I paid a brief stop this morning at Sherburn Cut Bridge, north of Sherburn level crossing (where the old signal box is intriguingly signed ‘Weaverthorpe’, but that’s another story). I was checking for Curlew on a regular territory on The Carrs. There is space to pull off the road by the bridge so this is an easy vantage point from which to monitor ‘en passant’.
Sure enough, a quick scan with binoculars revealed first a Brown Hare then a pair of Curlew at the far end of the field. One was sitting, presumably on eggs, the other bird feeding in another part of the pasture. Seven Lapwing were spread across the field too, up to four sitting on nests. Another pair of Lapwing were mobbing a Carrion crow NE of the bridge, over a carrot field. Let’s wish the plovers and the Curlews good fortune as the beady crows were looking on from an oak tree at the edge of the meadow. The presence of corvids is a concern, as they could well take unguarded eggs or young if the opportunity presents itself.
This site is traditionally used for a hay crop which the Curlews evidently favour as I’ve seen them use the field for a number of years. Whether they have success in rearing young here is another matter. Hopefully by the time any young are hatched, the sward will afford a little more in the way of hiding places for camouflaged wader chicks.
Meanwhile Sherburn Cut Bridge, in common with many on The Carrs is a regular spraint site for Otters. They leave their territorial droppings on the ledge beneath the arch. With binoculars a good dozen were visible on the far side alone. It’s a sign of a resident population of Otters but encountering one is a rare incident. I think in eight and a half years of visiting waterways and farms in the Vale of Pickering I’ve managed to spot one once only, when crossing Folkton Bridge.