Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

30th March

Migrants at last! A 5 hour session from dawn gradually rewarded today, with both Swallow and Willow Warbler added to the patch year list. Fairly gentle south-westerlies throughout the morning were helping birds move through, with other passerine and Gull movement in evidence throughout the valley.

The circuit from Rowe Barn Farm to Bonhurst was quiet, and it seemed that there was little of note around, though two high-flying Black-headed Gulls were clearly on the move. A few Meadow Pipits had passed overhead at first light, and this was a sign of things to come. 4 Bramblings were still on the Ridge, joined today by 2 Yellowhammers including a singing male, and I chose to sky-watch here from about 08:15. At 08:40 a huge, lumbering juvenile gull came in from the north and dropped low enough to be identified as a Great Black-backed, my second of the year. 2 groups of Herring Gulls drifted SE not long after, and 3 Cormorants and a Skylark were also moving through.

Allden's Hill was the productive side of the valley today
A staggering 27 Grey Herons were back in the heronry, after they seemed to relocate to Thorncombe Park in the past few weeks, and a few more Meadow Pipits squeaked overhead. However, things were generally quite quiet, so I decided to switch to Allden's Hill. It quickly became apparent that this was the better side of the valley to be on today, the westerly pushing stuff closer. Immediately the number of Meadow Pipits shot up, groups of 8 or more regular, and I quickly cleared the 50 mark. At 10:32 the moment I await and record every year happened, as a single Swallow determinedly zoomed north above my head. I was thrilled - it made the hours watching the sky during the past few days worthwhile - and I was up for more as further Meadow Pipits raced past.

4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls drifted north, sandwiched between the Pipits, and as I cleared 70 I aimed to break my record count, ironically enough 88 on 30th March last year. 3 more Swallows pushed on at 11:39, and by midday I'd smashed the Meadow Pipit record, a crazy 103 the final tally. A fall of Chiffchaffs had clearly occured as I totted up 7 throughout the morning, but the day was capped off not long before I left, when a Willow Warbler briefly uttered it's laid back song from somewhere to the north of my seat. Like the Chiffchaffs throughout the day it wasn't singing with much gusto or frequency, no doubt tired from it's colossal journey to get here.