Friday, 6 June 2014

North Yorkshire: farmland birds or garden birds?

Watching birds in and around the garden in Wombleton, North Yorkshire - and the surrounding agricultural landscape - there were many similarities with Banburyshire.  The link between village and farmland birds seemed even stronger, with lots of tree sparrows and yellowhammers tucking away on the garden feeders, and even grey partridge nipping in occasionally for a snack. 

grey partridge

The farmland supports more lapwings than ours, though just now they seem to be reliant on potato fields - somewhat less then optimal I would have thought: steeply ridged rows and rapid crop growth, not to mention the crop spraying regime.  Perhaps their numbers are boosted by strong populations on the "in-bye"land up on the moorland fringe nearby.  Brown hares are also common, as are skylarks, with the occasional yellow wagtail adding a dash of colour.

brown hare

Wombleton has a strong population of swifts and I was able to spend some time observing them as they flew around the village calling with their distinctive loud screams.  One of the lovely clay tiles roofs is particularly good for them, with at least five nest sites.  They are very tricky to photograph, this is probably the best of my efforts.

swift leaving nest site - note wings brushing on the tiles

Bullfinches are common too; I seem to be seeing them everywhere I go this year.  Will they be joining the top ten garden birds before too long?!

male bullfinch

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