BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica Increasingly scarce passage migrant
Ten birds circled Warley Moor Reservoir (Fly Flatts) on 14th March, and then headed off towards the east. This was a record haul, surpassing the previous highest of eight birds at Otley Wetland in May 2006.
RUFF Philomachus pugnax Uncommon passage visitor.
After the exceptional year of 2014 when ten birds were reported, this year proved a huge disappointment with just one record. It was a bird picked out amongst a flock of Lapwings at Cononley Ings on 30th October.
SANDERLING Calidris alba Uncommon and irregular passage migrant.
A single bird was present for two days at the end of July at Keighley Moor Reservoir. This was the second consecutive year this species has been reported.
DUNLIN Calidris alpina Fairly common passage migrant/scarce and sporadic breeder.
A haul of 23 records was very respectable, considering the optimum conditions for waders were below expectations. All of these reports, with one exception, came from the south of the area, with Warley Moor and Leeshaw Reservoirs scooping the majority.
At the Fly Flatts site, on 22nd March, 30 birds were counted as they fed along the water’s edge before flying off in the direction of Oxenhope a day later. Throughout May, June and July, single birds and duos were found here, and three birds on 25th May. At Leeshaw Reservoir, allowing for some overlapping of daily totals, there were up to three birds during the period from 25th June to 5th July. Elsewhere there were four other reports: two on Cononley Ings on 13th March, a single at Silsden Ings on 16th March, one on a small pond near Redcar Tarn and a bird at Fewston Reservoir, the only northern area record, on 27th August.
COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Migrant breeder/passage migrant.
This is a reasonably common summer visitor along our rivers, around lakes and reservoirs, illustrated by the 100 or so records. The first bird was seen on 14th April at Warley Moor Reservoir and there followed daily sightings from many places, with a maximum of 11 seen at the Fly Flatts site. Within a few days, the birds were displaying on territory and the breeding process was underway. On the 31st May a pair with a juvenile was reported at Kex Gill, whilst at Keighley Moor Reservoir in early June a bird was sitting on four eggs. Regular checks showed that the bird continued incubating until about the end of the month when close inspection revealed, as expected, an empty nest and the brood had moved to a safer area. Other pairs with juveniles were also seen at this location and at Strid Wood, Lower Barden Reservoir and Warley Moor Reservoir. With the breeding process completed, birds were seen leaving the area in late July and August and passage birds were seen at Eldwick Reservoir, Redcar Tarn and Ponden Clough. The final record was a bird at Keighley Moor Reservoir on 3rd September.
GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Increasingly uncommon passage migrant and occasional winter visitor.
The numbers of these birds have dwindled considerably, and this year’s reports showed no change to this downward trend. Allowing for overlapping of sightings, there were seven records, the first of which was a bird seen at dusk on 13th June from the Oxenhope Watchpoint (DB). On 22nd July there was another sighting at nearby Warley Moor Reservoir and on the last day of that month a bird stayed for a further three days at Keighley Moor Reservoir. During August a bird flew up from the river bed at Norwood Bottom on the 7th and in the middle of the month one was seen in Denholme Clough. There was a record from Otley Wetland on 24th August and the final report was the sighting of two birds on the river at Burley-in-Wharfedale on 28th October.
GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Increasingly uncommon passage migrant.
Just three records, all of them in August, were very much in line with the two previous years. On the 9th a bird was seen at Lindley Wood Reservoir and on the 24th one arrived at Keighley Moor Reservoir in the early evening before flying off south-east. The final record was at Fewston Reservoir on 28th August.