Friday, 14 June 2013

Swinemoor Common

It has been a while since I visited a new site, and, although I had planned to drive to Tophill Low this morning, I changed my mind and went to Swinemoor instead. It was a bit breezy, and not warm at all considering it's mid June, but the sunny spells made for a very pleasant visit indeed.
Swinemoor Common is one of the three ancient commons of Beverley -  the other two being Westwood and Figham. Swinemoor is framed by the river Hull, on the east, mainly by roads on the N and W and by an industrial estate on the South, and traversed by the Beverley and Barmston drain, which can be crossed by a bridge in the middle on the common. It is an area of pastures and wet meadows with shallow pools of water and areas of Hawthorn scrub and overgrown hedgerows. The river Hull in the area is fringed by reeds and agricultural land on its left margin.
 After crossing the gate to the common by Hull Bridge, I walk along the flood defence ditches down by the river. Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings sing from the reeds, with an occasional Whitethroat.
The views are fantastic, with Beverley Minster amongst the tree line in the distance, the bright pools the  meadows brimming with buttercups and the gentle meandering of the river.
 Although I had hoped for a circular walk, I had to return the same way, as the path was flooded on the south of the common. Once back by the entrance by Tickton, I walked to the drain and alongside it for a while.
 Bird wise, there were a fair number of Lapwings pairs around the central, flooded part, occasionally chasing Carrion Crows or squeaking and doing their aerobatic displays.
Swallows, Swifts, a few Sand Martins and House Martins were hunting.
A Redshank gave its mournful call by a pool where Gadwalls, Mallards and a Moorhen were feeding. On the far end of the pools there were some resting Lesser Black Backed and Herring gulls. A pair of Shelduck and some Teals were also present.
In a field, Rooks, Jackdaws, Starlings and Woodpigeons feed with a rabbit.

The Beverley and Barmston drain
On the grassy river bank, a Carrron Crow feeds on a duck egg.
The duck egg, looking fresh.
A carpet of buttercups on the common
There were lots of horses on the common. A group of mares stood by their sleeping foals. Others brayed in the distance.
The gentle meandering of the river Hull
Flock of white domestic geese and four Mute Swans.
Grey Heron
Lapwing mobbing crow.
A view of the common, looking North
Displaying Lapwing
Pool with Mute Swans
The beautiful Beverley and Barmston drain
 I make a stop for a thermos coffee by the Beverley and Barmston drain, overlooking what it looks like a ford. The horses must come here to drink and their hoofs keep the bank clear of plants and make a gently sloping muddy shore. A group of 8 or 10 House Martins collect mud for their nests. Nervous of being on the ground on their own, they came and went in groups, stopping one after another in the same area, and keeping their wings up, ready to take flight.
A Swallow flying up the drain collects a small white feather in mid air, and later another one gathered some grass, so it seems that the swallows are ahead of the House Martins nesting, although both species seem to be late nest building.
a wider area on the drain where the House Martins were collecting mud
House Martins collecting mud.

Swinemoor Common is a beautiful place to visit, and it is quite close to Hull and at the door of Beverley. I can't believe I haven't been before, but I will definitely return to the site to explore it more fully in the future. 

More information
Two local bloggers cover this site regularly
There are also articles on Swinemoor at Birdnerd and at Hull Valley Wildlife Group.

I parked on Hull Bridge Road at the north of the common. The entrance is by the bridge over the River Hull. There are no toilet facilities, although there is a pub by the bridge. There are further entrances on Swinemoor Lane and on the A1035.

Location map

View Larger Map

Today's Bird List
  1. Blackbird    
  2.  Blue Tit    
  3.  Carrion Crow    
  4.  Chaffinch    
  5.  Collared Dove    
  6.  Dunnock    
  7.  Gadwall    
  8.  Goldfinch    
  9.  Great Tit    
  10.  Greenfinch    
  11.  Grey Heron    
  12.  Greylag Goose (domestic)    
  13.  Herring Gull    
  14.  House Martin    
  15.  House Sparrow    
  16.  Jackdaw    
  17.  Lapwing    
  18.  Lesser Black-backed Gull    
  19.  Linnet    
  20.  Mallard    
  21.  Moorhen    
  22.  Mute Swan    
  23.  Pheasant    
  24.  Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)    
  25.  Redshank    
  26.  Reed Bunting    
  27.  Robin    
  28.  Rook    
  29.  Sand Martin    
  30.  Shelduck    
  31.  Starling    
  32.  Swallow    
  33.  Swift    
  34.  Teal    
  35.  Whitethroat    
  36.  Woodpigeon    
  37.  Wren

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