Its worth a visit

Welcome to our website

The main aim of this website is to make local people aware of the Bird Life in and around my home town of Dewsbury

Nearly all my English birding activities centres around the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire but more specificly in the areas between Dewsbury Town and Horbury bridge with especial attention paid to an area now known as the Thornhill Wetlands were recently a new and very interesting Nature Reserve has been developed.

Also there is much information relating to my time spent Watching and photographing birds in the Gambia West Africa

My travels in the Gambia allways seem to be a great success with new species being added and photographed on each of my twelve visits so far.

Much of the praise for this success must go to my guide and friend PA JALLOW who is allways completely up to date with his observations and information regarding birding sites in the Gambia.

In recent years my Gambian trips have taken on a more scientific theme mainly due to my close friendship with the author Clive Barlow.Due to his influence i have managed to get photographs of birds published in many African Photographic Field Guides for which I am most grateful.


Visitor's notice

For anyone lucky enough to have visited the Gambia to either see the birds or indeed as I do indulge in photographing the birds and other wildlife one cannot fail to be ikmpressed by the sheer variety of not just the birds(which are more than worth devoting a holiday to themselves) but also the insects(particulary the butterflies and dragonflies and beetles) and indeed the mammals and reptiles all of which present a challenge of their own.

In building this website we hope to illustrate as wel as we can the great rewards for the photographer and birder alike that this small but very friendly country can offer.

Any serious photographers or birders wishing to bird alone or in very smallgroups could do worse than having a chat to our guide PA JALLOW who has gained much experience in the needs and requirements of travelling birders from several countries.

Going back to our more local activities I am lucky enough to have had as a friend for many years Russell Smithson who besides being an excellent birder was also a master joiner.His expertise in the construction of bird nesting boxes has added a great extension to our birding activities as we have embarked in the placingof nesting boxes in as many suitable locations along the Calder valley as we can manage.These include sites in Dewsbury,Mirfield ,Huddersfield and Ravensthorpe. 

Allready we have had great success with many species including Tawny and Little Owl as well as the usual Blue and great tits as well as such birds as Wren and Stock Dove.We look forward to Spring 2012 with great anticipation

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09/05/2019 07:26

Migrants creep slowly into the valley.

There are now 12 singing Reed Warblers on the sewage works below Earlsheaton.Another 5 birds must have arrived over the last couple of days.Still no Sedge Warbler on my patch or Garden Warblers. 12 Blackcaps are singing between Healy Road Ossett and Chickenley as well as 12 Common Whitethroats. Now...


06/05/2019 18:23

Spring progresses but Summer birds still not all in.

A Common Tern drifted slowly Westward along the Calder this morning at 07:45 passing below Mill Bank Thornhill heading towards Dewsbury centre. There are now around 40 Sand Martins at our local colonies only about 50% of what was present at this time last year.At least 1 new colony has been created...


01/05/2019 18:49

Summer Arrivals continue to increase

A big difference in trhe number of Summer visitor birdsong this morning on my rounds. At least 12 singing male Blackcaps in lower Pildacre beginingn from the footbridge at Healy Road Ossett right through to the area below Earlsheaton oppositte Saville Town One singing in every area. Likewise Common...


22/04/2019 09:53

New arrivals and a pleasant surprise in the valley.

The first Common Whitethroats appeared back on their iusual breeding area this morning in the Pildacre area below Chickenley Estate. 2 singing males where chasing each other in the tall trees by the sewage works border fence at o840 this morning.. What a pleasant surprise to flush a Barn Owl from a...


18/04/2019 15:23

First Reed Warbler returns and Sand Martins descend in force to last years breeding site

Yesterday saw the first Reed Warbler return to its breeding site on Dewsbury Sewage Works.The bird was singing at the Hotworks end of the works There are now some 130 Sand martins present on Dewsbury Sewage Works with around 18 House Martins and 35 Swallows.Its nice to see about 30 Sand Martins...


09/04/2019 12:12

First House Martins arrive with small passage of other hirrundines

2 House Martins where feeding over the filter beds of Dewsbury Sewage Works this morning.There was a visible small westerly passage of other Hirrundines mostly Sand Martins with just 2 Swallows which began around 09:30 and steadily increased towards lunchtime.Otherwise quiet.


08/04/2019 20:16

Little Egret returns and Gulls continue to build.

A Little Egret has returned to feed on the River Calder below Mill Bank Thornhill.The bird was feeding almost directly below Thornhill Cricket Club this morning keeping company with the single Green Sandpiper which has been feeding in the same part of the river for several weeks now 2 Shellduck...


03/04/2019 11:54

Early Swallow turns up in unusual habitat

A Swallow was perched on telegraph wires fronting the Brewers Pride Public House in Healy Road Ossett this morning at 08:30.The bird looked cold and withdrawn in the very cold Northerly wind so was easy to photograph.When I returned at 10:15 the bird had disapeared. There are 3 Chiff Chaff singing...


30/03/2019 07:18

Not many Summer Migrants yet but nest building and breeding well under way.

A pair of Chiff Chaff are allready busy nest building in lower Pildacre and one pair of Song Thrushes have been sitting on 4 eggs near Dewsbury Town Centre. A pair of Shellduck which bred succesfully last year near Dewsbury Town Centre last year rearing 11 youngsters returned to the same territory...


21/03/2019 13:01

Wheatear turns up at Horbury Junction and Sand martins back at local colony

A Wheatear is feeding in a field of horses at the bottom of Dudfleet lane Horbury junction this morning.The bird first appeared at 11:10 perched on a metal gate at the bottom Easterly corner of the field before flying to start feeding amongst the 6 or so horses at the upper part of the field.It was...



18/09/2018 11:25

House Martins and Swallows on the move.

Good numbers of Swallows and House Martins where moving very high and slowly Eastwards over Mill Bank Thornhill this morning. Though I was only present in the area for an hour this morning I counted some 600 birds passing very slowly over theMill Bank Austingley Lane area Thornhill in the first...


16/09/2018 19:45

Autumn has arrived

What a difference a week makes.After spending a week at Spurn Point where it is still possible to see birds such as yellow wagtails,several whinchats and Wheatears and see a steady flow of Swallows and House and Sand Martins it was strange to return to my local sites to find just about all the...


21/08/2018 20:36

No sign of young Kittiwake but plenty to see on the Calder this evening.

No sign of the Juvenile Kittiwake from yesterday but still plenty to see on the Calder between Dewsbury and Ossett this afternoon and early evening. There are are still 2 Little Egrets and 4 Green Sandpipers present in the area on the Calder around the Earlsheaton Dewsbury Sewage Works area and...


20/08/2018 19:51

Young Kittiwake a surprise find on the Calder at Ossett today.

The area of the River Calder between Ossett and Dewsbury has produced many surprise birds over the years and now with its cleanliness and a very much imroved surrounding environment it appears at the moment to be on the up again.Never have I seen so many shoals of small fish splashing around the...


14/08/2018 23:18

Garganey make timely visit to Local Sewage Works

It was nice to come across a pair of Garganey this morning in my part of the Calder Valley.2 birds male and female where on what is almost the only permanent lagoon on the sewage works at Dewsbury.Though its a private location the birds can easily be seen from the view point which overlooks the...


08/08/2018 19:14

Little Egrets showing signs of Courtship on Calder near Dewsbury.

2 Little Egrets were showing slight signs of courtship and display this morning on the River Calder near Dewsbury.I have never seen so many small fish in the river and in spot below Earlsheaton i noted 8 Goosander,8 Cormorants,4 Grey Herons,2 Little Egrets and a Kingfisher all fishing in the same...


07/08/2018 19:04

Oyster Catchers breed in Dewsbury rearing 3 youngsters

A pair of Oyster Catchers have successfuly bred near Dewsbury town Centre rearing 3 out of 4 youngssters.The birds which are now a regular sight from March right through to August can be heard doing their noisy display flight anywhere from Earlsheaton through to the outskirt of Dewsbury centre.They...


05/08/2018 08:45

Little Egrets within yards of Town Centre

Little Egrets are slowly but surely establishing a foothold on the banks of the River Calder between Ossett and Dewsbury and can now be observed in riverside bushes and on the river edge within yards of Dewsbury Town centre.It seems now only a matter of time till we record our first breeding record...


31/07/2018 22:33

Green Sandpipers return and an unusual visitor caught blocking the path

Its good to see 3 Green Sandpipers on andd around the river Calder near Dewsbury Sewage Works this morning.With so many of our local lagoons dried up at the moment its good tthat the Calder provides such an ideal feeding ground for these delightful wading birds. Most of the local breeding birds...


17/07/2018 17:30

Lapwings begin to gather and young Shellducks take to the sky.

Its a pleasant surprise when you check up on something and all is better than expected.I was checking up on a brood of young Shellduck this morning finding them in their usual spot and still 8 in number when to my pleasant surprise the whole brood just took off sand flew a hundred yards or so into...


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Some overseas trips