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 first success in 2016. It was pleasing, but disappointing at the same time that curlew made an attempt to breed, but were unsuccessful, failing at the early egg stage. This is however, a very positive step in the right direction, suggesting our habitat is becoming favourable for this target species.

Yellow wagtails have been vey prominent in the last three weeks, with flocks of around 30 individuals, mostly juveniles feeding around the site. Some of these have undoubtedly been bred locally.

Our breeding wildfowl have had a good season also, with three pairs of shoveler fledging around 20 young between them. having first bred on site in 2015, they have had a very successful three years.

However, the stars of the show this year were most definitely the tree sparrows, with a whopping 292 young fledged from c.25 pairs! This smashes the previous high record of 236 and is an amazing effort by the birds. Most of our pairs had successful third broods, with some attempting fourth broods. Tree sparrows declined by around 95% in the UK between the 1970's and 1990's, so our thriving population is very welcome!

Tree sparrow. Andy Hay (