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Post Info TOPIC: Piethorne Valley.


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RE: Piethorne Valley.


7th August.

2 Whinchat this morning, plus a total of 6 Stonechat in 3 different locations. A Dipper was singing, perhaps more surprisingly so were 5 Willow Warblers early in the morning. Most song consisted of a truncated bit of the full version, although one was going at it full throttle. Also present a family party of Linnet, with at least 2 incessantly begging young. It was also nice today to see a House Sparrow and also hear others around the farm. This record coupled with a few other sightings this year and in 2011 suggests that a small population may hopefully have re-established itself in the valley after several years' absence?

Yesterday, after hearing of Steve Atkins sensational Common Scoter record at Watergrove I came up to check the valleys reservoirs to see if any had dropped in here. No signs on any on the 4 reservoirs I checked......although it's always possible there may have been hundreds lurking on the two other unchecked ones! Still the visit was very worthwhile as I was able to confirm breeding for a pair of Whitethroats which I have been following and that have been holding territory throughout a large part of the breeding season. The male was seen on several occasions collecting and carrying what looked like crane flies. The nest is at roughly 225 metres above sea level. Not sure if that in itself is unusual? Certainly a first for me here and it may even be a first for the valley? As mentioned, Whitethroat is not a regular species here and breeding was not proven for it during the last 4 years of our local breeding birds' atlas project for the 2 main tetrads that covers most of Piethorne, so all in all quite a pleasing record.

Whilst in waffling mode , a quick update on the SCaMP project here (see earlier posts on this thread dated 24/3/09 & 2/9/10). The slower growing tree species such as Oak are still largely growing inside or just peeking out of their protective sheaths. However, some of the more vigorous trees species have, around three years later, made substantial growth and some of the Rowans already have a small berry crop this year which will help the valleys bird population in the autumn and winter months.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Cuckoo (male)

This was my first trip in the valley for 3 months so I do not know whether this bird has been seen or perhaps more likely heard up there before this year. (It was a good and positive sighting at a short distance.)


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Whitethroat singing at the top end of Wickenhall this aft'

Chris

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It sound like there are young dippers in the brook tunnel under the Dyeworks yard. I've seen the adults passing under there quite often but yesterday there were vocals to go with the sighting.
(I'm now off for a few months so will be unable to follow up on this or any other valley sightings.)

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30th April.

Matt from United Utilities reported the sighting of a Cuckoo in the upper valley this morning.

Cheers,

Bill.

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Also saw a Little Owl today, plus an unidentified raptor (only got a fleeting glimps and didn't have time to lock on with the binoculars before it disappeared from view).

Apart from the usual birds (tits etc) nothing else unusual was spotted.

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Despite my misgivings about the fate of the Little Owl a couple of weeks ago we still have at least one in the usual haunts.

7 tufted ducks on Kitcliffe Reservoir (4m)
3 Goosanders on Piethorn Reservoir (2m)

I tied myself in the usual knots trying to sort out willow warblers and chiffchaffs but I am sure there was at least one of the latter in Knowsley Plantation amongst three or four willow warblers all giving it full voice this morning. (Still it passes the time and in theory builds the knowledge.)

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Whilst not in the main valley, but still within the catchment, I took a lovely evening stroll up on to Axletree Edge and Foxstone Edge and saw/heard the following:

three fine red grouse,
golden plover calling from the direction of White Hill,
and as usual up here at this time of the year, two wheatears of the Greenland type, both males.
I also heard a curlew.

C. Brown

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I have been out there most of today but no Ring Ouzels yet this year. I checked all the usual haunts for them and for our resident stonechats but couldn't find them either. Nor have I seen any wheatears yet this year.
Up on the moors above Piethorn Brook (upper stretch) I did find a ringed and somewhat bloody leg though. It did all the stuff you are supposed to do and it turned out to be a all that was left of a racing pigeon from Keigthly.

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Common Sandpiper at Piethorn Rervoir
Reed Bunting 2 in Piethorn Plantation (North side of road)
Dipper(s) At each end of the valley.
Mistle Thrush on lower slopes of Ogden Edge
Raven(s) Rhodes Barn
Grey Wagtail (Outflow waterfall of Norman Hill Reservoir)
Curlew(s) Several at the upper end of the valley
Skylark(s) Mostly on northern slopes of the valley
Cormorant on Piethorn Reseroir
Meadow Pipit(s) pretty much everywhere.
Willow Warbler(s) At least four on the south side of the valley.
Jay 2 Piethorn plantation
Coot on Ogden Reservoir.
Green woodpecker - plantation behind the mill (Possibly two as one heard a few minutes earlier below Peppermint Bridge.)

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A single Wheatear was photographed by my daughter at Cold Greave this morning. I couldn't find any this afternoon.


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2 Oystercatchers
1 Green Woodpecker
4 Swallow
2 Sand martin
lots Willow Warblers
2 Bullfinches

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A friend of mine has just told me that she found a dead 'baby owl' a few weeks ago on the track at Springholes. From the description I suspect it was a Little Owl.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 14th of April 2012 10:13:46 AM

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Great crested grebe 1
Tufted Duck 2pr (One pair on Ogden Reservoir and another on Norman Hill Reservoir)
Coot 2pr (Both pairs on Ogden Reservoir)
Oystercatchers 2
Grey Partridge 1 pr above Binns Ruins
Jays 2 Goodfleckers
Skylarks 3 seen and several more heard throughout the valley.
Curlews 3 seen but the were probably more.
Green Woodpecker (Heard in Wickenhall area)
Meadow Pipits the usual large contingent were scattered throughout the valley.
Read Bunting 1 on fringe of Kitcliffe Reservoir
Raven 1 seen over Rhodes Barns
Dipper 1 on brook behind the dyweorks
Plus Great tits, blue tits, coal tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, dunnock, wren, magpies, carrion crows, wood pigeons, mallards, robins, blackbirds and probably a few that I've forgotten. Willow Warbler heard but not pinned down.



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On a little stroll up Wickenhall this aft' were two willow warblers singing and a chiffchaff at Lanebottom. Also 5 stock doves here and my first local swallows with two at Spring Mill. There were a couple of coots and a great crested Grebe on Ogden Res' too.

C.B

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Sat 7th Apr

Pair of Curlew ovhead while driving into Denshaw from the M62 around midday.

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On a walk up to Doldrum and Ogden, I saw (or heard) the following:

1. A green woodpecker at Peppermint Bridge,
2. A chiffchaff at Lanebottom,
3. 3+ sand martins back at the Longden End colony, plus two wheatears here,
4. Several curlews,
5. A pair of little owls in Springholes Quarry,
6. A tawny owl in Knowsley Plantation and my first willow warbler of the year was singing here also. There was also another willow warbler by Kitcliffe Res
7. Several linnets over.
8. Plenty of skylarks and meadow pipits knocking about too

C.B

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Hi mate,

Nice to meet you too! We didn't see anything else much of note either, apart from some nice views of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the trees in the garden of those large adjoined houses the other side of Kitcliffe reservoir.

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On a circular walk up the valley to Norman Hill Res', over the top to Whiteley Dean (not named on modern maps, but the valley that runs east from Longden End towards the watershed), past Doldrum and Springholes I saw the following:

1. Wheatear (male) in Springholes Quarry. Thanks must go to Rob and Alison Willis for pointing this bird out to me. Very nice to meet you both. I'm afraid the little owl didn't show after you'd gone either. I've not seen one here for ages now.
2. Tawny owl in Knowlsey plantation.
3. Pair of oystercatchers by Hanging Lees.
4. Several curlews about the valley.
5. A few pheasants being rather vocal.
6. Pair of Goldeneye on Norman Hill Ressy.
7. Lots of meadow pipits moving through the valley.
8. A few skylarks singing (very nice).
9. Two coot on Ogden Res.

Regards, C.B

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Ogden res this afternoon from the Dam, a brief 10 minute visit.

8 Canada Geese
12 Mallard
2 Great Crested Grebe
1 Coot
2 Pied Wagtail
3 Curlew overhead

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The pair of great crested grebes on Ogden Reservoir were displaying again this morning. (On my return trip in the afternoon I noted that an angler had positioned himself very close to the only favourable nesting site which is always going to be a problem at this location.)
A single oystercatcher was at the Kitcliffe end of Ogden Reservoir.
Meadow Pipit at Binns Ruins along with about a dozen fieldfares.
A fleeting glimpse of sparrowhawk(?) darting through the low trees and outbuildings behind Springmill was too fast and too brief for absolute confirmation.

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A pair of Great Crested Grebes with a tentatvie courtship display on Ogden Reservoir. As the breeding habit is limited and likely to dry out as the water level goes down I am pesimistic about them staying. Hopefully they will now prove me wrong.
The pair of Goldeneye are still on Rooden Reservoir.
A jay at Springholes.

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29th February.

Early this morning at a misty Piethorne - an influx of Curlews - the largest single flock of 17 landed on farmland between Rooden Reservoir and Denshaw. Other airborne flocks of 6 and 5 birds and various singletons were seen, which may or may not have been the same birds?

Also 1 Lapwing, 3 singing Song Thrush, 1 singing Reed Bunting. 2 Goldeneye (a pair) were on Rooden Reservoir. The first I have seen at Piethorne for ages. Goldeneye used to be expected, if intermittent visitors throughout the winter months on Foul Water Lodge but since that was stocked with fish, the nature of the water has presumably changed and now appears to be not to their liking?

No Oystercatchers yet.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Apologies if this is going slightly off topic, but I suppose it is relevant to bird-watchers coming to the Ogden area. Yes, Geoff, it is the very same collie. Whilst it has yet to bite me it has come desperately close several times (recently it has been accompanied by a much friendlier corgi). More than once I have been forced to use my rucksack as a shield and have swung my binoculars like a mace at it. Strangely, a couple of weeks ago, after it's initial charge, it followed me like a faithful companion all the way to the gate at Rooden Res' and would've gone further with me if I hadn't shut the gate behind me and blocked its path.
There is a jack russell up here also, that is usually chained, but sometimes isn't, that gives me a hard time a bit before Edge Gate (where the collie lives), located at that ugly collection of caravans and containers, etc.
Cheers for the heads up re' the waders near Rough Bank, I'll have a closer look the next time I'm up that way.

Chris


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Chris.
Piethorn 'Mad dogs.'

(1) If you are referring to the ones from the last house when appraoching Rooden Res from the south the collie bit my leg the last time I passed that way. The owner, although always cheerful with a greeting, does not seem too concerned so the rule of 'first blood' now applies. (I have not had any trouble with any other dogs on that side of the valley.)
(2) On the otherside of the valley if you are passing Rough Bank cottages the dogs will come over the wall at you now but then if you stand your ground they seem at a loss to know what to do next. More noise than an immediate threat to your welfare - its still disconcerting though. (Its worth it for accessing the meadows behind as they have turned up some interesting but unidentified waders this winter.)

Geoff

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That is a lot of fieldfares Geoff! I have found down the years that they tend to gather up there in big numbers around late Feb'.
I hope the 'Mad Dogs of Ogden Edge' let you slip past unchallenged! They get me every time.

Chris

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Chris you were right about the fieldfares. I was up there on Ogden Edge around midday and saw the largest flock of Fieldfares that I have ever seen in any one place. I gave up trying to count at 200+. Probably about 300 with the same again in starlings. I watched them for about 15mins but didn't spot anything else amongst them. I'm not sure what spooked them but when they did go they went in three groups = 1 of starlings and 2 of fieldfares all heading in seperate direcions.
Grey wagtail in Rooden catchwater drain.

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On a cool and breezy walk over Ogden Edge and back down the valley were not much, but:

2+ stock doves between the hamlets,
bullfinch pair by the hamlets,
usual late winter gathering of 20+ fieldfare feeding on the hill-pasture on Ogden Edge (I suspect there were a lot more screened by the brow of a hill),
5 goosander on Rooden Res',
lots of skylarks about, with many appearing to be passing through, though two were in fine song by Rooden. Nice.

Regards, Chris

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The Green Woodpecker was successfully released back into the wild this morning. To say it was happy to be home is an understatement! As soon as I opened the box, it was out and away. It flew straight back to where I have seen them in the past. no time for photos though

Other birds present

Raven
5 Skylark
2 Goosander
5 Mallard
Reed Bunting
2 Mistle Thrush
Fieldfare
Blue Tit
Goldfinch



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Spring-like out there today and the birds were very vocal.
There were at least 6 skylarks in the general area between Town Hill and Turf Hill.
Mistle thrushes and song thrushes were seen and heard scattered about the valley.
Kestrel over Turf Hill.
Two Ravens around the Turf Hill area
A stonechat was seen in the Rhodes Barn area quiet close to the clough.
The Woodmill Dippers were right up behind the dywworks today and what is quite astonishing is that they appear to be commuting between feeding stretches through the brook tunnel under the yard which must be close to 50 metres long.

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Not quite in the Piethorn valley but certainly within the Piethorn Brook watershed I spotted a Golden Plover just over the otherside of Ripponden Road. (About 200 metres inside the GM border)
I've had several recent sightings of waders up on the winter hills around the valley and was quite surprised by this so a few weeks ago I put something on Bits & Bobs, Odds & Sods and others thought they may be golden plover. Today I had an excellent sighting and can call it as such with confidenece.

Both Dippers were at Woodmill today - it is my first sighting of them for several weeks.

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Returning home from a circular walk over Crompton Moor, via Ogden Edge, 11 stock doves were in the usual trees between the hamlets. These are my first for a while up Ogden.
Incidently Crompton Moor yielded a single siskin, two lesser redpoll, a male bullfinch and circa 12 reed buntings in a loose, roving flock.

C.J-B

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An update on the Green Woodpecker

I have spoken to the lady is taking care of it and she says it is doing well and she has managed to get it to feed which is normally a struggle with this and other similar species. It will be kept for a period, possibly a couple of weeks and will be released where I found it when it has recovered

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Went to Piethorne in search of Stonechat and Green Woodpecker and got more than I bargained for!

In a ditch was a Green Woodpecker being mobbed by Carrion Crows. I shoed away the Crows but the woody was in a poor state, probably exhausted from defending itself. It allowed me to close in and pick it up. I put it in my hat and put it inside my fleece.

Having rang a RSPCA inspector for advice, the woody now resides in a local vets. Thankfully, it shows no sign of injury and will be given antibiotics as a precaution and given food. When/if it makes a recovery, it will be released back where I found it

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Short-eared owl - My second in the valley (at least 20 years apart) I'm inclined to keep the exact location to myself unless specifically asked.

I also flushed the largest covey of partridges that I have seen in the valley for a number of years. There were about 10 and I have to assume they were grey partridges because visibilty was very poor. However I have previously only ever seen grey parteidges in the valley. These were some distance away from the usual haunts so we may have 2 coveys which would suggest that breeding was far more succesful last year than I thought. (Last winter there were 5 birds around Binns ruins and this year 4. My highest number before today was 11 about four years ago and that was in the meadow east of Goodfleckers.)

Heron on the brook at Woodmill. (I have not seen the dippers there for a couple of weeks now.)




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Had a wander 11.00-2.00
Very quite not much about. Other than plenty of snow.
3xcormorant
3xteal
8xmallard
highlight of day 1xgreen woodpecker
Very enjoyable in conditions.
Cheers Danny

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After a productive morning baggin' the ring-billed gull at Mirfield (on the third attempt), upon arriving home I decided on a bracing and snowy walk up Ogden this aft'. The walk yielded the following:

1. Goldcrest in Rough Bank Plantation.
2. Woodcock (my first of this winter) in Raghole Clough and a fine looking brown hare here also.
3. Not in the valley, but seen from the Rapes Highway, above Doldrum, two buzzards over Hoar Edge, across the M62. They were briefly mobbed by a small falcon that could've been a merlin, but couldn't be sure.
4. Circa 25 lapwing flew down from the moors, but didn't appear to settle in the valley.
5. Stonechat (my first for a while in the valley) looking miserable in a hawthorn just by Springholes.
6. Two very confiding fieldfares in the entwined elder and hawthorn trees, just through the stile hole across from Gate House.
7. Single cormorant over.

The track above Doldrum was treacherous. I did the can-can and ended up on my back three times.

Chris


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Ian McKerchar wrote:

Geoff, it's not unusual to see Black-headed Gulls with all full dark hoods at this time of year





Thanks Ian. Helpful second opinions are always appreciated

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Geoff, it's not unusual to see Black-headed Gulls with all full dark hoods at this time of year

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None of the reservoirs have completely iced over.

6 cormarants on Ogden
3 Goosanders and a pair of Mallards on Piethon.
Black-headed gulls present around lower end of the valley as usual but one almost in summer plumage (Which may be worth checking out in case it is something other than a BHG.)


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Pied wagtail and grey wagtail seen today, together on the bank between the cobbled road to Rough Bank and the Plantation of the same name. (Just outside the Piethorn watershed - up by Readycon Dean reservoir I also saw a single willow (red) grouse.)

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Monday evening. Some snow and a lot of ice -
Little Owl at Sprinholes - My first sighting of this valley regular for quite a few weeks.
Great tits in Knowsley Plantation may not be that exciting until you think about how hard it is for them in such harsh conditions compared with all those that you see on the nations birdfeeders.


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Pleasent walk this morning.

Pair of Goosander on Ogden Res, took flight and moved up to Kitcliffe.
Various Gulls
22 Canadas grazing
8 Malard

Merganser on Piethorne res about 11:30
Various gulls

Not a bird in sight at Hanging Lees

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Large flock of mixed starlings and firldfares around Kitcliffe Farm meadows. Approx 30 - 40 firldfares which is the most I have seen in the valley this winter. There was at least one mistle thrush in there also but no redwings seen.

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Hi Danny
On my way home I saw some falconers down by the dyeworks presumably trying to hunt rabbits but it looked somewhat sad if not a little pathetic compared with that display up on the hills.
(I found a dipper in the upper reaches of Piethorn Book a few minutes after we went our seperate ways.)
Geoff

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Hi geoff i'm the other person you spoke too.
What a spectacle, i was convinced they were just playing together until the third bird which i am sure was another falcon joined in. Then the raven decided to exit quickly.Wise chose in my mind.
Pleased to have met you.

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Sunday midday. I was privilaged to watch a dogfight between a couple of ravens and a peregrine taking place right over my head - so close that a couple of times I could hear the wind in their feathers. This was on the slopes above Norman Hill Reservoir. It started with two ravens mobbing the Peregrine but when one lost interst the tables turned and it looked like the peregrine was sizing up the remaining raven for dinner. For at least 5 minutes they twisted and turned with both parties doing their share of the attacking. Then the Raven took rapid flight out of sight over the hill pursued by the peregrine and a third bird that I had naturally assuimed was the other raven. Another person who I spoke to a short while after who had also seen this action said that the third bird was another peregrine that had flow in from across the valley!

Given the size difference I wondered if once the peregrine had turned on it that the raven was having to continue to fly close in order to prevent it getting a decent stoop where the impact may have offset that size and weight inbalance. Other than that it was almost as if they were playing and I do know better than that!

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Ref the possigle merlin? Over the last two or three weeks I too have had a three brief sightings, around the dyeworks, of what I thought may be a merlin - but all sightings have been too brief to call with any certainty. (Particularly when the hunting tactics of a bird of prey described to me by a resident in that area sounded very much like a sparrowhawk.) My last two trips had turned up nothing so I was beginning to think it had moved on - the last being on the 27th - so hopefully this is the same bird and a positive outcome is still possible.

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had a fantastic day exploring this site weather conditions realy bad but was rewarded when watching two dippers on the small stream that runs alongside Huddersfield rd a hobby came gliding down following the contours of the river obviously avoiding the wind like me but seemed really interested in the dippers and landed on a nearby rock but was flushed before i could get my camera out by a passing bus maybe next time lovely markings though and a very welcome end to great day cant wait till the kinder months weather wise
regards
deon
my mistake sorry for the earlier missidentification it was more likely to have been a merlin still a welcome sight on an otherwise unproductive windy day
regards
deon


-- Edited by Deon Meadowcroft on Friday 30th of December 2011 12:03:33 PM

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From yesterday, 18th December 2011:

On a morning binocular-less walk, via Ogden, to Blackstone Edge, the White House and Littleborough (fantastic walking conditions on t' tops), a couple of things of note, included, a pair of goosander on Ogden Res', plus a lone reed bunting and a meadow pipit over, at Doldrum.

Regards, Christopher

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