After a couple of overseas trips it has been good to get back out and about on the farm to see how things are shaping up for the coming breeding season. A number of visits over the past week have been quite productive with some notable sightings.
On 23rd March, news that two Garganey had been found on the north siide of Scarborough at Johnson's Marsh inspired me to have a quick look at the wetland and I was pleased to discover a fine drake Garganey associating with a few Teal. This species is a summer migrant to the UK and I have long felt appearances of this species on the wetland ought to be more regular. This is however just the second record for the farm, although this individual has found conditions sufficiently to its liking to remain for a week as it is still present on morning of 31st March.
A visit on the afternoon of 29th March was also inspired by news of birds arriving elsewhere in the Scarborough area. On this occasion it was news of a Ruff on a small pool by the Seamer Resource Recivery Centre. Suitably inspired and suspecting there might be some Ruff on the farm I headed down to the wetland and was pleased to find three Ruff feeding on Duck Pond Field. However, more excitingly as I got out of the car I heard the distinctive calls of Cranes and I looked up to see three of these magnificent birds lifting up from North Middle Field. They circled the farm to gain height before departing to the East. The same birds were present at Flamborough the next day and it is highly likely that they are the same birds as were in the Cleveland area the previous day. This is the third record of Cranes on the farm since the first sighting, also in March, in 2012. Clearly the farm holds a particular attraction to the species, and perhaps one day could even host a breeding pair.
A Ruff accompanies the drake Garganey,
The Cranes leaving.
The first breeding survey visits will be carried out in the next week or so, but some encouraging signs come in the form of two territorial pairs of Curlew already present along with up to 32 Lapwing, some of which have been indulging in display. A few Snipe are also still around so hopefully a pair or two will linger to breed.
Ducks are a feature of the early spring period and two pairs of Gadwall, a pair of Shoveler are present. Up to 16 Teal and 14 Wigeon are also still around.