Lower Derwent Valley NNR - September Sightings
September had a typically autumnal feel to it with the first returning Pink-footed Geese, and evening waterfowl flights of Greylag, Mallard and Teal, with the first build-up of Golden Plover and Lapwing flocks around the wider area. Passage of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks picked up during the second half of the month, with Jays, Coal Tits and Reed Bunting all being increasingly conspicuous. Other highlights included a lingering Garganey, Great White Egret and Glossy Ibis (10th), with up to 17 roosting Marsh Harriers, three Caspian and five Yellow-legged Gulls, two Short-eared Owls and another two Ravens. Good numbers of passage Tree Pipits and Spotted Flycatchers were also noted amongst the departure summer visitors.
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, Nicki Fothergill and Trevor Walton for the use of their images below.
33 south over Wheldrake Ings on the 4th were the first
returning birds of the autumn, with small skeins of 37 and 31 following over
Skipwith on the 6th. Flocks of 35 and 42 headed over North
Duffield Carrs on the 7th followed by 47 south at Bank Island at
dusk on the 11th. A further headed south 54 early on the 12th, with a total of 1200 through the site during the day. 800 passed over the
reserve on the 13th with flocks of 73 and 39 following on the
14th. 10 were present at dawn on the floodwater at Bank Island
on the 15th. Small numbers were recorded almost daily heading
south over the reserve towards the end of the month, with 340 on the 21st and 98 on the 22nd.
100 flew north over Bank Island on the 23rd with 98 over the
reserve on the 30th.
Up to 500+ were present in the wider area early in the month with numbers up to
960 by month end, when c470 were found roosting at Thornton Ings.
Goose – Single
at Wheldrake Ings on the 22nd with three north over Bank
Island on the 23rd.
– Two were at Wheldrake on the 1st
and 2nd, followed by 10
at Bank Island on the 4th
and 17 on the 6th.
Up to 20 were present across the reserve between the 22nd-23rd.
Up to 100 were recorded across the site on the 6th
with 150 following on the 9th
and 350 on the pool at Wheldrake on the 17th. Up to 500+ were
present across the reserve by month end.
– The first returning bird was at Bank Island on the 15th with one on the pool at
Wheldrake on the 24th
and two there on the 27th.
– A juvenile lingered between the 1st
- 6th with an individual (possibly the same bird) appearing at Bank Island on the 24th.
– Numbers increased at Bank Island with 36 there on the 8th.
Gadwall – Up to 50 remained across
the reserve during the month.
A small flock was picked up overnight on noc-mig passing over Elvington on the 30th.
Egret – Seven individuals roosted on the pool at
Wheldrake on the 7th
with similar numbers remaining there to month end.
Great White Egret
– A single at Wheldrake and Bank Island between the 1st - 7th was present again on the 11th - 14th,
with it or another individual appearing at Bank Island on the 29th and 30th.
– 12 were recorded at Wheldrake Ings on the 2nd.
– A single flew over Wheldrake Ings on the 10th.
Good numbers were present at Wheldrake Ings with up to seven or eight calling
birds recorded with another three heard at Bank Island. The first returning
migrants were picked up on noc-mig over Elvington towards the end of the month.
Both an adult male and female remained into the month with two or three
juveniles also recorded, along with five roosting individuals at Bank Island on
the 10th and seven juveniles into roost on the 11th.
Three males and two juveniles roosted at Wheldrake on the 13th
with three males, six juveniles and an adult female there on the 14th
– there were perhaps as many as 17 birds roosting in the northern half of the reserve at
this time. A further bird (wing-tagged adult) was recorded on the 17th,
with another/the same wing-tagged bird seen later in the month and identified
Kite – Up
to seven were in the Wheldrake/Thorganby area on the 9th. Regular
sightings were had across the area throughout the month, with a rehabilitated
individual released at Wheldrake on the 27th.
13 were counted over Wheldrake Ings on the 9th.
Hobby – Two or three were
present daily in the Wheldrake area with regular sightings throughout the reserve.
A pair with two juveniles were observed hunting at dusk at Wheldrake on the 14th.
Several individuals were noted to month end.
Lapwing – 500 were recorded over
Elvington on the 11th with 700 observed near Wheldrake Ings
on the 30th.
Up to 300 had formed the first autumn flock at Crockey Hill, seen there between
the 5th - 7th. 30 went through Wheldrake Ings on the
15th with ten north-east over Bank Island on the 16th.
20+ were at Wheldrake on the 27th. Up to 60 were present on
the reserve on the 30th.
Dunlin – Single at Thornton
Ellers on the 20th with five there on the 26th.
Ruff – Three were at Bank
Island between the 15th - 17th, with two at
Thornton Ellers on the 20th, 21st and 23rd.
Snipe – Up to 100 were flushed
from Bank Island by a Marsh Harrier on the 5th, with up to 30
at Wheldrake regularly early in the month. 92 were at Bank Island on the 11th
whilst 30 were at Thornton Ings on the 22nd.
Greenshank – A single was recorded at
Bank Island on the 1st, 2nd, 5th
and 6th, with one then present on the pool at Wheldrake on the
10th and at Bank Island on the 11th. Two
flew high over Bank Island on the 13th with one on the pool
at Wheldrake on the 15th and two between the 16th
- 18th. A single was at Thornton Ellers on the 20th
when three also arrived at Bank Island following a heavy thunderstorm. One or
two were recorded daily thereafter to month end, although mobile around the
– Two were recorded in the Bank Island/Wheldrake area early in the month. Two
flew off north from Bank Island on the 6th whilst two were on
the pool at Wheldrake on the 9th – remaining there until at
least the 18th. Two were at Thornton Ellers on the 20th
with six there on the 21st. Six were recorded on Skipwith
Common NNR on the 26th.
Gull – At
least three adults were with a large gull flock at Loftsome Bridge on the 12th
with two near Spaldington on the 27th.
Gull – Two
adults were at Bank Island on the 26th with another at South
Duffield amongst the flock of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
– Up to 600 had built up around the area feeding and loafing in local fields by
Owl – A single
was present at Seavy Carr on the 24th and Thorganby on the
Dove – A pair
were present between Bank Island and Wheldrake village on the 5th
Swift – Very few remained over
the Ings however three active nests still contained young at Elvington on the 4th.
Raven – Two were observed heading north-east over Bank Island on the 19th before returning and flying towards Wheldrake Ings.
Singles went over Bank Island on the 4th and Wheldrake on the 6th
with individuals heard calling over Bank Island on the 14th, 16th
Up to 150 were grounded by mist on the 9th (first movement of
the autumn), with 100+ remaining on the 10th. Small numbers
continued to move through the reserve daily thereafter until the first large
movement of the year saw 1300+ south over Bank Island in a couple of hours on the
21st, followed by 1000+ on the 22nd.
Skylark – Small numbers were noted
moving from mid-month with 60 recorded on the 21st and 200+ on
the 30th as they moved through Bank Island and Wheldrake Ings.
Swallow – Up to 500-1000 birds
were recorded daily in the Bank Island/Wheldrake areas during the day early in
the month but appeared to be roosting off site, presumably in maize. 60 went south at Wheldrake Ings on the 30th.
Small numbers continued to pass through Bank Island on an almost daily basis. 10
were recorded at Bank Island and Wheldrake late in the month on the 30th.
Up to 60 roosted in the Wheldrake reedbed early in the month.
Wheatear – A single was present at
Wheldrake Ings on the 1st with another there on the 6th.
Whinchat – Three were at Wheldrake
Ings on the 1st with two there on the 2nd
and a single thereafter, until two appeared again between the 7th -
10th. Three were then present on the 13th when
one was also recorded at Hagg Bridge. Two remained at Wheldrake on the 16th
and 17th, with a single appearing on the 23rd
and 24th - remaining to month end.
Stonechat – The first returning
bird was at Wheldrake Ings on the 13th with a pair at Bank
Island from the 15th. Two were on Wheldrake on the 30th.
Nuthatch – Singles were at
Wheldrake Ings on the 5th and 9th.
Chiffchaff – An increase was noted
during the month with good numbers ringed each day as they moved quickly
through the site. 13 were counted at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th
followed by nine on the 24th. 16 remained at Bank Island on the
– Small numbers continued to move through the site early in the month, with
three caught and ringed at Bank Island on the 5th followed by
two on the 6th and 8th. Five were present
there on the 10th with two caught and ringed on the 14th.
Blackcap – Good numbers passed
through the reserve with up to 20 caught daily at Bank Island during the first
part of the month. Small numbers continued after the 20th with
just one remaining at Bank Island on the 30th.
– Two were ringed at Bank Island on the 5th and 6th
followed by one on the 8th. Three were recorded around Bank
Island on the 10th.
A single was caught and ringed at Bank Island on the 5th with
an individual still present there on the 10th and another caught
and ringed on the 14th.
Spotted Flycatcher – A single was caught and ringed on the 3rd at South Duffield with one at the NNR Base at Bank Island on the 9th. Two were present there on the 10th with a single remaining on the 11th.
Tit – Two
juveniles were caught and ringed at Wheldrake on the 9th –
bringing the total for the late summer/autumn to six juveniles ringed. Three individuals
were seen at Wheldrake on the 16th and again on the 24th.
Two continued to be present at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th
with one still lingering at Bank Island (heard calling near Cheesecake Hide on the
13th). An immature bird was caught and ringed at Wheldrake Ings
on the 15th.
Siskin – Small numbers started
moving during the month with three over Bank Island on the 8th
and eight there on the 13th. Two were recorded at Wheldrake
Ings on the 16th with small numbers continuing thereafter.
Lesser Redpoll – Two flew over Bank Island on the 11th with eight at Wheldrake on the 16th and seven on the 24th.