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 further out into the fields, creating a wider area of nice, nibbled grass for lapwings to nest on. Wigeon numbers are still pretty high, with around 300 birds in residence, as well as the usual mix of other wildfowl species. Pintail numbers are now up to 6, with 3 males and 3 females frequenting field 9.

And speaking of lapwings, the wintering flock has now mostly dispersed and we are starting to see the first signs of the forthcoming breeding season. Pairs seem to be forming and the first display flights are taking place over suitable nesting habitat. The return of oystercatcher to the site is also a sign of spring. This species has attempted nesting for the last two years, fingers crossed for their first successful year in 2018. Shelduck are still present, skylarks are singing and a little covey of grey partridge were vocal yesterday afternoon.

In our last blog, I was talking about pintail and pink-footed geese adding to the site's total list of bird species recorded. Little did I expect another 'first' this week too! Whilst on our way to complete a spot of fencing yesterday morning, we were surprised to see a barnacle goose. This is a presumed wild bird, with the possibility of the recent weather pushing it over from wintering grounds in the Netherlands. 3 birds were seen at Langford last week, so this appears to be a fourth in the area.

Barnacle geese

Looking very damp indeed!

Anonymous