Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Thursday, 12 May 2016

12th May

A Kestrel hovering over Allden's Hill
Spring is in in full swung on the patch. Birdsong is constant, with parents taking food to hungry young, and fledged birds of some species on the wing. All the summer migrants are now in – Matt Phelps had the first Spotted Flycatcher at Winkworth on Sunday (I’ve yet to see one in 2016). The Nightingale found on Clockhouse Lane on Sunday has been presence ever since, singing at different times of the day. It remains largely hard to see, showing only for brief periods. Hopefully a mate will appear soon. On that subject, today was the first in a while that the Slade’s Farm Cuckoo wasn’t at it full pelt. Maybe a female has arrived? There has clearly been an arrival of this species, with 2 different males singing on Monday.

Lesser Black-backed Gull flying east over Slade's Farm
At least 17 Greylag Geese were around on Monday, and this count excludes the non-viewable breeders in private Thorncombe Park. 2 Egyptian Geese were also noted, my first since March, and it looks like they might be nesting, which they weren’t thought to do last year. Red-legged Partridge numbers remain high – 10 the biggest number this week on the 9th. The exceptionally elusive Grey Partridge pair were seen briefly by Matt on Sunday, as they flew over the road opposite the Winkworth disabled car park, in the Wintershall part of the estate.

Today was another hot one, and with the whole day at my mercy I chose to spend most of it sky-watching from Allden’s Hill, with the Montagu’s Harrier still fresh in my mind. It was largely slow-going, however, with a steady trickle of Swallows, 5 Swifts, a late Meadow Pipit and a small Gull movement the only migration evidence. The latter featured 3 Herring Gulls (2 and 1) going E, with an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull later on being my 6th record of the year. The bird circled a couple of times over the Ridge before continuing in the direction of Winterfold.


All sorts of young birds are now on the wing 
Raptor numbers weren’t as high as Saturday, despite the favourable conditions. I won’t really be publicising much about these birds, and a few other species, as the breeding season carries on. With little in the air my attention was drawn to the numerous Sylvia warblers, particularly in the scrub on the southern side of Allden’s Hill. There are at least 2 Garden Warblers around, and one showed fairly well this morning, though I was too slow for a picture. A male Whitethroat was new here earlier, and at least 15 Blackcaps were around. I await my first Thorncombe Street Lesser Whitethroat.

A remarkable moment - Dunlin in Sainsbury's car park
Locally, an extraordinary event occurred yesterday, at the unlikely setting of Sainsbury’s car park, in Godalming. At around 11:00, following a shower, a delightful summer-plumage Dunlin appeared, and proceeded to feed in the puddles on the tarmac. It was clearly migrating, and the rain forced it down, with the vast concrete space perhaps resembling mud. Unperturbed by shoppers and vehicles, I enjoyed close range views for about 20 minutes. At around 12:30 it stopped in its tracks, called twice, before taking off high north. Sensational stuff! I’ve posted some more pictures into the gallery.