It's been another busy few months over at Beckingham, with plenty of good bird sightings and plenty of work to keep our volunteers busy. Mid-late winter is when we get the best numbers of wildfowl and wintering waders using the site. So far this winter, we have had up to 600 wigeon, 500 lapwing and 1000 golden plover on site. The wigeon are important for grazing the grass so the lapwings can nest in open grassland in the spring. It won't be long now before our wintering flock of lapwing is dispersing to their breeding grounds, leaving our breeders on site in the spring. Golden plover are a really nice feature of the site in winter and we were treated to a magnificent spectacle of a flock of 1000 birds flying over us when we were out hedgelaying in January.
Golden plover. Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com).
Other birds of note recently include a peregrine flying over the site at the beginning of February and the first skylarks singing on warmer, bright days - a lovely sign that spring is on it's way.
Skylark. Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com).
Our volunteers have been doing a lot of hedgelaying for the last few winters and we completed the last hedge to be laid at the beginning of February. This hedge, at the western end of the site, is about 100m long and consists of mainly hawthorn, with some blackthorn. Laying it should rejuvenate it and help to provide even better habitat for wildlife, including the site's colony of tree sparrows that nest in this area.
As we move into spring, work will start to focus on surveying for our breeding bird species, including lapwing, redshank and tree sparrows, so watch this space for updates on how our birds are doing.
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