Nature Notes – June 2024

by Andy Johnston

Yellow wagtail and YellowhammerBirds of Conservation Concern is a list of birds that are perceived as endangered. Of the 70 UK birds on the list, there have been 20 spotted in and around Scruton, depending on the season. Now is a good time to see many of these birds as they are in full breeding plumage and nesting. Yellowhammers are in the hedges along Common Lane, the male with a bright yellow head. In the tracks through the fields to the embankment yellow wagtails are common. Similar in size and shape to the common pied wagtail, the males can be brilliant yellow.

Along the Swale are grey wagtails with their dark backs and heads and yellow under-bellies. Near the embankment where power lines cross, is a lone field maple, the only true maple native to Britain. A corn bunting can often be seen singing from its topmost branch or on the power lines themselves. Swifts and house martins are back in good numbers, doing well compared to national numbers, as are house and tree sparrows. As this article is to some extent dominated by wagtails, Phil and Karen Johnson have a pair nesting beneath their solar panels. Rod and Josie have spotted their first otter at the Swale.