Arctic Terns at Manor Farm

The Iron Trunk Aqueduct, which was built in 1811 to carry the water of the Grand Union Canal over the River Great Ouse. The Aqueduct is still used. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The Iron Trunk Aqueduct, which was built in 1811 to carry the water of the Grand Union Canal over the River Great Ouse. The Aqueduct is still used. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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A part of the pits with the Manor Farm in the background. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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A view to the River Great Ouse and the pits from the Aqueduct. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The Manor Farm in Old Wolverton is one of the very few places where shorebirds are breeding and stopping by during migration. This is a gravel pit along the River Great Ouse, which regularly floods the whole area. During Spring the muddy pebble islets are suitable for Eurasian Oystercatcher, Northern Lapwings, Little Ringed Plovers and Common Redshank for breeding.

This afternoon I made a long walk all around the pits. The only remarkable species was the Arctic Tern, which seemed to invade inland waters. Two birds moved together with, the most probably, resident Common Terns. Nevertheless, a single migrant Common Sandpiper was the new bird for this year.

It is always a pleasure to find nesting Northern Lapwings. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It is always a pleasure to find nesting Northern Lapwings. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I saw at least 5 Northern Lapwings sitting on their nest and one pair showed very aggressive defending behaviour, assuming to have chicks already. One of the Eurasian Oysterncatchers seemed to be incubating as well.

List and numbers of birds recorded:

Graylag Goose 4
Canada Goose 31
Mute Swan 8
Gadwall 4
Mallard 20
Tufted Duck 21
Great Crested Grebe 1
Grey Heron 2
Common Buzzard 2
Eurasian Moorhen 7
Eurasian Coot 8
Eurasian Oystercatcher 3
Northern Lapwing 16
Little Ringed Plover 6
Common Sandpiper 1
Black-headed Gull 5
Common Tern 3
Arctic Tern 2
Common Wood Pigeon 32
Common Kingfisher 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Green Woodpecker 1
Eurasian Magpie 9
Eurasian Jackdaw 19
Rook 6
Carrion Crow 36
Bank Swallow 15
Barn Swallow 1
Common House Martin 25
Great Tit 3
Eurasian Blue Tit 5
Long-tailed Tit 1
Eurasian Wren 13
Common Chiffchaff 6
Sedge Warbler 4
Eurasian Reed Warbler 2
Blackcap 6
Garden Warbler 1
Greater Whitethroat 7
European Robin 3
Eurasian Blackbird 11
Song Thrush 1
European Starling 28
Dunnock 2
White (Pied) Wagtail 4
Common Reed Bunting 3
Common Chaffinch 9
European Greenfinch 1
European Goldfinch 8

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