Lower Derwent Valley NNR - June Sightings
June can be a quiet month, often dominated by breeding activity, however one or two surprises are always possible…
included a single Spotted Crake which appeared on the pool at Wheldrake
- confirmed as a returning singing bird from 2021. A Corncrake was
flushed on East Cottingwith Ings (7th) whilst, following a couple of
earlier Quail records from the Elvington area, five further birds
arrived from the 13th. Two Spoonbills at Wheldrake Ings on
the 10th were a great find, although they departed after less than
30 minutes making their stay on the reserve typically short and out of reach of
most of the locals. Wader passage continued at a trickle, but news of two
summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper came from Wheldrake on the 7th,
followed by a Temminck’s Stint briefly at Bank Island on the 15th
before being chased off by the resident Little Ringed Plovers, with a
fine summer plumaged ‘black’ Spotted Redshank at the same site on 22nd.
This site also hosted the first returning Green Sandpiper on the 22nd.
A Hoopoe, at month end near Sutton was rather unexpected!
all the duck and wader broods, breeding season records included a Water Rail
chick at Bank Island on the 7th. The hepatic female Cuckoo
remained at Wheldrake until at least the 12th, whilst the pair of Common
Terns reared three chicks at Wheldrake. Spotted Flycatchers raised a
brood at Melbourne and up to 37 singing Corn Buntings were present around
thanks as always to everyone who submitted counts and records throughout the month, in particular to members of York Birding, and regular patch birder Duncan Bye - thanks also to Duncan for the use of his images below (credited DB).
Swan – A
single remained throughout the month in the Melbourne and Thornton Ings area.
Swan – Up
to 31 birds were found moulting on the River Derwent during the month - having
been displaced from North Duffield Carrs by falling water levels. Good numbers
of cygnets remained in their family parties after a successful breeding season.
Goose – Five adults were at Thornton Ellers on the 12th.
– Two furthers broods (six and nine), appeared during the month with a brood
also noted at Elvington Water Treatment Works.
– Three pairs remained throughout the month.
Gadwall – Broods continued to
appear with 13 newly hatched ducklings on the pool at Wheldrake on the 1st
with 10 other broods (63 young) around the reserve between the 2nd
to 7th. Further broods appeared as the month progressed.
Shoveler – Two broods of newly hatched
young were at Bank Island on the 1st with four broods (27
young) at North Duffield Carrs on the 3rd. Up to 15 broods had
appeared at Wheldrake Ings by month end.
were still present at Bank Island and Wheldrake Ings until the 6th.
Grebe – Three
pairs, including a pair with two almost fledged young, were present on the pool
at Wheldrake between the 3rd-7th. Three pairs also
bred at North Duffield Carrs with eight young recorded.
Spoonbill – Two adults in breeding
plumage flew into Wheldrake Ings mid-morning on the 10th, departing after a brief stay of around 30 minutes - flying off high towards
Heron – Numbers
of adults and young increased around the reserve during the month as birds
departed and fledged from the heronry.
Egret – Numbers at Wheldrake Ings increased as the first
fledged young were present there on the 24th,
with a total of 14 recorded there on the 30th.
– Single over Melbourne on the 23rd.
A single female remained on Wheldrake on the 1st and
regularly thereafter throughout the month.
Peregrine – One or two were seen occasionally
around the reserve during the month, with at least three pairs noted nesting on
pylons in the area.
Hobby – Birds were widespread
throughout the site with sightings from Wheldrake, Bank Island, Thorganby,
Aughton and North Duffield Carrs. Two pairs were located to nest sites during
Coot – 16 non breeding/failed
breeders were at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st when 27
similar loafing birds were also present. Numbers decreased as the month
Crake – A
single on the pool at Wheldrake Ings on the 2nd was
identified by colour-rings as a bird ringed nearby and on the same territory in
June and July 2021 (CSR). Possibly the same bird was seen again there in
flight, being chased by a Moorhen, on the 27th (DB).
– One was
flushed at East Cottingwith Ings on the 7th (MR).
calling bird was present after dark at Elvington on the night of the 9th/10th.
A small arrival then took place with a newly arrived individual roaming fields
opposite the NNR base on the 13th with two also calling at
dusk at Wheldrake Ings. A single was located singing at Ellerton Ings at dusk on
the 14th with one calling at Bubwith Ings on the 19th
and 20th. One was at Thorganby on the 23rd
and Aughton on the 29th, with two at Ellerton Ings on the 30th. Total of 10 singing males during the month.
– A pair were at Thorganby Ings on the 20th with a pair on
Sutton Ings on the same date.
Rail – A juvenile,
the first of the year, was present at Bank Island on the 7th
with two broods (10 young) at Wheldrake later in the month.
– Up to four remained in the Bank Island area throughout the month.
Two were present at Bank Island on the 8th.
least seven pairs with young were noted during the month, with small numbers of
passage birds presumed moving towards month end - a flock of 13 such birds were
at Bank Island on the 30th.
Lapwing – Post breeding flocks
started to build up during the month with 130 at Bank Island and Wheldrake on
Snipe – Counts of drumming
birds included twelve at Wheldrake, ten at North Duffield Carrs, two at Bank
Island, four at East Cottingwith and five at Ellerton. An unfledged chick was
present at North Duffield Ings on the 14th, which also held
four drumming birds on that date. Two drumming males were present on the Low
Grounds, with six on Melbourne and Thornton Ings.
Curlew – Single pairs with
chicks were on Sutton Ings, Thorganby south, the Low Grounds and Bank Island on
the 20th, when two pairs were present, alarming, at Bubwith
Ings. Four pairs bred on North Duffield Ings with three pairs at East
Cottingwith and three pairs at Ellerton Ings.
at Bank Island on the 8th with three there on the 28th.
One was found at Bank Island on the 15th, remaining for about an
hour before being flushed by defensive Little Ringed Plovers (MR, CSR).
– Two were reported from Wheldrake Ings on the 7th.
Redshank – Up to five were present
daily at Bank Island, with a brood of three there on the 5th.
Two broods (four plus young) fledged at Wheldrake Ings with three broods at
North Duffield Carrs.
A summer plumage individual was present at Bank Island on the 18th
with another similar bird again on the 28th.
– A single, the first returning autumn bird, was at Bank Island on the 17th
with two or three daily on the reserve thereafter.
The first fledged juvenile appeared at Bank Island on the 14th
with two on the 17th and several thereafter.
Common Tern –
The first tern check hatched on the Wheldrake raft on the 8th, with others appearing shortly
after and a total of three on the 12th.
In addition to this pair up to four were regularly recorded throughout the reserve,
with five adults at Wheldrake Ings on the 30th
when the family party had fledged the raft.
Barn Owl – Good
numbers of breeding pairs were present throughout the site with plenty of day
flying activity as adults fed hungry broods. Brood sizes were good (average
five), with plenty of additional food cached in nest sites.
Cuckoo – The
hepatic female was still present at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th and again on the 12th. Others were still
present at Melbourne and Thornton Ings to month end and at Wheldrake until the 22nd.
– A single appeared in a farm garden at Woodhouse Grange on the 29th and 30th, and was seen again nearby
on the local cricket pitch (NH).
Up to three calling males remained at Bank Island during the month with two at
Wheldrake Ings. A female with a full brood patch was caught and ringed at the
NNR base at Bank Island on the 16th – evidence of successful
A newly arrived bird was reeling by the NNR base on the 13th
with presumably the same bird towards Wheldrake Ings car park on the 18th.
A single was present by the pool at Wheldrake on the 30th.
– A pair bred in an artificial swallow nest cup at the Melbourne Arm during the
month, with the pair seen feeding young from the 7th.
Surveys during the month revealed - fifteen pairs in the East Cottingwith Hagg Lane
area, four pairs at East Cottingwith Ings, three pairs at Ellerton Ings, two
singing males at Wheldrake Ings and six in the Thornton Ellers area. Two singing
males were at Thorganby Ings on the 20th when two singing
males were also present at Bubwith Ings with another near the North Duffield