Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds


Saturday, 16 June 2018

Royal T

The high-summer/World Cup lull is in full swing, and I haven't even been out on patch since Sunday (when to be fair I covered over 6 miles during a 3 and a half hour scour). Thanks largely to my legendary boss I've yet to have missed a World Cup match, though a midweek regal arrival in Sussex had me close to bailing on Russia-Egypt.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Thorncombe Street area,

I instead decided to try for the American Royal Tern at first light the morning after it had first been found in the tern colony at Church Norton, Pagham. Initially identified as last years Elegant Tern, the advanced non-breeding plumage and heavy bill quickly pointed towards it in fact being the ringed 2nd-summer American Royal Tern which has spent several months across the Channel on Guernsey.

Following genetic research American Royal Tern is likely to be split from West African by the IOC soon - consequently a firmed up American bird is of huge interest to UK or WP listers, and by 03:45 on Wednesday Abel B and I were racing down the A3. Sometimes you get lucky on twitches and this was absolutely the case here - we parked at 04:30, Josh J informed me of its presence at 04:34 and at 04:35 I was looking in his scope at the bird. At 04:37 it took off and flew out the harbour, not to be seen here again!

I felt sorry for the many people we passed who were turning up in the minutes following, though to be fair if you're getting up at silly o'clock for a bird it makes sense to make sure you're there for first light. The bird was picked up later on at Lodmoor in Dorset, some 74 miles away as the tern flies. It was seen near there at dawn on Thursday, but as far as I'm aware hasn't been seen since. A very nice addition to the Pally Tally during the summer down-time.

On patch since my last post there hasn't really been much to report, and my visits have mainly been to monitor the breeders. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are one such success story, with a bird seen carrying food and a fledgling heard at a site where up to 3 adults were present in the early spring. Regrettably known LSW pairs in the county can be counted on one hand, but they persist here.

Whitethroat, Broomy Down,
Spotted Flycatchers continue to thrive here too, and I had at least 7 different birds across the site on the 16th, including a pair taking food to a regular nest. These birds have gained a lot of attention among photographers, presumably because of their exposed perches, and I had to dish out some social media warnings after one of the Selhurst Common residents whom I regularly chat to on my walks around there complained about some particularly lingering visitors.

Indeed the same resident, who regularly walks her dog around the New Barn area, was adamant her pet had flushed a Quail from one of the grass meadows at Tilsey Farm. Upon hearing this I was quick to check out the area but couldn't locate any lip-wetters, and it's clear that Red-legged Partridge or even Skylark are probably more likely species. Indeed, Quail would have been a site first, but you never know...

Probably the main patch news has been the discovery of further, 1800's records, as well as some intriguing recollections and data from the Hutley family, who own the Wintershall Estate. Remarkably no less than 5 new species are to be added to the historical site list as a result, but I'll dedicate a separate post to all of that soon!