Chris Farthing’s Woodberry bird highlights: July 2018
The birding highlight of July, and probably the birding highlight here of 2018 so far, was the visit of a sandwich tern (main picture above amongst black-headed gulls). The bird arrived early in the morning on July 10th, it sat on a post on the border of the lagoons for nearly an hour, before having a fly around and an attempt to catch a fish. It then headed off due south, never to be seen again. This was the first ever grounded record for the species here, and the first record since a flyover group of four birds in 2006.
Other than the sandwich tern, it was a fairly quiet month here, characterised by breeding activity from our summer resident birds and the return of the first few of our winter visitors, as well as some visits from our regular autumn passage migrants.
Water birds have been busy breeding. The pair of mute swans in the reservoir have two near-full-sized cygnets and the pair in the adjacent New River have seven of the same age (though one of the cygnets seems to be spend a lot of time detached from the group). Tufted duck have been unusually good breeders this year with at least ten broods being seen, and over 25 ducklings having reached adult size. Two pairs of great crested grebe each have a single youngster. The only wildfowl change in July was the return of the first shoveler (picture 1) on July 30th.
The last little ringed plover of the summer was seen on July 2nd, but common sandpiper (2) soon took over as our most regular wading bird, being seen almost every day from mid-July. A flyover oystercatcher was also recorded on the 11th.
July saw the first couple of sightings since March of common gull (3), they should continue to be seen occasionally for a while but will not increase significantly in number until September.
The only change amongst passerine birds was the return of the chiffchaff (4). Apparently not breeding in the vicinity this year, the first returning bird was seen on July 22nd, and they have been seen often and even heard occasionally singing since then.
The total number of bird species seen here in July 2018 was 62, a few down on the 66 recorded in the previous July.
[All photos by Chris Farthing]