Visit to Scorton Lakes Reserve October 18th 2023

On Wed 18th October 16 members met at South Car Park, Scorton Lakes Nature Reserve for a circular birdwatching walk led by Jane and Ted. We welcomed new members joining us on a dry day, the calm before the storm Babet!  We walked through the underpass, where the quarry conveyor belt used to run, to the former gravel pit, now Grange Lake.

There we identified Tufted Duck, Teal, Little Grebe, a flock of Lapwing with Dunlin, Redshank and one Snipe feeding on the shallow muddy spit in the Lake.

Black-headed and Herring Gulls with one Shelduck were on the water. A circling Buzzard, Kestrel and two Great White Egrets flying across the skyline towards Uckerby Lake were a special treat.

We walked around the reserve in a clockwise direction visiting the area where the former quarry workings were situated, which is now a shallow lagoon, and the new North Car Park

The last of Tarmac’s gravel extraction machinery was removed only 10 months ago, habitats they’ve carefully created are gradually maturing. 

Tarmac have created well-made paths and bridges, with the water flowing through a number of pools and small stony weirs with irises and other water plants to increase the variety of habitats. There is a sluice gate controlling the flow of a stream through the old gravel pits, running eventually into the River Swale.

It’s wonderful to see how well the lakes and woodland of the reserve are already home to so many species of birds.

Fences alongside wide paths allow a good view of all areas

while protecting the wildlife from people and pets.

Sign boards show the variety of routes round the lakes.

For some of our members, this was their first sight of this area which was the last to be restored. We walked round to the right and onto the disused railway line where a new screen has been built overlooking Scorton Quarry lake.

We saw Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Common and Herring Gulls, Cormorant, many Greylag and Canada Geese along with Mute Swans. We continued walking along the former railway track and back through the plantation of endemic trees and shrubs, including Oak, Alder and Hawthorn. The Rowan trees and Guelder Rose bushes were laden with berries; Goldfinch, Blackbirds and a flock of Redwing were spotted nearby.

We walked along Alan’s Way past Uckerby Lake, where there is another sluice gate, and more Little Grebe were calling. We heard and spotted Pheasant, Chaffinch, Siskin, Wren, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits with a Treecreeper.

As we headed back towards the RAF Scorton Memorial plaque, seat and windsock, we saw Mute Swan, Curlew, Moorhen, Little Egret, Pied Wagtail and Robin.

We walked back along the path, where Bee Orchids had been seen in the summer, turned right down the path across the new bridge and turned left back towards the car park.

We’re looking forward to the habitats gradually maturing and abundant wildflowers in spring.