• Bird breeding bonanza....

    Another wader and wildfowl breeding season is drawing to its conclusion over at Beckingham at the moment and it’s looking like another success!

    Our lapwing numbers have gone up once again, with a total of 16 pairs attempting to breed on site in 2018. This is up by 2 from last year. So far 14 young have fledged and it’s great to see them flying around. There are still more younger chicks around though, so hopefully…

    • 19 Jun 2018
  • And we're off....

    The wet and cold weather of late will have undoubtedly slowed down some aspects of spring, however we appear to be underway with our breeding wader season over at Beckingham, as we were delighted to discover during the first survey of the year yesterday.

    Lapwings are always the most numerous of our waders with an estimated 14 pairs on site from yesterday’s count. This number could go up over the next few weeks, so is…

    • 5 Apr 2018
  • Another first....

    It's been another excellent two weeks out on site at Beckingham, with birds and water aplenty! The water levels across the wet grassland fields seem to have risen even more, aided no doubt by the snow melt and the heavy rain we have had in the last couple of weeks. This additional flooding has two positive effects - firstly, it slows the growth of the grass underwater and secondly, it pushes the grazing wigeon even…

    • 15 Mar 2018
  • Pinks and pintail....

    Beckingham Marshes is still looking fabulously wet at the moment, with water levels still rising over the reserve, full scrapes and lovely large areas of flooded grassland. All this water is attracting hundreds of birds to the site and makes for quite a spectacle!

    Most of our visitors are wildfowl, comprising several species such as wigeon, teal, gadwall, shoveler and mallard. However, we have had a few scarcer visitors…

    • 22 Feb 2018
  • Willow tunneling....

    Last week’s task over at Beckingham Marshes was to help our friends at the Willow Works Community Group in the willow garden. The willow garden is doing really well, with our cuttings taken and planted last year, now growing to over 6 feet tall and some of the larger standard willows now ready for pollarding.

    Last week’s activity however, was tidying up the living willow tunnels. The two tunnels are fabulous little…

    • 6 Feb 2018
  • Water, wigeon and other wildlife....

    Water level management at Beckingham is one of the key aspects of our successful wet grassland habitat. It is high water levels that provide the best food source for our breeding birds, with the invertebrates they feed on being pushed up to the surface by the rising water. In winter, the combination of high water next to lush grassland provides ideal conditions for grazing wildfowl, most notably wigeon. Who in turn, also…

    • 26 Jan 2018
  • New Year News from Beckingham....

    Firstly, from the Beckingham team, a very Happy New Year to everyone. 2017 was another great year of success at Beckingham, with our highest ever number of lapwings breeding, 3 pairs of redshank and the first ever breeding attempt of curlew, not to mention the mountain of tree sparrows that fledged! There's certainly a lot to be excited about and to look forward to for 2018 and we hope to see the site improve even more…

    • 4 Jan 2018
  • Tremendous tree sparrows....

    It's been another successful breeding season at Beckingham. Our final figures included 14 pairs of lapwings, our highest ever, fledging a minimum of 12 young, but up to 15. This is not as good a productivity as 2016, but still respectable. 3 pairs of redshank were present, with two making confirmed breeding attempts and one of these being successful. This is the second year that redshank have bred on site, after the…

    • 11 Sep 2017
  • Breeding season update....

    It's been a very busy spring and summer over at Beckingham and one of our best yet for several bird species. With the season now coming to an end, here is a summary of how our birds have done....

    Lapwing - 2017 has seen the highest number of pairs ever on site, with a total of 14 making breeding attempts. They have so far successfully fledged 10 young, but we are still awaiting some late broods, so we hope this total…

    • 1 Aug 2017
  • Redshank return....

    The habitat at Beckingham is still looking fabulous at the moment with water and birds everywhere! The 300 strong flock of wigeon is slowly starting to dwindle as birds return to their northerly breeding grounds, but others are arriving for the breeding season, with several pairs of shoveler back, the first gadwall arriving and a charming pair of shelduck.

    A pair of oystercatcher has taken up residence on the wet field…

    • 28 Mar 2017
  • Wet, wet, wetter!

    The habitat at Beckingham Marshes keeps on improving all the time, but this winter has been one of the best yet and is certainly the wettest we have ever seen it! Just last week, a visit to site revealed water levels like we have never seen them before, with all scrapes full and loads of water ‘flashing’ out onto the surrounding wet grassland.

    This is excellent for more than one reason. Firstly, it helps…

    • 27 Feb 2017
  • ....and WeBS news....

    Our monthly WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) count is part of a national scheme coordinated by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). All water birds using the site are counted on a monthly basis and the data used nationally to look at trends of these important species. Volunteer Warden, Ben Sofflet conducted January's count and here are his results....

    58 wigeon

    3 mallard

    2 teal

    1 shoveler

    36 lapwing

    220 black…

    • 30 Jan 2017
  • January news....

    Bird interest at Beckingham throughout January remains with the wintering wildfowl and gulls. 250 wigeon are still grazing the wet grassland fields and smaller numbers of teal, mallard, gadwall and shoveler are present. Grazed areas on the wet fields are now very noticeable and bode well for the approaching breeding season. Large numbers of grazing wildfowl help to get the grassland into good condition for breeding waders…

    • 30 Jan 2017
  • Winter wildfowl and super snipe....

    It’s been a month or so now since we finished our major habitat management work on fields 16 and 17 at the eastern end of the site (see last blog) and our efforts are starting to pay off already!

    Beckingham Marshes is an excellent site in the winter for wildfowl. Good numbers of mallard, teal, shoveler, gadwall and most importantly wigeon make the Marshes their home in the colder months. Wigeon in particular are…

    • 14 Nov 2016
  • The latest from the Marshes....we've been busy!

    Any readers of the Langford Lowfields blog will know that we have had an extremely busy month over September, planting 10,000 reed seedlings on Phase 2 and silt lagoon 7, hosting a visit from UK wide colleagues at the RSPB Reserves Conference and I even managed a weeks holiday down on Alderney!

    But we have of course, been just as busy over at Beckingham with so much going on over August and September….

    Our tireless…

    • 9 Oct 2016
  • ....Yes it was!

    ....the best yet that is (see last blog)! The wader breeding season is now well and truly over at Beckingham and we are delighted to report on the best ever season for our target species - lapwing and redshank. The site is still very small and young, but this year we have smashed our previous record for lapwing productivity, with 11 pairs fledging a total of 17 young. This is a productivity of 1.55, which doesn't sound…

    • 8 Jul 2016
  • Is this the best yet?

    It certainly looks like it - that is, Beckingham's best ever breeding season! Since my last update we can now confirm 11 pairs of lapwing have attempted to breed on site this year and currently we have well into double figures of either fledged, or near fledged young! The fledglings have taken to hiding very well in the long grass, so it's proving a good challenge to find and count them, but we have high hopes for…

    • 12 Jun 2016
  • Looking promising....

    The breeding season is now in full swing at Beckingham and we are on course to have one of the best yet (hopefully!), with lapwings looking like they are so far, doing very well. We have 10-11 pairs on site, however they have between them a minimum of 20 chicks, many of these looking rather big and it won't be long before we are seeing the first fledge.

     

    Lapwings typically lay four eggs, however good productivity…

    • 23 May 2016
  • Last week at Beckingham....

    With March upon us, we have finished our winter work programme for the year and that means that we have completed around two thirds of our hedge laying along Old Trent Road at the western end of the site. Considering this is a very big hedge to lay, our volunteers have done a brilliant job and the finished article looks fabulous!

    We will continue on with the rest of the hedge from October this year.

    On site last week…

    • 7 Mar 2016
  • Wonderful wetland....

    Beckingham Marshes really looked wonderful yesterday afternoon in the late-February sunshine. As well as high water levels (perfect for this time of year), there were masses of birds using the wet scrapes and grassland on field 9, viewable from the viewing platform at the end of the visitor trail.

    It also just so happened to be WeBS count day (Wetland Bird Survey). Here are my results -

    150 wigeon - a whopping number…

    • 25 Feb 2016
  • High water....

    It's been a busy month here at Beckingham Marshes with our hedgelaying along Old Trent Road taking up most of our time. This is coming on very well, with the hedge looking excellent - not a bad job at all by us amateurs! Hedgelaying is an old traditional practice, used for creating 'living' stock proof barriers without the need for fences or walls, a well laid hedge is not only functional, it also looks lovely…

    • 13 Feb 2016
  • A warm welcome back....

    It is well and truly back to work after the Christmas break at Beckingham Marshes and we have been busy in the last couple of weeks helping our fencing contractor, Colin to prepare for installing a new perimeter fence on the marshes. This new fence will replace the old and in places, dilapidated fence line, improving our boundary security.

    But as always, we are never alone out on site - there is always something interesting…

    • 14 Jan 2016
  • Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    And just a quick one to say a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers! We will be back to business and blogging as usual on Monday 4th January.

    In the meantime, do look out for the slowly growing number of teal and wigeon on site, great spotted and green woodpeckers (both present recently), little owls calling from the hedgerows, little egrets feeding on wet scrapes and who knows, maybe someone will…

    • 21 Dec 2015
  • Hedge laying....

    Winter is always a busy time at Beckingham, especially for our annual programme of hedge work. Hedgerow management is an important part of our work at Beckingham Marshes - not only does it help to encourage breeding waders, particularly lapwing (they don't like tall vegetation in the vicinity of their nests, tall trees and shrubs provide predator perches), it also helps to rejuvenate old under managed hedgerows, improving…

    • 21 Dec 2015
  • Shortie surprise....

    Whilst we wait for numbers of winter wildfowl and thrushes to increase on site and for the possibility of waxwings, Joe and Michael were treated to a winter delight last week on site, in the form of a short-eared owl hunting over the eastern end of the marshes. This is the first time in several years that short-eared owl has been recorded on site and is quite possibly a migrant bird from the Continent.

    They are beautiful…

    • 30 Nov 2015