Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Thursday, 28 July 2016

28th July

It's been nearly 2 months since my last post. This is due to a number of factors, mainly moving house, but also work, holidays, Euro 2016 and various other bits and bobs. Birding took a knock, but not much, and I've still managed plenty of patch visits. There have been a couple of highlights but nothing too spectacular, with trips afield offering more glamour birds.

A bird I want to snap on m patch - this Turtle Dove
was at Martin Down in June
With the breeding season peaking it's been fairly quiet. Mill Pond is currently a collection of eclipse Mandarin Ducks and Mallards, with at least 1 Tufted Duck pair succesfully raising young (7 ducklings on July 10th). The first juvenile Grey Herons are on the wing, and prominent from Mill Pond to Thorncombe Park.

Highlights from the breeding birds include, remarkably, Grey Partridges. These completely surprise additions to the site list in March have stuck around, and on June 24th I saw the pair with 3 young near Slade's Farm. They are exceptionally elusive - prior to that sighting I had seen the pair on the 4th June, and not since. Despite this, Matt Phelps had 2 across the road along Thorncombe Street, but no young were seen. Hopefully they were hiding from view.

Red-legged Partridges have also been successful, along with Ravens and Red Kites. At least 1 Spotted Flycatcher pair have bred, with birds often present in the wooded copse opposite Phillimore Cottage. It also seems the Hobby pair are proving successful again this year - today I saw 2 adults on the wing, hawking, hopefully collecting food for young on the nest.

I was left frustrated on Saturday when a streaky Warbler just wouldn't show itself in the thickets at the bottom of Allden's Hill. I think it was Grasshopper, but it wouldn't call, and after a hot hour or so I gave in. However, this disappointment has been more than made up for in the shape of 2 Turtle Dove records. A bird I blogged about before, now extremely scarce in Surrey, I was both delighted and amazed to hear one purring somewhere to the west of Allden's Hill on July 18th. The bird was extremely distant, somewhere in the Munstead direction, and only called a few times. I didn't even try to find it, but was delighted to add it to my Thorncombe Street life list.

Today was even better, as I actually saw a Turtle Dove, as it flew SE down the valley, viewed from Allden's Hill, at around 11:45. Where these/this bird is coming from I don't know, perhaps they are local, even hiding somewhere in my patch. Whatever the case, I don't have long to pin them down, and my aim during the next few weeks is to bag a photo of one. 15 Crossbills north later on was another decent record.

Bonaparte's Gull at Oare - a proud ID moment for me!
As I mentioned earlier, trips out and about have proved fruitful since my last post. A simply epic day with Matt in early June in Hampshire and Wiltshire yielded Honey-buzzard, Montagu's Harrier, Stone Curlew and Turtle Dove, with a recent break in France revealing Crested Tits, Black Kites, Black Redstarts and more. I also traveled up to Oare last week to finally get Bonaparte's Gull on my British list (ID-ed in flight!), and was delighted to add White Stork to that growing tally yesterday, as I got lucky with the Beddington bird, catching it minutes before it flew to roost. The latter is a fine Surrey bird, but that particular list is now very much bottom priority. I might go into it one day...