Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Monday, 8 May 2017

8th May

As a renowned former Surrey birder used to say, every year is different. On the 7th and 8th May 2016, prolonged southerlies and warm weather produced both Montagu's Harrier and Nightingale on the patch, along with good numbers of commoner migrants. Today, the uncomfortable north-easterlies of late switched to a straight north wind, and combined with full grey cloud the recipe for a quiet session was complete. However, eventually some decent stuff was found, though it took 3 separate visits to yield them.
The Turtle Dove at Imbhams Farm, Haslemere

The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year at Selhurst Common was perhaps a reward for a couple of hours of not much else in the first two spells (including a particularly dead sky-watch). This represents a rather early returning bird, and is the 103rd species of 2017. A male Wheatear in the afternoon at Bonhurst Farm was late, and only the 2nd of the year. It showed strong features of the Greenland race Leucorhoa, including very buffy underparts. Elsewhere, the first Coot chicks of the year were noted, the drake Gadwall reappeared, a record high flock of 37 Stock Doves was counted and a couple of Cormorants flew over.

The Flycatcher, back on one of the 3 known territories across the recording area, is a species that, despite national trends, is really thriving here. I have long believed the quiet, unexplored corners of south-west Surrey still hold some of our most threatened or scarce birds, and Spotted Flycatcher is one of a number of examples on my patch alone. Later in the day this belief was reaffirmed further, when Rich Ford found a Turtle Dove at Imbhams Farm, near Haslemere. A favourite of mine, I was quick to twitch it, and eventually enjoyed prolonged views of the bird feeding on the road.

There were a couple of records on my bit last year, and this is another species that surely hangs on locally. I would love to know exactly where, though. Highlights from both the patch and Imbhams Farm respectively are as follows:

08:20-10:05; 11:25-13:00; 17:15-18:20

Mill Pond: 1 Gadwall (♂), 2 Little Grebes, 2 Greylag Geese, 2 Tufted Ducks (♂♀), 2 Coots (+ 2 chicks), 1 Blackcap and 6 Mute Swans.

The presumed Greenland Wheatear at Bonhurst
Winkworth Arboretum: 4 Tufted Ducks (♂♀ ♂♀), 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Swallows and 2 Chiffchaffs.

Thorncombe Street: 1 Spotted Flycatcher (Selhurst Common) and 1 Whitethroat (♂, just S of Slade's Farm).

Goose Green: 1 Cormorant S, 2 Blackcaps and  15+ Greylag Geese.

Allden's Hill (11:35-12:35): 1 Cormorant N, 2 Red Kites, 5 Buzzards, 2 Swallows, 1 Red-legged Partridge, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Kestrel (♂) and 2 Grey Herons S.

Combe Farm: 2 Greylag Geese, 3 Red-legged Partridges, 1 Grey Heron and 37 Stock Doves.

Bonhurst Farm: 1 Wheatear (♂, presumed Greenland Leucorhoa race), 3 Linnet, 2 Greylag Geese and 2 Blackcaps.

13:15-14:00 

Imbhams Farm: 1 Turtle Dove (purring and occasionally feeding on the ground), 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Buzzards, 4 Swallows and 2 Blackcaps.