March Sightings

March 2016
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.
Dippers were seen at three locations along the Aire and a pair on the Wharfe at Barden Bridge were seen carrying nest materials. Green Woodpeckers were calling from prominent positions in in Shipley Glen and at Barden Bridge and Little Egrets had been seen several times at Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits.
March 2015
March was very stormy at each end of the month with a relatively settled period in between. Despite the poor weather at the commencement, an Osprey flew north over Barden on the 4th, but there was a dearth of other spring migrants until the middle of the month when two male Wheatears were seen at Leeshaw (14th) and a single Sand Martin passed nearby Oxenhope. In this same vicinity, on Soil Hill, a Snow Bunting was present (7th) and a Chiffchaff was singing in Buck Woods, four days later. 48 Whooper Swans flew over Caldene Fields (12th), but a significant passage was witnessed later in the month (22nd) when a huge flock of 180 passed over Oxenhope. On the same day 28 more were seen over Oakworth and 22 were resting on Ponden Reservoir.

Up to 240 Golden Plovers were regularly seen at Glovershaw and at Marsh Lane, Oxenhope and another congregation of 120 was reported on Sandwith Moor. Pairs of Gadwall were seen at Otley Wetland (15th) and Esholt (22nd) and ten Pochard remained at Yeadon Tarn (4th). A Common Scoter was seen on the River Aire at Wagon Lane (11th) and there was a pair of Mandarin Ducks further downstream at Esholt (22nd). On the Wharfe, at Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, a Little Egret was seen on a number of occasions.

Single Stonechats were reported at Bradup, Glovershaw and Nab Water Lane, but three birds, including a possible pair, were at Whetstone Gate (24th). A flock of 15 Bramblings were near Barden Bridge (21st) and others visited gardens at Embsay and Riddlesden.New Paragraph
Share by: