Joyce Hartley, Harry Jevons, JW, CJC, Bolton Abbey, Ilkley, Nevil Bowland, Bastow Wood, Mike Atkinson, Peter Riley, Swinsty Reservoir, Otley Gravel Pits, Nussey Knot, John Hobson, Otley Chevin, Nature Reserve, PBR, David Howson, Otley, Slender Speedwell, David Alred, David Leather, BOG, Skipton Anticline, Ben Rhydding, Horton Flags, Common Spotted-orchid, Carboniferous limestone, Skipton Rock Quarry, Upper Wharfedale, Storiths, Field Scabious, Common Rockrose Buckthorn, John Flood, Cavendish Bridge, HB, Pensthorpe Wildfowl Park Nature Reserve, Hambleton Quarry, Wharfedale, Les Barrett, Lesley Barrett, Upper Ribblesdale, breeding grounds, Breeding records, Lindley Wood, winter visitor, Black Swans, Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, Fountains Abbey, Lorelei Fox, Scar House Reservoir, Bowland Shales, Addingham, Skipton Moor, Storiths Lane, Holkham Bay Reserve, stalactites and stalagmites, Skipton, Field Horsetail, Marjorie Andrews, John Hobson Joan Duncan, Wharfedale Harry Jevons, Jenny Dixon, Microscope Group Heather Burrow, Nature Reserve Peter Riley, Don Barrett, David Joy, Jenny Dixon Amanda Best David Leather, Damselflies David Alred, Grassington Audrey Gramshaw, July Otley Gravel Pits, Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, Don Barrett Joan Duncan, David Carr, Jeanette Clapham Peter Riley Nevil Bowland, Middleton Woods, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, May Otley Gravel Pits, Ben Rhydding Gravel Pit, Wildlife Trust, June Bolton Abbey, Heather Burrow, Yorkshire Naturalists' Union, Grass Wood Working Party, David P Howson, Grassington, Primrose Burley Weir, Wood Stitchwort, Burley Weir, Grassington Mire, Working Parties, Otley Wetlands Nature Reserve, May Bolton Abbey, Spicey Gill, Margaret Hutchinson, Otley Wetlands, February Riffa Woods, John Clapham Committee, Chris Hartley, Wharfedale Naturalist, Burley River Bank
THE WHARFEDALE NATURALIST
Officers for 2002-2003:
President Honorary Life Vice President Vice President Hon. Secretary Hon. Treasurer Syllabus Secretary Membership Secretary Publicity Secretaries Environment Secretary Publications Officer Hon. Auditor
Don Barrett Joan Duncan, MBE Peter Riley Mike Atkinson Eric Hutchinson Lesley Barrett Margaret Hutchinson John and Jenny Dixon Amanda Best David Leather John Clapham
David Carr Chris Hartley John Hobson Harry Jevons Douglas Middleton Paula Senior
Recorders: Aquatic Life Botany Butterflies Dragonflies Fungi Geology Hoverflies Ladybirds Moths Ornithology Vertebrates (other than birds) Weather
John Hobson Joan Duncan, Joyce Hartley and Heather Burrow David Howson David Alred Joan Powel and Audrey Gramshaw David Leather Ken Limb Nevil Bowland Jeanette Clapham Peter Riley Nevil Bowland John Ward
Membership: Ordinary Members, 283; Life members, 4;
Numbers up by 11 on last year and the highest membership since 1985 (295)
WHARFEDALE NATURALISTS SOCIETY
Affiliated to the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union. Member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Registered Charity No 509241
REVIEW of the year 2002
VOLUME 57 Published March 2003
PROGRAMME May 2002 to March 2003
SUMMER PROGRAMME 2002
Bolton Abbey/Valley of Desolation
Doug and Olwen Middleton
Red Kites at Harewood Estate
Grass Wood, Grassington
Adel Dam Nature Reserve
Panorama Woods and Hebers Ghyll
Geology of Addingham area
Otley Gravel Pits
WINTER PROGRAMME 2002-2003
10 September, 2002 Open Evening with Members' exhibits, questions and slides
`100 million year-old Fossil Forests in Antarctica' Jody Howe
`History of the European Rabbit'
`Cape Spring' Gazanias & Gladioli'
`A Birdwatchers Paradise'
`Zion to Yellowstone'
14 January, 2003 '50 Years of Bird Photography
`Wild Orchids of the Mediterranean'
`The Marine Life of the Yorkshire Coast'
`The Work of the Yorks. Wildlife Trust'
21 March (Friday)
Guest Speaker, Simon Warwick
Botany Section Outings, 2002 (Joyce Hartley)
Otley Gravel Pits
Bolton Abbey (Cat Crag Survey)
Geology Field Meetings, 2002 (David Leather)
Stump Cross Caverns and Nussey Knot
Helwith Bridge, Upper Ribblesdale
Bird Field Days, 2002 (Harry Jevons)
Leighton Moss/West Coast
Bempton Cliffs/East Coast
26 September Old Moor Wetlands Centre, South Yorkshire
Saturday 7 September Swinsty Reservoir (Mid-Yorkshire Fungus Group)
Sunday 20 October Nidd Gorge. (joint with Harrogate Naturalists, with Dr Tom Hering)
Saturday 6 July, 2002, excursion by coach to Upper Teesdale (Don Barrett and Ken Limb)
Saturday 16th November 2002, excursion by coach to Martin Mere/Bird Fair
Winter Walks 2001 (Sundays)
Fountains and Markenfield
5 January 2003
Winter Special St Ives and Cliffe Castle (and Taxidermist)
Riffa Woods and Leathley
Leadmining at Hebden (with David Joy)
Held on first Tuesdays of the month, 7.30pm at the Clarke-Foley Centre
The Annual Coffee Morning and Nature Gift Sale was held on Saturday 2 November 2002,
10am to 12 noon, at the Clarke-Foley Centre, raising funds for Conservation Projects.
Programme of Events Foreword Editorial
President Don Barrett
Jenny Dixon and David Leather 4
Conserving Our Local Natural Heritage
Learning to Fly
Looking for the Brown Whitespot
D P Howson and R Wilding 7
A Study of the Macro-invertebrate fauna of Spicey Gill, a stream rising on Ilkley Moor
A tribute to the author Marjorie Andrews
Otley Wetland Nature Reserve
Peter B Riley
Grass Wood Update
Audrey M Gramshaw
Birds Beyond Wharfedale
Geology Excursions in 2002
Spring Holiday 2002, with Botany notes Summer Outing to Teesdale 6th July 2002 Winter Outing to Martin Mere 16th November 2002
Jenny Dixon and Joyce Hartley 18
Junior Section Scrapbook for Mrs Anne Fidler 1970 Jenny Dixon
Records for 2002
Joyce Hartley and Joan Duncan 25
Amphibians, Reptiles and Mammals
David P Howson
Jeanette M Clapham
39Dragonflies and damselflies
Illustrations: Cover by Don Barrett. Other Illustrations and photographs by David Alred, Marjorie Andrews, Phil Bartlett, John Busby, Maurice Chamberlain, Rachel Clapham, David Howson, Harry Jevons, David Leather, Tom McOwat, Charles Simpson, Jeremy Taylor. 3
FOREWORD Busy! Busy! Busy! That certainly describes the past 12 months in this Society. Looking back over my diary shows that we have organised no fewer than FIFTY meetings, talks, walks, and other events, plus a number of working parties. This includes a new venture our Society Holiday in Norfolk and I'm pleased that it is being followed by another in Barra during 2003; I hope that holidays will become a regular feature of our programme in future years. Full coaches went on our summer outing to Teesdale (Hannah's Meadow and Bowlees) and to the Bird Fair at Martin Mere in November. Another innovation has been the series of `Specials' (special interest walks with guest speakers) which have featured the Valley of Desolation project at Bolton Abbey, the red kites at Harewood and deer rutting at Studley Royal, with more to come. The Working Parties were instituted by Peter Riley, initially for the Otley Gravel Pits Reserve (soon to be called the Otley Wetlands Nature Reserve) but such was the support that work is being extended to the Sun Lane, Burley and Ben Rhydding Gravel Pit sites. Although still in its infancy, the Otley reserve is becoming a valuable wildlife haven for Mid-Wharfedale (otters included!) and we have nominated Peter Riley and Nevil Bowland to represent the Society on the Board of Trustees
to be set up during 2003. Harry Jevons organised a series of Birding Field Days (to slightly more distant venues) joining Joyce's Botany Field Days, David's Geology Field Days and John Hobson's interesting and varied programme of microscope evenings. Many thanks to them all. To some extent this full calendar was a catching up operation after the frustrations of the foot and mouth outbreak but it also demonstrates the vitality that exists within the Society that this number of events were not only organised but also, with few exceptions, well supported over 100 people regularly attending winter meetings. We must thank our Syllabus Secretary, Lesley, for all her hard work as I write she has just completed the programme up to March 2004 and I can promise you many more treats in store! The detailed reports by our Recorders in this publication only hint at the amount of valuable work that they do in collecting and collating all the records of species seen in our large area. We must thank them all for this, but WE particularly thank Joan Duncan and Joyce Hartley who are retiring after many years as Botany Recorders. We are pleased that they will be succeeded by Nicky Vernon, assisted by Heather Burrow. We also sincerely thank John Ward who has watched the weather for us since shortly after Ilkley U.D.C. stopped recording, and Peter Riley, Ornithology Recorder, who are both stepping down. Julie Tight and Richard Bly are welcomed as new Weather Recorders and John Flood will record the birds. We are now, finally, starting to get to grips with computerising our records. This has been delayed by problems with the computer programme (and lack of spare time!) but now a new version, `Recorder 2002' has been produced which is much better, even if still not ideal! We plan to test the system out by trying to get our 2002 records computerised and fed through to the North & East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre at York, which is the Local Record Centre for the National Biodiversity Network. Finally I must thank all Committee members
not mentioned above, particularly Mike Atkinson, our hard working Secretary (my e-mail Inbox would be much the poorer without him!), all those who help at Coffee Mornings and with preparations for the Dinner etc., and, most importantly, all of you for your support. Don Barrett EDITORIAL Here is our second volume under the new title of The Wharfedale Naturalist, and a bumper number it is too. Hope you like it. We draw your attention to Mike Atkinson's article about reserves and conservation areas that are not only becoming more numerous in our locality but also are attracting more of our attention and time. The Grass Wood Working Party has been toiling for years and the Society thanks them warmly for putting in so much effort. The Society would also like to thank those who have turned up in large numbers at Otley Wetlands (`Gravel Pits') Nature Reserve and also at the Sun Lane `Old Tip Field' in Burley, both of which still need further management work. It is possible Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits may also need volunteers in the future so a big thank you to all those who are getting involved. DL & JD 4
CONSERVING OUR LOCAL NATURAL HERITAGE THE GOOD NEWS In the few miles of our patch from Middleton, Ilkley and Addingham to Burley there are now no fewer than nineteen conservation sites, protected by Bradford Metropolitan District Council! Now, when I was a boy I wasn't aware of any nature reserves or protected areas at all in the whole of Britain. It was before there were national parks. The field study centre at Dale in Pembrokeshire had probably got going by then, and perhaps also the one at Juniper Hall on the North Downs. Other than that, the natural world
had to fend for itself and cope with its `top predator' you and me, without any additional protection. Since then we have had a war and a Common Agricultural Policy and we have ploughed up most of the meadows, grubbed up nearly all the hedgerows and drained most of the moors, for reasons which seemed good at the time. As a result, our land is now nothing like it was in the 1930s. We think of it as a richer land but in so many ways it is also an impoverished one. But things are changing. Four years ago Bradmet formally approved a nature conservation strategy Nature and People. International, national and regionally important sites were identified across the District. There had been a major survey in 1990-91 and our Society had been involved. It was before I came to this area but I know many members remember taking part. Last year Bradmet finally added `Bradford Wildlife Areas' as a `third tier' to its existing conservation protections. This development is of direct interest to us. Here is a run-down of what this little area can now boast. SPAs, SACs, and Triple SIs The South Pennine Moors, including Rombalds Moor, is a European Community
`Special Protection Area' (SPA). These areas are regarded as important throughout Europe and beyond. The South Pennine Moors are listed and protected on account of their bird populations of Merlin, Golden Plover, Curlew, Peregrine and Twite. The European Commission
has provided funding for conservation work. These areas are also candidates for the status of `Special Areas of Conservation' (SACs) under world-wide international treaties, far beyond Europe. They form if you like, a `first tier' of protected sites. In this `first tier' too we can include `Sites of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSIs or `Triple SIs'), designated and regulated by our UK Government through English Nature
. They were protected from development under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are now even more strongly regulated by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (the `CROW Act'). Ilkley Moor is in this list too. It is the only SSSI in our bit of Bradmet. These levels of protection are pretty rigorous. Slightly less safe is a kind of `second tier' of `Sites of Ecological or Geological Interest' (SEGIs). SEGIs These are sites of regional importance across West Yorkshire. Bradmet would consent to development in them only if a national plan required them to do so. Bradmet has designated 21 SEGIs altogether, and three fall within our patch Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, Middleton Woods and the River Wharfe. The new `Third Tier' Those protections were all in place by 1998. The new action Bradmet took last year was to add a further 152 `Bradford Wildlife Areas', of which we have 14. Under the Bradford Metropolitan District Council Unitary Plan listing a site in this third tier will count as a `material consideration' if anyone makes an application to develop it. The weak point is that landowners will not be required to protect these sites from an action that does not require planning consent. Our 14 `third tier' sites are, in Ilkley, Briery Wood/Heber's Ghyll, Crabtree Ghyll, Hollin Wood, Owler Park, Panorama Wood, Hollin Hall, and Ilkley Cemetery. In Addingham and Addingham Moorside there are Lumb Gill Wood, Far Bank, Steg Holes and Low Mill. There is also White Crag Plantation, the edge of which just peeps over the watershed from Airedale and into our territory. Finally, but not least, in Burley there is the disused railway and the Sun Lane former tip. The Situation Today, world-wide Since World War II most of the equatorial forests have gone and some of the seas have been fished out. Species have been made extinct. Mountains have been eroded, seas are rising and deserts are being created. We are still doing all this. But, as our local experience shows, some light has dawned. The `Earth Summit' at Rio de Janeiro
in 1992 set in train a commitment to conservation at government and intergovernmental level which has fed down through and given an enormous boost to the EC, national government
s and local governments
, like our Bradmet. It provided an enormous fillip to the existing efforts of small people and organisations that had `seen the light' and were already hard at work. The amount 5
of money and the number of people who can be paid for conservation is now huge in comparison to what it was before the 1990s. Work still to do There is still work for us to do, however. People, who are now happily paid to conserve, need to know what it is they need to conserve, and people like us and societies like ours have an enormous contribution to make because of what we know and what is in our records. Indeed, nobody else knows what we know and can do what we can do. And there has to be a continual watch on folk who perpetuate old habits of self-indulgence. Trees cut down, hedgerows destroyed, sites ploughed, can in a matter of mere minutes set back all the good intentions of major conservation bodies and the most powerful Government agencies
. Many people are not persuaded that our relationship with the Earth and its natural life is critical for the long-term survival of man on the planet. Lady Thatcher had it right when she said, `we are here on Earth not as owners, but only as tenants, and with a full repairing lease, at that'. We need to leave to our children and grandchildren an Earth as rich as the one our fathers and mothers left us. I personally liked David Attenborough's finish to his TV series `The Private Life of Plants': `No plants no animals no life on earth'. Life is a chain and we are on the end of it. Saving the plants is the first step towards saving the rest, and in the end saving ourselves. Let's keep our eyes open and make sure that all the plans and good intentions are not undermined by our fellow `top predators' who may not understand the dangers in what they do. Good for Bradmet that they are on the case. Anne Tupholme is a member of their Biodiversity Action Plan group (BAP). David Howson and I take turns on the Harrogate BAP which takes in the Washburn valley. We have a number of good entrйes into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We need to be ready to act up strongly at all points, and to support, cajole and arm-twist our local authorities
over whatever they may be able to do in the future. Mike Atkinson Postscript Breaking News Bradmet has just announced that it will be beginning a management programme for Panorama Wood, one of the `Third Tier' sites. They are proposing to take out some young Sycamores, and ring-bark some old ones which will be left standing to create dead wood habitats for a variety of creatures. Some of the invasive Bracken, Rhododendron and Japanese Knotweed will be removed. See `Ilkley Gazette
', 23 January 2003 or contact Ilkley Parish Council. LEARNING TO FLY. The summer afternoon found me sitting in the garden, back to the sun, facing the house and engrossed in a book. A sudden shrill whistling made me look up. A house martin it had to be it was. The whistler was above me, gliding, flying, swooping and climbing with superlative ease, but what took my attention was the audience on our roof. Perched on the edge of the guttering were five young house martins. How they arrived there I did not see, but why they were there soon became obvious. The parent bird had decided it was time they learnt to fly. The decision had been hers not theirs, the unhappy looking youngsters were huddled together on the rim of the metal trough giving every impression of having been forcibly marched to their present position from a nearby nest by a determined Mother. Anthropomorphic? Not at all, there was no mistaking what was happening. The parent continued to fly round and round, sometimes gliding, sometimes swooping then soaring but all the time calling to her offspring as if telling them "This is what you do, now watch me." Occasionally they did, but a lot of the time like inattentive children they looked around at the scenery, or downwards at the long drop between them and the ground. Eventually the adult bird flew back and landed alongside the brood. It really was a case of "Right, now you try." Five sets of claws tightened on the guttering but no-one moved. "OK, I'll show you once more" and off she flew to give a repeat performance. Then came her second landing and the order "Now off you go." The nestlings only huddled closer, gripped even harder, and tried to ignore her but Mum had had enough. Putting her streamlined body behind each youngster in turn she proceeded to push the protesting fledgling off the roof and into the air. Tiny beaks opened wide with a protesting squeak of "I can't do it!" but to no avail. For a second or so the bundle of feathers fell earthwards before the wings opened and flapping madly the young house martin gained height and discovered that mum was right it could fly. By the time she reached number five the little creature was in a state of panic. It was the youngest, the last to break out of the egg! Could it 6
wait another few days? No! So down it tumbled slightly further than the others before finding mum was not an ogre after all. It could use its wings. By now the first to be launched had crash-landed back in the gutter righted itself and turned to perch on the rim again. Hard luck! The parent bird made her way back to where it sat somewhat breathless, and once more shoved it off into space. Each returning youngster received the same treatment, but this time the wings functioned sooner and the flying was more accomplished. I counted three launchings per fledgling. By the third one they had mastered the art more or less, even the youngest, and dived and swooped with the best of them whistling as they went. Could they have been cries of "Watch me Mum Waaatch." Or is that being anthropomorphic? I'm not so sure! The final roof landings were still untidy but a definite improvement on the first. Then after a short rest the adult bird set off followed by all five of her offspring. It was a lovely sight, a mass of streamlined bodies with their elegant shiny blue-black feathers. They headed in the direction of the river where the evening swarms of flies were rising. There I presume, they learnt the next lesson, how to catch your own food when on the wing. The babies must have been hungry after all the exercise, which is a good incentive for trying, especially if your parent bows out of providing stuff for you. It has been several years since our house boasted a house martin's nest and I miss our delightful visitors How do we get them back? Pamela Braithwaite LOOKING FOR THE BROWN WHITESPOT In 1795 Willliam Jones, a prosperous wine merchant and distinguished watercolourist, painted a hitherto unknown small butterfly, which he called the Brown Whitespot, from Scottish specimens. Although the name was soon changed to Northern Brown Argus(NBA), it was finally recognised as a distinct species only in the 1960s! In 1828 a similar butterfly was discovered in Durham, and later in small scattered colonies across the North of England including the Yorkshire Dales. Only very recently has it been established by genetic analysis that these butterflies are also predominantly NBA, although with traces of the very similar Brown Argus found further South. The Wharfedale Naturalists Society has recorded NBA in most years since 1968, but usually only on the classic site of Bastow Wood and also near Threshfield. Often only a few insects have been seen each year. Conservation of NBA colonies is considered to be a high priority by Butterfly Conservation (BC). 2002 was different. BC's Regional Officer for the North of England, Dr Sam Ellis, had secured an English Nature contract to advise on the conservation of NBA sites in the dales. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority through Tim Thom were keen to help, and the WNS, BC's vice-county 64 expert Terry Whitaker and Royanne Wilding from the Upper Wharfedale Field Society, all lent a hand. The campaign started with a Spring meeting at the Authority's HQ at Corvedale hosted by Tim, where we learnt to our surprise that an enthusiast based in Scotland, Peter Summers, had over the years found many sites in Wharfedale although some had not been visited recently. Royanne takes up the story: `Enter Sam Ellis, a tall weathered lad, who is so keen on the NBA he did his PhD on them. He wanted to monitor all sites where his special butterfly had been recorded to see if they were still there, and then devise a Conservation Plan
. A number of people volunteered to help him and we met to discuss recording methods. We agreed to use a line transect walking a measured distance through the recording area and counting the butterflies seen in a 5 metre strip to either side of the imaginary line. We had to note the size of the area covered by rock rose and measure the height of the sward. Heath Robinson stepped in here with a handy gadget comprising a piece of dowel marked with felt tip pen in centimetres and a circle of hardboard with a hole in the centre. This disc slides down the dowel until stopped by the vegetation. We were also going to count eggs. Not your ovoid presentation that finds its boiled way to the breakfast table, but pinhead sized white dots
on the rockrose leaves. The great thing about these tiny eggs is that they stay still and I've had lots of practice looking for small things in vegetation mostly other people's contact lenses. The planning went well, I was raring to get out there and start recording, but there was one hurdle to cross we had to gain permission from landowners, at which stage the dreaded term health and safety
came up. As if we aren't all responsible adults, able to take care of ourselves. Sam hastily said that if there was anything dangerous in an area, he'd do that site. We eyed the jug of boiling hot coffee on the table between us and 7
wondered if we should seek insurance it made more sense to drink the coffee, so we did. Sadly, Insurance, Health and Safety won Sam was not allowed to use us as volunteers unless he was heavily (and expensively) insured for any accident we might incur.' On 23rd June about 20 people joined us on the WNS walk through Grassington to the heights of Lea Green and then onward to Bastow Wood. Sam Ellis kindly came along and shared his knowledge. The day was cloudy and fairly windy, but rain free, and there were sufficient sunny spells to tempt the butterflies out. Soon after entering Lea Green the whole party crowded around Sam as he showed us the first NBA of the day. Mountain Pansies were present in some numbers amongst the prevailing Rock Rose, and several heard the Skylark. As we approached the shelter of the stone wall around Bastow Wood several more NBA were seen, a Common Blue and a couple of Small Heath. Entering the wood we saw a few Birds Eye Primroses, and being sheltered from the wind the party settled down on a grassy bank to eat their lunches whilst butterflies flew around. Over 30 NBA were seen in the wood, together with a couple of Large Skipper, which are not common up the dale, and a Red Admiral that settled up a tree. We were fascinated when Sam showed us the minute white egg of the NBA butterfly on the upper surface of a rock rose leaf. In the afternoon most of the party wended their way back to Grassington through Grass Wood and the meadows beyond, noting a Blackcap on the way. Following the walk, Royanne and I agreed to help by recording on important sites, independently, not working for Sam. He went ahead with his survey as planned by taking on a full-time assistant, and Terry also provided valuable help. Most of Sam's survey was undertaken in the last two weeks in June, during which time the weather was quite mixed, hindering the butterfly counts. Royanne set up and walked a transect through Lea Green and Bastow Wood until the end of July, Rosemary and I recorded and photographed on our usual sites, over the same period, and walked miles to find and traverse four sites that were new to us, one of which Sam had discovered during the survey. In 2002 we amateurs learned much more about the butterfly and its food plant, including how to distinguish those well-sited rockroses with a quality of leaf good enough for the female to lay and so sustain a breeding colony. Now we are waiting with some impatience for next season, hoping to examine some of the other sites Sam found, and to explore the area even further. It is now clear that Wharfedale is a key region for the survival of the English NBA, and that the two sites where the WNS usually records are the most important in the dale. Now we need to set up a transect to monitor the Threshfield site in a similar way to Bastow Wood. Sam is now busily writing up his report, which should be published later this year. This will identify most of the sites where the NBA presently breeds, from Langstrothdale and Littondale down to Grassington. The requirements of the insect, and how these may be maintained, should now become clear. Hopefully this will provide the impetus to protect the fragile flower meadows and ensure a good future for the NBA in Wharfedale. References The Aurelian Legacy. M A Salmon. Harley Books 2000 The Millennium Atlas. J Asher et al. Oxford UP 2001 The Journal of the Upper Wharfedale Field Society edition No. 23 DP Howson & R Wilding. FLYCATCHER NEIGHBOURS The WNS Nature Notes column in the Ilkley Gazette is now an established feature and brings in some interesting phone calls. Sometimes people ring with queries, but sometimes they have interesting information. One such informant was Mrs Andrews from Coniston Cold who rang to tell us about a pair of spotted flycatchers which for two seasons in succession had nested and reared young just outside her back door. I've always been particularly fond of spotted flycatchers one of the most engaging of our summer visitors. With its upright stance and wonderful aerobatic hunting technique, it's readily identifiable even at a distance. It's been in decline lately so it was good to hear of this breeding success, and I was delighted to be invited to see the nest. 8
I remember seeing flycatcher nests before one in the Virginia Creeper over the main door at Woolley Hall near Wakefield and one in a tangle of Honeysuckle over a cottage back-door in Scotland. Obviously this is a bird which doesn't object to human comings and goings, but always before there had been plenty of cover. Mrs Andrews' pair had built their nest in a hollowed-out coconut shell, usually used to put out food for the resident robin, against the bare stone and close beside a busy backdoor and often open kitchen window. This year they had reared two broods in this exposed position. We're hoping for a return next year! Jenny Dixon A STUDY OF THE MACRO-INVERTEBRATE FAUNA OF SPICEY GILL, A STREAM RISING ON ILKLEY MOOR This paper by Marjorie Andrews was published in The Naturalist in 1991 and is reprinted as a tribute to her life and as Recorder for Caddisflies for the Society. It shows a perfect piece of research carried out between October 1988 and November 1990, with monthly records. The results are beautifully displayed in ten illustrative graphs, a map and a table of the invertebrate fauna she found which include caddis, mayfly, stonefly, blackfly and midge larvae. Much work has been done on the fauna of rivers and streams. In Yorkshire, Percival and Whitehead led the way, through their studies of the invertebrates of the rivers Wharfe and Derwent (1929, 1930, 1935). Several workers explored the fauna of Welsh mountain streams. A landmark was the publication of a synthesis by Hynes (1970) of works on life in running water world-wide. Continuing research resulted in the production of the keys used here. This study aims at identifying the macro-invertebrates of a stream, Spicey Gill, Ilkley, to assess the sizes of the populations of the important species throughout the year, attempt to explain their variation spatially and temporarily, and also if possible throw further light on the life histories of some of the species present. Spicey Gill (Figure 1) is formed by the confluence of a number of tributaries, some draining peat, others draining the underlying Millstone Grit. It is a stony stream, little more than 1 m in width and up to 0.5 m deep, flowing down the heather moor in a steepsided gully. The vegetation of the moor was recently described by Cotton and Hale (1989). On leaving the moor, the stream continues to flow in a deep gully between gardens on the steep hillside, beneath overhanging deciduous trees. The stepped profile of the Millstone Grit underlying the whole area has caused the formation in the stream of a number of quiet pools and chutes, and two waterfalls. The stream finally flows across the valley bottom to join the River Wharfe between Ilkley's two bridges (GR 44/115.482). Station 1 (alt. 275 m, GR 44/108.464) is a little below the confluence of the tributaries forming the stream. At Station 2 (alt. 207 m, GR 44/110.468), Spicey Gill crosses a marine band, then flows steeply down to the outskirts of Ilkley. Station 3 (alt. 130 m, GR 44/113.474) is at the bottom of a garden in a road leading to Ilkley town centre. Station 4 (alt. 100 m, GR 44/113.477) is just above the point where the stream disappears under the main road to Skipton. As far as possible, each station was visited once each month to collect invertebrates and to test the pH of the water. Since the use of quantitative methods in Spicey Gill is almost impossible, a semi-quantitative method was adopted. Invertebrates were collected from 30 stones. Two tins of 130 ml capacity were filled with sand or gravel and an identical third tin filled with moss, lightly pressed down with fingers. Debris was collected into a polythene bag, size 180 mm by 230 mm, which was half filled, leaving room for tying. Collecting was usually completed from about 10 m length of stream, but after a spate, it was sometimes necessary to go as far as 100 m to collect gravel and debris. Invertebrates were 9
sorted from the samples, and identified using keys by Eddington and Hildrew (1981), Elliott, Humpesch and Macan (1988), Hynes (1977), Macan (1959) and Savage (1989). Case-bearing caddis larvae (Trichoptera), except for Agapetus fuscipes, were bred out and the adults identified using the key by Macan and Worthington (1973). For A. fuscipes a new key by Wallace et at. (1990) was used. pH was determined using BDH universal indicator. This simple method gives only approximate readings, but is adequate for the purpose of showing the effect of spates. Invertebrates not required for further study were returned to the stream. This procedure was continued for two and a half years. At Station 1, the pH fluctuates. During a period of dry weather the water is nearly neutral (c.6.5), but generally within two weeks of heavy rain or snow it becomes acidic (4.0) because of the extra water entering the stream from the peat. At the other three stations, with only occasional exceptions, the water remains near neutral (7.0). This most likely results from the presence in the stream bed of particles of calcareous materials which originate either in the marine band or in the glacial drift on which much of Ilkley is built. It is possible also that run-off from gardens affects the pH of the water at Stations 3 and 4. Figure 2 presents a summary
TABLE 1 Composition of the fauna at the four stations. The figures given are the most collected at any one time. Some species found only once are omitted STN 1 STN 2 STN 3 STN 4
Polycelis felina (Dalyell) Rhabdocoelida Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Gray) = P. jenkinsi Ancylus fluviatilis Miiller Glossiphonia complanata (L.) Annelida Gammarus pulex Koch Hydracarina Velia caprai Tananini Protonemura praecox (Morton) Amphinemura sulcicollis (Stephens) Nemoura cambrica (Stephens) N. cinerea (Retzius) Leuctra hippopus (Kempny) Brachyptera Isoperia grammatica (Poda) Baetis rhodani (Pictet) Rhithrogena semicolorata (Curtis) Ecdyonurus dispar (Curtis) Rhyacophila dorsalis (Curtis) Plectrocnemia conspersa (Curtis) P. geniculata McLachlan Hydropsyche pellucidula (Curtis) Agapetus fuscipes Curtis Limnephilidae Simulium Chironomidae Dixa Pericoma Dicranota Tipulidae Other dipteran larvae
100 60 100 100
145 41 5
30 20 11
120 220 7
120 1000+ 1000+
of rainfall and pH at Station 1 in 1989. In spring and autumn at Stations 1 and 2, outbursts of filamentous green algae, desmids and diatoms occur, and throughout the year there is much paniculate detritus. At Stations 3 and 4 in autumn and winter, vast numbers of leaves accumulate in the water, forming a substrate for the growth of fungi and bacteria, thus providing abundant food for herbivorous invertebrates. Table 1 lists the invertebrates found in the stream. The Plecoptera (stoneflies) form an important constituent of its fauna. Stoneflies are univoltine (one generation per year). They fly early in the year. Egg hatching and growth of larvae spread over several months, so that in summer the larvae are microscopic in size, are hiding in gravel or moss, and are rarely found. Figure 3 shows the numbers of stonefly larvae found at each station for each month in 1989. The principal species found were Amphinemura sulcicollis, Protonemura praecox, Nemoura cambrica, and Leuctra hippopus. Figure 4 indicates variations in population sizes of these four species at all four stations together in 1989. A similarity in the pattern of population sizes throughout the year is clearly demonstrated. Diagrams 4a and 4c show a March increase in numbers of larvae of A. sulcicollis and N. cambrica. Such a spring increase has been explained as resulting from a renewed hatching of eggs after the very adverse conditions of winter spate (Hynes 1970). Of the mayflies (Ephemeroptera) only Baetis rhodani is common, and because of its long flight period, the larvae are found from February to November. B. rhodani is a bivoltine species (two generations per year) found at all four stations, though in numbers decreasing with increasing altitude. Spring flying adults emerge in April and May. Their eggs hatch in June and July, and the second emergence occurs in August. The eggs of the autumn adults give rise to overwintering larvae, the majority of which are washed down in winter spates. At Stations 3 and 4, a few larvae of Rhithrogena semicolorata, Heptagenia lateralis and Ecdyonurus dispar also occurred. These are univoltine and overwinter as larvae. Their well-grown larvae were found in spring and early summer. Figure 5 summarises the results of collections of Trichopteran (caddis fly) larvae at all four stations in 1989. At Station 4 only, thousands of larvae of Agapetus fuscipes occurred. Other case-bearing caddis larvae decreased in numbers with increasing altitude. They are represented by Drusus annulatus, Micropterna sequax, Potamophylax cingulatus, P. latipennis and Odontocerum alhicorne. Caseless caddis larvae were most abundant at Station 3, where Rhyacophila dorsalis, Plectrocnemia conspersa, P. geniculata, and Hydropsyche pelluciduta occur. The paucity of caddis larvae at Station 1 is most likely related to the frequent spates and episodes of acidity, which also cause a washdown of mayfly and stonefly larvae even if they are acid tolerant. A sudden drop in numbers of stoneflies and mayflies may indicate emergence of adults. A comparable fall in numbers of caddis larvae does not occur because there are nine species which emerge 11
over a period of eight months. A few small members of Veliidae (Hemiptera Heteroptera) were noticed on the surface of quiet pools all the way down the stream in June and July. These may have been early instars of Velia, as the adults of Velia caprai were collected in August and September, at which time as many as 100 were seen together in one pool. Larvae and adults of several species of beetle (Coleoptera) were taken, the most frequent being dytiscids and haliplids. The only conclusion that could be drawn from these collections is that beetles occur chiefly in moss and debris. No preference for shade was noted. At Station 4 the stream flows more slowly, and widens to enclose two small islands. Some of the invertebrates found here do not occur in the upper reaches. Figure 6 relates to invertebrates that occur only at Station 4, where Potamopyrgus antipodarum (=P. jenkinsi, snails) Ancylus ftuviatilis (fresh water limpets), Gammarus pulex (Amphipoda, shrimps) and Agapetus fuscipes are found. In summer 1989 during a period of rapid reproduction, vast numbers of P. antipodarum, A. fluviatilis and A. fuscipes of various sizes were found. There were so many that their numbers were estimated from counts on ten stones, and numbers rounded to the nearest 50, 100 or 1,000. In 1990 only P. antipodarum occurred in comparable numbers. Since A. fluviatilis and A. fuscipes feed exclusively on algae on the stones in the stream, it seems probable that the algae did not recover sufficiently in 1990 to support large populations of these species. P. antipodarum consumes algae, dead leaves and moss, and is not affected in the same way. Hynes (1970) showed that annual variation in population sizes of fresh water invertebrates is not uncommon, and Hunter (1961), in a 9-year study of a stream in Scotland, showed that the annual variation of assessed productivity of A. fluviatilis can be over 7-fold. A feature of the fauna of the stream is the predominance of herbivores, which include most of the stonefly larvae, the mayfly larvae, the casebearing caddis larvae, the snails and limpets. The carnivores include the stoneflies Isoperia grammatica, the caseless caddis larvae, R. dorsalis and Plectrocnemia spp. which feed on other small larvae. Velia feeds on spiders (Arachnida), emerging midges (Chironomidae), stoneflies and mayflies (Savage 1989). Several larval and adult water beetles (Coleoptera) are carnivorous, as also are the leeches Glossiphonia complanata and G. heteroclita which feed on P. antipodarum. Some of the dipteran larvae are carnivorous. Many are eaten by other carnivores. Apart from the dipteran larvae, only small numbers of these carnivores are found. Because of their vast numbers, dipteran larvae Simulium (blackfly) and chironomids (midges) are important though inconspicuous constituents of the fauna of the stream. The ecosystem of the stream is simple. There are relatively few species of invertebrates and no fish. Occasionally water birds are seen, e.g. dipper (Cinclus cinctus), and grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea). The macro-invertebrate fauna is comparatively varied, and on the basis of the presence throughout the part of the stream studied of more than one species of stonefly, and of at least sixteen other species, the stream is judged to be clean and free from organic pollution (Hellawell 1978). Calcareous material is frequently added to naturally acid waters in order to neutralise the acidity. The purpose of this is either to make the water safe to supply to establishments which have lead water pipes, or to increase the invertebrate fauna and so 12
improve fish stocks. In Spicey Gill, it seems to be the granules of calcareous material in the gravel that neutralise the water, and this would suggest that the amount required to be added for this purpose is small. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I acknowledge with thanks the help of Mr R. H. Booth who produced the manuscript, including charts and diagrams, the Parks and Gardens Department, Ilkley, and Mr and Mrs G. Bowen for access to their garden. Mr Bowen also discussed the first draft. Mr S. Davidson drew the map. Prof. G. Fryer constructively criticised the manuscript. Dr. P. D. Hiley gave generous help throughout. I also had help from Lydia Booth, Mr A. Norris and Prof. M. R. D. Seaward. REFERENCES Cotton, D. E. and Hale, W. H. G. (1989) vegetation changes
on Ilkley Moor 1964-1984. Naturalist 114: 109-114. Edington, J. M. and Hildrew, A. G. (1981) Caseless Caddis Larvae of the British Isles. Scient. Pub. Freshwat. Biol. Ass., Ambleside. Elliott, J. M., Humpesch, U. H. and Macan, T. T. (1988) Larvae of the British Ephemeroptera. Scient. Pub. Freshwat. Biol. Ass., Ambleside. Hellawell, J. M. (1978) Biological Surveillance of Rivers. Water Research Centre, Stevenage. Hunter, W. R. (1961) Annual variations in growth and density in natural populations of freshwater snails in the west of Scotland. Proc. Zoo. Soc. London 136: 219-253. Hynes, H. B. N. (1970) The Ecology of Running Waters. Liverpool Univ. Press, Liverpool. Hynes, H. B. N. (1977). A Key to the Adults and Nymphs of British Stoneflies (Plecoptera). Scient. Pub. Freshwat. Biol. Ass., Ambleside. Macan, T. T. (1959) A Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates. Longman, London. Macan, T. T. and Worthington, C. J. (1973) A Key to the Adults of British Trichoptera. Scient. Pub. Freshwat. Biol. Ass., Ambleside. Percival, E. & Whitehead, H. (1929) A quantitative study of the fauna of some types of streambed. J. Ecol. 17: 283-313. Percival, E. and Whitehead, H. (1930) Biological survey of the R. Wharfe II. Report on the invertebrate fauna. J. Ecol. 18: 286-302. Percival, E. & Whitehead, H. (1935) An ecological study of the invertebrate fauna of a chalk stream. Anim. Ecol. 4: 58-78. Savage, A. A. (1989) Adults of the British Aquatic Hemiptera Heteroptera. Scient. Pub. Freshwat. Biol. Ass., Ambleside. Wallace, I. D., Wallace, B. and Philipson, G. N. (1990) A Key to the Case-bearing Caddis Larvae of Britain and Ireland. Scient. Pub. Freshwat. Biol. Ass., Ambleside. By Marjorie Andrews with acknowledgements to The Naturalist ,Vol 116, 1991 Quarterly Journal of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union. OTLEY WETLAND NATURE RESERVE The Otley Wetland Nature Reserve has recently been established on the site of the old Gravel Pit workings on the north side of the River Wharfe near Otley Town Centre. Extraction ceased here in 1996 and the Reserve has been established with the assistance of Leeds City Council and Hansons, the extraction company. The latter will retain an `aftercare' presence on site for a period of five years after which they will no longer have any interest in the site. The Reserve is on private land (relations with the landowners are good) and will be operated on the basis of a twenty-one year lease. Access is by Permit only. The area of the Nature Reserve is 13.7 hectares and this is set within a wider conservation area of 40.4 hectares. The site is c56 metres above sea level and is set within the floodplain of the river. The substratum is Millstone Grit with originally alluvial deposits of sands, silts and gravels etc as would be found on a floodplain. At this time it is thought that the naturally acidic soils are probably modified by the waters of the Wharfe much of which catchment is from the higher Dales' Carboniferous Limestone
areas. The Reserve itself is largely composed of water bodies, recently-planted woodland and reedbeds, rough grassland and stream margins. This is bounded by the river to the south, whilst to the north, west and east there is a large area of similar habitats (also part of the former Gravel Pits) plus improved permanent grassland, used for sheep and cattle rearing, and mature woodland which contributes to the overall nature conservation value of the site. A sailing lake lies to the west of the reedbed area. 13
Artist's impression of a view over the reserve The Committee managing the site will be formally established as a Trust in 2003 and this will comprise members from the Bradford Ornithological Group, Leeds Birdwatchers' Club, Leeds City Council and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust as well as the Wharfedale Naturalists Society. The management of the site will be undertaken in accordance with the need to maintain and enhance biodiversity and promote the restoration of the Reserve as an area of natural history habitat. No major environmental initiatives or habitat enhancements are planned apart from the creation of a reedbed, which is now well underway. The main aim is to manage the site in a wildlife-friendly manner thereby encouraging incoming wildlife of its own accord. This objective has every prospect of success given the site's strategic position in the Wharfe Valley alongside the river itself. Clearly some wildlife may reasonably be expected to spread in from the river whilst, with regard to moving birds, the site is an obvious attraction in this part of the valley. It is very much a wetland habitat (interspersed with drier areas) and, as such, it is a very scarce habitat in this area of Leeds, an advantage which will be emphasised as the reedbed becomes established. It is a peaceful haven, surprisingly so given its proximity to the centre of Otley which makes for very easy access for permit holders. Contractors are being used in the early stages to help secure and establish the principal habitats on the Reserve but the ultimate intention will be to manage, maintain and enhance the Reserve habitats using volunteers as much as possible. Working Parties were first run in October 2002 and the aim is for two days per month outside the spring and early summer when work will be generally suspended for the main breeding season. Attendance at these Working Parties has been splendid and the response from Wharfedale Naturalists' members has been particularly outstanding forming a large majority at every session to date this has been much appreciated by Reserve Committee members and a great deal of valuable work has been successfully undertaken. Wildlife surveys of the site have produced some encouraging results. With regard to Mammals there is every reason to hope that Otter will utilise the site; 5 species of Damselfly have been observed to date and 9 species of Dragonfly; 14 species of Butterfly have been noted and 8 species of Hoverfly; over 160 species of Wildflower have been identified; over 100 species of bird are likely to be seen on the Reserve in a year and the site total is well in excess of 140. The Wharfedale Naturalists are a vital component of the team involved with the management of this site and it is incumbent upon us to use our expertise to maximise the value of the site to wildlife. We have just two objectives as a Society, one of which is `to help with the work of nature conservation' this site represents a splendid opportunity for us to further this objective and follow in the footsteps of the fine work undertaken over many years by Society members at other sites such as Grass Wood. Although access will always be 14
restricted given that the site is on private land, volunteers are always welcome and the work involved can be as light or heavy as you wish. Above all else there is a most enjoyable camaraderie developing among those who attend on a frequent basis and I don't think you will be disappointed if you decide to give it a try. I believe that, in the fullness of time, those involved with the site will have every reason to look back with pride at what they have achieved. Peter B Riley GRASS WOOD UPDATE So far the work done has made little visual impact on the view of Grass Wood from the valley. Within the wood, this is strikingly different. This season, activity is concentrated in Management Compartment 4, high up near the boundary wall between Grass Wood and Bastow Wood. The views up the dale are opened up, giving great pleasure to all who have only known the dense conifer stands with no glimpse outside. Thirty of the Forestry Commission planted conifers have been felled under the Woodland Grant Scheme, our main source of funding from 1994. By 2005, at the end of our present 5 year plan, a total of 70 clearances is envisaged. In 2000, this reserve was accepted into English Nature's Reserves Enhancement Scheme, along with other YWT reserves. In 1999, a professional ecological survey of Grass Wood was carried out for the Trust, confirming the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) as only marginally separated between the two woodland types W8 and W9. A Committee member has since done an in-depth survey of the flowering plants, bringing the records up to date. The extraction track, which is also mainly public right of way, was upgraded in 2000, thanks to Heritage Lottery funding. This helps both visitors and the contractors when they are taking out conifers. The annual WNS donations, always much appreciated, have contributed to the matching funding required for topping up this lottery grant. The strategy of replanting with native broadleaved trees continues. Those grown by Rosemary Payne and others from Grass Wood seeds have been given priority. For the first time, significant professional walling has been done. The benefits from the last few years of felling and coppicing are now being enjoyed. Low down in the wood, the numerous primroses can be seen even from the road alongside. Other Orchid species and Hard Fern have added to the flora. WNS volunteers, continuing from Joan Duncan's long involvement, have contributed enormously to the work. There is more to be done, so volunteers are still welcome to help in the conservation of this special ancient woodland. YWT staff commitment, of course, continues. Audrey Gramshaw Chairman, Grass Wood Management Committee BIRDS BEYOND WHARFEDALE 2002 saw the introduction of a new venture for Wharfedale Naturalists with a series of birdwatching trips beyond Wharfedale. Visits were made to the East and West coasts, near to Ferrybridge, and to a site owned by Barnsley Council in the Dearne Valley. In April a good cross section of birds was found at Fairburn Ings near Ferrybridge. This is a well-established RSPB site with a good habitat for waders and ducks in addition to warblers and tits. A record of 48 birds was made. Leighton Moss in Lancashire was the second RSPB venue in May. Both the main ponds site and the estuary hides were visited, and it was on the estuary that we saw Avocets which are now breeding here. These were perhaps the most notable of the 50 birds recorded. June saw a trip to the East Coast and Bempton Cliffs and Filey Dams. The highlight here is the large number of cliff nesting birds such as Fulmar, Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin. At Filey Dams we were rewarded with an excellent view of a fox, which decided to go for a stroll around the dams; 39 birds were recorded on this trip. The final visit in September was to the Old Moor Wetland Centre in the Dearne Valley, South Yorkshire. Opened as recently as August 1998 by Barnsley Council, management of the site is being transferred to the RSPB early in 2003. A lottery grant of Ј800,000 will enable them to expand the site and further develop visitor facilities. On our arrival we were greeted with the dramatic sight of large flocks of lapwing and golden plover taking to the air. Again, a good cross section of birds, with 51 recorded. Over the four trips, a total of 15
86 birds was recorded (thanks to John Flood for keeping the tally). Our more experienced birdwatchers considered this number to be quite good. In 2003 we are increasing the number of trips and they will be held on the last Thursday of each month April to October inclusive, with the exception of June when a trip will be made to the Trough of Bowland RSPB event mid-month. Each trip will have a different leader and full details will be available early in 2003. I should emphasise that these trips are particularly suitable for beginners to birdwatching, as guidance is given by our experienced members, transport can be arranged and even binoculars loaned. Do join us in 2003, you'll be most welcome. Harry Jevons GEOLOGY EXCURSIONS IN 2002 1. The Bolton Abbey area 9 May 2002 This was a continuation of a study of the Skipton Anticline the upfold of Carboniferous strata seen on a previous trip at Skipton Rock Quarry and at Hambleton Quarry one of several `upfolds' on the northern edge of the Craven Basin. The axis of the Skipton anticline runs from Skipton in the southeast to Bolton Abbey in the northwest, where it was examined along the River Wharfe. The view from Storiths Crag, one of Wharfedale's finest views, shows the two gritstone edges of Skipton Moor and Thorpe Fell which face each across the Skipton Anticline. In the core of the fold is the lump of Haw Park which is rapidly being quarried away at Skipton Rock Quarry. It is a classic view with the twin inwardfacing scarps. Nearer by, the knolls of Storiths with gaps between them indicate a formation by glacial meltwater as apparently the surging water found successively lower channels. The longest and best-formed is that runs next to Storiths Lane. It has steep sides and has no stream flowing through it today. Near the Cavendish Bridge we viewed a small plunging anticline alongside the river below Cavendish Bridge. An old quarry near the bridge has fluvio-glacial material with a range of size and a mixture of gritstone and limestone. Some of the limestone pebbles have been cracked and recemented. There is no clay in the deposit where sand and grit fills the gaps between the pebbles, cobbles and boulders, so the deposit was probably laid down by water. A little higher, on an angle in the riverbank and facing upstream is an old adit where trials for lead ore have been made known as Bolton Abbey Cave. At the cave and immediately downstream on the same bank the limestone is vertical, indicating intense folding. A few yards further down we examined the plunging folds with a zigzag outcrop. Across the bridge, we visited the sulphur well which smells and tastes of hydrogen sulphide or `bad eggs'. On the curve of the river, near the Footbridge and the Priory, where it makes a large meander opposite the Priory a fossil locality in Lower Bowland Shales has poor crushed goniatites. A small anticline was seen across the river (below the Priory). Downstream from the footbridge, the Bowland Shales and Grassington Grit come together on each side of the Bolton Abbey Fault. The fault continues up the valley to the northeast. Bowland Shales near the bridge are sharply contorted and contain fish scales. 2. Stump Cross Caverns and Nussey Knot 19 June 2002 The caverns were discovered by lead miners in 1858 as they broke through to a series of natural caves. The caves were so well decorated that they soon were opened as a show cave. There are now nearly 4 miles (6km) of passages as extensions have been opened up over the years. The altitude of the entrance is 1,165 feet (355m) and the deepest part is 140 feet (43m) below this level. 16
We entered down steps and into a level tunnel. A side gallery is blocked with stalactites and stalagmites and banks of massive flowstone. A feature of the cave is the gravel deposits that have been covered with stalagmite, and paths have often been cut through it to allow upright walking. Turning right at the junction, we noted the solution hollows in the roof, which shows it must have been originally full of water. There are 5 or 6 lower levels which indicate a progressive falling of the water table since the Ice Ages. Further along is a large column known as the Sentinel where a white stalactite curtain has grown down 2m to join a rounded stalagmite. At the Chamber of Pillars, boulders support more stalagmite columns and the passage widens to 5m. It continues and rounds a corner where the roof rises to Cathedral Chamber. A fine column stands on the boulder slope at the far end a stalagmite that has grown upwards to meet the roof. A continuation, newly opened to the public, is the Reindeer Cavern where reindeer bones were found in a fissure above the boulder pile. The animals fell down a rift which was later filled with glacial sediment. Back towards the entrance is Wolverine Cave in a major side passage. Where the path has been cut down, bone material of wolverine and other animals was found, covered in calcite. The age of some of the calcite was determined at about 100,000 years old. The trenched path also gives an eye-level view of the rimstone pools which formed on the passage floor. They are now dry but were formed by a calcite rim where tiny crystals and calcite `pearls' grew. A grotto at the end of the passage has fine stalactites and stalagmites, but also fine calcite straws hang from the roof, each with a drop of water. Nussey Knot is at the edge of a leadmining zone that stretches to the east and south. A Roman pig of lead was found here marked AD98 with the mark of Trajan (Roman emperor AD98-117). The limestone has been divided into local divisions such as Timpony, Stump Cross and Greenhow limestones. Lead veins have cut vertically through these limestones and at some points have produces flats deposits that have replaced the limestone and are more or less parallel to the bedding, i.e. roughly horizontal or flat-lying. They are associated with the feeder vein. We had a beautiful view from the top of Nussey Knot and examined some of the sink holes in the area. 3. Helwith Bridge Upper Ribblesdale 18 July 2002 Pre-Carboniferous rocks of Ordovician and Silurian age outcrop in Upper Ribblesdale. The Silurian rocks, known locally as the Horton, Arcow and Austwick Formations appear to have been deposited in deep water. On the hill slope (at SD 802 692) we examined some of the finest flute casts to be seen anywhere in Britain, and noted graded bedding in blocks alongside the track. In the Austwick Formation above Dry Rigg quarry a steep climb brought us to the corner of Moughton Nab and the unconformity between the almost vertical Horton Flags and the first layers of the Carboniferous limestone. There appeared to be no conglomerate present here, but we saw specimens of the tabulate coral Syringopora, other corals and gastropods, of which Mike Atkinson took some photographs. We descended and rounded Dry Rigg quarry to visit what is probably the most famous unconformity in Britain at the old Arcow quarry. The surface of the Horton Flags represents a wave-cut platform, buried by the limy muds of the Carboniferous seas. The Horton Formation is part of the roots of a huge fold mountain system, eroded down to sea level. By climbing up to the right of the famous unconformity we come out into the old limestone quarry of Foredale, an enormous abandoned limestone quarry. Further geological outings are planned for 2003 and those interested, including `beginners' are welcome to join us. David Leather WINTER WALKS As usual these have gone very well indeed with members enjoying walks at various venues, such as Otley Chevin where we admired the `Giant's Boot', and Fountains Abbey area where a group of us visited the ancient fortified manor house of Markenfield Hall where we were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the famous prize-winning Black Swans, as they glided in serene and stately fashion upon the placid waters of the moat. This year we ventured upon the moors above Ilkley, by Middleton, coming down the sylvan Nesfield Dean and passing the Calvary where Lorelei Fox drew our attention to some intriguing wood. We also found Bog Oak near Hammerthorn Gate on Barden fellside, and had a close encounter with a male Grouse, who was just as curious about us as we were about him. Also visited was Upper Nidderdale and the dramatic area around Angram and Scar House Reservoir, where 17
we ended up at Doug and Olwen's caravan for a well deserved tea and buns; my thanks to them for their generous hospitality. Finally I should like to mention the day well spent at St Ives, Bingley wondering around the estate, and later at Cliffe Castle with the taxidermist. I will not forget that wonderful Lepidoptera collection, and the `blonde badger'. Thanks then to the Addingham duo, Don and Les Barrett, and Harry Jevons for a really enjoyable and exceptional day. Chris Hartley SPRING HOLIDAY 2002 This year saw the reintroduction of the WNS residential excursion. Don and Lesley Barrett led a small group of us on a five day trip
to north Norfolk, staying in an excellent guest house in Wells-next-the-Sea and exploring the rich variety of wild life habitats nearby. We had a packed programme: The Wildflower Centre at Holt, Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, Holkham Bay Reserve, Titchwell RSPB Reserve, Blakeney Point (to see the large colony of grey and common seals) and Pensthorpe Wildfowl Park Nature Reserve and gardens. Norfolk in late spring is a beautiful place to be. As we travelled south we moved from mid spring into early summer oak trees in full leaf, mists of mauvey-blue Wisteria decorating the old houses, great banks of Alexanders in flower along the roadside and even roses in bloom. Even so, it was a little too early for the plants which are the specialities of the region, mainly those of salt-marsh, dunes and shingle beaches. We had to be satisfied with a few discoveries. Though it was too early for the full glory of their wildflower meadows, the Wildflower Centre at Holt proved very interesting indeed. It was set up to explore and exemplify ways of gardening and countryside management to encourage wildlife and provides a series of examples of approaches usable in small gardens as well as a marshy area, woodland walks and a trout stream complete with visiting otter. There are lots of activities for children including a soon-to-be-completed walk-in badger sett, a modest tea-room and a shop where you can also buy plants. As you can imagine, given the season and the wealth of bird reserves, we enjoyed some wonderful bird watching. The marsh harriers had returned and were establishing their territories and beginning nest building so we had perfect sightings of individuals and pairs displaying, hunting and `sky dancing'. All the local Song B
irds were in full voice and we were able to puzzle over the differences between blackcaps and garden warblers and sedge and reed warblers with varying degrees of success. In all we recorded 90 species during the week and, what was more important, had the chance to observe many of these over an extended period in excellent light. Pensthorpe with its beautifully displayed captive collection enabled us to reinforce what we'd learned on the Reserves. It was extraordinary to be only a few yards from nesting avocets and to see ruff, which we'd been watching the previous day in their ordinary plumage, now in their spectacular breeding dress, strutting and bowing, their great feather collars in brilliant white, ginger or black inflated to full stretch as they competed to attract the rather bored looking females. The memory which I shall treasure most from this action-packed week is also from Pensthorpe where, as well as the enclosures and display pens, there are also extensive grounds with woodland, lakes and ponds. Here, at about four in the afternoon in brilliant sunlight, we watched a barn owl hunting across some rough grassland at the edge of a wood. I'd forgotten how pale the barn owl's plumage is in flight. It looked like a huge white moth as it silently quartered the ground. What a treat! Apart from one showery day, we were blessed with dry, sunny weather for our stay. The accommodation was very comfortable, the village is provided with a whole range of eating places, the programme was rich and varied and the local wildlife was very co-operative. What more can one ask? Many thanks to Don, Les, and Heather Burrow who planned it all, to Don and Brian and Judy Webb who drove us safely and marshalled us tactfully and to all members of the group for making it such a delightful and harmonious experience! Jenny Dixon Norfolk Holiday Botany Unfortunately the trip was too early for us to see the special plants for which the area is famous. However, being coastal, its normal spring species differ from ours in Wharfedale and a few of these are mentioned below. On the open beach all that showed were tiny rosettes of leaves just poking through the sand, but further back in the shelter of the dunes the first flowers appeared small bright pink Thrift, white Sea Campion, Early Scurvy-grass with its shiny leaves and Sea Sandwort forming small hummocks of fleshy leaves and greenish- 18
yellow buds which eventually open to white. An unusual find was Corn Salad with its head of minute blue flowers, which reminded one of a miniature Forget-me-not. Behind the dunes were woods comprising chiefly Scots Pine but also surprisingly with many Holm Oak forming large bushes. This is a typical Mediterranean tree and must have been planted here the hot dry summers of East Anglia presumably suiting it. There were also many Wild Privet bushes still holding their black berries. Where the Scots Pine were thickest there were few plants but, when they thinned out amongst the Bluebells, there were patches of Spring Beauty, a dainty member of the Purslane Family, with its pair of fused leaves forming a circle immediately under the stalked cluster of white flowers. (To me the flower of the trip). We also saw Houndstongue with its maroon/brown flowers, Early Forgetme-not with its very small but piercingly blue flowers and White Bryony. Along the lanesides there were small amounts of Cow Parsley, but the most common umbellifer by far was the yellow flowered Alexanders with its handsome celery-like leaves. On the trip to Blakeney Point some different plants were found, the sands being covered with Shrubby Sea-bite two feet tall and Tree Lupins whose lemon-yellow flowers were just coming out. Underneath these were Sand Sedge and rather a surprise Polypody which at home we associate with damp walls and woods. This, however, was a different species which lives in sand dunes. Finally we found some lovely Yellow Horned Poppy, but of course leaves only at the time of our visit. Joyce Hartley SUMMER OUTING TO TEESDALE 6TH JULY 2002 For this year's Summer Outing we were indebted to our indefatigable President and Syllabus Secretary for their efforts in arranging and meticulously planning a visit to Teesdale. After a quick swoop up the A1 followed by a necessarily slower jaunt through the wilds of Balderdale, we arrived at Hannah's Meadow Nature Reserve which is adjacent to the bird-rich Blackton Reservoir. There can be few people living in the north of England who have not felt some sympathy for the gentle lady who led such a hard life on her bleak and lonely farm. Now, due to the acclaim she achieved through television, Hannah Hauxwell spends her retirement in the delightful village of Cotherstone and her muchrestored farm puzzled many of our members who had expected to see the ramshackle buildings of the original T.V. documentary. However, several members who had walked the Pennine Way some years ago assured us that this was indeed Birk Hat Farm where they had stopped to chat with Hannah. Miss Hauxwell's traditional management of her land using no chemicals or pesticides resulted in meadows found to contain no fewer than 23 of the 47 rare and characteristic plants listed by English Nature. Durham Wildlife Trust launched an appeal to purchase the meadows and, in January 1989, the site was designated a SSSI. Fortunately our visit was just before the hay was due to be cut so the botanists were able to identify many interesting species. The outing then continued on to Bowlees Visitor Centre which is also managed by Durham Wildlife Trust. After a picnic lunch there was a chance to see a splendid group of butterfly-orchids just near the car-park. Once again Don and Lesley had done some careful planning and after lunch we were offered a choice of three circular walks of 1, 2 or 4 miles. Most of the party elected to do the 4 mile "Old Road to High Force" and were rewarded with some stunning scenery and a variety of wildlife, including spotted flycatchers hunting from a woodland edge and a fine selection of orchids along the river-bank. Having regard to our advanced age, Eric and I decided to do the 2 mile "Newbiggin to Holwick Villages" walk which, in addition to leading us through woodland and meadows where colonies of butterflies captured our interest and delayed us for some time, also revealed the village of Holwick which prior to the 1974 re-organisation of county boundaries had the distinction of being the most northerly village in Yorkshire. Just beyond Holwick a welcome seat enabled us to look across with great interest to the whinstone cliffs of Holwick Scars and to Holwick Castles, a striking 19
geological feature. Crossing fields and squeezing through stiles that seem to get narrower year by year we
suddenly came upon Low Force which, photographically speaking, I thought to have greater possibilities than
the more famous High Force just along the river. From here it was but a short stroll back to the Visitor Centre
where, very soon, the main party returned having done their four mile trek in little over the time it had taken
us to do two.
Once again everyone had enjoyed the "Nats Outing" and, as usual, we are indebted to Ken Limb for dealing
with the coach arrangements and for providing the species list of birds and mammals below.
Species List Teesdale 6th July 2002
WINTER OUTING TO MARTIN MERE 16th NOVEMBER 2002 Once again our winter outing to the Wildlife and Wetlands Centre at Martin Mere near Ormskirk was a huge success. As in recent years it coincided with the Annual Bird Fair which ensured a fully booked coach, which in turn ensured a happy Treasurer. To our delight the weatherman got it wrong and, instead of the predicted showers and mist, we enjoyed bright skies with no rain, and at least two members were spotted eating their sandwiches outside a hide while basking in the hazy sunshine. With his usual attention to detail, our President distributed copies of the Talks Programme en route, so that, on arrival, we each had our own activities planned, be it heading for the several hides to observe in detail the numerous bird species wintering in these wetlands, or perhaps strolling through the various pens where birds we have previously encountered in much warmer conditions on the other side of the world seem to thrive. As usual around lunchtime we trotted round the various hides and, finding one some distance from the main building, decided to enjoy our sandwiches. As we settled down to eat, our appetite rapidly abated as a stoat was pointed out to us. It had just attacked a rabbit and the ensuing sanguinary activities did not enhance our egg sandwiches! By now it had become obvious that the Bird Fair was not as crowded as in previous years, an improvement from its being spread over three rather than two days, so we had no difficulty in getting into the various lectures. Our choice was Iolo Williams, and Chris Packham encouraging us to turn our back gardens into nature reserves. So much to see and do at Martin Mere a look round the shop and the various displays, and, of course, the book department and a welcome cuppa' in the tea-room for it can get very cold in the hides. All too soon the November dusk was descending and we were back in Beecroft's coach heading for home. Everyone we spoke to seemed to have enjoyed their day, the experts had a good list and we well, we did see that stoat!
Before closing this report I must express our thanks to Ken Limb, not only for organising the booking but
also for keeping and supplying the bird and mammal list below. How fortunate our Society is to have so many
dedicated people recording and sharing the knowledge they have accumulated over the years. I guess now a
lot of us are already anticipating Martin Mere 2003.
Hedge Accentor (Dunnock)
Black Headed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker Greenfinch
MICROSCOPE GROUP Numbers of both microscopes and participants have steadily increased during the year. 2002 began with a meeting on small mammals when Nevil Bowland brought owl pellets for dissection. These yielded a number of skulls, long bones and a seemingly disproportionate number of rib bones. With guidance, we distinguished not only between mice and shrew skulls (shrews have red-tipped teeth), but between common and pigmy shrew teeth patterns. In March the theme was minerals and fossils polarised light was used to look at rock structure
and then, guided by David Leather, we tried to replicate the way the earth was formed by growing crystals. After heating Methanol on a microscope slide, we watched with fascination as crystals formed "before our very eyes". John Cumberland brought an amazing number of wood samples for a "Looking at Timber" evening and explained identification by the microscopic structures in annual rings. Freshwater collected by John Hobson from garden ponds and Malham Fen provided algae, water boatmen and some hyperactive water fleas which tested operator coordination to keep them in view. Another chance to look at fungal spores gave hands-on experience of gill sectioning and practice with higher magnification to distinguish spores by colour and shape. This popular evening was led by Ann Bickley and Joan Powell who provided a range of fungi, charts and expertise. The year ended with a practical session led by Barry Nattrass who brought reagents for staining Nettle and Hawthorn leaves to reveal a skeleton of vein structure. Newcomers are always welcome to join in the fun the Society has a microscope which can be borrowed and there is a range of stereo and compound microscopes at most meetings. Thanks to John Hobson for his organisation and to all who have helped with the meetings. Heather Burrow
JUNIOR SECTION SCRAPBOOK FOR MRS. ANNE FIDLER 1970 In the early days of the Wharfedale Naturalists Society, there was a flourishing Junior Section which, for many years, was led by Mrs Anne Fidler. Many of our young naturalists went on to become scientists, conservationist, ornithologists or wild-life artists; some became quite well known! Several of them wrote to us on the occasion of the WNS Golden Anniversary to tell us about their lives after WNS and details were published in the Golden Curlew. When Anne and her husband retired and went to live in Scotland, the junior members compiled a beautiful scrapbook full of articles, poems and some fine illustrations. Mrs Fidler has generously presented this book to the Society. Members had an opportunity to see it at the Members' Evening last December and it will now be placed in the WNS archive currently held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service in Bradford. Jenny Dixon BOOK REVIEWS Wild Flower Walks of the Yorkshire Dales Southern Region (Waterfront, Watershed Mill, Settle, 2002), A5 landscape, 64pp, full colour illustrations. Two of our members, Amanda and Brin Best, have recently had published a paper back book containing details of ten walks, chosen with great care to give a wide selection of different habitats and the flowers they support. For each walk a clear description of the route is given, together with details of the flowers likely to be encountered on the way, and comments on any other special feature such, for example, about the landscape, history or folklore. This description is backed up by an excellent map and also a fact file indicating the distance involved all are less than 5Ѕ miles the conditions underfoot, the likely time needed so that the flowers can be fully enjoyed, and the recommended months to go to see them at their best. The walks section is followed by a section of photographs of the many flowers. The book is very well presented in full colour and is written in a style which makes it a pleasure to read. It will be an even greater pleasure to undertake the walks which include some of my favourite areas such as Langstrothdale and Langcliffe Scars. At Ј7.99 the price is reasonable and includes a donation to conservation activities in the region. Joyce Hartley A Guide to the Birds of the Washburn Valley by Peter Riley (Peregrine Books, 2002) A5, 80pp, black and white illustrations, Ј5.95. Peter Riley, currently Vice President of our Society, has been walking and birdwatching in the Washburn Valley for many years. Although ornithology is his main interest, he has grown to love the particular beauty and intimacy of the landscape of Washburndale which is very different from that of the larger Dales. This book is a celebration of both the Washburn and its bird population. The book contains sections on walking in the Washburn, habitats and sites for birdwatching. A large proportion of the book is given over to accounts of the species, several of which are beautifully illustrated by local artist and ornithologist, Mark Doveston. (This is one of his drawings on the left.) There are also one or two drawings by Brenda Parkin and a sketch-map by Derek Parkin. The publication is intended for both the novice and the experienced birdwatcher and ends with a checklist, and notes of where to send in your records. It certainly is as the sub-title confirms a comprehensive account of the birdlife of Washburndale and where and when it may be found. Peter's enthusiasm certainly comes through, `...for me the Washburn has nearly everything a committed birdwatcher could want in his/her local area
. It is not just the rarities that appeal much though I thrill to them like everyone else it is more the constant change and renewal as the seasons unfold and the birds respond, so that no two walks, no two months and no two years are ever the same.' David Leather Stop Press: David Leather's latest book, Collins Ramblers Guide YORKSHIRE DALES will be available in bookshops from 7th April 2003. 22
OBITUARIES Miss Marjorie Andrews was an early member of the WNS who rejoined in 1967, remaining a member until 1997 when she unfortunately had to resign for health reasons. After her retirement from the staff of Ilkley College she took up a challenging study of Caddisflies. She used her academic and scientific training to the full and set up a breeding system at her home, recording and making microscopic examinations of the insects at different stages of their Life History
. This was pioneering work for the Society and for herself. On WNS outings she could be seen searching in the streams, identifying different species of "caddis worms" and noting their habitats. Marjorie was modest about her achievements, but always kind and ready to explain her studies, showing specimens which she produced with the apparatus for viewing them at Members' Evenings. Many members will remember the fascinating and informative display she put on for our Golden Jubilee Open Day. In addition to being the WNS Recorder for Caddisflies, she worked closely with the YNU Entomological Section and the value of her investigations will be reported in a forthcoming YNU publication. It is members like Marjorie Andrews who set a good example of Natural History study and encourage others to do the same. Joan Duncan Mr J.A. Forder In the early days of the Society when members were starting from scratch to keep natural history records for our designated area, permission was sought to enter private land through the kindness of the owners. The local knowledge of a resident gamekeeper was a great help to the Society and, in acknowledgement, five of those in our area were invited to become Honarary Members of the WNS. Alf Forder was one of these, joining in 1953. His post was gamekeeper of the Farnley Estate near Otley and he lived at Lindley. Consequently he knew the Washburn reservoir area very well and, as a good observer, he made some useful records and gave helpful advice about walks. It was a special treat to be allowed to visit the secluded area of Farnley Lake with guidance from Alf. His contribution to the life and work of the Society is much appreciated. Joan Duncan Mrs E Wheatley Eva Wheatley (22.11. 1902 19.10 2001) who died in October 2001, a month short of her 99th birthday, was a regular attender at evening meetings of the Society until April 2001. As a member of the WNS since 1980, Eva Wheatley, mother of Cynthia Wheatley, (former Secretary of the Society) had a particular interest in wild flowers and the countryside in general, and was a stalwart follower of summer evening walks, climbing over awkward stiles with determination well into her 90s. Midge Leather We are also sorry to record the deaths during 2002 of the following long-standing members of the Society: Mrs J Scott, member from 1962 Mr Wilfred Whitehead, member since 1976 23
RECORDS FOR 2002
THE WEATHER IN 2002
General The weather in 2001 was average, the kind of weather we might have expected 20 or 30 years ago.
For 2002, however, the weather was more like what we have come to expect in the last decade, with
extremes of one kind and another or unusual patterns. It was indeed a very warm year, certainly the warmest
since the 1920s when my records begin and probably the warmest for many years before then. It was also
very wet. Only the year 2000 has been wetter since the 1920s. Nationally there was below average sunshine
and although I have no local records, my impression is that our experience was the same. There were
certainly prolonged periods of cloud, mist and gloom towards the end of the year.
Month by month in brief
Deviation from average
Temp | Rainfall
Below average rainfall but temperature much above average despite very co+l1d.5sCtart -17%
February Exceedingly warm and extraordinarily wet
Temperature much above average. Rainfall well below with very dry
spells at each end of the month
Temperature much above average. Very dry until very wet days at the end. +1.7C
May June July August
Warm with rainfall below average
Temperature and rainfall a little above average
A little cooler than average despite some hot spells. Extremely wet
A very warm month. Also very wet largely due to the heavy fall on one day +1.7C
-12% +10% +104% +43%
September October November December
Rather warmer than average and very dry Below average temperature. Rainfall much above average A warm month with only 3 dry days Just above average temperature. Well above average rainfall
+0.6C -1.1C +0.5C +0.1°C
-56% +69% +36% +33%
Temperature Only 2 months of the year were cooler than average so it is not surprising that the year as a whole was very warm. What is surprising perhaps is how much the very warm late winter and spring contributed to the picture of the year. It is also a little unusual that temperatures for August should overall be well above average when the average daytime maxima was lower. It was the night temperatures which made the difference. There were of course cold spells. Several days at the beginning of January were very cold with night lows of minus 10°C; July had some very cool spells particularly at the beginning of the month with a maximum of only 13°C on one day and October had a very cold spell in mid month with frosts on 3 successive nights and a daytime maximum of only 6°C on one day. There were however no extreme spells of deep cold and not many frosty nights. The latest spring frost was in mid April and the earliest autumn frost in mid October. Unusually there were no frosts in November. Most months had warm spells. Each of January and February had 7 days with maxima of 10°C or higher (up to 12°C in each month) but we had to wait till May for really hot days; 2 days reached 23°C in midmonth. There were no really prolonged hot spells, the warmest periods with maxima on consecutive days reaching 20°C or higher being periods of 7 days in mid July, 4 days at the end of June, 6 days in early August, 6 days in mid August and 4 days at the end of August. In all there were 45 days reaching 20°C or higher but only 3 topped 25°C. No monthly record was broken though April came very close to a record high last reached in 1960. Rainfall Our rainfall did produce a few records. February with its 222mm (8.74") surpassed all previous Februaries and just surpassed all previous single months since 1926 when my records begin. There were also several days with exceedingly heavy rainfall
including 7 with 25mm (approx 1") or more. The wettest day was the 1st of August with 58mm (2.28") but there was another period of 24 hours on the 20th and 21st of October which produced 48mm (nearly 2"). At the end of July there were prolonged electric storms. By far the driest period was from March 25 to April 24 a full month with 25 completely rain free days
and only 5.3mm (just over 1/4") total rainfall. There were also lengthy dry spells of 12 days at the beginning of May and 21 days up to the end of September with only 0.5mm (0.02") on the 25th. As we have come to expect in recent years, there was little snow, the heaviest falls being at the end of February. Farewell In writing this last report after 17 years of recording for the Society I again pay tribute to those members who have assisted when I was away, particularly Jenny Dixon and Heather Burrow in recent years. I must also thank a neighbour who for many years kept records during my absences. I hope my successors enjoy their task as I am sure they will. Having the facility for- computer processing at their disposal I am sure that the Society will benefit. I wish them well. John Ward
Average Monthly Temperatures
Monthly Rainfall Totals
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Charts of Ilkley's monthly rainfall and temperatures for 2002
BOTANY The year has produced prolific flowering of many species at different types of site over the area as a whole. In spring woods were described as having masses of flowers, in summer the upland grasslands were remarkably better than usual and, in damp areas particularly, the orchids were exceptional. Good flowering continued through September and even into early October. There were reports of good crops of Hazel nuts and Beech mast. Then the rain set in and, in many places, flowering just ceased. In the following report the Scientific name
is added the first time a species occurs. SPECIAL RECORDS Grass vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia) 2nd record, Burley Old Tip Field (FCD) Marsh Cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris) 3rd record, Grassington Mire (PPA) 4th record, new site at Fewston Reservoir (HJ) Hairy Stonecrop (Sedum villosum) 5th record, between Beckermonds and Low Greenfield (MHA) Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage (Chrysosplenium alternifolium) Bolton Abbey Railway (AT) Marsh Speedwell (Veronica scutellata) 1st record for 12 years, Grassington Mire (PPA) Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisifolia) North America
n alien, appeared again in the same Menston garden where it was found last year. In 2002 the largest plant reached 3ft 6ins. (AMG) FLOURISHING PLANTS THIS YEAR Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria) especially in Bolton Abbey Woods. In addition to the usual site near Barden Bridge, there were seen three new sites down the west bank (JP) (AMG), one on a Hazel stump, the other two on Sycamore and Beech. On the east Bank (JH) there were also three sites, two of them new. It was also seen in Ilkley, up a side stream near the Old Bridge (ED). Orchids Many species have occurred in profusion this year. Northern Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella) at High Greenfield and Buckden (AD&ML) Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) at High Greenfield (JP) and Skirethorns (AD&ML) Common Spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) Buckden (AD&ML), Otley Gravel Pits (A&NB) and Lindley Moor Plantation (AD&ML), (MHA), (AMG), (A&NB) including several var rhodochila. Autumn Gentian (Gentianella amarella) a very good year, 100s seen near Barras House path (JP&AB), above Kettlewell (HB), (PS), (AT), Yarnbury (MHA) and Bastow Wood, Grass Wood and Lea Green (AMG).
A suggestion has been made that this was due to lack of grazing last year. Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) on slopes near Starbotton "a mass of blue"(JP) and many of a pale form in Grass Wood (AMG). Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis) 100s in The Paddock, Burley (FCD) and edging the lakes at Otley Gravel Pits (JH). Broad-leaved Ragwort - Saracen's Woundwort (Senecio fluviatilis) at its classic site in Arncliffe was 6-7ft tall, the best it has been seen for several years (JH). Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem (Gagea lutea) flowered well at all its known sites particularly at Ilkley, presumably due to lack of grazing and the winter flooding of the Wharfe (HB), (AMG&JMC), (JH). BOTANY SECTION OUTINGS The weather on the outings deteriorated as the season progressed. For the first two the weather was beautiful, the next were satisfactory but the last was rained off at lunchtime. Otley Gravel Pits 16 May See separate section. Cray Gill Area 13 June The spring flowers were at their absolute best for this outing the roadsides of the B6160, the small side road leading to Stubbing Bridge, and the Gill itself were full of bloom. Over 150 species were seen many in profusion. One of the most prolific was Wood Crane's-bill (Geranium sylvaticum) which was seen throughout the walk. In the quarry at the start many small ferns lined the walls Brittle Bladder-fern (Cystopteris fragilis) and Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) with Woodsedge (Carex sylvatica) and Blue Moor-grass (Sesleria caerulea), Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium), Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) and the first of many Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula). Along the road were Twayblade (Listera ovata), Common Spotted-orchid, Primrose (Primula vulgaris), Betony (Stachys officinalis), Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum), Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) and a very large patch of Melancholy Thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum). Going down to the bridge, in addition we saw Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Water Avens (Geum rivale), Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus minor), Smooth Lady's-mantle (Alchemilla glabra) and Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). On the rocks and walls in the Gill were Hart's-tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium), Polypody (Polypodium vulgare), Rue-leaved Saxifrage (Saxifraga tridactylites) and, in a grassy hollow, Alpine Bistort (Persicaria vivipara) and Hairy Sedge (Carex hirta). A rocky outcrop carried Eyebright (Euphrasia agg.), Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum), Limestone Bedstraw (Galium sterneri), Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris) and Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria). Higher up on the open but very damp hillside Marsh Valerian (Valeriana dioica), Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa), Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris), Heath Wood-rush (Luzula multiflora), Large Bittercress (Cardamine amara), Star Sedge (Carex echinata), Long-stalked Yellowsedge (Carex viridula ssp brachyrrhyncha), Pyrenean Scurvygrass (Cochlearia pyrenaica) together with more orchids Northern Marsh (Dactylorhiza purpurella) and Common Spotted. By the farm was Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) and, at a tiny ford, Ragged-Robin (Lychnis floscuculi), again Northern Marsh Orchid and Good-King-Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus). Finally, on returning down the main road, the most unusual Geum hybrids were found (see separate note). Cat Crag Bolton Abbey June 20th This was the three yearly monitoring of the replantation area which we have carried out for the Estate since 1990. The flora of this originally marshy area had not altered significantly until this year's survey when the young planted trees had reached considerable size and were obviously taking up a large amount of water. The result was much drier ground dominated by coarse grasses and with only one small ditch. The number of species present had dropped by approximately 25%. A copy of our report and listing was sent to the Estate with the comment that from an appearance point of view the area looked quite attractive, the young trees blending well with the surrounding woodland. In reply the Estate said they aimed to establish dappled shade which hopefully would enable a woodland flora to become established. Future surveys will be interesting. 26
Semerwater July 11th Although Semerwater is outside our recording area, the Botany Section had an "away-day" to this YWT reserve in Wensleydale. After rain and puddles in Wharfedale we emerged into sunshine at Stalling Busk where we were met by Alan Bell, the warden of this SSSI. He produced maps and species lists and showed us around. At 810 feet above sea level this is a windswept valley with a mixture of habitats ranging from lake and mud shore through woodland to limestone grassland. We saw Yellow Water-lily (Nuphar lutea) on the lake and Bulrush (Typha latifolia) in the reedbed. Marshland species included Marsh Speedwell (Veronica scutellata), Marsh Arrowgrass (Triglochin palustris) and Thread-leaved Water Crow-foot (Ranunculus trichophyllus). Amongst the sedges we identified Greenribbed Sedge (Carex binervis) and Pale Sedge (Carex pallescens). Two ferns in the limestone flush were Brittle Bladder-fern and Green Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes-ramosum). On this site the Common Spotted-orchids varied widely in colour and form. Fewston Reservoir (West bank) August 1st Almost 100 species were recorded before heavy rain forced curtailment of the outing. Even though this area is very well worked, several entirely new species or species at different sites were seen. Both Marsh Cinquefoil (see special records) and Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) were found further north than before. Also seen were Smooth Sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), Rusty Willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia), Perforate St John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum), Downy Birch (Betula pubescens) and Crosswort (Cruciata laevipes). LOCAL SURVEYS Beckermonds westwards along the valley to Greenfield July 22nd (YNU Outing ) (PPA) (MHA) Quite a number of interesting species were found on this day outing. A selection is given: Mountain Everlasting (Antennaria dioica), Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Northern Marshorchid, Limestone Bedstraw, Fragrant Orchid, Hairy Stonecrop, Marsh Arrowgrass, Hairy Lady's-mantle (Alchemilla filicaulis ssp vestita), Tawny Sedge (Carex hostiana), Bottle Sedge (C. rostrata), Hairy Sedge, Pill Sedge (C. pilulifera), Common Rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium), Crested Hair-grass (Koeleria macrantha), Hard Shield-fern (Polystichum aculeatum), Small Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria), Fewflowered Spike-rush (Eleocharis quinqueflora), Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna), Common Marshbedstraw (Galium palustre), Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) and Water-cress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum). U.W.F.S. (CB) The Field Society surveyed in detail a very prolific small site at Meadow Croft, Skirethorns, recording over 60 species. A selection of some of the interesting species included Wood -sedge, Intermediate Lady's-mantle (Alchemilla xanthochlora), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Wood Crane's-bill, Wood Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica), Cowslip (Primula veris), Primrose and False Oxlip (Primula x polyantha), together with Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus), Yellow-rattle, Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor), Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), Marsh Valerian, Common Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and Slender Speedwell (Veronica filiformis). They have also recorded the Conservation Area at Kilnsey Park which produced a list of over 150 species, many of them uncommon e.g. Narrow-leaved Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza traunsteineri). We are informed that copies of the list are available for sale by the shop at the Fish Farm. Grass Wood (AMG) More plants of Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant) have been seen and, for the first time, one plant has fertile fronds. Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) continues to expand a dozen plants have been found in a new area. A white form of Common Dog-violet occurred at two locations and a white form of Autumn Gentian was also found. Orchids had varying success Southern Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa), first discovered two years ago, has six plants, five of which are flowering. Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) was eaten before it could flower. The population of Early-purple Orchid again included one white specimen but not at the same site as before. Common Spotted-orchid was present as was Broadleaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine). Unfortunately the best colony of Angular Solomon's-seal (Polygonatum odoratum) for the first time was infected with Solomon's-seal sawfly. Dale Head 30th May, 25th July We were asked by Roy Lingard, the Head Forester of the Bolton Abbey Estate, to survey this very large area on the western slopes of Barden Fell, where changes in land use are to take place. The Estate wished to know the ground flora to ensure any uncommon species would not be damaged. First to be carried out was a detailed survey of a specific limited area where grazing was to take place this autumn. The most prolific species in this area were Wood-sorrel (Oxalis acetosella); we had never previously seen such a large quantity in such a small area, Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), Heath Bedstraw 27
(Galium saxatile) and Heather (Calluna vulgaris). Particularly noted were Common Cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense) which is not common in our area. Climbing Corydalis (Ceratocapnos claviculata), Cuckooflower, Bluebell and Hairy Wood-rush (Luzula pilosa), again uncommon. In all, 52 species were recorded, the main grasses being Wavy Hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa), Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus) and Sweet Vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum). One Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) was seen. Certain sections of the whole very large area are to be surveyed in detail in future but this year we just recorded the species (over 100) seen as we traversed along the track of the pipeline. The species and their condition varied considerably between the northern and southern portions. In the former where grazing had taken place in the past Heather and Bilberry tended to be short whereas in the latter which had not been grazed they were over 2 feet tall and limited the growth of other species. Interesting species seen were Early Hairgrass (Aira praecox), Slender Parsley-piert (Aphanes inexpectata), Spring-sedge (Carex caryophyllea), Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium), New Zealand
Willowherb (Epilobium brunnescens), Field Wood-rush (Luzula campestris), Heath Woodrush (Luzula multiflora), Changing Forgetme-not (Myosotis discolor), Heath Milkwort (Polygala serpyllifolia), Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Common Figwort (Scrophularia nodosa), Blue Moor-grass and Bog Stitchwort (Stellaria uliginosa). There was also a wide selection of ferns, Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina), Hard Fern, Scaly Male-fern (Dryopteris affinis), Broad Buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata), Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) and Lemon-scented Fern (Oreopteris limbosperma). Storiths and Wharfe Valley at Bolton Abbey 9th May (JH) This was officially a geology outing but as usual produced many (almost 100) flower records. The hill at Storiths was literally covered with Bilberry in full flower, and going down to Pickles Gill Ford, Cuckooflower and Spring-sedge were seen. Going up river there were found Cowslip, Primrose, Marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris), Slender Speedwell, Moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina), Bitter-vetch (Lathyrus linifolius var. montanus), Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Woodruff (Galium odoratum) and Hard Shield-fern. On the limestone outcrop on the east bank up river from Cavendish Bridge was an entirely different group of plants: Mouse-ear Hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum), Intermediate Lady's-mantle, Greater Plantain (Plantago major), Wild Strawberry, Blue Moor-grass, Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca), Wild Thyme (Thymus polytrichus) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Bolton Abbey Railway (AT) We visited this site in early spring, 18th April, when the wooded areas were a delight:- primroses and violets made a colourful start to the season. The early visit produced a number of first records for the site such as Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa), False Fox-sedge (Carex otrubae), both Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage and Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Marsh Marigold and Plicate Sweetgrass (Glyceria notata). When visiting in June we were accompanied by Pete Walker (Conservationist) who showed us Viper'sbugloss (Echium vulgare) growing at the trackside, an unusual record. Others probably overlooked on previous occasions were Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) and Rough Meadow-grass (Poa trivialis). A total of 13 new records added to a species list of over 250, kept up to date by Anne Tupholme. Middleton Hospital Site (AMG & JMC) (ML) In view of further threat of development, a quick check was made of the present position. Unfortunately, although there are still some reasonable populations particularly of Devil's-bit Scabious and Common Spotted-orchid, the site has deteriorated over the last four years, Thistles, Ragwort and Birch are taking over. Nevertheless, two new species were found, Fox-and-cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) and Primrose. Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits (LD) (MHA) (JH) After numerous visits last year there are only a few records this year. An early visit revealed a group of Cowslips in the central area where there had only been one last year. There were many Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) rosettes but few Evening Primrose (Oenothera glazioviana) which appears to be declining. Later visits found four Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera) some of which had been snapped off. Burley Old Tip Field (FCD) The area has become overgrown due to lack of attention by the Authority. Rough grass needs cutting and very invasive Alders need chopping down. It is hoped that efforts by local people organised by Peter Riley will help to remedy the situation in 2003. There have been some interesting new records this year: Grass Vetchling several plants flowered (this is only our second record, the other being at BRGP), Common Bistort (Persicaria bistorta), Fox-andcubs, Hairy Tare (Vicia hirsuta), Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum), Fairy Flax and a hybrid Cowslip. Another group of Italian Lords-and- Ladies (Arum italicum pictum) appeared. One small 28
Beech Fern (Phegopteris connectilis) was found the first since the tip was restructured some years ago. Prior to that there were quite a number of ferns in the area and it is hoped that they are now beginning to reappear. A close watch will be kept in the coming year. Large Bitter-cress has spread down one stream and, together with Wood Stitchwort (Stellaria nemorum), made a picture early in the year. Burley River Bank (DS) A check of the area revealed several interesting plants, some not common in the lower valley. There were found Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Yellow-rattle, Dames-violet (Hesperis matronalis), Cowslip, Marsh-marigold, Common Figwort, Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis) and Wild Carrot (Daucus carota). This last probably spread from the nearby roundabout where many were brought in with reconstruction work. Otley Gravel Pits and adjoining Riverside (JH) Several visits were made mostly early in the year. Many parts of the area are still "raw". In the early stages of development the variety of species is small, but the numbers of each very large. In March areas were yellow with Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), whilst in April the lakes were edged with hundreds of Cuckooflower and Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense). In July a large population of Common Spotted-orchid was discovered in a wet area. New species found this year were:- Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) garden escape, Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), Sticky Mouse-ear (Cerastium glomeratum), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris), Goat Willow (Salix caprea), Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), Slender Speedwell, Narrowleaved Vetch (Vicia sativa ssp. nigra) and one Bee Orchid. The adjoining riverside is much more mature and has a good diverse flora. New species seen this year were:Few-flowered Leek (Allium paradoxum), Sand Leek (Allium scorodoprasum), Wood Anemone, Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica), Bluebell, Honesty (Lunaria annua), Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis), Wood Forget-me-not, Solomon's-seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) and four Speedwell (Veronica) Wall (arvense), Germander (chamaedrys), Ivy-leaved (hederifolia) and Wood (montana). Menwith Hill (path through the corner of the American base) (AD&ML) Orchids are still flourishing with Southern Marsh-orchid, Common Twayblade, numerous Common Spotted-orchid in variety including one pure white and two beautiful specimens of var. rhodochila. Ragged Robin was in profusion again including a white specimen.
VERY UNUSUAL FORMS OF GEUM Water Avens and Wood Avens are noted not only for hybridizing, but also for producing unusual forms such as flowers with double petals or with a mixture of petals and leaves. This year two particularly unusual forms were seen on the roadside below Cray. 1. A Hybrid mostly Water Avens with petals, sepals and leaves all a lime-green colour, which contrasted with the surrounding vegetation. 2. Another as (1) but with pale yellow petals.
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS in order from Rougemont up the dale
Blue-sow-thistle (Cicerbita macrophylla)
Pool, north bank below bridge (A&NB)
Hemlock Water-dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) Lindley north of fish farm (JMC&AMG)
Moschatel Town-hall Clock
Path to Lindley Reservoir (S&JW)
Betony white form
Near reservoir bridge, Norwood Edge (HB)
Common Bistort (Persicaria bistorta)
Askwith Moor Road, Bankfoot (MHA)
Swinsty Reservoir, east bank (MHA)
Wood-sorrel pink form
Near Swinsty Hall (A&NB)
Swinsty Reservoir, below the dam (OM)
Swinsty Reservoir, below the dam (OM)
Fewston Reservoir, many more than usual (S&JW)
Burley Weir, north bank abundant (A&NB)
Burley Weir, north bank abundant (A&NB)
Grey Field-speedwell (Veronica polita)
Burley, Stirling Road (FCD)
Ilkley, Denton Road (HB) (MHA)
Broad-leaved Helleborine Fringe-cups (Tellima grandiflora) Early Dog-violet (Viola reichenbachiana) Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans) Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) Black Bryony (Tamus communis) Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata) Crosswort (Cruciata laevipes) Common Bistort Moschatel Town-hall Clock Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) Climbing Corydalis Cowslip Ragged-Robin Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) Lemon-scented Fern Bog Asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum) Heath Milkwort Ivy-leaved Crowfoot (Ranunculus hederaceus) Marsh Arrowgrass Sweet Violet (Viola odorata) Mountain Pansy (Viola lutea) Common Rockrose Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) Slender Speedwell Coppery Monkeyflower (Mimulus x burnetii) Melancholy Thistle Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris) Bird's-eye Primrose Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) Ragged-Robin Early-purple Orchid Bird's-eye Primrose Butterwort
Over 20 in Ben Rhydding garden, but ones at the
approach to the Moor were stunted (AB)
Ilkley, north bank above Old Bridge (MHA)
Ilkley, north bank above Old Bridge (RH)
Ilkley, Old Bridge, flowering 29th Nov. (MHA)
Black Foss Waterfall, near Nesfield (AD&ML)
Addingham, Cocking Lane (MHA)
Addingham, Old Vicarage grounds (HB)
Addingham, Old Vicarage grounds (HB)
Bolton Abbey, below Cavendish Bridge (MHA)
Bolton Abbey Woods, near WNS tree (S&JW)
Bolton Abbey, opposite Cavendish (HB)
Path to Lower Barden Reservoir (P&KL)
Field near Linton Church car park (JP)
Grimwith Reservoir (S&JW)
Grassington Mire (PPA)
Grassington Mire (PPA)
Grassington Mire (PPA)
Grassington Mire (PPA)
Grassington Mire (PPA)
Grassington Mire (PPA)
Skirethorns, Wood Nook Lane (AMG)
Bastow Wood, flowering from 23 April to 3 Sept. (AMG)
Bastow Wood, still in flower 19th Oct (AMG)
Grassington, Gaistrills (MHA)
Upstream from Hawkswick Bridge (AMG)
Nether Haselden, flourishing at its classic site (PL)
Opposite side of river to Halton Gill (AMG)
Kettlewell fellside above Dowber Gill Beck mid Sept.
(HB) (PS) (AT)
High Greenfield (AD&ML)
Between High and Low Greenfield (S&JW)
Records were received from the following:-
P P Abbott (YNU Recorder) J M Clapham
M H Atkinson
A D&M Leather
F C Draper
H M Burrow
A M Gramshaw
Thanks are given to all, but especially to Heather Burrow who has entered up all the records this year and
has also helped to frame this report, due to my eyesight difficulties. (JH)
Joyce Hartley and Joan Duncan
After the closure in 2001 of much of the valley due to Foot and Mouth Disease, it was good to get back to the usual sites, but the very dry period coincided with the main fungus season, which led to some frustrating forays. When most of the arranged forays were over, the rain came and fungi flourished to a degree. Some species, however, are reluctant to fruit unless conditions are suitable at a particular time. 2002 was not, therefore, a memorable season.
Records of Pink Waxcap, Hygrocybe calyptriformis were submitted for the countrywide Pink Waxcap
survey. This was one of our chosen target species. It is now found to be not so uncommon, as we commented
some years ago. It was recorded (JP) at Barras (Bare House) and Bastow Wood in Upper Wharfedale, in
Guiseley Cemetery (N&AB) just outside our area and in the recorder's Menston garden.
Records of Blackening Waxcap, Hygrocybe conica and Parrot
Waxcap, Hygrocybe psittacina, the other two requested in the
survey, were added. No records came in for the other WNS
target species, Helvella crispa.
Four waxcaps, including Hygrocybe punicea and H. pratensis,
and Clavulinopsis fusiformis were found near Barras.
A puzzle from Bastow Wood from two years ago may have
been solved with the recent identification of Tricholoma
sulphureum var. hemisulphureum, smaller and not yellow like
the common T. sulphureum. Joan Powell refound it this season
(12 Oct). Lactarius evosmus was also present in quantity (3
Sept) and it is now suggested that these fungi have a
mycorrhizal association with Common Rockrose as in similar
alpine habitats. Bastow Wood once again is shown to be an
exceptionally interesting site.
New sites visited were Scargill Wood and Ilkley's Darwin
Gardens. In the first, two Grass Wood common species,
Lactarius deterrimus and Russula queletii, were found close to
the highest boundary of the woodland. Skeletocutis amorpha on
a conifer log, seen more regularly recently, was also present and
lower down, a bright orange milkcap, Lactarius volemus. At the Darwin Gardens in November, there were still five kinds of
waxcap in good condition and Wood Blewit, Lepista nuda. Both
sites need to be followed up in 2003.
A list of 45 species was the result of a Mid-Yorks Fungus Group/WNS foray round Swinsty Reservoir in
early September. Two boletes, Xerocomus pruinatus and X. porosporus, and Abortiporus biennis on a stump,
were records of interest. Work by Yorkshire Water made visits to the Washburn valley more adventurous!
Extra Forays (Joan Powell) This year it was decided to hold, in addition to the annual joint foray with
Harrogate Naturalists, two mid-week fungus forays. On September 25th we made the first fungus survey of Otley Gravel Pits. Thirteen species were found, not a
large list but a good start. With so many alders present we expected and found Naucoria escharoides and with
birches, some particularly fine specimens of Lactarius pubescens. An unusual Agaricus sp. has been dried
and awaits full identification by an expert. The twenty Hygrocybe conica found on the island have been
included in the national waxcap survey for 2002. Bastow Wood was the venue for the second outing on October 29th. We had hoped to find a good selection
of waxcaps. In the event, despite a diligent search in the pouring rain, we managed to find eleven different
species but no waxcaps!
Foray with Harrogate and District Naturalists Society joint and WNS The joint foray in the Nidd Gorge was, of course, held at the Harrogate Society's site. In a dry part of the season, a remarkable list of 75 species was produced. Two were particularly notable, Galerina nana and Postia floriformis. Tom Hering wrote that the first had only three previous Yorkshire records and the second is `a very uncommon fungus'. Three forms of Honey Fungus were found: Armillaria gallica, A. mellea and A. ostoyae. To find Tubaria dispersa on buried hawthorn berries, it was only necessary to look in the car park. A WNS member found the tiny Rutstroemia luteovirens on dead sycamore leaf stalks. For the second time, a joint foray proved that a visit to the Nidd Gorge is always worthwhile. Contributors were: M. Atkinson, N&A Bowland, J M Clapham, D. Howson, and J. Powell. My thanks again to Dr & Mrs P Andrews and Dr T Hering for help in identification and to Mrs Joan Powell for organising the extra events and making lists for Swinsty Reservoir, Otley Gravel Pits and Bastow Wood. My apologies for any omissions. Audrey Gramshaw
AMPHIBIANS CAUDATA tailed amphibians Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus No records. Palmate Newt Triturus helveticus First seen early February, by March over 50 in Burley pool with newtlets from last year with gills also reported from Barden. Smooth Newt Triturus vulgaris First back in Burley pool early February. One found under a log Otley Gravel Pits. Alpine Newt Triturus alpestris One in Burley pond early February by early April 28 counted, one was seen late July with large tadpoles that were to big for it to eat. There seems to be an influx of Alpine Newts in the Sterling Road area. ANURA tail-less amphibians Common Toad Bufo bufo. A very slow toad was seen at Otley Gravel Pits 20/01/02.The first spawn was seen in the Washburn 09/03/02. By late March many mating toads at Otley Gravel Pits and the damn below Thruscross. Early April pairs at Barden, Timble Ings and Ben Rhydding. Last sighting 20/10/02.at Otley Gravel Pits. Common Frog Rana temporaria Mid January one found dead in Menston garden. 11/02/02.one in Burley pool. On 07/03/02.a large area of spawn 1 metre by 3 metres at Otley Gravel Pits Many reports of frogs and spawn throughout W.N.S. recording area. Small frogs all over Burley garden, and dam below Thruscross in late July. REPTILES SQUAMATA scaly reptiles Adder Vipera berus 1 Cast skin 12/02/02. 5 Adults out of hibernation and 2 young from last year at Hoodstorth. Also 6 at Harden Gill on the same day 26/03/02. Mid April 4 females at Hoodstorth. Last one seen Little Almscliff 15/09/02.A report in the Ilkley Gazette of a dog bitten by an Adder 15/09/02. (See article). Slow Worm Anguis fragilis 25/04/02.Two seen near Lindley Wood. Another found dead at Bolton Abbey, and 1 in Grass Wood mid October. Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara Two sightings, 5 in Lindley Wood 04/04/02, and 1 Lower Lanshaw Burley Woodhead 26/05/02. MAMMALS INSECTIVORES insect-eaters. Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus Reports from many W.N.S. areas, up to 4 in one Otley garden. Many killed on roads. The last report 1 dead on road Nesfield. Late November. Mole Talpa europaeus Mole Hills widespread in recording area. 2 Moles in dispute at Barden 21/04/02.Another two sightings, one at Timble Ings, the other in an Otley Garden. Common Shrew Sorex araneus Seen regularly in an Addingham garden.4 have been Trapped at Otley Gravel Pits this year. Water Shrew Neomys fodiens One frequents a stream in an Addingham garden. Another was seen at Otley Gravel Pits although so far we have been unable to catch one in a Longworth trap. CHIROPTERA bats Whiskered Bat Myotis mystacinus From mid July to the end of September, all reports from upper Wharfedale. The highest catch was two. 32
Brandt's Bat Myotis brandti Again all reports from upper Wharfedale between mid July to the end of September. The most caught in one night was 4. Natterer's Bat Myotis nattereri All the reports from upper Wharfedale between June and late October. The most caught in one night was 6. Daubentons Bat Myotis daubentoni 46 Reports from Paula Senior, who is doing a PhD on Daubentons. The most she caught on several nights was 14. All from upper Wharfedale.
Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus Seen flying over Otley and the Gravel Pits, as well as up the Dale. Between March and November. Long-eared Bat Plecotus auritus A mummified Long-eared Bat was given to me from Bare Rhydding Cottage.70 Years ago Bob Draper lived there, and the Long-eareds were in residence then. Other reports from Otley and the upper Dale, April to November.
LAGOMORPHA rabbits and hares Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Black Rabbits sighted at Blubberhouses, Middleton Woods, Addingham Moorside and Otley Gravel Pits. Reports of myxomatosis from several areas. Rabbits are numerous in W.N.S. recording area. Brown Hare Lepus capensis Many records from all WNS areas. A leveret was spotted on Addingham Moorside. The highest counts at Knotford Nook 6 and South of Lindley Hall 8. Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis Again plentiful in our area. The most seen at one time was 4 in an Otley garden. Bank Vole Clethrionomys glariolus Often seen in gardens at Addingham, Menston and Burley, eating bird food. 3 trapped at Otley Gravel Pits. Field Vole Microtus agrestis 4 Eating nuts at Addingham, also seen in the Old Tip Field Burley.2 Found dead at Buckden and How gill. Water Vole Arvicola terrestris One swam in pond Timble Ings. The only sighting for many years. Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus Bird food seems to be a favourite food in Addingham, Burley, Ilkley and Menston gardens. 8 caught in Longworth traps Otley Gravel Pits. Common Rat Rattus norvegicus 1 Dead on roadside Blubberhouses. CARNIVORES flesh-eaters Fox Vulpes vulpes Seen most often early morning in Ilkley and Ben Rhydding by milkman. Also signs and sightings Burley,
Hawksworth Moor, Burley Woodhead and Timble Ings. 1 Found dead roadside Cringles. Stoat Mustela erminea 1 In Ermine at Barden. Another partially white Snowden Moor. Many reports from W.N.S. area.3 sightings of pairs chasing at Barden, Timble and Highfield House, late July early August.1 seen and heard killing a rabbit at Barden. Weasel Mustela nivalis 7 Reports in all.1 seen catching a vole at Timble Ings. Another watched stalking a moorhen Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits and a third carrying food near Barden Polecat Ferret Mustela furo 1 Drowned in sheep dip pit at Kettlewell American Mink Mustela vison Prints and scats seen on banks of river Wharfe at Burley, Otley and Burley weir .Sightings from Addingham, Knotford and Otley Gravel Pits (2). Badger Meles meles 5 Road kills from Huby, Beamsley, Addingham and the Washburn. Most sets monitored and active. The best sighting this year 3 adults and 1 cub. A report of one set being dug in the Washburn. Otter Lutra lutra Spraints seen Otley Gravel Pits and an Otter sighted swimming in the conservation lake.03/12/02.
ARTIODACTYLA even-toed ungulates Red Deer Cervus elaphus Tracks in Timble Ings. A female seen on Barden Moor by P. Proctor doing his BTO survey. Sika Deer Cervus nippon No records. Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus 22 Sightings this year which shows how widespread Roe Deer are in the area. Many pairs seen. Two bucks and a doe at Timble, a doe and kid in Kex Gill and 3 at Beckermonds. Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak 2 reported from Stainburn Forest by keeper.
CONTRIBUTORS: M&D. Atkinson, N&A Bowland, D&H Burrow, P J Carlton, C Chandler, J M Clapham, L Dewdney, J Dixon, M Dovestone, F C Draper, D Eldridge, L Fox, C Hartley, S Jay, A Jowett, D&M Leather, P&K Limb, S Radcliffe, P Riley, D L Robinson, C Sayce, P Senior, H Southern, J Storey.
Thanks to all contributors .The best report yet!
From the Ilkley Gazette Thursday 14/11/02. WARNING AS SNAKE BITES DOG. Vet Andy Macgregor said "This is the first snake bite case we have seen and we had to carry out a blood analysis to find out what it was, because to begin with we weren't sure what was going on. Adders usually start hibernating from September or October but we have had some warm weather and maybe he disturbed this one. Britain's only poisonous snake, the common adder is a shy creature which tries to avoid humans and is rarely seen." Quoting from "The Ilkley Moor Survey 1960" Walter Flesher the gamekeeper of the moor for many years says:" Common Lizards are quite plentiful but reptiles are rare. During a ten year period 1920-1930.I saw Grass snakes from time to time, and on rare occasions an Adder. These days a very occasional Grass Snake is reported, but never an Adder. I have been recorder since 1984 and the first report of any Adders was in 1983 from Timble. It would be GREAT to get a report of Adders from Ilkley Moor, they must be there!! Even better a sighting of a Grass Snake. Nevil Bowland.
This year butterflies were seen from February to November, the season starting strongly with many sightings in March and April, but petering out in October. Overall some 1400 sightings were reported, well up on the last two years, thanks to the efforts of many observers. All resident species were noted, and the situation of most gave no cause for concern, with the possible exception of the Wall Brown. A highlight was the report of an `almost certain' sighting of that rare migrant the Camberwell Beauty (the first since 1995?), considered to be `highly likely' by our vice-county Butterfly Conservation recorder. Following the first confirmed sighting last year, more Purple Hairstreaks were recorded in a number of areas in the Wharfe and Washburn valleys. White-letter Hairstreaks were seen in two places, one of which was the original Burley site, but not on the Ilkley site found last year. There were three records of Speckled Woods, including a pair of insects seen near Grass Wood, and there were also two sightings reported nearby from the Aire valley. Eighteen species of butterflies were recorded around Grassington and many `new' colonies found, thanks to hard work by observers including members of the Upper Wharfedale Field Society, and the impetus provided by Dr. Sam Ellis' study of dales Northern Brown Argus.
1526 SMALL SKIPPER
Another good year. Many more sightings and sites around Ilkley, Burley, Otley, Fewston, Timble,
Thruscross, and the Stainburn Moor/Lindley Moor Wood complex (SLM). Several sites were found in the
Recorded first on 2nd July in Burley Old Tip Field (OTF), and last on 2nd September at Otley Gravel Pits
(OGP). Peak counts were 200 on 27th July near Timble, 171 in Ilkley on the Middleton Hospital site
(MHS) on 28th July and 92 at SLM on 29th July. There were counts of 20-30 on four other sites including
Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits (BRGP) and OTF.
NB All records from SLM include the lane verges towards Little Almscliff.
1531 LARGE SKIPPER
Like its close relative, had a really good year, with many more sightings and sites. There were sightings
around Grimwith, Barden, Bolton Abbey, Ilkley, Burley, Otley, Timble, Menwith Hill and SLM. Several
sites were found in the Grassington area, where the peak count was 7 on 18th July.
First seen on 5th June at the BRGP, last seen on 8th August at SLM. Counts were low on most sites.
However at SLM a maximum of 200 was seen on 22nd June, near Timble 20 were seen on 7th July, and 11
were seen on the 24th June at the Middleton Hospital site. The peak count of 200 is remarkably large for
Yorkshire colonies of this insect.
1545 CLOUDED YELLOW Colias croceus
No reports this year.
1546 BRIMSTONE Gonepteryx rhamni
Many observers reported this wide-ranging butterfly, and there were a number of early sightings. The dates
range from 16th March in Ilkley at the Middleton Wood edge, to 11th September in Burley. Other sightings
were at Addingham, Lindley Wood dam, and Lower Grass Wood. The peak count was 2.
Five of the reports were of females, No larvae were seen on the Burley (OTF) buckthorns.
It is looking increasingly likely that the Brimstone is now resident in the district.
1549 LARGE WHITE Pieris brassicae
Many more sightings, usually of low numbers, from Grassington, Bolton Abbey, Addingham, Ilkley,
Burley, Menston, Otley, Lindley, Norwood Edge, Folly Hall Wood, Thruscross, and SLM. Satisfactory
status. The first was on 18th April in Burley, the last on 29th September in Addingham, and the most was 15
on 21st July in a large Ben Rhydding garden.
1550 SMALL WHITE Pieris rapae Many more sightings throughout the area sightings throughout the area up to Kilnsey. Satisfactory status. The first was on 3rd April at Otley, and the last was on 1st November in a Burley porch. The peak counts were 20 on 3rd August at OGP, and on 19th August near Timble. On other sites there were only two counts of more than 6. 1551 GREEN-VEINED WHITE Pieris napi Many sightings throughout the area up to Conistone. Satisfactory status, once again the most commonly recorded of the `Whites'. The first seen was on 16th April at Middleton Wood. The last noted was on 26th September in Burley. The largest count was of 50, on 19th August near Timble. There were seven other counts over 10. 1553 ORANGE TIP Anthocharis cardamines Many more sightings up to Grassington, and improved numbers. First seen on 15th April in Ilkley, at Middleton and at Strid Woods, last seen on 22nd June at Burley. The highest counts were 16 at Nesfield and 15 at Middleton Wood, both on 5th May. There were seven other counts of 5 or more. LYCAENIDAE 1555 GREEN HAIRSTREAK Callophrys rubi Seems to have quite a good year, with the number of sightings and sites back to pre foot-and-mouth days. The first record was of 3 on 16th April at Otley Chevin, the peak count was 87 on 25th April at Coldstone Beck, Burley Moor, and the last seen was a worn specimen on 17th June at Bastow Wood. 1557 PURPLE HAIRSTREAK Neozephyrus quercus Insects were reported from eight sites, two of which were in the Washburn. Two females were seen on the ground, one in each valley. Otherwise insects were seen high on oak trees, a feat that required considerable patience, the right conditions and above all, luck. For much of the time they did not fly. First seen on 30th July at two Washburn sites, last on 16th August in Ilkley at the Middleton Hospital site. The largest count was 20 at the latter site on 14th August, and 6 were counted on 30th July near Folly Hall Farm in the Washburn. 1558 WHITE-LETTER HAIRSTREAK Satyrium w-album Two insects were recorded on 3rd August on elms along Ilkley Road, Addingham at the usual site. At the original site on the Old Tip field, Burley, insects were found in two locations on dates ranging from 11th July to 12th August. The largest number was found there, 3 on 5th August. None were found this year at BRGP despite several visits. 1561 SMALL COPPER Lycaena phlaeas Still probably under-recorded, but the status of this supposedly common insect is unclear. Recorded at Parceval Hall, Barden, Addingham, Ilkley, Timble, Blubberhouses Moor, near Thruscross and Hoodstorth allotment. More first-generation (April-June) records, five this year, the first on 19th May at Barden, and a peak number of 6 at Timble Ings on 6th June. The best second-generation record was 20 on 1st September on a walk from Kex Ghyll to Blubberhouses, and the next best was on 26th August, 15 insects on Barden Moor. The last record was on 23rd September at BRGP. 1573 NORTHERN BROWN ARGUS Aricia artaxerxes A major effort has been made this year to locate all colonies in Wharfedale and advise on their conservation. Dr. Sam Ellis, who joined members of the WNS on our walk to the Bastow Wood site, has assessed all known sites and is due to report shortly the results of his survey. Our first sighting was at Skirethorns, now regarded as part of the Threshfield Quarry complex of sites, 1 insect on 15th June, and the last reported was by the UWFS, 4 at Lea Green in the Bastow Wood area on 26th July, where the maximum count of 35 occurred on 23rd June. The other sites where we found butterflies were Haw Hill Quarry, Cross Wood, and the area between Long Ashes and Threshfield Quarry . 1574 COMMON BLUE Polyommatus icarus Many more sightings this year, more observers finding more sites. Recorded throughout Wharfedale from Otley to High Greenfield. Several sites in Washburndale, and good counts from Duck Street Quarry, Greenhow. First recorded on 12th June in Ilkley (MHS). Again a late last record from there on 4th October, where there had been peak counts, first generation 13 and second generation 16. No other site showed clearly two generations. The maximum count was 200 by Mike Barnham at Duck Street Quarry, the next best 30 at Lea Green near Grassington. Several reports of singletons in Burley (OTF), but no reports from BRGP. 36
1580 HOLLY BLUE Celastrina argiolus. Much commoner this year, being seen in Addingham, Ilkley, Burley, Menston and Otley. The first sighting was on 18th April in Ben Rhydding, the last on 26th September in Burley. Most records were of singletons, but there was a peak count of 7 in Ben Rhydding on 12th August. NYMPHALIDAE 1590 RED ADMIRAL Vanessa atalanta Like last year this was not one of the better years for the Red Admiral. A large number of sightings, but only two in double figures. Insects were seen in both dales, as far as Litton and Thruscross respectively. The first sighting was early, on 25th March in Ilkley town centre, the last on 9th October in Grassington. The peak count was 17 on 4th and 15th August in Grassington. 1591 PAINTED LADY Vanessa cardui A reasonable number of sightings from Litton, around Grassington, Barden, Addingham, Ilkley, Burley, Menston, Otley, Fewston and Greenhow. The first sighting was on 11th June in Ben Rhydding, the last on 6th October at Menston. The peak count was 6 on 4th August in Grassington. 1593 SMALL TORTOISESHELL Aglais urticae A much larger number of sightings than usual, seen in very many places, but no large numbers reported. First seen on 13th March at Otley (OGP), the last on 6th October in Ben Rhydding. A maximum count of 17 on 4th April near the chain footbridge in Ilkley. 1596 CAMBERWELL BEAUTY Nymphalis antiopa On the 3rd September at Otley Gravel Pits a `dark butterfly with a white margin to the wings' was seen in flight. The observer, David Alred, is familiar with the Camberwell Beauty from visits to the USA, and these impressions accorded with his sighting. This was accepted, as subsequent investigations revealed a scattering of similar records around the North of England this autumn. There have been a few records previously from our area. 1597 PEACOCK Inachis io One of the most commonly reported butterflies; and this year there are many more records. First seen on 14th February at Manor Rise, Ben Rhydding. The last was on 31st October at Menston, although on 15th November there was one in an open Burley greenhouse. The largest count was disappointing, 48 on 22nd August in Ilkley (MHS). The largest first generation counts were 8 on 5th May at Nesfield, and on 16th May below Barden Bridge. 1598 COMMA Polygonia c-album Many sightings in Wharfedale from Otley to Strid Woods, others around Grassington, including one at Kilnsey. Several reports from Washburndale. The first butterfly was seen flying on 8th March at Ben Rhydding, the last on 26th October at the Middleton Hospital site. The largest number seen in the first generation was 3 at Hudson's Wood, Ilkley on 27th March. There was a gap of over two months between the generations, then the peak number of 10 was seen near Timble on 19th August. The golden hutchinsoni variety was again noted. SATYRIDAE 1614 SPECKLED WOOD Pararge aegeria For the first time we had three records this year. This included two butterflies seen at the edge of Grass Wood and alighting on grasses on 14th September. The other sightings were at Otley Chevin and at Fewston. 1615 WALL Lasiommata megera An increase in recording activity is not bringing an increase in sightings. This causes some concern, as this butterfly has seen a collapse in numbers in parts of the South of England. A scattering of records from Ilkley, Burley, Menston, Otley, Timble, Fewston, SLM, Lindley, Kex Ghyll and Thruscross. The first on 5th May at Burley OTF, the last 10 on 3rd September near Timble. The highest count was 30 on 20th August at Otley OGP. 1625 GATEKEEPER Pyronia tithonus Still seems to be spreading, with records up to Appletreewick in Wharfedale. Mainly seen in Burley, Otley, and several sites in Washburndale including Timble Ings, Folly Hall and Thruscross, with one at Greenhow. The Gatekeeper has one generation a year, first seen on 8th July at the OTF, last on 1st September at the same site. This colony is doing well, with a maximum of 35 on 5th August. 30 were recorded at OGP on 14th July. Along the forest track at SLM a maximum of 200 recorded on 8th August. 37
1626 MEADOW BROWN Maniola jurtina Once again seen in some numbers, with substantial colonies throughout the lower dales. Now also recorded in small numbers in the Grassington area. The first seen on 20th June, and the last on 10th September, both at Ilkley(MHS). The largest numbers recorded were 238 on 28th July at the Middleton Hospital site and 100 on 27th July near Timble, although other good sites were not visited at the peak period. Eight other sites had counts of 20 or more. 1627 SMALL HEATH Coenonympha pamphilus A good number of records from many more sites than recent years. Seen in upper Wharfedale near Grassington and also in Littondale and Langstrothdale. Also at Parceval Hall, Trollers Ghyll, Grimwith, Barden, Greenhow and SLM. The first record was on 17th June at Hoodstorth allotment, 37 were seen at Lea Green near Grassington on 27th August, and the last sighting was three at Conistone Dib on 21st September. 1629 RINGLET Aphantopus hyperantus Many more sightings over a wide area. In upper Wharfedale, insects were again seen at Conistone, and a substantial new colony discovered at Lower Grass Wood. Also seen at Ilkley, Otley, Fewston, Timble, Menwith Hill, Thruscross and Greenhow and SLM. The first was seen on 28th June at BRGP, and the last record was of 8 on 15th August at SLM. Several of the colonies supported large populations at the peak period in July. 50 or more insects were recorded on five sites, with the most being 216 on 17th July at SLM. The other sites were below Thruscross reservoir (80 on 30th ), Ilkley MHS (67 on 3rd ), Menwith Hill (65 on 10th ), and near Timble (50 on 27th ). Only small numbers had previously been recorded at the Middleton Hospital site. Records were received from the following observers: D & J Alred, M Barnham(YNU), N & A Bowland, N Bowles, R & H Burrow, T & M Chalmers(UWFS), JM Clapham, W Clements(UWFS), J Dean, LG Dewdney, FC Draper, G Foggitt & A Powell, AM Gramshaw, D & R Howson, L & M Jones, J & K Kyriakides, D & M Leather, K Limb, M Lowe(UWFS), DH Moore, D Parkinson, G & M Parkinson, P Riley, DL Robinson, P Talbot, J Tingley(UWFS), A & B Thompson, B Turner(UWFS), T Vittery, R Wilding(UWFS), D & S Wise. UWFS refers to members of the Upper Wharfedale Field Society. Once again, thank you all for the records and comments. I apologise for the inevitable errors and omissions. David P Howson
Adverse weather affected both the spring
and autumn moths but the summer
produced a new WNS record, a Yellow-
Unfortunately, it was rather cold and
windy at the trapping session following the
W N S meeting at Otley Gravel Pits on
July 16 and only 12 species were recorded.
A second trapping there on August 18 was
more successful with 22 species recorded
including Blue- bordered Carpet and
Bulrush Wainscot. Further trapping
sessions are planned there in 2003
We have received details of some 1981
Argent and Sable records from the
Argent and Sable
Fewston area. This is a fairly scarce day
flying moth (not to be confused with the
Small Argent and Sable for which the W N S has records from the Washburn). We intend to make a special
search in 2003, hoping to establish that the moth is still present.
The following are details of the more interesting records of 2002. DREPANIDAE 1648 PEBBLE HOOK-TIP Drepana falcataria The only record was a single, again from the Menston trap, on August 12. Never common, all previous records have been singles taken at light traps. GEOMETRIDAE 1661 ORANGE UNDERWING Archiearis parthenias Not recorded since 1993, a single of this day-flying moth was recorded at Timble Ings on April 6 1766 BLUE-BORDERED CARPET Plemyria rubiginata Two were taken at the trapping session at Otley Gravel Pits on August 13. Never a common moth, although one or two singles have been trapped most years. 1827 FREYER'S PUG Eupithecia intricata First recorded in Yorkshire in 1990, there have been only intermittent W N S records since the first in 1994. A single moth was recorded at Roseville, Burley-in-Wharfedale on June 10. 1883 YELLOW-BARRED BRINDLE Acasis viretata A single was taken at the Menston trap on August 17. This is a new W N S record. There has been an increase in Yorkshire records of this moth. 1909 SPECKLED YELLOW Pseudopanthera macularia There were two sightings of this easily identified moth. A well-named day-flying insect, to be looked for in May and June in Grass Wood. 1919 PURPLE THORN Selenia tetralunaria This moth is becoming more common in Yorkshire, although there have been few W N S records since the first in 1984. A single was trapped at Menston for the third year running. SPHINGIDAE 1979 LIME HAWK-MOTH Mimas tiliae Possibly due to the wet spring there has been no record for the second year of this Hawk-moth which was first recorded in 1993 and in subsequent years from 1995, but only in small numbers. LYMANTRIIDAE 2026 THE VAPOURER Orgyia antiqua Singles were recorded from Menston and Timble Ings on August 31 and September 10 respectively. The females of this moth are wingless and the males fly by day. ARCTIIDAE 2057 GARDEN TIGER Arctia caja There are only occasional W N S records of this aptly named moth, although it can be common in some localities. Singles were recorded from Slates Lane, Middleton and Otley. 2064 RUBY TIGER Phragmatobia fuliginosa Two larvae were recorded at the Old Tip Field, Burley-in-Wharfedale on October 21 then a single at the top of the field on October 31. There are only occasional W N S records, often of larvae. 2069 THE CINNABAR Tyria jacobaeae Recorded as adults from Otley Gravel Pits, Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, Middleton Hospital, the Old Tip Field and below Thruscross, also as larvae, on Ragwort, at a number of sites. NOCTUIDAE 2221 THE MULLEIN Cucullia verbasci Larvae were recorded on Mullein (v. thapsus) in Sun Lane, Burley-in-Wharfedale. Previous records were of larvae in 1975, which emerged in 1976, and of larvae in 1977 and 1996. 2300 OLD LADY Mormo maura A single was found roosting in a garage at Manor Park, Burley-in-Wharfedale. There are sparse W N S records of this large distinctive moth. 2369 BULRUSH WAINSCOT Nonagria typhae A single specimen was trapped at Otley Gravel Pits, a typical location containing Reedmace, the food plant. 39
Records were received from the following.
P J Carlton J C Clapham F C Draper A M Gramshaw
D P Howson K & P Limb D H Moore P C Quin
P Senior H Southern A I Wilson
As always I would like to thank everyone for their records and observations and to apologise for any omissions. Jeanette M Clapham
DRAGONFLIES AND DAMSELFLIES ORDER ODONATA Sightings in species order as follows: LARGE RED DAMSELFLY Pyrrhosoma nymphula Recorded 17 May to 12 August in small numbers at Burley, Ben Rhydding and Barden. BLUE TAILED DAMSELFLY Ischnura elegans. Recorded 28 May to 2 September, mainly at Burley, Ben Rhydding, Otley and Menston. 50 at Timble Ings Pond 27 July. 12 at Bleach Mill Dam, Menston 3 August. AZURE DAMSELFLY Coenagrion puella Recorded 3 June to 5 August at Otley, Burley and Timble. COMMON BLUE DAMSELFLY Enallagma cyathigerum Recorded 3 June to 2 September at Otley, Ben Rhydding, Barden, Timble and Thruscross. 100 at Timble Ings Pond 27 July. 30 at Timble Ings Pond 27 July. 10 at Thruscross 2 September. EMERALD DAMSELFLY Lestes sponsa Recorded 27 July to 2 September. Regularly seen at Otley Gravel Pits in small numbers. 20 at Timble Ings Pond 27 July. A pair at Thruscross 29 July. BANDED DEMOISELLE Calopterix splendens 2 males at Otley Gravel Pits 29 July. 1 male at Otley Gravel Pits 5 August. 1 male beside River Wharfe opposite Knotford Nook, 17 September. BROWN HAWKER Aeshna grandis Recorded 24 July to 11 September. Most reports from Otley Gravel Pits, where numerous on 27 August, and 50+ on 3 August. Also seen at Low Dam, Thruscross, Burley, and Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits. COMMON HAWKER Aeshna juncea Recorded 29 July to 30 October at usual sires in Wharfedale and Washburn Valley including 5 males, 3 females and some ovipositing at Ben Rhydding Gravel Golf Club 12 August. 4 at Timble Ings Pond 10 September. 5 at Thruscross 29 July. SOUTHERN HAWKER Aeshna cyanea Recorded 29 July to 2 September in small numbers at Otley, Burley and Lindley. MIGRANT HAWKER Aeshna mixta Recorded on three occasions at Otley Gravel Pits. 1 on 2 September. 3 on 5 September. 3 on 7 October. COMMON DARTER Sympetrum striolatum Recorded 29 July to 7 October. Most reports from Otley Gravel Pits and Thruscross where very numerous during August and September. 5 at Old Tip Field, Burley 13 August. 150 at Otley Gravel Pits 5 September. 50 at Thruscross 2 Sept.
BLACK DARTER Sympetrum danae Recorded 1 September to 2 October at Low Dam, Thruscross, including 35+ on 2 September, but numbers down on last few years at this site due to much lighter water levels in the dam reducing good surrounding feeding area, and also drainage of an adjacent feeding area. These changes have also reduced Sympetrum striolatum numbers. RUDDY DARTER Sympetrum sanguineum Recorded 9 July to 5 September at Otley Gravel Pits and Thruscross, 1 to 3 males only. RED-VEINED DARTER Sympetrum fonscolombii 1 male recorded at Otley Gravel Pits 2 September (P Limb). GOLDEN-RINGED DRAGONFLY Cordulegaster boltonii 3 records only, all at Timble Ings. 1 on 27 June, 1 on 27 July, 2 on 5 August. EMPEROR Anax imperator 2 records only, both on 29 July. 1 male at Thruscross, 1 female ovipositing at Timble Ings Pond. FOUR SPOTTED CHASER Libellula quadrimaculata 3 records only. Otley Gravel Pits 3 June. Barden 28 July. Thruscross 2 September. KEELED SKIMMER Orthetrum coerulescens Pair in tandem reported at Timble Ings Pond 26 September (P Carlton), a species which has not previously been recorded in our area. Its possible presence comes as a considerable surprise. The Keeled Skimmer stronghold is in Southern England, but with very isolated colonies 50 miles away in North Yorkshire
, egg Fen Bog. Record submitted to County recorders for their views, acceptance, rejection etc. Records of main interest for 2002 are undoubtedly the Sympetrum fonscolombii, and if accepted, the Orthetrum caerulescens, both being new records for our recording area. Records submitted by D Alred, P J Carlton, J Dean, F C Draper, A Gramshaw, D Howson and K&P Limb. David Alred
LADYBIRDS 7 SPOT LADYBIRD Coccinella 7- punctata Common in most of our recording area. The most seen 100+ at Otley Gravel Pits on young Alder. EYED LADYBIRD Anatis ocellata Only one seen in Stainburn Forest. CREAM-SPOT LADYBIRD Calvia 14-guttata Found twice in Otley. 2 SPOT LADYBIRD Adalia 2-punctata The other common ladybird in our area. More than 100 seen on Alder at Otley Gravel Pits, including some melanic forms. 10 SPOT LADYBIRD Adalia 10-punctata Recorded once on Otley Chevin. 14 SPOT LADYBIRD Propylea 14-punctata Three records from Ben Rhydding, Otley Gravel Pits and Grassington. 22 SPOT LADYBIRD Psyllobora 22-punctata Seen twice from Otley Chevin and Otley Gravel Pits. WATER LADYBIRD Anisosticta 19-punctata A new record for our area. Found in my car after transporting Bulrushes. LARCH LADYBIRD Aphidecta obliterata Found only once in Stainburn Forest.
Contributors: N&A Bowland, D&H Burrow, F C Draper, D Howson, P Kendal-Smith.
ORNITHOLOGY An interesting year with the usual crop of unusual sightings and variations in breeding performance, including evidence to suggest that breeding success rate
s were high for some of our smaller birds especially the Tits. The weather was once again capricious with favourable conditions being interspersed with spells that undoubtedly caused difficulties for some species at critical times - but then it may be that we're going to have to get used to the idea that `abnormal' spells of weather are in fact now the norm! The months January to March were characterised by warmer than average temperatures which ensured that survival rates among our smaller resident species were high thus providing a good basis for the breeding season. The generally mild conditions were probably the main reason why reports of late-winter garden Siskin were less prevalent this year although a small number of gardens managed to buck the trend for some unknown reason. The mild weather of March encouraged breeding activity - this seriously gathered pace in April which proved to be a generally warm and gloriously dry month. Species such as Herons, Mistle Thrush and Dipper successfully fledged broods and breeding generally was well underway by the end of the month. However the end of April ushered in a spell of most inclement weather with heavy rain, strong winds and a marked drop in temperature and this will undoubtedly have caused significant losses at the nest for a wide range of species especially ground nesting birds. Migration into our area was decidedly patchy and slow to get underway as birds were held back by poor weather to the south. There was evidence to suggest that Cuckoo, House Martin and Swallow numbers were somewhat reduced but we will need to wait for the statistics to emerge before we can take a definite view on this matter. The unsettled picture continued through May which was changeable throughout. However with temperatures around the average the impact on nesting activity was not too adverse and many smaller species seemed to enjoy some success. Blue Tits and Coal Tits are cases in point, the numbers around our gardens through autumn and into winter suggesting a good breeding season. June was yet again a contrary month but our area managed to avoid the wetter, more miserable, conditions to the west. July was little better but breeding activity was able to continue apace and Thrush species were probably able to rear 2/3 broods. Fledgling survival was probably much assisted by a relatively benign August and September although a horrendous downpour at the beginning of August caused significant losses of Sand Martin and Kingfisher chicks. At this time there was a greater prevalence of easterly winds than in recent years. Unfortunately this did not manifest itself in greater numbers of unusual migrants blown inland into our area as was hoped and this season again proved a disappointment in this respect, especially for wader species for which the more interesting species were few and far between. Although October was a cooler month the absence of any seriously cold weather through November and December and the plentiful food available in the countryside this year gives us hope that our smaller, more vulnerable, species may again survive in good numbers although, by the time you read this, I may have cause to eat my words! The plentiful food was no doubt a factor in the large numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare being seen in the area in these latter months of the year with some flocks reported as several hundred strong. All told therefore a mixed year weather-wise but relatively reasonable for our breeding birds and, in some cases, nesting success was probably above average. On the wider conservation scene there is some good news with the Government increasing the amount of money available for agri-environment schemes thereby holding out hope that the prospects for some of our hardest-hit farmland bird populations may be improving with the population of species such as Grey Partridge and Tree Sparrow down by some 90% over 30 years positive developments of this kind are long overdue. Other species which have suffered on a UK basis include Curlew and Lapwing and yet we seem to be doing well here for these species if anything Curlew numbers appear to have increased in recent years whilst likely declines in Lapwing numbers are certainly not drastic. Developments of this nature do bring home the importance of ensuring we never make the mistake of viewing our natural history as a static phenomenon. For a whole variety of reasons (not just man-made although this is increasingly becoming a major factor) change and evolution is occurring and I have once again therefore prefaced the individual species' accounts in this report with a view about recent population change and whether species are on the way up or down, not least because I think this will increase the value of our records to those who will follow us. The spectre of global warming appears to be gathering pace and national Phenology surveys are clearly demonstrating how many of our migrant birds are arriving earlier and leaving later. For Anne and me the impact of change over time was brought home by a fascinating visit to Otley Museum where we were able to view an egg collection from the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. The collector (Mr I Thomas) had been very thorough giving details of where and when the eggs were gathered and the local 42
records were particularly fascinating as an indicator of change to our bird populations. In the 1880s' Raven were nesting on Ilkley Moor (the collector stated that these birds were shot and were the last pair to breed here) and Hooded Crow (alongside Carrion Crow) and Barn Owl nested around Denton Moor. In the 1930s' Corncrake were nesting at Otley, Dotterel on Beamsley Beacon, Woodlark at Chevin Quarry, Corn Bunting at Clifton and Nightjar at March Ghyll regarding the latter some things come full circle; see below. Talking of changes over time, this year has seen the continued expansion of the local Greylag Geese breeding population it's hard to imagine that 20 years ago a sighting of this species would have been really noteworthy whereas now the population runs into the hundreds concentrated around the Washburn and, together with Canada Geese, they are now a significant part of our local fauna. In addition Buzzards are making a return with two pairs each successfully rearing two young in the lower reaches of our area. Although Red Kite remain disappointingly scarce, sightings are more common than previously and the continued success of the Harewood re-introduction programme augurs well for the future. Another successful return was the pair of Nightjar that successfully reared two young in a wood not far from Ilkley we are
JB hopeful that records will become more common in the future as rotational clearing gathers pace in local conifer woodland. In this same habitat,
work undertaken by a local birdwatcher has shown that Long-eared Owls breed quite extensively in our area
and certainly more than previously thought. On the down side Yellow Wagtail and Tree Sparrow are just
hanging on in the lower valley but we could lose them at any time whilst Wood Warbler numbers appear to be
in decline everywhere except around Strid Wood. By contrast Siskin appear to now be quite common breeders
and Song Thrush have continued their recent comeback in the area following the drought years of the mid-
House Sparrows continue to be patchy in their distribution in our area at national level
we still do not have
any definitive answer to the problem of their relatively recent decline although research is continuing. This
decline is not consistent across the country with Wales and Scotland, for example, both reporting increases for
reasons which cannot be explained at the moment.
A total of 164 species were seen in our area in 2002. Particularly noteworthy sightings include a Bittern and
Little Egret at Otley GP in January (surely we will be seeing more and more of the latter in future years), Red-
crested Pochard at Otley GP on August 17th, Grey Phalarope at Fewston in early November, Purple Sandpiper in a very confiding mood at Whetstone Gate in late August, Wryneck on Barden Moor on August 26th, Firecrest at Timble Ings on October 13th, Great Grey Shrike in March and November at Barden and Beecroft
Moor Plantation respectively and good numbers of Crossbill for the latter half of the year following a continental irruption. A single Swallow at Sword Point in the Washburn Valley on December 3rd was, to put it
mildly, a big surprise for the author!
There were four target species this year namely Kestrel, Skylark, Spotted Flycatcher and Stonechat these
are highlighted in the individual species' reports. In summary the returns would suggest that Skylark and
Spotted Flycatcher remain scarce but are hanging on in their usual haunts, Kestrel are widespread throughout
our area but are by no means common (they are one of the few raptor species in decline nationally) and
Stonechat continue to increase with an expanding number of breeding records and winter sightings.
As last year I would ask all members to remember how important their garden environment is for birds these
days. As evidence continues to strengthen that our farming environment is nothing like as bird-friendly as it
was, it is now hard to over-state the importance of our gardens for those species whose evolutionary
development allows them to take advantage of our assistance whilst their more `normal' farming environment
is so depleted. In other words most of us are unlikely to be able to help the Lapwing or the Grey Partridge but
clearly we can make a difference for Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Robin, Tits etc. Therefore do resist
the temptation to be too tidy in winter, do feed through the year if you are able, provide plenty of cover such
as Holly, leave small piles of wood to rot, don't tidy away all the leaves and plant native and/or berry-bearing
shrubs such as Hawthorn, Cotoneaster etc. we really can make a difference.
A cold January (2003) day provided an interesting postscript to the adverse impact of agricultural change in
the decades since the war when I was walking at Kex Gill at a height of c1000 feet in a temperature barely
above freezing. In these conditions there were virtually no small birds to be seen until suddenly I was
surrounded by Chaffinch and a few Linnet to see the latter in these conditions at this time of year surprised
me to say the least. Looking over a high wall I realised that the attraction was a root crop (most unusual) which had been left to seed. It brought home to me how little this farming practice is seen these days and how little stubble is left in fields over winter be it in the lowlands, the uplands or indeed anywhere! It turned out there were over 100 Chaffinch, some 35 Stock Dove and around 12 Linnet in this wholly one-off field in these most dubious of weather conditions. The lesson to be learned from this little episode is obvious. Finally I would like to take this opportunity to comment that the upper Wharfedale part of our recording area is, I believe, somewhat under-watched so please do bear this in mind when planning a long day out. It is of course inevitable that most records will be from the lower reaches of the valley but the scarcity of records from further north suggests that we do not know as much as we should about this important part of our area. Once again many thanks to all contributors to this report and especially those who submitted their sightings in the order given in the report - it really is a very great help at this end. Please keep your observations coming in through the year, including your own views about local bird populations and trends and examples of unusual behaviour, all of which helps me to make the report a more interesting read. Last but not least a special thanks to the Bradford Ornithological Group for allowing me to use their sightings which have been invaluable particularly for some of the scarcer species. - if you're interested in `what's about' do visit their `sightings' section on their website www.bradfordbirders.co.uk - it's a mine of information and always up-todate. Good luck with your 2003 birdwatching and do keep the information coming in! CLASSIFIED LIST In the Classified List I have used the usual abbreviations of GP for Gravel Pit. `Burley' is Burley-inWharfedale, and when referring to Lindley, Swinsty, Fewston, Thruscross, Chelker and Grimwith, I mean the reservoirs or their vicinity at these locations. Lower Wharfedale is taken to mean the area downstream from Barden Bridge and Upper Wharfedale the area above Barden Bridge. The sequence and nomenclature used is that of Voous, K.H., List of Recent Holarctic Species (1973 & 1977), B.O.U. 1977. LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis Uncommon breeding/local migrant. Population stable. Sightings were received for most months of the year from Knotford, Otley GP, Low Dam (below Thruscross) where at least one brood was reared with 3 young, Kex Gill, Ilkley Old Bridge and along the Wharfe at various locations including Barden. The maximum seen in winter was 8 on January 28th at Knotford. (BOG, CJC, PB&JBP, LGD, PBR, GT, JF, JD, PJC, MHA, GSH, JS) GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus Common breeding resident/local migrant. Population stable. Reported for much of the year from various sites in Lower Wharfedale and the Washburn. The maximum recorded was 12 at Otley GP on February 26th. Intensive display behaviour was noted at Knotford as early as February 14th. Successful breeding was confirmed at Otley GP and again at Knotford and attempts were made elsewhere, including Lindley, but were not thought successful probably due to disturbance and/or fluctuating water levels, both of which appear to be a real problem for this species in the Washburn Valley. ( N&AB, PD&JBP, K&PL, BOG, DLR, CJC, PR, PRo, PJC, JD, GSH) CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo Common passage/long-staying visitor. Population numbers have markedly increased in recent years but this may have levelled off. Now a common bird in both Wharfedale and the Washburn, with a maximum of 61 birds at the Lindley roost on January 30th. Although still no evidence of breeding, presence is now noted throughout the year and it would seem to be only a matter of time before this occurs. There is some uncertainty about the number but at least some 'sinensis' birds (i.e. of the race P c sinensis which is from central and Southern Europe
and Asia) were present in the Washburn for part of the year recent research has suggested that up to 20% of inland wintering birds may be `sinensis'. One observer noted that this species appeared to have largely abandoned, (`or been dissuaded from?') Chelker Reservoir. (PJC, BOG, MHA, JDe, CJC, PD&JBP, PBR, K&PL, GSH, JW, PQ) BITTERN Botaurus stellaris Rare visitor. One sighting only at Otley GP on January 8th. (AJ) LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzetta Rare visitor but likely to become more common in future years. 44
A single bird was present at Otley GP on January 13th and between 18th to 20th. A sighting at Lindley Wood
on January 19th was presumably the same bird. (CJC, BOG)
GREY HERON Ardea cinerea
Common breeding resident. Population stable/increasing.
Continues to prosper both nationally and in our area no doubt partly due to the absence of severe winters.
Widely reported throughout the year, usually single birds or small groups outside the main Heronries - an
exception to this is the large number (up to 20) often present at Leathley Trout Farm outside the breeding
season. Breeding was reported from Askwith, which had 38 nests with 96 young, and in the Washburn
where the site at Dobpark produced 11 nests with 29 young. (PRo, BOG, PBR, GSH, K&PL, PJC, PQ)
WHITE STORK Ciconia ciconia
Rare passage migrant/local escape. A single bird was seen over Otley GP on March 18th & 19th, at Timble on April 4th, Ben Rhydding on May
4th, and Fewston on June 2nd. Records of 2 birds were submitted for Otley GP on May 2nd and Norwood Edge on May 21st. However the best record was 4 over Sun Lane on May 7th. As usual however we have to
assume that these sightings are the unmarked free-flying birds from Harewood House. (K&PL, PJC, BOG)
MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor
Common local breeding resident. Population stable.
Only reported from Lower Wharfedale and the Washburn with apparently successful breeding noted at
Otley GP. A maximum of 32 birds were present at Otley GP on January 1st. They are scarce in the
Washburn with the only records this year from Farnley (successful breeding), Knotford and Swinsty. The long-staying Mute Swan/Whooper Swan hybrid at Knotford was not seen after January 24th. (CJC,
PD&JBP, PBR, PJC, BOG, K&PL, PRo, GSH)
WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus
Scarce passage migrant. Usually just a few sightings each
Four records of large groups this year namely 80+ over Otley
on April 5th, 30 birds on Thruscross on April 4th, 43 over Burley on April 5th and 50 on Lower Barden Reservoir on the
same date. Several birds lingered on Swinsty between March
13th and 16th and 12 were at Fewston on April 16th. Also a single bird lingered at Lindley Wood from March 17th to April 3rd and one was seen on Fewston on November 5th.
Two were noted at Barden on the rather late date of November 16th. (BOG, PJC, PBR, JF, K&PL, CJC, JDe)
PINK FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus
Scarce passage migrant/visitor.
Most sightings this year were of over-flying skeins between
January and April the largest by far being 300+ flying west
over Blubberhouses on February 2nd. Other large numbers
were c150 over Burley on March 1st, c85 over Barden on February 3rd, c170 over Burley on March 1st and a
large number over-flying Burley on a starry night on December 4th. The only significant records for the
second half of the year were 63 flying south over Timble on October 30th, some 30 flying west over Otley GP on November 19th, 21 in a field at Arncliffe on December 25th (probably forced down by fog), and 100+
over Otley on December 3rd. (PJC, CJC, BOG, PBR, K&PL, N&AB, PD&JBP, MVB, PRo)
GREYLAG GOOSE Anser anser
Common resident breeder/visitor. Recent significant population increase
The local, presumably feral, population continues to prosper with breeding suspected at Lindley and
Fewston as well as on the moors and no doubt at other lowland sites. The largest flocks were observed at Lindley Wood with 203 on August 17th and at Fewston with c165 on March 16th - the Washburn is now a
stronghold for this species. Many goslings were seen from May onwards. The post-breeding moult generally
appears to take place outside our recording area and this usually means a dearth of records in the late
summer/autumn. (JW, BOG, PJC, PD&JBP, LGD, PBR, K&PL, GSH)
BARNACLE GOOSE Branta leucopsis
Rare passage migrant/possible escape. Only one record this year with a single bird at Otley GP on September 21st. (BOG)
CANADA GOOSE Branta canadensis
Common breeding resident/visitor. Significant population increase in recent decades.
Now occurs commonly at Grimwith and downstream, with breeding at a wide variety of sites. Observed virtually throughout the year with a maximum of c400 at Lindley Wood on August 20th and c300 at Fewston
on January 19th and August 28th. Otley GP was also another stronghold. Breeding occurred at all these sites
and on the surrounding moors. My suggestion last year that maybe the population had peaked is not
supported by this year's records and this non-native species may well become a problem if the current
increase continues. (PJC, CJC, PD&JBP, PBR, GT,PRo, BOG, LGD, GSH)
RED-BREASTED GOOSE Branta ruficollis
Rare passage migrant/possible escape. Only one record this year with a single bird at Lindley Wood on October 21st. (JDe)
SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna
Scarce passage migrant/visitor - may breed some years. The maximum number seen was 5 juveniles at Chelker on July 14th almost certainly moving birds. Other
locations for sightings were Lindley Wood, Thruscross and the river near Burley. As usual the main site was
Otley GP with sightings here concentrated in the period February to May usually of 2/3 birds. (PJC, PBR,
PD&JBP, BOG, CJC, JDe, K&PL)
MANDARIN DUCK Aix galericulata
Scarce visitor/escaped species.
This species has become well established in the Strid Wood area in the last few years and is now breeding
there - their origin is still somewhat uncertain. Juveniles were seen on several occasions in the second half
of the year. The most seen at this site was 30 on December 20th but sightings were relatively common for
much of the year. One observer thought that, by the end of the year, birds had already formed into pairs
which it is hoped will lead to breeding success in 2003. Unlike previous years there were no reports from
elsewhere in our area. Whether or not this species becomes a permanent part of the local avifauna still
remains to be seen. Although not a native species there does not appear to be any evidence that their
introduction to the UK has in fact caused any harm. (BOG, MVB, CJC, PJC, JW, JS, GT, JD, JF, JMC/AMG,
PD&JBP, GSH, K&PL)
WIGEON Anas penelope
Scarce breeding (probably only one site) resident/passage migrant. Population stable/increasing.
Most sightings were for the period up to March and from October onwards from Knotford, Otley GP,
Thruscross, Farnley, Fewston and Grimwith. Breeding was confirmed at the usual site where it is thought
the year was relatively successful. The highest number seen was c140 at the breeding site on February 16th.
(BOG, PD&JBP, MVB, JW, PJC, CJC, PBR, GSH)
TEAL Anas crecca
Common breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Probably in shallow decline.
Regularly present at a number of sites in the Washburn and Wharfedale valleys and breeding certainly
occurs in the area there were two confirmed records namely a pair nest-building at Fewston and a female
with 4 young on Rocking Hall Moor. Numbers are usually small although Lindley Wood had 40 on September 8th. (CJC, PBR, PD&JBP, BOG, PJC, PRo, GSH, AP&GF)
GARGANEY Anas querquedula
Rare passage migrant.
One record of a pair on Fewston on March 29th. (BOG)
MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos
Common breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population stable.
Broods of ducklings with adults were reported throughout the breeding season at a variety of sites with one female seen with 20 young in the Washburn on April 25th. Breeding no doubt occurred throughout our area
as usual. High numbers were reported for the second half of the year from Lindley Wood, reaching a maximum of c200 on November 23rd, and also from the Wharfe between Barden Bridge and Cavendish
Pavilion when c330 were counted. (PD&JBP, BOG, PJC, PBR, CJC, MVB, GSH, K&PL)
NORTHERN PINTAIL Anas acuta
Scarce passage migrant/winter visitor. Sightings of single birds were reported from Swinsty on January 12th, Lindley Wood on April 16th and
September 5th, Otley GP on September 12th and Kex Gill on September 27th. (BOG, PRo)
GADWALL Anas strepera
Scarce passage migrant/winter visitor.
There were sightings from Otley GP with 2 on April 18th and 28th, one on May 15th, 2 on October 9th and one
on October 12th; from Knotford with one on January 13th and 3 on 18th and one at Farnley on September 6th and October 25th. (BOG, PD&JBP, PJC, CJC) SHOVELER Anas clypeata Scarce passage migrant. Bred in our area in 2000. Only four sightings namely 2 birds at Otley GP on March 16th and May 30th, a male at Swinsty on March 31st and 3 at Otley GP on October 7th. (BOG, PJC) RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta rufina Rare passage migrant/possible escape. A male was seen at Otley GP on August 17th. (PD&JBP, K&PL) POCHARD Aythya ferina Uncommon passage/winter visitor. This species remains relatively uncommon throughout our area, sightings being generally restricted to the colder months and Spring. Otley GP again proved to be the main site with sightings for most months outside the breeding season including a maximum count of 15 on February 12th. The only other sites for records were Knotford with five records between January and May (including a maximum of 10 on March 12th) and Lindley Wood, the latter holding a few birds for many of the winter months. (GSH, CJC, PBR, PJC, PD&JBP, K&PL, GSH) TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula Common passage/winter visitor/local breeder. Population probably stable. Widespread on reservoirs in the lower valleys at most times of the year and breeds at selected sites. Good numbers included a maximum of 82 at Otley GP on November 24th. The only other site attracting large numbers is Knotford with a maximum of 59 on November 21st. Probably bred at one site in the south of our area and near Ilkley. (CJC, PBR, PD&JBP, BOG, GT, PRo, PJC, GSH, K&PL) SCAUP Aythya marila Scarce passage/winter visitor. A female was seen regularly at Otley GP from mid-November onwards. Otherwise the only sightings were from Fewston with a single bird on February 24th and December 22nd. (PJC, BOG, CJC) COMMON SCOTER. Melanitta nigra Scarce passage migrant. Single males were seen at Chelker on May 12th and Swinsty on October 14th. (BOG) GOLDENEYE Bucephala clangula Regular passage/winter visitor. Present at a few sites in the Lower Wharfe and Washburn with some birds still being seen into April. Regularly observed at Knotford, Otley GP maximum of 28 on March 25th - and Lindley Wood which held a maximum of 26 on February 17th. Also seen at Fewston. Lindley Wood is usually the best site to observe display behaviour at relatively close quarters at the upstream end of the reservoir any time from February onwards. The `last' record this year was April 24th with 2 birds at Lindley Wood. (BOG, PBR, JD, JDe, PJC, PD&JBP, GSH, K&PL) SMEW Mergellus albellus Scarce winter visitor. A female was present at Knotford from November 28th to 30th. (BOG, CJC, PJC) GOOSANDER Mergus merganser Scarce breeding resident and common winter visitor. Population significantly increased in recent decades but an apparent downturn in the last two years or so may be due to culling by fishing interests. Widespread throughout our area as a wintering and breeding species. The highest winter number reported was 27 at Lindley Wood on February 15th. Reports from other sites included various stretches of the Wharfe, Knotford, Otley GP, Ben Rhydding, Thruscross, Fewston, Lindley Wood and Swinsty, although numbers were generally small. Adults with young were reported from various sites on the Wharfe between Burley and Grass Wood. (CJC, PBR, JS, JF, JD, PD&JBP, GT, JMC/AMG, N&AB, PJC, BOG, K&PL, GSH) RED-BREASTED MERGANSER Mergus serrator Scarce visitor. Three sightings this year with single birds at Lindley Wood on January 15th, at Fewston on September 9th and at Chelker on November 11th. (BOG) RUDDY DUCK Oxyura jamaicensis Scarce passage migrant/local breeder. Population probably stable. A relatively recent addition to our fauna with a few sightings each year and probably breeding at a private site. Sightings are much reduced this year probably reflecting the countrywide official cull taking place to prevent this non-native species (from North America) hybridising with other European species. The only sites with records were Otley GP, Lindley Wood and Farnley. (BOG, PBR, PJC) 47
RED KITE Milvus milvus Scarce passage migrant. A good number of sightings this year again mostly from Barden with a few from Timble and one from Knotford on November 28th. Unusually there were no records from any other site apart from Denton where several birds were observed on a few occasions in August. Sightings covered most of the year. It is intriguing that the Harewood released birds show so little inclination to come into our area the reason being that most are showing a clear inclination to roam in an easterly direction which is proving to be their preferred habitat. Nonetheless there is still every reason to be optimistic that this marvellous raptor will become a regular feature of these reports as the release project gathers momentum. (BOG) MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosus Scarce passage migrant. Another good year - Barden Fell produced 3 sightings on June 20th, August 10th and August 16th. There were two other sightings at Timble on April 19th (the only male sighting) and August 16th. The final sighting was at Norwood Edge on October 11th. (BOG, AP&GF) HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus Uncommon passage/winter visitor. There were a good number of sightings this year from Barden, Whetstone Gate, Askwith Moor, Halton Gill, Denton, Kex Gill, Norwood Edge, Hazlewood Moor and Timble. Sightings covered most months of the year including summer which has not always been the case in the past. The sightings were usually single birds but 3 were seen at Barden on September 19th and 2 on Askwith Moor on July 13th indulging in display behaviour. (PJC, BOG, LGD, K&PL, MVB, AP&GF, D&ML, GT) GOSHAWK Accipiter gentilis Scarce passage migrant. May breed in the area. Single birds were seen around Barden on a number of dates through to late summer. Also seen at Sandwith Moor, Bolton Abbey, Askwith and Lindley Wood. There were two reports from the latter site with a single bird on April 8th being mobbed by 8 Oystercatchers and a juvenile on November 26th being mobbed by 10 Carrion Crows. Otherwise sightings were restricted to one site in the area on a number of occasions through the year breeding may have occurred here but could not be confirmed. (BOG, PBR, PJC, JDe, AP&GF, LGD) SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus Common breeding resident/passage visitor. Population stable. The number and range of sightings reflect the widespread distribution of this species and reports were received from a good selection of sites in Wharfedale and the Washburn. This is a bird likely to be seen at any locality where woodland is in the vicinity and a number of reports have been received of hunting (occasionally successful) in gardens. From accounts received, prey includes Dunnock, House Sparrows, Collared Doves, Wood Pigeon, Tits, Finches, Blackbirds and Starlings. There were also several examples of window strikes by this species including fatalities. Evidence of successful breeding came from the vicinities of Burley, Farnley, Otley GP and Middleton Woods. (N&AB, K&PL, BOG, CJC, GT, PD&JBP, PBR, DLR, LGD, PJC, JMC, JD, AB, D&HB, AMG, GSH, JW, JS) BUZZARD Buteo buteo Scarce breeder/passage migrant/visitor. Population has increased recently. Thought to be spreading back into the area after a long decline with a good number of sightings again this year. Persecution may well be an ongoing factor. As usual Barden produced most sightings covering every month of the year with 10 seen on dates in January, April and September and a maximum of 12 on September 29th. Other sites were Conistone, Bordley, Kex Gill, Beamsley Moor, Littondale, Starbotton, Kettlewell, Hawkswick, Grass Woods, Beckermonds, Low Greenfield, Denton, Lindley Wood, Burley, Buckden, Otley GP, Ilkley and Timble. Breeding took place at several sites. (AJ, JF, D&HB, K&PL, MVB, PBR, BOG, CJC, GT, GSH, GT, PRo, PD&JBP, PJC, DLR) OSPREY Pandion haliaetus Scarce passage migrant. Usually seen at local reservoirs en route to breeding/wintering grounds. Number of sightings increasing no doubt linked to the steady rise in numbers on the breeding grounds in Scotland. This year there were more sightings in Spring/early Summer than in Autumn with single birds seen at Barden, Timble, Addingham, Swinsty, Chelker, Thruscross, Hoodstorth and Fewston. At Barden the sightings included a single bird mobbed by a Peregrine on March 31st and one carrying a fish on May 3rd. Thruscross also produced a record of a bird being mobbed by a Peregrine on September 7th. Unfortunately autumn again did not produce any lingering birds around the Washburn reservoirs as has happened in the past. The Barden March 31st record was the first sighting and the last was very late October 27th at Fewston. (BOG, PJC, JDe) 48
KESTREL Falco tinnunculus ( Target Species)
Common breeding resident/passage visitor. Population
probably stable. Reported in small numbers, usually
individuals or pairs. Sightings were concentrated in the
Washburn and Lower Wharfedale with no sightings
north of Barden apart from Beckermonds and Hebden.
Winter sightings may include birds from the continent.
There was one noteworthy record of 8 birds at Kex PB Gill on September 26th. There was evidence of breeding at Denton, Addingham and Dobpark, a nest at
the latter producing 2 young from 4 eggs. One observer
commented `I am convinced that they are becoming more numerous again' let us hope this is true
especially bearing in mind they are one of the few raptors declining nationally. (N&AB, K&PL, D&HB, PBR,
GSH, PJC, BOG, LGD, CJC, GT, PRo, DLR, JW)
MERLIN Falco columbarius
Scarce breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population in recent decline.
A number of reports were received through Spring, Summer and Autumn from the Barden area including
one bird mobbing a Marsh Harrier in August. Other sites included Kex Gill, Ilkley Moor, Hoodstorth,
Thruscross, Hebden, Bolton Abbey, Redshaw Gill, and Timble. Several sightings involved birds chasing Meadow Pipits and one bird was seen mobbing a Peregrine over Thruscross dam wall on July 26th. The first record was on February 12th (early) and the last was on November 26th. Breeding occurred in the area
although the numbers on one moor were reported to be down by two pairs. (GT, PRo, PD&JBP, BOG, MVB,
LGD, N&AB, PBR, PJC, AP&GF)
HOBBY Falco subbuteo
Scarce summer visitor/probable breeder. Population increasing.
This species is undoubtedly spreading northwards and the number of sightings is consequently increasing to
the extent that breeding in the area now seems highly likely for this species - it is renowned for being
exceptionally secretive through the breeding cycle and nest sites are therefore hard to find. There were three
sightings at Barden (two of 2 birds) and other sightings from Middleton Moor (1), Simon's Seat(2) and Bleach Mill Lane(1) The first sighting was May 27th and the last was August 3rd. (BOG, PJC, MVB)
PEREGRINE Falco peregrinus
Scarce resident/passage/winter visitor. Probable breeder. Population increasing.
A number of sightings this year including juveniles so breeding may well have occurred successfully.
Several successful hunts were reported including a Black-headed Gull at Chelker on January 19th and a Fieldfare at Timble Ings on October 30th. Most reports were of single birds and covered nearly all months of
the year. A pair was seen with 3 juveniles in the upper Wharfe valley in late-May and 3 birds were seen at Barden on April 1st. There were also sightings from Lindley Wood, Kex Gill, Blubberhouses, Grimwith,
Addingham, Timble, Chelker, Simon's Seat, Askwith Moor and Arncliffe. (PJC, PBR, PD&JBP, BOG, DLR,
GT, AP&GF, K&PL, MVB, JW)
RED GROUSE Lagopus lagopus
Common breeding resident. Population generally stable but subject to setbacks.
Rather more reports than usual this year with a consensus that this has been quite a good year for local
moors. Most reports were from Barden with others from Burley, Ilkley and Hawksworth Moors and from
Great Whernside. Evidence of breeding came from Barden from where it was also reported that 138 brace were shot on August 29th. (PD&JBP, PR, K&PL, LGD, GT, D&ML, GSH, PJC)
RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris rufa
Uncommon breeding resident, all from released birds. Population stable except where releases occur. The
usual small number of records this year from several sites in the Washburn plus Barden, Conistone Bridge,
Denton and Buckden. Evidence of breeding came from Barden where 4 juveniles were observed. They are
easily seen, often in good numbers, around Grimwith where many are released. (PBR, BOG, N&AB,
K&PL, GT, DLR, D&HB, GSH, CJC, PJC)
GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdix
Uncommon breeding resident. Population thought to be declining except where releases occur.
Only a small number of reports received mostly of one or two birds, the exceptions being 8 at Leathley on January 1st, 8 at Conistone on July 27th, 12 at Ben Rhydding on September 11th, 3 at Hag Farm on September 20th, 5 at Braythorn on November 19th, 3 at Howgill on July 15th, 3 at Kex Beck, Beamsley on October 9th
and 2 coveys of 13 and 8 near Otley Golf Course. No definitive breeding records. (N&AB, GSH, BOG, CJC, JF, PD, LGD, PBR, AP&GF, PJC, PD&JBP) COMMON PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus Common breeding resident subject to extensive rearing/releases. Population stable overall. Only a few reports received of this common bird which is subject to significant releases throughout our area. The rearing programmes ensure these birds are numerous in most areas, mainly on the valley sides and moorland fringes. Several examples of garden records. (DLR, AMG, K&PL) WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus Scarce passage/winter visitor. There were a good number of reports all bar three from Otley GP where single birds were seen/heard on occasion through the months of January, October, November and December. Other reports were from Sun Lane on November 10th and Thruscross on December 9th. The most fascinating report was from Addingham Green where a dead bird in good condition was found on April 1st the most likely explanation being that it had flown into overhead wires. (PBR, CJC, BOG, DLR, PJC) MOORHEN Gallinula chloropus Common breeding resident/passage visitor. Population probably stable. Only a small number of reports for this common bird which nonetheless appears to now have a healthy population, the main problem in the recent past probably being predation from Mink. Breeding reports were received from Barden, Knotford, Timble Ings, Otley GP, Lindley Wood, Dobpark and Fewston. One was observed in a Menston garden (a first!) on June 10th. (PRo, K&PL, AMG, GSH, PBR, PJC) COOT Fulica atra Locally common breeding migrant. Population stable. Breeding bird which undertakes local migration to the lowest reaches of our area in winter. This species appears to still be doing well in the valleys. The maximum count was at Knotford with an astonishing high of c455 on January 1st. Otley GP held c350 also on January 1st. There was evidence of breeding at Sun Lane and Otley GP. One observer noted that there were plenty of young through the year but no big broods. (PRo, PBR, GSH, BOG, PJC) OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Locally common breeding migrant. Population probably increasing. Breeding bird which leaves our area in winter. There was yet again plenty of evidence of an early return to breeding areas, this species having widely established itself in the area as a breeding bird in recent times. The earliest record was a single bird at Bolton Abbey Bridge on January 19th with 75 a high number - at Otley GP on February 27th. The maximum seen in the year was c80 at Grimwith on March 16th. Breeding was observed in a wide variety of locations including Otley GP, Kex Gill, Grass Wood, Grimwith and Denton. There was one fascinating record of 8 birds mobbing a Goshawk at Lindley Wood on April 7th. The year's final record was most surprising with a single bird by the Wharfe near Bolton Bridge on December 31st an early returning bird for next year's breeding season or perhaps an injured bird hanging on? (BOG, PD&JBP, DLR, GSH, LGD, K&PL, N&AB, CJC, JW, PRo, JDe, AP&GF, GT, PJC, JS, PQ) LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius Scarce breeding migrant. Population stable. Usually records are mostly restricted to sites in lower Wharfedale and the upper Washburn but this year they were also submitted from Lindley Wood, Swinsty and Fewston. The sightings at Swinsty persisted through the summer but there was no evidence of breeding. However breeding was confirmed at one of the two `usual' sites. The maximum number seen was 6 at the lower Wharfedale site on April 21st. (PBR, BOG, CJC, K&PL, PD&JBP, PJC) COMMON RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula Scarce breeding migrant. Population stable. Recorded at a small number of sites in lower and middle Wharfedale and lower and upper Washburn. Successful breeding took place on two of these sites. (BOG, CJC, PBR, PD&JBP, MVB, JW, PRo) DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus Rare passage migrant. Only one sighting thought to have occurred this year with 2 birds seen on the return (unusual) passage on August 11th, near Anchor Farm in the middle Washburn. (JDe) GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Uncommon moorland breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population probably in decline. A significant number of sightings from a large variety of locations. The largest number was c2000 on Sandwith Moor between February and early-April with the nearest large number being c350 at Thruscross 50
on April 4th. Other moorland sightings came from Hawksworth, Barden and Great Whernside. Breeding is likely to have occurred at many moorland locations throughout our area but no proof was submitted. (PD&JBP, JF, PBR, MVB, K&PL, N&AB, CJC, GT, SR, JW, JDe, BOG, PJC) NORTHERN LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population may be declining. Our area remains a stronghold for this species although numbers may have declined the reduction has been nothing like as marked as the national picture for lowland area
s. This is a breeding bird in our area which usually migrates west and/or south out of the recording area in winter. Winter sightings of large flocks are thought likely to be from the continent. Maximum assemblies were c500 at Otley GP on January 19th and c400 at Chelker on October 27th and a similar number near the Burley by-pass on January 29th. Breeding was proven at Otley GP, Conistone Bridge and adjacent Moor, Middleton, Kettlewell, Barden, Hawksworth Moor and Denton. The last two sites were thought to have had `a good year'. (CJC, GT, PD&JBP, PJC, GSH, PBR, PRo, MVB, K&PL, JD, BOG, N&AB, D&ML, DLR) DUNLIN Calidris alpina Scarce passage visitor. Probably still breeds in the area but numbers much reduced. Records from a variety of locations including Sandwith Moor, Kex Gill, Otley GP, Swinsty, Grimwith , Chelker and Lindley Wood. Most records were for a single bird and all were between March and October. The highest number seen was 4 at Otley GP on May 1st. (BOG, CJC, JW, PD&JBP, K&PL, PJC) PURPLE SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Rare passage visitor. A most surprising record of a single bird at Whetstone Gate between August 28th and 30th. It was by the side of the road on the Keighley side of the moor and was very confiding. (BOG, CJC) JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus Rare migrant/winter visitor. There were three sightings from Otley GP on January 9th (2 birds), January 14th (1) and February 16th (2). The only other sighting was a single bird on Burley Moor on March 17th. (BOG, CJC) COMMON SNIPE Gallinago gallinago (drawing by JB) Uncommon breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population either stable or in shallow decline. This is a well-established breeding species in the area thanks to the extensive availability (albeit much reduced from the historical position) of its breeding habitat of marshy areas, especially around moorland sites. It will usually be under-recorded because of its secretive habits outside the breeding season. It is subject to movement out of the area in winter but may retain a presence at lower valley sites such as Otley GP if the winter weather is not severe. The earliest record this year was 10 birds at Otley GP on January 1st soon followed by a maximum count for the year of 15 on January 20th at the same site. Other sightings came from Hawksworth Moor, Swinsty, Burley, March Ghyll, Grassington Moor, Kex Gill, Redshaw Gill, Timble Ings, lower Barden and Beckermonds, the latter being the latest record on December 5th. There were no confirmed breeding records although `drumming' was observed at several locations. (PJC, DLR, BOG, CJC, PD&JBP, PBR, JDe, JF, D&HB, A&NB, K&PL) WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticola Scarce breeding resident/passage migrant/winter visitor. Probably in decline. Thought to breed extensively throughout the area at appropriate sites. Numbers are supplemented by continental migrants in winter with resident birds thought to over-winter if not too cold. Most sightings were from Timble Ings where one was shot by a shooting party on January 21st. Records were also received from Dob Wood, Lindley Wood, Swinsty, Addingham and Beckermonds. An influx from the continent was reported at the beginning of November and an exhausted bird flying across Fewston and landing in the middle of a field in broad daylight was probably one of these incomers. Most records were for the first few months of the year and the most seen was 4 roding birds at Timble Ings on June 10th. (BOG, PBR, CJC, PJC, D&HB, PQ) GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius Very rare passage migrant. Probably the best record of the year with a single bird giving close views at Fewston (later at Swinsty) on November 3rd and for a few days thereafter. The confiding nature of the bird together with it being seemingly content to stay around for a while meant that a good number of people were able to see it. There 51
were several other records in Yorkshire at around the same time. (BOG, JF, PBR, PD&JBP) BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa Rare passage migrant. Only one record this year with a single bird seen at Chelker on July 14th. (BOG) BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica Rare passage migrant. Only one record this year with 4 birds seen over Burley Moor on September 10th. (BOG) CURLEW Numenius arquata Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population stable. A widespread breeding bird throughout the area at suitable sites, which usually moves west and south for winter. Appears to be doing well. Also over-winters in the Wharfe valley bottom (although these may well be continental birds) if there is no severe weather to drive them away. Denton yielded the largest count with up to c450 on December 10th and c350 on March 9th and November 27th - it is worthy of note that these figures represents two/three per cent of inland wintering Curlew in the UK and this population is therefore of considerable significance! There were sightings from a wide variety of locations with breeding confirmed on many moorland and moorland fringe sites. Hawksworth Moor was highlighted by separate observers as having had a good breeding year. There is no doubt that our area remains a stronghold for this species. (GT, PBR, BOG, JW, JF, GSH, JD, JMC/AMG, PBR, CJC, N&AB, K&PL, PD&JBP, PJC, JS) WHIMBREL Numenius phaeopus Scarce passage migrant. There were five sightings this year with 3 birds over-flying Lindley Wood on April 17th and one on April 20th, 2 birds over-flying Otley GP on May 2nd, a single bird on Ilkley Moor on May 8th and 3 on the northern edge of Timble Ings on August 11th. (BOG, JDe, AP&GF, PJC) COMMON REDSHANK Tringa totanus Uncommon breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population probably stable. Numbers of reports were plentiful this year, the sites featured being Lindley Wood, Kex Gill, Hawksworth Moor, Whetstone Gate, Swinsty, Grimwith, Bleabeck Dams, Hebden, Redshaw Gill and Barden. No proven breeding records were submitted although there is no doubt that breeding did occur at some of the above locations. Only two sites produced winter records with single birds at Otley GP on two occasions in January and `several' birds at Appletreewick pasture on December 5th. (GT, PD&JBP, K&PL, N&AB, JW, GSH, JF, MVB, PRo, JDe, PJC, CJC, PBR, BOG) COMMON GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Scarce passage visitor. This is an uncommon migrant for the area with records usually restricted to summer. Sightings were submitted covering Otley GP, Lindley Wood and Kex Gill between May 8th and September 27th. All sightings were of single birds apart from Lindley Wood on August 1st when 2 were seen. (PBR, PJC, BOG, GT, PRo, JDe) GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Scarce passage visitor. Eight reports were received from Lindley Wood, Kex Gill and Swinsty between August 10th and October 13th. All were for single birds apart from 2 at Kex Gill on September 11th. (BOG, PBR) COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population possibly in shallow decline. Present throughout the area at suitable sites in spring/summer. A good number of records were received, usually of 1/2 birds, between April 1st (an early record) and September 30th. Sightings came from Otley GP, Manor Park, Swinsty, Kex Gill, Askwith, Barden, the Strid, Lindley Wood and Grassington. Breeding was confirmed at Barden, Grassington and Kex Gill. (PBR, CJC, GT, PJC, PD&JBP, JD, PQ, DLR, K&PL, BOG) BLACK HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus Common breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population may be declining after big increase in recent decades. This species winters in the area in large numbers with roosts of c2000 at Swinsty for example in January. These large roosts commence in late September and build to a peak by February then rapidly diminish towards the breeding season. Breeding occurs on local moors insofar as it is allowed by gamekeepers, who usually discourage large colonies. A pair may also have bred at Otley GP. The main site is at Upper Barden where c3000 were observed at the end of March. Most Gulls seen in the area through the year will be this species an observer described them in the past as `numerous and ubiquitous'.(LGD, PBR, PRo, BOG, K&PL) 52
COMMON GULL Larus canus Common passage/winter visitor. Small number of breeding records. A species which usually only winters in the area although a few immatures have been observed through summer and a small number are thought to breed in the Upper Barden Black-headed Gull colony. There were several reports of flocks over 100 with the best being c2000 at the Swinsty gull roost in January. Other sites include Otley GP (maximum of 400+ on February 3rd), Barden and at various sites in the Washburn. May be seen at any time in small groups or often a few mixed in with Black-headed Gulls. (PBR, CJC, PBR, PJC, K&PL) MEDITTERANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus Rare visitor. There was 2 sightings this year namely an adult at Knotford Nook on February 17th and an adult again at Lindley Wood on July 1st the latter staying for three days. (BOG, JDe) LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus Uncommon breeding resident/passage visitor. Probably declining due to control at breeding sites. This species both winters in the area and breeds on local moors where not disturbed by gamekeepers concerned by their propensity to eat anything that moves! No large counts were reported but small numbers were seen on a number of occasions throughout the year. (BOG, PR, PD&JBP, PJC) GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus Uncommon passage/winter visitor. A few birds winter in the area eventually flying north to their breeding grounds. The odd immature may stay all year. Reported sightings were in short supply with the highest numbers being 9 at the Swinsty roost on January 19th and 7 at Otley GP on January 8th. (PR, BOG) HERRING GULL Larus argentatus Uncommon visitor. Breeding at one known locality. Less common than other Gulls with just a few reports each year. There are a small number of breeding pairs at the Upper Barden Black-headed Gull colony. Sightings reported included 30 at the Swinsty gull roost on January 19th. (BOG, PBR) COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo Scarce passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. Usually a few birds pass through in spring/summer and this year was no exception with sightings at Otley GP and Grimwith. The highest number at the former site was a surprising 9 on June 8th. Bred successfully at one site in the area with 2 young being fledged. (PD&JBP, CJC, PBR, BOG, PJC, K&PL, PRo, JW) BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger Rare passage migrant. As last year just one sighting of a single bird, at Otley GP on June 4th. (BOG) FERAL PIGEON Columba livia Uncommon resident breeder. Population probably stable. Mainly seen in urban areas of Ilkley and Otley with a few small groups also in rural areas
. STOCK DOVE Columba oenas Common breeding resident. Population stable. Although probably present all year in most years, numbers likely to fluctuate during winter as resident birds move out in a cold snap and it may disappear altogether for a time. This is very much a rural bird in the area and is certainly under-recorded. Extensive observations in the Washburn valley suggest that this area is a stronghold although this year, unusually, no more than 10 were seen at any one time. There are a number of breeding sites in the Washburn and there is every reason to expect that the bird holds a similar status in the Wharfe valley a group of 25 were seen at Burley on March 3rd. (PD&JBP, K&PL, BOG, CJC, DLR, MVB, LGD, PJC) WOOD PIGEON Columba palumbus Common breeding resident. Population stable. Present all year in good numbers throughout the area but with a tendency to move to the lower parts of the valleys in winter and may disappear in a severe cold spell. Nonetheless there was a surprising record of `thousands' around Timble on November 27th. Garden records are now quite common (this has not always been the case) particularly where regular feeding occurs. One observer noted that after a cat had killed a Wood Pigeon in the garden there were no further visits by this species in three months the RSPB advised that they avoid places where there has been any kind of commotion. (BOG, PBR, JW, K&PL, PJC) 53
COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto Common breeding resident. Population stable. Tends to be concentrated in urban, suburban and village environments and regular garden visitor. Surprisingly rare in rural habitats in the Washburn, for example, the only record upstream of Leathley was at Timble where breeding is thought to have occurred. Nests for most of the year an Addingham garden had a nest well-established in ivy covering a hawthorn by March 8th. The same garden reported 7 birds clinging on to a very small seed feeder! One Ilkley garden again reported a complete absence throughout the year most unusual. An Otley garden had 18 on July 3rd. (PJC, JW, DLR, PBR, K&PL) CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Scarce breeding migrant. Population declining. The earliest calling bird was from Burley Moor on April 19th - three days later than last year. A total of twenty more records were received from Kex Gill, Conistone, Hawksworth Moor, Snowden Crags, Thruscross, Storiths, Hebers Ghyll, Whetstone Gate, Middleton, Ilkley Moor, Appletreewick and Grass Wood. The only evidence of successful breeding was a juvenile at Kex Gill between August 26th and September 18th. The national trend remains downwards although a good number of records were received for our area this year. There was an unusual record on May 1st when a calling female at Addingham Moorside caused Badgers to rush back down their holes! (JBS, GT, CJC, PD&JBP, DLR, GSH, N&AB, BOG, JF, JD, K&PL, JW, MVB, PJC, PBR, D&ML, AP&GF, JS, PQ) LITTLE OWL Athene noctua Locally common breeding resident. Population stable. Probably still doing well but very few records from the upper sections of the valleys. Single birds and pairs were widely reported from Leathley up to Barden the only records north of here being from Foxup and Arncliffe. The stretch of the river from Addingham to Barden Bridge was thought to hold six pairs. There was only one confirmed breeding record from a site, used for many years, in an oak tree at Lindley Green. Records were concentrated in the period March to July. (CJC, GT, PD&JBP, N&AB, PR, GSH, DLR, FCD, PJC, KL, MVB, AP&GF) TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common breeding resident. Population stable. Again sparsely recorded in Upper Wharfedale, no doubt linked to the reduced woodland cover
, but apparently widespread elsewhere. Records, including from gardens, were received for most months of the year. Evidence of breeding was received from Burley and Middleton, one nest in the latter being predated by a Squirrel. A single bird was reported from Otley centre traffic lights on April 14th! (PD&JBP, PBR, PRo, AMG, GT, PJC, D&ML, GSH, AP&GF, K&PL, CJC, PJC) EURASIAN EAGLE OWL Bubo bubo Escaped bird. Three reports received from Ilkley Moor on February 17th and Panorama Woods on January 24th and February 2nd. Subsequently this non-native bird was caught by Bradford Council and is now housed in an aviary. (BOG, D&ML) LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Scarce breeding migrant. Evidence is emerging thanks to the splendid efforts of a local ornithologist that this elusive species breeds in our area more than previously thought. One site which was thought to hold one breeding pair is now known to host at least three whilst other sites in the lower valleys have been located. The species is thought to vacate our area in winter. (AJ, BOG, K&PL, PBR) SHORT EARED OWL Asio flammeus Scarce breeding migrant/resident. Population either stable or in shallow decline. Mostly vacates our area in winter although winter records can occur this year there was one sighting on Burley Moor on February 3rd. All records this year were for the period March to August. Observations were also received from Barden, Grimwith, Kex Gill, Rombalds Moor, Beamsley Moor and Thruscross. There were confirmed breeding records from Grimwith (two separate sites), Kex Gill, Barden (where one observer had an amazing display from a bird that may have been inadvertently disturbed on the nest) and Rombalds Moor. Another observer was lucky enough to see a pair passing prey in mid-air at Grimwith on June 8th. (BOG, CJC, JW, JF, DLR, GSH, GT, PRo, PBR, K&PL, LGD, AP&GF) EUROPEAN NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Scarce passage migrant bred in area this year, the first breeding record for many years. A pair bred successfully, raising 2 young, at a site in the Washburn Valley. It is hoped that this will now become a regular event as more suitable habitat is made available. (BOG, PD&JBP, GT, CJC, PBR, K&PL, JDe, PJC) 54
SWIFT Apus apus
Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population probably stable/may be in shallow decline. The first of the year were 8 birds over Otley GP on April 27th. Subsequently seen throughout Wharfedale
and the Washburn but concentrated in the lower valleys with nest sites typically in urban areas. More
sightings through to August although concentrated in May. The largest flocks observed were c100 over Otley GP on May 29th, 140 at the same site on July 1st, 260+ flying SE over Lindley Wood on July 1st and 300+ at the same site (on a very miserable day) on July 27th. The last record received was a single bird over a Burley garden on August 17th. (BOG, PBR, GSH, PD&JBP, PRo, DLR, K&PL, PJC)
KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis
Uncommon breeding resident along suitable rivers and lagoons. Population probably stable. Reports from throughout the lower part of the area with sightings as far up the Wharfe as Barden. Birds
were seen throughout the year. This species appears to be thriving at the moment presumably linked to the
absence of prolonged, hard, winters. Evidence of breeding was given for Knotford Nook, Manor Park and the Ben Rhydding areas alas a nest at the latter site was destroyed by high water in early-August after five
days of heavy rain. An Addingham observer was delighted to see this species beside the stream in his garden
for the first time ever. (K&PL, CJC, MHA, PD&JBP, BOG, D&HB, GSH, LGD, DA, GT, PBR, PRo, N&AB, MVB, JF, PJC, DA, JS, PQ)
GREEN WOODPECKER Picus viridis
Common breeding resident. Population stable.
Appears to be holding its own throughout the area. Records received were usually of single birds often
detected by their distinctive 'yaffle' and they covered as far up the Wharfe valley as Yockenthwaite and
Hubberholme. There were also a number of records for the Washburn up to and beyond Thruscross.
Confirmed evidence of breeding came from one site only in the middle Washburn and 2 juveniles were noted at Ben Rhydding. Reported to be `not very common' locally around Addingham. One observer was understandably surprised to see a single bird on Denton Moor on November 26th. (PBR, CJC, GT, JW,
LGD, MVB, N&AB, JF, PD&JBP, PJC, BOG, DLR, K&PL)
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopus major Common breeding resident. Population stable. A fair number of reports for a species that appears to be doing well in our area one
observer thought they were `abundant' this year. There were no confirmed breeding records although one bird was seen having an
argument with a Jackdaw over ownership of a potential nest hole at
the Strid. There were a good number of garden records including one sighting which was the first for over two years. (GSH, DLR, GT, CJC,
LGD, JW, PJC, JD, JMC, PBR, DLR, K&PL, PD&JBP, JS, PQ) LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopus minor
Scarce breeding resident. Population possibly in decline.
This species is not far from the northern limit of its range and
obviously remains difficult to find. Reported from Strid Wood,
Knotford Nook, Farnley, Lindley Wood, Middleton Woods, Redshaw Gill and Sun Lane. Also a `possible' from Kettlewell on August 10th. There was one confirmed breeding record from a
woodland site near Ilkley. (GT, BOG, CJC, PBR, PRo, K&PL, PD&JBP,
Great Spotted Woodpecker
WRYNECK Jynx torquilla
Rare passage migrant. One sighting only with a single bird near Lower Barden Reservoir on August 26th. (BOG)
SKYLARK Alauda arvensis (Target Species)
Common breeding resident. Population declining in danger of becoming scarce. The steep national population
decline of this species is well-documented and is perhaps being reflected in
our area. Favoured sites were spread throughout our area from lower Wharfedale up to Yockenthwaite with
records covering every month of the year except December. At Arncliffe there were reported to be `good numbers' on June 24th. Most sightings were singing birds on their breeding grounds which usually means
the moorlands and their edges but there were also a number of records of small groups of migrating birds
with, for example, 30 at Chelker forced down by heavy rain. The last record of the year was at Otley GP
where 11 birds flew over, in a westerly direction, on November 15th. (N&AB, CJC, GT, BOG, JF, JW, PBR, JD, D&ML, DH, PJC) SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population fluctuates but may be on the up at the moment. Nesting sites were noted along the Wharfe at suitable sites up to Buckden although the only known site in the Washburn was a small colony at Hoodstorth just north of Thruscross. The most seen were c140 at Knotford on April 30th. There were also c100 in a colony near Arncliffe on April 24th, on June 23rd and July 19th at Otley GP. The earliest record was 2 at Otley GP on March 18th and the latest was 100+ at Barden on August 24th. Sadly the heavy rain at the beginning of August, and subsequent high river level, killed 300+ chicks in the nest at Ben Rhydding. (CJC, PD&JBP, BOG, JW, JF, GSH, JD, K&PL, MVB, GT, D&ML, PBR, PRo, AP&GF, PJC, PQ) BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population possibly in decline. This species appears to be well distributed throughout the area, mainly in rural areas wherever suitable nesting sites exist. Signs this year of a reduction in numbers with several worrying reports of birds not returning to nest sites in the usual numbers. The most seen was 250+ at Hoodstorth on September 18th. The earliest record was 2 birds at Knotford Nook on April 5th and the latest was a single bird near Bland Hill in the Washburn seen on the very late date of December 3rd. Breeding records were received from several sites including Conistone and Timble whilst a site at Knotford had 25 nests which produced 110 young. (CJC, BOG, GSH, PBR, PRo, K&PL, GT, PD&JBP, PJC, AP&GF, JW) HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbica Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population possibly reduced this year. An under-reported species which, despite some population concerns, appears to be doing well in our area although sightings this year appear to be down. An observer from Manor Park has noticed a decline in nests on the estate in recent years. There were no reports of really large flocks the most being 50+ at Barden in late-August, and a similar number at Otley GP on September 5th and at Askwith on July 8th. The first sighting was April 24th with a single bird at Bolton Abbey and the last was from October 9th with 6 birds over-flying Burley. (CJC, PBR, GT, BOG, JW, K&PL, N&AB, PD&JBP, PJC, PQ) TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Scarce breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population increasing. Although still uncommon in the area the Washburn valley has certainly seen an increase in recent years at suitable sites on the valley side. Numbers in the Norwood Edge/Sword Point area of the Washburn were again high compared with several years ago and and it is thought that successful breeding occurred here. Other sites included Snowden, Ilkley Moor, Timble Ings, Hubberholme/Yockenthwaite, Barden and Otley Chevin. The highest number reported was 6 at Timble Ings on July 27th. The earliest sighting was from Halton Gill with a single bird singing on April 16th. (PBR, PD&JBP, CJC, PJC, BOG, K&PL, AP&GF) MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis Common breeding resident/migrant/passage visitor. Population probably in decline. Mainly found high on the valley sides but usually moves off the moors and down the valleys in winter. Overall numbers however are probably reduced from a few years ago. Birds were being seen as early as January with a single bird at Otley GP on 23rd. The small number of reports received of this under-reported species usually refer to a few only with the exception of early-morning migration observers in September at Kex Gill where c500 were seen over-flying south on September 20th. A few birds were still being seen in the valleys and around the moorland edges in December. Breeding was proven at Addingham Moorside and Ilkley Moor the latter holding a nest with three eggs on May 24th which had been predated by June 4th. (BOG, PBR, GT, PD&JBP, PJC, BOG, AP&GF, K&PL) YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava Scarce breeding migrant/passage visitor. Still holding on despite significant decline over recent decades. As usual most reports were from Wharfedale either from the upper valley or from two sites in the lower valley. It is thought that up to 3 pairs nested in the lower valley at one site and breeding was confirmed in the upper valley. The first sighting was a single bird at Halton Gill on April 16th (where 2 juveniles were observed on July 16th) followed by 5 at Knotford on April 21st which included a member of the blue-headed race. The latest record was 2 birds seen at Otley GP on August 26th. (GSH, BOG, PD&JBP, JW, GT, N&AB, CJC, JDe, MVB, AP&GF) GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea Common breeding resident/partial migrant. Population possibly increasing. 56
Appears to have had another good season - this is one of those species that benefits significantly from the absence of harsh winters and is currently plentiful and widespread at suitable sites. Reports of successful breeding came from both the Wharfe and Washburn valleys including Addingham, Burley, Barden, Strid Woods, Grassington, Ilkley Tarn, Lindley Wood, Otley and Yockenthwaite. Sightings were submitted from throughout the area and covered all months of the year. There was a garden sighting from Ilkley on October 10th. (PBR, PD&JBP, MHA, JMC/AMG, MVB, JDe, CJC, BOG, GT, N&AB, LGD, JW, K&PL, DLR, PBR, PJC, JS) PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Common breeding resident/partial migrant. Population possibly increasing. Present throughout the year with some local movement including coming together in large roosting flocks in winter in the lower stretches of the valleys. However the large roost in central Ilkley appears not to have been utilised this year. The largest collection reported was c25 on the bowling green(!) at Burley on September 27th. This is an under-reported species and again there were only a small number of reports from the area this year with confirmed evidence of breeding in just one case - one pair nesting under the aqueduct near Barden (opposite a Dipper's nest on the other side see below) observed on April 16th. The population of this species would appear to be in a healthy state. A most interesting record was the 26 White Wagtails (different race from the continent) flying west on March 31st. A single bird of this race was also observed at Howgill on April 15th. (PBR, JNC/AMG, GSH, DH, K&PL, PJC, GT, PD&JBP, BOG) WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus Scarce winter visitor with reports in most years. This year was looking like a blank year when 3 birds were seen on December 26th, and for the remainder of the year, around Cunliffe Road in the middle of Ilkley, a site that has almost become `traditional'. It was presumably one of these birds that was the subject of a garden record at Westville Avenue, Ilkley on December 27th. (BOG, PBR, MHA, DLR, LGD, GT, CJC, DA, KL, GSH, JDu, PJC) DIPPER Cinclus cinclus Scarce breeding resident. Population stable. Seemingly unchanged in status, with single birds and/or pairs reported along the Wharfe from Yockenthwaite to Burley one observer reported `generally good numbers'. Also in the upper and lower stretches of the Washburn. Confirmed breeding reports were received from Barden (nest under the aqueduct on the opposite side from a Pied Wagtail see above), Otley and below Thruscross. One bird was heard singing on April 16th at Hubberholme the song is not often reported and yet it is a very lyrical warble which may be heard in the depths of winter thereby adding to its attraction. (JMC/AMG, K&PL, MHA, PD&JBP, JD, GSH, JW, JF, CJC, GT, PBR, PJC) GREAT GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor Rare passage migrant. A single bird was seen on Barden Moor for three days from March 26th to 28th and another was seen in Beecroft Moor Plantation on November 11th. (BOG, MVB) WREN Troglodytes troglodytes Common breeding resident. Population has probably increased. A widespread species even up on to the moors. Some evidence of breeding from a variety of garden records. This is one of our commonest, most successful, birds which is benefiting from our current mild winters. (DLR, K&PL, PBR, PJC) DUNNOCK Prunella modularis Common breeding resident. Population stable. Status apparently unchanged - a widespread and successful resident. A common garden species. Tends to be under-reported. Several breeding records. (JW, PBR, K&PL) ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Common breeding resident/winter visitor. Population stable/increasing. A familiar and much-loved resident in good numbers throughout our area. Seems to be doing well. Reported again feeding from peanut feeders in several gardens and plenty of evidence of successful breeding. An Ilkley garden held 4 birds on February 16th. (K&PL, PBR, JW) BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros Scarce passage visitor. Has bred in the recent past. A single bird was seen at Farnley on June 1st and at Kex Gill on May 19th. An immature was seen regularly at Kex Gill for around a fortnight in early November. There was no evidence of any breeding attempt in our area. (BOG, PRo, PBR, K&PL, PD&JBP) 57
COMMON REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population probably increasing. Another good year for our area. The first record was on April 8th at Lindley Wood where a male was
singing. Records cover most of the area and extend through to late-August although most of these later
records are thought to be migrants passing through the area. Successful breeding was noted at Low
Snowden, Dobpark and, possibly, Burnsall. The Washburn Valley moving north from Lindley Wood is
undoubtedly a stronghold and there were many males on territory this year. The last record was September
4th with a single bird at Addingham. (GT, PBR, CJC, PD&JBP, BOG, AP&GF, K&PL, DLR, PJC)
COMMON STONECHAT Saxicola torquata (Target Species)
Scarce breeder/passage/winter visitor. Population increasing.
The number of sightings has continued to increase this year presumably linked to the recent pattern of mild
winters - at this rate we shall soon be referring to it as a `common' bird in the area! Breeding records were
received from Low Snowden (6 young in the nest) and the nearby Crags, Barden Moor and Ilkley Moor.
Other sightings were reported from Askwith Moor, Sandwith Moor, Burley, below Swinsty dam, Fewston,
Hazlewood Moor, Beamsley Beacon, Norwood Edge and Bland Hill. Many of the records were for more
than a single bird. (PD&JBP, LGD, GT, BOG, CJC,GSH, PBR, K&PL, PJC, JF, MVB, PRo, JDe, AP&GF)
WHINCHAT Saxicola rubetra
Scarce breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population probably in shallow decline.
Continues to be found in a few favoured localities which can usually be relied on,
namely Ilkley Moor, Snowden Crags and Barden. Other sightings were received
from Kex Gill, Beamsley, and Starbotton. The suspicion remains that reports are
slowly reducing in number and that the species is struggling to survive as a
breeding bird in our area. (PD&JBP, CJC, PBR, GSH, BOG, MVB, K&PL)
WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe
Uncommon breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population probably stable. A good number of reports this year the earliest being 2 birds seen on Burley
Moor on March 17th. Judging by reports received, breeding tends to be
concentrated in the upper Wharfe valley, from about Grassington north, although sightings of moving birds
are common elsewhere in the spring and late summer. Sightings were submitted from Hebden Ghyll, Otley
GP, Beamsley, Timble, Barden, Beamsley, Yockenthwaite, Lea Green, Grassington Moor, Kex Gill,
Conistone, Trollers Gill, Farnley Moor, Denton Moor, Snowden Crags, Hawksworth Moor and Bastow Wood. The last record was a single bird at Timble Ings on October 31st. (PBR, CJC, PD&JBP, DH, JF, JDe,
K&PL, AMG, AP&GF, MVB, GT, BOG, JW, GSH, PJC)
RING OUZEL Turdus torquatus
Scarce breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population declining.
The earliest record this year was from Burley Moor with a male on March 23rd. Most records were then
concentrated in April and May with a small number in September and October. The last record was from a
Beamsley garden on October 10th when a male and a female were seen, with Redwing, feeding on
Hawthorn and drinking from the garden pond. Disappointingly there were no confirmed breeding records
received even fron traditional sites, on Burley and Barden Moors, which is no doubt symptomatic of the
national decline. (BOG, JDA, D&ML, PD&JBP, CJC, GSH, JF, MVB, GT, AP&GF, PBR)
BLACKBIRD Turdus merula
Common breeding resident/winter visitor. Population stable.
Remains a common and widespread breeding bird present throughout the year, with winter numbers being
significantly enhanced due to the influx of continental migrants. Nationally there is some evidence of a
decline in breeding numbers but this trend is not yet obvious in our area with gardens reporting breeding
success from a number of broods. There were several reports of Sparrowhawk and window-collision kills.
One nest was reported with 5 young having starved to death most likely through the demise of an adult. On April 28th one bird was observed clearly `bathing' on wet leaves after a heavy downpour! (JW, DLR, GT,
BOG, JW, K&PL, PJC, DA)
FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris
Common winter/passage visitor.
Reports of large flocks were received for both ends of the year with many hundreds, for example, in the Washburn Valley in early December. On March 24th c1500 were seen going in to a roost on Sandwith Moor whilst c600 were observed flying over Kex Gill on November 9th. On October 30th one bird was seen being
taken by a Peregrine at Timble Ings. There was an abundance of berries etc in the later part of the year and
this was no doubt responsible for the good numbers seen in the countryside at this time. The change in the second half of winter from berry-feeding to ground-feeding, as the former supply became exhausted, was again noticeable and flock numbers tended to reduce somewhat around this time, prior to building again just prior to departure. The `earliest' sighting was on October 9th when c200 flew over an Addingham garden and the `latest' was April 24th near Timble. (CJC, DLR, GSH, PBR, BOG, GT, PD&JBP, K&PL, JW, MVB, PJC, JS, PQ) SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos Common breeding resident/winter visitor. Population still apparently increasing. Only a few records were received but several observers commented that there were good numbers of singing birds compared with several years ago and it now seems beyond doubt that an improvement is occurring in our area - might this be related to the mid-nineties drought and the feeding difficulties this might have caused for this species? There were not only reports of singing birds in January but also three reports, from Ilkley and Burley, of birds singing in December in readiness for the 2003 season a fair comment on another (on the whole) mild end to the year. Although birds are present in autumn/early-winter they are generally very skulking and difficult to see in addition to which migration south and west occurs which is exacerbated if winter conditions turn harsh. Nonetheless there were a healthy number of sightings in the last months of the year perhaps due to the recent population improvement and the mild end to the year. Let us hope that this overall encouraging picture continues for this most beautiful songster. (PBR, CJC, GT, N&AB, MHA, GSH, D&ML, PJC, JW, K&PL) REDWING Turdus iliacus Common winter/passage visitor. Few large flocks were observed the best being c230 at Otley GP on October 22nd. Generally speaking the highest numbers were observed at this time with numbers very thin on the ground by December in marked contrast to Fieldfare. The best record for the early part of the year was c200 around Fewston. There were a few garden records in the later part of the year although not as many as in some years. The `earliest' record for the winter influx was 5 birds seen at Timble Ings on October 4th and the `latest' was from April 13th with 16 near Dobpark. Most submissions were for less than 100. (PJC, CJC, PBR, GSH, K&PL, LGD, BOG, JD, D&ML, DLR, JW, JS) MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Common breeding resident. Population stable. Few reports were received but apparently still widespread and prospering - again the reported national decline does not appear to be replicated in our area. Easily observed virtually throughout the year although does become rather more elusive when moulting in summer. Singing birds were reported from November onwards and there were a few examples of them guarding berry-covered trees. There were several reports of larger flocks (between 20 and 43) from July to September which is the one time of the year when this species tends to congregate. Nest building was observed at the Strid on April 4th (they often nest somewhat earlier than this) and 3 young were ringed in a nest at Nell Bank. (GT, PBR, PD&JBP, GSH, D&ML, PRo, PJC, K&PL) SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Scarce breeding migrant. Population stable, possibly increasing. Most sightings came from Otley GP and Fewston, successful breeding occurring at both sites. There were several pairs at Otley GP (5 males were heard singing on May 9th) most of which are thought to have bred successfully. Surprisingly there were no records from Knotford which produced confirmed breeding records last year. The first sighting was at Otley GP with a single bird on April 24th. Later sightings were also received from Gallows Hill and Grimwith - the former site is thought to have held at least one breeding pair. The last sighting was a single bird at Gallows Hill on October 14th - very late. A garden in Addingham had a single bird on July 29th just three days earlier than the one reported last year as killed when it flew into a window of the same house! (CJC, PJC, PBR, BOG, JW, JDe, DLR) REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus Rare passage migrant. Otley GP was host to 1/2 birds from the beginning of June to the middle of July occasionally singing vociferously. They were not in the reedbed and it is thought that they were most likely failed breeders stopping off en route south having found a good food source itself a hopeful sign. (BOG, PBR, CJC, PB&JBP) LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca Scarce breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population fluctuates but currently in decline. 59
A poor year this year with only a few records, including July 16th near Dobpark Bridge (with a flock of Tits) and August 18th at Blubberhouses both records are most likely to be moving birds. The best records however came from an Otley garden which hosted a singing male from the end of April to the end of July. A feeding party towards the end of this period would suggest that successful breeding may have occurred. (AP&GF, PBR, PJC) COMMON WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis Scarce breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population probably stable. The first sighting was a single bird at Gallows Hill (this site also produced the only confirmed breeding records) on May 3rd which also produced the latest record on October 14th. Reports were also received from Otley GP, Sun Lane and Stead Farm. (PD&JBP, CJC, DLR, PBR, PJC, BOG, JDe) GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population stable. Well distributed in the Lower Wharfe and Washburn. First reported from Lindley Wood on April 28th followed by a number of sightings in May and June from Ben Rhydding GP, Gallows Hill, Otley GP, Grimwith (unusual this far up the valley), Sun Lane and Strid Wood. Breeding was proven at Gallows Hill (2/3 pairs). One bird trapped and ringed at Gallows Hill on May 5th was recaptured at the same site on August 2nd. The last record for the year was from Lindley Trout Farm on June 28th. (PJC, K&PL, CJC, JW, JF, DLR, BOG) BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla Common breeding migrant/passage visitor/winter visitor. Population increasing. Distributed throughout the area (but not on high ground) though rather scarce in the upper reaches of the Wharfe the only record north of the Strid came from Grass Wood. The recent national increase appears to be reflected in our area with many reports, including evidence of breeding. There is also evidence of birds, believed to be from the continent, over-wintering in the area and many winter records (usually garden) were received. They are very fond of fruit in gardens but are quite catholic in their taste and have been observed on nuts. One Menston garden had 3 male Blackcap on December 21st. (NB. The latest estimate of overwintering Blackcaps is 55,000 for the whole of the U.K. and rising). Apart from winter records birds were observed from April to October singing birds in an Ilkley garden on February 24th and at Ben Rhydding on March 18th are most likely to be over-wintering. The `first' record was April 3rd at Lindley Wood and the `last' was September 2nd in an Addingham garden. Confirmation of breeding was received from Gallows Hill and Otley GP. (CJC, LGD, K&PL, GSH, JMC/AMG, D&ML, DLR, PD&JBP, BOG, PBR, PJC, JW, JD, K&PL, JS, PQ) WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon breeding migrant. Population declining. Nationally in decline and this is being reflected in our area with numbers well down in the Washburn valley for example (just two records this year) and numbers of records submitted on a declining trend. However Strid Wood remains a stronghold and most reports were again from here including one count of 17 birds on May 16th. Other sites were Farnley, Heber's Ghyll, Dobpark, Panorama Woods and Grass Wood. The first sighting was one bird at Strid Wood on April 25th and the last was on June 29th at the same site. (PD&JBP, GT, BOG, CJC, PJC, JF, N&AB) CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Common breeding migrant/passage/winter visitor. Population probably increasing. There were two reports of wintering birds, both from Otley GP, on January 1st and December 27th. The first presumed migrant was at Lindley Wood on March 15th. Reports were received from suitable sites (on lower ground) throughout the Washburn and Lower Wharfe with good numbers of singing birds, again apparently mirroring the national increase in recent years. A few garden sightings were received including the `last' record on October 24th at Otley GP. Breeding was proven at Farnley but was no doubt extensive throughout the area wherever suitable habitat exists. (CJC, GT, PJC, MVB, BOG, JF, K&PL, D&ML, JMC/AMG, JD, DLR, PQ) WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus Common breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population stable/possibly increasing. This under-reported species breeds in good numbers throughout the area including the upper reaches of the Wharfe. This is another species that may be increasing in numbers at the present time. The first bird was seen at Otley GP on April 3rd. From early-April numbers built up to a high level throughout the area towards the end of April. No breeding records were submitted. The last record was for October 1st in an Ilkley garden. (PBR, BOG, PJC, CJC, GT, JW, JF, K&PL, D&ML, N&AB, DLR, PQ) 60
GOLDCREST Regulus regulus Common breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population increasing. Although resident, local movement does occur particularly in prolonged cold weather. This is another bird that has benefited from the absence of harsh winters. Unobtrusive, and generally located by unique, but somewhat indistinct, high-pitched call and thus elusive and undoubtedly under-recorded. However, appears to be present, and doing well, throughout the recording area at suitable sites particularly around stands of conifers. Garden records are becoming increasingly common including feeding on peanuts and fat. (PJC, DLR, PBR, JW, JF, GT, N&AB, K&PL, JS) FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus Rare passage migrant. One record was noted, from Timble Ings on October 13th. There was another possible sighting from an Addingham garden which, unfortunately, could not be confirmed. (BOG, DLR) SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata (Target Species) Uncommon breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population decreasing but Strid Wood and the middle-Wharfe still appear to be strongholds. This species has been in long term decline both nationally and locally, a trend that seems to be showing no sign of abating. The first record was in Strid Wood on May 16th (late) followed by a number of reports through May to September. Nest monitoring at Beamsley revealed that four nests were predated and a further three at Denton one nest at the latter site successfully fledged 3 young. Perhaps this rate of predation is at least part of the problem that this species is having at the present time. A number of family parties were noted and records extended along the valleys and valley sides up to Upper Wharfedale. As usual late August produced several records of good numbers of passage birds. The last record was 2 birds at Arncliffe September 10th. (GT, PJC, PD&JBP, CJC, BOG, JF, PRo, GSH, MVB, AP&GF, JW, N&AB, DLR, PQ) PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Uncommon breeding migrant/passage visitor. Population possibly declining. This species is generally restricted to a few selected breeding sites. First reported from Lindley Wood with 2 birds seen on April 15th. The Washburn Valley and the Strid Wood area are local strongholds for this species but it also ranges up the Wharfe Valley with records as far north as Hubberholme. Nest monitoring records revealed that 7 boxes at Low Snowden fledged 45 young and 6 boxes at Dobpark held 32 young one of the recaptures at this latter site included a bird ringed in Folly Hall Wood in 1998. One observer noted a male `showing' a nest box to a female who promptly flew off to look at another! Sightings were also received from Nell Bank, Kettlewell, Buckden, Barden and Conistone. The last record was from Buckden on July 8th with a female and 2 juveniles. (GT, PJC, PBR, PD&JBP, CJC, BOG, JW, JF, MVB, D&ML, K&PL, PRo, AP&GF, PQ) LONG TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus Common breeding resident. Population increasing. Thought to be doing well at the present time, a trend no doubt linked to our mild winters one observer noted that they were around in `very good numbers'. Large flocks were reported from both the Wharfe and Washburn valleys in late-summer/autumn/winter with groups of 20+ birds being relatively commonplace. Examples of confirmed breeding included a nearly complete nest by March 23rd at Gallows Hill two nests at this site were successful plus nest building at Otley GP on March 20th and fledged young by June 18th. There were further examples of birds seen feeding on peanuts in gardens. (GSH, BOG, K&PL, N&AB, DLR, CJC, PBR, JW, PJC) WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Scarce passage visitor/possible breeder(?). Declined dramatically over recent decades. An unusually good year for sightings with some 15 records submitted from February through to December. The main sites were Gallows Hill, Barden, Buckden (this was a stronghold some thirty years ago), Lindley Wood, Fewston (this bird lingered for several weeks), Timble and Farnley. This is a species that has declined rapidly at national level in recent years and our area has similarly suffered so the increased number of sightings is welcome. There was, however, no evidence of breeding and none of the records were from the `normal' breeding months. (PBR, BOG, JDe, AJ, MVB, CJC) MARSH TIT Parus palustris Scarce passage visitor/possible breeder(?). Significant decline in recent decades. The only records came from Farnley, where at least 2 birds lingered for several weeks in November, and a single bird at Thruscross on July 29th. (BOG, K&PL, AJ, PJC) 61
COAL TIT Parus ater Common breeding resident. Population at least stable and may well be increasing. Appears to be doing well at suitable sites in both valleys and often frequents gardens. Numbers seem particularly robust this year. On February 6th some 20 were seen at a feeder just upstream from Cavendish Pavilion and 12 at the same site on March 2nd. Fledged young were seen at Otley GP on June 18th. A partial albino was seen at Strid Wood on February 19th. (GSH, BOG, CJC, PD&JBP, JW, K&PL, PJC) BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Common breeding resident. Population stable possibly increased this year. Clearly very common, widespread and successful and the species seems to have had a particularly successful year. One garden nest box fledged 18+ young but in a later attempt in the same garden all the chicks starved. Five nestboxes at Low Snowden produced 31 young and 20 boxes at Nell Bank produced 152 young. (PD&JBP, BOG, GSH, DLR, PRo, PBR, JW, K&PL) GREAT TIT Parus major Common breeding resident. Population stable. Comments much as for Blue Tit including evidence of good nesting success in bird boxes this year. One successful example was a bird box in an Addingham garden which fledged young by the very early date of May 16th. Elsewhere, 8 boxes at Low Snowden produced 70 young and 7 at Nell Bank yielded 56 young. (BOG, DLR, GSH, PRo, PBR, JW, K&PL) NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Locally common breeding resident. Population probably stable but has declined in the Washburn valley. No apparent overall change in status this year - doing well in Wharfedale and nationally thought to be doing very well with generally increased numbers. Sightings in the Washburn however continue to be virtually non-existent (just three reports from Thruscross(2) and above Dobpark Wood) following a marked downturn over the last decade - there appears to be no obvious explanation for this phenomenon. Most sightings in the Wharfe Valley were from Strid Wood (17+ on April 25th) south with the exception of 3 birds at Litton on July 13th and one at Grass Wood on August 21st. Garden sightings, usually on peanuts, were quite common (including a family group of 5 on the Manor Park estate) but there were no clear examples provided of breeding success this year. (N&AB, GSH, CJC, PBR, PJC, PD&JBP, GT, D&HB, LGD, D&ML, JF, BOG, DLR, JW, PQ) TREECREEPER Certhia familiaris Common breeding resident. Population stable/possibly increasing. Although present throughout our area tends to be concentrated in the lower valleys where numbers are thought to be at a high level. Only one breeding record with a single bird collecting food in Middleton Woods on May 1st. There is no reason to doubt that this species has had another successful year. Of the few records submitted most were from gardens the only exceptions being Sun Lane and the Washburn (PJC, PBR, JF, MHA, GT, GSH, D&ML, JW, K&PL, JS, PQ) JAY Garrulus glandarius Common breeding resident. Population stable. Widespread and successful throughout our area but less so in Upper Wharfedale, presumably linked to the sparse woodland cover. Coming increasingly into gardens sometimes on a regular basis, especially in the autumn and winter, and most records received are in fact from garden sightings where, occasionally, feeders are now being used. Some decline has occurred at national level but this is not apparent here. (JF, DLR, JMC, GT, GSH, JD, PBR, LGD, K&PL, PJC, JS, PQ) MAGPIE Pica pica Common breeding resident. Population stable. Widespread in suburban locations although surprisingly scarce in rural situations - perhaps due to competition with game rearing interests? In this respect one bird was seen taking a Pheasant chick at Otley GP on May 31st. However despite continuing concern about the impact of this predator on local songbird/garden populations during the breeding season BTO research has shown a negligible effect on overall numbers. Nonetheless this most handsome of birds remains disliked by most garden birdwatchers. One bird was observed breaking off live twigs in an Ilkley garden, presumably for nest building. (BOG, PBR, JW, K&PL) JACKDAW Corvus monedula Common breeding resident/winter visitor. Population stable. Large winter flocks running into hundreds, often mixed with Rooks. No apparent change in status. Their cheerful calls are especially welcome in winter when there may be very few other birds to be heard. 62
Increasingly inclined to visit gardens and now very adept at using peanut feeders. One bird was observed entering a nest at Middleton Woods on May 5th. (GT, PBR, K&PL, PJC)
ROOK Corvus frugilegus
Common breeding resident/winter visitor. Population probably increasing.
Rookeries are common at suitable wooded sites in Lower Wharfedale and the Washburn. Winter flocks can
number several hundred often mixed with Jackdaws. Increasingly inclined to visit gardens albeit remaining
very wary. As with Jackdaws their winter calling can be very welcome at a time when few other species are
vocalising. Attendance at Rookeries starts as early as December for the following breeding season. (GSH,
CARRION CROW Corvus corone
Common breeding resident. Population increasing.
Remains numerous throughout, including the high dales and moors,
notwithstanding the inevitable competition with game rearing interests.
Numbers are thought to have increased in recent decades as culling has
somewhat diminished and this will certainly cause problems for other
species (eg Lapwing) whose nests and chicks it readily predates. One bird
was observed taking a nestling Mistle Thrush in May at Manor Park. A
site on Hawksworth Moor yielded a collection of Lapwing, Pheasant and
Red Grouse eggs. A single bird was observed harassing Gulls on February 16th. Liable to nest wherever suitable trees occur, including in
MC suburbia and will visit gardens if suitable food is available one Ilkley garden now regards them as regular. (N&AB, JW, K&PL, PQ)
RAVEN Corvus corax
Scarce breeding resident. Population increasing.
At the present time there is every reason to suppose that this bird is continuing to slowly make breeding
inroads into our area albeit usually limited to Upper Wharfedale nearly all sightings came from Barden and the area to the north the only exceptions being sightings at Timble and Fewston. On September 5th 15 birds were observed around a dead sheep and on May 2nd a bird was observed being mobbed by a pair of
Curlew. Will undoubtedly be suffering from some culling by game-rearing interests which will be hindering
its expansion. (BOG, PBR, GT, PJC, LGD, K&PL, AP&GF, PD&JBP, JF, MVB)
STARLING Sturnus vulgaris
Common breeding resident/winter visitor. Population probably decreasing. Although there is no obvious
change in status it seems likely that the significant national reduction of recent times has been felt in this
area. Winter flocks (which may include continental migrants) may be found anywhere around the valleys
and often run into hundreds an Otley garden was exceptional regularly holding roosts in January/early February of up to 5000. The maximum otherwise was c800 on Hawksworth Moor on November 2nd.
Regularly seen in mixed flocks with winter thrushes. Garden records may run into tens where suitable food
has been put out. Breeding occurs throughout the area in suitable tree holes and buildings, including the roof
spaces of local housing. (BOG, N&AB, CJC, DLR, GT, K&PL, PBR, JW, PJC)
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
Locally common breeding resident. Population has decreased but probably currently stable.
Undoubtedly has declined in the area in accordance with the national trend over at least the last 25 years as
measured by the BTO, but several observers this year have spoken of numbers remaining the same, and
possibly increasing, which may be a hopeful sign. It is not far from being extinct in the Washburn valley
above Leathley (although one farm in particular continues to maintain a healthy population probably linked
to the amount of hay and grain lying around the farmyard and buildings) - the decline would appear to be
particularly marked in rural areas. Most reports from Burley, Ilkley and Menston gardens with numbers
occasionally in double figures and reaching a maximum of 25 in Burley. By way of contrast one Ilkley
garden has not had a record in over four years and another has had none since 1990 despite `lots' before.
(GT, CJC, PD&JBP, PBR, JMC, PRo, DLR, GSH, JW)
TREE SPARROW Passer montanus
Rare breeding resident. Population declining. Remains in danger of extinction in our area.
Just hanging on as a breeding bird after a significant decline in the lower reaches of the Wharfe valley in
parallel with the precipitous national decline (over 90%). Sightings generally restricted to Knotford where a maximum of 10 birds was seen on January 5th. There were two nests at this site yielding 6 and 4 young respectively. The only other sites involved were Otley GP with 7 on August 25th and Farnley with 3 on
March 9th. (CJC, BOG, DLR, PRo, PJC) CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs Common breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population stable. Widespread throughout the area. No exceptionally large flocks reported this year the maximum being c100 around Lindley Wood at the beginning and end of the year. Winter numbers are significantly augmented by visitors from the continent. The earliest record of a singing bird was from an Ilkley garden on February 3rd. There were garden records of 20 from Burley on March 10th and 18+ from Addingham on January 20th. (K&PL, PBR, JW, DLR, GT, JW, PJC) BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Scarce passage/winter visitor. A winter non-breeding migrant from the continent. The beech mast harvest (an important food source for this species) for the early part of the year was poor but very good for the later quarter of the year. Most early records were from gardens, with a maximum of 9 in an Ilkley garden on January 31st. The maximum seen in the early year was 40 at Lindley Wood on January 27th whilst c100 was the highest later figure on December 19th. The `last' sighting for the earlier winter was a female in an Addingham garden on April 16th and the `earliest' sighting for the later part of the year was 10 birds at Bolton Abbey on October 10th. Otley Chevin proved to be a reliable area to see them in the later part of the year. (DLR, GSH, PBR, PJC, BOG, JD, AMG, LGD, MVB, K&PL, CJC, PD&JBP, JS, PQ) GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris Common breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population increasing. Thought to be doing well at the moment not least because of its increasing propensity to utilise garden feeding stations. Consequently most sightings tend to be from gardens, with c30 in a Beamsley garden in November/December and up to 20+ in gardens in Burley and Addingham in January. One observer described them as `abundant' this year (another thought they were becoming `very common') and there were certainly plenty of young about which was much appreciated by a Burley Sparrowhawk pair with their own young to feed! Nonetheless nest records at Beamsley show that 6 nests were predated. (PBR, PJC, DLR, K&PL, AP&GF, PRo, D&ML, JW) GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis Common breeding resident/migrant/passage visitor. Population probably increasing. Reports mainly from garden sightings, including evidence of breeding, with some good flocks seen elsewhere namely 70+ at Kex Gill and three flocks between Kettlewell and Starbotton, the highest of which numbered 65. There was also a garden record at Addingham with 44+ in an ash tree. The same garden also had an adult and three recently-fledged juveniles as late as September 7th. (AP&GF, GT, PBR, CJC, PJC, GSH, DLR, LGD, BOG, K&PL, PRo, MVB, PQ) SISKIN Carduelis spinus Uncommon breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Breeding population increasing. Most often seen in over-wintering flocks prior to a northerly breeding movement but evidence is increasing of birds staying, and presumably breeding, in the locality. Sometimes seen with Redpoll in small flocks. Records were concentrated in the lower valleys. The largest flocks were c40 at Barden on September 28th and c50 at Otley GP on November 30th. Garden sightings constitute most records received although the numbers were usually in the low single figures concentrated, as usual, in the early part of the year. Sightings now tend to come from nearly all months of the year which reinforces the view that there is now extensive breeding in our area. (PBR, DLR, CJC, PJC, D&HB, BOG, JW, K&PL, GSH, JD, PD&JBP, LGD, PRo, JS) LINNET Carduelis cannabina Uncommon breeding migrant. Population stable. A summer visitor which mostly migrates south for winter. Generally speaking this species seems to have had a good year any decent size clump of gorse in the Washburn seemed to have a breeding pair. The first record of the season was a male on the river near Otley on March 26th. Juveniles were observed at several sites in the Washburn and at Grimwith in June. The maximum count was c60 around Lindley Wood on September 8th . The last reported sighting was 50+ at Whetstone Gate on December 4th. Other sightings came from Hawksworth Moor, Otley GP, Knotford, Barden, Timble Ings and Bastow Wood. (PBR, BOG, PD&JBP, CJC, PJC, K&PL, JW, D&ML) LESSER REDPOLL Carduelis flammea cabaret Uncommon breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population may be in shallow decline. All records were for relatively small numbers with the maximum being 29 in Ilkley on December 22nd, c20 at Otley GP on January 9th, November 9th and 17th, and a similar number at Norwood Edge on March 27th 64
the latter including 4 `Mealies' the flammea race from Northern Europe. Most records were for the early part of the year but they were still being seen in the second half regularly at Otley GP and at various sites in the Washburn. Breeding is thought to occur at Timble Ings and several other areas of coniferous woodland. Other sightings were submitted from Grimwith and Strid Wood and an Ilkley garden had 12 on December 18th. (PD&JBP, CJC, BOG, PRo, K&PL, JW, JF, AP&GF, PBR, PJC, MVB) COMMON CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra Scarce breeding resident/passage/winter visitor. Population erratic due to irruptive behaviour. A scarce breeding bird which occasionally irrupts into the area from the continent - such an event occurred in 1997 and again this year with several reports of over one hundred from the Barden, Timble Ings and Fewston areas and also one from Ilkley. There were many other sightings such that in the second half of the year they were effectively quite common in the first three areas mentioned above right through to December. There was one report of c200 over-flying Fewston dam wall on September 4th. In sum an excellent sighting year which is unlikely to be repeated for a while. This species breeds in the area but no confirmed records were received. (PBR, BOG, JW, K&PL, MVB, CJC, GT, JDe, JF, D&ML, PJC, PD&JBP) BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Common breeding resident. Population stable. National downward trends continue to give considerable cause for concern but there were again an interesting set of reports for our area which would suggest that numbers are being retained. Reports mostly covered the early and later parts of the year with a dearth through June, July and August. There were no records upstream of Bolton Abbey and most records were either garden or Washburn sightings. The maximum seen was 8 around Fewston on March 2nd. Successful breeding was confirmed around gardens in Addingham, Burley, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley and Menston. (N&AB, JW, JF, CJC, PBR, GSH, JMC, BOG, PD&JBP, K&PL, D&ML, PJC, JDe, JD, MVB, JS) REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Uncommon breeding resident/passage visitor. Population probably stable. Generally scarce but well-reported species which is subject to local winter movement out of our area and/or to lowland sites such as Otley GP. Most reports are therefore usually for the breeding season from March to July with just a few earlier/later sightings from sites such as Otley GP and Sun Lane - the latter site held 7 on November 5th. Breeding is thought to occur at Otley GP, Grimwith, Barden, Gallows Hill and Rombalds Moor the latter site had a minimum of 4 nesting pairs. Reports were also received from Kex Gill, Fewston, Burley Moor, Gallows Hill, Grimwith (plenty!) and Linton. This species has perhaps benefited from the ending of the mid-nineties drought, given its preference for nesting in damper areas, although the national trend is still downwards. (PBR, CJC, PD&JBP, BOG, PJC, K&PL, DLR, JW, JF, GSH, PRo, GT, JS) SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis Rare passage migrant/winter visitor. Any records are usually from moorland areas. Just two reports this year of a single male bird near Lower Barden Reservoir on March 13th and c10 seen on Simon's Seat on October 19th. (AP&GF, BOG) YELLOWHAMMER Emberiza citrinella Scarce breeding resident moves down the valley in winter. Population declining but just holding on. Usually observed, albeit very infrequently, in the lower valleys with single birds being seen at Otley GP on May 16th and over Barden on October 19th. Leathley remains the stronghold in our area (albeit only several pairs at best) with sightings throughout the spring, summer and autumn and evidence of successful breeding. (CJC, BOG, PRo, PBR)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. Thanks are due to the following individuals and organisations (with apologies for any inadvertent omissions) without whose records the compilation of this report would not have been possible:
David and Joan Alred Mike and Dorothy Atkinson Archie Baines Michael Bell Nevil and Audrey Bowland Bradford Ornithological Group
David and Rosemary Howson Harold Jevons Philip Kendall-Smith David and Midge Leather Ken and Pat Limb Owen and Doug Middleton
Dick and Heather Burrow Peter Carlton Jeanette Clapham John Cope John Dean Les Dewdney Jenny Dixon Joan Duncan John and Irene Flood Graham Foggitt Ann Gill Audrey Gramshaw Graham Harris
Colin Moore Derek and Brenda Parkin Anna Powell Patrick Quin Sean Ratcliffe Peter and Anne Riley Leo Robinson Pete Roe Beryl Scott Brian Spence Jack and Dorothy Storey Geoff Todd John and Shirley Ward
These records are, where appropriate, subject to adjudication by the relevant local, Regional and National ornithological authorities.
GUIDANCE FOR CONTRIBUTORS. The schedule for the production of the Annual report
is very tight - it normally has to reach the Editors by the end of January. Thus, the Recorders must start work by the first few days of the New Year. Please ensure that all remaining records are submitted for inclusion in the report by then. You can greatly assist the Recorders further by submitting your reports in batches throughout the year - monthly if you generate a lot, quarterly or half-yearly if you have fewer. In any case, please try to avoid submitting large amounts all at the end of the year. In the case of bird records, at least, we can do the most justice to your records if they are submitted on the Forms produced by the Society (available from the Recorders if not at the meetings), and please try to enter them in the correct scientific species order - i.e. the order in which they appear in this report. Your cooperation will greatly assist us in making the greatest possible use of your records, and enable us to produce a comprehensive report. Peter Riley A FINAL RECORD FOUR RECORDERS RETIRE The dedication of four of our Recorders retiring this year must be acknowledged here. The hours of meticulous work they have selflessly given in the pursuit of accuracy and knowledge are unknown, unrecorded and unimaginable. Thanks to Peter Riley for his friendly enthusiasm as Bird Recorder for four years and to John Ward for his in depth and detailed analysis as Weather Recorder for eleven years. Joyce Hartley has been an energetic Botany Recorder since 1983 and, together with her husband Sam, has been a dedicated and supportive enthusiast to all aspiring botanists. As a founder member, Joan Duncan's work for the Society is legendary; she has been Botany Recorder for almost fifty years; she has a quiet passion for accurate recording and painstaking research, keeping up to date with the latest technology. The Society hugely appreciates the vast amount of work carried out by all these Recorders over many many years. A big thank you to all of them.