A cold, wet start developed into pleasant settled weather which brought the first migrants in the final week. Inevitably the reports consisted mainly of Sand Martins and Wheatears, but a surprise bird was an Osprey that flew over Barden Scale (25th). On the same day a male Wheatear appeared on Baildon Golf Course, followed in the next four days by singles at Slippery Ford and Leeshaw before nine were feeding at Glovershaw and three at Bradup on the 30th. Seven Sand Martins flew along the Wharfe on the 26th.
Two Whooper Swans had settled on Keighley Moor Reservoir (14th) and three days later a skein of 40 flew along the Aire Valley (17th). Earlier in the month a skein of 70 Pinkfooted Geese flew over the Aire Valley (5th).
On a mild, still morning, three Buzzards circled over Weecher, two of which drifted over Shipley Glen, and two others were seen over Stockbridge (both 20th). Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl and Tawny Owl were all reported and Peregrines were seen in Airedale at sites which they have favoured in recent years.
Golden Plover, Lapwing and Curlews gathered in flocks at various locations, prior to dispersal onto the high moorland, as pairs of Redshank and Oystercatchers arrived at possible breeding sites at Leeshaw and Glovershaw.
Over the winter there has been a dearth of winter thrushes, only at the latter end of the period were there reports of with a flock of 75 Fieldfares at Sconce (21st), 150 at Kex Gill (25th) and another at Timble (27th). During this time, flocks of about 40 Redwings at Glovershaw and another east of Otley were the only reports of this species.
Barn Owl photo by Keith Allen.