Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

8th March

Thorncombe Street

Since the thrilling Woodlark find on Saturday I've made 2 trips to the plantation at Selhurst Common, and I've failed to relocate the bird on both occasions. Perhaps it was just moving through, part of a local movement to Blackheath or further afield, though this species is normally on territory by now, so who knows. Perhaps I'll re-find it. Either way, both trips since have proved enjoyable. Yesterday I went a bit off-piste, circling the plantation (smaller than I thought), and today I just scanned from the gate, where, to my surprise, I heard another lark species singing away behind me.

I crossed the road, and scanned over the big meadow in front of me, the sweet sound of a Skylark wheeling away. I got my bins up and located the bird, which quickly chased after another over the grass, before flying back up and singing once more. I have never really paid this meadow much attention - normally, like much of the Wintershall estate, the grass is short and it's pretty barren, but it seems just long enough to entice these two songsters into a vocal dual this morning.

Skylarks are certainly pretty scarce on my patch. I can't have had many more than 5 last year, all of which in the passage seasons when birds move around. It's the first time I've seen a bird singing like that here and, like the Woodlark, I will keep my eye on this area to see if it sticks. Certainly, it's encouraged me to check out the last unexplored vestige of my patch, a path down through Scotsland Brook that eventually reaches Dunsfold. Maybe here I'll find some suitable farmland habitat.

Yellowhammer on the Ridge today (DC)
The sighting was part of a pretty brief drive around this morning, and nothing spectacular was noted, though a count of 13 Greylag Geese was high. I was primarily checking the gull flocks (numbers down, and fragmented) for the Mediterranean Gull Matt Phelps had over Shalford yesterday. Unsurprisingly I didn't find it, only 2 Black-heads among 80+ Common. After work though, when it was almost dark, I found myself racing to the northern boundary of Winkworth. Matt had heard a Water Rail in Phillimore earlier in the day and, not long after I played the call, 2 piped up from within the marsh - another welcome year tick.

In the middle of the day Dave Carlsson visited again, taking some more fine photos on the Ridge, with 5 Brambling and 12 Yellowhammer noted. The latter species is really surprising me - I had 28 there yesterday. Could they stay and breed?

Godalming area

As previously mentioned, Matt Phelps had a fantastic record of an adult Mediterranean Gull flying north-east over Broadford Marsh, at Shalford Water Meadows, yesterday afternoon. This species remains very rare in this part of the county. Elsewhere, there were 2 Bittern into roost at Frensham Little Pond last night, and the female Goldeneye was also reported. Another rare bird locally, a Short-eared Owl, flew over the bog at Thursley Common at 18:00 last night.