TEAL Anas crecca Common passage and winter visitor and occasional breeder.
Once more the flooded fields of Cononley Ings attracted high numbers, particularly during a very wet period from 30th October until the end of the year with a record count of 490 on 19th December.
Other totals were:
30 Oct 8 Nov 20 Nov 24 Nov 27 Nov 18 Dec 31 Dec
150 170 150 370 375 460 190
During the year, at various times, respectable double-figure counts of between 20 and 30 were seen at Fewston Reservoir, John o’Gaunt’s Reservoir, Warley Moor Reservoir and a smaller group of 14 at Intake Farm, Menston. There were also single-figure counts at a wide variety of locations including Kex Gill, Askwith and Denton Moor in the north, and Keighley Moor, Ogden Reservoir, Stockbridge and Soil Hill in the south of the area.
MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos Common resident breeder; passage/winter visitor.
Records indicated healthy populations at a number of sites, particularly Yeadon Tarn, Redcar Tarn, Strid Wood, Ogden Reservoir, Riddlesden, Lister Park and Harold Park where, in the winter months, flocks regularly touched three-figures. Both Redcar and Yeadon Tarns reached over 200 during January and February. Ducklings were seen at most of the above locations and at Heights Lane, Bingley, where a female had used a cattle wallow to breed her clutch. Nine ducklings were with their parents at Norwood Bottom, five were seen at Leeming Reservoir and a female was seen moving her brood near Buck Wood. Ten ducklings were produced from a breeding pair in an Otley garden and other sizable broods were at Swinsty Reservoir and Lindley Wood Reservoir. In the Menston area four pairs of Mallards produced 28 young birds.
Anas acuta Regular passage and occasional winter visitor, usually in small numbers.
There were 10 records concerning 19 birds, a much better haul than the low totals of the previous years. During January, a pair was located at Cononley Ings and two pairs were on the water at Lower Laithe Reservoir, a site which has seen the return of this species for the second consecutive year after a long absence. Perhaps, given this improving picture, it came as no surprise when a single female was there in January and another on 4th October. The other records were almost all from Cononley Ings, with two birds on 27th November, four on 8th December (increasing to five on the following day), two males on the 17th and one on the 30th. The remaining record was of a single bird that flew south westwards over Caldene Fields on 2nd September.
SHOVELER Anas clypeata Passage/winter visitor in small numbers; has bred.
Of the four sites featured in the reports, Cononley Ings captured most of the attention. The very wet conditions throughout November and December attracted up to six birds at a time, mainly females and sub-adults at first, but towards the year end full adult males were seen. In total 31 birds were recorded here. Elsewhere pairs were seen on Ogden Reservoir on 13th March and Redcar Tarn on 3rd April, with a single male at the former site on 2nd November and a couple of females for at least two days on Silsden Ings a week later.
POCHARD Aythya ferina Increasingly uncommon winter visitor.
Reports once more showed that Yeadon Tarn and Otley Wetland Nature Reserve were the two main locations where this species can reliably be seen during the winter months. Up to ten birds, eight of them males, had congregated at Yeadon during March, and in January seven others frequented Otley Wetland, whilst a pair were seen feeding on the lake at Denton Hall. During November, single birds were seen at Redcar Tarn, Knotford Nook and John O’Gaunt’s. Birds first appear in November and gradually increase in number until they depart in the middle of March. It was, therefore, a major surprise for a male bird to be seen and photographed on Ogden Reservoir on 4th July.
TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula Passage/winter visitor and increasing breeding resident.
This is our commonest diving duck, with over 200 reports spread across 31 different locations, though figures suggest that flock sizes are declining. The largest congregations were at Otley Wetland Nature Reserve with 42 birds in February, and Lister Park in Bradford where 40 birds had gathered in January. Redcar Tarn and Park Dam attracted over 30 birds in February and Silsden Reservoir, John O’Gaunt’s Reservoir and Yeadon Tarn regularly had over 20 during the winter months. On 7th February, 90% of Redcar Tarn was frozen, but the 32 Tufted Ducks which were present were operating in what little water was free of ice. Breeding was confirmed at Kex Gill, where six young birds were seen in June. There was also a report, in the the following month of 21 birds on a stretch of water in Girlington, Bradford.
EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiacus Scarce visitor/possible escapee
There were just two records. A bird was seen amongst Greylag Geese at Keighley Moor Reservoir on 10th June and a second bird was on the fishing lake at Otley Wetland on 18th April. The latter may well have been the bird which has been seen in the Ilkley area and reported in 2012 and 2013 but considered to be an escapee.
SCAUP Aythya marila Uncommon passage/winter visitor
A female was seen on the fishing lake at Otley Wetland on 14th January and an immature bird was also recorded there on 1st and 2nd April. This was the second consecutive year that this species has been recorded.
GARGANEY Anas querquedula Scarce passage visitor
An eclipse drake was found at Redcar Tarn on 12th June, and stayed until the 14th. This was the first record since September 2013.