Partridges, Rails, Pheasants 2015

Partridges, Rails and Pheasants 2015
RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE    Alectoris rufa   Resident, probably all from introduced stock.
Most of the local birds are those which have been reared specially for sporting activities. They tend to gather in flocks of variable size and two in particular drew the attention of contributors. The largest was in the Denholme area, where up to 150 birds were close to a feeding station. The other was on the northern edge of our area at Coney Warren on Barden Fell, where 31 birds were active. Single-figure gatherings were noted on Beamsley Beacon, Walsh Lane (Bingley), Warley Moor Reservoir, Thornton Moor Reservoir, Norwood Bottom and at Slippery Ford, where the presence of one of these species left a local gamekeeper somewhat perplexed!

RED GROUSE    Lagopus lagopus   Resident breeder
The 75 records included three from the south of the area but, as is always the case with this species the moorland to the north of Airedale is where breeding is heavily concentrated. It was confirmed and supported from our records, that 2014 was an excellent year, said to be the best for 50 years. However, the fortunes for this sensitive species have swung the other way and we have learnt that pre-shoot counts in 2015 were very low. Very poor weather in May resulted in virtually no insects, which had caused low brood sizes, with many pairs failing completely. Furthermore, juveniles had not reached a full adult size by August. Contributors did concur with this observation, there being good numbers of adults seen in spring, but only three breeding records of note. One of these was on Ilkley Moor another was on Barden Fell and a third was on Pennythorn Hill, Baildon, where a family party of ten fed contentedly on the Golf Course.
GREY PARTRIDGE    Perdix perdix   Resident breeder.
70% of the 55 records came from the Eldwick, Baildon, Hawksworth area, where the bird continues to flourish, though as in the case of the Red Grouse, poor weather conditions in May considerably affected breeding success. Two wintering flocks containing a total of 14 birds around Heights Lane, Bingley and up to four pairs in the Glovershaw area showed a healthy population was well-established. However, there was a dearth of reports recording breeding activity, with just two adults and three juveniles at Glovershaw in September and a small family flushed near Reva at the end of July.   Away from this area there were sightings at Slippery Ford where breeding was suspected, Warley Moor Reservoir and Soil Hill in the south and Otley Wetland, Barden Fell and Middleton, in the north of the region.

PHEASANT    Phasianus colchicus   Resident breeder.
Most of the 150 records concerned birds from managed stock. The largest congregations appeared around John O’Gaunt’s and Scargill Reservoirs, where over 50 birds were often seen. At smaller managed undertakings at Sconce, Heights Lane (Bingley), Otley Wetland and Bradup up to 30 birds roamed the fields. Family parties were seen during the summer at all these locations and on Keighley Moor, an area more noted for Red Grouse. There were also a few records of Pheasants visiting gardens in search of seeds from bird tables.
WATER RAIL    Rallus aquaticus   Uncommon but regular winter visitor.
The 18 reports concerned seven birds at four different locations. The nature reserve at Stockbridge held birds in both winter periods, with two seen in October and November.  At Otley Wetland birds were often heard, but on 17th March one called whilst another flew into the reedbed to join it.  Singles were also at Sun Lane Nature Reserve, Burley in March, and at a private lake in the Washburn on 27th December.

MOORHEN    Gallinula chloropus   Resident breeder.
There were reports from over 40 locations with double-figure counts at Harold Park, Yeadon Tarn and Park Dam. During freezing conditions in February this lake attracted 30 birds, considerably higher than any other site, whilst along the Aire 15 birds were recorded during a survey.
Breeding was reported at Redcar Tarn, Yeadon Tarn, John O’ Gaunt’s Reservoir, Harold Park, Sun Lane, Myrtle Park, (Bingley) and Menston, where three pairs were seen with young.
COOT    Fulica atra   Resident breeder, passage/winter visitor.
The species is ever-present, particularly on lakes and watercourses in urban areas. Seven locations feature in reports (although others went unrecorded) with counts made in both winter periods. The maxima were as follows:
                                                            First winter period (maximum)                  Second winter period (maximum) 
Harold Park, Wibsey                                    24th January       40                                         17th October          61 
Knotford Nook                                              16th January       25                                         2nd December       36
Lister Park, Bradford                                      11th January     18                                         27th December      15
Otley Wetland                                                19th January      93                                        15th December      43
Park Dam, Low Moor                                       15th January    50                                           24th October       61
Redcar Tarn, Keighley                                     14th January    31                                           9th December      25
Yeadon Tarn                                                     9th February    25                                           1st November      15

Breeding pairs were reported at these sites, with 30 chicks seen. Notably, Redcar Tarn had three broods and eight chicks and Lister Park three broods and 12 chicks. At eight other likely places, birds were seen and breeding probably took place. No records were submitted from eight other locations where birds were known to present.   Once more careful observation of Coots at Redcar Tarn showed that three of them carried coloured rings. These birds were seen at various stages throughout the year. One, present in January, returned in October, another with an injured leg remained for five months and the third was the bird mentioned in the 2014 Report which was seen in February and November.
Share by: