be seen.  It is a male specimen. In length, from the tip of the beak to the end of the tail it is two feet and  four feet four inches in expanse of the wing; in weight, a little over 4 lbs.  In my opinion which is shared by Mr Goff [sic], taxidermist, Huddersfield, it is a specimen of the Virginian Great Horned owl (Bubo virginianus) being less in size and finer markings than the European Eagle Owl (B. maximius) C C Hanson, Greetland, Halifax, December 9th, 1885’

J H Gurney says either B. ignavus or B. virginianus, but latter a very variable species and can’t tell without inspecting it.

1905 – referred to as Virginian Eagle Owl.

1915 – believes it to be Virginian Eagle Owl, ‘escaped from confinement’ (Bubo virginianus). Specimen now at Cowcliffe [SLM 1915]

Later tracked down to Slip Inn at Longwood and acquired for Tolson Memorial Museum [SLM-1921 Jul 30]

Genus Athene

LITTLE OWL                                                                                                            (Athene noctua)
1919 – Denby Grange. Shot. [SLM – 1919 Feb 1]

1922 – Reinwood. (Mrs Coates) [SLM – 1922 Aug 26].

1927 – Almondbury. [SLM – 1927 Dec 24]

1928 – Bretton. Nest robbed. [SLM – 1928 Nov 24].

1933 – Apr, Rawthorpe Hall, caught alive in garden, taken to Tolson Museum, [E Gallwey, Naturalist ].

1958 –  Resident, well distributed. [S&A]

1969 – breeding, Crosland Moor, Digley, Lindley Moor.

1970 –  breeding also at Grimscar and Shepley.

1975 – about 40 breeding pairs. . [HBC Atlas]

2006 – June – above Bilberry Reservoir, perched on post and wall in daytime.
Genus Strix

TAWNY OWL                                                                                                         ( Strix aluco )

Builds in the hollows of trees, or amongst ivy. .[CPH] Heard it when insect hunting as a youth. [SLM-24 Jul 1915].

1882-  or wood owl,  SLM HE 13 May.

1890   Kirkheaton, JW Freer, ‘brown owl’,  ‘the first owl I have heard in the Kirkheaton district.’[HEW 5 Apr].

1895-   Saville Wood, SLM, HEW 31 Aug

1905 – or Wood Owl, formerly common, now rare. Grimscar Wood, Denby Dale, Bretton and Cannon Hall Estates.

1915 – Still heard in Storthes Hall and Carr Woods (Ald. Abraham Booth and Mr Bedford of Kirkburton) [SLM-24 Jul 1915].

Formerly resident now a very rare visitor [SLM-1915]

1947- Fartown Lodge, nest in chimney, falls into bedroom fireplace, two owlets rescued (HEW 7 Jun)

1948 Edgerton, more common, old resident can not recall ever having heard so many before. HED 16 Mar.

1958 – Resident, well distributed. [S&A]

2000 – around 100 pairs.

 Genus Asio

LONG EARED OWL                                                                                                 (Asio otus ).

1844- becoming scarcer, (Eddison) [SLM-24 Jul 1915].

1859 – Kirklees; partial to fir plantations and. old ivy; remains with us the whole year. [CPH]

1864/5 Black Fir Wood, a pair, possibly breeding.  [SLM 1915]

1882-  occasional in large woods SLM HE 13 May.

1915 – very rare visitor, ‘many years since one was reported’. [SLM 1915]

1915 Mar – Storthes Hall Wood.  Shot and brought to museum to be stuffed.  SLM threatens shooter with prosecution. Apr 13, boy fined 7s for shooting. ‘The chairman of the bench said there is too  much indiscriminate shooting and hoped it would be a warning to others’ .  Notices have been sent round to all schools.[SLM – 1915 Apr 24, Jul 24]

1918 – Honley. Nest destroyed. (Arthur Littlewood) [SLM – 1919 Feb 22]

1919 – Slaithwaite. Shot. ‘When is this folly going to stop?’ [SLM – 1919 Jun 7]

1920 – Undisclosed wood (Probably Fixby). ‘Recently since the number of gunners have decreased and nest robbers have been absorbed in football and other games, some of the owls which have visited our district have been induced to remain and in some instances bred.’ [SLM – 1920 Feb 14].

J R Simpson of Honley reports one to Huddersfield NS meeting on 28 Feb, in wood ‘not far from the town.’ (HNS Rept 1919-20). In undated printed notes to his Square Mile survey of Honley, SLM states that Long Eared Owls in museum shot in fur plantation on Honley Moor, where they had nested every year up to then.

1922 – Birdsedge. Flown into wires.  (J.C.Kaye) [SLM – 1922 Mar 25]

1923 – Netherthong. Sent alive to museum. Died following day. [SLM – 1923 Apr 21]

Fixby.  Eight in Holly Wood. SLM appeals to land owner not to allow them to be shot. [SLM –1923 Oct 30].           One shot at Birkby, presented to him stuffed as gift !

1925- New Mill area (?). Nest found, Frank Kaye (HExp 18 Apr)

1937 – Honley Old Wood, pair nesting at foot of birch, hatch three owlets (CVG 11 June). ‘Thousands’ of people come to look at them.


Owlets in Honley Wood. A similar photo appeared in the Huddersfield Examiner, whilst this was published as a postcard. (Thanks to Lesley Abernethy for a copy).


1958 – Formerly resident, now rare visitor. [S&A]

1970s – 5-10 pairs at around 4 sites. [HBC Atlas]

SHORT EARED OWL                                                                                       (Asio flammeus)
1859 – Kirklees.  Visits England in October, and departs in April .[CPH]

Shot on Storthes Hall Moor, and Scholes Moor. [SLM 1915]

1882-  occasional in large woods SLM HE 13 May.

1895- near Quarmby, shot by John Kaye of Lindley, ‘This is the third of this species killed in this district in the last few years, which Mr James Kaye, taxidermist, Lindley, has has the honour of stuffing.’ HEW 2 Nov.

1896 – Skelmanthorpe, shot, SkNS (HEW 23 May).

1908-Boshaw Reservoir, shot.  ‘The foolish practice of shooting every strange bird ought to be put a stop to, for often, as in this case, they are our best of friends’. [SLM-1915]

1921– Slaithwaite. (J.R.Dyson). [SLM – 1921 Nov 26]

1958 – Resident, moorlands, uncommon. [S&A]

1969 – Blackmoorfoot, one bird seen. [HBC]

1970 – 18 Nov. one bird, mobbed by gulls. [HBC]

1989 – best year so far for breeding – at about 12 sites. . [HBC Atlas]


Family CAPRIMULGIDAE – the Nightjars
Genus Caprimulgus L.

NIGHTJAR                                                                                          (Caprimulgus europaeus )
1859 – Near the close of May. [CPH]

1878 June 27 – ‘A nightjar at Almondbury Bank flying at two o’ clock am’. [JV-1884]

1884– Butternab Wood. Nesting pair shot. [HEW  Dec 13] Committee of Naturalists Society ‘strongly deprecates the shooting of such birds’.

1895-   Saville Wood, SLM, HEW 31 Aug

1896 – Skelmanthorpe, common over the summer.  SkNS (HEW 29 Sep).

1900-  Skelmanthorpe, 17 Apr, SkNS HEW 5 May.

1901-  Skelmanthorpe, 9 Apr, SkNS HEW 20 Apr

1905 – a common visitor to most of our woods.

Pairs used to breed every year in Butternab Wood, Storthes Hall (Fir) Wood, Honley Old Wood, Honley Moor ‘but I am afraid it has been exterminated in all these places’. Still breeding near Netherthong. (Mr Tinker) [SLM-1915]  Wessenden Moor. Shot. [HEW Jan 6 1906]

1912-  A Kaye, Lindley, nightjar fortnight later this year.  7 Jul  Marsden, Alf Dean,  [HNS Rept]

1914- Deffer Wood, ‘plentiful’. Wood preserved for game.  Ben Morley, Naturalist May

Holmfirth, B.Shaw. [SLM HEW 12 Sep]

1915 – heard first time for many years. [SLM – 1916 Jan 8]

1919 – Hoyland Bank Wood. (A. Hirst, Skelmanthorpe). [SLM – 1919 Jun 28].

1958 – Formerly, summer resident, now occasional visitor. [S&A]

1985 – 31 May, Bretton park.

Family APODIDAE – the Swifts
Genus Apus Scop

SWIFT          (Ell rake)                                                                                     (Apus apus.)
1840s – number declining because used for shooting practice (Eddison)

[SLM 1915 May 15]

1859 – Swift. Middle of May; breeds at Longwood.    [CPH]  Longwood Edge quarries [SLM 1915]

1886 – 6 May, earliest arrival (MR Freer) [SLM 1915]

1905 – breeds in a few places.

1913 – ‘Twenty years or so ago the Common Swift was not known to stay or breed about Slaithwaite, but was occasionally seen during harvest time, passing over at a great height.  For two or three years now they have come to breed in the district and this season (1913) have been especially numerous, nesting in the cracks and under the slates of some of the mills and at Pole Chapel.  One was seen hawking near  Slaithwaite Station so late as 25th September.  Locally swifts are known as “ell rakes”.’  James Bamforth, Naturalist.

1915 – hundreds bred in derelict Scammonden Mill at Deanhead until it was demolished. On return some spread to empty building at Smithy Place, later pulled down.  Others to empty mill above Holmfirth. [SLM 1915]

1916 May 11– Outlane. Found exhausted. [ SLM – 1916 May 20]

1928 – 13 May. Seen at NewMill for first time this season. Last of emigrants to arrive and first to leave us by end of second week in August, though there may be abundance of food. F.K. [HExp 2 Jun ]

1950 November 4 – a young swift was found on the floor behind the door of a shop in Huddersfield; it revived after being warmed and fed on bread and milk, and flew away strongly on 6 November.

1958 -Summer resident, fairly common. [S&A]

2000 – general decline in numbers since 1970s. Demolition of nest sites. . [HBC Atlas]

ALPINE SWIFT                                                                                                        (Apus melba)
1881 – 2 June, Causeway Foot, Thunderbridge, one found  exhausted. Bought by JRM and given to SLM, who sold it from Beaumont Park Museum to Mr Bond’s collection [SLM-1915 Dec 24] [SLM 1915]

1905 – one picked up exhausted at Kirkburton (probably same as above ).

1958 –Irregular visitor. [S&A]


Family ALCEDINIDAE – the Kingfishers
Genus Alcedo L.

KINGFISHER                                                                                                           (Alcedo ispida )

1840 s- formerly common, still bred near Huddersfield according to Eddison. [SLM 1915]

1859 -Occasionally frequents the banks of rivers and clear streams. [CPH]

‘Formerly resident, now a much persecuted visitor’  ‘My father had a green silk net which he used for catching them. Besides the incessant persecution to which these birds have been subjected the pollution of the streams and the destruction of the fish have had a good deal to do with reducing their number.  It still visits the district every year and would breed here if permitted.’  [SLM 1915]

1870   HE 15 Oct: HNS Wm Nettleton, Sewage question – fish, kingfishers and herons driven away.

1874- ‘Mr J Challand exhibited a kingfisher, which was caught alive in a room in Plover Mills, Lindley, by Mr RH Turton on Monday the 13th Inst. Mr Challand observed that several of this species of birds had been captured this season.’ Birkby NS meeting,  HEW 26 Sep.

1875- ,  once resident in district, now only occasional,  J E Palmer, HNS Naturalist Vol I new series p.61)

1884- Lindley. Wellington Mill dam and Dalton (HEW20 Dec;22 Nov] Dec – Lindley, Martin’s dam. Shot by keeper. [SLM 1885 Jan 3]

1884   HEW 27 Dec: ‘It is a great pity that some country millowners do not protect this bird upon their ponds. ..A kingfisher adds a semi tropical charm to a place which non can understand  but those who have  seen this bird in  its natural state’.  NHC.

1873 – Almondbury Bank.  1891-Damside. 1898-Meltham-Crosland Hall-Golcar.

‘Mr Fisher informs me that it occurs in Dalton every year but it is always shot and it is to be regretted that all the above records (Except for Crosland Hall) are records of murder’.  A servant of the late Thomas Brooke shot one in the grounds at Armitage Bridge and deservedly got a good dressing down from his master’. [SLM-1915]

1890 –  Bretton Hall, SkNS HEW April   1

1891 – ‘some years ago’ , Dr Morehouse, Stoney Bank, New Mill, said pair on dam near garden, but disturbed by lads coming after them and never returned.  (HEW 31 Oct)

Damside, Mr Whattam, Newsome  (HEW 7 Nov).

c.1893 – Crosland Hall, pair about 4 or 5 years before GT Porritt moved there a pair on ponds, but one shot by gentleman who visited house, according to Mr Heath, stationmaster, Healey House.  (1 Mar 1898 Naturalist).

1893- Gledholt pond, four present  HEW 11 Nov)

1896- Skelmanthorpe, beck below village, great abundance of sticklebacks in all becks around village. SkNS( HEW 15 Aug. HEW 29 Sep).

1899 – ‘The Kingfisher at Huddersfield – It will be remembered that in the Naturalist for January last (1898) I recorded the occurrence on 23rd December 1897 of a Kingfisher (Alcedo ispeda) on the ponds in the Crosland Hall grounds. To my regret that bird seemed to depart at once and was not seen here again until 18th August iof this year, when I caught a good sight of it (or another) on the same ponds. From that date until 13 th September, it never left the immediate vicinity of the ponds, as I constantly saw it flying over the larger of the two, and could, indeed, almost at any time distrurb it from the low branch of trees which overhang the pond, and which it had apparently chosen as its resting or hunting perch.  After 13 th Sptember I looked for it in vain, but since then a kingfisher has been observed on the Meltham Mills reservoir, about a mile and a half from here.  Unless all the three occurrences relate to the same specimen, which I think it most likely, this lovely bird is of more frequent occurrence in this district than was supposed.  Is the kingfisher known to be a wanderer from pond to pond in the district it frequents ?  It would too be interesting to know where it spent the nesting season, and if it found a mate.  G.T.PORRITT, Crosland Hall, Huddersfield’   ‘The Naturalist’   (HEW 11 Feb NH&Sci Col)

As a result of these reports GTP  received information that Kingfishers had been seen at Thornhill Hall, Emley Old Hall, Blacker Wood  (Skelmanthorpe) and Slaithwaite. At Blacker Wood, stream formerly held sticklebacks ‘but they appear to have been killed off by sewage and mill effluents. In fact when I observed the bird last Saturday, the stream was much dicoloured by dye-water. Joseph H Hinchliff, Skelmanthorpe 15 Feb Naturalist.

1900 – Crosland Hall, GTP had seen it only once this year, in January.( HEW 30 Jun)

1901-  Rake Dyke above Brownhill Mill.  [HExp 28 Sep]

Several in district, including pair in private grounds.  Wilmot Tunstall, Brook House, Meltham , 11 Mar 1901 Naturalist.

1902- Marsden, Wessenden, ‘has appeared several times, but unfortunately it is always shot or driven off.’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1903 – Skelmanthorpe.  ‘A KINGFISHER SHOT – A correspondent writes: Some of your readers who like to go out and shoot something will probably be pleased to hear that a kingfisher which has frequented this neighbourhood for a few years has at last fallen a victim to the prowess of the man with a gun.  No more flashing of the sunlight on its glorious plumage, as it suddenly appears in sight, in its flight through the valley.; something to be remebered with pleasure for many a long day .  But what of that ? Its dying agony is past, its life blood has been cleaned from its feathers, its cold morsel of flesh has been replaced with poisons and its skin stuffed into a semblance of what it was in life: and though it ceaselessly meets the beholder, with the unflinching, meaningless stony stare of its glass eyes, what of that ?  No more dodging behind stone walls, or serpent like twistings and twinings through thorn hedges of a man with a gun in the hope of getting in a shot.  And what after all is the good of paying a gun license if you have no chance to shoot all that is rare and beautiful ? Whenever will these things learn enough sense to keep in their own inaccesible regions where men with guns are unknown ? Most certainly never until more of them are shot.’          [HEW 17 Jan].

1905 – still breeds in a few places but much persecuted.

1907 – 12 May, Dalton Bank   two shot. (E.Fisher)  [HEW 4 Jan 1908]

(12 Jan, ‘Old Blackhouse’ Dalton, two shot, E Fisher, Naturalist  1907)

1908   Kingfisher ‘extinct in these parts’ due to tainted rivers. CVG 3 Jan.  Letter from Tom Cock of Slaithwite NS, one recorded in past year on 2 Feb, by S Wood on 7 Feb and by Haigh on 23 June, feeding.  Location kept secret.  CVG 10 Jan.

1914- Blackmoorfoot reservoir, seen by Mr Freer, brother in law of Mr Falconer of Wilberlee  [SLM – 6 Mar 1915]

1915 -Honley (Arthur Litlewood) [SLM – 1915 Oct 23] Whoa Carr Bank, Longwood, Joe Beaumont [SLM 11 Dec].

1916   ’I have just seen a Kingfisher which has killed itself against an electric cable near the baths at Slaithwaite, and am further informed that there are “several” about’. Charles Mosley, The Naturalist, March 1 1916.

1917 – Lindley. Martin’s Mill dam. (cf 1884) [SLM – 1918 Jan 12].

1920 – pair at undisclosed location. [SLM – 1920 Sep 4].

1921 – Gledholt sidings. Caught by cat. Still alive when brought to museum.

[SLM – 1921 Feb 19].

1924 – Three pairs breed successfully only 3 miles from town.

1947 – at Bretton Lakes, Arthur Hirst, Skelmanthorpe, (HEW 24 May )

1949 – injured one found at Aspley and taken to RSPCA clinic. HEW 3 Dec.

1953 – River Colne, Dalton Bank, occasionally breeds

1958 – Resident. Frequently seen throughout the district [S&A]

1969 – Bretton, Slaithwaite canal. [HBC]

1970 – River Colne at Dalton. [HBC]

1980s recovery in numbers begins. c.1985 one found dead at Magdale.

1991 – Tunnel End, Marsden;  River Holme, Armitage Bridge; Aspley

2002-Honley.  2003-Magdale Dam.



Genus Coracias

ROLLER                                                                                                       (Coracias garrula). 

1824 – Fixby one shot [1905] [SLM 1915]

1859 – Very rare ; only an accidental visitant; one shot at Fixby some years ago [CPH].

Family UPUPIDAE – the Hoopoes
Genus Upupa L.

HOOPOE                                                                                                                   (Upopa epops)

1883- one killed in district within last 20 years exhibited by SLM at Huddersfield Naturalists Society.  [HEW 12 May 1883]  Shot at Meltham acquired for Museum in Gibson Thornton collection [SLM 1915]

1891- 17 Oct – shot at Park Riding, Honley by George H Smith and shown to meeting at BPM next day.   Third in district.  (HEW,HC 24 Oct)

1905 – Fixby and  Honley  (see above)

1907 – 7 Sep, Ainley Grange, shot (J.Robertshaw) [HEW 4 Jan 1908]

1911- near Butternab Wood. May. Shot by keeper. Three other occurrences known-Honley, Meltham and Grimscar.  If not shot may become established. [SLM-1915 May 15]

1958 – Irregular visitor. [S&A]

1985 – 23 Sep, Bretton. Previous records 1960, 1975.

1991 – 16-23 May. In garden at Emley.


Family PICIDAE – the Woodpeckers
Genus Picus L.

GREEN WOODPECKER                                                                                       (Picus viridis)
1844 – according to Eddison, very rare though formerly plentiful

1859 – Storthes Wood, very rare, one shot near the Hall in 1835. [CPH]

1890 –  Bretton Hall, SkNS HEW April   1

1905 – occasional in Storthes Hall and other woods, formerly bred.

Beaumont Park, shot (HEW  Jan 1906)

1915 – ‘Rare visitor’.  One shot a few years ago in Whteley Woods [SLM 1915]

1958 – Resident, not uncommon.

2001- Resident breeder.

Genus Dendrocopos Koch

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER                                                      (Dendrocopus major)

1859 – Spotted Woodpecker, Storthes Wood ; Bradley Wood. [CPH]
1880 Jan 28 – seen at Fenny Spring Wood [JV – 1884]

1890- Skelmanthorpe, in NS annual report, , rare in district. 1891 HEW 7 Feb

1904-  ‘A Great Spotted Woodpecker which has been under observation for some months in Hanginstones Wood, near Huddersfield, has been shot and taken to Mr C. Mosley “for preservation”’.Naturalist 1 Apr.

1905 – still breeds in the larger woods

1915 – Recent years at Thunderbridge [SLM-1915 Dec 24].

1920 – rare in district but trees at Fenay Wood and Hagg Wood show signs of activity. [SLM – 1920 Apr 17;24].

1922 – Round Wood. Shot by ‘some loafer with a gun’. [SLM – 1922 Feb 25]

Whiteley.  Reminds readers it is protected by law. [SLM – 1922 Apr 29]

1937-Brockholes,  ‘The Tramp’, HEW 20 Mar.

1939 – Sheepridge. Frank Radcliffe reports to HNPS meeting 25 March.

1958 -Resident, well distributed. [S&A]

1970 – reported from only 7 localities. [HBC]

2000 – resident breeder. 70-80 pairs. . [HBC Atlas]

2004 – breeding in Magdale area.

LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER                                                    (Dendrocopus minor)

1859 -Smaller Spotted Woodpecker. Storthes Hall Wood ; [CPH]  JRM had one which had been killed near Storthes Hall. (now in Museum) [SLM 1915]

1898- Skelmanthorpe Area, recent years, SkNS  HEW 9 Apr

1905 – occasional

1915-  SLM seen one at Bretton Hall [SLM-5 Jun 1915].

1954  April 21  to July 18 – Bradley.  [S&A]

1958 – Irregular visitor. [S&A]

1970s – Bretton Park and only confirmed breeding at four other sites. . [HBC Atlas]
1999 –  Increased to 15 sites including Honley and Magdale.

2001- Resident breeder. Recorded at 15 sites.

Genus Jynx

WRYNECK                                                                                                               (Jynx torquilla)

1864- 22 May, ‘I saw a Wryneck, Yunx torquilla, which had been shot in Honley a few days before.’  Alfred Beaumont, Naturalist, 24 May.

1999 – 22 Aug. Dewsbury.  Eighth record.

Family ALAUDIDAE – the Larks
Genus Alauda L.

SKYLARK                                                                                                    (Alauda arvensis)


1854 – Farnley Tyas.  ‘Mildness of season’ , skylark’s nest with single newly laid egg found by Walker, farmer  last Monday week.  ‘The man took the nest away and the old bird hovered about the place, seemingly much distressed at seeing her early work thus rendered nugatory.’ HC 11 Mar:

1858- ‘As Joe Kenworthy of Almondbury, was ploughing in a field in the occupation of R Beaumont, of Benholmley, near Almondbury on the 13th inst, his horse trod upon a nest of birds, which turned out to be a brood of four skylarks, apparently a week old. Unfortunately all the young ones were killed, and the old bird was caught on the wing by the horses hoof but succeded in escaping. This is another indication of the extreme mildness of the season’. HC 16 Jan:

1859 -Sky Lark. Abundant and widely dispersed. [CPH]

1860s – two white ones found in nest with two of usual colour. Caged until feathered and given to JRM who stuffed them. Sold from  Beaumont Park collection.

1865- John Gibson of Manchester St, accused of stealing valuable lark of David Holt of Lindley at half past five in morning.  Holt ‘ had intended entering the lark for a prize singing match, and before going was desirous that it should hear the wild birds sing.’ so leaves it outside his house. Hears bird like his at Gibson’s house, and identifies it as his own.  Gibson syas he had got it from a man from Staleybridge. Ordered to return it and costs to be shared. HC 22 Jul:

1867   Crosland Moor, lark builds nest and feeds three young in heap of stones by well traveled occupation road.  (HC 11 May)

1870- skylark singing match at Somerset Arms, Moldgreen, 14 birds compete,  HE 11 Jun.

1872- skylark singing match at Foresters, Crosland Moor. 12 birds entered.

1880 – decline of skylarks reported and attributed to increase in waste ground being taken for agriculture. [HEW 1880 Aug 7]

1884   1 March, first skylark heard, 1884 HEW 5 Apr

HEW 19 Jul: Wild Bird Protction Act: John Fuller age 18 of Manchester Street was summonsed under this act for having  in his possession a lark which had been recently taken…’ Insp Luckings vists his property and sees lark in cage.  Fined 6d and 7s expenses.  Frederick Hardy, greengrocer Moldgreen  also charged with ‘”having a lark”’.  Not fully feathered. Defendant says tail worn away because in canary cage. 6d plus costs.

1886 – Letter ‘Ornis’ – on snaring of larks ‘one sees festoons of larks adorning poulters’ shops’.  ‘those who dine of larks are still to be found by the side of ladies dressed in costumes glowing with the red breasts of robins.’

Huddersfield Naturalist Society, SLM moves resolution: ‘this society is glad to see that attention is being drawn to the destruction of larks’. [HEW Jan 23 and 30]

1894 HC 7 Jul .

1903 –  HUDDERSFIELD SKYLARK ASSOCIATION …the second annual show of skylarks took place on Staurday last at the Brunswick Arms, Victoria Strret…33 birds were presented for competition as against 51 last year, but the wretched foggy weather prevented many of the members competing.  The quality of the birds was excellent.  Messrs William Grange (Kirkheaton) and James Myers (Paddock) were the judges who made the following awards: 1. Robert Bower, Lindley, value 25s.  Mr Bowers bird was beautifully mooned, well filled up, possesed fine silk feathers and was well singed. Second prise winner, Harry Lindley, Lindley, value 13s.  this bird was equally good in marking, but not quite so long in feather….The show, which was visited by a large number of bird fanciers, was a pronounced succes.’         HEW 14 Nov.

1904-  7 May ‘It is a great pity as I have previously pointed out, that our town council does not apply the provisions of the Wild Birds Protection Act to this gem of our local songsters.’ ‘Celandine’ HEW

8 Oct  ‘It seems a pity to confine this bird, perhaps the king of the songsters whose delight it is to soar up to heaven in a cage six inches high and this generally by men who cry loudly for “Liberty, equality and fraternity”….  Should read Shelley’s poem [HEW SLM].

1905 – common.

1915 – ‘The fact that skylarks from the Honley Moor neighbourhood fetch more money in the Manchester market is an additional incentive to this wholesale robbery… made by God for the gate of heaven, condemned by man to the hell of a sunless backyard.’

‘Note of Protest’ Before passing of Wild Bird Act also victim of wholesale slaughter.

‘Lark on toast is supposed to be aristocratic but a man who can devour a lark whatever he may be by birth, has a larger stomach than brain’  [SLM 1915]

1918 –  ‘Joe Alsop, Gateshead, very large flock of larks passing NW, took ten minutes to pass. NAH Jan 26.

1923 Feb 1 – Stocksmoor. Heard singing (David Lodge). [SLM – 1923 Feb 10]

1928 14 Feb: ‘Heard two skylarks singing this day. They rose simultaneously and one of them soared to a considerable height. They did not remain in the air too long. They continued to sing despite the unfavourable weather.’ F.K. HExp. 25Feb.

1951 – stuffed dark coloured lark at Rastrick, caught originally in Fixby Park and called ‘Sweep’, used in ‘lark sings’, won 22 events, once 25 sovereigns offered for it (HEW 14 Jul)

1958 – Resident, common. [S&A]

1985 – ‘This species did not seem as numerous during the breeding season as in previous years.’ [HBC]

2000 –  marked decline but possibly 2,500 pairs mainly in upland pastures.

2001-  partial migrant breeder. Only 40 singing males recorded but probably due to restrictions on observers due to Foot and Mouth epidemic. Heard up to 2 Nov, Wessenden

Family HIRUNDINIDAE – the Swallows
Genus Hirundo L.

SWALLOW                                                                                                     (Hirundo rustica)

1859 – A Summer visitant, about the third week in April. [CPH]

1872 Sept 11 – ‘I was coming up Firth Street and I saw about fifty swallows let on the telegraph wires. Some boys threw stones and started them when about fifty more joined them from the print works.  They did not stay to hawk for flies but went in a compact body due south till I lost sight of them. I think they had only stopped to rest.  During the following week I saw many both swallows and martins hawking for flies over the canal about our mill and about Gladstone Mill.’   James Varley

Picture 365

Oct 12 – ‘I saw two swallows at Shorefoot Mill but I have not seen any since’. [JV-1884]

1880 – Oct 30 ‘ A swallow at Nab Hill Dalton’. [JV-1884]

1884 – April 19 ,Beaumont Park. [SLM 1884 Apr 26]

1891 – Nov 14, late swallows seen. SkNS (HEW 28 Nov)

1901 – 7 Apr, Waterloo, earliest recorded arrival (Mr Fisher) [SLM 1915]

1904 Apr 7 – Waterloo. Earliest ever local sighting ? [ SLM – 1915 Apr 24].

1905 –common

1915 –  common [SLM 1915]

1916 – 30 Sept; 20 Oct ‘last swallow’ sightings [ SLM – 1916 Oct 14; 28]

1917 30 Apr – first sighting. [ SLM – 1917 May 5]

1925 Aug 24– Butternab. Third brood of pair leave nest.  Young and old fly off Sep 5.

Flock of  40-50 seen at Woodfield. [SLM – 1925 Sep 19]

1958 – Summer resident, common. [S&A]

1970 – 10 Sep, Meltham, partial albino seen.  3 Oct, Grimscar flock c. 150. [HBC]

2000 – widespread decline, perhaps around 600 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

2001- Migrant breeder. majority not arrived until late April even May.

c.200 at Ingbirchworth 30 April. Large roost at Elland Gravel Pits. Loss of nest sites due to conversion of old buildings.

Genus Delichon .

HOUSE MARTIN                                                                                              (Delichon urbic)
1859 – Martin. Arrives a little later than the Swallow,  frequent.. [CPH]

1882- nest at Honley 2 Oct, ‘unusually late date’. Tindall, HNS meeting NP 14 Oct.

1901 – 7 Apr, Marsden, Alfred Dean, earliest record

1903 – 25 Sep Waterloo, latest.

1905 –common

1915 – not so common as formerly [SLM 1915]

– Dogley Chapel.  Nesting. SLM reminds congregation that birds nesting in synagogues used to be thought as sent by God. [SLM – 1915 Jun 12]

1918 – decrease from 50-60 years ago.  Used to be thought lucky, now housewives  more concerned about appearance of houses and nests clothes-propped off.  Also nest sites occupied by sparrows. [SLM – 1918 Jan 12]

1922 – not seen a single one in Huddersfield this year, but nesting at Ripponden [SLM – 1922 Aug 12].  Sees one at Flockton [SLM – 1922 Sep 2].

1930-  more common than for some years, reported at Ravensknowle Natural History Class [HEW  14 June]

1958 – Summer resident, not common; also passage migrant. [S&A]

2001- Migrant breeder.

Genus Riparia .Forster

 SAND MARTIN                                                                                         (Riparia riparia)

1859 – The earliest of the Swallow tribe. [CPH] great colony at bottom of Dalton Bank when SLM a boy, persecuted by nest robbers and driven away during construction of sewage works, some moved to Fenay Beck

1890 – SkNS, HEW May 3

1901- Skelmanthorpe, 10 Apr, SkNS, HEW 20 Apr.

1905 –common

1915 – not so common as formerly [SLM 1915]

Dogley nesting on beck and near Shepley Mill. (W Percy Shaw) [SLM – 1915 Jun 12]

1922 – Elland. Colony of 200 destroyed when level of Calder rose. Only three pairs returned following year. Formerly a colony of similar size at bottom of Dalton Bank.

[SLM – 1924 May 10]
1958 -Summer resident (one breeding colony) and passage migrant. [S&A]

1968-69 population crash due to drought in wintering areas.

1970 – breeding near Bretton, River Dearne,  also Colne.  [HBC]

1983-84 again population crash due to drought in wintering areas. [HBC Atlas]

1988 – breeding on Calder.

2001- Migrant breeder. Breeding at two sites, and possibly two other small recent colonies.

  PURPLE MARTIN                                                                           (Hirundo purpurea, Lin

1854 – One shot at Colne Bridge,. [CPH]   Colne Bridge one stuffed by Burton, plumber of Queen St for ‘Huddersfield Museum’ at Philosophical Hall [ 1905 list, SLM- 1915 Apr 24] [SLM 1915].  Clarke records with some doubt: ‘Accidental visitant from North America, of extremely rare occurrence. Huddersfield, one shot at Colne Bridge, 1854 (Hobkirk’s Hudd., 1859, p. 144). Requires investigation.’


Family CORVIDAE – the Crows
Genus Corvus L.

RAVEN                                                                                                          (Corvus corax)

1859 – Kirklees, but does not breed there. [CPH]

1915 – ‘long extinct in this district’, only known from place name evidence. [SLM]

1928  HE 13 Dec. SLM appeals for information on whereabouts of  case of ‘last of the Saddleworth ravens’.  Used to be at Walton Hall in his fathers time. 

1984/85 – first recorded., at Swinden plantation, Langsett.

1999 – resident breeder. regular sightings at Yateholme, Holme Moss, Winscar. 14 Aug three seen overflying Hinchliffe Mill and 29 Aug three at Holmebridge. [HBC]

2000 – amazing increase in sightings. reports from 20 locations year round, especially Harden, Winscar, Langsett, Ingbirchworth.  30 Apr, at Harden Edge on ground, dive bombed by Curlews whose nests they were threatening. 1 Apr Wessenden Head, mobbed by crows. 26 Dec Wessenden Valley, pair harried by Peregrine. 17 Sep Yorkshire record of 32 birds seen together.

 CARRION CROW                                                                                        (Corvus corone)
Crow. Common in the wooded parts of the district. [CPH]

1915 – Not bred in district for many years. 1860s pair shot in Storthes Hall woods by keeper Matthew Pemberton and two eggs taken from nest.  Birds stuffed by JR Mosley for Alfred Beaumont and eggs given to Seth Lister Mosley for his collection. [SLM 1915]

1905 – a few frequent the larger woods.

1950 – HEW 23 Sep Marsden and Meltham Fox club, killed 30 foxes since founded 6 months age – now intend exterminating magpies and carrion crows ‘which have been responsible for injuries to many lambs and sheep on the moors this year.’   170-180 lambs in Yorkshire had eyes pecked out by crows.  Ministry behind the farmer.

1955 November –  Cupwith.  Pair.

1958 – Formerly a resident, now rare visitor [S&A]

1960s – recovery.

2000 – c.1000 [HBC Atlas]    pairs

2004 – pair nesting several years near Magdale

2016- Now common, including variety in Holme Valley with white markings on primary feathers.


A young crow with white wing markings asking to be fed. Magdale, Honley. Other birds have even more pronounced white bars on wing feathers. See Richard Shillaker’s article on this phenomenon in East Yorkshire in The Naturalist No.141. (2016) pp.197-199. He suggests such albinism may be the result of a ‘suboptimal diet’

HOODED CROW                                                                                            (Corvus cornix)

1860-70s – Shot on Grange Moor stuffed by JRM for AB. Others from Cooks Study and Wessenden Head.[SLM 1915]

1873 – February,  Heaton Lodge, killed,  SLM, YNR

1874 ‘reported as common in the district’. to 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society by James Varley  [HEW 9 Jan 1875].

1875- Storthes Hall Moor, ‘The naturalist’  [SLM 1914 Dec 5]

1905 – occasional in the winter.

1914 – Cook’s Study, seen occasionally in winter. [SLM 27 Jan]

1921 – Slaithwaite.  Shot by J.R. Dyson keeper. (Mr Falconer). pale ‘arctic form’.  Still breeds in Bretton and Cannon Hall Woods.

1958 – Rare winter visitor. A pair in the Tolson Memorial Museum was taken on Grange Moor.[S&A].

2001 – rare visitor. May at Holme and Harden. First record since 1993. Only 15th in all.

ROOK                                                                                                            (Corvus frugilegus)
c.1800 – Whiteley Hall, Beaumont has rookery destroyed so that he can hear if alarm of French invasion.

1859 -Cultivated districts. [CPH]

A freak one with cross-bill shot at Taylor Hill in AB collection.

1859 – Rookery of John E Moorhouse, Springbottom, Thongsbridge. A blue flag still flies from highest tree following recent election, ‘a fertile imagination may easily interpret the language of the very crows, as they fly about the conservative standard, saying as it were, “Wortley for ever”…’   (HC 28 May)

1860- Thongsbridge, Spring Bottom, J E Moorhouse, charges Richard Wilson of trespassing onto his land to shoot rooks which roosted there.  Wilson says that they had done damge to his crops.  Complainant says Rooks used his wood at night and did not claim property in them but had in land and trees. ‘As to rooks doing damage to crops, farmers were of opinion that it was an advantage to have a rookery in their neighbourhood, to destroy wireworm and other ground insects, which did much injury to crops.’ Says he doesn’t want heavy damages,  only annoyance stopping.  6d awarded plus 12s.6d cost against defendant.  (HC18 Aug).

1884 – Dalton. ‘Gross Cruelty’ –farmer pegged rook to ground to scare others. HNC1884 HEW  24 May.

1901- Marsden, c.30 nests, Alfred dean, NJ may 1901.

1902  (Written, but referring to earlier)  ‘I think the most pleasing scene was at Cellars Clough, where there is one of the finest rookeries ever seen in the Colne Valley, and worth going a long way to see. All the birds were in the varied moods of love, work, and play, all of which these wonderful creatures make free use of in reproducing their kind on the slender means at their disposal. Perhaps one could have wished, in looking at a few trees injured by the tipping of dirt, seemingly for saving money, that, notwithstanding this desire, some thought at least should have been given not to wantonly destroy nature’s own graceful dress’. John Sugden Slaithwaite Notes, Past And Present. (John Heywood, Deansgate , Manchester 1905. Chapter Xii.

1905 – abundant.

1906 – ‘There are now several large rookeries in the district. The one at Armitage Bridge seems to extend each year.’  [HEW May 12]

1907 – Woodhouse                                         10 nests

1908 – Thongsbridge                                 c.200

1909 – Wooldale (Burts Mill)                           41

1909 – Brockholes (Hagg Wood)                   23

1910 –  Wooldale Village                                 20

1910 – Honley (Northgate House)                  37

1911 – Armitage Bridge                                  23

Armitage Bridge Church                                  5

Berry Brow                                                       20

1911 – Ribblesden Mill                                    6

1912 – Lindley Church                                    4

1912 – Brockholes (Smithy Place)                 21

1912 – Kirkburton (Spring Grove)                  16

1913 –  Holmfirth                                             16

Holmfirth (Upper Mill)                                    31               [SLM 1914 Dec 5]

1915 – Distribution map shows 24 rookeries, most in Holme Valley.[SLM 1915]

1938 – Meltham Mills. [HEW 1938 Mar 19]

Manchester Road [HEW 1938 June 4]

1948 Kirkburton, council carries out cull of nesting rooks, 30 shot.  Plan to thin colonies out by 80 %.  Quotes SLM story of man  in Sheepridge who shot  a rook and was chased by rest of flock

1958 – Resident, Common. [S&A]

1987 – 90 rookeries recorded with 4119 nests.

 JACKDAW                                                                                        (Corvus monedula)
1859 -Jackdaw. Breeds at Almondbury Church. [CPH]

Formerly nested at Bretton. Stuffed white one at hall[SLM 1914 Dec 12]

1905 – common.

1910/11 – Pair at Lockwood ‘about the Baptist Chapel’,  but not seen since [SLM 1914 Dec 24]

1915 – ‘not uncommon’. May be seen with rooks. Used to nest in unused Deanhead Mill, now demolished .[SLM 1915]

1917 – Lockwood. Formerly fairly common. Pair used to nest in mill chimney at Slaithwaite. [SLM – 1918 Jan 12].

1948 – Huddersfield Town Hall, pair nesting, first described by ‘Puck’ of Examiner as ‘Ravens’, identified by  E J Swabey  HED 25-28 Apr.

1958 – Resident, fairly common. [S&A]

1990s – spread throughout district.  Said to have been disturbed at nesting places when Storthes Hall hospital redeveloped.

2001   Resident breeder, Hinchliffe Mill, Golcar and Dunford Bridge.

Genus Pica Briss.

MAGPIE    (Pinot).                                                                                        (Pica pica.)
1859 – Common. [CPH]

1859 – Stocksmoor.  Large flocks congregate in winter .[SLM 1915] Also referred to in  article on Magpie in Local Nature notes by ‘Celandine’. [HEW 7 Mar 1908]

1896 – Skelmanthorpe,  SkNS (HEW Jan5).

1902-  ‘Abundance of Magpies in the Huddersfield District – I shall be interested to know if any of our ornithological readers experienced a large increase in the number of Magpies (Pica pica) in their districts during the past season.  Here I never knew them so much in evidence and we have seldom been without them in the garden – in summer often four or five at a time – all through the year.  None actually nested in the garden, but one pair built in a tree just outside.  A little further on were two other nests and altogether I think there were quite ten nests within several hundred yards on different sides of this house and grounds.  The effect on the smaller birds breeding in the garden was disastrous, for many which built even a short distance from the house had their eggs promptly eaten by the beautiful but ravenous Magpies, which even sucked the duck’s eggs on the pond sides.. An unusual number of the smaller birds however, doubtless directly from the self preservation instinct, did build near the house and four or five pairs of Thrushes and Blackbirds in the ivy actually growing on it; one pair of Thrushes close to one of the doors where people were constantly going in and out. Another pair built, and got their young safely away, inside the greenhouse.  The birds went in and out through a broken pane of glass, the orifice of which was so small ans narrow I often wondered they were not injured by the sharp edges; whilst still another pair for safety built under a narrow wooden footbridge which was on alevel with the garden path and where almost everyone coming into or going out of the gardennecessarily walked over the nest.  In this and nearly all the other cases the young birds got safely away.  It was no doubt too on account of the Magpies that this year we had scarcely any Missel Thrushes’ nests.  These birds usually build in such exposed spots they would have been found by the Magpie at once.  The previous year an unusually large number of Missel Thrushes bred in the garden.’ Geo.T Porritt, Crosland Hall near Huddersfield, 10th October 1902’ [The Naturalist]

 1905 – not so common as formerly.

1907 – still to be seen especially in Meltham valley. [HEW 4 Jan, 7 Mar 1908].

Common in S.Crosland, farmers complain of egg stealing. [Mrs Bower, Vicarage [SLM 1914 Dec 24]

1910 – Honley Old Wood, flock of eight .[SLM 1915]

1911 – ‘the magpie is seen much more rarely now round Huddersfield than was the case even ten years ago.’  [‘Natural History & Science Column’[HEW  26 Aug]

1915 – ‘greatly reduced by gamekeepers during the last fifty years’, saw nine nailed up on one gibbet. [SLM 1915]

1939 – since increasing [S&A]

1949 – West Riding, this spring large increase, numbers once reduced by gamekeepers, ‘Puck’ HED  26 Mar.

1958 – Resident, common [S&A]

2000 – increase since 1950s, c.1500 pairs

Genus Garrulus Briss.

 JAY                                                                                                    (Garrulus glandarius)
1859 – In extensive woods. [CPH]

1858-62 – Kennerley Wood, several shot by JRM when keeper.

1896 – Skelmanthorpe,  SkNS (HEW Jan 25)  a number shot, SkNS (HEW 23 May).

1905- formerly common. Now seldom seen.

1914-  Breeds in woods at Bretton and Cawthorne [SLM 1914 Dec 24]

1915 –  ‘now extinct locally’ [SLM – 1915]

1923 – Saville Wood. Used to breed in Mollicar Wood. Now only rare visitor.

[SLM – 1923 Feb 10]

1924- Wakefield Road. Two in garden. (Mr A.V.Jones). If left alone would again settle in district [SLM – 1923 Jan 12].

1927 – Storthes Hall Wood. Nesting again. (Mr Hellawell, woodsman) [SLM – 1927 Oct 29]

1958 – Resident, increasing; [S&A]

1970s-2004, increasing to common.

2000 – 2-300 pairs[HBC Atlas]

Genus Nucifrage

NUTCRACKER                                                                                (Nucifraga caryocataetes)

1870 – Dungeon Wood. Shot.  Claim by Nelson in ‘Birds of Yorkshire’ but no local record. If it had been, as claimed, purchased from his father he would have known about it. [SLM 1914 Dec 12  & 1915].

1991 – Oct confirmed at Fixby.


Family PARIDAE – the Tits
Genus Parus L.

 GREAT-TIT                                                                                                                     ( Parus major)

Great Tit
1859 -Great Titmouse. Woods and gardens. [CPH]

1905 – common

Local name Ox eye [SLM-1915]

1958 – Resident, common.

2000 – resident breeder, 1000-1500 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

 BLUE-TIT  (BlueCap)                                                                                 (Parus caeruleus)
1859 -Blue Titmouse. Common [CPH]

1905 – common

1915 – common .[SLM 1915]

1958 – Resident, common.

2000 – resident breeder, around 2500 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

 COAL-TIT                                                                                                                 (Parus ater)
1859 -Cole Titmouse. Not so common as the last mentioned ;confined to woods and extensive plantations. [CPH]

1893 –  large flocks also of long tailed tit, SkNS 7 Jan.

1905 – occasional

1915 – uncommon .[SLM 1915]

1917 – Fenay Hall. ‘now rare in this district’. [ SLM – 1917 Apr 14].

1958 – Resident, common.

2000 – resident breeder, 4-500 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

 WILLOW-TIT                                                                                                (Parus atricapillus)
1942 June 7 – Lepton.

1944 December 31 – Woodsome Lees (A.N. Sykes)

1958 – Visitor, occasional [S&A]

1969 – Lockwood, Kirkburton, Kirkheaton.

1972 – 17 pairs in nine woodlands, decline since 1970s. [HBC Atlas]

2000 – resident breeder, possibly 30 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

MARSH-TIT                                                                                                  (Parus Palustris)
1859 -Marsh Titmouse. Woods and thickets. [CPH]

1905 – occasional.

1915 – resident but rare.[SLM 1915]

1913 – Whitley Willows. Used to be a regular visitor. [SLM – 1915 Jan 30]

1915 – Honley, Hagg Wood (Arthur Litlewood) [SLM – 1915 Oct 23]

1957 October 19 – Fixby, a pair. [S&A]

1958 – Visitor, occasional [S&A]

Genus Aegithalos Herm

LONG-TAILED TIT                                                                          (Aegithalos caudatus)

Long Tailed Tit
1859 -Long-tailed Titmouse. Woods and thickets. [CPH] Used to occur in Pennyspring Wood, Woodsome, Whitley Woods .[SLM 1915]

1884 – Round Wood (E.Fisher) rare during recent years. 1884 – [SLM Nov 22]

1893 –  large flocks also of cole tits, SkNS 7 Jan.

1898 – Skelmanthorpe area, common, SkNS Henry Morley,  HEW 15 Jan

1905 – a few in the large woods.

1915 – used to be common. [SLM – 1915 Jan 30] resident, but rare .[SLM 1915]

1928 – West Bretton, 26 Dec.  ‘I saw a flock of seven working in the mixed belt of woodland near to Bretton Bar. It is not a common species in our district.’ W E L Wattam. The Naturalist 1 Feb 1929.

1949 – Nested at Shepley.

1957 – Farnley.

1958 – Resident, rare, and occasional visitor

1990s – small flocks common.

2000 – resident breeder, around 100 pairs. Vulnerable to bad winters.



Genus sitta

NUTHATCH                                                                                                   (Sitta europea)


Pair of Nuthatches at nest entrance on oak tree.

1859 -One shot in Storthes Wood in the Autumn of 1847 ; very rare. [CPH]

May have once been resident, common near Barnsley ‘many years ago’. [SLM-1915]

1896 – Miry Greaves Wood, small number seen,  SkNS (HEW Jan 18)

1915 – ‘one authentic record only’ [SLM 1915]

1918 – Nest  in hollow tree destroyed at Cannon Hall.  Very rare in district ‘what a pity when such birds do come and try to establish themselves that their nests should be robbed and the birds often shot.’  [SLM 11 May]

1968 – Denby Dale area.

1975 – Thongsbridge.

1985 –  recovery underway after previous years fall. Netherton on bird table.

1998 – ‘the amazing spread and increase of the Nuthatch continued’, possibly 50 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

2003 – pair nesting in hole in Old Oak at Magdale. (AB)

2005- still common in Magdale area.

Family CERTHIIDAE – the Creepers
Genus Certhia

TREE CREEPER                                                                                        (Certhia familiaris)

1859 – Not infrequent  in oak woods [CPH]

1899 – Storthes Hall Lane , fir wood. Last seen by SLM [SLM 1915]

1905 – a few in Storthes Hall and the larger woods.

1915 – formerly resident, if it still exists , very reduced in numbers.

1917 May 1 – Houses Hill. (Wm lee, Kirkburton) ‘Very interesting. I feared it had become extinct locally’.

[SLM – 1917 May 12]

1958 – Resident, widely distributed.

1960s-2004 regular occurrences Honley/Netherton area.

2000 – resident breeder, 1500 100 pairs.

Family TROGOLDYTIDAE – the Wrens
Genus Troglodytes Vieill.

WREN                                                                                                (Troglodytes troglodytes )

oval wren
1859 -Abundant; remaining the whole year. [CPH]

1865 – February, Paddock, Mrs Joshua Crosland’s residence,  nest with three eggs in greenhouse despite sever weather, unparralleled behaviour in this part of country.  Seven young fledged.  Two still visit ‘scene of their nativity.’ HC 11 Feb.; 18 Mar.

1905 –common

1911 – 9 Feb, Grimscar, earliest recorded singing.

1915 – common [SLM 1915]

1958 – Resident, common. [S&A]

2000 – resident breeder, ‘extremely widespread’, around 10,000 pairs.

Family CINCLIDAE – the Dippers
Genus Cinclus Borkh.

DIPPER                                                                                                          (Cinclus cinclus)


Young Dipper on the River Holme.

1859 -A pair of these birds were seen in Pennyspring Wood, in 1857. .[CPH]

c.1865 – pair shot above Holmfirth by Meltham man and stuffed by Bob Kaye of Newsome. [SLM 6 Feb 1915]

1866 – Meltham , Alfred Beaumont  found  nest of dipper with young, ‘no similar situation being as yet recorded,’HNS HC 2 Jun

1882- one or two occasions on streams in district.  \persecuted in some areas for supposedly taking fish eggs.  HE 13 May.

  1. 1884 -Yateholme – Pair shot by Mr Sedgewick [SLM-8 Aug 1914]

1885 – ‘water ouzel’ persecuted in Scotland because believed to take Salmon Eggs. NHC 10 Apr]

1888 – July, New Mill, Clough, nesting ‘very scarce in our district, not noticed any before’ (Frank Kaye) [HEW 15 Sep]  1891 SLM reports he has concluded eggs not of dipper since described as blue , not white  (HEW 24 Oct). Correspondent says he has seen one in same valley, below Boshaw res. (HEW 31 Oct)

SLM – ‘I do not for a moment doubt the occurrence near New Mill; I have several records of single birds having been seen, but there is no authentic record of it having bred in the district.’ HEW 7 Nov.

Nest doubted by SLM, but later found birds in vicinity. [SLM 1915]

1900 – 10 December, Marsden, Wessenden, one shot ’, sent in for preservation, ‘there was a pair, the other so far having escaped the gun’,  Alfred Dean, (NJ  May 1901, Apr 1902)

1905 – breeds in the mountain streams.

  1. . Letter from Tom Cock of Slaithwite NS, one recorded by Haigh on 15 Dec.  CVG 10 Jan.

1914- Yateholme, see above [SLM 8 Aug].

1915 – Breeding above Holmfirth,Meltham, Marsden [ SLM – 1915 Feb 6]. Bred in the Deanhead Valley, 1915. [S&A]

‘ nothing whatever was known of the Dipper as a local bird, until between fifteen and twenty years ago, when for some years I contributed a Natural History column to one of the local papers. This was one of the means I successfully employed for stirring up an interest in Nature. During this time reports reached me of Dippers being seen on the streams above Holmfirth; one man reported that he had found the nest and taken the eggs, but when I went to look at them he had broken them, but described them as “pale blue spotted with red”. , which at once condemned that particular record  (the eggs of the Dipper are pure white) and threw considerable doubton all the rest.  Eventually I went and explored the locality where the birds were reported to have been seen and found them ! Since then I have seen this species several times both when alone and when in the company of Mr Wattam, and Mr B. Shaw, of Holmfirth informs me  that he knows where several pairs brred every year.  The Dipper has probably been here all along, but its haunts are very secluded and on strictly preserved ground, and the naturalists of the last generation probably never visited it, for not only is the Dipper there but several moths and other objects unknown to them.  Mr T.P Crosland informs me that the Dipper occurs I Wessenden and one has been reported (Tr,HNS Ap 2901) from Marsden.’ [SLM-1915]

1916 – Skelmanthorpe. Near Coke Ovens. (A.Hirst) [ SLM – 1916 Jan 15]]

Resident, uncommon, upland streams.

1969 – Outlane, three pairs, others disturbed by reservoir and motorway working.

1970 – less well reported than previous year, Bilberry, Toby wood.

2000 – resident breeder, 40 pairs. River Holme and Fenay beck [HBC Atlas]

2003-2004 sighted on River Holme at Steps Bridge and below Armitage Bridge.  On Colne in centre of Huddersfield at Folly Hall (AB)


Family TURDIDAE – the Thrushes
Genus Turdis L.

MISTLE-THRUSH  (Stormcock)                                                              (Turdus viscivorus)

1859 -Common throughout the year. .[CPH]

1902 – 25 Feb, Butternab Wood, earliest heared singing. [SLM 1915]

(See Magpie, 1902)

1905   Heard on 3 Dec. J W Freer, Linthwaite. CVJ 1 Jan 1909.

1908   Missel Thrush singing at Broad Oak last week. J W Freer, Linthwaite. CVJ 1 Jan 1909. [Letter CVG 30 Jul 1909 from J W Freer re Broad Oak Cricket Club.  Freer was also local councillor and Headmaster at Linthwaite school for 30 years when he became a JP in CVG 20 Aug 1920}

1910- Holme Moss, in woods near, makes ‘curious nests’ using sheep’s wool. [SLM – HEW 12 Nov]

1915 – abundant in wooded parts. [SLM 1915]

1958 – Resident common.

2000 – resident breeder, 3-400 plus pairs. [HBC Atlas]

 FIELDFARE                                                                                                 (Turdus Pilaris)

1843 – Lepton, Eddison reports a pair breeding but SLM doubts it [SLM 1915]

1859 -Arrives about the middle of October, and remains with us till late in the Spring .[CPH]

1882- 24 September,  large flock in Ravensknowle grounds, earliest arrival recorded by J Varley (Naturalist 1883).

1890 – 10 Apr, Kirkheaton, ‘rather late for these birds as they usually leave this country early in March’ [sic] [HEW 11 Oct]

1891 – Skelmanthorpe, large flock, (HEW  18 Apr)

1898 – Emley Park, large flock seen as late as 24 Apr, SkNS, (HEW 7 Mar)

1905 – comes from Norway and winters in flocks.

1906 – 14 April. Flock of several hundred at Kirkheaton. (E.Fisher) ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]

1915- ‘Scarcity of Fieldfares – Is this scarcity of these birds this winter general,   or local only ? Can any explanation be given ? In the Colne Valley bird observers – one at least with forty years’ records – have never before noticed such a dearth of blue tails.  Only once has a meager flight of six birds been seen where ordinarily hundreds and thousands may be met with. In the Fenay Beck Valley, also near Huddersfield, not a single example has been noted – Wm Falconer, Slaithwaite, March 2 nd 1918.         ‘There is an almost complete absence of Fieldfares and Redwings in the British Isles this winter. Observers from all parts are recording this unaccountable dearth, for which it seems impossible to find an explanation.  The severe weather experienced during the winter of 1916-17 can hardly have wiped them out altogether.  can it be they have missed these islands and passed down the coast of the continent  ?   It would be interesting to learn if many have been seen in the fighting area… RF’      Naturalist, May 1918]

1958 – Winter visitor. [S&A]

1969 – 20 Apr, Deanwood, flock of around 500

1970 – 31 March, Lower Denby flock of around 350; 5 Nov, Lindley Moor, around 800 overflying.

1989 – 1992 possible breeder in west of area, maybe even earlier since first recorded breeding in 1967 in Orkney. [HBC Atlas]

 SONG-THRUSH                                                                                           (Turdus ericetorum)

1859 -Common throughout the district .[CPH]

1864 – ‘Remarkable attachment of a Song Thrush to the place where it hatched its eggs.’ March, raises brrod and nest pulled down by boy. Returns to reconstructed nest and lays again, Alfred Beaumont, Naturalist, 24 May.

1890 – 3 Feb, Linthwaite (Mr Freer) –earliest song.

1905 – abundant

1906 – nest found at Armitage Bridge with blue eggs with very few markings ‘Local Nature Notes’ by ‘Celandine’ [HEW 26 Jan 1907]

1910 – Newsome –pied one. [SLM 1915]
1915 – Abundant [SLM 1915]

1947   24 May: ‘A Bird-watcher of Skelmanthorpe’ – Arthur Hirst Laments decline in thrush population, due to lads pinching eggs.

1958 – Resident and winter visitor, common.

2000 – decline at ‘alarming rate’ since 1970s.

 REDWING                                                                                                      (Turdus musicus.)

1859 -Arrives in the beginning of October.[CPH] Winter visitor.

1896 – 2 Oct, Nab Hill, earliedt record of arrival [SLM 1915]

1905 – comes from Norway and winters in flocks.

1915 – large number reported by E.Fisher of Heaton Lodge. [SLM – 1915 Nov 30]

1923/24 – Hall Bower. About 100. Fly to south west. [SLM – 1924 Jan 5]

1969 – Flock of 100 plus seen

1970 – Oct, flocks of 20-50, Leeds road.

 RING OUZEL                                                                                    (Turdus torquatus.)


Nesting male Ring Ouzel with worm in beak. Grey wagtail in foreground. Dean Clough.

1859 -Frequents our Moorlands .[CPH]

1876  May 6 – James Varley  takes nests and eggs, one with blue eggs. [JV 1884]  (Photo of JV shows him with shot Ring Ouzel.

1881- now much rarer, AB ordered it to be shot off his estate. SLM HE 13 May.

‘ when the late Alfred Beaumont had the shooting rights over Slaithwaite Moor it was very numerous there and he shot a great many of them as they set the grouse up by their alarm note…’  [SLM-1915]

1889-  Marsden Clough, above Bilberry res, Whitmonday,  two nests and about a dozen birds seen on moors above. Whitmonday YNU ramble , Naturalist July 1889.

1891 –  Ingbirchworth, SkNS (HEW 27 Jun).

1897- Deanhead Valley, WEL Wattam, (HEW 26 Jun)

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘regular  vistor’, ’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1903 –  29 Mar,  Marsden, Celandine (HEW 9 May)

1905 – common in summer on the moors.

1910-  Holme Moss, ‘common in summer in the cloughs’. [SLM – HEW 12 Nov]

1915 – summer migrant [SLM 1915].  Nab End. Shot. (E.Fisher). [SLM – 1915 Nov 30]

1920 – Honley area. Flock of 20. JR Simpson[ SLM – 1920 Apr 10]

1953 – Marsden. Reared young in Willykay Clough.

1958 – Summer resident, moorlands.

1969 – breeding, Digley, Bilberry area.

1970 – breeding also, Wessenden, Buckstones.

2000 – migrant breeder, accelerated decline, around 40 pairs in South west of District.

 BLACKBIRD                                                                                    (Turdus merula.)

  1. Marsden, variegated blackbird with white on breast and head visits Marsden parsonage to feed.  Not as timid as usual. HC 30 Oct 1852

1853 – Ludhill,  blackbird nesting in garden flies through glass window into house for safety when hawk appears. HC 27 Aug.

1859 -Common throughout the district .[CPH]

1890 – Dalton Bank bottom, nearly white one shot [SLM 1915]

1891   – Pied ones seen recently also at  Edgerton, Cliff Wood, Honley and Kirkheaton.  SLM (HEW 25 Apr)

1900 – May  GTPorritt describes the ‘curious site’ of a Blackbird’s nest, on the top of an iron pillar, near the gaslight at Netherton railway station.  (25 May 1900 Naturalist).

1905 – very common

1915 – Abundant. One with white markings shot in the garden of Sir Thomas Brooke at Armitage Bridge, ‘a few years ago’. [SLM 1915]

1920- Albino at Marsden, (location kept secret), white except for few black markings ‘about the head and on the upper parts of the wings.’ WEL Wattam, The Naturalist April 1920.

Pied one living in garden of Shelley vicarage (Rev A Hey)  Also one near Kirkheaton. Hope spared by shooters.[SLM 25 Sep]

1958 – Resident and winter visitor, common.

2000 – resident breeder, around 2,000 pairs.

Genus Oenanthe.

 WHEATEAR  (Whiterump)                                                            (Oenanthe oenanthe )

1859 – A migratory species ; making its first appearance very early in April.[CPH]

1881. HC 1 Apr: HNS meeting, King St rooms, SLM reports arrival of a wheatear. 

1884 – Seen on Naturalists Society ramble, Hudderfield to Colne Bridge  [HEW 19 Apr]

1888-  Apr 25 Kirkheaton [HEW 12 May]

1891 – 7 Apr, Skelmanthorpe, pair, (HEW  18 Apr)

1894 – 29 March, earliest recorded arrival, (Mr Freer) [SLM 1915]

1897 – Skelmanthorpe, arrived by 6 Apr, SkNS (HEW 10 Apr)

1905 – common summer migrant.

1915 – summer migrant

1917 –  Apr 28  Dalton Bank., Thurstonland [ SLM – 1917 May 5, May 12]

1919 – Butternab. [SLM – 1919 Apr 5]

1920 – Honley area. JR Simpson[ SLM – 1920 Apr 10]

1925 – New Mill area ‘so few of our immigrant birds return to their natural haunts this spring…’ [Nature Notes : F.Kaye HExp May 30].

1927 – 1 May. Dearne Head and High Flatts, 10-12, Old Scouter [SLM 14 May]

1930 -30 April. Seen in field near Totties.  [F.K. HExp 10 May]

1958 – Summer resident, uplands. [S&A]

1975 – Decline begins

2000 – around 100 pairs.

2004 – Meltham Moor.

Genus Saxicola

STONECHAT                                                                                              (Saxicola torquata)
1859 -Moorlands ; remains throughout the year .[CPH]

1876 March 6 – Dalton bank. Shot.  ‘This is a very rare bird in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield.’ (SLM) [JV 1884]

1899 – Henry Morley reports to Skelmanthorpe NS that stonechat shot 22 Feb, ‘a very rare bird in this neighbourhood’.(HEW 18 March)

1905 – occasional on rough places like Dalton Bank.

1915 – occasional visitor, doubts CPH’s claim that year-round

1925 – New Mill area ‘so few of our immigrant birds return to their natural haunts this spring…’ Nature Notes : F.Kaye HExp May 30

1935 and 1940 – Farnley Tyas.

1952 September – Wessenden Valley

1958 – Passage migrant, occasional.

1969 – increase over last three years..

1972 – breeding Yateholme.

1974-1977 – breeding at five sites.

1980-1988 – population decline, but still breeding eg. 1986 Ramsden Clough.

2000 – occasional breeder.

 WHINCHAT (Haychat)                                                                        (Saxicola rubetra )
1859 -A Summer visitant .[CPH]

Pure white one in AB collection. [SLM-1915]

1888- Apr 25 Kirkheaton [HEW 12 May]

1890 – 18 Apr, Kirkheaton, arrived [HEW 11 Oct]

1896 – Skelmanthorpe SkNS (HEW 23 May).

1901-  Sept, Marsden, one sent to stuff, Alfred Dean, NJ Apr 1902.

1905 – common in summer.

1925 – New Mill area ‘so few of our immigrant birds return to their natural haunts this spring…’ Nature Notes : F.Kaye HExp May 30

1930-  Fenay Bridge, pair.,  17 May HEW Nature Notes.

1958 – Summer resident.

1969 – Breeding, Cawthorne, Deanhead, Emley Moor, Upper Heaton

1979 – Breeding, Buckstones, Crosland Hill, Dean Head, Digley.

2000 – decline since 1950s due to habitate loss, around 60 pairs.

Genus Phoenicurus

 REDSTART                                                                          (Phoenicurus phoenicurus.)

1859 -A summer visitant, appearing about the second week in April; frequents old ruins and walls .[CPH]

1884 May – Honley [SLM 17 May]  Beaumont Park. Nesting in new rock feature 1884 – [SLM Jun 21].

1885   Beaumont Park – several breeding pairs  [SLM 29 Aug].

1891 – 23 May, pair near Healy House station, (Mr Freer, Linthwaite) [SLM 23 Jun 1917

1903 –  14 April, Newsome, Celandine (HEW 9 May)

1905 – a few in summer. Formerly nested at Linthwaite but not seen for many years. [SLM-1916 Jan 22]

1916- not seen one for many years but once common in Linfit Lane, Lepton Lane area where one time four nests. [SLM  22 Jan]

1925 – once common, now no more. [SLM – 1925 Apr 11].] 1925 – New Mill area ‘so few of our immigrant birds return to their natural haunts this spring…’ Nature Notes : F.Kaye HExp May 30

1930 -Honley Wood, family of redstarts, ‘These birds are by no means common…’

Ravensknowle NH class HEW 9 Aug:

1958 – Summer resident, thinly distributed locally. [S&A]

1968 – breeding, Butternab, Digley, Hagg Wood, Yateholme.

1985 – ‘inexplicable decline in the east of our area’

2000 – c 30-50 pairs

BLACK REDSTART                                                                 (Phoenicurus ochrurus)

1999-2000 – Huddersfield Town centre and Birkby, May/June. [HBC]

Luscinia megarhynca

 NIGHTINGALE                                                                                              (Sylvia Luscinia)

1848 – Leymoor, reported LM 10 Jun.

1854 – Penny Spring Wood, Almondbury Bank, ‘this rare songster may be heard nightly spouting forth it’s rich strains of harmony.’ HC 27 May 1854

1859 -Two of these birds were noticed at the Grove, Huddersfield, 1846..[CPH]

1864 –  ‘The inhabitants of the pleasant valley of the Colne has [sic] for the past week been nightly amused by the sweet warblings of the nightingale, which has taken up its abode in a wood called the “willows” .  Scores of people nightly visit the locality, many of them remaining until two or three in the morning, so enamoured are they of the melodiousness of this woodland songstress, whose are of the sweetest description.  It is hope it will not prove – as the one of its kind did in Huddersfield a few years ago – a source of grief and trouble to numerous families.’   HC 18 Jun.

1865-    Clayton West,’  ‘’The Nightingale – The inhabitants have of late been nightly favoured with the song of this delightful warbler.  During Thursday night in last week no fewer than four of these songsters were singing at one time, and numbers of people listening to them.’

HC 17 Jun.

1866- NHS, J Varley, at undisclosed location, ‘for fear of the hand of the extirpator,’ HC 2 Jun.

1869  June , Longroyds, Rastrick, T Bradbury’s residence. Heard this week. HC 26 Jun

1873 – HNS annual meeting and exhibition, CP Hobkirk says he doubts reported occurences of bird, sedge warbler or black-cap mistaken for it, but no reaon why it should not be in district ‘unless it be for our smoky chimneys’, since occurs further north and is known in woods around Leeds.   A live nightingale exhibited later in week.

1875 – the Mollicar Wood Nightingale.  Letter to Examiner from G T Porritt, 21 May,confirms that it is Nightingale. Got to within a yard of it. Reminds that it is covered by the Wild Bird Protection Act.  S L Mosley, 24 May 1875, often mistaken with Sedge Warbler or Whitethroat, ‘ not ‘the shadow of a doubt but that this is a bona fide instance.’  Gamekeepers threaten to kill it to keep crowds of people away who come to hear it. ‘If the present Nightingale be killed I shall look upon it as the bounden duty of Huddersfield Naturalists’ Society to take up the matter and prosecute, seeing that they were amongthe very few who petitioned in favour of the Bill’. [SLM-1915]

‘Went to Mollicar Wood and had the pleasure of hearing the Nightingale in full song.  It commenced to sing May 5th and has sung every night since.  It commences to sing about 10 0.clock and continues until four in the morning.’ [JV 1884]

1883   – Slaithwaite, Tim’s Shrogg. Lower Rotcher, John Sykes, Nab Lane, hundreds come to listen, but on some nights, ‘the company have been very rude, indulging in whistling, shouting amd throwing stones’, strangers who come to try and frighten bird. HEW 9 Jun 1883.

1896-  Lepton Little Wood.

‘The Lepton “Patti” continues to trill nightly to the delight of the natives and foreigners who visit Lepton Little Wood in increasing numbers., through the medium of shanks mare, bike or the more stately carriage. The interest of the natives is not at present centred on the South African difficulty but entirely upon the free performance given by Patti’s local representative.  There is an old air pit near where the nightingale performs and a rumour got afloat that the nest was down this; fortunately for the local death rate no further investigation was made…The audiences each evening are considereably swelled shortly after eleven when the habitués of the pubs visit the place in a hilarious mood.’   (HEW 16 May) Last occurrence ? [SLM-1915 Mar 13]

Presumbly the reference is to Adelina Patti the opera singer.

1905 – occasional at rare intervals. eg. Mollicar Wood one.

1907 Nelson  ‘In the Huddersfield district, Allis (1844) quoted Cinderfield Dyke Wood in Bradley as a locality for it. We are told in Hobkirk’s ” Hist, and Nat. Hist, of Huddersfield,” 1859, that two of these birds were noticed at the Grove, Dalton, in 1846. One commenced to sing in Mollicar Wood, Huddersfield, on 5th May 1875, and continued until June 5th (Varley, Nat. 1875, p. 52 ; Palmer, Zool. 1875, p. 4499). The late James Varley only knew of three occurrences in this district, one in Lockwood, and those at Grove and Mollicar Woods above mentioned.

Genus Erithacus (Cuvier)

 ROBIN                                                                                                     (Erithacus rubecula)
1858. – Nest bult in side of Helm’s saw pit,  Back Ramsden Street, six eggs laid and young raised, despite saw and workmen constantly passing. HC 10 Jul.

1859 -Robin Redbreast.( Sylvia rubecula, Lath) Common every where .[CPH]

White one shot by John Reid Mosley, given to SLM, one of the specimens he disposed of when Corporation would not accept his Beaumont Park Museum collection..

1872 Robin living in ‘firing up place’ of Armitage Bridge Mil, attracted with crumbs by Tom Ainley, gatekeeper, who also  assists at fires.  Not afraid of noise. HEW 23 Nov:

1886 – ‘the familiar songbirds of our own woods and fields and hedges are being rapidly thinned off in obedience to…a stupid decree of fashion’. including robin {HEW May 1]

1901-  Sept, Marsden, one seen with white on head and breast and back of lighter olive than usual, Alfred Dean, NJ Apr 1902.

1905 – very common.

1915 – abundant [SLM 1915]

1958 – Resident abundant.

2000 – resident breeder, 5-6,000 pairs.


Family SYLVIIDAE – the Warblers
Genus Locustella Kaup

 GRASSHOPPER-WARBLER                                           (Locustella naevia)


Grasshopper Warbler ‘reeling’.

1859 -Visits us about the third week in April; frequents thickets, principally in damp situations. .[CPH]

1875 – nesting in Pennyspring Wood.[SLM 1915]

1905 – somewhat rare but a pair in most large woods in summer.

1915 – summer migrant, rare .[SLM 1915]

1920 – Honley (Mr Simpson). [SLM – 1920 Jun 19]

1958 – Former summer resident, now rare.

2000 – migrant breeder, fewer now breeding.

Genus Acrocephalus

REED WARBLER                                                                 (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

1915 – former summer migrant but extinct locally . Could be reintroduced by putting eggs in sedge warblers nests.  [SLM 1915]

1923 – Used to occur along Calder. [SLM – 1923 Feb 17] 

2000 – occasional migrant breeder, Horbury area

 SEDGE-WARBLER                                                            (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

1859 -Arrives about the close of April; frequents brooks and sedgy shallows. .[CPH]

1884 – [SLM May 17]

1885 – 23 May, Dalton (E.Fisher).  [SLM May 30]

1888 – 28 May, Kirkheaton. [HEW 1 Sep]

1889 – 1 May, Kirkheaton, arrived.

1890 – 10 May Kirkheaton, arrived, (J.W.Freer) Bretton SkNS [HEW 11 Oct, 17 May]

1896 – Skelmanthorpe, SkNS (HEW 23 May).

1905 – common in summer.

1915 – summer migrant less common than formerly .  Found on Dogley Mill goit, Horne’s Dam, Sheard’s dam, Shepley Mill[SLM 1915]

1917 – Saville Wood [ SLM – 1917 May 19]
1951 – 14 Aug. Fixby. A juvenile killed flying into a window.

1970 – odd ones at Slaithwaite, Fartown.

1993 – ‘devastating’ population collapse, only 5% of adults return from Sub-Saharan Africa.

 Genus Sylvia Scop.

BLACKCAP                                                                                     (Sylvia atricapilla.)

1859 -Common.[CPH]

1866 – ‘Mr James Varley announced his having shot on the 26th January the black-cap warbler – a bird of rare occurrence.’ HNS ,  HC 10 Feb:

‘I received a very fine specimen of the black cap warbler which a friend of mine had shot on the 26th of January 1866.  It was feeding with some sparrows on a manure heap on Almondbury Bank.’ James Varley.  [JV 1884]   (SLM, British Birds’ it was probably a late young bird of the previous year’).

1872 – 28 May, Bagden Wood, heard ‘in full song’ by F Dearnley of Clayton West NS.

1905 – summer visitor.

1915 – summer migrant less common than formerly .[SLM 1915]

1917 – Saville Wood [ SLM – 1917 May 19]

1922 – Holme Valley. Observed by SLM on ramble. [SLM – 1922 May 6].

1958 – Summer resident, uncommon.

2000 – migrant breeder, around 400 pairs in area eg Bretton Park,  Deffer Wood.


Blackcap on feeder, Mag Dale, 13 February 2021. Early arrival or overwinterer ?

GARDEN-WARBLER                                                                                             (Sylvia borin.)
1859 -Appears about the beginning of May ; frequents copses. .[CPH]

1905 – summer visitor

1909 – 6 May, Kirkheaton, earliest appearance

1915 – summer migrant less common than formerly .[SLM 1915]

1958 – Summer resident, uncommon.

1970 – Bretton Park, breeding.

 WHITETHROAT (Small strea)                                                                  (Sylvia communis)
1859 -Comes about the close of April .[CPH]

1884 – [SLM May 17]

1890 – Kirkheaton.

1891- Skelmanthorpe SkNS (HEW 2 May)

1902 – Marsden, occasional visitor, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902

1901 – 7 April, Kirkheaton, earliest recorded, (Mr Fisher). .[SLM 1915]

1915 – common .[SLM 1915]

1925 – ‘rather scarce around here’  (Chas G Greaves)   HExp Apr 11

1958 – Summer resident, widely distributed. [S&A]

1968 – Bretton 10 pairs; Salendine Nook 6 pairs.

1969 – Bretton, 2 pairs; Salending Nook, only one. pair. A population collapse this year due to drought in southern Sahara, around 77% decline.

1970 – Bretton some recovery but not to 1968 level

LESSER WHITETHROAT                                                                        (Sylvia curruca.)
1859 -Smaller Whitethroat.   Sparingly scattered over this district. [CPH]

Used to be found in Penny Spring, Mollicar, Far, Saville, Lepton Little and Whteley Woods.  White specimen stuffed by Gough for AB’s second collection. .[SLM 1915]

1915 – less common than above .[SLM 1915]

1958 – Summer resident, common. [S&A]

2000 – migrant breeder, around 20 pairs.

Genus Phylloscopus Boie

WILLOW-WARBLER  (Peggy/Featherpoke)                              (Phylloscopus trochilus)

1859 -Willow Wren. Arrives about the second week in April. [CPH]

1884 – ‘Peggy’ local name. Seen on Naturalists Society ramble from Hudderfield to Colne Bridge  [HEW 19 Apr].

1888 – April 30 Kirkheaton [HEW 12 May]

1902 – 8 April Kirkheaton, Mr Fisher.

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘regular  vistor’, ’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902)

1905 – abundant from April to October.

1906 – Lindley. Reported by J.Robertshaw to Naturalists Society [HEW 1906 Jun 23].

1915 – summer migrant , abundant .[SLM 1915]

1917 – Storthes Hall Wood.  Only warbler still common in wood.  Formerly nearly a dozen species.  Destruction of undergrowth, due to rabbits, people taking pea-sticks etc.  [ SLM – 1917 Mar 3]

1918- 2 May, Netherthong, Rev H N Hind [SLM 11 May ]

1920 – Honley.  Hagg Wood. [SLM – 1920 Apr 24]

1922 – Holme Valley. Observed by SLM on ramble. [SLM – 1922 May 6].

1925 – Holme valley – willow wren, ‘usually common…this season sadly diminished.’ Nature Notes : F.Kaye 1925 HExp 30 May

1928 – F.K. HExp.14 Apr. In more than 50 years experience has only heard a willow wren twice on 9 April and never earlier. If report of one in Express in early April is correct it must be a record.

1930- Scissett unnamed lady’s estate, heard by  ‘ The Tramp’, HEW 21 Jun:

1951 – Usually appears in district Apr 11 to 14th ‘you could set your watch by it’, ECJ Swabey.  This year not reported at that time  (HEW  21 Apr).  Reported by Thomas Snape Skelmanthorpe on 18 April ‘not too much behind schedule.’  Aubrey D Smith Grasscroft House , Honley – willow warbler and chiffchaff in Deffer Woods. 22 April.  (Apr 28 HEW)

1958 – Summer resident, common. [S&A]

1970 – common breeder.

2000 – migrant breeder, most abundant warbler, around 1,000 pairs.

CHIFFCHAFF                                                                      (Phylloscopus collybita)
1859 -Frequents oaks, delighting in fine timber-trees ; arrives the earliest of the migrants. [CPH]

1879 -27 March, Woodsome.

1888- 26 Mar Kirkheaton [HEW 12 May]

1892 – 26 Mar, Milnsbridge area, ‘Chiff chaff or Peggy’ [but this also Willow warbler name], Milnsbridge NS HEW 2 Apr)

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘regular  vistor’, ’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902).

1905 – a pair in most large woods in summer.
1915 – less common .[SLM 1915]

1916 and 1917 – nesting at Lower Hey Green, Marsden. [S&A]

1970 – Deffer Wood, Beaumont Park, New Mill and Honley.

2000 – migrant breeder, 50-100 pairs.

WOOD-WARBLER                                                                         (Phylloscopus sibilatrix )
1859 -Wood Wren. Arrives about the fourth week in April. [CPH]

1876 May 6 – [JV 1884]

1886 – 28 April, Whiteley, earliest song. .[SLM 1915]

1902 – Marsden, Wessenden, ‘regular  vistor’, ’ Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902).

1905 – a pair in most woods in summer.

1915 –summer migrant much rarer than formerly .[SLM 1915]

‘Wood Wren’.  Storthes Hall Wood [ SLM – 1916 Jan 8]

1952 May – Grimscar Wood, reared young.

1958 – Summer visitor, uncommon.

1969 – May, Lockwood, Armitage Bridge.

1970 – 11 May, Grimscar; June, Digley.

2000 – migrant breeder, perhaps a dozen pairs.

Family REGULIDAE – the Goldcrests
Genus Regulus

GOLDCREST                                                                                              (Regulus regulus)
1859 -Golden-crested Regulus. (Regulus cristatus, Koch) Remains with us the year round. [CPH]

1884 – Round Wood (E.Fisher) rare during recent years. 1884 – [SLM Nov 22]

1891- Skelmanthorpe, TN Fisher, SkNS (HEW14 Nov )

1897- Skelmanthorpe, Fred Lawton, SkNS (HEW 27 Mar).  Common this season SkNS, HEW 20 Nov.)

1905 – mostly in winter but a few breed in the larger fir woods.

1910 – 22 Sep, flown into wires on road between Slaithwaite and Marsden, Alf Dean, [Naturalist 1911; HNS Rept 1910]

1911 – Grimscar Wood (Miss Brierley) [SLM 1915]

1914 – Holmebridge, picked up in exhausted state, later dies. Sent to Birmingham to be stuffed.  [SLM 17 Oct].

1915 – rare, formerly resident, father shot some in Storthes Hall Wood [SLM 1915] Honley (Arthur Littlewood). [ SLM – 1915 Oct 23].

1920 – Honley area. JR Simpson[ SLM – 1920 Apr 10]

1921 Sep – Spa Bottom. Killed by wires. Mr Cameron. [SLM – 1922 Sep 16]

1958 – Winter visitor, frequent.

2000-2004 – frequent winter sightings.

2000 – resident breeder, around 100 pairs.

 FIRECREST                                                                                                        (Regulus ignicapillus)
1874 September- Armitage Bridge. Found exhausted. Reported to 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society by James Varley to whom it was given.  [HEW 9 Jan 1875]. [SLM 1915] Clarke reports it without conviction ‘ one said to have occurred at Armitage Bridge, Sept. 3rd, 1874 (Varley, Nat, 1875, p. 24)’ .

1958 – Irregular visitor.

Family MUSCICAPIDAE – the Flycatchers
Genus Muscicapa

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER                                                                       ( Muscicapa striata)

1859 -Common arrives in these parts about the middle of May .[CPH]

1882- rare visitor SLM, builds its nests in oold nests of other birds. HE 13 May.

1905 – a summer migrant.

1915 – less common than formerly [SLM 1915]

1920 – Ravensknowle. Pair. [SLM – 1920 Aug 14].

1958 – Summer resident locally quite common.

1969 – breeding at ‘many localities’.

1970 – breeding including Lockwood.

2000 – migrant breeder, around 70 pairs, declining since 1960s.

PIED FLYCATCHER                                                                      (Muscicapa hypoleuca)

1844 – Dalton, breeding pair, Eddison

1851- Almondbury, shot (at St Helen’s Gate by JRM, now in museum [SLM-1915] ).

1864 – 29 April, I saw perched on an extended bough of an alder, growing on the bank of Meltham Mills reservoir…only a very occasional visitant here, Alfred Beaumont, 4 May, Naturalist.

1875 – Pennyspring Wood, Varley, shot. [SLM 1915]

1882- rare visitor .  Varley saw one near Elland in 1880. SLM HE 13 May.

1897 – Deffer Wood, SkNS (HEW 19 Jun)

1905 – a rare visitor.

1915 –  rare visitor [SLM 1915]

1917-Hepworth, Morton Wood – very rare [SLM-1917 May 24]

1950 – one seen near Netherton, July. [S&A]

1956 – one, Hirst Wood, 21 May. [S&A]

1958 – Passage migrant, occasional[S&A].

1969 – Hagg Wood, pair. [HBC]

1970 – Grimscar, one. [HBC]

1979 – breeding first time since  1960. [HBC]

2000 – two pairs breeding in Holme Valley nest boxes. [HBC Atlas]

Genus Prunella Vieill

HEDGE SPARROW                                                                                    (Prunella modularis)

1859 – [Sylviidae ,  Accentor  modularis , Bechst  Hedge Warbler]. Common in hedges.[CPH]

1889 – 26 Jan, Roydhouse, earliest heard. [SLM 1915]

1895 – Dalton, white one with few ordinary coloured feathers. [SLM 1915]

1905 – very common. (Refers to black one shot by SLM).

A ‘sooty black’ dunnock shot by SLM in 1865 in his garden at Almondbury. [SLM-1915]

1926 Jan  – eleven found starved. Heavy frost. [SLM – 1926 Jan 9].

1958 – Resident, common. [S&A]

1970s-1990s, national slow decrease.

2000 – resident breeder, around 400 pairs.

Family MOTACILLIDAE – the Pipits and Wagtails
Genus Anthus

MEADOW-PIPIT                                                                                        (Anthus pratensis)


Meadow Pipit attacking Cuckoo.

1859 – Very abundant on moors and barren heaths; stays with us the whole year. [CPH]

1905 – common all the year.

1909 – 16 Mar, Dalton Bank Bottom, earliest song [SLM 1915]

1915 – abundant resident [SLM 1915]

1917 – Dalton Bank, cuckoos egg from nest of titlark, Ephraim Fisher [SLM  25 Aug].

1926 –  Scammonden/Deanhead.‘Titlark’ [SLM 1926 May 29]

1958 -Resident, common; also passage migrant. [S&A]

1970 – Sept, Digley, gathering of around 100.

2000 – resident breeder. ubiquitous on moorland

 TREE-PIPIT                                                                                                 (Anthus trivialis)
1859 -Frequents woodland districts rarely, if ever, found in the open country. [CPH]
1888- Apr 16 Kirkheaton [HEW 12 May]

1904 – 16 Mar, Linthwaite, earliest arrival (Mt Freer)1905 – common in summer.

1920 – Honley. (Mr Simpson).  [SLM – 1920 May 22].

1925 – New Mill area ‘so few of our immigrant birds return to their natural haunts this spring…’ Nature Notes : F.Kaye HExp May 30

1958 -Summer resident, locally common.

1970 – breeding at three localities.

1986 – Breeding Deffer Wood.

1990s – decline in population.

Genus Motacilla.

PIED WAGTAIL  (Waterty Wag)                                                                (Motacilla alba)

Pied Wagtail
1859 – Common. [CPH]

1873 Dec 27 – ‘Shot a pied wagtail in winter dress at Kings Mill’ (‘The pied wagtail is seldom seen here in winter’.  SLM) [JV – 1884]

SLM, British Birds, ‘ One (fig. 4), in a collection of birds at Huddersfield, lately in the possession of Mr. Alfred Beaumont, has the colours indicated about the head by pale ashy brown, which gradually become paler and fainter towards the tail, which is nearly white’.

1884    29 March, ‘Numerous pies wagtails were seen in the fields following the ploughs and harrows, picking up the insects as they were unearthed.’ HNS ramble to Farnley tyas, (HEW 5 Apr)

1901 – 4 Feb, Marsden, arrival recorded, Alfred Dean, NJ may 1901.

1902 – 14 Feb, Kirkheaton, earliest arrival, (Mr Fisher) [SLM 1915]

1903- Farnley Hey on 14 Feb, earliest recorded ? ‘I wonder if this bird stays in our district through the winter.’  Celandine,  HEW 21 Feb

1905 – common.

1918 Dec 26 – Thunderbridge. ‘very uncommon in the district in mid winter’ [SLM – 1919 Jan 4]

1922 Naturalist June. ‘Wintering of the Pied wagtail at Newsome – A pair of Pied wagtails has again passed the whole of the winter in the parish of Newsome.  On the 13 th and 14 th January last there was a snow fall of four to five inches in depth followed by an intense frost up to 27 th January.  During that period, I frequently saw the birds obtaining sustenance from food placed in the gardens, and poultry runs, or from rough vegetation at the base of walls, both at Newsopme and the adjoing suburb of Primrose Hill.  The plumage of the  birds became very much soiled, making them quite a contrast with the immigrants of this species, which were noticed on the arable land on the 10th March – W.E.L. Wattam, Newsome’

1958 -Resident and passage migrant. [S&A]

1970 – Waterloo roost, 183. Blackmoorfoot, 25-30.

2000 – resident breeder, around 500 pairs.

 WHITE WAGTAIL                                                                                                   (Motacilla alba.)
1874 – Carr Pit shot by JRM.  In Beaumont Park collection. [SLM-1915]

1896 – Skelmanthorpe, found dead. SkNS (HEW 29 Sep).

1905 – occasionally seen

1915 – ‘rare visitor’ [SLM 1915]

1958 – Spring passage migrant, variable. [S&A]

2000 – 31 Mar, Golcar; 17 Apr, Ringstone Edge.

 GREY WAGTAIL                                                                                             ( Motacilla cinerea)
1859 – Common. [CPH]

1905 – breeds upper Calderdale.

1896 – SkNS (HEW Feb 15)

1897 – Skelmanthorpe, arrived by 6 Apr, SkNS (HEW 10 Apr)

1900- Brockholes,  YNU ramble,  (HEW 30 Jun)

1915 – occasional visitor in winter, often found with Dipper.  Seen at Kidroyd, Healey    House, Fenay Bridge, Woodsome Mill, Roundwood) [SLM 1915]

1917- ‘I have had several items of evidence during the year that the grey wagtail breeds in some of the gulleys which run down from our higher moors. At the time of writing “Birds of the Huddersfield District” I was not aware that it bred here, but the evidence seems conclusive.’ [SLM 27 Oc].

1921 – Grey Wagtail in the Huddersfield District – In 1844 Thomas Allis wrote of this bird “Not very frequent near Huddersfield” In the higher parts of our district this bird is now not uncommon.  Isaw many on the 19th November 1921, near the source of the River Holme, and throughout the whole of the winter months, up to 21st March, many birds have frequented the River Colne just below its junction with the River Holme –  W.E.L. Wattam, Newsome’

1930-  Dearne Valley, nesting,reported at Ravensknowle Natural History Class [HEW  14 June]

1958 -Autumn and Winter visitor, uncommon. [S&A]

1970 – breeding in six localities [HBC]

2000 – around 100 pairs, breeding sites include Aspley and Lockwood.

2004 – Steps, (with Dipper !) Blackmoorfoot. (AB)

 YELLOW WAGTAIL                                                                                     (Motacilla flava )
1859 – Motacilla campestris, Pall.  ‘Ray’s Wagtail’.   Common ; arrives about the
middle of April. [CPH]

1884 – Seen on Naturalists Society ramble, Hudderfield to Colne Bridge  [HEW 19 Apr]

1891- Skelmanthorpe SkNS (HEW 2 May)

1896 – small flight, SkNS (HEW Mar 28)

1901 – 14 Apr, Bradley, earliest  seen [SLM 1915]

1905 – common in summer.

1915 – summer visitor, not so common as 1850s [SLM 1915]

1919 – Alfred Dean Lower Hey Green, Marsden, ‘The Yellow wagtail has bred here, having had two nests; unfortunately someone raided the first nest, throwing both nest and three young into the river, but four young were brought off by the second attempt.’   HNP&AS Ann Rept. 1918-1919.

1952 October 24 – Longley, late bird. [S&A]

1958 -Summer resident and passage migrant. [S&A]

2000 – decline since 1950s, now uncommon.

Family BOMBYCILLIDAE – the Waxwings
Genus Bombycilla Vieill


WAXWING                                                                                                    (Bombycilla garrulus)
1859 – Bohemian Waxwing. Three of these rare birds were noticed some years ago at Fenay Bridge. [CPH]

1834 – Eddison refers to large flocks at Storthes Hall/Kirkburton along with Fieldfares and Redwings. Another flock c.1840 [SLM-1915]

1848 shot by JRM at Fenay Bridge sold to AB [SLM-1915]

1891  he 10 Oct SLM – pair shot at Fenay Bridge ‘as far as I can ascertain, these are the only two obtained in the district.  These birds are interesting to me , not only because they are local birds, because one or both were killed, and both were certainly stuffed , by my father’.    ‘When I became old enough to notice birds he had one pair of these birds which he had kept for himself in the dark case and many a time have I feastd my eyes upon them whenever I got a chance to look in . At last he sold them to Alfred Beaumont and they are now in the museum.’ BUT Pair shot Crosland Moor [SLM-1915]

1901- 16 Nov, Thunderbridge, female shot, A Kaye, Lindley , Nats Jour Vol XI. Jan 1902. (Also SLM 1915).

1905 – ‘a pair of these beautiful birds now in the museum were shot at Fenay Bridge’. (those shot by JRM and referred to by CPH)

1915 – Thunderbridge [SLM – 24 Dec]

1948 January 10 – Skelmanthorpe. 4 or 5.  HED 16 Mar, [S&A]

1950 February –  Spa Bottom, Waterloo, a pair remained for three weeks.

1958 – irruptional winter visitor. [S&A]

1970 – February at Almondbury , South Crosland, Bradley, Beaumont Park, Lindley Moor, Honley, Yateholm, New Mill.

1991 – one of best ever years, Feb 24 Lockwood, 47;   Aspley, 28, Wooldale 20.

2001 – one of largest incursions ever, from Dec of 2000, when seen near Merrie England Coffee shop at Salendine Nook  recorded at 23 locations between January and April, including flock of around 100 at Lockwood, Mecca Bingo car park. Possibly 650 in area.

2003 – Marsh

Family LANIIDAE – the Shrikes
Genus Lanius L.

GREAT GREY SHRIKE                                                           (Lanius excubitor excubitor L.)
1859 -Irregular visitor. One record only, at Waterloo in 1870. [S&A].

c.1870 – one shot by Tommy Moxon of Thorpe, sold it to JRM for a shilling .[SLM 1915]

1882-  very rare visitor, around 20 years ago [sic]  one brough to JRM  SLM HE 13 May.

1885 Jun 8 – Whiteley Hall. Shot by keeper. (E.Fisher). Another at Elland.

1906 – Fenay Hall. In garden.  (J.A.Brooke JP)  ‘exceedingly rare’  [HEW 1906 30 Jun].

1915 – very rare visitor .[SLM 1915]

1990 – not recorded again until 1998 when seen in April at Flockton.

RED-BACKED SHRIKE                                                                ( Lanius collurio collurio L.)
c.1820.  Spa Wood.  [JV 1884] c. 20 years ago [sic]  James Varley said they were common in Spa Wood, Primrose Hill area.   SLM HE 13 May.

1859 -Two shot at Longley Hall. .[CPH]

1877 – Farnley Tyas. SLM, egg exhibited at HNS meeting 20 Oct, ‘taken from the neighbourhood of Farnley’.  Only  a couple of miles from where Varley found dead bees. Sent to F Smith of British Museum, Bombus liiconan, ‘this destruction was the work of some species of bird or birds, perhaps a butcher bird.’ Naturalist Vol III 1877-78.[SLM – 1915 Feb 15]

1881- pair nested in district  SLM HE 13 May.

SLM – British Birds – The food of this Shrike consists of the larger insects and small birds, and young mice, field voles and shrews principally. They seem to have a partiality for bees. Mr. James Varley records having found a large number of dead humble bees under a tree that was in flower at Woodsome, near Huddersfield. Specimens were sent to the late Mr. F. Smith, of the British Museum, and he gave it as his opinion that it was the work of Shrikes: After this, I had the satisfaction of discovering that a pair of Red-backed Shrikes had bred in the neighbourhood where Mr. Varley found the bees.

c.1899 – Dalton. Pair nested.

1905 – occasional. Has bred here once of recent years. Formerly, common.

1954 – Whitley Beaumont, 6 June.   Formerly summer resident. [S&A]


1830’S – JV ,  when boy saw pair taken to a local stuffer, SLM, note on Square Mile check list 1 Jul 1911.

Family STURNIDAE – the Starlings
Genus Sturnus L.

STARLING  (Shepstar)                                                                       (Sturnus vulgaris )
1859 – A widely dispersed, species. [CPH]

1866   White variety of starling taken at Golcar shown to HNS by John Walker.HC 24 Mar.

1905 – abundant. A most useful bird.

1913 – ‘Starling Migration – on the morning of Monday 30th December last, I was passing along Spa Wood Top about half a mile from Newsome, near Huddersfield, when, some distance away in the north-east, there was a peculiar dark mass which was rapidly approaching the direction I was taking.  When overhead, at no great distance, I saw it was a huge flock of starlings, fully four to five hundred in number, heading strongly due south. The sun was shining from ablue sky on a snowy landscape and the passing of the birds created quite a shadow.  Some ten minutes later another flock of starlings of smaller dimensions also passed from, and headed to, the same direction as the larger flock, and moreover, the birds comprising this smaller flock were more widely extended.  There is no winter roost of starlings within the neighbourhood of Newsome.  After the tempestuous weather prevalent during the Christmas holidays, frost set in, and on the evening of the 29th December snow fell to a depth of about three inches, and on the evening of the 30th there was a further heavy snowfall – W.E.L. Wattam, Newsome’ [Naturalist 1914 Feb]

1915 – abundant resident, used to be rare in Yorkshire .[SLM 1915]

1939 – ‘An immense flock’ seen at Flouch by Joe Hadfield reported at HNPS meeting 25 March.

1952 – 12 Jan Mayor offers £5 prize for best idea to keep starlings of Town Hall – ideas include fireworks and ‘supersonic wires’ !

1958 – Resident, abundant; also winter visitor, roosting in a large numbers on various buildings in Huddersfield.

1966-  letter against proposals to destroy starlings roosting in Huddersfield. Suggests more tree planting. Do we want a ‘the dull silence of a bird-free town.’ HED 3 Feb 1967.

2000 – resident breeder, around 8,000 pairs.

2000-2004 – In decline few very large flocks.  Driven from many towns.

 ROSE-COLOURED STARLING                                                               (Sturnus roseus (L.)
Rose-coloured Pastor. One shot at Edgerton. [CPH]

1905 – shot many years ago at Fixby [sic].

1914 – Edgerton. Shot c.60 years ago and stuffed by Tom Andrew, barber of Cloth Hall St. Bought by JRM and passed on to SLM [SLM – 1914 Dec 12 & SLM 1915].

One shot at Edgerton in 1859 [?] and now in the Tolson Memorial Museum.

1958 – Irregular visitor[S&A].

Family FRINGILLIDAE – the Finches
Genus Coccothraustes Briss

HAWFINCH                                                                           (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)
1871.- Honley, breeding in grounds of Alfred Beaumont. GT Porritt at WRCNS meeting HEW 12 Aug:

1873 – Feb, Birkby, shot,  SLM in YNR.

1874 – 23 Aug. Longley Hall.’ observed’ by James Varley, HNS..HEW 5 Sep.  Reported shot . to 1875 Annual Meeting of the Huddersfield Naturalist Society by J V [HEW 9 Jan 1875].

1879 Jan 4 – Dalton. Shot. [JV – 1884]

1901 – June, one of pair shot and brought for preservation, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902).

1901- 16 July, live bird sent to GT Porritt, captured in the village schoolroom by Francis Bower, son of vicar, ‘As the bird was apparently a young one it had, in all probability, been bred in the district.’ Naturalist 19 Sep.

1902- Dalton, young bird shot, therefore breeding .[SLM 1915]

 ‘Hawfinch at Huddersfield – Noticing that the peas in my garden were bing rapidly traken by birds, last evening I had them netted. This morning, on going past them, my son found that a Hawfinch  (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) had got beneath the nets and he was able to catch it at once.  It was an adult specimen in beautiful plumage.  After an examination of it in the house, during which it showed me the strength of its powerful beak on my flesh, I set it at liberty.  The peas were so surrounded with netting we hoped they would effectively keep off birds and it shows the fearless boldness of tis species that it should at once discover a small opening and get under.  a single Sparrow (Passer domesticus) was in with it, but my sone says there were a number of other sparrows outside, vainly trying to get in.   I recorded a young Hawfinch from close by here last year; and I had previously seen one on another side of town, so apparently this bird is not so rare here as we formerly supposed. – Geo. T. Porritt, Crosland Hall, near Huddersfield, 9th August 1902’ [Naturalist].

 1905 – occasionally seen. Noted several times by Mr Porritt during his residence at Crosland Hall. ( When he moved there he ordered the gardener that no birds should be shot. SLM 20 Feb 1915) [SLM] (Porrit left the Hall in 1904 ?)

1948 – New Mill. picked up.

1958 -Irregular visitor, rare.

1979 – 12 Oct, High Hoyland, single bird.

2000 – possible breeder, Cannon Hall-Deffer Wood.

2001 – resident, probable breeder, mostly Bretton, first record at Scout Dyke and Salendine Nook

Genus Chloris Cuvier

GREENFINCH  (Greenlen)                                                                        (Chloris chloris.)

1859 – Common. [CPH]
1891 – Mar 9, Linthwaite, earliest record of song (Mr Freer) [S&A]

1896 – Skelmanthorpe, large flight in neighbourhood,  SkNS (HEW Jan 18)

1905 – Abundant.

1914- three new nests of Greenfinch in garden of Mt Brook of Thongsbridge, 31 Jul, one with eggs seen, 10 Aug another with young , third with eggs blown out of raspberry bush. Unusual to find three nests in same garden so late in season G T Porritt. [Ed. Of Naturalist – many late nests reported this year.] Naturalist September 1914

1915 – common resident.
 1958 – Resident, common; also flocks in winter.

2000 – resident breeder, 1500 plus pairs.

Genus Carduelis

GOLDFINCH                                                                                    (Carduelis carduelis)

1850s – Lepton, caught by birdcatchers .[SLM 1915]

1872 Dec 28 – ‘Shot a pair of Goldfinches at Broom Hill’. [JV – 1884]

1890- Skelmanthorpe, in NS annual report, , rare in district. 1891 HEW 7 Feb

1898 – Skelmanthorpe area, fairly common, SkNS Henry Morley,  HEW 15 Jan

1902 – 25 Jan Lindley, ‘half a dozen’ A Kaye. ‘This bird seems to be increasing in numbers and extending its range.’ (NJ Apr 1902)

1905 – very rare

1910 – pair and brood caught at Sheepbridge.  (Mr Netherwood) .[SLM 1915]

1914 – not uncommon 50-60 years ago, population thinned by birdcatchers [SLM 1914 Dec 24]

1915 – a rare visitor .[SLM 1915]

1958 – Winter visitor, uncommon.

2000 – resident breeder, 500 plus pairs.

 SISKIN                                                                                                        (Carduelis Spinus )

1859 – A Winter visitant, but not making its appearance regularly; shot at Kilner Bank, some years ago. [CPH]

1901 – early January, Marsden, Wessenden, one shot  and brough for preservation,  Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902

1905 – winter visitor usually very rare. c.45 years ago large flock at Fenay Bridge.

1850’s- Fenay Bridge/Woodsome. Large flocks visited alder trees. JRM ‘shot quite a number’.  [SLM-1914 Dec 24; 1915 Nov 30]

1958 – Winter visitor, exceptional.

1979 – resident breeder, Langsett.

2000 – resident breeder, around 20 pairs, Yateholm, Holme Styes, Deffer Wood, Digley.

 LINNET                                                                                         (Carduelis cannabina)
1859 – Common [CPH]

1897 – Emley,   SkNS, nest of four with two albinos. HEW19 Jun

1905 – common , ‘Thinned down by birdcatchers since Hobkirk’s time’ Fairly common where whin bushes [SLM – 1915]

1915 – bird catching still goes on.  Depleted but still nests in several places. [SLM-1915 Jan 9]

1958 – Resident, breeds in small colonies. Also winter visitor in flocks. [S&A]

2000 – resident breeder, decline since 1970s.  500-750pairs. eg Castle Hill, Quarmby Clough.

2001 – partial migrant breeder, breeds in moorland fringe areas, large flocks in autumn

 TWITE                                                                                   (Carduelis flavirositris)
1859 – Moorland districts, Shepley, Meltham. [CPH]

1905 – common

1915 Jan –  Issue Clough,. Small flock. [SLM – 1914 Jun 25; 1915 Jan 9] Common resident on ling moors.[SLM 1915]

1919 –  or ‘Mountain Linnet’ Scholes. Small flock sheltering from snow.  Stocksmoor a large flock a few weeks before. [SLM – 1919 Mar 15].

1947 to 1952.Observed nesting each year. [S&A]

1958 – Resident, breeding occasionally on the moors.

1980s-90s. Decline due to loss of habitat.

2000 – resident breeder, Wessenden, Digley, Holme.

2001 – ‘huge fall in numbers in recent times’. One of few Pennine areas where still breeding – Marsen, Wessenden, Deer Hill, Meltham, Blackmoorfoot etc.

 LESSER  REDPOLL                                                                 (Carduelis caberet)

1859 – Smaller Redpole. Not uncommon. [CPH]

1889 – Kirkheaton. Pure white one found dead, shown by SLM at Huddersfield NS meeting, (HEW 23 Feb) Later  passed on to Beaumont’s collection after he went to live in Lewisham.

1958 –  Formerly resident, now winter visitor in small flocks.

 COMMON REDPOLL                                             (Carduelis flammea)
1905 – common

1915-Shepley [SLM-1915 Aug 21]

1950s-1970s increase.

1969 – breeding at Bretton, sighted in 10 localities including, 19 Oct Lindley Moor, 9 Jun Brownhill Reservoir.

1979 – breeding. 15 Jan Stocksmoor, flock of 60; 7 Feb Bretton Park, 40.

1985 – 24 Jan, Honley 100; 13 Feb Langsett 220.  Breeding Yateholme and Digley.

2000 – decline since mid 1970s. [HBC Atlas]

Genus Pyrrhula

BULLFINCH                                                                                                      (Pyrrhula pyrrhula )
1859 -Gardens and shrubberies. [CPH]

1870s –  common 30-40 years ago but popular cage bird. As a boy SLM’s father kept a hen one which sang to rhythm of his mother’s songs as she worked at bobbin wheel. [SLM – 1915 Jan 9] [SLM 1915]

1898 – Skelmanthorpe area, common, SkNS Henry Morley,  HEW 15 Jan

1901 – June, pair brought for preservation, Alfred Dean, (NJ Apr 1902).

1905 – Breeds but not common .[SLM 1915]

1907 15 Jan, Dalton Bank , pair shot, ‘These birds, of course, are simply stuffed for “show cases”’. E Fisher, Naturalist  1907)

1915 – rare resident .[SLM 1915]

1917 – pair seen at Fenay Bridge ‘now a rare bird in this district’ [SLM Mar 24]

1930-  Kitchenroyd, raised brood, reported at Ravensknowle Natural History Class [HEW  14 June]

1958 – Resident uncommon. [S&A]

2000 – resident breeder, decline since mid 1970s.[HBC Atlas] ‘quite depressing situation’ [HBC 2001.

2001 – ‘vast improvement’ over 2000, increase in sites from 40 to over 50, breeding at six localities (compared to one year before) – Lockwood, Meltham, Dogley, Fixby, Elland gravel pits, Grimescar
Genus Loxia L.

 CROSSBILL                                                                          (Loxia curvirostra curvirostra L.)
1859 – Crossbill. A visitant from Norway in the late Autumn; a flock of these birds in Thurstonland Fir wood in 1857. [CPH]

1905 – severe winters found in the woods. Most specimens from Storthes Hall.

1909/10 – severe winter, flocks in fir woods.[SLM 1915]

1915 – once common on firs in Storthes Hall wood .[SLM 1915]

1958 – Winter visitor, very rare. [S&A]

1979 – rare visitor, June, Deffer Wood, November, Langsett.

1985 – resident breeder, 1 June, 6 in Deffer Wood; 30 Jun, 80 at Yateholme.

1990-91 invasion ‘good numbers’ in early months of latter year including Langsett, Yateholme, Scammonden. October, flock of 60 at Blackmoorfoot..

( Previous invasions 1909/10; 1962/63; 1971/72)

2000 –irregular breeder. [HBC Atlas]

2001 – irregular breeder and uncommon passage visitor, six sites, Swinden, Snailsden, Blackmoorfoot, Flouch, Wessenden, Royd Moor.

Finches  Genus Fringilla L.

CHAFFINCH  (Spink)                                                                     (Fringilla coelabs gengleri )

1859 – Common. [CPH]

1886 – 17 Feb, Linthwaite, earliest song, (Mr Frrer)

1896 – Skelmanthorpe, large flight in neighbourhood,  SkNS (HEW Jan 18)

1905 – Abundant

1915 – abundant resident .[SLM 1915]

1958 – Resident, common, and winter visitor.

2000 – resident breeder, 10-12,000 pairs, commonest breeder in area. [HBC Atlas]

 BRAMBLING                                                                                     (Fringilla montifringilla )

1859 Migrant from Norway in the Autumn ; Storthes Hall Woods. [CPH]

1850s – flocks in severe winters, pair shot at Birkhouse Lane by JRM (Later in Ravensknowle)

1891 – 19 Jan.  Three ‘mountain finches’ caught by sparrow netters at Old Lindley in bad weather.  Two males and a female ‘which I have now stuffed’.  16 years since captor saw any, then severe weather ‘ a good number caught’ sold for 9d or 1s. ‘They are very good to eat but have a rather bitter taste.’ ’JKL’ (HEW 31 Jan).

1897 –  Skelmanthorpe – SkNS (HEW 13 Feb)

1905 – visits the district in severe weather

1915/16 – this winter first for many years. Small flock c.6  near Fulstone [SLM 1916 Jan 8].

1958 – Winter Visitor, rare.

1975- Oct and subsequent years until March at Blackmoorfoot six or less.

2000 – Jan , 60 to 70 birds feeding on sunflower seeds in garden at Almondbury.  Seen as late as mid April.

2001- uncommon to common winter visitor, at seven sites at beginning of year, 20 at end.

Genus Emberiza L.

CIRL BUNTING                                                                                             (Emberiza cirlus )

1856- A pair of these rare birds built at Woodsome. [CPH] But SLM has doubts since Varley never mentioned it to him.

1873   HEW 11 Oct:  HNS Exhibition.  James Varley’s specimen shot at Almondbury Bank.

1905 – one killed on Almondbury Bank (nd. probably above)

CORN-BUNTING                                                                                       (Emberiza calandra)
1859 – Emberiza miliaria, Common Bunting. Occurs in cultivated lands. [CPH]

1900 – 11 March, earlist date for song, (E.Fisher)

1905 – fairly common.

1915 – nests Honley and Crosland Moors [SLM – 1915 Jan 16]. ‘Not so common as formerly’ – ‘Bunting Lark’ .[SLM 1915]

1958 – Resident, small numbers.

1974 – Blackmoorfoot, Jubille Quarry. (BR 1984)

1991 – Kirkheaton, Ingbirchworth.

2000 – resident breeder, decline since mid 1970s,

 YELLOW-HAMMER (Youldring)                                                              (Emberiza citrinella)

1859 – Yellowhammer.   Abundant and generally distributed. [CPH]
1896 – Skelmanthorpe, large flight in neighbourhood,  SkNS (HEW Jan 18)

1902 -10 March,, earliest song, (E.Fisher)

1905 – common ‘Youldring’.

1906 – Lindley. Reported by J.Robertshaw to Naturalists Society [HEW 1906 Jun 23].

1915 – common on coal measure areas but not moors.

1958 – Resident, common.

2000 – resident breeder, around 30 pairs in Emley, Flockton, Clayton West area, perhaps 4-500 birds in area.

2001 – resident breeder and partial migrant, January flock of 75, Jos Lane, Shepley, increase to 150 in Feb.  22 pairs/singing males – breeding oly confirmed at Blackmoorfoot.

 LITTLE BUNTING,                                                                                                 (Emberiza pusilla)

1999 – Dec/Jan 2000, Buckstones; Shepley.  New species to area.

 REED BUNTING,                                                                                  (Emberiza schoeniclus)
1859 – Black-headed Bunting. Marshy districts; Shepley Mill ; Water near Kirkheaton. [CPH] Quite common along Calder .[SLM 1915]

1885 Jan 23 – Dalton Bank. Black-headed Bunting . Uncommon in district. [SLM Jan 31]

1905 – breeds along some of the river sides.

1915 – seen on Shepley and Dogley Mill dams, 40 years ago. Almost extinct in district.

[SLM – 1915 Jan 16] ‘fear it is quite exterminated’ .[SLM 1915]

Skelmanthorpe, near Jacobs Well.  (F.Lawton). [SLM – 1926 May 22].

1923 – Undisclosed location near town. (Smith Carter). [SLM – 1923 Feb 17]

1930-  Elland, nesting reported at Ravensknowle Natural History Class [HEW  14 June]

1958 – Resident, Small numbers.

1974-1978 – Blackmoorfoot, breeding, since ‘exceedingly rare’, breeding attempt 1984. (BR 1984)

2000 – around 100 pairs, especially Ingbirchworth area. [HBC Atlas]

2001 – resident breeder and partial migrant. reported from 40 sites, total of 50 pairs/singing males, including Calder, Scammonden and Holme Moss

Genus Calcarius

LAPLAND BUNTING                                                                               (Calcarius lapponicus)

1969 – 26 Jan. Slaithwaite Moor, near Cupwith Reservoir. New species to area.

Genus Plectrophenax

SNOW BUNTING                                                                                       (Plectrophenax nivalis)
1850s – JRM received some from Scholes Moor. .[SLM 1915]

1880- Dalton, one shot.[SLM 1915]

1881 – Killed pair brought in to James Varley from flock in area, dark plumage.  Many snow buntings about but with very little white on them, mostly first year birds, according to Job Johnson of Upper Denby. (Young Naturalist 22 Jan) –

1893 – 4 Nov, one shot near Crosland Road by James Kaye, local taxidermist. Arrives in bad winters. Kaye claims that in 1879 along with a friend killed 56 in one day. Caught one in storm in 1875 and kept it for over a year. Lindley NS (HEW 11 Nov).

1897 –  Skelmanthorpe – SkNS (HEW 13 Feb)

1905 – visits in severe winters.

1915 – occurs when driven by bad weather in north. Small flocks on moors.

[SLM – 1915 Jan16]  seen near Cook’s Study [SLM – 1916 Jan 8].some years ago .[SLM 1915]

1917 – Outlane. Small flock. [ SLM – 1917 Mar 3].

1958 January  8 – Stanedge (P. Stonehouse) January 16 –  Nont Sarah’s  (R. Crossley).

1958 – Rare winter visitor to moorland areas

2001 – 24 Feb, Scammonden, 16 Nov, Shooter’s Nab

Family PASSERIDAE – the Sparrows
Genus Passer Briss.

HOUSE SPARROW,                                                                                  (Passer domesticus)
1859 – Plentiful. [CPH]

SLM British Birds ‘Varieties are not uncommon. While purely white birds are not unfrequent. One is in Dr. Mason’s collection, taken from a nest near Huddersfield.

1870   HE 24 Dec: Berry brow sparrow shooting match, John Kaye of Dalton versus Sidney Fairburn of Hudderfield ‘a good concourse of spectators.  Betting was freey indulged in…’ Kaye wins with 9 out of 15, Fairburn 8.

1885 – Lindley. Unusual variant. Yellowish brown with yellow feet and bill, netted and killed in sparrow shooting match.  Letter to examiner asking what SLM thinks of Farmers’ Sparrow Clubs, since one in Wirrall shoots thousands of birds. Replies necessary where too many for food supply. [SLM Jan 3].

1891 – account of a sparrow netting expedition at Lindley ‘a very good sport’.’JKL’ (HEW 31 Jan).

– pied sparrow, Damside, Mr Whattam, Newsome  (HEW 7 Nov).

1895 – Linthwaite, white sparrow shot by Mr Freer. BFC  (HEW Nov 21)

1905 – ‘swarms’.  (The House Sparrow was specifically excluded when the implementation of Wild Bird Protection Act in the Borough of Huddersfield was announced in the Examiner this year).

1910   Letter from J W Scholes, Grimscar, with his observation of how useful sparrows are in taking caterpillars. SLM agrees and points out that persecution of Sparrow Hawk has contributed to problem. [SLM – HEW 13 Aug]

1915 – far too common for its natural food source, since not kept down by Sparrow Hawks. ‘enormously increased’ in last 20 years due to destruction of Sparrow.  [SLM – 1915 Jan 9] .[SLM 1915]

1917 – South Crosland Urban District Council.  ‘A letter was read from Major T. Brooke JP, vice chairman of the council enclosing a cutting from the ‘Times’ referring to the damage done to crops by sparrows.  If anyone cared to take the matter up in the township he would offer 1d each for the first 1,000 sparrows caught and 1/2d. each for the first 1,000 eggs.’  [HEW 1917 Mar 10]

SLM advocates that eggs should be eaten not destroyed and better seed drilling needed.  Also Sparrow Hawk should be protected.  [ SLM – 1917 Apr 14] SLM’s column features the  Sparrow, Aug 18.  (SLM had formerly supported setting up of ‘Sparrow Clubs’ to limit their number cf HEW 1885 Jan 3, letter from J.A. Farrand )

1937 -Colne Valley Guardian 22 January   EGG-COLLECTING.

To the Editor.
Dear Sir,  May I make a few observations on the letter under this heading which appeared in your last week’s issue.It is not the egg collector who is the worst enemy of our ‘wild birds. For instance in Spring there is what is known as the farmers’ sparrow club, the members of which go out into the fields and hedges armed with long poles with which they thrust the nests out of the trees. The eggs and young: birds are destroyed, and the old birds shot— thousands are destroyed every Spring in this way. Then the fruit farmer throws nets over his bushes and trees to keep the hungry birds from the buds and blossom. Those that are caught in the nets are promptly killed. Men with loaded guns parade the orchards every day ready to shoot any wild birds they see. There are many kinds of birds, such as wagtails, that live near rivers and brooks; they drink the poisoned dye-waters and die.  The River Colne is one example.   I suggest that the only way to pre- serve our wild birds is to have bird sanctuaries,

Yours etc.,                  MUFFIN          Linthwaite

1958 – Resident, abundant. [S&A]

1970s- Rapid decline.  Localised occurrence.  Large flocks of 1960s no longer seen.

2000 – resident breeder, around 3,500 pairs, decline partly due to recovery of Sparrow Hawk. [HBC Atlas]

 TREE SPARROW,                                                                                        (Passer montanus.)
1859 –  Storthes Hall Woods; partial to old trees [CPH].

1905 – occasional.  Colony at Horbury.

1915 – rather rare in this district , used to be caught along with House sparrows netted for shooting, pair in museum caught at Dalton by John Crossley .[SLM – 1915 Jan 9] [SLM 1915]

1958 – Occasional winter visitor, usually with flocks of finches.

2000 –resident breeder,  estimated 200 pairs. [HBC Atlas]

 Disputed Birds

Order GRUIFORMES                                Family Turnicidae

ANDALUSIAN HEMIPODE                                                                      (Turnix sylvatica)

Hemipodius tachydromos.   ‘A specimen of this extremely rare bird, the second recorded example of its capture in Britain, was taken alive at Fartown, in 1865’. [CPH] The first one was taken at Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, 29th Oct. 1844:  (Ann. Nat. Hist. 1845 ; Zoologist, 1845, p. 872. ). A quail like bird, which Seth Mosley bought  off two Irishmen who had just caught it alive in a field at Fartown in 1865. (Mosley, ‘Birds’, in 6d. Manual Series published at Beaumont Park, 1890s) It was mentioned in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, (1866, p.210), when it was shown by no less than John Gould at the Society’s meeting of 8 May 1866.  It was the rarest specimen in Alfred Beaumont’s  collection and  was shown at the HNS Exhibtion in October 1873, along with another labelled as such belonging to James Varley.  (HEW 11 Oct Seth himself later retracted this identification in his Birds of Huddersfield, describing it as an unfortunate mistake and in his, ‘Nature Around Huddersfield’ (‘NAH’) column HEW  14 Aug 1915. GT Porritt in his 1905 obituary of Beaumont in the Naturalist also says it was one of the ‘fraudulently imposed’ birds in his collection.

Clarke and Roebuck in 1881 still record it as genuine:  ‘261. Turnix sylvatica (Desf.). Andalusian Hemipode. Accidental visitant from Southern Europe and Northern Africa, of extremely rare occurrence.  Huddersfield, one near Fartown, April 7, 1865 (Gould, P.Z.S., 1866, p. 210).’  but by 1907 Nelson had removed it from the Yorkshire list as  ‘doubtless, an imported specimen’.

The question remains – how did it get into the hands of J R Mosley who apparently originated the account of its capture and subsequently ‘imposed’ it on Beaumont.  The story of how it was obtained, with the detail it was captured alive to bolster its authenticity, must be untrue, since Seth himself later denied it but only acknowledged ‘a mistake’.  A deception had taken place and it appears that Seth, willingly or unwillingly, was party to it.

The White’s Thrush was also admitted by him to be a fraud.  It seems that J R Mosley abused the trust of Alfred Beaumont in both these cases.



Genus Dendrocopus

HAIRY WOODPECKER                                                                 (Dendrocopus villosus)

1905 – supposed to have been shot years before at Kirklees, SLM included it in the TMM collection and it is still exhibited in the bird room.  Since this is a North American species it is highly unlikely to be even a chance visitor let alone a pair.



Genus Otus

SCOPS OWL                                                                                                 (Otus Scops)

Origin unknown but exhibited in the TM bird collection.  Unlike the Hairy Woodpecker, however, this Mediterranean species actually is a rare vagrant to the British Isles, and is recorded 15 times between 1958 and 1986 [British Birds Vol 80, No.11 Nov 1987].

Family PARIDAE – the Tits
Genus Parus L.

BEARDED TIT                                                                                            (Panurus biarmicus)

1844 – Eddison said he had seen it near Huddersfield, reporting several pairs to Allis of York (SLM, note on Square Mile check list 1 Jul 1911),  but SLM (1915) later took issue with this saying it exclusive to Fens.  But  Hollom (1952) records it as a rare vagrant sometimes as far as Yorkshire.

ORPHEUS WARBLER                                                                              (Sylvia hortensis)

Varley claimed a nest and eggs at Penny Spring Wood, but no proof.

 WHITE’S THRUSH                         (Turdus Whitei/Turdus dauma/Zoothera dauma)

1864 –recorded as one of only four Yorkshire occurrences in Naturalist of 1903. But  inauthentic according to SLM.  Also GT Porritt in his biography of Alfred Beaumont says the one in his collection reputedly from Huddersfield was not a British bird.  It was exhibited by Beaumont at the HNS Exhibition in 1864, supposedly shot at Almondbury Bank, and reported in the Naturalist.  In the copy in the Tolson Museum, formerly belonging to the HNS someone has written in the margin ‘false record’.  SLM states in his ‘Birds….’ that the skin and feathers of the White’s Thrush had ‘parted company from the flesh and bones in Siberia’.

Clarke and Roebuck record it as genuine in 1881’. Turdus varius Pall. White’s Thrush.

Accidental visitant from Eastern Asia, of extremely rareoccurrence.Huddersfield, one (Beaumont, Hudd. Nat, 1864, p. 217’).


 TAWNY PIPIT                                                                                  Anthis campestris

1919.  James Robert Simpson of Banks, Honley to Ephraim Fisher, ornithological recorder of HNP&AS:   ‘I am sending you a few notes re a strange bird, quite distinct from any which breeds on this district. I saw the bird on Friday, 22nd August, and again on Saturday 23rd, but although I have kept a look out for it since I have failed to see it.  On the Friday I saw it with the naked eye only, on Saturday through a fieldglass also.  Each time it was accompanied by three Pied Wagtails. I saw it in a meadow at Hope Bank; there is a public footpath through the field from Brockholes to Honley, along which I pass many times every working day. Now I am not going to say that the bird was a Tawny Pipit, but I have consulted the ‘Birds of Britain’ by J Lewis Bonhote, and it appears to me that his description of the Tawny Pipit is very like that of the bird I saw.’

Fisher sent Simpson’s ‘very detailed description of the bird’ to three leading Yorkshire ornithologists.  Johnson  Wilkinson concluded that Simpson ‘seems to be a most careful observer’ but could not confirm it to be a Tawny Pipit although the description matched. Dr Hartert thought it could be a variation of a Meadow Pipit, but was possibly a Tawny Pipit although there could be no ‘absolute certainty’.  Riley Fortune pointed out the there had only been one confirmed occurrence of the Tawny Pipit in Yorkshire, and few in Britain, despite it being common in Holland.  ‘There is to my mind nothing unlikely in its occurrence, but I am afraid the record would not be accepted. It might have been a variety of the Meadow Pipit.’

HNP&AS  Annual Report 1918-1919. p.14.

CREAM COLOURED COURSER                                                   (Cursorious cursor)

1891 HEW Nov 7 – Barnsley NS transactions refer to Cream Coloured Courser killed at Storthes Hall, recorder dead. Do any readers know of bird, inquires SLM ?

 PARAKEET                                                                                        ( Gruns nymphicus)

1865 Rastrick, pair, one shot , in possesion of Capt Edwards, Fixby Park.

For the eventual resting place of some of these birds see: