Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

18th-25th April

Since Bank Holiday Monday, arguably the best spring day so far this year, things have been really slow on the patch. The continued north wind hasn't helped - today was particularly chilly, and there were next to no signs of migration. It's also been astonishingly dry, making it even harder for a fall of passerines or the lowering of migrating Waders, Terns etc to occur. Despite this, 70 species have been recorded in the last week, the most pleasing being the first Wheatear of the year that was briefly present on the Ridge yesterday. The bird, a male, flew from the north facing crop into a tree (watching it perched up there a rather odd sight) not long after dawn, before disappearing. Later in the day a singing Whitethroat, rather late this year, became the 100th Thorncombe Street bird of 2017, and my 99th.
The Wheatear yesterday

Also notable yesterday was a small movement of Gulls, just ahead of some seriously dark cloud that looked certain to produce rain, but didn't. An adult Great Black-backed was the 4th of the year, and 5 Herrings and a single Lesser Black-backed also moved through. 3 of the latter drifted over the Tilsey Farm area on the 19th, and a couple of Yellowhammers were heard, pleasing given the time of year. It seems this species if breeding just beyond the southern boundary of the recording area. A farm worker also told me of a couple of Barn Owl records from January, likely one of the Smithbrook/Whipley birds. The area looks good for Barn Owls, and I had a couple of failed attempts at seeing them here in the winter. The valley Cuckoo is now singing daily, from various locations, and the local Swallows and Willow Warblers are back on territory.

Away from the patch, I managed a morning catch up with David Campbell at Canons Farm on Wednesday, and on the 23rd enjoyed Tree Pipits, Reed Warblers, Woodlarks and Common Terns at Frensham. Hopefully, the weather will change, though the short-term forecast isn't fantastic, potentially delaying the arrival of the later migrants (Hobby, Spotted Flycatcher etc). I will be spending the next few days in north-east Poland, and hope to return to warm southerlies and Mediterranean overshoots!