Terns & Auks

SANDWICH TERN    Sterna sandivicensis    Scarce passage visitor
1987  One flew west over Charlestown, Baildon, on 22nd July.
1989  A bird was seen resting at Leeshaw Reservoir on 3rd May.
1992  A bird spent all day fishing and avoiding the speed boats at Elland Gravel Pits on 22nd April
1993  Our best year started with one at Knotford Nook on 5th and 6th April. The second was at Elland Gravel Pits and seen by many on 13th April. Finally a single reported from Fly Flatts Reservoir on 25th May.
1998  A single bird flew west over Otley Gravel Pits on 24th April.
1999  There was only one sighting during 1999, this being a single bird flying through at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 11th July.
2005  A calling bird was seen in flight over Laycock on 9th April. This is only the seventh record of the species, and the first since 1999.
Sandwich Tern, seen in Spain by Brian Vickers 
2008  At Otley Wetland, one was present for about 30 minutes on 27th April. The 10th Group record.
2009  A sub-adult bird which flew past Thornton Moor on 23rd August was only the 11th Group record, but the third in five years
2011  Two birds were seen at Thruscross Reservoir on 25th May, and, at the opposite end of the area, one flew past Warley Moor Reservoir on 8th September.
ROSEATE TERN    Sterna dougallii    Increasingly uncommon migrant and summer visitor; particularly scarce inland
2014  The description of a bird seen at Yeadon Tarn on 21st April has been accepted by the Group Records Panel, and thus becomes our first record of the species. Perhaps appropriately, it becomes the final example of several such firsts found by the late Tony Gough.
ARCTIC TERN   Sterna paradisaea   Uncommon passage visitor
Seen most years from 1989 to 2008. Most recent sightings:
2008  A bird spent 30 minutes at Leeshaw Reservoir on 15th July.
2009  As last year, the only record came from Leeshaw Reservoir, where two birds were present for a few hours on 7th May.
2010  In contrast, a rather better year for this tern, and the most records since 2004. Singles were seen at Otley Wetland on 20th April, at Thornton Moor on 1st August and 15th September, and at Ogden Reservoir on the 13th, whilst two birds were present at Redcar Tarn on 3rd May.
2012  A bird was with Black-headed Gulls at Cononley Ings on 28th June.
2014  A bird showing very long tail streamers was seen at Yeadon Tarn on 20th April and departed the next day. A second bird was briefly seen at Redcar Tarn on 27th April.
2015  On 4th July, a bird resting on the shore at Leeshaw Reservoir remained for another 50 minutes before flying away towards the west.
An Arctic Tern over Thornton Moor Reservoir in 2010.   
photo: David Barker
LITTLE TERN    Sterna albifrons    Scarce passage and summer visitor
1989  A bird was watched hovering and diving for fish at Elland Gravel Pits on 13th July.
1990  A single was seen at Knotford Nook on 26th September
1993  One was present at Elland Gravel Pits on 14th May and a single was recorded at Fly Flatts Reservoir on 18th August.
1995  Two were seen at Otley Gravel Pits on 15th June
1997  A single bird was seen at Elland Gravel Pits on 18th July.
2008  Last seen in the area in 1997, so one at Snaygill on 27th April was a particularly good find.
BLACK TERN    Chlidonias niger    Uncommon passage visitor
Most recent sightings:
2001  The spring passage coincided with that of the preceding birds, and both records were on 14th May, when a single bird was at Elland Gravel Pits, and two at Otley Gravel Pits. In autumn a good-sized party of seven juveniles was seen at Chelker Reservoir on 6th October, comfortably the latest date on which birds have been recorded in this area.
2002  A bird was seen at Otley Gravel Pits on 3rd and 4th June.
2004  A single at Otley Wetland on 12th September was the only record.
2008  A bird at Chelker Reservoir on 6th April was the earliest on record. Another was seen at Otley Wetland on 6th May.
2009  A slightly better than average year, with two (and possibly three) records, on consecutive days in May. On the 13th, one flew over Snaygill, and there was a later report of possibly the same bird at Chelker Reservoir. The following day one was seen at Leeshaw
2010  Two birds passed Thornton Moor Reservoir on 13th September.
LITTLE AUK   Alle alle    Vagrant
1989  A bird was found wandering about on the lawn of Crag Top Farm, 950 feet (290 metres) up on White Crag Moor, on 27th October. It was captured and safely released at Bempton, the next day.
1995  One was picked up in Baildon on 30th October. It died in the care of the RSPCA the next day.

PUFFIN    Fratercula arctica    Vagrant
1998  A Puffin was found alive outside Halifax Police Station on 30th May; it was taken into care, returned to the coast, and released the same day – apparently fit and well
2002  A remarkable find was a bird which was well-seen, and described, as it flew up Wharfedale near Strid Woods on 24th April. The second Group record.
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