Kingdom of Birds

Whether you’re a serious birdwatcher or simply enjoy observing garden birds, there’s a wealth of birdlife in the countryside of the Upper Calder Valley around Elmet Farmhouse. Because of its location on a hillside surrounded by meadows, with woods and rivers in the valley below and open moorland on the uplands above, there’s an unusually diverse array of species in close proximity.

From golden plovers, lapwings and curlews up on ‘the tops’, to kestrels, swallows and pheasants in the fields, to woodpeckers, tawny owls and treecreepers in the woods and herons, dippers and grey wagtails by the river, there’s great scope for bird-watching in the hills and dales around Hebden Bridge. These photos record some of the birds encountered locally in recent years.

Birds in Abundance

Birds spotted in the neighbourhood include:

Blue Tits – Pecket Well


Barn Owls – Wadsworth Moor, Crimsworth Dean and Pecket Well


Blackbirds – Pecket Well

Bullfinches – Luddenden Dean and Pecket Well

Buzzards – Crimsworth Dean

Canada Geese – Walshaw Dean

Chaffinches – Pecket Well

Coal Tits – Pecket Well

Collared Doves – Pecket Well

Crows – Pecket Well

Cuckoos – Wadsworth and Pecket Well

Curlews – Crimsworth Dean, Wadsworth Moor, Walshaw Moor and Heptonstall Moor


Dippers – Hardcastle Crags

Dunnocks – Pecket Well

Fieldfares – Crimsworth Dean and Colden

Golden Plovers – Crimsworth Dean, Wadsworth Moor and Walshaw Moor


Goldfinches – Pecket Well and Crimsworth Dean

Great Spotted Woodpeckers – Pecket Well and Hardcastle Crags

Great Tits – Pecket Well

Greenfinches – Pecket Well

Green Woodpeckers – Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags

Grey Herons – Colden Clough, Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean


Grey Wagtails – Crimsworth Dean

Jackdaws – Crimsworth Dean

Jays – Pecket Well and Hardcastle Crags

Kestrels – Crimsworth Dean and Pecket Well


Kingfishers – Crimsworth Dean

Lapwings – Wadsworth Moor, Walshaw Moor and Heptonstall Moor


Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers – Hardcastle Crags

Little Owls – Crimsworth Dean


Long-Tailed Tits – Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean

Magpies – Pecket Well

Mallards – Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags

Meadow Pipits – Crimsworth Dean and Wadsworth Moor


Nuthatches – Hardcastle Crags

Oystercatchers – Walshaw Dean and Crimsworth Dean


Pheasants – Pecket Well

Pied Wagtails – Crimsworth Dean


Ravens – Langfield Edge

Red Grouse – Wadsworth Moor, Walshaw Moor and Crimsworth Dean

Redpolls – Colden

Redshanks – Wadsworth Moor

Robins – Pecket Well

Rooks – Pecket Well

Short-Eared Owls – Wadsworth Moor, Crimsworth Dean and Heptonstall Moor

Skylarks – Wadsworth Moor, Walshaw Moor and Gaddings Dam

Snipe – Wadsworth Moor and Pecket Well

Starlings – Crimsworth Dean


Swallows – Crimsworth Dean and Pecket Well

Tawny Owls – Pecket Well, Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags

Thrushes – Pecket Well

 Treecreepers – Crimsworth Dean

Willow Warblers – Crimsworth Dean

Wrens – Pecket Well

For up to date news about sightings by keen local birdwatchers, visit this blog: Calderdale Birds


Barry the Barn Owl

Meet Barry the Barn Owl, one of several species of owl living in the hills and dales around Hebden Bridge. Barn owls are normally nocturnal but Barry (as we took the liberty of naming him) seemed to enjoy a spot of daylight hunting in Crimsworth Dean and was not averse to having his photo taken.  Hardly surprising, given how beautiful he is!

One of Barry’s cousins has since taken up residence in Pecket Well and for the last few years has delighted us throughout the summer months with his dusk hunting missions over the hay meadows at Elmet Farmhouse. Hopefully the chicks he’s been rearing will settle in the area too and the local barn owl population will continue to grow. 


© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

© Text copyright Elmet Farmhouse



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