Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Out with a Whimper

3 patch Whimbrels in a week is a bit ridiculous, especially given there were only 3 historical records previously. However, this is the wonder of noc-mig, which captured 2 of these individuals as they called over Allden’s Hill at 23:13 on the 3rd and 02:39 on the 7th respectively.

Whimbrel, Broomy Down, 6/5/2018.
The other record was a silent bird over Broomy Down early on the 6th. Really staggering stuff, and it makes me wonder both how many I missed here, and how many have moved over the local area/county, during the past week. Clearly, it’s peak movement time for this particular species, and interestingly no other waders have been recorded.

Such a fascinating discovery has been in keeping with the spring so far. Indeed, the past week or so has largely continued the 2018 theme of nocmig offering excitement, with the daylight birding being substandard and at times frustrating. The weather this weekend was great for sunbathing, but it was just too nice and clear for birds, with any migrants out of sight. Indeed, at times it felt like high-summer...

Exasperation reached a pretty high level on Saturday 5th when, at 11:20, what was surely a Stork species glided northeast at a ridiculous height. An elongated neck, heavy, clearly fingered wings and general massive-ness against the couple of Buzzards it passed had me ditch the bins for the camera, and of course I lost the bird in the process.
Hobby, Broomy Down, 6/5/2018.

I’ve seen both species of European stork many times before, and have little doubt that this was indeed one, but there’s nothing I could do. To be fair, it was probably too high for a photo or conclusive ID anyway. Another one that got away, and incredibly, not the most painful moment of the weekend!

That came on Monday morning. In total over the Bank Holiday weekend I put in 13.5 hours sky-watching (and several extra working the deck), with little results bar the Whimbrel and a late-ish Yellow Wagtail. So, whilst immensely happy for the boys up the tower, it was gripping at the least when they had 4 (yes 4!) Great Skuas drift south past Leith Hill at around 08:30.

A phenomenal record, possibly the best birds ever to be recorded over the tower, and of course the stuff of dreams for any Surrey birder. Unfortunately, I stood no chance of getting on them, given the direction they flew in and the light. That’s how it goes sometimes, and I probably did myself no favours by relenting with the patch.
Stoat, Ridge, 3rd May 2018.

A break of some level may be needed. A Spotted Flycatcher yesterday in fact yielded, incredibly, the last summer migrant to arrive. It all happened in a couple of weeks. It's time to go back to just enjoying what is around, and avoiding patch overkill and burnout.

I’ve planned a trip away (Iceland), and will take my foot off the patch gas, maybe for a week or so, or maybe longer. The World Cup and new musical focuses will doubtless help restore a nice balance, and I’m sure the natural patch enjoyment will return soon.