Last of the spring wader passage?
I have made several brief visits this week, mainly in the hope of monitoring any continuing wader passage. Two Greenshank remained in residence until 23rd, but they have now moved on. On 21st a single Wood Sandpiper had arrived, with a second bird joining it the next day. Remarkably the bird on Tuesday gave a brief burst of display. Although there is a small breeding population in Scotland, the Wood Sandpipers seen here in late May are on passage to breeding grounds in Scandinavia. In the UK I have observed display from passage birds on just one previous occasion; on North Screed in May last year! Maybe Potter Brompton looks attractive to them as a potential breeding location (certainly not impossible), but as they haven't lingered they can't be that impressed!
A Little Ringed Plover was present on 24th, but it probably hasn't come far and no passage waders were present this morning so that might be the last of the spring waders. However, with winds continuing from the east there remains a chance of one or two laggards passing through before the end of the month.
A slightly more positive development with the Lapwings is the discovery of two part-grown chicks in Bridge Field this week, although this is a bright spot amid a pretty bleak picture. A male Curlew was feeding on North Screed this morning.
Yellow Wagtails are in evidence at the moment. There are two pairs regularly in the vicinity of North Screed and birds are flying in from presumed nest sites in the surrounding arable to feed along the edge of the scrapes and amongst the cattle.
An increasing number of drake Mallards are congregating on North Screed as they commence their annual moult, with at least 30 now present. The three Mallard broods seem to be thriving. A pair of Tufted Ducks appeared on North Screed on 24th, demonstrating that although water levels are dropping they are still deep enough for a diving duck!