April Sightings

April 2016
April was relatively mild and mostly dry, until the final week when temperatures dropped and the weather turned wet. Conditions were excellent for migration watchers and birders were rewarded with sightings of six Ospreys, record counts of Wheatears and a good haul of Ring Ouzels.

An Osprey was seen fishing in Lower Barden Reservoir on 3rd April and the following day two more singles, one at Bradup and another over Hazlewood Moor, were seen flying north. On the 13th, one flew near Scargill Reservoir and on the same day another was seen from Barden Scale. The final sighting was of a single, this time over Keighley Moor (19th).

A huge passage of over 300 Wheatears were recorded during the month with double-figure counts reported at Slippery Ford, Warley Moor Reservoir, Whetstone Gate and Glovershaw. On the 4th, a male Ring Ouzel was seen at Slippery Ford. There were then almost daily reports of up to five of this species, some of which could be seen from near the car park.

Two Yellow Wagtails visited a Hazlewood garden on the early date of 21st, and a Grasshopper Warbler spent an evening reeling from a bramble patch alongside the Glen Road, Baildon. A Cuckoo was in full voice singing from trees and wires on the edge of Baildon Moor (20th), this was followed by reports of others at Slippery Ford, Strid Wood, Ben Rhydding, and Barden Moor.

Two Whimbrel were brief visitors to Warley Moor Reservoir (11th) and the developing shoreline at Thornton Moor Reservoir encouraged a couple of Ringed Plovers (9th)). Common Sandpipers were established at both these sites and also at Keighley Moor.

A Whinchat was located on Barden Moor at the end of the month, and four pairs of Stonechats had been recorded in the area: two at Whetstone Gate, one at Keighley Moor and the other on Sandwith Moor and

At the beginning of the there were two reports of flocks of about 100 Fieldfares and two large roosts of Golden Plover: 260 at Moorside Lane, Oxenhope, only surpassed by 330 at Reva Reservoir on the 18th.

Barn Owls, Short-eared Owls, Long-eared Owls and a single Marsh Harrier were all reported by members over the course of the month.
April Images
Yellow Wagtail - Roger Nelson
Cuckoo - Stephen Lilley
Willow Warbler (left) - Nigel Priestley
April 2015
April was mostly dry, sunny and pleasant until the final week when easterly winds dominated the weather. Golden Plovers amassed in flocks of between 230 and 320 at three locations: Glovershaw, Moorside Lane Oxenhope and on the Whetstone Allotment. Earlier in the month a flock of eight Whoopers visited Lower Barden Reservoir and nearby, 130 Fieldfare flew northwards. The first Cuckoo was seen and photographed at St Ives (16th) and another was at the regular site of Lower Barden towards the end of the month. Three Sand Martins were reported at Ben Rhydding during the first week (7th) and the first Swallow was recorded at Riddlesden on the following day.

Two Common Terns, first seen at Yeadon (18th), were probably the same pair that were noted at Otley Wetlands a few days later. Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts were well-established by the end of the month at Timble, Strid Wood and in locations in the Upper Washburn. Tree Pipits were also in evidence at their favoured sites at Stainburn, Hazlewood Moor and Timble. Garden Warblers were singing at Otley Wetland (21st), Bolton Bridge and East Riddlesden and a Wood Warbler was heard in St. Ives (26th).

A pair of Stonechats were seen in Coldstone Beck and a male Whinchat, the first of the year, was located at Nab Water Lane Oxenhope (24th). Fly Flatts were visited by three Shelducks (19th), a Common Scoter dropped onto Ogden Reservoir (14th) and a pair of Gadwall were seen once more at Esholt (12th).

An Osprey passed over Keighley Moor (6th) and on the same day a Black Redstart was seen with Wheatears near Nab Water Lane. Ring Ouzel passage was particularly well-recorded with four reports. The first was two birds at Burley Woodhead (9th) and a few days later there was another report of a bird at Timble. Three pairs were feeding on Soil Hill (20th) and later in the month a young male was in the vicinity of Barden Reservoirs. The passage of Wheatears continued throughout the month with 113 birds recorded, the largest gatherings were at Glovershaw. Whilst breeding was reported from many locations, the sight of a female Goosander with 20 juveniles battling the currents on the River Wharfe was particularly memorable.New Paragraph
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