February Sightings

February 2017
A rather pleasant month turned wild and windy during the final week. This change brought a huge influx of waders and ducks to the Aire Valley with Cononley Ings being the recipient of 720 Wigeon and 530 Curlew (25th). A day later, six Shelduck had gathered there and during this time, two Little Egrets were occasionally seen near Hawkcliffe Farm. Of further note was the arrival of 30 Oystercatchers, with an even bigger flock of 80 at Thruscross, a regular passage location for these attractive waders. Earlier in the month, 750 Lapwings had congregated on Cononley’s flooded meadows prior to dispersal to breeding grounds.  

At Fewston Reservoir, 81 Teal were seen displaying (17th) and at Lindley Wood Reservoir, 57 Mandarin Ducks were similarly engaged. Up to seven Pochards spent a few weeks on Yeadon Tarn and a female Shoveler was there later in the month (24th).

Dippers were located on the Wharfe at Ikley, Aquaduct Bridge (Barden), Myrtle Park and at Hirst Wood Weir where they were seen nest-building. A pair of Stonechats were feeding at Birch Close Lane, Glovershaw (3rd) and nearby, at Dobrudden Farm, up to four Tree Sparrows were attracted to the feeding station. Eight Waxwings were seen in roadside sycamores at Yeadon Tarn (17th) and a single Brambling visited a Riddlesden feeder (12th).

Surprise birds during the month included a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Washburn Valley, and a second-winter Iceland Gull which was seen during its brief stay at Cullingworth Fields (25th). Peregrines were reported in Upper Wharfedale, whilst a couple of Hen Harriers were seen from the watchpoint at Barden Scale, and a Red Kite flew over Holmewood (Bradford).

It was reported that a Black-headed Gull seen at Harold Park Lake (Low Moor) on the 23rd January and again two days later, was first ringed at Stavanger (Norway) on 22nd April 2016.                                                    photo: Nigel Priestley

February 2016
During a mild, largely settled month, except for an over-wintering Black Redstart, there were few surprises. An e-mail from a staff member at a business off Wakefield Road, Bradford was duly followed-up and a female Black Redstart was seen sitting above razor-wire on the 19th. From conversations there was little doubt that the bird had spent some time in the vicinity.

Eight Buzzards were seen in the Washburn, three at locations in Airedale and three others circled over Haworth before drifting south-eastwards (23rd). A Peregrine was watched over Lister Park and two Hen Harriers, one a juvenile and the other a female were seen near Burley and over Hawksworth Moor respectively.

A Kittiwake was amongst the gull roost at the member’s only reserve (14th) and a Mediterranean Gull was in a sheep field by Redcar Tarn (10th). 

Up to 100 Lapwings flew over Laisterdyke (12th) and 120 Curlew had gathered at Scargill Reservoir prior to dispersal. A relatively small flock of 36 Golden Plovers were occasionally at Glovershaw and five Whooper Swans were on Swinsty Reservoir at the end of the month. A skein of Pink-footed Geese flew north westwards (8th) and just three Pochards remained at Yeadon Tarn (22nd).

A male Stonechat was seen on Scargill Pasture, pairs of Dippers were watched at Dowley Gap and at Cottingley and Green Woodpeckers had once more returned to Shipley Glen to breed.
Tufted Duck (male)                 photo: Phil Matthews
Up to 16 Goldeneye were on Silsden Reservoir (22nd), 15 others were at Knotford Nook and a pair, with the male displaying, were on Hewenden Reservoir (28th).
February 2015
The month started mild and pleasant and ended with a cold and unsettled period with strong winds. A Little Egret, first seen at Ben Rhydding at the beginning of the month (5th) was joined by a second bird on 22nd February. Eight Gadwall were seen at Esholt (28th) and up to six Pochards were present at Yeadon Tarn during the month. 23 Tufted Ducks were also reported here and 28 Teal were at John O’Gaunt’s Reservoir. Between 6th and 9th, flocks of Pink-footed Geese of up to 200 crossed the area.

Bramblings visited Stockbridge and a Riddlesden garden where Lesser Redpoll were regularly seen. Flocks of up to 160 Redwing gathered in the Shelf area, another was at Glovershaw and 70 birds were feeding in the cemetery at Low Moor. A flock of over 200 Golden Plovers were often seen in the Weecher and Glovershaw area and another flock of about 100 were reported at Silsden Ings (1st). 800 Lapwings were also enjoying the conditions here. A Woodcok was flushed on Hazlewood Moor and 51 Oystercatchers had gathered in fields at Bolton Bridge. A Peregrine was seen over Bingley town centre (26th).
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