Chris Farthing’s Woodberry bird highlights: June 2018

June is generally a month of little bird movement, because birds are busy raising families. However, in the past this month has provided surprises here, last year in June a family group of six common sandpipers arrived, and in June 2016 a pair of black-necked grebes spent a memorable day on the reservoir. This June provided few surprises though. Probably the main highlight was a regular little ringed plover (main picture above) which was seen many times through the month.

Amongst water birds, the first unusual visitor was a pochard x tufted duck hybrid (picture 1 below) which was seen on the 6th. This is probably the same bird as has been seen several times over the last few years, and is believed to be a bird which spends most of its time in Alexandra Park. On the 28th a two male red-crested pochard (2) in eclipse plumage were on the water feeding amongst the weed. The reservoir water level has been low throughout June, and this has meant the site has been an ideal habitat for little egret (3) and grey heron. Up to eight of the former and five of the latter have been present. Common tern (4) have been regular visitors in numbers of up to four, but no breeding-related activity has been seen this year.

June sees the return of our black-headed gulls. Daily counts at the start were in low single figures but over one hundred were present every day around the end of the month.

Probably the biggest surprise of the month was a kingfisher (5) which came to fish here on the 29th. A fairly regular winter visitor, sightings during the months of May to July usually amount to about one per year. This is a familiar story amongst many birds which don’t breed in the immediate vicinity, and raptor sightings were very low in June. Both peregrine and sparrowhawk were seen at the end of the month, suggesting that they may have finished breeding for this year.

Birds which appeared to have a good breeding year either on site or very close by include house sparrow, which are now regularly being seen in the reed bed and along the woodland trail, and great spotted woodpecker (6),  juveniles of which are being seen and heard here most days now. A family of coal tits (7) are being regularly seen, and there are probably three families of grey wagtail (8) on site or just outside the perimeter. Reed warbler and Cetti’s warbler continue to breed well here, and reed bunting returned to breeding here this year after no breeding evidence was seen in 2017.

Showing what a surprisingly unpredictable month June here can be, the total species count was 60, well above the 55 of June 2017 but a long way short of the 67 seen in June 2016.


[All photos by Chris Farthing]

Posted on July 16th 2018