RING OUZEL Turdus torquatus
Migrant breeder/passage visitor
Most recent sightings:
Spring migrants were seen at Trough Lane on 24th March and 3rd April, and at Thornton Moor on the 9th and 23rd, with another single at Oxenhope the following day. Departing birds comprised Thornton Moor individuals on 4th and 12th October (with two on the 10th), and a notably late bird on 9th November. Two birds were also seen at Paul Clough on 30th September and on Soil Hill on 11th October, and one was on Barden Moor on that date.
After several mediocre years, just five reports make 2011 the worst on record. Apart from a bird at Warley Moor on 28th March, all the sightings were in April. Individuals were found at Thruscross on the 7th, and four days later at Warley Moor, followed by one on Burley Moor (a traditional site) on the 19th, and another on Soil Hill on the 23rd.
It is pleasing to report that after last year’s worst on record, 2012 was in many aspects the best since 2007. There were 18 records involving around 25 birds, and, most importantly, the distinct probability of breeding. Nine reports came from around Airedale, and the rest from the moors above Wharfedale, where the highlights were five birds on Ilkley Moor on 17th October. The probable breeding concerned a bird carrying food at Slippery Ford in June, a known previous breeding site.
After the improvements shown in 2012, this was a disappointing year. There were just seven records which featured eight birds on passage, a situation comparable with the depressingly low point of two years ago. The earliest report was of a bird at the likely spot of Warley Moor on 14th April. Two of the three other spring records came from Barden Moor, where a male bird was heard on two occasions, six days apart, in May, raising the distinct possibility of breeding. Later, between 18th September and 5th November, two birds were seen on Addingham Moorside, singles at Paul Clough, from the Oxenhope watchpoint and finally a bird was with a mixed flock on Ikley Moor.
A pair seen in Wharfedale on 21st May gave an indication that they were engaged in establishing a possible breeding site. This area was traditionally used by the species until 1995, but no further reports of any outcome were submitted. Earlier, three birds visited Soil Hill on 9th April and a male was there on 9th May. On 24th April, at Addingham Moorside, a feeding flock contained six Ring Ouzels (four males and two females) and a Cuckoo. Other sightings were limited to returning birds: three on Soil Hill on 4th September and singles at Paul Clough on 20th and 27th September. On 21st September an adult and a juvenile were feeding on rowan berries at Slippery Ford, and migration watchers at Oxenhope supplied records of single birds on 11th and 14th October; a threesome was present there on 16th October. The final bird was a male seen at Thornton Moor Reservoir on the following day. This was a very pleasing year and equalled the 25 reported in 2012.
It was another interesting year, with birds seen at seven locations, mainly on spring and autumn passage. There were two confirmed reports of breeding, the first since 2012. The first arrivals were two birds on Burley Moor on 9th April; this figure rose to ten a week later. During the period 16th to 25th April, up to six birds were watched on Soil Hill, a single was at Timble Ings and later, on 9th May, an individual was at Whetsone Gate. Breeding took place on Barden Moor, where three young fledged in June, whilst at Kex Gill a male was seen carrying food to a nest. The final record was a solitary juvenile on Beamsley Beacon on 19th July.