Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds


Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Black Redstart

I was pleased to find a smart Black Redstart at Bonhurst Farm on Sunday morning, the second record for the site and first since spring 1991 - before I was born! Amazingly enough that record too came from Bonhurst Farm/Birtley House, and this species is still very rare in outer Surrey, certainly in this part of the county.

It's been a surprisingly elusive bird, and extremely mobile, frequenting the adjacent paddocks and nettle stand by the northerly and smallest barn of the main farm buildings. It occasionally sat up on a fence or roof, eyeing up insect prey, before dropping down, and repeating the process around the small area. The local Pied Wagtails seemed to take a disliking to it, but the bird was unfazed.

It was still present today, though I last saw it on Monday, when I managed to capture in in slightly better light sitting on one of the wires (first image). Sadly, the photos won’t be winning any awards, as the bird just didn’t stay still for long enough, or ever come close, and on the Sunday the light was rubbish. A good number of local birders have successfully twitched it since however, and some decent shots have been achieved.

Bonhurst Farm is certainly looking good for chats and the like at the moment, and hopefully I'll find a Whinchat there soon. Any long-staying, rare passerine is decent here, and the continued visits by local birders have uncovered some smart records for the site - John R found two Wheatears today, and a Spotted Flycatcher, and Malcolm F and Dougal S photographed the third Sand Martin record of the year on Monday. I wonder what would be found if it wasn't just me patching the area...

M Fincham.

J Rowland.
 Black Redstart becomes my 139th bird here, and number 122 for 2018.