Waders - Part 2

JACK SNIPE    Lymnocryptes minimus    Uncommon passage and winter visitor
Recorded each year from 1987 to 2009. Most recent sightings:
2010  Three records is about an average showing, though only one came from Soil Hill: a bird on 22nd November. The others were singles at Marley on 9th January and 29th December
2011   The still fairly reliable Soil Hill produced all three records: perhaps the same bird on 26th November, and again on the 30th, and another on 20th December.
2012 This was one of the species’ better years, due almost entirely to an extraordinary run of records from Soil Hill. In October, singles were seen on the 14th, 21st, 22nd and 28th October, and two were found on the 15th and 29th. Birds in November comprised individuals on the 5th, 7th and 10th, with two again on the 18th, and also on 24th and 28th December. The only other sighting was at Braithwaite Edge on 14th February. No doubt some of the Soil Hill records concerned the same bird, but the site is regularly watched, so it is possible there were at least 14 different birds involved.
2013  This was not quite the remarkable year of 2012, due almost entirely to the fewer sightings on Soil Hill. It was thought, though not confirmed, that up to three birds were seen at this location, normally only singles were seen and reported initially in October, with another individual on 17th December. In contrast to previous years, there were four other sightings away from this hostile outpost. On 3rd March, a bird was flushed at Otley Wetland and another was similarly found at Cononley Ings at the end of that month. Later in the year, on the 17th October, a bird startled a walker on Middleton Moor, when it flew from just in front of his boot and landed a short distance away. On the final day of the year a bird was seen on Braithwaite Edge.
2014  As many as 15 birds were involved in the reports which came from the usual environs of Soil Hill, and Braithwaite Edge, above Keighley as well as Farnley Moor. The reports from the bleak summit of Soil Hill clearly concerned three birds, seen as singles during January, April and December. The Farnley Moor record was another winter bird on 30th January, but the sightings at Braithwaite Edge consisted of 11 reports of single birds, spread throughout the second winter period from the middle of October to the end of the year.
2015  Last year’s profusion of records was not repeated. This was due almost entirely to access being denied to a private patch of land at Braithwaite Edge, where wintering birds often gathered. There were also no sightings from Soil Hill. However, we did have two records: a bird was flushed from a soggy field at Apperley Bridge which also contained Common Snipe on 1st March and another was seen in similar circumstances at Otley Wetland on 31st January.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT    Limosa limosa    Infrequent passage visitor
Recorded most years from 1987 to 2007. Most recent sightings:
2008  Two birds were at Cononley Ings on 2nd April, and at Silsden Reservoir on 21st August.
2009  A single bird was at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 5th May, and three were there on 4th July
2010  An excellent year produced five records. One was at Otley Wetland on 19th April, followed by three at Thornton Moor on 4th July, and three remarkably confiding birds at Redcar Tarn the day after. In August, two were at Thornton Moor on the 5th, and one on the 15th. 
2011 Although there was only one record, it was a remarkable one. About 75 birds, in two simultaneous groups, flew east over Bolton Abbey on 19th March. This is comfortably a Group record, and a very high count for Yorkshire away from the Humber estuary.
2012 The flooded Silsden Ings proved popular for this species in 2012, and produced four records, commencing with two birds on 28th April, which had increased to 11 two days later. Presumed return passage had eight there on 24th June, and a single on 10th July. The April records coincided with a report of unseen calling birds flying over the valley near Pool on the 29th.
2014  Two birds flew from east to west over Oxenhope watchpoint on 27th September. 
Bar-tailed Godwit at Thornton Moor Reservoir in 2010.      photo: Brian Vickers
Black-tailed Godwits (left) at Redcar Tarn in 2012.             photo: Keith Moir
BAR-TAILED GODWIT   Limosa lapponica   Infrequent passage visitor
Recorded most years from 1988 to 2005.  Most recent sightings:
2006  This year there were two more records than of the preceding species, although two of them are likely to refer to the same birds. Otley Wetland produced all but one of the reports. On 22nd January one flew over, but all the remaining records were in May. A good total of eight birds were present on the 1st, and what were almost certainly the same birds were seen at Bolton Abbey later in the day. The following day there were two birds, and this productive period concluded with another on the 7th.
2010  Nothing like as regular in the area as the preceding species, so four records is a good haul, though the first, a bird over Soil Hill on 25th April, may have been the one reported from Thornton Moor that day. The other records came from the second location: singles on 11th July and 7th August .
2011 Unusually, there were more records of this species than its congener. Singles, were seen at and near Thornton Moor Reservoir on 8th April, and in September on the 19th, 23rd and 24th. Different individuals were at Warley Moor on 2nd May, and three days later, and one was found at Kex Gill Quarry on the 6th.
2014  A single bird was seen at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 3rd October. This was the first record since 2011.
2015  Ten birds circled Warley Moor Reservoir (Fly Flatts) on 14th March, and then headed off towards the east. This was a record haul, surpassing the previous highest of eight birds at Otley Wetland in May 2006.
WHIMBREL    Numenius phaeopus    Uncommon passage visitor
Recorded each year from 1987 to 2007. Most recent sightings:
2008  On 3rd May, single migrants overflew Timble Ings and Thornton Moor Reservoir, and one passed Marley Hall Farm on 13th June. In July, there was another at Thornton Moor on the 25th.
2009  In spring, single birds were seen or heard at Wilsden on 23rd April, and at Leeshaw Reservoir on 1st May. Nine days later, another was over Thornton Moor Reservoir, and at least three were at Kex Gill Quarry. A bird at Thornton Moor on 21st August was the sole autumn record.
2010  Spring records commenced with a bird which spent three days near Leeshaw from 20th April, followed by another over Otley Wetland on the 30th, and singles at Thornton Moor on 17th and 21st May. Thornton Moor had return passage individuals on 7th and 31st August, and two on the 15th, and another was briefly at Leeshaw Reservoir on 13th July.
2011 A rather poor return, with only four records. Five birds spent a short time at Otley Wetland on 22nd April, one overflew Oxenhope watchpoint on the 24th, and another was seen on the 28th at Warley Moor, which had the final sighting on 24th July.
2012 A fairly average year, with seven records, but rather better than some other recent years. All were unseen birds, calling as they passed, and the only spring report was one over Cononley Ings on 15th May. Return passage birds were reported in July from Warley Moor on the 5th, and Oxenhope watchpoint on the 21st, followed by August records there on the 11th and 12th, with a single past Barden Scale on the 11th, and two birds over Pool three days later.
2014  This was another poor year with just one record. On the 9th July, a bird at Leeshaw Reservoir flew off to the east with Curlews.
2015  There were three records all in the south of the area. The call of a flying bird alerted the observer as it flew over Keighley Moor Reservoir on 20th April and the second passed Warley Moor Reservoir on 17th May. The third visitor was photographed as it took off from the second location on 12th July.
SPOTTED REDSHANK   Tringa erythropus    Scarce passage visitor
1988  A bird was seen and heard in flight over Rombald’s Moor on 13th May.
1990  A moulting adult was at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 10th August but only briefly.
2009  A relatively early passage bird flew over Thornton Moor Reservoir on 27th June
2011  A bird in breeding plumage at Silsden Reservoir on 28th April provided a nice contrast with the accompanying Common Redshank.
GREENSHANK   Tringa nebularia    Passage visitor
Recorded each year from 1987 to 2008. Most recent sightings:
2009  There were no more than six different birds in another mediocre year. Individuals were recorded at Oxenhope on 6th May, Leeshaw Reservoir on 16th July, and Redcar Tarn on 24th August, following which up to three birds were at John o’ Gaunt’s Reservoir between 25th August and 9th September.
2010  For some reason, Greenshank numbers are now consistently down on those regularly recorded in the 1990’s, even this year when shoreline conditions were generally favourable. Apart from singles at Redcar Tarn on 11th April, and in August at Warley Moor on the 1st and Lindley Wood on the 14th, all the reports were from Thornton Moor. Individuals were noted on 17th May, 25th July (with two on the 23rd), 1st and 30th August, and 9th September.
2011 The perplexing drop in records of the once common Greenshank continues, and only six reports are now no less than expected. July produced two birds at Warley Moor on the 2nd, followed by singles a week later at Oxenhope and Beaverdyke Reservoir, and another (or perhaps the same) at nearby John o’ Gaunt’s on the 11th. A very good count of six was made there on 2nd August, and a bird was at Warley Moor from the 21st to the 25th.
2012  The Greenshank mystery continues! In the Group’s worst ever year, there were just two records of that number of birds, both from Oxenhope watchpoint on 19th and 31st August.
2013  Just four records, all of them over a ten day period at the end of August. On the 21st, there was a bird recorded at Fewston Reservoir. Three days later, in the south of the area, four birds flew over Thornton Moor Reservoir, but two more came down to feed on the shoreline. On the 29th another bird was sighted at Ogden Reservoir and on the last day of the month a single dropped in to Leeshaw Reservoir.
2014  Once more, as last year, there were only four records. A bird was at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 20th and 21st July and another was present on 13th September. At Keighley Moor Reservoir a bird was seen on 3rd August and a second bird, present on the 18th August, was probably the same bird that was there four days later.
2015  Just three records, all of them in August, were very much in line with the two previous years. On the 9th a bird was seen at Lindley Wood Reservoir and on the 24th one arrived at Keighley Moor Reservoir in the early evening before flying off south-east. The final record was at Fewston Reservoir on 28th August.
Greenshank at Thornton Moor Reservoir in July 2014.                                   photo: Brian Sumner
A Green Sandpiper at Beaverdyke Reservoir on 21st August 2012.                           photo: Stephen Lilley.
Wood Sandpiper at Thornton Moor Reservoir in May 2011.  photo: Brian Vickers.
GREEN SANDPIPER    Tringa ochropus    Passage visitor
Recorded each year from 1987 to 2009. Most recent sightings:
2010 A fairly average year, with 10 birds seen at four locations. Lindley Wood had a single between 24th and 28th April, and two on 14th August, in which month one flew over Barden Moor on the 26th, and two were at Snaygill on the 29th. Thornton Moor had the other sightings: two birds on 18th July, and one on the 25th and 27th.
2011 Only six records of probably just three birds makes this the worst year on record. A bird seen at Marley on 2nd January and 18th and 27th February was considered the same elusive individual, another was at Lindley Wood on 22nd April, and brief sightings at Warley Moor on 4th and 13th July were also thought to involve only one bird.
2012 This is another wader whose numbers have dwindled considerably in the area,though at least more birds were seen in 2012 than in last year’s worst ever showing. A wintering bird was at John o’ Gaunt’s Reservoir on 29th February, and one was at nearby Beaverdyke Reservoir on 21st August. Spring passage produced a single near Barden Bridge on 16th May, and on the autumn return there were two at Cononley Ings on 8th July, and another at Stockbridge on 12th August.
2013  A fairly average year, with nine birds recorded at six locations. There were no spring sightings, all but one of the recordings came from a three week period in August when birds were returning from their breeding areas to the north. On the 2nd of August a bird touched down at Stockbridge, stayed for a few brief moments until it was moved along by a Moorhen. There then followed reports of singles on the reservoirs at Warley Moor, Thornton Moor, Lindley Wood and John O’Gaunt’s before two birds were seen on Keighley Reservoir on the 22nd. The final bird was another single at Lindley Wood Reservoir on 24th September.
2014  With just four records, it was a disappointing year. Leeshaw Reservoir was visited by two birds, one on the 8th and the other on the 21st July. On 15th October, one was seen at Lindley Wood Reservoir and ten days later a bird dropped into Toad Holes Beck from the south-east before departing northwards.
2015  The numbers of these birds have dwindled considerably, and this year’s reports showed no change to this downward trend. Allowing for overlapping of sightings, there were seven records, the first of which was a bird seen at dusk on 13th June from the Oxenhope Watchpoint. On 22nd July there was another sighting at nearby Warley Moor Reservoir and on the last day of that month a bird stayed for a further three days at Keighley Moor Reservoir. During August a bird flew up from the river bed at Norwood Bottom on the 7th and in the middle of the month one was seen in Denholme Clough. There was a record from Otley Wetland on 24th August and the final report was the sighting of two birds on the river at Burley-in-Wharfedale on 28th October.
WOOD SANDPIPER   Tringa glareola    Rare passage visitor
1994  A single adult summer plumaged bird skulking in a pool on the south-west shore of Thornton Moor Reservoir was flushed by police dogs during the mid-afternoon of 12th May. Fortunately this bird remained at the site feeding on the shore until late evening.
1996  Calls from a flying bird were heard above Beaverdyke Reservoir on 9th September. A further bird at Chelker Reservoir on 24th September was a very confiding individual, which was observed feeding on the south bank until it was flushed by a fisherman, upon which it flew off high to the south-west.
2011   On a happier note, this species was recorded for the first time in 15 years, and for only the fourth time in all. The well-watched individual was at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 6th May.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER    Actitis macularia    Vagrant
  1990  A superb summer-plumaged adult was found at Elland Gravel Pits on 31st May and was last reported on 2nd July. The bird was thought to be a female and was even observed copulating with a Common Sandpiper which kept it close company during most of its stay.
TURNSTONE    Arenaria interpres    Infrequent passage visitor
Recorded most years from 1987 to 2003.  Most recent sightings:
2004  Three arrived at Thornton Moor in the late afternoon of 8th August.
2005  Birds were seen at Thornton Moor Reservoir in both passage periods. One was seen on 2nd May, and four on 10th September.
2006  A reasonable year started with a bird, presumably the same one, at Otley Wetland on 7th and 8th May, and a good total of four birds at Warley Moor Reservoir three weeks later . As in 2005, autumn passage also produced a bird, seen at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 1st August.
2008  There were two May records: a single at Thornton Moor Reservoir on the 5th, and two at Warley Moor Reservoir on the 30th.
2010  Thornton Moor is the usual site for this species, and one was found there on 5th September.
2011 Three birds flew north at Warley Moor Reservoir on 7th May.
2013  Two birds were present at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 21st July and there were two more records: a single here on 16th September and two at the nearby Warley Moor Reservoir on the previous day.
WILSON'S PHALAROPE    Phalaropus tricolor    Vagrant
1997  Two fortunate observers were at the Thornton Moor Reservoir watchpoint during the midday period on 20th September, when a bird considered to be of this species was observed wading and swimming before departing to the south-west at 1400 hours. Note: A small-scale influx of this vagrant American species occurred nationally around the time of this sighting.

GREY PHALAROPE    Phalaropus fulcarius    Vagrant
2002  This species, not recorded before in our area, provided excellent, close views at Fewston Reservoir on 3rd November. A juvenile, moulting into first winter plumage, it stayed close to the bank during the first day, was rather more elusive for the next two days, and was last seen on 6th November.
2010 One found at Bradley Ings on 18th November was seen only briefly and distantly there, but it was then relocated at Cononley, where it provided excellent views until its departure on the 21st. Not seen since 2002, and only the second Group record.

The Grey Phalarope at Bradley Ings, November 2010.  
Photo: Brian Vickers

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE    Phalaropus lobatus    Vagrant
1999  The discovery of a first-summer male Red-necked Phalarope at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 22nd May was an event of wide-reaching importance. The bird stayed for just over two days, and by the time of its departure (around 9.30pm on 24th May) around 100 birders from all over the country had enjoyed splendid views of this all-too-rare visitor to the Group’s recording area
Red-necked Phalarope at Thornton Moor Reservoir on 24th May 1999.
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