Lower Derwent Valley NNR - July Sightings
The lingering/summering Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose remained throughout the month, with both caught and colour-ringed, hoping to provide an insight into their next movements. The bumper breeding season for wildfowl continued, with confirmation of successful breeding for both Teal and Pochard. Little Egret numbers increased as young fledged from the local colony, with a maximum count of 17 throughout the site - several individuals were also colour-ringed so please keep an eye out for any ringed individuals whilst visiting the site. A Bittern on the 19th at Melbourne was noteworthy whilst two Common Cranes flew south on the 23rd.
The first Water Rail brood appeared with several individuals showing well on the pool at Wheldrake, whilst a single Spotted Crake remained there during the month - detected due to its radio-tracking signal. The month was dominated by passage and post breeding wader movements, with the highlights being four Avocets at Bank Island (5th/6th), eleven Little Ringed Plovers, nine Green Sandpipers and up to three Wood Sandpipers (although possibly more individuals were involved). Other highlights included a Sandwich Tern over on the 14th, the first returning Whinchat (17th) and Wheatear (22nd). Good numbers of reeling Grasshopper Warblers were noted, whilst up to 2000 Starlings and 1000 Swallows at the Wheldrake roost were larger counts than those seen over recent years.
A total of 174 species have now been recorded since the start of the year.
Many thanks as always to everyone who submitted records and counts throughout the month, in particular to the members of York Birding and regular patch birder Duncan Bye – thanks also to Duncan for the use of his photographs below.
Mute Swan – Several broods remained throughout the site with several non-breeding moulting birds also present during the month.
Whooper Swan – The lingering adult remained at North Duffield Carrs throughout the month, where it was caught and colour-ringed on the 12th.
Greylag Goose – 200 roosted at Thornton Ellers from mid-month with 70 on ponds at East Cottingwith on the 14th, with small flocks of 10-20 birds scattered elsewhere throughout the area. The first dawn and dusk flights were noted towards month end with just small flocks (less than 20 birds), involved.
Canada Goose – Up to 30 remained on breeding ponds in the East Cottingwith area throughout the month, otherwise birds were largely absent as usual.
Pink-footed Goose – The moulting adult remained at Wheldrake Ings, where it was caught and colour-ringed on the 2nd - it was still present, but elusive, until the 25th, however it had finished moulting by the end of the month, with it seen flying onto the pool on the 28th where it remained to month end.
Egyptian Goose – Three remained at Wheldrake Ings early in the month with two at Bank Island on the 8th and three between the two sites until the 14th, when seven were present on farm ponds at East Cottingwith. Three lingered in the Bank Island/Wheldrake area until the 18th with occasional sightings thereafter.
Wigeon – Two drakes and a female were still at Wheldrake Ings on the 18th with a drake present there on the 24th/25th.
Garganey – A juvenile was at North Duffield Carrs on the 4th with a female at Wheldrake on the 13th and an eclipse male at Bank Island on the 25th.
Teal – A female was distracting at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th/5th with an adult female caught and ringed there on the 6th. A flock of 20 were at Thornton Ellers on the 7th with 12 at Wheldrake on the 10th. 10 remained at Wheldrake at month end.
Gadwall – A further three broods appeared early in the month at Wheldrake (total of 20 ducklings), with two broods at Thornton Ellers on the 10th (18 ducklings). At least one unfledged brood of five remained at Wheldrake Ings at month end.
Shoveler – Further newly hatched broods of five and six appeared at Bank Island on the 4th and 6th, with a brood of ten at North Duffield Carrs on the 10th. Up to 10-15 birds remained at Wheldrake at month end.
Tufted Duck – The first newly hatched brood (eight), were present at North Duffield Carrs on the 7th with a second brood appearing there on the 16th.
Pochard – A female was present on the ditch network at Wheldrake with a brood of three on the 7th.
Little Grebe – A single flew over Bank Island calling after dark on the 6th. One or two were present on ditches at Wheldrake Ings early in the month with several in the wider area on adjacent breeding ponds.
Little Egret – Nine were present on the pool at Wheldrake on the 4th with 11 there on the 6th. Seven were present at Thornton Ellers on the 10th when seven were also present at Wheldrake and three at Bank Island – total of 17 throughout the site. 18 were on the pool at Wheldrake on the 17th/18th with large numbers of young present. 12 were recorded again there on the 23rd, with two or three daily thereafter to month end. Several were caught and colour-ringed during the month with several ringed birds from previous years appearing.
Grey Heron – Up to 30+ birds were scattered throughout the site on the 17th.
Bittern – A single was present in canal side reeds near Melbourne on the 19th (NC).
Coot – Several unfledged broods lingered early in the month with three individuals at Wheldrake on the 29th and one at Bank Island on the 30th.
Common Crane – Two flew south down the valley over Wheldrake Ings on the 23rd (CSR).
Marsh Harrier – An adult female in wing moult was present at Wheldrake Ings on the 17th – 21st, with an adult male provisioning two fledged juveniles there on the 23rd – perhaps indicative of local breeding. A cream-crown was present at Bank Island on the 28th.
Osprey – One was present at fishing ponds at Crockey Hill on the 7th.
Peregrine – An adult female seen at Wheldrake Ings on the 30th was the individual released at North Duffield Carrs having been shot and rehabilitated in July – great to see it hunting well with it observed catching and killing two Carrion Crows.
Red Kite – Regular throughout the month with up to three birds seen following hay cutting operations at several sites. An adult and immature were recorded over Melbourne on the 22nd and 26th - suggesting successful breeding in the area.
Hobby – Singles were at Bank Island and North Duffield Carrs on the 10th/11th and Thornton Ellers on the 12th. Several were also seen in the Melbourne and Thornton area during the month, with one at Canal Head, Pocklington Canal on the 28th.
Water Rail – A juvenile on the pool at Wheldrake Ings on the 25th was the first evidence of successful breeding during the year, and was soon followed by an adult with five large immatures on the 27th/28th.
Spotted Crake – Although not calling the single radio-tagged bird at Wheldrake was still present on its territory on the 1st, moving towards the pool by the 10th, with a single seen briefly in pool side vegetation on the 12th (GD). What was presumably the same bird was in the same area on the 20th with it heard calling several times at dawn.
Quail – One was singing at Wheldrake on the 2nd, with a brood of 11 seen at North Duffield Carrs on the 10th (CSR) – amazingly the one site where singing males weren’t recorded earlier in the year. A single male called briefly on the 12th at Thornton Ellers, with one at dusk at Wheldrake on the 19th. One was singing after dark at Menthorpe on the 22nd.
Avocet – Four at Bank Island on the 5th (AF) remained until the next day.
Little Ringed Plover – Singles were present at Wheldrake and Bank Island on the 1st/2nd with four there on the 3rd and six on the 4th. Seven were present on the 5th with 11 across the two sites between the 6th – 9th and up to three daily thereafter until the 13th. One was then present there between the 21st – 24th.
Oystercatcher – Autumn nocturnal passage was noted daily early in the month with six at Bank Island during the day on the 1st and five on the 2nd – presumably local family parties dispersing. Four were present on the 8th and three on the 9th. Two were caught and ringed overnight at Thornton Ellers on the 12th, with three at Bank Island on the 13th and one on the 14th. Nocturnal passage continued with two over Bank Island after dark on the 19th and one over Wheldrake Ings on the 22nd.
Lapwing – Broods of two remained unfledged at Bank Island on the 1st and Wheldrake on the 2nd. The post breeding flock at Bank Island numbered 103 on the 7th. 50 at Thornton Ellers on the 10th included a single unfledged brood of four. Up to 200 lingered at Bank Island with 100 at Thornton Ellers throughout the month.
Snipe – A single was still incubating a clutch of four at Wheldrake Ings on the 2nd with three drumming/chipping at Wheldrake on the 6th. Two were chipping over North Duffield Carrs on the 10th with a single drumming at Thornton Ellers on the 12th. 20+ were at Bank Island on the 17th when 15 were at Thornton Ellers and 13 at Wheldrake. 20 were present at Bank Island on the 23rd with eight there on the 28th and 14 at Wheldrake.
Curlew – A post breeding flock of nine paused at Bank Island during the day on the 5th with six there on the 8th. Two at Thornton Ellers on the 12th with a single newly fledged juvenile were followed by two at North Duffield Carrs (including one newly fledged juvenile) on the 14th. One or two were recorded daily then until the 24th.
Whimbrel – Six flew south at Wheldrake on the 8th, with one caught and ringed overnight on the 12th at Thornton Ellers. A single roosted at Wheldrake on the 28th.
Dunlin – One at Bank Island on the 8th.
Black-tailed Godwit – The first returning bird of the autumn was at Bank Island on the 8th, where it remained on the 9th increasing to two on the 10th. Five adults were at Thornton Ellers on the 12th, appearing at Bank Island the following day. Single at Bank Island on the 18th.
Common Sandpiper – One at Bank Island on the 19th was present there daily until the 26th, reappearing again there on the 30th.
Green Sandpiper – One or two remained early in the month at Wheldrake Ings and Bank Island with two recorded on the 8th. Three were present at Thornton Ellers on the 9th with six on the 10th. Nine were present there on the 12th with three on the 14th when a single was also at Wheldrake Ings. Singles were at Thornton Ellers and North Duffield Carrs on the 17th/18th with three at Wheldrake Ings. Four were present at Wheldrake on the 19th with five there on the 22nd. Four were recorded across the site on the 26th and five on the 27th. Seven were then present there on the 28th with six on the 29th to month end.
Wood Sandpiper – A single adult was present at Bank Island on the 4th/5th with three between Wheldrake and Bank Island on the 6th. A single remained at Bank Island on the 7th – 9th with two at Thornton Ellers on the 10th – 13th. A single at Wheldrake Ings was recorded between the 24th/26th with two present on the pool on the 27th remaining to month end.
Redshank – Up to six individuals (including five fledged young), were present at Bank Island between the 4th – 8th with two unfledged young at Thornton Ellers on the 10th. A single remained at Thornton Ellers between the 14th – 18th with one at Bank Island on the 17th.
Greenshank – The first of the autumn was at Bank Island on the 9th with another there on the 18th. Single over Wheldrake on the 20th with one present there between the 22nd – 27th. Two were recorded at Wheldrake on the 28th with a single there to month end.
Lesser Black-backed Gull – 30 were loafing during the day at Bank Island on the 2nd.
Common Tern – Two pairs remained on the reserve early in the month with the brood of three from the Wheldrake raft fledging on the 3rd - remaining until the 11th. Three adults were present there on the 10th with four on the 14th and two on the 16th. Four adults and three un-ringed juveniles were present on the 17th – 23rd, with four adults and two young remaining on the 26th.
Sandwich Tern – A single flew west at Wheldrake Ings on the 14th (CSR, MFJ).
Cuckoo – An adult was feeding on large caterpillars at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th with a juvenile recorded at Melbourne on the 20th.
Swift – Small numbers moved through the site early in the month with 50 south at Wheldrake on the 2nd. 110 were seen over Wheldrake Ings on the 7th, with 50 moving south over Crockey Hill on the 13th and 60 over Wheldrake on the 14th. 300 went south before dusk on the 30th.
Whinchat – A juvenile appeared at Wheldrake Ings on the 17th - the first of the autumn (AF).
Wheatear – The first returning bird (single juvenile), appeared at North Duffield Carrs on the 22nd.
Yellow Wagtail – The Wheldrake Ings roost started with six on the 11th, building up to 15 by the 26th.
Swallow – Up to 80 were roosting in the Wheldrake reedbed from early in the month with 150 by the 14th and 300 by the 21st. 400 were present on the 22nd with 800+ on the 26th and 1000+ on the 27th/28th.
Starling – 300+ continued to roost at Wheldrake Ings from early in the month, increasing to 1200+ by the 14th.The roost held 2000 birds by the 28th.
Spotted Flycatcher – A pair with a fledged brood were present near Thorganby on the 2nd whilst another pair at Melbourne were thought to have fledged a brood early in the month.
Sedge Warbler – Appearing to have had a successful season with large numbers of young caught and ringed during the month, with a return passage of adults noted moving through the site from the 19th to month end. Increasing numbers of juveniles also moved through the site towards month end.
Grasshopper Warbler – A single was reeling at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st, Bank Island on the 3rd and North Duffield Carrs on the 7th. A male was reeling at Thornton Ellers on the 12th with the bird at North Duffield Carrs heard again on the 14th with another at Bank Island on the same date. Two were reeling on Wheldrake on the 18th with three there on the 19th (when another, a juvenile, was caught and ringed by the pool). Another juvenile was caught and ringed by Tower Hide on the 20th. An adult was still reeling by Tower Hide on the 22nd, with one still reeling there on the 24th to month end.
Willow Tit – Two family parties (nine young) were at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th, with a single calling on Danes Hills at Skipwith Common NNR on the 13th. An adult was caught and ringed at Wheldrake on the 16th (MFJ).
Marsh Tit – A single in the Wheldrake car park lane on the 3rd.
Linnet – A flock of 80 were at Wheldrake Ings on the 17th.
Corn Bunting – Six singing birds were still present in uncut strips of meadow at Bubwith Ings on the 24th.
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