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2022 Bird Recorders Report

by Mary Atkins and Janet Hutchinson


Thank you to all the members who have sent birding contributions for our very first report for Yoredale Natural History Society covering VC65, with particular thanks to Derek for his very extensive and detailed list.  


It has been a very good year for raptors with the exciting news of the first pair of Ospreys to successfully breed in Yorkshire for hundreds of years, thanks to the efforts of Bolton Estate.  Red Kites continue to spread further north with sightings by members in both Wensleydale and Swaledale.  In addition to regular sightings of Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk one of our members spotted a Merlin on the 20th May near the Redmire Quarry.  Three varieties of owls were seen - Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and a Little Owl near West Witton. 


Tawny Owl juvenile at Wensley Ings 27 May 2022

Quite a nice selection of waders can be reported showing territorial and breeding behaviour such as Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Snipe, Curlew, Redshank and Common Sandpiper. Jack Snipe was also seen at the edge of our area near Black Dike on 18th March.


The highlight for river and wetland birds turned out to be Great White Egret seen in Harmby on 24th November and Wensley Bridge on 27thDecember. Further sightings included Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Canada and Greylag Geese, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard and Tufted Duck.  Kingfisher and Dipper sightings were mostly on the River Ure.  Grey Wagtail was also seen throughout the region and a Reed Bunting was spotted in Apedale.  


A few game birds were seen and one of our members was lucky enough to see a Grey Hen (a female Black Grouse) land on a roadside wall just by her car near Thornton Rust. Woodcock was seen in flight at Miller Wood and Red-legged Partridge has been spotted in several locations.  


Regular woodland and garden birds were seen including Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Siskin, Nuthatch and Tree Sparrow.  The latter were seen nesting in one of our member’s gardens.


A selection of migrants was seen including Swifts (13th May), Swallows (16th April), Sand Martins and House Martins.  Cuckoos were heard over the area between 30th April and 15th June. Whooper Swans were seen on flood water at The Wisings, Wensleydale on 26th March and two were seen flying near Thornton Rust on the 23rd April.  A flock of approximately sixty Fieldfare were seen at Hargill Lane on 19th March.  Spotted Flycatcher was seen feeding in the woodland at West Witton and male Redstarts were seen at Ballowfields Local Nature Reserve and Redmire Force.  Ring Ouzel and Wheatear were spotted over the moorland and Tree Pipit was seen at Semerwater and Cowside Beck. The easily confused Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were also frequently heard.  


Going forward we would welcome more sightings from members so that we can build up a better picture of the birds in the region.  Please feel free to email either or both of us or speak to us at a meeting.

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