Thursday, 16 May 2013

Up The Wenning

Today I had the pleasure of working on a farm that borders the River Wenning in the area of the beautiful Lune valley. The weather was perhaps what you would say a little mixed; sunshine and showers.

The River Wenning

As I walked down towards the river I noticed a few Swifts feeding above the yard buildings and then when I got down to the river there was a good 20 hawking insects above the woodland. Presumably the damp low cloud conditions had brought some aerial insects down to low levels. Further downstream I had another eleven Swifts brinigng my total for the farm to 35.

The large barn in this particular yard is full of holes and crevices in the walls and under the eaves and consequently full of House Sparrows. I don't know how many pairs nest in this barn, but there is a fair few. Walking around the fields and heading towards the river I noticed at least three pairs of Lapwings and two pairs of Oystercatchers on territory, with the Lapwings favouring the bare re-seeded fields. However, when walking back across a field with good grass cover, longer than I expected a Lapwing would choose, I came across the nest with four eggs below. All were warm and obviously being successfully brooded by the female. When the pair of Lapwings selected this nest site the sward height would of course been a lot less.

 Lapwing nest and eggs

Along the river were Sand Martins, Dippers and Reed Bunting. In a re-seeded field next to the river I noticed four small waders running around and displaying to one another next to a small flood. I lifted my bins and could see they were four Little Ringed Plovers. What took me by surpsise was the fact that they were in a re-seeded field, although it was fairly bare with just the first signs of grass growth. The water levels on the river were quite high and this may have pushed them off their more favoured shingle beds.

Heading back to the yard a flock of 18 Linnets lifted from the newly re-seeded field, presumably feeding on seeds that had yet to germinate. On my way back I called for a coffee in the cafe/post office at Dunsop Bridge (the exact geographic centre of Great Britain) and noticed at least 10-15 Swifts feeding above the buildings adjacent to the River Hodder. 

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