Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

28th February - Gold!

I’ll keep this midweek post brief, but the details are as such – a new Thorncombe Street species was found today, and not by me! The movement of Lapwings and Golden Plovers as a result of the Beast From The East was perhaps inevitable, but the numbers moving (largely south/west) through Surrey today was incredible, and the small band of county patchers/sky-watchers were swiftly on it.

Golden Plover, Nadia's Hill, 28/2/2018.
385 Lapwings and 24 Golden Plovers went through Capel, 229 Lapwings and 40 Golden Plovers passed over Clandon, 30 Golden Plovers flew west through Stoke Water Meadows and a staggering 617 Lapwings and 170 Golden Plovers moved over Canons Farm. Great stuff, but no fun for me stuck in the office, after a non-Golden pre-work session earlier.

Watching the tweets fly in was a bit grim whilst at my desk. Golden Plover is one of those species that was always due, but an influx/movement like this wasn’t going to happen again soon, and I felt like I was missing out. Enter local birder Abel B – new to the Surrey scene, he had enjoyed a maiden trip to Thorncombe Street yesterday and was back for more.

Then came the inevitable message – along the lines of “I think I’ve had a Golden Plover”, not long followed by “I definitely have one!”. He very kindly offered to grab me (thankfully I was working in Godalming), and with an hour’s lunch break to smash-and-grab, we set off.

Golden Plover, Nadia's Hill, 28/2/2018.
No joy on Allden’s Hill, where he had his earlier bird, but as I scanned down the valley it was clear there were loads of flocks to check through. We raced to Slades – none there, and then to Nadia’s Hill. Yes! There, with it’s gold-spangled upperparts like stars in a night sky, was a sole Golden Plover! Absolute joy – and the bird looked stunning in the sunshine, as it rummaged around for worms.

Pumped up, we decided to check the plover-appealing fields between here and Scotsland Farm, and in among another 60 or so Lapwings was another Golden Plover! This one uttered it’s plaintive, single-note call before doing a short loop, and re-landing on the field opposite Unknown Farm.

I wasn’t long before, sadly, I had to tear myself away. I know it’s just a Golden Plover, but all of this is why I bird, and why I patch. I can’t thank Abel enough too. Golden Plover becomes the 152nd Thorncombe Street area bird, and my 138th. Happy days!