November Sightings

November 2016   Apart from a cold spell early in the month, November was generally calm and mild. Highlights included a female Black Grouse (a first for the Group) which was present on four occasions close to the car park at Slippery Ford. Nearby at Keighley Moor Reservoir a couple of Bewick Swans remained for a little while until they were disturbed by a dog walker. These were the first seen in the area since 2011. There were also four reports of Whooper Swans with 14 over Oxenhope Watchpoint (1st), nine on the water at Ogden (6th), four over Queensbury (19th) and six at Cononley Ings (22nd).  
An astonishing flock of 120 White-fronted Geese, first seen at Barden and later near Skipton (18th), was preceded by the spectacular of Pink-footed Geese crossing the area at the beginning of the month. Nine skeins, consisting of 1398 birds, were seen from Oxenhope WP and another 900 passed over Caldene Fields WP on the 2nd. The following day, there were skeins of 100 and 75 over Shipley Glen followed by an aggregate of 435 at Oxenhope WP (6th) bringing this major event to a close.

At Snaygill, towards the end of the month, five Ruff were present (26th) and during this period Shoveler and Shelduck also appeared. Mandarin ducks were seen at Ogden Reservoir for the first time and a single was located at Scargill Reservoir along with three female Goldeneye (26th). Another female was on Ogden Reservoir (6th) and a single male was a surprise visitor to the lake at Tong Park (20th). The only Pochard yet to appear at Yeadon Tarn was a female (29th), but male and female Pintails made a welcome visit to Ogden Reservoir (13th).

At Denton Park a wintering flock of Curlew had reached 93 and Lapwing totalled 200 whilst at Thornbury, 100 of these waders preferred to roost on the roof of B&Q. Jack Snipe were seen at Tong Park, Bingley Bog North and at Caldene Fields WP, where the bird flew by the observer. Common Snipe were in evidence at High Royds, Menston where six birds were identified.

Wood Pigeons crossed the area in vast numbers in the first week. On the 2nd, 25,000 in about 1,000 flocks passed observers at the watchpoints at Caldene Fields and Oxenhope. The aggregate total for four days reached nearly 43,000.

A single Brambling was attracted to a Baildon bird table (22nd) and 20 others were reported at Ogden Plantation towards the end of the month. Others were seen at Bolton Abbey and there was also a Twite at Keighley Moor Reservoir (2nd). Of great interest was the arrival of visiting Waxwings which appeared at 11 diverse locations. Thirteen birds were seen at Keighley Golf Course (4th) and there were single-figure counts at Thackley and Yeadon. Sainsbury’s car park in Keighley held 20 birds (10th) and similar flocks were seen at Ilkley, Stockbridge, Addingham and Kildwick. There were also reports of small numbers at Ben Rhydding, Cow and Calf and Undercliffe. Even more exotic were two Ring-necked Parakeets in a Baildon garden (17th).
November 2015 The weather was again mild, dull and at times wet. Certainly the highlight of the month was a reported influx of Short-eared Owls. Three birds were watched over Keighley Moor, another was seen hunting at Bradup and the fifth bird was hunting near Kex Gill.

There had been a significant build-up of Golden Plovers on Stainburn Moor at the end of October with an estimated number of 1500 birds in the area. However, there was no sign of these birds on the first day of the month when over 1000 Lapwings were occupying this site. On that day 500 Pink-footed Geese flew west along the Wharfe Valley and a skein of a 100 was watched over Keighley. Two days later another similar skein was heard over the Washburn but the foggy conditions prevented any chance of an accurate count. Over in Wharfedale, a flock of 232 Curlews was counted in the fields by Denton Hall (6th).

Six Teal were noted at the north end of Fewston Reservoir (6th) and two more stayed briefly at Stockbridge (8th). Park Dam had attracted three Gadwall and five Little Grebe (14th) and two Water Rails had taken up residence at Stockbridge where they were often seen by members.

Later in the month, an adult Kittwake was seen on the water at Leeshaw Reservoir (21st) but left once the storm was over and on the same day a female Merlin was watched on Keighley Moor. During this period, four Shelduck passed over Queensbury.

A Snow Bunting was seen on Soil Hill (20th) and on the next day, another was reported to be on the track leading to Keighley Reservoir.

Up to four Red Kites were reported on the moors at Timble and a pair was regularly seen over the Whetstone Allotment. A Green Woodpecker was in the Bradup area and Siskin and Redpoll were visiting feeders in Riddlesden and at Stockbridge.
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