GADWALL Anas strepera
Increasingly regular passage migrant and winter visitor
Seen most years in small numbers. Sightings from 2010:
Unusually, all this year’s sightings were at Otley Wetland. Numbers were smaller than usual, and comprised a pair in January and December, and singles on four days in March and one in April.
Apart from a pair at Cononley Ings in January, the remaining records all came from Otley Wetland and Knotford Nook. At Otley, the first winter period had a pair in February and a single in March, and two drakes were there in December. Knotford’s records were all late in the year and comprised three birds in November, followed by between five and seven to the year-end, and, exceptionally, a total of nine on 7th December, which, surprisingly, turns out to be a Group record.
Seasonal floods boosted otherwise low numbers, and produced good local counts of five at Apperley Bridge in March, and up to eight at Cononley Ings in early January. The regular sites of Otley Wetland and Knotford had, respectively, up to three in the first three months of the year, and up to two in January, when the year’s other record comprised a pair at Silsden Ings.
There were just four reports from two locations: Otley Wetland and John o’ Gaunt’s. There were two birds, identified as a pair, at the former site on 16th February and a single was there a month later on 11th March. At John o’ Gaunt’s there were two reports of possibly the same pair on 3rd and 6th April. The regular site of Knotford Nook did not produce any records.
There were four reports concerning two pairs and two single birds. At Tong Park Reservoir a male was watched in the middle of January and another was seen at Esholt Sewage Works at the beginning of May. On 22nd February a pair was feeding on Silsden Ings and later in the year, on 9th November, male and female birds were together on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
Of the 43 reports, many concerned birds in the east and south-eastern parts of the area, but there were also significant numbers in the north-west. During February, a record nine birds were seen at Apperley Bridge, and at the end of the month eight were seen a short distance further west at Esholt. In the south at Park Dam, there were regular sightings of a single bird in winter and a pair in autumn, but the only Wharfedale record was a pair at Otley Wetland on 15th March. The optimum conditions at Cononley Ings attracted pairs on 24th and 25th November, and 6th and 19th December, and a noteworthy five birds on the 18th.