Filey Dams

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Filey Dams
the birds

the birds

Filey Dams is the last remaining freshwater marsh of any size in the region, currently leased to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust from Scarborough Borough Council. Filey Dams is best known for its ornithological importance, the resting place for many migrant waders and wildfowl. However the reserve is also of great botanical interest and home to mammal, insect and amphibian species.

Regular winter flooding supports a comprehensive wetland flora including water plantain, water-crowfoot and celery-leaved buttercup. Several species of dragonfly breed on the site and the yellow and marbled white butterfly are two of the twenty species recorded here. The great diversity of birds are attracted to the reserve due to the insect-rich habitat and the close proximity of the site to the sea. Over 220 bird species have been recorded here since 1985. Interesting bird visitors to the site include garganey, an annual visitor. Teal and tufted duck, grasshopper (above) and sedge warblers are all amongst the species that breed in the reserve.

Springtime is particularly active on the reserve, a time when frogspawn begins to appear, and little grebe and moorhen compete for nest sites. Whereas during the drier days of summer the water level drops, it is at this time that bird life can be particularly impressive as migrant birds are on the move. Filey Dams is also home to an internationally important population of the endangered great crested newt, smooth newts also breed here.

The Trust grazes the grassland habitat surrounding the ponds using cattle. Some areas have been fenced out to avoid disturbance to ground-nesting birds. By preventing cattle from grazing in these areas it also allows tall grasses to grow which are beneficial to insects and therefore support the diversity of birds. Other management on site consists of controlling soft rush and managing water levels so that it benefits the visiting waders.

Best Birdwatching Sites in Yorkshire

Where to Watch Birds in Yorkshire Where to Watch Birds in Yorkshire
A companion volume to Where to Watch Birds in North-east England, this guide now provides details of 105 sites, 12 more than the first edition. All previous site accounts have been updated.

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Birdwatching walks at Filey Dams

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