Sunday, 23 April 2017

River Hull. Stage 8. Swinemoor

A beautiful afternoon with a light breeze and cottony clouds, I headed to the second of the Beverley Commons that adjoin the river Hull: Swinemoor. Swinemoor, which occupies an area of about 119 ha, sits between the SE of Beverley and the River Hull. It is a flat expanse of pastures prone to flooding, with some flooded scrapes and lines of overgrown hedgerows and occasional trees. It is crossed by the Beverley and Barmston drain. I walked by the drain to reach the beginning of the river stage proper, on the west side of the river, just opposite of where I left it the last stage.
 The sunny, warm weather brought butterflies out. Three Peacocks fluttered up and down circling each other for a long while at the north side of the common and Small Tortoiseshells were plentiful and very active too. I also had my first Holly Blue of the year and a male Orange Tip.
 The cattle and horses have been allowed on the common in the last few days (top shot).
Swinemoor is well known for its bird diversity. Today, hirundines, including Sand Martins, House Martins and Swallows were busy feeding over the river. Both Swallows and Sand Martins appeared established, as some were collecting mud by the shore of the drain. Several pairs of Lapwing seem to be breeding, with some occasional skirmishes with the local Carrion Crows. A Meadow Pipit sung. Snipe are known to breed in the common, but it was an early visit in the season and in the day, for them to be drumming. Other than the breeding birds, Swinemoor is known as a migration hotspot in the area. I repeatedly searched for Yellow Wagtails, with no luck, although Pied Wagtails were plentiful, with at least two pairs. One highlight was a flock of about 10 Whimbrel, which landed near the drain and started feeding for a while on the pasture. In addition to a Redshank, two Ruffs fed on one of the scrapes. Overall, I listed 42 bird species in today's stage. A telescope would have been very useful, as the pools are distant from the paths and it is unadvisable to approach the pools to avoid disturbance to ground breeding birds.
I finished the stage by near the pedestrian bridge parallel to Hull Bridge.
The pedestrian bridge at Tickton.
Holly Blue butterfly. 
Cattle and horses at the common. 
Swallow and House Martin picking mud for nesting.
A young Grey Heron fishing by the drain.
The wide expanses of the common. From the drain, looking East. 
Lapwing by scrape. 
The Yellow Dung flies waste no time as soon cowpats are available. 
A speedboat went past. 
A bend of the river shows the reedbed fringing its East margin.
Whimbrel. One of of a flock than landed and started feeding near the drain.
One of the pools and the bridge over the drain on the background.  
From this patch of reedbed came the scratchy, repetitive song of a Reed Bunting, the first of the year for me. 
View of the river from the pedestrial bridge 
View of Hull Bridge over the river Hull. 
An alderfly by the drain.
More information
An entry at Birdnerd with information on the common. Here.

Check the Google maps in the blog for the routes involved in each stage.
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