A mild, sunny morning met with increasing levels of birdsong, creating a spring-like synergism throughout the valley today. Having given myself a later than normal start I was expecting raptors, and as I climbed up through Rowe Barn Farm I could already see 4 Buzzards circling above the Ridge.
These birds of prey thrive in this area, with plenty of suitable habitat not just in the valley, but to the north, south, east and west. I counted no less than 31 in roughly 2 hours, an incredible figure, with in excess of 10 displaying birds. Granted, I have the benefit of sky views reaching further than Guildford, beyond Blackheath, Holmbury Hill and Winterfold to the east, and down to Hascombe Hill, but it was still a high count, typical of early spring around here.
|A sunny view over Bonhurst this morning|
Bonhurst has been taking my attention recently. The Little Owl pair were both in voice in the Poplars today, and I do think it looks good for my first Wheatear of 2016. Since I've been watching the area it's perhaps under-produced in terms of birds, the sheep and horse fields adjacent to the damp willow scrub yet to turn up a Stone Curlew or Black Redstart, my two dream birds for this particular bit of my patch. If either will happen, March is possibly the best month. A good number of Common and Black-headed Gulls were on the fields, and the Barnacle Goose was at Birtley House Pond with it's Canadian cousins.
|2 male Reeve's Pheasants at Prestwick Farm today|
Closer to sundown, back my way, I managed a trip to check out the Reeve's Pheasant at Prestwick Farm, near Grayswood. To my surprise there was 2 males, resplendent with their huge tail feathers, almost directly opposite the farm.
On Tuesday I enjoyed the mysterious sound of a migrating Bittern at Frensham Little Pond, but that tale deserves a post of its own.