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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26/06/2018 21:57

A good breeding season in this part of the Calder Valley so far.

A single Red Kite was circling over Leeds Road End Ossett at 09:15.The bird attracted many glances from passing members of the public as it slowly moved South disapearing after about 20 minutes.This coincides with a similar Red Kite sighting over Shaw Cross playing fields on Friday afternoon at...


15/06/2018 15:09

Good increase in breeding Swallows on the Windsor Estate

5 year ago it was nice to find a pair of Swallows choosing to nest in a connecting passsage at my next door neighbours house.Considering their is a well established farm at the top of our road traditionaly housing around 3 pairs of swallows it seems unusual that Swallows are choosing a fairly old...


15/06/2018 14:33

Local Little Owl chicks on the verge

A local brood of Little Owl chicks are now on the verge of leaving their nesting box.The Chicks are more and more standing on the outside of the box calling anxousely for their parents to return with food then after feeding returning inside the box. The Ossett Barn Owls will be pleased to see their...


03/06/2018 20:16

A Breeding first as Shellduck decides to have family in the Dewsbury part of the valley.

A pair of Shellducks have hatched 8 chicks in the Earlsheaton part of the Calder Valley.Even though the chicks are still very small they are able to dive under the water either individualy or as a group together(see photo gallery).The female bird is very protective and never leaves the chicks to...


16/05/2018 20:48

Most of local Summer visitors in now but some omissions and numbers are down.

Now that it can be assumed that all the Summer visiting birds are back at their breeding sites one can asses how numbers and species can compare to previouse years. Certainly there are some species which have just not turned up.Amongst these in my part of the Calder valley are the Cuckoo which is...


30/04/2018 19:12

Local Swifts back at their breeding sites and good numbers of Hirrundines gather for a feast.

There was several Swifts feeding above the site of the Ossett Brewery  complex this afternoon.Also small numbers of Swifts where soaring high above the railway marshalling yards at Horbury Bridge. Nearby on the compost heaps located just below the lowermost fields of Pidacre,Chickenley around...


25/04/2018 11:49

First Reed Warblers arrive on local sites

The first of the local breeding Reed Warblers arrived back on their breeding site on Dewsbury Sewage Works yesterday with 3 singing males at different sites on the works. The unusual showey conditions this morning brought good numbers of House Martins down to feed over the compost heaps below...


18/04/2018 18:57

Summer Visitors arrive on time.

A Common Whitethroat was singing in a hedge on the lower Pildacre fields at 08:00 this morning.Also there are now 6 singiing WillowWarblers in this part of the Calder Valley most of them by the Calder just West of the Earlsheaton area.There are also 2 birds singing around the Kerries Food factory...


11/04/2018 10:26

Peregrine Falcons mating on Dewsbury Town Hall

2 Peregrine Falcons are displaying and going through a mating procceedure this morning on Dewsbury Town Hall.This is excellent news as providing they can find a suitable ledge or similar this would be an ideal nesting place for the species. There is an ever ending supply of pigeons in the town at...


09/04/2018 17:17

Summer visiting Birds arrive at last on local sites

We allways seem to do well with early Swallows returnng in this part of the Calder Valley.A riverside walk produced first of all 4 Male Swallows fliying around the sprinklers on Dewsbury Sewage Works.This had increased to 10 birds (6 males and 4 females ) a couple of hours later. 22 Sand Martins...



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...


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