With many spring migrants having now arrived the breeding season is getting into full swing. The second breeding survey visit took place a few days ago and it was pleasing to record good numbers of Skylarks and Willow Warblers (both species are on course for a record number of territories). Reed Bunting territories appear to be stable when compared with last year, whilst Chiffchaffs are likely to be down on 2014. The first Sedge and Reed Warblers appeared on 26th April the former a little later than expected and certainly in lower numbers than might be expected. Hopefully they will arrive in force over the coming days.
Male Reed Bunting by the Cut Bridge.
At least two Snipe remain in residence on North Screed with signs of breeding activity noted on one recent visit. A pair of Curlew are once again on territory, but the Oystercatchers present earlier in the spring seem to have moved on. Two pairs of Lapwings are currently territorial on North Screed and L-shaped field. They have been a little late getting down to breeding, but hopefully they will be successful. The two pairs on the adjacent arable land now have young.
Passage waders have begun to appear in recent days. One or two Little Ringed Plovers have been present recently, although they may have come no further than Wykeham Lakes where they breed. A Redshank was present on 22nd. A flock of four summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits were seen on 29th April, with a different, more winter-plumaged individual present the next day (pictured below). The have been just four previous farm records, all of which involved single birds.
Black-tailed Godwit on North Screed.
Water levels are lower than in previous years and thus duck numbers are also reduced this year. A pair of Shelduck are still present, but although plenty of Mallard are scattered around the farm, it seems unlikely that more notable duck species will breed this year.
Meadow Pipit. At least one possibly two pairs are on territory this spring.