Lower Derwent Valley NNR - November Sightings
Extensive flooding dominated the month resulting in restricted access, however there was still plenty of interest with highlights including a red-head Smew, Ring Ouzel and two Common Cranes (3rd), a Glossy Ibis (4th over North Duffield Carrs) and a Cattle Egret (5th - 19th). Two Scaup also lingered during the month.
Bewick’s Swans spent several days near Fangfoss whilst the Whooper
Swan herd increased to 114. Other waterfowl totals included 5000 Wigeon,
3800 Teal, 279 Pintail, 257 Tufted Duck and 49 Pochard. Similarly, wader
numbers included 4458 Lapwing, 2100 Golden Plover and 400 Dunlin, whilst Woodcock continued to increase throughout the wider area. More unseasonal were
nine Black-tailed Godwits and six Green Sandpipers. Up to 11 Marsh
Harriers remained throughout with the lingering Hen Harrier present in
addition to three Merlin.
notable sightings included a Short-eared Owl, Raven and a presumed
wintering Chiffchaff. The area also had its fair share of the recent Waxwing
influx with several flocks around including 25 over the NNR Base at
Bank Island on the 27th - the largest such group. A late Swallow
was present at North Duffield Carrs on the 20th.
Many thanks as always to everyone who contributed records and counts throughout the month, in particular to members of York Birding, and regular patch birder Duncan Bye. Thanks also to Duncan bye & Dave Ward for the use of their images below.
Three adults were present in fields in Fangfoss on the 23rd,
remaining until the 29th when they were seen flying in the
direction of the Lower Derwent, before returning to the same fields in Fangfoss
on the 30th.
Swan – 50
individuals were present in the wintering herd on the 1st
when eight passed south over Bank Island, followed by 17 on the 2nd
and herds of 11, 8 and 6 on the 3rd. Ten passed south over
Bank Island on the 6th when a total of 79 were present
throughout the site on that date. 90 were recorded throughout the reserve on
the 11th with a total of 85 on the 19th. Herds of
25 and 8 flew south over Wheldrake Ings on the 21st with 12
south there on the 22nd. A total of 99 were recorded across
the reserve on the 24th followed by 114 on the 26th.
Goose – Daily
flocks of 100-200 birds were recorded early in the month with 229 counted on
the 5th, which included 49 feeding with Greylags at North
Duffield Ings. 30 flew south-east at Ellerton Ings on the 11th when
14 were also present at North Duffield Carrs. 200 were recorded on the 18th
while 119 were present throughout the site on the 19th.
Goose – A
single flew south over Bank Island on the 3rd.
Goose – Numbers
increased throughout the month with an impressive 3244 recorded on the WeBS on the
Goose – Presumably
last month’s lingering individual flew south-east over Bank Island on the 4th
and was present at Thorganby Ings on the 5th.
Goose – Seven
were present at Thornton Ellers on the 1st whilst two were regularly
recorded in the Wheldrake/Bank Island area early in the month. Two were at Thornton
Ings on the 5th, followed by two birds near Elvington on the
9th and 15 throughout the site on the WeBS on the 19th.
Shelduck – Numbers had increased
to 21 between Thorganby/Aughton by the 11th with 47 present a
week later on the 18th.
– Numbers quickly returned to the Ings due to the extensive flooding early in
the month, with 5169 present throughout on the 5th
and 5287 on the 19th.
A total of 2624 were present on the 5th
followed by 3835 throughout the site on the 19th.
2214 were recorded throughout the site on the 5th.
– Numbers increased quickly to 167 on the 5th
and further to 279 by the 19th.
– A total of 80 were present throughout the site on the 5th.
Gadwall – 101 were recorded on the
5th with 80 at Melbourne Ings on the 29th.
Pochard – A single was present on
the Low Grounds on the 3rd with ten at Thorganby Ings on the 4th
followed by 20 on the 5th and 25 on the 11th.
Three at Melbourne Ings were unusual for this location and probably reflects
the depth of flooding recorded throughout the site. 49 were recorded throughout
the reserve on the 19th.
Duck – 43
were present on the Low Grounds on the 3rd with 26 at
Thorganby Ings on the 4th. A total of 144 were recorded on
the 5th with rafts of 60+ present at both East Cottingwith
and Bubwith Ings. 182 were present throughout the site on the 11th
followed by 257 on the 18th.
Smew – An early returning
red-head was present on the Low Grounds on the 3rd.
Scaup – A single female was
present with Tufted Ducks at East Cottingwith on the 5th with
a first-winter drake (previously recorded in October) present at Bubwith Ings
on the 19th.
Goldeneye – Three were present on
the reserve on the 5th followed by 11 on the 11th
and 20 on the 19th.
Goosander – A single was at
Wheldrake Ings on the 19th with an adult drake at Bank Island
on the 22nd – perhaps it was the same individual which
then appeared at Wheldrake Ings on the 26th.
Egret – Seven were present at Thornton Ellers on the 1st with singles largely
recorded from scattered locations thereafter.
– 16 were present around the edges of the floods on the 5th with numbers reaching
25 by the 19th.
Great White Egret
– Up to four were present early in the month with singles at Wheldrake and
Melbourne and two in the North Duffield Carrs area. Two were on the flood banks
at North Duffield Carrs on the 5th
where they were observed feeding on small mammals which had been flooded onto the higher
ground. At least one remained thereafter to month end with one at Melbourne
Ings on the 29th.
– A single egret sp. seen at Thornton Ellers on the 5th
was thought to be this species, with presumably the same individual confirmed
there on the 19th
and again on the 28th.
– A single at North Duffield Carrs on the 4th.
– Singles were present at Aughton Ings and Thorganby Ings on the 11th.
– Up to 37 remained at a site near Wheldrake village with 20 at Aughton on the 18th. Other coveys were
scattered around the area with 20 near Dunnington, 17 at South Duffield and
nine at Thornton, with it appearing to have been a successful breeding season.
Up to five lingered at North Duffield Carrs early in the month with two at Bank
Island on the 2nd and 3rd. At least 11 were
present throughout the reserve on the 5th with five still
present on the 11th and at least eight on the 19th.
A single ringtail remained at North Duffield Carrs between the 1st
- 4th, re-appearing there again on the 21st.
Peregrine – A single was present at
North Duffield Carrs on the 1st and 5th,
with two at East Cottingwith on the 19th.
Merlin – Singles were at North Duffield
between the 1st - 3rd with two there on the 4th.
A single was also present at Bank Island on the 2nd and
Melbourne on the 3rd.
Two roosted over night at Melbourne Ings on the 3rd and may
have been the same birds heard calling in the fog in the Wharfe Valley the
– The first
returning wintering bird was at Bubwith Ings on the 18th with either the same or another at Melbourne on the 29th.
Numbers and activity of calling birds increased throughout the reserve with up
to ten calling birds in the Melbourne and Thornton Ings area, an additional six at Wheldrake
Ings and four at North Duffield Carrs. Scattered singles were elsewhere
throughout the site.
Lapwing – Numbers had increased
to 1393 throughout the area on the 5th with 3100 by the 11th.
A total of 4458 were present on the WeBS on the 19th.
Plover – A
total of 744 were present throughout the reserve on the 5th
increasing to 2130 by the 19th, although these were largely confined
to higher ground away from the Ings due to the site flooding.
Dunlin – Numbers had increased
to 39 by the 5th with the flock at North Duffield Ings building
to 101 by the 19th whilst 100 flew through Bank Island on the
21st. 400+ were present in fields by Derwent Cottage Farm on the
single was present at Thorganby on the 4th with six across
the site the following day. 12 were present throughout the site on the 19th.
Five were present at Thorganby Ings on the 4th with four remaining
on the 5th. Nine were at North Duffield Ings on the 25th
with two at Wheldrake Ings on the 26th.
Snipe – A
single was present on pasture near Elvington Airfield on the 20th
with two caught and ringed there on the 22nd.
Snipe – Numbers increased
throughout the month with 400 present by month end.
Woodcock – Large numbers were observed
returning to the wider area from mid-month with 15 feeding on pasture after
dark near Elvington Airfield on the 22nd. 30+ were feeding
after dark on the 29th.
Curlew – The first returning
birds were three on the 2nd followed by six on the 11th
Redshank – The first returning
wintering birds appeared with seven at Thorganby on the 4th.
– A single was near Elvington on the 9th with two there on
the 10th, six on the 20th and two on the 22nd.
Gull – 4000
were present at the Wheldrake roost on the 11th with 16,000 on
Gull – 400
were at the Wheldrake roost on the 11th increasing to c4000 by
112 roosted at Wheldrake Ings on the 11th.
– 24 were present at Wheldrake Ings on the 11th.
– 30 were present around the reserve on the 3rd with one at
the Wheldrake Ings roost on the 11th.
Owl – A
single was present at Thornton Ellers on the 5th.
Raven – A single over Skipwith
Common NNR on the 2nd.
Starling – c2000 were present
throughout the reserve feeding on the edges of the floods on the 5th.
Swallow – A late single was
present at North Duffield Carrs on the 20th.
Waxwing – The area finally got in
on the action as birds continued to move south during the month. 30+ were present
near Stamford Bridge on the 20th with 15 over Wheldrake
village the following day. Several were also recorded from Fulford around these
dates. Six were present in Melbourne village on the 25th with
seven there on the 26th and 27th. 25 flew
south over the NNR Base at Bank Island on the 27th. Five were
present in a Thorganby garden on the 29th.
A single was present at Bank Island/the Low Grounds area on the 3rd.
Stonechat – Up to four birds were
present early in the month at North Duffield Carrs with a single on the Low Grounds
on the 3rd and Bank Island on the 4th. Numbers
then increased with six at East Cottingwith, two at North Duffield Carrs and
singles at Bank Island, the Low Grounds, Wheldrake and North Duffield Ings on
the 5th. Further pairs were found at Elvington on the 9th
and East Cottingwith/Ellerton Ings on the 11th with further
birds located throughout the site during the rest of the month - a minimum total
– One at
the NNR Base garden at Bank Island on the 19th.
Tit – Two
or three remained at Wheldrake Ings early in the month with other sightings of
one or two birds from Bielby, Melbourne and North Duffield Carrs.
Singles remained at Melbourne, North Duffield Carrs and the car park area at
Wheldrake Ings, with three at East Cottingwith on the 4th. Extensive
flooding made assessing the records difficult as birds may have moved around the
site, however, four to five were thought to be wintering on the reserve during
Siskin – 20 at Church Bridge at Melbourne
on the 4th increased to 150 by month end.
Linnet – Flocks of 200 at Hagg
Lane East Cottingwith and 100 at Field Lane Thornton were recorded on the 5th.
200 were at Thornton on the 19th with 35 present in the
arable field at North Duffield Carrs on the 23rd.
Crossbill – One flew south over Bank
Island on the 3rd.
A single was caught and ringed after dark roosting on the ground in fields near
Wheldrake village on the 2nd, with 60 at Hagg Lane East
Cottingwith on the 4th and ten at Thornton on the 5th.
20 were at Hagg Lane on the 11th with 46 there on the 18th.