Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Sunday, 10 September 2017

4th-10th September

Early September always tends to be productive here and this year has been no exception, with migrant action in full swing over the weekend. Yesterday, a dawn vis-mig session on the Ridge didn't yield massive numbers, but 3 Yellow Wagtails, the first couple of Meadow Pipits of the autumn and a trickle of House Martins flew over.
Wheatear, Bonhurst Farm, 6/9/2017

House Martins were seen moving through different parts of the site during the morning, with 102 the final total. On the ground things remained fairly quiet, but I returned for a quick check after the heavy showers that took place during the afternoon, and was rewarded with a Spotted Flycatcher near the disabled car park at Winkworth, and a Garden Warbler in the paddock at Slade's Farm. The latter is a new latest record for the species.

Despite the deluge yesterday, last night was relatively clear, and with a few hours of sunshine and gentle wind in the morning it seemed a good window for birds to get on the move. This proved to be the case, and as I got in the car this morning 2 Yellow Wagtails flew over my flat, a good sign. I didn't actually manage any of these (which are probably my favourite vis-mig species to encounter) on the patch, but I was still treated to big numbers and a great variety.

On the deck it seemed a fall of warblers had occurred, particularly so Blackcaps, with 25+ noted. A thorough bash of the bushes and gardens around Slade's/Raggett's didn't produce the hoped for Redstart, but a Spotted Flycatcher was good compensation. A singing Willow Warbler in the chicory crop on the Ridge was a bit of a surprise, and the second Reed Bunting of the autumn was also here, with the big Linnet and Goldfinch flock.

A steady southbound movement of Meadow Pipits was in evidence, and this was noted throughout the rest of the area. Most groups were around 6 or 7, and the final total for the day was 108 - an excellent count for here, and just 7 off the previous record, which came in March 2015. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the Mipit numbers a Tree Pipit also flew through, with a heard-only individual moving south over New Barn at 09:23, the third record of the year.
Common Buzzard, Ridge, 9/9/2017

All pretty good going, but none of the above was the most notable activity today, with the House Martin passage at times spectacular. Getting ahead of the forecast rain and wind huge feeding masses were present, most notably at New Barn where at least 120 were hawking, all slowly disappearing south. The final total was 366, though there was probably more than that. 72 Swallows were also recorded moving through the area.

Other odds and sods heading south included a couple of Siskins, and a 2nd-winter Great Black-backed Gull, which flew fairly low through New Barn. I have never vis-migged here but I probably should - the number of Pipits and Hirundines here today were very impressive, and this funnel like area, directly above my speculated Hascombe Gap, has produced Kittiwake and Cattle Egret previously. An afternoon visit here produced 3 1st-winter Herring Gulls, all going north.

Midweek was fairly quiet. I checked the paddock at Slade's daily, with little reward. However, a Wheatear showed nicely at Bonhurst Farm on the 6th (the third of the year, and first of the autumn), Firecrests were recorded on a couple of days, and a site record 11 Gadwall were present at Mill Pond on the 9th. Red-legged Partridges and Pheasants are more conspicuous than ever following recent releases. Today, one flock of 150+ of the former were on Allden's Hill, helping make up a ridiculous record day total of 180.