The first of what I hope will become fairly regular postings about the birds frequenting Potter Brompton Farms.
With plenty of birds still actively migrating in early May, I have visited on three occasions over the past week hoping that some interesting migrants might be dropping into the wetland. Migrant waders were at the forefront of my thoughts, but on 6th May I happily settled for a sighting of a male Whinchat and then a nice flock of 56 Fieldfares arrived from the east, dropped into North Screed to feed for 25 minutes and then headed off east again. Amongst them was a single male Ring Ouzel, a new addition to the farm bird list. Fieldfares are primarily a winter visitor to the UK and the last birds in the Scarborough area are normally seen at the end of April or at the start of May, so it is getting rather late for such numbers to still be around. However, there have been a few sizeable flocks seen in the Scarborough area recently and these birds will doubtless be a little late in reaching their Scandinavian breeding grounds this year.
On 7th May I dropped in briefly to see if the latest rain bearing front had induced any migrating birds to drop in. A Little Ringed Plover was present, but this was the second sighting this spring and I wonder if it had only come from as far away as Wykeham Lakes, where one or two pairs breed. A Greenshank flew west over North Screed spurning the opportunity to pause and feed. The Whinchat was still present and good numbers of Swallows and House Martins were feeding low over the water.
After yet more rain a visit on the 11th proved productive. The highlight was a nice Wood Sandpiper on North Screed. It didn't look to pleased with the chilly wind and rain as it hunkered down amongst the rushes! Seven Curlew were feeding in the fields on the northern part of the farm. A drake Garganey has been around on and off since late April and it was again present, whilst a pair of Shoveler and a few Teal and Gadwall are still around. The first returning Reed Warblers of the spring were present with four individuals singing from reedy areas. Swallows and martins were again feeding over North Screed with 85 House Martins, 90 Swallows, 30+ Sand Martins and at least 40 Swifts.