Lower Derwent Valley NNR - October Sightings
A total of 332 Whoopers Swans moved south through the reserve during the month, in addition to the steady build up of birds in the ‘resident’ herd. Pink-Footed Geese have undergone a dramatic change in status here over recent years, with increasing passage numbers and wintering birds remaining to feed and roost locally. A total of 4910 flew south during the month, with up to 2000 roosting and feeding locally. More distantly, up to 16,000 could be seen from the viewing platform at Bank Island, commuting from the Humber into the Market Weighton area late in the month. Other waterfowl started to increase, with the usual build up of Greylag Geese with 2370 in the area. 2300 Wigeon, 1200 Teal and a notable 1000 Mallard were also recorded. The first returning Goldeneye was logged on the 21st whilst a migrating flock of Common Scoter were recorded on the 14th.
Up to five
Little Egrets were present along with a single Great White and brief
Cattle Egret during the month. Up to five Marsh Harriers remained
(including wing-tagged bird D3). A ringtail Hen Harrier flew through Wheldrake
Ings on the 21st whilst a late Osprey was reported at North
Duffield Carrs on the 7th. Wader numbers increased during the
month with up to 500 Golden Plover, 600 Lapwing and 200+ Snipe. The first
returning Jack Snipe was recorded on the 7th with up to six
by the 19th. The first returning Curlew was present on the 23rd,
followed by the first Woodcock on the 25th. Up to eight Dunlin,
three Ruff and a lingering Green Sandpiper were all present late
in the month.
returning Redwings arrived on the 6th followed by a single Fieldfare
on the 8th – with only another four individuals arriving during the
remainder of the month. A late Wheatear was a surprise find in an arable
field near Wheldrake village on the 5th. Up to 13 Stonechats
were back on wintering territories, whilst the last three Swallows were
recorded on the 15th - following the last ten House Martins
on the 5th. A Hawfinch flew over Bank Island on the 7th, which followed the first of several Brambling over the same site on the
1st. A large arrival of Starlings was noted at Bank Island
between the 25th-27th.
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 for the use of his images below, credited DB.
Swan – An unringed
adult on the river at North Duffield Carrs - present with a flock of Mute Swans, was the first returning
bird on the 6th, with two present there the next day. Two flew into
Bank Island from the north on the 11th, before
continuing southward after resting for a couple of hours. 167 flew south in
nine herds on the 16th, with nine in the wintering herd fields
at North Duffield Carrs later in the day - a lingering individual was also still present
on the river. Six were present at Seavy Carr on the 18th. 21
roosted overnight at Bank Island on the 19th before departing
south at dawn on the 20th, followed shortly afterwards by herds of six and nine heading south - 26 were also present at Thornton Ellers on
the same date. Several birds were heard roosting at Thorganby overnight on the 20th/21st,
whilst nine remained at Bank Island on the 21st with 15 also seen
near Hemingbrough before heading NNE towards the reserve. 33 were present at
dawn at Thornton Ellers on the same day, with a further 18 recorded passing
through Bank Island on the same day. 20 went over Bank Island on the 23rd
with 10 grounded birds scattered throughout the reserve on the 25th.
A total of 332 passage birds moved south through the NNR during the month.
Mute Swan – Numbers grew as birds
returned from their summer moult site and as flood water levels increased. 21
were present on the river at North Duffield Carrs on the 8th.
Greylag Goose – The arrival of floodwater resulted in an increase in numbers, which brought 1000+ to Bank
Island on the 7th. 1800
were present in the northern half of the reserve on the 11th with 2140 recorded on the 19th and 2370 on the 25th.
Canada Goose – Numbers
increased early in the month with 110 at Melbourne Ings on the 13th and 211 throughout the reserve on the 19th.
Pink-footed Goose – 650 were recorded moving
over the reserve on the 1st, with
birds largely heading east, north-east. 550 flew south-east through Bank Island
during the morning of the 3rd, whilst
two flocks totaling 120 birds went south on the 4th. 200+
headed south in two skeins on the 6th with
30 at Bank Island on the 7th. 1630
flew south over the reserve on the 8th. 1580
flew south in several skeins on the 11th with
at least 350 additional birds commuting locally around the north end of the reserve
and fields behind Wheldrake village. 180 passed over Melbourne on the 13th. Up to 500 roosted and fed locally thereafter,
with 330+ south during the day on the 16th, when
500 were also noted moving from the Humber onto the Wolds after dawn. 1000+
were roosting on the Low Grounds on the 18th with 1120
in the area on the 19th. 200
flew south-east over Thorganby on the 21st with
600 roosting at Bank Island on the 22nd/23rd. 7000+ were observed distantly from Bank
Island on the 24th –
birds were appearing to move over the Spaldington area and onto the Wolds. 1320 were
present in or over the Wheldrake/Bank Island area on the 25th. Up to 2000 ‘local’ birds were present from the
26th to month end, whilst
dawn and dusk roost flights were observed distantly from Bank Island – up to
13,000 on the 26th and 16,000
on the 27th/28th.
Goose – A pair were present at Bank Island on the 17th with one at East Cottingwith on the 25th.
Shelduck – The first
returning bird appeared at Bank Island on the 16th with
three there on the 22nd. A single
at Wheldrake Ings on the 25th was followed
by four over the pool on the 29th.
Wigeon – 550
were present across the reserve on the 1st with numbers
reaching 800+ by the 8th and
1000+ by the 11th. 1100
were present at Thornton Ellers on the 16th with
2300 counted throughout the NNR on that date. The first individual was colour-ringed
as part of a new UK project on the species – please keep an eye out for these
marked birds (blue rings with two letters on).
Teal – 450 were present throughout the
reserve on the 1st with 700+ by the 8th. 1200
were recorded throughout the site on the 16th.
Mallard – 1000+ were present at Bank Island
on the 11th – a good count for the autumn.
Gadwall – 21 were present throughout the
site on the 8th.
Shoveler – Numbers started to gradually
increase with 18 at Thornton Ellers on the 16th and again on
the 25th - a total of 33 were recorded across the whole site on that date.
Pintail – 19 were present across the reserve
on the 11th followed by 23 on the 16th.
Duck – A
single was present at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th.
Pochard – Three were present on floods
at Stamford Bridge on the 10th.
Goldeneye – The first returning bird, a single
female, was present at Thornton Ellers on the 21st.
Scoter – A flock
was picked up on nocturnal passage over South Duffield on the 14th.
Little Egret – Two
were present at Bank Island on the 11th with occasional
singles encountered throughout the site thereafter, until five appeared on the 25th - three were then present daily until month end.
Great White Egret – A
single was found on farmland outside Wheldrake on the 1st/2nd, followed by one at Wheldrake Ings on the 27th, 29th-31st. A
single was also present at Thornton Ellers on the 31st.
Cattle Egret – A single
was present with two Little Egrets at Bank Island at dawn on the 28th (AF, DB, CSR, MFJ).
Marsh Harrier – Three were still roosting at
Bank Island on the 1st and 2nd with four
there on the 8th and 11th – at least two
juveniles, an adult female, second year male and wing tagged bird D3 were all present
during this time. Away from the core area, a single was at Thornton Ellers on
the 20th whilst four were still roosting at Bank Island on
Harrier – A ringtail
was present at Wheldrake Ings on the 21st.
Osprey – An immature flew south down
the River Derwent at North Duffield Carrs on the 7th (MR).
Peregrine – An immature female which had
been rehabilitated, was ringed and released at North Duffield Carrs on the 7th,
with another seen on the 8th wearing an orange/red darvic –
possibly an individual from York Minster. An immature female was present at Bank
Island on the 11th, followed by a single near
Wheldrake village on the 21st and Bank Island on the 22nd.
Single at North Duffield Carrs on the 25th.
Red Kite – Singles were at Bank Island on
the 6th and 11th, followed by one at Hagg
Bridge on the 16th, Escrick on the 21st,
Bank Island on the 22nd and two at Wheldrake Ings on the 23rd.
A single was then present at Bank Island on the 26th and 27th.
Hobby – A single rehabilitated juvenile
was ringed and released at Bank Island on the 6th (JT).
Merlin – A single immature bird was
present at Bank Island on the 21st.
Water Rail – Two were still present on the
pool at Wheldrake on the 3rd with one remaining on the 4th
- five were then recorded in the reedbed by Swantail Hide on the 6th.
Grey Partridge – 11 were recorded at Bank Island
on the 9th with 19 in fields near Wheldrake village on the 11th.
Plover – 50
were present on arable near Wheldrake village on the 2nd with
100+ in fields by Cheesecake Farm near Bank Island on the 3rd.
Up to 450 were recorded throughout the wider area on the 11th.
300 were at Bank Island on the 23rd with up to 400 in the
area from the 26th and up to 500+ on the 29th.
Lapwing – 100 were at Bank Island on the
11th with up to 350 in the surrounding area at this time. Up to
600 were present in the Bank Island/Wheldrake area on the 29th.
Snipe – 27 were present at North Duffield
Carrs on the 7th with 19 at Wheldrake Ings and 17 at Bank
Island on the 8th. 30+ were present at Bank Island on the 11th
with 60 recorded after dark at North Duffield Carrs on the 18th.
Snipe – The first
returning bird was at North Duffield Carrs on the 7th. The
next known individual arrived high from the east into Bank Island on the 12th,
with one caught and ringed after dark on the 18th at North
Duffield Carrs. Two were at Bank Island on the 19th when three
were also present at Wheldrake.
Woodcock – A single was feeding after dark
on the main meadow at Wheldrake Ings on the 25th, followed by
one on the 28th when another was feeding on arable fields
near the village.
Curlew – The first returning wintering birds
were two at Wheldrake Ings on the 23rd. Three flew over Bank
Island on the 27th.
Dunlin – A single was recorded on nocturnal
passage over Elvington on the 8th, with five at Bank Island
on the 25th and one over Wheldrake Ings after dark on that
date. Eight were at Bank Island on the 26th with six on the Low
Grounds on the 29th.
Ruff – The first returning bird of the
winter was present at Bank Island with a flock of Lapwing on the 11th
- three were then recorded there on the 25th.
Green Sandpiper – A
single was still present on the pool at Wheldrake on the 3rd, and occasionally thereafter until the 8th. Other single records followed with one at Bank Island
on the 12th and one on a farm pond
at Wheldrake village on the 14th and 15th. Single late in the month on the 25th at Wheldrake Ings, with singles
at Bank Island on the 27th and nearby
fields on the 28th.
Skylark – 130+ went south over Wheldrake
during the morning of the 6th followed by 70 on the 8th.
70+ were present at Mask Lane, Newton Mask on the 16th. 80
were present in fields at Hagg Lane, East Cottingwith on the 26th.
Redwing – Two over Bank Island at dawn on
the 6th were the first of the autumn. Birds were recorded moving
west during the night of the 6th/7th with 110 over
Bank Island after dawn on the 7th. 350 flew over Bank Island
on the 12th. Small numbers of grounded birds were present around
the site from the 16th. 144 passed over Bank Island on the 24th
followed by 50 on the 25th.
Fieldfare – A single flew over Bank Island
on the 8th – the first of the autumn. The next individuals to
be recorded were two over Bank Island on the 26th and two
over Wheldrake on the 27th.
Wheatear – A late immature bird was caught
and ringed after dark on arable fields near Wheldrake village on the 5th.
Stonechat – Three were present at Wheldrake Ings on the 2nd with four at North Duffield Carrs on the 5th. A single male appeared in the NNR base garden at Bank Island on the 7th. Two were still present at Wheldrake Ings on the 16th with four there on the 17th and three on the 23rd. Five were recorded at Wheldrake on the 25th with two at Bank Island and three at North Duffield Carrs. Two were present at Ings Lane East Cottingwith late in the month, with a pair also recorded at Thornton Ellers on the 31st – total of at least 15 wintering birds across the site.
Swallow – 200 were at Wheldrake Ings on
the 1st with 35 there on the 2nd. 90 were present
on the 3rd followed by 23 on the 4th. 50 went
over Bank Island on the 5th followed by 28 on the 6th.
12 headed over Bank Island on the 11th with three there on
Martin – 23 were
at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st with two there on the 4th
when a flock of 17 passed south over Bank Island. A flock of 10 went south on
Starling – 1113 flew west at Bank Island
on the 25th – following large numbers arriving ‘in-off’ at
the north-east coast. 2600 passed through in the same direction on the 26th
followed by 800 on the 27th.
Warbler – A single
flew across the reserve base garden at Bank Island on the 1st, with one calling in the reedbed at Wheldrake Ings by Swantail Hide on the 9th.
Blackcap – Three were still present at
Bank Island on the 2nd with four there on the 3rd.
Singles were caught and ringed at Bank Island and Wheldrake Ings on the 9th
with two at Bank Island on the 11th. Two were present there again
on the 15th followed by one at Wheldrake Ings on the 17th.
Chiffchaff – Four were at Bank Island on
the 4th with one caught and ringed there on the 8th.
Small numbers continued to be logged daily with one still at Wheldrake Ings on the
Marsh Tit – One was present in the Wheldrake
Ings car park lane on the 17th.
Nuthatch – A single was present at
Melbourne on the 13th with two in an Elvington garden
throughout most of the month.
Hawfinch – A single flew west over the
base at Bank Island shortly after dawn on the 7th.
Brambling – Singles passed over Bank Island
on the 1st, 3rd, 11th and
16th. One was also present there on the 23rd,
two days later a first year male was caught at Bank Island, having been ringed
at Filey Bird Observatory just thirteen days earlier on the 13th
Greenfinch – 30 were present at Thornton
Ellers on the 25th.
Siskin – Up to 30 were present, moving
over Wheldrake Ings on the 2nd and 3rd. 14
were recorded at Bank Island on the 25th.
Linnet – A large flock of 160 were recorded
at Mask Lane, Newton on Derwent on the 16th, with 130 at East
Cottingwith Hagg Lane on the 26th.