Filey Dams

The Dams in the summer (c Mark Pearson)

Overview:
Saved from the developer’s bulldozer in 1985 the reserve nestles on the western edge of Filey town and is the last remaining freshwater marsh of any size in the area. Although primarily of ornithological interest, the Dams also has an impressive botanical diversity, and is home to an array of small mammals and amphibians. At a little over six hectares, it’s an area to enjoy in situ rather than wander across – easily done, with two purpose-built hides offering uninterrupted views of the whole reserve.

A checklist of birds recorded at the Dams appears at the foot of this page.

The detail:
The open water and its fringes attract a wide range of aquatic and semi-aquatic species, and the reserve is especially important for migrating birds, which use the Dams as a vital pit-stop on their way to often far-flung breeding or wintering grounds. Ducks, geese, swans, waders, herons and various other birds all frequent the reserve, and every year brings new surprises and rarities.

Avocet (Mark Pearson)

Avocet (Mark Pearson)

The area surrounding the ponds is neutral grassland, most of which is grazed by cattle. The fenced areas are a sanctuary for ground-nesting birds and provide tall grasses for insects. Soft Rush dominates, joined in the shallow water by Toad Rush, Bottle Sedge and Branched Bur-reed. Other species include Large Bittercress, Water Plantain and Flag Iris. Smooth, Palmate and Great Crested Newt are sometimes seen by day (but usually by torchlight), the latter species in nationally important numbers.

A short walk from the car park and adjacent Main Hide takes in a small copse with nest boxes (provided for our healthy Tree Sparrow population), and leads along a boardwalk to a pond-dipping platform at the edge of a quiet pool. Here dragonflies skim the water settling on the mat of Amphibious Bistort; the fortunate might see Water Vole, but are more likely to hear them crunching their way through the soft stalks of Water Forget-me-not.

Black-tailed Godwits in August (Mark Pearson)

Black-tailed Godwits in August (Mark Pearson)

Walk further along the boardwalk and arrive at the East Pool Hide, where close views can be had of waterbirds including Little Grebe and Tufted Duck and waders such as Greenshank, Common Snipe and Wood Sandpiper in the autumn. Across the pool, the Barn Owl box will hopefully be occupied, the male often outposted in nearby cover when displaced by his family.

Roe Deer - a regular presence at the Dams (c Mark Pearson)

Roe Deer – a regular presence (c Mark Pearson)

Occasional public bird-watching and small-mammal trapping sessions are held – check the News page for details – and local school children visit to pond-dip, learn about wildlife and watch bird-ringing.

Seasonal highlights:
Spring (March – May): Waders stop by on migration, there’s a good chance of a fox from the hides, the nest boxes are full of Tree Sparrows, Willow Warblers sing and Cuckoo Flower starts to colour the marsh.

Summer (June – August): Reed Warblers sing from the reed-beds, watched by Cuckoos, while on the muddy edges of the pool the first returning sandpipers and plovers feed. Dragonflies such as Broad-bodied Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer and Ruddy Darter are active over the pools.

Autumn (September – November): Greenshank, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff pause to feed up on their way south (as well as commoner waders). Hirundines gather in increasingly large parties, occasionally attended by a Hobby.

Winter (December – February): The pools are home to Wigeon and Teal flocks, other duck species and various geese. Sparrowhawks sit in the bleak hawthorn trees watching the feeding tables where sparrows, thrushes and finches gather in good numbers.

Top tips:
Waders in autumn and ducks in winter are available all day; try a dawn or dusk trip for Roe Deer, Fox or hunting Barn Owl. Attend a mammal-trapping session and get close to Wood Mouse, Bank Vole and Water Shrew.

Common Snipe - look for them feeding in marshy corners (c Mark Pearson)

Common Snipe – look for them in marshy areas (c Mark Pearson)

Access & Directions:
There is Wheelchair access to the Main Hide, which is a few metres from the reserve car park. The hides are always open. Dogs are not allowed on the reserve. There are no toilets or other facilities on site, the nearest being in Filey town.

Public transport:
Scarborough – Hull buses and trains call at the nearby Filey bus and train stations.

Directions:
The reserve car park is at the end of Wharfedale, a left turn entering Filey on Muston Road from York and Bridlington, 450 metres before the railway crossing. If arriving from Filey bus and train stations, it’s a fifteen-minute walk: cross the level crossing on Muston Road, take your second right onto Wharfedale and follow it to the end.

Contact: info@ywt.org.uk / 01904 659570
Grid reference: TA 106807
Nearest postcode: YO14 0DG

 

Checklist of the birds of the Dams

A full species list giving the status of all visitors to the reserve is given below.

Red-legged Partridge     Alectoris rufa
Very scarce, not recorded recently.

Grey Partridge     Perdix perdix
Occasional, heard singing in Spring. Breeds nearby.

Quail     Coturnix coturnix
Rare; only heard singing.

Pheasant     Phasianus colchicus
Ubiquitous; breeds.

Bean Goose     Anser fabalis
Scarce: both subspecies have been recorded.

Pink-footed Goose     Anser brachyrhynchus
Winter visitor in small numbers.

Greylag Goose     Anser anser
Regular feral visitor.

White-fronted Goose     Anser albifrons
Winter visitor in varying numbers (never common); all Scandinavian.

Snow Goose     Anser caerulescens
One record: 2005

Canada Goose     Branta canadens
Regular feral visitor; breeds.

Brent Goose     Branta bernicla
Rare visitor.

Barnacle Goose     Branta leucopsis
Regular feral visitor in small numbers.

Mute Swan     Cygnus olor
Breeder, fairly common.

Bewick’s Swan     Cygnus columbianus
Rare visitor.

Whooper Swan     Cygnus Cygnus
Scarce winter visitor.

Egyptian Goose     Alopochen aegyptiaca
Very scarce visitor.

Common Shelduck     Tadorna tadorna
Fairly common in small numbers.

Ruddy Shelduck     Tadorna ferruginea
Rare visitor.

Mandarin Duck     Aix galericulata
Annual visitor, increasing.

Gadwall     Anas strepera
Fairly common in small numbers.

Eurasian Wigeon     Anas Penelope
Common autumn/winter visitor.

Mallard     Anas platyrhynchos
Common breeder.

Blue-winged Teal      Anas discors
One record, a male in 2006.

Shoveler     Anas clypeata
Fairly common in small numbers.

Pintail     Anas acuta
Scarce.

Garganey     Anas querquedula
Very scarce summer visitor.

Teal     Anas crecca
Common.

Green-winged Teal     Anas carolinensis
One record, a male in 2005.

Red-crested Pochard     Netta rufina
Two records: three in 1991 and a male in 2013.

Pochard     Aythya ferina
Increasingly scarce, has bred.

Tufted Duck     Aythya fuligula
Common visitor, breeder.

Scaup     Aythya marila
Rare.

Eider     Somateria mollissima
One record, a male in 2008.

Long-tailed Duck     Clangula hyemalis
Scarce.

Goldeneye     Bucephala clangula
Occasional visitor.

Smew     Mergellus albellus
Rare.

Goosander     Mergus merganser
Scarce visitor.

Red-breasted Merganser     Mergus serrator
Rare.

Ruddy Duck     Oxyura jamaicensis
Has bred, now locally extinct.

Red-throated Diver     Gavia stellata
Rare.

Fulmar     Fulmarus glacialis
One record, a sick bird in 1996.

Little Grebe     Tachybaptus ruficollis
Fairly common breeder.

Red-necked Grebe     Podiceps grisegena
Rare.

Slavonian Grebe     Podiceps auritus
One record: 2013

Black-necked Grebe     Podiceps nigricollis
Rare: 1987, 2002.

White Stork     Ciconia ciconia
One record: 1998.

Glossy Ibis     Plegadis falcinellus
One record: 2011.

Spoonbill     Platalea leucorodia
Scarce.

Bittern     Botaurus stellaris
Four records: 1988, 1991, 1999, 2003.

Grey Heron     Ardea cinerea
Common.

Purple Heron     Ardea purpurea
Two records: 1987, 1994.

Great White Egret     Ardea alba
One record: 2013

Little Egret     Egretta garzetta
Annual, increasing.

Gannet     Morus bassanus
Occasional, on the horizon.

Cormorant     Phalacrocorax carbo
Regular.

Kestrel     Falco tinnunculus
Scarce.

Merlin     Falco columbarius
Rare.

Hobby     Falco subbuteo
Scarce.

Peregrine Falcon     Falco peregrinus
Scarce.

Osprey  Pandion haliaetus
Scarce.

European Honey Buzzard     Pernis apivorus
Rare.

Red Kite     Milvus milvus
Rare.

Marsh Harrier     Circus aeruginosus
Scarce.

Hen Harrier     Circus cyaneus
Rare.

Montagu’s Harrier     Circus pygargus
Rare.

Sparrowhawk     Accipiter nisus
Common, local breeder.

Buzzard     Buteo buteo
Scarce.

Rough-legged  Buzzard     Buteo lagopus
Rare.

Water Rail     Rallus aquaticus
Regular but elusive, has bred.

Spotted Crake     Porzana  porzana
Three records: 1999, 2001, 2003.

Moorhen     Gallinula chloropus
Common breeder.

Coot     Fulica atra
Common breeder.

Crane     Grus grus
Rare.

Oystercatcher     Haematopus ostralegus
Common.

Black-winged Stilt     Himantopus himantopus
One record: 1991.

Avocet     Recurvirostra avosetta
Scarce.

Lapwing     Vanellus vanellus
Uncommon.

Golden Plover     Pluvialis apricaria
Scarce.

Grey Plover     Pluvialis squatarola
Scarce.

Ringed Plover     Charadrius hiaticula
Uncommon.

Little Ringed Plover     Charadrius dubious
Regular in small numbers.

Dotterel     Charadrius morinellus
Vagrant – a small trip in 1982.

Woodcock     Scolopax rusticola
Regular but elusive.

Jack Snipe     Lymnocryptes minimus
Regular but elusive.

Common Snipe     Gallinago gallinago
Fairly common.

Black-tailed Godwit     Limosa limosa
Fairly common.

Bar-tailed Godwit     Limosa lapponica
Scarce.

Whimbrel     Numenius phaeopus
Uncommon.

Curlew     Numenius arquata
Common.

Spotted Redshank     Tringa erythropus
Scarce.

Redshank     Tringa tetanus
Common.

Greenshank     Tringa nebularia
Uncommon.

Lesser Yellowlegs     Tringa flavipes
Three records: 1986, 2000, 2005.

Green Sandpiper     Tringa ochropus
Uncommon.

Wood Sandpiper     Tringa glareola
Uncommon.

Common Sandpiper     Actitis hypoleucos
Fairly common.

Turnstone     Arenaria interpres
Scarce.

Little Stint     Calidris minuta
Scarce.

Temminck’s Stint     Calidris temmminckii
Rare.

White-rumped Sandpiper     Calidris fuscicollis
Two records: 2006, 2012.

Baird’s Sandpiper     Calidris bairdii
One record: 1995.

Pectoral Sandpiper     Calidris melanotos
Scarce.

Curlew Sandpiper     Calidris ferruginea
Scarce but regular.

Dunlin     Calidris alpine
Common

Ruff     Philomachus pugnax
Uncommon.

Red-necked Phalarope     Phalarope lobatus
Two records: 2001, 2004.

Common Gull     Larus canus
Common.

Great Black-backed Gull     Larus marinus
Common.

Glaucous Gull     Larus hyperboreus
Rare.

Iceland Gull     Larus glaucoides
Rare.

Herring Gull     Larus argentatus
Common.

Yellow-legged Gull     Larus michahellis
Two records: 1996, 2006.

Lesser Black-backed Gull     Larus fuscus
Uncommon.

Black-headed Gull     Larus ridibundus
Common.

Mediterranean Gull     Larus melanocephalus
Scarce.

Little Gull     Larus minutus
Scarce.

Kittiwake     Rissa tridactyla
Rare.

Sandwich Tern     Sterna sandvicensis
Rare.

Common Tern     Sterna hirundo
Rare.

Arctic Tern     Sterna paradisaea
Rare.

White-winged Black Tern     Chlidonias leucopterus
One record: 1999.

Black Tern     Chlidonias niger
Rare.

Great Skua     Stercorarius skua
Rare.

Arctic Skua     Stercorarius parasiticus
Rare.

Long-tailed Skua     Stercorarius longicaudus
One record: 2006.

Rock Dove     Columba livia
Feral, common.

Stock Dove      Columba oenas
Uncommon.

Woodpigeon     Columba palumbus
Common.

Turtle Dove     Streptopelia turtur
Rare.

Collared Dove     Streptopelia decaocto
Common.

Cuckoo     Cuculus canorus
Scarce.  Breeds.

Barn Owl     Tyto alba
Breeds in the nest box.

Tawny Owl     Strix aluco
Often heard, rarely seen.

Little Owl     Athene noctua
Rare.

Long-eared Owl     Asio otus
Rare.

Short-eared Owl     Asio flammeus
Scarce.

Nightjar     Caprimulgus europaeus
One record: at roost in 1997.

Alpine Swift     Tachymarptis melba
One record:  1994.

Swift     Apus apus
Common.

Kingfisher     Alcedo atthis
Scarce.

Hoopoe     Upupa epops
Two records: 1994, 1995.

Wryneck     Jynx torquilla
One record:  2002.

Great Spotted Woodpecker       Dendrocopos   major
Common, breeds.

Green Woodpecker    Picus viridis
Rare.

Red-backed Shrike     Lanius collurio
Rare.

Great Grey Shrike     Lanius excubitor
Rare.

Golden Oriole     Oriolus oriolus
Rare.

Jay     Garrulus glandarius
Scarce.

Magpie     Pica pica
Common, breeds.

Jackdaw     Corvus monedula
Common,  breeds.

Rook     Corvus frugilegus
Common, breeds.

Carrion Crow     Corvus corone
Common.

Hooded Crow     Corvus cornix
Rare.

Waxwing     Bombycilla garrulous
Scarce.

Great Tit     Parus major
Common, breeds.

Blue Tit     Parus caeruleus
Common, breeds.

Coal Tit     Parus ater
Scarce.

Marsh Tit     Parus palustris
One record: 1999.

Willow Tit     Parus montanus
Scarce.

Sand Martin     Riparia riparia
Common.

Swallow     Hirundo rustica
Common.

House Martin     Delichon urbica
Common.

Red-rumped Swallow     Cecropis daurica
One record:  2004.

Long-tailed Tit     Aegithalos caudatus
Common, breeds.

Skylark     Alauda arvensis
Common.

Grasshopper Warbler     Locustella naevia
Rare.

Sedge Warbler     Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Common, breeds.

Reed Warbler     Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Common, breeds.

Marsh Warbler     Acrocephalus palustris
One record:  1994.

Icterine Warbler     Hippolais icterina
One record:  1995.

Willow Warbler     Phylloscopus trochilus
Common, breeds.

Chiffchaff     Phylloscopus collybita
Common, breeds.

Siberian Chiffchaff     Phylloscopus tristis
One record:  2008.

Wood Warbler     Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Rare.

Pallas’s Warbler     Phylloscopus proregulus
One record:  2004.

Yellow-browed Warbler     Phylloscopus inornatus
Scarce.

Arctic Warbler     Phylloscopus borealis
One record:  1993.

Blackcap     Sylvia atricapilla
Common, breeds.

Garden Warbler     Sylvia borin
Scarce.

Barred Warbler     Sylvia nisoria
Two records:  1994, 2001.

Lesser Whitethroat     Sylvia curruca
Common, breeds.

Whitethroat     Sylvia communis
Common, breeds.

Treecreeper     Certhia familiaris
Scarce.

Starling     Sturnus vulgaris
Common, breeds.

Ring Ouzel     Turdus torquatus
Scarce.

Blackbird     Turdus merula
Common, breeds.

Fieldfare     Turdus pilaris
Common.

Redwing     Turdus iliacus
Common.

Song Thrush     Turdus philomelos
Fairly common, breeds.

Mistle Thrush     Turdus viscivorus
Uncommon.

Robin     Erithacus rubecula
Common, breeds.

Bluethroat     Luscinia svecica
Two records:1993, 1994

Black Redstart     Phoenicurus ochruros
Rare.

Redstart     Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Scarce.

Whinchat     Saxicola rubetra
Scarce.

Stonechat     Saxicola torquatus
Rare.

Wheatear     Oenanthe oenanthe
Scarce.

Spotted Flycatcher     Muscicapa striata
Scarce.

Pied Flycatcher     Ficedula hypoleuca
Uncommon.

Red-breasted Flycatcher     Ficedula parva
Rare.

House Sparrow     Passer domesticus
Common, breeds.

Tree Sparrow     Passer montanus
Common, breeds.

Dunnock     Prunella modularis
Common, breeds.

Yellow Wagtail     Motacilla flava
Regular

Citrine Wagtail     Motacilla citreola
One record:  1995.

Grey Wagtail     Motacilla cinerea
Uncommon.

Pied Wagtail     Motacilla alba
Common, breeds. White Wagtail is scarce.

Meadow Pipit     Anthus pratensis
Common.

Tree Pipit     Anthus trivialis
Scarce.

Olive-backed Pipit     Anthus hodgsoni
One record: 1987.

Water Pipit     Anthus spinoletta
Three records:  1987, 1994, 2002.

Rock Pipit     Anthus petrosus
Rare.

Chaffinch     Fringilla coelebs
Common, breeds.

Brambling     Fringilla montifringilla
Regular in small numbers.

Greenfinch     Carduelis chloris
Common.

Siskin     Carduelis spinus
Fairly common.

Goldfinch     Carduelis carduelis
Common.

Lesser Redpoll    Carduelis cabaret
Uncommon.

Mealy Redpoll     Carduelis flammea
Uncommon.

Linnet     Acanthis cannabina
Common.

Common Rosefinch     Carpodacus erythrinus
Two records:  1995, 1997.

Crossbill     Loxia curvirostra
Scarce.

Bullfinch     Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Uncommon.

Corn Bunting     Emberiza calandra
Rare.

Yellowhammer     Emberiza citronella
Uncommon.

Ortolan Bunting  Emberiza hortulana
One record:  1994.

Rustic Bunting     Emberiza rustica
Four records:  1985, 1989, 1990, 1993.

Reed Bunting     Emberiza schoeniclus
Common, breeds.

Snow Bunting     Plectrophenax nivalis
Rare.