A “waxwing winter” was confirmed with the report of a flock of up to 65 birds at Keighley Golf Course in the early part of the month. There was another similar flock of 80 in Morrison’s car park in Guiseley during the Christmas period. Smaller single-figure flocks were seen at Ilkley station and Sandbeds, Riddlesden at the end of the month. Other interesting seasonal visitors included a Lapland Bunting flying over Soil Hill (14th) and a suspected Snow Bunting in the same area (11th).
A flock of 30 Siskin was watched at Stockbridge NR and Stonechats were found at Soil Hill, Fly Flats, Whetstone Gate and a single female was on Baildon Golf Course. Near here, at Dobrudden Farm, a small number of Tree Sparrows had been attracted to the profusion of feeders.
The passage of Pink-footed Geese was reported with three significant skeins. The first seen from Queensbury contained 108 birds (12th) and the next, one of 200, moved west over Soil Hill two days later. The final skein was watched from Stockbridge NR as between 80 to 100 flew west along the Aire Valley on the 29th.
Little Egrets continued to visit the area with four reported: at Caldene Fields (6th), along the canal at Silsden, at Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits (4th) and at Leeshaw Reservoir (18th).
A flock of about 30 Golden Plovers was occasionally seen on Baildon Moor, but another much larger one of 200 flew over B&Q at Thornbury (10th). In the same area, there was a roost on the roof of B&M Bargains which contained 30 ‘goldies’ and 50 Lapwing. A roost of gulls at Thornton Moor Reservoir reached 4,000 during the month.
Over 60 Wigeon were seen at Knotford Nook with another 24 at nearby Otley Wetland (10th). A week later, 12 more had appeared at Silsden Reservoir. During the same period Goldeneye numbers had reached 15 at Knotford and nine were at Otley Wetland with seven at each of TMR and Silsden Reservoir. A pair of Gadwall, the first ever recorded at Toads Hole Beck (28th) and a single female Pochard at Yeadon Tarn were the most notable records.
On Christmas Day, up nine Red Kites were seen from Denton Moor and earlier in the month a single Kite was seen drifting towards the City Centre.