Manor Farm Quarry at dawn

In the last few months I simply couldn’t manage to wake up early to spend some precious time with birds. When I finally decided to go to sleep, it had already started to dawn. The Manor Farm Quarry seemed to be a good choice for an early morning birding. When I arrived European Robins started to sing and call, Canada Geese flew off to feed on nearby fields and Western Jackdaws left their roosting site next to the Aqueduct. Opposite the manor the resident Little Owls were ready for daytime roosting. Surprisingly, I found 4 birds around the big tree.

East end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The east end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Manor Farm from the east end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Manor Farm from the east end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Gravel quarry now used by birds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Gravel quarry now used by birds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I enjoyed the four hour walk with finding many mixed songbird flocks containing mainly European Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long-tailed Tits, but every flock had a few European Blackcaps or Common Chiffchaffs as well. I saw a lot of European Green Woodpeckers assuming at least 3 successful breeding pairs in the area.

Common Ringed Plovers are regular migrants in the Manor Farm Quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Ringed Plovers are regular migrants in the Manor Farm Quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

There were some shorebirds (waders) in the quarry, but way less than on the coastal wetlands. The most numerous species were the Northern Lapwing roosting at the eastern end of the quarry. Little Ringed Plovers, Green Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers were feeding in the middle of the area. Despite the site could be good for migrant shorebirds, it rarely holds a larger number of birds. All in all, it was good sitting down in the far corner of the quarry and watch birds peacefully. Tufted Ducks, Mallards and Common Coots still had just a few days old downy ducklings and ‘cootlings’.

Common Sandpipers were calling frequently on the edge of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Sandpipers were calling frequently on the edge of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Green Sandpiper. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Green Sandpiper. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Here is the list with numbers:

Graylag Goose 37
Canada Goose 178
Mute Swan 11
Gadwall 6
Mallard 86
Green-winged Teal 3
Tufted Duck 41
Gray Partridge 1
Little Grebe 3
Great Cormorant 4
Gray Heron 6
Little Egret 16
Common Buzzard 1
Eurasian Moorhen 30
Eurasian Coot 66
Northern Lapwing 206
Common Ringed Plover 2
Little Ringed Plover 5
Common Sandpiper 4
Green Sandpiper 4
Common Redshank 1
Ruff 2 (one was overflying)
Black-headed Gull 425
Lesser Black-backed Gull 43
Common Tern 36
Common Wood Pigeon 43
Little Owl 4
Common Swift 31
Common Kingfisher 5
European Green Woodpecker 8
Eurasian Magpie 15
Eurasian Jackdaw 52
Rook 2
Carrion Crow 67
Bank Swallow 6
Barn Swallow 11
Common House Martin 28
Great Tit 10
Eurasian Blue Tit 32
Long-tailed Tit 21
Eurasian Treecreeper 3
Eurasian Wren 27
Willow Warbler 1
Common Chiffchaff 4
Sedge Warbler 3
Eurasian Reed Warbler 3
European Blackcap 19
Garden Warbler 1
Greater Whitethroat 1
European Robin 28
Eurasian Blackbird 27
Song Thrush 8
Mistle Thrush 2
European Starling 8
Dunnock 6
Western Yellow Wagtail (Yellow) (Motacilla flava flavissima) 1
Gray Wagtail 2
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 10
Common Chaffinch 7
Eurasian Bullfinch 5
European Greenfinch 8
European Goldfinch 56
Eurasian Linnet 9

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One thought on “Manor Farm Quarry at dawn

  1. Hi György,
    Great post and lovely photos! Indeed, some sand and gravel pits are habitats with great potential for waders. A team in the University of Hull wants to find out why so few waders are stoping over on silty ponds. They seem to like the habitat, but find no food there as the sediment is too fine and the conditions below the surface – anoxyc. So, we are looking for ways to improve this habitat by mixing in oxygen and life!
    This and other similar ecological restoration projects are featured on our blog: http://www.eco-restore.net
    It will be great to exchange ideas and stories, and we always need stunning photos! Your cooperation will be much appreciated!
    Best wishes
    Boris

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